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Full text of "The works of President Edwards .."


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ixcv. Jonathans Edwards. 
















District of Massachusetts, to wit : 
?L.s) Be it remembered that on the twentyfifth 

^v ^^ day of October, in the ihirty third year of the Independence of the 

UiiiteH States of America, Isaiah Thomas, Jr. of the said dis- 
trict, has depositid in this ofhce the title of a Boole, the right whereof he 
claims as Proprietor, in the woids following, to wit: 

*' Tlie Works of the Reverenrl Joxatha.v Edwards, 

Minister of the Gospel in Northampton, Massachusetts, and afterwards Presi- 
dent of the College in Newjersey In eight volumes." 

In conformity to the Act of the Cont^ress of the United 

States, intitled, " An act for the Encour-igement of learning, by securing the 
Cop'cs of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authers and Proprietors of such 
Copies, during the times therein mentioned ;" and also to an act intitled, 
•* An Act supplementary to an Act, intitled, an act for the encouragement of 
Learning, by sccuiing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors 
and Proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned ; and cx*- 
tentiin^ the benefits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving and Etching, 
Historical and other PrinU." 

Wm. S. SHAW. 

Oerk of the District t>J UoMaOiusfie. 















The Editor, in offering to the religious public, the Wdrks 
oi President EDWARDS, in what may, perhaps for this country, 
"without impropriety, be called a standard edition, has gratified his 
personal attachment to this excellent man. He has sou,i-ht also the 
advancement of the great doctrines of the cross, parricularly among 
the younger clergy, and the excitement of their zeal by a persuasive 
example. Here ^hey will have truth, accompanied not with evidence 
only, but with demonstration. Here they will !earn tliat conclu- 
sive arguing is as applicable to morals as to mathematics. Here 
'they w'll see sophistry script of its disguises, and systems of learn- 
ed error frittered to nothing. Here they will have before them an 
example of research, the fv^rce of which rhey w'll not be able to re- 
sist. Modern times scarce furnish a more imitable character. 

President EDWARDS began his career of virtuous exertion at an 
early period of I'fe, and pursued it with a zeal and steadiness which 
could not but be successful. He had an object worthy of his pur- 
suit, and he never lost sight of it. If much is to be ascribed to liis 
talents, no less is to be attributed to his industry. And his industry 
is particularly im-table as it sprung from the best motives. 
Founded in the supreme love of God, and an ardent desire to do ap 
much good as poss'ble, it could not be conversant with trifles or de- 
-generate in'o pastime. These writings are in part the fruit of it. 
They are fraught with instruction, and are entitled to a diligent and 
repeated perusal. The honorary declaration made in the preface 
to the En;ilish edition of these works, as it is entitled to full appro- 
bation, may properly have a place here. "Although we do not 
consider ourselves responsible for every sentiment of the Author, 
whose works we publish, we will nevertheless freely acknowledge, 
that were we to assume any such responsibility, or were we dispos- 
ed to hold up the writings of any fallible man, as forming our 
standard of faith, we should not hesitate to give our most decided 
preference to EDWARDS and OWEN. In these authors we see the 
soundest principles united with the most fervent charily." In sim- 
ilar terms another respectable English divine writes to his friend in 


America, (March 15, i8o8.)-JONATHAN EDWARDS is, in my 
esteem, the Coryphceus of modern divines, as Dr. OWEN was of the 
precedin;; century. EDWARDS is everyday rising in esteem a- 
mong dissenters, so that his works sell very fast." 

It has been the Editor's aim to meet the expectations which the 
proposals warranted the patrons of the work to form. He has used 
hisbest discretion in the arrangement, and as far as his attention would 
go, in the midst of many and pressing avocations, has labored to have 
the typography correct. It was found necessary to use a smaller 
type than was first intended. This is a material advantage to the 
subscriber, as he has proportionably a greater quantity of matter ia 
each page. The pages have also swelled to a greater number thaa 
was promised. After all, a few posthumous, unfinished discourse* 
of the author, and some of his miscellanies, consisting principally of 
quotation, we have been necessitated to omit. The multiplying of 
notes, upon the plan of elucidating and correcting the sentiments of 
so sagacious a divine, was, after reflection, and after observing with 
some carefulness how others have done in this matter, thought toe 
adventurous. An index to assist the reader in recurring to particu 
lar subjects, will be an acceptable substitute for these. That the 
work may be extensively useful, is the hope and prayer of the Ed- 


WogCEST«R, (Mass.) November 1, 1808. 

N. B The reader will observe in theTreatisa on the " Nature of Virtue," 
several references to ihet on " The end ot God in creating the World, as a 
foregoing 'I realiiC. These have hcretotore been sewed together, so as to agree 
•with the references. And it was our intention to have placed the latter Trca- 
lise al the end of the first vol jine, which w.s printed alter the «cond. But 
ihe other pieces swelled the volume, so that we had no room for it. The rcad- 
«• must of course look forward to the sixth volume for this TreaUsc. 


VOL. I. 

2, Memoirs of Mr. Edwards's Life. 
II. Farewell Sermon. 

III. Result of Council. 

IV. Treatise on Qualifications for Full Communion. 
V. Reply to Rev. S.Williams. 


I, Work of Redemption. 

II. Dissertation on the Nature of Virtue. 

HI. Observations concerning the Mysteries of Scripture. 


I. A Narrative of Many surprising Conversions, 
II; Thoughts on the Revival of Religion in Newengland. 
Ill, An humble Attempt to promote explicit Agreement in Prayer^. 
IV. Life of the Rev. David Biainerd, and Reflections upon it. 


I, A Treatise concerning Religious Affections. 
II, Observations concerning Faith. 

III. Reasons against Dr. Watts's Notion of the Preexistence of Christ's 
Human Soul, 

VOL. V. 

1. Inquiry into the modern prevailing Notions of Freedom of Will. 
II. Miscellaneous Observations concerning the Divine Decrees in general 
and Election in particular. 

III. Concerning Efficacious Grace. 


I. The Last End of God In creating the World. 

II. Treatise on Original Sin. 

VOL. VII. er vin. 

Scmons and General Iiidex, 




Vol.. I. 





Mr. Edwards's Birth, Parentage, Education and 
Entrance into the Ministry. 

President edwards was one of those 

tnen of whom it is not easy to speak with justice without 
seeming, at least, to border on the marvellous, and to incur 
the guilt of adulation. The Christian Biographer labors un- 
der a difficulty, in describing the characters of extraordinary 
men, which the writers of other lives are but too generally al- 
Ibwed to forget ; for he is bound so to represent actions and 
motives, as to remind his readers, that the uncommon excel- 
lencies of a character, flow entirely from the bounty of heaven, 
for the wisest and best purposes, and are not the result of nat- 
ural vigor and acumen. Otherwise, instead of placing these 
excellencies in a view advantageous for imitation, or describ- 
ing a character attainable, as to its most valuable traits, only 
by gracious aids, there would be danger of setting up an idol, 
more precious indeed than gold, but still an idol, whereby the 
mind would be led astray from the one great object of the 
Christian life, Jesus Christ, whose h\\\v\Q?,^jilleth all in alL 
While we have a just view of /hV/z, it is a privilege to hear of 
his wonderful works in and by his honored servants ; and to 
be enabled to imitate them is a great augmentation of the 
privilege. If their graces, exemplified in a variety of circum- 
stances, in a manner force us to a throne of grace, and there- 
by prove the means of quickening ours ; then do we make a 
Vol. I. B 


right use of their history, and follow them who through faith 
and patience inherit the pronnises. 

Mr. Jonathan Edwards was born on the 5th of October, 
1703, at Windsor, in the then Province of Connecticut, North 
America. His father, the Rev. Timothy Edwards, was 
mJnistcr of that place almost sixty years, and resided there 
from November, 1694, till January, 1758, when he died in the 
89th year of his age ; not two months before this his only son 
Jonathan. He was very universally beloved, and esteemed, 
as an u plight, pious, exemplary man ; a faithful and very 
useful minister of the gospel. A few more particulars of this 
excellent man will be acceptable. He was born at Hartford, 
in Connecticut, May 14th, 1669, received the honors of the 
college at Cambridge, in Newengland, by having the degrees 
of Bachelor and Master of Arts given him the same day, 
July 4th, 1694, one in the forenoon, and the other in the af- 
ternoon. On November 6, 1694, he married Esther Stod- 
dard, daughter of the Rev. and celebrated Solomon Stoddard, 
of Northampton, in the 23d year of her age. They lived to- 
gether in the married state above sixty three years. Mrs. 
Edwards, our author's mother, was born June 2d, 1672, and 
lived to about ninety years of age, (some years after her son) 
a remarkable instance of the small decay of mental powers 
at so advanced an age. This venerable couple had eleven 
children ; one son, the subject of these Memoirs, and ten 
daughters, four of -whom were older, and six younger than 

• Wc shall here subjoin a sketch of Mr. Edwards's more remote ancestors, 
as it may gratify some readers. Jonathan Edwards's grandfather was Rich, 
ard Edwards, who married Elizabeth Tuttle, daughter of William Tuttle, of 
Ncwhavcn, in Connecticut, and Elizabeth his wife, who came from Northamp- 
tonshire, in Old England. By this connexion he had seven children, of 
whom the eldest was Timothy, our author's father. His second marriage 
was to Mrs. Talcot, sister to governor Talent, by whom he had six children. 
The father of Richard was William Edwards, Jonathan's greatgrandfather, 
who came from England young and unmarried. The perlon he married, 
whose Christian name was Agnes, and who had left England for America, 
had two brother; in England, one of them Mayor of Exeter, and the other 
of Bjruitiblc. The father of William, Richard Edward.*, our author's 


Mr. Edwards entered Yale college, ^hen about twelve 
years of age ; and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts 
!n Sept. 1720, a little before he was seventeen. While at col- 
lege, his character was marked with sobriety and improvement 
in learning. In the second year of his collegiate course he 

great great grandfather, -was minister of the gospel in London, in the reiga 
®f queen Elizabeth ; and his wife, Ann Edwards, -was employed in making 
some part of the royal attire. After the death ot Mr. Edwards, she ma» ricd 
Mr. James Cole, who with her son William accompanied her to America, and 
2ll died at Hartford in Connecticut. 

President Edwards's grandfather on the mother's side. Rev. Solomon 
Stoddard, of Northampton, Newengland, married Mrs. Mather, the relict of 
the Rev. Mr. Mather liis predecessor, who was the fiist minister at Northamp- 
ton. Her maiden name was Esther Warham, daughter, and the youHgest child 
oT the Rev. John Warham, minister at W^indfor, in Conneqticut, and who, 
before he left England, had been minister at Exeter. This lady had three 
children by Mr, Mather, viz, Eunice, Warham, and Eliakim ; and twelve 
children by Mr. Stoddard, six sons and six daughters. Three of the sons died 
in infancy, and three lived to adult years, viz. Anthony, John, and Israel; 
the last of whom died a prisoner in France. Anthony was minister of the 
gospel at Woodbury, in Connecticut ; he was in the ministry about sixty 
years, and died September 6, 1760, in the Sad year of his age. John lived 
at Northampton, and often, especially in his younger years, served the town 
as their representative, at the General Court at Boston ; and Mas long 
head of the county of Hampshire, as chief colonel, and chief judge of the 
court of common pleas. He moreover served in the province of Massachu- 
setts Bay, as one of his Majesty's council. He distinguished himself as an 
able politician, a wise counsellor, an upright and skillful judge ; possessed 
in an eminent degree the spirit of government, and eyer proved a great and 
steady friend to the interest of religion. He was a great friend and admirer 
of our Mr. Edwards, and to the time of his death, greatly stiengthened his 
hands in the work of the ministry. A more particular account of the life and 
character of this truly great man, may b« seen in the sermon which Mr. Ed- 
"wards preached and published, on the occasion of his death. The father of 
Mr. Solomon Stoddard, and Mr. Edwards's great grandfather, on the moth- 
er's side, was Anthony Stoddard, Es(j. of Boston, a zealous congregational 
man. He had five wives, the first of whom was Mary Downing, sister to 
Sir George Downing, whose other sister married Governor Bradstrcct, Solo- 
mon was the first child of this first marriage. From these particulars it ap- 
pears, that Mr. Edwards's ancestors were from the west of England, who, up- 
on their emigration, allied themselves to some of the mo'.t respectable famiile;^ 
in America. 


read Locke on the Human Understanding with much delight. 
His uncommon genius, by \\ kicli he ^vas naturally formed for 
close thought and deep penetration, now began to discover 
and exert itself. From his own account, he was inexpressibly 
enteriaincd and pleased with that hook, when he read it at 
college ; more so than the most greedy miser, when gather- 
ing up handfuls of silver and gold from some newly discover- 
ed treasure. Though he made good proficiency in all the 
arts and sciences, and had an uncommon taste for Natural 
Philosophy, (whicli he cultivated to the end of his life) yet 
Moral Philosophy, including divinity, was his favorite subject, 
in which he made great progress in early life. 

He lived at college nearly two years after he took his first 
degree, preparing for the work of the ministry. After which, 
having passed the usual trials, he was licensed to preach the 
gospel as a candidate. In consequence of an application 
from a number of ministers in Newengland, who were intrust- 
ed to act in behalf of the English Presbyterians in Newyork, 
he went to that city the beginning of August, 1722, and 
preached there with great acceptance about eight months. 
But on account of the smallness of that society, and some 
special difficulties that attended it, he did not think there was 
a rational prospect of answering the good end proposed, by 
his settling there as their minister. He therefore left them 
the next spring, and retired to his father's house, where he 
spent the summer in close study. He was earnestly solicited 
by the people to return again to Newyork ; but his former 
views were not altered, and therefore, however disposed to 
gratify them, he could not comply with their wishes. 

In Sept, 1723, he received his degree of Master of Arts. 
About this lime several congregations invited him to become 
their minister ; but being chosen tutor of Yale college, he 
chose to continue in that retirement, and attended the busi- 
ness of tuition there above two years. During his stay there, 
he was applied to by the people of Noi ihampton, who had 
some powerful motives to oftcr, in favor of his exercising his 
ministry there ; and especially that his grandfather Stoddard, 
by reason of his great age, stood in need of assistance. He 


therefore resigned his tutorship in Sept. 1726, and accepted 
their invitation, and was ordained as colleague with his grand- 
father, Feb. 15, 1727, in the twentyfourth year of his age, 
and continued at Northampton twentythree years and four 


Extracts from his Private Writings. 

BETWEEN the time of his going to Newyork and his 
settlement at Northampton, Mr. Edwards formed a number 
of Resolutions, which arc still preserved. The particular 
time, and special occasion of making many of these resolu- 
tions, he has noted in a Diary which he then kept ; where we 
also find many other observations and rules relative to his own 
exercises and conduct. As these private writings may be 
justly considered the basis of his conduct, or the plan accord- 
ing to which his whole life was governed, it may be proper 
here to give the reader some idea of them by the following 


His Resolutions, 

Mr. Edwarbs was too well acquainted with human weak- 
ness and frailty, where the intention is most sincere, to enter 
on any resolutions rashly. He therefore looked to God for 
aid, who alone can afford success in the use of any means. 
This he places at the head of all his other important rules, 
that his dependance was on grace, while he frequently recur- 
red to a serious perusal of them...." Being sensible that I am 
unable to do any thing without God*s help, I do humbly in- 
treat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolu- 
tions so far as they are agreeable to his ^YilI, for Christ's sake." 
He then adds :— . 

u ihl: LiFi: or 

"remember to read OVKR T1IF.se BESOLITIONS ONCK A 

1. Resolved, that I ivilldo whatsfjcvcr I think to be most to 
God's glory and my own good, profit and pleasure, on the 
IV HOLE ; without any consideration of the time, whether now, 
or never so many myriads ot* ages hence ; to do whatever I 
think to be my duty^ and most for the good and advantage of 

mankind in general whatever difftcuUics I meet with, how 

many and how great soever. 

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find some 
na^} contrivance to promote the foremcntioned things. 

4. Resolved, 7\cvcr to do, be, or suffeu, any thing in soul 
or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God. 

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time ; but im- 
prove it in the most profitable way I possibly can. 

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.f 

• The RcsoIuiioHS, as contained in the original manusciipt, were seventy 
in number, a part only is here transcribed, as a spccimcH of the whole. The 
figures perfixed to them are those by which they were numbered in that iranu- 
script ; and they are here retained for the sake of the references made to some 
of them in the Diary, as the reader will^ find in the subsequent part of these 
Memoirs. It may be proper to add, that we should regard the spirit of these 
resolutions, and of the following extracts from the Diary, without a minute 
attention to the critical nicety of his language. In fact, as these extracts were 
penned at a very early period of life, his style was not formed ; and his chief 
concern was to deal plainly with himself, in the presence of God, and to re- 
cord for his own private inspection what he thought might bt of most use to 
him in future — 

■f This is the full and exact import of the Latin Motto, *' Dum iiiimus^ 
rivamus ;" which was the motto of Dr. Doddridge's family arms, and which 
he paraphrased with so much beauty. 

•• Live, while you live,'* the Ffiicur^ would s.iy, 

" And soi/e the pleasures of the present day. 

live, while you live, the sacred pteadicr cries, 

And give toCod each moment as it flies. 

Lord, in my views let both united be ; 

I live in pfeaiure, when I live lo .'A«." — 


7. Resolved, never to do any thing, ^vhich I should be 
afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. 

9. Resolved, to think much, on all occasions, of my own 
dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death. 

1 1. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be 
solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if cir- 
cumstances do not hinder. 

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objeets of 
charily and liberality. 

14. Resolved, never to do any thhig out of revenge. 

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motion of anger to 
irrational beings.., 

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done 
"when I come to die. 

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my 
devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of the gospel 
and another world. 

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eat- 
ing and drinking. 

21. Resolved, never to do any thing, which if I should see 
in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, 
or to think any way the more meanly of him. 

24. Resolved, whenever I do any evil action, to trace it 
back, till I come to the original cause ; and then both care- 
fully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray v/ith 
all my might against the original of it. 

28. Resolved, to study the scriptures so steadily, constantly 
and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself 
to grow in the knowledge of the same. 

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every ^yeek to be 
brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, 
than I was the week before. 

32. Resolved to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, 
that Prov. xx. 6. (A faithful man nvho can find?) may not be 
partly fidfilled in me. 

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, 
maintaining, and establishing peace, when it can be done 
without an overbalancing detriment in othtir respects. 


34. Resolved, in narrations never to speak any thing but 
the pure and simple verity. 

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any person, except 
some particular good call for it. 

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, 
wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, 
and wherein I have denied myself ; also at the end of every 
"Week, month, and year. 

38. Resolved never to speak any thing that is ridiculous, 
or matter of laughter on the Lord's day. 

39. Resolved, never to do any thing that I so much question 
the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to con- 
sider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no : 
Except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission. 

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, 
month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have 
done belter. 

42. Resolved frequently to renew the dedication of myself 
to God, which was made at my baptism ; which I solemnly 
renewed, when I was received into the communion of the 
church ; and which I have solemnly ratified this twelfth day 
of January, 1723. 

43. Resolved, never to act as if I were any way my own, 
but entirely and altogether God's. 

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fret- 
ting or uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer 
no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, 
or motion of my eye ; and to be especially careful of it, with 
respect to any of our family. 

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever 
is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and be- 
nevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, 
generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, dili- 
gent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, for- 
giving, sincere tcn^pcr ; and to do at all times what such a 
temper would lead me to. 1 xaminc strictly every week, 
whether I have done so. 


48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost nicenessand dili- 
gence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be lookinj^ into the state 
of my soul, that I may know whetlier I have truly an interest 
in Christ or no ; that wl^cn I come to die, I may not have any 
negligence respecting this to repent of. 

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would 
have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the fu- 
ture world. 

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they 
would live, if they were to live their lives over again : Re- 
solved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I hud 
done, supposing I live to old age. 

54. Whenever I hear any thing spoken in conversation of 
any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me. Resolv- 
ed to endeavor to imitate it. 

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can 
think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heav- 
en, and hell torments. 

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slack- 
en my fight v>ith my corruptions, however unsuccessful I 
may be. 

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to 
examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it ; 
and let it be just as Providence orders it, I will as far as I ean, 
be concerned about nothing but my duty, and my sin. 

62. Resolved, never to do any thing but duty ; and then, 

according to Eph. vi. 6 8, do it willingly and cheerfully as 

imto the Lord, and not to man ; knowing that whatever good 
thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord. 

65. Resolved, to exercise myself much in this all my life 
long, viz. with the greatest openness to declare my ways to 
God, and lay open my soul to him ; all my sins, temptations, 
diPilcuIties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, 
and every circumstance ; according to Dr. Manton's 27th ser- 
mon on the 1 19th psalm. 

67. Resolved, after afiUctions, to inquire, \Vhat I am the 
better for them ; what good I /larc got, and what I im'gnt have 
got by them." 

Vol. L C 



Kxtractsfrom his Diary. 

Though Mr. Edwards wrote his Diary for his own pri- 
vate use, exclusively, it is not apprehended that the following 
extracts are unfairly exposed to public view. Whatever is 
calculated to do good, and is perfectly consistent Avith an au- 
thor's real reputation, may be published with honor, whatever 
his design might be while writing. Besides, what INIr. Ed- 
wards wished to have effectually concealed from every eye 
but his own, he wrote in a particular short hand. After hav- 
ing written pretty much in that character, he adds this re- 
mark in long hand : " Remember to act according to Prov. 
xii. 23. A firiident man coiicralcth knoivledgeJ** 

" Saturday^ Dec. 22, 1722. This day, revived by God's 
Holy Spirit. Affected with a sense of the excellency of ho- 
liness. Felt more exercise of love to Christ than usual. Have 
also felt sensible repentance for sin, because it was committed 
against so merciful and good a God. This night, made the 
37th Resolution. 

Sabbath J\'ight, Dec. 22. Made the 38th Resolution. 

Alo?iday, Dec. 24, Higher thoughts than usual of the ex- 
cellency of Jesus Christ and his kingdom. 

U^ednt'sday, Jan. 2, 1723. Dull. 1 hnd by experience, 
that let me make resolutions, and do what I will, it is all 
nothing, and to no purpose at all, without the motions of the 
Spirit of God : For if the Spirit of God should be as much 
withdrawn from me always, as for the week past, notwith- 
titandini': all I do, I should not grow ; but should languish, 
and miserably fade away. There is no dependence upon 
myaclf. It is to no purpose to resolve, except we depend on 
the grace of God ; for if it were not for his mere grace, one 
might be a very good man one day, and a very wicked one 
the next. 

Sabbuih, Jan. 6, at night. Much concerned about the im- 
provement of precious time. Intend to live in continual mor- 
viRculion, without ceasing, as long as in this world. 


Tuesday, Jan. 8, in the morning. Higher thoughts than 
usual of the excellency of Christ, and felt an unusual repent- 
ance for sin therefrom. 

Wednesday, Jan. 9, at night. Decayed. I am sometimes 
apt to think, I have a great deal more of holiness than I real- 
ly have. I find, now and then, that abominable corruption 
which is directly contrary to what I read respecting eminent 
Christians. How deceitful is my heart ! I take up a strong re- 
solution, but how soon does it weaken I 

Thursday, Jan. 10, about noon. Reviving. It is a great 
dishonor to Christ, in whom I hope I have an interest, to b« 
uneasy at my worldly state and condition : When I see th« 
prosperity of others, and that all things go easy with them ; 
when the world is smooth to them, and they are happy in ma- 
ny respects, and very prosperous, or are advanced to much 
honor. Sec. to envy them, or be the least uneasy at it ; or even 
to wish for the same prosperity, and that it would ever be so 
with me. Wherefore concluded, always to rejoice in every 
one's prosperity, and to expect for myself no happiness of 
that nature as long as I live ; but reckon upon afflictions, and 
betake myself entirely to another happiness. 

I think I find myself much more sprightly and healthy, 
both in body and mind, for my selfdcnial in eating, drinking, 
and sleeping. I think it would be advantageous every morn- 
ing to consider my business and temptations ; and what sins I 
shall be exposed to that day : And to make a resolution how to 
improve the day, and to avoid those sins. And so at the be- 
ginning of every week, month and year. I never knew before 
what was meant by not setting our hearts upon these things. 
It is, not to care about them, depend upon them, afflict our- 
selves much with fears of losing them, or please ourselves 
with expectation of obtaining them, or hope of their continu- 
ance. At night made the 41st Resolution. 

Saturday, Jan. 12, in the morning. I have this day solemn- 
ly renewed my baptismal covenant and sclfdedication, which 
I renewed when I was received into the communion of the 
church. I have been before God ; and have given myself, all 
that I am and have to God, so that I am not in any respect 


Ti^y own : I crcfi claim no right in myself, no right in this iin» 
dcrstandinf^, this will, these aflcclicns that arc in me ; ncitlier 
hnvc I any rig;ht to this body, or any of its memliers : No 
light to this tonf^ue, these hands» nor feet : No rii^ht to these 
senses, these eyes, these ears, this smell or taste. I have 
r;iven myself clear away, and have net retained any thing as 
my own. 1 have been to God tliis morning, and told him that 
1 ^^ave myself 7rA«///y to him. 1 have o/iven every power to 
him ; so that for tlic future, I will challenge or claim no right 
in myself, in any respect. 1 have> expressly promised him, 
and do now promise Almi,R;hty God, that by his grace I will 
not. I have this morning told him, that I did take him for my 
whole portion and felicity, looking on nothing else as any part 
of my happincs?, nor acting as if it were ; and his law for the 
constant rule of my obedience ; and would fight with all my 
tnight against the world, the flesh, and the devil, to the end of 
my life. And did believe in Jcfus Christ, and receive him as a 
prince and a saviour ; and would adhere to the faith and obedi- 
ence of the gospel, how hazardous and diOicult soever the pro- 
fession and practice of it may be. That I did receive the 
b'ei'Sed Spirit as my teacher, sanctifier and only comforter ; 
{•nd cherish all hi> motions to enlighten, purify, confirm, com- 
fort, and assist mc. This i have done. And I pray God, for 
the fake of Christ, to look upon it as a selfdcdication ; and to 
receive me T)6w as entirely his own, and deal with me in all 
respects as such ; wliether he ardlcts mc or prospers me, or 
whatever he pleases to do with me, who am his. Now, hence- 
forth I am not to art in any respect as my own. I shall act as 
my own, if I ever make use of any of my powers to any thing 
that is not to llie glory of (iod- or do not make the glorifying 
of him my whole and entire business ; if I murnuir inthc least 
at atP.ictions ; if I grieve at the prosperity of others ; if I am 
any woy uncharitable ; if I am angry because of injuries ; if I 
Trrenge my own cause ; if I do any thing purely to please 
myself, or avoid any thing for the sake of my case, or omit 
any thing ber.rtuso it is great selfdenial ; if I trust to myself ; 
'-' ^ ••'. •• -'■'' '• •••■■-.• r '• >o'.^' ♦> -t ] f'c), or rather God 


^oes by me ; or if I am any v/ay proud. This clay made the 
42d and 43d Resolutions. 

Movdini., Jen. 14. The dedication I made of myself to 
my God, on Saturday last, has been exceeding useful to me. 
I thought I had a more spiritual insight into the scripture 
•while reading the 8th chapter to the Romans, than ever in my 
life before. Great instances of mortification are deep wounds 
given to the body of sin, hard blows that make him stagger 
and reel ; we thereby get firm ground and footing against 
him. While we live without great instances of mortification 
and selfdenial, the old man keeps whereabouts he was ; for 
he is sturdy and obstinate, and will not stir for small blows. 
After the greatest mortifications, I always find the greatest 
comfort. Supposing there was never but one complete 
Christian, in all respects, of a right stamp, having Christianity 
shining in its true lustre, at a time in the world ; resolved, to 
act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that 
one, that should be in my time. 

Tuesday, Jan. 15. It seemed yesterday, the day before, 
and Saturday, that I should always retain the same resolu- 
tions to the same height, but alas, ho^v soon do I decay ! O, 
how weak, how infirm, hov/ unable to do any thing am I 1 
What a poor, inconsistent, miserable wretch, without the as- 
sistance of God's Spirit ! While I stand, I am ready to think 
I stand in my own strength ; and am ready to triumph over 
my enemies, as if it were I m.yself that caused them to fiee ; 
when alas I I am but a poor infant, upheld by Jesus Christ ; 
who holds me up, and gives me liberty to smile to see my ene- 
mies fiee, when he drives them before me ; and so I laugh, 
as though I myself did it, when it is only Jesus Christ leads 
me along, and fights himself against my enemies. And now 
the Lord has a little left me, hov/ weak do I find myself ! O, 
let it teach me to depend less on myself, to be more humble, 
and to give more of the praise of my ability to Jesus Christ. 
The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperate- 
ly wicked, who can know it ? 

Saturday^ Feb, 16. I do certainly know tluit I love holi- 
ness, such as the gospel requires. At night. I have been neg- 


ligcnl for ihc month past in llicsc three things ; I have not 
been watchful enough over my appetite in eatinj* and drink- 
ing ; in rising loo late ; and in not applying myself enough 
to the duty of secret prayer. 

Sabbathday^ Feb. 17, near sunset. Ivenewedly promised, 
that 1 uill accept of (iod, for my whole portion ; and that I 
Mill he contented, whatever else I am denied. I will not 
murmur, nor be grieved, whatever prosperity, upon any ac' 
count, I see others enjoy, and I am de.iit^.d. 

Saturdaxj^ March 2. O, how much pleasanter is humility 
than pride I O, that God would fill me with exceeding great 
humility, and that he would evermore keep me from all pride ! 
The pleasures of humility are really the most refined, inward 
and exquisite delights in the world. How hateful is a proud 
man ! How hateful is a worm that lifts up itself with pride ! 
What a foolish, silly, miserable, blind, deceived, poor worm 
am I, when pride works I 

jrcdnrffdaify March 6, near sunset. Felt the doctrines of 
election, free grace, and of our not being able to do any thing 
•without the grace of God ; and that holiness is cniirely, 
throughout, the work of God*s Spirit, with more pleasure than 

Mondarj Morning, J/iril 1. I think it best not to allow my- 
self to laugh at the faults, follies and infirmities of others. 

Saturday JN'ight Jpril 6. This week I found myself so far 
r,onc, that it seemed to me, that I should never recover more. 
I.tt God of hi:s mercy return unto me, and no more leave me 
thus to sink and decay I I know O Lord, that without thy 
help, I shall fall innumerable times, notwithstanding all my 
resolutions, how often so ever repeated. 

Saturday J\'ight^ Jjirit 13. I could pray more heartily 
this night, for the forgiveness of my enemies, than ever be- 

IWdncadcy, May I. I'orcnoon. Last ni?;ht I came home, 
afuT my nielancholy parting from Ncwyork. I have always, 
in every difierent stale of life I have hitherto been in, thought 
tlie troubles and difi'icullies of that state to be greater than 
those of any other that I propostd to be in ; and when I have 


altered with assurance of mending myself, I have still thought 
the same ; yea, that the difikullies of that stale, are gTtater 
than those of that I left last. Lord, grant that from hei.ce I 
may learn to withdraw my thoughts, affections, desires and 
expectations, entirely from the world, and may fix them upon 
the heavenly state ; where there is fulness of joy ; where 
reigns heavenly, sv/eet, calm, and delightful love without al- 
loy ; where there are continually the dearest expressions of 
this love ; where there is the enjoyment of the persons loved, 
without ever parting ; where those persons, who appear so 
lovely in this world, will really be inexpressibly more lovely, 
and full of love to us. How sweetly will the mutual lovers 
join together to sing the praises of God and the Lamb ! How 
will it fill us with joy to think, this enjoyment, these sv.'eet 
exercises, will never come to an end, but will last to eternity. 
Remember, after journies, removes, overturnings, and alter- 
ations in the state of my life, to consider, whether therein I 
have managed the best way possible, respecting my soul ? 
and before such alterations, if foreseen, to resolve how to act. 

Thursday^ May 2. I think it a very good way to examine 
dreams every morning when I awake ; what are the nature, 
circumstances, principles and ends of my imaginary actions 
and passions in them, to discern what are my chief inclina- 
tions, Sec. 

Saturday Mg/it, May 4. Although I have in some measure 
subdued a disposition to chide and fret, yet I find a certain 
inclination which is not agreeable to Christian sweetness of 
temper and conversation : Too dogmatical, too much of egot- 
ism ; a disposition to be telling of my own dislike and scorn ; 
and freedom from those things that are innocent, or the 
common infirmities of men ; and many such like things. O 
that God v/ould help me to discern all the flaws and defects 
of my temper and conversation, and help me in the difficult 
work of amending them ; and that he would fill me so full of 
Christianity, that the foundation of all these disagreeable ir- 
regularities may be destroyed, and the contrary beauties may 

34 THE Lli L OF 

Sabbathday^ May 5, in the morning. Tins day made the 
47tli resolution. 

Sabbat hday^ May 12. I think I feel glad from the hope 
that my eternity is to be spent in spiritual and holy joys, aris- 
incj from the manifestation of God's love, and the exercise of 
holiness and aburnini; love to him. 

Saturday jVig/iij May ]S. I now plainly perceive what 
great oblignlions 1 am under to love and honor ir.y p:iicnts. 
I have great reason to believe, that their counsel and educa- 
tion have been of greM use to me ; notwithstanding, at the 
time, it seemed to do me so little good. I have good reason 
to hope that their ])raycrs for me have been in many things 
very powerful and prevalent ; that God has in many things, 
taken me under his care and guidance, provision and direction, 
in answer to their prayers. 1 was never made so sensible of it 
as now. 

JVcdvepday^ May 22, in the morning. Memorandum, To 
lake special care of these following things ; evil speaking, 
frettinrr, eating, drinking, jud sleeping, speaking simple veri- 
ty, joining in prayer, slightness in secret pra)cr, lisilessness 
and negligence, and thoughts that cherish sin. 

Saturday,, May 25, in the morning. As I was this meiTi- 
ing reading the I7ih Res(jluiion, it was suggested to me, that 
if I was new to die, I should wish that I had prayed more 
that God would make me knov/ my slate, whether it be good 
or bad ; i.nd lluit I had taken more pains to see, asid narrowly 
search into this mat'er. Wherefore, Mem. For the future 
most nicely and diligently to look into our old Divines con- 
cerning conversion. Made the 48th Resolution. 

Friday,, June 1, afternoon. 1 hnve abundant cause, O mer- 
ciful Father, to love ibcc ardently, and greatly to bless and 
praise thee, that thou hast heard me in my earnest request, 
and hast -^o answered my prayer for mercy to keep from de- 
cay and sinking. O, graciously, of thy mere goodness, eon- 
xinue to pily my misery by reason of my sinfulness. O, my 
dear Uecletmcr, I cou.niit myself, together with my prayer 
and tl;iMjksi'-vi!.;^ \\\\o thine hand. 


Monday, July 1. Again confirmed by experience of the 
happy effects of strict temperance, with respect both to body 
and mind. Resolved for the future to observe rather more of 
meekness, moderation, and temper in disputes. 

T/tursday, July 1 8, near sunset. Resolved to endeavor to 
make sure of that sign the Apostle James gives of a perfect 
man, James iii. 2. J/ any man offend not in word, the same is a 
perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 

Monday, July 22. I see there is danger of my being drawn 
into transgression by a fear of seeming uncivil, and of onend- 
ing friends. Watch against it. 

Tuesday, July 23. When I find those groanings which 
cannot be uttered, that the apostle speaks of ; and those 
soul breakings for the longing it hath, which the psalmist 
speaks of, Psal. cxix. 20, let me humor and promote them 
to the utmost of my pov/er, and be not weary of earnestly 
endeavoring to vent my desires. I desire to count it all joy- 
when I have occasion of great selfdenial, because then I have 
a glorious opportunity of giving deadly wounds to the body of 
sin, and greatly confirming and establishing the new nature ; 
to seek to mortify sin, and increase in holiness ; these are the 
best opportunities, (according to January 14) to improve af- 
flictions of all kinds, as blessed opportunities of forcibly bearing 
on in my Christian course, notwithstanding that which is so 
very apt to discourage me, to damp the vigor of my mind, 
and to make me lifeless ; also as opportunities of trusting and 
confiding in God, habitually, according to the 57th Resolu- 
tion ; and of rending my heart off from the world, and set- 
ting it upon heaven alone ; to repent of, and ' cwail my sin, 
and abhor myself ; and as a blessed opportunity to exercise 
patience, to trust in God, and divert my mind from the afflic- 
tion, by fixing myself in religious exercises. Also, let me 
comfort myself, that it is the very nature of afflictions to 
make the heart better ; and if I am made better by them, 
what need I be concerned, however grievous they seem for 
the present ? 

Friday, July 2G. To he particularly careful to keep up an 
inviolable trust and reliance, ease and entire rest, in God) iti 
VoJ- I. D 


all conditions according to ihc 57ih Resolution ; for this 1 
have found to be >vondeifully advantageous. 

Monday^ July 29. When I am conccrrjcd how I shall per- 
form any thing to public acceptance, to be very careful that I 
do what is duty and prudence in the matter. 

1Vt'dnen(lay,Jtdy S\, Never in the least to seek to hear 
sarcastical relations of others' faults. Never to give credit to 
any thing said against others, except there is very plain rea- 
son for It ; nor to behave in any respect otherwise for it. 

IVcdjicsday^ Jugnst 7. To esteem it an advantage that the 
duties of religion are difficult, and that many difficulties are 
sometimes to be gone through in the way of duty. Religion 
is the sweeter, and what is gained by labor is abundantly 
more precious ; as a woman loves her child the better for 
having brought it forth with travail. And even as to Christ 
Jesus himself in his mediatorial glory, (including his victory 
and triumph, and the kingdom which he hath obtained) how 
much more glorious, how much more excellent and precious, 
for his having wrought it out by such agonies I 

Friday^ Augusi 9. One thing that may be a good help to- 
wards thinking profitably in time of vacation or leisure is, 
that when I light on a profitable thought, I can fix my mind 
in order to follow it, as far as possible to advantage. 

Sabbalhdinj^ after mtGUw^i August 11. Resolved always to 
do that which 1 shall wish 1 had done, when I see others do 
it. As for instance, sometimes I argue with myself, that 
such an act of good nature, kindness, forbearance or forgive- 
ness, Sec. is not my duty, because it will have such and such 
consequences ; yet, when I see others do it, then it appears 
amiable to me, and 1 wish 1 had done it ; and I see that none 
of these feared inconveniences do follow. 

Tuesday, Auguht 13. I find it would be very much to my 
advantage, to be thoroughly acquainted with the scriptures. 
When I am reading docliinal books, or books of controversy, 
1 can proceed with ubundanlly more confidence ; can see up- 
on what foundation I stand. 

Thnrsdayy August 29. The objection my coMuptions 
make against doing whatever my hand finds lo do with my 


fnight is, that it is a constant mortification. Let this objec- 
tion by no means ever prevail. 

Monday J Sefitember 2. There is much folly, when I am 
quite sure I am in the right, and others arc positive in con- 
tradicting me, in entering into a vehement or long debate 
upon it. 

Mondmj^ Stjiteinber 23. I observe that old men seldom 
have any advantage of new discoveries ; because these are 
beside a way of thinking they have been so long used to. 
Jlesolved, if ever 1 live to years, that I will be impartial to 
hear the reasons of all pretended discoveries, and receive 
them, if rational, how long soever I have been used to anoth- 
-er way of thinking. 

Th:{rsday, October 18. To follow the example of Mr- 
B , who, though he meets with great difficulties, yet un- 
dertakes them with a smiling countenance, as though h« 
thought them but little ; and speaks of them as if they were 
very small. 

Thursday Mjv ember 26. It is a most evil and penicious 
practice in meditating on our afflictions, to ruminate on the 
aggravations of the affliction, and reckon up the evil circum- 
stances thereof, dwelling long on the dark side ; it doubles 
and trebles the affliction. And so, when speaking of them to 
others as bad as we can, and use our eloquence to set forth 
our own troubles ; we thus are all the while making new- 
trouble, and feeding the old ; whereas the contrary practice 
would starve our afflictions. If we dwelt on the light side of 
things in our thoughts, and extenuated them all that possibly 
%ye could when speaking of them, Ave should then think little 
of them ourselves ; and the affliction would really, in a great 
measure vanish away. 

Thursday NVf^ht^ December 12. If at any time I am forced 
to tell persons of that v/herein I think they are sometimes to 
blame ; for avoiding the important evil that would otherwise 
ensue, resolved not to tell it them in such a manner, that there 
shall be a probability of their taking it as the effect of little, 
fretting, angry emotions of mind, 


December oi, at nic^ht. ConcUulcd never to suffer noi ex* 
press any angry emotions of mind more or less, except the 
Konor of God calls for it, in zeal for him^ or to preserve my- 
self from being trampled on. 

ll'cdnc.^ilay^ January I, 1724. Not to spend too much time 
in thinking even of important and necessary worldly business. 
To ullow every thing its proportion of thought according to 
its urgency and importance. 

Friday^ Jan. 10. [After short hand notes] Remember to 
3ct according to Prov. xii. 23. A prudent man conccaicth 

Monday, Fr.b. 3. Let every thing have the value now, that 
it will have on a sick bed ; and frequently in my pursuits of 
wht,tevcr 1-ind, let this come into my mind ; " How much 
shall I value this on my deathbed r" 

Wcdneaday, Feb. 5. Have not in lime past, in my prayers, 
insisted enoMgh upon glorifying God in the world, and the 
advancement of the kingdom of Christ, the prosperity of the 
church, and the good of men. Determined that this objec- 
tion is without weight, viz. " That it is not likely that God 
will make great alterations in the whole world, and overturn- 
in^s in kina:doms and nations, only for the prayers of one ob- 
scure person, seeing such things used to be done in answer to 
the united earnest prayers of the whole church ; and if my 
prayers should have some infiuence, it v.cukl be but imper- 
ceptible and small." 

Thursday, Feb 6. More convinced than ever of the useful- 
ness of religious conveisation. I find by coversing on natur- 
j.l pliilosophy, I gain knov/Icdge abundantly faster, and see 
the reason > of things much clearer, than in private study. 
"NVluiefore, resolved earnestly to seek at all times for religr 
ious conversation ; and for those persons that I ciin with profit, 
delight, and freedom, so converse witli. 

Suhhaihday, Feb. 23. If I act according to my resolution, 
I shall desire riches no otherwise than as they arc helpful to 
religion. Hut this 1 determine, as what is really evident from 
many partsof scripture, that to fallen man ih.cy Iiave a greatc; 
tendencv to hurt relinrion. 


Saturday, May 23. How it comes about I know not ; but 
i have remarked it hitherto that at those times when I have 
read the scriptures most, I have evermore been most lively, 
&nd in the best frame. 

Saturday Mghtj June 6. This has been a remarkable week 
with me, with respect to despondencies, fears, perplexities, 
i-nultitudes of cares and distraction of thought ; beinc; the 
week I came hither (to Newhaven) in order to entrance upon 
the office of tutor of the college. I have now abundant reason 
to be convinced of the troublesomcness and perpetual vexation 
of the world. 

Tuesday, July 7. When I am giving the relation of a 
thing, let me abstain from altering, either in the matter or 
manner of speaking, so much, as that if every one afterward 
should alter as much, it would at last come to be properly 

Tuesday, Se^it.2. By a sparing diet, and eating what is 
light and easy of digestion, I shall doubtless be able to think 
more clearly ; and shall gain time, 1st, By lengthening my 
life ; 2dly) Shall need less time for digestion after meals ; 
Sdly, Shall be able to study closer without wrong to my 
health ; 4thly, Shall need less time to sleep ; Sthly, Shall 
more seldonm be troubled with the headache. 

Sabbathday, J\''ov. 22. Considering that bystanders always 
espy some faults which we do not see, or at least are not so 
fully sensible of ourselves ; for there are manv secret work- 
ings of corruption which escape our sight, and others onSy are 
sensible of ; resolved, therefore, that I will, if I can by any 
convenient means, learn what faults others find in me, or what 
things they see in me that appear any vi^y blameworthy, un- 
lovely, or unbecoming." 


SojuG Account of his Cowersion, Exjierience, and Religious Ex' 
ercises, ivritten by himself. 

The foregoing extracts were written by Mr. Edwards 
when about twenty years of age, as appears by the dates. 


The judicious reader, thcrefjie, kccpin;^ this in mind, v/iu 
rnakc proper uilowance for some thinj^i AvMch may appear 
like the produclions of a young Cliristian, both as to the mat- 
ter, and llie nranncr of expreb:>ion. And indeed, the whole 
being taken together, these apparent blemishes liavc their 
iroporlant ur^e. For licrel>y all appears more natural and 
genuine; ^vhilc the strength of his resolution, the fervor of 
his mind, ^nd a skill in discriminating divine things ho sel- 
dom found even in old age, appear the more striking. A 
picture of Imman nature in its pre:^ent state, though highly 
improved by grace, cannot be a true resemblance of the orig- 
inal, if it be drawn all ligiil, and no shades. In this ^^e^T 
v/e shall be forced to admire J)i& conscientious strictness, 
his diligence and zeal, his deep experience in some particu- 
lars, and his accurate judgment respecting the most impor- 
tant parts cf true religion, at so early an age. Here v/c have, 
not only ike most convincing evidence of his smccrity in 
religion, and of his engaging in a life devoted to God in good 
earnest, so as to make religion his one great business ; but 
also, through his great attention to this matter, how in many 
instai^ces he acquired the judgment and experience of gray 

Eeliold, reader, the beginning of a life so eminently holy 
and useful ! Behold the views, the exercises, the resolutions 
of a man who became one of the greatest divines of his age ; 
one vho had the applause and adiniration of America, Britr 
ain, Holland, and Germany, for his piety, judgment, and great 
uscfulncs<>. Jkhold here an excitement to the young, to de- 
irotc themselves to God with great sincerity, and enter on the 
ivork of strict religion without delay , and more especially, 
those who are looking forward towards the work of the min- 
istry. Behold then, ye students in divinity, our future preach- 
ers and writers, the mo^st immediate and direct, yea tlie only 
way to answer the good ends which you profess to seek. 
" Go, ) c, and do likewise." 

It is to be lamented, that tliere is so much reason to think, 
there arc few instances of such early piety in our day. If 
the prctCLtant v.oiid :!)oiindcd vUh voung pcrsoiis cS this . 


fttamp ; young men, preparing; for the work of llie ministry 
with such a temper, such exercises, and such resohitionsy 
•what a delightful prospect would this afford of the near ap- 
proach of happier days, than the church of Cod has ever yet 
seen ! What pleasing hopes, that the great and merciful head 
of tlie church was about to send forth laborers, faithful, suc- 
cessful laborers into his harvest ; and bless his people with 
*» pastors wliich shall feed them with knowledge and under- 
standing 1" 

But if our youth neglect all proper improvement of the 
mind ; are shy of seriousness and strict piety ; choose to live 
at a distance from all appearance of it ; and are given to car- 
nal pleasures ; v»'hat a glocmy prospect docs this afford 1 If 
they who enter into the v/ork of the ministry ; from a gay,- 
careless, and what may justly he called a vicious life, betake 
themselves to a little superficial study of divinity, and soon 
begin to preach ; while all the external seriousness and zeal 
they put on, is only from wordly motives ;. they being without 
any inward, experimental acquaintance with divine things, and 
even so much as any taste for true divinity ; no wonder if the 
people perish for lack of spiritual knov/ledge. 

But, as the best comment on the foregoing Resolutions 
and Diary ; and that the reader may have a more full and in- 
structive view of Mr. Edwards's entrance on a religious life, 
and progress in it, as to the views and exercises of his mind ; 
a brief account thereof is here inserted, which was found 
among his papers, in his ovm iiand writing ; and which, it 
seems, was Avritien near twenty years after, for his own pri- 
vate advantage. 

" I had a variety of concerns and exercises about my soul 
from my childhood ; but had two more remarkable seasons 
of awakening, before I met with that change by which I was 
brought to those new dispositions, and that new sense of 
things, that I have since had. The first time was when I m as 
a boy, some years before I went to college, at a time of re- 
markable awakening in my father's congregation. I was then 
very much affected for many months, and concerned about 
the things of religion, and my soul's salvation ; and was abund- 

32 THE Llii: OF 

ant in duties. I used to pray five limes a day in secret, anc^ 
to impend much time in rclifnous talk with other boys ; anr^ 
used to meet willi them to pray together. I experienced I 
know not what kind of delight in religion. My mind was 
much enj^aged in it, and had much seh^iighteous pleasure ; 
and it was my delight to ahound in religious duties. I wjth 
some of my schoolmates joined together, ai.d built a booth in 
a sNvamp, in a very retired spot, for a place of prayer. And 
besides, I had particular secret places of my own in the woods, 
where I used to retire by myself ; and was from time to time 
much affected. My affections seemed to be liyely and easily 
moved, and I seemed to be in my element when ei>gaged in 
religious duties. And I am ready to think, many are deceiv- 
ed with such affections, and such a kind of delight as I then 
had in religion, and mistake it for grace. 

But in process of time, my convictions and affections wore 
off ; and I entirely lost all those affections and delights and 
left off secret prayer, at least as to any constant performance 
of it ; and relurned til;e a dog to his vomit, and went on in the 
ways of sin. Indeed I was at lim.es very uneasy, especially 
towards the latter part of my time at college ; when it pleased 
Ciod, to seize me v.ilh a pleurisy ; in which he brought mc 
nigh to the grave, and shook ir.e over the pit of hell. And 
yet, it was not long after my recovery, before I fell again into 
my old ways of sin. Cut God v»'Ould not suffer me to go on 
with any quietness ; T had great and violent inward struggles, 
till, after many confiicts with wicked inclinations, repeated 
resolutions, and bonds that I laid myself under by a kind of 
vows to God, I was brought wiiolly to break off all former 
wicked ways, and all ways of known outward sin ; and to 
apply myself to seek salvation, and practise many religious 
duties ; but without thul kind of affection and delight v.hich 
1 had formerly expel ienced. ?fly concern now wrought more 
by inward struggles and conllicts, and selfrcfleclions. I made 
seeking my salvation the main business of my life. But yet, 
it seems to me, 1 sought after a miserable manner ; which 
has made viie sometimes since to question, whether ever it 
irrtued in [h\:.\ v. hich wa'i saviug ; bein^ ready to doubt, wheth- 


er such miserable seeking' ever succeeded. I was indeed 
brought to seek salvation in a manner that 1 never was before ; 
I feh a spirit to part with all things in the world, for an inter- 
est in Christ. My concern continued and prevailed, with ma- 
ny exercising thoughts and inward struggles ; but yet it nev- 
er seemed to be proper to express that concern by the name 
of terror. 

From my childhood up, my mind had been full of objec- 
tions against the doctrine of God's sovereignty, in choosing 
whom he would to eternal life, and rejecting v.hom he pleas- 
ed ; leaving them eternally to perish, and be everlastingly 
tormented in hell. It used to appear like a horrible doctrine 
to me. But I remember the time very well, when I seemed 
to be convinced, and fully satisfied, as to this sovereignty of 
God, and his justice in thus eternally disposing of men, ac- 
cording to his sovereign pleasure. But never could give an 
account, how, or by what means, I was thus convinced, not 
in the least imagining at the time, nor a long time after, that 
there was any extraordinary inlluencc of God's Spirit in it ; 
but only that now I saw further, and my reason apprehended 
the justice and reasonableness of it. However, my mind 
rested in it ; and it put an end to all those cavils and objec- 
tions. And there has been a wonderful alteration in- my 
mind, with respect to the doctrine of God's sovereignty, from 
that day to this ; so that I scarce ever have found so much 
as the rising of an objection against it, in the most absolute 
sense, in God's shewing mercy to whom he vrill shew mercy, 
and hardening wJiorn he v/ilL God's absolute sovereignty 
and justice, with respect to salvation and damnation, is what 
my mind seems to rest assured of, as much as of any thing 
that I see with my eyes ; at least it is so at times. But I 
have often, since that first conviction, had quite another kind 
of sense of God's sovereignty than I Jiad then. I have of- 
ten since had not only a conviction, but a delightful con- 
viction. The doctrine has very often appeared exceed- 
ing pleasant, bright, and sweet. Absolute sovereignty is 
what I love to ascribe to God. But my first conviction wa=^ 
not so. 

Vol. I. K 


The first instance that I remember f»i liiat sort of inward, 
sNVL-el delight in God iind divine things tliat T have lived much 
in since, was on reading those words, 1 Tim. i. 17. Alzif 
unto (he Kintf ctcrual^ iwmortal^ inviaible^ (he ojilij ivinc God^ be 
hcnor and glory fw ever and ever^ Amen. As I read the 
words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused 
through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being ; a new 
sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced be- 
fore. Never any words of scripture seemed to me as these 
words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being 
that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that 
God, and be rapt up to him in heaven, and be as it were swal- 
lowed up in him for ever ! I kept saying, and as it were sing- 
ing over these words of scripture to myself ; and went to pray 
to God that 1 might enjoy him, and i)rayed in a manner quite 
different fiom what I used to do ; with a new sort of ajTection. 
But it never came into my thought, th.at there was any thing 
spiritual, or of a saving nature in this. 

From about that time, I began to have a new kind of ap- 
prehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, 
and the glorious w ay of salvation by him. An inward, sweet 
sense of thc;:e things, at times, came into my heart ; and my 
soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of 
ihcra. And my mind was greatly engaged to spend my time 
in reading and meditating on Christ, on the beauty and excel- 
lency of his person, and the lovely way of salvation by free 
grace in him. I found no books so delightful to me, as those 
tliat treated of these subjects. Those wards Cant. ii. 1, used 
to be abundantly with me, / am (he Rose r/ Hhuron^ and the 
Lilly of the rallcijfi. The words seemed to me, sweetly to re- 
present -the loveliness and beauty of Jesus Christ. The 
whole book of Canticles used to be pleasant to me, and I used 
to be mucii in re af.ing it, about that time ; and found, irom 
time to lirne, an inward sweetness, that would carry me a- 
way, in my contemplations. This 1 know not how to ex- 
press otherwise, than by a calm, sweet abstraction of soul 
from all the concerns of this world ; and sometimes a kind 
'>f vi'iion, or fixed ideas and imaginations, of being alone in 


the mountains, or some solitary wilderness, far from all man- 
kind, sweetly conversing with Christ, and wrapt and swallow- 
ed up in God. The sense I had of divine things, would often 
of a sudden kindle up, as it were, a sweet burning in my 
heart ; an ardor of soul, that I know not how to express. 

Not long after I first began to experience these things, I 
gave an account to my father of some things that had passed 
In my mind. 1 was pretty much affected by the discourse we 
had together ; and when the discourse was ended, I walked 
abrQi.\d alone, in a solitary place in my father's pasture, for 
contemplation. And as I was walking there, and looking up 
on the sky and clouds, there came into my mind so sweet a 
sense of the glorious majestij and grace of God, that I know 
not how to express. I seemed to see them both in a sweet 
conjunction ; majesty and meekness joined together ; it was 
a sweet, and gentle, and holy majesty ; and also a majestic 
meekness ; an awful sweetness ; a high, and great, and holy 

After this my sense of divine things gradually increased, 
aVid became more and more lively, and had more of that in- 
ward sweetness. The appearance of every thing was alter- 
ed ; there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast, or ap- 
pearance of divine glory, in almost every thing. God's ex- 
cellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear 
in every thing ; in the sun, moon, and stars ; in the clouds, 
and blue sky ; in the grass, flowers, trees ; in the water, 
and all nature ; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often 
-used to sit and view the moon for continuance ; and in the 
day, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to be- 
hold the sweet glory of God in these things ; in the mean 
time, singing forth, with a low voice, my contemplations of 
the Crealor and Redeemer. And scarce any thing, among 
all the works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and 
lif^'htning ; formerly, nothing had been so terrible to me. 
Before, I used to be uncomm.only terrified with thunder, and 
to be struck with terror when I saw a thunder storm rising ; 
but now, on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God, so to 
speak, at the first appearance of a thunder storm ; and used 


to take the cpport unity, at such times, to fix myself in order 
to view the clouds, and see the lii^hlnings play, and hear the 
majestic and awful voice of God*s thunder, which oftentimes 
•was exceedin2:ly entertaining, Icadini; me to sweet contem- 
plations of my great and glorious Ciod. While thus engag- 
ed, il always seemed natural to me to sinrr, or chant for my 
meditations ; or, to sj)eak my thoughts in soliloquies with a 
singing vcicc. 

T felt then great satisfaction, as to my good state ; but that 
did not content me. I had vehement longings of soul after 
God and Christ, and aficr more holiness, wherewith my heart 
Bcemcd to be full, and ready to break ; which often brought 
to my mind the words of the Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 2 8. Aly 
soul bvcakcthfor the longirii; it hath. I often felt a mourning 
and lamenting in my heart, that I had not turned to God 
sooner, that I might have had more time to grow in grace. 
My mind was greatly fixed on divine things ; almost pcrpet- 
\iallv in the conlemplalion of tliem. I spent most of my lime 
in thinking of divine things, year after year ; often walking a- 
lonc in the woods, and solitary places, f©r meditation, solilo- 
quy, and prayer, and converse with God ; and it was always 
my manner, at such times, to sing forth my contemplations. 
I was ;i':riu)St constantly in cjaculatory prayer, wherever I 
wa:-. Prayer seemed to be natural to me, as the breath by 
which the inward burnin!-s ofmy heart had vent. The de- 
lights which 1 now fell in the things of religion, were of an 
exceeding different kind from those before mentioned, that I 
had when a boy ; and what I then had no p.^.ore notion of, 
than one born blind has of pleasant and beautiful colors. They 
v.crcofamore inward, pnie, soul aiiimating and refreshing 
nature. Those forn^er deligiils never reached the heart ; and 
did not arise from any sight of the divine excellency of the 
things of God ; or any taste of the soul satisfying and lifc- 
givinn good there is in them. 

My sense of divine things seemed gradually to increase, 
until I went to preach at Newyork, which was about a year 
and a half after they began ; and while I was there, I felt 
them, very sensibly, in a much higher degree than I had don© 


before. My longings after Gocl and holiness, v/cre much in- 
creased. Pure and humble, holy and heavenly Christianity, 
appeared exceeding amiable lo nic. I felt a burning desire to 
be in every thing a complete Christian ; and conformed to the 
blessed image of Christ ; and that I might live, in all things, 
accciding to the pure, sweet and blessed rules of the gospel. 
I had an eager thirsting afier progress in these things ; which 
put me upon pursuing and pressing after them. It was my 
continual strife day and night, and constant inquiry, how I 
should be more holy, and live more holily, and more becom- 
ing a child of God, and a disciple cf Clirist. I nov/ sought an 
increase of grace and holiness, and a holy life, with much mce 
earnestness, than ever I sought grace before I had it. I used 
to be continually examining myself, and studying and contriv- 
ing for likely ways and means, how I should live holiiy, with 
far greater diligence and earnestness, than ever I pursued any 
thing in my life ; but yet with too great a dependence on my 
own strength ; which afterwards proved a great damage to 
me. My experience had not then taught me, as it has done 
since, my extrem.e feebleness and impotence, every manner 
of way ; and the bottomless depths of secret corruption and 
deceit there v/as in my heart. However, I went on with my 
eager pursuit after more holiness, and conformity to Chiist, 

The heaven I desired was a heaven of holiness ; to be with 
God, and to spend my eternity in divine love, and holy com- 
munion with Christ. My mind was very much taken up 
•with contemplations on heaven, and the enjoyments there ; 
and living there in perfect holiness, humility and love : And 
it used at that time to appear a great part of the happiness of 
heaven, that there the saints could express their love to Christ. 
It appeared to me a great clog and burden, that what I felt 
within, I could not express as I desired. The inward ardor 
of my soul, seemed to be hindered and pent up, and could 
not freely flame out as it would. I used often to think, how 
in heaven this principle shduid freely and fully vent and ex- 
press itself. Heaven appeared exceedingly delightful, as a 
W'orld of love ; and that all happiness consisted in living in 
pure, humble, heavenlv, divine love. 


I remember ihe thoii;:;!us I usc.l then to have of lioliness ; 
and said sometimes to my«clf, ^' 1 do ceiiuiiily know that I 
love ihulincss, such as the j^ospcl prcbcribcs." It appeared to 
me, thit there was nothing in it but what was ravishingly 
lovely ; the highest beauty and amiablcness....a divine beauty ; 
far purer than any thing here upon earth ; and that every 
thint; else was like mire and dcfilcinent, in comparison of it. 

Holiness, as I then wrote down some of my contempla- 
tions on it, appeared to me to Lo of a sweet, pleasant, cliarm- 
ing, serene, calm nature; which brought an inexpressible 
purity, bri?;htness, peacefulness and ravishment to the soul. 
In cliicr words, that it made tlic soul like a field or garden of 
God, with all manner of pleasant flowers ; all pleasant, de- 
liglnful, and undisturbed ; enjoying a sweet cuhn, and the 
gently \iviryinc^ beams of the Fun. The soul of a true Christ- 
ian, as I then wrote my meditations, appeared like such a 
little wbite flower as wc see in the tspring of the year ; low 
and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the 
pleasant beams of the sun's glory ; rejoicing as it were in a 
calm rapture ; diffusing around a sweet fragrancy ; stand- 
ing peacefully and lovingly, in the midst of other flowers 
round about ; all in like manner opening their bosoms, to 
drhik in the light of the sun. There was no part of creature 
holiness, that I had so great a sense of its loveliness, as hu- 
mility, biokenness of heart and poverty of spirit ; and tliere 
Avas notliing that I so earnestly longed for. My heart panted 
after this, to lie low before (iod, as in the dust ; that i might 
be nothing, and that (iod might be am., that I migb.t become 
as a little cliaid. 

While at Newyork, I was sometimes much affected with 
reflections on n;y past life, considering how late it was bcTorc 
I began to be truly religious ; and how wickedly I had lived 
till then ; and once so as to weep abundantly, and fur a con- 
siderable lime together. 

On Januarij 12, ITJ". I made a solemn dedication of my- 
self to God, and wrote it down ; giving up myself, and all that 
I had to God ; to be for the future in no respect my own ; to 
act as one that had no right to himself, in any respect. And 


solemnly vowed to take God for my whole portion and felici- 
ty ; looking on nothing; else as any part of my happiness, nor 
acting as if it wore ; and hi^- law for the constant rule of my 
obedience ; enQ;aging to fiQ:ht with all my nii-^h!, against the 
world, the fiesli and the devil, to the end of my life. But I 
have reason to be infinitely humbled, when I consider how 
much I have failed of answering my oblii^'ation. 

I had tlicn abundance of sweet leligious conversation in 
the family where I lived, with Mr. John Smith and his pious 
mother. My heart was knit in affection to those in whom 
were appearances of true piety ; and I could bear the thoughts 
of no other companions, but such as were holy, and the disci- 
ples of the blesned Jesus. I had great longings for the ad- 
vancement of Ch'ust's kingdom in the world ; and my se- 
cret prayer used to be, in great part, taken lip in praying for 
it. If I heard the least hint of any thing that happened, in 
any part of the world, that appeared, in some respect or other, 
to have a favorable aspect on the interest of Christ's kingdom, 
my soul eagerly catched at it ; and it would much animate 
and refresh me. I used to be eager to read public neu's let- 
ters, mainly for that end ; to see if I coiikl not find some 
news fLivorablc to the interest of religion in the 'world. 

I very frequently used to retire into a solitary place, on the 
banks of Hudson's river, at some distance from the city, for 
-contemplation on divine things, and secret converse with 
God ; and had many sweet hours there. Sometimes Mr. 
Smith and I walked there together, to converse on the things 
of God ; and our coversation used to turn much on the ad- 
vancement of Christ's kingdom in the world, and the glorious 
things that God would accomplish for his church in the latter 
days. I had then, and at other times the greatest deliglit in 
the holy scriptures, of any book whatsoever. Ofteniimes in 
reading it, every word seeuicd to touch my heart. I felt a 
harmony between something in my heart, and tl:cse sweet 
and powerful words. I seemed often to see so much light 
exhibited by every sentence, and such a refreshing food com- 
municated, that I could not get along in reading ; often 
dwejiing long on one sentence,, to see tlie wonders contained 


in it ; nnd yet almost every sciUcrxc; secmctl to be iuil of 
v.'on tiers. 

I came away from Ncwyork in the month of April, 1723, 
and hud a most bitter parting with Madam Smith and her son. 
My hciirl seemed to sink ^vithi^ me at leaving the f.-mily and 
city, where I hrid enjoyed ' o muny sweet and pleasant clays. 
I went from Ncwyork to Wcatbersneld, by water, and as I 
sailed away, I kept sight of the city as long as I could. How- 
ever, that night, after this sorrowful parting, I was greatly 
comforted in God at Westchester, where we went as lOre to 
lodge ; and had a pleasant time of it all the voyage to Say- 
brook. It was sweet to me to think of meeting dear Christ- 
ians in heaven, where wc should never part more. At Say- 
brook we went ashore to lodge, on Saturday, and there kept 
the Sabbath ; where I had a sweet and refreshing season, 
walking alone in the fields. 

After I came home to Windsor, I remained much in a like 
frame of mind, as when at Newyork ; only sometimes I felt 
my heart ready to sink with the thoughts of my friends at 
Ncwyork. My support war> in contemplations on the hcav- 
emy state ; as I find in my Diary of May 1, 1723. It was a 
comfort to think of that state, where there is fullness of iov ; 
where reigns heavenly, calm, and delightful love, without al- 
loy ; where there arc continually the dearest expressions of 
this love ; where is the enjoyment of the persons loved, with- 
out ever parting ; where tliosc persons who appear so lovely 
in this world, will really be inexi)ressibly more lovely and full 
of love to us. And how sweetly will the mutual lovers join 
together to sing the praises of God and the Lamb 1 How will 
it fill us with joy to think, that this enjoyment, these s.Tcet 
exercises will never cease, but will last to all eternity 1....I 
contiimed much in the same frame, in the general, us when at 
Newyork, till I went to Newhavcn as tutor to the college ; 
particularly once at Bolton, on a journey from i^oston, while 
walking out alone in the fields. After I went to Newhaven I 
sunk in religion ; my mind being <iiverted from my eager 
pursuits after holiness, by son\o alTairs that greatly perplexed 
and distracted my thoughts. 


In September, 1725, I was taken ill at Newhaven, and 
"vvhiiei endeavoring (o s^o home to Windsor, was so ill at the 
North \'illage, that I could go no further ; where I lay sick 
for about a quarter of a year. In this sickness God v.as 
pleased to visit me again with the sweet influences of his 
Spirit. My mind was greatly engaged there in divine, pleas- 
ant contemplations, and longings of soul. I observed that 
those who watched with me, would often be looking out wish- 
fully for the morning; which brought to my mind those 
words of the psalmist, and which my soul with delight made 
its own language. My fsoul ivaitcthfor the Lordy Tnorc than 
they that nvatch for the mornings I say^ more than they that 
nvatchfor the morning ; and when the light of day came in at 
the windows, it refreshed my soul from one morning lo anoth- 
er. It seemed to be some image of the light of God's glory. 
I remember, about that time, I used greatly to long for the 
Conversion of some that I was concerned with ; I could 
gladly honor them, and with delight be a servant to thenu 
and lie at their feet, if they were but truly holy. But, some 
time after this, I was again greatly diverted in my mind with 
some temporal concerns that exceedingly took up my 
{lioughts, greatly to the wounding of my soul ; and went on 
through various exercises, that it would be tedious to relate, 
which gave me much more experience of my own heart, than 
ever I had before. 

Since I came to this town,* I have often had sweet com- 
placency in God, in views of his glorious perfections and the 
excellency of Jesus Christ. God has appeared to mc a glo- 
rious and lovely Being, chiefiy on the account of his holiness. 
The holiness of God has always appeared to me the most 
lovely of all his attributes. The doctrines of God*s absolute 
sovereignty, and free grace, in shewing mercy to whom he 
would shew mercy ; and man*s absohite dependence on the 
operations of God's Holy Spirit, hate very often appeared to 
me as sweet and glorious doctrines. These doctrines have 
been much my delight. God's sovereignly has ever appeared^ 

'* Norwharnpton. 

Vol. I. F 

^2 THE LIFE or 

to mc, great part of his glory. It has often been my delight 
to approach God, and adore him as a sovereign God, and ask 
sovereign ir.ercy of ium. 

I have loved the doctrines of the gospel ; they have been 
to my soul like green pastures. The gospel has seemed to 
mc the riclicst treasure ; the treasure that I have most desir- 
ed, and longed thai it might dwell richly in mc. Th« 
way of salvation l)y Christ has appeared, in a general Avay, 
glorious and excellent, most pleasant and most beautiful. It 
has often seemed to me, that it would in a great measure 
spoil heaven, to receive it in any other way. That text has 
often been alTccting and delightful to me, Isa. xxxii. 2. ji 
Tiian shall be an hiding f dace from the wind, and a covert from the 
tcmjuat^ Ij^c. 

It has often appeared to me delightful, to be united im 
Christ ; to have him for my head, and to be a member of his 
body ; also to have Christ for my teacher and prophet. I 
very often think with sweetness, and longings, and pantings of 
soul, of being a little child, taking hold of Christ, to be led by 
him through ilie wilderness of this world. That text, Matth. 
xviii. 5, has often been sweet to me, cjcce/it ye be cotiverted anc( 
become as little children^ iP'c. I love to think of coming to 
Christ, to receive salvation of him, poor in spirit, and quite 
empty of self, humbly exalting him alone ; cut off entirely 
from my own root, in order to grow into, and out of Christ ; 
to have God in Christ to be all in all ; and to live by faith on 
the son of God, a life of humble, unfeigned confidence in 
him . That scripture has often been sweet to me, Psal. cxv. 1. 
A'ut luUo usy O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy na?ne give glory, 
for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. And those words of 
Christ, Luke x. 21. Jn that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and 
iaid, I thank thee, lather. Lord of heaven and earth, that 
thou hast hid these things from the ivise and firudent, and hast 
revealed them unto babes : Even so, Father, for so it seemed good 
in thy sight. That sovereignty of God which Christ rejoiced 
in, seemed to me wortJiy of such joy ; and that rejoicing 
seemed to shew ihe excellency of Christ, and of what spirit 
he was. 


Sometimes, only mentioning a single word caused my 
heart to burn within me ; or only seeing the name of Christ, 
or the name of some attribute of God. And God has appear- 
ed glorious to me, on account of the Trinity. It has made 
me have exalting thoughts of God, that he su' sists in three; 
persons ; Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The sweetest joys 
and delights I have experienced, have not been those that have 
arisen from a hope of my ov.n good estate ; but in a direct 
view of the glorious things of the gospel. When I enjoy 
this sweetness, it seems to carry me above the thoui^hts of 
my own estate ; it seems at such times a loss that I cannot 
bear, to take oif my eye from the glorious, pleasant object I be- 
hold without me, to turn my eye in upon myself, and my own 
good estate. 

My heart has been much on the advancement of Christ's 
kingdom in the world. The histories of the past advance-^ 
ment of Christ's kingdom have been sweet to me. When I 
have read histories of past ages, the pleasantest thing in all 
my reading has been, to read of the kingdom of Christ being 
promoted. And when I have expected, in my reading, to 
come to any such thing, I have rejoiced in the prospect, all 
the w^y as I read. And my mind has been much entertain- 
ed and delighted with the scripture promises and prophecies, 
which relate to the future glorious advancement of Christ's 
kingdom upon earth. 

I have sometimes had a sense of the excellent fulness of 
Christ, and his meetness and suitableness as a Saviour ; where- 
by he has appeared to me, far above all, the chief of ten 
thousands. His blood and atonement have appeared sweet, 
and his righteousness sweet ; which was always accompanied 
with ardency of spirit ; and inward strugglinp;3 and breath- 
ings, and groanings that cannot be uttered, to be emptied of 
myself, and swallowed up in Christ. 

Once, as 1 rode out into the woods for my health, in 1737, 
having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my 
mariner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation 
and prayer, I had a view that for me was extraordinary, of the 
glory of the Son of God, as Mediator betv/een God aiulmaiK 


and his wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and \okCf 
and meek and gentle condescension. This grace thnt apr 
peared so culm and sweet, appeared also great above the 
heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent 
with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thourrht 

and conception which continued as near as I can judge, 

about an hour ; which kept mc the greater part of the lime 
in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency 
of i>onl to be, what I know not otherwise hov/ to express, 
emptied and annihilated ; to lie in the dust, and to be full of 
Christ alone ; to love him with a holy and pure love ; to 
trust in him ; to live upon him ; to serve and follow him ; 
and to be perfectly sanclilied and made pure, with a divine 
and heavenly purity. I have, several other times, had views 
\cry much of the same nature, and which have had the same 

I h^ve many times had a sense of the glory of the third 
person in tlie Trinity, in his office of Sanctificr ; in his holy 
operations, communicating divine light and life to the soul. 
Cod, in the communications of his Holy Spirit, has appeared 
ar. an infinite fountain of divine glory and sweetness ; being 
full, and suflkicnt to fdl and satisfy the soul ; pouring forth 
itself in sweet cotnmunications ; like the sun in its glory, 
sweetly and pleasantly ditTusing light and life. And I have 
sonietiraes had an affecting sense of the excellency of the 
word of Cod, as a word of life ; as the light of life ; a sweet, 
excellent lifcgivin^- word ; accompanied with a thirsting af- 
ter that word, tiiat it might dwell richly in my heart. 

Often, J-ince I lived in this town, I have had very af- 
fecting views of my own sinfulness and vilcncss ; very frc- 
q-.iently to such a degree as to hold me in a kind of loud weep- 
ing, somelimes for a considerable time logcJicr ; so that I 
have ofien been forced to shut myself up. I have had a vast- 
ly greater sense of my own wickedness, and the badness of 
my heart, than ever I had before my conversion.* It has of- 

• Our auilior does not say, that he /j</ more ■wickcclrcss, and badness of 
heart, since his conrtcrsion, than he lud before ; bui ihat he had a grcaicr uriic 


fcen appeared to me, that if God sould mark iniquity against 
me, I should appear the very worst of all mankind ; of all that 
have been, since the beginning of the world to this time ; and 
that I should have by far the lowest place in hell. When oth- 
ers, that have come to talk with me about their soul concerns, 
have expressed the sense they have had of their own wicked- 
ness, by saying that it seemed to them, that they were as bad 
as the devil himself ; I thought their expressions seemed ex- 
ceeding faint and feeble, to represent my wickedness. 

My wickedness, as I am in myself, has long appeared tp 
me perfectly ineffable, and swallowing up all thought and im- 
agination ; like an infinite deluge, or mountains over my head. 
1 know not how to express better what my sins appear to me 
to be, than by heaping infinite upon infinite, and multiplying 
infinite by infinite. Very often, for these many years, these 
expressions are in my mind, and in my mouth, *' Infinite up- 
on infinite Infinite upon infinite !^* When I look into my 

heart, and take a viev/ of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss 
infinitely deeper than hell. And it appears to me, that were 
it not for free grace, exalted and raised up to the infinite 
height of all the fulness and glory of the great Jehovah, and 
the arm of his power and grace slrctchcd forth in all the maj- 
esty of his power, and in all the glory of his sovereignty, I 
should appear sunk down hi my sins below hell itself ; Car 
beyond the sight of every thing, but the eye of sovereign 
grace, that can pierce even down to such a depth. And yet 
it seems to me, that my conviction of sin is exceeding small, 
and faint ; it is enough to amaze me, that I have no more 
^ense of my sin. I know certainly, that I have very little 
sense of my sinfulness. W^hen I have had turns of v/eeping 
and crying for my sins I thought I knew at the time, that my 
repentance was nothing to my sin. 

thereof. Thus a blind man may hax'C his garden y'//// of noxious weeds, and 
yet not see or he sensible of them. But should the garden be in great part clear- 
ed of these, and furnished with many beautiful and salutary plants ; and sup- 
posing the owner now to have the power of discriminating objects of sight ; 
in this case, he would have less, but v.'ould see, and huvc a sense of mote. To 
which may be added,, that the better the organ, nnd clcarci the light may be, 
>hs stronger Trv-ill be the j.*7:j(r excited by sin or hoUness. 


i have greatly lon.c;cc1 of late, for a broken licart, and to lie 
low before God ; and, uhen I ask for luiir.ii'uy, I cannot bear 
the thoucjhts of beinj^ no more, humble than other Christians. 
It seems to me, that thoutrh their degrees of humility may be 
suitable for them, yet it would be a vile sclfexaUalion in me, 
not to be the lowest in humility of ail mankind. Oiheis speak 
of their longing to he " huniblcd to the dust ;" that may be a 
proper expression for them, but I always think of myself, that 
I ouf^ht, and it is an expression that has long been natural for 
me to use in prayer, " to lie infinitely low before God.'* And 
it is affecting to think, how ignorant I v.as, when a young 
Christian, of the bottonilcss. infinite depths of wickedness, . 
pride, hypocrisy itnd dteeit, left in my heart. 

I have a much grccitcr sense of my universal, exceeding 
dependence on God's jnacc and strength, and mere good 
pleasure, of late, than I used formf^rly to have ; and have ex- 
perienced more of an abhorrence of my own righteousness. 
The very thought of any joy arising in mc, on any considera- 
tion of my own amiablencss, performances, or experiences, or 
any goodness of heart or life, is nauseous and detestable to me. 
And yet I am greatly afflicted with a pi-oud and selfrightcous 
spirit, much more sensibly than I used to be formerly. I see 
that serpent rising and putting forih its head continually, 
tvej-y w here, all around me. 

Though it seems to mc, that, in some respects, I was a far 
better Cluistian, for two or three years after my first conver- 
sion, than I am now ; and lived in a more constant delight and 
pleasure ; yet, of late years, I have had a more full and con- 
stant sense of the absolute sovereignty of God, and a delight 
in that sovereignty ; and have had more of a sense of the 
glory of Christ, as a Mediator revealed in the gospel. On 
one Saturday night, in particular, I had such a discovery of 
the excellency of the gospel above all other doctrines, that I 
could not but say to myself, " This is my chosen light, my 
chosen doctrine ;" and of Christ, *' This is my chosen 
I'roph.ot" It appeared r>v.eet, beyond all expression, to fol- 
low Christ, imd to be taught, and enlightened, and instructed 
bv him ; to learn of bin, and live to him. Another Satur- 


^ay night; {Januanj 1739) I had such a sense, how sweet an-d 
blessed a thing it was to walk in the way of duty ; to do that 
which was right and meet to be done, and a.^^recable to the 
holy mind of God ; that it caused me to break forth into a 
kind of loud weeping, which held me some time, so that I was 
forced to shut myself up, and fasten the doors. I could not 
but, as it were, cry out, " How happy are they which do that 
which is right in the sight of God ! They are blessed indeed, 
they are the happy ones !" I had, at the same time, a very- 
affecting sense, how meet and suitable it was that God should 
govern the world, and order all things according to his own 
pleasure ; and I rejoiced iii it, that God reigned, and that his 
will was done. 


His general Deportment^ particularly ^oihileat North- 

IN the first chapter of these Memoirs, we have seen that 
Mr. Edwards, having taken his Master's degree, was very 
soon invited to be tutor of that college where he received his 
education, and which conferred upon him that degree ; a clear 
proof, that the managers had a high opinion of his talents and 
qus.lifications, when only in the twentyfirst year of his age. 
It must be ov/ned, that this was an engagement of great con- 
sequence for so young a man ; especially, considering that no 
small portion of his time had been devoted to ministerial oc- 
cupations, and the requisite preparatory studies wluch relate 
exclusively to that important business. But the strcnfi:th of 
his m.ind overcame difficullies, which to the generality of slu- 
tlents appear insuperable. It m.ust be allov.ed, indeed, that 
our author was not in the highest class of /f6?v.'a/ men ; for 
his time, his m.cans, and his duties, did not allow of such an 
attainment, ^^'e should recollect, however, what Mr. Locke 
some where very properly observes, that though men of much 

48 THE Lll h OF 

Tcaclinj^ " arc greatly learned^ yet lliey may be but little An^wr- 
;?;,(,'." In some £it\iiUic)ii.s and circumstances, he mi;^l»t have 
been a great linguisl, a profound rnathcmaiiciaii, a dibtin- 
t^^uishod natural philosopher ; hut, (without any designed re- 
fltction on ihobc \vlio excel in these, or any other branches of 
literature and science) ho was far more happily employed, 
both for himself and others. In fact, he has given jnoofs of a 
mind so uncommonly vigorous and enlightened, that it is rath- 
er a matter of joy it was not engrossed by studies, -»vhich 
•woidd have rendered him only the admiration of a few, but 
prevented him from producing those works which are of uni- 
versal importance, and in which he appears as the instructor 
of all, lie had, in short, the best and sublimcst kind of knowl- 
edge, without being too much encumbered with what v/as but 
little compatible v.iih hiR calling. 

We have also seen that Mr. Edwards resigned his tutor- 
ship at Yale College, when he had been there, in that cai)aci- 
ty, a liitle more than two ye^irs, in consequence of an invita- 
tion from Northampton, in Massachusetts, in order to assist 
tliC aged and venerable ?»lr. Stoddard. In the present chapter 
we propose to detail his general manner of life more particu- 
larly while at this place ; which, in connexion with the un- 
common revival of religion there, of which he was the hap- 
py and honored instrument, is a very intcrcsiir.g period of 
his life. 

He who enters into the true spirit of our autlior's writings, 
and especially of the extracts we have given iVuni his private 
papers, cannot question that he made conscience of jirivate 
devotion ; but, as he made a secret of such exercises, nothing 
can be said of them but what his papers discover, and what 
may be fairly inferred from circumstances. It appears, by 
h.is Diary, that in his youth he determined lo attend secret 
prayer more than twice a day> when circumstances would al- 
low ; ai.d there is much evidence that he was iVequent and 
puncturd in that duly, often kc pt days of fasting and prayer, 
and set apart portions of time for devout meditations on spirit- 
i;al and eternal things, as pari of liis religious exercises hi rc- 


"this constant, solemn converse "with God in these exer- 
.cises, made his face, as it were, to shine before others. His 
appearance, his countenance, words and whole demeanor, 
though without any thing of affected grimace, or sour auster- 
ity, were attended with a seriousness, gravity, and solemnity, 
which were the genuine indication of a deep, abiding sense- 
of divine things on his mind, and of living constantly in the 
fear of God. 

Agreeably to his Resolutions, he was very careful and ab* 
stemious in eating and drinking ; as doubtless it was necessa- 
ry for so great a studelU, and a person of so delicate a make 
as he was, in order to be comfortable and useful. When he 
had, by careful observation, found what kind, and what quan- 
tity of diet best suited his consitution, and rendered him most 
fit to pursue his work, he was very strict and exact in com- 
plying with it. In this respect he li-jed by rule ; and herein 
he constantly practised great selfdenial ; which he also did 
in his constant early rising, in order to redeem time for study. 
He accustomed himself to rise at four, or between four and 
five, in the morning. 

Though he was of a tender constitution, yet few students ara 
capable of more close application, or for more hours in a day, 
than he was. lie commonly spent thirteen hours, every day, 
in his study. His most usual diversion, in summer, was rid- 
ing on horseback and walking. He would commonly, unless 
diverted by company, ride two or three miles after dinner to 
some lonely grove, where he would dismount and walk a while. 
At which times he generally carried his pen and ink with 
him, to note any thought that might be suggested, and which 
promised some light on any important subject. In the win- 
ter^ he was wont, almost dally to take an axe, and chop wood 
moderately, for the space of half an hour or aiore. 

He had an uncommon thirst for knowledge, in the pursuit 
of which he spared no cost nor pains. He read all the books, 
especially books of divinity, that he could come at, {vovct 
which he could hope to get any help, in his pursuit of knowl- 
edge. And in this, he did not confine himself t6 authors of 
any particular sect or denomination ; but even took much 

Vol. L G 

t% THE LIFE 6r 

pains 10 come at the l)ooks of the most noted Trriters who ad- 
ranced a scheme of divinity most contrary to his own princi- 
ples. But he studied the Bible more than all other books, 
and more than most other divines do. His uncommon ac- 
quaintance Avith the Bible ai)pears in his sermons, and in most 
of his publications ; and liis great pains in studying it are 
manifest in his manuscript notes upon it ; of which a more 
particular account will be given hereafter. He took his re- 
ligious principles from the Bible, and not from any human 
system or body of divinity. Though his principles were 
Culvitii.Htic, yet he called no man Father. He thought and 
judged for himself, and was truly very much of an original. 
Reading was not the only method he took to improve his 
mind ; he was much given to writing, without which, proba- 
bly, no student can make improvements to the best advantage. 
Agreeably to Resolution 11th, he applied himself, with all his 
might, to find out the truth ; he searched for understanding 
and knowledge as for silver, and digged for it as for hid treas- 
ures. Every thought, on any subject, which appeared to him 
worth pursuing and preserving, he pursued as far as he then 
could, with a pen in his hand. Thus he was all his days, like 
the busy bee, collecting from every opening flower, and stor- 
ing up a stock of knowledge, which was indeed sweet to him, 
as the honey and the honeycomb. And, as he advanced in 
years and in knowledge, his pen was more and more employ- 
ed, and his manuscripts grew much faster on his hands. 

He was thought by some, who had but u slight acquaint- 
ance with him, to be stiff and unsociable ; but this was owing 
to want of belter acquaintance. He was not a man of many 
words indeed, and was somewhat reserved among sli-angers, 
and those on whose candor and friendship he did not know he 
could rely. And this was probably owing to two things. 
First, the strict guard he set over his tongue from his youth, 
which appears by his Resolutions, taking great care never to 
use it in any way that might prove mischievous to any ; never 
to sin ii'ith Ilia tongur ; nor to employ it in idle, trivial, and 
impertinent talk, which generally makes up a great part of 
the coveisation of those who are full of words in all compa- 


nies. He was sensible that, in the multitude of words, there 
wanteth not sin ; and therefore refrained his lips, and habitu- 
ated himself to tinnk before he sfioke^ and to propose some 
good end even in all his words ; which led him to be, above 
others, conformable to an apostolic precept, slow to sjieak. 
Secondly, this was in part the effect of his bodily constitu- 
tion. He possessed but a comparatively small stock of ani- 
mal life ; his spirits were low, and he had not strength of 
lungs to spare, that would be necessary in order to make him 
what might be called an affable, facetious gentleman. They 
who have a great flow of animal spirits, and so can speak with 
less expense than others, may doubtless lawfully practise free 
conversation in all companies for a lower end, c. g. to please, 
or to render themselves acceptable. But not so, he who has 
not Such a stock ; it becomes him to reserve what he has, for 
higher and more important service. Besides, the want of an- 
imal spirits lays a man under a natural inability of exercising 
that freedom of conversation, which those of more life natur- 
ally glide into ; and the greatest degree of a sociable disposi- 
tion, humility and benevolence, will not remove this obstacle. 
He was not forward to enter into any dispute among stran- 
gers, and in companies where there might be persons of dif- 
ferent sentiments ; being sensible, that such disputes are 
generally unprofitable, and often sinful, and of bad conse- 
quence. He thought he could dispute to the best advantage 
with his pen ; yet he was always free to give his sentiments 
on any subject proposed to him, and to remove any difliculties 
or objections offered by way of inquiry, as lying in the way of 
what he looked upon to be the truth. But how groundless the 
imputation of stiff and unsociable was, his knov/n and tried 
friends best knew. They always found him easy of access, 
kind and condescending ; and though not talkative, yet affable 
and free. Among such, whose candor and friendship he had 
experienced, he threw off reserve, and was quite patient of 
contradiction, while the utmost opposition was made to his 
sentiments, that could be by any plausible arguments or ob- 
jections. And indeed, he was, on all occasions, quite sociable 
and free with all who had any special business with him. 


In his family, he pra<Jr5sed that conscicnlious cxactnes* 
which v/as conspicuous in all his ways. He tnaintaiDtrd a 1. 1« at 
esteem aiu1 rcijarfi for his amiable and excellint coir. t. 
ISliicl. of tlic tender ?nd ki:id wcs expressed in hi^j convt-. - 
tion M'ilh l>€r, and conduct towards her. He >vas wont fre- 
quently to converse fixicly \vith her on m::ttcr£ of lelif^ion ; 
and he used commonly lo pray with her in his study, at least 
once a day. unless somcthino; extraordinary prevented. Tl»e 
time for this, commonly was just before going to bed, after 
prayers in the family. As he rose very eariy himself, he was 
wont to have his family up betimes in the moniinc- ; after 
which, before they entered on the business of the day, he at- 
tended on family prayers : When a chapter in the Bible was/ 
read, commonly by candle light in the winter ; upon v.hich 
he Ksked his children questions accordini^ to their a^^e and ca-. 
pnciiy ; and took occasion to explain some passages in it, or 
enforce any duly recommended, kc. as bethought most pro- 

lie was thoroui^jh in the government of his children ; and, 
as a consequence of this, they reverenced, esteemed and lov- 
ed him. He look special care to begin his government of 
ihem in good time. When they first discovered any consid- 
erable degree of selfwill and stubbornness, he would attend to 
ihcm till he had thoroughly subdued them and brought them 
to submit. Such prudent discipline, exercised with the great- 
est calmness, being repeated once or twice, was generally suf- 
ficient for that child ; and effectually established his parental 
authority, and produced a cheerful obedience ever after. 

He kept a watchful eye over his children, that he might 
admoniwh them of the^r*/ wrong step, and direct them in the 
right way. He took opportunities to converse with them in 
liis <-ludy, singly and closely, about their souls' concerns ; and 
to give them warning, exhortation, and direction, as he saw 
need. He took much pains to instruct ihem in the principles 
ofrelitpon ; in which he made use of the jlsseinhly'a Shorter 
Catrchiftw ; not merely by taking care tUat tl.cy learned it by 
heart ; but hv lending them into an understanding of the doc- 
trines therein taught, by asking them questions on each ani 


swer, and explaining it to them. His usual time to attend to 
this was on the evening before the Sabbath. And, as he be- 
lieved that the Sabbath, or holy time, began at sunset the 
evening before the day, he ordered his family to hrns.h all 
their secular business by that time, or before ; when all \vcro 
called together, a psalm "vvas sung, and prayer made as an in- 
troduction to the sanctification of the Sabbath. This care and 
exactness efiectually prevented that intruding on holy time, 
by attending to secular business, which is too common even 
in families where the evening before the Sabbath is pretend- 
ed to be observed. 

He was a great enemy to young people's unseasonably asso- 
ciating together for vain amusements, which he regarded as a 
dangerous step towards corrupting and bringing them to ruin. 
And he thought the excuse many parents make for tolerating 
their children in it, (viz. that it is the custom, and others* 
children practise it, which renders it difficult, and even impos- 
sible to restrain theirs) was insufficient and frivolous ; and 
manifested a great degree of stupidity, on supposition the 
pmctice was hurtful and pernicious to their souls. And when 
his children grew up, he found no difficulty in restraining 
them from this pernicious practice ; but they cheerfully • 
complied with the will of their parents. He allowed none of 
his children to be from home after nine o'clock at night, when 
they went abroad to see their friend? and companions ; nei- 
ther were they allowed to sit up much after that time, in his 
own house, when any came to make them a visit. If any 
gentleman desired acquaintance with his daughters, after 
handsomely introducing himself, by properly consulting the 
parents, he v/as allowed all proper opportunity for it ; but 
must not intrude on the proper hours of rest and sleep, nor 
the religion and order of the family. 

He had a strict and inviolable regard to justice in all his 
dealings with his neighbors, and was very careful to provide 
things honest in the sight of all men ; so that scarcely a man 
had any dealings with him, that was not satisfied of his up- 
rightness. He appeared to have a sacred regard to truth in 
his words, both in promises and narrations, agreeable to his 


Resolutions. This doubtless was one reason why he was ivot 
so full of words as many arc. No raan feared to rely on his 

He was cautious in choosinj^ his intimate fricndr,, and there- 
for^ had not many that mi^ht properly he called such ; but 
to them he siiewrd himself friendly in a peculiar manner. 
He was indeed a faithful fiicnd, and able above most others to 
keep a secret. To them he- discovered himself more than to 
others, led them into his views and ends, and lo his conduct, 
in particular instances : By which they had abundant evidence 
that he well understood human nutui-c ; and that his general 
rcservcdness, and many particular instances of his conduct, 
which a stranger might impute to ignorance of men, were re- 
ally owing to his uncommon knowlcdi^c of mankind. 

His conversation with his friends was always profitable. 
He was not wont to spend his time with them in scandal and 
backbiting, or in foolish jesting, idle chat, and telling stories: 
But his mouth was that of the just, which bringeth forth wis- 
dom, and whose lips dispense knowledge. His tongue was 
as the pen of a ready writer, while he conversed about impor- 
tant, heavenly, divine things, which his heart was so full of, 
in such a natural and free manner, as to be most entertaining 
and instructive ; so that none of his friends could enjoy his 
company without instruction and profit, unless it was by their 
own fault. 

His great benevolence to mankind discovered itself, among 
other ways, by the uncommon regard he shewed to the poor 
and distressed. He was much in recommending charity, 
both in his public discourses and private conversation. He 
often declared it lo be his opinion, that professed Christians 
in these days are greatly deficient in this duty ; and much 
more so than in most other parts of external Christianity. 
He often observed hov/ m\irh this is spoken of, recommended 
and encouraged in the holy scripture, especially in the New 
Testament. And it was his opinion that every particular 
church ought, by ficfineni an<l liberal contriljulions, to main- 
tain a public slock, that might he ready for the poor and ne- 
cessitous members of that church ; and that the principal 


business of deacons is to take care of the poor in the faithful 
and judicious distribution and impiovenient of the church's 
temporals, lodged in their hands. And he did not content 
himself -with recommending charity to others, but pracased^ 
it much himself. He was forward to give on all public occa- 
sions of charity, though when it couid properly be done, he 
always concealed the sum given. And some instances of his 
giving more privately have accidentally come to the knowl- 
edge of others, in which his liberality appeared in a very ex- 
traordinary degree. One of the instances was this ; upon 
his hearing that a poor obscure man, whom he never saw, or 
any of his kindred, was by an extraordinary bodily disorder 
brought to great straits ; he, unasked, gave a considerable 
sum to a friend to be delivered to the distressed person ; hav- 
ing first required a promise of him, that he would let neither 
the person who was the object of his charity, nor any one 
else know by whom it was given. This may serve both as an 
instance of his extraordinary charity, and of his great care to 
conceal it.* 

Mr. Edwards had the character of 2i g-ocd fireacher, almost 
beyond any minister in America, His eminence as a preach- 
er seems to have been owing to the following things : 

Firsts The great pains he took in composing his sermons, 
especially in the first part of his life. As by his early rising 
and constant attention to study, he had more time than most 
others, so he spent more time in making his sermons. He 
wrote most of them in full, for near twenty years after he first 
began to preach ; though he did not wholly confine himself 
to his paper in delivering them. 

Secondly, His great acquaintance with divinit/, and knowl- 
edge of the Bible. His extensive knowledge and great clear- 
ness of thought, enabled him to handle every subject with 
great judgment and propriety, and to bring ouf of his treasure 
things new and old. Every subject he handled was instruct- 

♦ As both the giver, and the object of his charity are dead, and all the 
ends of the proposed secrecy are answered ; it is thought not inconiistent widi 
the abovcmcntioned promise, to make known the fact, ^ it is here related. 

*^ riiE L!FK or 

jve, plain, entcrtaininfj and profitable ; Avhich was much ow* 
ing to his being master of the subject, and his great skill to 
treat it in a most natural, easy and profitable manner. None 
of his composures Avcrc dry speculations, unmeaning har- 
angues, or Avords without ideas. AVlren he dwelt on those 
truths which are much controverted and opposed by many, 
which was often the case, he would set them in such a natur- 
stl and easy light, and every sentiment from step to step, would 
drop from his lips, attended with such clear and strikmg evi- 
dence, both from scripture and reason, as even to force the as- 
sent of every attentive hearer. 

Thirdly^ His excellency as a preacher was very much the 
effect of his great acquaintance with his own heart, his inward 
sense and high relish of divine truths, and experimental re- 
ligion. This gave him u great insight into human nature : 
lie knew much what was in man, both the saint and the sin- 
r.er. This helped him to be skillful, to lay truth before llie 
mind so as not only to convince the judgment, but also to 
touch the heart and conscience ; and enabled him to speak out 
of the abundance of his heart what he knew, and testify what 
he had seen and felt. This gave him a taste and discernment, 
without which he could not have been able to fill his sermons, 
as he did, with such striking, affecting sentiments, all suited 
to move, and to rectify the heart of the hearer. His sermons 
were well arranged, not usually long, and commonly a large 
part taken up in the improvement ; which was closely con- 
nected with the subject, and consisted in sentimcV'^ naturally 
flowing from it. But no description of his spriiibns will give 
the reader the idea of them which they had ■»>h j sul under his 

His appearance in the pulpit was graceful, and his delivery 
easy, natural, and very solemn. He had not a strong, loud 
voice ; but appeared with such gravity, and solemnity, and 
spake with such dislinclness, clearness and precision ; his 
words V. ore so full of ideas, set in such a plain and striking 
light, that few speakers liave been so able to command the at- 
tention of an audience. His words often discovered a great 


Ctegree of inward fervor, without much noise or gesture, and 
tell with great weight on the minds of his hearers. 

Though, h6 v/as wont to read what he delivered ; he was far 
from thinking this the best way of preaching in general, and 
looked up6n Is'is using notes so much as he did, a defect and in- 
firmity. And in the latter part of his life he was inclined to think 
it had been belter, if he had never accustomed himself to use 
his notes at all. It appeared tahirrt that preaching wholly 
without notes, agreeably to the custom in most Protestant 
countries, and what seems evidently to have been the man- 
ner of the apostles and primitive minister^ of the? gospel,- was 
the most niitural way ; and had the greatest tendciicy, on the 
whole, to answer the end of preaching'- : And supposed that 
none who had talents equal to the \tork oftHe mirtistry, was 
incapable of speaking m€7noriier^ if h6 took suitable pains for 
this attainment from his youth. He would have the young 
■preacher write Ids sermons, at least most of them, out at 
large ; and instead of reading them to his hearers, take pains 
to commit them to memory. Which, though it would require 
a great d.(i?A of labor at first, yet would scon become easier 
by use, and help him to speak more correctly and freely^ and 
"be of great service to him all his days.* 

* DirTerent preachers, like all other public speakers, are possessed of ex- 
ceedirgly different gifts ; and therefore one plan, hov/ever excellent on the 
v/hole, cannot be adopted advantageously by all. In one, clearness of under- 
standing and correctness oi judgment are most prominent ; in another, a lively 
and fertile ... '■•tion prevails ; and a third excels in strength of memory. Some 
have a greater Facility of expression at leisure, by the pen ; and others experi- 
esce irtofe freraorh when their senses and feelings are roused by their appear- 
ance in public. The man wha excels in a &o\xndi judgment, seldom posseses a 
lively imagination ; he therefore should vk^rite the more, with a view to give 
Miiimation to his compositions. He should secure in his notes pertinent quota- 
lions of scripture, apt comparisons, scripture allusions, and historic facts. The 
preacher, whose/jncy is active and excursive, should labor to secure a well di- 
gested plan, argumentativcly just and naturally connected. This will prevent 
his running into a wordy, declamatory strain. ...As to memory^ there arc two 
sorts, the verbal, and the scientific or systematic. He who has the former, may 
soon preach memoritcr ;. ...after writing all, or without writing any. But kt 
him ever watch, lest he enter into the temptation of plagiary ; his u uotir;, how- 

Vol. I. H 


His i)rayers were indeed cxtcmfiore. He was the farthest 
from any appearance of a form, as to his words and manner of 
expression, of almost any man. He was rpiiic singular and 
inimitable in this, by any who have not a sjjirit of real and 
undissembkd devotion ; yet he always expressed himself with 
decency and propriety. He appeared to have much of the 
grace and spirit of prayer; to pray vrith the spirit and with 
the understanding ; and he pcrform^id this part of duty 
much to the acceptance and edification of those who joined 
with him. He was not wont, in ordinary cases, to be lonjj in 
his prayers : An error which he observed was often hurtful 
to public and social prayer, as it terids rather to damp than 
promote true devotion. 

He gave himself altogether to the work of the ministry, 
and entangled not himself with the aiTairs of this life. He left 
the particular oversight and direction of the temporal concerns 
of his family, almost entirely to Mrs. Edwards. He was less 
acquainted with most of his temporal aflairs than many of his 
neiglibors, and seldom knew when, and by whom his forage 
for winter was gathered in, or how many milk kinc he had, or 
whence his table was furnished. Sec. 

He did not make it his custom to visit his people in their 
own houses, imless he was sent for by the sick ; or he heard 
that they were under some special afiliction. Instead of visit- 
ing from house to house, he used to preach frequently at pri- 
vate m.eetings in paiticular neighborhoods ; and often call the 
young people and children to his own house, when he used to 
pray with them, and treat with them in a manner suited 
to their years and circumstances ; and he catechised the 
children in public every Sabbath in the summer. And he 
used sometimes to propose questions to jKirticular young 

ever, long passages from the holy scriptures, when npposite, will l>c always 
acceptable ; and occasionally, when avowed, the words of o'.hcr authors. The 
jcienlific menoory should guard .ngainst too much analysis in a sermon, and 
often choose for the subject of discuision historical passages, or any othcrt 
which are best treated in the way of observation ; which in time will effectu- 
ally counteract ilic oppObito tendency to explain what is clear, and to analyse 
vrithout prolit. 


persons in writing, for them to answer after a proper time 
given them to prepare. In putting out these questions, he en- 
deavored to suit them to the age, genius, and abilities of 
those to whom they were given. His questions were general- 
ly such as required but a short answer ; and yet could not be 
answered without a particular knowledge of same historical 
part of the scripture ; and therefore led, and even obliged 
persons to study the Bible. 

He did not nep;lcct visiting his people from house to 
house because be did not look upon it, in ordinary cases, to be 
one part of the work of a gospel minister ; but because he sup- 
posed that ministers should, v/ith respect to tnis, consult their 
own talents and circumstances, and visit more or less, accord- 
ing to the degree in which they could hope thereby to pro- 
mote the great ends of the ministry. He observed, ijiat some 
had a talent for entertaining and profiting by occasional visits 
among their people. He supposed such had a call to 
spend a great deal of their time in visiting their people ; but 
he looked on his own talents to be quite otherwise. He was 
not able to enter into a free conversation with every person he 
met, and in an easy manner turn it to what topic he pleased, 
without the help of others, and, it may be, against their in- 
clination. He therefore found that his visits of this kind must 
be in a great degree unprofitable. It appeared to him, that 
he could do the greatest good to souls, and most promote the 
interest of Christ by preaching and writing, and conversing 
with persons under religious impressions in his study ; whither 
he encouraged all such to repair ; where they might be sure, 
in ordinary cases, to find him, and to be allowed easy access 
to him ; and where they were treated with all desirable ten- 
derness, kindness, and familiarity. 

In times, therefore, of the revival of religion among his 
people, his study was thronged with persons v.iio came to lay 
open their spiritual concerns to him, and seek liis advice and 
direction. These he received with great freedom and pleas- 
ure, and there he had the best opportunity to deal in the most 
particular manner with each one. He was a skilful guide to 
souls under spiritual difficulties j and was theielbre sought un= 


to, not only by bis own people, but by many who lived scorcB 
of miles oir. He became such, partly by his own experimental 
acquaintance with divine things, and unwearied study of (iod's 
■word, and partly by his having -o m.uch concern w ith souls un- 
der spiritual troubles ; for he had not been settled in the work 
of the miniLlry many years before the Spirit of God was won- 
derfully prAircd out on hjs people, by which a great concern 
about their souls became almost universal, and a great num- 
ber were hopefully the subjects of savinpj conversion. 

There was a very remarl^aljle outpouring]; of God*s Holy 
Spirit in this part of America, in the years 1740 and 1741, 
and in which Northampton largely partook. Mr. Edwards, 
at this time, had to deal not only with his own people, but 
■with multitudes of others. The report that the same things 
ivere at Northampton some years before, and Mr. Edwards's 
fame for l;nowled<^c, piety, iind great acquaintance with exper- 
imental religion, naturally led both ministers and people, 
from almost all parts of Newengland, to look to him for 
direction and assistance, in this extraordinary time. Being 
earnestly solicited by ministers and people to come and preach 
among them, be went to many ; though he was not able to 
gratify all who desired him ; and his preaching was attended 
with great success. 

As many of the ministers and people in Newengland had 
been unacquainted with such things, they Mere greatly ex- 
posed to run i-jild^ and (by the subtle temptations of the devil) 
actually did go into great extremes, both as opposers and 
friends to the work of God. Mr. Edwards was greatly help- 
ful by his direction and assistance against the two opposite 
extremes, in conversation, preaching and writing. His 
publications on this occasion were of great and extensive ser- 
\ice ; especially a sermon preached at Newhaven, Sept. 1 0th, 
1741, on The difithif^iushiTig marka of a ivork of the S/tirit of 
Gody c?'c....his Thoughts cojicerning the /tresnU revival of relig- 
ion in JVrivcnglaiid^ i!Xc. and his Ti'rati^e on religions affeetionn. 
All which might be justly considered by the church of Christ 
as a wise and friendly voice behind them saying, '*' This is 
the way, walk tl.rrcin ;" especially th.e last meniior.cd Treat 


ise, which has been esteemed by many the best that has been 
written on that subject ; setting the distinction between true 
and false religion in the most clear and striking light. And 
to the same purpose is Tha Lift of the Rev. David Brainerd, 
with reflections and observationft ; published by Mr. Edwards 
in 1749. Mr. Edwards was, what some would call, a rigid 
Calvinist. Those doctrines of Calvinism which have been 
most objected against, and £^iven the greatest offence, appear- 
ed to him scriptural, reasonable and important ; and he 
thought that to give them up, was in effect to give up all. 
He therefore looked upon those who, calling themselves Cal- 
vinists, were for softening down the truth, that they might con- 
form it more to the taste of those who are most disposed to 
object against it, were really betraying the cause they pretend- 
ed to espouse ; and were paving the way not only to Armin- 
ianism, but to Deism. For if these doctrines, were relin- 
quished, he did not see, where a man could set his foot 
down, with consistency short of Deism, or even Atheism 
itself; or rather universal Scepticism He judged that noth- 
ing was wanting, but to have these doctrines properly stated, 
and judiciously defended^ in order to their appearing most 
agreeable to reason and common sense, as well as doctrines of 
revelation ; and that this therefore was the only effectual meth- 
od to convince, or silence and put to shame the opposers of 
them. All will be able to satisfy themselves of the truth of 
this by reading his works ; and especially his books on The 
Freedom of the Will, and Original Sin. 

In this view of things, he thought it of importance that 
ministers should be very critical in examining candidates for 
the ministry, with respect to their principles^, as well as their 
religious dispositions and morals. And on this account he met 
with considerable difficulty and opposition in some instances. 
His opinion was, that an erroneous or unfaithful minister was 
likely to do more hurt than good lo the church of Christ ; and 
therefore he could not have any hand in introducing a man 
into the ministry, unless he appeared sound in the faith, and 
manifested, to the judgmenl of charity, u dU/iosition to be 



His Dismission from Northampton^ ivith the Occa- 
sion and Circumstances of it. 

WHATF.VER belongs lo man, or more correcily, what- 
ever is properly his oivJi^ bears the mark of mutability. Mr. 
Echvards's labors at Northampton were crowned, at different 
periods of his ministry there, with eminent success. But a 
root of bitterness sprung up, and many were defiled. The 
transactions contained in this chapter, thoup-h unpleasant, may- 
afford, to a serious and reHecting; mind, much instruction. If 
that people were more depraved than Christian churches in 
common, after enjoying for so long a peiiod the stated in- 
structions and prayers of so eminent a pastor ; how great the 
depravity of human nature, to be capable of such ingratitude 
and such a reverse I Thusit was with Ephraimofold; ''When 
I would," saith God, " have healed Israel, then the iniquity 
of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness (or, the evils) 
of Samaria." But if the people in question were no more de- 
praved than ourselves, let us learn caution, and beware of un- 
reasonable and inordinate attachment to customs. ...let us con- 
template with proper emotions the instability of all human 
affairs.. ..the folly and danger of trusting in man. ...and remem- 
ber that we depend on God for the preservr.tion of the closest 
fricndsliips....and that the best ministers, without the continued 
supply of the Holy Spirit on the minds of their people, have no 
sureintercstin their affections; people, to whom they have been 
most useful, and who were long most attached to them.... 
Human nature has occasionally shewn itself in every age to be 
the ^amc. After the most extraordinary manifestation of di- 
vine power and goodness, " The whole congregation of the 
children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the 
wilderness. And after the most awful and impressive instruc- 
tions, the Lord had lo say to Moses, " Go, get thee down ; 


for thy people, v/liich thou broiigbtest out of the knd of Egypt^ 
have corrupted th.emselves." 

For many years, Mr. Edwards wa-a very happy in the love 
and esteem of his people, and there was during that period the 
greatest prospect of his living and dyin^ so. Indeed he was 
almost the l'.\st minster in all Newengland that would have 
been thought likely to be opposed by his people. But the 
event proved, how incompetent nve are to decipher those con- 
sequences which depend on human volitions. ...In the year 
1744, about six years before the final rupture, Mr. Edv/ards 
was informed that some young persons in town wlio were 
members of the church, had books in their possession which 
they employed to promote lascivious and obscene discourse 
among the young people. Upon inquiry, a number of per- 
sons testified, that they had heard one and another, from time 
to time, talk obscenely ; as what they were led to by reading a 
book or books, which they had among them. Mr. Edwards 
thought the brethren of the church ought to look into the mat- 
ter ; and in order to introduce it, he preached a sermon from 
Heb. xii. 15, 16. "Looking diligently, lest any man fail of 
the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up 
trouble you, and thereby many be defiled : Lest there be any 
fornicator, or profane person as Esau, Sec." After sermon, 
he desired the brethren of the church to stay, and told them 
what information he had got ; and proposed, whether they 
thought proper to take any measures to examine into the 
matter. They with one consent, and much zeal, manifested 
it to be their opinion, that it ought to be inquired into ; and 
proceeded to choose a number of men, t© assist their pastor in 
examining into the affair. Upon which Mr. Edwards appoint- 
ed the time for their meeting at his house, and then read a 
catalogue of the names of young persons, whom he desired to 
come to his house at the same time. Some were the accused, 
and some witnesses ; but it was not then declared of which 
number any particular person was. 

When the names were published, it appeared that there 
were but few of the considerable Himilics in the town, to 
ivhicli some of the persons named did not belon;^, or were 


nearly related. Whctlicr this uas the occasion of the alter- 
ation or not, before the day appointed came, however, a 
great number of heads of families altered their minds, and 
declared, that ihcy did not think proper to proceed as they 
liad done ; that ihcir children should not be called to an ac- 
count in such a way, ccc. The town was suddenly all in a 
blaze. This strengthened the hands of the accused, some refus- 
ed to appear, and others who did appear behaved with a great 
degree of insolence, and contempt of the authority of the 
church. And little or nothing could be done further in the 

This was the occasion of weakening Mr. liLdwards's hands 
in the work of the ministry, especially among the young peo- 
ple, with whom by this means he greatly lost his influence. 
It doubtless laid a foundation, and will help to account for the 
surpiising events which v.'ill be related. He certainly had no 
great visible success after this ; the influences of Ciod*s Holy- 
Spirit were greatly withheld, and security and carnality much 

Mr. Stoddard, Mr. Edwards's grandfather and predeces- 
sor, was of the opi?iion, that unconverted persons, considered 
as such, had a riglit in the sight of (iod, or by his appointment, 
to the sacrament of the Lord's supper ; that therefore it was 
their duty to come to that ordinance, though they knew they 
had no true goodness, or gospel holiness. He maintained, 
that visible Christianity docs not consist in a profession 
or appearance of that wherein true holiness or real Christian- 
ity consists : That therefore, the profession which persons 
make in order to be received as visible members of Christ's 
church, ought not to be such as to oiprcss or imply a real 
compliance with, or consent to the terms of the covenant of 
grace, or a hearty embracing of the gospel. He formed a 

♦ What an awful warning to all profissors, and especially to young peo- 
ple ! Behold, how gioat a matter a little fire kindlcth! Little do the giddy 
and the gay think how their levities operate, and whet seeds of dijticss and 
sorrow they are sowin^^ for tl\cmsclvc» and others. Woe unto you that thus 
laugh now, for yc shall mourn and weep I How desirable it should be funC" 
fcnCully here, and not Jupuirmgly hereafter ! 


short profession for persons to make, in order to be admitted 
into the church, answerable to this principle ; and according- 
ly persons were admitted into the church, and to the sacra- 
ment, on those terms. Mr. Stoddard's principle at first made 
a great noise in the country ; and he was opposed, as intro- 
ducing something contrary to the principles and practice of 
almost all the churches in Newengland : And the matter was 
publicly controverted between him and Dr. Increase Mather 
of Boston. However, through Mr. Stoddard*s great injauence 
over the people at Northampton, it was introduced there, 
though not without opposition ; by degrees it spread very 
much among ministers and people in that county, and in oth- 
er parts of Newengland. Mr. Edwards had some hesitation 
about this matter when he first settled at Northampton, but 
did not receive such a degree of conviction, as to prevent his 
adopting it with a good conscience, for some years. But at 
length his doubts increased, which put him upon examining 
it thoroughly, by searching the scripture, and reading such 
books as were written on the subject. The result was a full 
conviction that it was wrong, and that he could not retain the 
practice with a good conscience.. He was fully convinced, 
that to be a visible Christian was to put on the visibility or ap- 
pearance of a real Christian ; that the profession of Christian- 
ity was a profession of that wherein real Christianity consists ; 
and therefore that no person who rejected Christ in his heart, 
could make such a profession consistent -vvith truth. And as 
the ordinance of the Lord's supper was instituted for none but 
visible professing Christians, none but those who are real 
Christians have a right in the sight of God to come to that 
ordinance : And consequently that none ought to be admit- 
ted thereto, who do not make a profession of real Christianity, 
and so be received in a judgment of charity as true friends to 
Jesqs Christ. 

When Mr. Edwards's sentiments were known, (in the 
spring of the year 1744) it gave great offence, and the town 
was put into a great ferment : And before he was heard in 
his own defence, or it was known by many what his princi- 
ples were, the general cry was to have him dismissed, as what 

Vol. I. I 

66 THE LIFE or' 

alone would satisfy them. This was evident from the ^Tholo'' 
tenor of their conduct, as ihcy neglected the most proper 
means of understanding the matter in dispute, and persisted 
in a refusal to attend to what Mr. Edwards had to say in de- 
fence of his piiiiciples. From beginning to end, they opposed 
the measures which had the best tendency to compromise 
and heal the difTicuUy ; and with much zeal pursued those 
which were calculated to make a separation certain and 
speedy. He thought of preaching on the subject, that they 
might know what were his sentiments, and the grounds of 
them, (of both which he was sensible that most of them were 

quite ignorant) before they took any step for a separation 

But that he might do nothing to increase the tumult, he first 
proposed the thing to the church's standing committee ; sup- 
posing that if he entered on the subject publicly with their 
consent, it would prevent the ill consequences which other- 
wise he feared would follow. But the most of them stren- 
uously opposed it. Upon which he gave it over for the 
present, as what in such circumstances would rather blow 
up the fire to a greater height, than answer the good ends 

Mr. Edwards was sensible that his principles were not un- 
derstood, but misrepresented through the country ; and find- 
ing that his peo])le were then too warm calmly to attend to 
the matter in controversy, he proposed to print what he had 
to say on the point ; as this seemed to be the only way left 
him to have a fair hearing. Accordingly his people consent- 
ed to put off calling a council, till what he should write was 
published. But they manifested great uneasiness in waiting, 
before it came out of the press ; and when it was published, 
it was read but by very few of them. Mr. Edwards being 
sensible of this, renewed his proposal to preach upon it, and 
at a meeting of the brethren of the church asked their consent 
in the following terms : " I desire that the brethren would 
manifest their consent, that I should declare the reasons of 
my opinion relating to full communion in the church, in lec- 
tures appointed for that end : Not as an act of authority, or 
aft putljjig the power of declaring the whole counsel of (iod 


out of my hands ; but for peace* sake, and to prevent occasion 
of strife." This was answered in the negative. He then pro- 
posed that it should be left to a few of the neighboring^ minis- 
ters, whether it was not, all thmgs considered, reasonable that 
he should be heard in this matter from the pulpit, before the 
affair should be brought to an issue. But this also passed in 
the negative. 

However, having had the advice of the ministers and mes- 
sengers of the neighboring churches, who met at Northamp- 
ton to advise them under their difficulties, he proceeded to 
appoint a lecture in order to preach on the subject, proposing 
to do so weekly till he had finished what he had to say. On 
Monday there was a society meeting, in which a vote was 
passed to choose a committee to go to Mr. Edwards, and de- 
sire him not to preach lectures on the subject in controversy, 
according to his declaration and appointment : Accordingly, a 
committee of three men, chosen for this purpose, waited on 
him. However, Mr. Edwards thought proper to proceed ac- 
cording to his proposal, and consequently preached a number 
of sermons, till he had finished what he had to say on the sub- 
ject. These lectures were very thinly attended by his own 
people ; but great numbers of strangers from the neighbor- 
ing towns attended them, so many as to make above half the 
congregation. This was in February and March 1750. 

The calling of a decisive coimcil to determine the matter 
of difference was now more particularly attended to on both 
sides. Mr. Edwards had before this insisted, iVom time to 
time, that they were by no means ripe for such a procedure ; 
as they had not yet given him a fair hearing, whereby perhaps 
the need of such a council would be superseded. Pie observ- 
ed, " That it was exceedingly unbecoming to manage relig- 
ious affairs of the greatest importance, in a ferment and tu- 
mult, which ought to be managed, with great solemnity, deep 
humiliation, submission to the awful frowns of heaven, humble 
dependence on God, with fervent prayer and supplication to 
him : That therefore for them to go about such an affair as 
they did, would be greatly to the dishonor of God and religr 
ion } a way in which a people cannot expect a blessing.*? 

68 THE LIFE or 

Thus having, without effect, used all means to bring them t« 
a calm and charitable temper, he consented that a decisive 
council should be called ^vithout any further delay. 

But a difFicully attended the choice of a council, which 
was for some time insuperable. It was agreed, tJiat the coun- 
cil should be mutually chosen, one half by the pastor, and the 
other half by the church : But the people insisted upon it, that 
he should be confined in his choice to the county. Mr. Ed- 
wards thought this an unreasonable restraint, as it was known 
that the ministers and churches in that county were almost 
universally against him in the controversy. He indeed did 
not suppose that the business of the proposed council would 
be to determine whether his opinion was right or not ; but 
whether any possible v.ay could be devised for an accommo- 
dation between pastor and people, and to use their wisdom 
and endeavor in order to effect it. And if they found this 
impracticable, they must determine, whether what ought in 
justice to be done had already actually been attempted, so 
that there was nothing further to be demanded by either of the 
parties concerned, before a separation should take place. And 
if he was dismissed by them, it would be their business to set 
forth to th« world in what manner and for what cause he was 
<lismisscd : All which were matters of great importance to 
him, and required upright and impartial judges. Now con- 
sidering the great prejudice a difference in religious opinions 
is apt to beget, and the close connexion of the point in which 
most of the ministers and churches in the county differed 
from him, with the matter to be decided, he did not think 
they could be reasonably looked upon so impartial judges, as 
that the matter ought to be wholly left to them. Besides he 
thought the case, being so new and extraordinary, required 
the ablest judges in the land. For these reasons, and some 
others which he offered, he insisted upon liberty to go out of 
the county, for those members of the proposed council in 
which he was to have a choice. The people strenuously and 
obstinately opposing him in this, at length agreed to leave the 
matter to a council, consisting of the ministers and messen- 
gers of the five neighboring churches i who, after they had 


met twice upon it, and had the case largely debated before 
them, were equally divided, and therefore left the matter un- 

However, they were all agreed, that Mr. Edwards ought to 
have liberty to go out of the county for some of the council. 
And at the next church meeting, (the 26th of March) Mr. 
Edwards offered to join with them in calling a council, if they 
would consent that he should chuse tivo of the churches out 
of tne county, in case the council consisted of but ten church- 
es. The church however refused to comply with this at one 
meeting after another repeatedly ; and proceeded to call a 
church meeting and choose a moderator, in order to act with- 
out their pastor. But, to pass by many particulars, at length, 
at a meeting of the church, convened by their pastor, May 
Sd, they voted their consent to his proposal of going out of 
the county for two of the churches that should be applied to. 
And then they proceeded to make choice of the ten ministers 
and churches, of which the council should consist. Accord- 
ingly the churches were applied to, and the council was con- 
vened on the 19th of June. After they had made some fruit- 
less attempts for a composition between the pastor and 
church, they passed a resolution by a majority of one voice* 
only, to the following purpose : " That it is expedient that 
the pastoral relation between Mr. Edwards and his church be 
immediately dissolved, if the people still persist in desiring 
it." And it being publicly put to the people, whether they 
still insisted on Mr. Edwards's dismission from the pastoral 
office over them ? A great majority, (above two hundred 
against twenty) voted for his dismission ; and he was accord- 
ingly dismissed, June 22, 1750. 

The dissenting part of the council entered their protest 
against this proceeding, judging that it v/as too much in a 

* One of the churches which Mr, Edwards chose did not see fit to join 
the council. However, the minister of that church being at Northampton, 
was desired by Mr. Edwards and the church to sit in council and act, which 
he did. But there being no messenger from the church, the council was not 
full, and there was a disparity ; by which means there was one vote more for 
an immediate dismission, than against it. 

70 THE LIFE or 

hurry, considering the \)ast conduct and present temper of th« 
people. And some of that part of the council who were for 
the separation, expressed themselves surprised at the unconv- 
nion zeal marjifcstcd by the people in their volin:^ for a dis- 
mission ; Avhich evidenced to them, and all observinc^ specta- 
tors, that they were fur from a temper of mind becoming such 
a solemn and awful transaction, considered in all its cir- 

Being thus dismissed, he preached his farewell sermon on 
the 1st of July, from 2 Cor. i. 14. The doctrine he observed 
from the words was this," Ministers and the people that have 
been under their care, must meet one another before Christ's 
tribunal, at the day of judgment." It it was a remarkably sol- 
emn and affecting discourse, and was published at the desire 
of some of the hearers. After Mr. Edwards was dismissed 
from Northampton, he preached there occasionally, when 
they had no other preacher to supply the pulpit ; till at length 
a great uneasiness was manifested by many of the people, at 
his preaching there at all. Upon which the committee for 
supplying the pulpit, called the town together, to know their 
minds with respect to that matter ; when they voted that it 
was not agreeable to their minds that he should preach among 
them. Accordingly, while Mr. Edwards was in the town, and 
they had no other minister to preach to them, they carried on 
public worship among themselves. 

Every one must be sensible that this was a great trial to 
Mr. Edwards. lie had been nearly twcntyfour years among 
that people ; and his labors had been, to all appearance, from 
time lo time greatly blessed among them : And a great num- 
ber looked on him as their spiritual father, who had been the 
liappy instrument of turning them from darkness to light, 
and plucking them as brands out of the burning. Ai\d they 
had from linic to lime professed that ihcy looked upon it as 
one of their greatest privileges to have such a minister, 
and manifested their great love .and cbtcem of him, to 
such a degree, that, (as St. Paul says of the Galalians) " if 
it I'-ad been possible, tliey would have plucked out their own 
eyes, and given thepti to him." And they had a great inter- 


est ifi his affection : He had borne them on his heart, and car- 
ried them in his bosom for many years ; exercising a tender 
concern and love for them : For their good he was always 
writing, contriving, laboring ; for them he had poured out 
ten thousand fervent prayers ; in their good he had rejoiced 
as one that findeth great spoil ; and they were dear to him 
©bove any other people under heaven. Now to have this peC' 
pie turn against him, and thrust him out from among them, 
stopping their ears, and running upon him with furious zeal, 
not allowing him to defend himself by giving him a fair hear- 
ing ; and even refusing so much as to hear him preach ; many 
of them surmising and publicly speaking many ill things as to 
his ends and designs ! Surely this must come very near to 
him, and try his spirit. The words of the psalmist seem ap- 
plicable to this case, " It was not an enemy that reproached 
me, then I could have borne it ; neither was it he that hated 
me, that did magnify himself against me, then I would have 
hid myself from him. But it was thou. ...my guide and mine 
acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked 
unto the house of God in company." 

Let us therefore, now behold the man /....The calm sedate- 
Bess of his mind ; his meekness and humility in great and 
violent opposition, and injurious treatment ; his resolution and 
steady conduct through all this dark and terrible storm, v/ere 
truly wonderful, and cannot be set in so beautiful and affecting 
a light by any description, as they appeared in to his friends, 
who were eye witnesses. 

Mr. Edwards had a num.erous and chargeable family, and 
little or no income, exclusive of his salary ; and, considering 
how far he was advanced in years ; the general disposition of 
people, who want a minister, to prefer a young man who has 
never been settled, to one v/ho has been dismissed from his 
people ; and what misrepresentations were made of his prin- 
ciples through the country, it looked to him not at all prob- 
able that he should ever have opportunity to be settled 
again in the work of the ministry, if he v/as dismissed from 
Northampton : And he was not inclined or able to take any 
•ther course, or go into any other business to get a living : 


So that beggary as well as disgrace stared him fViU in the face? 
if he persisted in his principles. When he was fixed in his 
principles, and before they were publicly known, he told 
some of his friends, that if he discovered and persisted in 
them, it would most likely issue in his dismission and dis- 
grace ; and the ruin of himself and family, as to their temfiO" 
ral interests. He therefore first sat down and counted the 
cost, and deliberately took up the cross, when it was set be- 
fore him in its full weight and magnitude ; and in direct op- 
position to all ivorldhj views and motives. And therefore hia 
conduct in these circumstances, was a remarkable exercise 
and discovery of his conscientiousness ; and his readiness to 
deny himself, and forsake all that he had, to follow Christ. 
A man must have a considerable degree of the spirit of a 
martyr, to go on with the steadfastness and resolution with 
which he did. He ventured wherever truth and duty ap- 
peared to lead him, unmoved at the threatening dangers on 
every side. 

However, Cod did not forsake him. As he gave him 
those inward supports by which he was able in patience to 
possess his soul, and courageously row on in the storm, in the 
face of boisterous winds beating hard upon him, and in the 
midst of gaping waves threatening to swallow him up ; so he 
soon appeared for him in his providence, even beyond all his 
expectations. His correspondents and other friends in Scot- 
land, hearing of his dismission, and fearing it might be the 
means of bringing him into worldly straits, generously contrib- 
uted a considerable sum, and sent it over to him. And God 
did not leave him without tender, valuable friends at North- 
ampton. For a small number of his people who opposed his 
dismission from the beginning, and some who acted on nei- 
ther side, but after his dismission adhered to him, under the 
influence of their great esteem and love of Mr. Edwards, were 
willing, and thought themselves able to maintain him : And 
insisted upon it that it was his duty to stay among them, as a 
distinct and separate congregation from the body of the town, 
who had rejected him. 


Mr. Edwards could not see it to be his duty to stay among; 
them, as this would probably be a means of perpetuating an 
unhappy division in the town ; and there was to him no pros- 
pect of doing the good there, which would counterbalance 
the evil. However, that he might do all he could to satisfy 
his tender and afflicted friends ; he consented to ask the ad- 
vice of an ecclesiastical council. Accordingly, a council was 
called, and met at Northampton on the 15th of May, 1751. 
The town on this occasion was put into a great tumult. They 
who were active in Mr. Edwards's disnsission supposed, though 
•without any good ground, that he was contriving with his 
friends, again to introduce himself at Korlhanipton. They 
drew up a remonstrance against their proceedings, and laid it 
before the council, (though they would not acknowledge them 
to be an ecclesiastical council) containing many heavy, though 
groundless insinuations and charges against Mr. Edwards, and 
bitter accusations of the party who had adhered to him : But 
refused to appear and support any of their charges, or so much 
as to give the gentlemen of the council any opportunity to 
confer with them about the affair depending, though it was dil- 
igently sought. The council having heard what Mr. Edwards 
and they who adhered to him had to say, advised, agreeably to 
Mr. Edwards's judgment, that he should leave Northampton, 
and accept of the mission to which he was invited at Stock- 
bridge ; of which a more particular account will be given. 

Many other facts relative to this sorrowful and surprising 
affair (the most so doubtless of any of the kind, that ever hap- 
pened in Newengland ; and perhaps, in any part of the 
Christian world) might be related ; but as this more general 
history of it may be sufficient to answer the ends proposed, 
viz. tb rectify some gross misrepresentations that have been 
made of the matter, and discover the great trial Mr. Edwards 
had herein, it is thought best to suppress other particulars. 
As a proper close to this melancholy story ; and to confirm, 
and further illustrate what has been related, the following let- 
ter from Joseph Hawley, Esq. (a gentleman who was very 
active in the transactions of this whole affair, and very much a 
leader in it) to the Rev. Mr. Hall, of Sutton, published in a 

Vol. I. K 


weekly newspaper in Boston, I\Iay 19tli, 1760, is here in- 


KEv. SIR, A'orthampton, May 9, 1760. 

I HAVE often ^vishecl that every member of the two ec- 
clesiastical councils that formerly sat in Northampton, upon 
the unhappy difierences between our former most worthy and 
Rev. pastor, Mr.Jonathan Edwards, and the church hcre,whcre- 
of you were a member ; I say. Sir, I have often wished every 
one of them truly knew my real sense of my own conduct in 
the affairs that the one and the other of the said councils are 
privy to. As I have long apprehended it to be my duty not 
only to humble myself before God for what was unchristian 
and sinful in my conduct before the said councils, but also to 
confess my faults to the7n^ and take shame to myself before 
them ; so I have often studied with myself in what manner it 
was practicable for me to do it. When I understood that you, 
Sir, and Mr. Eaton, were to be at Cold Spring at the time of 
the late council, I resolved to improve the opportunity fully 
to open my mind there to you and him thereon ; and thought 
that probably some method might be then thought of in 
which my reflections on myself, touching the matters above 
hinted at, might be communicated to most if not all the gen- 
tlemen aforesaid, who did not reside in this county. But you 
know. Sir, how difficuh it was for us to converse together by 
ourselves, when at Cold Spring, without giving umbrage to 
that people ; I therefore proposed writing to you upon the 
matters which I had then opportunity only most summarily to 
suggest ; which you, sir, signified would be agreeable to you. 
I therefore now undertake what I then proposed, in which I 
humbly ask the divine aid ; and that I may be made most 
freely willing fully to confess my sin and guilt to you and the 
world in ihose instances which I have reason to suppose fell 
under yovn- notice, as they were public and notorious transac- 
tions, and on account whereof, therefore, you, Sir, and all oth- 


crs who had knowledge thereof, had just cause to be offended 
at me. 

And in the first place, Sir, I apprehend that, with the 
church and people of Northampton, I sinned and erred ex- 
ceedingly in consenting and laboring that there should be 
so early a dismission of Mr. Edwards from his pastoral rela- 
tion to us, even upon the supposition that he was really in a 
mistake in the disputed point : Not only because the dispute 
was upon matters so very disputable in themselves, and at the 
greatest remove from fundamental, but because Mr. Edwards 
so long had approved himself a most faithful and painful pas- 
tor to the said church. He also changed his sentiments in 
that point, wholly from a tender regard to what appeared to 
him to be truth ; and had made known his sentiments with 
great moderation, and upon great deliberation, against all 
worldly motives, from mere fidelity to his great Master, and a 
tender regard to the souls of his flock, as we had the highest 
reason to judge. These considerations now seem to me suf- 
ficient ; and would (if we had been of a right spirit) have 
greatly endeared him to his people, and made us to the laiit 
degree reluctant to part with him, and disposed us to the ex- 
ercise of the greatest candor, gentleness and moderation. 
How much of the reverse whereof appeared in us, I need not 
tell you, Sir, who were an eye witness of our temper and 

And although it does not become me to pronounce deci- 
sively on a point so disputable as what was then in dispute ; 
yet I beg leave to say, that I really apprehend that it is of the 
highest moment to the body of this church, and to me in par- 
ticular, most solicitously to enquire,whether, like the Pharisees 
and lawyers in John Baptist's lime, we did not reject the 
counsel of God against ourselves, in rejecting Mr. Edwards, 
and his doctrine, which was the ground of his dismission. And 
I humbly conceive that it highly imports us all of this church, 
most seriously and impartially to examine what that most 
worthy and able divine published, about that time, in support 
of the same, whereby he being dead yet speaketh. But there 
were three things, Sir, especially in my own particular con- 


duct before the lu'st council, which have been jjusily ciattei; 
of great grief and much trouble to mc almost ever since, viz. 

In the first place, 1 confess, Sir, that I acted very imm.od- 
cstly and abusively to you, as well as injuriously to the church 
and myself, when, with much zeal and unbecoming assurance^ 
I moved the council that they would interpose to silence and 
stop you in an address you were making one morning to the 
people, wherein you were, if I do not forget, briefly exhorting 
them to a tender remembrance of the former affection and. 
harmony that had long subsisted between ihcni and tlieir Rev. 
Pastor, and the great comfort and profit which they apprc- 
liended that they had received from his ministry ; for which, 
Sir, I heartily ask your forgiveness ; and I think, that we 
ought, instead of opposing an exhortation of that nature, to 
have received it with all thankfulness. 

Another particular of my conduct before that council, 
•which I now apprehend was criminal, and was owing to the 
want of that tender affection and reverend respect and esteem 
for Mr. Edwards, which he had highly merited of me, was my 
strenuously opposing the adjournment of the matters sub- 
xnitlcd to that council, for about two months ; for which I de- 
clare myself unfeigncdly sorry ; and I with shame remem- 
ber, that I did it in a peremptory, decisive, vehement, and 
very immodest manner. 

But, Sir, the most criminal part of my conduct at that time, 
that I am conscious of, was my exhibiting to that council a 
set of arguments in writing, the drift whereof was to prove 
the reasonableness and necessity of Mr. Edwards's disrois- 
bion, in case no accommodation was then effected with mu- 
tual consent ; which writing, by clear implication, contained 
some severe, uncharitable, and, if I remember right, ground- 
less and slanderous imputations on Mr. Edwards, expressed 
in bitter language. And idthough the original draft thereof 
was not done by mc, yet 1 foolishly and sinfully consented to 
copy it ; and, as agent for the church, to read it, and deliver 
it to the council ; which I could never have done, if I had 
not a wicked relish for perversa things : Which conduct of 
mine 1 confess was very sinful, and highly provoking to God ; 


for which I am ashamed, confounded, and have r.othing to 

As to the church's remonstrance, as it was called, whicli 
their committee preferred to the last of the said councils, 
(to all which I was consenting, and in the composing whereof 
1 was very active, as also in bringing the church to their vote 
upon it ;) I vvould, in the first place, only observe, that I do 
not remember any thing, in that small part of it which was 
plainly expressive of the expediency of Mr. Edwards's reset- 
tlement here as pastor to a part of the church, which was 
very exceptionable. But as to all the residue, which was 
much the greatest part thereof (and I am not certain that any 
part v/as wholly free) it was every where interlarded with un- 
chiistian bitterness, sarcastical, and unmannerly insinuations. 
It contained divers direct, grievous and criminal charges and 
allegations against Mr. Edwards, which I have since good 
reason to suppose, were all founded on jealous and uncharita- 
ble mistakes, and so were really gross slanders ; also many 
heavy and reproachful charges upon divers of Mr, Edwards's 
adherents, and some severe censures of them all indiscrimi- 
nately ; all of which, if not wholly false and groundless, yet 
were altogether unnecessary, and therefore highly criminal. 
Indeed I am fully convinced, that the whole of that compo- 
sure, excepting the small part thereof abovementicn^d, was 
totally unchristian, a scandalous, abusive, injurious libel, 
against Mr. Edwards and his purlicular friends, especially the 
former, and highly provoking and detestable in the sight of 
God ; for which I am heartily sorry and ashamed ; and pray 
I may remember it with deep a!)a£ement, and penitence all 
my dayd. Nor do I now think that the church's conduct in 
refusing to appear, and attend bcibre that council to support 
the charges and allegations in the said remonstrance against 
Mr. Edwards and the said brethren, which they demanded, 
w^s ever vindicated by all the subtle answers that were given 
to the said demand ; nor do I think that our conduct in that 
instance was capable of a defence. For it appears to me, 
that by making such charges against them before the said 
council, we necessarily so far gave that council jurisdiction ; 


and I own with sorrow and rcj^rct, that I zealously endeavor- 
ed that the church should pcrscvcringly nfu5c to appear be- 
fore the said council for the purpose aforesaid; which I 
humbly pray <.>lod to forgive. 

Anoth.er part of my conduct, Sir, of which I have long re- 
pented, and for wliich I hereby declare my hearty sorrow, 
was ray obstinate opposition to the last council's having any 
conference with the church ; w hich the said council earnestly 
and repeatedly moved for, and which the church, as you 
know, finally denied. I think it discovered a great deal of 
pride and vain sufficiency in the church, and shewed them to 
be very opinionalive, especially the chief sticklers, one of 
ivhom I was, and think it was running a most presumptuous 
risk, and acting the part of proud scorners, for us to refuse 
hearinr;, and candidly and seriously considering what that 
council could say or oppose to us ; among wiiom there were 
divers, justly in great reputation for grace and wisdom. 

In these instances. Sir, of my conduct, and in others (to 
•which you were not privy) in the course of that most melan- 
choly contention with Mr. Edwards, I now sec that I was very 
much influenced by vast pride, selfsufllciency, ambition, and 
vanity. I appear to myself vile, and doubtless much more so 
to others, who are more impartial ; and do in the review 
thereof, abhor myself, and repent sorely : And if my own 
heart condemns me, it behoves me solemnly to remember, 
that Cod is greater, and knoweth all things. 1 hereby own, 
Sir, that such treatment of Mr. Edwards, wherein I was so 
deeply concerned and active, was particularly and very aggra- 
valedly sinful and ungrateful in me, because I was not only 
imder the common obligations of each individual of the socie- 
ty to iiim, as to a most able, diligent and faithful pastor ; but 
I had also received many instances of his tenderness, good- 
ness, and generosity to me, as a young kinsman, whom he 
was disposed to treat in a most friendly manner- 

Indeed, Sir, I must own, that by my conduct in consulting 
and acting against Mr. I'.d wards within the time of our most 
unhoppy disptitcs with him, and cjperially in and about that 
r.bominable " remonslrancc," I have so far svmbolized with 


Balaam, Ahitophel, and Judas, that I am confounded and fill- 
ed with terror oftentimes when I attend to the most painful 
similitude. And I freely confess, that on account of my con- 
duct abovementioned, I have the greatest reason to tremble 
at those most solemn and awful words of our Saviour, Mat. 
xviii. 6. « Whoso shall offend one of these," &c. and those in 
Luke X. 16. " He that despiseth you," See. and I am most 
sorely sensible that nothing but that infinite grace and mercy 
which saved some of the betrayers and murderers of our bless- 
ed Lord, and the persecutors of his martyrs, can pardon me ; 
in which alone I hope for pardon, for the sake of Christ, whose 
blood, blessed be God, cleanseth from all sin. On the whole. 
Sir, I am convinced, that I have the greatest reason to say as 
David, " Have mercy upon me, O God, accordmg to thy lov- 
ing kindness, according to the muUitudc of tliy tender mer- 
cies, blot out my transgressions ; waish me thoroughly from 
mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin ; for I acknowl- 
edge my tiansgressions, and my sin is ever before ms. Hide 
thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities : 
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit 
within me ; cast me not away from thy presence, and take 
not thy Holy Spirit from me : Restore unto me the joy of 
thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit." Psal. li. 
1....3, 9.... 12. 

And I humbly apprehend that it greatly concerns the 
church of Northampton most seriously to examine, whether 
the many hard speeches, spoken by many particular mem- 
bers against their former pastor, some of which the church 
really countenanced, (and especially those spoken by the 
church as a body, in that most vile " remonstrance,") are not 
so odious and ungodly, as to be utterly incapable of defence ; 
whether the said church were not guilty of a great sin in be- 
ing so willing and disposed, for so slight a cause, to part with 
so faithful and godly a minister as Mr. Edwards was ; and 
whether ever God will hold us guiltless till we cry to him for 
Christ's sake to pardon and save us from tliat judgment which 
such ungodly deeds deserve. And I most heartily wish and 
pray that the town and church of Northampton would serious- 

^0 THH LirE OF 

}y r.nd carciully examine -wliethfr tlrjy have not abiindani cause 
to jutige that ibcy are tiow lying under p^reai guilt in tlie 
sight of God ; and whether those of us who were concerned 
in that most awful contention with Mr. Edwards, can ever 
more rca'ionably expect God's favor and blessini^, till our eyes 
aix; opened, ancj we becom'j thoroupjhly convinced that we 
have greatly provoked the Most Hij^h, and have been in- 
jurious to one of the best of men ; and until wc shall be 
thoroughly convinced that v/e have dreadfully pcisccut- 
cd Christ, by persecuting and ver/ing that just man and 
servant of Christ ; until wc shall Ix; huirble as in the 
dust on account of it, and till we openly, in f^tll terms, 
and without baulking the matter, confess the s?.me before the 
world, and most humbly and earnestly seek forgiveness of 
God, and do what we can to honor the memory of Mr. Ed- 
wards, and clear it of all tb-e aspersions which we unjustly 
cast upon him ; since God has been pleased to put it beyond 
our power to ask his forgiveness. Such terms I am persuad- 
ed the great and righteous God will hold us to, and that it 
will be in vain for us to hopjc to escape with impunity in any 
other way. This I am convinced of with regard to myself, 
and this way I most solemnly propose to take myself, (if God 
in his mercy shall give mo opportunity) that so by making 
free confession to God and man of my sin and guilt, and pub- 
licly taking shame to myself, I may give glory to the God of 
Israel, and do what in me lies, to clear the memory of that 
venerable man from the wrongs and injuries I was so active in 
bringing on his reputation and character ; and I thank God 
that he has been pleased to spare my life to this time, and am 
sorry that 1 h.ave delayed the affair so long. 

Although I made the substance of almost all the foregoing 
reflections in writing, but not exactly in the same manner, to 
Mr. Edwards and the brethren who adhered to him, in Mr. 
Edwards's life, and before he removed from Stockbridge, and 
I have reason to believe that he, from his great candor and 
charily^ heartily forgave me ai>d prayed for me : \>t b.'cnuse 
that was not generally k^o^^n, I look on myself obliLrd lo tp.ke 
further steps ; for while 1 ktp'. silence, my bores waxed old, 


fee. For all these my great sins therefore, in the first place, 
1 humbly and most earnestly ask forgiveness of God ; in tho 
next place of the relatives and near friends of Mr. Edwards.... 
1 also ask the forgiveness of all those who were called Mr. 
Edwards's adherents ; and of all the members of the ecclesias- 
tical councils above mentioned ; and lastly, of all Christian 
people, who have had any knowledge of these matters. 

I have no desire, Sir, that you should make any secret of 
this letter ; but that you would communicate the same to whom 
you shall judge proper : And I purpose, if God shall give me 
opportunity, to procure it to be published in some one of the 
public newspapers ; for I cannot devise any other way of 
making known my sentiments of the foregoing matters to all 
•who ought to be acquainted therewith, and therefore I think I 
ought to do it, whatever remarks I may foresee will be made 
tliereon. Probably when it comes out, some of my acquaint- 
ance will pronounce me quite overrun with vapors ; others 
will be furnished with matter for mirth and pleasantry ; oth* 
erswtll cursorily pass it over, as relating to matters quite stale : 
But some, I am persuaded, will rejoice to see me brought to a 
sense of my sin and duty ; and 1 myself shall be conscious that 
I have done something of what the nature of the case admits, 
toward undoing what is, and long has been, to my greatest re- 
morse and trouble that it was ever done. 

Sir, I desire that none would entertain a thought from my 
having spoken respectfully of Mr. Edwards, that I am disaf- 
fleeted to our present pastor ; for the very reverse is true ; 
^d I have a reverend esteem, real value, and hearty affection 
for him, and bless God, that he has, notwithstanding all our 
iriiworthiness, given us one to succeed Mr. Edwards, who, aof 
I have reason to hope, is truly faithful. 

I conclude this long letter, by heartily desiring your pray- 
ers, that my repentance of my sins abovementioned may 
be unfeigned and genuine, and such as God in infinite mer- 
cy, for Christ's sake, will accept ; and I beg leave to subscribe 
myself, Sir, your real, though very unworthy friend, 
and obedt. servant, JOSEPH HAWLEY. 

t^oi. I. i:. 



From his Mission to the Indians until his Death. 


HiB Mission to the Indians at Stockbridge, 

IF Tve regard Mr. Edwards's deep acquaintance with the 
Holy Scriptures, and the influence of divine truth on his own 
heart ; if we consider, also, his long experience in the work of 
the ministry, with his disposition to observe the operations of 
human minds and passions, and to improve such knowledge to 
the most profitable purposes, we may safely say, that there 
were but few men, if any, better qualified to conduct a mission 
among the Indians. But, on the other hand, it may be ques- 
tioned, whether his recluse turn, his natural reserve, his con- 
templative habits, and the strong propensity of his mind close- 
ly to investigate abstractedly every difficult subject that 
presented itself, were not unfavorable traits for such a situa- 
tion, however beneficial it might be for his own improve- 
ment. Mr. Edwards was qualified to shine in some depart- 
ments of the seats of learning, and was afterwards called to 
preside over one ; but when he was delegated to instruct 
savage Indians, there was occasion to suspect there was not 
» perfect suitableness in the appointjnent. On this, how- 
ever, different persons may form different opinions ; and it 
is our business now to give some account of this appointment. 
The Indian mission at Stockbridge, a t©wn in the western 
part of Massachusett's Bay, fifty miles from Noilhampton, 
being vacant by the death of the Rev. Mr. Sergeant, the 
honored and reverend commissioners for Indian affairs in 
Boston, who have the care and direction of it, applied to Mr. 
Edwards as the most suitable person they could think of to 
be entrusted with that mission. At the same time he was in- 


^ited by the inhabitants of Stockbridge ; and being advised by 
the council abovementioned to accept of the invitation, he re- 
paired to Stockbridge, and was introduced and fixed as mis- 
sionary to the Indians there, by an ecclesiastical council called 
for that purpose, August 8th, 1751. 

When Mr. Edwards first engaged in the mission, there 
was a hopeful prospect of its being extensively serviceable, 
under his care and influence ; not only to that tribe of Indian* 
which Avas settled at Stockbridge, but among the Six Nations, 
some of whom were coming to Stockbridge to settle, bringing 
their own, and as many of their neighbors' children as they 
could get, to be educated and instructed there. For this end, 
a house for a boarding school, which was projected by Mr. 
Sergeant, was erected on a tract of land appropriated to that 
use by the Indians at Stockbridge ; where the Indian child- 
ren, male and female, were to be educated, by being clothed 
and fed, and instructed by proper persons in useful learning. 
The boys were to be taught husbandry or mechanic trades, 
and the girls all sorts of women's work. For the encourage- 
ment of this design, some generous subscriptions were made 
both in England and America. The general court of the 
province of Massachusett's Bay did much to promote the af- 
fair, and provided lands for the Mohawks who should incline 
to come. And the generous Mr. HoUis, to encourage the 
scheme, ordered twentyfour Indian children to be educated on 
the same footing, wholly at his cost. Also the society in 
London, for propagating the gospel among the Indians in and 
about Nevvengland, directed their commissioners in Boston to 
do something considerable towards this design. But partly 
by reason of some unhappy differences that took place among 
those who had the chief management of this affair at Stock? 
bridge, of which a particular account would not be proper in 
this place ; and partly by the war breaking out between Eng- 
land and France, which is generally very fatal to such affairs 
among Indians, this hopeful prospect came to nothing. 

Mr. Edwards's labors were attended with no remarkable 
Visible success while at Stockbridge ; tholigh he performed 
the business of his mission to the good acceptance of Jie in« 


habitants in Jiccncral, both English and Indians, and of tlie 
commissioners, who supported him honorably, and confided 
very much in his judgment and wisdom, in all matters relating 
to the mission. However, StockbridR;e proved to Mr. Ed- 
wards a more quiet, and, on many accounts, a much more 
comfortable situation than he was in before. It being so 
much in one corner of the country, his time was not so much 
taken up with company, as it was at Northampton, though 
many of his friends, from almost all parts of the land, oftea 
made him pleasant and profitable visits. And he had not so 
much concern and trouble with other churches as he wat 
oblii^cd to have when at Northampton, by being frequentljr 
sought to for advice, and called to assist in ecclesiastical coun- 
cils. Here therefore he followed his beloved study xnoro 
closely, and to better purpose than ever. In these six years 
lie doubtless made swifter advances in knowledge than ever 
before, and added more to his manuscripts than in any equal 
space of time. And this was probably as useful a part of hit 
life as any. For in this time he wrote the two last books that 
have been published by him,* (of which a more particular 
account will be given hereafter) by which he has doubtless 
greatly served the church of Christ, and will baa blessing to 
many thousands yet unborn. 

Thus, after his uprightness and faithfulness had been suf- 
ficiently tried at Northampton, his Divine Master provided 
for him a quiet retreat, which was rendered the more sweet 
by the preceding storm ; and where he had a better opportu- 
nity to pursue and finish some important work which God 
had for him to do : So that when in his own judgment, as well 
as that of others, his usefulness seemed to be cut oif, he foun4 
greater opportunities of service than ever. 

• Hi» Trcaiijc on *• Tkc WiU," and oa «• Original Sin." 


Jlis being chosen President of Newjersey College. 

WHILE at Stockbridge, Mr. Edwards appears to have 
given full scope to his prope'nsities and genius, stimulated hj 
his ardent love of truth, and under the control of a correct 
judgment. While at Northampton his avocations were una- 
voidably numerous, and scarcely compatible with a profound 
attention to subjects he might be disposed to investigate ; but 
at Stockbridge he found himself more at liberty in that re- 
spect. After having been so long in the ministry elsewherc> 
his pulpit preparations would require less time than before.... 
His studies were less interrupted by company and calls..... 
Former anxieties were now removed ; his mind was drawn 
more closely to God, from his past experience of the fickle- 
ness of men ; and thereby his mind became more composed, 
more enlightened, and more elevated. Here he was led to 
investigate subjects of radical importance in morals and theol- 
ogy? and to trace them to their first principles. And here he 
published his master piece of inquiry and close reasoning, his 
Treatise on the Will, which completely established his char- 
acter as an adept in metaphysical science, and a profound di- 
vine. The celebrity he obtained by this work, and very de- 
servedly obtained, had, doubtless, no small influence on the 
trustees of Newjersey College, among other considerations, 
in looking to Mr. Edwards to become their President, on the 
death of Mr. Burr, his son in law. 

The Rev. Aaron Burr, President of Newjersey college, 
died on the 24th of Sept. 1757 ; and, at the next meeting of 
the trustees, Mr. Edward > was chosen his successor ; the news 
of which was quite unexpected, and not a little surprising to 
him. He looked on Himself in many respects so unqualified 
for that business, that he wondered that gentlemen of so good 
judgment, and so well acquainted with him. as he knew some 
fiJf the jtrustccs were, should think oi hitn for that place. He 


had many objections in his own mind against undertaking th* 
business, both from iiis uiilitncss, and his particular ( ircum- 
stances ; yet could not certainly determine that it was not his 
duty to accept it. The fullo.ving extract of a letter which he 
wrote to the trustees, vill give the reader a view of his senti- 
ments and exercises on this occusion, as well as of the jj;reat 
designs he was deeply engaged in, and zealously prosecuting. 

SlockbriJifCy \9th October^ \757. 
Kev. and Hon. Gentlemen, 

" I WAS not a little surprised on receiving the unex- 
pected notice of your having made choice of me to succeed 
the late President Burr, as the head of Nassau Hall. I am 
much in doubt whether I am called to undertake the business, 
which you have done me the unmerited honor to choose me 
for. If some regard may be had to my outward comfort, I 
might mention the many inconveniencies and great detriment 
which may be sustained, by my removing with my numer- 
ous family, so far from all the estate I have in the world 
(without any prospect of disposing of it, under present cir- 
cumstances, but with great loss) now when we have scarcely 
got over the trouble and damage sustained by our removal 
from Northampton, and have just begun to have our affairs in 
a comfortable situation for a subsistence in this place ; and the 
expense I must immediately be at to put myself into circum- 
stances tolerably comporting with the needful support of the 
honor of the ofTicc 1 am inviicd to ; which will not well con- 
sist with my ability. 

But this is not my main objection : The chief difhculties 
in my mind, in the way of accepting this important and ardu- 
ous office, are these two : I'irst my own defects, unfitting rae 
for such an undertaking, many of which are generally known ; 
besides other, which my own heart is conscious of. I have a 
constitution, in many respects peculiarly unhappy, attended 
with flaccid solids ; vapid, sizy and scarce fluids, and a low 
tide of spirits ; often occasioning a kind of childish weakness 
and contemptibleness of speech, presence, and demeanor ; 
with a disagreeable dulncss and stiffness, much unfitting me 


for conversation, but more especially for the government of a 
college. This makes me shrink at the thoughts of taking up- 
on me, in the decline of life, such a new and great business, 
attended with such a multiplicity of cares, and requiring such 
a degree of activity, alertness, and spirit of government ; es- 
pecially as succeeding one so remarkably well qualified iiv 
these respects, giving occasion to every one to remark the 
wide difference. I am also deficient in some parts of learn- 
ing, particularly in algebra, and the higher part.s of mathe- 
matics, and in the Greek classics ; my Greek learning hav- 
ing been chiefly in the New Testament. The other thing is 
this ; that my engaging in this business will not well consist 
■with those views, and that course of employ in my study, 
ivhich have long engaged and swallowed up my mind, and 
been the chief entertainment and delight of my life. 

And here, honored Sirs, (emboldened, by the testimony I 
have now received of your unmerited esteem, to rely on your 
candor) I will with freedom open myself to you. 

My method of study, from my first beginning the work of 
the ministry, has been very much by writing ; applying my- 
self in this way, to improve every important hint ; pursuing 
the clue to my utmost, when any thing in reading, meditation, 
or conversation, has been suggesed to my mind, that seemed 
to promise light, in any weighty point ; thus penning what 
appeared to me my best thoughts, on innumerable subjects 
for my own benefit. The longer I prosecuted my studies 
in this method, the more habitual it became, and the more 
pleasant and profitable I found it. The further I travelled in 
this way, the more and wider the field opened, which has oc- 
casioned my laying out many things in my mind to do in this 
manner, if God should spare my life, which my heart hath 
been much upon: Particularly many things against most of the 
prevailing errors of the present day, which 1 cannot with any 
patience see maintained (to the utter subverting pf the gospel 
of Christ) with so high a hand, and so long continued a tri- 
umph, with so little control, when it appears so evident to me, 
that there is truly no foundation for any of this glorying and 
insult. I have already published something on one of the main 


points in dispute between the Arminians and Calvinists ; an<3 
have it in vie\v,God billing (as I have aheady signified to the 
public) in like maimer to consider all the other controverted 
I)oints» and have done much tov.ards a preparation for ii. But 
besides these, I have had on my mind and heart (wliich 1 long 
»go began, not with any view to publication) a great work, 
which I call a History of the JFork of Kcdcni/ition, a body of 
divinity in an entire new method, being thrown into the form 
of a history ; considering the affair of Christian theology, as 
the whole of it, in each part, stands in reference to the great 
work of redemption by Jesus Christ ; which I sup(x>se to be 
of all others the grand design of God , and the nifnmum and 
tiltimum of all the divine operations and decrees ; particu- 
larly considering all parts of the grand scheme in their histor- 
ical order. The order of their existence, or their being 
brought forth to view, in the course of divine dispensations, or 
the wonderful series of successive acts and events ; beginning 
from eternity and descending from thence to the great wo^'k 
afvd successive dispensations ofihe infinitely wise God in time, 
considering the chief events coming to pass in the church of 
God, and revolutions in the world of mankind, affecting ih© 
state of the church and the alTair of redemption, which we 
have account of in history or prophecy ; till at last we come to 
the general resurrection, last judgment, and consummation of 
all things ; when it shall be siiid, // is done. lam Alfiha and 
Omega^ the hegiiinivg caid the end. Concluding my work, 
with the consideration of that perfect state of things, -which 
shall be finally settled, to last for eternity. This history will 
be carried on with regard to all three worlds, heaven, earth and 
hell ; considering the connected successive events and altera- 
tions in each, so far as tlve scriptures give any light ; introduc- 
ing all parts of divinily in that order which is most scriptural 
and most natural ; a method which appears to me the most 
beautiful and enterhdning, wherein every divine doctrine will 
appear to greatest advantr.ge, in the brightest light, in the 
most striking manner, she^^ing the admirable contexture and 
harmony of the whole. 


I have also for my own profit and entertainment, done much 
^awards another great work which I call the Harmony of th? 
Old and J^evf Testament in three parts. The first considering 
the prophecies of the Messiah, his redemption and kingdom ; 
the evidences of their references to the Messiah, &c. compar- 
ing them all one with another, demonstrating their agree- 
ment, true scope, and sense ; also considering all the various 
particulars wherein these prophecies have their exact fulfil- 
ment ; shewing the universal, precise, and admirable corres- 
pondence between predictions and events. The second part : 
Considering the types of the Old Testament, shewing the 
evidence of their being intended as representations of the 
great things of the gospel of Christ; and the .agreement of 
the type with the antitype. The third and great part, con- 
sidering the harmony of the Old and New Testament, as to 
doctrine and precept. In the course of this work, I find there 
wiJl be occasion for an explanation of a very great part of the 
holy scripture ; which may, in such a view, be explained in a 
method, which to me seems the most entertaining and profit- 
able, best tending to lead the mind to a view of the true spirit, 
design, life and soul of the scriptures, as well as their proper 
use and improvement, I have also many other things in 
hand, in some of which I have made great progress, which I 
will not trouble you with an account of. Some of these 
things, if divine providence favor, I should be willing to at- 
tempt a publication cf. So far as I myself am. able to judge 
of what talents I have, for benefiting my fellow creatures by 
word, I think 1 can write better than I can speak. 

My heart is so much in these studies, that I cannot feel 
willing to put myself into an incapacity to pursue them any 
more in the future part of my life, to such a degree as I must,, 
if I undertake to go through the same course of employ, itv 
the ofiice of a president, that Mr. Burr did, instructing in all 
the languages, and taking the whole care cf the instruction of 
one of the classes in all parts of learning, besides his other la- 
bors. If I should see light to determine me to accept the 
place offered me, I should be willing to take upon me tlic 
work of a president, so far as it consists in the general inspec- 

VoL. I. M 


tion of the whole society ; and to be subservient to the school, 
as to their order and n^clhods of study and instruction, assist- 
ing myself in immediate instruction in the arts and sciences 
(as discretion should direct and occasion serve, and the state 
of things require) especially the senior class: Aiul added to 
all, should be willing to do tlic whole work of a professor of 
divinity, in public and private lectures, proposing questions to 
be answered, and some to be discussed in writing and free 
conversation, in meetings of graduates and others, appointed 
in proper seasons for these ends. It would be now out of my 
way, to spend time, in a constant teaching of the languages ; 
unless it be the Hebrew tongue ; wliich I should be willing to 
improve myself in, by instructing others. 

On the whole, I am much at a loss, with respect to the way 
of duty in this important affair : I am in doubt, whether, if I 
should engage in it, I should not do what both you and I 
would be sorry for afterwards. Nevertheless, I think the 
greatness of the affair, and the regard due to so worthy and 
venerable a body, as that of the trustees of Nassau Hall, re- 
quires my taking the matter into serious consideration. And 
unless you should appear to be discouraged by the things 
which I have now represented, as to any further expectation 
from me, I shall proceed to ask advice, of such as I esteem 
most wise, friendly and faithful : If after the mind of the 
commissioners in Boston is known, it appears that they con- 
sent to leave me at liberty, with respect to the business they 
have employed me in here." 

In this suspense he determined to ask the advice of a 
number of gentlemen in the ministry, on whose judgment and 
friendship he could rely, and to act accordingly. Who, upon 
his, and his people's desire, met at Stockbridgc, January 4, 
1758 ; and, having heard Mr. Edwards's representation of the 
matter, and what his people had to say by way of objection 
against his removal, determined it was his duty to accept of 
the invitation to the presidency of the college. When they 
published their judgment and advice to Mr. Edwards and his 
people, he appeared uncommonly moved and affected with it, 
an^l fell into tears on the occasion, which was very unusual for 


him in the presence of others : And soon after said to the gen- 
tlemen, who had given their advice, that it was matter of won- 
der to him, that they could so easily, as they appeared to do, 

get over the objections he had made against his removal 

But as he thought it his duty to be directed by their advice, 
he should now endeavor cheerfully to undertc\ke it, believing 
he was in the way of his duty. 

Accordingly, having had, by the application of the trustees 
of the college, the consent of the commissioners to resign 
their mission ; he girded up his loins, and set off from Stock- 
bridge for Princeton in January. He left his family at 
Stockbridge, not to be removed till spring. He had two 
daughters at Princeton, Mrs. Burr, the widow of the late 
President Burr, and his oldest daughter that was unmarried. 
His arrival at Princeton was to the great sjjtisfaction and joy 
of the college. 

The corporation met as soon as could be with convenience, 
after his arrival at the college, when he was by them fixed in 
the president's chair. While at Princeton, before his sick- 
ness, he preached in the college hall, sabbath after sabbath, 
to the great acceptance of the hearers ; but did nothing as 
president, unless it was to give out some questions in divinity 
to the senior class, to be answered before him ; each one hav- 
ing opportunity to study and write what he thought proper 
upon them. When they came together to answer them, 
Ihey found so much entertainment and profit by it, especially 
by the light and instruction Mr. Edwards communicated in 
"what he said upon the questions, when they had delivered 
■what they had to say, that they spoke of it v/itb the greatest 
satisfaction and wonder. 

During this lime, Mr. Edwards seemed lo enjoy an un- 
common degree of the presence of God. He told his daugh- 
ters he once had great exercise, concern and fear, relative to 
his engaging in that business ; but since it now appeared, so 
far as he could see, that he was called of God to that place 
and work, he did cheerfully devote himself to it, leaving him- 
self and the event with God, to order what seemed to him 

9t THE Lrrr of 

Tlic small pox had now become very commoii In the coun- 
try, and t\"as then at Princeton, and likely to spread. And as 
Mr. I'dwards had never had it, and inoculalion was then prac* 
tised with great success in those parts, he proposed to be inoc- 
ulated, if the physician should advise to it, and the corporation 
would give their consent. Accordingly, by the advice of the. 
physician, and the consent of the corporation, he wa^ inoculat- 
ed February 13th. lie had it favorably, and it was thought all 
danger was over ; but a secondary fever set in, and by reason 
of a number of pustules in his throat, the obstruction was 
such, that the medicines necessary to check the fever, could 
not be administered. It therefore raged till it put an end to 
his life on the 22d of March, 1758, in the 55th year of his age. 

After he was sensible that he could not survive that sick- 
ness, a little before his death, he called his daughter to him, 
"who attended him in his sickness, and addressed her in a few 
words, which were immediately taken down in writing, as 

near as could be recollected, and are as follows : " Dear 

Lucy, It seems to me to be the will of God that I must short- 
ly leave you ; therefore give my kindest love to my dear wife, 
and tell her, that the uncommon union which has so long 
subsisted between us, has been of such a nature, as I trust is 
spiritual, and therefore will continue for ever : And I hope 
she will be supported under so great a trial, and submit cheer- 
fully to the will of God. And as to my children, you arc now 
like to be left fatherless, v, hich I hope will be an inducement 
to you all to seek a Father who will never fail you. And as to 
my funeral, 1 would have it to be like Mr. Burr's ; and any 
additional sum of money that might be expected to be laid 
out that way, I wouu! have it disposed of to charitable uses.*** 

He said but very little in his sickness ; but was an admira- 
ble instance of patience and lesiijnation to the last. Just at 

• President Burr ordered, on hi« death bed, that Jiii funeral should not b« 
■ ttendcd wiih pomp and cost. He ordered that nothing should be expondci 
but what was agreeable to the dictates of Christian decency ; and that iht sum 
which must be expended at a modish funeral, above the necessary cost of » 
ricccut one, should be given to tljc poor, out of hii a&tata. 


t\\t close of life, as some persons who stood by, expecting he 
would breathe his last in a few iwinutes, were lamenting hii 
death, not only as a great frown on the college, but us having 
a dark aspect on the interest of religion in general ; to their 
surprise, not imagining that he heard, or ever would speak 
another word, he said, " Trust in God, and ye need not fear.'* 
Ther^e were his last words. What could have been more suit- 
able to the occasion ! And what need of more ! in these is as 
much matter of instruction and support, as if he had written a 
volume. This is the only Consolation to his bereaved friends, 
who are sensible of the loss they and the church of Christ 
have sustained in his death j God is all sufficient, and still has 
the care of his church. 

He appeared to have the uninterrupted use of his reason 
to the last, and died with as much calmness, and composure^ 
to all appearance, as that with which ones goes to sleep. The 
physician who inoculated and constantly attended him in his 
sickness, has the following words in his letter to Mrs. Ed- 
wards on this occasion : " Never did any mortal man more 
fully and clearly evidence the sincerity of all his professions, 
by one continued, universal, calm, cheerful resignation and 
patient submission to the divine will, through every stage of 
his disease, than he. Not so much as one discontented ex- 
pression, nor the least appearance of murmuring through the 
whole ! And never did any person expire with more perfect 
freedom from pain ; not so much as one distortion j but in 
.the most proper sense of the v/ords, he really fell asleep.** 


Jlis Publications, Manuscripts^ and Genius <is a 

MR. EDWARDS was greatly esteemed, and indeed cel- 
ebrated, as an author, both in America and Europe. His 
publications naturally raise in the reader of judgment and 


moral taste a high opinion of his greatness and piety. His 
books met with a good reception, in Scotland especially, and 
procured for him great esteem and applause. A gentleman 
of nolc there has the following words concerning Mr. Ed- 
wards, in a letter to one of his correspondents in America : 
" I looked on him as inconsparably the greatest divine and 
[moral*] philosopher in Britain or her colonies ; and rejoiced 
that one so eminently qualified for teaching divinity was 
chosen president of Ncwjersey College." And in another 
letter, the same gentleman says, '< Ever since 1 was acquaint- 
ed with Mr. Edwards's writings, I have looked upon him as the 
greatest divine this age has produced." And a reverend gen- 
tleman from Holland observed, " That Mr. Edwards's writ- 
ings, especially on the Freedom of the Wii/j were held in great 
esteem there ; and that the professors of the celebrated A- 
cademy presented their compliments to President Edwards." 
This gentleman further observes, that " Several members of 
the Classes of Amsterdam gave their thanks, by him, to pious 
^Ir. Edwards, for hk just observations on Mr. Brainerd's 
Life ; which book was translated in Holland, and was highly 
approved by the University of Utrecht." 

As these Memoirs are introductory to a complete edition 
of Mr. Edwards's Works, a professed enumeration of all his 
publications must be needless. Yet, as it is not desirable, on 
many accounts, to observe a chronological order in their ar- 
rangement, a view of those works which were published by 
himself, and the chief of his posthumous productions accord- 
ing to the order of lime, may be acceptable to many. For 
this the reader is referred to the note below. t 

♦ This must have been the writer's racaninj. 

+ 1731 A Sermon preached at Boston, on 1 Cor. i. 19, jO, 
1734 Do. at Norihampton, on Matth. xvi. 17. 
1736 A Narrative of the work of God, &c, 
1738 Five Discourses, at Northampton, 
1741 A Sermon preached at Enfield. 
1741 Do. at Ncwhavcn, on 1 Joiin iv. 1. 

1741 Do. at Hatfield. 

1742 Thought* on die Revival. 


Viewing Mr. Edwards as a writer of sermons, we cannot 
give him the epithet eloquent^ in llie common acceptation of 
the term. We sec in him nothing of the great masters of elo- 
quence, except good sense, concluGive reasoning, and the 
power of moving the passions. Oratorical pomp, a cryptic 
method, luxurious descriptions presented to the imagination, 
and a rich variety of rhetorical figures, enter not into his plan. 
But his thoughts are Well digested, and his reasoning conclu- 
sive ; he produces considerations which not only force the 
assent, but also touch the conscience ; he urges divine au- 
thority, by quoting and explaining scripture, in a form calcu- 
lated to rouse the soul. He moves the passions, not by little 
artifices, like the professed rhetorician, but by saying what is 
much to the purpose in a plain, serious, and interesting way ; 
and thus making reason, conscience, fear and love, to be de- 
cidedly in his favor. And thus the passions are moved in 
the most profitable manner ; the more generous ones take 
the lead, and they are ever directed in the way of practical 

From what has been said, it is easy to conjecture, that close 
discussions were peculiarly suited to Mr. Edwards's talents. 

1746 Religious Affections. 

1747 On Prayer for a Revival. 
1749 Ordination Seraaon. 

1749 Life of the Rev. David Brainerd, 

1749 ^" Qualifications for Communion, 

1752 A Reply to S. William's Answer. 

1752 A Sermon preached at Newark, on James ii. 19, 

1754 On the Freedom of the Will. 

1758 On Oiiginal Sin. 

N. B. 1 his last was in the press when the author died. All his 

other works were collected from his papers after his decease ; 

the principal of which were published in the following order. 
1765 Eightrtn Sermons, with his Life prefixed, 
1774 The History of Redemption. 
1788 On the Nature of Virtue. 
1788 God's Last End in the Creation. 

1788 Thirtythrce Sermons. 

1789 Twenty Sermons. 

1793 Miscellaneous Observations. 
1796 Miscellaneous Remark*. 


/ind as a further evidence to shew which way his genius hid 
its prevailing bent, it is ohscrviiblc, that his style improves in 
proportion to the abiitr user. ess of his subject. Hence, gen- 
erally speaking, llie prodr.olions, especially those published 
by himself, which enter into close, profound, metaphysical 
distinctions, seem to have as much perspicuity as the nature 
of the case will admit. To he convinced of the propriety of 
this remark, the reader need only consult the Treatise on the 
Will ; a work justly thought by able judges to be one of the 
greatest efforts of the human intellect. Here the author 
shews such force and strength of mind, such judgment, pen- 
etration, and accuracy of thought, as justly entitles him to the 
character of one of the grertest geniuses of his age. Wc may 
add, that this treatise goes furiher, perhaps, towards settling 
the main points in controversy between Calvinists and Armin- 
ians, than any thing that had been written. Herein he has 
abundantly demonstrated the chief principles on which Ar- 
minians build their whole scheme, to be false and most absurd. 
Whenever, therefore, this book comes to be generally attend- 
ed to, it will doubtless prove fa<al to Arminian and Pelagian 

Though the work now- mentioned afforded the fairest op- 
portunity for metaphysical investigation ; yet, the same pene- 
trating turn, the same accuracy of discrimination, and the 
same closeness of reasoning, distinguish many of his other 
productions. Among these we might mention, particularly, 
his book on Original ^ in, his Discourse on Justification, his , 
Dissertation on the Nature of true Virtue, and that concem- 
ing the End for which God created the world. If the advo- 
cates of selfish virtue, and of universal restoration, will do 
themselves the justice to examine these Dissertations with 
candor and closeness;they may sec cause to be of the author's 
mind. His other discourses arc excellent, including much 
divinity, and tending above most that are published to awaken 
the conscience of the sinner, as well as to instruct and quick- 
en the Christian. The sermon (preached at Enfield, 8ih Ju- 
ly, 1741) iniiiled " Sinners in the hand of an angry God," was 
attended with remarkable impressions on many of the heur- 


*r«. In his treatise intitled " An humble attempt to promote 
explicit agreement, and visible union of God's people in ex- 
traordinary prayer for the revival of religion," he shews great 
acquaintance with scripture, and a remarkable attention to the 
prophetic part of it. 

Mr. Edwards left a great number of volumes in manuscript, 
which he wrote in a miscellaneous way on almost all subjects 
in divinity. This he did, not with any design that they should 
ever be published in that form, but for the satisfaction and 
improvement of his own mind, and that he might retain the 
thoughts, which appeared to him worth preserving. Some 
idea of the progress he had made, and the materials he had 
collected in this way, he gives in his letter to the trustees of 
the college, when assigning his reasons against accepting the 
Presidentship. He had written much on the prophecies con- 
cerning the Messiah, on justification, the divinity of Christ, 
and the eternity of hell torments. He wrote much on the Bi- 
ble, in the same way ; penning his thoughts on particular 
passages, as they occurred to him in reading or meditation. 

As the method he took to have his miscellaneous writings 
in good order, so as to be able with ease to turn to any partic- 
ular subject, is perhaps as good as any, if not the best that 
has been proposed to the public ; some account of it is here 
given, for the use of young students who have not yet adopted 
any method, and are disposed to improve their minds by 
"writing. He numbered all his miscellaneous writings. The 
first thing he wrote is No. 1, the second No. 2, and soon. 
And when he had occasion to write on any particular subject, 
he first set down the number, and then wrote the subject in 
large character, that it might not escape his eye, when he 
should have occasion to turn to it. For instance, if he was go-* 
ing to write on the happiness of angels, and his last No. was 
148, he would begin thus....U9. Angels, their happiness. 
When he wrote what he designed, he would turn to his alpha- 
betical table, and under the letter A, he would write. Angels, 
their happiness, if this was not there already, and then set 
down the number 149, close at the right hand of it. And if 
he had occasion to write any new thoughts on the same sub- 
Vol. I. N 


ject ; if the number of his miscellanies were increased, Sd 
that his last number was 261, he would set the number 262, 
and then the subject as before. And when he had done writ- 
ing; for that time, he turned to his table, to the word angels ; 
and at the right hand of the number 149, set down 262. By 
this means he had no occasion to leave any chasms ; but be- 
gan his next subject where he left off his last. The number 
of his miscellaneous writings ranged in this manner, amounts 
to above 1400. And yet by a table contained in a sheet or 
two of paper, any thing he wrote can be turned to at pleasure. 

A just picture of this eminent servant of God, is given in the 
following expressive lines, taken from The Triumph of Infi- 
delity, an ingenious, satirical poem ascribed to Dr. Dwight, 
President of Yale College. 

" But, my chief bane, my apostolic fo«, 

In life, in labors, source of every woc» 

From scenes obfcure did hcav'n his EJzvards call, 

That moral Newton^ and that second Paul, 

He, in clear view, saw sacred systems roll, 

Of reasoning worlds, around their centialsoul; 

Saw love attractive every sy»tem bind. 

The parent linking to each filial mind ; 

The end of heaven's high works resistless shew'd, 

Creating glory, and created good, 

And in one little life, the gospel more 

Disclos'd, than all earth's myriads kean'd before* 

Beneath his standard, lo ! what numbers rise, 

To care for truth, and combat for the skies ! 

Arra'd at all points, they try the battling field, 

With reason's sword, and faith's ethcrial shield." 

• The reader will consider this propo»itiou as pettkally strongs but not as 
iHcrally accurate. 


The Inscription upon the stone which is over the grave 
of Mr. Edwards in Princeton, composed originally by Presi- 
dent Finley, has been very obligingly sent on by a particular 
friend, and is here gratefully inserted as the close of these 


Rcverendi admodumviri, 

JONATHAN EDWARDS, A. M. Collcgii novae Cssari* 


Natus apud Windsor, Connecticutensium, V Octobris, 


Patre Reverendo Timotbeo Edwards oriundus, 

CoUegio Yalensi educatus, 

Apud Northampton Sac ris initiatus XV Februarii, 


mine dimissus XXII Junii MDCCL, 

Et munus Barbaros instituendi accepit, 

Praeses Aulx Nassovicas creatus XVI Februarii MDCCLVIII. 

Defunctus in hoc vico XXII Martii sequentis, S. N. 

iEtatis LV, heu nimis brevis ! 

Hie jacit mortalis Pars. 

Qualis Persona quaeris, Viator ? 

Vir, Corpora procero, sed gracili, 

Studiis intensissimis, Abstinentia, ct Scdulltatc 


Ingenii Acumine, judicioacri, et Prudentia, 

Seeundus nemini Mortalium. 

Artium liberalium et scientiarum Peritia insignis, 

Criticorum sacrorum optimus, Theologus exiraius, 

Ut vix alter jcqualis ; disputator candidus. 

Fidei Christianae Propugnator invictus, 
Coneionator Gravis, Solennis, Discriminans ; 
Et, Deo favente, Successu 
Pietate praeclarus, moribus suis sevcrus, 
Ast aliis aequus et benignus, 
Vixit dilectus, veneratus — 
Sed ah ! lugendus 
Quantos Gemitus diseedens eiebat I 
Heu Sapientia tanta ! heu Doctrina ct Religlo f 
Amissum plorat Collegium, plorat et Ecclesia : 
At, eo recepto, gaudet 
Abi, Viator, et pia sequere Vestigia. 

LL s: 




JUNE 22, 1750. 


IT 18 not unlikely^ that some of the readers of the 
following Sermon may be inquisitive concerning the circumstanc* 
€8 of the difference betnoeen me and the peofile of Korthampton^ 
that issued in that separation between me and them, which occa* 
sioned the fireaching of this farenvell sermon. There is, by no 
means, room here for a full account of that matter : But yet it 
seems to be proper, and even necessary, here to correct some 
gross misrepresentations, which have been abundantly, and (it is 
to be feared) by some affectedly and industriously made, of that 
difference : Such as, that I insisted on persons being assured of 
their being in a state of salvation, in order to my admitting them 
into the church ; that I required a particular relation of the 
method and order of a person^s inivard experience, and of the 
time and manner of his conversion, as the test of his fitness for 
Christian communion ; yea, that I have undertaken to set up a 
pure church, and to make an exact and certain distinction be- 
tween saints and hypocrites, by a pretended infallible discerning 
of the state ofmen*s souls j that in these things I had fallen in 
with those wild people, who have lately appeared in A'ewenglandy 
called Separatists ; and that I myself was become a grand Sepa- 
ratist ; and that I arrogated all the power of judging of the quali- 
f cations of candidates for communion wholly to myself, and in^ 
aisted on acting by my solca uthority, in the admission of members 
into the church, t5*c. 

In opposition to these slanderous representations, I shall at 
present only give my reader an account of some things which I 
laid before the council, that separated between me and my people, 
in order to their having a just and full view of my principle 
relating to the affair in controversy. 

, iti PREFAClg. 

Long before the sitting of the councils, my fieofile had sent t0 
the Reverend Mr. Clark of Salem village^ desiring him to vjrite 
in op^iosition to my firincifdcs. Which gave me occasion to vjritc 
to Mr. Clarke that he might have true information ivhat my /irin- 
cifiles were. Jnd in the time of the sitting of the council^ I did,, 
for their iiformation^ make a fiublic declaration of my prineifiles 
before them and the church, in the ineeting house, of the same im" 
port ivith that in my letter to Mr. Clark, and very much in the 
^ame words : jind then, afterwards, sent in td the council in 
writing, an extract of that letter, containing the information I 
had given to Mr. Clark, in the very words of my letter to him, 
that the council niight read and consider it at their leisure, and 
have a more certain ajid satisfactory knowledge what my firinci- 
files were. The extract which I sent to them was in the follow- 
ing words. 

" I am often and I do not know but pretty generally, in the 
country, re/iresented as of a new and odd ofiinion with resficct ta 
the trrrns of Christian comfnunion, and as being for introducing a 
peculiar way of my own. Whereas, I do not perceive that I 
differ at all from the scheme of Dr. JTatts, in hia book entitled. 
The rational Foundation of a Christian Church, and the 
Terms of Christian Communion ; which, he says, is the com- 
mon sentiment of all reformed churches. I had not seen thit 
book of Dr. JTatts* when I published what I have written on the 
subject. JBut yety J think my sentiments, as I have expressed 
them, are as exactly agreeable to what he lays down, as if I had 
been his pupil. Kor do I at all go beyond what Dr. Doddridge 
plainly shews to be his sentiments, in his Rise aiul Progress of 
Religion, and his Sermons on Regeneration, and his Para- 
phrase and Xotes on the JSfew Testament. A'or indeed, Sir^ 
when I consider the sentiments you have expressed in your let' 
ters to Major Pomroy and Mr. Billing, can I perceive but that 
they come exactly to the same thing that I maintain. You sup' 
pose the sacraments are not converting ordinances : But that, 
as seals of the covenant, they presuppose conversion, especial- 
ly in the adult ; and that it is visible saintship, or, in other 
words, a credible profession of faith and repentance, a solemn 
consent to the gospel covenant, joined with a good conversa- 


^on, and competent measure of Christian knowledge, is \vhat 
gjyes a gospel right to all sacred ordinances : But that it is 
necessary to those that come to these ordinances, and in those 
that profess a consent to the gospel covenant, that they be sin- 
cei^ in their profession, or at least should think themselves so. 
The great thhtg which I have scrupled in the established method 
of this church's fir oceeding, and which I dare no longer go on in, 
is their publicly assenting to the form of words rehearsed on oc- 
casion of their admission to the communion^ without pretending 
thereby to mean any such thing as any hearty consent to the 
terms of the gospel covenant^ or to mean any such faith or re- 
pentance as belong to the covenant ofgrace^ and av the grand 
conditions of tJiat covenant : Jt beings at the same time thai the 
words are used^ their known and established principle^ which they 
•penly profess and proceed upon^ that men may and ought to uss 
these words, and mean no such thing, but something else of a na- 
ture far inferior ; which J think they have no distinct, determin- 
mte notion cf; but something consistent with their kiiowing that 
they do not choose God as their chief gccd, but love the world 
more than him, and that they do not give themselves up entirely 
to God, but make reserves ; and in short, kfiowing that they do 
not heartily consent to the gospel covenant, but live still under the 
reigning power of the love of the world, and enmity to God and 
Christ. So that the words of their public profession, according 
to their openly established use, cease to be of the nature of any 
profession of gospel faith and repentance, or any proper com" 
filiance with the covenant 2 For it is their profession, that the 
-Ivords, as used, mean no such thing. The words used under 
these circumstances, do at least fail of being a credible profession 
of these things. I can conceive of no such virtue in a certain set 
of words, that it is proper, merely on the making these sounds, to 
admit persons to Christian sacraments, without any regard to 
any pretended meaning of these sounds : J^/or can I think, that 
any institution of Christ has established any such terms of admis' 
sion into the Christian church. It does not belong to the ccntro^ 
versy between me and my people, how particular or large the 
profession should be, that is required. I should not choose to be 
confined to exact limits as to that matter : But rather than con- 
Vol. I. Q 


trnd^ J i^hould contrvt myaclf ivith a Jeiv ivorcls^ brifjiij cxfxre^s^ 
iii^ the cardinal virtuvn or actn imjdifd in a hearty cfjmjdianct^ 
with the covenant^ made (an hhotild upjiear by itujuiry ijifo the 
/icr8Gn*8 doctrinal knonvledgr ) undrrfitandinifly ; if there ivcrc 
an external convcrnution agreeable thereto : Yea. I nhould thinks 
that such a fieraon^ solemnly making such a profession^ had a 
right to be received as the object of a public charity.^ hoivever he 
himself inight scruple his oivn conversion^ on accoujit (f his not 
rcfncmbering the tinie^ not knoidng the method of his conversion, 
or finding so much remaining sin, iS'c, Aiid (if his oivn scrU' 
pies did not hinder his coming to the Lord's table J I should 
think the minister or church had no right to debar such a profes' 

aor, though he should say he did not think himself converted 

J^or I call that a profession of godliness^ which is a profession of 
the great things wherein godliness consists, and not a profession 
(^ liis^ own opinion of his good estate** 

Northampton, I^Iay 7, 1750. 

Thus far my Letter to Mr. Clark. 

The council having hedrd that I had made certain draughts of 
the covenant, or forms of a public profession of religion which I 
stood ready to accept of from the candidates for church comrnu- 
nion, they,for their further information, sent for them, jiccord- 
ingly I sent them four distinct draughts or forms, wliich I had 
drawn up about a twelvemonth before, as what I stood ready to 
accept of (any one of them) rather than contend, and break witft^ 
my people. 

The two shortest of these forms arc here inserted for the satis- 
faction of the reader. They are as follows, 

" I hope I do truly find a heart to give up myself wholly t9 
God, according to the tenor of that covenant of grace which was 
sealed in my baptism ; and to walk in a way of that obedience t§ 
all the commandments of God, which the covaiant of grace rr*- 
iiuires, as long as I live.** .inother, 

i>REFACE. lor 

^'*<I hofie I truly Jind in my heart a noillingness to comjily with 
Mil the commandments of God, which require me to give up, my- 
*elf wholly to him, and to serve him with my body and my spirit. 
And do accordingly now promise to walk in a way of obedience f 
Mil the commandments of God, as long as I live" 
, Such kind of professions as these I stood ready to accept, rather 
than contend and break with my people. JVot but that I think it 
much more convenient, that ordinarily the public profession of re- 
ligion that is made by Christians, shoidd be much fuller and more 
particular. And that (as I hinted in my letter to Mr, Clark) I 
thould not choose to be tied up to any certain form of words, but 
to have liberty to vary the expressio?is of a public profession the 
more exactly to sidt the sentiments and experience of the profet- 
9or, that it might be a more just and free expression of what 
tach one finds in his heart. 

And moreover it must be noted, that I ever insisted on it, that 
it belonged to me as a pastor, before a profession was accepted, 
to have full liberty to instruct the candidate in the ineaning of the 
ierms of it, and in the nature of the things proposed to be profess- 
ed ; and to inquire into his doctrinal understanding of these 
things, according to my best discretion y and to caution the per- 
son, as I should think needful, against rashness in making such a 
profession, or doing it mainly for the credit of himself or his fam- 
ily, or from any secular views whatsoever, and to put him on se- 
rious selfexamination, and searching his own heart, and prayer 
to God to search and enlighten him that he may not be hypocritic- 
al and deceived in the profession he ?nakcs ; withal pointing forth 
to him the many ways in which professors are liable to be deceived. 

JVor do I think it improper for a minister in such a case, to in- 
quire and know of the candidate what can be remembered of the 
circumstances of his Christian experience ; as this may tend 
much to illustrate his profession, and give a minister great advan- 
tage for proper instructions : Though a particular knowledge 
and remembrance of the time and method of the first conversion 
to God, is not to be made the test of a person^s siticerity, nor in- 
sisted on as necessary in order to his being received into full 
charity. JK^t that I think it at all improper or unprofitable, that 
in some special cases a declaration of the particular circumstance^ 

1©8 f^RElACfc. 

x)fa fjcrson^fijlrst ftivatcrving and the mnnnrY ^f fiia eokiirfiins, 
f/l!iT7jirufiofi8f and comjortsy »hnuid he publicly exhibited b'fort 
the whole congreifation, on occakion of his admittiioh Bifo tht 
church ; thout^h this be not demanded as necessary to ad- 
mission. I ever declared against insi^-ing on a relation of eX' 
pericncen, in this sense, (viz. a relation of the particular time and 
itcpn of the operation of the Spirit ^h^first conversion J as the 
term of communion : Yet, if by a relation of experiences^ be 
meant a declaration of experience of the great things ivrought^ 
ivhertiu true grace and the essential acts and habits of holin^n 
cnndfit ; in this senac, I think an account of a ptrson^'s expe* 
riences necessary in ordtr to his admission into full communion in 
the ch:irch. But that in nvhctever inquiries are made, and 
ivhatcx'cr accounts are given, neither minister nor church are t% 
aet up themselves as searchers of hearts, but are to accept the 
^serious, solemn profssion of the well instructed professor, of a 
good Uf^, as best able to determine ivhat he finds in his own heart. 
These things may serve in seme measure to set right those of 
my renders who have been misled in their apprehensions of the 
^tate of the controversy between me and my people, by thefbre- 
menlioncd miireprescntations. 



2 COR. I. 14. 


1 HE apostle, in the preceding part of the cliap- 
ter, declares what great troubles he met with in the course of 
his ministry. In ilie text and two foregoing verses he de- 
dares what were bis comforts i^m\ supports uhder the troubles 
he met with. There are four things in particular. 

1. That he had approved himself to his own conscienccj 
ver. 12. "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our 
conscience that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with 
flesnly wisdom, but by the grace of God, v^e have had our con-^ 
versation in the world, and more abundantly to you wards." 

2. Another thing he speaks of as matter of comfort, is 
that, as he had approved himself to his own conscience, so he 
had also to the consciences of his hearers, the Corinthians, 
whom he now wrote to, and that they should approve of him 
at the day of judgment. 

S. The hope he had of seeing t!ie blessed fruit of his la- 
bors and sufferings in the nrir.irHry, in their happiness and 
%lory> in that great day of accounts. 

4. That, in his ministry amon*g ihe Corinthians, he had 
approved himself to his Judge, who would approve and re- 
t\'Hrd his faithfulne>ss in that day. 

These thi^e last particulars at^ ^signified in my te>ct, and 
ihe preceding vers6 ; aftd indeed all the four are implied in 
Uie text : It is implied, that the Corinthians had acknowledg- 
ed hini a^ their spiritUftl i'alher, and a . one thai hud been 


faithful amonj> them, and as the means of their future joy 
and glory at the day of judgment, and one \vhom they should 
then see, and have a joyful meeting with as such. It is im- 
plied, that tlie apostle expected at that time to have a joyful 
meeting wiili them before the Judge, and with joy to behold 
their glory, as the fruit of his labors ; and so they would be 
his rejoicing. It is implied also that he then expected to be 
approved of the great Judge, when he and they should meet 
together before him ; and that he would then acknowledge 
his fidelity, and that this had been the means of their glory ; 
and that thus he would, as it were, give them to him as his 
crown of rejoicing. But this the apostle could not hope for, 
unless he had the testimony of his own conscience in his fa- 
vor. And therefore the words do imply, in the strongest 
manner, that he had approved himself to his own conscience. 
There is one thing implied in each of these particulars, 
and in every part of the text, which is that point I shall make 
the subject of my present discourse, viz. 


" iVIinistcrs, and the people that are under their care, 
must meet one another before Christ's tribunal at the day of 

T^Iinisters, and the people that have been under their care, 
must be parted in this world, how well soever they liave been 
muted : If tliey are not separated before, they must be parted 
by death ; and they may be separated while life is continued. 
\Vc live in a world of change, where nothing is certain or 
stable ; and where a little time, a few revolutions of the sun, 
bring to pass strange things, surprising alterations, in par- 
ticular persons, in families, in towns and churches, in coun- 
tries and nations. It often happens, that those who seem 
most united, in a little time are most disunited, and at the 
f^reatcst distance. Thus ministers and pcoj^lc, between whom 
there has been the greatest mutual regard and strictest union, 
may not only differ in their judgments, and be alienated in af- 
fection, but one may rend from the other, and all relation pCf 


tween them be dissolved ; the minister may be removed to a 
distant place, and they may never have any more to do one 
tvith another in this world. But if it be so, there is one meet- 
ing more that they must have, and that is in the last great day 
of accounts. 

Here I would shew, 

1. In what manner ministers, and the people who hav© 
been under their care, shall meet one another at the day of 

2. For what purposes. 

3. For what reasons God has so ordered it, that ministers 
and their people shall then meet together in such a manner, 
and for such purposes. 

I. I would shew, in some particulars, in what manner 
ministers and the people who have been under their care, 
shall meet one another at the day of judgment. Concerning 
this I would observe two things in general. 

1. That they shall not then meet only as all mankind must 
then meet, but there will be something peculiar in the man- 
ner of their meeting. 

2. That their meeting together at that lime shall be very 
different from what used to be in the house of God in this 

1. They shall not meet at that day as all the world must 
then meet together. 1 would observe a difference in tv.o 

(1.) As to a clear actual view, and distinct knowledge and 
notice of each other." 

Although the whole world will be then present, all mankind 
of all generations gathered in one vast assembly, with all of 
the angelic nature, both elect and fallen angels ; yet we need 
not suppose that every one will have a distinct and particular 
knowledge of each individual of the whole assembled multi- 
tude, which will undoubtedly consist of many millions of mil- 
lions. Though it is probable that men's capacities will be 
much greater than in the present state, yet they will not bt 


spfinite : Tliough their undcrstandinj; und CQjnprclicnsioJjr 
Uill l)^ vaslly extcndctl, yet iijen wjjl not be dcifitd. Thcr^ 
•will probabjy be a very cn^Li^gcd view that particplar per* 
sons will have of various parti ai^ members of that vast as- 
sembly, and so of the proceedings of that great day ; but yet 
it must needs be, that accordirt^ to the nature of finite minds, 
some persons mid some thlnj^s, at that day, shall fall more un- 
der the notice of particular perspps than others ; and this (as 
"ttc may well suppose) according as they shall have a nearer 
concern \\\'A\ some than oihcrs, in the transactions of the day. 
There will be special reason why those who have had special 
concerns together in this world, in their state of probation, and 
whose muluial aflairs v/ill be then tobc tried and judged, should 
especially be set in one another's view. Thus we may sup- 
pose, that rr.lers and subjects, earthly judges and those whom 
they have judged, neighhorM who have had mutuial converse, 
dealings, and contests, heads of families and their children 
i^nd servants, shall theft meet, and in a peculiar distinction be 
set together. And tspecially will it be thus with ministers 
and their people. It is evident by the text, that these shall 
be in each other's view, shall di^lincl^y know each other, and 
shall have particular notice one of another at that time. 

(2.) They shall meet together, as having special concern 
one >vith another in the great transactions of that day. 

Although they shall meet the whole world at that time, yet 
they will not have any immecUate and pailicular concern with 
all. Yea, the far greater part of those v/ho shall then be gath- 
ered togcth.er, will be r:uca a^^ tliey have had no intercourse 
wit4i in their state of probation, and so will have no mutual 
concerns to be judged of. But irs to ministers and the peo- 
ple that have been under tlreir care, they will be such as have 
had much immediate concern one with another, in matters of 
the greatest moment, that ever niankind have to do one with 
another in. Therefore they especially must meet and be 
brought together before tjic judge, as haviiig special concern 
one with another in the desi^'u und business pf that great dajr 
of accounis. 


Thus their meeting, as to the manner of it, -will be diverse 
from the meeting of mankind in general. 

2. Their meeting at the day of judgment will be very di- 
irerse from their meetings one with another in this world. 

Ministers and their people, while their relation continues, 
i^ten meet together in this world : They are wont to meet 
from Sabbath to Sabbath, and at other \imes for the public 
worship of God, and administration of ordinances, and the 
solemn services of God's house : And besides these meetings, 
they have also occasions to meet for the determining and 
managing their ecclesiastical affairs, for the exercise of 
church discipline, and the settling and adjusting those things 
which concern the purity and good order of public administra- 
tions. But their meeting at the day of judgment will be ex» 
ceeding diverse, in its manner and circumstance, from any- 
such meetings and interviews as they have, one with another 
in the present state. I would deserve how, in a few particu- 

(1.) Now they meet togetlier in a preparatory mutable 
state, but then in an unchangeable state. 

Now sinners in the congregation meet their minister in a 
^tate wherein they are capable of a saving change, capable of 
being turned, through God's blessing on the ministrations and 
labors of their pastor, from the power of Satan unto God 5 
and being brought out of a state of guilt, condemnation and 
wrath, to a state of peace and fevor with God, to the enjoy- 
ment of the privileges of his children, and a title to their eter- 
nal inheritance. And saints now meet their minister with 
great remains of cori'uption, and sometimes under great spir- 
itual difficulties and affliction : And therefore are yet the 
proper subjects of means of an happy alteration of their state, 
consisdng in a greater freedom from these things, which they 
have reason to hope for in the way of an attendance on ordi- 
nances, and of which God is pleased commonly to make his 
ministers the instruments. And ministers and their people 
now meet in order to the bringing to pass such happy chang- 
es ; they are the great benefits sought in their solemn meet- 
ings in tliis world. 

V<>L. I. P 


But when they shall meet together at tlie day of judgment, 
it will be far otherwise. They will not then meet in order ta 
riie use of means for the bringing to efVcct any such changes ; 
for they will all meet in an unchangeable state. Sinners will 
be in an unchangeable state : They who then shall be under 
the guilt and power of sin, and have the wrath of God abiding 
on them, shall be beyond all remedy or possibility of change, 
and shall meet their ministers without any hopes of relief 
or remedy, or gelling any good by their means. And as 
for the saints, they will be already perfectly delivered from 
all their before remaining corruption, temptation, and calam- 
ities of every kind, and set forever out of their reach ; and 
no deliverance, no happy alteration, will remain to be accom- 
plished in the way of the use of means of grace, under the ad- 
ministrations of ministers. It will then be pronounced, " He 
that is unjust, let him be unjust still ; and he that is filthy, let 
him be filthy slill ; and he that is righteous let him be right- 
eous still ; and he that is holy let him be holy still." 

(2.) Then they shall meet together in a state of clear, cer- 
tain and infallible light. 

Ministers are set as guides and teachers, and are represent- 
ed in scripture as lights set up in the churches ; and in the 
present state meet their people from lime to time-in order to 
instruct and enlighten them, to correct their mistakes, and to 
be a voice behind them, when they turn aside to the right hand 
or to the left, saying, " This is the way, walk in it ;" to evince 
and confirm the truth by exhibiting the proper evidences of 
it, and to refute errors and corrupt opinions, to convince the 
erroneous and establish the doubting. But when Christ shall 
come to judgment, every error and false opinion shall be de- 
tected ; all deceit and illusion shall vanish away before the 
light of that day, as the darkness of the night vanishes at the 
appearance of the rising sun ; and ever)' doctrine of the word 
of God shall then appear in full evidence, and none shall re- 
«nain unconvinced ; all shall know the truth with the greatest 
certainly, and there shall be no mistakes to rectify. 

Now ministers and their people may disagree in their 
judgments concerning some matters of religion, and may 


sometimes meet to confer together concerning those things 
wherein they differ, and to hear the reasons that may be of- 
fered on one side and the other ; and all may be ineffecual as 
to any conviction of the truth : They may meet and part 
again, no more agreed than before ; and that side which was 
in the wrong, may remain so still : Sometimes the meetings 
of ministers with their people in such a case of disagreeing 
sentiments, are attended with unhappy debate and controver- 
sy, managed with much prejudice and want of candor ; not 
tending to light and conviction, but rather to confirm and in- 
crease darkness, and establish opposition to the truth, and 
alienation of affection ope from another. But when they 
shall hereafter meet together, at the day of judgment, before 
the tribunal of the great Judge, the mind and will of Christ 
will be made known ; and there shall no longer be any de- 
bate or difference of opinions ; the evidence of ihe truth shall 
appear beyond all dispute, and all controversies shall be finally 
and forever decided. 

Now ministers meet their people, in order to enlighten and 
awaken the consciences of sinners ; Setting before them the 
great evil and danger of sin, the strictness of Gods law, their 
own wickedness of heart and practice, the great guilt they are 
under, the wrath that abides upon them, and their impotence, 
blindness, poverty, and helpless and undone condition : But 
all is often in vain ; they remain still, notwithstanding all their 
ministers can say, stupid and unawakened, and their con- 
sciences unconvinced. But it will not be so at their last meet- 
ing at the day of judgment ; sinners, when they shall meet 
their minister before their great Judge, will not meet him 
with a stupid conscience : They will then be fully convinced 
of the truth of those things which they formerly heard from 
him, concerning the greatness and terrible majesty of God, 
his holiness, and hatred of sin, and his awful justice in punish- 
ing it, the strictness of his law, and the dread fulness and 
truth of his threatenings, and their own unspeakable guilt and 
misery : And they shall never more be insensible of these 
,things : The eyes of conscience M'ill now be fully enlightened, 


and never shall be blinded again : The mouth of conscience 
shall now be opened, and never sh.dl be shut any more. 

Now ministers meet with their pcoj)lc, in public and pri- 
rate, in order to cnliejhten them concerninp: the state of their 
sonls ; to open and apply the rules ofGofl's wojd to them, in 
order to their searchinj:*; their own hearts, and discernini^ the 
state that they are in ; but now nunistcrs have no infallihle dis- 
cerning of the state of the souls of their people ; and the most 
skilful of them are liahlc to mistakes, and oOen arc mistaken 
in ihinj^s of this nature ; nor are the people able certainly to 
know the state of their mmister, or one another's slate ; very 
often those pass among them fok' saints, and il may be emi- 
nent saints, that are grand hypocrites ; and on the other hand, 
those are sometimes censured, or hardly received into their 
charity, that are indeed some of God's jewels. And nothing 
is more common than for men to be mistaken concerning 
their own state : Many that are abominable to God, and the 
children of his wrath, think highly of themselves, as his 
precious saints and dear children. Yea, there is reason to 
think, that often some that are most bold in their confidence 
of their safe and happy state, and think themselves not only 
true saints, but the most eminent saints in the congregation, 
are in a peculiar manner a smoke in God's nose. And thus 
it undoubtedly often is in those congre^^ations where the word 
of(iodis most faithfully dispensed, notwithstanding all that 
ministers can say in their clearest explications, and most 
searching applications of the doctrines and rules of God's 
word to the souls of their hearers, in their meetings one with 
another. But in the day of judgment they shall have another 
sort of n>ecting ; then the secrets of every heart shall be made 
manifest, and every man's slate shall be perfectly known. 
1 Cor. iv. 5. " Therefore, judge nothing before the time, un- 
til the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden 
things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the 
hearts : And then shall every man have praise of God." 
Then none shall be deceived ccnccrning his own state, nor 
shall be any more in doviht about it. There shall be an eter- 
nal end to all the ill conceit and vain hopes of deluded hypo- 


writes, and all the doubts and fears of sincere Christians. And 
then shall all know the state of one another's souls: The peo- 
ple shall know whether their minister has been sincere and 
faithful, and the ministers shall know the state of every one of 
their people, and to whom the word and ordinances of God 
have been a savor of life unto life, and to whom a savor of 
death unto death. ^ 

Now in this present state it often happens that when min- 
isters and people meet together to debate and manage their 
ecclesiastical affairs, especially in a state of controversy, they 
are ready to judge and censure one another with regard to 
each other's views and designs, and the principles and ends 
that each is influenced by ; and are greatly mistaken in their 
judgment, and wrong one another with regard to each others' 
views and designs and the principles and ends that each is in- 
fluenced by, and are greatly mistaken in their judgment, and 
wrong one another in their censures : But at that future meet- 
ing, things will be set in a true and perfect light, and the prin- 
ciples and aims that every one has acted from shall be certain- 
ly known ; and there will be an end to all errors of this kind, 
and all unrighteous censures. 

(3.) In this world, ministers and their people often meet 
together to hear of and wait upon an unseen Lord ; but at the 
day of judgment, they shall meet in his most immediate and 
visible presence. 

Ministers, who now often meet their people to preach to 
them the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, to convince 
them that there is a God, and declare to them what manner 
of being he is, and to convince them that he governs, and will 
judge the world, and that there is a future state of rewards 
and punishments, and to preach to them a Christ in heaven, 
and at the right hand of God, in an unseen world, shall then 
meet their people in the most immediate sensible presence of 
this great God, Saviour, and Judge, appearing in the most 
plain, visible, and open manner, with greut glory, with all his 
holy angels, before them and the whole world. They shall 
not meet them to hear about an absent Christ, an unseen 
Lord, and future Judge ; but to appear before that Judge, 


Iind as being set togetlicr in the presence of that supreme 
Lord, in his immense glory and awful majesty, whom they 
have heard so often of in llieir mcetinLjs top^etlier on earth. 

(4.) The meeting at the last day, of ministers, and the peo- 
ple that have been under their care, Avil| not be attended by 
any one with a careless heedless heart. 

"With such an heart arc their meetings often attended in 
this world by many persons, having little regard to him whom 
they pretend unitedly to adore in the solemn duties of his 
public woi ship, taking little heed to their own thoughts or 
frame of their minds, not '\ttendiiig to the business they are 
engaged in, or considering the end for which they are come 
together. But the meeting at that great day will be very dif- 
ferent : There will not be one careless heart, no sleeping, no 
"wandering of mind from the great concern of the meeting, no 
inattentiveness to the business of the day, no regardlessness of 
the presence they are in, or of those great tilings which they 
shall hear from Christ at that meeting, or that they formerly 
heard from him, and of him, by their ministers, in their meet- 
ing in a state of trial, or which they shall now hear their min- 
isters declaring concerning them before their judge. 

Having observed these things, concerning the manner and 
circumstances of this future meeting of ministers and the peo- 
ple that have been under their care, before the tribunal of 
Christ at the day of judgment, I now proceed, 

IL To oUserve to what purposes they shall then meet. 

1. To give an account, before the great Judge, of their be- 
havior one to another, in the relation they stood in to each 
other in this world. 

Ministers are sent forth by Christ to their people on his bu- 
siness, arc his servants and messengers ; anc^ when they have 
finished their service, they must return to their master to give 
him an account of what they have done, and of the entertain- 
ment they have had in i)erforming their ministry. Thus wc 
find, in Luke xiv. 16.. ..21, That when the servant who was 
sent forth to call the guests to the great supper, had done hi? 
fcrrand, and finished his appointed service, he returned to l]\^ 


ifitiaster, and g;ave him an account of what he had done, and of 
the entertainnnent h3 had received. And when the master, 
being angry, sent his servant to others, he returns ai^ain, and 
gives his master an account of his conduct and success. So 
we read, in Heb. xiii. 17, of ministers being rulers in the house 
of God, " that watch for souls, as those that must give ac- 
count." And we see by the forementioned Luke xiv. that 
ministers must give an account to their master, not only of 
their own behavior in the discharge of their office, but also of 
their peoples' reception of them, and of the treatment they 
have met with among them. 

And' therefore, as they will be called to give an account of 
both, they shall give an account at the great day of accounts 
in the presence of their people ; they and their people being 
both present before their Judge. 

Faithful ministers will then give an account with joy, con- 
cerning those who have received them well, and made a good 
improvement of their ministry ; and these will be given 
them, at that day, as their crown of rejoicing. And, at the 
same time, they will give an account of the ill treatment of 
such as have not well received them and their messages from 
Christ : They will meet these, not as they used to do in this 
world, to counsel and warn them, but to bear witness against 
them ; and as their jutlges, and assessors with Christ, to con- 
demn them. And, on the other hand, the people will, at that 
day, rise up in judgment against wicked and unfaithful minis- 
ters, who have sought their own temporal interest more than 
the good of the souls of their flock. 

2. At that time ministers, and the people whb have been 
under their care, shall meet together before Christ, that he 
may judge between them, as to any controversies which have 
subsisted between them in this world. 

So it very often comes to pass in this evil world, that great 
differences and controversies arise between ministers and the 
people that are under their pastoral care. Though they are 
under the greatest obligations to live in peace, above persons 
in almost any relation whatever ; and although contests and 
dissensions between persons so related are the most unhappr 


ami terrible In their consequences, on many accounts, of knf 
sort of contentions ; yet how frequent have such contentions 
been ? Sometimes a people contest with their ministers about 
their doctrine, sometimes about their adminisirations and con- 
duct, and sometimes about their maintenance ; and someiimea 
such contests continue a long time ; and sometimes they ire 
decided in tliis world, accordinj^ to the prevailing interest of 
one party or the otlier, rather than by the word of God, an4 
the reason of things ; and sometimes such controversies neve? 
Lave any proper determination in this world. 

But at the day of judgment there will be a full, perfect and 
everlasting decision of them. The infallible Judge, the in- 
finite fountain of light, truth and justice, will judge betv.eenr 
the contending parties, and will declare what is the truth, who 
is in the right, and what is agreeable to his mind and will. 
And in order hereto the parties must stand together before 
him at the last day ; which will be the great day of finishing 
and determining all controversies, rectifying all mistakes, 
and abolishing all unrighteous judgments, errors, and confu- 
sions, which have before subsisted in the world of mankind. 

3. Ministers, and the people that have been under their 
care, must meet togetlier at that time to receive an eternal 
sentence and retribution from the Judge, in the presence of 
each other according to their behavior in the relation they 
stood in one to another, in the present state. 

The Judge will not only declare justice, but he will do jus- 
tice between ministers and their people. He M'ill declare 
what is right between them, approving him tliat has been just 
and faithful, and condemning the unjust ; and perfect truth 
and equity shall take place in the sentence which he passes, 
in the rewards he bestows, and the punishments which he in-' 
flicts. There shall be a glorious reward to faithful ministers ; 
to those who have been successful. Dan. xii. 3. *' And they 
that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and 
they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever 
and ever :'* And also to those who have been faithful, and yet 
not successful ; Isa..xlix. 4 : " Then I said, I have labored in 
vain, I have spent my strengtli for nought ; yet surely my 


jutjgtncnt is with thfe Lord, and my reward with my God." 
And those who have well received and entertained them shall 
be gloriously rewarded ; Matth. x. 40, 41. "He that receiv- 
eth you, receiveth me ; and he that receiveth me, receiveth 
him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet, in the name 
of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward ; and he that 
receiveth a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, 
shall receive a righteous man's reward." Such people, and 
their faithful ministers, shall be each others' crown of rejoic- 
ing. 1. Thess. ii. 19, 20. " For what is our hope, or joy, or 
crown of rejoicing ? Arc not even ye in the presence of our 
Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? For ye are our glory and 
joy." And in the text, JVe are your rejoicings as ye also are 
ours^ in the day •/the Lord Jesus. But they that evil intreat 
Christ's faithful ministers,. especially in that wherein they are 
faithful, shall be severely punished; Matth. x. 14, 15. " And 
whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when 
ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your 
feet. Verily, I say unto yOu, It shall be more tolerable for 
the sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, 
than for that city." Deut. xxxiii. 8....1 1. « And of Levi h© 
said, Let thy Urim and thy Thumniim be with thy holy one. 
They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law. 
Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands, 
smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of 
them that hate him, that they rise not again." On the other 
hand, those ministers who are found to have been unfaithful, 
shall have a most terrible punishment. See Ezek. xxxiii. 6. 
Matth. xxiii. 1....33. 

Thus justice shall be administered at the great day to min- 
isters and their people : And to that end they shall meet to- 
gether, that they may not only receive justice to themselves, 
but see justice done to the other parly : For this is the end of 
that great day, to reveal or declare the righteous judgment of 
God ; Rom. ii. 5. Ministers shall have justice done them, 
and they shall see justice done to their people : And the peo- 
ple shall receive justice and see justice done to their minister. 
And so all things will be adjusted and settled for ever belwceft 

Vol. I. Q 


them ; every one being sentenced and recompensed according 
to his works, either in receiving and wearing a crown of eter- 
nal joy and glory, or in suflcring everlasting shame and pain. 
I come now to the next thing proposed, viz. 

IIL Th .^i\'e some reasons why we may suppose God hat 
so ordered it, that ministers and the people that have been un- 
der their care, shall meet together at the day of judgment, in 
such a manner and for such purposes. 

There are two things which I would now observe. 

1. The mutual concerns of ministers and their people arc 
of the greatest importance. 

The Scripture declares, that God will bring every work in- 
to judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or 
ivhethcr it be evil. It is fit that all the concerns, and all thd 
behavior of mankind, both public and private, should be 
brought at last before God's tribunal, and finally determined 
by an infallible Judge : But it is especially requisite that it 
should be thus, as to affairs of very great importance. 

Now the mutual concerns of a Christian minister and his 
church and congregation, are of the vastest importance : In 
many respects, of much greater moment than the temporal 
concerns of the greatest earthly monarchs, and their king- 
doms or empires. It is of vast consequence hov/ ministers 
discharge their oflice, and conduct themselves towards their 
people in the work of the ministry, and in affairs appertaining 
to it. It is also a matter of vast importance, how a people re- 
ceive and entertain a faithful minister of Christ, and w hat im- 
provement they make of his ministry. These things have a 
more immediate and direct respect to the great and last end 
for which man was made, and the eternal welfare of mankind, 
than any of the temporal concerns of men, whether public or 
private. And therefore it is especially fit that these affairs 
should be brought into judgment and openly determined and 
settled in truth and righteousness ; and tlu'.t to this end, min- 
isters and their people should meet together before the om- 
niscient and infallible judge. 


2. The mutual concerns of ministers and their people have 
A special relation to the main things appertaining to the day 
of judgment. 

They have a special relation to that great and divine person 
mho ■will then appear as Judge. Ministers are his messen- 
gers, sent forth by him ; and, in their office and administra- 
tions among their people, represent his person, stand in his 
stead, as those that are sent to declare his mind, to do his 
work, and to speak and act in his name : And therefore it is 
especially fit that they should return to him to give an ac- 
count of their work and success. The king is judge of all his 
subjects, they are all accountable to him : But it is more es- 
pecially requisite that the king's ministers, who are especially 
intrusted with the administrations of his kingdom, and that 
are sent forth on some special negotiation, should return to 
him, to give an account of themselves, and their discharge of 
their trust, and the reception they have met with. 

Ministers are not only messengers of the person who at the 
last day will appear as Judge, but the errand they are sent 
upon, and the aifairs they have committed to them as his 
ministers, do most immediately concern his honor, and the 
interest of his kingdom : The work they are sent upon is to 
promote the designs of his administration and government ; 
and therefore their business with their people has a near rela- 
tion to the day of judgment ; for the great end of that day is 
completely to settle and establish the afiairs of his kingdom, to 
adjust all things that pertain to it, that 3vcry thing that is op- 
posite to the interests of his kingdom may be removed, and 
that every thing which contributes to the completeness and 
glory of it may be perfected and confirri^ed, that this great 
King may receive his due honor and glory. 

Again, the mutual concerns of ministers and their people 
have a direct relation to the concerns of the day of judgment, 
as the business of ministers with their people is to promote 
the eternal salvation of the souls of men, and their escape 
from eternal damnation ; and the day of jud[;mcnt is the day 
appointed for that end, openly to decide and settle men*s eter- 
nal state, to fix some in a state of eternal salvation, and t* 


brint; their salvation to its utmost consummation, and to ft^: 
otliers in a st:ite of cveilLisiing damnation and mott perfect 
misery. The mutual concerns of ministers and people 
have a most direct relation to the day of judgment, as 
the very debip;n of the work of the ministry is the people's 
preparation for that day : Ministers are sent to warn them of 
the approach of that day, to forewarn them of the dreadful 
sentence then to be pronounced en the wicked, and declare to 
them the blessed sentence then to be pronounced on the right- 
eous, and to use means wuh them that they may escape the 
%vrath which is then to come on the ungodly, and obtain the 
reward then to be bestowed on the saints. 

And as the mutual concerns of ministers and their people 
have so near and direct a relation to that day, it is especially 
fit that those concerns should be broui^ht in to that day, and 
there settled and issued ; and that in order to this, ministers 
and their people should meet and appear together before the 
great Judge at that day. 


THE improvement I would make of the things which 
have been observed, is to lead the people here present who 
have been under my pastoral care, to some reflections, and 
give them some advice suitable to our present circumstances ; 
relating to what has been lately done in order to our being 
separated, as to the relation we have heretofore stood in one 
to another ; but expecting to meet each other before the great 
tribunal at the day of judgment. 

The deep and serious consideration of that our future most 
solemn meetuig, is certainly most suitable at such a time as 
this ; there having so lately been that done, which, in all 
probability, will (as to the relation we have heretofore stood 
in) be followed with an everlasting separation. 

How often have we met together in the house of God in 
this relation ? How often have I spoke to you, instructed, 
counselled, warned, directed, and fed you, and adnunisterc^J 


ordinances among you, as the people which were committed 
to my care, and whose precious souls I had the charge of ? 
But in all probability this never will be again. 

The prophet Jeremiah, chap. xxv. 3. puts the people in 
mind how long he had labored among them in the work of the 
ministry : « From the thirteenth year of Josiah, the son of 
Amon, king of Judah, even unto this day (that is, the three 
and twentieth year) the word of the Lord came unto me, and 
I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking." I am 
not about to compare myself with the prophet Jeremiah; but 
in this respect I can say as he did, that " I have spoken the 
word of God to you, unto the three and twentieth year, rising 
early and speaking." It was three and twenty years, the 
15th day of last February, since I have labored in the work 
of the ministry, in the relation of a pastor to this church and 
congregation. And though my strength has been weakness, 
having always labored under great infirmity of body, besides 
my insufficiency for so great a charge in other respects, yet I 
have not spared my feeble strength, but have exerted it for 
the good of your souls. I can appeal to you as the apostle 
does to his hearers. Gal. iv. 13. "Ye know how through 
infirmity of the flesh, I preached the gospel unto you." I 
have spent the prime of my life and strength in labors for 
your eternal welfare. You are my witnesses, that what 
strength I have had I have not neglected in idleness, nor laid 
cut in prosecuting worldly schemes, and managing temporal 
affairs, for the advancement of my outward estate, and ag- 
grandizing myself and family ; but have given myself whol- 
ly to the work of the ministry, laboring in it night and day, 
rising early and applying myself to this great business to 
which Christ appointed me. I have found the work of the 
ministry among you to be a great work indeed, a work of ex- 
ceeding care, labor and difficulty : IMany have been the heavy 
burdens that I have borne in it, which my strength has been 
very unequal to. God called me to bear these burdens ; and 
I bless his name, that he has so supported me as to keep me 
from sinking under them, and that his power herein has beei\ 
manifested in my weakness ; so that although I have often 


been troubled on every side, yet I have not been distressed j 
ptrplcxed, but not in despair ; cast down, but not destroyed. 

But now I have reason to think my work is finished which 
I had to do as your minister : You liave publicly rejected mc, 
jnd my opportunities cease. 

How highly therefore does it now become us, to consider 
of that lime when we must meet one another before the chief 
Shepherd ? When I must give an account of my stewardship, 
of the service I have ;!one for, and the reception and treat- 
ment I have had among the people he sent me to : And you 
must give an account of your own conduct towards me, and 
the improvement you have made of these three and twen- 
ty years of my ministry. For thpn botli you and I must ap.- 
pear together, and we both must give an account, in order to 
»n infallible, righteous and (jternal sentence to be passed upon 
\is, by him who will judge us with respect to all that we have 
said or done in our meeting here, all our cond\ict one towards 
another, in the house of God, and elsewhere, on Sabbathdays, 
and on other days ; who will try our hearts and manifest our 
thoughts, and the principles and frames of our minds, will 
judge us with respect to all the controversies which have sub- 
sisted between us, with the strictest impartiality, and will ex- 
amine our treatment of each other in those controversies : 
There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, nor hid 
Avhich shall not be known ; all will be examined in the search*-' 
ing, penetrating light of God's omniscience and glory, and by 
him whose eyes arc as a flame of fire ; and truth and right 
shall be made plainly to appear, being stripped of every veil ; 
and all error, falsehood, unrighteousness, and injury shall b» 
laid open, stripped of every disguise ; every specious pre- 
tence, every cavil, and all false reasoning shall vanish in a 
moment, as not being able to bear the light of that day. And 
then our hearts will be turned inside out, and the secrets of 
them will be made more plainly to appear than our outward 
actions do now. Then it shall appear what the ends arc 
which wc have aimed at, what have been the governing prin- 
ciples which we have acted from, and what have been the 
•lispos^liions we have exercised in our ecclesiastical disputes 


iiud contests. Then it will appear whether I acted uprightly? 
and from a truly conscientious, careful regard to rny duty to 
my great Lord and Master, in some former ecclesiastical con- 
troversies, which have been attended with exceeding unhappy 
circumstances and consequences : It will appear whether 
there was any just cause for the resentment which was mani- 
fested on those occasions. And then our late grand contro- 
versy, concerning the qualifications necessary for admission 
to the privileges of members, in complete standing, in the 
visible church of Christ, will be examined and judged in all 
its parts and circumstances, and the whole set forth in a clear, 
certain, and perfect light. Then it will appear whether the 
doctrine which I have preached and published concerning this 
matter be Christ's own doctrine, whether he will not own it 
as one of the precious truths which have proceeded from his 
own mouth, and vindicate and honor as such before the whole 
universe. Then it will appear what is meant by " The man 
that comes without the wedding garment ;*' for that is the 
day spoken of, Matth. xxii. 13. " Wherein such an one shall 
be bound hand and foot, and cast into utter darkness, where 
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." And then it will 
appear whether, in declaring this doctrine, and acting agree- 
able to it, and in my general conduct in the affair I have been 
influenced from any regard to my own temporal interest or 
honor, or desire to appear wiser than others ; or have acted 
from any sinister, secular views whatsoever ; and whether 
what 1 have done has not been from a careful, strict, and ten- 
der regard to the will of my Lord and Master, and because I 
dare not offend him, being satisfied what his will was, after a 
long, diligent, impartial, and prayerful inquiry ; having this 
constantly in view and prospect, to engage me to great solici- 
tude not rashly to determine truth to be on this side of ihe 
question, where I am now persuaded it is, that such a deter- 
mination would not be for my temporal interest, but every 
way against it, bringing a long series of extreme difTiculiies, 
and plunging me into an abyss of trouble and sorrow. And 
then it will appear whether my people have done their duty 
lo their pastor with respect to this matter j whether they have 


shown a right temper and spirit on this occasion ; -SThethfit 
tliey have done me justice in hearing, attending to and con- 
sidering what I had to say in evidence of what I believed and 
taught as part of the counsel of God ; whether I have been 
treated with that impartiality, candor, and regard which the 
just Judge esteemed due ; and whether, in the many steps, 
which have been taken, and the many things that have been 
said and done in the course of this controversy, righteousness 
and charity, and Christian decorum has been maintained ; or, 
if otherwise, to how great a degree these things have been vi- 
olated. Then every step of the conduct of each of us in this 
affair, from first to last, and the spirit we have exercised in 
all shall be examined and manifested, and our own conscienc- 
es shall speak plain and loud, and each of us shall be convinc- 
ed, and the world shall know ; and never shall there be any 
more mistake, misrepresentation, or misapprehension of the 
affair to eternity. 

This controversy is now probably brought to an issue be- 
tween you and me as to this world ; it has issued in the event 
of the week before last : But it must have another decision at 
that great day, which certainly will come, when you and I shall 
meet together before the great judgment seat : And therefore 
I leave it to that time, and shall say no more about it at 

But I would now proceed to address myself particularly to 
Several sorts of persons. 

1. To those who are professors of godliness amongst us. 

1 would now call you to a serious consideration of that grca£ 
day wherein you must meet him who has heretofore been 
your pastor, before the Judge whose eyes are as a flame of 

I have endeavored according to my best ability, to search the 
word of God, with regard to the distinguishing notes of true 
piety, those by which persons might best discover their state, 
and most surely and clearly judge of themselves. And these 
rules and marks I have from time to time applied to you, in 
the preaching of the word to the utmost of my skill, and in 

MREWELL sermon. 120 

the most plain and searching manner that I have been able, 
in order to the detecting the deceived hypocrite, and establish- 
ing the hopes and comforts of the sincere. And yet it is to 
be feared, that after all that I have done, I now leave some of 
you in a deceived, deluded state ; for it is not , to be supposed 
that among several hundred professors, none are deceived. 

Henceforward I am like to have no more opportunity to 
take the care and charge of your souls, to examine and search 
them. But still I entreat you to remember arid consider the 
rules which I have often laid down to you during my minis- 
try, with a solemn regard to the future day when you and I 
must meet together before our Judge ; when the uses ©f ex- 
amination you have heard from me must be rehearsed again 
before you, and those rules of trial must be tried, and it will 
appear whether they have been good or not ; and it will also 
appear whether you have impartially heard them, and tried 
yourselves by them ; and the Judge himself, who is infalliblcj 
will try both you and me : And after this none will be deceiv- 
ed concerning the state of their souls. 

I have often put you in mind, that whatever your pretences 
to experiences, discoveries, comforts, and joys have been, at 
that day every one will be judged according to his works ; 
and then you will find it so. 

May you have a minister, of greater knowledge of the word 
of God, and better acquaintance with soul cases, and of great- 
er skill in applying himself to souls, whose discourses may be 
more searching and convincing ; that such of you as have 
held fast deceit under my preaching, may have your eyes 
opened by his ; that you may be undcceivec^ before that great 

What means and helps for instruction and selfexamination 
you may hereafter have is uncertain ; but one thing is certain, 
that the lime is short, your opportunity for rectifying mistakes 
in so important a concern will soon come to an end. We 
live in a world of great changes. There is now a great 
change come to pass ; a controversy is at an end which you 
have continued for so many years : But the time is coming, 
Vol. I. R 


and will soon come, when you will pass out of lime into cter" 
iiity ; and so will pass from under all means of grace what- 

The greater part of you who are professors of godlinesa 
have, (to use the phrase of the apostle) " acknowledged me, in 
part :" You have heretofore acknowledged me to be your 
spiritual father, the instrument of the greatest good to you 
that ever is, or can be obtained by any of the children of men. 
Consider of that day When you and I shall meet before our 
Judge, when it shall be examined whether you have had from 
me the treatment which is due to spiritual children, and 
whether you have treated me as you ought to have treated 
a spiritual father. As the relation of a natural parent brings 
great obligations on children in the sight of God ; so much 
more, in many respects, does the relation of a spiritual father 
bring great obligations on such whose conversation and eter- 
nal salvation they suppose God has made them the instru- 
ments of: 1 Cor. iv. 15. " For though you have ten thou- 
sand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers ; for 
in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you through the gospel." 

n. Now I am taking my leave of this people I would ap- 
ply myself to such among them as I leave in a Christless, 
graceless condition ; and would call on such seriously to con- 
sider of that solemn day when they and I must meet before 
the Judge of the world. 

My parting with you is in some respects in a peculiar man- 
ner a melancholy parting ; inasmuch as 1 leave you in most 
melancholy circumstances ; because I leave you in the gall 
of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, having the wrath of God 
abiding on you, and remaining under condemnation to ever- 
lasting misery and destruction. Seeing I must leave you, it 
would have been a comfortable and happy circumstance of 
our parting, if I had left you in Christ, safe and blessed in that 
sure refuge and glorious rest of the saints. But it is other- 
wise. I leave you far off, aliens dnd strangers, wretched sub- 
jects and captives of sin and Satan, and prisoners of vindieir.-fc 
justice ; without Christ, and without God in the world. 


Your consciences bear me witness, that while I ha9 oppor- 
tunity, I have not ceased to warn you, and set before you your 
xlanger. I have studied to represent the misery and necessi- 
ty of your circumstances in the clearest manner possible. I 
have tried all ways that I could think of tending to awaken your 
consciences, and make you sensible of the necessity of your 
improving your lime, and being speedy in flying from the 
wrath to come, and thorough in the use of means for your es- 
cape and safety. I have diligently endeavored to find out and 
use the most powerful motives to persuade you to take care 
for your ov/n Avelfare and salvation. I have not only endeav- 
ored to awaken you, that you might be moved with fear, but I 
have used my utmost endeavors to win you : I have sought 
out acceptable words, that if possible I might prevail upon 
you to forsake sin, and turn to God, and accept of Christ as 
your Saviour and Lord. I have spent my strength very nuich 
in these things. But yet, with regard to you whom I am 
now speaking to, I have not been successful : But have this 
day reason to complain in those words, Jer. vi. 29. " The 
bellows are burnt, the lead is consumed of the fire, the found- 
er melteth in vain, for the wicked are not plucked away." It 
is to be feared that all my labors, as to many of you, have 
served no other purpose but to harden you ; and that the 
word which I have preached instead of being a savor of life 
unto life, has been a savor of death unto death. Though I 
shall not have any account to give for the future of such as 
havfe openly and resolutely renounced my ministry, as of a 
betrustment committed to me ; yet remember you must give 
account for yourselves, of your care of your own souls, and 
your improvement of all means past and future, through your 
whole lives. God only knows what will become of your poor 
perishing souls, what means you may hereafter enjny, or what 
disadvantages and temptations you may be under. May God 
in his mercy grant, that however all past means have been 
unsuccessful, you may have future means which may have a 
new effect ; and that the word of God, as it shall h-^ hereafter 
dispensed to you, may prove as the fire and the hammer that 
Joreaketh the rock in pieces. However, let me now at part? 


Inj^ exhort and beseech you not wholly to forget the warnings 
you have had while under my ministry. When you and I 
shall meet at the day of jud};incnt, then you will remember 
them : The sight of mc, your former minister, on that occa- 
sion, will soon revive them in your memory ; and that in a 
very affectinp; manner. O do not let that be the first time that 
they arc so revived I 

You and I are now parting one from another as to this 
world ; let us labor that we may not be parted after our meet- 
ing at the last day. If I have been your faithful pastor, (which 
will that day appear whether I have or no) the» I shall be ac- 
quitted, and shall ascend with Christ. O do your part, that in 
such a case, it may not be so, that you should be forced eter- 
nally to part from me, and all that have been faithful in Christ 
Jesus. This is a sorrowful parting that now is between you 
and me ; but that would be a more sorrowful parting to you 
than this. This you may perhaps bear without being much 
aflected with it, if you are not glad of it ; but such a parting 
in that day will most deeply, sensibly, and dreadfully affect 

III. I would address myself to those who arc under some 

lilcssed be God that thcic are some such, and that (although 
I have reason to fear I leave multitudes in this large congre- 
p-ation in a Christless state) yet I do not leave tkem all in to- 
tal stupidity and carelessness about their souls. Some of you, 
that 1 have reason to hope are under some awakenings, have 
acquainted me with your circumstances ; which has a tenden- 
cy to cause me, now I am leaving you, to take my leave of 
you with peculiar concern for you. What will be the issue of 
your present exercise of mind I know not : But it will be 
known at that day, when you and I shall meet before the judg- 
inent seat of Christ. Therefore now be much in considera- 
tion of that day. 

Now I am parting with this flock, I would once more press 
upon you the counsels I have hcrclofoic given, to take hcod 
pf being slighty in so great a concern, to be thorough and ii) 


good earnest in the affair, and to beware of backsliding, to 
hold on and hold out to the end. And cry mightily to God, 
that these great changes that pass over this church and con- 
jgrcgation do not prove your overthrow. There is great 
tempiation in them ; and the devil will undoubtedly seek to 
make his advantage of them, if possible to cause your present 
convictions and endeavors to be abortive. You h?.d need to 
double your diligence and watch and pray, lest you be over- 
come by temptation. 

Whoever may hereafter stand related to you as your spirit- 
ual guide, my desire and prayer is, that the great Shepherd 
of the sheep would have a special respect to you, and be your 
guide, (for there is none teacheth like him) and that he who is 
the infinite fountain of light, would " open your eyes, and turn 
you from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan 
unto God ; that you may receive forgiveness of sins, and in- 
heritance among them that are sanctified, through faith that 
is in Christ ;" that so, in that great day, when 1 shall meet 
you again before your Judge and mine, we may meet in joy- 
ful and glorious circumstances, never to be separated any 

IV. I would apply myself to the young people of the con- 

Since I have been settled in the work of the ministry in this 
place, I have ever had a peculiar concern for the souls of the 
young people, and a desire that religion might flourish among 
them ; and have especially exerted myself in order to it ; be- 
cause I knew the special opportunity they had beyond others, 
and' that ordinarily those whom God intended mercy for, wxre 
brought to fear and love him in their youth. And it has ever 
appeared to me a peculiarly amiable thing, to see young peo- 
ple walking in the ways of virtue and Christian piety, having 
their hearts purified and sweetened with a principle of divine 
]ove. And it has appeared a thing exceeding beautiful, and 
what would be much to the adorning and happiness of the 
town, if the young people could be persuaded when they meet 
together, to converse as Christians, and as the children of 


God; avoiding impuuty, levity, and extravagance ; keepings 
strictly to rules of virtue, and conversing together of the things 
of (^od, and Christ, and heaven* This is what I have longed 
for : And it has been exceeding grievous to me uhcn 1 have 
heard of vice, vanity, and disorder among our youth. And so 
far as I know my own heart, it >va5 from hence that I former- 
ly led this church to some measures, for the suppressing vicfe 
among our young people, which gave so great offence^ and bjr 
•which I became so obnoxious. I have sougiit the good, and 
not the hurt of our young people. I have desired their 
truest honor and happiness, and not tlieir reproach ; knowin j 
that true virtue and reli;.^ion tended not only to the glory and 
felicity of young people in another world, but their greatest 
peace and prosperity, and highest dignity and honor in this 
■world ; and above all things to sweeten, and render pleasant 
and delightful, ev^n the days of youth. 

But whether I have loved you, and sought your good more 
or less, yet God in his providence, now calling me to part 
•with you, committing your souls to him who once committed 
the pastoral care of them to me, nothing remains, but only 
(as 1 am now taking my leave of you) earnestly to beseech 
you, from love to yourselves, if you have none to me, not to 
despise and forget the warnings and counsels I have so often 
given you ; remembering the day when you and I must meet 
again before the great Judge of quick and dead ; when it will 
appear whether the things I have taught you were true, 
whether the counsels I have given you were good, and wheth- 
er 1 truly soug^^t your good, and wlltlhcr you have well im- 
proved my endeavors. 

I have, from lime to time, earnestly warned you against 
frolicking, (as it is called) and some other liberties commonly 
taken by young people in the land. And whatever some 
may say in justification of such liberties and customs, and ma^ 
laugh at warnings against them, I now leave you my parting 
testimony against such things ; not doubting but God will 
npprovc and confirm it in that day when we shall meet before 


V. I would apply myself to the children of the congre- 
gation, the lambs of this flock, who have been so long under 
tny care. 

I have just now said that I have had a, peculiar concern for 
the young people ; and in so saying I did not intend to ex- 
clude you. You are in youth, and in the most early youth : 
And therefore I have been sensible that if those that were 
young had a precious opportunity for their souls' good, you 
who are very young had, in many respects, a peculiarly prec- 
ious opportunity. And accordingly I have not neglected you : 
I have endeavored to do the part of a faithful shepherd, in 
feeding the lambs as well as the sheep. Christ did once 
commit the care of your souls to me as your minister ; and 
you know, dear children, how I have instructed you, and warn- 
ed you from time to time : You know how I have often call- 
ed you together for that end ; and some of you, sometimes, 
have seemed to be affected with what I have said to you. 
But I am afraid it has had no saving effects as to many of you ; 
but that you remain still in an unconverted condition, without 
any real saving work wrought in your souls, convincing yoi^ 
thoroughly of your sin and misery, causing you to see the 
great evil of sin, and to mourn for it, and hate it above all 
things, and giving you a sense of the excellency of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, bringing you with all your hearts to cleave to 
him as your Saviour, weaning your hearts from the world 
and causing you to love God above all, and to delight in holi- 
ness more than in all the pleasant things of this earth : And 
so that I now leave you in a miserable condition, having no 
interest in Christ, and so under the awful displeasure and an- 
ger of God, and in danger of going down to the pit of eternal 

But now I must bid you farewell : I must leave you in the 
hands of God : I can do no more for you than to pray for you. 
Only I desire you not to forget, but often think of the coun- 
sels and warnings I have given you, and the endeavors I have 
tj-sed, that your spuls. might be saved from everlasting de- 


Dear children, I leave you in an evil ^vorld, that is full of 
5>narcs and temptations. God only knows what will become 
of you. This the scripture hatii told us, that there arc but 
few saved ; and vvc have abundant confirmation of it from 
'what we sec. This \ve sec, that children die as well as oth- 
ers : ^Multitudes die before they grow up ; and of those that 
grow up, comparatively few ever give good evidence of sav- 
ing conversion to God. I pray God to pity you, and take care 
of you, and provide for you the best means for the good of 
your souls ; and that God himself would undertake for you to 
be your heavenly Father, and the mighty Redeemer of your 
immortal souls. Do not neglect to pray for yourselves: 
Take heed you be not of the number of those who cast ofT 
fear, and restrain prayer before God. Constantly pray to 
God in secret ; and often remember that great day \then you 
•must appear before the juu^^ment seat of Christ, and meet youf 
minister there, who has so often counselled and warned you. 

I conclude with a few words of advice to all in general, in 
some particulars, which are of great importance in order to 
the future welfare and prosperity of this church and congre- 

1. One thing that greatly concerns you, as you would be 
an happy people, is the maintaining o( family order. 

We have had great disputes how the church ought to be 
regulated ; and indeed the subject of these disputes was of 
great importance : But the due regulation of your families is 
of no less, and, in some respects, of much greater importance. 
Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, 
consecrated to Christ, and wholly hifluenced and governed by 
his rules. And family ediication and order are some of the 
chief of the means of grace. If these fail, all other means 
arc like to prove incnectual. If these are (hily maintained, 
all the means of grace will be like to prosper and be success- 

Let me now therefore, once more, before I fmally cease to 
speak to this congregation, repeat, and earnestly press the 
•ounscl which I have often ur^cd on heads of families here, 


while I was their pastor, to great painfullness, in teaching, 
warning, and directing their children ; bringing them up in 
the nurture and admonition of the Lord ; beginning early, 
when there is yet opportunity, and maintaining a constant dil- 
igence in labors of this kind : Remembering that, as you 
would not have all your instructions and counsels ineffectual, 
there must be government as well as instructions, which must 
be maintained with an even hand, and steady resolution, as a 
guard to the religion and morals of the family, and the sui> 
port of its good order. Take heed that it be not with any of 
you as with Eli of old, who reproved his children but re- 
strained them not ; and that, by this means, you do not bring 
the like curse on your families as he did on his. 

And let children obey their parents, and yield to their in- 
structions, and submit to their orders, as they ^YOuld inherit a 
blessing and not a curse. For we have reason to think, from 
many things in the word of God, that nothing has a greater 
tendency to bring a curse on persons in this world, and on all 
their temporal concerns, than an undutiful, unsubmissive, dis- 
orderly behavior in children towards their parents. 

2. As you would seek the future prosperity of this society 
it is of vast importance that you should avoid contention. 

A contentious people will be a miserable people. The 
contentions which have been among you, since I first became 
your pastor, have been one of the greatest burdens I have la- 
bored under in the course of my ministry : Not only the 
contentions you have had with rhe, but those which you have 
had one with another, about your lands and other concerns. 
Because I knew that contention, heat of spirit, evil speaking, 
and things of the like nature, were directly contrary to the 
ipirit of Christianity, and did in a peculiar manner, tend to 
drive away God's Spirit from a people, and to render all 
means of grace ineffectual, as w ell as to destroy a people's 
outward comfort and welfare. 

Let me therefore earnestly exhort you, as you would seek 
your own future good hereafter to watch against a conten- 
tious spiiit. " If you would sec good days, seek p'cace, and 
ensue it." 1 Pet. iii. 10. 1 1. Let the contention, which has- 
Vol. I. S 


lately been about the terms of Christian communion, as it has 
been the greatest of your contentions, so be the last of them. 
I would, now I am preaching my farewell sermon, say to you, 
as the Apostle to the Corinthians, 2 Cor. xiii. 11.: " Finally, 
brethren, farewell. Be perfect : 15e of one mind : Live in 
peace ; and the Cod of love and peace sliall be M'iih you." 

And here I would particularly advise those that have ad- 
hered to me in the late controversy, to watch over their 
spirits, and avoid all bitterness towards others. Your tempt- 
ations are, in some respects, the greatest ; because what has 
been lately done is grievous to you. But however wrong you 
may think others have done, maintain, with great diligence 
and watchfulness, a Christian meekness and sedaleness of 
spirit ; and labor, in this respect, to excel others who are of 
the contrary part. And this will be the best victory : For 
«' he that rules his spirit, is better than he that takes a city." 
Therefore let nothing be done through strife or vain glory. 
Indulge narevcngeful spirit in any wise ; but watch and pray 
against it ; and, by all means in your power, seek the pros- 
perity of this town : And never think you behave yourselves 
as becomes Christians, but when you sincerely, sensibly, and 
fervently love all men, of whatever party or opinion, and 
whether friendly or unkind, just or injurious, to you or your 
friends, or to the cause and kingdom of Christ. 

3. Another thing that vastly concerns the future prosperity 
of this town, is, that you should watch against the encroach- 
ments of error ; and particularly Arminianism, and doctrines 
of like tendency. 

You were, many of you, as I well remember, much alarm- 
ed with the i.ppichcnsion of the danger of the prevailing of 
these corrupt principles, near sixteen years ago. But the 
danger then was small in comparison of what appears now. 
These doctrines at this day are much more prevalent than 
they were then : The progress they have made in the land, 
^vithin this seven years, seems to have been vastly greater 
than at any time in the like space before : And they are still 
prevailing and creeping into almost ;ill parts of the land, 
threatening the utter ruin of the credit of those doctrines 


which are the peculiar glory of the gospel, and the interests 
of vital piety. And I have of late perceived some things a- 
mong yourselves, that shew that you are far from being out 
of danger, but on the contrary remarkably exposed. The 
older people may perhaps think themselves sufficiently fortifi- 
ed against infection : But it is fit that all should beware of self- 
confidence and carnal security, and should remember those 
needful warnings of sacred writ, *' Be not high minded, but 
fear ; and let him that stands, take heed lest he fall." But 
let the case of the older people be as it will, the rising gener- 
ation are doubtless greatly exposed. These principles are 
exceeding taking with corrupt nature, and are what young 
people, at least such as have not their hearts established with 
grace, are easily led away with. 

And if these principles should greatly prevail in this town, 
as they very lately have done in another large town I could 
name, formerly greatly noted for religion, and so for a long 
time, it will threaten the spiritual and eternal ruin of this peo- 
ple, in the present and future generations. Therefore you 
have need of the greatest and most diligent care and watch- 
fulness with respect to this matter. 

4. Another thing which I would advise to, that you may 
hereafter be a prosperous people, is, that you would give your- 
selves much to prayer. 

God is the fountain of all blessing and prosperity, and he 
will be sought to for his blessing. I would therefore advise 
you not only to be constant in secret and family prayer, and 
in the public worship of God in his house, but also often to 
assemble yourselves in private praying societies. I would ad- 
vise all such as are grieved for the afflictions of Joseph, and 
sensibly affected with the calamities of this town, of whatever 
opinion they be with relation to the subject of our late contro- 
versy, often to meet together for prayer, and to cry to God 
for his mercy to themselves, and mercy to this town, and 
mercy to Zion and the people of God in general through the 

5. The last article of advice I would give (which doubtless 
does greatly concern your prosperity) is, that you would take 


great care with regard to the settlement of a minister, to see 
to it who, or what manner of person lie is that you settle ( 
and particularly in these two respects. 

(1.) That he he a man of thoroup;hly sound principles in 
the scheme of doctrine which he maintains. 

This you will stand in the [greatest need of, especially at 
such a day of corruption as tliis is. And in order to obtain 
such a one, you had need to exercise extraordinary care and 
prudence. 1 know the danp,er. I know the manner of many 
youn^ gentlemen of corrupt i)rinciples, their ways of conceal- 
ing themselves, the fair specious disguises they arc wont to 
put on, by which they deceive others, to maintain their own 
credit, and get themselves into others* confidence and im- 
provement, and secure and establish their own interest, until 
they sec a convenient opportunity to begin more openly to 
broach and propagate their cornipt tenets. 

(2) Labor to obtain a man who has an established charac- 
ter, as a person of serious religion and fervent piety. 

It IS of vast importance that those who are settled in this 
•work should be men of true piely,at all times, and in all places } 
but more especially at sometimes, and in some towns and 
churches. And this present time, which is a time wherein 
religion is in danger, by so many corruptions in doctrine and 
practice, is in a peculiar manner a day wherein such minis- 
ters are necessary. Nothing else but sincere piety of heart 
is at all to be depended on, at such a time as this, as a securi- 
ty to a young man, just coming into the world, from the pre- 
vailing infection, or thoroughly to engage him in proper and 
successful endeavors to withstand and oppose the torrent of 
error, and prejudice, against the high, mystciious, evangelical 
doctrines of the religion of Jesus Christ* and their genuine ef- 
fects in true experimental religion. And this place is a place 
that docs peculiarly need such a minister, for reasons obvious 
to all. 

If you should happen to settle a minister who knows noth- 
ing truly of Christ, and ihe way of salvation by him, nothing 
experimentally of the nature of vital religion ; alas, how will 
yoi\ be exposed as sheep without a shepherd I Here is need 


^f one in this place, who shall be eminently fit to stand in the 
gap, and make up the hedge, and who shall be as the chari- 
ots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. You need one that 
shall stand as a champion in the cause of truth and the power 
pf godliness. 

Having briefly mentioned these important articles of ad- 
vice, nothing remains, but that I now take my leave of you, 
and bid you ally?? rf we//; wishing and praying for your best 
prosperity. I would now commend your immortal souls to 
Him, who formerly committed them to me, expecting the 
day, when I must meet you again before Him, who is the 
Judge of quick and dead. I desire that I may never forget 
this people, who have been so long my special charge, and 
that I may never cease fervently to pray for your prosperity. 
May God bless you with a faithful pastor, one that is well ac- 
quainted with his mind and will, thoroughly warning sinners, 
wisely and skilfully searching professors, and conducting you 
in the way to eternal blessedness. May you have truly a 
burning and shining light set up in this candlestick ; and may 
you, not only for a season, but during his whole life, and that 
along life, be willing to rejoice in his light. 

And let me be remembered in the prayers of all God's peo- 
ple that are of a calm spirit, and are peaceable and faithful in 
Israel, of whatever opinion they may be with respect to term^ 
of church communion. 

And let us all remember, and never forget our future sol- 
emn meeting on that great day of the Lord ; the day of infaU 
jfible decision, and of the everlasting and unalterable sentence. 






THE church in Enfield, Rev. Peter Reynolds, pastor ; Mr. 
Edward Collins, delegate. 

ShcfTield, Jonathan Hubbard, pastor ; Mr. Daniel Kellogg, 

SuttoD, David Hall, pastor ; Mr. Jonathan Hall, delegate. 

Reading, William Hobby, pastor ; Mr. Samuel Bancroft, 

The first church in Springfield, Robert Breck, pastor ; Mr. 
Thomas Stcbbins, delegate. 

Sunderland, Joseph Ashley, pastor j Mr. Samuel Mon^ 
tague, delegate. 

Hatfield, Timothy Woodbridge, pastor ; Oliver Partridge, 
Esq. delegate. 

The first church in Hadley, Chester Williams, pastor ; Mr,, 
Enos Nash, delegate. 

Pclham, Robert Abercrombie, pastor ; Mr. jNIatthew Cray, 

CONVENED at the call of the first church in Northamp- 
ton, together \vith the elder of the church in Cold Spring,* 
added by the consent of both the pastor and church of Xorihr 
ampton, in order to advise to a remedy from the calamities 
arising from the unsettled, broken state of the first church ii^ 
Northampton, l)y reason of a controversy subsisting about the 
qualifications for full communion in the cliurch. 

The Reverend Mr. Hubbard was chosen moderator, and the 
Reverend Mr. Williams scribe. 

The council, after scekini^ the divine presence and direc- 
tion, had tbc matter in controversy laid before them, and 
finding the sentiments of the pastor and church concerning 

• Reverend Mr. Billln/^. 


the qualifications necessary for full communion, to be diamet- 
rically opposite to each other ; the pastor insisting upon it as 
necessary to the admission of members to full communion, 
that they should make a profession of sanctifying grace ; 
whereas the brethren are of opinion that the Lord's supper is a 
converting ordinance, and consequently that persons, if thejr 
have a competency of knowledge and are of a blameless life, 
may be admitted to the Lord's table, although they make no 
such profession : And also finding that, by reason of this di^ 
versity of sentiments, the doors of the church have been some 
years, so that there has been no admission : And not being 
able to find out any method wherein the pastor and brethren 
can unite ; consistent with their own sentiments, in admitting 
members to full communion : The council did then, accord- 
ing to the desire of the church, expressed in their letters mis- 
sive, proceed to consider of the expediency of dissolving the 
relation between pastor and people ; and, after hearing the 
church upon it, and mature deliberation of the case, the ques- 
tions were put to the members of the council severally ; 

1. Whether it be the opinion of this council that the reverend 
Mr Edwards, persisting in his principles, and the church in 
theirs in opposition to his, and insisting on a separation, it 
is necessary that the relation between pastor and people be 
dissolved ? Restlved in the affirmative. 
^. Whether it be expedient that this relation be immediately 
dissolved ? Passed in the affirmative. 
However, we take notice that notwithstanding the unhappy 
dispute which has arisen, and so long subsisted between the 
'pastor and church of Northampton, upon the point before 
mentioned, we have had no other objection against him, 
but what relates to his sentiments upon the point aforesaid, 
laid before us : And although we have heard of some stories 
spread abroad, reflecting upon Mr. Edwards' sincerity with 
regard to the change of his sentiments about the qualifications 
for full communion ; yet we have received full satisfixtion 
that they are false and groundless : And although we do not 
all of us agree v*'iih Mr. Edwards in our sentiments upon the 


point, yet we have abundant reason to believe that he to*)k 
much pains to get light in that matter ; and that he is up- 
rightly following the dictates of his own conscience ; and with 
great pleasure reflect upon the Christian spirit and temper he 
has discovered in the unhappy controversy subsisting among 
them ; and think ourir«.lves bound to testify our full charity 
towards him, and recommend him to any church or people 
agreeing with him in sentiments, as a person eminently qual- 
ified for the work of the gospel ministry. 

And wc would recommend it to the Rev. Mr. Edwards and 
the first church in Northampton, to take proper notice of the 
heavy frown of divine Providence, in suflcring them to be re- 
duced to such a state as to render a separation nccessaiy, af- 
ter they have lived so long and amicably together, and been 
inutual blessings and comforts to each other. 

And now, recommcndiui^ the Rev. Mr. Edwards, and the 
church in Norihamptcn, to the grace of God we subscribe, 
In the name of the Council. 

A'urt/ia/nfiton, June 22, 1750. 
\ true copy cx?.mined by 

CijKSTF.Ti Williams. Scribe 










Vet. r. 


iVJ Y afifiearing in this fiuhlic manner on that side of 
ihe questiony which is defended in the folloiving sheets^ nvill firob- 
ably be surftrising to manyt as it is well known-t that Mr, StOd- 
dardy so great and emi7icnt a divine, and ?ny -venerable firedeces- 
isor in the pastoral office over the church in A'^orthamfiton, as well 
as my own grandfather, fiublicly and strenuously afifieared in 
opfiosition to tlie doctrine here maintained. 

However, I hope^ it will not be taken amiss, that I think as I 
do, merely because I herein diff'erfrom him, though so much my 
iuperior, and One whose name and memory I am under distin- 
guishing obligations on every account, to treat with great respect 
tnd honor. Especially may I justly expect, that it will not be 
charged on me as a crime, timt I do not think in every thing just 
as he did, since none more tluin he himself asserted this scriptur- 
al and Protestant maxim, that we ought to call no man on earth 
Master, or make the authority of the greatest and holiest of mere 
men the ground of our belief of any doctrine in religion. Cer^ 
tainly we are not obliged to think any man infallible, who himself 
utterly disclaims infallibility. Very justly Mr. Stoddard ob" 
serves in his Appeal to the Learned, /j. 97, " Ml Protestants c* 
gree that there is no infallibility at Rome ; and I know nobody 
else that pretends to any since the apostles* days.** And he in- 
sists in his preface to his sermon on the same subject, That it ar- 
^es no want of due respect in us to our forefathers, for u^ to ex- 
amine their opinions. Some of his words in that preface contain 
a good apology for me, and are worthy to be repeated on this OC" 
casion. They are as follow : 

« It may possibly be a fault (says Mr. Stoddard) to depart 

from the ways of ^ur fathers : But it may also be a virtue, and 

fin eminent act of obedience^ to depart from them in some things. 


JMni are ivont to make a great TioiaC', that we are brin^ni^ in in- 
770T'a//o72.v, arid depart from the old iray : But it is beyond rue to 
find out luhercin the iiiUjuity does lie. U'c may see cause to alter 
some practices of our fathers^ nuthout desfii&ing of them^ ivit/i- 
cut priding- ourselves in our luisdom^ without apostacy^ without 
abusing the advantages God has ^iven us<, without a spirit of com- 
pliunce 'j>ith corrupt men^ without inclination to superstition^ 
wi'.hout making disturbance in the church of God : And there is 
710 reason^ that it should be turned as a reproach upQU us. Sure- 
ly it is commendable fur us to examine the practices of our fat h' 
ers ; we have no sufficient reason to take practices upon trust 
from them. Let them have as high a character as belongs to 
them ; yet we may not look upon their principles as oracles. .Ya- 
than himself missed it in his conjecture about building the house 
of God. He that believes principlea because \\\ty affirm the?ny 
Vidkrs idols of than. And it would be no humility^ but baseness 
of spirit.^ for us to judge ourselves incapable to examine the prin- 
ciples that have been handed down to us. If we be by any means 
fit to open the mysteries of the gospel^ we are capable to judge of 
these matters : And it would ill become usy so to indulge ourselves 
in ecise, as to neglect the examination of received principles. If 
the pracLlcis of our fathers in any particulars were mistaken^ it 
is fit that they should be rejected ; if they be noty they will bear 
examination. Jfwe be forbidden to cxuminc their practice, that 
will cut offiall hopes of reformation.''* 

Thus in thae very seuaonable and apposite .sayings^ Mr. Stod- 
dard^ though dead, yet spcaketh : .-Ind here (to apply them to 
viy own case J he tells me, that I am not at all blameable,for not 
taking Ids /in'nciples on trust ; that notwithstanding the high 
fharactcrju.Jly belonging to him^ J ought not to look on /lis prin- 
ciples as oracles^ as though he could not ?n:ss it, as well as w^'a- 
fhan htmselfin his conjecture about building the house rf God ; 
nay, surely that I am e\>en to be commended, for examining /us 
practice, and judgiiigfur myself; that it would ill bicome itie, to 
do otherwise ; that this would be no manifestation of humility, 

but rather shew a ba.saicss of spirit ; that if I be not capable to 
judge for myself in these matters, I am by no means fit to open 

the mysteries of the ^o.'^pel ; that if I should believe his princ'^- 


files^ because he advanced them^ I should be guilty of making him 
an idol. Also he tells his and my flocks ivith all others^ that it ill 
becomes thevi., so to indulge their ease, as to 7tegleci examining 
received firinciples and practices ; and that it is Jit^ mistakes 
in any particulars be rejected : That if in some things I differ 
in my judgment from him, it ivould be verij unreasonable, on this 
account to make a great noise, as though I rjcre bringing in inno^ 
'uations, and departing from the old ivay ; that I may see cauiie to 
alter some practices of my grandfather and predecessor, ivithout 
despising hi?n^ivithout priding myself in my tinsdom, 'without apos- 
tasy, without despising the advantages God has give7i me, ivith- 
out incliyiation to superstition, and 'without making disturbance in 
the church of God ; in short, that it is beyond him, to find out 
wherein the iniquity of my so doing lies ; and that there is no 
reason ivhy it should be turned as a reproach upon me. Thus, I 
think, he sufficiently vindicates my conduct in the present case^ 
and ivarns all ivith ivhom J am concerned, not to be at all dis- 
pleased ivith me, or to find the least fault ivith me, merely because 
I examine for myself, have a judgment of my oivn, and am for 
practising in some particulars different from him, how positive 
soever he was that his judgment and practice were right. It is 
reasonably hoped and expected, that they who have a great re- 
gard to his judgment, will impartially regard his judgment, and 
hearken to his admonition in these things. 

I can seriously declare, that an affectation of making a shew as 
if I were something wiser than that excellent person, is exceed- 
ing distant from me, and very far from having the least influence 
in my appearing to oppose^ in this way of the press, an opinion 
which he so earnestly maintained and promoted. Sure I am, I 
liave not affected to vary from his judgment, nor in the least been 
governed by a spirit of contradiction, neither indulged a cavilling 
humor, in remarking on any of his arguments or expressions. 

I have formerly been of his opinion, ivhich I imbibed from his 
books^ even from my childhood, and have in my proceedings con- 
formed to his practice ; though never ivithout some difficulties in 
Viy view^ which I could not solve : Yet, however, a distrust of my 
(iwn understandings and deference to the authority of so venera- 
ble a m'j.n, the seeming strength ofttome of his arguments, togcth- 


rr nulth the success he had in hh ministry y and hi.f great rr/iutd» 
tion and injlumce^ prevailed for a long time to bear dcu^n my 
tcruplcfi. But the difficulties arid uneasiness en my mind in^f 
creasiTig., as I became more studied in divinity ^ and as I imfirov- 
ed in exfierience ; this brought rne to closer diligence and care 
to search the scrifitures, and more imfiartially to examine and 
weigh the arguments of my grandfather, and such other authora 
as I could get on his side of the qiiestion. By ivhich means, after 
long searching, pondering, viewing and reviciving, I gained sat* 
isfaction, became fully settled in the opinion I now maintain, as in 
the discourse here offered to public viovo ; and dared to proceed 
no further in a practice and administratio7i inconsistent there^ 
rjith : Which brought me into peculiar circumstances, laying me 
under an inevitable necessity publicly to declare and maintain the 
opinion I was thus established in ; as also to do it from the press, 
end to do it at this time without delay. It is far from a pleasing 
circumstance of this publication, that it is against what my hon- 
ored grandfather strrniioudy maintained, both from the pulpit 
and press. I can truly say, on account of this and some other 
considerationsy it is ivhat I eiigage in isith the greatest reluctance, 
that ever J undertook any public service in my life. But the 
state of things ivith me is so ordered, by ilie sovereign disposal of 
$he great governor of the nuorld, that my doing this appeared ta 
me very necessary and altogether u7iavoidable, I am conscious, 
net only is the interest of Religion conceimed in t/us affair, but 
my oun reputation, future usefulness, and ?ny very subsistence, 
all seemed to depend on my freely opening and defending myself, 
as to my principles, and agreeable conduct in my pastoral charge ; 
and on my doing it from the press : In ivhich way alone am I able 
to state and justify my opinion, to any purpose, before the country 
(ivhich is full of noise, ?nisrepresentations, and many censures 
concerning this affair) or n>c?i before my own people, as ail 
nvould be fully sensible, if they knew the exact state rfthe case. 

I have bren brought to this 7iecessity in divine pirorvidence, by 
mtch a situation of affairs and coincidence of circumstances and 
n<ents^ as I choose at present to be silent about ; and which it is 
not ?ieedful, n^jr perhaps expedient for me to publish to thi 


One thin^ canong others that caused mc to go about this busi- 
ness vjith so much backnvarchiess^ tms the fear of a bad imfirove- 
ment some ill minded people might be ready, at this day. To make 
of the doctrine here defended ; particularly that wild enthusiastic 
cal sort of people, nvho have of late gone into unju tifiable separa- 
tions, even re^iouncing the ministers and churches of the land in 
general, under pretence of setting ufi a pure church. It is well 
known, that I have heretofore publicly remonstrated, both from 
the pulpit and press, against very many of the notions andprac 
tices of this kind of people } and shall be very sorry if what I 
now offer to the public, should be any occasion of their encourag- 
ing or strengthening themselves in those 7iotions and. practices of 
theirs. To prevent which, I would now take occasion to declare^ 
I am still of the same mind concerning them, that I have former- 
ly manifested, I have the same opinion concerning the religion 
and inward experiences chief y in vogue among them, as I had 
when I wrote my Treatise on Religious Affections, crzc? when I 
wrote my Observations and Reflections on Mr. Brainerd's 
Life. I have no better opinion of their notion of a pure church 
by means of a spirit of discerning, their censorious outcries againsS 
the standing ministers and churches in general, their Lay ordina- 
tions, their Lay preachings, and public exhortings, and admiJiis- 
iering Sacraments ; their assuming, self confident, contentious, 
uncharitable, separating Spirit ; their going about the country^ 
as sent by the Lord, to make proselytes ; with their many other 
extravagant and wicked ways. My holding the doctrine that is 
defended in this discourse, is no argument of any change of my 
opinion concerning them ; for when I wrote those two books be- 
fore mentioned, I was of the same mind concerning the c/ualif ca- 
tions of communicarits at the Lord'' s Table, that lam of now. 

However, it is not unlikely, that some will still exclaim against 
my principles, as being of the srtme pernicious tendency with those 
of the Separatists : To such I can only by a solemn protestation 
aver the sincerity of my aims, and the great care I have exercis- 
ed to avoid whatsoever is erroneous, or might be in any respect 
mischievous. But as to my success in these my upright aim« 
and endeavors, I must leave it to every reader to judge for him- 
^^Ift ofi^r he has carefully perused^ and impartially considered 

}5tJ PREFACr!. 

the follovSing discourse ; tvhicli^ considerint^ the vature and zm-* 
/lortance oj' the aubject,, I hojic^ all serious readers will accomjia^ 
ny ivith their earnest prhyers to the father ofli^hts^for liis gra^ 
cious direction and influence, jlnd, to him be glory in the 
churches by Christ Jesus, AMEN. 



The ^iiestwn stated and explained. 

X HE main question I would consider, and for the 
negative of which, I would offer some arguments in the fol- 
lowing discourse, is this : Whether, according to the rules 
of Christ, any ought to be admitted to the communion and 
privileges of members of the visible church of Christ in com- 
plete standing, but such as are in profession, and in the eye of 
the church's Christian judgment, godly or gracious persons ? 
When I speak of members of the visible church of Christ, 
in complete standing, I would be understood of those who are 
received as the proper immediate subjects of all the external 
privileges, Christ has appointed for the ordinary members of 
his church. I say ordinary members, in distinction from any- 
peculiar privileges and honors of church officers and rulers. 
All allow, there are some that are in some respect hi the 
church of God, who are not members in complete standing, 
in the sense that has been explained : All that acknowledge 
infant baptism, allow infants, who are the proper subjects of 
baptism, and are baptized, to be in some sort members of the 
Christian church ; yet none suppose them to be members in 
such standing as to be the proper immediate subjects of all 
ecclesiastical ordinances and privileges : Rut that some fur- 
ther qualifications are requisite in order to this, to be obtain- 
ed, either in a course of nature, or by education, or by divine 
grace. And some who are baptized in infancy, even after 
they come to be adult, may yet remain for a season short of 
such a standing as has been spoken of; being destitute of suf- 
ficient knowledge, and perhaps some other qualifications, 
Vol. I. U 


through the neglect of parents, or their own negligence, ov 
otherwise ; or because they carelessly neglect to qualify 
themselves for ecclesiastical privileges by making a public 
profession of the Christian faith, or owning the Christian cov- 
enant, or forbear to offer themselves as candidates for these 
privileges ; and yet not be cast out of the church, or cease to 
be in any respect iis members : This, I suppose, w ill also be 
generally allowed. 

One thing mainly intended in the foregoing question is, 
Whether any adult persons but such as are in profession and 
appearance endued with Christian grace or piety, ought to be 
admitted to the Christian Sacraments : Particularly wliciher 
they ought to be admitted to the Lord's supper ; and, if they 
are such as were not baptized in infancy, ought to be admitted 
to baptism. Adult persons having those qualifications that ob- 
lige others to receive them as the proper immediate subjects 
of the Christian sacraments, is a main thing intended in the 
question, by being such as ought to be admitted to the com- 
munion and privileges of members of the visible church, in 
complete standing. There are many adult persons that by 
the allowance of all are in some respect within the church of 
God, who are not members in good standing, in this respect. 
There are many, for instance, that have not at present the 
qualifications proper to recommend them to admission to the 
Lord's supper : There arc many scandalous persons, who are 
under suspension. The late venerable Mr. Stoddard, and 
many other great divines suppose, that even excommunicated 
persons are still members of the church of God ; and some 
suppose the worshippers of Baal in Israel, even thooc who 
were bred up such from their infancy, remained still mem- 
bers of the church of God : And very maiiy Protestant divines 
suppose, that the members of the church of Kome, though 
they arc brought up and live coi\tinually in gross idolatry, and 
innumerable errors and superbtitious that tend utterly to make 
void the gospel of Christ, still arc in the visible church of 
Christ : Yet, I suppose, no orthodox divines would hold these 
to be properly and regularly (jualified for the Lord's supper. 
It >va» therefore requisite, in the question before us, that «a 


distinction should be made between members of the visible 
church in general, and members in complete standing. 

It was also requisite that such a distinction should be made 
in the question, to avoid lengthening out this discourse ex- 
ceedingly with needless questions and debates concerning the 
state of baptized infants ; that it is, needless as to my present 
purpose. Though I have no doubts about the doctrine of in- 
fant baptism ; yet God's manner of dealing with such infant* 
as are regularly dedicated to him in baptism, is a matter lia- 
ble to great disputes and many controversies, and would re- 
quire a large dissertation by itself to clear it up ; which, as it 
would extend this discourse beyond all bounds, so it appears 
not necessary in order to a clear determination of the present 
question. The revelation of God's word is much plainer and 
more express concerning adult persons, that act for them- 
selves in religious matters, than concerning infants. The 
scriptures were written for the sake of adult persons, or those 
that are capable of knowing what is written : It is to such the 
apostles speak in their epistles, and to such only docs God 
speak throughout his word : And the scriptures especially 
speak for the sake of those, and about those to whom they 
speak. And therefore if the word of God affords us light 
enough concerning those spoken of in the question, as I have 
stated it, clearly to determine the matter with respect to 
them, we need not wait until we see all doubts and controver- 
sies about baptized infants cleared and settled, before we pass 
a judgment with respect to the point in hand. The denom- 
inations, characters, and descriptions, which we find given in 
Scripture to visible Christians, and to the visible church, are 
principally with an eye to the church of Christ in its adult 
state and proper standing. If any one was about to describe 
that kind of birds called Doves, it would be most proper to 
describe grown doves, and not young ones in the eg^j; or nest, 
without wings or feathers : So if any one should describe a 
palmtree or olivetree by its visible form and appearance, it 
would be presumed that he described those of thesekinds of 
trees in their mature and proper state ; and not as just peep- 
ing from the ground, or as thunder struck or blown down. 


And therefore T would here give notice, once for all, that 
when in the ensuing discourse I use such like phrases as vis- 
ible saints, members of the visible church, &c. I, for the 
most part, mcnn persons that are adult and in good standing. 

The question is not, whether Christ has made converting 
grace or piety itself the condition or rule of his people's ad- 
mitting any to the privileges of members in full communion 
with them : There is no one (jualification of mind whatsoever, 
that Christ has properly made the term of this ; not so much 
as a common belief that Jesus is the Messiah, or a belief of 
the being of a God. It is the credible profession and visibili- 
ty of these things, that is the- church's rule in this case. 
Christian piety or Godliness may be a qualification requisite 
to communion in the Christian sacraments, just in the same 
manner as a belief that Jesus is the Messiah, and the Scrip- 
tures the word of G( ' are requisite qualifications ; and in 
the same manner as some kind of repentance is a qualification 
requisite in one that has been suspendcil for being grossly 
scandalous, in order to his coming again to the Lord's supper ; 
and yet godliness itself not be properly the rule of the church's 
proceeding, in like manner as such a belief and repentance, as 
I have mentioned, arc not their rule. It is a visibility to the 
eye of a Christian judgment, that is the rule of the church's 
proceeding in each of these cases. 

Two distinctions must be here observed. As, 1. We 
must distinguish between such qualifications as are requi- 
site to give a person a right to ecclesiastical privileges in 
foro rcclcaicc^ or a right to be admitted by the church to those 
privileges, and those qualifications that are a proper and good 
foundation for a man's own conduct in coming and offering 
liimsclf as a candidate for immediate admission to these priv- 
ileges : There is a difference between these. Thus, for in- 
stance, a profession of the belief of a future state and of reveal- 
ed religion, and some other things that arc internal and out of 
sight, and a visibility of these things to the eye of a Christian 
judgment, i& all, relating to these things, that is requisite to 
give a man a right in foro ecclcsuty or before the church ; 
but it is the real existence cf these things, that is what l<t)-s a 


proper and good foundation for his making this profession, 
and so demanding these privileges. None will suppose, that 
he has good and proper ground for such a conduct, who does 
not believe another world, nor believe the Bible to be the word 
of God. And then, 

2. We must distinguish between that which nextly brings an 
obligation ©u a man's conscience to seek admission to a Christ- 
ian ordinance, and that which is a good foundation for the dic- 
tate of an enlightened well informed conscience, and so is prop- 
erly a solid foundation of a right in him to act thus. Certainly 
this distinction does really take place among mankind in innu- 
merable cases. The dictates of men's consciences are what 
do bring them under a next or most immediate ol)ligation to 
act : But it is that which is a good foundation for such a dic- 
tate of an enlightened conscience, that alone is a solid founda- 
tion of a right in him so to act. A believing the doctrine 
of the Trinity with all the heart, in some sense (let us sup- 
pose a moral sense) is one thing requisite in order to a per- 
son's having a solid foundation of a right in him to go and de- 
mand baptism in the name of the Trinity : But his best judg- 
ment or dictate of his conscience, concerning his believing 
this doctrine with this sincerity, or with all his heart, may be 
sufficient to bring an obligation on his cowscience. Again, 
when a delinquent has been convicted of scandal, it is repent- 
ance in some respect sincere (suppose a moral sincerity) that 
is the proper foundation of a right in him to offer himself for 
forgiveness and restoration: But it is the dictate of his con- 
science or his best judgment concerning his sincerity, that is 
the thing w hich immediately obliges him to offer himself. It is 
repentance itself, that is the proper qualification fundamental 
of his right, and what he cannot have a proper right v/ilhout ; 
for though he may be deceived, and think he has real repent- 
ance when he has not, yet he has not properly a right to be 
deceived ; and perhaps deceit in such cases is always owing 
to something blameable, or the influence of some corrupt 
principle : But yet his best judgment brings him under ob- 
ligation. In the same manner, and no otherwise, I suppose 
that Christian grace itself is a qualification requisite in order 


to a proper solid ground of a rii^ht in a person to come to the 
Christian sacraments. But of this I may say something more 
when I come to answer objections. 

When I speak, in the question, of a being godly or gra- 
cious in the eye of a Christian judgment, by Christian judg- 
ment I intend something further than a kind of mere nega- 
tive charity, implying that we forbear to censure and condemn 
a man, because we do not know but that he may be godly, 
and therefore forbear to proceed on the foot of such a censure 
or judgment in our treatment of him: As we would kindly 
entertain a stranger, not knowing but in so doing we entertain 
an angel or precious saint of God. But I mean a positive 
judgment, founded on some positive appearance, or visibility, 
some outward manifestations that ordinarily render the thing 
probable. There is a difference between suspending our 
judg-ment, or forbearing to condemn, or having some hope 
that possibly the thing may be so, and so hoping the best ; 
and a positive judgment in favor of a person. For an having 
some hope, only implies that a man is not in utter despair of 
a thing, though his prevailing opinion may be otherwise, or 
he may suspend his opinion. Though wc cannot know a man 
believes that Jesus is the ?*Iessiah, yet we expect some posi- 
tive manifestation or visibility of it, to be a ground of our 
charitable judgment : So I suppose the case is here. 

When I speak of Christian judgment, I mean a judgment 
wherein men do properly exercise reason, and have their rea- 
son under the due influence of love and other Christian prin- 
ciples ; wiiich do not blind reason, but regulate its exercises ; 
being not contrary to reason, though they be very contrary t* 
censoriousness or unreasonable niceness and rigidness. 

I say in the eye of the church's Christian judgment, because 
it is properly a visibility to the eye of the public charity, and 
not of a private judgment, that gives a person a right to be 
received as a visible saint by the public. If any are known to 
be persons of an honest character, and appear to be of good 
understanding in the doctrines of Christianity, and particular- 
ly those doctrines that teach the grand condition of salvation^ 


and the nature of true saving religion,and publicly and seriously 
profess the great and main things wherein the essence of true 
religion or godliness consists, and their conversation is agree- 
able ; this justly recommends them to the good opinion of the 
public, whatever suspicions and fears any particular person, 
either the minister or some other, may entertain, from wbat 
he in particular has observed, perhaps from the manner of his 
expressing himself in giving an account of his experiences or 
an obscurity in the order and method of his experiences, &c. 
The miiiister, in receiving him to the communion of the 
church, is to act as a public officer, and in behalf of the public 
society, and not merely for himself, and therefore is to be gov- 
erned in acting, by a proper visibility of godliness in the eye 
of the public. 

It is n-ot my design, in holding the negative of the foregoing 
question, to affirm, that all who are regularly admitted as 
members of the visible church in complete standing, ought to 
be believed to be godly or gracious persons, when taken col- 
lectively? or considered in the gi-oss, by the judgment of any 
person or society. This may not be, and yet each person 
taken singly may visibly be a gracious person to the eye of the 
judgment of Christians in general. These two are not the 
same thing, but vastly diverse ; and the latter may be, and 
yet not the former. If we should know so much of a thou- 
sand persons one after another, and from what we observed 
in them should have a prevailing opinion concerning each one 
of them, singly taken, that they were indeed pious, and think 
the judgment v/e passed, v/hen we consider each judgment a- 
part, to be right ; it will not follow, when we consider the 
whole company collectively, that we shall have so high an o- 
pinion of our own judgment, as to think it probable, there was 
not one erroneous judgment in the whole thousand. We all 
have innumerable judgments about one thing or other, con- 
cerning religions, moral, secular, and philosophical aff*airs, 
eoncernirg past, present, and future matters, reports, facts, 
persons, things, Sec. 8cc. And concerning all the many thou- 
sand dictates of judgment that we have, we thJnk them every 

1^ Qualifications. 

one rir^hl, taken sii\p;ly ; for if there was any one that ve 
tlionght wrong, it would not be our judgment ; and yet there 
is no man, unless he is stupidly foolish, who when he consid- 
ers all in the gios';, will say he thinks that every opinion he is 
of> concerning all persons and thin:^;^ v hatsocvcr, important 
And trifling, is light, without the least error. But the more 
clearly to illustrate this matter, as it relates to visibility, or prob- 
able appearances of holiness in professors : Supposing it had 
been found by experience concerning precious stones, that 
such and such external marks were probable signs of a dia- 
Tiiond, and it is made evident, by putting together a great 
number of experiments, that the probability is as ten to one, 
and no more nor less ; i. c. that, take one time with another, 
there is one in ten of the stones that have these marks (and 
no visible signs to the contrary) proves not a true diamond, 
and no more ; then it will follow, that when I find a particu- 
lar stone with these marks, and nothing to the contrary, there 
is a probability of ten to one, concerning that stone that it is a 
diamond ; and so concerning each stone that 1 find with these 
marks : But if we take ten of these together, it is as probable 
as not, that some one of the ten is spurious ; because, if it 
were not as likely as not, that one in ten is false, or if taking 
one ten with another, there were not one in ten that was false, 
then the probability of those, that have these marks, being 
'true diamonds, would he more than ten to one, contrary to the 
supposition ; because that is what we mean by a probability 
often to one, that they are not false, viz. that take one ten with 
another there will be one false stone among them, and no 
more. Plencc if we take an hundred such stones together, 
the probabiliiy will be just ten to one, that there is oise false 
among them ; and as likely as not that there are •en false ones 
in the whole hundred : And the probability of the individuals 
must be much greater than ten to one, even a probability of 
•more than a hundred to one, in order to its making it probable 
that every one is true. It is an easy mathematical demonstra- 
tion. Hence the negative of the foree,oing question by no 
means implies aprctcnoc of any scheme, that shall be efi'cctu- 


ai to keep all hypocrites out of the church, and for the estab- 
lishing in that sense a pure church. 

When it is said, those who are admitted, Sec. ought to be by 
profession godjy or gracious persons, it is not meant, they 
should merely profess or say that they are converted, or are 
gracious persons, that they know so, or think so ; but that they 
profess the great things wherein Christian piety consists, viz. 
a supreme respect to God, faith in Christ, 8cc. Indeed it i^ 
necessary, as men would keep a good conscience, that they 
should think that these things are in them, which they profess 
to be in them ; otherwise they are guilty of the horrid wick- 
edness of wilfully making a lying profession. Hence it is 
supposed to be necessary, in order to men's regularly and with 
a good conscience coming into communion with the church 
of Christ in the Christian sacraments, that they themselves 
should suppose the essential things, belonging to Christian pi- 
ety, to be in them. 

It does not belong to the present question, to consider and 
determine what the nature of Christian piety is, or wherein it 
consists. This question may be properly determined, and the 
determination demonstrated, without entering into any contro- 
versies about the nature of conversion, &c. Nor does an assert- 
ing the negative of the question determine any thing how par- 
ticular the profession of godliness ought to be, but only, that 
the more essential things, which belong to it, ought to be pro- 
fessed. Nor is it determined, but that the public professions 
made on occasion of persons' admission to the Lord's supper, 
in some of our churches, who yet go upon that principle, that 
persons need not esteem themselves truly gracious in order 
to a coming conscientiously and properly to the Lord's sup- 
per ; I say, it is not determined but that some of these pro- 
fessions are suflicient, if those that made them were taught to 
use the words, and others to understand them, in no other 
than their proper meaning ; and principle and custom had not 
established a meaning very diverse from it, or perhaps an use 
of the words without any distinct and clear determinate 

Vol. I. W 



Reasons for the Negative of the foregoing ^ticstion. 

HAVING ihus explained what I mean, when I say, That 
none oui^hl to be admitted to the communion and privileges 
of members of the visible church of Christ incomplete stand- 
ing, but such as are in profession and in the eye of the 
church's Christian judi^ment, godly or gracious persons : I 
now proceed to observe some things which may tend to e- 
vincc the truth of this position. And here, 

I. I begin with observing: I think it is both evident by the 
-word of God, and also granted on all hands, that none ought 
to be lidmilted as members of the visible church of Christ but 
\isible saints and professing saints, or visible and professing 
Christians. We find the word saint, when applied to men, 
used two ways in the New Testament. The word in some 
places is so used as to mean those that are real saints, who are 
converted, and are truly gracious persons ; as 1 Cor. vi. 2. " Do 
ye not know that the saints shall judge the world ?" Eph. i. 
18." The rirJics of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." 
Chap. iii. 17, 18. " That Christ may dwell in your hearts by 
faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able 
to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth," Sec. 3 
Thess. i. 10. " When he shall come to be glorified in his 
saints, and admired in all them that believe." So Rev. v. 8. 
Chap. viii. 4, and xi. 18, and xiii. 10, and xiv. 12, and xix. 8. 
In other places the word is used so as to have respect not on- 
ly to real saints, but to such as were saints in visibility, ap- 
pearance, and profession ; and so were outwardly, as to what 
concerns their acceptance among men and their outward treat- 
ment and privileges, of the company of saints. So the word 
is used in very many places, which it is needless to mention, 
as every one acknowledges it. 

In like manner we find the word Christian used two ways. 
The word is used to express the same thing as a riglitcous 
man that shall be saved," 1 Pet. iv. 16, 17, 18. Elsewhere 


it is so used as to take in all that were Christians by profes- 
sion and outward appearance ; Acts xi. 26. So there is a 
twofold use of the word disciples in the New Testament. 
There were disciples in name, profession, and appearance ; 
and there were those whom Christ calls disciples indeed, 
John viii. 30, 31. The word is a,>,Yi^w<;, truly. The ex- 
pression plainly supposes this distinction of true or real 
disciples, and those who were the same in pretence and 
appearance. See also Luke xiv. 25, 26, 27, and John 
XV. 8. The same distinction is signified, in the New Testa- 
ment, by those that live, being alive from the dead, and risen 
with Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 11, Rom. vi. 11, and elsewhere) and 
those who have a name to live, having only a pretence and 
appearance of life. And the distinction of the visible church 
of Christ into these two, is plainly signified of the growth of 
the good ground, and that in the stony and thorny ground, 
which had the same appearance and show with the other, 
until it came to wither away ; and also by the two sorts of 
virgins, Matth, xxv. who both had a shew, profession, and vis- 
ibility of the same thing. By these things and many others 
which might be observed, it appears that the distinction of 
real saints and visible and professing saints is scriptural, and 
that the visible church was made up of these two, and that 
none are according to Scripture admitted iiito the visibly 
church of Christ, but those who are visible and professing 
saints or Christians. And it is the more needless to insiut 
longer upon it, because it is not a thing in controversy. So 
far as my small reading will inform me, it is owned by all 
Protestants. To be sure, the most eminent divine in Ncw- 
england, who has appeared to maintain the Lord's supper to 
be properly a converting ordinance, was very full in it. In 
his Afiiieal to the Learned^ in the title page, and thiough the 
Treatise, he supposes that all who come to the Lord's supper, 
must be visible saints, and sometimes speaks of them as pro- 
fessing saints, page 85, 86 : And supposes that it is requi- 
site in order to their being admitted to the communion of the 
Lord's table, that they make a personal, public profession of 
their faith and repentance to the just satisfaction of the churchj 


page 9X, 94. In these things the whole of the position that 
I would prove is in effect granted. If it be allowed (as it is 
allowed on all sides) that none oup^ht to be admitted to the 
coiiu-nmiion of the Christian visible church, but visible and 
professing saints or Christians ; if these words are used in any 
propriety of speech, or in any agreement with Scripture re- 
presentations, the whole of that which I have laid down is 
either implied or will certainly follov/. 

As real saints are the same with real converts, or really gra- 
cious persons, so visible saints are the same with visible con- 
verts, or those that arc visibly converted and gracious persons. 
Visibility is the same with manifestation or appearance to our 
view and apprehension. And, therefore, to be visibly a gra- 
cious person, is the same thing as to be a truly gracious per- 
son to our vieW; apprehension, or esteem. The distinction of 
real and vinible does not only take place with regard to saint- 
ship or holiness, but with regard to innumerable other things. 
There is visible and real truth, visible and real honesty, visi- 
ble and real money, visible and real gold, visible and real dia- 
monds, &c. &c. ruiblc and rra/ are words that stand related 
one to another, as the words real and nmnirii--^ or true and afi- 
pctre7U. Some seem to speak of visibility with regard to saint- 
ship or holiness, as though it had no reference to the reality, 
or as though it were a distinct reality by itself, as though by 
visible saints were not meant those who to appearance are 
real saints or disciples indeed, but properly a distinct sort of 
saints, which is an absurdity. There is a distinction between 
real money and visible money, because all that is esteemed 
•money and passes for money, is not real money, but some is 
false and counterfeit. But yet by visible money, is not meant 
that which is taken and passes for a difll'erent sort of money 
from true money, but thereby is meant t!ut which is esteem- 
ed and taken as real money, or which has that appearance 
that recommends it to men's judgment and acceptance as true 
money ; though men mi.y be deceived, and some of it may 
finally prove not to be s.o. 

There arc not pixipt r'y two sorls of saints spoken of in 
scripture : Thou2;h the voi d f>uii.l5 may be ^\\i\ indeed to be 


»used two ways in scripture, or used so as to reach two sorts of 
persons ; yet the word has not properly two significations in 
the New Testament, any more than the word gold has two 
significations among us. The word gold among us is so used 
as to extend to several sorts of substances ; it is true, it ex- 
tends to true gold, and also to that which only appears to be 
gold, and is reputed gold, and by that appearance or visibility 
some things that are not real gold obtain the name of gold ; 
but this is not properly through a diversity in the significa- 
tion of the word, but by a diversity of the application of it, 
through the imperfection of our discerning. It does not fol- 
low that there are properly two sorts of saints, because there 
are some who are not real saints, that yet being visible or 
seeming saints do by the shew and appearance they make ob- 
tain the name of saints, and are reputed saints, and whom by 
the rules of scripture (which are accommodated to our imper- 
fect state) we are directed to receive and treat as saints ; any 
more than it follows that there are two sorts of honest men, 
because some >vho are not truly honest men, yet being so 
seemingly or visibly, do obtain the name of honest men, and 
ought to be treated by us as such. So there are not properly 
two distinct churches of Christ, one the real, and another the 
visible ; though they that are visibly or seemingly of the one 
only church of Christ, are many more than they who are re- 
ally of his church ; and so the visible or seeming church is of 
larger extent than the real. 

Visibility is a relative thing, and has relation to an eye that 
views or beholds. Visibility is the same as appearance or 
exhibition to the eye ; and to be a visible saint is the same as 
to appear to be a real saint in the eye that beholds ; not the 
eye of God, but the eye of man. Real saints or converts are 
those that are so in the eye of God ; visible saints or converts 
are those who are so in the eye of man ; not his bodily eye, 
for thus no man is a saint any more in the eye of a man than 
he is in the eye of a beast ; but the eye of his mind, which is 
his judgment or esteem. There is no more visibility of ho- 
liness in the brightest professor to the eye of our bodies, with- 
out the exercise of the reason and judgment of our minds, 


than may be in a macliinc. But notliin?^ short of an appar. 
ent probability, or a probable exhibition, can amount to a 
visibility to the eye of man*3 reason or judj^mcnt. The eye 
which Gofl has given to man is the eye of reason ; and 
the eye of a Christian is reason snnctined, regulated, and 
enlighiencd, by a principle of Christian love. But it ira* 
plies a contradiction to say, that tha4^ is visible to the eye of 
reason, which does not appear probable to reason. And if 
there be a man that is in this sense a visible saint, he is in 
the eye of a rational judgment a real saint. To say a man is 
visibly a saint, but not visibly a real saint, but only visibly a 
visible saint, is a very absurd way of speaking ; it is as much 
ns to say, he is to appearance an appearing saint ; which is in 
effect to say nothing, and to use words without signification. 
The thing which must be visible and probable, in order to vis- 
ible saintship, must be saintship itself, or real grace and true 
holiness ; not visibility of saintship, not unregenerate morali- 
ty, not mere mora! sincerity. To pretend to, or in any respect 
to exhibit moral sincerity, makes nothing visible beyond what 
is pretended to, or exhibited : For a man to have that visibly, 
which if he had it really, and have nothing more, would not 
make him a real saint, is not to be visibly a saint. 

Mr. Stoddard, in his Afifieal to the Leary\cd^ seems to ex- 
press the very same notion of visibility, and tliat visibility of 
saintship which is requii^ite to a persort's coming to the Lord's 
Supper, that I have here expressed. In page 10, he makes a 
distinction between being visibly circumcised in heart, and 
being ically so ; evidently meaning by the latter saving con- 
version ; and he allows the former, viz. a visibility of heart 
circumcision, to be necessary to a coming to the Lord's Sup- 
per. So that according to h.im, it is not a visibility of moral 
sincerity only, but a visibility of circumcision of heart, or sav- 
ing conversion, that is a necessary requisite to a persons' com- 
ing to the Lord's tabic. And in what manner this must be 
visible, he signifies clsc\Nhcrc, when he i.llows that it must be 
so to a judgn:cni of charity ; a judgment of rational charily. 
This he expressly alhnvs over and over ; as in page 2, 3, 28, 
"3, 72, and ?5 : And an Imping reason to look upf?n Ihem as 


such, page 28. And towards the close of his book, he de- 
clares himself stedfastly of the mind, that it is requisite those 
be not admitted to the Lord's Supper, who do not make a per- 
sonal and publip profession of their faith and repentance, to 
the just satisfaction of the church, page 93, 94. But how he re- 
conciled these passages with the rest of his treatise, I would 
modestly say, I must confess myself at a loss. And particu- 
larly I cannot see how they consist with what this venerable 
and ever honored author says, page 16, in these words ; " In- 
deed by the rule that God has given for admissions, if it be 
carefully attended, more unconverted persons will be admitted 
than converted." I would humbly inquire, how those visible 
qualifications can be the ground of a rational judgment, that 
a person is circumcised in heart, which nevertheless at the 
same time, we are sensible are so far from being any proba- 
ble signs of it, that they are more frequently without it. The 
appearance of that thing surely cannot imply an appearing 
probability of another thing, which at the same time we are 
sensible is most fi'equently, and so most probably, without 
that other thing. 

Indeed I can easily see, how that may seem visible, and 
appear probable to God's people by reason of the imperfect 
and dark state they are in, and so may oblige their charity, 
which yet is not real, and which would not appear at all proba- 
ble to angels, who stand in a clearer light : A.nd the different 
degrees of light, that God's church stands in, in different ages, 
may make a difference in this respect. The church under 
the New Testament being favored by God v/ith a vastly great- 
er light in divine things, than the church under the Old Tes- 
tament. That might make some difference, as to the kind of 
profession of religion that is requisite, under these different 
dispensations, in order to a visibility of holiness ; also a prop- 
er visibility may fail in the greater number in some extraor- 
dinary case, and in exempt circumstances : But how those 
signs can be a ground of a rational judgment that a thing is, 
which, at that very time, and under that degree of light we 
then have, we are sensible do oftener fail than not, and this 
©rdinarily, I own myself much at a loss. Surely nothing but 


appcarinf^ reason is ihe ground of a rational judgment. And 
indeed it is impossible in the nature of things, to form a judg« 
ment, which at that very time wc think to be not only with- 
out, but against probability. 

If it be said, that although persons do not profess that 
vherein sanctifying grace consists, yet seeing they profess to 
believe the doctrines of the gosi^el, which God is wont to 
make use of in order to men*s sanciification, and are called the 
doctrine which is according' to godliness ; and since we see 
nothing in their lives to make us determine, that they have 
Eot had a proper effect on their hearts, we are obliged in char- 
ity to hope, that they are real saints, or gracious persons, ami 
to treat them accordingly, and so to receive them into the 
Christian church, and to its special ordinances. 

I answer, this objection does in effect suppose and grant 
the very thing mainly in dispute ; for it supposes, that a gra- 
cious character is the thing that ought to be looked at and 
aimed at in admitting persons into the communion of the 
church ; and so that it is needful to have this charity for per- 
sons, or such a favorable notion of them, in order to our re- 
ceiving them as properly qualified members of the society, 
and properly qualified subjects of the special privileges they 
are admitted to. Whereas, the doctrine taught is, that sanc- 
tifying grace is not a necessary qualification herefor, and that 
there is no need that the person himself, or any other, should 
have any imagination, that he is a person so qualified , because 
w c know, it is no qualification requisite in itself ; wc know the 
ordinance of the Lord's supper is as proper for them, that arc 
not so qualified as for those that are ; it being according to 
the design of the institution a converting ordinance, and so 
an ordinance as much intended for the good of the unconvert- 
ed, as of the converted ; even as it is with the preaching of 
the gospel. Nov. if the case be so, why is there any talk 
about a charitable hoping they are converted, and so admitting 
them ? What need of any charitable hope of such a qualifica- 
lion, in order to admitting them to an ordinance that is as 
proper for those who arc without this qualification, as for 
those that have it ? We need not have any charitable hope of 


ity such qualification in order to admit a person to hear the 
word preached. What need have we to aim at any thing be- 
yond the proper qualifications ? And what manner of need of 
any charitable opinion or hope of any thing further ? Some 
sort of belief, that Jesus is the Messiah, is a qualification prop- 
erly requisite to a coming to the Lord's supper ; and there- 
fore it is necessary that we should have a charitable hope, 
that those have such a belief whom we admit ; though it be 
not necessary that we should know it, it being what none can 
know of another. But as to grace or Christian piety, it clear- 
ly follows, on the principles which I oppose, that if there be 
any visibility of it, more or less, of any sort, yet no kind of 
visibility or appearance, whether more direct or indirect, 
whether to a greater or less degree, no charity or hope of it, 
have any thing at all to do in the affair of admission to the 
Lord's supper ; for, according to them, it is properly a con- 
verting ordinance. What has any visibility or hope of a per- 
son's beiwg already in health to do in admitting him into an 
hospital for the use of those metiiis that are the proper ap- 
pointed means for the healing of the sick, and bringing them 
to health ? And therefore it is needless here to dispute about 
the nature of visibility ; and all arguing concerning a profes- 
sion of Christian doctrines, and an orderly life being a suffi- 
cient ground of public charity, and an obligation on the church 
to treat them as saints, are v/holly impertinent and nothing to 
the purpose. For on the principles which I oppose, there is 
no need of any sort of ground for treating them as saints, in 
order to admitting them to the Lord's supper, the very de- 
sign of which is to make them saints, any more than there is 
need of some ground of treating a sick man as being a man in 
health, in order to admitting him into an hospital. Persons, 
by the doctrine that I oppose, are not taught to offer them- 
selves as candidates for church communion under any such 
notion, or with any such pretence, as their being gracious per- 
sons ; and therefore surely when those that teach them, re- 
ceive them to the ordinance, they do not receive them under 
any such notion, nor has any notion, appearance, hope or 
thought of it, any thing to do in the case. 
Vol. I. X 


The aposllc speaks of the members of the Christian churchy 
as those that made a profession of j^odhness. 2 Cor. ix. 13. 
i* They glorified God for your professed subjection to the 
gospel of C'hrist." 1 Tim. ii. 9, 10. ^' In like manner also 
that women adorn themselves in modest apparel. ...not with 
costly array ; but, which bccometh women professinjj godli- 
ness, with good works." The apostle is speaking of the 
women that were members of that great church of Ephesus, 
>vhich Timothy for the present had the care of; and he 
speaks of ihcm as supposing that they all professed godliness. 
By the allowance of all, profession is one thing belonging to 
the visibility of Christianity or holiness, that there is in the 
members of the visible church. Visible holiness is an ap- 
pearance or exhibition of holiness, by those things which are 
external, and so fall under our notice and observation. And 
these are two, viz. profession and outward behavior, agreea- 
ble to that profession. That profession which Ixjlongs to vis- 
ible saintship, must be a profession of godliness, or real saint- 
ship ; for a profesoion makes nothing visible beyond what is 
professed. What is it, to be a saint by profession but to be by 
profession a true saint ? For to be by profession a false saint, 
is to be by profession no saint ; and only to profess that, 
•which if ever so true, is nothing peculiar to a saint, is not to 
be a professing saint. 

In order to a man's being properly a professing Christian, 
he must profess the religion of Jesus Christ : And he surely 
docs not profess the religion that was taught by Jesus Christ, 
if he leaves out of his profession the most essential things 
that belong to that religion. That which is most essential 
in that religion itself, the profession of that is essential in a 
profession of that religion ; for (us I have observed elsewhere) 
that which is most essential in a thing, in order to its being 
truly denominated that thin^, the same is essentially necessa- 
ry to be expressed or signified in any exhibition or declaration 
of that thing, in order to its being truly denominated a declar- 
ation or exhibition of that thing. If wc take a more incon- 
siderable part of Christ's religion, and leave out the main and 
most essential, surely what we have cannot be properly call- 


cd the religion of Jesus Christ : So if we profess only a less 
important part, and are silent about the most important and 
«ssenlial part, it cannot be properly said that we profess the 
religion of Jesus Christ. And therefore we cannot in any 
propriety be said to profess the Christian or Christ's religion, 
unless we profess those things wherein consists piety of heart, 
which is vastly the most important and essential part of that 
religion that Christ came to teach and establish in the world, 
and is in effect all ; being that without which all the rest that 
belongs to it, is nothing, and wholly in vain. But they who 
are admitted to the Lord's supper, proceeding on the princi- 
ples of those who hold it to be a converting ordinance, do in 
no respect profess Christian piety, neither in whole nor in 
part, neither explicitly nor implicitly, directly nor indirectly ; 
and therefore are not professing Christians, or saints by pro- 
fession. I mean, though they may be Godly persons, yet as 
they come to the ordinance without professing godliness, they 
cannot properly be called professing saints. 

Here it may be said, that although no explicit and formal 
profession of those things which belong to true piety, be re- 
quired of them ; yet there are many things they do, that are 
a virtual and implicit profession of these things : Such as 
their owning the Christian covenant, their owning God the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to be their God ; and by their 
visibly joining in the public prayers and singing God's prais- 
es, there is a shew and implicit profession of supreme respect 
to God and love to him ; by joining in the public confessions, 
they make a shew of repentance ; by keeping sabbaths and 
hearing the word, they make a shew of a spirit of obedience ; 
by offering to come to sacraments, they make a shew of love 
to Christ and a dependance on his sacrifice. 

To this I answer : It is a great mistake, if any one im- 
agines, that all these external performances are of the nature 
of a pofession of any thing at all that belongs to saving grace, 
as they are commonly used and understood : And to be sure 
none of them are so, according to the doctrines that are 
taught and embraced, and the customs that are established m 
such churches as proceed on the foot of the principles fore^' 


n-icntioned. For what is professing, but exhibiting, uttering, 
or declaring, either ])y inttlligible words, or by other establish- 
ed signs that are equivalent ? Bnt in such churches, neither 
their publicly saying, that they avouch God the Father, Son, 
and Iloly Ghost, to be their God, and that they give them- 
selves up to him, and promise to obey all his commands, nor 
their coming to the Lord's supper, or to any other ordinances^ 
are taken for expressions or signs of any thing belonging to 
the essence of Christian piety. But on the contrary, the pub- 
lic doctrine, principle, and custom in such churches establish- 
es a diverse use of these words and signs. People are taught 
tliai they may use them all, and not so much as make any pre- 
tence to the least degree of sanctifying grace ; and this is the 
established custom : So they are used, and so they arc under- 
stood. And therefore whatever some of these words and 
signs may in themselves most properly and naturally import 
or signify, they entirely cease to be significations of any such 
thing among people accustomed to understand and use them 
otherwise ; and so cease to be of the nature of a profession of 
Christian piety. There can be no such tiling among such a 
people, as either an explicit or implicit profession of Godli- 
ness by any thing which (by their established doctrine and cus- 
ton») an unrcgenerate man may and ought to say and pcrfonn, 
knowing himself to be so. For let the words and actions 
otherwise signify what they will, yet that people have in ef- 
fect agreed among themselves, that persons who use them, 
need not intend ihcm so, and that others need not understand 
them so. And hence they cease to be of the nature of any 
pretension to grace. And surely it is an absurdity to say, that 
men openly and solemnly profess grace, and yet do not so 
much as pretend to it. If a certain people should agree,and it 
sliouid be an established principle among them, that men 
might and ought to use such and such words to ther neigh- 
bors, which according to their proper signification were a pro- 
fession of entire love and devoted friendship towards the man 
they speak to, and yet not think that he has any love in his 
heart to him, yea, and know at the same tinic tliat he had q 
xcigning enmity a^-air.tl him ; and it was known that this wa^ 


the established principle of the people ; would not these 
■words, whatever their proper signification was, entirely cease 
to be any profession or testimony of friendship to his ncit^h- 
bor ? To be sure, there could be no visibiUty of it to the eye 
of reason. 

Thus it is evident, that those who are admitted into the 
church on the principles that I oppose, are net professing 
saints, nor visible saints ; because that thing which alone is 
truly saintship, is not what they profess, or make any pretence 
to, or have any visibility of, to the eye of a Christian judg- 
ment. Or if they in fact be visible and professing saints, yet, 
they are not admitted as such ; no profession of true saint- 
ship, nor any manner of visibility of it, has any thing to do in 
the affair. 

There is one way to evade these things, which has been 
taken by some. They plead, although it be true, that the 
scripture represents the members of the visible church of Christ 
as professors of godliness ; and they are abundantly called by 
the name of saints in scripture, undoubtedly because they 
"were saints by profession, and in visibility, and the acceptance 
of others; yet this is not with any reference to saving holi- 
ness,but to quite another sort of saintship, viz. moral sincerity ; 
and that this is the real saintship, discipleship, and godliness, 
"which is professed, and visible in them, and with regard to 
■which, as having an appearance of it to the eye of reason, they 
have the name of saints, disciples. Sec. in scripture. 

It must be noted, that in this objection the visibility is sup- 
posed to be of real saintship, discipleship, and godliness, but 
only another sort of real godliness, than that which belongs to 
those who shall finally be ov.'ncd by Christ as his people, at 
the day of judgment. 

To which I answer. This is a mere evasion ; the only one, 
that ever I saw or heard of ; and I think the only one possible. 
For it is certain, they are not professors of sanctifying grace, 
or true saintship : The prir-ciple proceeded on, being, that 
they need make no pretence to that ; nor has any vi^,ibility of 
saving holiness anything to do in the affair. If then they 
bave any holiness at all, it must be of another sort. And if 


this evasion fails, all fails, and ihe whole matter in debate must 
be given up. Therefore I desire that this matter may be im- 
partially considered and examined to the very bottom ; and 
that it may be thoroughly inquired, ^vhethcr this distinction 
ofthe"re two s(.rts of real Christianity, j^odliness, and holiness, 
is a distinction, that Christ in his word is the author of; or 
whether it be an human invention of somethinij which the 
New Testament knows nothinij of, devised to serve and 
maintain an hypothesis. And here I desire that the following 
things may be observed. 

1. According; to this hypothesis, the words saints, disci* 
pies, and Christians, are used four nays in the New Testa- 
rnent, as applied to four sorts of [jersons. (1.) To those that 
in truth and reality are the heirs of eternal life, and that shall 
judge the world, or have indeed that saintship which is saving. 
(2.) To those who profess this, and pretend to and make a 
fair shew of a supreme regard to Christ, and to renounce the 
"World for his sake, but hjivc not real ground for these preten- 
ces and appearances. (3.) To those who, altl^ough they have 
not saving grace, yet have that other sort of real godliness or 
saintship, viz. moral sincerity in religion ; and so are proper- 
ly a sort of real saints, true Christians, sincerely godly per- 
sons, and disciples indeed, though they h.ave no saving grace. 
And (4.) to those who make a profession and have a visibility 
of this latter sort of sincere Christianity, and are nominally- 
such kind of saints, but arc not so indeed. So that here are 
two sorts of real Christians, and two sorts of visible Christ- 
ians; two sorts of invisible and real churches of Christ, and 
two sorts of vibibic churches. Now will any one that is well 
acquainted with the New Testament say, there is in that the 
least appearance or shadow of such a fourfold use of the 
words, saints, disciples, Sec. ? It is manifest by what was ob- 
served before, that these words are there used but two ways ; 
and that those of mankind to whom these names are applied, 
arc there distinguished into but two sorts, viz. Those w ho 
have really a saving interest in Christ, spiritual conformity 
and union to him, and those who have a name for it, as having 
a profession and appearance of it. And this is further evi- 


dent by various representations, which we there find of the 
visible church ; as in the company of virgins that went forth 
to meet the bridegroom, we find a distinction of them into 
but two sorts, viz. The wise that had both lamps and oil j 
and those who had lamps indeed like the wise virgins (there- 
in having an external shew of the same thing, viz. oil) but 
really had no oil ; signifying that they had the same profes- 
sion and outward shew of the same sort of religion, and enter- 
tained the same hopes with the wise virgins. So when the 
visible church is represented by the husbandman's floor, we 
find a distinction but of two sorts, viz. the wheat and the chaff. 
So again, when the church is compared tcf the husbandman's 
field, we find a distinction but of two sorts, the wheat and the 
tares, (which naturalists observe) show or appear exactly like 
the wheat, until it comes to bring forth its fruit ; representing, 
that those who are only visible Christians, have a visibility or 
appearance of the nature of that wheat, which shall be gather- 
ed into Christ's barn ; and that nature is saving grace. 

2. It is evident, that those v/ho had the name of disciples in 
the times of the New Testament, bore that name with refer- 
ence to a visibility and pretence of the same relation to 
Christ, which they had who should be finally owned as his. 
This is manifest by John viii. 39, 31. " As he spake these 
words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those 
Jews which believed on him. If ye continue in my word, then 
are ye my disciples indeed." (Compare Luke xiv. t25, 26, 
27, and John xv. 8.) The phrase, disciples indeed, is rela- 
tive ; and has reference to a visibility, pretence, or name, on- 
ly, which it is set in opposhion to, and has a reference to that 
name and visibility that those, who then bore the name of 
disciples, had ; which makes it evident, that those who then 
bore the name of disciples, had a visibility and pretence of the 
same discipleship Christ speaks of, which he calls true disci- 
pleship, or discipleship indeed ; for true discipleship is not 
properly set in opposition to any thing else but a pretence to 
the same thing, that is not true. The phrase, gold indeed, is 
in reference and opposition to something that has the appear- 
ance of that same metal, and not to an appearance of brarss. 


If there were {mother sort of real discipleship in those days, 
besides savinc^ discipleship, persons miijht be Christ's disci- 
ples indeed, or truly (as the word in thti original is) without 
continuing in his word, and withont selling all that they had. 
and witliout hating father and motlicr and their own lives, for 
his sake. By this it api>ears, that those who bore the name 
of disciples in those times were distinguished into but two sorts, 
disciples in name or visibility, and disciples indeed ; and that 
the visibility and profession of the former was of the disciple- 
ihip of thclalter. 

3. The same thing is evident by 1 John ii. 19. " They 
went out from us, because they were not of us : If they had 
been of us, they would no doubt have contmued with us.'* 
The words naturally suggest and imply, that those professing 
Christians, who at last proved false, did, before they went out, 
seem to belong to the society of the true saints, or those en- 
dued with persevering grace and holiness ; they seemed to be 
of their number, i. e. They were so in pretence and visibili- 
ty, and so were accepted in the judgment of charity. 

4. The name and visibility, that nominal or visible Christ- 
ians had in the days of the New Testament, was of saving 
Christianity, and not of moral sincerity ; for they had a name 
to live, though many of them were dead, Rev.iii. 1. Now it 
is very plain what that is in religion which is called by the 
name of life, all over the New Testament, viz. saving grace ; 
and I do not know that any thing else, of a religious nature, 
is ever so called. 

5. The visibility, that visible Christians had of saintship in 
the apostles' days, was not of moral sincerity, but gracious 
sincerity, or saving saintship. For they are spoken of as 
being visibly of the number of those saints who shall judge 
the world, and jud(;e angels. 1 Cor. vi. 1,2,3. '' Dare 
any of you, having a matter against another, go to law be- 
fore the unjust, and not before the saints ? Do ye not know, 
that the saints shall judge the world ? And if the world shall 
be judged BY YOU, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest 
matters ? Know ye not that WIC shall judge angels r" These 
things do manifestly im[)ly, tluit if the Christian Corinthians 


were what they supposed they Avere, and what they professed 
to be, and what they were accepted to be, they were some of 
those saints who at the day of judgment should judge angels 
and men. 

6. That the visibility was not only of moral sincerity, but 
saving gi*ace, is manifest, because the apostle speaks of vis- 
ible Christians as visible " members of Christ's body, of his 
flesh, and of his bones, and one spirit with him, and temples 
of the Holy Ghost,'* Eph. v. 30, and I Cor. vi. 16, 19. And 
the Apostle Peter speaks of visible Christians as those who 
^.vere visibly such righteous persons as should be saved ; and 
that are distinguished from the ungodly, and them that obey- 
not the gospel, who shall perish. 1 Pet. iv. 16, 17, 18. « Yet 
if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but 
let him glorify God oil this behalf. For the time is come 
that judgment must begin at the house of God ; and if it first 
begin at US," (us Christians, comprehending himself, and 
those to whom he wrote, and all of that sor^) ^- what shall the 
end of them be that obey not the gospel of God ? And if the 
righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sin- 
ner appear ?" 

7. That the visibility was not merely of moral sincerity, 
but of that sort of saintship which the saints in heaven have, 
is manifest by this, that they are often spoken of as visibly be- 
longing to heaven, and as of the society of the saints in heaven. 
So the apostle in his Epistle to the Ephesians speaks of them 
as visibly of the same household or family of God, a part of 
vrhich is in heaven. Chap. ii. 19. " Now therefore ye are 
no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the 
saints, and of the household of God." Together with the 
next chapter, Ver. 15. " Of whom the whole family in heaven 
and earth is named." Where the context and continuation 
of discourse demonstrate, that he is still speaking of the 
same family or household he had spoken of in the latter part 
of the preceding chapter. So all visible Christians arc spoken 
of as visibly the children of the church \vhich is in heaven. 
Gal. iv. 26. " Jerusalem which is above, is free, v/hich is the 
mother of us all." The same apostle speaks of visible Christ- 

VoL. l. Y 


ians as being visibly come to the heavenly city, and having 
joined tlie glorious company of angels there, and as visibly be- 
longing to the " general assembly and church of the firstborn, 
that are written in heaven, and to the spirits of just men made 
perfect," Ileb. xii. 22, 23. And elsewhere they are spoken 
of as being visibly of the number of those who have their 
" names written in the book of life," Rev. iii. 5, and xxii. 19. 
They who truly have their names written in the book of life, 
are God's true saints, that have saving grace ; as is evident bjr 
Kev. xiii. 8. " And all that dwell on the earth, shall worship 
him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the 
Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world." And chap. 
XX. 12. " And another book was opened, which was the book 
of life." Ver. 15. " And whosoever was not found written in 
the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire." We are told, 
in the conclusion of this chapter, how they were disposed of 
whose names were not written in the book of life ; and then 
the prophet proceeds, in the next chapter, to tell us, how they 
were disposed of whose names were found there written, viz. 
that they were admllted into the New Jerusalem. Ver. 27. 
" And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that dc- 
filcth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or makelh a 
lie ; but they which are written in the I^amb's book of life." 
And yet in the next chapter it is implied, that some who were 
not truly gracious persons, and some that should finally per- 
ish, were visibly of the number of those that had both a part 
in the New Jerusalem, and also their names written in the 
book of life. Ver. 19. " And if any man shall take away 
from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take 
away hi.s part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city." 
8. That baptism, by which the primitive converts were ad- 
mitted into the church, was used as an exhibition and token 
of their being visibly " regenerated, dead to sin, alive to God, 
having the old man crucified, being delivered from the reign- 
ing power of sin, being made free from sin, and become the 
servants of righteousness, those servants of God that have 
their fruit unto that holiness whose end is everlasting life ;" 
as it is evident by Horn. vi. throughout. In the former part 
of the chapter, he speaks of the Christian Romans, as <' dead 


to sin, being buried with Christ in baptism, having their old 
man crucified with Christ," &c. He does not mean only, that 
Iheir baptism laid them under special obligations to these 
things, and was a mark and token of their engagement to be 
thus hereafter ; but was designed as a mark, token, and ex- 
hibition, of their being visibly thus already. As is most man- 
ifest by the apostle's prosecution of his argument in the fol- 
lowing part of the chapter. Ver. 14. « For sin shall not have 
dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under 
grace." Ver. 17, 18. " God be thanked, ye were the ser- 
vants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of 
doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free 
from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Ver. 
22. " But now being made free from sin, and become ser- 
vants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end 
everlasting life." 

9. It is evident, that it is not only a visibility of moral sin- 
cerity in religion, which is the scripture qualification of ad- 
mission into the Christian church, but a visibility of regener- 
ation and renovation of heart, because it was foretold that 
God's people and the ministers of his house in the days of the 
Messiah, should not admit into the Christian church any that 
were not visibly circumcised in heart. Ezek. xliv. 6. ...9. 
" And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of 
Israel, thus saith the Lord God, O ye house of Israel, Let it 
suffice you of all your abominations, in that ye have brought 
into my sanctuary strangers uncircumcised in heart, and un- 
circumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary to pollute it, even 
my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat, and the blood ; 
and they have broken my covenant, because of all your abom- 
inations : And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy 
things, but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary 
for yourselves. Thus saith the Lord, no stranger uncircum- 
cised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into 
my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of 

The venerable author of the Apfieal to the Tjcarncd^ says, 
page 10, « That this scripture has no particular reference tq 


the Lord*s supper." I answer, though I do Kot siipi.ose u 
has merely a reference to that ordimince, yet I thiiik it mani- 
fest, that it has a reference to admitting persons iulo tlie 
Christian cliurch, and to external chinch prifilcgcs. It raight 
be easy to prove, that these nine last chapters ofEzckiel muRt 
be a vision and prophecy of the state of things in the church 
of God in the Messiah's days : But I suppose it >vill not be de- 
nied, it being a thing wlicrein divines are so generally agreed. 
And I suppose, none will dispute but that by the hou^e of 
God and his sanctuai-y, vhich it is here foretold the uncircum- 
cised in heart should not be admitted into in the days of the 
gospel, is meant the same house, sanctuary, or temple of God, 
that the prophet had just before been speaking of, in the fore- 
going part of the same chapter, and been describing through- 
out the four preceding chapters. But we all know, that the 
New Testament house of (iod is his church. Heb. iii. 3. 
" For this man was counted worthy of more glory than 
Moses, inasmuch as he who builded the house, hath more 
honor than the house." Ver. 6. '^ But Chiist as a son over 
his own house, whose house are we," Sec. 2 Tim. ii. 20. In 
a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, bui 
also of wood and of earth," &c. 1 Tim. iii. 15. " That thou 
may est know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house 
of God, which is the church of the living God." Eph. ii. 20, 
21. " And are built upon the foundation of the prophets and 
apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ; 
in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth into an 
holy temple in the Lord." 1 Cor. iii. 9. " Ve are God's build- 
ing." Ver. 16. Know ye not, that ye arc the temple of God :" 
1 Pet. ii. 5. " Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual 
house." Chap. iv. 17. " For the time is come that judgment 
must begin at the house of God : And if it begin at us, what 
shall the end be ?"' Sec. Ilcb. x. 21. " And having an high 
priest over the house of God." Ezckiel's temple is doubtless 
the same that it is foretold the Messiah should build. Zcch. 
vi. 12, l.'l. *' The man whose namj is the branch.. ..he aliall 
build the temple of I he Lord, even he shall build the 
temple of the LurJ.'' A::. I wImi t!.c ic.nple that Chiisi 


fcuilds is, the ap^ostle tells us, Heb. iii. 3, 6. The temple that 
Ezekiel in his vision was bid to observe the measures of, as it 
was measured with a reed, (Ezek. xl. 3, 4 ) we have reason to 
think, was the same the Apostle John in his vision was bid to 
measure with a reed. Rev. xi. 1. And when it is here fore- 
told, that the uncircuraciscd in heart should not enter into the 
Christian sanctuary or church, nor have communion in the of- 
ferings of God's bread, of the fat and blood, that Avere made 
there, I think so much is at least implied, that they should 
not have communion in those ordinances of the Christtian sanc- 
tuary, in which that body and blood of Christ v/erc symboli- 
cally represented, which used of old to be symbolically repre- 
sented by the fat and the blood. For the admission into the 
Christian church here spoken of, is an admission into the vis- 
ible, and not the myt.lical church ; for such an admission is 
spoken of as is made by the officers of the church. And I 
suppose it will not be doubted, but that by circumcision of 
heart is meant the spiritual renewing of the heart ; not any 
common virtues, which do not in the least change the nature, 
and mortify the corruption of the heart ; as is held by all or- 
thodox divines, and as Mr. Stoddard in particular abundantly 
insisted. However, if any body disputes it, I desire that the 
, scripture may be allowed to speak for itself ; for it very often 
speaks of circumcision of heart ; and this every where, both in 
the Old Testament and New, manifestly signifies that great 
change of heart that was typified by the ceremony of circum- 
cision of the flesh : The same which afterwards was signified 
by baptism, viz. regeneration; or else the prop.rcss of that 
work in sanctification ; as we read of the washing of regener- 
ation, &c. The apostle tells us what was signified both by 
circumcision and baptism. Col. ii. 1 1, 12. " In whom also ye 
are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, 
in putting off the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of 
Christ, buried with him in baptism ; wherein also you are 
risen with him, through the faith of the operalion of God.'* 
Where I would observe by the way, he speaks of all the mem- 
bers of the church of Colosse as visibly circumcised with this 
circumcision j agreeable to Ezekiel's propliccy, tiiat the mem* 


bers of the Christian church shall visibly have this circumcv 
sion. The apostle speaks in like inanncr, of the members of 
the church of Philippi as spiritually circumcised (i. e. in pro- 
fession and visibility) and IcUs wherein this circumcision ap- 
peared. Philip, iii. 3. " Tor we are the circumcision, which 
•worship Cod in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and 
have no conHclcnce in tlic flesh." And in Horn. ii. 28, 29, the 
apostle speaks of this Cnrislian circumcision and Jewish cir- 
cumcision together, calling the former the circumcision of the 
heart. " But lie is not a Jew which is one outwardly^ neither 
is that circumcision vrhich is outward in the FLl'.SH ; but he 
is a Jew, which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of 
//if AfG/V, in the spirit, not in tl.e letter ; whose praise is not 
of men, but of God." And whereas in this prophecy of Ezek- 
iel it is foretold, that none should enter into the Christian 
sanctuary or church, but such as are circumcised in heart and 
circumcised in flesh ; thereby I suppose is intended, that none 
should be admitted but such as were visibly regenerated, and 
also baptised with outward baptism. 

By the things which have been observed, I think it abund- 
antly evident, that the sainlship, godliness, and holiness, of 
which, according to scripture, professing Christians and visi- 
ble saints do make a profession and have a visibility, is not any 
religion and virtue that is the result of common grace, or mor- 
al sincerity (as it is called) but saving grace. Yet there are 
many other clear evidences of the same thing, which may in 
some measure appear in all the following part of this discourse. 

II. I come now to another reason, why I answer the ques- 
tion at first proposed, in the negative, viz. That it is'a duty 
which in an ordinary state of things is required of all that are 
capable of it, to make an explicit open profession of the true 
religion, by owning God*s covenant ; or, in other words, pro- 
fessedly and verbally to unite themselves to God in his cove- 
nant, by their own public act. 

Here I wi)uld (first) prove this point ; and then (secondly) 
draw the consequence, and shev.' how this demonstrates th« 
thing in debate. 


J^irsL...! shall endeavor to establish this point, viz. That it 
is the duty of God's people thus publicly to own the covenant j 
and that it was not only a duty in Israel of old, but is so in the 
Christian church, and to the end of tlie world ; and that it is 
a duty required of adult persons before they come to sacra- 
ments. And this being a point of great coiiscquence in this 
controversy, but a matter seldom handled (though it seernsto 
be generally taken for granted) I shall be the nibre particular 
in the consideration of it. 

This not only seems to be in itself most consonant to reason, 
and is a duty generally allowed in New England, but is evi- 
dently a great institution of the word of God, appointed as a 
very important part of that public religion by which God's 
people should give honor to his name. This institution we 
have in Deut. vi. 13. " Thou shait fear the Lord thy God, 
and serve him, and shalt swear by his name." It is repeat- 
ed, chap. X. 20. " Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, him 
Bhalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by 
his name." In both places it might have been rendered ; 
thou shalt swear in his name, or into his name. In the orig- 
inal, bis/rmo, the prefix is bethy which signifies in or into, as 
well as by. And v/hereas, in the latter place, in our transla- 
tion, it is said, to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his 
name, the words are thus in the Hebrew, zidho thidhbak ub- 
hifihino tisshabheang. The literal translation of which is, in- 
to him shalt thou cleave [or unite] and into his name shalt 
thou swear. There is the same prefix, beth, before him, when 
it is said, thou shalt cleave to him, as before his name, when 
it is said, thou shalt swear by his name. Swearing into God's 
name, is a very emphatical and significant way of expressing 
a person's taking on himself, by his own solemn profession, 
the name of God, as one of his people ; or by swearing to or 
covenanting with God, uniting himself by his own act to the 
people that is called by his name. The figure of speech is 
something like that by which Christians in the New Testa- 
ment are said to be baptized Et?To ovo/>ca, into the name of the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So Christians arc said 
to be baptized into Christ, Gal. iii. 17. This swearing by the 


name, or into the name of the Ivord, is so often, and in such & 
nianner spoken of by ihc prophets as a £^reat duty of Ciod's 
solemn public Morship, as much as praying or sacrificing, 
that it would be unreasonable to understand it only, or chiefly, 
of occasionally taking an oath before a court of judicature, 
irhich, it may be, oik; tenth part of the people never had oc- 
casion to do once in their lives. If we v»cH consider the mat- 
ter, we shall see abundant reason to be satisfied, that the thing 
intended in this instituiion was publicly covenaniinj^ with God. 
Covenanting in scripture is very often called by the name of 
swearing, and a covenant is called an oath.* And particular- 
ly^ (iod's covenant is called his oath, Deut. xxix. 12, " That 
ihou shouldst enter into covenant m ith tiie Lord thy God, and 
into his oath." Vcr. 1 4. " Neither with you only do I make 
this covenant and this oath." 1 Chron. xvi. 15, 16. " Be ye 
mindful always of his covenant : Even of the covenant which 
he made with Abraham, and his oath urUo Isaac" 2 Chron. 
XV. 12. " And they entered into covenant to seek the Lord 
God of their fathers." Ver. 14, 15. "And they sware unta 
the Lord with a loud voice : And all Judah rejoiced at the 
oath." Swearing to the Lord, or swearing in, or into the 
name of the Lcrd, are equipollent expressions in the Bible. 
The prefixes bct/i and /.a?nccl are evidently used indifferently in 
this case to signify the same tiling. Zeph. i. 5. *' That swear 
by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham." The word trans- 
lated to the Lord^ is Laihovah^ with the prefix lamed ; but /• 
Malcham is Bcmalcharn with the prefix beth into Malcham. In 
\ Kings xviii. 32, it is said, '' Elijah built an altai- in the name 
of the Lord ;" bcshcm. Here the prefix bcth is manifcsily of 
the same force with lumcd^ in 1 Kings viii. 44. " The house I 
have built for thy name or to thy name ;" Icfthem, 

God's people in swearing to his name, or into his name, ac- 
cording to the institution, solemnly professed two things, viz. 
their faith and obedience. The former part of this profes- 
sion of religion was called. Saying, the Lord livcth. Jer. v. 

• As Gen. xxi. 23, to the end, xxvi. 28, to the end, xxxi. 44. 53. J«^sh. 
ii. 18, &c. I Sam. xx. 16, 17 42. a Kings xi. 4. Eccl. viii. a, EzcV.. 
xvi. 59, xvii. lb, and many other places. 


2. " And though they say, the Lord liveth, yet surely they 
swear falsely." Ver. 7. " They liave sworn by them that are 
no gods :" That is, they had openly professed idol worship. 
Chap. iv. 2. " Th«u shalt swear, the Lord liveth, in truth, in 
judgment, and in righteousness ; and the nations shall bless 
themselves in him, and in him shall they glory." (Compare 
this with Isa. xlv. 23, 24, 25.) Jer. xliv. 26. " Behold 1 have 
3worn by my great name, saith the Lord, that my name shall 
no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all 
the land of Egypt, saying, the Lord liveth :" i. e. They shall 
never any more make any profession of the true God, and of 
the true religion, but shall be wholly given up to Heathenism, 
See also Jer. xii. 16, and xvi. 14, 15, and xxiii. 7, 8. Hos. 
iv. 15. Amos viii. 14, and ver. 5. 

These words CHAI JEHOVAH, Jehovah liveth, summa- 
rily comprehended a profession of faith in that alisufficiency 
and immutability of God, which is implied in the name JE- 
HOVAH, and which attributes are very often signified in 
scripture by God's being the LIVING GOD, as is very 
manifest from Josh. iii. 10, i Sam. xvii 26, 36. 2 Kings xix. 4fi 
J 6. Dan. vi. 26. Psal. xviii. 46, and innumerable other places. 

The other thing professed in swearing into the Lord was 
obedience, called, Walking in the name of the Lord. Micali 
iv. 5. " All people will walk every one in the name of his God, 
and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever 
and ever." Still with the prefix beihy beshem^ as they were 
said to swear bcsheniy in the name, or into the name of the 

This institution) in Deuteronomy, of swearing into the 
name of the Lord, or visibly and explicitly uniting themselves 
to him in covenant, was not prescribed as an extraordinary 
duty, or a duty to be performed on a return from a general a- 
postacy, and some other extraordinary occasions : But is evi- 
tlcntly mentioned in the institution, as a part of the public 
worship of God to be performed by all God's people, properly 
belonging to the visible worshippers of Jehovah ; and so it is 
very often mentioned by tlie prophets, as I observed before^ 

VoE. L Z 


and could largely demonstrate, if there was occasion for it, and 
would not loo much lengthen out this discourse. 

And this was not only an institution belonging to Israel un- 
der the Old Testament, but also to Gentile converts, and 
Christians under the New Testament. Thus God declares 
concerning the Gentile nations, Jer. xii. 16. « If they will 
diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my natne, 
the Lord livcth, as they taught my people to swear by Baal : 
Then shall they be built in the midst of my people," i. e. 
They shall be added to my church ; or as the Apostle Paul 
expresses it, Eph. iii. 19. ...22. " They shall be no more 
strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, 
and of the household of God, and be built upon the founda- 
tion of Christ ; in whom all the building, fitly framed togeth* 
cr, 8cc. In whom they also shall be builded for an habitation 
of God through the Spirit.'* So it is foretold, that the way of 
public covenanting should be the way of the Gentiles joining 
themselves to the church in the days of the gospel, Isa. xliv. 
o, 4, 5. ''I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and 
floods upon the dry ground ; I will pour my Spirit upon thy 
seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring, and they shall 
spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water 
courses ; one shall say, I am the Lord's, and another shall 
call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall sub- 
scribe with his hand unto the Lord." As subscribing an in- 
strument whereby they bound themselves to the Lord. This 
was subscribing and covenanting themselves into the name of 
Israel, and swearing into the name of the Lord, in the lan- 
guage of those forcmentioned texts in Deuteronomy. So 
taking hold of God's covenant, is foretold as the way in which 
the sons of the stranger in the days of the gospel should be 
joined to Ciod*s church, and brought into God*s sanctuary, and 
to have communion in its worship and ordinances, in Isa. hi. 
3, 6, 7. So in Isa. xix. 18, the future conversion of the Gen- 
tiles in the days of tlie gospel, and their being brought to pro- 
fess the true religion, is expressed by that, that they should 
swear to the Lord of Hcsts. '' In that day shall five cities in 
live land of V.'^\ pt speak ihc language of Canaan, and sv.car t« 


the Lord of Hosts." So in Jcr. xxiii. 5... .8, it seems to be 
plainly foretold, that after Christ is come, and has wrought 
out his great redemption, the same way of publicly professing 
faith in the allsuflicient and immutable God, by swearing, 
the Lord iiveth, should be continued, which was instituted of 
old ; but only with this difference, that whereas formerly 
they covenanted with God as their Redeemer out of Egypt, 
now they shall as it were forget that woi-k, and have a special 
respect to a much greater redemption. " Behold, the days 
come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a right- 
eous Branch. Therefore they shall no more say, the Lord liv- 
cthj which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of 
Egypt ; but, the Lord Iiveth, which brought up, and which led 
the seed of t4ie house of Israel out of the north country," &c. 
Another remarkable place wherein it is plainly foretold, that 
the like method of professing religion should be continued in 
the days of the gospel, which was instituted in Israel, by swear- 
ing or public covenanting, is that, Isa. xlv. 22. ...35. " Look 
unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth ; for I am 
Cod, and there is none else : I have sworn by myself, the 
word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not 
return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tx)ngue shall 
swear : Surely shall one say, in the Lord have J righteous- 
ness and strength ; Even to him shall men come : In the 
Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.** 
This prophecy will have its last fulfilment at the day of judg- 
jnent ; but it is plain, that the thing most directly intended is 
the conversion of the Gentile world to the Christian religion. 
What is here called swearing, the apostle, in citing this place, 
once and again calls confessing; Rom. xiv. 11...." Every 

tongue shall confess to God.** Philip, ii. 10 " That every 

tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.'* Which is 
the word commonly used in the New Testament, to signify 
making a public profession of religion. So Rom. x. 9, 10. " If 
thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt 
believe in thine heart, tliat God hath raised him from the dead, 
thou shalt be saved : For with the heart man believeth unto 
righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto 


salvation,'' Where a public profession of religion with the 
mouth is evidently spoken of as a great duty of all Christ's peo- 
ple, as well as believinjj in him ; and ordinarily requisite to 
salvation ; not that it is necessary in the same manner that 
faith is, but in like manner as baptism is. Faith and verbal 
profession are jointly spoken of here as necessary to salvationi 
in the same manner as faith and baptism are, in Mark xvi. 16. 
" He that bclievcth and is baptized, shall be saved.'* And I 
know no good reason why we should not look on oral profes- 
sion and covenanting with Christ, in those who are capable of 
it, as much of a stated duty in the Christian church, and an 
institution universally pertaining to the followers of Christ, 
as much as baptism. 

And if it be so that explicit open covenanting with God be 
a great duty required of all, as has been represented ; then it 
ought to be expected of persons before they are admitted to 
the privileges of the adult in the church of Christ. Surely it 
is proper, if this explicit covenanting take place at all, that it 
should take place before persons come to those ordinances 
wherein they, by their own act, publicly confirm and seal thi» 
covenant. This public transaction of covenanting, which 
God hfis appointed, ought to be, or have an existence, before 
we publicly confirm and seal this transaction. It was that by 
which the Israelites of old were introduced into the commu- 
nion of God's nominal or visible church and holy city : As ap- 
pears by Isa. xlviii. 1,2. *^ Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, 
which are called by the name of Israel, and arc come forth 
out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the 
Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth 
i^or in righteousness : For they call themselves of the holy 
city," &c. Wlien and after what manner particularly the Is- 
raelites ordin.\ri]y performed this explicit covenanting, I do 
r»ot know that we can be certain ; but as it was first done on 
occasion of God's first promulgating his law or covenant at 
mount Sinai, and was done again on occasion of a repetition 
or renewed pioniul}j;ation of it on the plains of Moab, and was 
done on occasion of the public reading of the law in Josiah't 
time (2 Kings xxUi. 3.) and was done after the return from 


%he captivity, on occasion of the public reading of it at the feast 
of tabernacles (Neh. viii. ix. and x.) so it appears to me most 
likely, that it was done every seventh year, when the law or 
covenant of God was, by divine appointment, read in the au- 
dience of all the people at the feast of tabernacles ; at least 
done then by all who then heard the law read the first time, 
and who never had heard, nor publicly owned the covenant of 
God before. There are good evidences that they never had 
communion in those ordinances which God had appointed as 
seals of his covenant, wherein they themselves were to be ac- 
tive, such as their sacrifices, Zic. until they had done it : It is 
plainly implied in Psal. 1. that it was the manner in Israel vo* 
cally to own God's covenant, or to take it into their mouths, 
before they sealed that covenant in their sacrifices. See Ver. 
16, taken with the preceding part of the Psalm, from Ver. 5. 
And that they did it before they partook of the passover (which 
indeed was one of their sacrifices) or entered into the sanctua- 
ry for communion in the temple worship, is confirmed by th© 
words of Hezekiah, when he proclaimed a passover, 2 Chron. 
XXX. 8. " Now be ye not stiff necked, as your fathers were ; 
but yield yourselves unto the Lord (in the Hebrew, give the 
hand to the Lord) and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath 
sanctified for ever, and serve the Lord your God." To give 
the hand, seems to be a Hebrew phrase for entering into cove- 
nant, or obliging themselves by covenant, Ezra x. 19. " And 
they gave their hands that they would put away their wives." 
And, as has been already observed, it was foretold that Christ- 
ians should in this way be admitted to communion in the priv- 
ileges of the church of Christ. 

Having thus established the premises of the argument I in- 
tend, I now come. 

Secondly^ To that which I think liiust be the consequence, 
viz. That none ought to be admitted to the privileges of adult 
persons in the church of Christ, but such as make a profes- 
sion of real piety. For the covenant, to be owned or profess- 
ed, is God's covenant, which he has revealed as the method 
*f our spiritual union with him, and our acceptance as the ob- 


jccts of his eternal favor ; which is no other than the cove/ 
nant of t^^race ; at least it is so, without dispute, in these day* 
of the i^ospcl. To own this covenant, ij to profess the con- 
tent of our hearts to it ; and that is the sum and substance of 
true piety. It is not only a professing the assent of our unr 
dcrslandings, that we undcrstajid there is such a covenant, or 
that we understand we arc obliged to comply with it ; but it 
is to profess ihc consent of our wills, it is to manifest that we 
do comply with it. There is mutual profession in this affair, a 
profession on Christ's part, and a profession on our part ; as it 
is in marriage. And it is the same sort of profession that is 
made on both sides, in this respect, that eai:h professes a con- 
sent of heart. Christ in his word dcchires an entire consent 
of heart as to what he offers ; and the visible Christian, in the 
answer that he makes to it in his Christian profession, de- 
clares a consent and compliance of heart to his proposal. 
Owning the c(jvenant ib professing to make the transaction of 
that covenant our own. The transaction of that covenant is 
that of espousals to Christ ; on our part, it is giving oup souls 
to Christ as his spouse. There is no one thing that the cove- 
nant of grace is so often compared to in scripture, as the mar- 
riage covenant ; and the visible transaction, or mutual pro- 
fession there is between Chiist and the visible church, is a- 
bundantly compared to the mutual profession lliere is in mar- 
Tiage. In marriage the bride professes to yield to the bride- 
groom's suit, and to take him for her husband, renouncing all 
others, and to give up herself to him to be entirely and for- 
tver possessed by him as his wife. But he that professes this 
towards Christ, professes saving fidth. They that openly 
covenanted with God according to the tenor of the institution, 
Deut. X. 20, visibly united themselves to God in the union 
of that covenant ; they professed on their parts the union of 
the covenant of God, wiiich was the covenant of grace. It is 
said in the institution, " Thou shalt cleave to the Lord, and 
swear l)y his name ;" or as the words more literally arc, 
*^ Thou sbalt unite unto the Lord, and swear into his name.'* 
So in Isa. Ivi. it is called a '' joining themselves to the Lord." 
But the union, cleavinj;, or joining of that covenant is savinjj 


faith, the grand ctuidition of the covenant of Christ, by which 
we are in Christ : This is what brings us into the Lord. For 
a person explicitly or professedly to enter into the union or 
relation of the covenant of grace with Christ, is the same aa 
professedly to do that which on our part is the uniting act^ 
*nd that is the act of faith. To profess the covenant of grace, 
is to profess the covenant, not as a spectator, but as one im- 
mediately concerned in the aflfair, as a party in the covenant 
professed ; and this is to profess that in the covenant which 
belongs to us as a party, or to profess our part in the covenant ; 
and that is the soul's believing acceptaace of the Saviour. 
Christ's part is salvation, our part is a saving faith in him ; 
not a feigned, but unfeigned faith ; not a common, but special 
and saving faith ; no other faith than this is the condition of 
the covenant of grace. 

I know the distinction that is made by some, between the 
internal and external covenant ; but, I hope, the divines thai 
make this distinction, would not be understood, that there are 
really and properly two covenants of grace ; but only that 
those who profess the one only covenant of grace, are of two 
sorts ; there are those v/ho comply with it internally and real- 
ly, and others who do so only externally, that is, in profession 
and visibility. But he that externally and visibly complies 
ivith the covenant of grace, appears and professes to do so 
really. This distinction takes place also concerning the cov- 
enant of grace ; the one only covenant of grace is exhibited two 
ways, the one externally by the preaching of the word, tho 
other internally and spiritually by enlightening the mind 
rightly to understand the word. But it is with the covenant, 
as it is with the call of the gospel : He that really complies 
with the external call, has the internal call ; so he that truly 
complies with the external proposal of God's covenant, as 
visible Christians profess to do, does indeed perform the in- 
ward condition of it. But the New Testament affords no 
more foundation for supposing two real and properly distinct 
covenants of grace, than it does to suppose two sorts of real 
Christians ; the unscnpturalness of which latter hypothesis I 
observed before. 


"When those persons who were baplized in infancy do proper^ 
ly own their baptismal covenant, the meaning of it is, that thef 
now, being become capable to act for themselves, do profess- 
edly and explicitly make their parents' act, in giving- them up 
to God, their own, by expressly givinp; themselves up to God, 
But this no person can do, w iihout either being deceived, of 
dissembling and professing what he himself supposes to be a 
falsehood, unless he supposes that he in his heart consents to 
be God's. A child of Christian parents never does tha'. for 
himself which his parents did for him in infancy, until ho 
gives himself wholly to God. But surely he does not do it, 
who not only keeps back a part, but the chief part, his hearC 
and soul. He that keeps back his heart, docs in effect keep 
back all ; and therefore, if he be sensible of it, is guilty of 
solemn wilful mockery, if he at the same time solemnly and 
publicly professes that he gives himself up to God. If there 
are any words used by si1ch, which in their proper significa- 
tion imply that they give themselves up to God ; and if ihesc 
words, as they intend them to be understood, and as they are 
understood by those that hear them, according to their estab- 
lished use and custom among that people, do not imply, that 
they do it really, but do truly reserve or keep back the chief 
part ; it ceases to be a profession of giving themselves up to 
God, and so ceases to be a professed covenanting with God, 
or owning God's covenant ; for the thing which they profess, 
belongs to no covenant of God, in being ; for God has reveal- 
ed no such covenant, nor has any such covenant of God any 
existence, in which our transacting of the covenant is a giving 
\ip ourselves to him with reserve, or holding back a part, es- 
pecially holding back our souls, our chief part, and in effect 
our all. There is no covenant of God at all, that has- these 
for its terms ; to be sure, this is not the covenant of grace. 
And therefore althou!!;h such public and solemn professing 
may be a very unwarrantable and great abuse of woi'ds, and 
taking God*s name in vain, it is no professed covenanting 
with God. 

One thing, as has been observed, thai belonged to Israel's 
swearing into the name of the Lord, was the Lord Uvcth i 


'thereby they professed their faith in God's allsufficiency, 
immutability and faithfulness. But if they really had such a 
faith, it was a saving grace. They who indeed trust in the 
allsufficiency of God, he will surely be their allsufficient 
portion ; and they who trust in God's immutability and faith- 
fulness, he surely will never leave nor forsake them. There 
were two ways of swearing Jehovah livethy that we read of in 
scripture ; one we read of, Jer. ii. 2. " Thou shalt swear, the 
Lord liveth in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness :" And 
the other way is swearing falsely, which we read of in the 
next chapter, ver. 2, 3. " And though they say, The Lord 
liveth, yet surely they swear falsely." (And certainly none 
ought to do this. It follows, " O Lord, are not thine eyes 
Upon the truth ?" i. e. God desires sincerity of heart in those 
that profess religion. Here a gracious sincerity is opposed 
to a false profession ; for when it is said, " O Lord, are not 
thine eyes upon the truth ?" the expression is parallel with 
those, Psal. li. 6. " Behold thou desirest the truth in the in- 
"ward parts.'* 1 Sam. xvi. 7. « Man looketh on the outward 
^appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." Psal xi. 7. 
" His countenance doth behold the upright." But these texts 
speak of a gracious sincerity. Those spoken of, Jer. iv. 2. 
that" sware. The Lord liveth,in truth, in judgment,and right- 
eousness," were gracious persons, who had a thorough conver- 
sion to God, as appears by the preceding verse, " If thou wilt 
return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto me ;" i. e. Do not 
do as you or Judah was charged with drying in the foregoing 
chapter, ver. 10. " Judah hath not turned unto me with her 
■whole heart, but feignedly." Do not do thus, " but if thou Avilt 
return, return unto me." And then it is added in the second 
verse, « And thou shalt swear, the Lord liveth, in truth," &c. 
that is, then your profession of religion will be worth regard- 
ing, you will be indeed what you pretend to be, you will be 
Israelites indeed, in whose profession is no guile. They who 
said " The Lord liveth in truth, in judgment and in right- 
eousness ;" they said, the Lord liveth as David did, Psal. xviii. 
46. « The Lord liveth and blessed be my Rock." And did as 
the apostle says he did, 1 Tim. iv. 10. " We trust in the 
Vol. I. 2 A 


LiviNoGoDjwho is the Saviour of all men, especially of those 
that believe." And as he would have Timothy exhort rich 
men to do, chap. vi. 17. " That they trust not in uncertain 
riches, but in the Living God." When the apostle speaks of 
a profession of our faith in Christ, as one duty which all 
Christians ought to perform as they seek salvation, it is ihc 
profession of a saving faith that he speaks of : His word* 
plainly imply it ; " If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the 
Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath rais- 
ed him from the dead, ihou shalt be saved." The faith which 
was to be professed with the mouth, was the same which the 
apostle speaks of as in the heart, but that is saving faith. The 
latter is yet plainer in the following words ; " for with the 
heart man believelh uuto righteousness, and with the mouth 
confession is made unto salvation." Believing unto righteous- 
ness is saving faith ; but it is evidently the same faith which is 
spoken of, as professed with the mouth, in the next words 
in the same sentence. And that the Gentiles, in professing 
the Christian religion, or swearing to Christ, should profess 
saving faith, is implied, Isa. xlv. 23, 24. " Every tongue shall 
swear ; surely shall one say, in the Lord have 1 righteous- 
ness and strength ;" i. e. should profess entirely to depend on 
Christ's righteousness and strength. 

For persons merely to promise, that they ivill believe in 
Christ, or that they ivill hereafter comply with the conditions 
and duties of the covenant of grace, is not to own that cove- 
nant. Such persons do not profess 7iow to enter into the 
covenant of grace with Christ, or into the relation of that cov- 
enant to Christ. All that they do at present, is only a speak- 
ing fair ; they say they will do it hereafter ; they profess that 
they will hereafter obey that command of God, to believe on 
the name of his Son Jesus Christ. But what is such a pj-ofes- 
aion good for, and what credit is to be given to such promises 
of future obedience ^ when at the same time they pretend no 
other at present, than to live and continue in rebellion against 
those great commaiuls which give no allowance or license 
for delay ? They who do thus, instead of properly owning 
the covenant, do rather for the present visibly reject it. It 


is not unusual, in some churches, where the doctrine I oppose 
has been established, for persons at the same time that they 
come into the church, and pretend to own the covenant, freely 
to declare to their neighbors, they have no imagination that 
they have any true faith in Christ, or love to him. Such per- 
sons, instead of being professedly united to Christ, in the union 
of the covenant of grace, are rather visibly destitute of the love 
of Christ, and so, instead of being qualified for admission to 
the Lord's supper, are rather exposed to that denunciation of 
the apostle, 1 Cor. xvi. 22. " If any man love not the Lord 
Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maranatha." 

That outward covenanting, which is agreeable to scripture 
institution, is not only a promising what is future (though that 
is not excluded) but a professing what is present, as it is in 
the marriage covenant. (Though indeed it is true, that it 
was chiefly on account of the promise or vow which there is 
in the covenant, that it is called swearing.) For a woman to 
promise, that she will hereafter renounce all other men for 
the sake of him who makes suit to her, and will in some fu- 
ture time accept of him for her husband, is not for her now to 
enter into the marriage covenant with him : She that does 
this with a man, professes now to accept of him, renouncing 
-all others ; though promises of hereafter behaving towards 
him as a wife, are also included in the transaction. It seems 
as though the primitive converts to Christianity, in the pro- 
fession they made of religion, in order to their admission into 
the Christian church, and in their visibly entering into cove- 
nant, in order to the initiating seal of the covenant in baptism, 
did not explicitly make any promises of any thing future, 
they only professed the present sentiments and habit of their 
minds, they professed that they believed in Christ, and so were 
admitted into the church by baptism ; and yet undoubtedly 
they were, according to foremcntioned prophecies, admitted 
in the way of public covenanting, and as the covenant people of 
God they owned the covenant before the seal of tlic covenant 
was applied. Their professing faith in Christ was visibly own- 
ing the covenant of grace, because faith in Christ was the grand 
pondition of that covenant. Indeed, if the faith which ihey 


professed in order to baptism, was only an historical or doc* 
iriiial faith, (as some suppose) or any common faith, it -would 
not have been any visible entering into the covenant of grace ; 
for a common faith is not the condition of that covenant ; nor 
would there properly have been any covenanting in the 
case. If we suppose, the faith they professed was the 
grace by which the soul is united to Christ, their profession 
was a covenanting in this respect also, that it implied an en- 
gagement of future obedience ; for true faith in Christ in- 
cludes in its nature an acceptance of him as our Lord and 
King, and devoting ourselves to his service : But a profession 
of historical faith implies no profession of accepting Christ 
as our King, nor engagement to submit to him as such. 

When the Israelites publicly covenanted with God, accord- 
ing to the institution in Deuteronomy, ihey did not only 
promise somctlung future, but professed something present ; 
ihey avouched Jehovah to be their God, and also promised to 
keep his commands. Thus it was in that solemn covenant 
transaction between God and the people on the plains of Mo- 
ab, which is summarily described, Deut. xxvi. 17, 18. " Thou 
hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk 
in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, 
and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice ; and the 
Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, 
as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldst keep all his 
commandments." The people, in avouching God for their 
God, professed a compliance with the terms of the covenant 
of grace ; as the covenant of grace is summarily expressed 
in those words, " I will be thy God, and thou shalt be my peo- 
ple." They that avouch the Lord to be their God, do profess 
to accept of Jehovah as their God ; and that is to accept him 
as the object of their supreme respect and trust. For that 
■which wc choose as the object of our highest regard, that, and 
that only, do we take as our God. None therefore that value 
and love the world more than Jehovah, can, without lying, or 
being deceived, avouch Jehovah to be their God : And none 
that do not trust in Christ, l)ut trust more in their own 
strength or righleousncss, can avouch Christ to be their Sa- 


viour. To avouch God to be our God, is lo profess that he i» 
our God by our own act ; i. e. That we choose him to be our 
chief good and last end, the supreme object of our esteem and 
regard, that we devote ourselves to, and depend upon. And 
if we are sensible that we do not this sincerely, we cannot pro- 
fess that we actually do it ; for he that does not do it sincerely, 
does not do it at all : There is no room for the distinction ot 
a moral sincerity and gracious sincerity in this case : A su- 
preme respect of heart to God, or a supreme love to him, 
which is real, is but of one sort : It would be absurd, to talk of 
a morally sincere supreme love to God in those who really 
love dirt and dung more than him. AVhoever does with any 
reality at all makeGod the object of the supreme regard of his 
heart, is certainly a gracious person. And whoever does not 
make God the supreme object of his respect with a gracious 
sincerity, certainly does not do it with any sincerity. I fear, 
while leading people in many of our congregations, who have 
no thought of their having the least spark of true love to God 
in their hearts, to say, publicly and solemnly, that they avouch 
God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be their God, and 
that they give themselves up to him, we have led them to 
say they know not what. To be sure, they are very obscure 
expressions, if they mean any thing that a carnal man docs, 
under the reigning power of sin and enmity against God. 

Here possibly it may be objected, that it is unreasonable to 
suppose any such thing should be intended, in the profession 
of the cotigregation in the wilderness, as a gracious respect lo 
God, that which is the condition of God's covenant, when we 
have reason to think that so few of them were truly gracious. 
But I suppose, upon mature consideration this will not appear 
at all unreasonable. It is no more unreasonable to suppose 
this people to make a profession of that respect to God, which 
they had not in their hearts now, than at other limes when we 
are informed they did so, as in Ezek. xxxiii. 31. "They 
come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before 
thee as my people :" [i. e. as though they were my saints, as 
they profess to be] " For with their mouth they shew much 
love, but their heart goeth after covetousness." So in the 


apostle's time, that people professed that to be in their hearts 
lowards God, which was not there. The apostle is speaking 
of them, when he says. Tit. i. 16. " They profess that they 
know God, but in works they deny him." This was common 
among that people ; God declares them to be an hypocritical 
nation, Isa. x. 6. And it is certain, this was the case with 
them in the wilderness ; they there professed that respect to 
Cod wl.^ch they had not ; as is evident by Psal. Ixxviii. 36, 
37. " They did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied 
unto him with their tongue ; for their heart was not right with 
him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant." In owning 
the covenant with God, they professed their heart was right 
with him, as appears, bccansc it is mentioned as an evidence of 
their having lied or dealt falsely in their profession, that their 
heait was not right with him, and so proved not stedfast in 
God's covenant, which they had owned. If their heart had been 
right with God, they would have been truly pious persons ; 
■which is a demonstration, that what they professed was true 
piety. It also appears that if they had had such an lieart in 
them as they pretended to hav^, they would have been truly 
pious persons, from Deut. v. where we have a rehearsal of 
their covenanting at Mount Sinai. Concerning this it is said, 
Ver. 28, 29. " And the Lord heard the voice of your words, 
whep ye spake unto mc ; and the Lord said unto me, they 
have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were 
such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all 
my commandments always, that it might be well with them 
and with their children for ever." The people were mistaken 
about their disposition and preparation of heart to go through 
the business of God's service, as the man in the parable, that 
undertook to build a tower without counting the cost. Nor 
need it seem at all incredible, that that generation who cove- 
nanted at Mount Sinai, should, the greater part of them, be 
deceived, and think their hearts thoroughly disposed to give 
up themselves forever to God, if we consider how much they 
had strongly to move their affections ; the wonders wrought 
in Egypt and at the Red Sta, where they were led through 
on dry ground, and the Egyptians were so miraculously dcs- 


troyed ; whereby their affections were greatly raised, and they 
sang God's praises : And particularly what they now saw at 
Mount Sinai, of the astonishing manifestations of God's maj- 
esty there. Probably the greater part of the sinners among 
them were deceived with false affections ; and if there were 
others that were less affected and who were not deceived, it 
is not incredible that they, in those circumstances, should wil- 
fully dissemble in their profession, and so in a more gross 
sense flatter God with their lips, and lie to him with their 
tongues. And these things are more credible concerning 
that generation, being a generation peculiarly left to hardness 
and blindness of mind in divine matters, and peculiarly noted 
in the Book of Psalms for hypocrisy. And as to the genera- 
tion of their children that owned the covenant on the plains 
of Moab, they not only in like manner had very much to move 
their affections, the awful judgments of God they had seen on 
their fathers, God having brought them through the wilder- 
ness, and subdued Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og the 
king of Bashan before them, Moses's affecting rehearsal of 
the whole series of God's wonderful dealings with them, to- 
gether with his most pathetical exhortations ; but it was also 
a time of great revival of religion and powerful influence of 
the Spirit of God, and that generation was probably the most 
excellent generation that ever was in Israel ; to be sure, there is 
more good and less hurt spoken of them,than of any other gen- 
eration that we have any account of in scripture.* A very great 
part of them swore in truth, in judgment, and in righteous- 
ness : And no wonder, that others at such a time fell in, eith- 
er deceiving, or being deceived, with common affections ; as 
is usual in times of great works of God for his churchy and of 
the flourishing of religion. In succeeding generations, as the 
people grew more corrupt, I suppose, their covenanting or 
swearing into the name of the Lord degenerated inta a mat- 
ter of mere form and ceremony ; even as subscribing relig- 
ious articles seems to have done with the church of England j 

•See Numb xiv. 31. Deut. i. 09, and viii. 15, 16. Josh. xxii. a, aa4 
verse u, to theend, and xxiii 8 Deut. iv 4. Josh. xxiv. 31. Jade ^v 
17,28. Psal,lxviii. 14. Jcr. ii. 2, 3, «i,andxxxi. 2,3. Hos. ix. to. 


and as it is lo be feared, owning the covenant, as it is called, 
lias too much done in Newengland ; it beinj* visibly a pre- 
vailing custom for persons lo neglect this, until they come to 
be married, and then to do it for their credit's sake, and that 
iheir children may be baptized. And I suppose, there was 
commonly a great laxness in Israel among the priests who 
had the conduct of this iiffair : And there were many things 
in the nature of that comparatively carnal dispensation, which 
negatively gave occasion for such things ; that is, whereby it 
had by no means so great a tendency to prevent such like ir- 
regularities, though very wrong in themselves, as the more 
excellent dispensation, introduced by Christ and his Apostles. 
And though these things were testified against by the Proph- 
ets, before the Babylonish captivity ; yet God who is only 
>vise, did designedly in a great measure wink at these, and 
many other great irregularities in the church until the time 
of reformation should come, which the Messiah was to have 
the honor of introducing. But of these things I may perhaps 
have occasion to say something more, when I come to an- 
swer the objection concerning the passover. 

Now lo return to the argument from the nature of cove- 
Tjanting with God, or owning God's covenant : As to the 
promises, which are herein, either explicitly or implicitly, 
made ; the making these promises implies a profession of 
true piety. For in the covenant of grace universal obedience 
is engaged, obedience to all the commands of God ; and the 
performance of inward spiritual duties is as much engaged in 
the covenant of grace, as external duties ; and in some res- 
pects much more. Therefore he that visibly makes the cov- 
enant of grace his own, promises to perform those internal 
duties, and to perform all duties with a gracious sincerity. 
We have no warrant, in our profession of God's covenant, to 
divide the duties of it, lo take some, and leave out others : 
Especially have we not warrant to leave out those great com- 
mands, of believing with the heart, of loving the Lord our 
God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and our neigh- 
bor as ourselves. He ihat leaves out these, in eflcct leaves 
mit all ; for these are the sum of our whole duty, and of all 


God's commands: If we leave these out of our profession, 
cnrely it is not the covenant of grace, which we profess. The 
Israelites when they covenanted with God at Mount Sinaiy 
and said, when God had declared to them the ten command- 
ments, " All that the Lord hath spoken will we do, and be o- 
bedient ;" their promise implied, that as they professed to 
know God, they would in works not deny, but own and honor 
him, and would conform to those two great commandments^ 
M'hich are the sum of all the ten, and concerning which God, 
said " These words which I command thee this day, shall be 
in thine heart." Deut. vi. 6. So, when they covenanted on the 
plains of Moab, they promised to keep and do God*s com- 
mands, " with all their heart, and with all their soul," as is very 
evident by Dt ut. xxvi. 16, 17. So it was also when the peo- 
ple owned their covenant in Asa*s time, 2 Chron. xv. 12, 
" They entered into a covenant to seek the Loid God of their 
fathers, with all their heart, and with all their soul." We 
have also another remarkable instance, 2 Kings xxiii. 3, and 
2 Chron. xxxiv. 31. 

Now he who is wholly under the po^vep of a carnal mind, 
which is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be, 
cannot promise these things without either great deceit, or the 
most manifest and palpable absurdity. Promising supposes 
the person to be conscious to himself; or persuaded of him- 
self, that he has such an heart in him ; for his lips pretend to 
declare his heart. The nature of a promise implies inten- 
tion or design. And proper real intention implies will, dis- 
position, and compliance of heart. But no natural man is 
properly willing to do these duties, nor does his heart com- 
ply with them ; and to make natural men believe otherwise^ 
tends greatly to their hurt. A natural man may be willing^ 
from selflove, and from sinister views, to use means and take 
pains that he may obtain a willingness or disposition to these 
duties : But that is a very different thing from actually being 
willing, or truly having a disposition to them. So he may- 
promise, that he will, from some considerations or other, take 
great pains to obtain such a heart : But if he does so, tl is i* 
not the promise of the covenant of grace. Men may make: 

Vol. L 2 B 


many religious promises to God, and many promises som« 
way relating to the covenant of grace, that are not themselves 
the promises of that covenant ; nor is there any thing of the 
nature of covenanting in the case, because although they 
should actually fulfil their promises, God is not obliged by 
promise to them. If a natural man promises to do all that it 
is possible for a natural man to do in religion, and fulfils his 
promises, God is not obliged, by any covenant that he has en- 
tered into with man, to perform any thing at all for him, res^ 
pectine: his saving benefits. And therefore he that promises 
these things only, enters into no covenant with God ; because 
the very notion of entering into covenant with any being, is en- 
tering into a mutual agreement, doing or engaging that 
which, if done, the other party becomes engaged on his part. 
The New Testament informs us but of one covenant God en- 
ters into with mankind through Christ, and that is the covc- 
Dant of grace ; in which God obliges himself to nothing in us 
that is exclusive of unfeigned faith, and the spiritual duties 
that attend it : Therefore if a natural man makes ever so many 
vows, that he will perform all external duties, and will pray 
for help to do spiritual duties, and for an ability and will to 
comply with the covenant of grace, from such principles as 
he has, he does not lay hold of God*s covenant, nor properly 
enter into any covenant with God : For we have no opportu- 
nity to covenant with God in any other covenant, than that 
which he has revealed ; he becomes a covenant party in no 
other covenant. It is true, every natural man that lives un- 
der the gospel, is obliged to comply with the terms of the cov- 
enant of grace ; and if he promises to do it, his promise may- 
increase his obligation, though he flattered God with his 
mouth, and lied to him with his tongue, as the children of 
Israel did in premising. But it will not thence follow, that 
they ought knowingly to make a lying promise, or that min- 
isters and churches should countenance them in so doing. 

Indeed there is no natural man but what deceives himself 
if he thinks he is truly willing to perform external obcdicnco 
to God, universally and pcrscveringly through the various 
trials of life that he may expect. And therefore in promising 


It, he is either very deceitful, or is like the foolish deceived 
man that undertook to build when he had not wherewith to 
finish. And if it be known by the church, before whom he 
promises to build and finish, that at the same time he does 
jnot pretend to have an heart to finish, his promise is worthy 
of no credit or regard from them, and can make nothing visi" 
ble to them but his presumption. 

A great confirmation of what has been said under this head 
of covenanting, is that text, Psal. 1. 16. " But unto the wick- 
ed God saith, what hast thou to do, to declare my statutes, or 
that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth ?'* This 
term, the nvicked, in the more general use of it in scripture, is 
applied in that extent as to include all ungodly or graceless 
persons, all that are under the reigning power of sin, and are 
the objects of God's anger, or exposed to his eternal venge- 
ance ; as might easily be made to appear by a particular enu- 
meration of texts all over the Bible. All such are in scripture 
called, " workers of iniquity, the children of the wicked one," 
Matth. xiii. 38. All such are said to be of the devil, 1 John 
iii. 8. And to be the children of the devil, verse 10. The 
righteous and the wickied are in a multitude of places in 
scripture put in opposition ; and they are evidently opposed 
one to the other, and distinguished one from another in scrip- 
ture, as saints and sinners, holy and unholy, those that fear 
God and those that fear him not, those that love him and 
those that hate him. All mankind are in scripture divided by 
these distinctions, and the Bible knows of no neuters or third 
sort. Indeed those who are really wicked, may be visibly 
righteous, righteous in profession and outward appearance : 
But a sort of men who have no saving grace, that yet are not 
really wicked men, are a sort of men of human invention, that 
the scripture is entirely ignorant of. It is reasonable to sup- 
pose, that by wicked men here, in this psalm, is meant all that 
hate instruction, and reject God's word (Psal. 1. 17.) and not 
merely such wicked men as are guilty of those particular 

crimes mentioned, ver. 17 20, stealing, adultery, fraud, and 

backbiting. Though only some particular ways of wicked- 
ness are mentioned, yet we are not to understand that all oth- 


ers arc excluded ; yea the words, in the conclusion of the pa 
ragraph, are expressly applied to all that forget God in such 
a manner as to expose themselves to be torn in pieces by his 
-wrath in hell, ver. 22. "Now consider this, ye that for-ct 
God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver." 
We can no more justly argue, that because some gross sins 
arc here specified, that no sinners are meant but such as live 
in those or other gross sins, than we can argue from Rev. 
xxii. 14, 15, that none shall be shut out of heaven but only 
those who have lived in the gross sins there mentioned ; 
<' Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may 
have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the 
gates into the city : For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and 
murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a 
lie." Nothing is more common in scripture, than in the de- 
scriptions it gives, both of the godly and ungodly, together 
M'ith their general character, to insert in o the description some 
particular excellent practices of the one which grace tends to, 
and some certain gross sins of the other which there is a 
foundation for in the reigning corruption in their hearts. So, 
lying is mentioned as part of the character of all natural men, 
Psal. Iviii. 3, 4. (Who arc there called wicked men, as in 
Psal. 1.) " The wicked are estranged from the womb ; they go 
astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies : Their poison 
is like the poison of a serpent," Sec. So it is said of the wick- 
ed, Psal. X. 2, 3, 4, 7. His mouth is full of cursing and bittcr- 
nc s." This the apostle, Rom. iii. cites as a description of 
all natural men. So it is said of the wicked, Psal. cxl. 3. 
" They have sharpened their tongues as a serpent ; adder's 
poison is under their lips ;" which the same apostle in the 
same place, also cites as what is said of all natural men. The 
very same gross sins which are here mentioned in the fiftieth 
psalm, are from time to time inserted in Solomon's descrip- 
tions of the wicked man, as opposed to the righteous, in the 
book of Proverbs ; Particularly the sins mentioned in the 
19lh verse of that Psalm, " Thou givcst thy mouth to evil, 
and thy tongue fiamcth deceit ;" are thus mentioned, as be- 


loti^ng to the character of the wicked man, Prov. xil " The 
thoughts of the righteous "are right ; but the counsels of the 
wicked are deceit. The words of the wicked are to lie in 
•wait for blood ; but the mouth of the upright shall deliver 
them." Nevertheless it is plain, that the wise man in his 
■book, in his distinction of the righteous and the wicked, means 
the same as godly and ungodly. Only reading the two fore- 
going chapters will be enough to satisfy any of this. Observe 
chap. X. 3, 7, 16, 20, 21, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and xi. 3, 5, 
€, 7, 8, 9, 1 1, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 30, 31, besides innumerable 
other like texts all over the book. In chap. i. 16, it is said of 
sinners, " Their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed 
blood." This the apostle, in Romans iii. 15, cites as belong- 
ing to the description of all natural men. So in the descrip- 
tion of the wicked, Prov. iv. 14.. ..19, it is said, that "they 
sleep not unless they have done mischief; that they drink the 
wine of violence," &c. and yet by the wicked there is meant 
the same with the graceless man ; as appears by the antithe- 
Ns, there made between him and the " just or righteous, 
whose path is as the shining light, which shineth more and 
more to the perfect day." 

As a further evidence that by the wicked in this Psal. 1. 16, 
is meant the same as the ungodly or graceless, it is to be ob- 
served, here is a pretty manifest antithesis, or opposition be- 
tween the wicked and the saints, that shall be gathered to 
Christ at the day of judgment, spoken of verse 5. There 
God speaking of his coming to judgment, says, " Gather my 
saints together, those that have made a covenant with me by- 
sacrifice :" And then, after shewing the insufficiency of the 
sacrifices of beasts, implying that that is a greater sacrifice by 
which these saints make a covenant with him, it is added, 
*' But to the wicked" [that are not in the number of my 
saints] " God doth say, What hast thou to do, to take my cov- 
enant into thy mouth ?" Approving of the covenanting of the 
former, but disapproving the covenanting of the latter. As to 
the gathering of God's saints, there spoken, if wc consider the 
foregoing and following verses, it is evidently the same with 
that gathering of his elect, when Christ comes in the clouds of 


heaven, which is spoken of, Matth. xxiv. 30, 31 ; and with 
that gathering of the rit^hteous, as his wheat into his barn, at 
the day of judgment, spoken of Matih. xiii. And therefore 
there is as much reason to suppose, that by the wicked, which 
are opposed to them, is meant all graceless persons, as there 
is so to understand the doers of iniquity, spoken of in that 
Matth. xiii. as those that are opposed to the righteous, which 
shall then " shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their 
Father, ver. 43. And there is one thing more which still fur- 
ther confirms me in my construction of Psal. I. 16, which is, 
That the plain reason here given against wicked men's tak- 
ing God's covenant into their mouths, holds good witli respect 
to all graceless men, viz. Because ihey do not comply with, 
but reject the very covenant, which they with their mouths 
profess to own and consent to. Ver. 1 7. " Seeing thou hatest 
instruction, and castest my words behind thee :" As much 
as to say," Thou rcjectest and hast a reigning enmity against 
my statutes, which thou declarest and professest a compliance 
with." And this is the spirit and practice of all who live in 
the sin of unbelief and rejection of Clirist ; they live in a way 
that is altogether inconsistent with the covenant of grace ; for 
the sum and substance of the condition and engagement of 
that covenant is what every natural man is under the reigning 
power of enmity against, and lives in contradiction to. There- 
fore, I think, it follows, that they who know it is thus with 
them, have nothing to do to take God's covenant into their 
mouths ; or, in other wordsj have no warrant to do this, until 
it be otherwise with them. 

III. The nature of things seems to afford no frood reason 
why the people of Christ should not openly profess a proper 
respect to him in their hearts, as well as a true notion of hira 
in their heads, or a right opinion of him in their judgments. 

I can conceive of nothing reasonably to be supposed the de- 
sign or end of a public profession of religion, that does not as 
much require a profession of honor, esteem and friendship of 
heart towards Christ, as an orthodox opinion about him ; or 
why the former should not be as much expected and required 


in order to a being admitted into the company of his friend* 
and followers, as the latter. It cannot be because the former 
is in itself is not as important, and as much to be looked at, 
as the latter ; seeing the very essence of religion itself con- 
sists in the former, and without it the latter is wholly vain, and 
makes us never the better ; neither happier in ourselves nor 
more acceptable to God. One end of a public profession oE 
religion is the giving public honor to God : But surely the 
profession of inward esteem and a supreme respect of heart 
towards God is as agreeable to this design, and more directly 
tending to it, than the declaring of right speculative notions of 
him. We look upon it that our friends do the more especial- 
ly and directly put honor upon us when upon proper occasions 
they stand ready not only to own the truth of such and such 
facts concerning us, but 'also to testify their high esteem and 
cordial and entire regard to us. When persons only manifest 
their doctrinal knowledge of things of religion, and express 
the assent of their judgments, but at the same time make no 
pretence to any other than a being wholly destitute of all true 
love to God, and a being under the dominion of enmity against 
him, their profession is in some respects, very greatly to 
God's dishonor : For they leave reason for the public greatly 
to suspect that they hold the truth in unrighteousness, and 
that they are some of those that have both seen and hated 
Christ and his Father, John xv. 24. Who of all persons have 
the greatest sin, and are most to God's dishonor. 

I am at a loss, how that visibility of saintship, which the 
honored author ef The Appeal to the Learned supposes to be 
all that is required in order to admission to the Lord's supper, 
can be much to God's honor, viz. Such a visibility as leaves 
reason to believe, that the greater part of those who have it, 
are enemies to God in their hearts, and inwardly the servants 
of sin. Such a visibility of religion as this, seems rather to in- 
crease a visibility of wickedness in the world, and so of God's 
dishonor, than any thing else ; i. e. it makes more wicked- 
ness visible to the eye of an human judgment, and gives ment 
reason to think, there is more wickedness in the world, than 
otherwise would be visible to them : Because we have reason 


to think, that those who live in a rejection of Christ, under th» 
light of the gospel, and the knowledge and common belief of 
its doctrine, have vastly greater sin and guilt thnn other men. 
And that venerable divine himself did abundantly teach this. 

Christ came into the world to engage in a war wiih God's 
enemies, nin and Satari ; and a great war there is inaintained 
between them ; which war is concerning us ; and the contest 
is, who shall have >hc possession of OUR HEARTS. Now\ 
it is reasonable under these circumstances, ihat we should 
declare on whose side we are, whether on Christ's side, or 
on the side of his enemies. If we would be admitted amorgc 
Christ's friends and followers, it is reasonable that we should 
profess we are on the LorcTs side^ and that we yield OUR 
HEARTS (which the contest is about) to him, and not to his 
rivals. And this seems plainly to be the design and nature 
of a public profession of Christ. If tliis profession is not 
made, no profession is made that is worth regarding, or worth 
the making, in such a case as this is, and to any such pur- 
pose as a being admitted among his visible friends. There 
is no other being on Christ's side, in this case, but a being so 
with an undivided hearty preferring him to all his ritals, and 
renouncing them all for his sake. The case admits of na 
neutrality, or lukewarmncss, or a middle sort of persons with 
a moral sincerity^ or such a common faith as is consisteiit with 
loving sin and the world better than Christ. He that is not 
'with vie (says Christ) is a^^ainst ?ne. And therefore none do 
profess to be on Christ's side but they who profess to re- 
nounce his rivals. For those who would be called Christians, 
to profess no higher regard to Christ than what w ill admit of 
a superior regard to the vjorld^ is more absurd than if a wo- 
man pretending to marry a man, and take him for her hus- 
band, should profess to take him in some sort, but yet not 
pretend to take him in such a manner as is inconsistent with 
her allowing other men a fuller possession of her, and greater 
intimacy with her than she allows him. The nature of the 
case, as it stands between us and Jesus Christ, is such, that an 
open, solemn profession of being entirely for him, and giving 
bim the possession of our hearts, renouncing all compelitors> 


is vojbx^ requisite in this case, than a like profession in any 
other case. The profcssion of an intermediate sort of state 
of our mind, is very disagreeable to the nature of Christ's 
errand, work, and kingdom in the world, and all that belongs 
to the designs and ends of his administrations ; and for 
ministers and churches openly to establish such a kind of 
profession of Christ as part of his public service, which docs 
not imply a pretence of any more than lukewarmness, is, I 
fear, to make a mere sham of a solemn public profession of 
Christianity, and seems to be wholly without warrant from 
the word of God, and greatly to God's dishonor. 

It cannot be justly here pretended, as a reason why the 
opinion. concerning doctrines should be professed, and not 
friendship or raftcct of hearty that the former is more eanilif 
discerned and known by us than the latter. For though it be 
true, that men may be at a loss concerning the latter., yet it is 
as true that they may be so concernhig tl.e former loo. They 
may be at a loss in many cases concerning the fulness of the 
determination of their own inclination and choice ; and sa 
they may concerning the fulness of the determination of their 
judgment. I know of nothing in human nature that hinders 
the acts of men's wills being properly subject to their own 
consciousness, any more than the acts of their judgment ; 
nor of any reason to suppose that men may not discern their 
own consent as well as their assent. The Scripture plainly 
supposes gracious dispositions and acts to be things properly 
under the eye of conscience. 2 Cor. xiii. 5. « Know ye not 
your own selves ?" John xxi. 15. " Simon son of Jonas, lov- 
est thou me ?" And many other places. Nor is the nature 
of godliness less made known, than the true doctrines of re- 
ligion. Piety of heart, m the more essential things belong- 
ing to it, is as clearly revealed, as the doctrines concerning 
the nature of God, the person of the Messiah, and tne meth- 
od of his redemption. 

IV. We find in the Scripture, that all those of God's pro- 
fessing people, or visible saints who are not /rw/j/ //zows, are 
represented as counterfeits^ as having guile., disguise., and a 
false appearance^ as making false pretences, and as being de- 
Vol. L 2 C 


ceitfut and hyfiocrites Thus Christ says of Nathaniel, J6hft 

i. 47. " Behold an Israeliie indeed, in whom is no guile ;" 
that is, a truly gracious person ; implying, that those of 
God's professing people, who are not gracious, are guilfful^ 
and deceitful in their profession. So sinners in Zion, or 
in God's visible church, are culled hy/iocrites. Isa. xxxiii. 
14. " The sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath sur- 
prised the hyfiocrites.** Isa. xi. i7. " Everyone is an hyfiocritc 
and an evil doer." So they are called lying children.^ Isa. xxx. 
9. and chap. lix. 13. and are represented as /i//n§-, in pretend- 
ing to be of the temple or church of God. Jer. vii. 2, 4 

" Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at 

these gates to worship the Lord Trust yc not in lying 

"words, saying. The temple of the Lord, the temple of the 
Lord, the temple of the Lord are these." They are spoken 
of as falsely calling themselves of the holy city, Isa. xlviii. 1, 2. 

They are culled silver clross^ and reprobate or refune silver 

(Ezek. xxxii. 18. Jer. vi. 30.) which glisters and shows like 
tinje silver, but has not its inward worth. So they are com- 
pared to adulterated winey Isa. i. 22. and to trees full of leaves 
bidding fair for frultfulness, Matth. xxi. 19. Clouds that look 
as if they were full of rain, yet bring nothing but ivind^ Jude, 
12. JVells without water, that do but cheat the thirsty trav- 
eller, 2 Pet. ii. 13. A deceitful bow, that appears good, but 
fails the archer, Psal, Ixxviii. 57. IIos. vii. 16....IMr. Stoddard, 
in his ylppeal to the Learned, from time to time supposes all 
-visible saints, who arc not truly pious, to be hypocrites, as in 
pages 15, 17, 18. 
Now what ground or reason can there be thus to represent 
those as visible saints or members of Cod*s visible church,who 
are not truly pious, if the profession of such does not imply 
any pretence to true piety ; and when they never made a 
pretence to any thing more than common grace, or moral 
sincerity, which many of them truly have, and therefore are 
not ut all hypocritical or deceitful in their pretences, and are 
as much without guile, in what they make a profession of, 
as Nathaniel was ? The Psalmist speaking of sincere piety, 
calls it the truth in the inward parts. Psal. li. " Behold, 


thou desirest the truth in the inward parts," It is called 
truth with reference to some declaration or profession made 
by God*s visible people ; but on the hypothesis which I op- 
pose, common grace is as properly the truth in the inward 
parts, in this respect, as savint^ grace. God says, concern- 
ing Israel, Deut. xxxii. 5. " Their spot is not the spot of 
his children." God here speaks of himself as it were disap- 
pointed : The words have reference to sovac profession they 
had made : For why should this remark be made after this 
manner, that there were sjiots upon them, shrewd marks 
that they were not his children^ if they never pretended to 
be his children, and never were accepted under any such 
notion to any of the privileges of his people ? 

God is pleased to represent himself in his word as though 
he trusted the profession of his visible people, and as dlsafi* 
pointed when they did not approve themselves as his faithful, 
stedfast, and thorough friends. Isa. Ixiii. 8, 9, 10. " For he 
said, Surely they are my people, children that will not He. 
So he was their Saviour : In all their affliction he was afflicted. 
But they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit ; therefore he 
was turned to be their enemy." The same is represented in 
many other places. I suppose that God speaks after this man- 
ner, because he, in his present, external dealings with his visi- 
ble people, does not act in the capacity of the Searcher of 
Hearts, but accommodates himself to their nature, and the 
present state and circumstances of his church, and speaks 
to them and treats them after the manner of men, and deals 
•with them in their own way. But, supposing the case to be 
even thus, there would be no ground for such replresenta- 
tions, if there were no profession of true godliness. When 
God is represented as trusting that men will be his faithful 
friends, we must understand that he trusts to their pretences. 
But how improperly would the matter be so represented if 
there were no pretences to trust to, no pretences of any real, 
thorough friendship ? However there may be a profession of 
some common affection that is morally sincere, yet there is 
no pretence of loving him more than, yea not so much as his 
enemies. What reason to trust that they will be faithful 


to God as their master, \\'hcn the reli^on thev profess a.- 
mounts to no more than serving two masters ? What reason 
to trust that ihcy will be stable in their ways, when they do 
not pretend to be of a sinp:le heart, and all know that the 
double minded persons used to be unstable in all their ways ? 
Those who only proless moral sincerity or common gracc^ 
do not pretend to love God above the world. And such grace 
is what God and man know is liable to pass away as the ear- 
ly dew and the morning cloud. If what men profess amounts 
to nothing beyond lukewarmness, it is not to be expected, that 
they will be faithful to the death. If men do not pretend to 
have any oil in their vessels, what cause can there be to trust 
that their lamps will not go out ? If they do not pretend to 
have any root in them, what cause is there for any disap- 
pointment when they wither away. 

When God, in the forementioned place, Isa. Ixiii. repre- 
sents himself as trusting Israel's profeBsion,and saying, Surely 
they are my people, children that will not He ; it cannot be 
understood, as if he trusted that they were his people in that 
sense, in which the ten tribes were called God's people after 
they had given up themselves to idolatry for two or three 
hundred years together without once repenting : But, surely 
they are my sincere saints and children, as they profess to 
be, Israelites indeed without guile ; for surely they would not 
do so evil a thing as to make a lying profession. This seems 
to be the plain import of the woi-ds : It therefore shews that 
the profession they made was of real, Nntal godliness. 

V. The eight first verses of the fifty sixth chapter of Isa- 
iah, I think, afford good evidence, that such qualifications are 
reipiisite in order to a due coming to the privileges of a visi- 
ble church state, as I have insisted on. In the four preced- 
ing chapters we have a prophecy of gospel times, the bless- 
ed state of things which the Messiah should introduce. The 
prophecy of the same times is continued in the former part 
of this chapter. Here we have a prophecy of the abolishing 
of the ceremonial law, which was a wall of separation, that 
kept two sorts of persona, vir. Eunuchs and (ientiles, out 
from the ordinances of the church or congregation of the 


%jord (for the words congregation and church are the same) 
the place of whose meeting was in God*s house, within God's 
walls, verse 5, and on God's holy mountain, verse 7. That 
an the ceremonial law, which especially kept out the Gen- 
tiles, was the law of circumcision, and the law that the eunuch 
shall not enter into the congregation or church of the Lord, 
we have in Deut. xxiii. 1. Now here it is foretold that in 
the days when " God's salvation shall be come, and his right- 
eousness revealed, by the coming of the Messiah, this wall of 
separation should be broken down, this ceremonial law remov- 
ed out of the way (but still taking care to note, that the law of 
the Sabbath shall be continued, as not being one of those cere- 
monial observances which shall be abolished) ; and then it is 
declared, what is the great qualification which should be 
looked at in those blessed days, when these external, ceremo- 
nial qualifications of circumcision and squndness of body 
should no more be insisted on, viz. piety of heart and practice, 
joining themselves to the Lord^ loving the name of the Loi'd, to 
*be his servants^ choosing the things that please him^ iJfc. Ver. 3. 
&c. " Neither let the son of the stranger that hath joined him- 
self to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separ- 
ated me from his people ; neither let the eunuch say. Behold, 
I am a dry tree ; for thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs 
that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, 
and take hold of my covenant, even unto them will I give in 
my house, and within my walls, a place, and a name better 
than of sons and of daughters ; I will give unto them an ev- 
erlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of 
the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, 
and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every 
one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh 
hold of my covenant: Even them will I bring to my holy 
mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer ; 
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted up- 
on mine altar : For mine house shall be called an house of 
prayer for all people. The Lord God which gathereth the 
outcasts of Israel, saith. Yet will I gather others to him be- 
sides those that are gathered unto him." 


VI. The r^preBentationa which Christ makes of his visi- 
hk churchy from time to time, in his cliscoui'J^cs and parables» 
make the thinj:; manifest \vhich I have laid down. 

As particularly the representation which Christ makes in 
the latter end of Matthew vii. of the final issue of things with 
respect to the different sorts of members of his visible church : 
Those that only say, Lord^ Lord^ and those who do the nvill of 
his Father ivhich U in heaven ; those ivho build their house ufion 
a rocky and those tvho build ufton the sand. They arc all (of 
both kinds) evidently such as have pretended to an high hon- 
or and regard to Christ, have claimed an interest in him, and 
accordingly hoped to be finally acknowledged and received as 
some of his. Those visible Christians who are not true 
Christians, for the present, cry. Lord- Lord ; that is, arc for- 
ward to profess respect, and claim relation to him ; and will 
be greatly disappointed hereafter in not being owned by him. 
They shall then come and cry. Lord, Lord. This compel- 
lalion Lordy is commonly given to Jesus Christ in the 
Kew Testament, as signifying the special relation which 
Christ stood in to his disciples, rather than his universal do- 
minion. They shall then come, and earnestly claim relation, 
as it is represented of Israel of old, in the day of their distress, 
and God's awful judgments upon them, Hos. viii. 2. " Israel 
shall cry unto me. My God, we know thee." 

To knoiv does not here intend speculative knowledge, bat 
knowing as one knoivs his oivn^ has a peculiar respect to, and 
owns and has an interest in. These false disciples shall not 
only claim interest in Christ, but shall plead and bring argu- 
ments to confirm their claim ; I.ord^ Lord^ have ive not Jiro/ih- 
eftied in thy name^ and in thy najnc have cast out dej'ils, and in 
thy name have d'jne many rjondrr/ul ivorks ? It is evidently the 
language of those that are dreadfully disappointed. Then 
(says Christ) I will firofcss unto them^ Inei'cr knevj you ; dcjiart 
from mcy ye that tvork ini(/uity. </. d. " Though they profess a 
relation to me, 1 will profess none to them ; though they plead 
that they know me, and have an interest in me, I will declare 
to them that I never owned tlicm as any of mine ; and will 
bid them depart from mc as those that I will never own, no? 


have any thing to do with, in such a relation as they claim." 
Thus all the hopes ihey had lived in, of being hereafter receiv- 
ed and owned by Christ,as in the number of his friends and fa- 
vorites, are dashed in pieces. This is further illustrated by what 
follows, in the comparison 6f the wise man who built his house 
On a rock ; representing those professed disciples who build 
their hope of an interest in him on a sure foundation, whose 
house shall stand in the trying day, and the foolish man who 
built his house on the sand ; representing those professed dis- 
ciples or hearers of his word, who build their opinion and hope 
of an interest in him on a false foundation, whose house in the 
great time of trial shall have a dreadful fall, their vain hope 
shall issue in dismal disappointment and confusion. 

On the whole it is manifest that all visible Christians or 
saints, all Christ's professing disciples or hearers that profess 
him to be their Lord, according to the scripture notion of pro- 
fessing Christ, are such as profess a saving interest in him 
and relation to him, and live in the hope of being hereafter 
owned as those that are so interested and related. By those 
that hear Christ's sayings, in this place, are not meant merely 
auditors of the word preached ; for there are many such who 
make no pretence to an interest in Christ, and have no such 
hope or opinion built on any foundation at all : But those who 
profess to hearken to, believe, and yield submission to the 
word of Christ. This is confirmed by the manner in which 
the matter is expressed in Luke vi. " Whosoever cometh to 
me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you 
to whom he is like :" i. e. Whosoever visibly comes to me, 
and is one of my professed disciples. Sec. 

This matter is confirmed by that parallel representation 
that Christ gives us in Luke xiii. 25. ...29, of his final disposal 
of the two different sprts of persons that are in the kingdom 
or church of God ; viz. those who shall be allowed in his 
church or kingdom when it comes to its state of glory, and 
those who, though they have visibly been in it, shall be thrust 
out of it. It is represented of the latter, that they shall then 
come and claim relation and interest, and cry. Lord, Lord, ofien 
vntoui; and Christ shall answer and say, I know you r.Qtjv:hence 


you arc. As much as to say, ^< Why do you claim relation 
and acquaintance ^vith me ? You are strangers to me, 1 do not 
own you.'* Theji (it is said) t/iey ^haLl begin to say^ We have 
eaten, ajid drunk in f/iy /irese?ice^ and thou /tast taught in our 
streets. As much as to sa.y, " This is a strange thing that thou 
dost not own us ! We are exceedingly surprised that thou 
shouldst account us as strangers that have no part in thee, 
Tvhcn we have eaten and drunk in thy presence,' See. And 
-lyhcn he shall finally insist upon it, <hat he docs not own them, 
and will have nothing to do with them as his, then there ahall 
be weeping and gnashing of teeth ; then they shall be filled with 
dismal disappointment, confusion and despair, when they 
shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in 
the kingdom of God, with whom they expected to dwell for- 
ever there, and they themselves thrust out. By this it is evi- 
dent, that those visible members of the kingdom of God, that 
hereafter shall be cast out of it, are such as look upon them- 
selves now interested in Christ and the eternal blessings of hia 
kingdom, and make that profession. 

The same is manifest by the parable of the ten virgins, 
Matth. XXY. In the first verse it is said, Tne kingdom of heav- 
en [i. e. the church of Christ] is likened unto ten virgins. The 
two sorts of virgins evidently represent the two. sorts of mem- 
bers of the visible church of Christ ; the wise, those who are 
true Christians ; and the foolish, those who are apparent, but 
not true Christians. The foolish virgins were to all appear- 
ance the children of the bride chamber; they were such as to 
appearance had accepted of the invitation to the wedding, 
•which represents the invitations of the gospel, wherein the; 
bridegroom and bride say, Come ; they herein had testified 
the same respect to the bridegroom and bride that the wise 
had : The parable naturally leads us to suppose, that they 
were to appearance every way of the same society with the 
wise, pretended to be the same sort of persons, in like manner 
interested in the bridegroom, and that they were received by 
the wise under such a notion ; they made a profession ot the 
very same kind of honor and regard to the bridegroom, in 
going forth to meet him with their lamps, as his friends to 


ihew him respect, and had the same hope of enjoying the 
privileges and entertainments of the wedding : There was a 
difference with respect to oil in their vessels^ but there was no 
difference with respect to their lamp's. One thing intended 
by their lamfis-i as I suppose is agreed by all, is their /iro/J?s- 
sion. This is the same in both ; and in both it is a profession 
oi grace, as a lavifi (from its known end and use) is a mani- 
festation or shew of oil. Another thing signified by the blaze 
of their lamps seems to be the light of hojif^ : Their lamps 
signify in general the appearance of grace or godliness, includ- 
ing both the appearance of it to the view or judgment of oth- 
ers, and also to their own view, and the judgment they enter- 
tain of themselves : Their lamps shone, not only in the eyes 
of others, but also in their own eyes. This is conBrmed, be- 
cause on the hearing the midnight cry, they find their lamfut 
are gone out j which seems most naturally to represent this 
to us, that however hypocrites may maintain their hopes while 
they live, and while their Judge is at a distance, yet when they 
come to be alarmed by the sound of the last trumpet, their 
hopes will immediately expire and vanish av/ay, and very oft- 
en fail them in the sensible approaches of death. Where i& 
the hojic of the hypocrite, when God takes away his soul? But 
till the midnight cry the fooliah virgins seem to entertain the 
same hopes with the wise ; when they first went forth with 
the wise virgins, their lamps shone in their own eyes, and in 
the eyes of others, in lii^e manner with the lamps of the wise 
virgins. So that by this parable it also appears, that all visible 
members of the Christian church, or kingdom of heaven, are 
those that profess to "be gracious persons, as looking on them- 
selves, and seeming, or at least pretending, to be such. 

And that true piety is what persons ought to look at in 
themselves as the qualification that is a proper ground for 
them to proceed upon, in coming into the visible church of 
Christ, and taking the privileges of its members, I think is 
evident also from the parable of the marriage, which the king 
made for his son, Matth. xxii. particularly the 11th and 12th 
verses, " And when the king came in to see the guests, he 
saw there a man which had not a wedding garment ; and he 

Vol. I. e D 


saith unto him, Friend, how earnest thou in hither, not having 
a wedding garment ? And he was speechless." Mr. Stoddard 
says, (Appeal, page 4, j) « Here is a representation of the 
day of judgment ; and such persons as come for salvation 
without a Tjrdding garment shall be rejected in that day. So 
that here being nothing said about the Lord's supper, all ar- 
guing from this scripture falls to the ground." Upon which 
I take leave to observe, that the king's coming in to see the 
guests, means Christ's visiting his professing church at the 
day of judgment, I make no doubt : But that the guests* com' 
inginto the king^s house means persons coming for salvation at 
the day of judgment, I am not convinced. If it may proper- 
ly be represented, that any reprobates will come for salvation 
at the day of judgment, they ^vill not do so before the king 
appears ; but Christ will appear first, and then they will come 
and cry to him for salvation. Whereas, in this parable the 
guests are represented as gathered together in the king's 
house before the king appears, and the king as coming in and 
finding them there ; where they had entered while the day of 
grace lasted, while the door was kept open, and invitations 
given forth ; and not like those who come for salvation at the 
day of judgment, Luke xiii. 25, who come after the door is 
shut, and stand without, knocking at the door. I think it is ap- 
parent beyond all contradiction, that by the guests' coming into 
the king's house at the invitation of the servants, is intended 
Jews and Gentiles coming into the Christian church, at the 
preaching of Christ's apostles and others, making profession 
of godHness, and expecting to partake of the eternal marriage 
supper. I shewed before, that that which is called the house 
of God in the New Testament, is his church. Here in this 
parable the king first sends forth his servants to call them that 
were bidden, and they would not come ; and they having re- 
peatedly rejected the invitation and evil entreated the servants, 
the king sent forth his armies and burnt up their city ; 
veprcscnling the Jews being first invited, and rejecting the in- 
vitations of the gospel, and persecuting Christ's ministers, and 
so provoking God to give up Jerusalem and the nation to des- 
truction. Then the king sends forth his servants into thfc 


high ways, to call in all sorts ; upon which many flocked into 
the king's house ; hereby most plainly representing the 
preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, and their flocking into 
the Christian church. This gathering of the Gentiles into 
the king's house, is BEFORE the day of judgment, and the 
man without the wedding garment among them. It fitly rep- 
resents the resorting that should be to the Christian church, 
during the day of grace, through all ages ; but by no means 
signifies men's coming for salvation after the day of grace is 
at an end, at Christ's appearing in the clouds of heaven. Let 
this parable be compared with that parallell place, Luke xiv. 
16.. ..24. The company gathered to the marriage in this par- 
able, plainly represents the same thing with the company of 
•virgins gathered to the marriage in the other parable, Matth. 
XXV. viz. the company of visible saints, or the company be- 
longing to the visible kingdom of heaven ; and therefore both 
parables are introduced alike with these words, The kingdom 
of heaven is like unto, See. As to the man's being cast out of 
the king's house when the king comes in to see his guests, 
it is agreeable to other representations made of false Christ- 
ians being thrust out of God's kingdom at the day of judg- 
ment ; the servant's not abiding in the house forever^ though the 
son abideth ever : God's taking a%vay their part out of the holy 
city^ and blotting their names out qf the book of life ^ &c. 

Mr. Stoddard says, " This person that had not a wedding 
garment, was a reprobate ; but every one that partakes of 
the Lord's supper without grace is not a reprobate." I an- 
swer, all that will be found in the king's house without grace 
when the king comes in to see the guests, are doubtless re- 

If it be questioned whether by the wedding garment be 
meant true piety, or whether hereby is not intended moral 
sincerity, let the scripture interpret itself ; which elsewhere 
tells us plainly what the wedding garment is at the marriage 
of the Son of God : Rev. xix. 7, 8. " The marriage of the 
Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to 
her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean 
und white ; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints," 


INonc, I suppose will say, this righteousness that is so p<\re, 
IS the common c;racc of lukewarm professors, and those that 
go about to serve God and mammon. The same wedding- 
gaTment we have account of in Psal. xlv. 13, 14. " The kinj^'s 
dauj;hter is all glorious within, her clothing is of wrought 
gold : She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle 
work." But we need go no where else but to the parable it- 
self; that alone determines the matter. The wedding gar- 
ment spoken of as that without which professors will be ex- 
cluded from among God's people at the day of judgment, is 
not moral sincerity, or common grace, but special saving 
grace. If common grace were the wedding garment intend- 
ed, not only would the king cast out those that he found nvith- 
out a wedding garment, but also many vjith a wedding gar- 
ment : For all such as shall be found then with no better gar- 
ment than moral sincerity Avill be bound hand and foot, and 
cast into outer darkness ; such a wedding garment as this 
will not save them. So that true piety, unfeigned faith, or 
the righteousness of Christ which is upon every one that be- 
licveth, is doubtless the wedding garment intended. But if 
a person has good and proper ground to proceed on in coming 
into the kings hoiiscy that knows he is without this wedding 
garment, why should the king upbraid him, saying, IIoiv ra?n- 
cst tlioii in hither^ not having a ivcdding gar?ncnt ? And why 
should he be speechless, when asked such a question ? Would 
he not have had a good answer to make ? viz. " Thou thyself 
hast given mc leave to come in hither, without a wedding gar- 
ment." Or this, thy own word is my warrant ; which invited 
such as had only common grace or moral sincerity to come in." 

\TI. If we consider what took place, infuct^ in the manner 
and circumstances of the admission of members into the prim- 
itive Christian church, and the profession they made in order 
to their admission, as we have these things recorded in the 
Acts of the Apostles, it will further confirm the point I have 
endeavored to prove. 

W'g have an account from time to time, concerning 
these, of t'aeir first being awakened by the preaching of the 
apostles and other ministers, and earnestly inquiring what they 


should do to be saved ; and of their being directed to refieru 
and believe on the Lord Jesus, as the way to have their sins 
blotted out, and to be saved ; and then upon then professivg 
that they did believe, of their being baptized and admitted in- 
to the Christian church. Now can any reasonably imagine, 
that these primitive converts, when they made that profes- 
sion in order to their admission, had any such distinction in 
view as that which some now make, of two sorts of real Christ- 
ianity, two sorts of sincere faith and repentance, one with a 
moral and another with a gracious sincerity ? Or that the 
apostles, who discipled them and baptized them, had instruct- 
ed them in any such distinction ? The history informs us of 
their teaching them but one faith and repentance ; believing 
in Christ that they might be saved, and repentance for the remis- 
sion of sins ; and it would be unreasonable to suppose, that a 
thought of any lower or other kind entered into the heads of 
these converts, when immediately upon their receiving such 
instructions they professed faith and repentance ; or that 
those who admitted them understood them as meaning any 
lower or other kind in what they professed. 

Let us particularly consider what we are informed concern- 
ing those multitudes whose admission we have an account of 
in Acts ii. We are told concerning the three thousand first con- 
verts, how that they were greatly awakened by the preaching 
of the apostles, pricked in their hearts, made sensible of their 
guilt and misery ; " and said to Peter and the rest of the apos- 
tles. Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" i. e. What shall 
we do to be saved, and that our sins may be remitted ? Upon 
which they directed' them what they should do, viz. Rejicnt 
and. be bajiiized, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission 
of sins. They are here directed into the way of salvation, viz. 
Faith and repentance, with a proper profession of these. 
Then, we are told, that <' they which gladly received the word, 
were baptized ;" that is. They which appeared gladly to re- 
ceive the word, or manifested and professed a cordial and 
cheerful compliance which the calls of the word, with the 
directions which the apostles had given them. The man- 
itestation was doubtless by some profession, and the pro- 


fession was of that repentance for the remission of sins, and 
that faith in Christ, which the apostles had directed them to, 
in answer to their inquiry, nvhat ihcy ahould do to be saved : I 
can see no ground to suppose they thought of any lower or 
other kind. And it is evident by what follows, that these con- 
verts novf looked upon it that they had complied witli these 
directions, and so were at peace with God : Their business 
now is to rejoice and praise God from day to day : They con* 

tinned atedfastly in the afi08tle*% doctrine and fellowship cou' 

tinning daily ivith one accord in the tcmfile^ and breaking bread 
from house to houae, they did eat their meat with gladness and 
gingleneas of hearty fir aising God. The account of them now 
is not as of persons under awakenings, weary and heavy la- 
den sinners, under an awful sense of guilt and wrath, pricked 
in their hearts, as before ; but of persons whose sorrow was 
turned into joy, looking on themselves as now in a good es* 
late. And in the last verse it is said, " The Lord added to 
the church daily such as should be saved ;'* in the original 
it is Toyg au^o^^iHi^ the saved, ei ffu^ofitvoi was a common appel- 
lation given to all visible Christians, or to all members of tlic 
"visible Christian church. It is as much as to say, the converted^ 
or the regenerate. Being converted is in Scripture called a 
being saved, because it is so in effect ; they were " passed 
from death to life," John v. 24. Tit. i. 4. " According to his 
mercy he SAVED us, by the washing of REGENERATION, 
and renewing of the Holy Ghost." 2 Tim. i. 9. " Who hath 
SAVED us, and called us with an holy calling.'* Not that 
all who were added to the visible church were indeed regener- 
ated, but they were so in profession and repute, and therefore 
were so in name. 1 Cor. i. 18. " The preaching of the cross 
is to them that perish, foolishness ; but unto us [i. e. us Chris- 
tians] which are saved \%oia ffm^Q^imf\ it is the power of God." 
So those that from time to time were added to the prim- 
itive church, were all called c» <7-«D^o/At»o», the saved. Before, 
while under awakenings, they used to inquire of their teach- 
ers what they should do to be saved ; and the directions that 
used to be given them, were to refient and believe in Christ ; 
and before they were admitted into the church, they profesiS* 


cd that they did so ; and thenceforward, having visibly com- 
plied with the terms proposed, they were called THE SAV- 
ED ; it being supposed, that they now had obtained what 
they inquired after when they asked what they should do to 
he saved. Accordingly we find that after that, from time to 
time, Christ's ihinisters treated them no more as miserable 
perishing sinners, but as true converts ; not setting before 
them their sin and misery to awaken them, and to convince 
them of the necessity of a Saviour, exhorting them to fly from 
the wrath to conve, and seek conversion to God ; biit exhort- 
ing them to /zo/r/^^/*^ the /irqfession of their faith') io cwitinue 
in the grace of God, and persevere in holiness ; endeavor- 
ing by all means to confirm and strengthen them in grace. 
Thus when a great number believed and turned to the Lord at 
Antioch, Barnabas was sent to them ; " who, when he came, 
and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them 
all that with purpose of heart they should cleave to the Lord." 
Acts xi. 23. See also Acts xiii. 43. And xiv. 22, and xv. 32, 
41, and xx. 32. And when the apostles heard of the conver- 
sion of the Gentiles to the Christian faith, visible by their pro- 
fession when they joined theniselves to the Christian church, 
they in charity supposed andbelieved that God had given them 
saving repentance, and an heart purifying faith. Actsxi. 18. 
"When they heard these things they held their peace, and glo- 
rified God saying, Then hath God also granted unto the Gen- 
tiles repentance unto life." Chap, xv. 9. " And put no differ- 
ence between us and them, purifying their hearts hyfaith.^^ 

If any should here object that when such multitudes 
were converted from Judaism and Heathenism, and received 
into the Christian church in so short a season, it was impos* 
sible there should be time for each one to say so much in his 
public profession, as to be any credible exhibition of true god- 
liness to the church : I answer. This objection will soon van- 
ish, if we particularly consider how the case was with those 
primitive converts, and how they were dealt with by their 
teachers. It was apparently the manner of the first preach- 
ers of the gospel, when their hearers were awakened and 
brought in good earnest to inquire what they should do to be 


saved, then particularly to instruct them in the \vay of salva- 
tion, and explain to them what qualifications must be in them) 
or -what they must do in order to their being saved, agreea- 
ble to Christ's direction, Mark xvi. 15, 16. This we find 
"vvas the method they took with the three thousand^ in the sec- 
ond chapter of Acts, verse 37. ...■40. And it seems they were 
particular and full in it : They said much more to them than 
the words recorded. It is said, verse 40. " With many oth- 
er words did Peter testify and exhort." And this we find to 
be the course Paul and Silas took with the gaoler, chap. xvi. 
Who also gave more large and full instructions than are re- 
hearsed in the history. And when they had thus instructed 
them, they doubtless saw to it, either by themselves or some 
others who assisted them, that their instructions were un- 
derstood by them, before they proceeded to baptize them 
(for I suppose none with whom I have to do in this con- 
troversy, will maintain, from the apostles' example, that we 
ought not to insist on a good degree of doctrinal knowledge 
in the way and terms of salvation, as requisite to the admis- 
sion of members into the church.) And after they were sat- 
isfied that they well understood these things, it took up no 
great time to make a profession of them, or to declare that 
they did, or found in themselves, those things they had been- 
told of as necessary to their salvation. To be sure, after they 
had been well informed what saving faith and repentance 
were, it took up no more time to profess that faith and repen- 
tance, than any other. In this case, not only the converts 
'Words,-but the words of the preacher, which they consented 
♦o, and in effect made their own, are to be taken into their 
profession. For persons that are known to be of an honest 
character, and manifestly qualified with good doctrinal knowl- 
edge of the nature of true godliness, in ihe more essential 
things which belong to it, solemnly to profess they have or do 
those things, is to make as credible a profession of godliness 
as I insist upon. And wc may also well suppose, that more 
words were uttered by the professors, and wilh other circum- 
stances to render them credible, than are recorded in that very 
brief summary history, which we have of the primitive church, 


in the Acts of the apostles ; and also we may yet suppose one 
thing further, viz. that in that extraordinary state of things so 
particular a profession was not requisite in order to the 
church*s satisfaction, either of doctrines assented to, or of the 
consent and disposition of the heart, as may be expedient in a 
more ordinary state of things ; for various reasons that might 
be given, would it not too much lengthen out this discourse. 

One thing which makes it very evident, that the inspired 
ministers of the primitive Christian church looked upon sav-^ 
ing faith as the proper matter of the profession requisite in 
order to admission into the church, is the story of Philip and 
the eunuch, in Acts viii. For when the eunuch desires to be 
baptized, Philip makes answer, verse 37. " If thou believest 
with all thine heart, thou mayest." Which words certainly 
imply, that believing nvith all his heart was requisite in order 
to his coming to this ordinance properly and in a due manner. 
I cannot conceive what should move Philip to utter these 
words, or what he should aim at in them, if he at the same 
time supposed, that the eunuch had no manner of need to 
look at any such qualification in himself, or at all to inquire 
whether he had such a faith or no, in order to determine 
whether he might present himself as the subject of baptism ; 
many that are without it, being as properly qualified for this> 
as they that have it. 

It is said by some, that Philip intended nothing more by 
lelieving with all his hearty than that he believed that doctrine, 
that Jesus Christ ivas the So?i of God, with a moral sincerity of 
persuasion. But here again I desire the scripture may bo 
allowed to be its own interpreter. The Scripture very much 
abounds with such phrases as this, with all the heart, or nvith 
the whole heart, in speaking of religious matters. And the 
manifest intent of them is to signify a gracious simplicity and 
godly sincerity. Thus, 1 Sam. xii. 20. " Turn not aside 
from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your 
heart." So verse 24. « Only fear the Lord and serve him 
in truth, with all your heart." 1 Kings viii. 23. « Who 
kcepest covenant and mercy with thy servants, that walk be- 
fore thee with all their heart." Chap. xiv. 8. " My servant 

Vol. I. 2 E 


David, who kept my commandments, and who followed m» 
with all his heart." 2 Kings x. 31. "But Jehu took no 
heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his 
heart." 2 Chron. xxii. 9. « Jehoshaphat sought the Lord 
with all his heart." Chap. xxxi. 20, 21. " Hezekiah wrought 
that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his 
God ; and in every work that he began in the service of the 
house of God, and in the law and in the commandments, to 
seek his God, he did it with all his heart." Psal. ix. 1. " I will 
praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart." Psal. Ixxxvi. 12. 
" I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and 
will glorify thy name." Psal. cxi. 1. "I will praise thee, 
O Lord, with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright." 
And cxix. 2. " Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, 
and that seek him with the whole heart." Verse 10. " With 
my whole heart have I sought thee." Verse 34. " Give 
me understanding, and I shall keep thy law, yea, I shall ob- 
serve it with my whole heart." Verse 69. " The proud 
have forged a lie against me, but I will keep thy precepts 
with my whole heart." Jer. xxiv. 7. " And I will give 

them an heart to know me for they shall return unto me 

with their whole heart." Joel ii. 12, 13. " Turn ye even un- 
to me with all your heart.. ..and rent your heart, and not your 
garments." And we have the like phrases in innumerable 
other places. And I suppose that not so much as one place 
can be produced, wherein there is the least evidence or ap- 
pearance of their being used to signify any thing but a gra- 
cioufs sincerity. And indeed it must be a very improper use 
of language, to speak of those as performing acts of religion 
ivith all their hearts^ whose heart the Scriptures do abundant- 
ly represent as under the reigning power of sin and unbelief, 
and as those that do not give God their hearts, but give 
them to other things ; as those who go about to serve two 
niastera^ and as those who indeed draw near to God ivith their 
li/is^ but have at the sumo time their hearts/zr/row ///w, and 
running more after other things ; and who have not a single 
ryey nor single heart. The word hiiieve^ in the New Testa- 
ment, answers to the word trust in the Old ; and therefore 


the phrase used by Philip, of bellevi7ig with all the heart is 
parallel to that in Proverbs iii. " Trust in the Lord with 
all thine heart." And believing with the heart, is a phrase 
used in the New Testament to signify saving faith. ...Rom. 
X. 9, 10. " If thou Shalt believe in thine heart, that God 
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved ; for 
with the heart man believeth unto righteousness." The 
same is signified by obeying the form of doctrine from the hearty 
Rom. vi. 17, 18. « But God be thanked that ye were tJie 
servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form 
of doctrine v/hich was delivered you ; being then made free 
from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Here it 
is manifest, that saving faith is intended by obeying the form 
of doctrine yr(S77z the heart. And the same is signified as if it 
had been said, ye have believed with the heart the form of doc- 
trine. But Philip uses a yet stronger expression, he does 
not only say, if thou believtst with the heart, ov from the heart, 
but with ALL thine heart. And besides, for any to suppose, 
that those same persons which the Scriptures represent in 
some places as under the power of an evil heart of unbelief ; 
and as double minded wiih regard to their faith (James i. 6, 7, 
8) and as those who though they believe for a while, yet have 
their hearts like a rock, in which faith has no root, (Luke viii.) 
and yet that this same sort of persons are in other Scriptures 
spoken of as believing with all their heart ; I say, for any to 
suppose this, would be to make the sound or voice of God's 
word not very harmonious and consonant to itself. And one 
thing more I would observe on this head, there is good 
reason to suppose that Philip, while he sat in the chariot with 
the eunuch, and (as we are told) preached unto him Jesus, had 
shewed to him the way of salvation, had opened to him 
the way of getting an interest in Christ, or obtaining salvation 
by him, viz. believing in him, agreeably to Christ's own di^ 
rection, Mark xvi. 15, 16. And agreeably to what we find to 
be the manner of the first preachers of the gospel : And 
therefore now when after this discourse he puis it to the eu- 
nuch, whether he believed with all his heart ; it is natural to 
suppose, that he meant whether he found his heart acquiesc.» 


ing in Ihc gospel ^vay of salvation, or -whether he sinccreljr 
exercised that belief in Christ which he had been inculcating ; 
and it would be natural for the eunuch so to understand him. 

Here if it be objected that the eunuch's answer, and the 
profession he hereupon n ade (\Nheicin he speaks nothing of 
his hearty but barely says) I beliez'e thai Jesus Christ is the Son 
cf Gcd, shows that he understood no more by the inquiry than 
whether he gave his asse7it to that doctrine : To thi« I an- 
swer; we must take this confession of the eunuch's together 
with Philip's words, which they were a reply to, and expound 
the one by the other. Nor is there any reason but to under- 
stand it In the same sense in wliich we find the words of the 
like confession elsewhere in the New Testament, and as the 
words of such a confession were wont to be used in those days, 
as particularly the words of Peter's confession, Matth. xvi. 
16. " And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou urt Christ, 
the Son of the living God :" Which was a profession of sav- 
ing faith, as appears by what Christ says upon it. And we 
read, I Cor. xii. .3. " No man can say that Jesus is the 
Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." Not but that a man might 
make a profession in these words without the Holy Ghost, 
but he could not do it heartily,or WITH ALL HIS HEART. 
Sol John iv. 15. "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is 
the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." i. c. 
Whoever makes this Christian confession (this profession 
which all Christians were wont to make) cordially, or with his 
whole heart, God dv.ells in him, &c. But it was (hiis that the 
eunuch was put upon making this confession. 

Vni. It is apparent by tlic epistles of the apostles to the 
primitive Christian churches, their manner of addressing and 
treating them throughout all those epistles, and what they 
say to them and r/thcm, that all those churches were consti- 
tuted of members so ciualified as has been represented, hat- 
ing such a visibility of godliness as has been insisted on ; 
those who were reputed to be real .saiuta^ were taken into the 
church under a Jioii'jii of their being truly i)ious persons, made 
that firofeBsio^h and had this hope of themselves ; and that 


natural and graceless men were not admilted designedly, but 
unawares^ and beside the aim of the primitive churches and 
ministers ; and that such as remained in good standing, and 
free from an offensive behavior, continued to have the reputa- 
tion and esteem of real saints, with the apostles, and one with 

There were numbers indeed in these churches, who after 
their admission fell into an offensive behavior ; some of which 
the apostles, in their epistles, speak doubtfully of; others that 
had behaved themselves very scandalously, they speak of in 
language that seems to suppose them to be wicked men. 
The Apostle Paul in his epistles to the Corinthians, oftentimes 
speaks of some among them that had embraced heretical 
opinions, and had behaved themselves in a very disorderly and 
schismatical manner, whom he represents as exposed to cen- 
sure, and to whom he threatens excommunication ; and upon 
occasion of so many offences of this kind appearing amon<j 
them that for a while had been thought well of, he puts them 
all upon examining themselves, whether they were indeed 
in thefaith^ and whether Christ was truly in them^ as (hey and 
others had supposed, 2 Cor. xiii. And the same apostle 
speaks of great numbers among the Galatians, who had made 
a high profession, and were such as he had thought well of 
when they were first admitted into the church, but since had 
given him cause to doubt of their state, by giving heed to se- 
ducers, that denied the great gospel ^ocivmo^o^ justijication by 
faith alone : Yet notwithstanding, the apostle speaks of them 
in such language as shews surprise and disappointment, and 
implies that he had looked upon them as true Christians, and 
hoped that his labors among them had had a saving effect up- 
on them. Gal. i. 6. " I marvel that ye are so soon removed 
from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another 
gospel." Chap. iv. 11. "I am afraid of you, lest I have be- 
stowed upon you labor in vain." And ver. 20. " I desire to 
be present with you now, and change my voice ; for I stand 
in doubt of you.'* As much as to say, *• I have heretofore ad- 
dressed you with the voice of love and charity, as supposing 
you the dear children of God ; but now I begin to think of 

230 qUALinCATlONS 

speaking to you in other languaj^e." In the same chapter, 
to shew them what little reason he had to expect that they 
vould come to this, he puts ihcm in mind of tlic threat jirofes" 
iion they had m?.dc, and iIjc extraordinary appear;uices there 
had formerly been in them Ox^ fervent piety. Ver. 15. "Where 
is the blessedness you spake of ? lor I bear you record, that 
if it had been possible yc Avould have plucked out your own 
eyes, and have given them uiUo me." The Apostle James in 
his epistle, speaks of scandalous persons amonj:^ the twelve 
tribes that nvcre scattered abroad ; some that were men of wn- 
bridled tongues ; some that seem to have been a kind of Anti- 
nomians in their principles, and of a very bitter and violent 
spirit, that reproached, condemned, and cursed their brethren, 
and raised nvars diw^Jightings among professing Christians, and 
"were also very unclean in their practice, adulterers and adulter- 
esses^ chap. iv. 4. And in the 5th chapter of his epistle, he 
tseems to speak to the unbelieving Jews, who persecuted the 
Christians, ver. 6. And the apostles are also often speaking 
of some that had once been admitted into the church, crefit in 
tinaiuares^ who had apostatized from Christianity, and finally- 
proved notoriously wicked men. But otherwise, and as to 
such members of the visible church as continued in the same 
good standing and visibility of Christianity, wherein they were 
admitted, it is evident by the epistles of the apostles, they 
were all in the eye of a Christian judgment truly Jiious ov grar 
rious persons. And here I desire the following things may 
be particularly observed. 

'The apostles continually, in their epistles speak to them and 
o/'them, as supposing and judf^ing them to be gracious per- 
sons. Thus the Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the church of 
the Romans, chap. i. 7, speaks of the members of that church 
as beloved of God. In chap. vi. 17, IS, See. he " thanks God, 
that they had obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine 
which had been delivered them, and were made free from sin, 
and become the servants of ri;';hicousness," Sec. The apostle 
in giving thanks to Clod for this, i^iust not only have a kind of 
negative charity for them, as not knowing but that they were 
gracious persons, and so charitably ho/img (as wc say) that it 

For full communion. sst 

•was so ; but he seems to have formed -a. positive judgment that 
they were such : His thanksgiving must at least be founded 
on rational probability ; since it would be but mocking of God 
to give him thanks for bestowing a mercy which at the same 
time he did not see reason positively to believe was bestowed. 
In chap. vii. 4, 5, 6, the apostle speaks of them as those that 
once were in thejlesh-i and ivere under the law., but now delirver" 
edfrom the law, and dead to it. In chap. viii. 15, and following 
verses, he tells them, they had received the Spirit of adoption^ 
and speaks of them as havi?ig the witness of the Spirit that they 
were the children of God heirs of God, and joint heir's with Christ, 
And the whole of his discourse, to the end of the chapter, im- 
plies, that he esteemed them truly gracious persons. In chap. 
ix. 23, 24, he speaks of the Christian Romans, together with 
all other Christians, both Jews and Gentiles, as vessels ofmer-^ 
cij. In chap. xiv. 6, 7, 8, speaking of the difference that then 
was among professing Christians, in point of regard to the 
ceremonial institutions of the law, he speaks of both parties as 
acting from a gracious principle, and as those that lived to 
theXord, and should die unto the Lord : « He that regardeth 
the day, regardeth it unto the Lord, 8^c. For none of us liv* 
cth to himself, and no man, [i. c. none of U8~\ dielh to himself. 
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we 
die, we die unto the Lord : Whether we live therefore or die, 
we are the Lord's." In chap. xv. 14, he says, « I myself also, 
am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye are full of good- 
ness." His being thus persuaded implies a positive judgment 
of charity. And the same apostle in his first epistle to the 
Corinthians, directs it to " the church at Corinth, that are 
sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in 
every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus ;" i. e. to all 
visible Christians through the world, or all the members of 
Christ's visible church every where : And continuing his 
speech of these, chap. i. 8, he speaks of them as those " that 
God would confirm to the end, that they may be blameless in 
the day of our Lord Jesus Christ :" Plainly speaking of them 
all, as persons, in Christian esteem, savingly converted. In 
the next verse, ho speaks of thcfaifhfulnesb- ^fGod as engag- 


ed thus to preserve them to salvation, having called them to the 
ftllo'wshifi of his Son. And in the 30th verse, he speaks of 
them as having a saving interest in Christ ; " Of him arc ye 
in Christ Jesus ; Mho of God is m?.dc unto us wisdom, right- 
eousness, sanctihcation and redemptio-n." In chap. iii. 21, 
22, 23, he says to the meml)ers of the church of Corinth, "All 
things arc yours, whether Paul, or ApoUos, or Cephas, or the 
>voi Id, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come ; 
ail are yours, and yc arc Christ's." In chapter iv. 15, he 
tells them, he had hetfottni them throiit^h the gospel. In chap. 
\i. 1, 2, 3, he speaks of tlicm as, *' those who shall judge the 
world, and shall judge angels:** And in ver. 11, he says to 
them, " Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified, in 
the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God." And 
in chap. xv. 49, to the end, he speaks of them as having an in- 
terest, with him and other Christians, in the happiness and 
glory of the ramrrcction of the just. And in his second epis- 
tle, chap. i. 7, he says to them, " Our hope of you is stedfast ; 
knowing that as you arc partakers of the sufferings, so shall 
ye be also of the consolation." This stedfast hope implies a 
positive judgment. Wc must here understand the apostle to 
speak of such members of the church of Corinth, as had not 
visibly backsliden, as they whom he elsewhere speaks doubt- 
fully of. Again, in the 14th and 1 5th verses, he speaks of a fon- 
fdence which he had that they should be his rejoicing in the day 
of the Lord Jeans. In ull reason, we must conclude, there was a 
visibility of grace, carrying with it an apparent probability in 
the eyes of the Apostle, which was the ground of this his fo«- 
fdcnce. Such an apparent probability, and his confidence 
as built upon it, are both expressed in chap. iii. 3, 4. " Ye are 
manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by 
us ; written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, 
not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart ; 
and such trust have we through Christ to God ward." And 
in vcr. 18, the apostle speaks of tliem, with himself and other 
Christians, as all with o/ienfacej beholding as in a glass-, the glo' 
ry of the Lord^ and being changed into the same image from glo' 
ry to glory. And in the epistle to the churches of Galatia, 


thap. iv. 26, the apostle speaks of visible Christians, as visibly 
belonging to heaven, the Jerusalem ivhichis above. And ver. 
28, 29, represents them to be the childnn of the {iromiae c? 
Isaac ivaft ; and horn after the Spirit. In the 6lh verse of the 
same chapter, he says to the Christian Galatians, because ye 
are sons^ God hath sent forth the Sjiirit of his Son into your 
hearts^ crying., Abba-) Father. And in chap. vi. 1, he speaks of 
those of them that had not fallen into scandal, as sfiiritual jier-. 

sons In his Epistle to that great church of Uphesus, at the 

beginning, he blesses God on behulf of the membc s of that 
church, as being, together with himself and all th^ faithful in 
Ovist Jesus, " Ciioscn in him before the foundation cf the 
vj^orld, to be holy and without blame before him in love, be- 
ing predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Chiist 
to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, lo the 
praise of the glory of his grace, wherein God had made them 
accepted in the beloved ; in whom they had redemption 
through his blood the forgiveness of sins." In chap. i. 13, 
14, he thus Writes to th«m, '* In whom ye also trusted. ...In 
■whom after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit 
pf promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the 
redemption of the purchased possession." And in chap. ii. 
at the beginning ; " You hath he quickened who were dead inf 
trespasses and sins." With much more, shewing that they were 
in a charitable esteem, regenerated persons, and heirs of sal- 
vation. So in the Epistle to the members of the church of 
Philippi, the apostle saluting them in the beginning of it, tells 
Ihem, that he <^ thanks God upon every remembrance of theiil 
for their fellowship in the gospel ; being confdcnt of this very- 
thing, that he which had begun a good work in them, would 
perform it until the day of Christ : Even (says he) as it is 
meet for me to think this of you all." If it was meet for him 
to think this of them, and to be confident of it, he had at least 
some appearing rational probability to found his judgment and 
confidence upon ; for surely it is not meet for reasonable crea- 
tures to think at random, and be confdcnt without reason. 
In verses 25, 26, he speaks of his " confidence that he should 
come to them for their furtherance and joy of faith, that theif 
Vol. I. 2 F 

234 qualifications: 

rejoicing might be more abundant in Christ Jesus." Which 
•u'ords certainly suppose that ihcy were persons vho had al- 
ready received Christ and comfort in him ; had already ob- 
tained faith and joy in Christ, and only needed to have it in- 
creased In the Epistle to the members of the church of 

CoLossE,the apostle, saluting them in the beginning of the 
epistle, " gives thanks for their faith in Christ Jesus, and love 
to all saints, and the hope laid up for thena in heaven ;" and 
Speaks of" the gospel's bringing forth fruit in them, since the 
day they knew the grace of God in truth ;" i. e. since the 
day of their saving conversion. In chap. i. 8, he speaks of 
*' their love in the Spirit.'* \"erscs 12, 13, 14, lie speaks of 
them as made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the 
saints in light ; as being delivered from the power of dark- 
ness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son ; as 
having redemption through Christ's blood, and the forgiveness 
of sins." In chap. iii. at the beginning, he speaks of them as 
« risen with Christ ; as being dead [i. c. to the law, to ain^and the 
nvorld'] as haviyig their life hid with Christ in God ;" and being 
such as " when Christ their life should appear, should appear 
■with him in glory." In ver. 7, he speaks of them as " having 
once walked and lived in lusts, but having now put off the old 
man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which is renew- 
ed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." 
In the first Epistle to the members of the church of Thessa- 
lonica, in words aimcxcd to his salutation, chap. i. he declares 
what kind of visibility there was of their election o/God^ in the 
appearance there had been of true and saving conversion, and 
their consequent holy life, verse 3.. ..7. And in the beginning 
of the second epistle, he speaks of their faith and love greatly 
increQsing ; and in verse 7, expresses his confidence of meet- 
ing them in eternal rcst^ when the Lord Jesus Christ should be 
rcvealedfrom heaven ivith his nughty angels. And in chap. ii. 
13, He gives thanks to Gody that from the beginning he had chos- 
en them to salva4ion.... In the Epistle to the Christian Hebrews, 
though the apostle speaks of some that once belonged to their 
churches, but had apostatized and proved themselves hypo- 
crites ; yet concerning the rest that remained in good stand- 


ing, he says, chap. vi. 9, I am persuaded better t?iingt of you, 
end things that accompany salvation. (Where we may again 
note, his being thus persuaded, evidently implies a positive 
Judgment.) And in chap. xii. 22, kc. he speaks of them as 
visibly belonging to the glorious society of heaven. And in 
chap. xiii. 5, 6, he speaks of them as those who may boldly 

t-ay^ The Lord is my helper The Apostle James, writing to 

the Christians of the tvjelve tribes which tvere scattered abroad, 
speaks of them as regenerated persons (meaning as I observed 
before, those which were in good standing) chap. i. 18. " Of 
Jiis own will begat he us by the word of truth, that we should 
be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. ...The Apostle Peter, 
writing to the Jewish Christians, scattered throughout Pon- 
tus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and By thinia (large countries, 
and therefore they must in the whole be supposed to be a 
great multitude of people) to all these the apostle in the in- 
scription or direction of his first Epistle, gives the title of 
electa according to the foreknonvledge of God the Father, through 
sanctijication of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the 
blood of Jesus Christ. And in the verses next following, 
speaks of them as regenerated, " or begotten again to a live- 
ly hope, to an inheritance incorruptible," &c. And as " kept 
by the power of God through faith unto salvation : And says 
to them in verses 8, 9. " Whom (jiamely Christ) having 
not seen, ye love ; in whom though now ye see him not, 
yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full 
of glory ; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation 
of your souls." And in verse 18, to the end, the apostle 
speaks of them as " redeemed from their vain conversation, 
by the precious blood of Christ.. ..And as having purified their 
souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.. ..Being bom 
again of incorruptible seed," Sec. And in the former part of 
chap. ii. he speaks of them as « living stones, coming to 
Christ, and on him built up a spiritual house, an holy priest- 
hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through 
Jesus Christ.. ..^nrfas those that believe, to whom Christ \% 
precious....^* a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an ho- 
ly nation, a peculiar people, called out of darkness into mar- 


vellous litvht." The church at Bubylon, occasionally mea- 
tiontd in chap. v. IS, is said lo be elected together with them. 
And in his second I^pislle (which appears by chap. iii. 1, to 
be uritlen to the same persons) the inscriplion is, To the-vi 
which have obtained like firecioua faith with us^ i. e. with the 
apostles and servants of Christ. And in the third chaptet^ 
he tells them both his Epistles were desipjned to stir ufi their 
PURE minds. In the first Epistle of John, written (for ought 
appears) to professing Christians in general, chap. ii. 12, &c. 
the apostle tells them, " He writes to them because their 
sins were fort^iven, because they had known him that was 
from the beginning. ...Because they had overcome the wicked 
on< ," &c. In verses 20, 21, he tells them " the^ have an unc- 
tion fiom the Holy One, and know all things ; and that he 
did not write to them because they had not known the truth, 
but because they had known it," Sec. And in verse 27, he 
says, " The anointing which ye have received of him, abid» 
eth in you, and ye need not that any man should teach you ; 
but as the same anointing leacheth you of all things, and is 
truth, and is no lie ; and even as it hath taught you, ye shall 
abide in him " And in the beginning of chap. iii. he address- 
es them as those who were the sons of God, who when he 
should appear, should be like him, because they should see 
him as he is." In chap. iv. 4, he says, ** Ye are of God, lit- 
tle children, and have overcome." &c The Apostle Jude> 

in his general Epistle, speaks much of apostates and their 
•wickedness ; but to other professing Christians, that had not 
fjicn away, he says, verses 2©, 21, " But ye, beloved, build- 
ing up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the 
Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, 'ooking for 
the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life :" Plain- 
ly supposing, that they had professed iaith with love to God 
ijnr Saviour, and were by the apostle considered as his friends 
and love^^.... Many other passages to the like purpose might 
be «^l•^erved in the cpisilcs, but these may suffice. 

Now how unaccouniable would these things be, if the case 
was, ihdt the members of the primitive Christian churches 
V'cre not admitted into them under anv such noiicn as iheit 


Ibeing really godly persons and heirs of eternal Ufe,norwith any 
respect of such a character appearing on them ; and that they 
themselves joined to these churches without any such pre- 
tence, as having no such opinion of themselves ! 

But it is particularly evident that they had such an opinion 
of themselves, as well as the apostles of them, by many 
things the apostles say in the epistles. Thus, in Rom. viii. 
15, 16, the apostle speaks of them as " having received the 
Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of God bearing \ntness with 
their spirits, that they were the children of God." And chap; 
V. 2. Of their rejoicing in hope of the gloiy of God. "....In 
1 Cor. i. 7. He speaks of them as waiting for the coming 
of the Lord Jesus." In chap. xv. 17, the apostle says to the 
members of the church of Corinth, " If Christ be not raised, 
your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins :** Plamly suppos- 
ing that they hoped their sins were forgiven,.. Jn Philip i. 25, 
26, the apostle speaks of his coming to Philippi, to " increase 
their joy of faith, and that their rejoicing in Christ might be 
more abundant :" Implying (as was observed before) that they 
had received com.fort already, in some degree as supposing 
themselves to have a saving interest in Christ.. ..In 1 Thess. 
i. 10, he speaks cf the members of the church of Thessalon- 
ica as " waiting for Christ from heaven, as one who had de- 
livered them from the wrath to come.".. ..In Heb. vi. 9, 19, 
he speaks of the Christian Hebrews as having that " hope 
which was an anchor to their souls.". ...The Apostle Peter, 
i Epist. 1. 3.. ..6, 8, 9, speaks of the visible Christians he 
wrote to, as being '' begotten to a living hope, of an inherit- 
ance incorruptible, he. Wherein they greatly rejoiced," 
fee ....And even the members of the church of Laodicea, the 
Very worst of all the seven churches of Asia, yet looked up- 
on themselves as truly gracious persons, and made that pro- 
fession ; they feaid, " fhey were rich, and increased in goods, 
and knew not that they were wretched and miserable," &c. 
Rev.iii. 17. 

It is also evident, that the members of these primitiA'^ 
churches had this judgment one of another, and of the mem- 
bers of the visible church of Christ in general. ...In 1 Thess. 


iv. 13, Sec. the apostle exhorts the Christian Thessaloniarn^ 
in mourning for their deceased friends -who were visible 
Christians, not to sorroiv as the hopeless Heathen were wont 
to do for their departed friends ; and that upon this consider- 
ationj that they had reason to expect to meet them again in 
glorious circumstances at the day of ^judgment, never to 
part more. The ground of comfort concerning their dead 
friends, which the aposlle here speaks of, is evidently some- 
thing more than such an hope as it may be supposed we 
ought to have of all that profess Christian doctrines, and are 
not scandalous in life, whom we must forbear to censure, be- 
cause we do not know but they are true saints. The mem- 
bers of the church of Sardis, next to Laodicea, the worst of 
the seven churches of Asia, yet had a name that they lived ; 
though Chrisf, who speaks of these seven churches from heav- 
en, in the character of the Searcher of Hearts (see Rev. ii. 
23) explicitly tells them that they were dead ; perhaps all in 
a dead frame, and the most in a dead state. 

These things evidently shew, how all the Christian church- 
es through the world were constituted in those days ; and 
what sort of holiness or saintshi/i it was, that all visible Christ- 
ians in good standing had a visibility SLT\d profession of, in that 
apostolic age ; and also what sort of visibility of this they had, 
viz. not only that which gave them right to a kind of negative 
charity, or freedom from censure, but that which might just- 
ly induce a positive judgment in their f:\vor. The churches 
that these epistles were written to, w^re all the principal 
churches in the world ; some of them very large, as the 
churches of Corinth and Ephesus. Some of the epistlec 
were directed to all the churches through large countries 
where the gospel had had great success, as the epistle to the 
Galatians. The epistle to the Hebrews was written to all 
the Jewish Christians in the land of Canaan, in distinction 
from ihc Jews that lived in other countries, who were called 
Hellenists or Grecians, because they genei*ally spake the 
Greek tongue. The cpisllos of Peter were written to all the 
Christian Jews through many countries, Pontus, Galatia, Capr 
padocia, Asia, and Bythynia ; where were great numbers of 


lews, beyond any other Gentile countries. The epistle of 
James was directed to all Christian Jews, scattered abroad 
through the whole world. The epistles of John and Jude, 
for ought appears in those epistles, were directed to all visi- 
ble Christians through the whole world. And the Apostle 
Paul directs the first epistle to the CorinthiaflSj not only to 
the members of that church, but to all professing' Christians 
through the face of the earth : 1 Cor. i. 2, and chap. xiv. S3, 
speaking of the churches in general, he calls them all church' 
es of the saints. And by what Christ says to the churches of 
Sardis and Laodicea in the Apocalypse, of whom more evil 
is said than of any Christian churches spoken of in the New 
Testament, it appears that even the members of those church- 
es looked on themselves as in a state of salvation, and had 
such a name with others. 

Here possibly some may object, and say, it will not follow 
from the apostles speaking to, and of the members of the 
primitive church after the manner which has been observed, 
as though they supposed them to be gracious persons, that 
therefore a /irofession and afipcarance of this was looked upon 
in those days as a requisite qualification for admission into the 
Tisible church ; because another reason may be given for it, 
viz. Such was the cxtraor dinar ij state of things at that day, 
that it so came to pass, that the greater fiart of those convert- 
ed from Heathenism and Judaism to Christianity, were hofis^ 
fully gracious persons, by reason of its being a day of such 
large communications of divine grace, and such great and un- 
avoidable sufferings of professors, gcc. And the apostles 
knowing those facts, might properly speak to, and of the 
churches, as if they were societies of truly gracious persons, 
because there was just ground on such accounts, to think the 
greater part of them to be so ; although no profession or visi- 
bility of this was requisite in their members by ihe constitu- 
tion of those churches, and the door of admission was as open 
for others as for such. 

But it will appear, this cannot be a satisfactory nor true ac- 
eount of the matter, if we consider the following things. 


(I.) 1 he apostles in the very sufici'HcriJitlon qr «UrectioBof 
their letters to these chui'ches, and in their mlutoiionv ut the 
beginning of thtir epistles., speak ortliem as gracious perbous. 
For instance, the Apostle Peter, in the direction of his fir^t 
letter to all professing Jewish Christians through many coun- 
tries, says thus, ^' To the strangers scuttcicd throui,'h Pontus, 
Uc. elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, 
through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprink- 
ling of the blood of Jesus Christ." And in directing his second 
epistle to the same persons, he says thus, " Simon Peter, a 
servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have ob- 
tained like precious faith ^vith us," &c. And the Apostle 
Paul directs his epistle to the Romans thus, " To tiiem that 
be at Rome beloved of God." So he directs his first epistle 
to the Corinthians thus, " Unto the church of God which is at 
Corinth, to them that are sr.pctified in Christ Jesus." In \vhat 
sense he means sanctijedy his following words shew, ver. 4, 7, 
8, 9. The same was before observed of words annexed to the 
apostle's salutations, in the beginning of several of the epistles. 
This shews that the apostles extend this character as far ag 
they do the c/ii.stles themselves. Which surely would be very 
improper, and not agreeable to truth, if the apostles at the 
same time knew very well that such a character did not 
belong to members of churches, as such, and that they wer^ 
not received into those churches with any regaid to such 9 
character, or upon the account of any right they had to be es- 
teemed such manner of persons. In the superscription of 
letters to societies of men, we : re wont to give them that liiie 
or dcnonwialion which properly belongs to them as members 
of such a body. Thus, if one should write to the Royal So- 
ciety in London, or the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, 
it would be proper and natural to give them the title of Learn- 
ed ; for whether every one of the members truly deserve the 
epithet, or not, yet the title is agreeable to their profcsaioriy and 
what is known to be aimed at, and is professedly insisted on, 
in the admission of members. But if one should write to the 
House of Commons, or to the East India Company, and in his 
superscription give thcni the title of Learned, this would be 


very improper and illjudged ; because that character does 
not belong to their profession as members of that body, and 
learning is not a qualification looked at or insisted on in their 
admission of members : Nor would it excuse the impropriety^ 
though the writer might, from his special acquaintance, know 
it to be fact, that the greater part of them were men of learn- 
ing. If one man should happen once thus to inscribe a letter to 
them, it would be something strange ; but more strange, if 
he should do it from time to time, or if it should appear, by 
various instances, to be a custom so to direct letters to such 
societies ; as it seems to be the manner of the apostles, in 
their epistles to Christian churches, to address them under 
titles which imply a profession and visibility of true holiness, 

(2.) The Apostle John, in his general epistle, does very 
plainly manifest, that all whom he wrote to were supjwued to 
have true grace, inasmuch as he declares this the qualifica- 
tion he has respect to in writing to them, and lets them know 
he writes to them for that reason, because they are supposed 
to be persons of the character of such as have knoivn God, 
overcome the wicked one, and have had their sins fo^-given them. 
1 John ii. 12, 13, 14, 21. 

(3.) The apostles, when speaking of such as they write to, 
viz. visible Christians, as a society, and representing what be- 
longs to such a kind or sort of society as the visible church is, 
they speak of it as visibly (i. e. in profession arid reputation) 
a society of gracious persons. So the Apostle Peter speaks of 
them as a spiritual house, an holy and royal priesthood, an holy 
nation, a peculiar iieojile, a chosen or elect generation, called 
out of darkness into marvellous light. 1 Pet. ii. The Apos- 
tle Paul also speaks of them as the family of God. Eph. ii. 19. 
And in the next chapter he explains himself to mean that 
family, a part of which is in heaven j i. c. they were by profes- 
sion and in visibility a part of that heavenly and divine family. 

(4.) The Apostle Paul speaks expressly, and from time to 
time, of the members of the churches he wrote to, as a// of 
them in esteem and visibility truly gracicur, persons. Philip, 
i. 6. « Being confident of this very thing, tliat he which has 
begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of the 
Vol. I. 2 G 

^A% Qualifications 

Lord Jesus Christ : Even as it is meet for me to think this of 
YOU ALL," (that is, all singly taken, not collectively, according 
to the distinction before observed.) So Gal. iv. 26. " Jerusa- 
lem ^vhich is above, 'ivhich is the mother of us all." Rom. 
vi. " As MANY or us as have been baptized into Christ, have 
been baptized iwto his death." Here he speaks of all that 
have been baptized ; and in the continuation of the discourse, 
explaining what is here said, he speaks of their beisg " dead 
to sin ; no longer under the law, but under grace ; having^ 
obeyed the form of doctrine from the heart, being made free 
from sin, and become the servants of righteousness," Sec. 
Rom. xiv. 7, 8. None of us liveth to himself, and no MA!f 
« dieth to himself" (taken together with the context) ; 2 Cor. 
iii. 18. " We ALL with open face, beholding as in a glass," kc. 
and Gal. iii. " Ye are all the children of God by faith." 

(5.) It is evident, that even in those churches where the 
greater part of the members were not true saints, as in those 
degenerate churches of Sardis and Laodicea, which wx may 
suppose were become very lax in their admissions and disci- 
pline ; yet (hey looked upon themselves as truly gracious per- 
Bons, and had with others the reputation of such. 

(6.) If we should suppose, that by reason of the extraordi- 
nary state of things in that day,the apostles had reason to think 
the greater part of the members of churches to be true Christ- 
ians, yet unless profession and appearance of true Christianity 
was their proper qualification, and the ground of their admis- 
sion, and unless it was supposed that all of them esteemed 
themselves true Christians, it is altogether unaccountable that 
the apostles in their epistles to them never make any express 
particular distinction between those difierent sorts of mem- 
bers. If the churches were made up of persons who the 
apostles knew looked on themselves in so exceeding dif- 
ferent a state, some the children of God,and others the child- 
ren of the devil, some'the high favorites of heaven and heirs 
of clcrnal glory, others the children of wrath, being, under 
condemnation to eternal deatli, and every moment in danger 
of dropping into hell : 1 say, if this was the case, why do the 
apostles make no distinction in what they say to them or of 


ifhem, in their manner of addressing them, in the things they 
set before them, and in the counsels, reproofs and warnings 
they gave them ? Why do the apostles in their epistles never 
apply themselves or direct their speech to the unconverted 
members of the churches, in particular, in a manner tending 
to awaken them, and make them sensible of the miserable 
condition they were in, and press them to seek the converting 
grace of God ? It is to be considered, that the Apostle Paul 
■was very particularly acquainted with the circumstances of 
most of those churches he wrote to ; for he had been among 
them, was their spiritual father, had been the instrument of 
gathering and founding those churches, and they had receiv-^ 
ed all their instructions and directions relating to Christian- 
ity and their soul concerns from him ; nor can it be question- 
ed but that many of them had opened the case of their souls 
to him. And if he was sensible, that there was a number 
among them that made no pretensions to being in a regene- 
rate state, and that he and others had no reason to judge them 
to be in such a state, he knew that the sin of such who lived in 
the rejection of a Saviour,even in the very house of God, in th© 
midst of gospel light, and in violation of the most sacred vows, 
■was peculiarly aggravated, and their guilt and state peculiar- 
ly dreadful. Why should he therefore never particularly and 
distinctly point his addresses to such, applying himself to them 
in much compassion to their souls, and putting them in mind 
of their awful circumstances ? But instead of this, continually 
lumping all together, and indifferently addressing the whole 
body, as if they were all in happy circumstances, expressing 
his charity for them all, and congratulating them all in their 
glorious and eternal privileges ; and instead of speaking 
to them in such a manner as should have a tendency to 
alarm them with a sense of danger, on the contrary, call- 
ing on all without distinction, from time to time, to re- 
joice ? Philip, iii. 1. "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the 
Lord." So, 2 Cor. xiii. 11. " Finally, brethren, be of good 
comfort." Philip, iv. 4. « Rejoice in the Lord alway, and 
again I say, rejoice." The matter is insisted upon, as 
though rejoicing were a duty especially proper for them, and 
what they had the highest reason for. The apostle not onljr 


did not preach terror to those whom he wrote to, but is care- 
ful to guard them against fears of God's wrath ; as in 1 Thess. 
V. at the beginning, when the apostle there observes how that 
Christ will come on ungodly men " as a thief in the night ; 
and when they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden de- 
struction shall come upon them, as travail on a woman with 
child, and they shall not escape ;'* he immediately uses cau- 
tion, that the members of the church of Thessalonica should 
not take this to themselves, and be terrified, as though they 
were in danger ; and says, in the next words, " But ye, breth- 
ren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as 
a thief; ye are all the children of Ught, and the children of 
the day." And says, in the 9th, 10th, and 1 1th verses, " For 
God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation 
by our Lord Jesus Christ ; who died for us, that whether we 
wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore 
comfort yourselves together, and edify one another ; even as 
also ye do." And ver. 16, he says, "Rejoice evermore." 
How diverse is this way of treating churches, from the meth- 
od in which faithful ininisters are wont to deal with their con- 
gre;^ations, wherein are many that make no pretence to true 
piety, and from the way in which Mr Stoddard \vas wont to 
deal with his congregation. And how would he have un- 
doubtedly judged such a way of treating them the most di- 
rect course in the world eternally to undo them ? And shall 
we determine that the Apostle Paul was one of those prophets, 
who daubed iinth untemjiercd mortar^ and sewed JuUows under 
all arm holes^ and healed the hurt of immortal souls slightlijy 
cryini^y Peace^jieace^ ivhen there nvaa no peace. These things 
make it most evident, that the primitive churches were not 
constituted as those modern churches, Mhere persons know- 
ing and owning themselves mwegenerate, arc admitted, on 

if it be here objected, that the apostle sometimes exhorts 
these that he writes to, to /lut off the old man^zxidfiut on the 
ncTJ man^ and to be renewed in the .spirit of their minds., Sec, 
as exhorting them to seek conversion : I answer, that the 
meaning is manifestly but this, That they should mortify the 


remains of corruption, or the old man, and turn more and more 
from sin to God. Thus he exhorts the Ephesians to be re- 
newed^ 8cc. Eph. iv. 22, 23, whom yet he had before in the 
same epistle abundantly represented as savingly renewed al- 
ready ; as has been before observed. And the like might be 
shewn of other instances. 

(7.) It is a clear evidence, not only that it happened and the 
greater part of the members of the primitive churches were 
to appearance true Christians; but that they were taken in un- 
der that notion, Sind because there appeared in them grounds of 
such an estimation of them ; and when any happened to be 
admitted that were otherwise, it was beside their aim ; in as 
much as when others were admitted, they are represented as 
brought or crefit in unawares. Thus the matter is represented 
by the apostles. Jude, verse 4. " There are certain men 
crept in unawares.. ..ungodly men, turning the grace of God 
into lasciviousness." Gal. ii. 4. " False brethren, unawares 
brought in.*' If it be said. These here spoken of were open- 
ly scandalous persons and heretics : I answer, they were 
not openly " scandalous when they were brought in ; nor 
is there any reason to think they were heretic s when ad- 
mitted, though afterwards they turned apostates. Mr. Stod- 
dard says, it does not follow that all hypocrites crept in un- 
awares because some did. {Jpp,cal, p. 17.) To which 
I would humbly say, it must be certainly true with respect to 
all hypocrites who were admitted, either that the church 
which admitted them was aivare they were such, or else was 
not. If there were some of whom the church was aware that 
they were hypocrites, at the time when they were taken in, 
then the church, in admitting them, did not follow the rule 
that Mr. Stoddard often declares himself to suppose ought to 
be followed in admitting members, viz. to admit none but 
what ma judgment of ratiojial charity are true Christians,,., 
{Apfieal, p. 2, 3, 10, 28, 33, 67, 73, 93, 94.) But that not on- 
ly heretics and designing dissemblers crclit in unawarcf;, but 
that z\\ false brethren^ all church members not truly gracious 
did so, appears by such being represented as bastards in a 
fomily, who are false children and false heirs, brought into it 


iunawar^Sy and imposed upon the disposers of those privile^et 
Sy stealth, Heb. xii. 8. "If ye arc without chastisement, 
whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards^ and not sons." 

Thus it is abundantly manifest, from the apostolical writ- 
ings, how the visible church of Christ, through the whole 
world, was at first constituted and ordered, under the direc- 
tion of the apostles themselves, who rcf^ulated it according to 
the infallible guidance of the Spirit of their great Lord and 
Master. And doubtless, as the Christian cliurch was consti- 
tuted then^ so it ought to be constituted no'w. What better 
rule have we for our ecclesiastical regulations in other re- 
spects, than what was done in the primitive churches, under 
the apostles* own direction; as particularly the standing offi- 
cers of the church, presbyters and deacons, the method of in- 
troducing ministers in their ordination, &c. In this matter 
that I have insisted on, I think the Scripture is abundantly 
more full than in those other things. 

IX. Another evidence, that such as are taken into the 
church, ought to be in the eye of a Christian judgment truly 
gracious or fiious persons, is this, that the Scripture represents 
the visible church of Christ as a society having its several 
members united by the bond of Christian brotherly love. 

Besides that general benevolence or charity which the saints 
have to mankind, and which they exercise towards both the 
evil and the good in common, there is a peculiar and very 
distinguishirtg kind of affection, that every true Christian ex- 
periences towards those whom he looks upon as truly gra- 
cious persons ; wiicreby the soul, at least at times, is very 
sensibly and sweetly knit to such persons, and there is an in- 
effable oneness of heart with them ; whereby, to use the 
Scripture phrase (Acts iv. 32.) " They are of one heart and 
one soul :" Which holy affection is exercised towards oth- 
ers on account of the spiritual image of God in them, their 
supposed relation to God as his children, and to Christ as his 
members, and to them as their spiritual brethren in Christ. 
This sacred affection is a very good and distinguishing note 
of true grace, much spoken of as such in Scripture, under th« 
■amc of 9«^a^l^^^fl^J the love of the brethren, or brotherly love ; 


and is called by Christ, The receiving a Hghteous man in ihc 
name of a righteous man ; and receiving one of Christ's 
little ones in the name of a discifile^ or because he belongs f 
Christ (Matth. x. 41, 42. Mark ix. 41.) and a loving one an- 
other as Christ has loved them (Jolm xiii. 34, and xv. 13, 14, 
15.) Having a peculiar image of that oneiiess which is be- 
tween Christ himself and his saints. Compare John xvii. 20> 
to the end. 

This love the apostles are often directing Christians to ex- 
ercise towards fellow members of the visible church ; as in 
Rom. xii. 10. <' Be ye kindly affectioned one to another 
with brotherly love." The words are much more emphatical 
in the original, and do more lively represent that peculiar en- 
dearment that there is between gracious persons, or those that 
look on one another as such ; t*j ^*^a^£^(p^« nq a^^nAw? ^tXo?o^yo». 
The expressions properly signify, cleaving one to another ivith 
brotherly^ natural, strong endearment. With the like empha- 
sis and energy does the Apostle Peter express himself, 1 
Epist. i. 22. « Seeing ye have purified your souls m obey- 
ing the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the 
brethren (ej? <p^^a^^^^*av actvsToxpnov'} " See that ye love one 
another with a pure heart fervently.'* Again, chap. iii. 8, 
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of an- 
other, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous." The wordi 
in the Greek are much more significant, elegant, and forci- 
ble ; irant; o/xo^povEf, C7y/i>t7ra6iij, (pih.cx,h>.(poi^ ij^T^uf^yci, (^ihoCpftni, 
The same peculiar endearment the apostle has doubtless re- 
spect to in chap. iv. " Above all things have fervent charity 
among yourselves." The Apostle Paul in his Epistles, from 
time to time, speaks of the visible saints whom he writes tO) 
as being united one to another with this affection, and consid- 
ers it as a note of their piety. Col. i. 4. " We heard of your 
faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all 
saints." 1 Thess. iv. 9. »' As touching bkoihehly love, y« 
need not that I write unto you, for ye yourselves are taught of 
God to love one another." So Philem. 5. « Hearing of thy 
love and faith which thou hast towards the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and towards all saints." And this is what he cxhorti to, Hcb. 


:xni. 1. " Let brotherly love continue.'* 1 Thess. v. 26. 
«' Greet all the brcihicn with a holy kiss." Compare 1 Cor. 
xvi. 20. 2 Cor. xiii. 12, and 1 Pet. v. 14. 

This <p»XaJi^<p»a, or love to the brethrcv^ is that virtue which 
the Apostle Johii so much insists on in his first Epistle, as 
one of the most distinguishini^ characteristics of true grace, 
and a peculiar evidence tiiat God divclleth hi w*, and we in God. 
By which must needs be understood a love to saints as saints, 
or on account of the spiritual image of God supposed to be in 
them, and their spiritual relation to God ; according as it has 
always been understood by orthodox divines. No reasonable 
doubt can be made, but that the Apostle John in this Epistle, 
has respect to the same sort of love, which Christ prescribed 
to his disciples, in that which he called by way of eminency 


gave as a great of mark their being truly his discijiles as this 
same apostle gives an account in his gospel ; and to which ho 
plainly refers, when speaking of the love of the brethren in his 
epistle, chap. ii. 7, 8, and iii. 23. But that love^ which Christ 
speaks of in his new commandment, is spoken of as between 
those that Christ loves^ or is supposed to love ; and which has 
hifi love to them for its ground and pattern. And if this 
^tXa^aX(p»«, this love of the brethren^ so much spoken of by 
Christ, and by the Apostles Paul and John, be not that pecu- 
liar affection which gracious persons or true saints have one 
to another, which is so great a part, and so remarkable an ex- 
ercise of true grace, where is it spoken of, at all, in the New 
Testament ? 

We sec how often the apostles exhort visible Christians to 
exercise this affection to allothcr members of the visible church 
of Christ, and how often they speak of the members of the vis- 
iblechurch, as actually thus w^/'rc/ in places already mentioned. 
In 2 Cor. ix. 14, the apostle speaks of the members of other 
churches /ox'i/J^' the members of the church of Corinth, with 
this peculiar endearment and oneness of heart, for the ,qrace 
of God in them ; " And by their prayer for you, which long 
after you, for the exceeding grace of God in you." The 
word translated lon^ <fUr^ is ETrnrtOerrwF ; which properly sig- 


blfies to love with an exceeding and dear love. And this is 
represented as the bo7id^ that unites all the menibers of th^ 
visible church : Acts iv. 32. « And the multitude of them 
that believed, were of one heart and one soul." This is the 
same thing which elsewhere is called being of one mind : 1 
Pet. iii. 8. " Finally, be ye all of one mind." And being of 
the same mind : I Cor. i. 10. " That ye be perfectly joined 
together in the same mind." And being of the same mind : 
Philip, iv. 2. " I beseech Euodias, ahd beseech Syntyche, 
that they be of the same mind in the Lord." And being 
like minded (the word is the same in the Greek) Rom. xv. 5, 
6. " Now the God of patience and consolation grant you td 
be LIKE MINDED onc towards another ; that ye may with 
071^ mind^ and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ." There is reason to think, that it is 
this oneness of mind^ or being of one heart and soul, is meant 
by that charity which the apostle calls the bond cf fierfectness^ 
Col. iii. 14 : And represents as the bond of union between all 
the members of the body, in Eph. iv. 15, 16. " But speaking 
the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things which 
is the Head, even Christ ; from whom the whole body fitly 
joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the 
measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the 
edifying of itself in love." 

Herein seems much to consist the nature of scandal in the 
members of a church, viz. such an offence as is a wound and 
interruption to this kind oi affection, being a stumbling block 
to a Christian judgment, in regard of its esteem of the offend- 
er as a real Christian, and what much lessens the visibility of 
his Christian character. And therefore when scandal is re- 
moved by visible re/ientance, the church is directed to confirm, 
their love to the offender, 2 Cor. ii. 8. 

Now this intimate affection towards others as brethren iri 
Christ d^Tidfellow members of him, must have some apprehen* 
sion of the understanding, some judgment of the mind, for its 
foundation. To say, that we must thus love others as visible 
members of Christ, if any thing else be meant, than that we 

Vol. L 2 H 


znust love them because they are visibly, or as they appear to 
our judgment, real members of Christ, is in effect to say, that 
we must thus love them without any foundation at all. In 
order to a real and fervent affection to another, on account of 
some amiableness of qualification or relation, the mind must 
first judge there is that amiableness in the object. The affec- 
tions of the mind are not so at command that we can make 
them strongly to go forth to an object as having such love- 
liness, when at the same lime we do not positively judge an^ 
Buch thing concernini; them, but only /lojie it may be so, be- 
cause we see no sufficient reason to determine the contrary. 
There must be a fiositive dictate of the understanding, and 
some degree of satisfaction of the judgment, to be a ground 
of that oneness of heart and soul ^ which is agreeable to Scrip- 
ture representations of (piT^x^e^pcci or brotherly love. And a 
supposition only of that inoral sincerity and virtue^ or common 
grace, which some insist upon, though it may be a sufficient 
ground o^ neighborly and civil affection, cannot be a sufficient 
ground of this intimate affection to them as brethren in the 
family of a heavenly Father, this fervent love to them in the 
bowels ofJtsus Christ ; that implying nothing in it inconsistent 
with hc'mTf gor;fiel sinners and domestic enemies in the house of 
God ; which Christians knov/ are the most hateful enemies 
to Christ, of all the enemies that he has. 

It is a thing well agreeing M'ilh the wisdom of Christ, and 
that peculiar favor he has manifested to his saints, and with 
his dealings v.iih them in many other respects, to suppose, he 
lias made a provision in his institutions, that they might have 
the comfort of uniting, with such as their hearts arc united 
with in that holy intimate affection which has been spoken of, 
in some special religious exercises and duties of worship, and 
visible intercourse with their Redeemer, joining with those 
concerning whom they can have some satisfi\ction of mind, 
that they are cordially united with them in adoring and ex- 
pressing their love to their common Lord and Saviour, that 
ihey may nvith one rnindy unth one heart, and one soul, as 
well as with one mouth, glorify him ; as in the foremenlioned 
Rom. XV. 5, 6, compared with Actsiv. 93. This seems to be 


what this heavenly affection naturally inclines to. And how 
eminently fit and proper for this purpose is the sacrament of 
the Lord^s su/ijier, the Christian church's great feast of love ; 
wherein Christ's people sit together as brethreii in the family 
of God, at their Father's table, to feast on the love of their Re- 
deemer, commemorating his sufferings for them, and his dy- 
ing love to them, and sealing their love to him and one an- 
other ?..,. It is hardly credible, that Christ has so ordered 
things as that there are no instituted social acts of worship, 
wherein his saints are to manifest their respect to him, but 
6uch as wherein they ordinarily are obliged f if the rule for ad- 
inissio7is be carefully attended) to join with a society of fellow 
worshippers, concerning whom they have no reason to think 
but that the greater part of them are unconverted (and ar© 
more provoking enemies to that Lord they love and adore, 
than most of the very Heathen) which Mr. Stoddard suppos- 
es to be the case with the members of the visible church, 
Afifieal^ p. 16. 

X. It is necessary that those who partake of the Lord^t 
s-uji/ier, should ji^dge themselves truly and cordially to accept 
Christ, as their only Saviour and chief good ; for this is 
what the actions^ which communicants perform at the Lord's 
table, are a solemn profession of. 

There is in the Lord's supper a mutual solemn profession 
of the two parties transacting the covenant of grace, and visi- 
bly united in that covenant ; the Lord Christ by his minister, 
on the one hand, and the communicants (who are professing 
believers) on the other. The administrator of the ordinance 
acts in the quality of Christ's minister, acts in his name, as 
representing him ; and stands in the place where Christ him- 
self stood at the first administration of this sacrament, and in 
the original institution of the ordinance. Christ, by thd 
speeches and actions of the minister, makes a solemn profes- 
sion of his part in the covenant of grace : He exhibits the sac- 
rifice of his body broken and his blood shed ; and in the min- 
ister's offering the sacramental bread and wine to the commu- 
nicants, Christ presents himself to the believing communi-i 
fants, as their propitiation and bread of life ; and by thes© 


outward signs confirms and seals his sincere engagements t« 
be their Saviour and fuod, and to impart to them all the bene- 
fits of his propitiation and salvation. And they, in receiving 
what is offered, and eating and drinking tiie symbols of Christ's 
body and blood, also profess their part in the covenant of 
grace : They profess to embrace the promises and lay hold 
of the hope set before them, to receive the atonement, to re- 
ceive Christ as their spiritual food, and to feed upon him in 
their hearts by faith. Indeed what is professed on both sides 
is the heart : For Christ in offering himself, professes the 
willingness of /«■* /jfflr; to be theirs who truly receive himi 
and the communicants on their part, profess the willingness 
of their hearts to receive him, which they declare by sig- 
nificant actions. They profess to take Christ as their spir- 
itual food, and bread of life. To accept Christ as our bread 
cflife^ is to accept him as our Saviour and fiortion ; as food 
is both the ineans of preserving life, and is also the re- 
freshment and comfort of life. The signification of the 
word ivanna^ that great type of this bread of life, is a /ior- 
tion. That which God offers to us as our food, he ofi'ers 
as our portion ; and that w hich we accept as our food, we 
accept as our portion. Thus the Lord's supper is plainly 
a wiitual renovation, confirmation, and seal of the covenant of 
grace. Both the covenanting parties jircfcf-s their consent to 
their respective parts in the covenant, and each affixes his 
seal to his profession. And there is in this ordinance the very 
came thing acted over in profession and sensible signs, which 
is spiritually transacted between Christ and his spouse in the 
covenant that unites them. Here we have from time to 
time the ^\o\\oms b rid ([^rcovi exhibiting himself with his great 
love that is stronger than death, appearing clothed in robes of 
grace, and engaging himself with all his glory and love, and 
its infinite benefits, to be theirs who receive him : And here 
we have his s/iouse accepting this bridegroom, choosing him 
for her friend, her only Saviour and portion, and relying on 
him for all his benefits. And thus the covenant transaction 
of this spiiitual marriage is confirmed and sealed, from time 
to time. The actiors of the communicaiUs at the Loid'o ta le 


have as expressive and significant a language, as the most soU 
«mn words. When a person in this ordinance takes and eatt 
and drinks those things which represent Christ, the plain 
meaning and impUcit profession of these his actions, is this, 
« I take this crucified Jesus as my Saviour, my sweetest food, 
my chief portion, and the life of my soul, consenting to ac-p 
quiesce in him as such, and to hunger and thirst after him 
only, renouncing all other saviours, and all other portions for 
his sake." The actionsu ?/ms interpreted^ are a proper reno- 
vation and ratification of the covenant of grace ; and no oth- 
erwise. And those that take, and eat and drink the sacrament- 
al elements at the Lord's table with any other meaning, I fear, 
know not what they do. 

The actions at the Lord's supper, thus implying in their 
nature and signification, a renewing and confirming of the 
covenant, there is a declarative explicit covenanting supposed 
to precede it ; which is the profesdon of religion, before spok- 
en of, that qualifies a person for admission to the Lord's sup- 
per. And there doubtless is, or ought to be, as much explic- 
itly professed in words-, as is implicitly professed in these ac- 
tions ; for by these significant actions, the communicant sets 
his seal but to his profession. The established signs in the 
Lord's supper are fully equivalent to words ; they are a re- 
newing and reiterating the same thing which was done he* 
fore ; only with this difference, that now it is done by speak' 
ing signs, whereas before it was by speaking sounds. Our 
taking the bread and wine is as much 2i professing to accept of 
Christ, at least, as a woman's taking a ring of the bridegroom 
in her marriage is a profession and seal of her taking him for 
her husband. The sacramental elements in the Lord's sup- 
per do represent Christ as a party in covenant, as truly as a 
proxy represents a prince to a foreign lady in her marriage ; 
and our taking those elements is as truly a professing to ac- 
cept Christ, as in the other case the lady's taking the proxy- 
is her professing to accept the prince as her husband. Or 
the matter may mors fitly be represented by this similitude : 
|i is as if a prince should send an ambassador to a woman in 
t foreign land, proposing marriage, and by his ambassador 


shoiiltl send her hh fucturc, and should desire her to manifest 
her acceptance of his cuity not only by professing her accept- 
ance in words to his ambassador, but in token of her sincerity 
openly to take or accept tliat picture, and so seal her profes- 
sion, by thus representing the matter over again by a symbol- 
ical action. 

To suppose, persons ought thus solemnly to /iro/('.5.s that 
which at the same lime they do not at all imagine they ex- 
perience in themselves, and do not really pretend to, is a very 
great absurdity. For a man sacramentally to make mc/i a 
profcfisioJi of religion^ proceeding avowedly on tlic foot o{ such 
doctrine^ is to profess that which he does not profess ; his ac- 
tions being no established signs of the thing supposed to be 
professed, nor carrying in them the least pretension to it. 
And therefore doing thus can be no man's duty ; unless it be 
inen*s duty to make a solemn profession of that which in truth 
they make no profession of. The Lord's supper is most evi- 
dently a /iro/i's.siT?_(c ordinance ; and the communicants, firo* 
fpssion must be such as is adjusted to the nature and design of 
the ordinance ; which nothing short of fuith in the blood of 
Christ will answer, even foith unfeit^ned^ which luorketh dr/ 
love. A profession therefore exclusive of this, is essentially de- 
fective, and quite unsuitable to the character of a communicant, 
XI. When the apostle says, I Cor. xi. 28. <• Let a man ex- 
amine himself and so let him eat,'* it seems to be much the 
most reasonable to understand it of trying himself Wiih regard 
to the truth of his Christianity^ or reality of his grace ; the same 
v.hich the same apostle directs the same Corinthians to in 
his other epistle, 2 Cor. xiii. 5, where the same word is used 
in the original. The Greek word (^ffxi/xa^EToj) will not allow 
of what some have supposed to be the apostle's meaning, viz. 
that a man should consider and inquire into his circumstances, 
and the necessities of his case, that he may know what are th« 
wants he should go to the Lord's table for a supply of. The 
word properly signifies proving or trying a thing with respect 
to its quality and goodness, or in order to determine whether 
it be true and of the right sort. And so the word is always 
used in the New Testament ; unless that sometimes it is used 


fts it were mctonymically, and in such places is variously tans- 
iated, either disceming, or allowing, afijirovi/ig, likmgy &c. 
these being the effects of trial. Nor is the word used more 
frequently ;in the New Testament for any sort of trial 
•whatever, than for the trial of professors with regard to their 
grace or fiiety. The word (as Dr. Ames in his Catecheseos 
Sciagraphia, and Mr. Willard in his Body of Divinity, ob- 
serve) is borrowed from goldsmiths, properly signifying the 
tnal they make of their silver and gold, whether it be gejiuine 
or counterfeit : And with a manifest allusion to this original 
application of the word, is often used in the New Testament 
for a tryi7ig the piety of professors. It is used witli this vie\i^ 
in all the following texts : 1 Pet. i. 7. "That the trial of 
your faith, being much more precious than of gold that per- 
isheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto 
praise," 8cc. 1 Cor. iii. 13. " The fire shall try every man's 
work of what sort it is." James i. 3. " The trying of your 
faith worketh patience," 1 Thess. ii. 4. « God who trieth 
our hearts." The same word is used in 2 Cor. viii. 8. " To 
PROVE the sincerity of your love." So, Gal. vi. 3, 4. « If any 
man thinketh himself, to be something when he is nothing, 
be deceiveth himself : But let every man prove his ovrn 
vv'ork." In all these places there is the same word in the 
Greek with that in the text now under consideration. 

When the apostle directs professing Christians to try them- 
selves, using this word indefinitely, as properly signifying the 
examining or proving a thing whether it be genuine or coun- 
terfeit, the most natural construction of his advice is, that 
they should tnj themselves with respect to their spiritual state 
and religious profession, whether they are discijiles indeed^ 
real and genuine Christians, or whether they are not false and 
hypocritical professors. As if a man should bring a piece of 
ip.etal that had the color of gold, with the impress of the 
king's coin, to a goldsmith, and desire him to try that money, 
without adding any words to limit his meaning, would not the 
goldsmith naturally understand, that he was to try M^hether it 
was true gold, or true money, yea or no ? 

^j6 qualifications 

But here it is said by sorce, that the context of the paLS-i;^ 
under debate (1 Cor. xi. 23,) does plainly limit the meaning of 
the word in that place ; the apostle there speaking of those 
things that had appeared annong the communicants at Co- 
rinth, which were of a scandalous nature, so doubtless unfil- 
ing them for the Lord's supper ; and therefore when thcf 
apostle directs them to exainijie or prove themselves, it is but 
just, to suppose his meaning to be, that they should try wheth- 
er they be not disqualified by scandal. To this I answer, 
though the apostle's putting the Corinthians upon trying 
themselves, was on occasion of the mentioning some scandal- 
ous practices found among them, yet this is by no means any 
argument of its being only his meaning, that they should try 
themselves whether they were scandalous persons ; and not 
that they should try whether they were true^ genuine Christ- 
ians. The very nature oi scandal (as was observed before) is 
that which tends to obscure the visibility of the piety of pro- 
fessors, and wound others' charity tov/ards them, by bringing 
the reality of their grace into doubt ; and therefore what 
could be more natural, than for the Apostle, when mention- 
!<ng such scandals among the Corinthians, to put them upon 
trying the state of their souls, and proving their sincerity ? 
This is certainly the case in this apostle's directing the same 
persons \o prove themselves^ 2 Cor. xiii. 5, using the same 
word there, which he uses here, and giving his direction on 
the like occasion. For in the second epistle (as well as in the 
first) his putting them on examining and proving themselves^ 
was on occasion of his mentioning some scandals found among 
them ; as i* plain from the foregoing context. And yet 
there it is expressly said. That the thing concerning which he 
directs them io prove themselves, is, whether they be in the 
faithj and whether Christ is in them. Nor is there any thing 
more in the preceding context of one place, than in that of the 
other, obliging or leading us to understand the apostle to in- 
tend only a trying whether they were scandalous, and not 
whether they were sincere Christians. 

And as to the words following in the next verse : " For he 
that cateth and drinkcth unworthily, eateth and drinkclh judg- 


ment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body :" These 
words by no means make it evident, (as some hold) that what 
the apostle would have them examine themselves about, is 
whether they have doctrinal A-^iow/^f/g-e, sufficient to understand, 
that the bread and wine in the sacrament signify the body and 
blood of Christ : But on the contrary, to interpret the apostle 
in this sense only, is unreasonable upon several accounts. 
(1.) None can so much as go about such an examination, 
without first knowing, that the Lord's body and blood is signi" 
Jied by these elements. For merely a man's putting this 
question to himself. Do 1 understand that this bread and this 
ivine signify the body and blood of Christ ? Supposes him al- 
ready to know it from previous information ; and therefore 
to exhort persons to go about' such an examination, would be 
absurd. And then (2.) it is incredible, that there should be 
any such gross ignorance appearing in a number of the com- 
municants in the Corinthian church, if we consider what the 
scripture informs us concerning that church : As particular- 
ly, if we consider what an able and thorough instructor and 
spiritual father they ' had had, even the Apostle Paul, who 
founded that church, brought them out of their Heathenish 
darkness, and initiated them in the Christian leligion, and had 
instructed them in the nature and ends of gospel ordinances, 
and continued at Corinth, constantly laboring in word and 
doctrine for a long while together, no less than a year and 
six months ; and, as we may well suppose, administering the 
I^ord's supper among them every Lord's day ; for the apos- 
tle speaks of it as the manner of that church, to communicate 
at the Lord's table with such frequency, 1 Cor. xvi. 2. And 
the Corinthian church, at that day, when the apostle wrote 
this epistle, was a church noted for excelling in doctnnal 
knonvledge ; as is evident by chap. i. 5, 6, 7, and several other 
passages in the epistle. Besides the communicants were ex- 
pressly told at every communion, every week, when the bread 
and wine were delivered to them in the administration, that 
that bread signified the body, and that wine signified the blood' 
of Christ. And then besides (3.) the apostle by his argu- 
ment chap. x. 16, supposes the Corinthians doctrinally ac- 
Vol, I. 2 1 


quainter! with this subject ah'eady. It tliercforc appears 
to me much more i easoiiable, to apprehend the case to be 
thus : The offensive behavior of the communicants at Corinth 
gave the apostle reason to suspect, tliat some of them came 
to the Lord's table without a proper impression and true sense 
of the great and glorious things there signified ; Jiaving no 
habitual hunger or relish for the spiritual food there repre- 
sented, no inward, vital and experimental taste for that j9e6/t of 
the Son of Mar.^ which is meat indeed. The word translated 
discerning, signifies to discriminafe or distinguish. The taste 
is the proper sense whereby to discern or distinguish food, 
Job. xxxiv. 3. And it is a spiritual sense or taste which is that 
whereby wc discern or distinguish spiritual food. Heb. v. 14. 
" Those who by reason of use, have their senses exercised to 
discern both good and evil ;" -orfio? ^iax^tcr<v. Sec. A word of the 
same root with that rendered discerning, in 1 Cor. xi. 29. He 
that has no habiuial appetite to and relish of that spiritual 
food, which is represented and offered at the Lord's table ; 
he that has no spiritual taste, wherewith to perceive any thing 
more at the Lord's supper, than in common food ; or that has 
no higher view, than with a little seeming devotion to eat 
bread, as it were in the way of an ordinance, but without re- 
garding in his heart the spiritual meaning and end of it, 
and without being suitably affected with the dying love of 
Christ therein commemorated ; such a one may most truly 
avid properly be said 7iot to discerii the Lord*s body. When 
therefore the apostle exhorts to selfexainination as a prepara- 
tive for the sacramental supper, he may well be understood 
to put professors upon inquiring whether they hare such a 
principle o{ faith y by means whereof they arc habitually in a 
capacity and disposition of mind to di.scrni the J.ord^s body 
practically and spiritually (as well as speculatively and notion- 
ally) in their communicating at the Lord's table : Which is 
Mhat none can do who have but common grace, or a faith short 
of that which is juslifying and saving. It is only a living faith 
that capacitates men to discern the Lord*s body in the sacra- 
ment with that spiritual sensation or spiritual gust, which is 
f^viitublc to llie nature and design of the ordinance, and which 
the apostle seems principally to intend. 



Objections Answered. 

Objection I. 

THE scripture calls the members of the visible church 
by the name of disa/iles, scholars, or learners ; and that sug- 
gests to us this notion of the visible church, that it is the school 
of Christ, into which persons are admitted in order to their 
learning of Christ, and coming to spiritual attainments, in the 
use of the means of teaching, discipline, and training up, es- 
tablished in the school. Now if this be a right notion of 
the visible church, then reason shews that no other quali- 
fications are necessary in order to a being members of this 
school, then such ?< faith and disfiosition of mind as are requisite 
to persons putting themselves under Christ as their Master 
and Teacher, and subjecting themselves to the orders of the 
school. But a common faith and moral sincerity are sufficient 
for this. Therefore the scripture leads us to suppose the vis- 
ible church to be properly constituted of those Avho have these 
qualifications, though they have not saving faith and true pietij. 

Answer. I own, the scripture calls the members of the 
visible church by the name of disciples. But I deny it there- 
fore follows that the church which they are members of, is 
duly and properly constituted of those who have not true pie- 
ty. Because if this consequence was good, then it would 
equally follow, that not only the visible, but also the invisible 
or mystical church is properly constituted of those who have 
not unfeigned faith and true piety. For the members of the 
mystical church, as such, and to denote the special character 
of such, are called disciples ; in Luke xiv. 26, 27, 33, and in 
John viii. 31, and xiii. 35, and xv. 8. This bhewfj, that in the 
argument I am answering, there is no connexion between the 
premises and the conclusion. For the force of the objection 
consists in this, that the members of the visible church are 


called disciples in scripture : This is the sum total of the pre* 
rnises : And if there be any connexion between the premises 
and the conclusion, it must lie in the truth of this proposition : 
The church, ivhoae members are called by the name q/" disciples, 
as signifying their state and quality as members of that society^ 
that church is properly and fitly constituted, not only of persons 
truly pious, but of others that have merely a common faith and 
virtue. But this proposition, we have seen, is not true ; and 
so there is no connexion between the former and latter part 
of it, which are the same with the premises and conclusion of 
this argument. 

2. Though I do not deny, that the visible church of Chris^ 
may fitly be represented as a school of Christ, where persons 
are trained up in the use of means, in order to some spiritual 
attainments : Yet it will not hence necessarily follow, that 
this is in order to all good attainments ; for it will not follow 
but that certain good attainments may be prerequisite, in or- 
der to di place in the school. The church of Christ is a school 
appointed for the training up Christ's little children, to greater 
degrees of knowledge, higher privileges, and greater service- 
ableness in this world, and moBe of a meetness for the posses- 
sion of their eternal inheritance. But there is no necessity of 
supposing that it is in order to fit them to become Christ's 
children, or to be introduced into his family ; any more than 
there is a necessity of supposing, because a prince puts his 
children under tutors, that therefore it must be in order to 
their attaining to be of the royal family. If it be necessary, 
that there should be a church of Christ appointed as a school 
of instruction and discipline, to bring persons to all good at- 
tainments whatsoever, then it will follow, that there must be 
a visible cliurch constituted of scandalous and profane persons 
and heretics^ and all in common that assume the Christian 
name, that so means may be used with them in order to bring 
them to moral sincerity, and an acknowledgment of the Christ- 
ian faith. 

3. 1 grant, that no other qualifications arc necessary in or- 
der to bring members of that school of Christ which is his vis- 
ible church, than such as arc rociuisite in order to their subject- 


ing themselves to Christ as their Master and Teacher^ and sub- 
jecting themselves to the laws and orders of his school : Never- 
theless I deny that a common faith, and moral sincerity are suf- 
ficient for this ; because none do truly subject thennselves to 
Christ as their Master, but such as, having their hearts /lurif- 
ed by faiths are delivered from the reigning power of sin : For 
we cannot subject ourselves to obey two contrary masters at 
the same time. None do submit to Christ as their Teacher, but 
those who truly receive him as their Prophet, to teach them 
by his word and Spirit ; giving up themselves to his teach- 
ings, sitting with Mary, as little children, at Jesus* feet to hear 
his word ; and hearkening more to his dictates, than those of 
their blind and deceitful lusts, and relying on his wisdom 
more than their own. The Scripture knows nothing of an ec- 
clesiastical school constituted of enemies of the cross of Christ, 
and appointed to bring such to be reconciled to him and sub- 
mit to him as their Master. Neither have they who are not 
truly pious persons, any true difposition of heart to submit to 
the laws and orders of Christ's school, the rules which his word 
prescribes to all his scholars ; such as, to love their Master 
supremely ; to love one another as brethren ; and to love their 
book, i. e. their Bible, more than vain trifles and amusements, 
yea above gold and silver ; to be faithful to the interest of the 
Master, and of the school j to depend on his teachings ; to crij 
to him for knowledge ; above all their gettings, to get under' 
standing. Sec. 

4. Whatever ways of constituting the church may to us 
seem fit, proper, and reasonable, the question is, not what 
constitution of Christ's church seems convenient to human 
wisdom, but what constitution is actually established by 
Christ's infinite wisdom. Doubtless, if men should set their 
wits to work, and proceed according to what seems good in 
their sight, they would greatly alter Christ's constitution of 
his church, to make it more convenient and beautiful, and 
would adorn it with a vast variety of ingenious inventions ; as 
the church of Rome has done. The question is, whether this 
kchool of Christ, which they talk of, made up very much of 
those who pretend to no experiences or attainments but what 


consist with their being evemies of Christ in their hearts, and 
Avho in reality love the viksi lust better than him, be that 
church of Christ ^vhich in the New Testament is denominat- 
ed his citij^ his temple^ his family^ his body, &c. by which nanie^ 
the visible church of Christ is there frequently called. 

1 acknowledge, that mi-am^^ of Christ's appointment, are to 
be used with those who are Christ's cncnrJes, ajid do not pro- 
fess themselves any other, to change their hearts, and bring 
them to be Christ's friends and di^eifdcs. Such means are to 
be used with all sorts of persons, with Jews, Mahometans, 
Heathens, with nominal Christians that are heretical or vic- 
ious, the profane, the intemperate, the unclean, and all other 
enemies of Christ ; and these means to be used constantly, 
and laboriously. Scandalous persons need to go to school, to 
learn to be Christians, as much as other men. And there 
are many persons that are not morally sincere, who, from self- 
ish and sinister vicws,do consent ordinarily to go to church, and 
so be in the way of the use of means. And none ought to for- 
bid them thus going to Christ's «r/;oo/, that they may be taught 
by him in the ministry of the gospel. But yet it w ill not fol- 
low, that such a school is the church of Christ. Human laws 
can put persons, even those who are very vicious, into the 
school of Christ, in that sense ; they can oblige them constant- 
ly to be present at public teaching, and attend on the means 
of grace appointed by Christ, and dispensed in his name : 
But human laws cannot join men to the church of Christ, 
and make them members of his bodv. 


VISIBLE saintsldfi in the Scripture sense cannot be the 
same with that which has been supposed and insisted on, viz. 
a being in the eye of a rational charily truly pious ; because 
Israel of old were from time to time called God*9 fieofde, 
when it is certain the greater part of them were far from hav- 
iii!^ any such visible holiness as this. Thus the ten tribes were 
called Cod*s people, Hosca iv. 6, after they had revolted from 


the true worship of God, and had obstinately continued in 
their idolatrous worship at Bethel and Dan for about two 
hundred and fifty years, and were at that time, a little before 
their captivity especially, in the height of their wickedness. 
So the Jews are called God's fieojile^ in Ezek. xxxvi. 20, and 
other places, at the time of their captivity in Babylon ; a time 
when most of them were abandoned to all kinds of the most 
horrid and open impieties, as the prophets frequently repre- 
sent. Now it is certain that the people at that time were not 
called God^s profile^ because of any visibility of true piety to 
the eye of reason or of a rational charity, because most of 
t^em were grossly wicked, and declared their sin as Sodom. 
And in the same manner wherein the Jews of old were God's 
people, are the members of the visible Christian Gentile church 
Xiod's people ; for they are spoken of z.^ grafted into the same 
olive tree, from whence the former were broken off by unbelief. 
Answer. The argument proves too much, and therefore 
nothing at all. If those whom I oppose in this controversv, 
bring this objection, they will in effect as much oppose them- 
selves in it as me. The objection, if it have any force, equally 
militates against their and my notion of visible saintship. For 
those Jews which it is alleged were called God's people, and 
yet were so notoriously, openly, and obstinately wicked, had 
neither any visibility of true piety, nor yet of that moral sin- 
cerity in the profession and duties of the true religion, which 
the opponents themselves suppose to be requisite in order 
to a proper visible holiness, and a due admission to the privi- 
leges and ordinances of the church of God. None will pre- 
tend that these obstinate idolaters and impious wretches had 
those qualifications which are now requisite in order to an ad- 
mission to the Christian sacraments. And therefore to what 
purpose can they bring this objection ? Which, if it proves 
any thing, overthrows my scheme and their own both togeth- 
er, and both in an equally effectual manner ; and not only so, 
but will thoroughly destroy the schemes of all Protestants 
through the world, concerning the qualifications of the sub- 
jects of Christian ordinances. And therefore the support of 
what I have laid down against those whom I oppose in this 


controversy, requires no further answer to this objection. 
Nevertheless for the greater satisfaction, I would here ob- 
serve further : 

That such appellations as God's fieofile, God's Israel^ and 
some other like phrases, are used and applied in Scripture 
with considerable (//Trr.wVy of intention. Thus, wc have a plain 
distinction between the houfie of Jaraclyund the house o/Israelj 
in Ezek. xx. 38, 39, 40. By the house of Israel, in the 39th 
Tcrse, is meant literally the nation or family of Israel : But 
by the house of Israel in the 40th verse, seems to be intend- 
ed the sfnritual house, the body of God's visible saints, 
that should attend the ordinances of his public worship in 
gospel times. So likewise there is a distinction made be- 
tween the house of Israel, and God^s disciples, who should pro- 
fess and visibly adhere to his law and testimony, in Isa. viii. 
14,... 17. And though the whole nation of the Jews are often 
called God's fieofile in those degenerate times wherein the 
prophets were sent to reprove them, yet at the same time 
they are charged as falsely calling themselves of the holy city. 
Isa. xlviii. 2. And God often tells them, they are rather to be 
reckoned among aliens, and to be looked upon as children of 
the Ethiopians, or posterity of the ancient Canaanites, on ac- 
count of their grossly wicked and scandalous behavior. See 
Amos ix. 7, 8, &c. Ezek. xvi. 2, 3, &c. verses 45, 46, &c. Isa. 
I 10. 

It is evident that God sometimes, according to the meth- 
ods of his marvellous mercy, and long suffering towards man- 
kind, has a merciful respect to a degenerate church, that is 
become exceeding corrupt in regard that it is constituted of 
members who have not those qualifications which ought to be 
insisted on : God continues still to have respect to them so 
far as not utterly to forsake them, or wholly to deny his con- 
firmation of, and blessing on their administrations. And not 
being utterly renounced of God, their administrations are io 
be looked upon as in some respect valid, and the society as 
in some sort a people or church of God : Which was the 
case with the church of Rome, at least till the Reformation 
and Council of Trent ; for till then we must own their bap- 


tisms and ortlinaUons to be valid.. ..The churcli tliat the pope 
sits in, is called, The Temple of God. 2. Thcss. li. 4. 

And wiih regard to the people of Isi ..el, it. is very manifest, 
that something diverse is oftentimes intended by that nation's 
being God^s Jieoplc^ fron> their bcint^ visible saints, or Aisihly 
holy, or having those qualifications which are requisite in or- 
der to a due admission to the ecclesiastical privileges of such. 
That natio7i^ that family of Israel, according to the flesh, and 
ivith regard to that external arid carnal c/ua If ration, were ia 
some sense adopted by God to be his fieculiar fieofiL, and his 
covenant peo flic. This is not only evident by what has beerx 
already observed, but also indisputably manifest from Rom, 
ix. 3, 4, 5. " I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of 
heart ; for I could wish that myself were accursed from Chri'-.t 
for my brethren, my kinsmen, ACCORDING TO THE 
FLESH, who are Israelites, to whom pcrtaincth the ADOP- 
TION, and the glory and the COVENANTS, and the giv- 
ing of the law and the service of God, and the PROMISES ; 
whose are the fathers ; and of whom concerning the flesh 
Christ came." It is to be noted, that the privileges here men- 
tioned are spoken of as belonging to the Jews, not now as vis- 
ible saints, net as professors of the true religion, not as mem- 
bers of the visible church of Christ ; but only as people of 
^uch a nation, such a blood, such an external and carnal rela- 
tion to the patriarchs, their ancestors, Israelites ACCORD- 
ING TO THE FLESH. For the apostle is speaking here 
oi ihe unbelieving Jews, professed unbelievers, that were out 
of the Christian church, and open visible enemies to it, and 
such as had no right to the external privileges of Christ's 
people. So, in Rom. xi. 28, 39, this apostle speaks of the 
same unbelieving Jenvs, as in some respect an elect people, and 
interested in the calling, promises, and covenants God former- 
ly gave to their forefathers, and as still beloved for their sakes; 
" As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for yotir sake ; 
but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers 
sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repent- 
ance.*' These things are in these places spoken of, not a-j 
privileges belonging to the Jews now as a people of the right 
Vol. L 2 K 


religion, or in the true church of visible worshippers of 
God ; but as a people of such a pedigree or blood ; and that 
even after the ceasing of the Mosaic administration. But 
these were privileges more especially belonging to them un- 
der the Old Testament : They ^verc a family that God had 
chosen in distinction from all others, to shew special favor to, 
above all other nations. It was manifestly agreeable to God's 
design to constitute things so under the Old Testament, that 
the means of grace and spiritual privileges and blessings 
should be, though not wholly, yet in a great measure confined 
to a jiarliaUcr family^ much more than those privileges and 
blessings are confined to any posterity or blood now imder 
the gospel, God did purposely so order things that tJiat nam 
tion should by these favors be distinguished, not only from 
those who were not professors of the worship of the true 
God, but also in a great measure from other nations^ by a wall 
of separation that he made. This was not merely a wall of 
separation, between professors and nonprofcssors (such a 
Avail of separation as this remains still in the days of the gos- 
pel) but between NATION and NATIONS. God, if he 
pleases, may by his sovereignty annex his blessing, and in 
some measure fix it, for his own reasons, to a particular 
blood, as well as to a particular place or spot of ground, to a 
certain building, to a particular heap of stones, or altar of 
brass, to particular garments, and other external things. 
And it is evident, that he actually did afl^x his blessing to 
that particular external family of Jacob, very much as he did 
to the city Jerusalem, that he chose to place his name 
there, and to Mount Zion, where he eojmnanded the blessing. 
Go<l did not so affix his blessing to Jerusalem or Mount Zion, 
«5 to limit himself, either by confining the blessing wholly 
to that place, never to bestow it elsewhere; nor by obliging 
himself always to bestow it on those that sought him there ; 
nor yet obliging himself never to withdraw his blessing from 
thence, by forsakinc^ his dwelling place there, and leaving it to 
be a common or profane place ; but he was pleased so to annex 
his blessing to that place, as to make it the seat of his bles- 
sing in a peculiar manner, in great distinction from other 


places. In like manner did he fix his blessing to that blood 
or progeny of Jacob. It was a family which he delighted in, 
and which he blessed in a peculiar manner, and to which he 
in a great measure confined the blessing ; but not so as to 
limit himself, or so as to oblige himself to bestow it on all of 
that blood, or not to bestow it on others that were not of that 
blood. He affixed his blessing to both these, both to the 
place and nation, by sovereign election. Psal. cxxxii. 13, 14, 
15. He annexed and fixed his blessing to both by covenant. 
To that nation he fixed his blessing by his covenant with the 
patriarchs. Indeed the main thing, the substance and mar- 
row of that covenant which God made v/ith Abraham and the 
other patriarchs, was the covenant ofgrace^ which is continu- 
ed in these days of the gospel, and extends to all his spiritual 
seed of the Gentiles as well as Jev/s : But yet that covenant 
with the patriarchs contained other things that were as it were 
appendages to that great everlasting covenant of grace, prom- 
ises of lesser matters, subservient to the grand promise of the 
future seed, and typical of things appertaining to him. Such 
were those promises that annexed the blessing to a particular 
country, viz. the land of Canaan, and a particular -bloody viz. 
the progeny of Isaac and Jacob. Just so it v/as also as to the 
covenant God made with David that we have an account of, 
2 Sam. vii. and Psal. cxxxii. If we consider that covenant 
with regard to what the soul and marrow of it was, it was the 
covenant of grace : But there were other promises which 
were as it were appendages of things subservient to the grand 
covenant, and typical of its benefits ; such were promises of 
the blessing to the nation of the literal Israel, and of continuing 
the temporal crown of Israel to David'^s posterity, and of fix- 
ing the blessing to Jerusalem or Mount Zion, as the place that 
he chose to set his name there. And in this sense it v/as that 
the venj fumibj of Jacob were God^s Jicople by cove7iant, ov his 
covenant Jieojde, and his chosen fieojile ; yea and this even 
when they were no visible saints, when they were educated 
and lived in idolatry, and made no profession of the true re- 


Oil the whole, it is evident that llie ve-nj nation of Israel, not 
as visib.l'-' saints, but as the progeny of Jacob according to the 
JicRh, "were in Lome respect a chosen fwofile^ a fieofile of God^ a 
covenant fifohle^ an holy nation ; ercn as Jcru'^alem "Nvas a chos- 
ni citify the city of God^ a holy city^ and a city that God had 
cnjra'^- d by cox>rnant to dwell in. 

Thu3 a so^creij^n and alhvise God was pleased to ordain 
thi;;t;s with rt'Spcct to the mitioji of Israel. Perhaps we may 
not be able to give all the reasons of such a constitution ; but 
sop\c o'them seem to be jiretty manifest ; as, 

1. T lie great and main end of separatinj^ one particular 
nation from all others, as God did the nation of Israel, was to 
prepare the way jor the conning of the Messiah, who was to 
proceed of /^a/ 6/oGrf. God's covenant with Abraham and 
the other patriaichs implied that the Messiah should be q/" 
their blood, or their stvd according to the flesh. And therc- 
fcTC it was reqiiis.ite that their progeny according to the 
^f5/i shonld be fei ccd in by a wall of separation, and made 
God's /::o/}lc. If the Messiah had been born of some of the 
firofessc^'n of Abraham^s reV^ion, but of some other nation, 
that reli^.^'on being propac;rtcd fiom nation to nation, as 
it is now under :!ie t',ospel, it would not have answered the 
C'>ven:MU Miih Abral-am, for the Messiah to have been bom 
of y\':' iham's seed only in this sense. The Mcssiah\i€\i\% 
by covenant so rchUed to Jacob's progeny according to the 
fcehs God v/as p)cab.ed, agreeably to tl.c nature of such a cov- 
enanl, to shew g'cal lespcct to that people on account of 
that external carr.al rcla»ion. Therefore the apostle men- 
lions it as one great privilege, thit of them according :o the 
flesh Christ cap"^, Kr^m. ix. 5. As the introducing the Mes- 
siah and his salvation md kingdom wast'-c special design of 
all Ciod's dealinj.;s .nd peculiar dihpenaafions towards that peo- 
ple, the natural re ult of this' was, that gicat account should 
be -made of thtir being of that nation, in God's covenant dcal- 
in*;^s ^\ith them. 

3-. That .ijition was a typical nation. There was then lit- 
erally^ lands that was the dwelling place of God ; which v.as 


a type of heaven the true dwelling place of God, and an exter- 
nal city of God^ which was a type of the spiritual city of God ; 
an external temple of God^ which was a type of his spiritual 
temple : So there was an external people and family of Godj 
by carnal generation, which was a type of his spiritual proge- 
ny : And the covenant by which they were made a people of 
God, was a type of the covenant of grace ; and so is some- 
times represented as a marriage covenant. God, agreeable to 
the nature of that dispensation, shewed a great regard to ex- 
ternal and carnal things in those days, as types of spiritual 
things. What a great regard God did shew then to external 
carnal qualifications for privileges and services, appears in 
this that there is ten times so much said in the Books of Mo- 
ses about such qualifications in the institutions of the passov^r 
and tabernacle services, as about any moral qualifications what- 
soever. And so much were such typical qualifications insist- 
ed on, that even by the law oi Moses the congregation of the 
Lord, or public congregation or church (for the word is the 
same) of visible worshippers of God, and the number of public 
professors of the true religion, who were visible saints, were 
not the same : For some were of the latter, that were not of 
the former ; as particularly the eunuchs, who were excluded 
the congregation, though never so externally religious, yea 
truly pious ; and so also bastards, he. 

3. It was the sovereign pleasure of God to choose thatfami- 
ly, the posterity of Jacob according to thefesh^ to reserve them 
for special favors to the end of time. And therefore they arc 
still kept a distinct nation, being still reserved for distinguish- 
ing mercy in the latter day, when they shall be restored to 
the church of God. God is pleased in this way to testify his 
regard to their holy ancestors, and his regard to their exter- 
nal relation to Christ. Therefore the apostle still speaks of 
them as an elect nation^ and beloved for the fathera* sakes<, even 
after they were broken off from the good olive by unbelief. 
God's covenant with Abraham is in some sense in force with 
respect to that people, and reaches them even to this duy ; 
and yet surely they are not God's covenant people, in the seme 
that visible Christians are. See Lev. xxvi. A'2. 


Tfltl)cherc said, It was often foretold by the prophets, 
tliut in the days of the goapcl other iiationa should be the peo- 
ple of God,as well as the naticn of tlic Jews : And when Christ 
scnl forth his apostles, he bid thcni {;o and diacifik all nations. 
I answer ; By a common figure of t^pccch the prevailing 
part of a nation are called the nation^ and what is done to them 
is said to be done to the nation, and wliat is done hy them is 
said to be done by that nation : And it is to be hoped, that the 
time is coming when the prevailing part of many nations, yea 
of every nation under heaven, will be regularly brought into 
the visible church of Christ. And if we by yiuthns in these 
prophecies understand any other than the prevailing part, and 
it be insisted on that we must understand it of all the people 
belonging to those nations ; there never has yet been any na- 
tion in this sense regularly brought into the visible church of 
Christ, even according to the scheme of those whom I op- 
pose : For there never yet has been an whole nation that 
were outwardly moral. And besides what IVIr. Blake says in 
his Trtatiae of the CovenafK, page 238, may be applied here, 
and serve as an answer to this objection : " The prophecies of 
the Old Testament (says he) of the glory of the New Testa- 
ment times, are in Old Testament phrases, by way of allusion 
to the worship of those times, set forth to us." In Rev. xxi. 
24, nations are spoken of, as having an interest in the A^eiu 
Jerusalem^ which yet is represented as perfectly pure, without 
the least degree of pollution and defilement, vcr. 27. And 
as for the command to the apostles, to discifUc all nations, it 
was a direction to them as to what they should attempt, or do 
as much towards as they could ; not a prediction of what they 
should bring to pass in their day : For they never brought one 
half of any one nation into the visible Christian church, nor 
any at all in one half of the nations in the world, it 13 very 

If it should here be further objected, that it is an evidence 
that Gentile Cliristians are visible saints, according to the 
New Testament notion of visible saintship, in the very same 
manner as the whole Jewish nation were till they were broken 
off by their obstinate rejection of the Messiah ; that the Gen- 


tile Christians arc represented as being grafted into the saint 
olive, from whence the Jews were broken off by unbelief , Rom. 
xi. 17, &c. 

I would inquire, What any one can intend by this objec- 
tion ? Whether it be this, viz. That we ought to insist on 
no higher or better qualifications, in admitting persons as 
members of the Christian church, and to all its privileges 
than the whole nation of the Jews, of that generation which 
lived in Christ's time were possessed of, till they had obstin- 
ately persisted in their rejection of him ? If this is not intend- 
ed, the objection is nothing to the purpose : Or if this be in- 
tended, neither then is it to the purpose of those with whom 
I have especially to do in this controversy, whp hold ortho- 
doxy, knowledge of the fundamental doctrines of religion, mo- 
ral sincerity, and a good conversation, to be qualifications, which 
ought to be insisted on, in order to a visible church state : 
For a very great part of those Jews were destitute of these 
qualifications ; many of them were Sadducees, who denied a 
future state ; others of them Herodians, who were occasional 
conformists with the Romans in their idolatries ; the pre 
vailing sect among them were Pharisees, who openly pro- 
fessed the false doctrine of justification by the works of the 
law and external privileges, that leaven of the Pharisees, which 
Christ warns his disciples to beware of : Many of them were 
scandalously ignorant, for their teachers had taken away the 
key of knowledge : Multitudes were grossly -vicious, for it 
■was a generation in which all manner of sin and wickedness 

I think that text in Rom. xi. can be understood no other- 
wise, in any consistence with plain fact, than that the Gen- 
tile Christians succeeded the Jews, who had been either in 
themselves or ancestors, the children of Abraham, with re- 
spect to a visible interest in the covenant of grace (which, as 
has been observed, was the substance and marrow of the cov- 
enant made with Abraham) until they were broken off froni 
the church, and ceased any longer to be visible saints by their 
open and obstinate unbelief ; (as indeed either they or their 
ancestors had all been thus broken off from the church of 


visible saints ; for every branch or family of the stock of Ja- 
cob had been in the church of visible saints, and each branch 
%vilhered and failed through unbelief) This was the highest 
and iTiost important sense in which anv of the Jews were ex- 
teinally the children of Abraham, and implied the greatest 
privilci^es. But there Afas another sense, in which the wJiole 
nation, including even those of them who were no visible 
saints, were his children (which as has been shewn) implied 
great privileges, wherein Christian Gentiles do not succeed 
them, though they have additional ecclesiasiical privileges, 
vastly beyond the Jews. 

Whether I have succeeded, in rightly explaining these 
matters, or no, yet my failing in it is of no great importance 
with regard to the strength of the objection, that occasioned 
my attempting it ; which was, that scandalously wicked men 
amonpj the Jews arc c:JIcd God*s fieo/ilc. Sec. The objection, 
as I observed, is as much against the scheme of those whom 
I oppose, as against my scheme ; and therefore it as much 
concerns (/ic7n, to find out some explanation of the matter 
that shall shew something else is intended by it, than their 
having the qualifications of visible saints, as it docs me ; and 
a failing in such an attempt as much affects aud kurts their 
cause, as it does mine. 


THOSE in Israel, who made no profession of piety of 
heart, did according to divine institution partake of the passo- 
ver ; a Jewish sacrament^ representing the same things, and 
a seal of the very same covenant of grace with the Lord\<i 
su/ifier ; and particularly it would be unreasonable to sup- 
pose, that all made a profession of godliness whom God 
commanded to keep that first fiassovrr in Egypt, which the 
whole congregation were required to keep, and there is no 
shadow of any such thing as their all first making a solemn 
public profession of those things wherein true piety consists : 
And so the people in general partook of the /vff^.voirr, from 


,t^cneration to generation ; but it would be . hard to suppose, 
that they uli professed a supreme regard to God in their 

Answer 1. The affair of the Israelites' participation of the 
/iussover, and pariicularly that lirst Jiassovcr in Egypt, is at- 
tended with altogether as much difficulty in regard to the 
cjuaiificalions which the objectors themselves suppose requi- 
site in communicants at the I^ord's table, as with regard to 
those which I insist upon ; and if there be any argument in 
the case, it is fully as strong an argument against iheir scheme, 
as mine. One thing they insist upon as a requisite qualifica- 
tion for the Lord's supper, is a public profession of religion 
as to the essential doctrines of it : tiut there is no more shad- 
ow of a public profession of this kind, preceding that pass- 
over in Egypt, than of a profession of gociliness. Flere, not 
to insist on the great doctrines of the fall ofman^ of our undone 
it ate by nature^ o^ the Trinity^ of our dependence on the free. 
grace of God for justification^ 8cc. let us take only those two 
doctrines o{ d^. future state of rewards and fiunishments^ and the 
doctrine of f/ze Messiah to come^ that Messiah who was repre- 
sented in \\\e jiassovcr : Is tliere any more appearance, in sa- 
cred story of the people's making a public profession in Egypt 
(n these doctrines before they partook of the passover, than of 
iheir making profession of the love of God ? And is there 
any more probability of the former, than of the latter ? An- 
other thing which they on the other side suppose necessary 
to a due attendance on the Lord's supper, is, that when any 
have openly been guilty ©f gross sins they should, before they 
come to this sacrament, openly confess and humble themselves 
for their faults. Now it is evident by many Scriptures, that 
a great part of the children of Israel in Egypt had been guilty 
uf joining with the Egyptians in worshipping their false 
gods, and had lived in idolatry : But the history in Exodus 
gives us no account of any public solemn confession of, or hu- 
miliation for this great sin, before they came to the passover/ 
Mr. Stoddard observes (Jp/ieal p. 58, 59) that there was iu 
the church of Israel a way appointed by God for the removal 
of scandals ; njen being required in that case to offer up their 
Vol. L 2 L 


sacrijicest attended with confession and Tisible signs of refient' 
ance. But wliere do we read of the people's offering up sacri- 
fices in Egypt, attended with confession for removing the 
scandal of that most heinous sin o{ idolatry they had lived in ? 
Or is there any more probability of their publicly professing 
their repentance and humiliation for their sin, before their 
celebrating the passovcr, than of their publicly professing to 
love God above all ? Another thing which they suppose to be 
requisite in order to admission to the Lord's table, and about 
which they would have a particular care be taken, is, that ev- 
ery person admitted give evidence of a competent knowledge 
in the doctrines of religion, and none be allowed to partake 
who are grossly ignorant. >{ow there is no more appearance 
of this with regard to the congregation in Egypt, than of a 
profestiion of godliness ; and it is as difficult to suppose it. 
There is abundant reason to suppose, that vast numbers in 
that nation, consisting of more than a million of adult persons, 
Iiad been brought up in a great degree of ignorance, amidst 
their slavery in Egypt, where the people seem to have al- 
most forgotten the true God and the true religion : And 
though pains had been taken by Moses, now for a short sea- 
son to instruct the people better ; yet it must be considered, 
it is a very great work, to take a whole nation undsr such de- 
grees of ignorance and prejudice, and bring every one of 
them to a competent degree of knowledge in religion ; and a 
greater work still for Moses both thus to instruct them, and 
also by exomination oc otherwise, to come to a just satisfac- 
tion, that all had indeed attained to such knowledge. 

Mr. Stoddard inii>^ts, that if grace be requisite in the Lord's 
supper, it would have been as much so in the passorver^ in as 
much as the chief thing the fiassover (as well as the Lord's 
supper, has respect to and represents, is Christ's sufferings. 
But if on this account the same qualifications are requisite 
in both ordinances, then it would be as requisite that the 
partakers should have knowledge to discern the Lord's dod:/ 
(in Mr. Stoddard's sen-se of 1 Cor. xi. 29) in ihc /lasso- 
very as in the Lo'd's supper. But this certainly is as difficult 
to suppose, as that they professed godliness : Tor how docs 


at appear, that the people in general who partook of the passo" 
•ver^ knew that it signified the death of the Messiah-^ and the 
way in which he should make atonement for sin by his blood ? 
Does it look very likely that they should know this, when 
Christ's own disciples had not knowledge thus to discern the 
LorcPs body in the /lassover, of which they partook from year to 
year with their Mae^ter ? Can it be supposed, they actually knew 
Christ's death, and the design of it to be thereby signified, 
when they did not so much as realize the fact itself, that Christ 
was to die, at least not till the year before the last passover ? 
And besides, how unreasonable would it be to suppose, that 
the Jews understood what was signified, pertaining to Christ 
and salvation by him, in all those many kinds of sacrifices, 
which they attended and partook of, and all the vast variety of 
ceremonies belonging to them ; all which sacrifices were sa- 
cramental representations of Christ's death, as well as the 
sacrifice of the passover ? The apostle tells us that all these 
things had a shadoiv of good things to come^ the things concern- 
ing Christ ; and yet there are many of them, which the church 
of Christ to this day does not understand j though we are un- 
der a thousand times greater advantage to understand them 
than they were ; having the J^eip Testament^ wherein God 
uses great plainness of speech, to guide us, and living in days 
wherein the vail which Moses put over his face is taken away 
in Christ, and the vail of the temple rent, and have the sub- 
stance and antitype plainly exhibited, and so have opportuni- 
ty to compare these with those shadows. 

If it be objected, as a difficulty that lies against our sup- 
posing a profession of godliness requisite to a participation of 
the passover, that they who were uncircumcised, were ex- 
pressly forbidden to partake, and if conversion was as im- 
portant, and a more important qualification than circumcision, 
why were not the unregenerate as expressly forbidden ? I an- 
swer ; Why were not scandalous sinners as expressly forbid- 
den ! And why was not moral sincerity as expressly required 
as circumcision ? 

If it be objected that they were all expressly and strictly re- 
(juired to keep the passover ; but if grace was requisite, and 


Cod knew that mr'.ny of the panhkers would have no o;race, 
Avhy would he give such universal orders ? 

I answer, when God ^avc those commands, lie knew that 
the commands, in all their strictness, would reach many per- 
sons who in the time of the fjassovrr would he without so 
much as mr.ral sinccritij in religiop. Every man in the nation, 
of every generation, and which should he in beinc^ each year, 
from the first institution till the deatii of Christ, were all (ex- 
cepting such as were ceremonially unclean, or in a journey) 
strictly required to keep the feast of /io!fiovcr ; and yet God 
Ivucw that multitudes would be without the qualification of 
'jnoral fierious?ifss in religion. It would l)e very unreasonable 
to suppose, that every single person in the nation was moral- 
ly serious, even in the very best time that ever passed over the 
nation ; or that ever there was such a happy day with that 
nation, or any otiier nation under heaven, wherein all were 
inoraliy sincere in religion. How much then was it other- 
wise many times with that nation, which was so prone to cor- 
ruption, and so often generally involved in gross wickedness ? 
But the strict command of God to keep ihc /:assQvcr reached 
the morally JJisincere^ as well as others ; they are no where 
excepted, any more than the unconverted. And as to any 
general commands of God's word, these no more required 
■men to turn from a state of moral insincerity before they 
came to \\\z jMnsoiwr^ than they required them to turn from a 
graceless state. 

But further, I reply, that Cod required them all to keep 
the passovcr^ no more strictly than he required them all to 
love\\\Q. Lord their God with their whole heart : And if God 
might strictly command this, he might also strictly com- 
mand them, to keep t!iat ordinance wherein they were espec- 
ially to profess it, and seal their profession of it. That fv/V 
x*rneration were not expressly forl):dden to keep the /lassover 
in succeeding years, for the whole /or(u years during whicji 
thev went on provoking God veiy often by gross sinning and 
open rebelling ; but still the express and strict commands for 
the whole congregation . to keep \he f'nssover reached tlicm, 
nor were thrv re-eased from I'lcir obligation. 


If it be said, that we must suppose multitudes in Israel at- 
tended tlic passover^ from age to age, without such a visibility 
of fuetij as I have insisted on ; and yet we do not find their 
attending this ordinance charged on them as a sin, in scrip- 
ture '. I answer ; We must also suppose that multitudes in 
Israel, from age to age, attended the passover, who lived in 
moral insincerity^ yea and scandalous wickedness. For the peo- 
ple in general very often notoriously corrupted themselves, 
and declined to ways of open and great transgression ; and 
yet there is reason to think, that in these times of corruption, 
for the most part, they upheld circumcision and Xhe ptassovcr ; 
and we do not find their attending on these ordinances under 
such circumstances, any more expressly charged on them as 
a sin, than their coming without piety of heart. The ten 
tribes continued constantly in idolatry for about two liujidred 
and fifty years, and there is ground to suppose, that in the 
mean time they ordinarily kept up circumcision and the pass- 
over : For though they worshipped God by images, yet they 
maintained most of the ceremonial observances of the law of 
Moses, called the manner of the God of the land-, which their 
priests taught the Samaritans, who were settled in their stead, 
2 Kings, xvii. 26, 27. Nevertheless we do not find Elijah, 
Elisha, or other prophets that v/ere sent among them, reprov- 
ing them for attending these ordinances without tlie required 
moral qualifications. Indeed there are some things in the 
writings of the prophets, which may be interpreted as a re- 
proof of this ; but no more as a reproof of this, than of at- 
tending God*s ordinances, without a gracious sincerity and 
true piety of heart and life. 

How many seasons were there, wherein the people in gen- 
eral fell into and lived in idolatry^ that scandal of scandals, in 
the times of the judges, and in the times of the kings both in 
Judah and Israel ? But still amidst all this v/ickcdness, they 
continued to attend the Sacrament of circumcision : We have 
every whit as much evidence of it, as that they attended tlic 
fiassover without a profession of godliness : ^Ve have no ac- 
count of their ever leaving it off at such seasons, nor any hint 
of its being renewed (as a thing which had ceased) wlien they 


came lo rclorrn. Thoii|:;li wo have so full an account of ihc 
particulars of Jor.iah's reformation, after that long scandalous 
reign of Manassch, there is no hint of any rcvivin?^ of drcwm- 
ciaion, or returnini^ to it after a cessation. And where have 
wc an account of the people's lacing once reproved for attend- 
ing this holy sacrament while thus involved in .scnncla/oufi sin^ 
in all the Old Testament ? And where is this once charged 
on them as a sin, any more than in the case of unconverted 
persons attending the sacrament o[ ihe /lassovcr.* 

Answ. it. Whatever was the case with respect to the 
qualifications for the sacraments of the Old Testament dispen- 
sation, I humbly conceive it is nothing to the purpose in the 
present argument, nor needful to determine us with respect 
lo the qualifications for the sacraments of the Christian dispen- 
sation, which is a matter of such plain fact in the New Testa- 
3ncnt. Far am I from thinking the Old Testament to be like 
an old Almanack out of use ; nay I think it is evident from the 
New Testament that some things which had their first institu- 
tion under the Old Testament, are continued under the New ; 
for instance, particularly, the acceptance of the infant seed of 
believers as children of the covenant with their parents ; and 
probably some things belonging to the order and discipline of 
Christian churches, had their first beginning in the Jewish 
synagogue. But yet, all allow that the Old Testament diftjini- 
Mjtion is out of date, with its ordinances : And I think in a 
matter pertaining to the constitution and order of the .Yetv 
Testament ehureh^ that is a matter of fact wherein the .'V<*«i 
Tcfitoncnt itself is express, full and abundant, in such a case 
to have recourse to the Mosaic dispensation for rules or pre- 
cedents to determine our judgment, is quite needless, and out 
of reason. There is perhaps no part of divinity attended with 
so much intricacy, and wherein orthodox divines do so much 
differ, as the stating the precise agreement and difference bc- 

* I, ft tlic rcatier here take notice of what is observed in the conclusion of 
my answer to the objection from llu- instance of Judas. 


tween the two dispensations of Moses and of Christ. And 
probably the reason why God has left it so intricate, is, be- 
cause our understanding the ancient dispensation, and God*s 
design in it, is not of so great ii-nportance, nor does so nearly 
concern us. Since God uses great plainness of speech in the 
New Testament, which is as it were the charter and munici- 
pal law of the Christian church, what need we run back to the 
ceremonial and typical institutions of an antiquated dispensa- 
tion, wherein God's declared design was, to deliver divine 
things in comparative obscurity, hid under a vail, and involv- 
ed in clouds ? 

We have no more occasion for going to search among the 
types, dark revelations, and carnal ordinances of the Old Tes- 
tament, to find out whether this matter of fact concerning the 
constitution and order of the New Testament church be true, 
than we have occasion for gcing there to find out whether any- 
other matter of fact, we have an account of in the New Testa- 
ment be true ; as particularly whether there were such officers 
in the primitive church as bishops and deacons ^yfhc\\\Q,v miracu- 
lous gifts of the Spirit were common in the apostles' days, 
whether the believing Gentiles were received into the primi- 
tive Christian church, and the like. 

Answ. in. I think, nothing can be alleged from the Ho- 
ly Scripture, that is sufficient to prove a iirofession of godliness 
to be not a qualification requisite in order to a due and regular 
participation of the passover. 

Although none of the requisite moral qualifications for this 
Jewish sacrament, either of one kind or other, are near so 
clearly made known in the Old Testament, as the qualifica- 
tions for the Christian sacraments are in the New ; and al- 
though the supposing a visibility, cither of moral sincerity, or 
sanctifying grace, to be requisite, is (both respecting the one 
ease and the other) involved in some obscurity and difficulty ; 
yet I would humbly offer what appears to me to be the truth 
concerning that matter, in the things that follow. 
. (1.) Although the people in Egypt, before the fust passo- 
vcr, probably made no exfdicit public profession at all, cither 


of their humiliation for thtir former idolatry •t or o{ present de^ 
x-otedness of heart to God ; it being before any particular in- 
stitution of an express public profession, either of godliness, or 
repentance in case of scandal : Yet I think there v/as some 
sOTi oi/iuolic nia?2?festation^ or i/n/dicit /ircfeasio?! of both. Prob- 
ably in Egypt they implicitly professed the same things, 
>vhich they afterwards professed more expressly and solemnly 
in the ivilderness. The Israelites in Egypt had very much to 
affect their hearts, before the last plague, in the great things 
that God had done for them ; especially in some of the latter 
plagues, wherein they were so remarkably distinguished from 
the Egyptians : They seem now to be brought to a' tender 
frame, and a disposition to shew much respect to God (sec 
Exod. xii. 27) and were probably now very forward to profess 
themselves devoted to him, and true penitents. 

(2.) After the institution of ^xi exjdleit fiubiic profession o[ 
devotedncss to God, or (which is the same thing) of true piety of 
heart, this was wont to be required in order to a partaking of 
ihc passover and other sacrifices and sacraments that adult per- 
sons were admitted to. Accordingly all the adult persons 
that were circumcised at Gilgal, had made this profession a 
little before on the plains of Moab ; as has been already ob- 
served. Not that all of them were truly gracious ; but see- 
ing they all liad a profession and visibility, Christ in his deal- 
ings with his church as to external things, acted not as the 
searcher of hearts, but as the Head of the visible church, ac- 
commodating himself to llie present state of mankind ; and 
ihcrerorc he represents himself in scripture as irustinj^ his 
people's pjofession ; as I fo^'merly observed. 

(3.) In degenerate times m Israel, both priests and people 
>vcre very lax with respect to covenanting with God, and pro- 
fessing devotedncss to him ; and these professions were used, 
as public professions commonly are still in corrupt times, 
merely as matters offor?n and ceremony^ at least by great raul- 

(4.) Such was the nature of the Lcviiical dispensation, that 
it had in no measure so great tendency to preclude ami pre- 
vent hypocriucal profcsQiona^ as the ^\cw Testament d/.-^pensa' 


tio7i ; particularly on account of the vastly greater darkness of it. 
For the covenant of grace was not then so fully revealed, and 
consequently the nature of the conditions of that covenant 
not then so well known : There was then a far more obscure 
revelation of those great duties of repentance towards God and 
faith in the INIediator, and of those things wherein true 
holiness consists, and wherein it is distinguished from 
other things : Persons then had not equal advantage to 
know their own hearts, while viewing themselves in this 
comparatively dim light of Moses's law, as now they have 
in the clear sunshine of the gospel. In that state of the 
minority of the church, the nature of true piety, as consisting- 
in the sjiirit of adojitlon^ or ingenuous filial love to God, and as 
distinguished from a sidrit of bondage, servile fear and self- 
love, was not so clearly made known. The Israelites were 
therefore the more ready to mistake, for true piety, that moral 
seriousness and those warm affections and resolutions t!iat re- 
sulted from that spirit of bondage, which shewed itself in Isra- 
el remarkably at Mount Sinai ; and which, throughout all the 
Old Testament times, they were especially incident to. 

(5.) God was pleased in a great measure to wink at and suf- 
fer (though he did not properly alloM') that laxness there was 
among the people, with regard to the visibility of holiness, 
and the moral qualifications requisite to an attendance on 
their sacraments ; as also he did in many other cases of great 
irregularity, under that dark, imperfect, and comparatively 
carnal dispensation ; such as polygamy, putting away their 
Avives at pleasure, the revenger of blood killing the manslayer 
Sec, and as he winked at the worshipping in high places in 
Solomon's time ; (1 Kings iii. 4, 5) at the neglect of keep- 
ing the feast of tabernacles according to the law, from Joshua's 
time until after the captivity ; (Neh. viii. 17) and as he winked 
at the neglect of the synagogue worship, or thepublic service 
of God in particular congregations, until after the captivity,* 

* Prid, Connect. Part I. p. 354 — 536, and 555, 556. gth Edit, The word 
\.\^n\izX.td^ synagogues Psal. Ixxiv. 8, signifies assemblies; and is supposed by 
the generality of learned men to relate to another sort of assemblies. 

Vol. I. 2 M 


though the light of nature toi^cthcr ^vilh the general rules of 
the law of Moses, did sufficiently teach and require it. 

(6.) It seems to be from time to time foretold in the proph- 
ecies of the Old Testament, that there would be a great alter- 
ation in this respect, in the days of the gospel ; that under 
the new dispensation there should be far greater fiurity in the 
church. Thus in the forcmcntioned place in Mzekiel it is 
foretold, that '^ Those who are [\'isibh/\ uncircumcised in 
heart, should no more enter into God's sanctuary." Again 
Ezek. x::. 37, 38. " And I will cau!:e you to pass under the 
rod, and will bring you into llie bond of the covenant ; and I 
will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that 
transgress against me." It seems to be a prophecy of the 
greater purity of those who are visibly in covenant rcith God. 
Isa. iv. 3. " And it shall come to pass that he that is left in 
Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy, 
even every one that is written among the living [i. e. ha^ a 
name to live^ or is enrolled among the saints] in Jerusalem." 
Isa. lii. 1. " Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jcrnsalem, the 
holy ci*y ; from henceforth there shall xo more come into 
thee the uncircumcised and the unclean." Zech. xiv. 21. 
'« And in that day, there shall be no more the Canaanite in 
the house of the Lord." 

(7.) This is juit such an alteration as might reasonably be 
expected from what we arc taught of the whole vature of the 
tivo dltfiensations. As the one had carnal ordinances (so they 
are called Hcb. ix. 10) the other a s/unfiuil senicc ; (John iv. 
'34) the one an earthly Canaan, the other an heavenly ; the 
one an external Jerusalem, the other a spiritual ; the one an 
tarthly high priest, the other an heavenly ; the one a rvorldly 
sanctuary, the other a spiritual ; the one a bodily and tempo- 
ral redemption (which is all that they generally discenied or 
understood in the passover) the other a apiritual and eternal. 
And agreeably to these things, it was so ordered in provi- 
dence, that Israel, the congregation that should enter this 
worldly sanctuary, and attend these carnal ordinances, should 
he much more a toorldly^ carnal congregation, than the New 
'restamenl conorcrtation. C^iic r/^ason wliv it was ordered in 


providence that there should be such a difference, seems to 
be this, viz. That the Messiah rnight have the honor of in- 
troducing a state of greater purity and spiritual glory. 
Hence God is said to £im\ fault with that ancient dispensation 
of the covenant, Heb. viii. 7, 8. And the time of introducing 
Ihc new dispensation is called the time of reformation^ Heb. 
ix. 10. And one thing, wherein the amendment of what God 
found fault with in the former dispensation should consist, 
the apostle intimates, is the greater fmritxj and spirituality of 
the church, Heb. vili. 7, 8, 11. 


IT is not reasonable to suppose that the multitudes which 
John the Baptist baptized, made -a /n-ofessiufi of saving grace, 
or had any such visibility of true piety as has been insisted on. 

Answ. Those whom John baptized, came to him confessing 
their sins, making a profession of some kind of repentance ; 
and it is not reasonable to suppose, the repentance they pro- 
fessed was speciiically or in kind diverse from that which he 
had instructed them in, and called them to, which is called 
repentance for the remission of sins ; and that is saving repent- 
ance. John's baptism is called the baptism of repentance for 
the remission of sins : I know not how such a phrase can be 
reasonably understood any otherwise, than so as to imply, 
that his ^'c/ir/^m was some exhibition of that repentance, and 
a seal of the profession of it. Baptism is a seal of some sort 
of religious profession, in adult persons : But the very name 
of John's baptism shews, that it was a seal of a profession of 
repentance for the remission of sins. It is said, Lnkc iii. 3. 
" John PREACHED the baptism of repentance for the re- 
mission of sins." What can be understood by this, but his 
preaching that men should nov/ speedily turn to God^ by true 
repentance and faith in the promised Saviour, and come and 
confess their sins, and openly declare this repentance towards 
God, and faith in the Lamb of God, and that they should con- 


firm and seal this llicir ])rofcssion by b^ifiti^nn^ as well aslhcre-r 
in receive the seal of God's willingness to remit the sins of 
such as had this faith and repentance. Accordingly we arc 
told, the firc/i/e came and ivcrc hajitizcd of him^ cjnfcssing their 
.^/w«, manifesting and professing that sort of repentance and 
faith which he preached. They had no notion of any other 
sort of repentance put into their heads, that they could sup- 
pose John called them to professs in bafitisw, but this accom- 
panied vs'wh faith in the Lamb w'hom he called them to be- 
hold ; for he/irccc/iP^ no other to them. The people that 
John baptized, professed both rcjicritancc for the rcmissioji of 
«z7/.9, and 'a\so faith in the Alensiah ; as is evident by Acts xix. 
4, 5. " John verily baptized wiihthc baptism of repentance, 
sayini^ unto the people, that they should believe on him that 
should come after )um ;" i. c. on Christ Jesus : " When they 
heard tl.is [John's preaching] they were baptized in the name 
ofthe Lord Jesus." 

If it be objected here, tiiat we are told, Matth. iii. 5, 6. 
" There went out to him Jerusalem, imd all Judca, and all the 
region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jor- 
dan, confessing their sins ;" and that it is not to be imagined 
all these made any credible profession of saving repent- 
ance and faith : I answer. No more is to be understood by 
lhe?,e expressions, according lo the phraseology of the scrip- 
ture, than that there was a very great resort of people from 
these places to John. Nor is any more to be understood by 
the like term of universality in Jolm iii. 26. " They came to 
John and said unto him. Rabbi, he that was with thee beygnd 
Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same bap- 
tizeth, and ALL MLN come to him ;" that is, there was a 
great resort to him from all quarters. It is in no wise unrea- 
sona' Ic to suppose, there was indeed a very great number of 
people that came to John from the places mentioned, who be- 
ing exceedingly moved by his preaching, in that time of ex- 
traordinary outpouring of the Spirit, made profession ofthe 
faith and rcpcntiuuc which John preached- Doubtless there 
'vverc many more i)rofessors than real converts : liut rtill in 
the great resort to John, there were many of t)ie latter char- 


acter ; as we may infer from the prophecy ; as appears by 
Luke i. 16, 17, " and many of the children of Israel shall he 
turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in 
the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers 
to the children, and of the disobedient to the wisdom of the 
just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'* And 
from that account of fact in Matth. xi. 12. « From the days 
of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffer- 
eth violence, and the violent take it by force.'* And in Luke 
xvi. 16. " The law and the prophets were until John t Since 
that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man 
presseth into it." Here the expression is no less universal, 
than that which is objected in Matth. iii. 5, 6. As to those 
wicked Pharisees, that so much opposed Christ, some of them 
I suppose had been baptized by John, and then had a great 
shew of repentance and faith ; but they afterwards apostatiz- 
ed, and were much worse than ever before : Therefore 
Christ speaks of them as being like a house from luhich the un- 
clean spirit is visibly turned out for a vjhile^ and is left emfity, 
sivefit^ and garnished, but afterward is repossessed, and has 
many devils instead of one, Luke xi. 24, Sec. Yet as to the 
greater part of these Pharisees, they were not baptized by 
John ; as appears by Luke vii. 29, 30. 

If it be further objected, that John in baptizing such mul- 
titudes could not have time to be sufficiently informed of those 
he baptized, whether their profession of godliness was credi- 
ble or no : I answer ; That we are not particularly informed 
of the circumstances of his teaching, and of the assistance he 
was favored with, and the means he had of information con- 
cerning those whom he baptized : But we may be sure of 
one thing, viz. He had as much opportunity to inquire into 
the credibility of their profession, as he had to inquire into 
their doctrinal knowledge and moral character ; which my 
opponents suppose to be necessary, as well as I : And this is 
enough to silence the present objection. 



CHRIST nayp, Matth. xx. 16, and a^aiii, ch:\p. xxii. M. 
that marnj arc called^ hut fo^v arc rlior^m. By whicli it is evi- 
dent, that there arc mar.^j Avho beloni^ to the visihlc church, 
and yet but/rw real and true /«/>//.«? ; and that it is ordinarily 
thus, even under the M-iv Tcstampnr., and in days of gospel 
Kght : And therefore that insibility of f^aintshifi^ whereby per- 
sons arc visible saints in a Scripture sense, cannot imply an 
apparent probability of their being real saints, or truly gra- 
cious persons, ^ 

Answer. In thcr.e texts, by those tliat are called^ are not 
meant those ^vho ure visible saints, and have the requisite 
fjualifications for Christian sacraments ; but all such as have 
x\\(t external call of the ^vord of Cod, and have its offers and 
invitations made to them. And it is undoui)tediy true, and 
has been matter of fact, for the mor.t part, that of those culled 
m this sense, many have been but only called, and never truly 
obedient to the call, fm-j have been true saints. So it was in 
the Jewish nation, whicli the parable in the twentieth *of 
Matthew has a special respect to ; they in general had the 
external call o{ CoiVs^ word, and in general attended many 
religious duties, in hopes of (iod's favor and reward, Avhicii is 
called laborinti; in Gotrs vineyard ; and yet but /rr;' of them 
cvcntjially obtained salvation ; nay, great multitudes of those 
who were callrd in this sense, were scandalouft p'jrsons, and 
gross hypocrites. The Pharisees and Sadducces were called^ 
and they labored in the vineyard^ in the sense of the parable ; 
for which they expected great rewards above the Gentile 
converts or proselytes ; wherefore their nic vjatf ei.nl towards 
them, and they could not bear that they should be made equal 
to them : But still these Pharisees and Sadducees had not 
generally tiie intellectual and moral qiialifications, that my 
opponents suppose requisite for Christian sacraments ; be- 
ing generally scandalous persons, denying some fundamental 


principles of religion, and explaining a\vay some of its most 
important precepts. Thus many in Christendom arc called 
by the outward crul of God's ^vord, and yciftw of them are 
in a i;talc of salvation : But not all these that sit under the 
sound of the p;ospel, and he?a' its invitations, are fit to come 
to sacraments. 

That by those who are called^ in this saying of our Saviour 
is meant those that have the gospel offer^ and not those who 
belong- to the society of visible saints-^ is evident beyond all 
dispute, in Matth. xxii. 14. By th« many that are called^ are 
plainly intended the many that are invited to the nvedding,,,. 
In the foregoing parable, we have an accout of those that from 
time to "time were bidden or CALLED (for the word is the 
same in the onginal) verse 3. " And sent forth his servants 
to CALL them that were CALLED [xctXt<7ui tjj? xtxXjj/Afvyj,] 
and they would not coixJe." This has respect to the Jews, 
v/ho refused not only savingly to com.e to Christ, but refused 
so much as to come into the visible church of Christ. Verse 4. 
*' Again he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them whiclv 
are bidden [or CALLED] Behold, I have prepared my din- 
ner," Sec. Verse 8. " They which were bidden [or CALL- 
ED] were not worthy." Verse 9. " Go ye therefore to the 
iiigh ways, and as many as ye shall Snd, bid [or CALL^a^strars] 
to the marriage," or nuptial banquet ; representing the preach- 
ing of the gospel to the Gentiles ; who upon it came into the 
king*fi housey i. e. the visible church, and among them one thiu^ 
had not a wedding garm€7it^ nvho loae bound hand ^mdjoot, and 
cast cut when the king came : And then at the conclusion, 
Christ adds this remark, verse 14. " For many are CALL- 
ED or bidden [»^tjto»J but few are chosen ;" which must 
have reference, not only to the 7«a.v last mentioned, who 
came into the wedding house, the Christian visible church, 
Hvithout a wedding garment^ but to those also mentioned be- 
Ibrc, who were called, but would not so much us come intb thz 
king's hoitse^ or join to the visible Christian church. To sup- 
pose this saying to have reference only to that 07ie man who 
came without a wedding gdr:nent (representing one that 
com^s into the vi5iW<^ ch\uch, but is not a true saint) woultl 


be to make the introduction of this aphorism, and its conneX' 
ion wilh what went belore, very strange and unintcllii^i:)lc, 
because then it would be as much as lo say thus, " Multi- 
tudes came inio the king's house, who were called^ and the 
house was full of guests ; but among them was found vnc 
man who was not choaen ; for mcmy arc called, hut few are 


WHEN the servants of the householder, in tbo parable of 
the wheat and tares (Matth xiii.) unexpectedly found tarcn 
among the wheat, they said to their master, *' Wilt thou that 
we go and gather them up ? But he said, Nay, lest while ye 
gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with thera ; 
let both grow together until the harvest." Which shews 
the mind of Christ, that we ought not to go about to 
make a distinction between true saints and apparent in this 
world, or aim at any such thing as admitting true saints rmhj 
into the visible church, but ought to let both be together in the 
church till the day oi judgment. 

Answ. I. These things in this parable have no manner of 
reference to introduction into the field, or admission into the 
visible church, as though no care nor measures should be tak- 
en to prevent tares being sown ; or as though the servants 
who had the charge of the field, would have done well to have 
taken /arcs, appearing to be such, and ///«72/rt/ them in the 
field amongst the wheat : No, instead of this, the parable 
plainly implies the contrary. But the words cited have whol- 
ly respect to a CASTING OUT and purging the field, after 
the tares had been introduced unau^ares^ and contrary to de- 
sign, through men's infirmity and Satan's procurement. Con- 
cerning purging tares out of the field, or casting men out of 
the church, there is no difference between me and those 
whom I oppose in the present controversy : And therefore it 


is impossible there should be any objection from that -Nvhich 
Christ says here concerning this matter, against mc^ but what 
is as much of an objection against them ; for we both hold the 
same thin;!-. It is agreed on all hands, that adult persons, ac- 
tually admitted to communion of the visible church, however 
they may behave themselves so as to bring their spiritual state 
into suspicion, yet ought not to be cast out, uiiless they are ob- 
stinate in heresy or acajulal ; lest, while wc go about to root 
out the /rtrc'i, we should root out the wheat also. And it is 
ulso agreed on all hands, that when those, represented under 
the name of /a re* bring forth such evil fruit, such scandalous 
and obstinate wickedness, as is plainly and visibly incoubistent 
with the being of true grace, they ought to be cast out. And 
therefore it is impossible that this objection should be any- 
thing to the purpose. 

Ais'sw. II. I think this parable, instead of being a just ob- 
jection against the doctrine I maintain, is on the contra^'y a 
clear evidence ybr it. 

For (1.) the parable shews plainly, thiit if any are introduc- 
ed into the field of the householder, or church of Christ, who 
prove to be not loheat {i. e. not true saints) they are brought 
in unawares, or contrary to design ; and that they are what do 
not properly belong there. If tares are as properly to be 
sorjn in the field, as is the wheats which must bQ the case if 
the Lord's supper be a converting ordinance ; then surely no 
care ought to be taken to introduce wheat only, and no res- 
pect ought to be had more to the qualities of wheat in sowing 
the field, than the qualities of tares ; nor is there any more 
impropriety in the tares having a place there, than the wheat : 
Rut this surely is altogether inconsistent with the scope of the 

(2.) This parable plainly sliews, tliat those who are in the 
visible church, have all of them at first a -visibility, or appear- 
ance to human sight of true grace, or of the nature of true 
saints. For it is observed, tares have this properly, that when 
they first appear, and till the products of tlie field arrive to 
some maturity, they have such a resemblance of wheat, that it 
is nc}ato impossible to clistifiguish them. 
Vol. I, 2 N 

590 tiuALIFICATlON* 


CHRIST himself administered the Lord's supper to Judas, 
■»vhom he knew at the same time to be graceless ; which is a 
full evidence, that grace is not in itself di requisite qualification 
in order to coming to the Lord's supper ; and if it be not re- 
quisite in itself, difirofcssion of it cannot be requisite. 

Answ. I. It is to me apparent, that Judas was not present 
at the administration of the Lord's supper. It is true, he was 
present at the passover, and difxfied with Christ in the paschal 
dish. The three former Evangelists do differ in the order of 
the account they give of this dipfiing in the dish. Luke gives 
an account of it after his account of the Lord's supper, Luke 
xxii. 2 1 . But Matthew and Mark both give an account of it 
before. (Matth. xxvi. 23. Mark xiv. 20.) And the like might 
be shown in abmulance of instances of these three Evangelists 
differing one from another in the order of their narratives ; 
one places those things in his history after others, which an- 
other places first ; these sacred historians not undertaking to 
declare precisely the date of every incident, but regarding 
more the truth of facts, than the order of time. However, in 
the present case, the nature of the thing speaks for itself, and 
shews, that Judaa^s dijiping ivith Christ in the dish^ or /lis hand 
being with Christ on the table, or receiving a so/i di/ified i?i the 
dish, must be in that order wherein Matthew and Mark place 
it in their history, viz. at the passover, antecedent to the 
Lord's supper : For there is no such thing in the Lord's sup- 
pc» as difiping of sops, and dipping together in the dish ; but 
there was such a thing in the passover, where all had their 
hand together in the dish, and dipt their sops in the bitter 
sauce. None of these three Evangelists give us any account 
of the time v/hcn Judas went out : But John, who is vastly 
more particular as to what passed that night, and is every 
where more exact as to the order of time than the other 
Evangelists, gives us an account, and is very precise as tu the 
lime, vJ-. that Jrsun -when he gave him the nop, at the same 


time sent him away, bidding him do quickly ivhat he intended 
to do ; and accordingly ivhen he had received the so/i, he went 
immediately out. John xiii. 27. ...50. Now this sop being at 
the fiassover, it is evident he was not present at the Lord's 
9u/i/ier which followed. Many of the best expositors are of 
this opinion, such as Van Mastricht, Dr. Doddridge, and 

Answ. II. If Judas was there, I deny the consequence.... 
As I have observed once and again concerning the Lord's 
dealings with his people under the Old Testament, so under 
the New the same observation takes place : Christ did not 
come to judge the secrets ofmen^ nor did ordinarily act in his 
external dealings with his disciples, and in administration of 
ordinances, as the Searcher of Hearts ; but rather as the Head 
of the visible church, proceeding according to what was ex- 
hibited in profession and visibility ; herein setting an exam- 
ple to his ministers* who should stand in his place when he 
was gone, and act in his name in the administration of ordi- 
nances. Judas had made the same profession of regard to 
his master, and of forsaking all for him, as the other disciples : 
And therefore Christ did not openly renounce him till he 
himself had destroyed his profession and visibility of saintship, 
by public scandalous apostasy. Supposing then the presence 
of Judas at the Lord's supper, this affords no consequence in 
favor of what I oppose. 

Answ. III. If they with whom I have to do in this contro- 
versy, are not contented with the answers already given, and 
think there is a remaining difficulty in this matter IfJng 
against my scheme^ I will venture to tell them, that the difficul- 
ty lies full as hard against their own scheme ; and if there be 
any strength at all in the argument, it is to all intents of the 
same strength against the need of those rjualijcations which 
they themselves suppose to be necessary in order to an ap- 
proach to the Lord's table, as against those which I think so. 
For although they do not think renewing saving grace neces- 
sary, yet they suppose moral seriousness or (as they variously 


spciik) moral sincerity in religion to bo necessary : Thcv sup- 
pose it to be requisite, tliat persons should have some kind of 
serious principle and view in comini^ to the Lord's tabic ; 
some sort ofiiitertion of subjecting themselves to Christ, and 
of seeking and serving him, in t^encral ; and in particular 
some relii^ious end in comincf to the sacramental supper, 
some religious respect to Christ in it. But now did not 
Christ at that time perfectly know, that Judas had none of 
these things ? lie knew he had nothing of sincerity in the 
Christian religion, or of regard to Christ in that ordinance, of 
any sort wliatsoever ; ho knew that Satan had entered into 
him and filled his heart, and that he was then cherishing in 
himself a malignant, malicious spirit against his master, ex- 
cited by the reproof Christ had lately given him (compare 
John xii. 8. with Matth. xxvi. S....16, and Mark xiv. 4.... 11) 
and that he had already formed a traitorous murderous de- 
sign agi\inst him, and was now in the prosecution of that 
bloody design, having actually just before beeni to the chief 
priests, and agreed with them to hctrciy him for thirty pieces 
of silver. (See Malth. xxvi. 14, 15, 16. Mark xiv. 10, 11. 
Luke xxii. 3... .6, and John xiii. 2.) Christ knew these things, 
and knew that Judas was utterly unqualified for the lioly sacra- 
ment of the Lord's supper ; though it had not yet been made 
known to the church, or the disciples. ...Therefore it concerns 
those on the conhary part in this controversy, to ^\wd, out some 
solution of this difficulty, as much as it docs me ; and they 
will find they have as much need to take refugee in the solu- 
tion already given, in one or other of the two preceding an- 
swers to this objection. 

By the way 1 would observe, that Cluisi's not excluding 
Judas from the passovcr, under these circumstances, knoiving 
him to be thus uvfjual'/ird, without so much as ?}:orai sincerity^ 
Sec. is aT'.othcr thing that cfl'cctually enervates all the strength 
of the objection against me, from \\\e fiassover : For Judas 
did rot only in common with others fall under God*s strict 
command, in the law cf Moses, to keep this feast, without any 
exception of his case there to he found ; but C/iri&t himself, 
with his own hand, gave him tlic so/i^ a par: of the pascha! 


feast ; even although at the same instant he had in view the 
man's secret wickedness and hypocrisy, the traitorous design 
which was then in his heart, and the horrid conspiracy with 
the chief priests, which he had already entered into, and was 
now in prosecution of: This was then in Christ's mind, and he 
intimated it to him, at the same moment when he gave him 
the sop, saying. What thou dost, do quickly. This demonstrates 
that the objection from the /mssover is no stronger argument 
against my scheme, than the scheme of those whom I ojv 
pose ; because it is no stronger against the necessity of sane- 
tifying grace, the qualification for Christian sacraments, which 
I insist upon, than it is against the necessity oUnoral serious- 
71688 and ftincerity, the qualifications which they insist upon. 


IF sanctifying grace be a requisite qualification in order to 
persons' due access to Christian sacraments, God would have 
given some certain rule whereby those who are to admit them, 
might know whether they have such grace or not. 

Answ. This objection was obviated in my stating the ques- 
tion. However, I will say something; further to it in this 
place ; and would here observe, that if there be any strength 
in this objection, it lies in the truth of this preposition, viz. 
That whatever qualijications are requisite in order to persons, 
due access to Christian sacraments, God has given some certain 
rule, nvhereby those who admit them^ may know whether they 
have those qualijications, or not. If this proposition is not true, 
then there is no force at all in the argument. But I dare say, 
there is not a divine, nor Christian of common sense, on the 
face of the earth, that will assert and stand to it, that this 
proposition is true : For there is none will deny, that some 
sort of belief of the being of a God, some sort of belief that 
the scriptures are the word of God, that there is a future state 
of rewards and punishments, and that Jesus is the Messiah, 


arc qualifications requisite in order to persons* due access t4 
Christian sacraments ; and yet C,od has given those ^ho arc 
10 admit persons no crrtain rule whcvcthY they may know 
whether they believe any one of these thinc^s. Neither has he 
given his ministers or churchc^ any certain rult^y whereby 
they may know whether any person that offers himself for 
admission to the sacrament, has any degree of moral sinceri- 
tjT) moral seriousness of spirit, or any inward moral qualifica- 
tion whatsoever. These things have all tlrelr existence in 
the soul, which is out of our neighbor's view. Not therefore 
tkcertcinfi/, but Vl fimjexsioyi and visihiiity of these things, must 
be the rule of the church's proceedings ; and it is as good and 
as reasonable a rule of judgment concerning i^avvif^ f^racr^ as it 
is concerning any other internal, invisible qualifications, which 
cannot be certainly known by any but the subject himself. 


IF saTictifying grace be requisite to a due apprc»ach to the 
Lord's table, then no man may come but he that knoiv.^ he has 
such grace. A man must not only t/ihik he has a right to 
the I..ord's supper, in order to his lawful partaking of it ; but 
he must knoTV he has a right. If nothing but hanctificatiou 
gives him a real right to the Lord's supper, then nothing 
short of the knowledge of sanctification gives him a knoivn 
righ^ to it : Only an oftinion and firobahle ho' cs of a right will 
not warrant hi.^ coming. 

A>sw. I. I desire those who insist on this asan invincible 
ai-gument, to consider calmly whether they themselves ever 
did or ever will stand to it. For here these two things are 
to be observed : 

(1.) If no man may warrantably come to the Lord's supper, 
hut such as know they have a right, then no nncoiivcrtrd per- 
Hons may come unless they not only think, but know it is the 
fr*!iui of Gorjy that unconverted persons should come, and 


Itnow that he does not require grace in order to their coining. 
For unless they know that men may come without grace^ they 
cannot know that they themselves have a right to come, beirig 
mthojit grace. And will any one assert and stand to it, that 
of necessity, all adult persons of every age, rank and condition 
of life, must be so versed in this controversy, as to have a 
certainty in this matter, in order to iheir coming to the Lord** 
supper ? It would be most absurd for any to assert it a point 
of easy proof, the evidence of which is so clear and obvious 
to every one of every capacity, as to supercede all occasion 
for their being studied in divinity, in order to a certainty of 
its truth, that persons may come to the sacred table of the 
Lord, notwithstanding they know themselves to be unconvert^ 
ed ! Especially considering, it seems a matter of plain fact, 
that the contrary to this opinion has been in general the 
judgment of Protestant divines and churches, from the re^ 
formation to this day ; and that the most part of the greatest 
divines that have ever appeared in the world, who have spent 
their lives in the diligent, prayerful study of divinity, have 
been fixed in the reverse of that opinion^ This is sufficient 
at least to shew, that this opinion is not so plain as not to be 
a disputable point ; and that the evidence of it is not so ob- 
vious to persons of the lowest capacity and little inquiry, • as 
that all may come to a certainty in the matter, without diffi- 
culty and without study. I would humbly ask here, What 
has been the case in fact in our churches, who have practised 
for so many years on this principle I Can it be pretended, or 
was it ever supposed, that the communicants in general, even 
persons of mean intellectuals and low education, not except- 
ing the v«ry boys and girls of sixteen years old, that have 
been taken into the church, had so studied divinity, as not 
only to t}dnk^ but know, that our pious forefathers, and almost 
9M the Protestant and Christian divines in the world Lave been 
in an error in this matter ? And have people ever been taught 
the necesdty of this previous, knowledge ? Has it ever been 
insisted upon, that before persons come to the Lord's supper, 
they must look so far into the case of a right to the Lord's 
supper, as to come not only to a full settled opinion, \\\i\ cv^'n 


certaintu in this point ? And has any one minister or cl.urch 
in their a(hnis:iions ever proceeded on the supposition, Miat 
all whom they took into communion were so versed in this 
controversy, as this comes to ? Has it ever been the manner 
in examining them us to the sufficiency of their knoivlcdgc, to 
examine them as to t+icir thorough acquaintance with this 
particular controversy ? Has it been the manner to put by 
those who had only an opinion and not a certainly ; even as 
the priests who could not find their register^ were put by, till 
the matter could he determined by Urira and Thummim ? 
And I dare appeal to every minister, and every member of a 
church that has been concerned in admitting communicants, 
whether they ever imagined, or it ever entered into their 
thought, concci ning each one whose admission they have con- 
sented to, that they had looked so much into this matter, as 
not only to have settled their o/iinion, but to be arrived to a 
proper certainty ? 

(2.) I desire it may be remembered, the venerable author 
of the Appeal lo the Learned,, did in his ministry ever teach 
such doctrine from whence it will unavoidably follow, that no 
one unconverted man in the world can knoiv he has warrant to 
come to the Lord's supper. For if any unconverted man has 
warrant to worship his ?»laker in this way, it must be because 
God has given him v/arrant by the revelation of his mind in 
the Holy Scriptures. And therefore if any unconverted mriU, 
not only thinks, but knov.s, he has warrant from C>od, he 
must of consequence, not only think, but know, that the scrip- 
tures are the word of God. But I believe all that survive of 
the stated hearers of that eminent divine, and all who are ac- 
quainted with him, well remember it to be a doctrine which he 
often taught and much insisted on, that no natural man kncvis 
the scripture to be the word of God ; that although such may 
think so, yet they do not knoio it ; and that at best they have 
but a doubifiil opinion : And he often would express himself 
thus ; A'b natural man is thorcyui^hlij convinccdy that the scrij:- 
lurea are lite ivord of God ; if they iverc convinced^ they tvovld 
be gained. Now if so, it is impossible any nalural man in the 
world slKMikl ever knonv, it is his right, in his present conililion 


to corne to the Lord's supper. True, he may think it is his 
right, he may have that opinion ; but he cannot knonv it ; and 
so must not come, according to this argument. For it is only 
the ivorcl of God in the Holy Scriptures, that gives a man a 
right to worship tlie Supreme Being in this sacramental man- 
ner, and to come to him in this way, or any other, as one in 
covenant with him. The Lord's supper bein^ no branch of 
natural worship, reason without institution is no p;rcnincl of duty 
or riglit in this affair. And hence it is plainly impossible for 
those that do not so much as knoiv the scriptures art the word 
of God, to knoiv they have any good ground of duty or right 
in this matter. Therefore, supposing unconverted men have 
a real right, yet since they have no knoivn right, they have no 
warrant (according to the argument before us) to take and 
use their right ', and what good then can their right do them ? 
Or how can they excuse themselves from presumption, in 
claiming a rights which they do not know belongs to them ? 
It is said, z. probable hofie that persons are regenerate, will not 
warrant them to come ; if they come, they take a liberty to 
do that which they do not kriow God gives them leave to do, 
TV hich is horrible presumption in them. But if this be good 
arguing, I may as well say, a probable ofiinion that unregener- 
atc men may communicate, will not warrant such to do it. 
They must have certain knowledge of this ; else, their right 
being uncertain, they run a dreadful venture in coming. 

Answ. II. Men are liable to doubt concerning their moral 
sincerityj as well as saving grace. If an unconverted man, 
sensible of his being under the reigning power of sin, was 
about to appear solemnly to own the covenant (as it is com- 
monly called) and to profess to give up himself to the service 
of God in an universal and persevering obedience ; and at the 
same time knew, that if he did this, and sealed this profession 
at the Lord's supper, without inoral sincerity (supposing him 
to understand the meaning of that phrase) he should eat and 
drink judgment to himself ; and if accordingly, his conscience 
being awakened, he was afraid of God's judgment j in this 
case, I believe the man would be every whit as liable to doubts 
Vol. I. 20 


nboiii liis 7noyal sincerity^ as godly men are about their gra- 
cious sinceiily. And if it be not matter of fact, that natural 
men are so often exercised and troubled with doubts about 
their moral sincerity^ as godly men are about their regenera- 
tion, I suppose it to be owing only to this cause, viz. that god- 
ly men beinp, of more tender consciences than those under 
the dominion of sin, are more afraid of God's judgments, 
and more ready to tremble at his uord. The divines on the 
other side of the question, suppose it to be requisite, that 
communicants should believe the fundamantal doctrines of 
religion vjith all their heart (in the sense of Acts viii. 37.) 
the doctrine of Three Fersonn and One God^ in particular : 
But I think there can be no reasonable doubt, that natural 
men, uho have so weak and poor a kind of faith in these mys- 
teries, if they were indeed as much afraid of the terrible con- 
sequences of their being deceived in this matter, or being not 
morally sincere in their profession of the truth, as truly gra- 
cious men are wont to be of delusion concerning their expe- 
rience of a work of grace, or whether they are evangelically 
sincere in choosing God for their portion ; the former would 
be as frequently exercised with doubts in the one case, as the 
latter in the other. And I very much question, whether any 
divine on the other side of the controversy would think it ne- 
cessary, that natural men in professing those things should 
mean that they knoiv they are vwrally sincere^ or intend any 
more than that they trust they have that sincerity, so far as they 
know their own hearts. If a man should come to them, pro- 
posing to join with the cliurch, and tell them, though indeed 
^e was something afraid whether he believed the doctrine of 
the Trinity tuithalUiis heart (meaning in a moral sense) yet 
that he had often exanrmcd himself as to that matter with the 
utmost impartiality and strictness he was capable of, and on 
the whole he found reasons of probable hope, and his prepon- 
derating^ thnuj^ht of himself was, that he was sincere in it ; 
would they think such an one ought to be rejected, or would 
lht*y advise him r»oi to come to the sacrament, because he 
did not certainly /.•:'::• ho had this sincerity, but only thoui^h* 
he had it 1 


Ans"\v. in. If we suppose sanctifyintj grace to be requi- 
site in order to a being properly qualified, according; to God's 
word, for an attendance on the Lord's supper ; yet it will not 
follow, that a man must krioiv he has this qualification, in or- 
der to his being capable oi conscicntiousbj attending it. If he 
judges that he has it, according to the best light he can obtain, 
on the most careful examination, with the improvement of 
such helps as he can get, the advice of his pastor, 8cc. he may 
be bound in conscience to attend. And the reason is this ; 
Christians partaking of the Lord's supper is not a matter of 
mere claim^ or right and firivikge^ but a matter of duty and 06- 
/z^a?/orz ; being an affair wherein another (even God) has a 
claim and demand on us. And as we ought to be careful, on 
the one hand, that we proceed on good grounds in taking to 
ourselves a privilege, lest we take what we have no good 
claim to ; so we should be equally careful, on the other hand, 
to proceed on good grounds in what we withhold from another, 
lest we do not withhold that from him which is his due, and 
which he justly challenges from us. Therefore in a case of 
this complex nature, where a thing is both a matter ol right or 
privilege to us and also a matter of obligation to another, or a 
right of his from us, the danger of proceeding ivithout right 
and truth is equal both ways ; and consequently if we cannot 
be absolutely sure either way, here the best judgment we can 
form, after all proper endeavors to know the truth, must gov- 
ern and determine us ; otherwise wc shall designedly do that 
whereby, according to our own judgment, we run the greatest 
risk ; which is certainly contrary to reason. If the question 
were only what a man has a right to^ he might forbear till he 
were sure : But the question is, not only whether he has a right 
to attend the supper, but whether God also has not a right tp 
his attendance there ? Supposing it were merely a privilege 
which I am allowed in a certain specified case, and there were 
no command to take the Lord's supper even in that case, but 
yet at the same time there was a command no; to take unless 
that be the case in fact, then, supposing I am unccrtin ivhcther 
that be the case with me or no, it will be safest to abstain : But 
supposing I am not only forbidden to take it, unless that be 


the case with me, but positively commanded and rcq\iired to 
take it, if that be the case in fact, then it is equally dangerous 
to neglect on uncertainties, as to take on uncertainties. In 
such a critical situation, a man must act according to the best 
of his jud?^ment on his case ; otherwise he wilfully runs into 
that wliich he thinks the greatest dang;er of the two. 

Thus it is m innumerable cases in human life. I sliall 
give one plain instance : A man ought not to take upon him 
the work of the ministry unless called to it in the providence 
of God ; for a man has no right to take this honor to himselfy 
unless called of God. Now let us suppose a young man of a 
liberal education, and well accomplished, to be at a loss wheth- 
er it is the will of God that he should follow the work of the 
ministry ; and he examines himself, and examines his cir- 
cumstances, with great seriousness and solemn prayer, and 
well considers and weighs the appearances in divine provi- 
den e : y\nd yet when he has done all. he has not come to a pro- 
per certainty that God calls him to this work ; but however it 
looks so to him, according to the best light he can obtain, and 
the most careful judgment he can form : Now such a one ap- 
pears obliged in conscience to give himself to this work. He 
roust by no means neglect it under a notion that he must not 
take this honor to Idmself till he knows he has a right to it ; be- 
cause though it be indeed ^ Jir-ivilege^ yet it is not a matter of 
mere privilege, but a matter of duty too ; and if he neglects 
it under these circumstances^ he neglects what, according to 
his o\vn best judgment, he thinks God requires of him, and 
calls him to ; which is to sin against his co7iscic7ice. 

As to the case of ihc /iiiestsy that could not find their regit'* 
ter (Ezra ii.) alleged in the Afipeal to the Learned., p. 64, it 
appears to mt of no force in this argument ; for if those 
priests had had never so ^vt^l assurance in themselves of their 
pedigree being good, or of their being descended from /iricsta, 
and should have /irofessed such assurance, yet it would not 
have availed ; nor did they abstain from the priesthood^ be- 
cause they wanted satisfaction themselves, but they were subr 
jcct to the judgment of the Sanhedrim ; whose rule to judge 
of the qualification spoken of, God had never made any pro? 


fession of the parties themselves, but the visibility of the 
thing, and evidence of the fact to their own eyes : This matter 
of pedigree beintj an external object, ordinarily within the 
view of man ; and not any qualification of heart. But this i^ 
not the case with regard to requisite qualifications for the^ 
Lord's sup/ier, which being many of them internal, invisible 
things, seated in the mind and heart, such as the belief o^ a 
Sui)reme Being, &c ; God has made a credible firofesszon of" 
these things the rule to direct in admission of persons to the 
ordinance : Who, ]n making this profession, are determineii 
and governed by their own judgment of themselves, and not 
by any thing within the view of the church. 


THE natural consequence of the doctrine which has been 
maintained, is the bringing multitudes of persons of a tender 
conscience and true piety into great perplexities ; who, being at 
a loss about the state of their souls, must needs be as much im 
suspencc about their duty : And it is not reasonable to sup- 
pose, that God would order things so in the revelations of his 
villj as to bring his oivn people into such perplexities. 

Answ. I. It it for want of the like tenderness of con science 
which the godly have, that the other doctrine which insists on 
moral sincerity^ does not naturally bring those who are receiv- 
ed to communion on those principles, into the same perplcxi' 
ties^ through their doubting of their moral sincerity, of their 
believing mysteries ivith all their heart, Sec. as has been al- 
ready observed. And a being free from perplexity, only 
through stupidity and hardness of heart, is nvorse than being 
in the greatest perplexity through tenderness of conscience. 

Axsw. II. Supposing the doctrine which I have main- 
tained, be indeed the dortrine of God*s word, yet it will not 
follow, that the perplexities true saints are in through doubt- 
ing of their state, are effects owing to the revelations of God's 


Tvord. Perplexity and distress of mind, not only on occasion 
of the Lord's supper, but innumerable other occasions, is the 
nattiral and unavoidable consequence of true Christians doubt- 
ing of their state. But shall \vc therefore say, that all these 
perplexities are owinji; to the word of God ? No, it is not ow- 
ing to God, nor to any of his revelations, that true saints ever 
doubt of their state ; his revelations are plain and clear, and 
his rules sufficient for men to determine their own condition 
by : But, for the most part, it is owing; to their own sloth^ and 
givinp; way to their sinful dispositions. Must God's institu- 
tions and revelations be answerable for all the perplexities 
men bring on themselves, through their own negligence and 
imwatchfulness ? It is wisely ordered it should be so, that the 
saints should escape perplexity in no other way than that of 
a great strictness, diligence, and maintaining the lively, labo^ 
lious, and selfdenying exercises of religion. 

It might as well be said, that it is unreasonable to suppose, 
God should order things so as to bring his own people into 
such perplexities, as doubting saints are wont to be exercised 
-with in the sensible approaches of death; when their doubts 
tend to vastly ^vc:xXer /lerplexitijy than in their approaches to 
the Lord's table. If Christians would more thorougly exercise 
themselves unto godliness^ laboring always to keefi a coiiscience 
void nfojfcrice both tonvards God and towards man^ it would be 
the way to have the comfort, and taste the sweetness of re- 
ligion. If thcv would so runyuot as uncertainly ; sofght^ not as 
thry that brat the air ; it would be the way for them to escape 
perplexity, both in ordinances and providences, and to rejoice 
and enjoy God in both. Not but that doubting of their state 
sometimes arises from other causes, besides want of watch- 
fulness ; it may arive from melancholy, and some other pe- 
culiar disadvantages. But however, it is not owing to God's 
revelations nor institutions ; which, whatsoever we may sup- 
pose them to be, will not prevent the perplexities of such 

Answer III. It appears to me reasonable to suppose, that 
the doctrine I maintain, if universally embraced by God's peo- 
ple, however it migiit be an accidental occasion of fierfilexity 


in many instances, through their own infirmity and sip ; yet, 
on the whole, would be a happy occasion of much more com- 
fort to the saints than trouble, as it would have a tendency, on 
every return of the Lord's supper, to put them on the strict- 
est examination and trial of the state of their souls, agreeable 
to that rule of the apostle, 1 Cor. xi. 28. The neglect of 
which great duty of frequent and thorough self examination^ 
seems to be one main cause of the darkness and perplexity of 
the saints, and the reason why they have so little comfort in 
ordinances, and so little comfort in general. Mr. Stoddard 
often taught his people, that assurance is attainable^ and that 
those who are true saints might know it, if they would ; i. e. 
if they would use proper means and endeavors in order to it. 
And if so, then certainly it is not just, to charge those per- 
plexities on Goers institutions, which arise through men's ncg^ 
ligence ; nor would it be just on the supposition of God's in- 
stitutions being such as 1 suppose them to be. 


YOU may r.s well say, that unsanctified persons may not 
attend ainj duty of divine worship whatsoever, as that they 
may not attend the Lord's supper ; for all duties of worship 
are holy and require holiness, in order to an acceptable per- 
formance of them, as well as that. 

Answer. If this argument has any foundation at all, it 
has its foundation in the supposed truth of the following /zro- 
fiositions, viz. Whosoever is qualified for admission to one duty 
€f divine nvorshifi, is qualified for admission to all ; and he that 
is unqualified for one, and may be forbidden one, is unqualified 
for all, and (jug J it to be allouH'd to attend none. But certainly 
these i)ropositions are not true. There are many who are 
qualified for some duties of worship, and may be allaved, and 
arc by no means to be forbidden to attend them, who yet ar« 
not qualified for some others, nor by any mc2,n*tobe admitted 


to ihcm. As every body jjranis, the imbaptized, the cxcom* 
inunicated, heretics, scandalous livers, &c. may be ad mi tied 
to hear the ivord preached ; nevertheless they are not to he 
allowed to come to the Lord's su]>|)er. Even excomn.iini- 
cated persons remain still under the law of the Sabbath, and 
srenottobe forl/idden to observe the Lord's day. lti;norant per- 
sons, such as have not knowledge sufficient for an approach to 
the Lord's table, yet are not excused from the duty of prayer : 
They may pray to God to instruct them, and assist them in 
obtaining knowledi^e. They who have been e^lucated in Ari- 
anism and Socinianism, and are not yet brou^^ht off from 
these fundamental error, and so are by no means to b • ad nit- 
ted to the Lord's supper, yet may pray to God to assist them 
in their studies, and guide them into the truth, and lor all 
other mercies which they need. Socrates, that great Gen- 
tile philosoplier, who worshipped the true God, as he was led 
by the light of nature, niiglit pray to God, and he attended his 
duty when he did so ; ahhuugh lie knew not the revelation 
which God had made of himself in his word. That great 
philosopher that was contemporary with the Apostle Paul, I 
mean Seneca, wh.o held one Supreme Being, :n;l had, in many 
respects right notions of the divine perfections and providence, 
though he did not embrace the gospel, which at that day was 
preached in the wTjrld ; yet might pray to that Supreme Be- 
ing whom he acknowledged. And if his brother Gallio at 
Corinth, when Paul preached there, had prayed to this Su- 
preme Being to guide him into the truth, that he might know 
whether the doctrine Paul preached was true, he therein 
would have acted very becoming a reasonable creature, and 
any one would have acted unreasonably in forbidding him ; 
but yet surely neither of these men was qualified for the 
Christian sacraments. So that it is apparent, there is and 
ought to be a distinction 'made between duties of worship, with 
respect to qualincaiions for them ; and that which is a suffi- 
cient qualification for admission to one duty, is not so for all. 
And therefore the position is not true, whic'.i is the foundation 
whereon the whole weight of this argument rcs's. To say 
that although it be true there ought to be a distinction made, 


in admission to duties of worship, with regard to soine qual- 
ifications, yet sanctifying grace is not one of those qualifica- 
tions that make the dificrence ; would be but a giving up the 
argument, and a perfect begging the question. 

It is said, there can be no reason assigned, why unsanctified 
persons may attend ot/ie7' duties of worship and not the Lord's 
iu/i/ier. But I humbly conceive this must be an inadvertence. 
For there is a reason very obvious from that necessary and 
very notable distinction among duties of worship which fol- 
lows : 

1. There are #omf duties of worship, that imply a //ro/f?*- 
iion of God's covenant ; whose very nature and design is an 
exhibition of those vital active principles and inward exercis- 
es, wherein consists the condition of the covenant of grace, or 
that union of soul to God, which is the union between Christ 
and his spouse, entered into by an inward, hearty consenting 
to that covenant. Such are the Christian sacraments, whose 
very design is to make and confirm di firofcssion of compliance 
With that covenant, and whose very nature is to exhibit or ex- 
press the uniting acts of the soul : Those sacramental duties 
therefore cannot, by any whose hearts do not really consent 
ta that covenant, and whose souls do not truly close with 
Christ, be attended without either their being selfdeceived, or 
else v/ilfully making a false profession, and lying in a very ag- 
gravated manner. 

2. There are o?/jfr duties, which are no? in their own na- 
ture an exhibition of a covenant union with God, or of any 
compliance with the condition of the covenant of grace ; but 
are the expression of general virtues, or virtues in their larg- 
est extent, including both special and common. Thus, firayer 
or asking mercy of God, is in its own nature no profession of 
a compliance with the covenant of grace : It is an expression 
of some belief of the being of a God, an expression of some 
sense of our wants, some sense of our need of help, and some 
sense of a need of God's help, some sense of our dependance, 
Sec. but not only such a sense of these things as is spiritual 
and saving. Indeed there are some prayers proper to be 
made by saints, and many things proper to be expressed by 

Vol. I. 3 P 


them in prayer, which imply the profession of a tpiritual un- 
ion of heart to Cod through Christ ; but such as no Heathen, 
no heretic, nor natural man whatever, can or ought to make. 
Prayer in general, and asking mercy and help from God is 
no more a profession of consent to the covenant of grace, than 
reading the Scriptures, or meditation, or performing any 
duty of morality and natural religion. A Mahometan may as 
well ask mercy as hear instruction : And any natural man 
may as well express his desires to God, as hear when God 
declares his will to him. It is true, when an unconverted 
man prays, the manner of his doing it is sinful : But when a 
natural man, knowing himself to be so, comes to the Lord's 
supper, the very matter of what he does, in respect of the pro- 
fession he there makes, and his pretension to lay hold of 
God's covenant, is a lie^ and a lie told in the most solemn 

In a word, the venerable Mr. Stoddard himself, in his Doc 
trine of Infstitiited Churches^ h^is taught us to distinguish be- 
tween instituted and statural acts of religion : The word and 
prayer he places under the head of moral duty, and considers 
as common to all ; but the sacraments, according to what he 
says there, being instituted^ are of s/iecial administration, and 
must be limited agreeable to the institution. 


i TIIL Lord's supper has a proper tendency to promote 
men's conversion^ being an affecting representation of the 
greatest and most important things of God's word : It has a 
proper tendency to awaken and humble sinners ; here being 
a discovery of the terrible anger of God for sin, by the inflic- 
tion of the curse upon Christ, when sin was imputed to him ; 
and the representation here made of the dying love of Christ 
has a tendency to draw the hearts of siimers from sin to 
God, &c. 


Answ. Unless it be an evident truth, that w^a? the Lord's 
^ufifier may have tendency to firomote^ the same it was apfiointed 
to promote^ nothing follows from this argument. If the argu- 
ment affords any consequence, the consequence is built on 
i^\Q tendency oi \\i& Lord's supper. And if the consequence 
be good and strong on this foundation, as drawn from such 
premises, then wherever the premises hold^ the consequence 
holds ; otherwise it must appear, that the premises and conse- 
guence are not connected. And now let us see how it is in 
fact. Do not scandalous persons need to have these very ef- 
fects wrought in their hearts, which have been mentioned ? 
Yes, surely ; they need them in a special manner : They 
need to be awakened ; they need to have an affecting discov- 
ery of that terrible wrath of God against sin, which was man- 
ifested in a peculiar manner by the terrible effects of God's 
"wrath in the sufferings of his own incarnate Son : Gross sin- 
ners need this in some respect more than others : They need 
to have their hearts broken by an affecting view of the great 
and important things of God's word : They need especially 
to fly to Christ for refuge, and therefore need to have theif 
hearts drawn. And seeing the Lord's supper has so great a 
tendency to promote these things, if the consequence from 
the tendency of the Lord's supper, as inferring the end of its 
appointment be good, then it must be a consequence also well 
inferred, that the Lord's supper was appointed for the re- 
claiming and bringing to repentance scandalous i^^v%ow%. 

Here, for any to go to turn this off, by saying, Scandalous 
persons are expressly forbid^ is but a giving up the argument, 
and a begging the question. It is a giving up the argument ; 
since it allows the consequence not to be good. For it allows, 
that notwithstanding the proper tendency of the Lord's supper 
to promote a design, yet it may be so that the Lord's supper 
•was not appointed with a view to promote that end. And it 
is a begging the question ; since it supposes, that unconvert' 
ed men are not evidently forbidden) as well as scandalous per- 
sons ; which is the thing in controversy. If they be evidently 
forbid, that is as much to reasonable creatures (who need noth- 
ing but good eviderfce) as if they were expressly forbidden. 


To say here, that the Lord's sufifier is a converting ordinance 
only to crdtrhj members and that there is another ordinance afir 
pointed for bringinif scandalous ficrsons to refientance^ this is no 
solution of the difTiculty \ but it is only another instance of 
yielding up the argument and begging the question : For it 
plainly concedes, that the tendency of an ordinance does not 
prove it appointed to all the ends, which it seems to have a 
tendency to promote ; And also supposes, that there is not 
any other ordinance, appointed for the converting of sinners 
that arc moral and orderly in their lives, exclusive of this, 
\vhich is the thing in question. 

It is at best but very precarious arguing, from the seeming 
tendency of things, to the divine a/i/iointment, or God's will 
and disposition with respect to the use of those things. It 
looks as though it would have had a great tendency to con- 
vince the Sc(;ibcs and Pharisees, and to promote their con- 
version if they had been admitted into the Mount when Christ 
•was tranfi.c^ured : But yet it was not the will of Christ, that 
they should be adiniited there, or any other but Peter, James 
and John. It seems as though it would have had a very great 
tendency to convince and bring to repentance the unbelieving 
Jews, if they had been allowed to see and converse freely 
vith Christ after his resiirrcction^ and see him ascend into 
heaven : But yet it was the will of God, that none but disci- 
ples should be admitted to these privileges. So it seems as 
though it might have had a good tendency, if all that were 
sincere followers of Christ, women as well as men, had been 
allowed to be present at the institution of the Lord's supper : 
But yet it is commonly thought nowe were admitted beside 
the yl/iostles. 

Indeed the ever honored author of the Jppeal Co the Learn- 
rd has supplied me with the true and proper answer to this 
objection, in the following words, p. 27, 28. " The efficacy of 
the Lord's supper docs depend upon the blessing of God. 
ll'hatex'cr tendency ordinances have in their own natviie 
fo be serviceable to men, yet they will not prevail any further 
than (iod doth ble?.s them. Y'/if weapons of our ivurfare are 
mighty through Gody Q. Cor. x. -I-. It is God that teaches men 


to profit, and makes them profitable and serviceable to men^s 
souls. There is reason to hope for a divine blessing on the 
Lord's svpfier^ when it is administered to those that it ought to 
be administered to : God's blessing is to be expected in God*s 
nvay. If men act according to their own humors and fancies, and 
do not keep in the way of obedience^ it is presumption to ex- 
pect God's blessing, Matth. xv. 9. In vain do they ivorshi/i mcy 
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. But when 
they are admitted to the Lord's supper that God would have to 
be admitted, there is ground to hope that he will make it 


ALL that are members of the visible cliurch and in the ex" 
ternal covenant^ and neither ignorant nor scandalous, are 
commanded to perform all external covenant duties ; and par- 
ticularly they are commanded to attend the Lord''s supfier^ in 
those words of Christ, This do in remembrance of me, 

Answ. This argument is of no force, without first takin;*- 
for granted the very thing in question. For this is plainly 
supposed in it, that however these commands arc given to 
such as are in the external covenant^ yet they are not given in- 
definitely, but with exceptions and reserves, and do not im- 
mediately reach all such ; they do not reach those who are 
unqualifed^ though they be in the external covenant. Now 
the question is, Who are these that are unqualif.cd ? The objec- 
tion supposes, that only ignorant and scandalous persons are so. 
But why are they only supposed unqualified ; and not nncon- 
verted persons too ? Because it is taken for granted, that these 
are not unqualified. And thus the grand point in question is 
supposed, instead of being proved. Why are these limitations 
only singled out, neither ignorant nor scandalous ; and not oth- 
ers as well ? The answer must be, because these are all the 
limitations which the scripture makes : But this now is the 


very thing in question. Wliercas the business of an argu- 
ment is to firove, and not to suppose, or lake for granted, the 
very thin?^ which is to be proved. 

If it be here said, it is with good reason that those who are 
ip^norant or scandalous alone are supposed to be excepted in 
God's command, and obligations of the covenant ; for the cov- 
enant spoken of in the objection, is the external covenant^ and 
this requires only external duties ; which alone are what lie 
within the reach of man's natural power, and so in the reach 
of his lep:al power : God does not command or require what 
men have no natural power to perform, and which cannot be 
performed before something else, some antecedent duty, is 
performed, which antecedent duty is not in their natural power. 

I reply, Still things are but supposed, which should be prov- 
ed, and which wnnt confirmation. 

(1.) It is i^-uppof}fd that those who have externally (i. e. by 
oral profession and promise) entered into God's covenant, are 
thereby obliged to no more than the external duties of that 
covenant : Which is not proved, and I humbly conceive, is 
certainly not the true stale of the case. They w ho have ex- 
tcrnally entered into God's covenant, are by external profes- 
sion and engagements entered into that one only covenant of 
grace, which the scripture informs us of ; and therefore are 
obliged to fulfil the duties oi that covenant, which are chiefly 
internal. The children of Israel, when they externally enter- 
ed into covenant with God at Mount Sinai, promised to per- 
form all the duties of the covenant, to obey all the ten com- 
mandments spoken by God in their hearing, and written in 
tables of stone, which were therefore called The Tables of the 
covenant ; the sum of which ten commandments was, to 
LOVE the Lord their God rcith all their heart, and ivith all their 
80V L, and to love their neighbor as thrmselves ; which, princi- 
pally at least, are /;//rrwc^ duties. In particular, they promis- 
ed nnt to covet ; which is an internal duty. They promised to 
have vo other God before the Lord ; which implied that they 
tvould in their hearts regard no other being or object whatev- 
er above God, or in equality with him, but would give him 
ihtir supreme respect. 


(2.) It is supposed^ that God does not require imJio^sihilUieu 
of men, in this sense, that he does not require those things of 
them which are out of their natural power and particularly that 
he does not require them to be converted. But this is not 
proved ; nor can I reconcile it with the tenor of the scripture 
revelation : And the chief advocates for the doctrine I oppose 
have themselves abundantly asserted the contrary. The ven- 
erable author forementioned, as every body knows, that knew 
him, always taught, that God justly requires men to be con^ 
verted.) to repent of their sins, and turn to the Lord, to close 
•with Christ, and savingly to believe in him ; and that in re- 
fusing to accept of Christ and turn to God, they disobeyed the 
divine commands, and were guilty of the most heinous sin ; 
and that their moral inability was no excuse. 

(3.) It is supjiosed.^ that God does not command men txj do 
those things which are not to be done till sometMng else is 
done, that is not within the reach of men's natural ability. 
This also is not proved ; nor do I see how it can be true, 
even according to the principles of those who insist on this ob- 
jection. The forementioned memorable divine ever taught, 
that God commandeth natural men without delay to believe in 
Christ : And yet he alv/ays held, that it was impossible for 
them to believe till they had by a preceding act submitted to 
the sovereignly of God ; which yet he held, men never could 
do of themselves, nor till humbled and bowed by powerful con- 
victions of God's Spirit. Again, he taught, that God com- 
mandeth natural men to love him with all their heart : And 
yet he held, that this could not be till men had first believed 
in Christ ; the exercise of love being a. fruit of faith ; and be- 
lieving in Christ, l>e supposed not to be ^7ithin the reach of 
man's natural ability. Further, he held, that God requireth 
of all men holy, spiritual, and acceptable obedience ; and yet 
that such obedience is not within the reach of their natural 
abilitij ; and not on]y so, but that there must first be love to 
God, before there could be new obedience, and that this love 
to God is not within the reach of men's 7iatural ability : Nor 
yet o ily so, but that before this love there must hefoit/i., which 
faith is not within the reach of man's natural povt'cr : And still 


not only so, but that before faith there must be the knowU-cIge 
of God, which knowledge is not in ?iatural men's reach : And 
once more, not only so, but that even before the knowledge of 
God there must be a thorou;:^h huiniliation^ which humiliation 
men could not work in themselves by any natural power of 
their own. Now must it needs be thought, notwithstanding- 
all these things, unreasonable to suppose, that God should com- 
mand those whom he has nourished and brought up, to hon- 
or him by giving an open testimony of love to him ; only be- 
cause wicked men cannot testify love till they have love, and 
love is not in their natural power ! And is it any good excuse 
in the sight of Cod, for one who is under the highest obliga- 
tions to him, and yet refuses him suitable honor by openly- 
testifying his love of him, to plead that he has no love to testi- 
fy ; but on the contrary, has an infinitely unreasonable ha- 
tred ? God may most reasonably require a proper testimony 
and profession of love to him ; and yet it may also be reasona- 
ble to suppose at the same time, he forbids men to lie ; or to 
declare that they have love, when they have none : Because, 
though it be supposed, that God requires men to testify love 
to him, yet he requires them to do it in a right way, and in 
the true order, viz. first iGvinsr him, and then testifying their 

(4.) I do not see how it can be true, that a man, as he is 
naturally, has not a legal power to be converted, accept of 
Christ, love God, £cc. By a legal fionver to do a thing, is plain- 
ly meant such power as brings a person properly within the 
reach of a legal obligation^ or the obligation of a law or com- 
mand to do that thing : But he that has such natural fac- 
ulties, as render him a proper subject of moral government, 
and as speak it a fit and proper thing for him to love Ciod, Sec. 
and as give him a natural capacity herefor ; such a one may 
properly be commanded^ and put under the obligation of a his 
to do things so reasonable ; notwithstanding any native aver- 
sion and moral inability in him to do his duty, arising from 
the power of sin. This also, I must observe, was a kn<n\ w 
doctrine of Mr. Stoddard's and what he ever taught. 

J-OR ViJhL CbMMUNrON. 3i; 


EITHER unsanctijied persons may lawfuJIy come to the 
Lord's supper, or it is unlawful for them to carry tltemseiues qi 
saints ; but it is not »inlawful for them to carry themselves as 
saints. * 

Answ. It is the duty of unconverted men, both to become 
saints, ^nd to behave as saints. The scripture rule is, Make 
the tree good^ that the fruit may be good. Mr. St©ddard him- 
self never supposed, that the fruit oi saints was to be expected 
from men, or could possibly be brought forth by them in truth, 
till they ivere saints. 

And I see not how it is true, that unconverted men ought, 
in every respect, to do those external things which it is th6 
duty of a godly man to do. It is the duty of a godly iTian, 
conscious of his having given his heart unto the Lord, to pro- 
fess his love to God and his esteem of him above all, his un- 
feigned faith in Christ, See. and in his closet devotions to thank 
God for these graces as the fruit of the Spirit in him : But it 
is not the duty of another that really has no faith, nor love to 
God, to do thus. N<either any more is it a natural man's duty 
to profess these things in the Lord*s sufifier. Mr. Stoddard 
taught it to be the duty of converts on many occasions, to pro- 
fess their faith and love and other graces before men by relat- 
ing their experiences in conversation : But it v/ould be great 
wickedness for such as know themselves to be not saints^ thus 
to do : Because they would speak falsely, and utter lies in i,(y 
doing. Now, for the like reason^ it would be very sinful, for 
men to profess and seal their consent to the covenant of grace 
in the Lord's supper, when they know at the same time that 
they do not consent to it, nor have their hearts at all in the 

Vol. I. aQ 



THIS scheme will keeft out of the church some true 
saints ; for there are some such who determine against rtiem- 
selves, and their prevailing judgment is, that they are not 
saints : And we had better let in several hypocrites, than ex- 
clude one true child of God. 

Answ. I think, it is much better to insist on some visibili- 
ty to reason, of true f<ai?i(fi/iiji, in admitting members, even al- 
though this, through men's ijifirmity and darkness, and Satan's 
temptations, be an occasion of some true saints* abstaining ; 
than by express liberty given, to open the door to as many as 
please, of those who have no visibility of real saintship, and 
make no profession of it, nor pretension to it ; and that be- 
cause this method tends to the ruin and great reproach of the 
Christian church, and also to the ruin of the persons admitted. 
1 . It tends to the reproach and ruin of the Christian church. 
For by the rule •which God hath given for admissions, if it be care- 
fully attended (it is said) more unconverted, than converted fier- 
sons nvill be admitted. It is then confessedly the way to have 
the greater part of the members of the Christian church uji- 
godly men ; yea, so much greater, that the godly shall be but 
fenv in comparison of the ungodly ; agreeable to their inter- 
pretation of that saying of Christ, many are called but fev) are 
chosen. Now if this be an exact state of the case, it will de- 
monstrably follow, on scripture principles, that the opening 
the door so wide has a direct tendency to bring things to 
that pass, that the far greater part of the members of Christ- 
ian churches shall not be persons of so much as a serious con- 
scientious character, but such as are without even moral sin- 
cerity, and do not make religion at all their business, neglect- 
ing and casting otT secret prayer and other duties, and living » 
life of carnality and vanity, so far as they can, c4)nsistenily 
with avoiding church censures ; which possibly may be 
sometimes to a great degree. Ungodly men may be morally 


sober, serious and conscientious, and may have what is called 
moral sincerity., for a while ; may have these things in a con- 
siderable measure) when they first come into the church : 
But if their hearts arc not changed, there is no probability at 
all of these things continuing long. The scripture has told 
us, that this their goodness is apt to vanish like the inoiming 
cloud and early dew. How can it be expected but that the re- 
ligion should in a little time wither away, which has no root f 
How can it be expected, that the lamp should burn long, with- 
out oil in the vessel to feed it ? If lust be unmortified, and left 
in reigning power in the heart, it will sooner or later prevail ; 
and at length sweep away com?non grace and 7}ioral sincerity^ 
however excited and maintained for a while by conviction and 
temporary affections. It will happen to them according to 
the true proverb. The dog is returned to his vomit ; and the 
9imne that was washed to his wallowing in the mire. It is said 
of the hypocrite. Will he delight himself in the Almighty ? Will 
he always call ufion God? And thus our churches will be 
likely to be such congregations as the Psalmist said he hated, 
and would not sit with. Psal. xxvi. 4, 5. "I have not sat with 
vain persons, nor will I go in with dissemblers ; I have hated 
the congregation of evil doers, nor will I sit with the wicked." 
This will be the way to have the Lord's table ordinarily fur- 
nished with such guests as allow themseves to live in known 
sin, and so such as meet together from time to time only to 
crucify Christ afresh, instead of commemorating his crucifix- 
ion with the repentance, faith, gratitude, and love of friends. 
And this is the way to have the governing part of the church 
such as are not even conscientious men, and are careless about 
the honor and interest of religion. And the direct tendency 
of that is, in process of time, to introduce a prevailing negli- 
gence in discipline and carelessness in seeking ministers of a 
pious and worthy character. And the next step will be the 
churches being filled with persons openly vicious in manners, 
or else scandalously erroneous in opinions : It is well if this 
be not already the case in fact with some churches that have 
long professed and practiced on the principles I oppose. And 
4f these principles should be professed and proceeded on b^ 


Christian churches every Avhcrc, the natural tendency of i^ 
would be, to have the greater part of what is called thechurcl> 
of Christ, through the world, made up of vicious and errone- 
ous persons. And how greatly would this be to the reproach 
of the Cliristian church, and of the holy name and religioner 
Jesus Christ in the sight of all nations ': * 

And now is it not better to have a few real Christians kept 
back through darkness and scruples, than to open a door for 
letting in such universal ruin as this ? To illustrate it by a fa- 
miliar comparison ; Is it not better, when England is at war 
■with France, to keep out of the lirilibh realm a few loyal En- 
dishmcn, than to give leave for as many treacherous French- 
men to come in as please ? 

2. This way tends to the eternal ruin of the parties admit- 
ted : For it lets in such, yea, it persuades such to come in, as 
knonv themselves to be impenitent and unbclie-ving^ in a dreadful 
manner to take God's va7)ie in vain ; in vain to nvorship him^ and 
abuse sacred things, by solemnly performing those external 
acts and ril^sin the name of God, which are instituted for de- 
clarative signs and professions of repentance toward God, 
faith in Christ, and love to him, at the same time that they 
Jcnoiv themselves destitute of those things which they profess 
to have. And is it not better, that some true saints, \\\\o\i^\\ 
their own weakness and misunderstanding, should be kept 
away from the Lord's tabic, which will not keep such out o^' 
heaven, than voluntarily to bring in multitudes o{ faLc profes^ 
;»or« to partake unworthily, and in effect to seal their own con- 
demnation ? 

• And this, by the way answers another ^hjcction which some have made, 
viz. That the way I plead for, tends to keep the church of Christ small, and 
hinder the growth of it. Whereas, I think the contrary tends to keep it 
small, as it is the wickedness of its members, that above ail things in the 
world prejudices mankind against it ; and is the chief stumbling block, 
that hinders the piopagation of Christianity, and so the growth of the 
Christian church. But holiness would cause the light of the church to 
shine so as to induce other- t- "-^Mr* to it. 



YOU cannot keefi out hyjiocrites^ when all is said and done j 
,but as many graceless persons will be likely lo get into the 
^hurch in the way of a jirofession of godliness, as if nothing 
were insisted on, but a freedom from public scandal. 

Answ. It may possibly be so in some places, through the 
jnisconduct of ministers and people, by remissness in their 
inquiries, carelessness as to the proper matter of a profession, 
or setting up some mistaken rules of judgment ; neglecting 
those things which the Scripture insists upon as the most es- 
sential articles in the character of a real saint ; and substitut- 
ing others in the room of them ; such as impressions on the 
imagination, instead of renewing influences on the heart ; 
pangs of affection, instead of the habitual temper of the mind ; 
a certain method and order of impressions and suggestions, 
instead of the nature of things experienced, &c. But to say 
that in churches where the nature, the notes, and evidences 
cf true Christianity, as described in the Scriptures, are well 
understood, taught and observed, there as many hy/wcrites arc 
likely to get in ; or to suppose, that there as many of those 
persons of an honest character, who are well instructed in 
these rules, and well conducted by them, and judging of 
themselves by these rules, do think themselves true saints, 
and accordingly make profession of godliness, and are admit- 
ted as saints in a judgment of rational charity ; (to suppose, 
I say) c* many of these are likely to be carnal, unconverted 
men, as of those who make no such pretence and have no 
such hope, nor exhibit any such evidences to the eye of a ju- 
dicious charity, is not so much an objection against the doc- 
trine I am defending, as a reflection upon the Scripture itself, 
with regard to the rules it gives, either for persons to judge 
of their own state, or for othe*'s to form a charitable judgment 
by, as if they were of little or no service at all. We are in 


rniscrablc circumstances indeed, if the rules of God's holy 
T\'ord in things of such infinite importance, are so ambiguous 
and uncertain, like the Heathen oracles. And it would be 
very strange, if in these days of the gospel, when God's 
mind is revealed with such great plainness of speech, and the 
canon of Scripture is completed, it should ordinarily be the 
case in fact,that those who having a right doctrinal understand- 
ing of the Scripture, and judging themselves by its rules, do 
probably conclude or seriously hope of themselves, that they 
are real saints, are as viamj of them in a state of sin and con- 
demnation, as others who have no such rational hope concern- 
ing their good estate, nor pretend to any special experiences 
in religion. 


IF a profession of godliness be a thing required in order to 
admission into the church, there being some true saints who 
doubt of their state, and from a tender conscience will not dare 
to make such a profession ; and there being others^ that have 
T»o grace, nor much tenderness of conscience, but great /2re- 
}ium/ition o.nd fcrivardncs6^ who will boldly make the highest 
profession of religion, and so will get admittance ; it will 
hence come to pass, that the very thing, which will in effect 
procure for the latter an admission, rather than the former, 
will be their presumption and wickedness. 

Answ. 1. Il is no Gufiicient objection against the whoU' 
sbmeness of a rule established for the regulating the civil state 
of mankind, that in some instances men's wickedness may 
take advan:af!;e by that rule^ so that even their wickedness 
shall be the very thing, which by an abuse of that rule, pro- 
cures them temporal honors and firiinlet^es. For such is the 
present state of man in this evil world, that good rules in ma- 
ny instances, arc liable to be thus abused and perverted. As 
for instance, there arc many human laws, or rules accounted 
wholesome and noccbsary, by which an accused or buspccled 


person's own solemn profession of innocency, his asserting it 
upon oath, shall be the condition of acquittance and impuni- 
ty ; and the want of such a protestation or profession shall 
expose him to the punishment : And yet by an abuse of 
these rules, in some instances, the horrid sin of deliberate 
jierjury, or that most presumptuous wickedness of lalse 
swearing, shall be the very thing that acquits a man : While 
another of a more tender conscience, Yfhofear^ an oath, must 
suffer the penalty of the law. 

2. Those rules, by all wise lawgivers, are accounted whole- 
some, which prove oi general good tendency, notwithstanding 
any bad consequences arising in some particular instances. 
And as to the ecclesiastical rule now in question, of admissioa 
to sacraments on a profession oi godliness^ when attended with 
requisite circumstances ; although this rule in particular in- 
stances may be an occasion of some tender hearted Christians 
abstaining, and some presumfifuous sinners being admitted, 
yet that does not hinder but that a proper visibility of holiness 
to the eye of reason, or a probability of it in a judgment of 
rational Christian charity, may this way be maintained, as the 
proper qualification of candidates for admission : Nor does il 
hinder but that it may be reasonable and wholesome for man- 
kind, in their outv/ard conduct, to regulate themselves by 
such probability ; and that this should be a reasonable and 
good rule for the church to regulate themselves by in their 
admissions ; notwithstanding its so happening in particular 
iostances, that things are really^ diverse from, yea the very re- 
verse of, what they are visibly. Such a profession as has been 
insisted on, when attended with requisite circu7nstcnces, car- 
ries in it a rational credibility in the judgment of Christiaa 
charity : For it ought to be attended with an honest and so- 
ber character, and with evidences of good doctrinal knowledge, 
and with all proper, careful, and diligent instructions of a 
prudent pastor : And though the pastor is not to act as a 
tearcher of the heart, or a lord of ^. conscience in this affair, ye^ 
that hinders not but that he may and ought to inquire partic- 
ularly into the experiences of the souls commlued to his car« 
inJ char§;e, that he may be under the best advantajes to i\u 


struct and advise them, to apply the teachings and rules of 
God's word unto them, for their selfexamination, to be helpers 
of their jcy^ and promoters of their salvation. However, 
finally, not any pretended extraordinary skill of his in discern- 
ing the heart, but the person's oivn serious profession con- 
cerning what he finds in his own soul, after he has been well 
instructed, must regulate the public conduct with respect to 
him, where there is no other external visible thing to contradict 
and overrule it : And a serious profession of godliness, un- 
der these circumstances, carries in it a visibility to the eye of 
the church's rational and Christian judgment. 

3. If it be still insisted on, that a ride of admission into the 
church cannot be good^ which is liable to such a kind of abuse 
as that forementioned, 1 must observe, This will overthrow 
the rules that the objectors themselves go by in their admis- 
sions. For they insist upon it, that a man must not only have 
knowledge and be fi ee of scandal, but must appear orthodoor^ 
and profess the common faith. Now firesumfituous fying-^ for 
the sake of the honor of being in the church, having children 
baptized, and voting in ecclesiastical affairs, may possibly be 
the very thing that brings some men into the church by this 
rule ; while greater tenderness of conscience may be the very- 
thing that keeps others out. For instance, a man who se- 
cretly in his mind gives no credit to the commonly received 
doctrine of the Tri7iity^ yet may, by pretending an assent to 
it, and in hypocrisy making a public profession of it, get into 
the church, when at the same time another that equally dis- 
believes it, but has a more tender conscience than to allow 
himself in solemnly telling a lie, may by that very means be 
kept off iVoni the communion, and lie out of the church. 


IT seems hardly reasonable to suppose, that the only wise 
God has made men's ofnnion of themselves^ and a firofcssion of 
it the term of their admission to church privileges ; when we 
know, that very often the ivom men have the fughest opinion 

of themselves. 


Answ. I. It must be granted me, that in fact this is the 
tase, if any ])voper firofession at all is expected and required^ 
whether it be of sanctifying grace, or of moral sincerity^ or 
any thing else that is good : And to be sure, nothing is re- 
quired to be professed, or is ivorthy to be professed, any fur- 
ther th^n it is good. 

Answ. II. If aome things, by the confession of all, must be 
professed for that very reason, because they are good^ and of 
great importance ; then certainly it must be owned very un- 
reasonable, to say, that those things Wherein trlie holiness 
consists are not to be professed, or that a profession of them 
should not be required, for that same reason, because they 
are good^ even in the highest degree, and infinitely the most 
important and most necessary things of any in the world r 
And it is unreasonable to say, that it is the less to be expect- 
ed we should profess sincere friendship to Christ, because 
friendship to Christ is the rtio^X. excellent qualification of anv 
whatsoever, and the contrary the most odious. How absurd 
is it to say this, merely under a notion that for a man to pro- 
fess what is so good, and so reasonable, is to profess a high 
opinion of himself ! 

Answ. III. Though some of the ivoi^st men are apt to enter- 
tain the highest opinion of themselves, yet their selfconceit is 
no rule to the church : But the apparent credibility of men*s 
profession is to be the ground of ecclesiastical proceedings, 


IF it be necessary that adult persons should make a pro- 
fession of godliness, in order to their own admission to dap- 
tismy then undoubtedly it is necessary in order to their child- 
ren's being baptized on their account. For parents cannot 
convey to their children a right to this sacrament, by virtue 
of any quaUfications lower than those requisite in order to 
iheir own right : Children being admitted to baptisn:i only a? 
Vol. I. 2 R 


being as it were parts and members of their parents. And 
besides, the act of parents in offering up their children in a 
sacrament, which is a seal of the covenant of grace, is in 
them a solemn attending that sacrament as persons interested 
in the covenant, and a public manifestation of their approv- 
ing and consenting to it, as truly as if they then offered up 
themselves to God in that ordinance. Indeed it implies a re- 
newed offering up themselves with their children, and de- 
voting both jointly to God in covenant ; Mcw-sc/vf."?, with their 
children, as parts of themselves. But now what fearful work 
will such doctrine make amongst us ! We shall have multi- 
tudes unbaptizcd^ >vho will go about without the external 
badge of Christianity, and so in that respect will be like 
Heathen. And this is the way to have the land full of per- 
sons who are destitute of that which is spoken of in Scripture 
as ordinarily requisite to men*s salvation ; and it will bring a 
rcjiroach on vast multitudes, vi'ith the families they belong to : 
And not only so, but will tend to make them profane and 
Heathenish ; for by thus treating oar children, as though 
they had no part in the Lord^ we shall cause them to ccane from 
fearing the Lord ; agreeable to Josh. xxii. 24, 25. 

Aksw. I. As to children's being destitute of that which is 
spoken of in Scripture as one thing ordinarily requisite to fal- 
vation ; I would observe, that baptism can do their souls no 
good any otherwise than through God's blessing attending it : 
But we have no reason to expect his blessing with baptism, 
if administered- to those that it does 7iot belong to by his insti- 

Answ. n. As to the reproach^ which will be brought on 
parents and children, by children's going without bapiism, 
through the parents neglecting a profession of godliness, and 
so visibly remaining among the unconverted ; if any insist on 
this objection, I think it will savor of much unrcasomiblmcst 
and even stupidity. 

It will savor of an unreasonable spirit. Is it not enough, if 
God freely offers men to own their children and to give then> 


the honor of baptism, in case the parents will turn from sin 
and relinquish their enmity against him, heartily give up 
themselves and their children to him, and take upon them the 
profession of godliness ?....If men are truly excusable^ in not 
'turning to God through Christ, in not believing with the 
heart, and in not confessing with the mouth, why^ do not we 
openly plead that they are so ? And why do not we teach sin- 
ners, that they are not to blame for continuing among the ene- 
mies of Christ, and neglecting and despising his great salva- 
tion ? If they are not at all excusable in this, and it be wholly 
owing to their own indulged lusts, that they refuse sincerely 
to give up themselves and their children to God, then how 
unreasonable is it for thern to complain that their children are 
denied the honor of having God's mark set upon them as 
some of his ? If parents are angry at this, such a temper 
shews them to be very senseless of their own vile treatment 
of the blessed God. Should a prince send.to a traitor in prison, 
and upon opening the prison doors, make him the offer, that if 
he would come forth and submit himself to him, he should 
not only be pardoned himself, but both he and his children 
should have such and such badges of honor conferred upon 
them : Yet if the rebel's enmity and stoutness of spirit against 
his prince is such, that he could not find in his heart to com- 
ply with the gracious offer, will he have any cause to be an- 
gry, that his children have not those badges of honor given 
them ? And besides it is very much owing to fiarents^ ^that 
there are so many young people who can make no profession 
of godliness: They have themselves therefore to blame, if 
the case be so, that proceeding on the principles which have 
been maintained, there is like to rise a generation of unbap- 
tized persons. If ancestors had thoroughly done their duty 
to their posterity, in instructing, praying for, and governing 
their children, and setting them good examples, there is rea- 
son to think, the case would have been far othcruise. 

The insisting on this objection would savor of much stupid- 
ity. For the objection seems to suppose the country to be 
fuUof those that are unconverted, and so exposed every mo- 
ment to eternal damnation ; yet it seems we do not hour such 


great and general complaints and lamentable outcries con- 
cerning this. Now why is it looked upon so dreadful, to have 
great numbers going without the name and honorable badg*'. 
of Christianity, that there should be loud and general excla- 
mations concerning such a calamity ; when at the same time 
it is no more resented and laid to heart, that such multitudes 
go without the thijig^ which is infinitely more dreadful ? Why 
are we so silent about this ? What is the name good for, with- 
out the thing ? Can parents bear to have their children go a- 
bout the world in the most odious and dangerous state of soul, 
in reality, the children of the devil, and condemned to eternal 
burnings ; when at the same time they cannot bear to have 
them disgraced by going without the honor of being baptized I 
An high honor and privilege this is ; yet how can parents be 
contented with the sign, exclusive of the thing signified I 
Why should they covet the external honor for their children, 
while they are so careless about the spiritual blessing I Does 
not this argue a senselessness of their own misery, as well as 
of their children's, in being in a Christlvss state ? If a man and 
his child were both together bitten by a viper, dreadfully 
swollen, and like to die, would it not argue stupidity in the 
parent, to l)e anxiously concerned only about his child's hav- 
ing on a dirty garment in such circumstances, and angry at 
others for not putting some outward ornament upon it ? But 
the difference in this present case is infinitely greater, and 
more important. Let parents pity their poor children, be- 
cause they are without baptism ; and piiy themselves who 
areindanp;er of everlasting misery, while they have no in- 
terest in the covenant of grace, and so have no right to cove- 
nant savors or honors for themselves nor children. No relig- 
ious honors to be obtained in any other way than by real re- 
ligion, are much worth contending for. And in truth, it is no 
honor at all to a man, to have merely the outward badges of a 
Christian, without being a Christian indeed ; any more than 
it would be an honor to a man that has no learning, but is a 
mere dunce, to liavc a dci;rec at College ; or than it is for a 
man who has no valor, but is a grand coward, to have an hon- 
orable commission in an army ; whicli onVy serves, by the 


Hfting him up, to expose him to the deeper reproach, and sets 
him forth as the more notable object of contempt. 

Answ. in. Concerning the tendency of this way of con- 
fining baptism to professors of godliness and their children, to 
promote irreligion and profaneness ; I would observe, First, 
That Christ is best able io judge of the tendency of his own 
institutions. Secondly, I am bold to say, that the supposing 
this principle and practice to have sqch a tendency, is a great 
mistake, contrary to scripture and plain reason and experience. 
Indeed such a tendency it would have, to shut men out from 
hsix'm^ 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 
Avail as formerly was between Jews and Gentiles ; and so to 
shut them out as to tell them, Jf they were ever so much 
disposed to serve God, he was not ready to accept them ; ac- 
cording to that notion the Jews seem to have had of the uncir- 
cumcised Gentiles. But only to forbear giving men honors 
Ithey have no title to, and not to compliment them with the 
pame and badge of God's people and children, while they pre- 
tend to nothing but what is consistent with their being his en- 
emies, this has no such tendency : But rather the contrary 
has very much this tendency. For is it not found by con- 
stant experience through all ages, that blind, corrupt man- 
kind in matters of religion, are strongly disposed to rest in a 
name, instead of the thing ; in the shadow, instead of the sub- 
stance ; and to make themselves easy with the former, in the 
neglect of the latter ? This overvaluing of common grace, and 
moral sincerity, as it is called ; this building so much upon 
them, making them the conditions of enjoying the seals of 
pod's covenant, and the appointed privileges, and honorable 
and sacred badges of God's children ; this, I cannot but think, 
naturally tends to sooth and flatter the pride of vain man, 
while it tends to aggrandize those things in men's eyes, which 
they, of themselves, are strongly disposed to magnify and 
trust in, without such encouragements to prompt them to it, 
yea against all discouragements and dissuasivcs that can pos- 
sibly be used with them. 


This way of proceeding greatly tends to establish the rvegli- 
gcncc ol' parents, and to confirm llie stupidity and security ot 
>vicked children. \{bajiti.^m were denied to all children, whose 
parents did not profess godlinessy and in a judgment of rational 
charity appear real saints^ it would lend to excite pious headt 
of families to more thorough cai'c and pains m the religious 
education of their children, and to more fervent prayer for 
them, that they might be converted in yorith, before they en- 
ter into a married state ; and so if they have children, the en- 
tail of the covenant be secured. And it would tend to awaken 
youT?^[f people themselves, as yet unconverted, especially when 
about to settle in the world. Their having no right to Christ- 
ian privileges for their children, in case they should Ijecome 
parents, would tend to lead them at such a time seriously to 
reflect on their own awful state ; which, if they do not get out 
of it, must lay a foundation for so much calamity and reproach 
to their families. And if, after their becoming parents, they 
still remain imconverted, tlie melancholy thought of their 
children's going about without so much as the external mark 
of Christians, would have a continual tendency to put them in 
vnind of, and aficct them with their own sin and folly in neg- 
lecting to turn to God, by which they bring such visible ca- 
lamity and disgrace on themselves and families : They would 
have this additional motive continually to stir thorn up to seek 
grace for themselves and their children : Whereas tlic con- 
trary practice has a natural tendency to quiet the minds of 
persons, both in their own and their children's unregeneracy. 
Yen, may it not be suspected, that the way of baptizing the 
children of such as never make any proper profession of god- 
liness, is an expedient originally invented for that very end, to 
give case to ancestors with respect to their posterity, in times 
of general declension and degeneracy ? 

This way of proceeding greaily tends to establish the stu- 
pidity and irreligion of children^ as v.xll as negligence of par- 
ents. It is certain that unconverted parents do never truly 
give up their children to God ; since they do not truly give 
lip themselves to him. And if neither of the parents appears 
truly pious, in the judgment of rational charity, there is not in 


this case any ground to expect that the children will be 
drought up in the mixture and adinoniUui of the Lordy or that 
they will have any thing worthy the name of a Christian educa- 
tion, how solemnly soever the parents may promise it. The 
faithfulness of Abraham was such as might be trusted in this 
matter. See Gen. xviii. 19. But men that are not so much 
as visibly godly, upon what grounds are they to be trusted? 
How can it be reasonably expected, that they should faithful- 
ly bring up their children for GOD, who were never sincere- 
ly willing that their children or themselves should be his ? 
And it will be but presumption, to expect that those children 
who are never given up to God, nor brought up for him, should' 
prove religious and be God's children. There is no manner 
of reason to expect any other than that such children ordina- 
rily will grow up in irreligion, whether they are baptized or 
not. And for persons to go about with the name and visible 
seal of God, and the sacred badge of Christianity npon them, 
having had their bodies, by a holy ordinance, consecrated to 
God as his temples, yet living in irreligion and ways of 
wickedness, this serves exceedingly to harden them, and 
establish in them an habitual contempt of sacred things. 
Such persons, above all men are like to be the most hardened 
and abandoned, and most difficultly reclaimed : As it was with 
the wicked Jews, who were much more confirmed in their 
wickedness, than those heathen cities of Tyre and Sidon. To 
give that which is holy to those wdio are profane, (or that we 
have no manner of reason from the circumstances of parent- 
age and education, to expect will be otherwise) is not the way 
to make them better, but worse : It is the way to have them 
habitually trample holy things wnc/cr their fcet^ and increase ift 
contempt of them, yea, even to turn again and rejit w.9, and be 
more mischievous and hurtful enemies of that which is goodv 
than otherwise thev would he. 



SOME ministcra have been greatly blessed in the other 
>vay of proceeding, and some men have been converted at the 
JLord's sup/ier. 

Answ. Though wc are to eye the providence of God, and 
not disregard his works, yet to interpret them to a sense, or 
apply them to a use inconsistent with the scope of the word of 
God, is a misconstruction and misapplication of them. God 
has not given us his providence^ but his ivord to be our 
governing rule. God is sovereign in his dispensations of 
providence ; he bestowed the blessing on Jacob, even when 
he had a lie in his mouili ; he was pleased to meet with Sol- 
omon, and make known himself to him, and bless him in an 
extraordinary manner, wiiile he was worshipping in an hii^h 
jilace ; he met with Saul, when in a course of violent opposi- 
tion to him, and out of the way of his duly to the highest de- 
gree, going to Damascus to persecute Christ ; and even then 
bestowed the greatest blessing upon him, that perhaps ever 
•was bestowed on a mere man. The conduct of divine provi* 
dencc, with its reasons, is too little understood by us to be im- 
proved as our rule. " God has his way in the sea, his path 
in the mighty waters, and his footsteps are not known : And 
he gives none account of any of his matters." But God has 
given us his word^ to this very end, that it might be our rule ; 
and therefore has filled it to be so ; has so ordered it that it 
may be understood by us. And strictly speaking this is our 
only rule. If wc join any thing else to it, as making it our 
rule, we do that which we have no warrant for, yea, that which 
God himself has forbidden. Sec Deut. iv. 2. Prov xxx. 6. 
And with regard to God's blessing and succeeding of ministersi 
have not some had remarkable experience of it in the way 
which I plead for, as w ell as iome w ho have been for the way 
I oppose ? However wc cannot conclude, that God sees noth- 
ing at »11 amiim in ministers, because he blesses them. In 


general, lie may see those things in them -which arc very- 
right and excellent ; these he approves and regards, while he 
overlooks and pardons their mistakes in opinion or practice, 
and notwithstanding these is pleased to crown their labors 
with his blessing. 

As to the two last arguments in the Afijical to the Learned^ 
concerning the subjects of the Christian sacraments, their be- 
ing members of the -visible church, and not the invisible ; the 
force of those arguments depends entirely on the resolution 
of that question, Who are visible saints? Or what adult per- 
sons are regularly admitted to the privileges of members of 
the -visible church ? Which question has already been largely- 
considered : And, I think, it has been demonstrated that they 
are those who exhibit a credible profession and visibility of 
gospel holiness or vital piety, and not merely of moral sinceri- 
ty. So that there is no need of further debating the point in 
this place. 

I might here mention many things not yet taken notice of, 
which some object as incon-veniences attending the scheme I 
have maintained : And if men should set up their own wit and 
wisdom in opposition to God's revealed will, there is no end 
of the objections of this kind, which might be raised ap-ainst 
any of God's institutions. Some have found great fault even 
"with the creation of the world, as being very inconveniently- 
done, and have imagined that they could tell how it might be 
mended in a great many respects. But however God's altar 
may appear homely to us, yet if we lift up our tool upon it to 
mend it we shall pollute it. Laws and institutions are given 
for the general good, and not to avoid every particular incon- 
venience. And however it may so happen, that sometimes 
inconveniences (real or imaginary) may attend the scheme I 
have maintained ; yet, I thmk, they are in no measure equal 
to the manifest conveniences and happy tendencies of it, or to 
the palpable inconveniences and pernicious consequences of 
the other. I have already mentioned some things of this as- 
pect, and would here briefly observe some other. 

Vol. I. 3 S 


Thus, the way of making such a difference between out- 
\<rard duties of morality and ivorship^ and those great inward 
duties of the love of God and acceptance of Christy that the for- 
mer must be visible, but ihat there need to be no exhibition nor 
firetence of the latter, in order to persons being admitted into 
the visible family of God ; and that under a notion of the lat- 
ter being impossibilities-, but the other being ivithin men*8 pow 
er ; this, I think, has a direct tendency to confirm in men anm- 
serisibility of the heinousness of those heart sins of unbelitf and 
enmity against God our Saviour, which are the source and 
sum of all wickedness ; and tends to prevent their coming 
under a humbling conviction of the greatness and utter inexcus- 
ableness of these sins, which men must be brought to if ever 
they obtain salvation. Indeed it is a way that not only has 
this tendency but has actuaUy and apparently this effect, and 
that to a great degree. 

The effect of this method of proceeding in the churches in 
Newcngland, which have fallen into it, is actually this. There 
are some that are received into these churches under the no- 
tion of their being in the judgment of rational charity visible 
taints OY professing saints, who yet at the same time are actu- 
ally open proffessors of heinous wickedness ; I mean the wick- 
edness of living in known impenitence and unbelief, the wick- 
edness of living in enmity against God, and in the rejection of 
Christ under the gospel : Or, which is the same thing, they 
are such as freely and frequently acknowledge, that they do 
not profess to be as yet born again, but look on themselves as 
really unco?ivcrtcd, as having never unfeignedly accepted of 
Christ ; and they do cither explicitly or implicitly number 
themselves among those that love not the Lord Jesus Christ ; 
of whom the apostle says, let such be Anathema-^ Maranatha i 
And accordingly it is known, all over the town where they 
live, that they make no pretensions to any sanctifying grace 
already obtained ; nor of consequence are they commonly 
looked upon as any other than unconverted persons. Now, can 
this be judged the comely order o{ the gospel I Or shall God 
he supposed the author of such confusion ! 


In this -way of church proceeding, God's own children and 
the true disciples of Christ are obliged to receive those as 
their brethren^ admit them to the communion of saints^ and em- 
brace them in the highest acts of Christian society, even in 
their great y^a*^ oflove^ where they feed together on the body 
and blood of Christ, whom yet they have no reason to look 
upon otherwise than as enemies of the cross of Christ, and haters 
of their heavenly Fa her and dear Redeemer, they making no 
pretension to any thing at all inconsistent with those charac- 
ters ; yea, in many places, as I said before, freely professing 
this to be actually the case with them. 

Christ often forbids the members of his church ^W^-zw^ one 
another : But in this way of ecclesiastical pix)ceeding, it is 
done continually, and looked upon as no hurt ; a great part of 
those admitted into the church are by others of the same 
communion judged tmconverted, graceless persons ; and it is 
impossible to avoid it, while we stretch not beyond the bounds 
of a rational charity. 

This method of proceeding must inevitably have one of 
these two consequences : Either there must be no public notice 
at all given of it, when so signal a work of grace is wrought, 
as a sinner's being brought to repent and turn to God, and 
hopefully becomes the subject of saving conversion ; or else 
this notice must be given in the way of conversation, by the 
persons themselves, frequently, freely, and in all companies, 
declaring their own experiences. But surely, either of these 
consequences must be very unhappy. The former is so, viz. 
the forbidding and preventing any public notice being given on 
earth of the repentance of a sinner, an event so much to the 
honor of God, and so much taken notice of in heaven, causing 
joy in the presence of the angels of God, and tending so much 
to the advancement of religion in the world. For it is found 
by experience, that scarce any one thing has so great an influ- 
ence to awaken sinners, and engage them to seek salvation, 
and to quicken and animate saints, as the tidings of a sinner's 
repentance, or hopeful conversion : God evidently makes use 
of it as an eminent means of advancing religion in a lime of 
i'emarkable revival of religion. And to take a couasc effect- 


ually to prevent such an event's being notified on earth, ap» 
pears to me a counteracting of God, in that which he over 
makes use of as a chief means of the propagation of true piety, 
and ^vhicll \vc have reason to think he will make u^e of as one 
principal means of the conversion of the world in the p.lonou« 
latter day. But now as to the ot/u"r way, the way of giving no- 
tice to the public of this event, by particular persons thcimeivet 
publishing their own experiences from time to time and from 
place to place, on all occasions and before all companies, I 
must confess, this is a practice that appears to me attended 
with many inconveniences, yea, big with mischiefs. The 
abundant trial of this method lately made, and the large ex- 
perience we have had of the evil consequences of it. is enough 
to put all sober and judicious people for ever out of conceit of 
it. I shall not pretend to enumerate all the mischiefs attends 
ing it, which would be very tedious ; but shall now only 
mention two things. One is, the bad effect it has upon the 
persons them selves that practice it, in the great tendency 
it has to spiritual firide ; insensibly begetting and establish- 
ing an evil habit of mind in that respect, by the frequent re- 
turn of the temptation, and this many times when they arc 
not guaided against it, and have no time, by consideration 
and prayer, to fortify their minds. And then it has a very bad 
effect on the minds o{ others that hear their communication, and 
so on the slate of vcliv,ion in general, in this way : It being 
thus the custom for persons of all sorts, young and old, wise 
and unwise, supeiiors and inferiors, freely to tell their own 
experiences before all companies, it is commonly done very 
inju(liciou\/ijj often very rashly and foolishly, out of season, and 
in circumstances tending to defeat any good end. Even sin- 
cere Christians too ficqucntly in their conversation insist 
mainly on those things that are no part of their irue n/iiritiial 
exfieritncc ; such as impressions on their fancy or imagin- 
ation, suggestions of facts by passages of scripture, 8cc. ; in 
which case children and weak persons that hear, are apt to 
form their notions of reliKion and true piety by such experi- 
mental communicalions, and much more than they do by the 
most solid and judi'-iotib iubUucUons out of the word, they 


hear from the pulpit : Which is found to be one of the devi- 
ces whereby Satan has an inexpressible advantage to ruin the 
souls of men, and utterly to confound the interest of religion. 
This matter of making a public profession of godliness or pie- 
ty of heart, is certainly a very important affair, and ought to 
be under some public regulation^ and under the direction of 
skilful guides^ and not left to the management of every man, 
wotnan, and child, according to their humor or fancy : And 
when it is done, it should be done with great seriousness, pre- 
paration, and prayer, as a solemn act of public respect and 
honor to God, in his house and in the presence of his people. 
Not that I condemn, but greatly approve of persons speaking 
sometimes of their religious experiences in private conversa- 
tion, to proper persons and on proper occasions, with modesty 
and discretion, when the glory of God and the benefit or just 
satisfaction of others require it of them. 

In a word, the practice of promiscuous admission, or that 
way of taking all into the church indifferently as visible saints^ 
who are not either ignorant or scandalous, and at the same 
time that custom's taking place of persons' publishing their 
own conversion in common conversation ; where these two 
things meet together, they unavoidably make tnvo distinct 
kinds of visible churches^ or different bodies of professing 
saints, one within another, openly distinguished one from an- 
other, as it were by a visible dividing line. One company con- 
sisting of those who are visibly gracious Christians, and open 
professors of godliness ; another consisting of those who are 
visibhj moral livers, and only profess common virtues, without 
pretending to any special and spiritual experiences in their 
hearts, and who therefore are not reputed to be converts. I 
may appeal to those acquainted with the state of the church- 
es, whether this be not actually the case in some, where this 
method of proceeding has been long established. But I leave 
the judicious reader to make his own remarks on this case, 
and to determine, whether there be a just foundation in scrip- 
ture or reason for any such state of things ; which to me, I 
confess, carries the face of glaring absurdity. 


And now I commit this whole discourse (under God's bles* 
sing) to the reader's candid reflection and impartial judg- 
ment. I am sensible, it will be very dilTicult for many to be 
truly impartial in this affair ; their prejudices being very 
great against the doctrine which I have maintained. And I 
believe, I myself am the person, who, above all others upon the 
face of the earth, have had most in my circumstances to pre- 
judice me against this doctrine, and to make me unwilling to 
receive conviction of the truth of it. However the clear evi- 
dence of God's mind in his word, as things appear to me has 
constrained me to think and act as I have now done. I dare not 
go contrary to such texts as those, Lev. x. 10. Jer. xv. 19. 
Ezek. xxii. 26, and xliv. 6, 7, S. And having been fully per- 
suaded in my own mind, what is the scripture rule in this 
matter, after a most careful, painful, and long search, I am 
willing, in the faithful prosecution of what appears to me of 
such importance and so plainly the mind and will of God, to 
resign to his providence, and leave the event in his hand. 

It may not be improper to add here as I have often had 
suggested to me the probability of my being ans%i<t'rccl from 
the press : If any one shall see cause to undertake this, I 
have these reasonable requests to make to him, viz. That he 
would avoid the ungenerous and unmanly artifices used by 
too many polemic writers, while they turn aaide to vainja7ig- 
lingy in carfiing at incidental passages, and displaying their 
wit upon some minute particulars, or less material things, in 
the author they oppose, with much exclamation^ if possible to 
excite the ignorant and unwary readers' disrelish of the author, 
and to make him appear contemptible, and so to get the victo- 
ry that way ; perhaps dwelling upon and glorying in some 
pretended inconsistencies in some parts of the discourse, with- 
out ever entering thoroughly into the merits of the cause, or 
closely encountering any of the main arguments. I f any one 
opposes me from the press, I desire he would attend to the 
true state of the (jucstion, and endeavor fairly to take off the 
force of each argurr.ent, by answering; the same directly, and 
di'-tiiiCtly, with calm and close reasonin;.; ; avoiding (as much 
cts may be) both dogmatical assertion and passior.aic reflection. 


Sure I am, I shall not envy him the applause of a victory over 
me, however signal and complete, if only gained by supe- 
rior light and convincing evidence. I -would also request him 
to set his name to his performance, that I may in that respect 
stand on even ground with him before the world, in a debate 
wherein the public is to judge between us. This will be the 
more reasonable in case he should mingle any thing of accu- 
sation with his arguing : It was the manner even of the Hea- 
then Romans, and reputed by them but just and equal, to 
/lave accusers face to face. 

May the God of all grace and peace unite us more in 
judgment, affection, and practice, that with one heart, and one 
mouth, we may glorify his name through Jesus Christ. 




Vol. 1. 2 T 


iSlJVCE I/iave been so re/ieaiedly charged by Mr, 
Williams ^nvith indecent and injurious treatment of Mr. Stoddard^ 
(tvhom doubtless I ought to treat with much respect) I may ex- 
pect from what apiiears of Mr. Williams*s disposition this way^ 
to be charged with ill treatment q/him too. I desire therefore 
that it may be justly considered by the reader^ what is, and what 
is not-i injurious or unhandsome treatment of an author in a con- 
troversy. And here I would crave leave to say, that I humbly 
conceive^ a distinction ought to be made between opposing and ex- 
posing a cause, or the arguments used to defend it, and re- 
proaching persons. He is a weak writer indeed, who undertakes 
to confute an opinion, but dares not expose the nakedness and ab* 
surdity of it, 7ior the weakness nor incoiisistence of the methods 
taken and arguments used by any to maintain it, for fear he should 
be guilty of speaking evil of those things, and be charged with re- 
proaching them. If an antagonist is angry at this, he thereby 
gives Ids readers too much occasion of suspicio?} towards himself 
as chargeable with weakness, or bitterjiess. 

I therefore now give notice, that I have taken full liberty in 
this respect ; only endeavoring to avoid pointed and exaggerating 
expressions. If to set forth what I suppose to be the true ab- 
surdity of Mr. Williams^ s scheme, or any part of it^ that it may 
he viewed justly in all its nakedness ; withal observing the weak- 
ness of the defence he has inade, not fearing to shew wherein it is 
weak, and how the badness of his cause obliges him to be incon- 
sistent with himself, inconsistent with his own professed princi- 
ples in religion, and with things conceded and asserted by him in 
the book especially under consideration; and declaring particu- 
larly wherein I think his arguments fail, whether it be in begging 
the question, or being impertinent and beside the question, or 
arguing in effect against himself ; also observing wherein Mr. 


Williams has itiadc misrepresentations of %vordn or things ; I 
sai/y if to do these tfiings be refiroaching him, and injurioita treat- 
7nent of Idviy then I have injured him. But I think I should be 
foolish^ if I were afraid to do that (and to do it as thoroughly aa 
I can) which must be the design of my writingj if I write at 
all in ofifiosition to his tenets^ and to the defence he makes of them. 

Indeed if I misrefiresent what he say.fy in order to make it a/i- 
fiear in the worst colors ; altering his wordc to another sense, to 
make them apfiear more ridiculous ; or adding other words^ that 
carry the sense beyond the profier imfiort of his wordsy to height- 
en the sufi/iosed absurdity , and give me greater advantage to ex* 
claim ; if I set myself to aggravate matters, and strain them be" 
yond bowids, makirig mighty things of mere trifles ; or if I use 
ejcclamations and invectives, instead of arguments ; then Mr. 
Williams niight have just cause to complain and the reader would 
have just reaso7i for disgust. But whether I have done so or 
7iot, must be judged by the reader ; of whom I desire nothing 
more than the most imfiartial and exact consideration of the mer- 
its of the cause, and examination of the force and weight of every 
argument. I desire, that no bitter reproachful invectives, no ve- 
hement exclamations, no supercilious assuming words and phras- 
es may be taken for reasoning, on either side. If the reader 
thinks he finds any such in what I have written, I am willing he 
should set them aside as nothing worth ; carefully distinguishing 
between them and the strength of the argument. I desire noty 
that the cause should be judged of by the skill which either Mr. 
JVilUams or 1 1/> manifest, infiinging one at another. 

If in places where the argument pinches most, and there is the 
greatest appearance of strong reason, in Mr, Williams*8 book, I 
do (as some other disputants) instead of entering thoroughly in- 
to the matter, begin toficunce andfiing, and go about to divert and 
drown the reader^s attention to the argumefit, by the noise of 
big words, or magisterial and disdainful expressions ; let the 
reader take it (as justly he may) for a shrewd sign of a con- 
sciousness of 'he weakness of my cans'" in t/iat particular, or at 
least of a distrust of my own ability to defend myself well in the 
reader^s apprehension, u\id to come off v:i:h a good grace any 
other way. 


In this case, I shall not think it any injustice done me by the 
reader, though he sus/iects that I feel myself firessed, and begin 
to be in trouble, for fear I should not seem to come off like a 
champion, if I should trust to mere reasoning. I can ufirightly 
say^ I never have endeavored by such means to evade a proper 
consideration of any part of Mr . Williams's reasoning ; nor have 
designedly contrived, in this or any other method, to free myself 
from the trouble of a just answer to any thing material in his 
book ; and I have been especially careful to speak rnost particu- 
larly to the mai7i parts of his scheme, and such of his reasonings, 
as J could suppose those of his readers ivho are on his side, would 
be most likely to have their chief dependence on and to think most 
difficult to be answered. 

With regard to my method in this reply, I judged it most 
convenient to reduce my remarks on Mr. Williams's principles, 
and the part of his scheme, and kinds of arguing which repeated- 
ly appear in various parts of his book, to their proper heads. 
/ thought, this tended to give the reader a clearer and more com- 
prehensive view of the whole controversy, and the nature of the 
arguments made use of ; and that it also would make my work 
the shorter. For otherwise, I must have had the same things, 
or things of the same nature, to have observed often, as I found 
them repeated in different parts of his book, and the same 
remarks to make over and over again. And that the read- 
er may not be without any advantages ivhich he might have had 
in the other method, of keeping, i?i vnj reply, to the order in which 
things lie in the book replied to, followiyig my author from one 
page and paragraph to another I have therefore subjoined a ta- 
ble, by which the reader may readily turn to what is said on 
each particular, that is wont to be brought into this debate, on 
one side or the other. 

With regard to my citations./rom Mr. Williams's book ^I have 
never designedly altered his words : Jnd where I have for 
brevity'' s sake referred to any sentiment of his, without citing 
the words ct large, I have used care not to change or heighten 
the sense, or in any respect to vary from the just import of what 
he delivers, jind that the reader may himself more easily and 
readily judge cf the fairness of my citations and references I 


have mentioTird Uie page, and the part oftJi£ page^ ivhere the 
thing referred to w tx) be found : Su/i/iosirtg each pa^e to be di^ 
vidrd into five equal part ty I have noted the several par La of the 
page by the letters a. b. c. d. e. So that when I have referred 
to the top of the pagey or the first fifth part of it^ I liave men- 
tioned the number of the pagCy and added the letter a, to the 
number : Jnd if the middle^ or third fifth party then I have ad- 
ded the letter c. jind so of the rest^ as the reader nviil see. I 
have ever done thusy imless the t/dng referred to is to be found 
through the tohole or great part of the page. I have also done 
tiie same very ofteny nvhere I have occasion to cite other authors. 
Only ivlten J have before quoted the same thing I am not always 
tso exact and particular in noting the place agaviyin my second 
quotation or reference J* 

• Tt was not thought noces«»ry to insert these refeMnces, not the taW« 
BMntiooed above in this work, su it is probable few readers will possess Mr. 
WiUiai&&'» Book, oi wbh to »tieiui &a elo&cly to the coatroveny. 




Observing the general Misrepresentations Mr, 
Williams makes concerning the Book he ^writes 


Concerning the Di:sign of my writing and publish- 
ing my Book ^ and the Question debated in it. 

JVIr. WILLIAMS asserts it to be my professed aiwl 
declared design, in writing the book, Avhich he has uDdertaken 
an answer to,to oppose Mr. Stoddahd. He has tak«n a great 
liberty in this matter. He charges me with a declared design 
of writing in opposition to Mr. Stoddard, no less than nine or 
ten times in his book. And he docs not content himself with 
raying, there are passages in my preface, or elsewliere, 
whence this may be inferred ; but he says expressly, that / 
profess to b£ disp^uting against Mr. Stoddard's c/ocrrmf p. 14. 
That I tell my readers, 1 am disputing against Mr. Stoddard's 
question, p. 37. That I tell them so in -my preface^ p. 167. 
That I often declare that I am opposing Mr. Stoddard's opinion^ 
p. 133. And on this foundation he charges me with "blol- 


ting a great deal of paper, disserving the cause of truth by 
changhig the question, and putting it in such terms as Mr. 
Stoddard expressly dischiims, and then confuting it as Mr. 
Stoddard's principle ; unfair treatment of Mr. Stoddard." p. 2. 
" Surprizingly going off from Mr. Stoddard's argument 
to cast an odium upon it, treating Mr. Stoddard and his doc- 
trine ill such a manner as to reproach liim and his princi- 
ples, tending to render them odious to the unthinkingmulti- 
tude, and telling a manifest untruth." p. 14. £cc. 15. 
Whereas, I never once signified it to be the thing I aimed at, 
to oppose Mr. Stoddard, or appear as /lia antagonist. But the 
very reverse was true ; and meddling with him, or what he 
had said, I studied to avoid, as much as the circumstances of 
the debate with my people would allow, who had been taught 
by him, and who so greatly and continually alleged 
against me the things which he had said. Nor is there 
any appearance in those passages Mr. Williams cites from 
my preface, as though this was the thing I sought or aimed 
at. Nay, one of those passages which he produces to prove 
it, shev/s the contrary : As it shews, that its being so (as I 
supposed) that what I wrote was not consistent with, but oppo- 
site to what Mr. Stoddard had maintained, was an unsought 
for and unplcasing circumstance of that publication. My 
'Nvords are,"'Ti5 far from a pleasing circumstance of this pub- 
lication, that it is against what my honored grandfather stren- 
uously maintained, both from the pulpit and the press." Cer- 
tainly my regretting and ex:usi7ig such an unavoidable cir- 
cumstance was a thing exceeding diverse from giving notice 
to the world, that the thing 1 aimed at was to set myself up 
as Mr. Stoddard's antagonist, and to write an answer to, and 
confute what he h^d written. It will, at first sight, be mani- 
fest to every impartial reader, that the design of my preface 
Tfas not to state Iho subject and intention of the book : This 
is done professedly, and very particularly, afterwards, in the 
first part of the essay itself. And if I might have common 
justice, surely I might be allowed to tell my own opinion, 
and declare my own design without being so confidently and 
frequently charged with misi^f.reaenUng my ov.n thoughts 
and intentions. 


The very rmtute of the ca$c is such as must lead every itn- 
parlial person to a conviction, that the design of my writing 
must be to defend myself, in that controversy, which I bad 
"with my people at Northampton ; as it is notorious and pub- 
licly known, that thai controversy v,-as the occasion of my 
writing; ; and that therefore my business must be to defend 
that opinion or position of mine which I had declared to them, 
which had been the occasion of the controversy, and so the 
grand subject of debate betv/een us ; whether this were ex- 
actly agreeable to any words that might be found in Mr. Stod- 
tlard*s writinr^s on the subject, or not. Now this opinion or 
position was the same with that which I expressed in the first 
part of my book. In such terms I expressed myself to thc5 
Committee of the church, when I first made that declaration af 
iny opinion, which Avas the beginning of the controversy, and 
when writing in defence of my opinion was first proposed : 
And this was th€ poii\^ continually talked of in all conversa- 
tion at Northampton, for more than two years, even until Mr. 
Williams's book came out. The controversy was, Whether 
(here tvas any need of making a credible profession of godliness^ 
in order to penons being admitted to full communion ; Wheth- 
tr they must frrofess saving fmth^ or -whether a firofesdon of 
common faith iverc not sufficient ; whether fiersons mzist be es-^ 
teemed truly godly ^ and must be taken in under that notion, or 
kshcther if they appeared morally sincere, that ivere 7iot suffi- 
rient ? And when my book came abroad, there was no objec- 
tion made, that I had not truly expressed the subject of debate, 
in my stating the question : But the subject of debate after- 
wards, in parish meetings, church meetings, and in all con- 
versation, was the question laid down in my book. No sugges- 
tion among thenrt, that the profession persons made in Mr. 
Stoddard's way, was taken as a profession of r<?Gr/ godliness, or 
j^ospel holiness ; or that they were taken in under a notion of 
their being truly pious persons, ds Mr. Williams would have 
!t : No suggestion, that the dispute was only about the efface 
of evidence. But the dispute was, what was the thing to be 
made evident ; whether teal godliness or, moral sincerity ? It 
was constantly insisted on, with the greatest vehemence, that 
Vol. T, 'J U 


it was not saving religion, which needed to be fir ofeaaedf of 
pretended to ; but another thing, religion of a lower kind. 
The public acts of the church and parish from time to 
time, shew, that the point in controversy was, vjhcthcr the firo' 
feasors of godliness only, ought to be admitted ? Public voles, of 
which I made a record, were several times to know the 
church's mind concerning the admission o[ those ivho are able 
and ivilling to make a firoftssion of godliness ; using these 
terms. And once it was passed, that, such sliould not be ad' 
mitted in the ivay offiublichj making such a profession. And at 
another time the vote passed, ^/m^ the admission of^uch persons 
in such a ivay (described in the same words) should not be re- 
referred to the judgment of certain neighboring ministers. At an- 
other time, it was insisted on by the parish, in a parish meet- 
ing, that I should put a vote in the church, in these words, 
Whether there be not a dispute bctiueen Mr, Edwards pastor 
of the church, and the church, respecting the question he hath ar- 
gued in his book last published ? And accordingly the vote was 
put and affirmed, in a church meeting, in the same terms. 
And this was the question I insisted ot> in my public lectures at 
Northampton, appointed for giving the reasons of my opinion. 
My doctrine was in these words, " It is the mind and will of 
God, that none should be admitted to full communion in the 
church of Christ, but such as in profession, and in the eye of 
a reasonable judgment, are truly saints, or godly persons.** 
The town was full of objections against those sermons : But 
none, as ever I heard, objected, that my doctrine was beside 
the controversy. And this was all along the point of differ- 
ence between me and the neighboring Ministers. This was 
the grand subject of debate with them, at a meeting of minis- 
ters, appointed on purpose for conference on the subject. It 
was wholly concerning the wa?/fr of profession, or the thing 
to be exhibited and made evident or visible ; and not about 
the manner of professing, and the degree of evidence. And 
this was the doctrine directly opposed by Mr. A — y, one of 
the neighboring ministers, whom my people had got as their 
champion to defend their cause in the pulpit at Norliiamp- 
ton. Thus one of the corollaries he drew from his doctrine 


(as it was taken from his mouth in writing) wa^, that " a man 
«may be a visible saint, and yet there be no sufficient grounds 
for our charity, that he is regenerate.'^ Quite contrary to 
what Mr. Williams maintains. Another of his corollaries 
was in these words, " a minister or church may judge a man 
a saint, and upon good grounds, and not have grounds to 
judge him regenerate." He proposed this enquiry, " do not 
such as join themselves to the church, covenant, not only to 
be visible saints, but saints in heart ?" The answer was in 
the negatix^e ; quite contrary to Mr. Williams. Another was, 
« does not a visible saint imply a visibility of grace, or an ap- 
pearance of it ?'* The answer was, " not always." Quite 
contrary to Mr. Williams. Another was, " Is it not hypoc- 
risy in any man, to make a profession of religion, and join 
himself to the church, and not have grace ?" The answer 
was in the negative ; also quite contrary to Mr. Williams. 
But these sermons of Mr. A — y, were highly approved by 
the generality of the people of Northampton, as agreeable to 
their minds. 

And the controversy, as I have stated it in my book, was 
the controversy in which the church and I appeared before 
the councili who determined our separation, when we each of 
us declared our sentiments before them : The point of dif- 
ference was entirely the matter of profession, and the thing to 
be made visible ; not the degree of evidence oy visibility. No 
hint was given as though we both agreed, that true piety or 
gospel holiness was the thing to be made visible, and that 
such only should be received as are truly godly persons in 
the eye of the church's judgment (as Mr. Williams holds) and 
that we only differed about the proper grounds of such a judg- 

And therefore it is apparent, it was this controversy, and its 
consequences, that were the ground of my separation from 
jny people ; and not any thing like the controversy which 
Mr. Williams professes to manage iu his answer. This con- 
troversy, when it came out in Mr. Williams's book, was new 
in Northampton, and entirely alien from all the dispute which 
had filled that part of the country, and a great part of Newcng- 


laiitl, with noise and uproar, for about two years and an half. 
The ihiiii; which I\Ir. AVilliams over and over allows lo be true, 
was the very same, both in effect and in terras, which the peo- 
ple had been most vehemently fij^hting against, from \feck 
to week, and Irom month lo month, durinj^ all this time : And 
iherei'orc the design of my wiiiini; led and cbligcd me to 
maintain that position or doctrine of mine, wliich was the oc- 
casion of this debate. 

And, be it so, that I did suppose this posilion was contrary 
to Mf. Stoddard's opinion, and was opposed by him, * and 
therefore thought f.t in my preface to excuse myself to the 
world for difTeiing from him ; did this oblige me, in all that 
I wTOte for the maintaining my position,to keep myself strict- 
ly to the words which he had expressed his question in, and 
to regulate and limit myself in every argument I used, and 
objection I answered, by the terms which he made use of in 
proposing his opinion and aigumcnts ? And if I have not 
done it, do I therefore deserve to be charged before the world 
with c/iang'ing the rjue^tion^ with UJifair treatment of Mr. Stod^ 
dard^ Viith JiurprUingii^ going off from Ida ar^umait^ with dis- 
at^rvirig the caiiae of truths ky'c. 

It would have been no ^-rcat condescension in Mr. Williams 
Jf he had allowed that I knew what the question was, which 
was disputed between me and my people, as well as he, in a 
distant part of the country : Yea, if he had acknowledged, that 
I was as likely as he, to understand Mr. Stoddard's real senti- 
ments and practice ; since I was in the ministry two years 
with him, as copastor of the same church, and was united with 
him in ecclesiastical administrations, in admitting members, 
and in examining them as to their qualifications, aiid have 
stood for more than twenty three years in a pastoral relation to 
his church, most intimately acquainted with ihe nature of its 
constitution, its sentiments and method of administration, and 
all its relii^ious concerns, have myself been immediately con- 
cerned in th.c admission of more than three quarters of its 
present members, and have had the greatest occasion to look 

* Whether f was mistaH.ni In ibis, will appear in the Mtjuel. 


^ito their way of admission, and have ^een acquainted with 
every living member that Mr. Stoddard lad admitted before 
my cominjj ; and have been particularly informed, by many 
of them, of the manner of Mr. Stoddard's conduct in admit- 
ting them, their own apprehensions concerning the terms of 
their admission, and the profession they made m order to it ; 
and also the sentiments of the whole of that large town, who 
were born and brought up under his ministry, concerning his 
constant doctrine and practice, relating to the admission of 
members, from their infancy. Whereas, Mr. Williams from 
his youth had lived in another part of the country, at seventy 
miles distance. 


Obscr'uing Mr, Williams's Misrepresentations of 
the principles and tenets, delivered in the book 
m)hich he undertakes to answer, 

MR. WILLIAMS docs very greatly misrepresent the 
opinion I am of, and the principles I maintain in my book, in 
many respects. 

I. He says, p. 5. " The whole argument, and indeed 
the whole controversy turns upon this single point, viz. What 
is that evidence^ which by divine appointment the church is 
to have, of the saintshifi of those who are admitted to the out- 
ward privileges of the covenant of grace ? Mr. Edwards 
seems to suppose, this must be the highest evidence a man can 
give of sincerity ; and I apprehend it to be the loivest evidence 
the nature of the thing will admit." But this is very strange, 
since I had particularly declared in my at cling of the question 
(p. 5.) that the evidence 1 insisted on, was some oiitvjard iiiani^ 
festation, that ordinarily rendered the thing /ircbadie. Which 


shews that all I insisted on, \rai only, that the evidence rhoiild 
amount to/iro*a*///.'r/. And if the nature of the case will ad- 
mit of some hvjer kind of evidence than this, or if there be 
any such thino; as a sort of evidence that does not so much as 
amount Xo firobability^ then it is possible that I may have some 
controversy %vith liim and others about the Wegree of evi- 
dence : Otherwise it is hard to conceive, how he should con- 
trive to make out a controversy with me. 

But that the reader may better judge, whether Mr. Wil- 
liams truly represents me as supposing that the evidence which 
should be insisted on, is the highest evidence a man can groe of 
sincerity^ I would here insert an extract of a letter which I 
wrote to the Rev. Peter Clark of Salem Village, a twelve- 
month before Mr. Williams's book was published : The 
original is doubtless in Mr. Clark's hands. In that letter, I 
declared my sentiments in the following words : " It does not 
belrmc: to the controversy between me and my people, how 
particuljr or large the profession should be that is required. 
I should not choose to be confined to exact limits as to that 
matter. But rather than contend, I should content myself 
with a few words, briefly expressii^g the cardinal virtues, or 
acts implied in a hearty compliance with the covenant of 
o-race ; the profession being made (as should appear by in- 
quiry into the person's doctrinal knowledge) understandingly ; 
if there were an external conversation agreeable thereto. Yea, 
I should think that such a person, solemnly making such a 
pofession, liLvd a right to be received as the object of a public 
charity, however he himself might scruple lis own conver- 
sion, on accovint of his not remembering the time, not know- 
ing the method of his conversion, or finding so much remain- 
ing sin, &c. And (if his own scruples did not hinder)* I 

• r addrd this, bccatu'c I supposed that such persons as judge thctnsclve* 
unconvcri-d, if of mv p:inc pics, respecting qualifications for communion, 
would scruple coming, and could not come with a good conscience : Put if 
ihey vwire of Mr. Stoddard's principle, vir. That unconverted men might 
lawluliy come, neither a man's being of that opinion, nor his judging himself 
unconverted, would hindei my recci\ing him who exhibited pioper evidence 
to the church of his being a convert. 


should think a minister or church had no rigi\t to debar suck 
a professor, though he should say, he did not think himself 
converted. For I call that a profession of godliness, which is 
a profession of the great things wherein godliness consists, 
and not a profession of his own opinion of his good estate.** 
Jiorthamfitony May 7, 1750. 

In like manner I explained my opinion, very particularly 
and expressly, before the council that determined my separa* 
tion from my people, and before the church, in a very public 
manner in the meetinghouse, many people being present, 
near a year before Mr. Williams*s book was published ; and 
lo make it the more sure, that what I maintained might be 
well observed, I afterwards sent the foregoing extract of my 
letter to Mr. Clark of Salem village, into the council. And, 
as I was informed, it was particularly taken notice of in the 
council, and handed round among them, to be read by them. 

The same council, having heard that I had made certain 
draughts of the covenant, or forms of a public profession of 
religion, which I stood ready to accept from the candidates 
for communion, they, for their further information, sent for 
them. Accordingly I sent them four distinct draughts or 
forms, which I had drawn up about a twelvemonth before, 
(near two years before the publishing of Mr. Williams's book) 
as what I stood ready to accept (any one of them) rather 
than contend and break with my people. The two shortest 
©f those forms were as follows. 

One of them was, 
" I hope, I do truly find a heart to give up myself wholly 
«o God, according to the tenor of that covenant of grace which 
was sealed in my baptism, and to walk in a way of that obedi- 
ence to all the commandments of God, which the covenant of 
grace requires, as long as I live. 

The other, 
" I hope, I truly find in my heart a willingness to comply 
with all the commandments of God, which require me to give 


up myself wholly to Him, and to serve Him \?\\]\ my body 
and my spirit ; and do accordinj*ly now promise to walk in a 
Way of obrdicncK to all the commandments of God, as long 
as i live.'* 

Now the reader 13 left to judge, whether I insist, as Mr. 
Williams represents, that persons must not be admitted with- 
out the higheftt evidence a man can give of sincerity. 

ir. Mr. Williams is abundant in suggesting and insinuat- 
ing to his readers, that the opinion laid down in my book is, 
that persons ought not to be admitted to communion ^vithout 
an absolute and peremptory determination in those who admit 
them, that they are truly godly ; because I suppose it to be 
necessary, that there should be a /io5/7frc judgment in their 

Here I desire the reader to observe, that the word fioaitivc 
IS used in two senses. (1.) Sometimes it is put in opposition 
to douhtfuU or uncertain: And tlicn it signifies the same as 
tertain^ peremptory y or a^^ured. But (2.) The word Jiositive 
is very often used in a very different sense ; not in opposition 
to doubtful^ but in opposition to ntt^ative : And so understood, 
it signifies very much the same as j-calj or actual. Thus, we 
often speak of a rc-;'ath'e good, and a positive good. A nega' 
tivc good is a mere negation or absence lAei'il. But a positive 
good is something more, it is some real, actual good, instead of 
evil. So there is ^negative charity, and n positive charity. A 
ftcgative charity is a mere absence of an ill judgment of a man, 
or forbcaiing to condemn him. Such a charity a man may 
have towards any stranger he transiently sees in the street, 
that he never saw or heard any thing of before. A positive 
rharify is something further than merely not condemninj^, or 
not judging ill of a man ; it implies a good thought of a man. 
The reader ^\ill easily see that the word positive, taken in 
this sense, is an exceeding difTcrent thing from cerknn, or/ir- 
remptory. A man may have something more tivan a mere 
Negative (harity towards another, or a more forbearing to con- 
demn him, he may actually entertain some good thought of 
him, and yet there may be no proper pcrcmptorinfi^, no pre- 
tence of any certainty in the case. 


Now it is in this sense I use the phrsise, Jwsitive judg?7ient, 
viz. In opposition to a mere negative charity ; as I very plain- 
ly express the matter, and particularly and fully explain my- 
self in stating the question. In my Inquiry^ (p. 5.) I have the 
following words : " By Christian judgment I intend some- 
thing further than a kind of mere negative charity, implying 
that we forbear to censure and condemn a man, because we 
do^ot know but that he may be godly, and therefore forbear 
to proceed on the foot of such a censure or judgment in our 
treatment of him ; as we would kindly entertain a stranger, 
not knowing but, in so doing, we entertain an angel, or pre- 
cious saint of God : But I mean ?>. positive judgment ^^ founded 
on soTCi^ positive appearance or visibility, some outward man- 
ifestation that ordinarily renders the thing probable. There 
is a difference between suspending our judgment, or forbear- 
ing to condemn, or having some hope that possibly the thing 
may be so, and so hoping the best, and a/io«7/T;e judgment in 
favor of a person. For a having some hope, only implies, 
that a man is not in utter despair of a thing ; though his pre- 
vailing opinion may be otherwise, or he may suspend his 

Here I think, my meaning is very plainly and carefully ex- 
plained. However, inasmuch as the word positive is some- 
times used for peremfitory or certain., Mr. Williams catches 
at the term, and lays fast hold of the advantage he thinks 
this gives him, and is abundant, all over his book, in repre- 
senting as though I insisted on 2l positive judgm.ent in this sense. 
So he applies the word, referring to my use of it, from time. 
to time. Thus, p. 69. " If there be any thing in this argu- 
ment, I think it must be what I have observed, viz. That a 
Christian must make a positive judgment and determination, 
that another man is a saint, and this judgment must have for 
its ground something which he supposes is, at least ordina- 
rily, a certain evidence of his saintship, and by which gra- 
cious sincerity is certainly distinguished from every thing 
else." And p. 141. « The notion of men*s being able and 
fit to determine /zosrVzT^f/i/ the condition of other men, or th^ 
certainty of their gracious state, has a direct tendency to de- 
VoL. I. 3 W 


ceive the souls of men." And thus Mr. Williams makes 
vncniiou oi^ a /lositivr jitdgmc?} [ -dhoyc forty times in his book, 
uith reference to my use of it, and to my declared opinion of 
the necessity of it ; and every where plainly uses the phrase 
in that sense, for absolute and Jicrcmfitory, in opposition to 
doiiblfulnrss ; continually insinualintj, that this is what I pro- 
fessedly insist on. Whereas, every act of the judgment whatso- 
ever, is a positive judgment in the sense in which I have fully 
declared I use it, I'iz. in opposition to nci^ative ; which is no 
flc/, but a mere withholding of the act of the judgment, or 
forbearing any actual judgment.* Mr. Williams himself 
does abundantly suppose, that there must be a /lo.viUve 
judgment in t/iis sense : He grants the very thing, thouijh he 
rejects the term : For he holds,there must be such a "visibil- 
ity as makes persons to appear to be real saints." p. 5. — 
He allows, that " the moral image of God or Christ must ap- 
pear or be supposed to be in them, as the ground and rea- 

* Mr John GUs, in his Observes upon the original Constitution of the Christian 
Church, (p. 55, 56) says as follows. " You seem to have a great prejudice 
at what you call positive evidences., and judging upon them in the admission 
of church members. And I am at some loss to underfland what you mean by 
them, though I have heard the expression frequently, amor>g people of your 
opinion, used to express some very ill thing. If you mean by positive evi- 
dences, \nh\\\h\e e\idtncc% oi i lh\x\g that none but God infallibly knows, 
andean assure a man's own conscience of, with respect to a man himself; I 
think it would be a very great evil for a man to require fuch evidence to 
found his judgment of charity, concerning another man's faith and holiness, 
or concerning his being an object of brelkerly love. And I think, he is 
bound by the law of Christ to form his judgment in this matter upon less ev- 
idence. But ifj you mean positive eviderwe in opposition to negative, which 
is no evidence, I must own, I know not how to form a judgment of charity 
without some positive evidence. And is not a credible profession fomething 
positive? Is not a credible profession of the faith, love, and hope that is in 
Christ, or of Christianity, a positive evidence of a man's being an object of 
brotherly love, which evidence ought to be the ground oi ray judgment oj charity 
concerning him, that he is a Christian, a believer in Cbrist,a brother for whom 
Christ died ? If it be otherwise, and if there be no evidence upon which I 
canchariubly judge, that a man is a brother ior whom Christ died, then tell 
mc, how I can evidence my love to Jesus Christ, in the labor of love to- 
wards my brother, whom I have seen ; 8i»d my love to God, in my love t« 
them that arc begotten of him." 


son of our charity ; and that there must be some apprehen- 
sion, some judgment of mind, of the saintship of persons, 
for its foundation, p. 68, and 69, and 71. ...That they " must 
have such a character appearing in them, p. 55. — That 
there must be a judgment founded on " moral Evidence of 
gospel holiness," p. 139. 

III. Mr. Williams to make my scheme appear the more 
ridiculous, does more than once represent it as my opinion, 
that in order to persons being admitted into the church, there 
must be a judgment of their being regenerate, founded on 
such a degree of evidence, as that it shall not be liable to be 
mistake^ more than once in ten times. Thus, p. 63. " Mr. 
Edwards himself supposes, in his own scheme, when he has 
made a positive judgment that every one singly whom he 
admits into the church is regenerate ; yet, when taken col- 
lectively, it is probable one in ten will be an hypocrite ?" So, 
p. 71. "If any thing be intended to the purpose for which 
this argument is brought, I conceive it must mean, that 
there must be such 2l positive judgment of the real holiness of 
persons, as is not mistaken more than once in ten times." Now 
I desire the reader to observe what is the whole ground, on 
which he makes such a representation. In explaining my 
opinion, in the beginning of my inquiry (p. 6) I desired it 
might be observed, that I did not suppose we ought to ex- 
pect any such degree of certainty of the godliness of those 
who are admitted into the church, as that when the whole 
number admitted are taken collectively, or considered in the 
gross, we should have any reason to suppose every one to be 
truly godly ; though we might have charity for each one tliat 
was admitted, taken singly^ and by himself. And to shew, 
that such a thing was possible, I endeavored to illustrate it by 
a comparison, or supposed case of probability of ten to one 
in the example of certain stones, with such probable marks 
of a diamond^ as by experience had been found not to fail more 
than once in ten times. In which case, if a particular btone 
were found with those marks, there would be a probabiUiy of 
ten to one, with respect to that stone, singly taken, that it was 
genuine : But if ten such were taken together, there would 


not be the same probability that every one of them was so ; 
but in this case, it is as likely as not, that some one in the ten 
is spurious. Now it is so apparent, that this particular degree 
of probability of ten to one is mcnlioncd only as a fsufifwaed 
case, for illustralion, and because, in a particular example, 
some number or other must be mentioned, that it would have 
been an afTront to the sense of my readers to have added any 
caution, that he should not understand me otherwise. How- 
ever, Mr. Williams has laid hold on this, as a good handle by 
which he might exhibit my scheme to the world in a ridicu- 
lous light ; as though I had declared it my real opinion, that 
there must be the probability, of just te7i to one^ of true godli- 
ness, in order to persons' admission into the church. He 
might with as much appearance of sense and justice, have as- 
serted concerning all the supposed cases in books of arithme- 
tic, that the authors intend these cases should be understood 
as real yac/'5, and that they have written their books, with all 
the sums and numbers in them, as books of history ; and if 
any cases mentioned there only as examples of the several 
rules, are unlikely to be true accounts of fact, therefore have 
charged the authors with writing 9. false and absurd history. 

IV. Another thing, yet further from what is honorable 
in Mr. Williams is this ; that whereas I said as above, that 
there ought to be a prevailing opinion concerning those that 
are admitted, taken sin^^ly, or by themselves, that they arc truly 
godly or gracious, though when we look on the whole number 
in the gross, we arc far from determining that every one is a 
true saint, and that not one of the judgments we have passed, 
has been mistaken ; 'Mr. Williams, because I used the phrase 
jtingly taken^ has laid hold on the expression and from thence 
has taken occasion to insinuate to his readers, as if my scheme 
were so very extravagant, that according to this, when a great 
multitude arc admitted, their admitters must be confident of 
EVERY one's being regenerated. Hence he observes, (p. 98.) 
" There is no appearance, that John made a positive judgment 
that c^^ery one of these people were regenerated." Plainly 
using the expression as a very strong one ; leading the reader 
to suppose, I insist the evidence shall be so clear, that when 


such a vast multitude as John baptized are viewed, the ad- 
mitter should be peremptory in it, that his judgment has not 
failed so much as in a single instance ; the very reverse of 
what I had expressed. In like manner, Mr. Williams treat* 
the matter from time to time. As in p. 55. " The thinii; to be 
proved from hence is, that the apostles and primitive Christ- 
ians, not only thought that these persons were Christians, by 
reason of their external calling, and professed compliance 
with the call ; but had formed a poshive judgment concern- 
ing EVERY ONE OF THEM SINGLY, that they Avcrc real saints." 
Here the expression is plainly used as a very strong one ; as im- 
plying much more than esteeming so great a muliitudc, when 
taken in the gross to be generally true saints, and with a 
manifest design to carry the same idea in the m'.nd of the 
reader as was before mentioned. See another like instance 
p. 62. 

V. However, my opinion is not represented bad enough 
yet ; but to make it appear still worse, Mr. Williams is bold 
to strain his representation of it to that height, as to suggest 
that what I insist on, is a certainty of others* regeneration : 
Though this be so diverse from Avhat I had largely explained 
in stating the question, and plainly expressed in other parts of 
my book, * and also inconsistent with his own representations 
in other places. For if what I insist on be a probability that 
may fail once in ten ii?nes, as he says it is p. 6S, then it is not 
a certainty that I insist on ; as he suggests, p. 141. Speaking 
of the evil consequences of my opinion, he says, " the notion 
of men's being able and fit to determine positively the condi- 
tion of other men, or the certainty of their gracious estate, has 
a direct tendency to deceive the souls of men." So again in 
p. G9. And he suggests, that I require more than moral evi" 
dcnce,m p. 6, and p. 139. 

* In stating the question, p. 5, I explained the requisite visibility, to be 
seme outward manifestation^ that ordinarily renders the thing probable. To the 
like purpose, is what I say in p. ii, and p. i2. And in p. ic6, I say ex- 
pressly. " Not a certainty, but a profession and visibility of il.ese things, 
must br the rule of the church's proceeding." 


VI. Mr. Williams rcprcscnls mc as insisting on some way 
of judging the state of such as arc admitted to communion, by 
their uj-u.'ard (2nd sfi'n'itval exfierifuces^ diverse fmni judging 
by their f\r of c Ufa on a:. d behavior. So p. 7. " If their outward 
profession and behavior be the (ground of this judj^mcnt, then 
it is not the inward experience of the heart." p. 5j. " Which 
judgment must be founded on something beyond aiid beside 
their external culling, and viiiible Jirofcs-^ion to comply with it, 
and to be separated for God : Anfl therefore this judg- 
ment must be founded, either upon rcvcjalion, or a personal 
acquaintance Aviih thrir ex/ierieJice/i" &c. In like manner he 
is abundant, from one end of hh book to the other, in rep- 
resenting as though 1 insitstcd on judging of Men by their in- 
ward and 8/iirittiaL exjicriences^ in some i)cculiar manner. 
AVhich is something surprizing, since there is not so much 
as a word said about relatin^^ or ifiving an account of ex/ieri- 
ences, or what is commonly so called, as a term of commu- 
nion. Mr. Williams (p. C) pretends to quote two passages 
of mine, as an evidence, that this is what I insist on. 
One is from the 5th page of my book. It is true 
I there say thus, '' It is a visibility to the eye of the 
public charity, and not a private judgment, that gives a 
person a right to be received as a visible saint by the pub- 
lic." And I there say, " a public and serious profession 
of the great and main things wherein the essence of true re- 
ligion or godliness consists, together Avith an honest charact- 
er, an apjrecable conversation, and p:ood understanding of the 
doctrines of Christianity, and particularly those doctrines that 
teach the grand condition of salvation, and the nature of true 
Raving religion ; this justly recommends persons to the 
good opinion of the public ; whatever suspicions and fears any 
])arlicui;a- person, either the minister, or some other, may 
entertain, from what he in particular has observed ; perhaps 
the manner of his ex])ressing himself in giving an account of 
his experiences, or an obscurity in the order and method of 
his experiences, Sec." IJut the words do not imply, it nuiy be 
demanded of the candidate, that he should give an account of 
his experiences to the miiiislci" or any body cLe, as the term 


of his admission into the church ; nor had I respect to any 
such thing : But I knew it was the imanner in many places 
for those who hoped they were godly persons, to converse 
with their neighbors, and especially with their minister, about 
their experiences ; whether it was required of them in or- 
der to their coming into the church, or no ; and particularly, 
I was sensible, that this was the manner at Northampton, for 
whose sake especially I wrote ; and I supposed it the way of 
many ministers, and people, to judge of others' state, openly 
and publicly, by the order and method of their experiences, 
or the munner of their relating them. But this I condemn 
in the very passage that Mr. Williams quotes ; and very 
much condemn, in other writings of mine which have been 
published ; and have ever loudly condemned, and borne my 
testimony against. 

There is one passage more, -v^hich Mr. Williams adds to 
the preceding, and fathers on me, to prove that I require an 
account of experiences in order to admission ; pretending to 
rehearse my words, with marks of quotation, saying as follows, 
p. 6, and as he further explains himself elsewhere ; " the prop- 
er visibility which the public is to have of a man's being a 
saint, must be on some accoimt of his experience of those 
doctrines which teach the nature of true saving religion." I 
have made long and diligent search for such a passage in my 
writings, but cannot find it. Mr. Williams says " I thus ex- 
plain myself elsewhere :" But I wish he had mentioned in 
what place. 

If there be such a sentence in some of my writinj^s (as I 
suppose there is not) it will serve little to Mr. Williams's 
purpose. If we take the word experience according to the 
common acceptation of it in the English language, viz. a 
person's perceiving or knowing any thing by trial or ex- 
periment, or by immediate sensation or consciousness within 
himself : In this sense, I own, it may from what I say in my 
book be inferred, that a man's profession of his experience 
should be required as a term of communion : And so it may 
be as justly and as plainly inferred, that Mr. Williams himself 
insi^ns on a proTession of cxpcncJice as a term of communiow : 


experience of a decfi conviction of a 7nan*a undone state iv'ttk* 
out Christ ; experience of a fiersuasion of his judgment arid 
conscience, that there is no^ other ivarj of salvation ; experience of 
'U'nf'igncd desires to he brought to the terms of the covcnayit : 
For such things as these, he says, must be professed : So p. 
75, and in innumerable other places. There is no such thing 
possible as a man's professing any tiling within himself or be- 
longing to his own mind, either good or bad, either common 
or saving, unless it be something that he finda^ or (which is 
the same thing) exfierienccsy within himself. 

I know the word exfierlence is used by many in a sort of 
peculiar sense, for the particular order and method of what 
passes within the mind and heart in conversion. And in this 
sense, Mr. Williams knov/s I disclaim the notion of making 
cxfieriences a term of communion. I say he knows it because 
(in p. 6) he quotes and rehearses the very words wherein I 
do expressly disclaim it. And I am very large and particu- 
lar in testifying against it in my book on Religious Affections : 
A book I have good reason to think ]Mr. ^^'illiams has seen 
and read, having been thus informed by a man of his own prin- 
ciples, that had it from his mouth. There, in p. 300 and 301, 
I say as follows : " In order to persons* making a proper pro- 
fession of Christianity, sucl» as the scripture directs to, and 
such as the followers of Christ should require in order to the 
acceptance of the professors with full charity, as of their so- 
ciety, it is not necessary they should give an account of the 
particular ste/is and method, by which the holy Spirit, sensibly 
•to them, wrought, and brought about those great essential 
things of Christianity in their hearts. There is no footstep 
in the scripttire of any such way of the apostles, or primitive 
ministers and Christians rccjuiring any such relation in order 
to their receiving and treating others as their Christian breth- 
ren, to all intents and purposes ; or of their fust examining 
them concerning the particular method and order of their eX' 
perirncci. They required of them a profession of the things 
wrought; but no accouwt of the manner of working was re- 
quired of them. Nor is there the least shadow in the scripture 
of ap.y such cuslom in the church of God, from Adam to the 


^eath of the Apostle John." To the same purpose again I 
express myself in p. 302, and in the preface to the book that 
Mr. Williams writes against, I make particular mention of 
this book 072 Religious Affections^ wherein these things are 
said ; and there declare expressly, that when I wrote that 
book, I was of the same mind concerning the qualifications of 
communicants that I am of row. But, 

VII. To make my scheme still more obnoxious and odi- 
ous, Mr. Williams once and again insinuates, that I insist oa 
an account of such inward feelingsj as are by men supposed 
to be the certain discriminating marks of grace*(so p. 7, and 
141) though I never once used the phrase any wherein my 
book. I said not a word, about innvard feelings^ from one end 
of it to the other : Nor is any innvardfeeeling at all more im- 
plied in my scheme, than in his. But however, Mr. Wil- 
liams knew that these phrases, exjieriences and inivard feel" 
ingS) were become odious of late to a great part of the coun- 
try ; and especially the latter of them, since Mr. Whitefield 
used it so much : And he well knew, that to tack these phrases 
to my scheme, and to suggest to his readers that these were 
the things I professed to insist on, would tend to render me 
and my scheme contemptible. If he says, though I use not 
that phrase, yet the things I insist on, are such as are inivard- 
iyfelt ; such as saving repentance, faith, &c. I answer, these 
things are no more inward feelinge, than the things he him- 
self insists on ; such as a deefi conviction of a man*s undone 
state, unfeigned fervent desires £;fter Christ, a fixed resolution 
for Christ, engagedness for heaven, &c. 

VIII. Mr. Williams abundantly, in almost all parts of his 
book, represents my principles to be such as suppose men to 
be the searchers of others hearts. For which I have given 
no other ground, than only supposing that some such qualifi- 
cations are necessary in order to communion, which have 
their seat in the hearty and so not to be intuitively seen by oth- 
ers ; and that such qualifications must by profession and prac- 
tice, be made so visible or credible to others, that others may 
rationally judge they are there. And Mr. Williams supposes 
the same thing as much as I. In p, U 1, he expressly speaks 

Vol. L 2 X 


of the qualifications necessary to communion, as being in th& 
hmrt^ and not possible to be known any other way than by 
their being seen there: And also often allows, that these (qual- 
ifications must be exhibited, and made visible^ by a credible 
profession, and answerable practice : Yea, he goes further, he 
even supposes that those who admit them to sacraments, 
ought to be satisfied by their profession, that they really have 
these qualijications. Thus he says, p. 54. " The baptizer 
ought to be satisfied by a person's profession, that he really be- 
lieves the gospel, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the 

IX. Mr. Williams is not contented with all these represen- 
tations of my scheme, but will have it appear more absurd 
and monstrous still ; and therefore represents me as main- 
taining, that it is not the visible profession of exfieriences^ that 
I suppose the ground of the church's judgment ; but these eX' 
perienccs and in^jiard feelings the7nselvesy by having the heart 
turned inside out, and viewing them immediately in the heart 
itself and judging upon the next end immediate actings of the 
heart. Here, I only desire the reader to read down Mr. 
Williams's 7th page, and make his own reflections. 

X. Whereas, in p. 16, of my book, I observed it to be the 
opinion of some, that, " Although the members of the visible 
church arc saints in profession and visibility, and in the ac- 
ceptance of others, yet this is not with reference to saving 
holiness, but to quite another sort of saintship, viz. moral sin- 
cerity ; and that this is the real saintship, disciple^^hip, and godli- 
ness, that is professed and visible in them.'* &c. Mr. Wil- 
liams,p.4, 5, says, « He does not remember that he ever heard 
of this, or that any body thought of it, before he saw it in my 
book ; and represents it as a poor man of straw, of my own 
framing : And he insists upon it, that it is allowed on all 
hands, that the visibility must be with reference to saving ho- 

I will not say, that Mr. Williams knew it to be a false rep- 
resentation which he here makes : But this I will say, that he 
ought to have been better informed, before he had thus pub- 
licly ridiculed this as a fiaion of mine ; especially consider- 


'ing the opportunities and advantages he has had to know oth- 
erwise : This being the notion that had been (as was before 
observed) so loudly and publicly insisted on, for more than 
two years, by the people of Northampton, and by the neigh- 
boring ministers, and those of them that were Mr. WiUiams's 
near relatives ; as he has had abundant opportunities to be 
fully informed, having withal had great inducements to in- 
quire. Besides, that this has been the universal opinion of 
all that part of the country (who thought themselves Mr* 
Stoddard's followers) for more than twenty years, is a fact as 
notorious, as that the people there generally believe Mr. Stod- 
dard's doctrine of the necessity of a work of conversion, in or- 
iler to get to heaven. And this is the opinion professedly 
maintained in a pamphlet published in Boston, (Anno 1741) 
intitled, A right to the Lord*s supper .considered : A piece 
which has long been well known among Mr. Williams's near- 
est relatives, and in good repute with them ; as I have had 
occasion to observe. This pamphlet insists expressly and 
abundantly, ihat moral sincerity is the real discipleshipi and hO' 
iiness, with respect to which visible Christians are called disci- 
ciples and saintsy in scripture. Particubrly see pages 9, 10, 
13, and 14. And which is more strange yet, Mr. Blake, the 
great author Mr. Williams makes so much use of, and in a 
book which I know he has long been the possessor of, speaks 
much of a profession of religion that has respect only to a dog^ 
maticaly historical faithy a common faithy di faith true indeed (as 
he says) in its ki?idy but short of that which is justifying and sav 
ingy and a profession 'which goes no further, as that which enti- 
tles to sealing ordinances. Thus he does expressly. See 
Blake on the covenant, p. 241, 244, 245. The same author 
again and again distinguishes between justifying faith and 
faith of profession; as in p. 284, 285,286. And which is 
more than all this, Mr. Williams (as will appear in the sequel) 
abundantly contends for the same thing himself, though 
against himself, and although he charges me in p. 35, with a 
great misrepresentation, in supposing that according to the 
scheme of my opposcrs, the profession required in those that 
are admitted, docs not imply a pretence to any thing viore than 
fnoral sincerity and common grace. 



An Examination c/ ilfr. Williams's Scheme, in 
the various Farts of it. 

Mr. Williams's Concessions, 

MR. WILLIAMS allows, that, in order to a man's com- 
ing to sacraments, " he ought solemnly to profess and de- 
clare, that he is really and heartily convinced of the divine 
truth of the gospel, p. 30, 36, 32, 84. That he does sin- 
cerely, and with all his heart believe the gospel, * p. 49, 
And that they which admit him, ought to be satisfied he real- 
ly believes the gospel, that Jesus is the son of God, the Sav- 
iour p. 54, that he should profess and declare he believes in 
Christ, and that the gospel is indeed the revelation of God." 
p. 5, he allows, that " none ought to be admitted, but such as 
openly profess and declare an hearty consent to the covenant 
of grace, and compliance with the call of the gospel, and sub- 
mission to the proposals of it, and satisfaction with that device 
for our salvation that is revealed in the gospel, and with the 
offer which God makes of himself to be our God in Christ Je- 

♦ Whfn I first proposed to a certain candidate for commuDion at North- 
ampton, the publicly making this profession, viz. That he beliciei Ou truth 
ejthe gospel tuith all his hearty many of the people cried out, that I insisted on 
•what no saint on earth could profess, and that this amounted to a profession 
of absolute perfection. Hence many reports spread about the country, that \ 
insiitcd on perfection as a terra of communion. 


sus,* and that they fall in with the terms of salvation propos- 
ed in the gospel, and renounce all other ways." p. 5, 8, g, 
11, 18, 55, 32, He plainly supposes it " not to be lawful for 
them that are lukewarm in religion, or those that serve 
two masters, to come to sacraments." p. 33, 35, 36, " He 
supposes, that there must be " a real determination of a 
man's judgment and affection for the word of God. p. 53, 
That there ought to be a profession of subjection to Christ 
with all the heart, p. 10, and of a devotedness to the service of 
God, p. 49, and a professed giving up themselves to Christ, 
to be taught, ruled, and led by him in the Gospel way to sal- 
vation ; p. 31, 32. And that communicants ought to " declare, 
that they do, with all their hearts, cast themselves upon the 
mercy of God, to help them to keep covenant." P. 125, 
That '* they ought to profess a proper respect to Christ in- 
their hearts, as well as a true notion of Him in their heads." 
P. 31. That they must make a profession that " imports a 
pretence of real friendship to Christ, and love to God above the 
world." P. 36. That « none ought to be admitted but visible 
saints, and that this visibility must be such as to a judgment 
of rational charity makes them appear as real saints, wise vir- 
gins, and endowed with gospel holiness." P. 5, 41, 42, 139, 
14. That " there should be a charitable presumption, that the 
Spirit of God has taken hold of them, and turned their hearts 
to God." P. 52. That " they should be such persons as are in 
the eye of a Christian judgment truly gracious persons, sup- 
posed and believed in charity to be those to whom God has 
given saving repentance, and an heart purifying faith." P. 
65, and 47, " Such as have the moral image of Christ appear- 
ing in them, or supposed to be in them, and arc to be loved 
on that account." P. 68, "He allows, that there ought to be 
some apprehension, some judgment of the mind, that they are 
Christians and Saints, and have the moral image of God in 

* Mr, Williams cites Mr. Guthrie (preface p. 4) as on his side, whcnl^e 
^peaks^of such a profession, as that which ii to be made, 


them."* P. 68, 69, and 71, He allows, that '' they n,ust be 
taken into the churcii under a notion of their being godly, and 
vilh respect to such acharacler a|)[)caiing on them : And very 
often insists, that " they the msclves must make such a 
pretence." P. 5 5, f 132, 136, 11 3, bo he allows, that they 

• By this it appears, when Mr. W. speaks of the Church's rational judgvunt 
that persons have real huliness, and the like, he docs not mean merely a treating 
them as such, in public adminiftrations, and external conduct : For here he 
•peaks not of the external conduct, but of the apprehension of the understandings 
0nd judgment of the mind ; and this as ths foundation of the atfection of the 

f Mr. Williams's words (P. 55) arc pretty remarkable : "The reader (uy» 
he) will judge, whether tho manner ot Mr. tdwards's treating the 4uestion, 
and represenlinj; the opinion of Mr. Stoddard and others, in the words J have 
quoted above, be not unaccounldbU ; thouprh this is neither the first nor the last 
time of his treating the matter in such a manner : As if Mr. Stoddard and his 
adherents supposed persons were to be admitted without any notion of their 
being godly, or any respect to such a character, appearing on them ; and that 
they themselves arc without such a pretence." Whereas, Mr Stoddard ex- 
pressly maintains, that men maybe duly qualifed ^aA fit matter iox chnrch. 
tnembeiship, without saving grace. (Appeal, p. 15,16.) And that they 
may zud. ought to come ^ though they know themselves to be in a natural condition. 
(Doct. of Instituted Churches, P, 21, See also his Sermon on the subject, p. 
13,) And according to Mr. Stoddard, communicants arc not so much as ja/i- 
fa sed godi\y persons. This (Appeal p 43) he says expressly, That, by the in- 
stitution, communicants at the Lord 's Supper are not supposed tobereal sair.ti. Apd 
also asserts, (Appeal, p. 76) Ihat we are not obliged to hclieie visible saiuts to 
be real saints. And it seems by what he says in his Appeal, (p. 17) The 
church may admit persons to communion, when at the same time thry a^e 
aii-'are that they are hypocrites. For there, in answer to Dr. Mather, who had 
ciied certain texts to prove, that when hypocrites do come into the church, 
I hey come in unawares ; he sa^s, But neither of the places he dies proves thai all 
hypocrites come in unawares. And in the next page he says. The di^evcry of 
men's hypocrisy is not the reason of their being cast out. Still evidently on the 
same foundation, that some known hypocrites are fit to be admitted ; for he 
says, (p. 15) Such as, bring admitted, may not he cast out, are fit to be admitted. And 
these things arc agreeable to what I know Mr. Stoddard's church and congfc- 
gation have universally su pposcd to be his constant doctrine and practice 
among them. Thus it was, without one dissenting voice among them, dur- 
ing the twentyfour years that I lived with them. And now the reader i$ de- 
sired to judge, as Mr. W. would have him, whether my representing it to b« 
the opinion of Mr. S. and his adherents, that persons naight />{ admitted into tU 


must not only be endowed -with Christian piety in appear- 
ance ; but that they must be so in profession. P. 3, 41, 44^. 
« That they make a shew of being wise virgins by the na- 
ture and purport of their profession." P. 42, And he in- 
sists with great strenuousness, over and over, upon its being 
their scheme, " that they ought to make a profession of real 
saintship." P. 132, Yea, he holds, that there must be not on- 
ly some visibility and profession of real piety, but moral ev 
dencc ofit^ p. 139. lie often uses notes of distinction, distin- 
guishing between moral sincerity^ and real jiictij ; and insists 
much upon it as belonging to their scheme ; that there must 
be a visibility of the latter, as thus distinguished from the for- 
mer. So, he rejects with great contempt any suggestion of its 
being the scheme of my opposers, that moral sincerity is that 
saintship, which is to be professed and made visible ; and in 
distinction from this, he asserts, that it is real holiness^ p. 4, 
and 5. And again p. 35, he uses a note of distinction, and 
insists that the opposers of my opinion hold, that communi- 
cants " must make a profession of something more than 
common grace and moral sincerity." And again p. 139, he 
uses notes of distinction or discrimination, and says, that 
" they must exhibit a credible profession of gospel holiness, 
and NOT MERELY of moral sincerity ; and says, it is not the 
visibility of moral sincerity, BUT the moral evidence of gos- 
pel sincerity, which God^s word makes the rule of judging." 
And as he holds,that communicants must profess gospel holi- 
ncss,so he seems to suppose that these professors must judge 
this of themselves ; several things he says, seem plainly to 
imply it. This appears evidently implied in that interrogation 
put by Mr. Williams p. 35, <•'- Mr. Stoddard rightly supposes 
all visible saints who are not truly pious, to be hypocrites ; 
and the scripture supposes and calls them so too : But will it 

church without any notion of their being godly ^ or any respect to such a character ap^ 
fearing on them, he: \imQcoux\\.2\i\t. By these things it is evident, Mr. Stod- 
dard's scheme was tar from being what Mr. Williams represents it to be, 
and pretends to maintain as his. And if the question he had to controvert 
with me, were Mr. Stoddard's question, as he asserts, yet he greatly mistak*^ 
■>•( true state of the auestie^., though that be given as the title of his book. 


therefore Follow, that all hypocrites know they arc so ?" AnJ 
he in effect asserts, " that men should look at such a qualifi- 
cation, as sanctifying grace, in themselves, and inquire wheth- 
er they have it, or no, in order to determine whether they 
should present themselves to gospel ordinances :" For he 
greatly finds fault with me for suggesting, as if those of a dif- 
ferent opinion from me supposed, that persons have no 
manner cf need to look at any such qualification in them- 
selves, or at all inquire, whether they have it, in order to pre- 
sent themselves to sacraments. He refers to that passage in my 
book p. 55. " I cannot conceive what should move Philip to 
utter those words, or what he should aim art in them, if he at 
the same time supposed that the Eunuch had no manner of 
Deed to look at any such qualificauon in himself, or at all to 
inquire whether he had such a faith, or no, in order to deter- 
mine whether he might present himself as the subject of 
baptism." It is plain the qualification I have respect to, is 
grace^oY saving faith. And so Mr. Williams himself under- 
stands me ; as appears by his reflections, p. 49. Where, after 
quoting this passage, he consigns me over to another judg- 
ment, for suggesting that my opposcrs hold what I had there 
expressed, and for "representing the matter, as if they looked 
on it as no matter whether a person coming to gospel ordi- 
nances had any grace or no, and that he had no manner of 
need to inquire any thing about his sincerity."* 

• Novr let all who have been acquainted with the controversy between me 
and my people at Northampton, consider these things, which Mr. Williams 
earnestly insists do belong to his scheme ; and judge whether they We agreea- 
ble to the scheme which my opposers there have so vehemently and long con- 
tended for; yea, whether they arc not very opposite to it ; or whether in 
these things Mr. Williams has not intirely yielded up, yea, vehemently assert- 
ed the chief things concerning which they contested with me; and so, wheth- 
er he has at all helped their cause by writing his book, or rather, on the con- 
trary, has fought against them. 



Some of the plain consequences of the foregoing 
concessidns of Mr. Williams. 

1 . IF it be as Mr. Williams says, that " The church ought 
to admit none to their holy communion, in special ordinanc- 
es, but visible saints, and that this visibility must be such as 
to a iud-ment of rational charity, makes them appear as real 
saints, and those that are admitted must be such as profess 
real saintship, gospel holiness, in distinction from moral sm- 
Ceriiy ;" then the ^vhole of my first argument, from the na- 
ture of a visibility ^h^profesdon of Christianity, is^ allowed by 
him, in both/zmmses and conseq2ie7ice. And indeed Mr. 
Williams does this not only consequentially, but he is express 
in it. In p. 4, taking notice of this argument, he says, « The 
sense and force of it wholly lies in this compass; A visible saint 
is one that to the view, appearance and judgment, of thi 
church, is a real saint ; and since none but visible saints are to 
be admitted by the church, therefore none are to be admitted 
but such as appear to the view and judgment of the church 
to be real saints." But these things, whith Mr. Williams 
himself allows as the sum of the argument, both premises 
and consequence, are expressly allowed by him in what there 


2. If there must be a visibility and profession of real piety 
in distinction from moral sincerity, so that it can be truly said, 
as Mr. Williams says with discretive terras, and notes of 
discrimination, that " Not merely the one must be professed, 
BUT the other ; and that more than moral sincerity must be 
piofesscd," See. Then it follows (or rather it is the same 
thing) that men must profess religion with some discrimina- 
tion or marks of difference in their words, distinguishing what 
is professed from moral sincerity ; contrary to what Mr. 
Williams strenuously and frequently asserts. (P. 6, 9, and 
many olher places) For if the profession is made in wordt 

Vol. I. ^ V 


that signify no difference^ then nothing different is signified or 
professed by those words ; and so nothing more ; contrary 
also to what Mr. Williams also asserts. 

3. If it be as Mr. Williams says, that " The scripture has 
determined none ought to be admitted but such as make an 
open profession and declaration of an hearty consent to the 
terms of the covenant of grace, such as covenant with God 
with their whole hearts, and profess gospel holiness ;" Then 
the whole of my second argument, concerning explicit cove- 
-nanting ivith God, is expressly allowed, in both premises and 
consequence ; though Mr. Williams seems at the same time 
with so much labor and earnestness, to militate against it. 
For the premises are, that all ought openly and explicitly to oivn 
God^s covenant, or consent to the terms of it : This is the same 
thing that he asserts as above. And the consequence, or thing 
which I inferred from it, was, that all that are admitted ought 
to make a profession of real Godliness : And this also he ex- 
pressly and often allows. 

4. Since it is supposed, that in order to admission, men 
ought to profess real friendship to Christ, and love to him above 
the ivorld, and to profess a proper respect to Christ in their 
hearts, as ivcll as a triie notion of him in their heads ; and that 
they ought to profess gospel holiness, and not merely moral sin- 
cerity : Therefore the whole of what belongs to my third ar- 
gument, is allowed, both premises and consequence. The 
premises were, that the nature of things affords as much reason 
for professing a proper respect to Christ in the heart, as a true 
notion of him in the head : This he allows. What I endeavor 
to infer from hence, was, that therefore men ought to profess 
true piety, and not moral si?iceriiy only : And this is also allow- 
ed by him. 

5. It appears that the whole of my fourth argument, both 
premises and consequence, is allowed. The premises were, that 
the scri/iture reckons all visible saints ivho are not truly pious, to 
he hypocrites : This Mr, Williams expressly allows, p. 25. 
The consequence I inferred, was, that visible saints are such 
as mukc a profession of true godliness, and not moral sinceri- 
ty only : This also is very fully allowed by hinx, p. l'>9. 


6. Since it is supposed, that when Christ*s rules are attend- 
ed, they that come to sacraments, do not knoiv themselves to be 
hyfiocrites^ but must look at such a qualijication in themselves^ at 
$race^ and make such a pretence and profess gospel holiness ; 
Therefore all is in effect allowed, that I endeavored from the 
latter part of the 7th chapter of Matthew, which was to shew 
that professing Christians in general, all those that said Lordy 
Lfjrd, both those that built on the sand^ and those that built on 
a rock, were such as imagined themselves to have a saving in» 
terest in Christ, and pretended to be his real disciples, and 
made such a profession. The same v/as v/hat I endeavored 
to shew from the parable of the ten Virgins. And therefore 
all that I argued from thence is in like manner allowed. 

7. Hence in vain is all the opposition Mr. Williams makes 
to what I allege from the Acts of the Apostles, from chap. ii. 
from the story of the Jiimuch, and other parts of that book, 
concerning the manner and circumstances of the admission of 
members into the primitive Christian church, and the profes- 
sion they made ; seeing he grants the main point I endeavor* 
ed to prove by it, viz.That they did make, and all adult persons 
that are admitted into the church, 7nust make a profession of 
something more than moral si7icerity, even gospel holiness. 

8. Hence, in vain is all he says in opposition to my eighth 
argument, taken from the manner of the apostles treating and 
addressing the primitive churches in their epistles ; since he 
does either expressly or virtually grant each of those three 
things, which he himself reckons up as the sum of what 1 in- 
tend under that argument, viz. (1.) " That the apostles speak 
to the churches, and of them, as supposing and judging them 
to be gracious persons. (2.) That the members of these 
churches had such an opinion of themselves. (3.) That 
they had this judgment one of another." Mr. W^illiams al- 
lows all these. He abundantly allows and asserts, that the 
members of churches are such as arc supposed and judged, 
and rationally judged, to be gracious persons, by those that 
admit them ; that they are taken in under that notion, and 

from respect to such a character appearing on them ; and that 
they are rationally judged to be so by their fellow Christians 5 


pnd that they tnust look at such a character in fhemsclv^Hy ^x\d 
«)ust make such a /iretcncc, 

9. Since Mr. Williams abundantly allows that visible 
Christians, must " Be believed in charity to be truly pious ; 
and that they are such as have the moral image of Christ ap- 
pearing in them, and supposed to be in them, and that they 
arc to be loved on that account :'* Therefore very impertinent 
and inconsistent is the opposition he makes to my ninth argur 
ment, from the nature of that brotherly love required towards 
all visible Christians ; which was to shew, that visible Christ- 
ians by the rule of Christ were to be n/i/irchcnded to be true 

10. In like manner, vain and to no purpose is the orpposi- 
Uon he makes to my tenth argument, from the Nature of 
sacramental actiona^ supposed in their intent and signification 
to be a solemn profession of those things wherein real piety 
consists, viz. a cordial acceptance of Christ and his benefits ; 
from thence arguing, that a profession of these things is nec- 
essary ; and so inferring that those who perform these ac- 
tions, should suppose themselves truly to accept of Christ : 
Since both these things are in effect granted, that communi- 
cants must judge that they have sanctifying grace, and also 
that they must profess gospel holiness, a compliance with the 
call of the gospel, and falling in with the terms of salvation 
proposed, &c, 

1 1. In vain also is the opposition he makes to my eleventh 
argument, from 1 Cor. xi.28. " Let a man examine himself; 
and so let Irim eat." Inferring from thence, that a man ought 
to inquire concerning such a qualifu ation in himself, as grace, 
in order to know whether he may come to the sacrament of 
the Lord's supper. Since Mr. Williams himself plainly 
supposes this very thing, " That men ought to look at such 9 
qualification in themselves, as grace, and to inquire whether 
they have it, in order to determine whether ihcy may present 
themselves to Christian sacraments.'* 

12. If it be true, according to Mr. Williams's reprcscnta- 
tioT) of his own scheme, " That persons may not be admit- 
ted to sacrament', i.it n.„v, •, ro'i*!^ Mitl,cir being truly god- 


iy, and with respect to such a character appealing on them ; 
And that persons themselves had need to look at such a quali- 
fication in themselves, and inquire whether they have it, in 
order to determine whether they may come to sacraments ;'* 
it must be because if they find they have it not^ they may not 
come, or (which is the same thing) it is not lanvful for them 
to come. For it would be ridiculous to say that others must 
jook at such a qualification in them, and must not admit them 
but from respect to such a character on them ; and that they 
themselves also must look at such a qualification in them- 
selves, and inquire whether they have it in order to determine 
whether they may come : When yet they maxj come wheth- 
er they have it or no, and have as much of a lawful right with- 
out it, as with it. So that Mr, Williams has in efFeet deter- 
mined against himself the grand point, which he himself in- 
sists on, as the point in dispute, according to the tvv.e state of 
the question. And therefore, 

13. It follows from the foregoing concessions, that Mr. 
Williams is inconsistent with himself in all his arguments, 
that men may come to sacraments without such jj qualifica- 
tion or character as that of true piety, " Because God has giv- 
en no certain rule by which sacraments may be restrained to 
ijuch ;* or Because that otherwise none might come but those 
that know they have such a character ;t or because the con- 
trary doctrine tends to bring saints into great perplexities in 
their attendance on sacraments ;:j: or from the lawfulness of 
unregenerate men's attending other duties."!) If there be 
any force in this arguing from other duties to an attendance 
on sacraments, then the argument will infer, that men must 
not be admitted to other duties, but under the notion of their 
being truly godly, and from resfiect to such a character ajifiear- 
ing on them, tP'c — -as Mr. Williams insists with regard to 
Christian sacraments. And so if these things which Mr. 
Williams concedes and asserts, arc true, in vain is all argu- 
ing from " the like tendency in sacraments to convert nicn. 

* See Mr. Williams's book p. io6. t Ibid. p.ic8. Xp. 120. || p. 123. 


as in other duties :'*§ And in vain is it to argue the lawfulness 
of men's coniinj^ uiihout this character, " from their obliga- 
tion to perform txternal covenant duties,^! and to carry them- 
selves like stints :"** And in vain is all arguing from pre- 
tended bad consequences of the contrary doctrinc.ft 

14. The opposition Mr. Williams makes to my argument 
from Isa. Ivi. especially those v.ords v. 5, 6. *' The sons of 
the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, to love the Lord 
and be his servants.. ..will I bring into my holy mountain**.... 
To prove that none have a right in the sight of God to the 
privileges of the ('hristian church, but those that love God, 
and arc truly pious ; I say, the opi>osition Mr. Williams 
makes to this argument is frivolous, since he in effect grants 
the same thing (as above) yea, docs expressly allow, that they 
must make pretences of being God*s real friends, and loving 
God more than the vyorld. p. 36. 

13. If it be true as Mr. Williams allows and abundantly as- 
serts, " That in order to ]>ersons* being admitted to holy 
communion in special ordinances, the scripture has determin- 
ed, that there must be an open profession and declaration of a 
person's believing, or of a ficrsoncl bclicx'in^^ in Christ {ivhich 
is the same thing) and of an hearty consent to the terms of the 
covenant of grace,* and that therein must be a profession of 
gospel lioliness ;" then avails nothing to the contrary that 
f^rcat argument of his, taken from the state oi bafitizcdinfants, 
That " They are already in the church, and in covenant, and 
are members in complete standing," &c. Aiui that therefore 
no owning the covenaiu or professing godliness can I>c de- 
manded of them :t And in vain is all that he has said to 
prove this in his discourse on the Wheat and TQres.\ 

16. To what purpose is it, to object from the parable now 
mentioned, That the church ought not to go about to make a 
distinction between nvhcut and taresy in their admission of 
members, by pretending to discern the difference ? When it 

^p. 126. Up. 128. *«p. iji. ++U, 131. 

* See how Mr, William* e.\prfS!« himself p. j. + S«e eipccitlly, p. 3. 
* p. 99, »oo. 


is so apparent, that there is no pretence to any proper discern- 
ing in the case, nor any other distinction pleaded, than what i» 
made by a judgment of charity. And when, according to Mr. 
Williams's own scheme, churches are obliged to make a dis- 
tinction, in the rational judgment they pass, and to admit none 
but what they judge to be true saints ; so that those who are 
'wheat, in the eye of their judgment, only are to be adnnitted, 
and such as are tares, in the eye of their judgment, are to be 

17. What is said by Mr. Williams of the visible church's 
being the school of Christ, and men's being admitted into it as 
« Disciples or scholars, some of them in order to attain 
grace," (p. 81, and 83) is nothing to the purpose, if it be as 
Mr. Williams allows and asserts, that in order to be admitted 
into this school, they must be supposed in a reasonable judg- 
ment, to have this attainment already, and make a pretence to 
it, and a solemn profession of it, and must give moral evi- 
dence that they have it, and must be admitted into the school 
under no other notion than that of their bein^g already possess- 
ed of it. 

18. If it be as Mr. Williams expressly says, " That persons 
are not visible saints without a credible profession, visibility 
and moral evidence, not only of moral sincerity, but true ho= 
liness," (p. 139.) then all is wholly insignificant and vain, that 
is said to prove, that the children of Israel were visible saints 
iprithout any evidence of such holiness, by reason of the idola- 
try and gross and open wickedness of vast multitudes of them 
who are yet called God's people : And so likewise, all that is 
said to prove that the members of the primitive Church had 
no other visibility of saintship than they, because they are 
grafted into the same olive : And also all that Mr. Williams 
has said to prove, that many of the members of the primitive 
churches wxre as grossly Avicked as they. 

19. Since according to Mr. Williams the terms of admis- 
sion to the Jewish ordinances, were " the same as lo Christian 
ordinances, the like profession and the same visibility of saint- 
ship required and no other ;** as he strenuously asserts, p. 57, 
€1, 65 ; it will therefore follow from his foregoing concession!* 


.uicl assertion'), That none ucre by God*s appointmeni:, io 
come to tbc piibsover, and lo have their children circumcised, 
but '* such as openly professed and declared that they ^vere 
convinced ofthc trutli of (lod's word, and believed it with ail 
their hearts ; and professed a hearty consent to the terms cf 
(he covenant of grace : Such as covenanted with God with 
their whole hearts, and gave up all their hearts and lives to 
Christ, such as subjected themselves to Christ with their whole 
hearts, and gave up themselves to him to be ruled, taught, 
and led by him ; such as with all their hearts cast themselves 
on the mercy of God to enable them to keep covenant ; sucli 
as professed to' love God above the world, and professed more 
thaw common faith and moral sincerity, even true holiness, re- 
al piety ; and who gave moral evidence, that they had ;:uch a 
qualiBcation ; and were received to the passover, Sec. under 
that notion, and with respect to such a character appearing in 
them, and apprehended to be in them" And if these things 
are so, what is become of the argument from the passover 
and circumcision against the necessity ofthc qualifications I 
have in'.:isted on ! 

20. To what purpose does Mr. Williams insist (p. 98) 
" That we read not a word in scripture about John the Bap- 
list's making any inquiry, whether the people he baptized 
made a credible profession of true i)icty ?" When he himself 
insists that in order to admission to Chrisiian sacraments, 
« Men must make a credible profession of true piety." And 
why does he urge (p. 96, 97) That tlie profession the pcopla 
made which John baptized, did not imply that they had saving 
repentance, but only an engagement to repent, hereafter I 
\\\\cx\ he himself holds, that in order to admission to sacra- 
mcntti, men mUbt/2ro/£'s«'6'o;;^£'//j/>2^- utore than couitvm grace, 
and not oidy picniise it hereafter. 

21. It make, nothing to any ix)int in controverby between 
;Mr, Williams aad me, w ht iher Judas partook of the Lord's 
supper or no, since according to Mr. Williams's own fore- 
mentioned piintiples, as well as mine, he could not be admit- 
ted there ** under any other notion than that of being tnily pi- 
ous, and fr'.m respect to such a character appearing on him"» 


and a credible profession of gospel holiness ;" and since he 
might not lawfully come without some qualifications he had 
hot, viz. such a friendship for Christ, as is above lukeivarmness, 
and above serving tivo Twas/^r*, Christ and mammon, and a giv- 
ing up all his heart and life to Christ, and a real determination 
of his judgment and affections for Christ's word, &c. 

22. If it be true, as Mr. Williams allows, that ministers 
and churches ought not to admit adult persons to sacraments, 
without a pious character appearing on them, and their profess^ 
ing and exhibiting moral evidence of gospel holiness, then no 
good argument can be brought against such a way of admis- 
sion, from the success of ministers in another way, or in any- 
way whatsoever. 

Besides these plain and obvious consequences of Mr. Wil- 
liams's concessions, some other consequences will hereafter 
be observed under particular heads. 

Thus Mr. Williams has not only abundantly given up the 
main point in that controversy I have lately been engaged in, 
and the main point which I have written in defence of ; but he 
has in effect given up every point belonging to the whole 
controversy, every thing material insisted on through that 
whole book which he undertakes to answer. He has estab- 
lished every part of the scheme I have appeared in, and ev- 
ery particular argument I have used to confirm it ; and an- 
swered, and overthrown every argument which he brings or 
pretends to support against it. And I should have no further 
occasion to say any thing in reply to him, if he had not really- 
through great part of his performance, argued for other things, 
opposite to those that have been rehearsed, which he so stren- 
uously insists belong to his scheme ; which arguing may seem 
to support another scheme, though nothing akin to his, any- 
otherwise than as his scheme is indeed a mixture of many 
schemes, one clashing with, and destroying another ; as will 
appear in the ensuing part of this reply. 

Vol. I. 



TJie Inconsistence of the forementioned Concessions 
'With the LaiDfuIness (j/'unsanctified Persons com^ 
ing to the Lord'^s Supper ^ and their Right to Sa* 
craments in the sight of God. 

MR. WILLIAMS in the book under consideration, which 
he entitles the true state of thc'que8tiony\T\%\s\% upon it that the 
question to be debated is the question Mr. Stoddard debated 
in his dispute with Dr. Mather ; in whose scheme Mr. Wil- 
liams declares himself to be. Mr. Stoddard in his dispute 
with Dr. Mather asserted, « that it was lawful for some un- 
sanciificd men to come to the Lord's supper, and that they 
had a right so to do in the sight of God." And he declare* 
that this was the point in dispute between him and Dr. Math- 
er ; as in JppcaU p. 20. •< That which I am to shew is, that 
some unsanctified men have a right before God to the Lord's 
supper." So Mr. Blake (who is so great an author with Mr. 
Williams) says, in his treatise on the covenant^ p. 244. « That 
faith whick is the condition of the promise, is not the condi- 
tion in Foro dei (before God) of a title to the seal." And there 
(in the next p.) he insists, that <' it is a common faith, that is 
believed by men not justified," which gives this title. Agree- 
ably to these things Mr. Williams says (p. 132) some men 
have " a lawful right to the sacrament without sanctification." 
Which is the same thing as to say, they have a right in the 
tight of God. Toy if they have no right in the sight of God to 
come to the Lord's supper, then it is not lawful in the sight of 
God that they should come. 

Here I would lay down this as a -maxim ; 

There is some inward religion and virtue or other, some 
sincerity of heart, cither moral or saving, that is necessary to 
a right to sacraments in the sight of God, and in order to a 
lawful coming to them. No man, I trust, will say, that a 
man has a right in God's sight, who has no sort of serioui- 


Bess of mind ; and that merely outward sounds and motions, 
give him this right in God*s sight, without regard to any 
property or quality of mind, and though this outward shew is 
joined with the most horrid and resolved secret irreliglon and 
wickedness. Mr. Williams in particular utterly disclaims 
auch doctrine as this in Sd and 4th pages of his preface, and 
always maintains that in order to men's lawful coming, they 
must be morally sincere ; as there in his preface, and also in 
p. 25, 27, 30, 35, 1 11, In p. 115, he supposes, that if a man 
makes a doubt of his moral sincerity y no divine vjill advise him to 
(mme until he knows. 

Having observed this, I now desire it may be considered, 
whether it be reasonable to suppose, as Mr. Williams does, 
(that God would give men that are without grace, a lawful 
right to sacraments, so that this qualification itself should be 
nothing necessary to a proper and rightful claim to these or- 
dinances ; and yet that he would wholly forbid them to come, 
and others to admit them, without their making some pre- 
tence to it, and exhibiting moral evidence that they have it ; 
That moral sincerity is the qualification which by God's own 
appointment invests persons with a lawful right to sacraments, 
and that by his institution nothing more is requisite to a law- 
ful right ; and yet that he has commanded them not to come, 
jior others to allow them to come, without making a profes- 
sion of something more than moral sincerity, as Mr. Williams 
says. Mr. Williams supposes that God requires us, before 
ive admit persons, to seek credible evidence of true piety, and 
to see to it that we have reasonable ground to believe they have 
it ; otherwise, not to allow them to come : And yet that God 
does not look on such a qualification requisite in itself, when 
all is done, and that he has given them as true and lawful u 
right to come without it, as with it. If God insists upon it, as 
Mr. Williams supposes, that members should be admitted 
under no other notion than of their being truly godly, and from 
reafiect to such a character afitiearing on them^ is it not plain, 
that God looks on such a character in itself requisite, in order 
to a persons's being a rightful subject of such a privilege ? 
If the want of this qualification does not in the least hinder a 


person's lawful right to a thing, on what account can the want 
of an appearance of it and pretence to it, warrant and obhgc 
others to hinder his taking possession of that thing ? 

That we should be obliged to require a credible pretence 
and evidence of the being of a thing, in order to a certain pur- 
pose, ihe being of which is not requisite to that purpose ; or 
that some evidence of a thing should be necessary, and yet 
"withal no necessity there should be any foundation of such ev- 
idence, in the being of the thing to be made evident ; that it 
should be necessary for us to seek evidence that something 
is true, and yet there be no need in order to the intended pur- 
pose, that there be any such truth to be made evident ; If 
these things are the dictates of common sense, I am willing 
all that are possessed of any degree of common sense should 
be judges. 

If God has plainly revealed, that gospel holiness is not nec- 
essary in itself in order to men's lawful right to sacraments, 
as Mr. Williams greatly insists, then his churches need not 
believe it to be necessary ; yea, it is their duty to believe that it 
is not necessary<i as it is their duly to believe what God says to 
be true. But yet Mr. Williams holds, that God forbids his 
churches to admit any to sacraments, unless they first have 
some rational evidence obliging them to believe that they have 
gos/iel holiriess. Now how palpable is the inconsistence, that 
we must be obliged to believe men have a qualification in or- 
der to our suffering them to come, which yet at the same 
time we need not believe to be necessary for them to have in 
order to their coming, but which God requires us to believe to 
be unnecessary ? Or in other words, that God has made k. 
necessary for us to believe or suppose men are truly pious, in 
order to our lawfully allowing them to take the sacraments, 
and yet at the same time requires us to believe no such thing 
as their being pious is necessary in order to their lawfully tak- 
ing the sacraments ? 

Mr. Stoddard (whose principles Mr. Williams in preface, 
p. 3, declares himself to be fully established in) not only says, 
that some unsanctified men have" a ri-ht before (iod.lo iJic 
Lord'i Supper," but btronc^ly asserts, over and over, »' th^t 


they are fit to be admitted to the Lord's Supper, that they 
are duly qualified, fit matter for church membership," 
(Appeal, p. 15, 16) and Mr.Williams argues that " such qual- 
ifications as some unsanctified men have, are sufficient to 
bring them into the church." Now if it be so, what business 
have we to demand evidence or a pretence of any thing fur- 
ther ? What case in the world can be mentioned parallel to it, 
in any nation or age ? Arethere any such laws or rugula- 
tions to be found in any society, nation, city or family, civil 
society, military or academic, stated society or occasional, that 
the society should be required to insist on some credible pre- 
tence and evidence of a certain qualification, in order to per- 
sons being admitted to the privileges of the society ; prohib- 
iting their being admitted under any other notion than as per- 
sons possessed of that qualification, or nvithoiit a respect^ in 
their admission, to such a character appearing on them : And 
yet at the same time, by the laws of that very society, or the 
head of it, that qualification is not necessary ; but persons are 
declared, without any such qualification, to have a lawful 
RIGHT, to be FIT MATTER, to be DULY QUALIFIED, and to havc 
sufficient qualifications to be admitted to these privileges, 
without that qualification ? 

If some men hare a right in the sight of God to sacra- 
ments, without true piety, and are^r, and duly qualified with- 
out it, in his sight, and by his institution; and yet the church 
must not admit them unless they are truly pious in their 
sight ; then the eye of man must require higher terms, than 
the infinitely holy eye of God himself; they must look for 
something that the eye of God looks not for, and which he 
judges them duly qualified without, 

Mr. Williams when speaking of the evidence, on which he 
supposes the church ought to judge persons to be real saints, 
from time to time adds, that on such evidence « the church 
is obliged, in their external carriage, to treat them as saints^ 
and admit them to the external privileges of the church." 
So p. 9, 12, &c. p. 13 and 14, and in other places. But what 
does he mean by treating them as saints, in admitting them to 
the external privileges of the church ? If sinners have as much 


of a lawful right to these privileges, as saintaf then why is giv» 
ing them these privileges a treatinj^ them as saints^ any more 
than as sinners ? If it belongs to an ignorant child, to be ad» 
inkted into school, as much as one that is learned, then how 
is it treating him as one that is learned, to admit him ? Mr. 
Williams (p. 11) giving a reason why he that professes con- 
viction of the truth of the gospel, &c. ought to be admitted to 
sacraments, says, <' though this conviction may be only by 
moral evidence and common illumination, yet the church 
Icnow not but it is done on a divine and gracious discovery." 
But how can this be a reason ? What if the church did know 
that it was not on a gracious discovery, if the man has a right 
in the sight of God without, and God has made it his duty to 
<f ome to sacraments without ? Surely the church have no 
right to forbid him to do that which God has given him a 
right to do, and made it his duty to do ; as Mr. Stoddard says, 
(Doct. of Inst. Churches^ p. 20) " The church may not hinder 
any man from doing his duty.'* 

Therefore if this be Mr. Stoddard*s question, " whether 
some unsanctified men may lawfully come to the Lord's sup- 
per," and if this be the grand point in dispute, the thing which 
Mr. Williams undertakes to maintain, as he often declare*, 
then it is most plainly evident, that in conceding and asserting 
those things foremeniioned, he does in effect abundantly giro 
up that which he himself insists on as the grand point in con- 
troversy ; and so makes void and vain all his own labor, and 
for hi^nself effectually confutes all that he has written. 



Concerning Mr* Williams's Notion of a public Pro-i 
fession of Godliness in terms of an indeterminate 
rz/ic/ double Signification, 

ACCORDING to Mr. Williams the profession of godli- 
ness must be in words not of a determinate meaning, or « with- 
out any discrimination in the meaning of the words, obliging 
us to understand them of saving religion." P. 6, They must 
make an " open declaration of their sincere consent to the 
terms of the covenant, without any discrimination, by which 
it can be determined, that the consent signified by the words 
is a gracious consent." P. 9, And " without any marks of 
difference, or any distinction in the words, whereby we can 
te enabled to judge when they mean a saving faith, and when 
a different one." P. 10, 50 and 53, That " nothing should 
be expressed in the words of the profession, but what some 
unsanctified men may say, and speak true." P. 47, he sup- 
poses, that the primitive Christians in the profession they 
made of faith, did not speak only in that sense, viz. so as to sig- 
nify justifying faith ; and that " the persons admitted did not 
understand that their profession was understood by those that 
admitted them, only in that sense." P. 58. 

Agreeably to this notion of making a profession in words of 
indiscriminate meaning, and professing godliness without 
godliness, and yet speaking true, Mr. Williams, (in p. 44) al- 
lows, « that men must be by profession godly persons, in order 
to come to the sacrament ;" and yet in the next sentence hp 
denies," that Christian grace itself is requisite in the person 
who is to come to the sacrament, or that the dictate of his 
conscience that he has it, is the thing that gives him a right 
to offer himself." And agreeably to this last clause,Mr. Stod- 
dard (of whose opinion Mr. Williams professes himself fully 
to be) expressly maintains, that a man " may and ought to 
•ome to the Lord's supper, though he knows himself to be 


in a natural condition." (Poc^. of Inst. Churches^ p. 21, secf 
also his sermon on this controversy, p. 13.) So that putting 
these things together, it must be agreeable to Mr. Williams's 
scheme, that a man has a riglu to make a profession of godli- 
ness, Avitliout having godliness, and without any dictate of his 
conscience that he has the thing he professes, yea though he 
knows he has it not! And all this is made out by the doctrine 
of professing godliness in words that arc ambiguous, and of 
two meanings. 

This notion of a solemn profession of godliness, in words 
of a double meaning, nvithout aJiy marks of difference in their 
significa{lon^\%i\\c great peculiarity of Mr. Williams's scheme j 
and in nil his controversy with mc, this appears to bo the main 
hinge of the whole affair. Therefore I would particularly con- 
sider it. 

And for the greater distinctness and clearness, I will lay 
down certain positions, as of most evident truth ; observing 
some of their no less plain and evident consequences. 

Position I. Words declare or profess nothing any other- 
wise than by their signification: For to declare or profess 
someUiin^j^ by words, is to signify something by words.... And 
therefore if nothing is signified by words of a pretended pro- 
fession, nothing is really professed ; and if something be pro- 
fessed, no more is professed than the w ords of the profession 
signify or import. 

Position. II. If a man goes about, to declare or profess any 
particular thing by words which have no distinguishing sig- 
nification, or without any signs or discriminating marks by 
w hicli men may be enabled to distinguish what he means, his 
words are vain to the pretended purpose, and wholly fail of an- 
swering the end of words, which is to convey the thing meant, 
to others' understanding, or to give notice to others of the 
tiling that is to be supposed or understood.* 

• Tilt .Apostle Paul says, i Cor. xiv. 7, «♦ Evc.i things without life, giv- 
ing 3omicl, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the loundi, 
how shall it be known what is piped or harped ?"— Mr. Locke »ay$, //-".. 
Und. Vol. 2. Edit. 7 p, 1C3. " He that uses words of any language without 
BisTiNCT ideas in hi^mind, to which hs applici them, doirs »o far as he us<-' 
them in discourse, cn!y rr.al-c a noise without any lensc or signification." 


therefore to use words thus in common eonversation, is to 
act in a vain trifling manner, more like children than men : 
But to use words thus in the sacred services of God*s house, 
and solemn duties of his worship, is something much worse 
than children's play. But thus Mr. Williams expressly de- 
clares, words are to be used in a public profession of religion. 
He says (p. 10.) " And these words are so used in such 
cases, without any marks of difference, whereby we are ena- 
bled to judge when they mean a saving faith, and when a dif* 
ferent one." 

Position III. A profession made in words that are either 
equivocal, or general, equally signifying several distinct things, 
without any marks of difference or distinction, by which we 
are enabled to judge which is meant, is not a profession or 
signification olamj one of those several things ; nor can they 
afford any rational ground of understanding or apprehending 
any fiarticular thing. Thus, for instance, if a man, using an 
equivocal term, should say, that such an evening a king was 
in that room, without any marks of difference or discrimina- 
tion whatsoever, by which others could discern whether by a 
king, he meant the ruler of a kingdom, or a king used in a 
game of chess : The word thus used would be no declaration 
that the head of a kingdom was there at such a timo ; nor 
would they give any notice of any such thing to those to whom 
he spoke, or give them any rational ground to understand or 
judge any such thing. 

Or if a man should use a general term^ comprehending va- 
rious particular sorts, without at all distinguishing or pointing 
forth any one particular sort, he thereby professes no one par- 
ticular sort. Thus if a man professes that he has metal in 
his pocket, not saying what sort of metal, whether gold, silver, 
brass, iron, lead, or tin ; his words are no profession that hd 
has gold. 

So if a man professes sincerity or religion, designedly using 
terms of double signification, or (which comes to the same 
tiling) of general signification, equally signifying two entirely 

Vol. L 3 A 


distinct thlni^s, either moral ainccriCy^ or real p.iety^ his "v\'or(T§ 
are no profession of real piety ; he makes no credible profes- 
sion, and indeed no profession at all o( gospel holiness. 

Position IV. If a man who knows himself to be desti- 
tute of any certain qualification, yet makes a profession or 
pretence, in words of double meaning, equally signifying that 
qualification, and something else very different with a design 
to recommend himself to others* judgment, as possessed of 
that qualification, he is guilty of deceitful equivocation. This 
is the notion of deceitful equivocation, viz. the using words of 
double meaning, or capable of double application, with a de- 
sign to induce others to judge something to be true, which is 
not true. But he that goes about to recommend himself by- 
such terms to others* opinion or judgment as bein^ what he 
at the same time knows he is not, endeavors to induce thent 
to believe what he knows is not true, which is to deceive 

But if the scheme which Mr. Williams undertakes to de- 
fend, were true, it would follow that such a kind of equivoca- 
tion as this (be it far from us to suppose it) is what the infin- 
itely wise and holy God has instituted to be publicly made 
use of in the solemn services of his house, as the very condi- 
tion of persons* admission to the external privileges of his 
people ! For Mr. Williams abundantly asserts, that persons 
must be esteemed iz\ the judgment and apprehension of others 
to have true piety ; and that one thing that must be done in 
order to it, one thing pertaining to the moral evidence that 
recommends them to this judgment, is the profession they 
make of religion. (P. 5, 139, 47, 132, 44.) In p. 42, speak- 
ing of the profession of visible Christians, he has these words, 
«' And it is from the nature and purport of this profession, wc 
say, the church is to judge the members to be wise virgins or 
-what they make a show of." And Mr. Williams insists up- 
on it that according to Christ's institution, this must be in 

• " To aJvtnce a dubious proposition, knowing it will be underitooi 
in a sense difFrrcnt from whit you give it in your mind, is an equii(xatton, 
in breach of good faith ami »inccrity." Ummbcri's DiUionary^ undcc tin 
wo I J equivocation. 


words equally signifying true godliness, and something else, 
•without any discrimination or marks of difference. This is 
the scheme ! And certainly such a doctrine of deceitful equiv- 
ocation in the public exercises of religion, is more agreeable 
to the principles and practices of a religion I am loth to name, 
than the true religion of Jesus Christ. 

Mr. Williams says, p. 35, " 1 am at a loss to conceive Ivdw 
it will help the cause of truth to represent those who are of 
Mr. Stoddard's opinion, as teaching men that they enter into 
covenant with God with known and allowed guile.'* Suppos- 
ing I had made such a representation, I can tell him how it 
would have helped the cause of truth (as it would be speaking 
nothing but the truth) if he be one of Mr. Stoddard's opinion 
(as he says he is) and represents his own opinion truly. 

But let the unreasonableness of this notion of professing 
gospel holiness in words of two meanings, without any dis- 
crimination or mark of difference, be a little further consider- 
ed. Since it is allowed that gospel holiness is the thing which 
is to be exhibited in the profession, and there are words 
which signify this by a determinate meaning, why must they 
needs be avoided, and words of doubtful and double significa- 
tion only made use of r* Since the design of the profession is 
to exhibit to others* understanding that very thing .; if the 
proper and distinguishing names of that must nevertheless be 
avoided in the profession, and this, for that very reason, that 
they point forth to others understanding that very thing 
by a determinate meaning ; then we are brought to this 
gross absurdity, viz. That the end of a profession is to exhibit 
to others' understanding and reasonable judgment a jiarticu- 
lar qualification ; but at the same time such words only must 
be made use of as do not distinctly point forth to others* 
understanding and judgment that particular qualification. 
The church are to seek and demand a profession, that shall 
determine their rational judgment ; but yet are designedly to 

♦ Mr. Williams (p. 6) speaks of a profession in terms of indiscriminate 
signification, when not contradicted in life, as " The sole entire evidence, 
which the church, as a church, is to have, by divine appointment, in ordcC\ 
':o that public judgmeat it is to make of ihe saiutship of mcu. 


avoid such a profession as shall determine their undemUmdingw* 
Be it far from us to attribute to the allwise God any such 
absurd and. inconsistent constitution. 

Mr. Williams says, « Charity obliges the church to under- 
stand the ^vords of the professors in the most favorable sense.** 
But charity does not oblige us to understand their ^vords in 
any other sense than that in which they professedly use them. 
But in churches which professedly act on Mr. Williams's 
scheme (if any such there be) the professors who are admit- 
ted, professedly use ambiguous words, or words equally signi- 
fying two entirely distinct things, without discrimination or 
marks of difference ; and therefore charity obliges us to un- 
derstand their words no otherwise, than as signifying that they 
have one ov other of those two things ; and not that they have 
one in particular : For their words do not signify this, in the 
sense they professedly use them. If a man that is indebted 
to me, professes that he has cither gold or brass, which he 
promises to pay me ; or if he uses an equivocal or general 
term, that equally, and without marks of difference, signifies 
either one or the other : Charity may oblige me to believe 
what he says, which is' that he has either gold or brass ; but 
no charity obliges me to believe that he has gold, which he 
does not say. 

Mr. Williams, in his description of such a profession as 
Christ has instituted, in order to admission to sacraments, 
often mentions two things, viz. " A profession of something 
jiresent, a present believing in Christ, and cordial consent to 
the terms of the covenant of grace, 8cc, And a promise of 
something/i^.'ztr^'." And with regard to the latter he is very 
full in it, that what is promised for time to come is saving 
faith, repcrtance and obedience.^ Now what reason can be 
given why we should use words of double meaning in the 
former part of the profession more than in the latter. Seeing 
Mr. Williams allows that we must firrfrsis gospel holiness 
as well As/iromise it, and seeing wc may and must make use 
of wards of indisninjinatc and double meaning in professing 

■» rrrfacf, p. 3, 5, 24, 25, 22, 7, ^8, 69. 


present gospel holiness, why should we not do so too in prom- 
ising what is future ; and so equivocate in our solemn vows 

and oaths as the Papists do ? If Mr. Williams says it is very 
hard for men to discern the discrimination between moral 
sincerity and gospel holiness ; I answer there is as much 
need to discern the difference in order understandingly to 
promise gospel holiness with discrimination, as to firofcss it 
with discrimination. 

Mr. Williams says, (p. 8) " It is a received rule among 
mankind^ in all public judgments, to interpret words in the 
most extensive and favorable sense, that the nature of the 
words or expressions will bear. I know not what he means : 
But if he means (as he must if he means any thing to the pur- 
pose) that it is a received rule amongst mankind, to trust or 
accept, or regard any professions or declarations that men 
make with professed design, in words of double and indis- 
criminate meaning, without any marks of difference by which 
their meaning can be known, for that very end that they may 
be used with a safe conscience, though they have no dictates 
of their own consciences, that they have that which others arc 
to believe they have ; I say, if this be a received rule' among 
mankind, it is a rule that mankind has lately received from 
Mr. Williams. Heretofore mankind, societies, or particular 
persons, would have been counted very foolish for regarding 
such professions. Is this the way in earthly kingdoms, in 
professions of allegiance to temporal princes, in order to their 
admission to the privileges of good subjects ? Do they chuse 
equivocal terms to put into their oaths of allegiance, to that 
end that men may use them and speak true, though they are 
secret enemies ? There are two competitors for the king- 
dom of this world, Christ and Satan : The design of a public 
profession of religion is, to declare on whfch side men are. 
And is it agreeable to the custom of mankind in such cases, 
to make laws that no other than ambiguous words shall be 
used or to accept of such in declarations of this kind ? There 
are two competitors for the kingdom of Greatbritain, king 
George, and the Pretender : Is it then the constitution of 
king George and the British Parliament, that men should lake 


oaihs of allegiance, conirived in words of indeterminate Mgnt- 
iication, lo the end that nicn who arc in their licarts enemies 
to king George, and friends lo the Pretender, may use thcni 
•and speak true ? And certainly mankind, those of them thai 
liavc common sense, never in any afl'airs of life look on such 
professions worth a rush. Would Mr. Williams himself, if 
tried, in any affair wherein his temporal interest is concerned, 
trust such professions as these ? If any man that he has deal- 
ings with, should profess to him that he had ])awned for him, 
in a certain place, an hundred pounds, evidently, yea, profess- 
edly using the expression as an ambiguous one, so that there 
IS no understanding by it, what is pawned there, whether an 
liundred pound in money, or an hundred weight of stones : 
if he should inquire of the man what he meant, and he should 
reply, you have no business to search my hearty or to go ts 
turn wy heart inside out ; you are obliged in charity to un- 
derstand my words in the most favorable se?ise ; would Mr. 
Williams in this case stick to his own rrccivcd rule ? Would 
he regard such a profession, or run the \enture of one six- 
fience upon it ? Would he not rather look on such a man as 
affronting him, and treating him as though he would make a 
fool of him ? And would not he know, that every body else 
Avo*.ild think him a fool, if he should suffer himself to be gulled 
by such professions, in things which concern his own private 
interest? And yet it seems, this is the Way in which he thinks 
he ought to conduct himself as a minister of Christ, and one 
entrusted by him in affairs wherein his honor and the inter- 
ests of his kingdom are concerned. 

And now I desire it may be judged by such as are possess- 
ed of human understanding, and are not diiiabled by prejudice 
from exercising it, whether this notion of Mr. Williams's of 
making a solemn profession of gospel holiness in words of in- 
discriminate rlieaning be not too adsurd to be received by the 
reason Ciod has given mankii.d. This peculiar notion of his is 
apparently the life and soul of his scheme ; the main pillar of 
his temple, on which the whole weight of the building rests, 
which if it be broken, the whole falls to the ground. For if 
tiiis notion of his be disapproved, then, inasmuch as it ia 

i!efly to wiLLiAivrs. sn- 

agreed, that true godliness must be professed it will follow^ 
that it must be professed in words properly signifying the 
thing by a determinate meaning, which therefore no ungodly 
■men can use, and speak true ; and that therefore men must 
have true godliness in order to a right in the sight of God to 
make such profession, and to receive the privileges depend- 
ing thereon : Which implies and infers all those principles of 
mine which Mr. Williams opposes in his book, and confutes 
all that he says in opposition to them. 


Shelving that Mr. Williams, in supposhg that un- 
sanctified Men may profess such things^ as he al- 
loivs must be professed^ and yet speak true, is in- 
consistent ijoith Mr. Stoddard, a fid with himself. 

MR. WILLIAMS denies, that in order to men's being^^ 
admitted to sacraments, they need make any peculiar profes» 
sion,distinguished from what an unregenerate man may make> 
p. 44, 50, 6, 9, 10, 45, 46 and 53, or that they need to profess 
« any thing but what an unregenerate man may say, and speak 
true,*' p. 47. And that they need make no profession but 
what is " compatible with an unregenerate state, p. 8. And 
yet the reader has seen what things he says all must profess 
in order to come to sacraments. One thing he says they 
must profess, is " a real conviction of the heart, of the divine 
truth of God's word ; that they do sincerely and with all their 
hearts believe the gospel.'* And these things he says, are 
agreeable to the opinion of Mr. Stoddard, and the doctrine he 
taught, p. 32 and 36. Let us compare these things with the 
doctrine Mr. Stoddard tauc:ht. Mr, Stoddard taught, that 
natural men do not " believe the gospel." Jlen. of the Gosfi^ 
89, That they " do r^ot properly believe' tl^e word of God.',^ 


Guide to Christy p. 26. That « they do not believe tlie testl-^ 
mony of God, do not lay weight on the word of God ; that 
they do not believe the report of the gospel.'* Safety of Afi, 
Edit. 2. p. 229. That ihey 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 knowl- 
edge that continues in a natural condition, who thoroughly be- 
lieves 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 Gosfi. 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 JVilnesa, p. U4, 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. 
1 H. " The renewing of the Holy Ghost makes an universal 
change of the heart and Hfe....He knows the doctrine contain- 
ed in the bible in a new manner.. ..Before he had a view of the 
truth as a doubtful ujicertain 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 rcal^ Ecc." 
But how do these things consist with men's being before con- 
version, sincerely and with all their hearts convinced of the 
divine truth of the gospel ? Can that be, and yet men vieiu it 
as a doubtful uncertain thing, it not yet appearing to them di^ 
vinrly true and real ? 

Again, Mr. Williams supposes, that some unsanctificd men 
may speak true, and profess " an hearty consent to the terras 
of the covenant of grace, a compliance with the call of the gos- 
pel, 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 makes of himself to be our God in 
Christ Jesus, a fervent desire of Christ and the benefits of the 
covenant of grace, and an earnest purpose and resolution to 


^eek salvation on the terms of it, (p. 1 1) and ^ falling in -with 
the terms of salvation proposed in the gospel, with a renoun- 
cing 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 satisfac ion 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 na- 
ture 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 W^Q^faith^ 
repentance^ mortification, reconciliation, &c '* And exceed- 
ing contrary to the constant doctrine of Mr. Stoddard, (though 
he says it was his opinion) who ever insisted, that all uncon- 
verted sinners under the gospel are so far from heartily con- 
senting to the covenant of grace, and complying with the call 
of the gospel, and falling in with the terms of salvation pro- 
posed in it, renouncing all other ways, as Mr. Williams sup- 
poses, 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." jYat. 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 ofAfi. p. 229. And in other plac- 
es 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 spir- 
it : 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. Gmde to Christ, p. 55. Safety of Jp. p. 106, 
and 194. 

Vol. I. 3 B 


And this scheme of our author is in a no less glaring man- 
ner contrary to the doctrine of Mr. Williams himself, in his 
»ermon on Isa. xlv. 11. (p. 25, 26, 27. Speaking to those 
« whose natures remain unrenewed and unsanctified. Sec 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 ineftectual to persuade you to ac- 
cept of deliverance from a slavery you are willingly held 
in. Nay, you strive against the liberty of the sons of God, 
and labor to find out all manner of difficuliieb 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 arc 
these the persons who can truly profess, that they comply 
with the call of the gospel, and submit to the proposals of itj 
and are satisfied with the device for our salvation, and with 
the offers of the gospel, and consent to the terms of the cov- 
enant of grace ivith all their hearts^ renouncing all other 
vays ?....It is not much more easy to make these things con- 
sist with what he says in his answer to Mr. Croswell, (p. 26.) 
lie there says, *' there is not a son nor daughter of Adam ex- 
cluded from salvation, who will accept Christ upon God's offer, 
and take him in his person and offices, and whole work of re- 
demption, to be their Saviour, and they find themselves wil- 
ling to accept of Chiistasso offered to them, and pleased 
WITH THAT DEVICE for their salvation, and heartily choosing 
him to be to them and in them, wisdom, righteousness, sancli- 
fication, 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 conae to sacramcnts,yet supposes it not to 
be lawful for those that arc lukewarm in religion to come. 
p. 35. So that according to his scheme, some unsanciiSed pro- 
fessors are above iukcwarmness ; that is to say, their hearts 
within them are truly hot or fervent with Christian zeal, and 
they ^^vlch as Christ will never spue out of his mouth ; in a 
great inconsistence whh the scripture. He suggests, that 
it in an injury done to the cause of truth, in me, to rcprc- 


sent Mr. Stoddard as beingof another opinion, (p. 35) but let 
UB see whether such a representation be an injury to truth or 
fiO. Mr. Stoddard taught, that natural men have " no sincer- 
ity in f hem." Guide to Christ jS. 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 good- 
ness," Ibid. p. 63. That « some of them have considera- 
ble 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 Gosfi. 73* That '* they are 
acted by a lust of selflove in all their religion : If they ard 
*Wept 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, Katural men are under the government 
of selfove. 

And Mr. Williams himself in his sermon on Psal. xci. 1. 
describing carnal men, by which he means the same with un- 
converted men (as is evident through the book, particularly p. 
36) he says, p. 27, 28. That to such " religion looks like i 
dull, unpleasant kind of exercise, and so different from the 
sen=iual 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 con- 
science (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 lukenvarmness. 

Another thing, which Mr, Williams supposes must be pro- 
fessed 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 
an^ 32. And yet elsewhere he mentions a depending on 


Christ for things of this nature, as a discriminating mark of 
a true Christian. Scr. on Chriat a kint^ and witness^ p. 19. Un- 
der a use of examination, he there says, ^' Do you depend on 
Christ to protect you from all your spiiitual enemies, to ics- 
lore you to holiness, to subdue all your heart to the \\'\\\ of 
God, to make you partakers of his iniat^e and moral perfec- 
tions, and in that >vay 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 
friencUJiiti to God, " loving God more than his enemies, loving 
him above the world ;*' and therefore according to Mr. Wil- 
liams, 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 forementioncd place blames mc,lhat I had intimated (as 
he supposes) that the profession which Mr. Stoddard taught 
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. Xat. of Cojiv. p. 
7. " That every natural man prefers vain and base things 
before God." Ibid. p. 96. *' That they arc all enemies to 
God, and the very being of (iod." 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 trusiing in Christ, and are under the dominion of a contra- 
ry inclination." Ibid. p. 67. " That those of them whose con- 
sciences 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 arc so addicted to 
their own interest, that ihcy have a bitter spirit towards GotJ; 


iiave an ill affection to him, and are adversaries to his felici" 
ty." Ibid. p. 97. Three Serin, p. 38, 39. " That they are 
governed by a spirit of selflove, and are wholly destitute of 
love to God ; that some of them do confess that they have but 
little love to God ; but incleed they have not one spark of love 
to God in their hearts. Three Serm. p. 48. That they set their 

interest at the right hand of God's glory as if God's honor 

Avere not to be regarded, compared with their interest, &c. 
&c." Ibid. p. 62, 63. 

So Mr. Williams himself (CAm^ a king and ivii7ies8,\i. 145.) 
plainly supposes, that before conversion, men love the world 
more than God. For, speaking of the nature of the change 
wrought in conversion, he says, " things are quite turned a- 
bout, God and Christ are got into the place the world had be- 
fore." Again (/6zV/. p. 18.) he says, " You must know that 
there is no man who is not either a true subject to Christ, or 
his enemy. That man who does not submit to Christ as his 
King and Lord, by bearing true faith and allegiance to him> 
is the enemy of Christ and his kingdom. Such are all they 
who will not depend on him, believe in him, give up them- 
selves, and all to him," And again, p. 106, 107. " Man, since 
the fall, has a natural unlikeness to God, and hates the holi- 
ness and purity of the divine nature." And in his sermon on 
Isa. xlv. 1 1. he says, to his hearers, " If your nature remain 
unrenewed and unsanctified — you are the enemies of God 
and Christ by wicked works, and an impure heart." But yet 
now it seems, some of these may profess real friendship, to 
Christ and loving him above the ivorld^ and speak true. 

And these things are no less inconsistent with what Mt;. 
Williams says in the very book under consideration. He 
here says, p. 36. " Why should any divine now tell us, that 
these same professions do not imply that there are any pre- 
tences of any real friendship, that they import no pretence of 
loving God more, yea, not so much as his enemies, no pre- 
tence to love God above the world ?" When he himself is 
the divine that tells us so, or plainly supposes so in this very 
book of his. I"or, in p. 8, 9, having mentioned the profession 
communicants may be required to make, he then says, that 


^ such a profession contaii*.s all that is essenlial to tnie rclij^- 
ion in it ; and if this is the fruit of the iovc of (iod, it is true 
godliness :" Plainly supposin?^, that persons may have these 
thinj^s without the love of God ; as the reader will see more 
evidently if he views the place. So that tht? profession must 
imply real friendship, and love to (iod, even al?ove the world ; 
and yet must contain only such tlilnp;s aS" may be wiih or with* 
out the love of God, indiscriminately. 

Mr. Williams allows, that in order to come to sacramentd 
Tfien ought to profess a " subjection to Christ with all their 
hearts, p. 10, and to be devoted to tlie service of God, p. 49, 
and to give up themselves to Christ,to be taught, ruled and led 
by him in a gospel way t» salvation." P. 31 and 32. And 
though he and Mr. vStoddard taught, that it is lawful for 
some unsanctified men to come to sacraments, yet Mr. Wil- 
liams supposes it to be unlawful for any to cotne to sacra- 
ments serving two masters ; and says, Mr. Stoddard taught 
that they ought to covenant with God with their whole hearts, 
and give up all their hearts and lives to Christ.'* We aro 
therefore to understand Mr. Williams, that some unsanctified 
men can profess all these things, and fffieak true. Strange 
doctrine for a Christian divine 1 Let us see whether Mr. Stod- 
dard taught such doctrine. He taught that " faith in Christ 
is the first act of obedience, that any sinner does per- 
form ; that it is by faith that a man first gives himself 
to be God's servant." Safety of Afu p. 238, 229. That 
" all those that are not converted, are under the domin- 
ion of sin, enemies to God." Ibid, p. 5. That " there is 
no obedience to God in what they do," who have only com- 
mon grace ; that *' they do not attend the will of (iod." Ibid, 
p. 7. That " all ungodly men are servants ofSatun, and live 
in a way of rebellion against God." Ibid. 94. That " they ure 
enemies to the authority of God ; to the wisdom, power and 
justice of God, yta, to the very Being of God ; they have a 
preparedness of heart to all wickedness thai is committed in 
the world, if God did not restrain ti^em ; that if ihey were in 
the circumHlancesthat the fallen angels are in, they would be 
as the very devils ; Ibid. p. 95, that their hearts arc like the 


hearts of devils, as full of sin as a toad is full of poison, hav-* 
ing no inclination to any thing that is good." Guide to Christy 
p. 68, see also Benef. of the Gosfi. p. 103. That « they utter- 
ly nef:;lect the end they were made for, and make it their bu- 
siness to serve themselves ; they care not virhether God's 
glory sinks or swims.'* Three Serm, p. 62. That « they hate 
God, because God crosses them in his laws." Ibid. p. 38. 
These are the men, which Mr. Williams supposes must, and 
may (some of them) truly profess a subjection to Christ with 
all their hearts, and to be devoted to Christ ; antl the men 
which he would bear us in hand, that Mr. Stoddard taught, 
might covenant with God with their whole hearts, and give 
up all their hearts and lives to Christ. Mr. Stoddard taught, 
that " Men that have but common grace, go quite in another 
path than that which God directs to."— That " they set them- 
selves against the way of salvation God prescribes ;" Safety. 
p. 10. That " man in his natural state is an enemy to th« 
way of salvation ;" That '* he is an enemy to the law of God, 
and the gospel of Jesus Christ." Ibid. p. 106. 

But yet these, if we believe Mr. Williams, may truly pro- 
fess a subjection to Christ with all their hearts, and give up 
themselves to him, to be taught, ruled, and led by him in a 
gospel way of salvation. Yet if we believe him, we must 
have the trouble of disbelieving him again ; for in these 
things he is as inconsistent with himself, as he is with Mr. 
Stoddard. For in his Sermon on Isa. xlv. 1 1, p. 26, 27, he 
says to those whose natures are zmrenewed and unsanctified, 
" If you are without Christ, you are in a state of slavery to 
sin, led about of divers lusts, f and under the reigning power 
and dominion of your corruptions, which debase your soula 
and bring them down from the dignity of th«ir nature, to the 
vilest, most shameful and accursed bondage. And by means 
of sin ye are in bondage to the devil, the most hateful and ac- 
cursed enemy of God and your own souls ; and are opposing 
all the means of your own deliverance. The offers of grace» 

+ And yet now it seems, some such do 8trv«biitww master, an<i give utv 
tlicroselvfis t» Christ to ^m led by bim. 


the calls nnd invitations of the t^ospcl have been ineffectual tor 
persuade you to accept of deliverance from a slavery you are 
viUini^ly held in. Nay you strive ai^ainst the liberty of ih« 
8ons of (iod.** And yet some of these are (if we believe what 
Mr. Williams now says) such as arc subject to Christ with 
all their hearts, give up all their hearts and lives to Christ, and 
give up themselves to be taught, ruled, and led by him in a 
gospel way to salvation. Mr. Williams, in his sermons on 
Christ a King and IVitness^ p. 18, under a use of cxammation is 
giving marks of trial, says, " Have you unreservedly given up 
your souls and bodies to hini ? [viz Christ] you must be all 
Christ's and have no other master. You must be given to him 
without reserve, both in body and spirit, w hich are his." But 
now it seems these are no discriminating evidences of true 
piety : He says, p. 118, "A man naturally hates God should 
reign." And p. 119, speaking of the natural man, he says, 
" He hates to be controled, and in all things subjected to (iod. 
....He really owns no God but himself.'* But if so, then cer- 
tainly he is not subject to God with all his heart. 

Our author in the book more especially attended to, says, 
p. ni. He " knows of nobody who has any controversy with 
me in ivhat he calls my loose way of arguing," in my saying, 
« The nature of things seems to afford no good reason why 
the people of Ciirist should not openly profess a proper res- 
pect to him in their hearts, as well as a true notion of him in 
their heads." And then in that and the following page, pro- 
ceeds to shew what respect Mr. Stoddard, and those that think 
with him, suppose men mubt profess in order to come to the 
Lord's supper ; and in p 33, speaks of such a profession as 
equally honorable to Christ with a profession of savmg grace. 
And as according to Mr. Williams, no profession, discriminat- 
ing what is professed from common grace, ran be required, so 
common grace must be supposed to be a firoficr rcsficct to 
Christ in the heart. Now let us see what Mr. Stoddard says. 
" There is (says he) an opposition between saving and com- 
mon grace ;....they have a contrariety one to another, and are 
at war one with the other, ami would destroy one the other. 
Common graces are lists, and do oppose saving grace." 


(Mit. ofSav. Ccmv. p. 9.) « Men that are in a natural condi- 
tion such of them as are addicted to morality and religion, 

are serving their lusts therein. The most orderly, natural 
men do live an ungodly life ; yea their very religicn is iniqui' 
ti/.'* flbid, p. 96, 97.) " Their best works are not only sin- 
ful, hui /iro/ierly sins ; they are acted by a spirit ^f lust in 
all that they do." (Saf. of Apiu p. 163.) <' Moral virtues do 
not render men acceptable to God ; for though they look 
like virtues, yet they are lusts." f /6?V/. p. 81.) Now the 
question plainly is, whether I^ust can be a proper respect to 
Christ in the heart ? And, whether 2< profession which implies 
no more in it, be equally honorable to Christ, as a credible 
profession of a gracious respect to him ? 


Concerning visibility, xmthout apparent probability* 

MR. STODDARD, (Appeal p. 16) says thus : "Such 
persons as the apostles did admit into gospel churches, are 
ft to be admitted into them ; but they admitted many that had 
not a thorough work of regeneration. Indeed by the rule that 
God has given for admissions, if carefully attended, inore un- 
converted persons will be admitted, than converted." 

This passage I took notice of in my book, where I say, " I 
would humbly inquire, how those visible qualifications can be 
the ground of a rational judgment, that a person is circum- 
cised in heart, which nevertheless, at the same time, we are 
sensible, are so far from being probable signs of it, that they 
are more frequently without it, than with it," Sec. This seems 
to be a terrible thing in Mr. Williams's way, which he strikes 
at f'om lime to time ; and is an impediment, he boggles at 
exceedingly. One while he pretends, he can give a sufficient 
answer ; p. T, 8. At another time he pretends, that I re- 
move the diiriculty myself; p. 12. Then again, in the same 

Vol. I. 3C 


page he pretends to solve the difficuUy ; and then in the next 
page pretends, that if the case be as I say, " That we cannot 
form a rational judgment that a thing is, which at the same 
time, and under that degree of light we then stand in, it is 
more probable is a mistaken one, than not,'* yet it can argue 
nothing to the case ; seeing the judgment we do form, is di- 
rected by a rule which is appointed for us. But still, as if 
not satisfied with these answers and remarks, he seems after- 
wards to suggest that Mr. Stoddard did not express this as hit 
onvn sentiment, but as Mr. Cotton's, as a gentleman of the 
same principles with Mr. Mather, using it as ari^umcrituin ad 
hominem. See p. 33. 

In p. 34, he expressly says, " Mr. Stoddard does not say, 
that when the rule which God has given for admissions is 
carefully attended, it leaves reason to believe, that the greater 
part of those who are admitted, are ene?nies to God, &c.'* 
[True, he does not say this in terms ; but he says, " More 
unconverted persons will be admitted than converted ;" which 
is equivalent.] And in p. 133, Mr. Williams presumes confi- 
dently to affirm, that " Mr. Stoddard says this [the thing fore- 
mentioned] not A'ith peculiar relation to his own scheme, but 
only as an application of a saying of Mr. Cotton's, who was of 
a different opinion, and said upon a different scheme ; to shew 
that upon their own principles, the matter will not be mend- 
ed." But this is contrary to the most plain fact. For Mr. 
Stoddard having said " The apostles admitted many uncon- 
verted,'* he immediately adds the passage in dispute, " Indeed 
by the rule," &c. plainly expressing his own sentiment ; 
though he back*8 it with a saying of Mr. Cotton. So Mr. 
Cotton*s words come in as a confirmatior^ of Mr. Stoddard's ; 
and not Mr. Stoddard's as an apfdication of Mr. Cotton's. 
However, Mr. Williams delivers the same sentiment as his 
own, once and again in his book : He delivers it as his own 
sentiment, p. 34, " That probably many more hypocrites, than 
real saints, do make such a profession, as that which must be 
accepted." He delivers it as his own sentiment, p. 6li That 
" The apostles judged it Hkely that of the Christians taken 
into the church under their direction, as many were hypocrites 


in proportion to their number, as of those that were taken in- 
to the Jewish church." And as to the latter, he delivers it as 
his sentiment, p. 24, that " The body of the people were not 
regenerate." So that, according to his own sentiments, when 
the ApostoKc rule of taking in is observed, the body of those 
who are admitted will be hypocrites. 

Now therefore, I desire that this matter may be examined 
to the very bottom. And here let it be considered, whether 
the truth of the following things are not incontestable. 

1. If indeed by the rule God has given for admissions, 
when it is carefully attended, more unconverted i^ersons will 
be admitte<:l than converted ; then it will follow, that just such 
a visibility, or visible appearance of saintship as the rule re- 
quires^ is more frequently without real saintship than with it. 

2. If Mr. Stoddard and Mr, Williams had just reason from 
the holy scripture, and divine Providence to think thus, and to 
publish such a sentiment, and the Christian church has good 
reason to believe them ; then God has given the Christian 
church in its present state (dark and imperfect as it is) good 
reason to think so too. 

3. If Christ, by the rule he has given for admissions, re- 
quires his churches to receive such a visibility or appearance, 
which he has given the same churches, at the same time, rea- 
son to judge to be an appearance, that /or the most fiart is with- 
out godliness, or more frequently connected with ungodliness ; 
then he requires them to receive such an appearance, as he 
at the same time has given them reason to think does not im- 
ply a probability of godliness, but is attended rather with a 
probability of ungodliness. For that is the notion of probabil- 
ity : Jin appearance^ ivhich^ so far as ive have means tojudge^ 
is for the most part connected with the thing* Therefore the 
sign or appearance, let it be what it will, implies a probability 

* Mr. Locke thus defina probability f Hum. Und. 7th edit 8vo. vol 2, p. 
'73 ) '* Pr:.bability is nothing but the appearance of such an agreement or 
disagreement, by the intervention of proofs, whose connexion is not con- 
stant and immutable, or at least is not perceived to be so ; but is, or appears 
rOR THE MOST PART to be so ; and is enough to induce the mind to 
judge the proposition to be true, or false, rather than the cojitrary." 


oflliat, ^vhich we have reason to think it is for the j/ic/.s/ /lari 
connected or attended witli. Where there is only probability 
ivilhout certainly, there is w. peraclvcnturr in the case on both 
sides ; or in vulgar lungua^^^c, the supposition on each side 
stands a chance to be true : lUit that side which most com- 
monly proves true in such a case, stands the best chance ; 
and therefore properly on that side lies the probuhilifij. 

4. That cannot be a crtdible visibility or appearance, which 
is not a probable appearance. To say a thing is credible and 
Y\o\. probable^ is a contradiction. And it is impossible rational- 
ly to judge a thing true, and at the same lime rationally to 
judge a thing most probably not true. Therefore it is absurd 
(not to say worse) to talk of any divme institution thus to 
judge. It would be to suppose, that God by his institution has 
made that judgment rational, which he at the same time 
makes improbable, and therefore irrational. 

This notion of admitting members into the church of Christ 
without and against prcbabilitu of true piety, is not only very 
inconsistent with itself, but very inconsistent with v.hai the 
common light of mankind teaches in their dealings one 
with another. Common Sense teaches all mankind, in 
admission of members into societies, at least societies form- 
ed for very great and imi)ortant purposes, to admit none 
but those, concerning whom there is an apparent probabili- 
ty^ that they arc the hearty friends of the society, and of 
the main designs and interests of it ; and especially not to 
admit such, concerning whom there is a greater probability 
of their being habitual, fixed enemies. But thus it is accord- 
ing to Mr. Stoddard's and Mr. Williams's doctrine, as well as 
the doctrine of the scripture, with all laitaiictijied men in re- 
gard to the church of Christ : They are enemies to the head 
of the society, enemies to his honor and authority, and the 
work of salvation in the way of the gospel ; the upholding 

And Mr. Williams hiiricU, p. 139, says, " 'Tis moral evidence of gospel 
sincerity, which God's word makes the church's rule," &c. Now, does 
such an auptarancc, as wc have rrason ai the same time to think is more ft t- 
r^ucnlly without gospel holincfs than with it, amount to moral cridrncc ©^ 
£Ojpcl sincerity ? 


and promoting of which is the main design of the society. 
The church is represented in scripture as the household of 
God, that arc in a peculiar manner intrusted with the care of 
his name and honor in the world, the interests of his king- 
dom, the care of his jewels and most precious things : And 
would not common sense teach an earthly prince not to ad- 
mit into his household such, as he had no reason to look upon 
so much as probable friends and loyal subjects in their hearts ; 
but rather friends and slaves in their hearts to his enemies, and 
competitors for his crown and dignity ? The visible church of 
Christ is often represented as his city and his armxj. Now 
would not common sense teach the inhabitants of a besieg- 
ed city to open the gates to none, but those concerning whom 
there is at least an afifmrcnt probability of their not being ene- 
mies ? And would any imagine, that in a militant state of 
things, it is a likely way to promote the interest of the war, to 
fill up the army with such as are more likely to be on the en- 
emy's side in their hearts, than on the side of their lawful and 
rightful prince, and his faithful soldiers and subjects ? 


Concerning the Lord^s Supper'' s being a converting 

THOUGH Mr. Williams holds, that none are to be ad- 
mitted to the Lord's supper, but such as make a credible pre- 
tence or profession of real godliness^ and are to be admitted 
under that notion, and with respect to such a character appear- 
ing on them ; yet he holds at the same time, that the Lord's 
supper is a converting ordinance, an ordinance designed for the 
bringing of some men that have not such a character, to be of 
such a character. P. 14, 15, 35, 83, 100, 10 1, 126, 127. It 
is evident that the meaning of those divines who speak of the 
Jliord's supper as a converting ordinance, is not merely that 


God in his sovereign Providence will use it as an occamon of 
the converfaion of some ; but that it is a converting meaii^ by 
hi.s inalitution [fivrn to mcu, appointing them to use it for this 
purpose. Tlius Mr. Stoddard expressly declares, " That the 
lord's supper is institutkd to be a means of regeneration, 
(Doc. of hist. C/mrc/u's^Yi. 22.) Instiiuted for the conversion 
of sinners, as well as the confirmation of saints ; Jji/ualy p. 70, 
71. That the direct end of it is conversion, when, the subject 
that it is administered unto stands in need of conversion." Ibid. 
p. 73, 74. And thus Mr. Williams, after Mr. Stoddard, speaks 
of the Lord's supper " as by Christ's appointment a proper 
means of the conversion" of some that are unconverted ; 
p. 100, 101. So he speaks of it as i/u/irwffc/ for the conver- 
sion of sinners, through p. 126 and 127. 

Now if so, what need of men's being to rational charity con- 
verted already, in order to their coming to the Lord's sup- 
per ? Is it reasonable to suppose God would institute this ordi- 
nance (Urcctbj for that r;?^, that sinners might be converted hy 
it ; and then charge his minigtcrs and churches not to admit 
any that they had not reasonable ground to think v, crc convert- 
ed already .^....?»Ir. Williams, in p. 83, supposes two ends of 
Christ's appointing the communion of the Christian church ; 
" that such as have grace already should be under proper ad- 
vantages to gain more, and that those who have none, should 
be under proper advantages to attain grace." But this ill con- 
sists with other parts of his scheme. If a king should erect a 
hoajntal for the help of the poor, and therein has two ends ; 
owt', the nourishing of such as arc in health, and the other., 
the healing of the sick ; and furnishes the hospital according- 
ly, with proper food fpr the healthy, and proper remedies for 
lT)c sick : liut at the same time charges the officers, to whom 
he commits the rare of the hospital, by no means to admit 
auy, unless it be under a notion of their being in health, and 
from refifiect to such a {qualification in thcm^ and unless they have 
rraao}i(ib(e ground.^ and moral nndence^ to induce them to be- 
lieve that they arc well ; And if this pretence should be made 
to justify such a conduct, that the hospital was indeed designed 
for the healing of the sick, yet it was designed to confer this 


bettefit only on such diseased people as were hyfiocrites^ and 
ttiade a firofe&sion afid firetence of being in health ; -will arty 
man presume to say, that such a conduct is agreeable to the 
dictates of the understanding of rational beings ? And to sup- 
pose, that such should be the conduct of the infinitely wise 
God, is as unscriptural, as it is unreasonable. We often read 
in God*5 word, of men's being convinced of their wickedness 
and confessing their sins, as a way to be healed and cleansed 
from sin : But where do we read of men's pretending to 
more goodness than they have, and making an hypocritical 
profession and show of goodness, in order lo their becoming 
good men i* Where have we a divine institution, that any 
who are ivoivcs should put on .<il:ec/i*s clothings and so come to 
his people, that they may l)elievc them to be .sheefi^ and under 
this notion receive them into the flock, to the end that they 
may truly become of his she&/i ? 

But to examine this matter, of the Lord's supper being a 
converting ordinance to ungodly men professing godliness, a 
little more exactly. If Christ has appointed the Lord's sup- 
per to be a converting oVdinance to some such as these, 
then he has appointed it either only for such of them as are 
mistaken, and think themselves god/y when they are not ; or 
he has appointed it not only for such, but also for such as 
are sensible they are ungodly. 

If the former, if it be appointed as a converting ordinance 
only for such as are mistaken, and think themselves godly, or 

* Mr. Williams (P. 42.) owns, that persons must make a •' profession 
v/herein they make a shew of being wise virgins," in order to come into 
the visible Church. And (p. 35) Ke owns, that *» all visible saints who are not 
truly pious, are Hypocrites." Again, it may be observed, he abundantly in- 
sists, that men who have nd more than common grace and moral sincerity, 
may lawfully come to sacratnents ; and yet by what he says (p. 35 ) they 
must profess more. So that men who have no more must profess more ; 
and this it seems, according to divine institution! Again he says (p-35.) That 
one end God designed by appointing men to be brought into the Church, is», 
that through divine grace, they might effectually be brought to Christ, " to 
give him the whole possession of their hearts ; and yet in the very next para- 
graph (p. 35. &. 36. ) he speaks of it as unlawful for men to come to sacra- 
mfnts till thev " 2ive up all their hearts to Christ. 


converted ; then here is an institution of Chiist, "vvbich nevei' 
can, in any one instance, be made use of to the end for whicli 
he has appoinicd men to use it. It cannot be made use oi 
for this end by those who admit members, and* administer the 
ordinance : Tor they, as Mr. Williams says, must admit none 
but such as they are bound by the rule of Christ to look upon 
as godly men already, and to administer the sacrament to 
them under that iiotinriy and with respect to such a character. 
Neither can it be made use of to such a purpose by any of the 
co7nniunican(8 : For by the supposition, they must be all 
such as think they are converted already, and also come under 
that notion. So that by this scheme of things, here is an insti- 
tution appointed to be upheld and used in the church, which 
the institution itself makes void and impossible. For, as was ob- 
served before, the notion of a converting ordinance has not a 
reference to any secret decree of God, how he in his sover- 
eign pleasure nrill sometimes use it : But to his institution giv- 
en to men, appointing the end for which they should use it. 
Therefore, on the present supposition, the institution ap- 
poins the Lord's supper to be used in some cases for the con- 
version of sinners, but at the same time forbids its beinc^ 
cither given or received under any other notion than that of 
the communicant's being converted already : Which is in 
cfTect to forbid its being either given or received for the con- 
version of the communicant, in any one instance. So that the 
institution efFectualiy destroys and disannuls itself. But God 
forbid, that we should ascribe any such inconsistent institu- 
tions to the divine head of the church I 

Or if the other part of the disjunction be taken, and it be 
said, the Lord's supper is appointed for the conversion of 
some that are sensible that they arc ungodly or unconverted, the 
consequence is no less absurd, on Mr. Wiliams's principleii. 
For then the scheme is this. The institution requires some 
men to make a pretence of real piety^ and to make a public, 
solemn profession of gos/irl holiness, which at the same lime 
they arc seuiibir ihey have none of; and this, to the end that 
others may look upon iliem to be real saints and receive them 
to the Lord's supper under that notion : Not putting on a dis- 


guise, aiid making a shew of what they have not, through 
mistake, hut doing it consciously and wilfully, to the honor 
and glory of God : And all this strictly required of them, as 
the instiiiited means of their becoming real saints, and the 
children of God ! 

Mr. Williams says, p. 14. " Si!ice it is God's will, that his 
church should admit all such visible saints (viz. such as he had 
been speaking of) it follows that the Lord's supper is a con- 
verting^ ordinance to such of them as are unconverted.'' But 
Mr. Williams is mistaken as to his consequence. The Lord's 
supper is not instituted to be a converting ordinance to all un- 
converted men, whom it is God's will the church should ad- 
mit. For it may be the church's duty, and so God's will, to 
admit those that live secretly in the grossest wickedness, as 
adultery, buggery, deism, Sec. Such men as these may make 
a fair profession, and the church may be ignorant of their se- 
cret wickedness, and therefore may have no warrant to reject 
them : But yet it will not follow, that God by his institution 
has given such a lawful right to the Lord's supper, having ap- 
pointed it to be a converting ordinance to them. 


'The Notion of moral Sincerity's being the S^alifi ca- 
tion which gives a lawful Right to Christian 
Sacraments^ examined, 

THOUGH our author disdains the imputation of any 
^juch notion, as that of men's being called visible and profess- 
ed saints from respect to a visibility and profession of moral 
sincerity : Yet it is manifest, that in his scheme (whether con- 
sistently or no, others must judge) moral sincerity is the qual- 
ification which entitles, and gives a lawful right, to sacraments. 
For he holds, that it is lawful for unsanctificd men who have 

Vol. I. 3D 


this qualification, to come to sacraments ; and that it is n«t 
lawful for them to come without it. Therefore I desire this 
notion may be thoroughly examined. 

And for the greater clearness, let it be observed what «jn- 
cerity in general is. Now sincerity, in the general notion of 
it, is an honest conformity of some ftrojhssion or outvxird shew 
of some inrcard firoperty or act ofmind^ to the truth and reality 
of it. If there be shew or pretence of what is not, and haft 
no real existence, then the pretence is altogether vain ; it is 
only a pretence, and nothing else : And therefore is a pretence 
or shew without any .sijicerity, of any kind, cither moral or 

I now proceed to ofler the following arguments against the 
notion of moral sincerity's being the qualification, which gives 
a lawful right to sacraments. 

L There is no such thing as moral sincerity, in the covc- 
nant of grace, distinct from gracious sincerity. If any sincerity 
at all be requisite in order to a title to the seals of the cove- 
nant of grace, doubtless it is the sincerity which belongs to that 
covenant. But there is only one sort of sincerity which be- 
longs to that covenant ; and that is a gracious sincerity : 
The covenant of grace has nothing to do with any other sin- 
cerity. There is but one sort of faith belonging to that cov- 
enant ; and this is saving faith in Jesus Christ, called in scrip- 
ture wfeigned faith. As for the faith of devils, it is not the 
faith of the covenant of grace. 

Here the distinction of an internal, and external covenant, 
will not help at all ; as long as the covenant, of which the sa- 
craments are seals, is a covenant of salvation, or a covenant 
proposing terms of eternal salvation. The sacraments are 
seals of such a covenant : They are seals of the A'eiv Testa- 
ment in Christ's Shod, Matth. xxvi. 28. Luke, xxii 28, a testa- 
ment ivhich has better promises than the old, Heb. viii. 6, and 
which the apostle tells us, " makes us heirs of the eternal in- 
heritance," Ilcb. ix. 15. Mr. Williams himself speaks of 
the covenant sealed in baptism, as " the covenant proposing 
terms of salvation " V.1Z. So he speaks of the covenant en- 
tered into by a visible people, as the covenant " in which God 


offers everlasting happiness/' P. 24, 25. But there is no 
ether religion^ no other sincerity, belonging to this cov- 
enant of salvation,, but tlwit which accomfianies salvation^ or is 
saving religion and sincerity. As it is written, Psal. li. 6. 
<* Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts." 

There is such a thing, as what may be called a moral sinceri- 
ty, in distinction from saving, in many moral things ; as in lov- 
ing our friends aiid neighbors, in loving our country, in choos- 
ing the Protestant religion before the Popish, in a conscien- 
tious care to do many duties, in being willing to take a great 
deal of pains in religion, in being sorry for the commission 
of such and such acts of wickedness, &c. But there are some 
duties, whiehr unless they ai'e done with a gracious sincerity^ 
they cannot be done at alU As Mr. Stoddard observes. Safety 
of Afi. p. 216. " There are some duties which cannot be done 
but from a gracious respect to God." Thus there is but one 
sort of sincerity in loving God as God, and setting our hearts 
on him as our highest happiness, loving him above the world, 
and loving holiness above all the objects of our lusts. He that 
does not do these tilings with a gracious sincerity, never re- 
ally doth them, at all : He that truly does them, is certainly a 
godly man ; as we are abundantly assured by the word of God, 
So, there is but one sort qf sincere and cordial, consent to the 
covenant of grace, but one sort oi giving all our hearts to Jesus 
Christ ; which things Mr. WilHams allows to be necessary, to 
come to sacraments. Tliat which a man's heart is full of 
reigning enmity to, he cannot with any reality at all, cordially 
consent to and comply with : But the hearts of unsanctified 
men are full of reigning enmity to the covenant of grace, ac- 
cording to the doctrine of scripture, and according to the doc- 
trine of Mr. Stoddard and Mr. Williams too, as we have seen 

However, if there were any such thing, as a being heartily 
willing to accept Christ, and a giving all our hearts to Christ, 
without a saving sincerity, this would not be a complying 
with the terms of a covenant of salvation. For it is selfevident, 
that it is only something which is saving, that is a compli- 
wee with the terms of salvation. Now Mr. Williams him- 


self often allows (as has been observed) that persons must 
comply with the terms of the covenant of grace, in order to 
conic to sacraments. Yet because he also in effect denies it, 
I shall say something further in confirmation of it. 

(1.) The sacraments are covenant firivilegcs. Mr. Wil- 
liams calls them so. P. 5. Covenant privileges are covenant 
benefits, or benefits persons have a right to by the covenant. 
But persons can have no ri^ht to any of the benefits of a cov- 
cnimt, without compliance with its termn. For that is the very 
notion of the terms of a covenant, viz. terms of an interest in 
the benefits of that covenant. It is so in all covenants what- 
soever ; if a man refuses to comply with the conditions of 
the covenant, he can claim nothing by that covenant. 

(2.) If we consider the sacraments as seals of the covenant, 
the same thing is evident, viz. that a man can have no right 
to them without a compliance with the terms. The sacra- 
ments are not only seals of the offer on God's part, or ordinan- 
ces God has appointed as confirmations of the truth of his cov- 
enant, as Mr. Williams seems to insist. P. 74, 75. For con- 
sidered merely as seals and confirmations of the truih of the 
gospel, tliey are (as miracles and other evidences of the Christ- 
ian religion) seals equally given to Christians, Jews, Deistsy 
moral and vicious, and the whole world that knows of them. 
^Vllcreas, it is manifest, in the nature of the thing, sacraments 
arc seals of the covenant to be aJifUicd to the communicant, and 
of which he is the immediate subject, in a peculiar manner, 
as a jHirtxj in covenant. Otherwise, what need would there 
be of his being one of God's covenant pcofilcj in any sense 
whatsoever ? 

But now it is not reasonable to suppose, that the seal of the 
covenant belongs to any man, as a party in the covenant, who 
will not accept of and comply with the covenant. He that re- 
jects the covenant, and will not comply with it, has no interest 
in it : And lie that has no interest in the covenant, has no 
right to the seals : I'or the covenant, and its seals go together. 
It IS so in all covenants among mankind ; after a man ha« 
con\e into a bargain proposed and offered by anolher,yielding 
to the terms of it, he has a rii^hl to have the baigain sraled 
and confirmed to him as ?<jiart\j in the covenant ; bu: not before. 


Andifwhat the communicaRt does, be a seal on his part al- 
do,as the nature of the thing demonstrates, seeing he is aciive, 
in the matter, and as Mr. Williams seems willing to allow 
p. 75, it will follow, with equal evidence, that a man cannot 
lawfully partake, unless he yields to, and complies with the 
covenant. To what purpose is a man's sealinp; an instrument 
or contract, but to confirm it as his otvn act and c/tf f/,and to de- 
clare his compliance with his part of the contract. As when 
a servant seals his indenture, it is a testimony and ratificaiion 
of his compliance to the proposed contract with his master. 
And if a covenant of friendship be proposed between two par- 
lies, and they both put their seal to it, hereby they both tes- 
tify and declare their mutual friendship. 

It has been already observed, that unsanctified men, while 
such, cannot, with any sincerity at all, testify ^present cordial 
compliance with the covenant of grace : And as they cannot 
do this, so neither can they with any sincerity promise a fu- 
Hire compliance with that covenant. Mr. Williams ofien al- 
lows, that in order to Christian communion men must firomise 
a compliance with the covenant, in its spiritual and saving du- 
ties ; that they tvill believe and repent in the sense of the cove- 
iiant, willingly accept of Christ and his salvation, love him and 
live to him, and will do it " immediately, henceforward, from 
this moment." P. 25, 26, 28 and 76. But how absurd is this ! 
When at the same instant, while they are making and utter- 
tering these promises, they are entirely averse to any such 
thing ; being " then enemies to Christ, willingly rejecting 
him, opposing his salvation, striving against it, laboring to find 
out all manner of difficulties and hinderances in the way of it, 
not desiring it should come yet," &c. which our author, in a 
place forecited, says is the case with all unsa7ictifed Tnen. 

And when unsanctified men promise, that they will spend 
the rest of their lives in universal obedience to Christ, there 
is no sincerity in such promises ; because there is not such a 
heart in them. There is no man but a true disciple of Christ, 
that is willing thoroughly to deny himself {ov him, and follow 
him in a way of obedience to all his commands, unto the end, 
through all difficulties which Christ has given his followers 


reason to expect, or commanded them to prepare for ; as U 
evident by Chrisi's frequent declarations. Luke, xiv. 25. ...33. 
Matth. X. 37, 38, 59, chap. xiii. 44, 45, 46. and many parallel 
places. If an unsanclified man thinks he is wiUing, he does 
not know his own heart : If he professes to be wiilin;;, he does 
not know what he says. The difficulty and cost of it is not 
in his view ; and therefore he has no proper willingness ta 
comply with the cost and difficulty. That which he is wil- 
linc^ for, with a moral sincerity, is somcthini; else that he con- 
ceives of, which is a great deal easier, and less cross to flesh 
and blood. If a king should propose to a subject hb build- 
ing him such a tower, promising him a certain reward. If 
the subject should undertake it^ not counting' the co«/, thinkinj^ 
■with himself that the king meant another sort of tower, much 
cheaper ; and should be willing only to build that cheap one, 
Avhich he imagined in his own mind ; when he would by na 
means have consented to build so costly a tower as the king 
proposed, if he had understood him right : Such a man could 
not be said properly to be willing to comply with liis prince's 
proposal, with any sincerity at all. For what he consents 
to with a moral sincerity, is no; the tliin'^ which the king 

The promises of unsanctified men arc like the promises of 
the man we read of, Luke ix. 57, 58, who suid " Lord 1 will 
follow thee whithersoever thou gocst.** To whom Christ re- 
plied, " The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have 
nests, but the son of man hath not where to lay his head,'* 
AVhcn he made his promise, he probably (luite mistook the; 
thing, and did not imagine, that to follow Christ wherever he 
went, would be to follow him in such poverty and hardship. 
I suppose the rich x^anni^ vmn \\c read of, Mark x. 17, 8cc. 
•might have what is called moral sincerity. But he liad no 
sincerity in the covenant of grace, AVhen ke came to Christ 
to know v.'hat he should do to have eternal ///If, it is probable he 
ignorautly thought himself willing to yield himsell to Christ's 
direction. Vet when it came to a trial, and Christ told him 
htt must go and aell all that lie had and give to the poor^ it prov- 
ed thai he had nu sincerity of willingness at 9^ for any such 


thing. So that it is evident, hor,fever unsanctified men may- 
be morally sincere in some things, yet they have no sincerity 
of any sort in that covenanty of which the sacraments are seals ; 
and that moral sincerity, distinct from gracious^ in this cove- 
nanty is a mere imagination, there being indeed no such thing. 

II. Another argument against this notion of moral sincer- 
ity's giving a right to church communion, is this : A quality 
that is transient and vanishing^ can be no qualification or fit- 
ness for a statiding privilege. Unsanctified men may be very 
serious, greatly affected, and much engaged in religion : But 
the scripture compares their religion to a lamp, not supplied 
with oil, which will go out, and to a plant that has no root nor 
deepness of earth, which will soon wither ; and compares such 
unsanctified men to the dog that will return to his vomit, and 
to the sow, which, though washed ever so clean, yet, her na- 
ture not being changed, will return to her ivallowing in the 

Mr. Williams allows, that persons in order to come to sac- 
raments must have " deep convictions, an earnest concern to 
obtain salvation," &c. Now every one who is in any degree 
acquainted with religious matters, knows that such convictions 
are not wont to last a great while, if they have no saving issue. 
Mr. Stoddard, in his sermon on the danger of speedy degen- 
eracy, p. 1 1, says, <' unconverted men nvlll groiv nvcary of re- 
ligious duties." And our author himself, p. 78, speaking of 
those professors in the primitive churches, that fell away to 
heresy and other witkedness, takes notice that the apostle ob- 
serves, " IT WILL BE so. ...that they which are approved, might 
be made manifest :" And says Mr. Williams upon it, " Evil 
and unsanctified men, by such sins, will discover their hy- 

Now seeing this is the case with moral sincerity and com- 
mon religion, how can it be a qualification for a standing priv- 
ilege ? Nothing can be a fitness for a durable privilege but a. 
durable (jualijication. For no qualification has any fitness or 
adaptedness for more than it extends to ; as a short scabbard 
cannot be fit for a long sword. If a man, going a journey in 
the night, needs a lamp to light him in his way, who will pre- 

416 nEPLY TO VvlLLlAMS. 

tend thai a namin.q; wick \vii}iout oil, \vhich ^vill last but a liiSw 
rods, is fit for this purpose? Or if a man \vcre building an 
house for himself and family, should he put into the frame, 
pieces of timber knoun to be of such a nature as that they 
ivould prrJ)al)ly be rotten in a few months ; or should he take 
blocks of ice instead of hewn stone, because during a present 
cold season they appeared to be hard and firm ; and wiiha! 
should for a covering put only leaves that will soon fade away, 
instead of tiles or shingles, that are solid and lasting^ ; would 
not every spectator ridicule his folly ! 

If it should be said that unsanclified men, when they lose 
their moral sincerity, may be cant out again : This is far 
from helping the case, or shewing that such men were exerjit 
to be admitted. To say, a piece of timber, though not of a 
durable nature, is /it to be put into the frame of a building, 
because when it begins to rot it may be pulled out again, is 
so far from proving that it was ever fit to be put in, that the 
speedy necessity of pulling it out rather proves the contrary. 
If wc had the power of constituting a human body, or it were 
left to us to add members to our own bodies, as there might 
be occason ; we should not think such a member wa« fit to 
be added to the frame, that had already radically seated in it 
a cancer or gangrene, by which it could last but a little while 
itself, and would endanger the other members ; though it 
were true, that when the disease should prevail, there were 
surgeons v. ho might be procured to cut that member off. 

But to consider aliltle further this point oi moral sinceriti/a 
qualifying persons for the privileges of the church, 1 would 
lay down this proposition as a thing of clear evidence : 
Those /icrsoKs have nojitness in themselves to come to the firivi- 
legea qfthe churchy ivhOy if they were knoKvn^ ivould not befit t» 
be admitttd bu others. For to say, they are./?r to be members, 
and Vet not fit to be allowed to be members, is apparently ab- 
surd. But ihcy who have no better fitness than moral sincer- 
ity, if that were knoivn^ would not be fit to be admitted by 
others; as is allowed by Mr. Williams. For he holds, that 
in order to l)c fit to be admitted by others, they must credibly 
appear to them to have something more than moral sincerity, 


even gospel holiness. And it is evident in itself, as well as 
allowed by Mr. Williams that if such were knoivn^ they would 
not be Jit to be admitted, only on their moral sincerity, and 
the profession and promises they make from such a princi- 
ple : And that for this reason, because such a principle alone 
would not befit to be trusted. God himself has taught his 
church, that the religion of unsanctified men is not fit to be 
trusted ; as a lamp without ozV, and a plant without root^i are 
things not to be trusted. God has directly taught his church 
to expect, that such a religion will fail ; and that such men, 
having no higher principle, will return to their wickedness. 
Job xxvii. 8, 9, 10. « The hypocrite. ...will he delight him- 
self in the Almighty ? Will he always call upon God ?" 
Dan. xii. 10. " The wicked will do wickedly." And there- 
fore God does not require his church to accept their profes- 
sion and promises. If he has taught us not to credit their 
profession and promises, then certainly he has taught us not 
to accept them- 

III. Another argument against this supposed rule of al- 
lowing and requiring unsanctified men with moral sincerity, 
to come to sacraments, is this. That rule, which if fully at- 
tended, would naturally bring it to pass, that the greater jiart 
of communicants would be unfits even according to that very- 
rule, cannot be a divine rule : But this supposed rule of 
moral sincerity is such a rule. For if this rule be universal- 
ly attended, then all unsanctified men, who have present con- 
victions of conscience sufficient to make them morally sincere, 
must come into the communion of the church. But this 
conviction and common religion, if it does not issue in con- 
version (as has been observed) commonly vanishes away in a 
short time : And yet still these persons, if not convicted of 
open scandal, are left in the communion of the church, and 
remain there, imthout even moral sincerity. Experience gives 
us abundant reason to think, that of those who some time or 
other have considerable convictions of conscience, so as to 
make them for the present to be what is called morally sincere, 

Vol. I. 3E 


but few arc savingly converted.* And if all these tnust be 
admitted, (as they must, if this rule be fully attended) then 
I heir convictions going away and their sincerity vanishing 
with it, it will hereby be brought about, that the Lord's table 
18 chiefly surrounded with the worst sort of morally insincere 
persons, viz. stupid backsliders, that are in themselves far 
worse than they were before, according to the scripture ac- 
count, Matth. xii. 45, and 2 Pet. ii. 20. And this as the nat- 
ural consequence of the foremcntioned rule, appointing moral 
sincerity to be the qualification for communion. Thus this 
supposed rule supplants its own design. 

IV. Another argument that moral sincerity is not the 
qualification to which God has annexed a lawful right to 
sacraments, is, that this qualification is not at all inconsistent 
with a man's liring at the same time in the most heinous 
wickedness^ in a superlative degree contrary to the Christian 

It was before observed to be a thing evident in itself, and 
allowed by Mr. Williams, That there are some sins, which, 
while wilfully continued and lived in, though secretly, do 
wholly disqualify persons for Christian sacraments, and make 
it unlaivful for men to partake of them. 

Now if it be thus with some sins, doubtless it is because of 
the heinousness of those sins, the high degree of wickedness 
which is in them. And hence it will follow, that those sins 
which arc in themselves most heinous, and most contrary to 
the Christian religion, do especially disqualify persons for 
Christian sacraments, when wilfully lived in. 

Let it therefore now be considered, whether it will not fol- 
low from these premises, That for men to live in enmity 
against God and Christ, and in wilful unbelief and rejection 
of Christ (as the scriptures teach, and as Mr. Stoddard and 
Mr Williams too assert, is the case with all unsanctified men 

* How small a propoilion arc there of the vast multitudes, that in the 
time of the late religious commotion through the land had their conscienc- 
es awakened, who give hopeful abiding cvidcuces of a saving conversion to 
God ! 


under the gospel) wholly disqualifies men for Christian sacra- 
ments. For it is very manifest by scripture and reason, that 
to live in these things is to live in some of the most heinous 
kinds of wickedness ; as is allowed by Calvinistic divines in 
general, and by Mr. Stoddard in particular, who says, Saf. of 
Afi. p. 224. " You cannot anger God more by any thing, than 
by continuing in the neglect of Christ. This is the great 
controversy God has with sinners ; not that they have been 
guilty of these and those particular transgressions, but that 
they abide in the rejection of the gospel." Again he says. 
Ibid. p. 249. " The great sin, that God is angry with you for 
is your unbelief. Despising the gospel is the great provoking 

A man's continuing in hatred of his brother, especially a 
fellow communicant, is generally allowed to be a thing that 
disqualifies for communion : The apostle compares it to 
leaven in the passover, 1 Cor. v. 6, 7, 8. But now certainly 
it is as bad, and as contrary to the nature and design of Christ- 
ian sacraments, for a man to live in hatred of Christ, and to 
remain a hateful and accursed enemy (if I may use Mr. Wil- 
liams's own language) to the glorious Redeemer and head of 
the Christian church. 

None will deny that lying and perjury are very gross and 
heinous sins, and (if known) very scandalous ; and therefore 
it follows from what was observed before, that such sins, if 
lived in, though secretly, do disqualify persons for Christian 
sacraments in God's sight. But by our author's own account, 
all unsanctified men that partake of the Lord's supper, live in 
lying and perjury y and go on to renew these crimes continual- 
ly J inasmuch as while they continue ungodly men, they live 
in a constant violation of their promise and oath. For Mr. 
Williams often lays it down, that all who enter into covenant 
with God, do promise spiritual duties, such as repentance, 
faith, love, 8cc. And that they promise to perform these 
hencefortuardy even from the present mcment^ unto the end of 
life ; see p. 25, 26, 28, 76. And that they do not only prom- 
ise, but swrar to do this. P. 18, 100, 101, 129, 130, 140. But 
for a man to violate the promises he makes in covenanting 


with God, Mr. Williams once and again speaks of it at iyin^. 
p. 24, 130. And if so, doubllcss their breaking the oath they 
swear to God, is /lerjury. Now lying to men is bad ; but ly- 
ing to God is worse. Acts v. 4. And, without doubt, perjury 
towards God is the woist sort of perjury. But if unsanctiRed 
men, when they entered into covenant with God, promised 
and swore, that they would immediately and hencefortvard ac- 
cept of Christ as their Saviour, and love him, and live to him ; 
then while they continue in a wilful rejection of him (which 
accordinj^ to Mr. Williams all unregenerate men do) they 
live continually in the violation of their promise and oath.* 

♦ Here I would observe, thatnot only in the general do unsanctified men, 
notwithstanding their moral sincerity, thus live in the most heinous wicked- 
ness ; but particularly, according to Mr Williams's own doctrine, their very 
attendance on the outward ordinances and duties of worships is ihtviUsty most 
Jlagrant, and abominable impiety In his sermon^on Christ a King and Witness, 
p. 77, 78, he says, '• If a man could perform all the outward acts of wor- 
ship and obedience, which the bible requires, from the bcginnmg to the end 
of it, and not do them Uomjaith in Christ, and hue to God, and not express 
by them the th )ughts, desires, and actings of his soul ; they would be so far 
from being that obedience which Christ requires, that they would be a mocking 
tf God, and hateful to him These outward acts ought to be no other, and ia 
religion are designed to stand for nothing else but to be representations of a 
man's soul, and the acts of that : And when they are not so they are in their 
own nature a LIE, and false pretence of something within, which is not 
there : Therefore the Lord abhois them, and reckons these false pretence* the 
vilest wickedness. Now when a man performs, all outward obedience and 
worship, but it docs not come from his heart, he practically denies the om- 
niscience of Chrisi, while he puts before him a shew and pretence of some- 
thing for the reality; and so he belies his own profession. And all this, be 
it more or lest, whatever it pretends to be of religion, instead of being that 
which Christ requires, is entirely different from it, yea, injinitely contrary to it. 
And those same actions, which when they arc in the language of the hearty and 
flow from it, zic pleasing and acceptable to God and Jesus Christ, are true obe- 
dience to him ! when they do not, are reckoned the most flagrant and 
ABOMINABLE IMPIETY, and threatened with the s RV E t ES T damnation 
or HELL." Now, who can believe, that God has, by his own holy institu- 
tion, made that sort of sincerity, which is nothing better than what is consist- 
ent with such a lytng, lile, abominahie, fUgrantly wicked pretence and shew of re- 
ligion as this, the very thing that ;;ivcs a tight, even in his sight, to Christi>u 
lacraments ! 


I would observe one thing further under this head, viz. 
that ungodly men who live under the gospel, notwithstanding 
any moral sincerity they may have, are worse.) and more p.rO' 
voking enemies of God^ than the very heathen^ who never sin- 
ned against gospel light and mercy. This is very manifest by 
the scriptures, particularly Matth. x. 13, 14. Amos iii. 2, 
Rom.ii. 9. 2 Pet. ii. 21. Rev. iii. 15, 16. 

I having suggested concerning Mr. Stoddard's doctrine of 
admitting more unconverted than converted, by attending 
Christ's rule, that this supposes it to be the case of the mem- 
bers of the visible church, that the greater part of them are 
more provoking enemies to God than most of the heathen ; 
Mr. Williams represents himself as greatly alarmed at this : 
He calls it an extraordinary passage, and puts five questions 
about it to my serious consideration. P. 72, 73. The first and 
chief question is this ; « did Mr. Stoddard ever say in the A/i- 
iieal^ or any where else, of most of our fellow worshippers at 
the sacrament, that we have no reason to think concerning 
them, but that they are more provoking enemies to the Lord, 
whom Christians love and adore, than most of the very heath' 
en .?" His three next questions are to represent the hein- 
ousnessof such supposed ill treatment of Mr. Stoddard. ...And 
I think will be sufficiently answered, by what I shall offer in 
reply to the first. 

I will tell him what Mr. Stoddard said. Speaking to such 
as do not^ come to Christ, living under the gospel, he said, 
Safety of Aju p. 234, 235. « You may not think to escape as 
the heathen do : Your load will be heavier and your fire will 
be hotter, and your judgment sorer, than the judgment of oth- 
er men. God will proportion every man's misery to his in- 
iquity. And as you have enjoyed greater light and love, so 
you must expect more amazing and exquisite wrath, than 
other men : Conscience has more to accuse you of and con- 

I might here also observe, that if moral sincerity or common grace gives 
a right to sacraments in the sight of God, then that which (according to Mr. 
Stoddard's doctrine before observed) is a spirit of lusty ihat which is contrary 
to, and at war imth, and would destroy saving grace^ is the thing which gives a 
right, in the sight of God, to Christian sacraments. 


demn you for ; and so has God : And you "will sink down 
deeper into hell, than other men. You are treasuring up a 
greater measure of wrath, than others, against the day of 
wrath. You will wish you had lived in the darkest corners of 
the earth among Scythians and Barbarians." 

And Mr. Williams must allow me to remind him of what 
another divine has said, and that is himself. In his sermon 
on Isa. xlv. U. p. 25, 26. he says, " It is to be feared, there 
arc great numbers here present, that are in an wiconverted^ 
unrenewed^ un/iardoncd state ; strangers from God, and ene- 
mies to him. Yet you now look with great pity and compas- 
sion on that poor cajiti-vc^ for whom we have now been offer- 
ing up our earnest prayers, * who has been so long in so pit- 
iable and sorrowful a condition, and who is now in the thick- 
ness of pofiish darkness and superstition. ...If you arc out of 
Christ, and destitute of true faith in him, if your natures re- 
main unrenewed and unsancti/ied^ what is your state better than 
hers, which looks so sorrowful and distressing ? Rather, is it 
not worse ? When you consider, that in the fulness of the 
means of grace which you have enjoyed all your days, you 
are as far from any saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, as those 
who have lived in the dregs and abyss of pofiish ignorance, 
and know not what to believe, but what the church, that is, 
Antichrist^ tells them. If you die thus, your misery will 
be aggravated inconceivably beyond theirs : Which Christ 
has plainly enough shewn us, when he upbraided the cities 
wherein most of his mighty works were done, and tells them 
how much in the comparison they fall below Tyre and Sidon" 
(heathen cities, notorious for luxury, debauchery, and the 
grossest idolatry) « and Sodom ; for whom it should be more 
tolerable-, than for them." 

The same author says also, even in the book under consid- 
eration, p. 86. " That the unbelief and impieties of visible 
Jtainta, is what they will be punished for above all 7nen in the 

♦ Mrs. Eunice Willams, Wrought up in Canada, among the Oghnawaga 
Indians, sijtcr to the then pastor of the church in Mansfield, where this ser- 
mon was preached, upon a day of prayer kept on her account ; she being th<n 
in that place oa a visit. 


And now, I think it may be proper for Mr. Williams 
himself to answer his 5th question, which he puts to my seri- 
ous consideration, viz. " What honor is it to our Lord Jesus 
Christ, to treat visible saints in such a manner, when at the 
same time it is his revealed will they should be outwardly 
treated as visible saints ?" 


A Fiew of what Mr. Williams says concerning the 
public Co'uenaming of Professors, 

I. MR. WILLIAMS often speaks with contempt, of my 
supposing it to be a duty required of such as come to sacra- 
ments, that they should exfilicitly oivn the covenant^ and dis- 
putes largely against it. P. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 
many other places. He says concerning me, p. 22. " It is 
very unhappy, that this good gentleman should use the scrip- 
ture in such a manner, to prove a divine institution which 
never had an existence ; and after all that is said, is but a 
mere imagination and chimera ; it being evident, there never 
was any such divine institution for the church under the Old 
Testament, binding particular persons fiublicly and exfilicitly 
to own the covenant^ in order to their enjoying the outward or- 
dinances of it." However it falls out something happily for 
me, that I am not quite alone in this chimera, but have Mr. 
Williams himself to join me in it ; who abundantly asserts the 
same thing p. 5, 8, 9, and many other places, who uses the scHji^ 
ture i?i the same manner^ and supposes the same divine in- 
stitution ; and who in p. 5, of the treatise in hand, having stat- 
ed the following inquiry, « What is that evidence, which by 
DIVINE APPOINTMENT the church is to have, of the saintshipof 
those who are admitted to the outward privileges of the cove- 
nant of grace ?'* Makes this answer to it: "The scripture 
has determined the matter thus, that the open profession and 


declaration of a person's believing in Christ... .And an hcany 
consent to the terms of the covenant of grace, and engage- 
ment on his part to fulfiil it," Ecc. " is the sole and entire 
ground of that public judgment, which the church is to make 
of the real sainlship of professors." It is manifest, he cannot 
intei>d merely that they should be the posterity of such as ihu4 
owned the covenant, or declared their consent to it, and so are 
looked upon as those that owned the covenant in their ances- 
tors, at the beginning of the covenant line (though some- 
limes he seems to suppose, this is all that is necessary, as I 
•hall take particular notice by and by :) For here he express- 
ly speaks of a /ierso?ial owning the covenant, or the ofien /iro- 
fession and declaratian of a persons^s consent to the covenant. 
And thus he often speaks of the same matter, in like manner, 
s^s ^ personal thing, or what is done by the person judged off 
and received. See p. 10, 31, 32, 33, 34, 73, 84, 139. And in 
the 2d page of his preface, he declares himself fully establi?^h- 
cd in Mr. Stoddard's doctrine concerning this affair of qualifi- 
cations for the Lord's supper ; who expressly declares it to 
be his judgment, that " it is requisite, that persons be not ad- 
mitted unto communion in the Lord's supper, without mak- 
ing a PERSONAL and public profession of their faith and re- 
pentance." appeal, p. 93, 94. 

And as Mr. Williams holds that there must he a public^ per- 
sonal ownint^'' the covenant ; so he also mamtains, that this pro- 
fession must be explicit, or express. He says p. 20. " Since 
we have no direction in the bible, at what time, nor in what 
manner any persofial, explicit covenanting should be perform- 
ed... .It appears plain to a demonstration, that the people knew 
nothing of any such institution ; as I suppose, the Chribtian 
church did until Mr. Edwards discovered it." But if I was 
the first discoverer he s*liould have owned, that since I have 
have discovered it, he himself and all my opposers have seen 
cause to follow mc and receive my dicovcry. For so the 
case seems to be, if he gives us a true account (in p. 152) 
where he rejects, with indii^nation, the imputation of any oili- 
er opinion. " How often (says he) has Mr. E(l»vards said 
none but visible saints are to be admitted ? Do not .\ll Mr. 


"Edwards's opposers say, that no man is to be admitted, who 
does not profess his hearty belief of the gospel, and the earn- 
est and sincere purpose of his heart, so far as he knows it, to 
obey all God's commands, and keep his covenant ? None, 
who do not make as full and express a profession as the Is- 
raelites did, or was ever required by Chiist or his apostles, 
in any instances that can be produced in the bible, of bodies of 
tnen or particular persons* admission into visible covenant with 
God ?" He had before spoken of the words which the Israel- 
ites used in their entering into covenant ivith God^ p. 5, which 
must refer to their entering into covenant in the rjilderness ; 
for we have no account of any words at all, used by that na- 
tion, at their entering- into covenant^ if not there. And this he 
sometimes speaks of as the covenant they made, when God 
took them into covenant, p. 8, 36, 37. And p. 20, he allows 
that to be an instance of exfilicit covenanting : But ridicules 
my pretending to shew, that explicit covenanting was a divine 
institution for all ; when, he says, we have an account of but 
four instances of any explicit covenanting with God by the 
Jews, and those on most extraordinary occasions, and by the 
body of the people. But what matter is it, whether there 
•V^ere four, or but two, or only that one instance in the wilder- 
ness? When he himself with such earnestness declares, that all 
my opposers hold, every man must make as full and express 
a profession of the covenant as ever the Israelites did, or 
was ever required, in any instance that can be produced in 
the bible, whether o{ bodies of men ov particular Jiersons* admis- 
sion, &c. If this be so, and what he said before be also true, 
.then all Israel, even every individual person among them, that 
ever was admitted to the privileges of the church, thoughout 
all their generations, by his own confession and assertion, did 
personally make as explicit a profession of the covenant, as the 
body of the people did in that instance in the wilderness. 
And not only so, but the same must every individual person 
do, that ever comes to sacraments, through all ages, to the 
end of the world. Thus Mr. Williams fights hard to beat 
down himself. But I will not say in his own language, that 
in so doing he fights hard to beat down a poor man of iitra.'V}, 
Vol. L 3 F 


If any shoukl say, that Mr. Williams, when speakinj^ of an 
ex/ire88 fir of c anion ^ does not mean a profession in ivords^ but 
only in actions ; such as an oulward aitendance on ordinances 
and duties of worship : I answer, if such actions are a pro- 
fession, yet certainly they are not an exfirens profession ; 
they are no more tian an impHcit profession. And besides, it 
is very plain, the profession he speaks of is a verbal profes- 
sion, or a profession in ivord.^. Thus p. 36, when describing 
the profession which out^ht to be made, he says, " It is in as 
stroR;j; wouds as were used by any whom the apostles ad- 
mitted." And elsewhere (as was before noted) he often in- 
sists, that a profession should be made in words without any 
discrimination as to their meaning. Which shews, it is a 
profession in words that he designs. And although p. 104, 
he speaks of a performance of the outward duties of morality 
and worship, as the only ivay that God ever afifiointed of making 
real saintship visible : Yet this is only another instance of his 
great inconsisterice with himself ; as appears by what has al- 
ready been observed,and appears further by this, that when he 
speaks of a profession of consent to the terms of the covenant, 
&c. he often speaks of it as a profession which ought to be 
made in order to admission to these ordinances. (P. 5, 10, 35, 
36, 132, and other pi ices.) If so, then how can the attendance 
itself, on these ordinances of worship, be all the profession 
which is to be made ? Must men first come to ordinances, in 
order to admission to ordinances ! And moreover, Mr. Wil- 
liams hitnsclf distin,q;uishcs between engai^ing dud swearing 
to ier/i covenant in the public profession, and attending on the 
ordinances and duties of worship, which he speaks of as bc- 
longinix to \.\\Q,fu{/ibnnit of the rngatrejyirnt and oath. P. 130. 
And lastly I would observe, though it could be consistently 
made out (which it can never be) that Mr. Williams does not 
mean a professing in loordsy it would be nothing to the pur- 
pose. If it be in words, or in other signs which are equiva- 
lent to words and which are a full and express profession (as 
Mr. Williams s.iys) it is exactly the same thing as to my pur- 
pose, mid the consequence of the argument, which was, that 
real godliness must be prufessed. And indeed this very thing 


which I endeavored to prove by all that I said on this head, is 
.expressly, again and again, allowed by Mr. Williams. Yet he 
makes a great ado, as if there was a vast difference between 
him and me in this affair of public covenanting with God ; 
and as though my notions of it were very singular, absurd, 
and mischievous. 

II. Mr. Williams says a great deal in opposition to me, to 
shew that sivcaring by God*s nanie^ swearing to the Zo7-ri',and the 
like, does not mean covenanting with God : But yet in p. 18, 
in the midst of his earnest dispute against it, he owns it. I 
mentioned several scripture prophecies, referring to the Gen- 
tile converts in the days of the gospel, which foretell that they 
should swear by God's na?ne, swear to the Lord of Hosts^ &c. as 
a prediction of the Gentiles fiublic covenanting with God ; us- 
ing that as one thing which confirmed, that this was common- 
ly the meaning of such phrases in the Old Testament. But 
Mr. Williams despises my interpretation of these prophecies, 
and my argument from them. Nevertheless, in his reply, he 
ow^ns the very thing : He in effect owns, that entering into 
covenant, and owning the covenant is what is meant by these 
prophecies ; mentioning this, plainly wiih approbation, as 
the universal sense of protestant commentators. His words 
are, p. 18. "As to all these prophecies, which Mr. Edwards has 
quoted, referring to the Gentiles, and their swearing by the 
name of the Lord, the sense of protestant commentators upon 
them, I think, universally is, that when the gentiles, in God's 
appointed time, should be brought into covoirmt with God, it 
should be as the Jews were, by being persuaded to consent to 
the terms of the covenant of graccy and engaging themselves to 
Gody to be faithful to him, and keefi covenant with him. He 
who heartily consents to the terms of the covenant of grace, 
gives up himself to the Lord, gives the hand to the Lord, en- 
gages to own and serve him ; which is the thing signified in 
all those metaphorical phrases, which describe or point out 
this event, in the Old Testament languap;e.** 

III. Mr. Williams in these last cited words, explains the 
phrase of giving the hand to the Lord, as signifying engaging 
themselves to God in covenant^ and consenting to the terms ofth': 


covenant (as the reader sees) and yet in ihc next paj^e but two, 
lie contemns and utterly disallows my interprctini; the same 
phrase in the same manner. Mr. Williams says, p. 21. "As 
to the words of Ilezckiah, when he called the Israelites to the 
passover, bidding them yield ov give the hand to the J.ord ; and 
in Ezra, they gave the hand to put away their wives ; which he 
thinks to be an Hebrew phrase for entering into covenant, it 
carries its own confutation with it." 

IV. Mr. Williams often speaks of the professions made by 
the ancient Israelites and Jewish Christians, when they entered 
into covenant^^ViiX vcrc admitted into the Church. Whereas, ac- 
cording to the doctrine of the same author, in the same book, 
wc have no account of any profession made by either, on any 
such occasion. For he insists, that the children of such as are 
in covenant, are l>or7i in covenant ; and are not admitted into 
covenant any otherwise than as they were seminally in their an- 
cestors ; and that the profession of their ancestors, at the head 
of the covenant line, is that individual jiroftfiaion^ivhich brings 
them into covejiant. His words are p. 155, 136, " It is one and 
the same individual profession and engagement, which brings 
them and their children into covenant. And if there is one 
instance in the bible, where God ever took any man into cov- 
enant, and not his children at the same time, I should be glad 
to sec it. It is by virtue of their being in covenant, that they 
have a right to the seals. And if the.se children are not cast 
out of covenant by Ciod, their children have as good a 
right to the seals as they had. It is God's will, that his mark 
and seal should be set upon them, and their children, and 
THEIR CHILDREN EoREVER, uDlil God casts them out of cov- 
enant. It is certain, they have an interest in the covenant, and 
they have a right to the privileges of the covenant, so long as 
they remain in covenant ; and that is until God cuts them 
off, and casts them out." 

And accordingly he supposes John the Baptist never inquir- 
ed into the doctrmal knowledge of those he baptized, because 
they r.^eyr alrcadu in covenant ivith God^ and members of his 
visible church, and not yet tnnud out : And he suggests, 
that John knew many of ihcm not to be of a good moral char* 


acter. P. 98. So he largely insists, that the three thoxisand 
Jews and proselytes. that the apostles baptized, Acts ii. were 
not taken into covenant, but only continued in covenant. P. 46, 
47. So he supposes the Eunuch, before Philip baptized him, 
was a member of the church, and in covenant with God. P. 50. 
Though he inconsistently mentions those same persons in the 
2d of Acts, and the Eunuch, as admitted into the church by the 
apostles, and primitive ministers, p. 9, 10, 59. And so p. 8, 26, 
he mentions God's taking nil Israel into covenant : He men- 
tions the iirofession which the Iraelites made, p. 25, and p. 5, 
he speaks of the words which the Israelites used, in their enter' 
ing into covenant with God. And p. 36, 37, he speaks of their 
profession in Moses's time, which God trusted so far as to admit 
them into covenant. Whereas indeed, according to Mr. Wil- 
liams, they were not taken in^ nor did they eriter into covenant, 
neither in the plains of Moab, nor at mount Sinai. He says 
expressly, that they were in covenant before that time, when 
in Ecrypt, being taken in their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacol:), p. 9 1 . But then we read of 720 words, that those pa- 
triarchs used at their entering into covenant. And it will un- 
doubtedly follow, on Mr. Williams's principles, that we must 
go further back still for Israel's being taken into covenant ; we 
must go up even to Adam himself, the first father of mankind, 
who was visibly in covenant, and so his posterity, in the line 
of Noah's ancestors, without the line's being broken by a vis- 
ible cutting off, and casting out by God, as we have ail reason 
to suppose. And after the flood, we have reason to think, 
God had a covenant race continued in Shem's posterity, espe- 
cially in the line of Abraham's ancestors. And though Tcrah, 
Abraham's Father, was tainted with the then prevailing idola- 
try ; yet there is no appearance of the line's being then cut 
(ff, in the way Mr. Williams speaks of, by God's visibly cast- 
int^ him out. On the contrary, God took a special, fatherly 
care of him and his children, in bringing them from Ur of 
the Chaldees, the land of graven images, to Ilaran. Gen. xi. 
"1. And God is called the God of the father of Abraham 
and Nahor, that is, the God of Terah. Gen. xxxi. 53. And if 
it be said, that in Abraham began a new dispensation of the 


covenant ; so that Abraham mipjht properly on that account 
be said to be taken into covenant^ as thouijh his ancestors had 
not been taken into covenant : I answer, the alteration of the 
dispensation was in no nicasure so ji^rcat as that after Christ's 
resurrection and ascension ; and yet Mr, Williams will not 
allow, that the Jewish converts, received in Acts ii. on this 
new dispensation, were any more than contitmed in covmanty 
and in the church. So that, according to Mr. Williams's 
scheme, it mu'^t be Adam's profession of religion that was 
the individual firofession which made all his posterity, in the 
line of the church, even to the Apostle's days, visible saints^ 
or (as he himself explains visible saintship) such as we have 
rational ground to think are real saints, possessed of gospel 
holiness, and on that account have a right to sacraments. For 
so He says it is with the children of them that are in cove- 
nant, and their children, and their children for ever, until cut 
off and cast out by God. 

So that now we have the scheme in a true view of it. The 
Pharisees and Sadducees that John baptized, whom Mr. Wil- 
liams supposes John knew to be not of a good moral character, 
and whose doctrinal knowledge he did not inquire into before 
he baptized them ; because they had before been admitted in 
their ancestors ; even these were visible saints, and such as 
John had rational ground to think had sufficient doctrinal 
knowledge and were orthodox and real saints, having moral 
evidence that they had gospel holiness, because Adam, their 
original ancestor, made a profession of religion, in words of 
double meaning, without any marks of distinction or discrim- 
ination, by which any might know their meaning ! 

And if we should go back no further than Abraham, it 
Avould not much mend the matter ; supposing the case had 
been so, that we had the words of both Abraham's and Adam's 
profession written down in our Bibles : Wlicreas we have 
neither ; no, nor have we the words of the profession of anjr 
one person, cither in the old Testament or New, at their be- 
ing taken into the church, if the things which Mr. Williams 
says arc true ; though he speaks so often of professions, and 


words of professions, and declarations, made on such occa- 
sions, as if we liad an express account of them in scripture. 

V. As our author abundantly maintains, that unsanclified 
men in covenanting whh God, may and do promise the exer- 
cise of saving Faith, repentance, love, 8cc. So he holds, 
that they promise to begin the exercioc of these graces i?nme' 
diately^from this moment^ and to live in them from henceforth^ 
p. 25,26, 28,76. 

Now I desire this matter may be looked into, and thorough- 
ly examined. Not only the holy scriptures, and agreeable to 
them. Mr. Stoddard, and sound divines in general teach us, 
but Mr. Williams himself, maintains, that men who are un» 
sanctified, do for the firesent refuse and oppose these things. 
In a foieci'ed plate of his sermon on Isa. xlv. il, our au- 
thor says, that " Unregeiierate and unsanctified men oppose 
all means for the bringing them to these things, are willingly 
without them, and labor to find out all manner of difficulties 
and hindrances in the way of them ; and if they pray for them, 
do not desire they should come yet, but would stay a while 
longer." Now, how is this consistent with such persons' 
promising with any sincerity at all, that they will comply with 
and perform these things immediately from henceforth without 
staying one moment longer ? If God calls a man this moment to 
yield his whole heart to him in faith, love and new obedience ; 
and if he, in answer to the call, solemnly promises and swears* 
to God, that he will immediately comply with the call, with- 
out the least delay, and does it with any si7icerity inconsistent 
with the most vile perfidy and perjury ; then how does he now 
willingly refuse, oppose, and struggle against it, as choosing 
to stay a nvhile longer ? 

Besides, such promises and oaths of unrcgeneratc men 
must not only be contrary to sincerity, but ytvy presumptuous^ 
upon these two accounts. (I.) Because herein they take an 

* It must be observed, that Mr. WiUlares often speaks of the promise 
wViich an unregenciaie man makes in covenaatins with God as his oatK 
^. i8, 100, toi, 189, 130, 143, 


oath to the Most High, uhich, it is ten thousand to one, they 
will break as soon as tlie words are out of their mouths, by 
continuing sliil unconverted ; yea, an oath which they are 
breaking even while they are uttering it. And what folly and 
wickedness is it lor men to take such oaths ? And how contra- 
ry to the counsel given by the wise man, in Eccl. v. 2, 4, 5, 6 ? 
And to what purpose should ungodly men be encouraged to 
utter such promises and oaths before the church, for the 
church's acceptance ; which arc so far from being worthy to 
be credited, or a fulfilment of them to be expected, that it is 
many thousands, and |>crhaps rhillions of times more likely to 
be otherwise ? That is, it is so much more likely they will 
not be converted the very next mojnent. (2.) When an un- 
converted man makes such a promise, he promises whnt he 
has not to give, or that which he has not sufficiency for the 
performance of ; no sufficiency in himself, nor any sufficiency 
in any other that he has a claim to, or interest in. There is 
indeed a sufficiency in God to enable him ; but he has no 
claijTi to it. For God*s helping a man savingly to believe in 
Christ is a saving blessing- : And Mr. Williams himself owns, 
that a man cannot by promise claim any saving blessings, til! 
he has fulfilled the conditions of the covenant of grace, p. 22, 
28. So that in vain it is said by Mr. Williams, p. 27, »* I 
pray that it may be thoroughly considered what is propound- 
ed in the covenant of grace, and on what stock a man is to 
finish." Meaning (as appears by the sequel) the stock of 
God's sufficiency. To what purpose is this said ? When the 
covenant of grace promises or makes over no such stoci' to 
him who has no interest in the promises of it, as having not 
yet complied with the condition of its promises. Nor does 
an unconverted man promise any thing in a humble depcnd- 
anceon that stock ; no such men do lay hold on God's strength, 
or trust in God's sufficiency : For this is a discriminating 
mark of a true saint ; as our author himself observes, in that 
forecited passage, in his sermons on C'/imr a Kitigand IVitness, 
p. 19. 

I would here take notice of it as remarkable, that though 
Mr. Williams had owned that a natural man can claim no sav- 


ing blessings by God's promise, yet to help out his scheme 
of a natural man's engigin^ and promising, even with an oath, 
the exercises of saving grace, he, (in p. 27, 28, especially, 28) 
speaking of the great encouragement on which unsanctified 
men can promise these things, supposes God has given such 
encouragement xo them who promise and engage themselves 
to God with that degree of earnestness and sincerity which 
he often speaks of as requisite to communion, that we have 
reason to determine that God never will fail of bestowing on 
them saving grace ; so that they shall fulfil their promises. 
I say, he supposes that we have reason to determine this, be- 
cause he himself determines it. His words are these : 
" Though there be no promise of saving good, exclusive of 
faith, yet there being a command ?ind encouragement, there 
are suitable springs of his endeavor and hope, in his engag- 
ing himself to God and casting himself upon his mercy with 
all the earnestness and sincerity he can. God never will be 
worse than his encouragement, nor do less than he has encour- 
aged i and he has said, To him that kath^ shall be given." 

Now, if this be so, and if this will make it out, that an un- 
converted man who is morally sincere may reasonably, on this 
encouragement^ promise immediately to believe and repent) 
though this be not in fiis own power ; then it will follow that 
•whenever an unconverted man covenants, with such moral 
sincerity as gives a lawful right to sacraments, God never 
ivillfail of giving him converting grace that moment^ to ena- 
ble hixn from th^ncefor'ward to believe and repent as he prom- 
ises. And if this be so, and none may lawfully covenant with 
God ivithout moral sincerity (as Mr. Williams also says) then 
it Vv'ill follow, that ne-ver any one person comes, nor can come 
lawfully to the Lord's supper in an unconverted state ; bC'* 
cause when they enter into covenant lawfully (supposing 
them not converted before) God always converts them in the 
moment of their covenanting, before they come to the Lord's 
table. And if so, what is become of all this grand dispute 
aboi't the lawfulness of persons' coming to the Lord's table, 
who have not converting grace ? 

Vol. I. 3 G 

>t3* REPLY to WiLLIAIViS. 

VI. Mr. Williams greatly misrepresents me from time tcf 
time, in representinc^ as thoui^h I had asserted, that " It is 
impossible for an unsanctificd man to enter into covenant with 
God ;" and that those who were unsanctificd among the Is- 
raelites, did not enter into covenant with God ; that the pre- 
tended covenanting of such is not covenanting^ but only lyings 
nvilful lijing ; and that no natural man can own the covenanti 
" But that he certainly lies, knows he lies, and designedly lies, 
in nil these things, when he says thera." P. 26, 22, 24, 31,21. 
AVhereas I never said nor supposed any such thing. 1 never 
doubted but that multitudes of unsanctificd persons, and m all 
ages of the Christian church, and in this age, and here in 
Newengland, have entered visibly, and in profession, int« 
the covenant of grace, and have owned that covenant, and 
promised a compliance with all the duties of it, without 
known or wilful lying ; for this reason because they were de- 
ceived, and did not know their own hearts ; and that they 
(however deceived) were under the obligations of the cove- 
nant, and bound by their engagements and promises : And 
that in that sense, they were God*s covenant people, that by 
their own binding act they were engaged to God in covenant ; 
though such an act, performed without habitual holiness, be 
an unlawful one. If a thing be externally devoted to God, 
by doing what ought not to have been done, the thing devot- 
ed may, by that act, be the Lord's : As it was with the cen- 
sers of Korah and his company. Numb. xvi. 37, 38. 

What I asserted, was, that none could " Profess a compli- 
ance with the covenant of grace, and avouch Jehovah to be 
their God, and Christ to be their Saviour, i. e. that they arc 
so by their own act and choice, and yet love the world more 
than Jkhovaii, without lying or being deceived. And that 
he, who i?s wholly under the power of a carnal mind, which is 
not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be, cannot 
promise to love God with aM his heart and with all his soul, 
without either great deceit, or the most manifest and palpa- 
ble absurdity : Inasmuch as promising supposes the person 
to be conscioub to himself, or persuaded of himself, that he 


has such a heart in him ; because his lips pretend to declare 
his heart, and the nature of a promise implies real intention, 
will and compliance of heart. And what can be more evi» 
dent than these propositions ? Surely they that reject the 
covenant of grace in their hearts (as Mr. Williams owns, all 
unsanctified men do) cannot own it with their lips, without 
either deceiving or being deceived. Words cannot be a true 
signification of more than is in the mind. Inivard covenanting; 
as Mr. Stoddard taught, is by an act of saving faith. (Safety 
•f Afi. p. 85, 86.) And outivard covenanting is an expression 
oi inivard covenanting : Therefore, if it be not attended with in- 
ward covenanting^ it is a false expression. And Mr. Williams, 
in effect, owns the same thing : For he says, p. 21, '^ That 
there is no doubt they who are wilful, obstinate sinners, deal 
deceitfully and falsely Avhen they pretend to covenant with 
God." But so do all unregenerate sinners under the gospel, 
according to Mr. Stoddard's and his own doctrine. And thus 
the very point, about which he contests so earnestly and so 
long, and with so many great words, is in the midst of it ajl, 
given up fully by his own concession. 

VII. Mr. Williams is greatly displeased with my saying 
(as above) that none who are under the power of a carnal 
mind can visibly own the covenant, without lyings or being de^ 
ceived^ &c. And he finds great fault with my gloss on Psal. 
Ixxviii. 36, 37. " They did flatter him with their mouth, and 
lied to him with their tongue :" Which I interpret as though 
they lied in pretending that respect to God, which indeed they 
had not, p. 35 of my Inquiry, But he insists, that what is 
meant is only their " Lying in breaking their promise," p. 24. 
And he insists upon it (as has been observed already) that 
natural men may covenant with God and speak true. But it 
seems he has wonderfully changed his mind of late : For a 
little while ago he declared elsewhere for the very same 
things which he here inveighs against, and spoke of natural 
men*s profession and pretence of respect to God, as being 
actually a lie in its own nature ; and not only becoming 
so by their breaking covenant afterwards. Particularly, it is 


remarkable, he has thus intcrprcled this very text now in (lis- 
pute. In his sermons on C/trint a Xing and Witness^ speak- 
ing of the outward acts of ivorshi/i done by those that do not 
love God nor believe in Christ, he expressly says, p. 77. 
" They are 2/1 tMeir own nature a lie ; a false pretence of 
something within^ that is not there. Sec (says Mr. Williams) 
this interp! elation of it, in Psal. Ixxviii. 34. ...37. They didjiat' 
ter him with their mouths ; thcij lied to him with their tonguesy* 
Sec. (Ibid. p. 74. " Christ's visible church are such as visibly 
and outwardly profess to be his subjects, and act outwardly 
as if they believed on him. But these outward acts in them- 
selves are not that religion and obedience, which Christ re- 
quires ; nay of themselves, they have no religion in them ; 
and Christ has nothing to do with them, but as they are the 
fruits and expressions of the heart, as they are the language 
and index of the n\ind and conscience, and outward declara- 
tions of the inward frame, temper and actings of the soul. 
If they are not so, they are so far from having any religion 
in tlicm that they are hattjtd to him, being only the visible re- 
semblance, the pretence zx^^ feigning of religion ; i. e. they 
are mockery^ hy/wcrisy, falsehood and lies ; and belong not 
to the kingdom of Christ, but of the Devil** Let the. reader 
now compare this with my gloss on the text. 


Thus I have considered the various parts and principles of 
]Mr. Williams's scheme, which are the foundations on which he 
builds all his superstructure, and the ground on which he pro- 
ceeds in all his reasonings, through his book ; and many par- 
ticulars in his answers and arguments have been already con- 
sidered. Mr. Williams says thus, p. 135, " I own, that at 
present I have no more expectation to see the scbeiwe which 


Mr. Edwards aims to establish, defended upon Calvinistic 
principles, than the doctrine of transubstantiation*^ On 
which 1 shall only say, it might perhaps be thought very im- 
periinent in me, to tell my readers what I do, or what I do 
not expect, concerning his scheme. Every reader, that has 
reason enough of his own not to take the big words and confi- 
dent speeches of others for demonstration, is now left to judge 
for himself, whose scheme is most akin to the doctrine of 
transubstantiation^ for inconsistence and self contradiction. 

Nevertheless, I will proceed to consider our author's rea- 
sonings a little more particularly, in the ensuing part. 


Containing some remarks on Mr. Williams's excep- 
tionable Way of f<easoiiing, in support of his own 
Scheme^ and in Opposition to the contrary princi- 


General Obserisations upon his Way of arguing^ and 
answering Arguments; with ^c?;«^ Instances of the 
first Method excepted against. 

MR. WILLIAMS endeavors to support his own opinion, 
and to confute the book he pretends to answer, by the follow- 
ing methods. 

1. By frequently misrefiresenting what I say, and then dis- 
puting or exclaiming against what he wrongfully charges as 


2. By misieprescnlinG^ what others say in their writingb| 
whose opinions he pretends to efffiouse. 

3. By seeming to ofi/iose and confute arguments, and yet on- 
ly sayinj; things which have no reference at all to them, but 
relate etJtirely to other matters, that are altoijelher foreign 
to the argument in hand. 

4. By advancing new and e.rtraordinary notionr, ; which arc 
both manifestly contrary to truths and also contiary to the 
common ajifirchenaions of the Christian church in all ages. 

5. By making use of peremptory and confident assertiongf 
instead of arguments. 

6. By using great exclamation^ in the room of arguing ; as 
though he would amuse and alarm his readers, and excite ter- 
ror in them, instead of rational conviction. 

7. By wholly overlooking arguments, and 7iot answering at 
all ; pretending, thai there is 720 argument, notliing to answer 

when the case is manifestly far otherwise. 

8 By frequently turning off an argument vith this reflec- 
tion, that it is begging the (question ; when there is not the 
least shew or pretext for it. 

9. By very frequently begging the question himself, or do- 
ing that which is equivalent, 

10. By often alleging and insisting on things in which he 
is inconsistent with himself. 

As to X\\Q first of these methods used by Mr. Williams, i. c. 
his misrefiresenting what I .say, and then disputing or exclaim-, 
ing against what he injuriously charges as mine, many instan- 
ces have l)een already observed : 1 now would take notice of 
some other instances. 

In p. 15, he charges me with " affirming vehemently? in a 
number of repetitions, that the doctrine taught is, that 7JO,7;jar*- 
7i( r of/n-etence to any visible holiness is made or designed to be 
made." These he cites as my words, marking them with notes 
of cpiotation. Whereas I never said any such words, nor 
said or thought any such thing, hut. the contrary. I knew, that 
those whose doctrine I opposed, declared that visible holiness 
was necessary : And take particular notice of it (p. 8.) where 


1 say, " It is granted on all hands, that none ought to be ad- 
mitted, as members of the visible church of Christ, but visible 
saints ;'* and argue on this supposition for fifteen pages to- 
gether, in that same part of my book where Mr. Williama 
charges me with asserting the contrary. What I say is, that 
people are taught that they come into the church without any 
pretence to sanctifying grace (p. 15.) 1 do not say ^^ho^t a 
pretence to visible holiness. Thus Mr. Williams alters my 
words, to make them speak something, not only diverse, but 
contrary to what I do say, and say very often ; and so takes 
occasion, or rather makes an occasion, to charge me before the 
"world, with telling a manifest untruth^ p. 15. 

Again, Mr. Williams in answering my argument concern- 
ing brotherly love^ (p. 70, 71) represents me as arguing, 
" That in the exercise of Christian love described in the gos- 
pel, there is such an union of hearts, as there cannot be of a 
saint to an unsanctified man." Which is a thing I never said, 
and is quite contrary to the sentiments which I have abun- 
dantly declared, I indeed speak of that brotherly love, as 
what cannot be of a saint to one that is not apfirehended and 
judged to be sanctified. But that notion of a peculiar love, 
which cannot be to an unsanctified man, or without the reality 
of holiness in the person beloved, is what I ever abhorred, 
and have borne a most loud and open and large testimony 
against, again and again, from the press, and did so in the 
preface to that very book which Mr. Williams writes against. 
In p. 74, Mr. Williams represents me as supposing, 
that in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, both the covenant- 
ing //ar^zV*, viz. Christ and the communicant, seal to the truth 
of the communicant's faith ; or that both seal to this as true, 
that the communicant does receive Christ. Whereas, by me, 
no such thing was ever thought ; nor is any thing s.tid that 
has such an aspect. What I say, is very plain and express, 
(p. 75.) That Christ by his minister firof esses hisfiartofthe 
torvenant, presents himself and professes the tvillingness of his 
heart to be theirs Toho receive him. That oh the other hand, 
the comminncant., in receiving the offered symbols, /n-of esses 
///« fiai't in the covenant., and the luillingncss of his heart to re^ 


crivr Christ who h offered. How different is this from both 
parties sealing to the truth of the communicant's faith ? 

In p. 76, 77 and 80. He greatly misrepresents my argu* 
ment from 1 Cor. y\. 28. *' Let a man examine himself," 
Sec. as though I supposed the Grerk word translated examine, 
must nrfeaaarilij imfily an earaminadon to approbation ; that it 
iigmfica to afifirove ; and that a man* a examination must wrati 
his approving himselj' to //inmrlf to be sanctified. This repre- 
sentation he makes over and over, and builds his answer to 
the argument, upon it ; and in opposition to this, he says, 
(p. 77) " WheiHiver the word means to examine to appro- 
bation, it is not used in its natural sense, but mctonymicuUy." 
Whereas, there is not the least foundation for such a repre- 
sentation : No such thin^ is said or suggested by me, as if I 
supposed that the meaning of the word is to approve.^ or to ex* 
amine to approbation. What I say is, that it properly signifies 
proving or trying a things whether it be true and of the right 
sort^ (p. 77.) And I there, in the same place, expressly 
speak of the word (in the manner Mr. Williams does) as not 
used in its natural sense, but metonymically, when it is used 
to signify approve. So that Mr. Williams's representation is 
not only diverse from, but contrary to what I say. Indeed I 
suppose (as well. I may) that when the apostle directs persons 
to try themselves with respect to their qualifications for the 
Lord's supper, he would not have them come, if upon trial 
they find themselves not qualified. But it would be ridicu- 
lous to say, that I therefore suppose the meaning of the word, 
try or examine, is to approve, when it is evident that the try' 
ing is only in order to knowing whether a thing is to be ap^ 
proved y or di)ia/iproved. 

In p. 98, on the art^umcnt from John's baptism, Mr. 
Williams alters my words, bringing them the better to com- 
port wiih the odious reprcscntalion he had made of my opin- 
ion, viz. tiiat I required a giving an account of expericficesy aft 
a term of communion ; he puts in words as mine, which are 
not mine, and distinguishes them with marks of quotation , 
charging me with representing it as " probable that John had 
as much time (o incjuir/* into their experiences as into their 


doctrinal knowledge." Whereas, iny words are these, p. 101. 
" He had as much opportunity to inquire into the credibility 
of their profession, tts he had to inquire into their doctrinal 
knowledge and moral character." 

In p. 118, and to the like purpose, p. 134, our author repre- 
sents me, and others of my principles, as holding, that the gos' 
pel does peremfitorilij sentence men to damnation for eating and 
drinking without sanctifying grace. But surely Mr. Williams 
would have done well to have referred to the place in my In- 
quiry, where any thing is said that has such a look. For, I find 
nothing that I have said in that book, or any other writing of 
mine,about the gospel's peremptorily sentencing such men to 
damnation, or signifying how far I thought they were expos- 
ed to damnation, or expressing my sentiments more or less 
about the matter. 

In p. 130 and 131, Mr. Williams says, " when one sees 
with what epithets of honor Mr. Edwards in some parts of 
his book has complimented Mr. Stoddard, it must look like a 
strange medley to tack to them....27/«^ he was a weak beggar 
of his question ; a siipjioser of what was to be proved ; taking 
for granted the point in controversy ; inconsistent with him- 
self ; ridiculously contradicting his own arguments" These 
expressions, which Mr. Williams speaks of as tacked to those 
honorable epithets, he represents as expressions which I had 
used concerning Mr. Stoddard : And his readers that have 
not consulted my book, would doubtless take it so from his 
manner of representation. Whereas, the truth is, no one 
of these expressions is used concerning Mr. Stoddard any 
where in my book ; nor is there one disrespectful word spok- 
en of him there. All the ground Mr. Williams had to make 
such a representation, was, that in answering arguments 
against my opinion I endeavored to shew them to be weak 
(though I do not And that I used that epithet) and certainly 
for one to pretend to answer arguments, and yet allow them 
to be strong, would be to shew himself to be very weak. In 
answering some of these arguments, and endeavoring to shew 
wherein the inconclusivcness of them lay, I have sometimes 
taken notice that the defect lay in what is called begging the 

Vol. I. 3 H 


giiestion^ or supposing the thing to be proved. And if I ha3 
said so concerning Mr. Stodda!d*sargumcnts,speakingof them 
as /lis, I do not know why it should be represented as any 
fiemonal reflection, or unhandsome, dishonorable treatment of 
him. Every inconclusive argument is weak ; and the business 
of a disputant is to shew wherein the weakness lies : But t© 
speak o[ argujitents as weak, is not to call men weak. All the 
ground Mr. Williams has to speak of me as saying, that Mr. 
Stoddard ridiculously coVitradicted his civn argutnentsy is, that 
in p. 11, citing some passages out of Mr. btoddard's Jjijiealy I 
use these words ; " But how he reconciled these passages 
with the rest of his treatise, I would modestly say» I must con^ 
fcss myself at a loss.'* And particularly I observed, that I 
could not see how they consist with what he says, p. 16, and 
so proceed to mention one thing which appears tome not well 
to consist with them. But certainly this is not indecently t<» 
reflect on Mr. Stoddard any more than Mr. Williams inde- 
cently reflects on the first reformers, in his answer to Mr. 
Croswell, p. 74, 75, where speaking of their doctrine of a 
particular persuasion as of the essence of saving faith, he says, 
" they are found inconsistent with themselves, and their doc- 
trine lighter than vanity." And again p. 82," if ever (says Mr. 
Williams) any men were confuted from their own conces- 
sions, these divines are." And more to the like purpose. 
Which gives me a fair occasion to express the like wonder at 
him, as he does at me p. 131, but I forbear personal reflec- 

Mr. Williams in the same page, has these words ; " And 
to say, that all unsanctified men do profess and seal their con- 
sent to the covenant of grace in the Lord's supper, when they 
KNOW at the same time they do not consent to it, nor have 
their heart at all in the afi'air, is something ivorse than begging 
the (juestion." That is, as 1 suppose, (the same that he charg- 
ed me with before) telling a manifest untruth. By which he 
plainly suggests, that I have said thus. Whereas I no where 
bay, nor in any respect signify that I supi)ose, all unsanctified 
communicants do know that they do not consent to the cove- 


nant of grace. I never jiiade any doubt, but that multitudes 
of unsanctified communicants are deceived, and think they do 
consent to it. 

In p. 132, he says of me, *• the author endeavors to show, 
that the admitting unsanctified persons tends to the ruin and 
and reproach of the Christian church ; and to the ruin of the 
persons admitted." But how widely different is this from 
■what I express in the place he refers to ? Inq. p. 121. That 
which I say there, is, that " by express liberty given, to open 
the door to as many as please, of those who have no visibility 
of real saintship, and make no profession of it, nor pretension 
to it, is a method which tends to the ruin and great reproach 
of the Christian church, and also to the ruin of the persons 
admitted." I freely grant, and shew abundantly in my book, 
it is never to be expected, that all unsanctified men can be 
kept out, by the most exact attendance on the rules of Christ, 
by those that admit members. 

In p. 136, Mr. Williams, wholly without grounds, speaks of 
irie as representing, that " unconverted men make pretension 
to nothing but what God's enemies have, remaining in open 
and avowed rebellion against him." Whereas, I suppose 
that some natural men do profess, and profess truly, vmiiy 
thingsi which those have not, who are ojien and avowed ene- 
mies of God. They may truly profess that sort of moral sin- 
cerity in many things belonging to morality and religion, 
■which avowed enemies have not : Nor is there any sen- 
tence or word in my book, which implies or intimates the 

In p. 141, Mr. Williams evidently insinuates, that I am 
one of those who," if men live never so strictly conformable to 
the laws of the gospel, and never so diligently seek their own 
salvation, to outward appearance, yet do not stick to speak of 
them, and act openly towards them, as persons giving no more 
public evidence, that they are not the enemies of God and 
haters of Jesus Christ, than the very worst of the heathen." 
But surely every one that has read my book, every one that 
knows my constant conduct, and manner of preaching, as well 
3S writing, and how much I have written, said and done 


against judging and ccnsui in?^ perscos of an externally rnoral 
and religious behavior, must know how injurious this repre- 
sentation of me is. 


Instances of the second thing mentioned as except 
tionahle in Mr, Williams's Method of manag- 
ing this controversy^ viz. His misrepresenting 
ijjhat IS said in the writings of others, that he 
supposes favors his opinion* 

PERHAPS instances enough of this have already been 
taken notice of; yet I would now mention some others. 

In what he says in reply to my answer to the eip;hth objec- 
Hon, he says, p. 108. " Mr. Stoddard does not say, if sanctify- 
ing p^race be necessary to a person's lawful partaking of the 
Lord's supper, then God would have ti;iven some certain rule, 
whereby those who are to admit them, may know wheth- 
er they have such grace, or not." Mr. Williams there inti- 
mates (as the reader may see) as if Mr. Stoddard spake so, 
that it is to be understood disjunctively, meaning he would 
either have given some certain rule to the church who admit 
them, or else to the persons themselves : So that by one 
means or other, the J.ord^s sitfifier mii^ht be restrained to con- 
•certed men. And he exclaims against me for representing as 
though Mr. Stoddard's argument were concerning a certain 
rule, ivhercby thane ni'ho are to admit thejn, may htoiv ni'hrther 
they have grace, (see the foregoing page) and speaks of it as 
nothing akin to Mr. Stoddard's argument. Now let the read- 
er take notice of Mr. Stoddard's words, and see whether his 
argument be not something akm to tins. He says express- 
ly, Jfifical^ p. 75. '^ God does not hind his church to impos- 
sibilities. If he had made such an ordinance, he would give 


gifts to his church, to distinguish sincere men from hypo- 
crites, whereby the ordinance might have been attended. 
The minor is also evident : He has given no such rule to his 
CHURCH, whereby it mriv be restrained to converted men. 
Tins appears, because by the rule that they are to go by, they 
are allowed to give the Lord's supper to many unconverted 
men. For all visible bigns are common to men converted, and 
unconverted." So that Mr. Stoddard in fact does say, <' If 
sanclifving grace be necessary to a person's lawful partaking 
of the Lord's su})per, then God would have given some cer- 
tain rule, whereby the church (those who are to admit ihem) 
mav know, whetlier they have grace, or not." Tiiough Mr. 
Williams denies it, and says, this is nothing akin to Mr. Stod- 
dard's argument ; contrary to the plainest fact. 

In p. 99, Mr. Williams, replying to my answer to the sixth 
objection, misrepresents Mr. Hudson, in the following pas- 
sage. " This [i. e baptism] says Mr. Hudson, makes them 
members of the body of Christ. And as for a particular, ex- 
plicit covenant, besides the general, imposed on churches, I 
find no mention of it, no example nor warrant for it in all the 
scripture." Here Mr. W^iiliams i-j still manifestly endeavoring 
to discredit my doctrine of an cxjdicit owning the covenant of 
grace ; afYd he so manages and alters Mr. Hudson's words, 
as naturally leads the reader to suppose that Mr. Hudson 
speaks against thiS : Whereas, he says not a word about it. 
What Mr. Hudson speaks of, is not an explicit owning the cov- 
enant of grace or baptismal covenant ; but a particular church 
covenant^ by which a particular society binds themselves ex- 
plicitly, one . to another, jointly to carry on the public wor- 
ship. Mr. Hudson's words are, p. 19, "I dare not make a 
particular^ explicit^ holy cove?iant to be the form of a particu- 
lar churchy as this descri/ition seemeth to do ; because I find no 
mention of any such covenant, besides the general imposed 
on churches, nor example nor warrant for it in all the scrip- 
ture." And then afterwards Mr. Hudbon says, " But it is the 
general covenant sealed by baptism^ and not this, that makes 
them members of the body of Christ." Mr. Williams, by 
citing distant passages in Mr. Iludsonj and joining them, in 


his own way, by panicles and conjunctions, wliich Mr. Hud- 
son docs not use, and leaving out these words. ...T'o be the form 
of a fiarticulur churchy as this description srcmrth to </o... .quite 
blinds the miiid of his reader, as to Mr. Hudson's true senso, 
>vhich is nolhinu; to Mr. Williams's purpose. Mr. Hudson 
says not a word here against, or about an cx/iress or exfilicit cov 
enanting'^ or owning the covenant, in my sense : But in other 
places, in the same book, he speaks of it, and for it, as neces- 
sary for all Christians. Thus, in p. 69, " There is one indi- 
vidual, EXPRESS, external covenant ; not only on God's part, 
but also it is one external, visible covenant, on men's part ; 
which all Christians-, as Christians, enter into^ by their pro- 
cessed acceptance, and express restipulation, and promised 
subjection and obedience ; though not altogether in one place, 
or at one time.'* He speaks again to the samu' purpose. 
p. 100. 


Instances of the third thing ohsevoed in Mr, Wil- 
liams's manner of arguing^ viz. His pretending 
to oppose and answer argu?ncnts, by saying things 
ivhich hai^e no reference to the?n, but relate tct 
other matters perfectly foreign to the subject of 
the argument. 

SUCH is his answer, (p. 37) to my argument from Isa. 
Ivi. Particularly from those words, v. 6, 7, " Also the sons 
of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve 
him, to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants. ...even 
them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joy- 
ful in my house of prayer," Sec. Eor I say nothing under 
that argument (as Mr. Williams in his answer presumes) 
which supposes any antithesis or opposition here bctv, ccn the 


state of the Gentiles and eunuchs under the Old TestanienC^ 
and under the g-os/iel, as to terms of accefitance with God : Nor 
any opposition as to a greater necessity of sanctifying graces 
to the lawful partaking of ordinances, under the gospel, than 
under the law ; as Mr. Williams also supposes in his argu« 
ings on this head. But the opfiosition I speak of, as plainly 
pointed forth in the chapter, is this : Thai whereas under the 
law, not only piety of heart and practice were required, but 
something elsc^ even soundness of body and circumcision, it 
is foretold, that under the gospel, piety of heart and practice 
only should be required ; that although they were eunuchs or 
uncircumcised, yet if it appeared that they loved the name of 
the Lord^ Sec. they should be admitted. 

So when I argued, that Christ, in the latter part of the 7th 
chapter of Matth. representing the final issue of things, with 
regard to the \isible church in general, speaks of all as being 
such as had looked on themselves to be interested in him as 
their Lord and Saviour, and had an opinion of their good es- 
tate ; though the hope of some was built on the sand^ and 
others on a rock : Mr. Williams, in his Reply, p. 40, 41, in- 
tirely overlooks the argument and talks about other things. 
He says, " Christ does not fault those that cried, Loj^d, Lordy 
for entering into covenant, but for not keeping covenant," p. 41. 
Here he runs back to another thing, relating to another ar- 
gument, to which this has no reference, which he dwells 
wholly upon ; and says nothing to the argument I use in that 

So in his reply to what I say on the parable of the wheat 
and tares, ip. 98, &c. He has entirely overlooked the argu- 
ment. He says, to vindicate the objection, p. 99, " Which 
we think shows us the mind and will of Christ in this matter 
is, that his servants shall proceed only on certain established 
rules of his visible kingdom, and not upon any private rules of 
judging about them." Whereas, I never said, or supposed, 
that Christ's servants must not proceed on certain established 
rules of his visible kingdom, or that they ought to go upon any 
private rules of judging ; but particularly and largely express- 
ed my mind to the contrary, in my explaining the question < 


And sny, ///</. p. 5, " That it is properly a visibility to llir rye 
o^ ihc public charity, and not of a/zrh-are judi^mein, tliai i-ivcs 
a right to be received as visible saints by the public." And 
repeat the same thipg again, p. 125. 

And as lo w hat Mr. Williams says in this place about ;/i- 
fanta* being- born in the churchy it entirely diverts the reader 
lo another point (which I shall hereafter paiticularly consider) 
■wholly distinct from the subject of the argument ; which is 
about rules of admisairm into the churchy whenever they are 
admitted. If persons are born in the church in complete 
standing, as Mr. Williams supposes, then they are no admit' 
ted at all, but in their ancrstor.9. But houcvcr, the question 
returns, ^vhether ancestors thnt arc iinmnctifird^ can have a 
lawful right to come into the church? Mr Williams holds 
they may. The subject of the argument is about bringing in 
tares into the field, nvhcnever thexj are brought in^ whether 
sooner or later : And vrhelher tares have a lawful right, by war- 
rant from Christ to be in the Jield ; supposing this to intend 
the church of Christ. The argument I produced to the contra- 
ry was, that the tares were introduced contrary to the owner's 
design, through men's infirmity, and Satan's procurement. 
Which argument, being inlirely overlooked by my opponent, 
I desire it may be now particularly considered. 

When the Droit bi ought in the tares^ it is manifest, 1<C 
brought in something that did not belong there ; and therein 
counteracted the oivner of the field, and did it under that very 
notion of crossing his design, jin nievnj (says the parable) 
hath done (his. But how does this consist with the ftxres haf- 
ing a iivfid rights by the owner's warrant and ajjp^'int- 
ment, lo have a standing in his field ? If CnHiar by his in- 
stitution has, in mercy tounsactified men given them a lawful 
right to come into the church, that it may be a means of 
their conversion ; then it is a work of his kindness, as the 
xom-passionate Redeemer of souls, to bring them in ; and not 
the doing of the great enerr.y and destroyer of sonU. If- ihe 
great physician of souls has built his church, us an infirmary 
in compassion to those that are sick, for this end thai ihcy 
m ay. bb brought in r.tid healed there ; shall it be said witU 


surprize, when such are found there, honv came these sick peo- 
ple HERE ! And shall the compassionate physician, who built 
the hospital, make ansv.er, an enemy hath done this ! 

Besides, if Christ had appointed that unsanctified men should 
come into the church, in order to their conversion, it would 
be an instance of the faithfulness of his servants to bring in 
such. But the bringing in tares into the field, is not repre- 
sented as owing to the faithfulness and watchfulness of the 
servants ; but on the contrary, is ascribed to their sleepiness and 
remissness : They were brought in while they sle/it<, who 
ought to have done the part of watchmen in keeping them out, 
and preventing the designs of the subtle enemy that brought 
them in. Perhaps some would be ready to make the reflec- 
tion, that those churches whose practice is agreeable to the 
loose principles Mr. Williams espouses, do that at noon day, 
in the presence of God, angels and men, which the devil did 
in the dead of the night, ivhile men slept ! 

Again, Mr. Williams, in his reply to my argument from 
that Christian brotherly love^ which is required towards all 
members of the visible church, goes entirely off from the ar- 
gument, to things quhe alien from it. His first answer, p. 69, 
is, that " the exercise of this Christian love is not the term 
©f communion or admission into the visible church ;" which 
is perfectly foreign to the business. For the argument re- 
spects the object of this love, viz. visible saints, that are to be 
thus beloved ; and not at all the qualifications of the inherent 
subject of it^ or the person that exercises this love. If they 
that are admitted, are to be loved as true saints^ or for the im- 
mge of Christ appearing in them^ or supposed to be in them (as 
Mr. Williams allows, p. 68) then it will follow that none are 
to be admitted, but such as can reasonably be the objects of 
Christian love, or be loved as true saints, and as those who 
fiave the image of Christ appearing in them. Whether the ex- 
ercise of this love be the term of communion, or not ; yet if 
we are commanded to exercise this love to all that are ad- 
mitted to communion, then it will certainly follow, that some 
reasonable ground for being thus beloved, must be a term of 
•communion in such as are admitted. Te suppose it appoint- 
Voi.. I. 3 I 


cd, tliat Nvc should love all that are admitted as true saints, 
and yet that it is not appointed that such as are admitted 
should exhibit any reasonable giounds for such a love, is 
certainly to ^^upposc very inconsistent appointments.* 

TVIr. WiHiams's second answer p. 70, is no less imperti- 
nent ; viz. " That men's right to communion in gospel ordi- 
nances does not depend upon the corruptions of other men, 
in their forbearing to love them." As if my argument were, 
that unless men are actually loved y as true saints, they have no 
right to communion ! Whereas, the argument was very di- 
verse, viz. That unless men have a ri^ht to be no /c-T'e'c/, they 
have no right to communion. If men have an appearance, to 
reason, of being true saints, they may have a right to be lov- 
ed as true saints, and to be admitted as such ; however cor- 
rupt and void of love other men are : But withodt such an 
appearance to reason, it is no corrufition^ not to love them as 
true saints ; unless it be corrupt, not to act without reason. t 

As to Mr. Williams's third answer, and the misrepresent- 
ations it is built upon, it has already been taken notice of. 

* " The apo?tIcs looked on all those, whom they gathered into churchcj 
or Christian congregations to cat the Lord's supper,as having the truth dwell- 
ing in them ; and so they behoved, every one of them, to look upon one 
another : Seeing they could not love one another as brethren in the truth, 
w ithout acknowledging that truth as dwelling in them. And so we sec the 
apostles, in their writings to the churches, supposing all their membcis ob- 
jects of this brotherly love. Christ's visible church then is the congregation 
of those whom the apostle could call ^\^t. iaxnti and faithful in Christ Jesus.** 
^-Glass^s Nous on Scripture texts. Numb. 3, p. 3a. 

+ A good argument might also be drawn from the corruption of un- 
j,anclified men ; foi that they are all so under the power of corruption, that 
they arc notable to love saints, or any one else, with truly Christian love. 
Agreeable to what Mr Stoddard says in his Three Sermons^ p. 40, *' Men arc 
obliged to love their neighbors as themselves. But no natural men do in any 
measure live up to that rule ; but mm are great enemie) one to another, fiatr- 
ful and fijting one another. Tbcy do but little good one to another : They do 
a great di-al of hurt on^ to another." Now is it reasonable to suppose, that 
such men have the proper qualiGcalions, by divine institution, for a lawfu? 
:ighl to be members of the viiibic family of God ? 


In Mr. Williams's reply to my answer to the Jirst objec 
cion p. 81, &c. he wholly leaves the argument, and writes 
in support and defence of other matters, quite different from 
those which I mentioned, or had any concern with. The ob- 
jection which I mentioned, and which had been much insisted 
on by some against my opinion, was, that church members 
are called discifiles^ or scholars ; a name, that gives us a no- 
tion of the visible church as a school ; and leads us to sup- 
pose, that all who profess that sort of faith and sincerity, which 
implies a disposition to seek Christian learning and spiritual 
attainments, are qualified for admission. But Mr. Williams 
says nothing at all in support of this objection. In answer to 
It, I endeavored to shew, that the name disciples given to 
church members,does not argue that unsanctified persons are 
fit to be members. He says nothing to shew, that it does. 
He says, if it will not follow from Christ's visible church's 
being represented as Christ's school, that it is in order to all 
good attainments ; yet it is in order to all that they have not 
yet attained. Which is nothing to the purpose, but foreign 
to the thing in debate, viz. Whether sanctifying grace is one of 
those things ivhich are not yet attained by those that are lawful' 
ly in the church. He there says nothing to prove, that it is ; 
and especially to prove it from the meaning of the word, dis- 
ciples ; which was the argument in hand. He insists, that 
men may be sufficiently subject to Christ as their master and 
teacher, in order to be in his school or church, without grace : 
But then the thing to be proved, was, that church raembers 
being called discifdes makes this evident, in order to support 
the argument or objection I was upon : Which argument is 
entirely neglected throughout all his discourse under this 

So in his reply to my answer to the 1 1th objcclion, p. 123, 
&c. he wholly neglects the argument, and labors to support 
a different one. I endeavored, without concerning myself 
about the words of any argument in Mr. Stoddard's Appeal, 
to answer an argument abundantly used at Northampton 
against my doctrine, of unsanctified men's not having a right 
to come to the Lord's supper ; which was this, " You may a!=; 


^yell sivy, that unsanclified men may not attend any other duty 
of worbhip ;** and particularly, " you may as well forbid them 
\o /trail}* As for Mr. Stoddard's objection, in these words, 
*' If unhanciified men may attend all other ordinances or du- 
ties of worship, then they may lawfully attend the Lord's sup- 
per ;'* it was an argument I was not obliged to attend to in 
the words in which he dcHvered it, because it was not an ar- 
gument brought against my scheme of things, but one very 
diverse : Since it is not my opinion, that unsanclified men may 
attend " all other ordinances or duties of worship, besides the 
Lord's supper ;" for I do not suppose, such may offer them- 
selves to baptism i which Mr. Stoddard lakes for granted, in 
liis argument. And therefore, what Mr. Williams says in 
support of it, is quite beside the business. As to the argu- 
ment I was concerned with, taken especially from the lawful- 
ness of unsanclified men's /iraying^ to prove, that therefore it 
must be lawful for them to come to the Lord's supper, cer- 
tainly if there be any consequence in it, the consequence de- 
pends on the truth of this supposition, T/iat the same thing' 
nvhich makes it lawful for a man to pray, also makes it laivfulfor 
him to come to the Lord's supjier. And seeing this position is 
proved to be not true, the argument falls to the ground. And 
Mr. Williams's nice observations and distinctions, of a iwn ob- 
stante^ and 2i -simply and /ler 5e, are nothing to the purpose. 

This good reason (with several others) may be given why 
the same that makes it lawful for a man to pray and hear the 
word, will not make it lawful for him to partake of sacra- 
ments, viz. That llie sacraments are not only duties, but cov- 
enant privileges, and are never lawfully given or received but 
under that notion. Whereas it is not so with prayer and 
hearing the word : And therefore they w ho have no interest 
in the covenant of grace, and are in no respect God's cove- 
nant people may lawfully hear the word and pray. But it is 
agreed on all hand*;, that they who are not in some respects- 
God's covenant people, may not come to sacraments : And 
the reason is this, because sacraments are covenant privileges. 
And iJiis same reason will prove ihat none but true Ifelievcr^ 
or those that have saving faith, the only condition of the cove- 


nant of grace, have a ritjht to sacraments. For, as was ob- 
served before, the condition of any covenant is the condition 
of all the benefits or privileges of that covenant. Sec Part 
XL Sec. 8. 


The fourth thing observed tn Mr. Williams's meth- 
od of managing the Contrcoersy^ particularly con^ 
sidered^ viz. His advancing new and extraordi- 
nary notions, not only manifestly contrary to Truth, 
hut also to the common and received principles of 
the Christian Church. 

THUS it is with regard to many things which have al- 
ready been taken notice of. As, that men may be ungodly 
men, and yet truly profess to love God more than the 
world : That men may be professors of religion and have no 
true grace, and yet not be lukewarm, but serve God as their 
only master : That such may profess to be subject to Christ 
with all their hearts, and to give up all their hearts and lives 
to Christ, and speak true, Sec. &c. 

I shall now take notice of another remarkable instance of 
this, viz. That Mr. Williams,an his reply to my argument, 
from the epithets and characters given by the apostles to the 
members of the visible Christian churches, in their epistles, 
represents, p. 56, That there '* is no difference in all the epi- 
thets and characters, which I had heaped up Irom the New 
Testament," from those that are given in the Old Testament, 
to the whole body of the Jewish church ; which he elsewhere 
abundantly supposes to be the whole body of the Jewish na- 
tion ; yea, even in their porst times, until the nation was re- 


jectctl and cast olTby Goi] fron^ bein[^ any lonpjcr his people ; 
as I shall have occasion particularly to observe afterwards. 

That il may be the easier jvuH;cd, how manifestly this is 
contrary to truth, I sliall licrc repeat some rT those epithets 
and chiracters I l^eforc mentioned, which Mr. Williams has 
reference to. This is very manifest concerninj^ most of them. 
But that I may not be tedious, I will now rehearse but a few 
instances, viz. bcinp; " made fice from sin, and bccominc^ the 
servants of rij^ihteoMsness ;" bavinj; " the spirit of adoption ;** 
beinp:*ihe children of Got), heirs of God, joint heirs -with 
Christ ;" beinp: " vessels of niercy prepared unto calory ;'* 
bein'^ such *' as do not live to themselves, nor die to them- 
selves ; hr> live unto the Lord and die unto the Lord ;" and 
-who, *» livinp: and dyinpj are the Lord's ;'* beinp: those that 
have " all thinp;:? for theirs, whether Paul or Apollos, or Ce- 
phas, or the -^vorld, or life, or death, or ihinc^s present, or 
thint^s to come ; because they arc Christ's ;V being: " begot- 
ten throup:h the p;ospcl ;" bcinpj such as " shall judge the 
ivorld ;" being " washed, sanctilied, justified in the name of the 
Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God ;" bcini; " manifest- 
ly declared to be the epistle of Christ, written, not with ink, 
but bv the Spirit of the living: God ; not in tables of stone, but 
in fleshly tables of the heart ;'* being such as '' behold as in a 
t;lass the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same 
imap;e from plory to glory ;*' being " chosen in Christ before 
the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and 
-witliout blame before him in love ; and predestinated unto 
the adoption of children ;" being " scaled by that My Spirit of 
promise ;'* being " quickeneri, though once dead in trcspas- 
cs and sins ;" being made meet to be partakers of the in- 
heritance of the saints in light ;" being *' dead, and having 
their life hid with Christ in God ;" and being tliose that 
«' wlien Christ, who is our life, shall appear, sliall also appear 
with him in glory ; having put off the old man with his deeds, 
and having put on the new man, which is renewed in knowl- 
edge, after the image of him that created him ;" being " be- 
gotten again to a living hope.... to an inheritance incorrupti- 
ble, and undefded, and that fjdcth not away, reserved in heav- 


en for them ; who are kept by the power of Cod Ihrough 
faith unto salvation ; who love Christ though they have not 
seen him ; in whom, thouj^h now ihcy sec him not, yet be- 
lievin;2; they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of «.^Iory ; 
having purified their souls in obeying the truth through the 
Spirit ; knowing him that is from the beginning ; having 
their sins forgiven ; having overcome the wicked one ; hav- 
ing an unction from the holy one,^by which they know all 
things ; who are now the sons of God ; and who, when Christ 
shall appear, shall be like him, because they shall see him as 
he is." 

Now let the Christian reader judge, with what face of rea- 
son our author could represent, as though there were nothing 
in all these epithets and characters, more than used of old to 
be given to the whole nation of the Jews, and that, even in 
limes of their greatest corruption and apostasy, till the nation 
was rejected of God ! One would think, there is no need of 
arguing the matter with any that have read the Bible. 

This representation of Mr. Williams's is not only very con- 
trary to truth, but also to the common stnii merits of the 
Christian church. Though I jirelend not lo be a person of 
great reading, yet I have read enough to warrant this asser- 
tion. I never } et (as I remember) met with any author that 
went the same length in this matter with Mr. Williams, but 
only Mr. Taylor of Norwich, in England, the author that 
lately has been so famous for his corrupt doctrine. In his 
piece which he calls A Key to the Jfiostolic Writings^ where 
lie delivers his scheme of religion (which seems scarcely so 
agreeable to the Christian scheme, as the doctrine of many of 
the wiser Heathen) he delivers the same opinion, and insists 
largely upon it ; it being a main thing he makes use of to es- 
tablish his whole scheme. And it evidently appears in the 
manner of his delivering it, that he is sensible it is exceeding 
far from what has hitherto been the commonly received sen- 
timent in the Christian world. He supposes that as all those 
epithets and characters belong to the whole nation of the Jews, 
even in their most corrupt times, so they btdong to all Christ- 
endom, even the most vicious parti of it; that the most 


vicious men who are baptized, and profess to believe Jesus to 
be the Messiah, are " chosen before the foundation of the 
■world, predestinated accordinir to the foreknowledge of God, 
regenerated, justified, sanctified ciuld;en of Ciod, heirs of 
God, joint heirs with Christ, the spouse of Christ, the 
temple of G(»d, made to sit toc;elher in heavenly places in 
Christ, being the family of heaven, Sec. Sec. And certainly he 
may with as ^ood reason, and with the same reason, suppose 
this of all Christendom, even the most vicious parts of it, as of 
the whole nation of the Jews, however corrupt, till there was 
a national rejection of them. 

Indeed it is manifest there is no other way of evading the 
force of the argument from the epistles, but by falling into 
Taylor's scheme. If his scheme of religion be not true, then 
it is plain as any fact in the New Testament, that all the 
Christian churches, through the whole earth, in the apostles* 
days, were constituted in the manner that I insist on. The 
scripture says ten times as much to demonstrate this matter, 
as it does about the manner of discipline officers, and govern- 
ment of the church, or as it does about the several parts of tiie 
public worship, or about the sanctification of the Christian 


Instances of the fifth and sixth particulars^ in Mr, 
\W\\hm^'*s method of disputing ^'viz. his using con- 
Jident and peremptory Assertions y and great Ex- 
clamations, instead of Arguments, 

WE have an instance of the former^ in his reply to my 
answer to the 1 4th objection, viz. That " it is not unlawful for 
unsanctified men to carry themselves like saints. I objected 
against this, if iliercby be meant, that they may lawfully car- 


ry themselves externally like saints in all respectb, remain- 
ing iin^dly ; and mentioned some things which belontjed to 
the external duty ofi^odly men, which no ungodly man, re- 
maining such, may do. To which Mr. William, makes no 
reply ; but to prove the point Says, " Mr. Stoddard knew, sind 
all divines know, thai the external carriage of some unsancU- 
fied men 2.v, 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 thii 
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' ter- 
ror in his readers, and raise their indignation : Though they 
are perhaps never like to ki\o\w for •^ohat. We have two very 
remarkable instances of this, p. 136 and 137, where lie says, 
" I shall further take notice bf two sxtraordinanj -Mid sur'/nnz- 
htg 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 irreiigion and profane- 
ness) it would have, to shut men out from having anv 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 n^ver 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, 1 do not know. Mr. Williams 
might as well have picked out ahy other sentence through i\Xi 

Vol. I. > K 


the 136 pai^cs of the book, and called it an extraordinary fia.!-* 
sage., and stood astonished over it, and told how he was ready 
to doubt whether it was rightly printed, and what great diii' 
geyice he had used tojindour 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 baptizinp^ children of such as never make any proper 
p ofession 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 ?" 
INIr. 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 wrotig ; and so does /le 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 gos- 
pel 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, obseroed in Mr, 
Williams's ^vay of disputing, viz. His ivholly 
overlooking argument, pretending there is no ar- 
gument, nothing to answer ; ivhen the case is far 

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 


mictions, of receiving the symbols of Christ's body and blood 
when oflTered, 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. E<hvards has Sciid any thing 
to prove the proposition, which is the whole argument offered 
herein proof of the point proposed to be proved, but only 
gives his opinion, 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 signi/icarit ac- 
tions : They are a signification and profession of something : 
They are not actions without a meaning. And all allow, that 
these external actions signify something imvard and sjiiritual. 
And if they signify any thing spiritual, they doubtless signi- 
fy those spiritual things which they represent. But what in- 
ivard thing does the outward taking or accepting the body and 
blood of Christ represent, but the ifiivard accepting Christ's 
body and blood, or an accepting him in the heart ? And what 
fifiintiial thing is the outward feeding on Christ in this ordi- 
nance 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 sfiiritual eating and drinking, as much as 
the outward bread in this ordinance is a sign of sfiiritual 
bread; or as much as the outward dnnk is a. sign of 5/2/r- 
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 aj-e appointed 

* Mr. Stoddard owns, that the sacramental actions, both in baptism and 
the Lord's supper, signify saving fa'th in Chriit. Safety of Ap. p. 170. " By 
baptism is signified our fellowship loith Christ in his sufferings. That is sig- 
nified hereby, that wc have an interest in the virtue of hii sufferings, that his 
sufferings are made over unto us, and that we do participate in the good and 
benefit of them. It was John tfu BaptiiCs manner, betore he baptized per- 
sons, to teach them that they must hchnx on Ch> ist. And the aposiles and 


to be a firofesfiion of bomelhin'^r, but not to be a prolewioii af 
the thitiga they are appointed to aignify^ is as unreasonaljle as 
to say, that certain soiinds or words are appointed to bo a pro- 
fession of something, but not to be a profession of tlic things 
signiti*»d by those words. 

Ac:aiu, Mr. Williams, in his reply to my answer to the sec- 
ond objection^ with like contempt passes over the main argu- 
ment which I offered, to prove that the nation of Israel were 
called Grjd*s jicofile^ and covenant Jicoplc, in another sense be- 
sides a being visible saints. My argument in p. 85, 86, was 
this : That it is manifest, that something diverse from being 
visible saints, is ofien intended by that nation's being called 
God^s pccfilc^ and that that nation, the family of Israel, accord- 
ing to thejles/h and not with regard to any moral and religious 
qualifications, were in some sense adopted by God, to b« his 
peculiar and coveYiant people ; from Rom. ix. 3, 4, 5. " I 
could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren ac- 
cording to the flesh ; who are Israelites ; to whom pertaineth 
tbe adoption, and the glory, and the covemants 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 ances- 
tors; IsratiUea^ according to thejlesh : Inasmuch as the apos- 
tle is speaking here of the unbelieving Jeii'Sy professed unbe- 
lievers, 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 aduit persons but such as professed 
U> believe an (krist, *' he that belicvcth aod U baptized shall be saved. 
Baptism is mentioned as the evidence of f aiik " So conceroing the Lord'» 
supp'T, llnd. p. 122, I 83. '• lu this ordinai^c^ Mfe are invited to put our 
fruj/ ii the dc;»th of Christ. Take % eat : thii is my body ; and drink y< all 0/ >!. 
When the body fec<ls on the sacramcnul bread and v^ioe, th^ ioulis to do that 
Tuhiih amwcri untoii; The soul is iojud on Christ crucified ; which is noth- 
iogeljc but the acting /uj/A on him." 


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 thino^s, is, " that he had read my explication of the 
" name of the people of God, as given to the people of Israel, 
See. But that he confesses, it is perfectly unintelligible to 
him " The impartial reader is left to judge, whether the mat- 
ter did not require some other answer. 


JFhat is, and ijohat is not begging the question ; and 
how Mt\ 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 ivith 
begging the question, while he frequently begs the question him' 
self, 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, 

L 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. 


One point \^ provcil by anollicr until. at Icnj^th the mailer ia 
rtduced to a point tliat is su]>ix)sed to need no proof ; cither 
because it is selfcvident, or is a \\un^ ^vherein both parties arc 
agreed, or so clear that it is supposed it will not be denied. 

2. Nor is brgi^ing the question the sanic thing as offering 
a weak argument, to prove the point in qucsiiorj. It is not 
all weak arguing, but one fiarticiilar ivay of weak arguing, that 
is called degging^ the question. 

o. Nor is it the same thing as missing the true guestiorty 
and bringing an argument tlial is impertinent, or hnide the 

But the thing which is called Krgging the nncsti'tn^ is the 
making use of the very point, that is the thing in debate, or 
the thing to be proved, as an argument to prove itself. Thus, 
if we were endeavoring to prove that none but godly persons 
might come to sacraments, and should take this for an argu- 
ment to prove it, that none might come but such as have sav- 
ing faith, taking this for gran'cd ; I should then beg the ques- 
tion ; for this is the very point in question, ^^het!)cr a man 
must have saving faith or no ? It is called begging the ques- 
tion, because it is a depending as it were on the courtesy of 
the other side, to grant me the point in question, without offer- 
ing any argument as the price of it. 

And whether the point 1 thus take for granted, Lc the main 
point in question, in the general dispute, or some subordinate 
point, something under consideration, under a particular ar- 
i':umcnt ; yet if I take this particular point for granted, and 
then make use ef it to prove itself, it is begging the question. 
'J'hus if I were endeavoring, under this general co7:troversy 
between Mr. Williams and me, to prove ihdi /:articuh:r f.ointy 
that we ought to love all the members of the Church as true 
iainfs ; and sho^ild bring this as a ])roof of the point, that we 
ou-]jhl to love all the members of the church as true Chris tians, 
taking tliis for granted ; this is only the same thing, under 
another term, as the thing to be proved ; and therefore is no 
argutr.ent at all, but only l)Cgging the question. 

Or if the point I tints take for granted, and make use of as 
an argument, be neither the general point in cgnlrcversy, nor 


yet the thin?^ nextly to be proved under a particular argu- 
ment ; yet if it be some kno^vn controverted point between 
the parlies, it is begging the question, or equivalent to it : For 
it is bec^ging a thing known lo be in question in the dispute, 
and using it as if it were a thing allowed. 

I would now consider the instances, wherein Mr. Williams, 
asserts or suggests that I have begged the question. 

In p. 30 and 31, he represents the force of my reasoning 
as built on a supposition, that there is no unsanctified man, 
but what knows he has no desire of salvation by Christ, no 
design to fulfil the covenant of grace, but designs to live in 
stealing, lying, adultery ; or some other known sin : And 
then says, " Is it not manifest that such sort of reasoning is a 
mere quibbling with words, and begging the question ?" And 
so insinuates, that I have thus begged the question. Where- 
as I no where say, or suppose this which he speaks of, nor 
any thing like it. But on the contrary, often say, what sup- 
poses an unsanctificd man may think he is truly godly, and 
that he has truly upright and gracious designs and desires. 
Nor does any argument of mine depend on any such supposi- 
tion. Nay, under the argument he speaks of, I expressly 
suppose the contrary, viz. That unsanctificd men who visibly 
enter into covenant, may be deceived. 

In p. 38, Mr. Williams makes a certain representation of 
my arguing from Isa. hi. And then says upon it, " It is no ar- 
guing, but only begging the question." But as has been al- 
ready shown, that which he represents as my argument from 
that scripture, has no relation to ray argument. 

In p. 59, in opposition to my arguing from the cpibtles, 
that the apostles treated those members of churches which 
they wrote to, as those who had been received on a poisiiivc 
judtrment, i. e. (as I explain myself) a proper and afiirmaiive 
opinion, that they were real saints ; Mr. Williams argues, 
that the apostles could make no such judgment of them, witli- 
out either personal converse, or icvelaiion ; unless it be sup- 
posed to be founded on a presumption, (hat ministers who bap- 
tized them, would not have done it, unless they had them- 
selves made si^ch a positive jticlgment concerning their state : 


And then adds these worth, " This may do for this scheme, 
but only it is a bcp^^ing the question." Whereas it is a poi'it 
that never has been in question in tliis controversy, as ever I 
knew, Whether some ministers or churches mipjht reasona- 
bly, and affirmatively suppose, the members o^ othf-r chiirchea^ 
they are united with, were admitted on evidence of proper 
qualifications, (whatever they be, wl^ether common or savini^) 
trustir.c^ to the faithfulness of other ministers and chi'rchcs. 
Besides, this can be no point in question between me and Mr. 
W^illiams, unless it be a point in question between him and 
himself. For he holds, as well as I, persons ou^hi not to be 
received as visible Christians, without moral tnndrncc (which 
is somethinp: positive, and not a mere negation of evidence of 
the contrary) oi gospel holiness. 

In p. 82 of my book I suppose, that none at all do truly 
subject themselves to Christ as their master, but those wiio 
graciously subject themselves to him, and are delivered fiom 
the reip^ning power of sin. Mr. Williams sii|Tp;ests, p. 83, 
that herein I beg the question. For which there is no pre- 
text, not only as this is no known point in controversy be- 
tween the parties in this debate ; but also as it is a point 1 do 
not take for granted, but offer this argument to prove it. That 
they who have no grace, are under the reigning fioiver of sin, 
and no man can truly subject himself to two such contrary 
masters, at the same time, as Chiist and sin. I think this ar- 
gument sufficient to obtain the point, without beg^rintr it. And 
besides, this doctriuc, That they who have no grace do not 
truly subject themselves to Christ, was no point in question be- 
tween mc and Mr. Williams. But a point wherein wc were 
fully agreed, and werein he had before expressed himself as 
fully, and more fully than I. In his sermons on Christ a King 
and Witntfi^i, p. 18, he speaks of" all such as do not depend 
on Christ* believe in him, and give up ihcmselves, and ail to 
him, as not true subjects to Christ ; but enemies to him and 
his kingtlom." We have expressions to the same purpose 
again, in p. 74 and 91, and in p. 94, of the siime book, he 
says, « It is utterly inconsistent with the nature of the obedi- 
ence of the gospel, that it should be ^forced subjection. No 


iHftP is a subject of Christ, who does not make tlie laws and 
i«in of Christ his choice, and desire to be governed by him, 
and to live in subjection to the wiU of Christ, as good, and^/, 
and best to be the rule of his living, and ivay to his /lajipiness, 
A forced obedience to Christ is no obedience. It is in terms a 
contradiction. Christ draws men with the cords of lovcy and 
the bands of a man. Our Lord has hirtiself expressly deter- 
mined this point." There are other passages in the same 
book, to the same purpose. So that I had no need to beg this 
point of Mr. Williams, since he had given it largely, and that 
in full measure, and over and over again, without begging. 

In p. 120, he observes, '^ That to say such a profession of 
internal, invisible things is the rule to direct the church ia 
admission.. ..is to hide the parallel, and beg the question. For 
the question here is about the person's right to come, and not 
about the church's admitting them.'' Here Mr. Williams 
would make us believe that he does not know what begging 
the question is : For it is evident his meaning is, that my 
saying so is beside the question. But to say something beside 
the question is a different thing from begging the question, as 
has been observed. My saying that ?i profession of invisible 
things is the church's rule in admission, is not begging the 
question ; because it is not, nor ever was any thing in ques- 
tion. For Mr. Stoddard and Mr. Williams himself are full in 
it, that a profession o{ invisible things^ such as a believing that 
Christ is the Son of God, &c. is the church's rule. Yea, Mr. 
Williams is express in it, that a credible profession and visi- 
bility of gospel holiness is the church's rule, p. 139. Nor is 
my saying as above, beside the question then in hand, relating 
to the church of Israel's admitting to the priesthood, those 
that could not find their register. For that wholly relates to 
the rule of admission to the priesthood, and not to the priests* 
assurance of their own right. For, as I observed, if the priests 
had been never so fully assured of their pedigree, yet if they 
could not demonstrate it to others, by a public register, it 
would not have availed for their admission. 

Again in p. 124, Mr. Williams charges me with begging 
the question, in supposing that wcraments ar« ^utieti gf wor- 

VoL. I. 3 L 


ship, uliosc verv nature and design is an exhibition of those 
titul and active principles and inward exercises, wherein con- 
sists the condition of the covenant of grace. He charges the 
same thing as a begging the question, p. 131. But this is no 
begging the question, for two reasons ; (1.) Because I had be- 
fore proved this point, by proofs which Mr. Williams has not 
seen cause to attempt to answer, as has been just now observ- 
ed, in the last section. (2.) This, when I wrote was no point in 
question, wherein Mr. Williams and I differed ; but whereiu 
we were agreed, and in which he had declared himself as ful- 
ly as I, in his sermons on Christ a King and Witness^ p. 76. 
" When we attend sacraments (says he) we are therein visi- 
bly to profess our receiving Christ, and the graces of his Spir- 
it, and the benefits of his redemption, on his own terms and 
offer, and giving up the all of our souls to him, on his call, 
covenant and engagement." And in the next preceding page 
but one, in a place forecited, he speaks of these acts " as 
mockery, hypocrisy, falsehood and lies, if they are net the 
expressions of faith and hope, and spiritual acts of obedience." 
So that I had no manner of need to come to Mr. Williams as 
a beggar for these things, which he had so plentifully given 
me, and all the world that would accept them, years before. 


Shewing how Mr, Williams often begs the Ques- 
tion hi ?n self. 

THE question is certainly begged in that argument, which 
Mr. W^illiams espouses and defends, viz. " That the Lord's 
supper has a proper tendency to promote men's conversion.** 
In the prosecution of the argument Mr. Williams implicitly 
yields, that it is not the apparent natural tendency alone, that 
is of any force to prove the point ; but the apparent tendency 


under this circumstance, that There is no exfireas firohibition. 
And thus it is allowed, that in the case of express prohibition 
with respect to the scandalous and morally insincere, no 
seeming tendency in the nature of the thing proves the ordi- 
nance to be intended for the conviction and conversion of 
such. So that it is a thing supposed in this argument,^ that all 
morally insincere persons are expressly forbidden, but unsanc- 
tified persons not so. Now when it is supposed, that morally 
insincere persons are expressly forbidden, the thing meant 
cannot be, that they are forbidden in those very words ; for 
no such prohibition is to be found j nor are men that live in 
sodomy, bestiality and witchcraft, any where expressly forbid- 
den in this sense. But the thing intended must be, that they 
are very evidently forbidden, by plain implication or conse- 
quence. But then the whole weight of the argument lies in this 
su/ijiosition^ilrdt unsanctified persons are notalso plainly and ev- 
idently forbidden ; which is the very point in question. And 
therefore, to make this the ground of an argument to prove this 
point,is a manifest ^c-^^m^ Me question. And whatMr.Williams 
says to the contrary, p. 127, that Mr. Stoddard had proved 
this point before, avails nothing : For let it be never so much 
proved before, yet after all, to take this very point and make 
use of it as a further argument to prove itself, is certainly 
begging the question. The notion of bringing a new argument 
is bringing additional proof : But to take a certain point, sup- 
posed to be already proved, to prove itself with over again, 
certainly does not add any thing to the evidence. 

Mr. Williams says my supposing unconverted persons, 
as such, to be as evidently forbidden, as scandalous persons, is 
as much begging the question. I answer, so it would be, if 
I made that point an argument to prove itself with, after Mr. 
Williams*s manner. But this is far from being the case in 

And the question is again most certainly begged, in that 
other thing said to support this argument, viz. '• That though 
the Lord's supper may seem to have a tendency to convert 
scandalous sinners, yet there is another ordinance appointed 
for that. Here the meaning must bc> thai there is anothe* 


ordinance crduaive of the Lord's supper ; olhcr\visc it \t 
nothing to the purpose. For they do not deny but that there 
are other ordinances for the conversion of sinners, who are 
morally sincere, as well as of those who arc scandalous. But 
the question is, Whether other ordinances are appointed for 
their conversion exclimve of the Lord's supper ; or, W^heth- 
er the L(w d's supper be one ordinance appointed for their 
conversion ? This is the grand point in (jue^tion. And to 
take this point as the foundation of an argument, to prove 
this same point, is plainly begging the question. And it '\% 
also giving up the argument from the tendency, and resting 
the whole argument on another thing. 

INIr. Williams again plainly begs the question in his Reply, 
p. 127, that God's prohibition is an argument, that God saw 
there was no such tendency for their conversion. His so 
saying supposes again, that there is no evident prohibition of 
unsanctified persons. In which he again flies to the very 
point in question, and rests the weight of his reasoning up- 
on it. 

Just in the same manner Mr. Williams begs the question 
in espousing and making use of that argument, " That all in 
external covenant, and neither ignorant nor scandalous, are 
commanded to perform all external covenant duties." Here 
it is supposed, that scandalous persons (which, according to 
Mr. Williams's scheme, must include all that have not mor- 
al sincerity) though in the external covenant, are expressly* 
that is, evidi'TUly excepted and forbidden : And that unsanctifi- 
ed men are not also evidently /or bidden ; which is the point in 
question. For if unsanctified men, though in external cove- 
nant, are as evidently forbidden and excepted, as scandalous 
men that are in external covenant, then the argument touch- 
es not one any more than the other. So that the argument is 
entirely a castle in the air, resting on nothing. The grand 
thing to be proved, first taken for granted, and then made an 
argument to prove itself. 

In explaining the nature (j^ ^rif^^ng the question^ I observed, 
that it is begging the question, or equivalent to it, whether 
♦he point that is taken for granted, and made an argument of. 


be the main point in controversy, or some particular, known 
disputed point between the controverting parlies. I will now 
illustrate this by an example. It is a known disputed point 
in this controversy, whether in the parable concerning the 
man without the wedding garment^ the king condemned the 
man for coming into the church without grace. Now sup- 
posing that I, because I look on the matter very clear, should, 
besides using it as one distinct argument, also make it the ba- 
sis of other arguments ; and should use it in opposition to the 
strongest arguments of my opposers, as if it were sufficient to 
stop their mouths, without offering any proper solution of 
those arguments : As, in case I were pressed with the argu- 
ment from the passover, if I should fly to the man without the 
wedding garment ; and should say, it is certain, this argument 
from the passover can be of no force against the express 
•word of God in the 22d of Matth. For there it is filain as amj 
fact that e-oer the sun shone ufion^ that the king condemns the 
man for coming into the church without a wedding garment ; 
and it is plain as the sun at noon day, that the wedding gar- 
ment is grace. And if when the argument from Judas's par- 
taking of the Lord's supper is alleged, 1 should again fly to 
the man without a wedding garment^ and say, whatever reasons 
Christ might have for admitting Judas, yet it is plainly re- 
vealed in Matth. xxli. 12, that God does not approve of men*s 
coming into the church without a wedding gaj-ment. This 
would be an impertinent way of disputing, thus to answer one 
argument by throwing another in the way, which is contested, 
and the validity of which is denied. It is fair that I should 
have liberty to use the argument concerning the wedding gat-' 
ment^ in its place, and make the most of it ; but to use it as the 
support of other arguments, is to produce no additional proof. 
And thus from time to time, to produce the disputed hypothe- 
sis of one argument, for answer to the arguments of my an- 
tagonist, instead of solving those arguments, is flying and 
hiding from arguments, instead of answering them : Instead 
of defending the fortress which is attacked, it is dodging and 
flying from one refuge to another. 


ZMr. Williams acts this part from lime to time m the use 
he makes of his jjjrcat argument from the Old TestamenL 
church and its ordinances. Thus, in p. 8, he takes this meth* 
od to answer my arc^ument from the nature of visibility and 
profession, insisting that the Israelites, avouching and cove- 
nanting was a ihini^ compatible with ungodliness ; which h© 
knows is a disputed point in this controversy, and what I de- 
ny. Again he makes use of the same thing in answer to my 
argument from the nature of covenanting with God, p. 23, 24. 
And again he brings it in, p. 25, 26, answering what I say, by 
confidently asserting that concerning the church of Israel) 
which he knows is disputed, and I deny ; viz. That the cove- 
nanting of Israel did not imply a profession that they did al- 
ready believe and repent : As in these words, " This wa* 
never intended nor understood, in the profession which the Is- 
raelites made ; but that they ivoiild immediately, and from 
thenceforth comply with the terms of the covenant ; and by 
the help of God, offered in it, nvould fulfd it. I am sure, this 
was what they professed ; and I am sure, God declared he 
took them into covenant with him.'* And the same thing is 
brought in again to answer the same argument p. 31. The 
same thing is throw n in, once and again, as an answer to what 
I say of the unreasonableness of accepting such professions as 
leave room to judge the greater part of the professors to be 
enemies of God, p. 34. The same thing is cast in as a suffi- 
cient block in the way of my arguing from the unreasonable- 
ness of accepting such professions, as amount to nothing more 
than lukenvarmneas^ p. 36. The same is brought in and 
j^reatly insisted on, to stop my mouth, in arguing from the 
epistles, p. 56, 57. The same is brought in again to enervate 
my argument concerning hrotlierlu lovc^ p. 69. And this is 
made use of as the supj)ort of other arguments ; as that from 
the name dUci/ilc^^ and about the church's being the school of 
Chriiit ; and to confute what I say, in answer to that argument, 
p. 84. The same is brought in as a support of the eleventh 
objection, and a confutation of my answer to that, p. 125. And 
again, in reply to what I say in answer to the nineteenth ob- 
jection, p. 137. 


Another thing, near akin to begging the question, is rest- 
in.e the weight of arguments on things asserted without proof; 
>vhich. though they do not properly make a part of the con- 
trovtrsy, yet are things not allowed by those on the other 
side. Thus does Mr. Williams in his arguing from the suc- 
cess of the Lord's supper in the conversion of sinners, p. 137, 
138, supposing, not only that the Lord's supper, has been the 
occaffioii of the conversion of many, but that their communis 
catipg was the ineans of it. This he offers nothing to prove, 
and it is not allowed by those on the other side.* And it is 
what would be very hard to prove : If many were converted 
a^ the Lord's table (which yet is not evident) it would not 
prove, that their /2a?*mX7>7^^ was the means of their conver- 
sion ; it might be only what they saw and heard there, which 
others may see and hear, that do not partake. 


Mr, Williams's Inconsistence ix>'ith himself^ in %\)hat 
he says in Answer to my third ami ftjiirth Argu- 
ments, and in his Reply to my Arguments from 
the Acts, and the Epistles. 

THE last thing observed in Mr. Williams's way of disput- 
ing, is his alleging and insisting on things wiserein he is in- 
consistent with himself. His inconsistencies are of many 

* Thus that very eminent divine, and successful minister of Christ, the 
late Dr. Doddridge, in his Sermons on regeneration^ SR|aking of the means of 
regeneration, p 251, 252, says, " I do not mention the administration of 
sacraments, upon this occason ; because, though they have so noble and 
cfFcctual a tendency to improve men's mi^ds in piety, and to promote Christ- 
ian edification ; yet I do not remember to have heard of any instance, in 
v/hich th.y have been the mean<! of men's conversion ; which is not to be won- 
dered at, as they are appointed for a very differcat end." 


gorts : Sometimes he alleges those things thai arc inconsist- 
ent with tlie doctrine of those whose principles he pretends 
to maintain : He ahundanlly urges those things against my 
scheme, which are in like manner against his own : He often 
ar,a:ues against those things which lie allows, and strenuous- 
ly insists on : He denies what he affirms, and affirms what he 
utterly denies ; laying down and urging those things which 
are contrary to what he says in other books; and sometimes 
contrary to what he says in the same book : Yielding up the 
thing wherein the argument lies, yet strenuously maintaining 
the argument ; allowing both premises and consequence, yet 
finding fault, and opposing : Sometimes urging things which 
are contrary to what he says under different arguments ; and 
sometimes contrary to what he says under the same argu* 
ment : Sometimes contradicting himself in the plain sense 
and meaning of what he says ; at other times even in plain 
terms: Sometimes in eU'ecl contradicting himself in the 
same breath, and in the same sentence. 

These various kinds of inconsistences have many of them 
been already observed : And will further appear by a particu- 
lar consideration of what he says on several heads in what 

In my third argument, I insisted, that it could not be much 
to Cod's honor, for men to profess the assent of their juilg- 
ment to the true religion, without pretending to any real 
friendship or love to God in their hearts. Mr. Williams, in 
opposition, p, 34, speaks of it as an honor to God, that secret 
hypocrites openly declare their conviction of the truth of 
God*s word. See. as iJi the multitude of fiiibjecia is the king** 
honor. And yet he himself represents the matter quite oth- 
erwise in his sermons on Christ a King and IVitneas ; there, in 
p. 87, he has these words, " to promote the kingdom of 
Christ, is not to ^ that which may prevail with men lo make 
pretences that ihey are Christians, or that they own Jesus 
Christ as their Saviour, and lo call him Lord, Lord, when re- 
ally he is not so." 

In answer to my fourth argument, p. 35, Mr. Williams 
says, I make " a great misrepresentation of the matter, in in- 


iinuatin^ that accordinc^ to Mr. Stoddard's scheme, [which 
scheme he declares himself to be of] they who are admitted 
make a pretence of no more than moral sinceiity, and com- 
mon p:race." And yet he insists, that when Philip required 
a profession of the Eunuch's fuith, his question designed 
NO MORE than an assent of the understandings p. 51, which he 
there distinguishes from savinc^ faith : And says, that it is 
morally certain that his enquiry a?nounted to no more. And 
yet in his discourse on the came head, p. 49, he inveigh's 
against me for suppossint^ it a consequence of the opinion of 
my opposers, that the Eunuch, in order to come to sacra- 
ments, had no manner of need to look at any such qualifica- 
tion in himself as saviuj^ faith. Certainly the Eunuch, in 
making answer to Philip's enquiry, had no need to look at 
amy more than Philip enquired after. In p. 50. he says, " It 
does not seem at all probable, that Philip enquired any thing 
about the regeneration or sanctification of the Eunuch." And 
yet in the next preceding sentence, he refers me over to an- 
other judgment, for representing as though my opposers sup- 
posed, that it was no matter whether a fierson coming to gospel 
ordiiiances had any grace or not^ and had no manner of need to 
enquire any thing about his sincerity. 

And though he highly blames me for insinuating, as above, 
that my opposers require a pretence of no more than common 
grace aiid moral sincerity ; yet in opposition to my insisting 
on a profession of saving faith, speaking of the profession 
which the apostles required, he says, p. 58. " It is certain, 
that a profession in these words, which was wont to be re- 
quired, does sometimes import no more than a conviction 
of the understanding on moral evidence." So he says con- 
cerning those whose admission into the Christian church we 
have an account of in Acts ii. (p. 45.) " There is not one 
word said about any other faith, but believing that Jesus 
was the Messiah." And if so, then certainly mo more was 

In p. 35, he allows, that all visible saints who are not truly 
pious, are hyfiocrites ; and yet maintains, that the profession 
they make is no more than what thev may make and speak 

Vol. I. :^ M ' 


HONESTLY and TRULY, p. 105 and 47. How then arc they 
all hypocrites, if they are huiestly and truly what they profess 
to be ? 

In supporting the argument from John's baptism, he in- 
sists, that the profession the people made, did not imply, that 
they had savinglu repented : And that John openly supposed, 
that their profession did not imply it, in what he said to them, 
p. 97. And in p. 98, he says, " we read not a word of John's 
enquiring whether these people made a credible profession of 
true pieiy." And he there manifestly suggests, that John 
knew they were not pious, as he knew they were a generation 
ofvifiers. Yet how often elsewhere does Mr. Williams insist, 
that men, in order to come to sacraments, ?}iust make a credi- 
ble profession of true piety and gospel holines