Imatges de pÓgina
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ther seemingly or really opposite to the other, unto fome ferip, tural text, one or more, for evincing the troth thereof: by which means the weakest that is willing, may come to un derstand the moft difficult paradox, or mystery, mentioned in this work ;' at least so far as to see, that every part of it is: founded on the word of God, either directly, or by plain and necessary consequence. Only this general rule is to be ob. served, namely, That the reader always consider what is the subject treated in erery section or stanza; and; this, for the fake of the more illiterate, I shall illustrate by two examples, the one concerning the law, the other concerning the believers. The former you see Part. Ill. sect. vi. line 25

I'm not oblig'd to keep it more ;
Yet more oblig'd, than e'er before..

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Here you are to remark, that as the subject spoke of, is the LAW; fo the law in fcripture is considered two ways, viza. both as a covenant of works, and as a rule of duiy. Now, thao the believer is under no obligation to the law, as it is a coveo want of works, or to perform obedience to it as a ground of justification, (which is also the subject treated in that section), is confirmed in the foot gotes by the following scriptures, to which you are directed by the letter (s), Rom. vi. 14. Gal. V, 1, 1, 3, 4

Where you may see the believers are said to be nos under the law, but under grace.; and exhorted to fand faft in the liberty wherewith Chrift hath made them free; and affured, that Christ is become of no effe & to them, whosoever of them are jufiified by the law; they are fallen from grace.

- Again, that the believer is under more obligation than ever before he was justified, to yield obedience to the law as it is a rule of life, (which is the other branch of that paradox), is confirmed by these following texts of scripture, to which you. are directed by the letter (t), Rom. vi. , 2, 15. where it is. faid, Shall we continue in fin, that grace may abound? God. forbid : how mall we that are dead to fin, live any longer therein? What then? Jhall we firi, because we are not un. der the law but under grace? God forbid.- From which texts, together with their contexts, it is evident, that the believer's freedom from the law as a covenant, does not at all free him from obligation to it as a rule, but fuperadds to the

Cural obligation, that of grace, which both argumentatively and

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effectively teaches what the law does authoritatively and preceptively, namely, to deny ungodliness and worldly lufts, and to live foberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Tit ii. 11, 12.

The other example. I adduce, you may read, Part III. fect. x. line 43. where the words are,

To good and evil equal bent :
I'm both a devil and a faint.

Here the reader may notice, that the subject spoken of, is the BELIEVER, or the faint's old and new man described, (which is part of the title of that section), or considered as to his unregenerate and regenerate part; in which view he is frequently spoke of in fcripture; ex gr. ! John iii. 6, 9. it is faid of the believer, or the person bora of God, that he finneth act, and that he cannot fin, because he is born of God: where he is spoken of as to his new nature, or regenerate part. But, 1 John i. 8. the words are, if we say that we have no sing we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us? where the a-, postle speaks of believers unregenerate and corrupt part. Now, this being the scriptural representation of the believer, the foresaid paradox is easily proven from scripture.

The first branch is, That he is equally bent to good and to evil. For the proof of this, you are directed in the footnote to Rom. vii. 21. where the apoflle Paul, speaking both of his corrupt and renewed part, says, I find a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. And, if you read the preceding and following context, you will find hím complaining how corruption bends him as far one way as grace another.

The other part of the fame paradox is, That the believer is, on these accounts, both a devil and a faint. Now, that the believer is by nature and corruption a devil, is one branch of this pofition here to be confirmed that he is so by nafure, is proven by the following scriptures in the forecited page at the bottom, John vi. 70. and viii. 44. compared ;. where Christ, speaking of fome that were in a natural state, viz. of Judas and the Jews, discovers 'what is the state of all men by nature, that they are of their father the devil, fince the lufts of their father they will do ; and therefore may be

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called c'evils, as our Lord calls. Judas, faying, I have cho. Jen sou twelve, and one of you is a devil. And such are. believers also naturally, as descendants of the first Adam, be. ing, chi dren of disobedience, and cbildren of wrath by na. ture, even as others, Eph. ii. 2, 3. And that the believer is so, not only by nature, but alsa by realon of remaining corruption, is proven at the foot of the same

page,

from James iii. ' §. where that apoftle, speaking of. Atrife aod envy,. that may be even among the children of God, (which indeed has too much taken place in all ages), says, This wisdom do fcendeth not from above, but is earthly, Jensual, devilishi Again, that though the believer be by nature and corruption. a devil, yet he is, by grace and regeneration, a saint, is documented also, in the same page, from 1 Cor. vi. 11. Such, were some of you; but je are sanctified, &c.

In this manner, you may easily go over all the rest of the: paradoxes, riddles, or myfleries, contained in this book, and find then evidently confirmed by the scriptures of truth, the: word of God. This might be no unprofitable exercise, but tend to lead you into the

true koowledge of the Gospel, to. · which mysteries are so effential, that it is designed by them, and called the wisdom of God in a myslers, 1 Cor. ii. 7. ; and the knowledge of which is fo eflential to Christianity, and so abfolutely necessary to salvation, that the fame apostle declares that if our gospel be hid, it, is bid to them that are. 10}}; in whom the god of this world hash blinded the minds. of them which belinie not, left the light of the glorious gospel of Chrif, who is the image of God, should shine unto

them., 2 Cor. vi.

3. Again, if you search the scriptures, 300 will see many more: proofs for every point than I have adduced, and perhaps ma: ny, much more appofite; for these only are set down at thebottom of the page that first occured to me: yet, I supposeg: though sometimes but one, and sometimes more seriptures are, pointed out, they are such as sufficiently. confirm the positions, they relate to. But that other scriptures might have been ad.. duced in plenty, I shall give one instance, in the paradox just now mentioned, viz. 'That exéry believer, while in this world, is both a devil and a fairit; The latter clause is what none. will deny, namely, That every true belierer is a faint ; for, further proof of which, you might see Ads xv. 9. and xxvi.. 18, &c." But because the first claufe may seem more basih,

it may by scripture be also further evinced two ways: ut, In respect of the daily commission of fin he has to challenge him. self with ; for the scripture says, Eccl. vii. 20. There is not a juft man upan. earth, that doeth good and sinneth not. And with this compare 1 John iii. 8. He that committath. jn, is of the devil. Hence it is plain, there is not a juft man upon earth, but may, in respect of the commission of fin, be called a devil. adly, In respect of prevalent temptations, by which he may be hurried into those things that favour not of God, but of men; op which account Christ says to Peter, Matth. xvi. 13. Get thee behind me, Satan. And if Christ calls Peter a devil, whom he had described as a faint of the first magnitude, ver. 17. One divinely blessed aod enlightened; what occafion may every believer have to call himself a devil! Yea, it is a part of his faith and sanctity, to see and acknowledge, with shame before the Lord, his own devilish. and desperately wicked heart and patare;, which a blind, selfconceited world are ignorant of, being neither acquainted with themselves, aor with God and his word. However, so it is that the more any shall search the foriprure, the mores,

hope, will they discern, not only by the texts I have quote ed, but from many others also, the truth and evidence of eve ry part of this book, however mysterious some paflages of it may seem to many

Though some of these lines may want the politeness that can please the curious age, yet, while they stand firm upon a feriptural foundatic», none of them want authority, and that of the highest nature, except in the account of mockers, and those of (whom there are too many in our day) that are either Deists, who undervalue the fcripture, or Atheists, who deride it: and it is fadly to be regretted, that those people are hardened in their wicked principles and practices, by fome that perhaps have a higher profeffion. For, I have seen two prints, one called the Groan and another the Laugh, wherein fome lines, picked out among others, have been exposed to ridicule : but however such gentlemen may laugh at their own sport, and wickedly divert themselves with ferious, matters for a time, I fear their laughing will issue in weeping for eper; if Gud, by giving them repentance do not make them groan to purpose, for the evidence they thus give of either their grievous ignorance of the scripture, or their gross profanity, and of their readiness to yield themselves instruments

of the devil, to promote the Atheistical spirit of the age, which is bent enough (without any such provocations) to laugh at every thing serious, facred, and scriptural. ibis is fo palpable, without my obfervation upon it, and fo felf-esident to all that fear God, and have had the patience to read such prints, that I would not have thought them worth my noticing fo far, as to make this bare mention of them, had not Providence put the.pen in my hand to preface this edi. tion, wherein fcriptural proofs are added to that part of the book.

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Reader, It gives me fatisfaction enough to understand, that this book has already been useful and edifying to some, however it is entertained by others. The gospel itself is to some the savour of life, to others the favoar af death; to fome wisdom, to others foolishness; to fome matter of faith, love, and comfort, to others matter of mockery and scorn. I fall be far from thinking it any discredit or disparagement to this book, if it meet with the like entertainmeni. May the Lord of heaven and earth, who over-rules all things, accompany it, in its journies abroad or at home, with his bielang to many fouls, and to his care I commend it, in the words of a fire mous Scots poet, upon Pfalm xxxv. 1.

Rerum sancte Opefex, ades,

Et patrocinio protege me tur.
Which may be adapted to the matter in hand thus ;

The truth which bell may criticise,
Great Gud, be near to paironize.

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