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of religion; and doubtlefs that is in its proper place: Nor do i fee how they can free themfelves from participation in your fin, till they have admonished you for it, and caufed you to expuga it out of your book.
(6.) That is a fettling of your threfholds by God's threshold: These words you recite from Ezek. xliii. 8. which speak of the idolatrous kings of Judah and Ifrael building temples and altars for their idols, in or near the courts of the temple of God; as the English annotations on the text will inform you; an abomination that defiled God's holy name, a wickednefs not to be named, and for which the Lord confumed them, and calls it whoredom in the next words. Here, fir, you have exceeded all the bounds of fociety and Chriftian charity, and made this circumftantial difference about the proper fubject of baptifm the groffeft heathenish idolatry in the world; and confequently diffolved the bonds of Christian charity, and broken off all communion with us; for with fuch idolaters you ought not to have any communion.
Your more wife and moderate brethren, in the place abovecited, tell us, They are loth hereby to alienate their affections'
or converfations from any that fear the Lord, and are willing 'to participate of the labours of thofe whom God hath endued' ⚫ with abilities above themselves; qualified and called to the mi
niftry of the word; defirous of peace, and not of renewed ⚫ contests hereabout.' This is a language of another air: And if they be (as I dare not fufpect but they are) fincere in that profeffion, they dare not comprobate fuch a defperate and unchriftian cenfure as yours is: If they do, then we may easily guess what our lot and treatment shall be, whenever Anabaptism gets the afcendant in England; we may expect as civil ufage as is due to grofs idolaters, and no better: But I hope better things.
(7.) You fay, that as these things are of highest concernment, fo they ought to be our most ferious practice and endeavour, page 243. ult. Good Lord! whither hath zeal for an opinion tranfported you! Our moft ferious practice and endeavour! Sir, I thought the moft ferious practice of a minifter had been to preach Chrift and falvation to the fouls of men, and not to baptize: I am fure St. Paul reckoned fo; Chrift fent me not to baptize, but to preach; that is, baptifm is not my principal work, or main business. And ver. 14th, he thanks God he had baptized none of them but Crifpus and Gaius. I believe he never uttered fuch an expreffion about his other work of preaching Christ. And for all Christians, I thought the fecuring of their
intereft in Chrift, living in the duties of communion with him, watching their hearts, and mortifying their corruptions, had been the object matter of their moft ferious practice, and faithful endeavour; and not the litigations about baptifm. But I hope these were only inconfiderate expreffions, falling from your pen, whilft you were in a paroxiím of zeal, or a tranfport in the height of a conceited triumph: But whatever was the cause, I am fure you ought to revoke and repent fuch words.
(8.) You wish your testimony rise not up at last as a witness against us. Sir, we do not apprehend any caufe we have to fear your teftimony against us, or feverest cenfures of us, whilst we are fatisfied, that as you neither have the faculty or commiffion to be our judge, fo neither is there any convincing evidence in your reply to our arguments. But I think you have much more caufe to fear, left those arguments should come in at last as a witness against you, who deny and contemn them; when, mean time, you are put to most lamentable shifts, even contradictions, and fomewhat worfe, to escape the point and edge of them.
(9.) To conclude, You tell us, we must not expect the special prefence of Christ to be afforded to us, without our compliance in these points with you.
Sir, we never yet deferted the judgment or practice of infants baptifm, and yet have had (bleffed be Jefus Chrift for it) great and manifold, fweet and figual proofs and evidences of his prefence with us: He hath owned and blessed our ministry to the converfion of many; and there are fome, and those not mean, or few, of our fpiritual children, now in your focieties in England, who have acknowledged us to be the first inftruments of their converfion: The Lord lay it not to their charge, who now defert that miniftry in which they first received Chrift! But as for the departure of his prefence, I affure you, friend, I am more afraid of the rents and divifions you now renew fo unfeasonably among the churches of Chrift, than of any one thing amongst us befide. It grieved my foul to see you, quieta movere, awake a fleeping controverfy, especially in fuch a feason, when we are little more than half delivered from our enemies and dangers; you take us by the heel, as Jacob did his brother, whilft but yet in the birth. Sir, except you return to a more quiet and Christian temper, than you feem here to be in, I am out of hope that ever you and I fhall fee those bleffed days, we have fo often, with pleasure, comforted ourselves with the hopes of. However, extend
your charity (if you have any left) fo far; as to believe that I am one, notwithstanding of all this, that am ftudious of the church's peace, and inquifitive into the rules of duty, not daring to hold any truth of God in unrighteousness; and yet well fatisfied I am, in the path of my duty, wherein, though we cannot walk together, yet I hope to meet you at the end of our way, in our Father's houfe, where perfect light and peace dwells.
And here I had put an end to this debate, had I not received your return to fome of these sheets, whilft the laft of them was under my hand; wherein I only find four things in which I am concerned. In general, you tell me, You are not convinced of any error, by what I have faid.' I am forry to hear it: But confidering the nature of error on one fide, and the difficulty of felf-denial on the other, you have not much deceived my expectation. More particularly,
(1.) You fay, As to your hooking the Sinai covenant into this controverfy, I gave you the firft occafion of it; for when you fhewed me your papers about God's covenant with Abraham, I told you, that you were beft first to try if you could prove the covenant at Sinai to be a covenant of works; forasmuch as our divines are fo far from conceiting the covenant with Abraham to be a covenant of works, that they will not allow the Sinai law itfelf to be fo; and to convince you of it, I lent you Mr. Roberts and Mr. Sedgwick on the covenant, to enlighten and fatisfy you about it: But little did I think you had confideuce enough to enter the lifts with two fuch learned and eminent divines, and make them to follow your triumphant chariot, fhackled with the incomparable Baxter and Allen, Sydenham and Burthogg, like three pair of noble prisoners of war. But whatever was the occafion (fetting afide your fm) I am not forry you have given a fit opportunity to enlighten the world in that point also.
(2.) You seem to fancy in your letter, that I once was of your opinion about the moral law, because you find these paffages in a fermon of mine, upon John viii. 36. " If the Son "therefore shall make you free, than are you free indeed ;”
That the law required perfect working, under pain of that curfe; accepted no fhort endeavours, admitted no repentance, and gave no ftrength.' But finding me here pleading for the law, you think you find ine in a contradiction to that doctrine.
The words I own; the contradiction I pofitively deny ; for I fpeak not there, and here, ad idem; for in that fermon, and in thofe very words you cite, I speak against the law, not as God intended it, when he added it to the promife; but as the ignorance and infidelity of unregenerate men, make it to themselves a covenant of works, by looking upon it as the very rule and reafon of their juftification before God: This was the ftumbling-ftone at which all legal jufticiaries then did, and still do ftumble, Rom. ix. 31, 32, 33. In this fenfe the apostle, in his epiftles to the Romans and Galatians, argues against the law, and fo do I in the words you cite; but vindicate the law in the very fame fermon you mention, as confiftent with, and fubfervient to Chrift, in the former fenfe; and there tell you, • The law fends us to Chrift to be justified; and Chrift fends as
back to the law to be regulated." The very fame double fenfe of the law you will find in this difcourfe; and from the miftaken end and abuse of the law, which the apoftle fo vehemently oppofeth, I here prove against you, that the law in this fenfe cannot confift with, or be added to the promise; and therefore make it my medium to prove against you, that the true nature and denomination of the Sinai law, can never be found in this fenfe of it, but it must be estimated and denominated from the purpose and intention of God, which I have proved to be evangelical. Try your fkill to faften a contradiction betwixt my words in that fermon and this dif courfe.
I know you would be glad to find the fhadow of one, to make fome imall excufe, or atonement for the many faults of that nature you have here committed.
(3.) Your letter alfo informs me, that you hear you are an fwered by one hand already; and, for ought you know, many more may be employed against you, and I for one; and fo we fhall compafs you about like bees.
Reply. I have only feen Mr. Whifton's little book against your brother Grantham, wherein he hath baffled two of your principal arguments; but you only come in collaterally there, and must not look upon it as a full anfwer to your book, but only as a lafh for your folly, en paffant. And for our compaffing you about like bees, methinks you feem to be elated in your own fancy, by the supposition, or expectation, of a multitude of opponents. You know as well as I, who it is that glories in this motto, Unis contra omnes. Sir, I think your mind may be much at reft in that matter. Of all the fix famous adverfaries mentioned in your title page, there are but
wo living and you know, Mortui non mordent; `and of the remaining two, one of them, viz. Mr. Baxter, is almoft in heaven, living in the daily views, and chearful expectations of the faints everlifting reft with GOD; and is left for a little while among us, as a great example of the life of faith. And it is questionable with me, whether fuch a great and heavenly foul can find any leisure or disposition to attend such a weak and trivial discourse as this."
And as for myself, you need not much fear me; I have not, neither do I intend to vibrate my fting against you, unless I find you infecting or disturbing that hive to which I belong, and to which I am daily gathering and carrying honey; and then who but a drone would not sting.
(4.) To conclude: in the clofe of your letter you fall into the former ftrain of love, affuring me, 'That the ancient friendfhip of fo many years, shall still continue on your part.'
Reply. All that I fhall return to this, is only to relate a short story out of Plutarch, in the life of Alexander; where he tells ús, That whilft he was warring in the Indies, one Taxiles an Indian king, came with his company to meet him; and faluting Alexander, faid, What need you and I to fight and " war one upon another? If thou comeft not to take away our water, and the neceffaries of life from us, for which we muft needs fight: As for other goods, if I am richer than thee, I am ready to give thee of mine, and if I have lefs, I will not think fcorn to thank thee for thine.' Alexander, highly pleased with his words, made him this reply; Thinkeft thou, that this meeting of ours can be without fighting? No, no; thou haft won nothing by all thy fair words; for I will fight and contend with thee in honefty and courtesy, and thou shalt not exceed me in bounty and liberality.'
I fay with Taxiles, I had never armed against you, had you not come to take away our water, and the neceflaries of life; I mean, the covenant of God with Abraham, which contains the rich charter of the Gentile believers children, and make it an abolished Adam's cevenant, and told us, that we must come up to the primitive purity in these things; that is, in renouncing it as a covenant of grace, and relinquishing infants baptifm, as grounded thereon."
Sir, were my own father alive, I muft and would oppofe him, should he attempt what here you do. Infant-baptifm, with you is not; fingimg of pfalms, that plain and heavenly gofpel ordinance, with you, is not; and will you take away our