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The grounds of their mistaking are thir,—1. That they confound the decreet of God concerning the last end of man, with the maner of the executioncs of the decrie of the meanes: as, for example, they draw all their objections from the matter of God's treating with the visible Church, wherein God takes up the ridle,1 and seif,s and fynea of his promise and commandments, threatenings, and conditionall offices, [offers ?] and sifts out the man that is his owne, and leaves the rest unexcusablc. They draw out a decreit of this, as if God had been unresolved when he began to speake conditionallie to man—as if there had beine no more determinat concerning the man he had a purpose unto, nor the preacher that must speake to every ane of his auditours; and this error drawes verie deepe, for they make God's decreit, rcducit according to his frie-will, laye God's decreit by, whill man falles in his lappe, and so makes God resigne his Soverainitie—whill the end of the world they make man goc and God to stand by: for man will guyde the matter of his salvation by his frie-will, and so they make God a spectator or a furnisher of directions only as he is called by the man's frie-will. God comes in at frie-will's back and furnishes directions, and friewill determines; and so they give a God-head to frie-will, and make God resigne his Soveraignitie quhill doomsday, and only now coming in at the back of free-will, following the designationes of man.
Ane uther reason of theirs is this,—That they extend the death of Christ only to a possibilitie of the salvation of all men, and to the possibilitie of the salvation of no man—making Christ's death to have the oune operation sufficientlie, if Christ facilitat the way betwixt God and man, howbeit, Christ never got a man saved, nor ever eat the fruit of his laboures; whereas our Lord was never so evill a merchand as to lay downe his lyfe, and never will therefore, nor sick a foole as to make a bargane whilk might be suspended by man's fickle frie-will: who hes that much prudence that he forsee a losse or danger he will govcrne it.
A third errouris this,—That they think God's effectuall working 1 Kiddle. » Sieve. a Refiner.
in the conversion of man cannot subsist with the reservation of the nature of his owne frie-will, even as if the saints in heaven, and the spirits that are perfyted, and Jesus Christ our Lord, in his manhead, had never done, nor could never doe, a turne but of necessitie, and nothing of frie-will; for, except they get this soveraignitie to man's frie-will, if the will of God overrule him, and determine him to doe good, presentlie they cry out, he's destroyed the man's frie-will; as when a man preaches morallie to ane auditour, leaving nothing undone to persuad them by his word, he hes left their freedome never a straw the less.
According to the Popish and Arminian grounds, the man being left standing his alone, he must fall away from grace; for sure Christ hes done all that can be done by a Mediatour, and then only stands besyde as a spectator, (as they say.) I wonder nothmg that they speake of perseverance as they doe; for if the world were left to us our alone, we would fall in the myre; whereas, in the perseverance of the saints, the man and the master goes togither —the debtor and the cautioner goes togither—the captaine and the souldiour goes togither—Christ and the man never sheds j1 and howsoever we grant that without Christ we can doe nothing, and that if there were no more nor our strength, all would goe wrong; yet, with Christ, we are able to doe all things, and bring any thing about that he is to imploy us in.
Thair maine errour is this, (let me speake it with reverence towards your learning,)—not knowing the Scriptures, and the power of God in the matter of the covenant of redemption betwixt God and Christ; yet there is enough of it in the Scripture. They pointed at it themselves, which, if they should have followed, they might [have] sein all their matter in the midst; for the covenant of salvation betwixt God and man is ane thing, and the covenant of redemption betwixt God and Christ is ane uther thing. The covenant betwixt God and Christ was done and endit before ever there was a word of it in the world; but the covenant betwixt God and man is by the meanes of the Mediator, which makes all sufficient,
and he is our strenth and bulwarke; and when all their objections are made, we steppe to our Magna Charta, and where we can get any gripping we hold it fast, to wit—the articles of a superior covenant made by Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocat, in which there are articles contradictorie to all Arminians, that so there shall be no more possibilitie of the breaking of these articles, nor of garring1 God and Christ faill. When ane end of a bridge falles, the uther must fall with it; so when our frie-will is the ane end, and Christ the uther, then must it stand; and heir, I say, is our bulwarke.
Their generall objections are three. The first is, that our doctrine is not good, for we terrifie them, telling them that God has a speciall election and special! reprobation; and our doctrine, say they, is not good for tender consciences that are converted. We desyre no better answer for the tyme, nor retort their objections back againe upon them; and we say that their doctrine is not good for conversion, becaus they keepe the man unhumble and unpenetent. They never gar a man say, "I have no strenth nor abilitie to doe any good to my selfe—Lord amend me!" But they keepe a man from denying himselfe, and how shall he follow Christ? But our doctrine layes man in the dust, and garres him peepe of it: and so our doctrine for conversion is very fitt; and if our doctrine prevaile that farr with any man as to garr him grant that he hes nothing, then presentlie our Lord keepes him, and gives grace to that unworthic bodie. Everie man that takes with his sinfulness, our doctrine pulles that man in the armes of it. I say more: our doctrine drawes any man fra that—" I Avill not be saved albeit God bid me," but garres him either come to a note, or profcssc himselfe to be hypocrite; and for these that are tender and weake, he caries the matter so, that he will not breake the bruised reid, if he grant he hes inlaiked, and would be helped of yow, but if (he would be helped) he keepes him, and proppes him up on all hands. Upon the uther hand, our doctrine will not let a man lay his platt upon Heaven: that is, not in the way to it. It will not let him say he is a bc
1 Making, causing.
liever, except he be labouring to worke by love, and expres his faith be his obedience; and we retort this upon them, for they say it is in the man's power, when, how, and in what measure he will, [to] determine what he pleases; and so a man may say, "I am young, and I may delay till death comes, for it will come not so soone, but I will get halfe an houres advertisement;" and so their doctrine opens a doore to sinning rather then ours.
Now for the grounds. Looke what the Scripture sayes for us, and that will settle the bussines. The last pairt of the 52 chap. Esai—"Behold, my servand shall deale prudentlie; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high." There Christ is called the Father's servand, becaus he was designed to take on our nature, and to bring in the elect children. It is said of him, that he shall deale prudentlie—he shall keepe up the doctrine of electione and reprobation, so that never man shall get the doore dung in his schafts1 that would be in, but does good to all, to the kind and to the unkynd, and layes no stumbling-blockc before them that perisches. No man shall ken the reprobation of any; but election shall have many markes, whereby the man may climb up to the Palace, and by tyme, read his name in the Booke of Lyfe. How will this matter be brought about? His visage was so marred more nor any man. They say that indeed Christ will get a blecked face by the gate[way]; and [if] he get this done, he must waide the glarre2 myre of our sins, and the punishment thereof. Our Lord got his visage marred; but what will be uncertaine of recompence? This it was told him 5000 ycares agoe, that he should be exalted, extolled, and be very high, and that kings should speir for him. Take yow all good heart. The caus that we are about the day, kings shall speir for it, and shall be forced to heare it in due tyme, by Christ's wise bringing about the matter; and becaus men would thinke this universall, he tells, in the beginning of the next chapter, that it was for none but these to whom the Lord's armc is reveilled. The reasons wherefore the reprobates would not believe:—he tells us there are some wicked persons, who, tho' all 1 Violently shut against him. ;Foul.
the miseries were before them, and wer dealt with by never so many arguments to turne from their former wickednes, yet they will not leave their owne wayes, but wilfullie choysc the wayes of death of their owne accord. And (John vi.) our Master telles— "All that the Father hes given to me shall come to me ; and them that come to me I will not cast out, but will raise them up at the last day." He must keepe not only your soules but your bodies, yea, and your very dust, and [ye] shall never be tane aff the hand of the Sone of God till he render up the kingdome to the Father.
Now I will close my speache. By all meanes lett Christ's parte in the Scripture, and the thinges that concerne his kingdome and persone, be better studied by us; lett this covenant, made betwixt God and Christ, and betwixt God and us through Christ, be better studied; for since the whole Eyble takes the denomination from this covenant, it is recommended to us to studie it better, where ye see our Lord hes tane course to make all thinges fast, and hes so wisclie expressed in the Scripture, that no man shall have leave to presume to despair, to be profane or abuse the doctrine of grace upon any just ground.
Now for the theses. They shall be given in write ryplie at a convenient tyme.
1. There is a covenant of redemption betwixt God and the Mediatour, Christ, preceiding the covenant of grace and salvation, made betwixt God and the faithfull man, through Christ, which is the ground of all tins treating that God hes with man in the preaching of the gospcll.
2. In this covenant of redemption, betwixt God and the second persone, designed Mediatour betwixt God and man, the elect wer designed and condescendit particularlie upon their number and names, with their gifts and degrees of grace and glorie to be bestowed upon them, and the tyme and meanes to bestow it was all condefcendit and agried upon.
3. The pryce of the redemption, what and how much should be payit by the Redeemer for the purchase of all these gifts, how lang he should be holden captive of death, &c., all was determined.