Chapter 22

Of the Excellency of Christ, Vindicated from Mr. John Hunt’s Notion of a Sinner’s being too filthy to go to Christ by Faith.

The words of our author are these, “thou mayest {says he} be too filthy to go to Christ by Faith in the State and Condition thou art now in.” {Page 40} As he hath dropped this Expression, so he hath wound it up into the whole appendix of his Infant’s Faith, whither I must retire, to examine his State of the matter in that label. I shall there, after all his noise, meet but with two arguments to dissolve; then I may propose the true State of the case in other answers; and in the next chapter open my own arguments for it out of God’s Word, Rom.15:4, and therein show it to be consistent with his Holiness, and Necessary to his Sacrifice in bearing our Sins. In a third chapter I may propose something from Mr. Hunt’s own notion of Unbelief, and his notion of an Infinite Person, to justify my own State of the matter, and overthrow his Opposition. Lastly, close it with some Objections against Christ’s bearing the filth of Sin, and elect Sinners going to Christ in Pollution, answered and removed, in the 24th chapter.

Before I come to speak of the filth of Sin, I must be fain to stop over and over at all his passes, till the matter is brought down again from himself in another Discourse to the same point in his book. In examining this cause, it will be necessary to call in the most material things, which this writer has urged against it, in the appendix of his Infant’s Faith, and therein show my reader what strength he hath brought forth to serve the interests of the Gospel of Christ by it, and to lay open that strength to be his own weakness, before I do adventure to lay down some of the arguments for it, which the Holy Scriptures do so copiously set forth.

He hath drawn up the State of the question in these words, “a question briefly handled concerning what State or Condition the soul is in, in the very act of Coming unto Christ.” {Appendix to Infant’s Faith, Page 103} For the reader must not wonder at the incogitancy of the man, in running two Distinct Treatises, having no relation in the argument one unto another, into one continuation of pages; when withal we shall find our Author force in two subjects which himself has decided to be both of weighty concernment, in a small Octavo volume, to the no small prejudice of his two confessed weighty concernments; the one is Infant’s Faith and a right to Baptism, the other is the question before laid down; yet both, crammed into no more room than 156 of the narrowest pages; where the bed is also shorter than that either of the arguments can stretch themselves upon it. Whatever it be, we must now take the pages as they lie, and therefore let not the reader think I forget or abuse our Author, Zech.8:16, when I quote the title page of his Question, with this odd formality of page 103, where a man would scarce have thoughts of this new device of numbering the title-page, unless he had been at a loss to find out the true length of his Argument, and to supply the defect, and would make it up by the continuation of the page.

It is far greater odds in the Impertinence {if I may be thought too harsh to call it Profaneness} that when he had acknowledged the matter of this Question, a Deep Mystery, and so weighty a point, {for I give you his words, Rom.16:18;} neither had contended himself with this, but had saluted it with a studious reverence, this turning point of Christianity, this Foundation-stone of all the building {as it seems he was not come up to the Improvements of his Second Book, II Pet.3:16, in the title, Christ the Most Excellent, in his} Infant’s Faith, page 109. He should nevertheless, after all, as with a breath, blow all down again into a nicety. For this deep Mystery too he calls a nicety. “It must needs {says he} be difficult for any, or at least for most to judge of such Deep Mysteries and Niceties upon a transient Hearing.” {Page 108, of the same appendix to Infant’s Faith.} Now what kind of thing a “nicety” is, whether it be a deep Mystery of the Gospel, or no, his Cole’s English Dictionary will tell him.

He hath so imperfectly represented and miserably misstated the State of his Question by ambiguity, Job 33:3, in his phrase of the what State, {at first,} not distinguishing between a State of Unregeneracy, inconsistent with having the Spirit of God, {because in having the Spirit of God the Unregeneracy ceases,} and a State of the soul in Corruption, consistent with having the Spirit of God and Grace; that as a man conscious of having omitted something material in the first wording it, he presently labors under new intricacies in disentangling himself, and therein again puzzles himself and the reader forwards and backwards as to what the Question is not, after he had stated what it was, and then with new labor what it was, after a needless commotion, Tit.1:10, in showing us what it was not. Thus the State of his Answers stand to the aforesaid State of the Question. He had confirmed it to be this, “that Sinners reeking {as he so describes them} in their lusts, must come to Christ as they are.” And he takes it for granted that it was even so; for he lays down four Reasons of his Opposing it in the Solution under that form. “Because {says he} I have been judged erroneous by some {who have been too empty of Knowledge, or full of Prejudice} who have heard me Oppose this Doctrine. {Page 107} “Second Reason for moving me to clear this point, is because ‘tis so weighty a Doctrine, and even the turning Point of Christianity, the Foundation Stone of all the building.” {Page 109} Here he hath jostled out the True Cornerstone, Isa.28:16, to put in this Question for his Foundation Stone. I should be glad if he meant only the Foundation Stone of all the Babel he was building. “Third Reason {says he} because the error I oppose, not only passes for a truth with many, but for such a truth as doth most Magnify the Grace of God, and so is like to do the more harm.” {Page 110} Fourth, “because this doctrine I oppose, suiting so with our Corrupt Nature; is like to infect the more.” {Page 111} Well, how far these reasons are distinct or coincident, I shall not divert to inquire, but rather propose the query thus, who would not think now the coast was clear, and that we might come full upon the point especially, since he feeds us with hopes in his next words, “I shall not stay you any longer {says he} at the threshold, but now lead ye into the point before us.” {Page 111} Well sir, then be as good as your word, and let’s see immediately how we are to go into this point, when led on in your hand. Alas! Here’s no such matter, but instead of bringing us into the merits of the cause, he doth, as some lawyers serve the judge, tire us with a long preamble. Besides, he falls previously upon a New State of the matter, after crying “I have sinned” for bringing in his Dust and Controversy into the green-sod, where he seems to confess there was none before he scattered his handfuls into the air. “But, says he, that our differences may not seem greater than they really are, I shall lay down some things, as cautions to prevent mistakes.” And, then very readily in his way of pertinence, loads two or three pages with his resolve of what we are not inquiring after. Says he, “the Inquiry is not concerning the State and Condition which Christ finds the soul in, when he first comes to take hold on us by his Spirit in order to regenerate us.” {Page 112} “Nor are we inquiring by what Power the soul is enabled to come to Christ.” {Page 113} “Nor are we {he adds} inquiring what Virtue there is in this Act {a pretty Inquiry to suppose} of coming in Order to our Justification or Glorification.” {Page 114} “But positively {aye, now ‘tis time we were got into something} the inquiry is, whether there is such a thing as a change wrought in the soul in order to our coming to Christ? Or, whether we must come as we are, in a Natural and unregenerate State, reeking in the filth of Sin, and power, and dominion of our lusts; or whether the drunkard, swearer &c., can or ought, without any change to come in those lusts to Christ? So that the question is, whether a sinner can or ought to come to Christ in his Sins?” {Page 114} What a piece of Dilatory Confusion is here! And besides, I cannot get him home to the point yet! For this cautious brother hath not made network enough; nor yet guarded all his imaginary avenues in the large dominions of his point, to prosper his tone and cry; not stopped up all his crevices to keep out the air. He will give us another bout of it; for “before {says he} I affirm or deny, I must further explain, if possible, what we mean by coming, and what by coming in our Sins, lest my Opposers, when not able to stand their ground, should slip out at some back door.” {Page 115} Why truly, since the coasts are so guarded, we can neither slip backwards, nor forwards, the best of it will be to make what we may of a halt, or pause, and look over the unreasonable sallies of what has passed too freely already.

And first, I find by this Explication of our Question, the form of it was so empty on page 105, {his Title Page to the Question resolved,} that there it was little more than Rattle. “What State or Condition, &c.,” whereas those ambiguous words, ought there to have been explained, in their first Design, with some of these that are now brought in, “changed or unchanged;” for there lies much of the Essence of the Question, and then the Platform had been more smooth and obvious; for I do loathe to see a mist and blind in the Title Page. “A question briefly handled concerning what State or Condition the soul is in, changed or unchanged, gracious or devoid of Grace, in the very act of coming unto Christ.” And then we had had no more work to do than to see the State of the Case handled according to the State of the Question proposed, though handled ambiguously still, for want of giving it the fullest Distinctions.

Next, this Explication of the State of his Question being therefore so dubious in managing it, it seems to be calculated against the Doctrine of Assurance, doubting whether we are, or whether we are not regenerate? “The inquiry is, says he, whether there is such a thing as a change wrought in the soul, in order to our coming to Christ? Or, whether we must come as we are, in a Natural and unregenerate State?” ‘Tis strange to me that Mr. Hunt should undertake to write upon these Matters, before he knew better what to make of his own State; and then undertake to write with so much confidence of being in the right, and yet word a thing under such different and dubious states, as men are wont, who don’t think what they say, to utter consistence. Our coming to Christ? And whether we must come as we are? And all in the explication of a Question he had not decided, whether meant of our first coming to Christ, or our continual comings to Christ. However, he seems to let us guess he meant a believer’s after-coming to Christ, because he uses such precaution, as that he who comes must not be a sinner {the “too filthy to go to Christ by Faith,” is put in to stop him, so that he does not move without a warrant.} But he must halt himself, and be inherently the saint first, though he be made willing in the day of Christ’s Power, Psal.110:3, which is a distinct thing from Saintship. Methinks, it might have been otherwise worded, if it had been otherwise intended, than to have said “we” {believers, you must suppose} in our coming; and so spoken of the “us” who through Grace are come already. He hath been elsewhere somewhat liberal in the allowances of his pen to usward. “For {says he} though the best of Saints have Sin, yet the least of Saints is not a Sinner.” {Page 115} “Again, says he, if you mean such as have only the reminders of Sin in them; so such may come, {thank you, Sir, for that leave, and for the reason that follows,} or none must come.” {Page 133} Now besides the difficulty of a reason, how Sinners must not come in their Sins to Christ will consist with our coming in our Sins to Christ, who have the reminders of Sin; {especially being so very odd to understand, when I have given you one or two of his reasons against coming to Christ at all in Sins; I say, besides this difficulty;} one would have thought that the Distinction which he makes, {out of the State of the Question, when it was more fitting to use “in” it, and not confound “we” and “our” with the soul that yet never came at all, but hath its first Coming to Christ or Going to Christ, yet to occur; the distinction I say,} between who are Saints, and who are Sinners, should not have been worn out at first using, and just in one Explication. What, must he forget himself so far, as to confound Saints and Sinners {in the jumble} and, as when Satan desired to have Peter to sift him as wheat, Lk.22:31, Peter’s Corruption would have been seen at top, and Peter’s Grace hid in a secret corner; so must the Saints accordingly here be lost in the crowd of Sinners? Ought Mr. Hunt to make everybody alike all of the sudden, in their Conversion and Non-Conversion, in saying that our coming to Christ, and whether we must come as we are in a Natural and Unconverted State?

Again, “reeking in the filth of Sin and power and dominion of our lusts;” this is now of the Saints plainly, as well as Sinners. We are all here by his own concession reeking in the filth of Sin; and I wish I could hold him to this witness which is true, as we are all so at certain times; ‘tis certain, in and of and to ourselves, so far as Adam’s image continues, under the Imperfections of Inherent Sanctification, in the best of men. And whether we must come to Christ in our Sins; or no, reeking, {for I shall make bold to hold him to it,} we must have patience to hear afterwards. Lastly, by way of Observation upon what has passed, mind, how he explains this same “reeking” and confounds it with another sort of men popped up in an instant, under the absolute Dominion of their Sin, in these words, “whether the drunkard, swearer, &c.,” can or ought “without any change” to come in these Sins to Christ? This he takes to be a further Clarification of his Question. What is plainer in this matter than that the question is to be meant of all men alike, Saints and Sinners, though, like the air in the intervals of frosty weather, he now and then gives a little? He soothes us up, as if we might come in the remainders of our Sin, or none else can come to Christ at all; yet there’s no thorough thaw of it, to resolve the Principles in his frozen and stubborn question {inserted in his Title Page} into the original truth, that the saints may indeed do so; for he will by and by take that from the very Saints too he gave them.

Well, now can we pass on? Why he seems to promise us fair weather again. “By coming in Sin {says he} I understand it for one utterly devoid of any Principle of Grace, one in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, and not one that only falls into Sin; so then in the most plain terms the question lies thus, whether a person utterly devoid of all Grace, and under the Power and Dominion of Sin, can or ought to believe in Christ in that State before any change be wrought in him; and this is what some affirm and I deny.” {Page 115} Pray Man; keep to this in the denial, when you absolutely “deny it of such Sinners to be their Duty to come in their Sins.” {Page 125} For as to that part of the State, if you would hold it there, we should soon run it to a point. For I know none but Arminians in the Free-will point allow it, and therefore I’ll give your zeal that. One distinction carries it; for the Free-Grace part and the Free-will part of this Question; and reader, as to the Free-will part, he and I seem both to be agreed upon this Conclusion, that none devoid of Grace can come in their Sins to Christ. Though I must examine his way of making this out too, both by Illustration and Argument; for we had sooner come to a point, if his odd way of management had not given ground for the multiplying of thoughts.

Command then; let us go with him into his illustration and proof. “I shall endeavor {he adds} to illustrate it thus, ‘tis one thing for it to be the Duty of an unchanged person to come, another for that person to come unchanged.” {Page 125} So then, he that cannot stand, when his Adversary gives him ground must fall. He hath yielded so much of the point, that it may be the Duty of an unchanged person to come, only not his Duty to come unchanged; and he lusters it thus in the next words, “it is the Duty of Sinners to keep the Law, but not to keep it in their Sins.” {Page 126} Pray, how is it their Duty to keep the Law? Is it their Duty to keep the Law as Christ has kept it for them? If it be, then Christ hath not paid their debt. And if it be not, this man hath not at all distinguished in the case. However, suppose for trial’s sake, I should grant him what he lays down, even to contradiction, {as there is enough of it in both parts of these Assertions; and I wonder that himself did not see it in the latter branch of his apothegm, of keeping the Law in one’s Sins,} that it is the Duty of Sinners to keep the Law {without any distinction of keeping it} as Christ has kept it. Why then I argue very uneasily against him on the case; for if it be so much the Duty of Sinners to come to Christ, as it is for a sinner to keep the Law, then it is their Duty for them to come as saints, or Sinners; and if it be their Duty to come as saints, then it cannot be their Duty to come, as he says it is their Duty to come, as Sinners; and if they do, Sinners {as he says they must} then they must come in their Sins, for their Sins make them Sinners. I see no medium! So that he virtually carries this point in the affirmative, that they come in their Sins unchanged {the same corruptions still abide in them} after all his bustle and negative flourish, pretending the contrary in these words, “and this I deny.”

Now in this stretch of his in concession, which I have proved upon his way of illustrating, I will assure him once for all, that such a reputed Antinomian as his antagonist, neither does, nor dares stretch so far with him into Libertinism. He admits not a Sinner’s Coming to Christ, nor his Duty to do so, after this Ungodly, as well as Impossible form of it proposed. ‘Tis Ungodly in the form to suppose my coming to Christ without any work of God upon me, and Impossible in the Immediate Act, till Grace begins the Change, which change nevertheless doth not take away that Filthiness and Corruption of Nature, during this Life; and yet that which it takes away Evangelically in the Mystery, I take up again by nature, and bring with me, when I come to Christ Confessedly by Faith. I dare not say, it is the unchanged person’s Immediate Duty to come to Christ; for he must be renewed first influentially through Christ, out of his Mystical Renewings in Christ that have been already, as he stands before the Throne, and before the Lamb. Otherwise, to talk of an Immediate and Dutiful Obligation to believe, before any Direct and Marked Communication of the Life and Grace of the Object to be believed into, which is the only appointed means of engaging the Sinner thus moved upon to Freely come to Christ, is to plead for a “profane” coming to Christ with the filth of Sin, and not for a “gracious” coming to him with the filth thereof. I will not plead for the coming to Christ after the concessions in this Appendix, because of the Open Libertinism and Unlawfulness thereof, so for as his concession grants the possibility thereof; which can be no otherwise than in the Profaneness, Presumptiveness and Unregeneracy of an Unchanged Person. Besides, take his illustration of it, and distinguish again upon the case, about a non-elect man’s Duty to keep the Law, and all the lustre in his Illustration vanishes, because it is that man’s Duty to keep the Law, even though he cannot keep it. 1. For none hath kept it for him to pay his Debt, and Cancel his own Personal Obligation. 2. ‘Tis his legal Covenant he always lives under; and so he is bound thereunto accordingly. Now ‘tis not such a man’s Duty {only known unto the Lord, though we don’t know who belong to Christ} to believe in Christ. And again, take the elect, and there it is no man’s immediate Duty {I don’t say ‘tis not his Duty, but it is not his immediate Duty} before he is renewed in Faith, that is, New Born of the Spirit, and hath the change of Life from Death wrought, to engage his heart in coming to Christ. It is his immediate privilege at Effectual Renovation in the Call of Grace to receive on him Christ’s Image, and only then begins his Duty to come to Christ under a Principle of Gospel Light and Life, and then ‘tis his Accompanying Duty in the same Believing, being under the bestowed Power of that New Creation-Life to lay {in New Adam’s strength under the Spirit’s empowerment} the remaining pieces of his Old Adam’s image at Christ’s feet in Self-Abhorrency; and I may show anon that this is that which we may understand as Coming to Christ in our Sins. I do therefore deny his Distinction {that it is the Duty of an unchanged person to come, but not the Duty of that person to come unchanged} because the limits of it are not good, nor can be made out. This man has not done with it yet, but runs on in his zeal still.

Nevertheless, his repetition which he adds of the matter doth not mend it. “Though it is, says he, undoubtedly, the Duty of Sinners to come to Christ, or believe in him, yet it is not so much as their Duty to come in their Sins to Christ; {no, nor does his ignorant explication of the matter mend it;} it is his Duty to come from Sin to Christ; but for any to come in their Sins to Christ, denotes they must bring their Sins to Christ; which is as impossible as to bring the East and West into one point. What Communion has light with darkness? Christ is well pleased to see a soul come from Sin, but it is impossible for a soul to come in Sin. Nor is it his Duty so to come.” {Page 128}

Thus, we see how he wanders too and again in the state and re-state of his Question {besides divers other foreign things intermingled than what I transcribe, which I bring not forth to be seen, but pass by} before I can get him into his Arguments. I must stand again to examine this, which he had before acknowledged; namely, that “such as have only the remainders of Sin in them may come, or none must come to Christ.” {Page 133} Well now, according to this Acknowledgment, if these come to Jesus Christ at all, there is a Necessity for it that they do also come in that Remainder of their Sin. Only he is very cautious at his distinctions that Sinners must come, but they must not come in their Sins. Why, if they did not come in their Sins, it would be impossible that they should come as Sinners, for they would cease to be Sinners, if they could come, and yet cease to come in their Sins. Therefore all the remote and impertinent instances he gives to reconcile this matter {that Sinners must come, but they must not come in their Sins} will never bring it up to a non-contradiction. Besides, he forgets that the whole body of Sin is all one with the remainders of Sin to the Infinite Person of Jesus Christ, transacting with the Father by the Blood of his Covenant, Zech.9:11, for and towards the elect, upon the account of his having been made Sin, II Cor.5:21, for them. Moreover, the remainders of Sin are as odious to the Holy God, and to his Holy Child Jesus, Acts 4:30, as the entire body of this Death. Rom.7:24. Nevertheless, he has so nice distinctions in the matter. “Such as have only the remainders of Sin may come; only Sinners may not come.” Again, “I distinguish, says he, between a sinner opposed to Perfection, and a sinner opposed to Sincerity.” {Page 116} Well, be it so. Paul, when he wrote to an Evangelist, tells us there in that Epistle to his son Timothy, I Tim.1:2, that he was the chief of Sinners. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save Sinners, of whom I am chief.” I Tim.1:15. The Apostle there makes no such distinction of a sinner opposed to Perfection and Sincerity. That same metal is a foreign coin which Mr. Hunt hath scraped up in dealing with his good men and worthy authors. The matter of it can never be maintained by proof in God’s Word; but a Sinner is always according to what we are by Nature from Adam, all through our lives; and a saint what we are by Grace in and through Jesus Christ, according to the New Nature. This Scripture will justify, but not the other. “I am the chief of Sinners,” says Paul, of himself after his Conversion. Not I was, but I am so; and he is so far from opposing this either to a Perfection of Grace, or a Sincerity of Grace, according to these distinctions in which our author triumphs, that he makes it to agree with his having been before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious. {vs.13}

Mr. Hunt goes on, “it is his Duty to come from Sin.” Here is quite a new State of the Case of coming to Christ, popped off with a coming from Sin. However it be, the Answer still is clear, in coming he does come from Sin in the act, and he cannot come from Sin in the fault and spot after the fact, so long as he is related to nature in this world; and then what’s all this to which we have been diverted by, to the true State of the Question? Yet hear him on, “for any to come to Christ, says he, in their Sins denotes they must bring their Sins to Christ.” Well now, let this pass for the true State of the case he’ll stand by. For here’s seemingly the Ultimate State of his Question so many pages after the first stating it in his Title-page. This is now the State he proposes and rejects from an impossibility of extremes, in the next words, which is as impossible as to bring the East and West into one point. And what hath he said more in this matter, than a Jew or a Socinian, against all the Iniquities of the elect made to meet upon Christ? Isa.53:6. He forgets that East and West were never brought to meet in one point. But Christ and our Sins have met in one point on the Tree. I Pet.2:24. He bore them in their Curse, Weight, Guilt and Pollution; the Lord made them to meet thus upon Christ in the Chastisement of our peace upon him. Isa.53:5.

Why then must not, cannot the soul bring them to Christ Confessedly, when it feels them in their Sinful Operation, and bring them Confessedly by the Lord’s Strength in all their apprehended Guilt and Pollution, by an Operation of the Holy Ghost, or strength superior to all the strength of Indwelling Sin? Rom.7:17. I, but says he again, very pertinently as he thinks, “what Communion has light with darkness?” What indeed? But what is this to the purpose? As if when Christ bore our Sins, he must have Communion with our Sins; for if the Father brought our Sins to him, and laid our Sins upon him, our darkness upon his Light, and yet Christ had no Communion with our Sins; that is, he had no delight in our Sins; {for by Communion we understand delight, love, and the going forth of the soul towards the Object beloved, and this is the Communion Christ hath in his Fellowship with the saints.} Why then it follows not, that if we bring our Sins to Christ, he must have Communion with our Sins. Alas! The man uttered this in his distemper, whilst he had Communion with his own Darkness. As for Christ, if he bore our Sins judicially {or by an Imputation of them to Christ in the Righteous Judgment of God} and yet had no Communion with our Sins, sure, we may bring our Sins Confessedly before Christ, for that is going with our Sins to him, and yet Christ have no Communion with our Sins. But whilst he has Communion with us, he casts our Sins behind his back. Isa.38:17. Coming to Christ with our Sins, or in the Apprehended Pollution of our Adam-Nature, is a putting him in remembrance, as the Word says, how these very Sins that we bring to Christ confessedly, were once laid upon him judicially. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance; let us plead together; declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” Isa.43:25-26. Thus, I say, we come before him, or to him in our filthiness laid open, and so in our Sins confessedly, and in this Grace of access through the Spirit, Eph.2:18, Christ hath Communion with us, and his blood still by fresh supplies of Application in the very Communion with us, cleanses us from all unrighteousness, I Jn.1:9; even to a sight of our Absolute Perfection as we stand in Him, and yet consistent with our Daily Pollution, so far as our natures derive from, and relate unto Old Adam. And therefore I salute him with a reverse {or turning his own saying backwards} that Christ is well pleased to see a soul come Confessedly unto him, and lie down before him in the strength of his Omnipotent Grace, acknowledging the very Pollution of his Sins upon his own nature-self, now by Grace in the dust before the Lord, and there depending on the Mediator, for fresh, experimental sprinklings of his blood against his Sins, to wash them off again sensibly. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” I Pet.1:2. And it is impossible for a soul to come to Christ, and not come thus, in and with his Sins and Uncleannesses upon him in his own eyes; for the virtue of Christ’s Righteousness sometimes stops influentially to me, as to my nature, though it never ceases in its virtue to God for me, touching my State and Condition to Eternity. God sees me in Christ still without spot. Rev.14:5. Yet I often can look no higher influentially than to see myself in and under the sensible Operations of Old Adam. Nevertheless, sometimes under Mighty Grace, I can see myself in Christ, what God sees me to be in Christ without spot. As a man looks upon the Sun-beams in the Sun, and they are glorious; but he looks again upon the same beams darted down through a cup of red wine, and he sees the same beams discolored; not bright, of the color of the Sun, but with an infusion of red, partaking of the color of the liquor; so the light again in the air is clear, but the same light conveyed through a piece of green glass is dis-amiable; not of the true color of light in the proper medium, not bright and glorious, but of the vicious tincture of the glass. Thus, if I look upon my Condition in Christ, my Grace and Holiness I have mystically in Himself, I see myself every way complete, Col.2:10; but if I look upon Grace and Holiness itself derived from Christ upon me; as soon as that but comes to shine through my nature, it is quite another thing in me, then it is in Christ. Grace itself is discolored, and much of my filthiness in my very graces every day appears to me. My help therefore is in the name of the Lord, Psal.124:8, and I am sensibly relieved in and to myself, by looking unto Jesus under the Spirit’s Operation. Thus I and my Grace in Christ have no spot, but in me it is mixed with much Corruption, in which I daily come to Christ by Faith.

It was time for him a great while ago to introduce his Arguments; but it was well for the Cause that he did not, though for himself scarce better late than never. Whatever it be, now he advances into proof, “which I shall prove, says he, from these following arguments.” {Page 128} And by the way these following arguments are but two; and after he had made such a solemn entrance, as this point before us, this Deep Mystery, this turning Point of Christianity, this Foundation-Stone, as was noted before; and had entered four solemn reasons for the standing him in hand {as he phrases it} to be on the defense of the truth, and to vindicate it, {even before he took the side of his question, either to affirm or deny, so hasty is he in his Defense,} “since he had truth on his side.” I did expect all this bounce must have ended in some farther execution than two Arguments. But what are they?

First Argument. “That which no man was ever able to do, is not so much as our Duty to do. But no man {says he} was ever able to come to Christ in his Sins, therefore ‘tis not so much as our Duty so to do.” {Page 128}

“Ever able to do.” It is well his major {our first proposition in the syllogism} was so cautiously guarded. For he had carefully enough exposed it, three or four pages before, when he dropped these words in haste, “it is the Duty of Sinners to keep the Law.” {Page 126} There he runs on as fast as heels could carry him, and never considered a Sinner’s obligation to it, either by his ability or his non-ability, but leaves you to take it up just thus, “it is the Duty of Sinners to keep the Law.” But now that which no man was ever able to do, is not so much as our Duty to do. Here you see a necessity {by putting John against Hunt} to deny either his major on page 128, or his illustration on pages 125, 126. And do which ye will; that is, his cautious major {which is true} overthrows the careless form of his illustration. Or if his illustration be sufficiently expressed, {which is false,} then out of the ill form of the illustration, you may deny the major, as overthrown thereby. For it is impossible that both should be right, and need no variation in the form. Nevertheless, though he himself denies himself, yet now under his present caution I grant him his first proposition. For the argument strikes at the Free-will part of the Question in the affirmative, it touches not the Free-Grace part of the same question in its affirmative; and so even let the major go. But hold the next; let’s examine on the side of the minor {or second of his propositions in the argument.} “But no man {says he} was ever able to come to Christ in his Sins.” I deny this minor Proposition, and confront it with this opposite, that some men have been able through a Work of Grace upon their souls to come to Christ in their Sins. Why, but he puts you in mind of the proof of his negative, that they never were able, thus. “That we {here is the mischief-making “we” again,} who are in a Fallen and unregenerate State cannot come to Christ, while such, I hope I have sufficiently proved.” {Page 129} I’ll grant it, as to unregenerate men, and the “we” too, when in Unregeneracy; but there is a snake in the grass. This same “we” under the notion of unregenerate men, brings in the New-Born along with it, by his sly way of tying the knot, and makes no difference, but that “we” who are indeed raised by Grace to a Spiritual Power of going from self to Christ, and going from self in the slime and filthiness of Sin, and that in a way of Confession, upon the Foundation of an Antecedent Evangelical Transaction, raised, I say, thus out of our fallen State, cannot come to Christ in the filthiness of our nature, with Mighty Grace, neither.

This seems to be couched and driven at by him; that the “we” who are in a Fallen and unregenerate State, must include himself, together with all Saints, according to his own meaning, and this falls hard upon the Doctrine of Assurance, even as to himself; and what he should meddle for in these matters that lacks Assurance, as to whether he be regenerate? But to include himself with a “we” who are in an unregenerate State, I do not understand, nor can he make out. I rather suspect this “we” to be a mere engine to screw in all alike, Saints either with him, or us, or elsewhere, as many as are passed from Death unto Life, I Jn.3:14; and so bring the matter down to what I hinted at in the beginning, as to what he aimed at {though he knew not well how to come off upon it about the remainders of Sin} to advance; that none can, or ought to come to Christ in their Sins. For he fancies it the greatest contradiction that can be, for a regenerate person, forsooth, to be a Sinner, because he is a Saint; whereas the contradiction only is in fancying him to be so in the same respects, and from the same Cause and Principles. Well farther, I do grant him, that the Sinner unchanged in his will, {for I love to be more distinct, than the distinguishing Appendix which I am attempting to lay open,} “neither can, nor ought, while unchanged in his will to come in his Sins to Christ;” and yet I cannot but a little pause upon the coarseness of his phrase in the farther illustration, a little after, where he says that, “for though God has sent many Sinners to Hell for not coming to Christ, yet I am confident he never sent one soul to Hell for not coming to Christ in his Sins.” {Page 130} No, it was the soul’s Duty not to Sin against God, and God sent the non-elect, non-cleansed sinner to Hell for his Sin against God; there being no choosing of him in Christ, nor any influencing him to the Faith of God’s elect. Tit.1:1. And so under the influences of nature being left to Sin against God without application of the Pardoning Remedy, and for that Sin the Righteous Lord, Psal.11:7, condemns him, and executes the Sentence for Sin. But God sends none to Hell of that race of Sinners but such as originally were not chosen in Christ to be saved from their Sins. Mt.1:21. And among other Sins for not Believing the Doctrine of the Gospel, in one truth or another, after it is revealed; and among other neglected truths not Believing this, {which their divines destroy doubly so many souls by, in making them guilty of,} that Sinners must not come to Christ in their Sins. For by this means it emboldens the non-elect to fight against this Gospel, and with Mr. Hunt diminish Christ in this speculative scheme, that a Sinner may be “too filthy to go to him by Faith;” and so where this Sin falls upon the non-elect, it doubly increases their Condemnation. I will therefore propose a reverse to Mr. Hunt, and tell him, that now since this part of the Light is come into the world, Jn.3:19, {and the several Truths of the Gospel have had their day, rise, progress and succession, as well as opposition,} “yet men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil;” and abundance of what men have preached and printed, as they have taken it up one from another, must be contradicted; and that, without abundance of Grace, good men’s pride will never submit to; hence it is obvious they have preached and printed many of the non-elect into the greater condemnation; and now ‘tis is brought to this pass, that notwithstanding Mr. Hunt’s flattery, ‘tis likely enough that God will send many non-elect Sinners to Hell for their opposing, under the Light of the Gospel, this Truth of it, that the elect born again ought to come to Christ in the very filthiness of their Sins.

His Second Argument runs thus. “He that ought to come to Christ in a sinful State ought to continue in him in the same State, but no man can continue in Christ in a sinful State. Therefore no man ought to come in a sinful and un-renewed State to Christ. The former part of my argument is clear from Col.2:6, as you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord; so walk ye in him; but none that receive Christ can or ought to continue in Sin, II Cor.5:17, therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; so Rom.8:10, if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of Sin, &c. So that of necessity the Opinion that I am confuting must be false, or the Word of God not true.”

Thus Mr. Hunt in his Appendix to Infant’s Faith, Pages 130-131. Here he quite alters the terms of the former argument. Before, it was that no man was ever able to come to Christ in his Sins. Here it is that none was ever able to come to Christ in a Sinful State. I say, there, it was in his Sins; here it is in a Sinful State. This is the first and only thing I have met with nevertheless, which comes up to the State of the Question, a Question briefly handled concerning what State and Condition the soul is in, in the very act of coming unto Christ. And so ‘tis, whether the soul must come to Christ in a Sinful State or No? Now, as he denies it; some affirm, says he, and I deny it, so he forcibly throws himself off upon our Antinomian side {for in this matter of the Gospel we are against Substituting any part of the Law} in the points even of Union and Justification before Faith; and then he is come on high indeed, and an Antinomian to purpose, as the times reckon. For if the sinner must not come to Christ in a sinful State, he must come {if he comes at all} after the State is altered. If he comes after his State is altered from sinful, he is justified by that which altered his State before he came to Christ; and that is precisely what we contend for. The State is altered completely, and so the Guilt of the whole elect person is absolutely removed in the Union and Justification antecedently to coming. We are in the Union, and then under the Spirit’s Work in that Union, which is Faith, by that Faith discernibly and receivingly Justified {with influences of the Spirit of God at that time} from all things for which we could not be justified by the Law of Moses, Acts 13:39, when yet the nature is not so completely altered. The reason is obvious, as our State is in Christ, but our Nature is within our selves. Our State in Christ is not Sinful, whilst our natures in ourselves are so. And this dissolves all the ill intent of his Argument. For ‘tis by Nature in ourselves that we are children of wrath even as others, Eph.2:3; not by State in ourselves, much less by our State in Christ. So that upon this Distinction of State differenced from Nature, it is evident the soul comes to Christ in a justified State, yet with a filthy nature. As to the soul’s first coming to Christ in a justified State, Mr. Hunt in this Argument hath decided it. To which grant of his I add, the soul in coming to Christ, and venturing on him, brings the filthiness of its present nature to Christ, even whilst it is absolved from all Condemnation, as to its Eternal State, and there in that very act of the souls coming to Christ, and flinging it’s self {committing it’s self freely} into the Ocean of Christ’s Blood, finds a full virtue of cleansing in that Infinite Ransom-Love! So that here, Col.2:6, “as I have received Christ Jesus the Lord,” for my cleansing me from all Sin, I Jn.1:7, so I walk in Him by the same Grace accordingly, and do it in a whole continued Life of Faith. “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Gal.2:20. Where is boasting then? It is excluded! Rom.3:27. “So that of necessity, says he, the opinion I am confuting must be false, or the Word of God not true!” Oh! “Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.” I Kings 20:11. Thus he having driven his nail with two blows of Argument, clinches it with three terrible Questions of the other side, and Answers.

“Question: Must not Sinners be invited to come to Christ? Is not the Gospel sent to Sinners? Answer: Though the Gospel is sent to Sinners, yet not to encourage them in Sin; and though Sinners must be invited to come, which work of inviting I hope, while I live, I shall be employed in, yet sure I am, though Sinners must be invited to come, yet not to come in their Sins, as aforesaid; and such as do so invite them, I am sure have no Commission in God’s Word so to do. I know a text, which invites such as labor, and who are heavy laden, to come, Matt.11:28, which certainly implies a change. I know another text that invites the thirsty to come, which still implies a change. I know a text, which saith, wash ye, make ye clean, come now, Isa.1:17-18, denoting such a work must be wrought in us before we come, though not by our Power. I know a text, which saith, let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return, Isa.55:7, denoting a necessity of a change in heart and life, when we return, but I know no text that either invites or commands Sinners to come to Christ in their Sins; and let the Patrons of that opinion produce but one such text, and I shall acknowledge my ignorance, and do promise for ever to be silent, and vindicate this point no more.” {Page 131}

To examine this which I have laid together in order. Question: “Must not Sinners be invited to come to Christ? Is not the Gospel sent to Sinners?” By the way, here are twin-questions, and these he very learnedly calls One Question. As if the Inviting of Sinners to come to Christ, and Sending the Gospel to Sinners where both one and the same thing. Are they not two distinct acts performed by two distinct Agents? Is it not God who sends us his Gospel, though this brother’s order of proposing things is to put the Mission of the Gospel last, and the Invitation of Sinners to the Gospel first. Are they not his ministers who in preaching the Gospel Invite Sinners to come? If they are not, why doth he in his Answer tell us, “which work of Inviting, I hope, while I live, I shall be employed in?” But let me look into his own Answers. He begins, “though the Gospel is sent to Sinners, yet not to encourage them in Sin.” When I come into the 24th chapter {of this book} I may turn this Answer into an Objection, and there return the proper answer to it, after I have defended the Doctrine to be laid down in our next chapter, as a reverse of his Answer. I shall therefore now only refer it thither, as to its own place. He goes on, “sure I am, though Sinners must be Invited to come, yet not to come in their Sins, as aforesaid.” Accordingly, I refer to my aforesaid answer. He continues, “and such as do so invite them, I am sure have no Commission in God’s Word so to do.” ‘Tis absolutely necessary to mind our Commission from Christ in all Revealed Truths that we bring; and let him look to it, that he hath one for what he brings, and by making out the same in God’s Word {which he presently falls upon} show us that he hath received his Commission. Hear him, “I know a text, which invites such as labor, and are heavy laden, to come, Matt.11:28, which certainly implies a change.” He knows the text it seems as only how to quote it, chapter and verse, and that’s all. How far did he know this text to be to his purpose? Doth this text express, whether Sinners, are to be invited to come to Christ in their Sins, or out of their Sins? As it does not express they must come in their Sins, so it does not express that they must come out of their Sins. What does he advance by this? He hath merely stumbled upon this text, was never led into it, nor hath seen, that instead of its being nothing for him, ‘tis very much against him. Therefore as he can make nothing to his case from what is expressed, see how he will do it in what is implied; “which certainly implies a change,” says he. Yea, say I, and a very great change too from his point and matter in hand, “that Sinners must not be invited to come to Christ in their Sins.” By the phrase “in their Sins” he means, in their spots and filthinesses. “Thou mayest, saith he, yet be too filthy to come to Christ by Faith.”

Let us look into this text, and first let him give me assurance that the labor here was a sinful labor at that time, though a burdensome one, to be heavy laden in the labor. They labored in the burdensome worship of the Temple, and Sacrifices of the Law of Moses, as likewise in their journeyings three times a year with all their males, Exod.23:17, to appear there at Jerusalem, before the Lord, from all Places and Quarters throughout the land. These were very long journeys for many of them to take from their own home. Could this be done without labor? Was it a sinful labor to be kept up at that time? No, but the contrary; as appears, Mt.23:2-3, “the Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat; all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do.” And again, says Christ unto his disciples, “go ye up unto this feast.” Jn.7:8. This was far greater labor than the Worship of the Gospel. Therefore, says Christ, upon the prospect of its change, “come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden;” come under me with your legs, with your bodies, the whole nation of you, and hear me give Instruction among you for the alteration of all this labor, in a very little time, into Evangelical Performances, and admit my Gospel and Worship to be set up among you, in the room of this Economy and Present Dispensation; and ye shall all fare the better for it in your bodies, and I will give your minds rest beside, upon the spot, before the toil be taken off your bodies, as many of you as shall believe and receive what I say, when ye come unto me with your legs, and follow me with your bodies. In one word, all this burdensome Worship, together with the heavy yoke, Acts 15:10, of Circumcision, shall go down, and I have another Worship for you, a Gospel-Worship, in mine eye, which shall be mixed with so much of my Presence by the Spirit whom the Father will send in my Name, Jn.14:26, and who shall carry out all mine own sheep among you, into a taste of mine and my Father’s love, that you shall quickly, upon the inclining of your ear, Psal.45:10, forget all the toil, Gen.41:51, of your father’s house. Now, the whole scope of the Prophecies in the Old Testament, and all Christ’s three years and a half’s ministry in the Evangelists, and the Apostle’s Doctrine and Worship speaks this Interpretation. And if a whole volume were spoken to justify it, perhaps by men resolved to carry it along in blind zeal, and forsake all with the conduct of their good men {for I know good men are of another mind, though they never told us for what reasons} would not believe a word of it. But to the text; did not these who labored, whom Christ invited to come unto him, abound {think ye} with their Sins? Now consider, it lay in their natural power to come to Christ there, to his Human Nature, with their legs; but it lay not in their power, supposing you mean by the text, that they lay under soul-burdens and must come in a Spiritual Sense, and that too before the Spirit was given, Jn.7:39, {for men never consider this, but run on by the sound of words, and there comes all the mischief.} ‘Tis not here to come to Christ, as coming to Christ is sometimes taken; but whatever it be, let Mr. Hunt take which side he pleases, {and I know he’ll stand by his worthy authors,} I am for the Truth, let it fall for, or against me, otherwise as it may. If he takes it in the common way, {many take up a thing because men generally fall in with it,} he must take it still with the same disadvantage to his cause. For then here is Exhortation or Invitation to such as labor, to come with the qualification, {which he prescribes,} of coming to Christ “without” their Sins. But for all that I can see ‘tis an Invitation to them to come in their Filthinesses and Corruptions, and if these be not their Sins, I don’t know what are. For the change, “I will give you rest,” was to be after their Spirit induced motion, or coming to Christ; so that the change was not antecedent to their coming, as to lay aside their filthiness and corruptions of nature, and then come to Christ. Well, then the coast is clear, and I may conclude with his own triumph, “I know a text,” which invites such as labor, and within the Compass of that body of laborers, especially the elect, who therewithal are heavy laden, to come to Christ in their Sins in the very Condition Christ then saw them, justified in himself, yet in their nature-filthiness, dust and burdens; namely this same Matt.11:28, {for I shall not need to go further for texts than go to what Mr. Hunt hath brought to my hand.} He adds, “I know a text that invites the thirsty to come, which still implies a change;” but here he does not name this text. I will therefore help him out, and suppose it for him to be, either in John 7:37, “if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink;” a text which I have opened already in Chapter 14; or else in Isaiah 55:1, “Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,” where in both places ‘tis evident that sinners are not forbid to come in their Sins; but invited to come as they are, thirsty, though ever so defiled. Therefore, I know of two additional texts that invite Sinners to come to Christ in their filthinesses, and withal, in the spots and sins which their discerning Faith hath discovered to be in their old Adam’s Nature. He goes on bravely. “I know a text, says he, wash ye, make ye clean, come now, Isa.1:16-18, denoting such a work must be wrought in us before we come, though not by our power.” Look ye {he might have said, for he must have been sleepy and so not improve it} here is express washing first, washing off filthiness, and then an Invitation to come is next. Aye, ‘tis well observed, so there is, and yet this is one of the strongest texts he has brought to make directly against him. “Wash ye, says the Lord, make ye clean.” Who does he speak to there in the beginning of Isaiah, at the Prophet’s entrance upon all the Evangelical Prophecies? Is it not the Jews? And was it not to make the ground of future Gospel Prophecies the more cogent? As if he had said, hear me first, at my beginning upon these very great Subjects. I am to speak of the Gospel and foreshow the Glorious Gospel to come; for be assured, the Law-State, Sacrifices and Types, as also the divers Washings of the Law, will not do. See what a deal of moral defilement you have got. Come, wash ye and make your selves ceremonially clean, in the washing of your clothes, and the bathing of your selves in Water, Lev.15:5; and come now, {see what all this signifies to the main part of your cleansing, and wherein it is defective,} let us reason together; for do you think this has washed out your Sin? {“For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.” Lev.2:22.} Your spirit is filthy still; your natures unclean still, even after all your tribes have bathed their flesh in water, Lev.15:13, and look like a flock of sheep which go up from the washing. Song.6:6. Come, come, says he, don’t dispute it; it must be the Cleansing Virtue of the Gospel, the blood of Christ, and not the cleansing of the Law that makes you clean at last. And says the Most High, “let us reason together, saith the LORD; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isa.1:18. Now I cannot but wonder at the shuffling off that main Cleansing of all here spoken of in the 18th verse, {after the Ceremonial Cleansing at the 16th verse, which he insists on is over, and,} which follows the Invitation, “Come.” This marrow of all he deceitfully, II Cor.4:2, shuts out, names not the words, nor insists upon one syllable, as before. For he must see plainly, in the very evidence and face of the words, that the Cleansing here was to be after the Invitation, “come now, and let us reason together, though your Sins be as scarlet &c.,” {and you have found no virtue in the Washings of the Law to make you better, notwithstanding I have bid you often enough to turn from your sinful ways, &c.} This is plain enough both in the Face and Force of the words. Well then, to follow him in what is good, when I shun him in what is evil. “I know a text, which says, wash ye, make ye clean, come now,” Isa.1:16-18, which makes no account, nor esteems ought, of the putting away the filth of the flesh, I Pet.3:21, in Legal and Ceremonial washing; but looks upon all the defilement of the soul in itself, as from Adam; and yet invites it to come in that filthiness to Christ, to have all whiter than snow in his blood. He enlarges, “I know a text which says, let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return, Isaiah 55:7, denoting a necessity of a change in heart and life, when we return.” So here is another text against him; for, as I have before distinguished, {and he appeals to distinctions; for says he, “I do not expect all should reach this who are not used to distinctions,”} between the Act and the Filthiness of the nature, that the sinner comes not to Christ in the act of Sin, but forsakes it and the way of it in his act of coming to Christ, yet comes in the filthiness of nature still, even when he ceases to do the evil. So ‘tis here in the command to, “let the wicked forsake his way;” for a man can never come in his own way to Christ, it must be in God’s way to Christ; “and the unrighteous man his thoughts;” for it must be according to God’s Thoughts, not our sinful, dark and vague thoughts about God and Christ, and Pardon and Happiness, that we take up these things by Faith, as they lie in Christ Jesus. Nevertheless still, here is coming upon loosening the will, and giving the soul, motion, in all its guilt and defilement, influentially, in, to, and upon the man, in and from Adam, even whilst it is secretly otherwise as hidden in Christ, between God and Christ, according to the Everlasting Covenant-Settlements; and the Influence of that Mercy and Pardoning Grace to reach home to the very sinner, is afterwards, even after the Invitation, and in the coming, coming through the Holy Ghost’s hands and swimming so gloriously in the Blood of Christ, under New Testament Discoveries, called Abundant Pardon. Isa.55:7. “And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon;” so that here we have another text {which is his last} still against his own side of the Question. He flourishes after this, and declares that he knows of “no text that either invites or commands Sinners to come to Christ in their Sins.” ‘Tis clear that he must know of no text, unless it had been so worded, because in these texts {so plain for it} he saw nothing, or pretends to have seen nothing. But pray, what method did he take to prove infant’s right? Did he do it by any text that expressly named infants? Are rather {as we Paedo-Baptists are all satisfied to do it} in a way where the truth from a text may be fairly and consistently argued? Then why in proving one point of the Gospel, as well as another, should we not be all of one piece? What need I look for a text that must speak in so many words, {sinners are invited or commanded to come to Jesus Christ in their Sins,} when the very Analogy of Faith, and the vitals of the Christian Religion have been brought in almost throughout all this book, and prove the same matter secondarily, by comparing the Pre-Fall and After-Fall way; the one as to persons, as elect in Christ, the other as to ways and means after the Fall, to secure the Application of the Divine Favor to these elect through all their changes. He concludes like the questioning champion that he is, “and let the patrons of that Opinion produce but one such text.” One such text? I have not room for a hundred I could bring, but here’s now already a patron of the opinion that has produced all the same texts for it against the anti-patron. His last stroke is very humble, “and I shall acknowledge my ignorance;” and pray, meek Sir, may it please your zeal, when you write next, to acknowledge your ignorance which has so often detected itself, and let not pride keep it up against Reason and Conscience. And though you promise for ever to be silent, and vindicate this point no more; yet if the Lord helps you, Vindicate Christ more in your next, than you have done either in this Appendix, or the Rose; and don’t give way to Impertinence, that will but make your own account the heavier.

Question Number 2, “but must not Sinners come to Christ as Sinners? I answer, says he if by these words, as Sinners, you mean such as are utterly devoid of any Principle of Grace, {for that is the inquiry,} then I hope I have sufficiently proved that such cannot so come. But if you mean such as only have the Remainders of Sin in them; so such may come, or none must come; but I have shown you how the remainder of Sin in the regenerate doth not properly denominate them Sinners; nor is this anything to the point in hand, for I am discoursing of the Power of Sin in an unregenerate soul; he that is born of God sinneth not; that is, not with Delight and Approbation; therefore it savors of most gross ignorance, thus to style Saints Sinners, because not perfectly free from Sins, when God himself makes such a vast difference between them. So that these things being laid down, my answer is that we are not to come to Christ as Sinners in the sense of aforesaid.” {Pages 133, 134.}

Now observe how strangely he shuffles about! “Sinners utterly devoid of any principle of Grace; these cannot come as Sinners.” This is but his Evasion. For a little before he had brought it down, according to his usual custom of self-contradiction, upon the regenerate too, or upon such as have Principles of Grace, as I have shown plain enough. By this evasion he would make you believe, contrary to the plain accounts which the Scriptures give us of these matters, as if a Sinner’s Coming to Christ was never performed but once, just at the first Summons of Grace, whereas, there is a coming everyday by Grace under the Spirit’s Work, bringing corrupt nature often, which the Spirit convinces of, to Christ. And yet, poor man! Because he had lost himself, he would lose the reader too in his turn-offs into by-ways. “I am discoursing, says he, of the Power of Sin in an unregenerate soul.” What is this to the purpose, all along when he is pinched and hard put to it, to shuffle it off upon the Arminian, and pretend he only all along meant that none could come as Sinners, under the Impotence of Unregeneracy, when ‘tis plain by his to-and-about conduct he hath made it a general case? This is evident, by the State of his Question. “In what State must the soul be judged to be in the very act of Coming unto Christ?” He does not say the regenerate or unregenerate soul in the State of the question; but the soul, which takes in the whole extent of the comers; and so, in relation to all that come unto Christ in the Faith of God’s elect, Tit.1:1, is a general term comprehending everyone that really comes, and therein falls upon the regenerate {as I perceive, notwithstanding the shuffle, he ultimately designed it should.} This is likewise evident by his Arguments to confirm his own explication of the terms of the Question, as well as he could, done in Universal Language, “no man was ever able to come to Christ in his Sins,” and his conclusion touching the regenerate; {notwithstanding his vain pretense of Discoursing of the Power of Sin in an unregenerate soul;} therefore ‘tis not so much as our Duty so to do. Here, ‘tis plain, that he speaks against the Spirit-Born Sinner Coming to Christ as a Sinner. How can any man that is thus in-and-out teach knowledge clearly? Job 33:3. How grievously distorted is he in the quill! To be sure his pen, if not his pate, wanted mending. His only relief to come off at this pinch, and make way for his Escape is by entering on another absurd Contradiction, that the remainder of Sin in them that come to Christ does not properly denominate them Sinners. And what is his proof? Why, he that is born of God sinneth not. You may see how much his proof {in this abused text} is to the Purpose, by his Interpretation, though I am bound to do him justice, as it is the common interpretation of his worthy authors. However examine it, whether he and his Interpreters on this place have not been woefully misled? For I shall rather make bold to give both of them the lie in their comment, that sit by silent, whilst I hear them; as both have agreed to tempt the Spirit of the Lord, Acts 5:9, and give the Holy Ghost a lie in the text. The Spirit saith absolutely and positively that “he that is born of God sinneth not.” {I Jn.3:9 & 5:18} The common interpretation saith {as Mr. Hunt makes use of it} that he sinneth not with Delight and Approbation. I, but the agreeable Exposition which frees it from this Corruption of the text must be that he sinneth not at all; as this brings it up nearer the text which saith that he sinneth not, than the other reaches it, which is a mere darkening of “counsel by words without knowledge.” Job 38:2.

‘Tis undoubtedly true and without Exception in that one case, and in that one alone, of which the Holy Ghost speaketh, that he that is born of God sinneth not at all. But now bring it down to the usual thought that he sinneth not with Delight and Approbation, and you will find it to be a bold Calumny thrown upon the Holy Ghost, who hath penned the Sins of the New-born, and shown them to have been committed both with Delight and Approbation. Did not David look from the roof of the king’s house upon Bathsheba, and send for her, and commit adultery with her, with Delight? II Sam.11:2-4. Did he not murder Uriah with Approbation of Joab’s fact? II Sam.11:14-15. What can be plainer, when he wrote a formal letter to that General to contrive it, and used other feigned compliments with him to excuse it when the thing was done? II Sam.11:25. Did not Job approve of the cursing of his day, and delight in his wishes he had never been? Job 3:3. Had not Jonah an approbation of his sinful flight to Tarshish, and a delight in the gourd, contrary to God’s hand that smote it? Jonah 1:3-9. Was not Solomon pleased with his Idolatries, when his wives turned away his heart, that his heart was departed from God, and cleaved to women and abominations? I Kings 11:4-5. And so it is likewise in many other cases. To reconcile it therefore in a hint, for I cannot stay to open it at large, with all the coherent Argument in that Epistle, also to do justice to the text, and expose the nakedness of all such Expositors who have hacked this text to pieces. The meaning is, he that is born of God sinneth not the Devil’s Sin, or that Sin which is Unpardonable, and being a particular Sin which is only appropriated to the Devil’s Children to commit, {in the same Epistle,} he calls the Sin unto death, I Jn.5:16-17, or the Sin never to be forgiven. The very Coherence both in I John 5:18 & I John 3:9 have so doubly linked this Interpretation with the texts that I wonder at the impudence of those Interpreters who dare break the chain. The upshot of all he will admit, and which he most harps upon, is this; that it savors of most Gross Ignorance, thus to style Saints Sinners, because not perfectly free from Sins. Alas! For the man! ‘Tis pity he has not kept in the words, “gross ignorance,” when he has exposed so much of his own. Does not the Scripture style Saints Sinners? Where’s then the gross ignorance? Are not God’s elect, even after their Conversion to Christ, Sinners still, and that properly too, in one respect, even as they are Saints in another? If not so, why does the Apostle retain that name after his Conversion, and still apply it to himself? “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” I Tim.1:15. The Apostle does not put it off from himself at that time, to say I was chief, but falls under it as to what he was then on the spot, I am chief. Paul, a sinner; and not only a sinner, but a chief sinner. In these matters the Spirit of God still taught him consistently with his being a Saint and an Apostle in other respects, to go by that name. Mr. Hunt had done well to have taken off this before he had concluded it such gross ignorance. Again, the Apostle in another place, Gal.2:17, shows this, that in our Coming to Christ to take up the Justification conferred, which is a seeking to be justified evidently by the Reflection and Lustre that Christ’s Righteousness casts on us in our Act of Coming to him; inasmuch as what he had called a being Justified by the Faith of Christ in the former verse, Gal.2:16, he now expounds {to prevent mistakes} a being Justified by Christ. And so he sets out the very act of coming unto Christ, even among the saints in one respect, as Sinners in another. The place under my eye is found in Galatians 2:17, “but if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.” If thus whilst we seek; and in which lies the act of coming, to be justified Evidently by the reflection, I say, and lustre of Jesus Christ Crucified, Gal.3:1, in which we discern true Justification in having that Righteousness upon us, and discern it in the light of Christ shining in our own souls, and in that act of seeking to be so justified we are found Sinners, then we come, it is plain, to Jesus Christ as Sinners; as the Sinners we are experimentally found to be, and that by a thorough Conviction upon the Law’s entering, and Sin abounding, Rom.5:20, whilst the work of God’s Spirit lays it open. And what has he got by all this against our coming to Christ under our pollutions, as Sinners? Yet his triumph-stroke is this, “so that these things being laid down, my answer is, we are not to come as Sinners in the sense aforesaid.” In the sense aforesaid? What nonsense is this, we that are regenerate ought not to come in an unregenerate State! For that {in his way of shuffling} he has pretended to be the sense aforesaid. So that his conclusion of the matter of the question is, to make you believe he has decided it according to that State; and so much for his second question.

Question Number 3, “but must we not bring our Sins and lay them on Christ?” If not, where must we lay them? Here now he comes to clinch the nail home. See a little further in a notable closer blow, says he, “now I grant God the Father did once in a way of Sovereignty lay all the Sins of all the elect on Christ, imputing the Guilt of all the Sins to Christ, Isa.53:6, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” {Page 134} Well, I am glad to find the man Orthodox so far as this concession passeth, that Guilt was laid on Christ, yet it was not by mere Sovereignty, but by Contract. Sin was laid upon Christ, Guilt was laid upon Christ; and this he acknowledges. ‘Tis well thus far, but let us go on. “But, says he, though God imputed the Guilt of Sin to Christ, to the end that he might make satisfaction to Justice, yet God himself did not lay the filth of Sin upon Christ; and that is the point in hand. Hence he is said to be without spot. Heb.9:14 & I Pet.1:19. He was a Sin-offering indeed, but not a sinful offering. If Christ had no spot, then no filth; for that will make spots where it is, or else it would not be filth.” {Page 135} Look ye, for now the man has uncovered the bottom of his heart. I said afore what his turn-screw would come to at last, and now I see by his way of turning it! Not only that an unregenerate soul could not, and ought not to come to Christ with the filth of Sin; but now he speaks out, that the elect of God must not, when changed by God the Spirit into a Principal and Power of coming to wash in the Pool of Siloam, Jn.9:7, or make use of the waters of our true Shiloh, yet dare to come with the filth of Sin thither. And because he thought to make sure work of it with one stroke, corrupts Isaiah 53:6, by telling us God the Father did not lay the filth of Sin upon Christ, in laying on him the iniquities of us all. Let me in a few words examine his self-confidence. The point in hand, he tells us, is, that God did not lay the filth of Sin upon Christ. Then let him keep to the point, and see what he’ll get by it by and by. “Hence, says he, he is said to be without spot.” Hence? So his argument is that Christ was said to be without spot, because God did not lay the filth of Sin upon Christ. I utterly deny it! ‘Tis not “from hence” it is said, that Christ was without spot; for God did lay the filth of Sin upon Christ. But therefore it is said that “he offered up Himself to God without spot,” Heb.9:14, because in the very laying our spots upon him, he, being an Infinite Person, as God, could not take spot in the very Humanity, {in the matter of his offering,} but bore our Sins away, {as the Greek word in I Pet.2:24, signifies,} Guilt and Filth, according to the Eternal Perimeters of God’s Covenant of Grace in Christ; that however, under the Exceptions of that Covenant, restrictions and limitations, the Filth of Sin was to be with us, for Supreme, Wise and Holy ends in this life; yet neither Guilt nor Pollution of Sin should stick eternally, or follow us into the next Life. Now this Infiniteness of Christ’s Person to take the spots of our Sins, and not to be spotted with them, Mr. Hunt denies, in the warmth of his spirit against some of his neighbors, which are far clever in the point than he himself, for ought appears by any cogency in his shuffling about without any clear direction. ‘Tis evident that he diminishes the Infiniteness of Christ’s Person in the matter, and so diminishes him in this Article, because his words are, that Christ was a sin offering, but not a sinful offering; as if filth laid on Christ would have made him a sinful offering. Why, if Christ had not been an Infinite Person, then Sin laid on him would have made him sinful. The types upon which Sin was laid were unclean, Lev.16:21-26, because finite; but the Antitype upon which Sin was laid, was evermore pure, because an Infinite Person, and not in the least to be altered by our impurities. Again, if Christ was infinitely able to be made Sin, and yet not sinful, why not infinitely able then to be charged with our Pollutions, and yet not spotted in the Imputation? The rule of Observation {that “filth will make spots where it is”} laid down to the contrary in this quibble is applicable only to finite persons, and so absolutely falls short of the Infiniteness of the Person of our Sin Bearing Substitute. Aye, so it will {“filth will make spots where it is”} in Men or Angels, but not in God-Man, when it was laid upon the Mediator. The Father carried it over to an Infinite Person, the Son of God; and as the One Infiniteness is the same in the Son as in the Father, so the Son could be no more defiled under the Imputation, than the Father could be defiled by the act of Imputing it. Besides, the Socinians are wont to ask us, how could Guilt be imputed to Christ, and Christ not an unjust one, under the Imputation? And they ground their query upon a denial of the Infiniteness of his Person; and we answer it by the Infinite Accountability and Responsibleness of our Engaging Surety. How can Mr. Hunt otherwise answer it? Now the same answer will serve both, the Socinians and Mr. Hunt too, who in his unguarded papers has often given them a great deal of ground. Our own Answer is impartially firm, that as he was, and continued to be the Just One, Acts 3:14, though he bare our Sins and Guilt, and in the act of bearing them was a Righteous Person, because of his Infiniteness in Ability to lie under the Imputation of them, whilst in his Sufferings, without the contraction; so he was and continued to be without spot, the Holy One, {for Justice and Holiness are not to be separated in the matter, as appears, Acts 3:14,} though he bare our Sins, {our Filthinesses,} and in the Act of bearing them, was an Undefiled Person, because of his Infiniteness to lie under the Imputation of the Pollution without contradiction of the least stain. The reason is the same on both sides; and Pollution is no more a companion for his Infinite Holiness, than Guilt is for his Infinite Justice to subdue. Though all our particulars were carried over to him, he incurred no blemish, but being an Infinite Person his valuable Ransom purchased our own Pardon that committed them; accordingly, though all our spots were carried over to him, he in the sheer Holiness of his Infinite Person contracted them not in the Inestimable Blood that was shed to wash our Sins away. Thus I see no Difficulty at all in one, more than in the other; and ‘tis by Faith of the Operation of God, Col.2:12, that I firmly believe the full Mystery of the Imputation in each of the branches thereof, Guilt and Pollution; and that Satisfaction was completely made to God’s Holiness in Christ’s bearing our Pollutions, as well as Satisfaction was made to God’s Justice in Christ’s bearing our Guilt upon him; and thus Iniquity was laid upon Christ not by mere Sovereignty but by Divine Contract, according to the Eternal Law of Holiness and Justice; as it pleased the Father as a Righteous Legislator, and not merely as an Absolute Sovereign to bruise Christ. This was therefore another of Mr. Hunt’s errors.

He goes on, “but though God did once lay Sin on Christ in the sense aforesaid, yet now it is impossible that Sin should be laid upon him by us; and those who presume to pretend such a thing, do evidently declare they look upon him not to have completed his work.” {Page 135} Now laid upon him by us? Aye, then by us; for if we had been alive in the Day of Christ’s Sufferings, it had been impossible at that time that Sins should have been laid upon him by us, in the sense of Imputation, as God laid them {and could do it alone} on Christ Judicially. We do lay them on Christ Judicially, for they were once laid on him judicially. That is, when we come before him with our Pollutions, or in our Filthinesses, we do by Faith and Holy Confession in trust “put him in remembrance,” {of this Gracious Promise of Free Remission of Sins in Christ,} Isa.43:26, as the Word bids us; that is to say, making mention of them, after it hath been in our poor souls for some time through our own Unbelief, as if God had forgotten us, how these pollutions of ours were once laid upon Christ by an Act of the Father Judicially. So that the Foundation of our doing so, is his completing of his own work which the Father had given him to do. And in our act we do but with a fiducial heart confessedly declare it, which is our laying Sin upon Christ reflexively, and not directly. He continues the same mistaken aggravations, grounded upon his Zeal and not upon the Argument. “And though {says he} the Scripture affirms, that by one offering he has forever perfected them that are sanctified, Heb.10:14, yet those persons are for laying Sin upon him again {and that in such a manner as God himself never did} and so do what in them lies to crucify the Lord afresh, and to put him to open shame.” {Page 136} Laying Sin upon Christ in such a manner as God himself never laid it, is never the worst, but the better for that. It is a very unhappy that this man is given so much over to self-contradiction. How is the laying of Sin upon Christ in another manner than God laid it, opposite to the One Offering whereby he hath forever perfected them that are sanctified? If it be not laying of Sin by Imputation on Christ, but a fiducial putting him in remembrance that Iniquity was once judicially laid on him by Imputation, how is it laying of Sins upon Christ again? If it be transacting with respect to what is past, how is it a perfect repetition of the same thing? This brother in a sense makes haste to be rich, and so falls into a snare. He had better have thoroughly understood how we take it, when we maintain the Doctrine of laying the filth of Sin upon Christ, and our coming to him as defiled Sinners, before he had undertook to write against it. “He that answereth a matter {saith Solomon} before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Prov.18:13. Again, the aggravation of a matter can be nothing, when the ground of the Application of that matter falls. Therefore the doing what in them lies to crucify the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame, is but noise without execution in this case, because in this misappropriation the sacred text is quite abused in being so busy with it where it is quite misunderstood. ‘Tis spoken of Apostasy from Christ, and a total relinquishment of the Christian Religion, not of anything what he supposes by an indecent transacting towards Christ. He had forgot the Holy Ghost’s Distinction, that it was crucified to themselves, not crucified to himself; as this spurious wresting of the text bears off the sense. It shows moreover, how our doctor hath read very little upon texts in the Arminian Controversies, as he hath plentifully discovered himself in the anti-Socinian cause to be an ignoramus of little more than a day’s standing. Surely, if he had known the Arminian Controversies, while he is here pleading against the Arminian way of coming to Christ, he would never thus have fashioned upon one of the Arminians senses of that text, which is crucifying of Christ to himself; but yet the Arminians too are men of more brain and thought than to apply it in any other case but falling away. He is not yet made aware of their unified way of reasoning, and so runs along in his own strength.

“And, says he, to render all he hath done as imperfect, and so virtually overthrow the very foundation of our Salvation, since if Sin be laid upon him again, he must suffer for it again; since Sin was never laid upon Christ to any other end than to satisfy the Justice of God for it. And as this was the end, so either Christ hath fully satisfied justice, or not; if he has, then no more Sin can be laid upon him, unless he must pay the debt twice, which is not consistent with Justice; but if they say Christ hath not, then they declare their cursed heresy.” {Page 136} These matters have been answered already; and so here is no new argument, but the old mistakes brought over again, his substance being spent, and now he’s all shadow. I have answered him too before, and so this is only as a man full of talk. I have shown how that nothing which Christ hath done is rendered hereby imperfect, but the Foundation of all is actually made use of and built on, and therefore not virtually overthrown; since if Sin be thus fiducially and confessedly laid on Christ, by acknowledging God’s mercy to our selves in his past laying Iniquity upon Him by judicial Imputation, and so pleading this with an eye to Christ for fresh supplies and communications out of his once bearing our Sins, ‘tis an honoring the Satisfaction of Christ, as to the Design and Virtue of it, both in reference to Justice as to bearing Guilt, and Holiness {which Mr. Hunt has left us no allowance for} as to bearing Filth, to make way for the Gift of God’s Spirit to us; and so is no paying the debt twice, or going about to repeat Christ’s Satisfaction.

Now he has some new matter for us, “and as for those, says he, who are so confident that their filthy lusts must of necessity lie on Christ or them, I would ask them this question, where will those Sins lie at judgment? For it is expressly said, Heb.9:28, that Christ shall appear the second time without Sin unto salvation. Then since he will not bear them, they are like to return to them again.” {Page 137} What a vile notion has he taken up of laying Sins upon Christ! As if doing it fiducially in a Confessed Declaration of our views and belief of that holy transaction, once by Imputation of our Sins by the Father to him, made a change in Christ now, by our putting of Him in remembrance. Alas! It is no such laying of Sins upon Christ as he thus feigns, whilst it runs into the formal sense of Imputation for Christ again to bear them. This was his own device, because he undertook to ventilate and discuss a matter he never understood, and so destroys the Truth by proposing a Fancy. Sins were never laid on Christ in the proper sense of laying them on, but once, and then it was by Imputation, and that the Father’s act alone, to Christ; and at that time the Lord Christ made Reconciliation for Iniquity, and brought in Everlasting Righteousness, {“seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy,” Dan.9:24,} so bearing our Sins {ours of the ransomed elect} that he bore them away. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” I Pet.2:24-25. Consequently, they cannot be found at Judgment, though still they were both born, and born away, by God’s Covenant, consistently with all the limits and exceptions of the First Federal Transactions, viz., that the Sin that dwells in us, Rom.7:20, together with afflictions, pain, sickness and death appointed to us, shall not be taken away from us in this world, but only in the world to come; and so here was scope enough for the issues of the two Relations, to Christ by preventing Grace, and to Adam by lapsed nature, in this life. Accordingly, though Christ bore our Sins and took our Sins away, it was by the Federal Boundary set thereunto by God’s Sovereign and Immutable will, Heb.10:7, which exempted the Remainder of Sin in our natures though born again, and so left room to denominate us upon the same account Sinners, as to Pollution in this present life, for the Glory of God the Spirit in our daily Sanctification, though not to remain on our persons, after this Infusion of Quickening Grace, to Condemnation in the present life neither.

As for his concluding words, they are both abominable, and likewise self-contradictory, “and then since Christ will not bear them, says he, they are like to return to them again.” Here he hath abominably owned the laying of Sins upon Christ in a gross and impossible sense, distinct from all Relation to God’s one and only Imputation of them; only seeks to come off with this torrent, that Christ will not bear them; whereas, Sins cannot be so laid on him; but, says he, return them back again. The returning them back again argues that Mr. Hunt hath granted that these filthinesses were once by the sinner put upon Christ in some gross and impossible sense; because returning back again is to a point, place or person to whom or what they were once separated from. How wicked and absurd is this conceit of his about Sins, both in the egress and regress of these filthy lusts! He passes to another head of the matter, “but because, says he, there are some few texts which seem to some to favor the point I have been confuting, I shall cite them, and see how far they will prove the point.” {Page 137}

Now here I looked for three or four texts at least to be at hand, and yet he hath produced but two. To wit, Isaiah 42:18 & Romans 4:5. I shall give him no disturbance upon the sense of these texts, for inasmuch as I see nothing intolerable in his matter by which he has given to be the Exposition of these places, and that the true Doctrine of coming to Christ, by that Motion Faith after we are regenerate of the Spirit, I say the coming in our remaining and discovered pollutions, {by “remaining” pollution, I always mean, as the Apostle does, “sin that dwelleth in us,” having its remaining and abode in us, as long as we stay in this world,} depends not upon precarious and non-appertaining allegations; but is supported with very solid and prevailing arguments, and now to the purpose, against Mr. Hunt’s Appendix in his Infant’s Faith, and against that passage in his Sharon-Rose, “thou mayest be too filthy to go to Christ by Faith,” I shall proceed.

“Thus, I have at large, says he, cleared this Scripture, {Rom.4:5,} and have answered all such Questions as I know proper to the present point; and doubt not, after all, but this Doctrine of Sinners coming in their reeking lusts to Christ will appear to be erroneous to all, but such as are under the power of their lusts, and no more pass current for a Doctrine of Free Grace, as it has done.” {Page 142} Oh! What a weariness is it to open the Scriptures! “I have at large cleared this Scripture.” He is so little used to it, that his four infant-pages in the Appendix, which scarce make a single page of this quarto, are brought off thus, like a man out of breath at one spurt of unaccustomed labor. Further, what discoveries have we got in his following words, “and have answered all such questions as I know proper to the present point.” ‘Tis plain by this, that he invented things in his Questions to make the Doctrine of the Gospel, in going to Christ with pollutions, odious. For here he owns, that nobody else but himself held things as he hath stated and re-stated, tossed and mixed them, without any order or coherence, as well as independently from any just cause. The more shame to this man! ‘Tis a self-contradiction too; for before, as I have proved, that he pretended the Questions were put by other folk. “If by these words, as Sinners, you mean such as are utterly devoid of any principle of Grace, &c.” And again, “but if you mean such as only have the remainders of Sin in them, &c.” {Page 133} Here ‘tis “you mean” and “you mean” in regards to the question. And yet at last he confesses that it is his own made-meaning. “I have answered all such questions as I know proper to the present point.” It is plainly the questions here that he makes to be the object of his own knowledge; whereas, if he had not invented the questions, but fairly received them from other men, he should have said, I have answered all such questions as pass, not all such as I know proper. How can we be the same in this, without self-contradiction? Again, you see what it is which he strikes at, the Doctrine of a Sinner’s coming in his reeking lusts to Christ for Pardon. Whatever it be, lusts reeking have no influence upon Christ to reach or change him. Besides, corruption is not the more Corruption to God for what he calls reeking; nor lusts the more lusts for this term’s sake which he gives them. If he means lusts are worse just after the act of Sin committed, he will find the contrary in Scripture, Jn.8:4-11, that the longer they are lain in, let him fancy the reeking to be over, the more they increase upon the soul, and defile an unwashed heart and conscience. Nevertheless, if reeking be thought to alter the property of lusts in man’s eye, lust is always the same filthiness in God’s Omniscient Eye. Does he vainly think the reeking wears off in time without the Remedy? He is mistaken. For are there not always the ill steams in filthiness? Is there not an inseparable evaporation in soot and nastiness? David says that he was like a bottle in the smoke, Psal.119:83, and will not that have a strong scent, whatever ‘tis taken from the chimney into hands? And this of David is not said when he was under the power of his lusts, but in the exercise of Grace, when he did not forget God Statutes. And yet if he was so filthy in measure then, how filthy when he did forget them, and wallowed in uncleanness? And yet none of all these aggravations ought to discourage Sinners from presently coming to Jesus Christ in all their filthy lusts; nor does anything that Mr. Hunt has written to the contrary {in all his mistaken windings and turnings} make it appear to be erroneous to all but such as are under the power of their lusts, whatsoever his vain confidence is in the strength of this vagabond Composition, {for his own continuing the pages hath given me authority to name it all Confusion;} but still it passes current for a Doctrine of Free Grace, but the Lord grant that it do so no longer. Amen.

Let us once more see his talent of arguing, when he tosses the dilemma, “it will appear, quotes he, to any Understanding reader to be grand Arminianism, and a setting up of Free Will, if we consider that the soul in coming to Christ moves from a gracious principle, or a natural principle; if from a gracious principle, then the soul doth not come reeking in his Sin to Christ. For, says he, it’s a grand contradiction to say a sinner is a gracious person; but if they say the soul moves from a natural principle, this is as grand Free Will, as ever Arminius himself delivered.” {Page 142}

Who could have thought this man so tender of setting up Arminianism? For certainly in these papers, if the Lord pleases, I may discover he has set up more Free Will than ever he has pulled down. ‘Tis not talking against Arminius which proves a man Orthodox in the points of Grace. But to his argument, “if we consider that the soul in coming to Christ moves from a gracious principle, then the soul doth not come reeking in his Sin to Christ; for it’s a contradiction to say a sinner is a gracious person.” Yes, yes, we have considered and proved that the soul in coming to Christ in its pollutions moves from a Gracious Principle, namely, the New Birth. But the New Birth doth not make us clean. A child that is first born into this world doth not enter into it clean, and so is everyone that is born of the Spirit, Jn.3:8, born, and not presently washed. “Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live…Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness; yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.” Ezek.16:3-9. I have also proved it to be no contradiction, {and he who is so often self-contradictious, should be cautious of hinting to us other men’s contradictions till he has purged off his own,} to say a Sinner in a different relation is a Gracious Person. The contradiction had been to have predicated contraries of the same subject in the same way and manner. And because he has been all along in this matter so happy in his illustrations, I would adventure to give him one home to this point. It is no contradiction to say, a certain very bad writer and speller of English is yet a good Scholar in the School of Christ. Sin by Adam can no more deprive me of my Grace by Christ, than Mr. Hunt’s usual way to spell reeking with an “w” {wreeking} can prove him Ignorant of the Mind of Christ. I Cor.2:16. Now in relation to my Sin by Adam, I am a sinner, as in relation to my Grace experienced through Jesus Christ, I am nevertheless at the same time, in this different way of Relation, a Gracious Person too. Moreover, the gracious person in respect of Christ and the Grace of God quickening him, doth by virtue of that Grace come to Christ, notwithstanding his other polluted relation, in respect of the body of this death, Rom.7:24; and so far as the polluted relation, or relation to sinful nature, which is Pollution, remains, so for I remain all my days after the New Birth, a poor sinner. Neither can I come to Christ, believing on his Name, Jn.1:12, but all that Sin dwelling in me, Rom.7:20, is brought along with me. Let poor Mr. Hunt now think of the matter as he can, for I know of no saint on this side of heaven, but he daily comes a Sinner to Jesus Christ, if he comes daily to him. Don’t let him flatter the saints to make them think of themselves in their Nature-Relation to old Adam better than they are. They come to Christ with both, pollutions and derived graces too. With pollutions, and spread them before the Lord for more influential Sanctification, with graces in begun Sanctification, but above all with the Spirit of Grace, to carry on their Communion with Jesus Christ. Sin and Corruption in Saints do make them as really, though not so specifically {for I can’t hit upon a clearer word to express it} Sinners, as any drunkard or swearer in the World are Sinners. They are therefore as truly filthy in that body of death, or in their corrupt nature related to old Adam, as they were truly filthy, though not so measurably filthy, before their first washing. The old Adam-part never alters the Relation so long as it keeps its being, and that is as long as the children of God are in the world. Oh! What work is there and must be from God the Spirit, as Comforter, to come and act upon the Foundation of God the Father and God the Son! It is God that worketh in us through God, from God. {Gen.19:24, the LORD, from the LORD.} Well, now the way is made clear to affirm, in opposition of Contrariety to our decontaminated Author, that it is the Obligation of these Sinners {of whom Mr. Hunt’s allowed reckoning is, that they are nothing but Saints} to come with all the filth of their Sin to Christ; aye, to come to Christ, though they are reeking {as he phrases it} with the Pollution of their Sin, yea with the whole Adam-part. For now under a Work of God the Spirit they are quickened from the Dead, and quickened by, as well as co-quickened, or mystically quickened together with Christ for that end. And yet they come not to Christ with their Sins that Christ might have Communion with their Sins, as Mr. Hunt so ignorantly and vainly enough supposes, nor to encourage them in Sin, as the answer to the first-made question, and impertinently started, suggests; but influentially to convey Pardon of the Sin, Purgation of the faculty, communication with the Person.

He follows these strokes with a mask of tenderness, “I cannot, says he, but pity such deluded souls as receive the Doctrine I am confuting for a Doctrine of Free Grace, who are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. It’s a sore judgment to be given over to believe a lie, and to be left to feed on a stone instead of bread, and not to be able to discern between a fish to nourish us, and a scorpion to sting us.” {Page 147} 1. ‘Tis evident that he is so unstable you know not how to take him. If his affections therefore to the deluded have been no more Compassionate to pity them, than his Arguments firm and cogent to reduce them, I apprehend it has been rather an anger than a pity. To be sure, it hath been rather an incoherent striking at Free Grace, than a confutation of prevailing error, through the whole Appendix. 2. As a further taste of his Incoherence, let me instance how unfitly he manages the Scripture-style. For as Paul to Timothy upbraids such as were “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth,” II Tim.3:7, he professeth redundantly, by a kind of work of supererogation, to pity them. Paul speaks of them as persons wholly shut out of the Spirit’s Office, {the reason why they were not able to come to the knowledge of the Truth;} and we have no Foundation in the Word of God to pity these, but ought to upbraid them, according to the Example the Holy Ghost hath set us in this instance of silly women laden with sins, verse 6; and therefore being all their days left to be unprofitable hearers, were the fittest auditory for those teachers who had not only shut out the Fundamentals from their Ministry, but were also reprobate, verse 8, concerning the Faith. 3. His observation is next, “it is a sore judgment to be given over to believe a lie;” to which I will add affirmatively, so it is; and reduplicatively, it is another sore judgment to have eyes to see, and yet not to see. Mt.13:14. 4. His blunder takes the turn, “be left to feed on a stone instead of bread;” as I have never read the phrase of feeding on a stone before. For nothing can be fed on but that which is edible, or may be eaten. Our Lord said, Matt.7:9, “or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” This lies very wide from Mr. Hunt’s instant conceit of feeding on a stone.

He expresses his hope as well as his pity, “I cannot, says he, but hope many that differ from me in this point are dear to God, {holding this notion out of ignorance or blind zeal,} and that they are upon a good Foundation, yet I am verily persuaded this Doctrine which they defend, will be found in the Great Day to be but as hay, wood, stubble; or, if possible, some more combustible matter.” {Page 150} Truly I would say much the same of Mr. Hunt; for I would like to believe his Foundation to be Christ, according to the best of the Light the Lord hath been pleased to give him; but it is plain his ignorance is laid open again, in quoting or using this very passage of the Apostle, as if he could mend it, whereas he has evidently marred it. He suggests as if the Apostle designed to instance absolutely in the most combustible matters, and then is trying if he cannot carry it beyond the Apostle. “If possible, says he, at the Great Day this doctrine they defend will be found to be more combustible matter.” Alas! The Apostle knew well enough there were absolutely more combustible things than wood, hay, and stubble; and if a man took the Apostle to have spoken in the absolute sense, he must needs think that his own wit would correct him; he need not then mince it, if he goes thus to work, and say, “if possible,” for ‘tis “certain” in an absolute sense, that flax, tow, feathers, hair, &c., are all more combustible than wood, hay and stubble. But Paul’s design in the Corinthians was to instance in relative combustibles, such as belonged to a building, {of which the Apostle discourses;} and as wood is used in building, so the roofs and covering of slight houses are thatch, or hay and stubble, to which the Apostle metaphorically alludes in expressing Superstructure-Doctrines that do not suit the only Foundation, Christ. Now this being plain, what need has Mr. Hunt to depart from the Wisdom of the Holy Ghost to suggest his own dissatisfaction with the Scripture-Sufficiency? As if the Apostle’s metaphors had not been apt and full enough to determine this matter, but he must come and try to amend them with a more combustible?

He hath a notable stroke afterwards, “I would have them consider, says he, whether this Doctrine they defend, does not exclude the Spirit of God from having any hand in the application of the benefits purchased by Christ to the soul.” {Page 154} I am glad to find God the Comforter brought in at last, for we have heard of Grace, Free Grace, a Change wrought in the soul, a Change wrought in the person, the spiritual motion of the soul to Christ; and very often we have had coming to Christ, Believing on him, a change, and a changed State; a great change too; also, by the strength of God’s Grace to leave the Sins they are now in, &c., and such like phrases, and yet the Holy Ghost not so much as named, which is one sort of shutting him out of his own work, until this passage struck in and gave Honor to God the Spirit. Now, I pray, how can all these great things be done of which he speaks of without the Distinct Operation of the Third Person in God? And yet he had passed over this glorious Article of the Gospel, only just now thinks he has got his adversary at some advantage, and so brings in the Holy Ghost by the by; but never before minded to acknowledge him in his proper work, as he had acknowledged God and Christ. This is very un-becoming; and rather argued that he put into this harbor in stress of weather, than took up his own residence there.

To conclude, with remarking some of his own carriage at beginning this Appendix, or the label hung on to his Infant’s Faith, I do not see what occasion he had to boast himself at girding on his harness, as if he had been putting it off, and had won the battle? I Kings 20:11. It seems to be too great a piece of confidence in him, and I fear that he will not stand to his word, when he says, “I am willing to expose my sentiments, that so I may either silence my opposers, or they may shame me.” {Page 108} And again, “since I have delivered my sentiments {not my Faith} on this point, it stands me in hand to vindicate it, since I have truth on my side; for otherwise I should rather take shame to myself.” {Page 107} Why, sure he must think he had the truth on his side in writing all that treatise through the whole 156 pages; and yet when the former part of it lay under an assault from Dr. Russell’s Reply, I could never hear, notwithstanding how it stands him in hand to vindicate it, that he took up that cause against him that threw the gauntlet; nor against Mr. Smith who hath replied upon him briskly. Where is his zeal now for truth? Alas! The man hath been cold, he was indisposed and in one of his chill fits, soon after his flushings. The man had clad himself with his winter-freeze before October, and lest he should be put to defend his book indeed, he provides against stormy weather, and laps himself up under this covering, “as I did not intend, says he, in writing this to enter the list with any in a public debate, or to provoke any to make a reply, {wary writer,} so if contrary to my expectation, {he should have said, contrary to my desire,} if any of the common disputants of our age {nay, if common ones which scare him, I don’t know but when he heard of Dr. Russell and Mr. Smith about to take him to task, it might, as we say, half scare him out of his wits,} shall think good to answer it, I design to take no further notice of it, than to read it.” No? Oh! I don’t love this cowardice in Christ’s Cause! If it was not Christ’s Cause, why did he take it up? If it was, why did he tamely resign it, when he had made a rattle as to how it stands him in hand to vindicate it? Why, not as good at the quill, as at the tip of the tongue? For he tells us, what effect his conferences have had, “I am, says he, so far from recanting anything that I have delivered on this point, {notwithstanding all the calumnies of mine adversaries, whose eyes the God of this world hath in part blinded,} that I hope I shall be able to defend it to my last breath; and I am the more encouraged to defend this truth, that no man can, or ought to come to Christ in his Sins, by the good success I have had in many private conferences about it; for I never yet conversed with any that opposed it, but either I have convinced them {“I?” Oh! Did the Spirit of God hear this?} of their error, and brought them to embrace the truth they once despised, or at least so stopped their mouths, that they have been able no longer to be gainsayers.” {Page 109} Who would have looked for such an incoherent management as has been laid open in the process of that Appendix, after such a ruffling dash at preparing for the onset? I wish he would mend it, by his own sponge in blotting out the haughty, and pen his reverse in a more humble language, conformable to those requests on page 144, of his Rose, though he need not repeat them so often, Lord help! Lord help, &c.

I shall shut up this prolonged chapter with some account of the nature of this practical part of the Gospel, and of my own experimental going to Christ with the filth of Sin. An elect vessel of God having the heart changed by the Spirit of Christ ought to go, and accordingly, by the Operation of the Holy Ghost does go to Christ with all the filth, all the offensiveness, and every reeking lust he ever finds in his own heart and way. Herein he transacts with Christ, confessedly and fiducially, in the use, and under the virtue of his One Sacrifice, about his once bearing our Sins, {“so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many,” Heb.9:28,} for Purgation and Conveying of his Holy Spirit, by his lying under their Pollution, as well as in that Act for Pardon for his lying under their Guilt. This elect and chosen vessel transacting thus by the Faith of the Operation of God, {“buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God,” Col.2:12,} towards Christ, comes in that lively change made in the soul, in the Day of the Lord’s power; then he comes, I say, and with the most humble admirations of these Riches of Grace, {“that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” Eph.2:7,} and as one of the peculiar people of the Most High, called out of darkness into his marvelous light, {“ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” I Pet.2:9,} in the joy of Faith, {“having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith,” Phil.1:25,} saying, “Lord, all this filthiness and uncleanness in my heart and life, of which thy Holy Spirit has convinced me, to be inherently in my own nature, the Sin that dwelleth in me, Rom.7:20, as by nature related to the First Adam, {first by Open Appearance,} was by Judicial Imputation of the Father, {“the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isa.53:6,} once laid upon thee, the holy Jesus, that through thy precious blood shed I might receive the purifying; and thou by the Infiniteness of thy own self bearing away all my Sins, Guilt and Filth, with Power of Ransom, and rinsing me in the Glorious Laver, Exod.30:18-21, I am made clean mystically in thee, in the Infinite Fountain of the blood of thee, the God-Man, and in this once mystical cleansing of me forever, I stand mystically in thee my Head, without fault before the throne of God, {“and in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God,” Rev.14:5,} and though personally in my self {as is very consistent with the former} I am now spotted as to time, and by nature black and uncomely, yet under the strengthening virtue of thy Redeeming Blood, I wait for the hope of Righteousness by Faith, {“we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith,” Gal.5:5,} to be hereafter personally without spot, and blameless, {“that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish,” Eph.5:27,} with thee the Lamb forever, to rise up to my Mystical Perfection now.” It is in the substance of this Faith that I go to God daily. In this Faith by the Mighty Spirit I perform all the acts of my Ministry. In this Faith I daily die to Sin. In this Faith I live above the world. In this Faith I am careful to maintain good works. {“This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” Tit.3:8.} In this Faith I have peace. In this Faith I have Communion, and sometimes joy unspeakable and full of glory. {“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” I Pet.1:8.} In one word, in this Faith I delight in the Second Coming of my Lord, {“so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation,” Heb.9:28,} and breathe to see him upon the Solemn Throne, with many crowns upon his Head, {“his eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself,” Rev.19:12;} in judgment, when all Christ’s work designed both for me and others, and in us together, together with mine and their labors for him under his own Grace, shall be completely finished. Now let another good man dare say as much from his own Experience on the contrary side, in opposing the State of this Doctrine. Thus, as through God’s Good Spirit I am set for the Defense of the Gospel, {“I am set for the defense of the Gospel,” Phil.1:27,} so by Him I firmly contend for the same, as a piece of our most holy Faith once delivered to the saints, {“it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints,” Jude 1:3;} for ‘tis not any man’s notion of the filthiness of the argument, or the defective way of managing it, that can in the least dissolve the holiness of the Article.