Chapter 24

Of some objections made to this Doctrine, with the Answers; and the Doctrine defended out of more of Mr. John Hunt’s own Inconsistencies with himself.

First Objection: “Does not this put the Lord of Glory again to an open shame? Is it not an open disparagement of Christ to go with the filth of Sin to Christ?”

Answer 1: How can this be when the filth of Sin has no Relation to him in his Glory above, but in his shame which he despised below? ‘Tis not as he bore Sin, or with any Supposition that he now bears it, on the Throne, but with a remembrance that he once bore it in the Garden and on the Tree. ‘Tis no direct act of going to Christ with our filth, that is to say to carry Sin up to Christ and there lay it on Christ; but a reflex act {for I fear it is impossible when I have to do with these men who raise the objection, to make them understand what I mean, without this distinction of the schools in form, which otherwise I very unwillingly take up, though the distinction is very rational, and not blind, as many of them in Divinity are. It is therefore, I say, a reflex act} looking back to what was done, while we look forwards to Him with our believing pleas upon whom it was done by the Father, who once transacted it. The object of this act is not Christ as exalted, but as crucified. Now it is no shame to the Person in Glory, but an honoring of the Mediator, to go to him in the true Design of his Sufferings and Shame, as he once appeared out of his Glory in Heaven, when he went over Cedron into the Garden, and came back to the Sepulchral Golgotha where he buried our sins mystically; and this we plead when we experience them influentially, that we might be dead to Sin, and live to righteousness. “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.” I Pet.2:24.

Answer 2: The same objection, if there be any weight in it, will fall out against the Lord’s Supper, for therein is a constant remembrance of his Death, do this, says Christ “in remembrance of me, for as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” I Cor.11:25-26. But what then? Does it always put Jesus Christ again to an open shame to come to him in that Ordinance by looking on his Death, and then going to him as Crucified, and as our sins were laid upon him, Is.53:6, as the Institution of the ordinance requires? Accordingly, ‘tis the nature of Faith, out of that Ordinance, if the Faith be genuine, that we know whom we believe, and for what reasons we believe on Christ, to go to him by that Faith, as he once hung at Golgotha, as the Syriac word is in Matthew 27:33, or Calvary, as the same place and mountain of his crucifixion is rendered in Latin, Luke 23:33.

Answer 3: Though in our nature-selves we are polluted, yet Faith given in by the Spirit of Christ according to our Grace-relation and Glory-relation, elevates the soul to an act that enters into Christ, or into that within the veil, Heb.6:19, following him into Heaven without any pollutions, but soaring in pure Faith to Jesus, in whom we are perfect in our Heavenly standing; for no unclean thing shall enter therein. {As is said of the New Jerusalem that is to come down from God out of Heaven, in Rev.21:27.} So with the first look of Faith, as we look on our nature-selves and see the Adam part, and that there we are defiled creatures; nevertheless though filthy, yet not discouraged thereby to magnify it into a falsehood, that we are too filthy to go to Christ by Faith; but being enabled of the Holy Ghost to plead Christ’s blood in the next act of discerning, we then in another act ascend pure to Christ, so far as we indeed ascend and enter into Heaven to him with our spirits, coming up in that Faith out of his Blood in none of our nature-filth, but in the Grace and Glory relations to himself, and so are like a flock of sheep that cometh up from the washing, and do go in to him with a holy boldness, in whom our Relation to the Heavenlies consist, as we sit together with him in Glory, Eph.2:6, having not so much as the least spot upon ourselves, but are there without fault, Rev.14:5, before the throne of God.

Second Objection: “This Doctrine suits with corrupt nature, emboldens men in their sins, and is the high-way to make the Gospel encourage men in their sins; for if men once believe this, they will not care how filthy they are. Why, say they, do you tell us of our filth, it was laid all upon Christ, and there done away, was it not? Abominable! Is not this strange Doctrine? Without doubt it must be a sort of spur to licentiousness. This Doctrine of laying the filth of Sin upon Christ, and going with it in one’s filth unto him, must be a very plain and open encouragement unto Sin, or we don’t know what is so. I can’t bear this Antinomianism, or Libertinism, says one! Alas! What will become of us! Whither are men running!”

This I take to be the heart-life of the Objection, and it is thought this can never be answered. Without doubt by him, whose objection it is it can’t.

Answer 1: This is no more than the common slander against a great deal more of the Doctrines of the Gospel by other adversaries. The Papists slander the Doctrine of Assurance in the same manner. The Arminians slander the Doctrine of Election in the same manner. The Socinians slander the Doctrine of Christ’s Propitiation and Atonement for Sin after the same manner. {According to Socinus, if men meddled with Christ’s Blood, Righteousness and Atonement he made thereby, they should be hinderers of a good life.} The Papists urge against Assurance, that if a man be once assured that he shall go to Heaven, why, he may run into all outrages, murder upon the highway, &c. Now will these anti-Antinomians {for I do not say Neonomians, because I am not considering so much what they build, as what they labor to destroy. Will they} deny the Doctrine of Assurance, because the Roman Catholics loaded it so extravagantly against the first Reformers? The Arminians clamor against Election thus, that it’s a licentious Doctrine; for, if a man be elected, he need not fear being saved at last, though now he lives just as his lusts would carry him abroad. And will you let go Election upon this noise? Election of persons before the Foundation of the world? Neither is there any more reason for all the noise of one side to do the one, than there is for the noise of the other side to do the other. The Socinians among other arguments for denying the Atonement of Christ, or what we call the Satisfaction of Christ to God’s Justice, do it from this consideration, that it is a licentious Doctrine; for if Christ say these, has paid the Atoning Price to God for all the certain number of our sins against him, then go on and Sin merrily {a man’s heart will say} for the reckoning is paid for. Now shall this clamor at the Doctrine of Christ make any of our anti-antinomian objectors deny the Atoning Price or Satisfaction of Christ to the Justice of God for all the sins of the elect? Though I believe they secretly give this point up, by their throwing it out of all their Sermons, to maintain that apple of their eye, Conditional Doctrine, their foundation of all the Salvation the creature is to look at; though after all, let me tell them that the true Apple of God's eye is dearer to him than is this apple of theirs.

Answer 2: It is not man’s natural proneness to turn any part of the Grace of God into licentiousness, nor his practical abuses of that Grace that ought to blemish any Doctrine of the Gospel, nor can they annul one of them. What Doctrine of it is there that may not be, that has not been abused, in one kind or another, and through the flesh made an occasion unto Sin? What then? Does it frustrate the Grace of God? Gal.2:21. God forbid, as the Apostle says. Gluttony and drunkenness are crying and scandalous sins, they are also an abuse of the good things of God, corn and wine, &c., but now shall any lay the fault of this abuse upon corn and wine, and blame the Constitution of God’s Pleasure and Goodness in the matters of seed-time and harvest, Gen.8:22, who has ordered and promised these shall not cease? The matter lies much as one in the case before us. For as corn and wine are not to be blamed because of men’s gluttony and drunkenness, nor ought God to be censured for the Constitution of their season and plenty; so neither upon the abuse of spirituals, as I should say with the Scriptures, the corn of Heaven, Psal.78:24, is Grace to be blamed? Assurance-Grace? Election-Grace? Atonement-Grace? Transacting-Grace, in the Father’s carrying over our sins to Christ, and laying the filth of Sin upon him? Are any of these to be cried out against because man abuses them?

Answer 3: The Holy Ghost keeps the saints, ‘tis his Office, ‘tis his Interest in Communion with the other Persons in God to restrain, as well as to sanctify them; ‘tis his daily work, felt and experienced, where the Holy Ghost is, and dwells. {If God the Spirit hath done the work in a man’s heart, the objection is answered in that man whether he sees it or not.} God’s Gracious Spirit is the Preserver of the saints from those evil things, which men suggest as the consequence of the former Doctrine. Besides, the Spirit is as Infinite a Person to prevent the saints abusing this Doctrine, yea, to help them to improve this Doctrine to all the proper ends thereof, just as the Lord Christ is an Infinite Person to bear our sins. The Work and Office of the Holy Ghost is a renewing of the soul, {“not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour,” Tit.3:5-6,} and in the new nature these old things, II Cor.5:17, do pass away. The Gentiles are sanctified by the Holy Ghost, {“that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost,” Rom.15:16;} and whilst they do abound in hope, {“now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost,” Rom.15:13,} and if so, then hope to be saved, through the power of the Holy Ghost, and not through the prevalency of an opinion. A man’s comfort dies in him when the Holy Ghost withdraws from him; for it was in the comfort of the Holy Ghost that the Church was edified, {“walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost,” Acts 9:31,} as through the Spirit lust is mortified, Rom.8:13; but the Spirit will never meddle to do it under a mixed and false Gospel. For, if once men out of their own zeal will undertake to do it by their own way of mixture, the Holy Ghost will leave them to that way, and then they’ll fail, and he call them {if they belong to Christ} to a strict account for the failure afterwards, and show them, that all that Mortification, which they think is wrought off, is still to do. So it is by walking in the Spirit, that the lust of the flesh is not fulfilled. Gal.5:16. Thus the Holy Ghost influentially keeps the saints under the whole Doctrine of the Gospel, and there is no reason in all this clamorous and noisy objection. Only that generation of men, who take on them to do the Spirit’s work with their own medley-Doctrine will speak evil of the things they do not understand, II Pet.2:12, notions without experience do all the mischief, experience of any Truth neither receives nor does harm.

Answer 4: If this Doctrine be understood and received in the Teachings and Operations of God’s Spirit, Sin will be loathed the more for this. For as the Spirit himself loathes Sin, so he works a similar nature in conformity to Christ, which is a nature that loathes it too. And what can more tend to make us loathe the pollutions of Sin, than a nature wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, which worketh by love towards Christ, Gal.5:6, in seeing the filth of our Iniquities once laid upon him? It tends by Experience to put that from me by influential purification, which by experience was loathsome unto Christ by federal Imputation. We want to be more under the life of the Spirit, and we should in his Light discern that there was a world of poison even in our own spirit’s good meanings, to set forth the Transcendent Excellencies of Christ, when as the Spirit will show us when he comes to work, that we were in truth afraid of such Transcendent Excellencies.

Answer 5: The objection is all from Hell originally, but Satan is too wise to go immediately and blow it through profane men, as then it would spoil his ends, and he lose his aim; the devil will do it therefore speciously through the religious man, the low Church-man and the Dissenter {with both of whom I firmly agree in matters of the present Government under the Queen’s Majesty, against the common enemy.} Satan’s aim is to give the Gospel an ill name, and so he stirs up men of the best repute against it, and then he knows abundance of professors will be afraid of it; thus it was with me some time prior to my Conversion, I was under the same temptation most good men are, afraid of the Gospel, afraid of that which makes us good, so blind are we by nature, and so contentedly by nature do we live in this part of Egyptian Darkness.

Answer 6: Antinomianism and Libertarianism are vulgarly confounded, but ought not to be so. Though why this Doctrine should be called Antinomianism, I cannot tell; but we must now take it as it passes. However, I distinguish between an Antinomian and a Libertine. An Antinomian is one against the Law of God. This is one at large, let him answer for himself. A Gospel-Antinomian {such a one as I profess to be} is one against the Law put into Christ’s place, so as where men should preach Christ, and feed upon Christ, and live upon Christ by the Spirit, there they preach Law-acts, feed upon Law-compulsions in their defiled consciences, and live upon Law-requirements, and thus shut out both the Mediator and Comforter, in all the Mysteries of their Person, Office and Operation. And ‘tis as much as you can expect now and then to hear them name either; for they think that naming of Christ is preaching Christ, whereas I know it to be no such thing. Now in the sense of the Gospel-Antinomian, I am, through Grace abounding, a strict Antinomian, and am dead to the Law, as the Apostle says. Rom.7:4. There is in some Orthodox sense by which a man may, and in which he must be an Antinomian. But now on the other hand a Libertine is one that walks loosely from principles of corrupt nature, led by false notions of Grace, and one that emboldens his own heart to Sin from the aboundings of Grace. This person is abominable; and this principle I watch against; this person is not born from above, Jn.3:3,7, this Principle, or Libertinism, I deprecate, abhor, renounce, profess and protest against, so far as I have learned Christ. Eph.4:20. There are cases wherein I must be an Antinomian, and through Grace I will as long as I live; but there are no cases, no not one single case, wherein I ought for Ten Thousand Worlds, to be a Libertine. It is the Devil’s policy to make use of the indiscreet zeal of many to confound these two, and make them both one, on purpose to beat men off from the glorious Gospel. But through Grace, nor men, nor devils, by their craft or scandals, by their wickedness or their wiles, shall be permitted to do this finally unto me. For whilst Grace teaches me to abhor the Libertine, to repent of and watch against all licentiousness of the heart or thoughts, the same Grace steadfastly teaches me to be, to live and to die, and to glory in nothing “save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Gal.6:14. To conclude, he who truly feels the effectual working of God’s Power in his soul, he never is, nor can be a Libertine, if that be any other man’s meaning of an Antinomian.

Answer 7: Christ, the Lord Christ, hath instituted a remedy against Licentiousness in Church-order. The more a Doctrine looks to flesh to be a Doctrine of the flesh, the more it shows the necessity of the Lord Christ’s Institutions in Church-order. If men set up a Church and shake the strictest orders, the Holy Ghost is not bound to execute them, because they do not come from the Supreme Authority; but if Christ sets up a Church, and institutes his own Ordinances, makes his own Laws for holiness and obedient walking, the Holy Ghost hath bound himself in the Everlasting Covenant, Heb.13:20, to the Father and the Son, as Incarnate and Mediator, to teach, sanctify, preserve, and, in the main, keep a Church of Christ in good order. {“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Mt.16:18.} Though, for wise and holy ends, he may order that all the exceptive clauses in that Covenant to fall out one after another, partly to humble such as begin to Sin in their hearts, and prevent what they are also prone unto; and partly to make all the more watchful over themselves and others with a Godly jealousy, II Cor.11:2; but principally, in Churches of Christ, to discriminate Churches, by giving opportunity to put the Law and Government of Christ in Execution; and thereby both exalt the Gospel in its holiness and strength, that it fits men to go through all this destruction of the flesh, I Cor.5:5, and condemn the world; whilst the sound part of a Church of Christ in these matters are as so many preachers of Gospel-Righteousness, II Pet.2:5, like Noah to the old world {for righteousness would have kept off the flood} and therein, I say, do condemn the world of unrighteousness. {“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Heb.11:7.} For, when a Church is brought into the Order of Christ by the Power of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost follows Christ’s laws, and in particular backs that very Ordinance which is for the destruction of the flesh, I Cor.5:5, with his Power in the Conscience {and proportionately any church-reproofs duly administered} to discriminate who does, and who does not belong to his Charge and Special Office from the Mediator, {“there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you,” I Cor.11:19, “they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us,” I Jn.2:19,} particularly when that hallowed Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper has been duly administered in the great Name of our Lord Jesus Christ against any ungodly walker, in putting away from among ourselves that wicked person. I Cor.5:13. For, if this Doctrine, that the filth of our sins was laid upon Christ, hath any tendency in it, through corrupt nature, to lay open and expose the unsound part of a Church, by giving them boldness in sinning, then turn such out to the world among open sinners where Satan’s seat is. Rev.2:13. Thus, the Church of Christ walking as well by the fruits of this Doctrine upon the unsound, {“behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against,” Lk.2:34,} occasioning the licentiousness of the ungodly, and ‘tis fit the Church should have doctrines for trial, the sleepy world hath none, as well as walking according to the Godly nature of it upon themselves, in the strict use of Christ’s Church-laws, will bring more Glory to Christ, II Cor.10:3-7, and further exalt his Transcendent Excellencies, both by his Doctrine and Rules, than the scandals of a few in that Church that’s watched over, can reach to be a disgrace of the Doctrine in the eye of the world. When scandals arise, I know they will raise enemies enough, and weak Saints enough, to throw them upon this Doctrine, but what then? I must never mix the Gospel, nor blend the Truth for this, but give faithful reproofs to Sin, II Tim.4:2, distinct from Preaching the Gospel, especially to the Sins of those who make the greatest profession of the Gospel. {“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” II Tim.5:20.} Otherwise, I confess, that temptations arising from Scandal in the Church of Christ do sometimes lie very hard upon the Godly part thereof. I have been often tempted to stifle and bury these papers, rather than expose them, lest they should in Time to come be more upbraided for the sake of those sins in professors of the pure Gospel, or unmixed Gospel, which blind men reproach as an Antinomian Gospel, I Cor.1:21, every time scandalous sins break out in the profession of these Antinomian Saints and Churches. Nevertheless, “it is impossible but that offences will come; but woe unto him, through whom they come!” {Lk.17:1} And it hath been with me as it was with Jeremiah; for “then I said, I will not make mention of him, {I will stifle this particular Message and Doctrine of Christ,} nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” Either these things are the Truth of God, or are no truths at all. That they are the Truths of God have been evidenced by divers arguments in the foregoing chapters; and if Truths of God’s Son’s Gospel, then better all manner of shame, envy and reproach light on me, and better all the scandals in the world follow, than the truth of God, though another shall call it “my lie,” Rom.3:7, be suppressed, because I and a few of us are ashamed of it, forsooth. “But whosoever, says Christ, shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, {and what is that but the whole of his Person and Gospel, which men of unclean principles pervert, or timorous disciples, who are scared at the Reproach of Christ, are ashamed of, lest uncleanness should thereby be patronized,} in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the Glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mk.8:38. Moreover, the Lord is pleased to suffer these things sometimes, because so many professors of the Gospel despise his own Instituted Remedy to purge Churches, I Cor.3:17; neither will so much as come into Churches themselves; nor be accountable for their actions to any, Psal.141:5; for these I can plead no farther than as God the Spirit’s work {the internal remedy against scandals} goes on in their hearts; which if they are found under, the only remedy, God dwelling in them, {“we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him,” I Jn.4:16,} they shall be kept from some scandals, though for want of his other purging in and by the benefit of the particular reproofs of the word in the separate Government of the Church apart from preaching in the mixed congregations, they will never be so fruitful in their lives, Jn.15:2; and besides, if scandals fall among them, they can have no such answerable opportunities, I Cor.5:12, being out of the Government of the Assembly of Christ, to give Glory to God before men, as they might have by standing in a relation to the Church of Christ, when they should be cast out of it for Disorder, I Cor.5:3-5 with II Cor.2:6-8, and then taken in again upon Repentance; for there are two church-doors, one to take in such as visibly testify, and lay open, {“for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” Rom.10:10, “come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul,” Psal.66:16,} God’s work on their souls {and how Ministers and Churches can answer it to Christ to take in otherwise, though they can bravely answer it to themselves, let them look to it and prepare themselves for, in their other preparings for Death that they are wont to talk so much of,} and there is another Church-door {blessed be God} to turn out the disorderly. And however secret these things are, as they may be done among ourselves now; yet know that Christ, when he comes to Judgment, will faithfully lay them open before the world, to justify the righteous, in what they did by his own Spirit and Grace in their hearts as the Dynamic Principle, for the bestowment of his Grace in his glorious Thousand Year or New Jerusalem Kingdom, Rev.20:6, in the New Heavens, Rev.21:2, where Christ is to be, and the New Earth, II Pet.3:13, were the saints are to be, in this open visible world, Job 19:25, at the Latter Day, or the Day of Judgment; and to condemn the rest, who, under a show of pretense turned away their ears from the Truth, II Tim.4:4, in exchange for a compromise. And whereas a hundred thousand purges, according to Christ’s Laws, ought to have been made, since they had professed Christ’s Name, he will openly revenge it, Psal.50:21, Amos 8:7, that they had never made one. Well then, since Provision is made in a Church of Christ, by Christ Himself, both for the sound and unsound parts of the whole; the sound part in giving the Holy Ghost into their hearts to sanctify them against the Poison of this Objection, that if Sin was laid upon Christ, and particularly, the filth of Sin, then men will secretly love it the more, however for other reasons they may be outwardly restrained. And then again for the unsound part by Church-ordinances of watch, reprove, separating from among ourselves, &c., let the saints then tell me from their own Experience, whether the Spirit of Christ doth not help them to mortify Sin, by means of that very Doctrine, whatever it be, which another time their own spirit shall be ready to make use of to commit more Sin? So that I conclude the Objection from scandal with a reverse to that strange position of Mr. Hunt that I have bent my thoughts and pen against, encouraging the poor sinner to believe, because he can never be too filthy to go to Christ by Faith. Too weak he may indeed be, because he may yet lack a Work of the Spirit in Power for that Faith, Eph.1:19; but too polluted he cannot be, because he {every elect sinner} cannot lack a Saviour in the case of that Filth.

The next thing in the Chapter, for conclusion of the whole matter about the Filth of Sin is to make some more turns upon Mr. Hunt, to establish this Doctrine out of other matter which he has given us in his “Rose of Sharon.” And whilst it will stand with what I have vindicated, it will appear inconsistent with what he has uttered in his obstacle-passage that I have overthrown and removed.

First: Mr. Hunt in his very next page takes the liberty to contradict himself whilst he is pressing the same argument to go to Christ, “thou that art yet in thy blood beg of him to wash thee. Plead hard that gracious promise, Ezekiel 36:25, then will I sprinkle clean water upon you; and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, &c.” {Page 94} Now if the soul pleads hard that promise, he doth it either before or after washing. Take which you will. If it be after washing, then it is not so much a promise to be pleaded, as a promise performed; and there he contradicts himself in making this to be one in his blood, which is his pollution, and without a distinction {as he gives none} inconsistent with the promise performed in cleansing him. Again, if it be before cleansing, then the soul must come, it should seem by his own pressing, filthy, to plead that promise of cleansing. He plainly makes the cleansing to be the object of Faith after pleading the promise; and then pleading the promise must be going to Christ before or believing on his Name before, and if this be going to Christ to plead the promise before the soul is cleansed, it must then, according to himself, be in filth at coming; and so there he contradicts himself in his position before laid down, that “thou mayest be too filthy to go to Christ by Faith in the state and condition thou art now in;” and yet again he stuck not to make that filthy supposition, of Christ’s not ruling in Righteousness. For says he, “if he had not ruled in Righteousness, he would have been worthy of the less Honor.” {Page 94}

Secondly: “We were besmeared, says he, in our blood in the day that we were born, Ezekiel 16:5, our bodies did not then stand more in need of washing than our souls; and since this is all our conditions, it highly concerns us to enquire how we may be made clean.” {Page 39} What’s this for? Why to prove there is a “too filthy” for the soul to go to Christ, but not a “too filthy” for Christ to come to us. How? Let’s examine it and see, and see what he’ll get by it, for either we are {Antinomian-wise} cleansed in Regeneration, by the washing of the Holy Ghost before we believe, by Christ’s Approaches to us, and so in the Sight of God through Christ, as to our Grace-Portion in Christ we are clean before Faith; or {Arminian-wise} we are not clean till after we exercise Faith. If we are cleansed before, then the mystical cleaning and gift of the Holy Ghost too depend not on the antecedency of our going to Christ by Faith, as he is wont to lay it on Faith, and presses sinners to believe, and then they will have all, and without believing nothing at all, but hell is their portion. {Page 199} And there nothing is made of Regeneration and Washing of the Holy Ghost towards Motion-Faith, but to get “an interest in Christ.” So he lays it all out in creature-acts in his Exhortation to Sinners, and shows that sinners have nothing before they “give up themselves to Christ” – “consent to receive Christ ” – “get an interest in Christ” – “give themselves up speedily to Christ” – “flee to Christ” – “come to him ” – “believe in Christ” – “come to Christ, and receive him, &c.” Thus he goes on and on, as if all Regeneration followed these acts, and not as if Regeneration was a state that infallibly produced them; so likewise, he intermingles such frights and threats with his Exhortations as can be executed upon none that pass under Regeneration. “If ye die out of Christ you will find yourselves miserably mistaken.” Why, if born again, how can they die out of Christ? If not born again, then how can they perform the acts which he exhorts them to? “A damned soul may as soon come out of Hell, as ye get now Heaven.” Now can men be regenerated out of Christ? Or shall the regenerate die without Faith? There are many such threatenings, instead of exhortations scrambled throughout the volume, though he ought to have kept his abuses of Terror and Exhortation apart. By all this it appears he makes no more of the Cleansing in Regeneration than he does of the Life thereof; therefore when he had said, “unless we are washed with the washing of regeneration, we shall never enter into the Kingdom of God,” he hath by his After-Exhortations, mingled all with such despairing threats of the Life and Washing too of this Regeneration, foully contradicting himself in that way of Dilemma, and is lamentably in-and-out without any distinction again. Then on the other hand he puts Regeneration and Washing after believing, then upon believing before, he hath left sinners to go besmeared in their blood, and if so {Antinomian-wise again} the Sinner according to this preposterous state is not too filthy to go to Christ by Faith. For that place in Ezekiel sets out as great a Filth of Sin in an elect soul as I meet with in the Word of God. Thus in one place by immediate pressing of creature-acts without any notice of Regeneration-Washing, but coming up in his Exhortation to unwashed sinners immediately to go to Christ, argues against his own notions that sinners are too filthy to go to Christ by Faith in the State and Condition they are now in. And likewise this very besmearing in our blood, continuing on us from the day we were born, that our bodies then did not stand more in need of washing than our souls, argues a not too filthy to go to Christ by Faith, as well as a not too filthy for Christ to come to us. For, says he, “this is all our conditions,” and then puts the creature thus defiled, as he is, to act towards Christ, by “inquiring how we may be made clean,” which is not Christ’s coming to us, but our antecedent inquiry-motion towards him. Thus he contradicts himself again.

Thirdly: I shall turn the Argument upon him from his own aggravations of the Sin of Unbelief. “And may we judge, says he, of the greatness of the Sin of Unbelief, by the dignity of the Person whom we slight, and offend hereby, as we must needs look upon this Sin to be exceeding and above measure sinful, for as for the evil of unbelief, men see nothing of that, nor are they concerned about it; but O, when the Spirit of God comes to discover this Sin unto his soul, how great does it appear, John 16:8,9, for here is no Sin mentioned but Unbelief.” {Page 165} Now pray what is it but the greatness of the Sin of Unbelief, in the face of so much light as in the preceding chapters on the argument, that has been cast upon this Truth, that makes our author reject Christ in the matter, and neglect, Heb.2:3, so great Salvation? The more of the dignity we see in the Person of Christ, the more it calls for our Faith to believe him Condescending and Stooping down into all the state of being made Sin for us, II Cor.5:21; therefore all the Filth of our Iniquities were Federally carried over to Christ by a judicial act of the Father’s Imputing our Trespasses unto him. I say, this calls for our Faith. Oh! The Sin of unbelief! For, that the Filth of Sin should be laid upon Christ is a point that more especially calls for our Faith to believe him once under it, inasmuch as our reason cannot comprehend it. If there be truth then in what Mr. Hunt hath said of Unbelief, then it falls against himself for his own unbelief of this Mysterious Article of the Gospel; that Christ in love towards our persons, by his Father’s Covenant, should bear our Filth, {and that is our Sin, for Filth cannot be separated from Sin,} as the Foundation of our going to Christ fiducially and confessedly, upon the view of what we are inherently, in our Adam’s Relation by Nature, after the mystical cleansing, and there be enabled to see and say that all this filth was once laid upon thee. Oh, “Lamb of God that takest away the Sin of the world,” Jn.1:29, that world {as standing in Relation to Christ} whose Sin is mystically taken away, and no other world besides. And yet men slight and reject Christ under this Relation of his shame; why then in Faith let us use the words that Mr. Hunt hath spoken in unbelief, “we must needs look upon this Sin to exceeding and above measure sinful;” and again, “as for the evil of unbelief” in this great article that Christ bore our filth by Imputation in the Garden and on the Cross, and that we in the view of all our time-filth by nature {so taken away as not to be our eternal filth, after the soul is separated from the body} which time-pollutions of our nature and acts were laid to Christ’s account; I say, as for the evil of Unbelief appertaining to this article, Mr. Hunt sees nothing of that, nor is he concerned about it. “O, when the Spirit of God comes to discover this Sin unto his soul, how great does it appear, John 16:8,9, for here is no Sin mentioned but Unbelief.” Thus you see how he falls upon himself. “Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.” I Sam.31:4.

Fourthly: Lastly, I shall close the matter with a word more of retortion, or turning the argument upon himself from his illustration of an Infinite Person, which he applies too to Christ. ‘Tis in the point of Christ’s Infinite Wisdom thus, “was it possible {he argues} that the wisdom of Solomon, and all the wisdom of all the wise men that have been, now are, or ever shall be in this world, was to meet in one man, yet the wisdom of that man would not so far exceed the wisdom of a babe, as the Wisdom of Christ would exceed the wisdom of that man; the difference between the former, being but between finite and finite, but the difference between the latter is between Infinite and finite, between which there is no comparison to be made.” {Page 108} Judge now, if the Holiness of Christ hath the same allowance yielded, as this author here very well yields when he argues for the Wisdom of Christ {and if Christ had not been Infinite in holiness, he had not been opposite enough to, nor therein able enough under our Sin, against an Infinite God, to take it away by Mystical Purgation} whether or not, our defilements could not be carried over to him, and yet this Infinite Holy One not possibly defiled with our sins, in bearing them in his own Flesh on the tree? Nor suffer our spots to mingle with that Holy Flesh in Union with an Infinite Holiness, and in an Infinite Indignation to Sin?