Chapter 39

Of Nine and Twenty of Mr. John Hunt’s Inconsistencies and Self-Contradictions briefly laid together; if there may be means to put him upon more close thinking.

Inconsistencies and Self-Contradictions are opposite Propositions, that whilst one of them is laid down for a truth, the other plainly stands against the Gospel. I have noted in my margins divers of these already; I shall present the reader with some new ones.

He saith excellently well as a Truth of the Gospel in his uttering and penning these words, “he that doth not in all his Preaching exalt Christ, is no Gospel Preacher.” {Page 180} Very well. Then he that doth in some of his preaching disparage Christ, diminish Christ, and speaks things of him that are unbecoming, does not exalt Christ in all his Preaching. But it hath been proved in this Vindication that Mr. Hunt hath in some of his Preaching and Printing disparaged Christ, diminished Christ, &c. Therefore, {I conclude from his own premises,} that he is no Gospel Preacher. It hath been proved that his nineteen open disparagements of Christ, and his seven and twenty reflections more upon Christ, are a gross number of self-contradictions and inconsistencies with his own saying now laid down, about exalting Christ. Try it, I say, by that one rule of his own, and that his own Preaching and Doctrine in the same book has been verily a self-contradiction.

Try matters again by another rule of his own, and see if it doth not make up another self-contradiction. “If we that are Ministers of Christ {says he} and Ambassadors for him, should not speak well of him, who shall?” {Page 185} Now is it not a self-contradiction to this, to belie Christ, and tell us that he was fearful? And that “Christ upon the cross was speechless, and only uttered a few dying sobs and groans?” And that thousands are nourished out of the Dead of the Tribe of Judah? Do we Ministers and Ambassadors for Christ speak well of him, when, instead of opening the Doctrine of his Person, what he is, we diminish him, by telling the people {instead of what he is} that he is “styled” the Mighty God? As if he stood thus only precariously, and out of courtesy, upon our good liking. Is all this speaking well of Christ? Yet does not brother Hunt, who hath prepared lying and corrupt words before the King, Dan.2:9, even the King, the Lord of Hosts, and God over all blessed forever, Rom.9:5, look upon himself to be a Minister of this Christ, and an Ambassador for this King? However it be, this Minister of Christ, this Ambassador for Christ, II Cor.5:20, hath not spoken well of him in some things regarding him; in fact, very ill and even scandalously. Why then, says he, “who shall speak well of him?” I answer, none can, but he that is taught of the Spirit, I Jn.2:20, let him call himself by as brave names as he will.

To go on, says he, “Christ hath an enclosure which he has taken out of the wide world, and there he delights to be; to his own he is pleased to manifest himself, though not to the world.” {Page 11} This is the truth. But now doth he not openly contradict himself in his Universal Redemption sayings? Look back, reader, and compare those passages I have gathered from him, and laid together in my 32th chapter. If Christ hath an enclosure, why should Mr. Hunt think or expect all that have heard of him should believe in him? If he hath taken his own out of the wide world, why should we believe it marvelous “that all the world are not sick of love for him?” For this I have shown out of his 109th page which he hath laid down. But doth not the present passage most palpably contradict it? If Christ’s enclosure be out of the wide world, how can we not wonder that all the world are not sick of love for him?

So again, can spiritually dead creatures that outwardly hear of him inwardly believe on him? Can a stone come to the sun, or make its application to the Morning Star? “One dead {says he} in sins can take no delight in Christ, he is senseless, and this precious Rose of Sharon is nothing to him; and as the clearest day and the darkest night are both alike to one blind; so the god of this world hath so blinded the eyes of sinners, that they neither see any need of him, nor beauty in him, and therefore make light of him.” {Page 11} All his particular sayings in page 11 are arguments enough he hath put together against his own universal notions in other places. How does a man write by steady principles which he believes, when he is ever and anon contradicting what he has said, and nowhere reconciles it.

“I further grant {says he} that it is not in the power of the most faithful and able Ministers of Christ, though they should spend and be spent, by any power in them to reveal Christ to the souls of any of our hearers, this is God’s work, we cannot open the eyes of them that are born blind.” {Page 184} Is not this evidently contradicted by that other saying, “I have spoken enough one would think, in his praise, to set every soul longing after him, and to make every soul sick of love for him?” {Page 106} If it be not in the power of the able Ministers of Christ to reveal Christ to the souls of any of their hearers, but this is God’s work, is it not a manifest contradiction of an able and faithful Minister of Christ to assert it thus in his own name, and carry off all the praise of the speech with his own lips, “I have spoken enough one would think in his praise, to set every soul a longing after him.” If God must speak and do it, how could he think himself had spoken enough to do it? These things are not of one piece of Truth and Consistence. {“For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it; for how should my name be polluted, and I will not give my glory unto another.” Isa.48:11.}

“When God saves any soul, he will do it in such a way as shall most magnify the Riches of his Free Grace.” Page 204. Very well. How does this now agree with all his preceding arrogances? Does it most magnify the Riches of God’s Free Grace, to ascribe so much to the instrument, and therein to conceal the agent? {“I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” Psal.71:16.} How are the riches of Free Grace magnified by my removing a mistake, and my convincing the souls of men, that thereby Christ shall have more to follow him than he hath had? When I cast the net of the Gospel at the Lord’s word, and the Lord is therein pleased to enclose any one soul, and save it, does the carnal boast, “I’ll cast the net, and who knows but I may this once enclose a multitude,” appear to Mr. Hunt such a way as shall most magnify the Riches of Free Grace? And so it may be said of all his self-exaltings in the work of his Ministry as in this. II Cor.10:18.

“If Christ do not help thee in this case, others cannot.” {Page 50} Here all his expectation is from the Lord. Here he is right. But to see how he can contradict himself, “why do you not come to this Great Physician?” {Page 49} Pray, does the sick come to the Physician, or the Physician rather come to the sick?

“The good Spirit opens the eyes.” {Page 188} Here again all his expectation is from the Lord, for the Lord is that Spirit. II Cor.3:17.None opens blind eyes, none convinceth of Sin, but the Spirit of Christ. None of unbelief.

“If you are by the Spirit of God convinced of this Sin here, there is hopes you may be saved from it, and that he that convinced you of Sin may also convince you of righteousness.” {Page 171} But what can we think of it, when he changes his Orthodoxy, and the Truth of God into a lie, Rom.1:25, insinuating a self-power in the creature elsewhere to do this? “If I may but convince you.” {Page 79} What now, after all his humility of spirit, will he propose to take the Holy Ghost’s work out of his own hands? So if to all his humble subscription you add one or two more of his proud sayings in the chapter of arrogances {where I numbered the primary error, as an arrogance, but not the secondary error therein, as a self-contradiction} then see if there be not plain self-contradictories. Does he that ascribes it to himself {“I have plucked clusters from the tree of life with my own hand”} exalt the Lord the Spirit in opening his eyes, II Cor.3:17, or exalt his lordly self, in stretching out his own hand? ‘Tis said of Moses, when he cried to the Lord, the Lord showed him a tree; but this man says of himself, I have done so and so from the tree of life. Exod.15:25. What a deal of pride and unbelief is here!

So if the Spirit convinceth of Righteousness, as he says well from God’s Word, why then, what a self-contradiction is it to lay it upon the labors and pains of the Ministry, “we ministers do all we can to show forth the beauty and glory of Christ?” {Page 8} This should have been always conjoined with strength, not with weakness, with the Power of God, and not the infirmities of sick and crazy Clay. Psal.39:4. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” II Cor.4:7.

Hear what God saith, Hosea 13:9, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.” This is Orthodox; but is it God’s Word to say, “if you would have the better part comely in God’s sight, throw away your paint, and make use of the Rose of Sharon.” {Page 53} As if paint did not stick; painted hypocrisy and painted preaching to sinners to come to Christ; painted comings, painted shows, painted professions, painted pews and painted pulpits. Oh! Sirs, till all this paint be washed off by the Spirit, it will stick fast, throw away what other paint for lady’s faces you will. To come to Christ by the Spirit, or to make use of Christ by the Spirit is a Spiritual Act; to join with it then, a throwing away your paint should be meant of all together spiritual action too; and then hear what God sayeth, Hosea 13:9, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thy self, but in me is thine help found.” You must have help from God to do that, II Cor.12:9, and not lay it upon an impotent and proud self-motion.

“Alas! What can I say? Or rather what can I do? If the Spirit with the Word doth not say come, I may as well go and call at the graves for the dead to come forth.” {Page 194} This is admirable. Well then, sure, if a man had believed this Proposition firmly, he could never both in the face and feeling of it, have suffered words so opposite and very contradictory to have stood just by, upbraiding and affronting them with a creature-power and efficacy. “I shall lay down some quickening motives, that so all I have hitherto said may not be ineffectual.” {Page 194} In the Orthodox passage he lays all the Efficacy upon the Spirit with the Word; but in the heterodox he lays the Efficacy of his hitherto saying upon his own laying down of the quickening motives. It is ill lifting up the creature too high, though he be taken down again in the next words. A self-contradiction, notwithstanding some inclination to reconcile it, may as obviously continue by laying the two sides along one by another, as if it stood twenty or forty pages asunder.

Hear another, “nor can we with all the loud calls of Grace and Mercy on the one hand, nor by the dreadful threatenings of the Law on the other hand, awaken them” {speaking of many foolish virgins in the world.} {Page 22} This now is Orthodox. But would you think he believed this, if you were to expound it by his own gloss thirty pages after? “There is a beautifying virtue {says he} in this sweet Rose of Sharon; and one would think everyone should be desirous to partake of it.” {Page 52} What, everyone? Whether they be awakened or no! Nor can we with all the loud calls awaken them! Who sees not inconsistence and self-contradiction in this? Why should I think that all the foolish virgins in the world, {rather in the Church as Christ lays it, Matt.25:1-2,} though they can’t with all the loud calls of Grace and Mercy be awakened up, yet should be desirous {everyone} to partake of the Beautifying Virtue in the Rose of Sharon? Desire after Christ is the act of a soul awake, it can’t be exercised by such as sleep on in Sin and are Unrenewed in Nature. Oh! That he could divide the Word aright! Here is a particular limitation, you see, and yet a universal expectation of the Conversion of every one. How can it be reconciled?

What a contradiction is it to say two things that can’t stand in the same subject! As thus, “the Excellency of Christ is oft hid from the wise and prudent.” {Page 11} And yet “it is marvelous all should not be sick of love for Jesus.” {Page 146} Without doubt, the wise and prudent, from whom the Excellency of Christ is often hid, are some of the all {for he brings in the world of strangers to Christ in the same page} which he marvels {as if all in the highest form of saints, though out of Christ’s school} are not sick of love for Jesus! What an incoherent thought is it, I Cor.1:13, that men should be under judicial blinding {for so the phrase to be “hid from them” is taken in these matters, II Cor.4:3; Matt.11:25,} and yet sick of love for they know not what, nor whom! And can their preacher tell them? Is it possible, that when the Father hides the things of Christ from the wise and prudent, that they should not be judicially blinded? {“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Matt.11:25.} The inconsistence must fall upon this author, nor can he in any ways escape to reconcile the blind motion.

How does he spoil that excellent saying, “Christ is not the lot of every man’s inheritance!” {Page 11} He dashes it out with his own self-inconsistent pen when he says that “one would think every soul should be gathering unto this Shiloh.” {Page 187} Aye, but now if Christ be not the lot of every man’s inheritance, why should one think every soul should be gathering to him? The lot there, as the Greek word in Ephesians 1:11, signifies, falls only to the predestinated. How comes one to think then of this same gathering of every other soul to Christ? Christ is not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matt.15:24. Moreover, as ‘tis strangely contrary to Christ’s not being the lot of every man’s inheritance, that every soul should be gathering to him, as well as contrary to his not being sent of the Father to everyone.

Thus again, says he, “the world I know cannot receive those sayings, a stranger does not intermeddle with his joys.” {Page 55} “And yet since he came into the world to receive such as were lost; and coming on such a kind errand, he might have expected that every knee should have bowed to him, and that by one consent they should have done their utmost to make his life comfortable.” {Page 118} Why now, if the world could not receive those sayings, that Christ was the Son of God; that he was sent out of the bosom of the Father; and that he that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, shall have everlasting life, Jn.6:40, and the like; how could his coming on so kind an errand have that effect which Mr. Hunt has forelaid? How could it be expected from thence, especially by him who knew what was in man, Jn.2:25, that every knee should have bowed to him? How could Christ have expected that the world by one consent should have done their utmost to make his life comfortable, when as he came a light into the world which the world could not receive? Jn.12:46. There are none besides his own shall, “because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Matt.13:11.

Of the same nature is that other, “we can comprehend no more of Christ than what we receive, as being taught by the Word and Spirit of Christ. We know but little of him now, but should have known nothing of him, if he had not thus revealed himself to us.” {Page 7} What need he have contradicted himself, as well as the truth, {though 140 pages off,} by saying, “one would think that every soul which hath but heard of what is in Christ should be restless, till they could see themselves interested in him, till they could find Christ in them the hope of glory, and that they should never give sleep to their eyes, nor slumber to their eyelids, until they could say, this is my beloved, and this is my friend.” {Page 146} Why, there is a world of difference betwixt hearing of Christ, and believing the report of Him in general {though the body of the Jews did not believe the report} that Christ is the Son of God, and being taught by the Word and Spirit of Christ in conjunction. Now what a self-contradiction is it in one that acknowledges a being taught by the Word and Spirit of Christ to think all that have but heard of what is in Christ, Acts 28:25-26, and believed but the common report, should be restless, till they could see themselves interested in him! This depends upon a further work than bare hearing what is in Christ. Eph.1:19. The prophet distinguishes between believing the Report, and having the arm of the Lord revealed towards one. {“Who hath believed our report; and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” Isa.53:1.} As for that deep Mystery of Christ in us the hope of glory, how can we think all that have but heard of Christ, Rom.10:18, should be concerned in what they can never understand? {“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ.” Col.1:27.} And what they can know nothing of by hearing of Christ from the Word, because they have nothing of the matter revealed to them by the Spirit of Christ? Rom.9:16. He goes therefore altogether upon the inconsistence. His matter does not hang together. ‘Tis not of one piece. Mk.14:59.

He contradicts it also by another saying, for speaking of ministers he hath these words, “we oft preach to dead souls, we give them the best advice we can, and yet after all, we leave them as we found them, unless Christ in our ministry put forth this quickening virtue, and say unto them, live.” {Page 29} Comparing it with the preceding contradiction; how can these dead souls be restless? Restlessness is some spiritual motion of the kind, which dead sinners cannot put forth. How can they see to judge, whether interested, or no? Sight, Understanding, Faith and Judgment are all above the sphere of activity in every dead soul. {“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Cor.2:14.} Here’s therefore another of his inconsistencies and notable self-contradictions.

So elsewhere, “the pit thou art in cannot be too deep for these cords of love to draw thee out.” {Page 70} And yet in the next page for fear of Antinomianism, and persevering in the Truth; that is, to make the next page of this same piece with this passage, he qualifies it and conditions it. “Though thy sins are many and great, yet if thou dost not add this Sin to all the rest, of refusing to believe in him, that canst not miscarry, or be finally lost.” {Page 71} I have taken notice of the Arminianism of this before. Here I design only an observation or two upon the inconsistence. 1. ‘Tis strange, that the pit cannot be too deep, and yet by and by the pit of unbelief is too deep. 2. ‘Tis strange, that the love of God {for he calls it cords of love} should draw me out of a pit, and yet it should not draw me out of the worst pit, the deepest pit of all, next to Hell, as and that is Unbelief. {“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by Grace ye are saved.” Eph.2:4-5.}

Thus, let us call again upon some previous sections, and speak to them diversely, “when God saves he will magnify Grace most.” {Page 204} Here ‘tis absolute in the way of Salvation by Grace; and yet, “Christ is able to save thee, if thou hast but a heart to come and rely sincerely upon him.” {Page 200} Here it is Conditional in the way of creature-operation; now if God magnifies Grace most, he will magnify it too in the way of Application, above all creature-operation. “When God saves any soul {says he} he will do it in such a way as shall most magnify the Riches of his Free Grace. And therefore does it not upon the account of anything done by us, or any worthiness in us, for so to do would eclipse the Glory of his Grace; but he doth it purely and alone upon the account of the Worthiness of Christ.” {Page 204} Set this now against the conditional form of a Saving Power in Christ, “if there be a heart to come to him,” and ‘tis a fresh contradiction. The reason grounds upon his own argument; for, if Christ’s being able to save, Heb.7:25, is not where the soul hath not a heart to come, and rely sincerely upon him; then when God doth it, he doth it upon the account of something done by that soul, and not in such a way as most magnifies the Riches of his Free Grace. Thus he hath sown another inconsistence, which is come up a notable self-contradiction; because Christ’s own heart for the soul is enough to prove Christ is able to save it in God’s due time, and his Grace is sufficient to be Efficacious, and bring that soul to rely sincerely upon Christ, though he hath not yet received Christ. The LORD will not hang his own Effectual Grace upon thy sorry efforts, and all the Grace of God upon thy heart for saving thee. II Cor.12:9. If he did, it would not be magnifying the Riches of Grace most, Eph.1:17, and the Worthiness of Christ most, but would be magnifying the sorry riches of thine own heart most, and the worthiness of thy own heart and reliance most. As to the error itself, see it answered in both chapter 15 and in chapter 35, in the first error on the article of Effectual Grace.

Moreover, “while we think to reform from Sin {says he} only by thundering out the threatenings of Hell and Wrath, we only white walls and paint sepulchers,” {Page 183;} yet his fourth motive is only to thunder at the threatenings of Hell and Wrath, to reform from Sin in a natural and legal way. For, it can never bring a man to Christ, which is the greatest Reformation from Sin, in a Spiritual, Gospel-way. {“I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.” Hos.11:4.} “Thou canst never {says he} escape Hell and Eternal Vengeance if thou art not found in Christ.” {Page 198} At the best here, bounds are but set to Mount Sinai, so that a man cannot come near. Nevertheless, it leaves a man in such a condition, that he can’t see Christ for the Fire. Heb.12:18. Therefore to think to bring souls to Christ this way, thundering out the threatenings of Hell and Wrath is only according to what himself says, to whiten walls and paint sepulchers. Then who sees not his self-inconsistence, when himself thunders out Hell and Wrath, and thinks thus by whitening of walls and painting of sepulchers, that souls shall be found in Christ? To be sure, if it can’t do the less, reform Sin, it can’t do the greater, make it come to pass that souls shall be found in Christ. Besides, {whatever Mr. Hunt may think of it,} ‘tis a very inconsistent Discourse to talk of whitening the wall by thundering, Psal.29:3-5; for that’s rather a means to shake down the wall, than to fix the plastering. And I am certain, if this terrible means don’t strike it down, but after such thundering the wall is still as it was, then it must either be taken down in Mercy, or thrown down in Wrath for all your whiting.

Furthermore, “Christ may be had for putting out the hand of Faith.” {Page 149} This is utterly false, for Christ is not offered for sale for Faith, no more than for works. He is to be had no more for one than for the other. Howbeit, see his own contradiction, “if ye refuse him this day, then no buying.” {Page 23} Now if he may be had for stretching forth the hand of Faith, then why not for putting it forth one day, as well as another? If ever the Sinner had a day of Grace, this day continues in means of Grace as long as he continues in the world. The “now” {“behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,”} in II Corinthians 6:1-2, is now under the Gospel-State. If Christ may be had {to argue in his Arminian way} for putting forth the hand of Faith before this Day be over, then Christ may be had for buying, before this Day is over. Nevertheless, there is a fatal error in his proposition {as before hath been noted} as well as a contradiction, that’s here laid open. For it should have been, Christ is received in putting forth the hand of Faith without money or price. Or, Christ is received by the putting forth of the hand of Faith, and that by the power of God the Spirit from the Father and Christ, without money, and without price. {“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isa.55:1.} Otherwise, whilst you go to avoid other money which Faith might bring, you make either the Faith itself, habitually, and evidentially wrought, or the exercise of it, the putting forth of the hand of Faith, to be the money or price. {“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; and ye would not.” Isa.30:15. “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.}

In such sort take the next, “if Christ is not clearly preached, our hearers are like to perish with all their wisdom and sobriety.” {Page 183} Clearly preached! To this oppose all his confused runnings on and jumblings which have been discovered in this work, and see if they are not a notable self-contradiction, and repugnancy to the clear Preaching of Christ, in the thing, as also to the aforesaid proposition, in the words.

Even so, “saith the spouse, I am black but comely, Song 1:5,” {Page 51;} and yet he could not forbear a contradiction of this truth, when he states that, “if the spouse had been speaking of herself, she would much rather have compared herself to the thorns among the lilies, than to the Rose of Sharon; rather to the nettle or bramble, than to the Lily in the Valley.” {Page 5} ‘Tis true, she is among the thorns, so long as she is among the men of this world. But does the Scripture ever compare her unto thorns, or allow her to compare herself so? Or does she ever so compare herself that we read of in the Word? Is her own comparison, “I am black, but comely,” a comparing herself to the nettle or bramble, rather than to the Lily in the Valley? Is her own Confession of Faith, through the Efficacy of the Blood of Jesus, “I am comely,” nearest of kin to the nettle, or to the Lily? To the bramble, or to that flower which hath conversation with the Rose? To sum it up in particulars: 1. Is her saying that she is black but comely, a comparing herself to the thorns, the nettles, or bramble? 2. How came this bold similitude, this rude metaphor in, of nettles and bramble? Is it because we ministers take boundless liberty to use all the similitudes that we can? 3. The Church is called the Lord our Righteousness, Jer.33:16, after Christ’s own name. Jer.23:6. The glory of the Church does not lie in actives, but in passives; not so much in conforming to, as in being conformed unto Christ. So she is called a Lily, Song 2:2, by his own name, Song 2:1; and indeed Rose and Lily represent the best match that was ever made, to wit, the Bridegroom, Christ, with his own Spouse, the Church. 4. Because of her comeliness, she must compare herself with nothing of the kind {as nettles and brambles are} that’s inconsistent with her Relation to her Lord. 5. Blackness is ascribed to Christ, as well as to her, “black as a raven,” Song 5:11, but never is thorn, nettle and bramble so ascribed. 6. Is a nettle black and comely? The Church is so, and the Church too, through this comeliness put upon her, is without spot. {“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.” Ezek.16:8.} But what beauty in a nettle? What comeliness in a bramble? 7. Were the elect ever compared to nettles and brambles {for a precedent} by the Holy Ghost? II Tim.3:14-15. Then why should the spouse, taught of God, compare herself so? 8. Lastly, is there no medium, but must it be either the Rose of Sharon, or a thorn, nettle or bramble? Let him weigh these things.

Besides, whilst he vainly supposes the Church would have compared herself to nettles, yet he hath taken the liberty to compare her to Christ. “You will find both of them as it were striving who shall express their love in the highest strains.” {Page 1} Thus he runs himself absurdly out of one extreme into another, before he had gone at length of six pages.

To the same purpose, “how honorable, says he, are the saints, yea, the least of them, and even such as sit in the lowest form,” {page 172,} “Christ being so honorable and excellent, and the saints being so near to him, they must needs be honorable on this account. And so long as he is honorable they cannot be contemptible.” {Page 173} If the saints are so honorable in their true Relation to Christ, then why does Mr. Hunt so much dishonor them by a false relation to nettles and thorns? For he goes not about to distinguish between their Nature and their Grace-Relations. I see, he who would magnify her too much in one place, sticks not to disgrace her, when he has drawn his reader farther off.

Next, “I come to the handling of the metaphor; to show in what respects Christ may be compared to a Rose, which without playing with, or straining the metaphor, ye may take in these following particulars &c.” {Page 9} I have divers times taken notice how he hath contradicted himself, as to this limitation. Let me add a fresh contradiction to them all, “a rose may be nearly resembled by art, as by wax or paper, so as to Christ.” {Page 15} Now is not this a playing with, and a straining the metaphor of a living rose produced to a dead rose imitated? Is not this plain, in his leaving natural roses, to go and bring in artificial roses? What have wax and roses or paper roses, to do with the Rose of Sharon? As the literal Rose of Sharon could not be counterfeited, so neither can the Person of Christ, to any that have known Christ by Faith and Power be counterfeited. {“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Gal.4:9.} ‘Tis a straining the metaphor, always to run from the Rose of Sharon to the common rose, as it is a straining it in this place to run from thence unto his nonsense of wax and the impertinence of paper; and by this means not only from a rose, but from the best of roses to no rose at all. What playing is this with the metaphor you’ll say? Why, ‘tis tossing the living rose, unto the dead rose, and then the dead one back again unto the living one. ‘Tis tossing the natural rose on to the artificial, and then the artificial back again to the natural. ‘Tis tossing a rose unto no rose, and then tossing what he hath professed to be no rose back again to a rose, than which I do not know a greater playing with the metaphor in any ludicrous instance. {“For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.” Mal.2:7-8.}

And likewise, “in my text {says he} it seems past all dispute that it is Christ that speaks.” {Page 4} And yet nevertheless, as if it lay full under dispute, he doth for three pages together afterwards even from page 4 to page 7 raise a dispute about it. What needed this consideration, and that consideration, and the other have been urged, if the matter was determined before, and past all dispute? And what needed it have been raised and urged after this notice, which might have sufficed us in a matter free from disputation? What need it have made any dispute about it, just as he hath done to no purpose?

He also a little before tells us big thoughts, “my design is in course to go through this whole chapter;” and you’d think he had been in earnest when he tells you, “since the streams are pleasant as well as deep, I shall venture to wade the farther into them.” {Page 4} Yet when he had waded as far as a few difficulties, his courage cools, and his boasts, like leather, shrink in wetting. Besides, he little thought at his first setting forth, that the doctrines in Solomon’s Song were higher than the ankles, and like the vision of the Holy Waters in Ezekiel, “waters to swim in,” and not to be slightly passed over in his shallow way of wading. Ezek.47:5. Add to all, we hear of no more of his work upon this Song; so that here is all you are like to get of him, half a verse instead of a whole chapter, though he hath had room from page 72 to page 217. And be sure, farther if he could have made work of it, to consider of the matter. He winds up before he had well opened a single point, and makes as though he had been weary of it too, “thus I have at length gone through the metaphor,” page 72, a long piece of work indeed. That’s all {I say} in the explication of this chapter of the Song he had performed of his design. Instead of, thus I have gone through this whole chapter, as I hinted at the beginning, ‘tis I have gone through the metaphor, in the first half of one verse; and so he winds up the book with one text-metaphor in the chapter, instead of the whole chapter full of metaphors. I Kings 20:11.

In the end, “it is most strange {says he} to consider for whom he suffered,” page 159, and yet in a few breaths distance, when he had taken breath long enough to breathe forth a new contradiction {he adds,} “it is most wonderful to think of the true cause of his sufferings.” {Page 160} ‘Tis his own distinction, to distinguish between the objects, to whom, and the cause; and that by distinct degrees of comparison. “It is wonderful, says he, to think what he suffered; more wonderful to think for whom; but most wonderful to think of the true cause of his sufferings.” {Page 160} Now certainly, if it be most strange to consider for whom Christ suffered, it can’t be most strange {or wonderful} to consider the cause of his sufferings; because there is but one “most” in the highest degree of comparison, that can be applied to one thing? ‘Tis a contradiction to bring in two superlatives, and apply them to the same subject. Est.3:4. So much for his inconsistencies.