Chapter 46

Of Mr. John Hunt’s Impertinences or Wanderings from this text, and his Redundancies on Song 2:1 or bringing in upon the text the Aboundings of foreign matter.

I may here present the reader with a demonstration in two sets of his wanderings. 1. Into weak and improper resemblances of Christ wide from the metaphor of the Holy Ghost in the text. 2. Into no resemblances at all.

The first set of his wanderings are into weak and improper resemblances of Christ out of these words, “I am the Rose of Sharon.” I shall produce five.

The first instance is his wandering into the bushes in his fifth resemblance. “Roses are observed to grow upon pricking bushes.” {Page 18}

I do only hint it here respectively, as one of his wanderings; for I have handled the nature of the matter absolutely, and fully enough elsewhere, as it is one of the nineteen open disparagements with which I began. Therefore to the second instance, which is his wandering into the distillation of the Rose. “It is observed by Physicians {says our naturalist} that in the most vehement thirst which ariseth from indisposition of body, the water distilled from roses is of excellent use to abate it; and sure I am there is a virtue in the Rose of Sharon for thirsty souls.” {Page 63}

What an unhappy invention had this man here of his resemblances! He considered not that as Christ is the Mystical Rose of Sharon, he is incapable of distillation. For if that signified anything here, it must be that he is crucified again. The text being a description of him after his Crucifixion, and shows how much the Jews were mistaken, when they thought they had made an end of it, and should hear no more of him. Is it not great wandering then from a text which speaks of Christ at the Right Hand of God, to go and fetch him down from the throne, and crucify him again? Rom.8:34. For he must mean {surely} crucifying by this term of distillation. Aye, but now view him in Song 2:1, and he dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him. Rom.6:9. Distillation of the Rose comes in here very forced, and if it be allowed any proper meaning {though he has brought it under a very odd and unscriptural comparison that blemishes the Mystery too} this looks more towards his once bearing of the wrath of God in our stead, when all his external beauty was marred, as the prophet says, Isa.52:14, whereas, “I am the Rose of Sharon” is not that which can be distilled to procure water for thirsty souls; but is I am so in the fresh Bloom and Glory of my Humanity after low planting in Judea. You do not thus see me on the Cross, but behold how God has exalted me after it unto his own right hand.

Besides, what is distilled is hidden in the very act of distillation. The matter of roses so dealt with is so closely covered in the alembic, that he can’t be seen, as Christ’s Sufferings and Crucifixion could, in the very acts, which were open things. How odd then is it to wander into the fantasy of putting roses into the Distillatory to resemble Christ’s Open Sufferings that were carried on in the open face of men? Psal.22:16. I can therefore see nothing in it but Mr. Hunt’s sinful, wandering fantasy in a very gross straining of the metaphor; which he knew he offended in, when he broke his own bounds, as he set himself at page 9, to rail in his fantasy from this wild absurdity; and as to his covering himself now with this pretty observation out of medicinal teachers, it plainly savors more of the levity of him who comes {thinking to set forth the Mysteries of Christ, as other things may be set forth} in the excellency of speech and man’s wisdom, I Cor.2:4, than of one that speaks of those things in the Demonstration of the Holy Ghost and with Power.

The third instance of his wandering into absurdity, are his wanderings in regards to a rose of wax, “a rose may be nearly resembled by art by that which really is no rose, as by wax or paper.” {Page 15}

Nearly resembled here is weakly resembled. Intrinsic properties were sufficient, as we needed no counterfeit and adventitious ones. He should have kept to the Rose of Sharon, and not diverted us with a show of wax-work; though the man woefully wandered when he lighted upon wax-work for roses. Wax-work belongs to fruit and not flowers. The ladies {I fear} will not think him divine enough on page 53 to judge of their paint, and again on page 52 to condemn their patches, when they perceive him not artist enough on page 15 to distinguish between their molds or their wax-work in images, fruit and fowl, and their gum-work and paper-work in flowers, pictures and devices.

The fourth instance of his wanderings, is as he wanders from Sharon into the numerous propriety and virtues he hath conceited of the rose. As “their growing not common in every place.” {Page 9} “Their sweetness and refreshment to all but such as are deprived of their natural senses.” {Page 11} “Their not being very delightful to the eye.” {Page 14} “Their being things that have a great virtue in them,” page 24, and the like. This is all wandering from the Sharon-Rose.

Besides, as to the general notion of roses, their growing not common in every place, if by common in every place he means in a repletive sense, then there is nothing in the world grows common so; for, if there was, there could be room only for that one thing to grow. But if by common in every place he means in a promiscuous and vulgar sense, then his proposition is false, and must be denied, because roses do grow common in every place, in the vulgar acceptation of common, as well as they grew in that place which his text mentions.

Again, as to the last, there being things that have a great virtue in them, if he had understood anything of medicine or natural philosophy, he should have remembered in his excursions into the doctrine of rose-virtues {which he afterwards runs over to absurdity} to have brought in {because he undertook to give an account of them in such numerous instances} their refreshing qualities of the heart and brain; their lenitive and gentle assuaging of some pains; and then transcendently in a spiritual sense have applied it to Christ in some analogy; and not have run into the whole workmanship of God about the New Creature from thence; as if roses gave men in a natural way their very beings, and then was their meat, drink and clothing besides. Yet after this rate hath this wanderer extravagantly run into everything, apt and unapt, that he could think of upon the wide topic of his rose-virtues, as is apparent in his own list of these virtues at page 26, and that subordinately too in a subdivision of particulars under his head of the rose-virtues.

Pray, how is this a confining {as it ought, and as he had promised} to the metaphor, when ‘tis a palpable wandering from the Excellency of Sharon to common roses, as they grow in other places. The text does not say “I am the Rose of Sharon,” and there stop in similitude; but “I am the Rose of Sharon,” and therefore he took upon himself a wandering scope which the text never gave him. I wonder that he did not see his mistake in this abuse.

“Should I instance {says he} in all the virtue there is in a rose, it may make us think Christ had a special eye to this, in comparing himself to a rose.” {Page 24}

Thus you see ‘tis a rose, a rose, in the general and wandering style. But what had any Expositor or Preacher upon Song 2:1 to do, to go a step from the Sharon-Soil in the land of Canaan, and gather other foreign roses besides? How can his running astray in these matters into the general production {and this goes farther than into the different production} and qualities of roses in every other land, be accounted for from the text? His thoughts were under an obligation to the text. How came he to be unmindful of the true extent of his subject? Why did he not regard the Holy Ghost’s boundary?

To make it plain, according to the transcript of this section of his matter. May it not be said as well of any of our country roses, that they grow not common in every place? That is, relatively speaking of common, they do not grow common all over fields, meadows, orchards, nor in our gardens themselves after this fashion, no more than the Rose of Sharon grows so, universally. May it not be said of roses in common, that they are sweet and refreshing to all but such as are deprived of their natural senses? And of roses in common, that they are not very delightful to the eye? What properties of the Sharon-Rose more than that of another rose can be found in these things? For my part I can’t tell, till I have studied the point more out of Mr. Hunt’s next writings to resolve the matter. But as the thing now stands for want of his due explication, I don’t see how the aforesaid properties of the rose are a nearer resemblance of the Rose of Sharon, than they are wandering resemblances into every other common rose. I speak of the literal Sharon-Rose, which he should have opened first, and which the Holy Ghost hath meant and pointed to in Solomon, and from whence alone one greater than Solomon carries on a farther thing than that similitude.

What had Mr. Hunt to do to run from his rare and fixed bounds? Why must he straggle from Sharon into every local corner of the earth? What! Because he is admitted to go by faith into one apartment of the pleasant land, must he needs therefore traverse the universe with his wandering fancy? I cannot, reader, but take him up and whip him for a vagabond through a whole chapter, for running so far from his text, and {to multiply his roses} ranging the four quarters of the world, stepping into all the gardens, east, west, north and south, in his vagaries, and conversing with every rose bush in his own vain imagination, and all to plunder new metaphors where our own distillatory roses grow.

These are absurdities. I am sure in his handling the text {as he calls it} he has took it into hand at the wrong end, and is absolutely wide and foreign from the Holy Ghost’s scope. All that can be said of Christ’s Glory ought not to be crowded into what is held forth of him even in any one close metaphor. His pluralities will not gather into the single number. But then to abuse his own metaphor by departing from the truth of it, can be no regular way to bring the honor due unto the Lord. He that sets out the healing properties of Christ must not abuse this Physician by running into the distillations of a rose-cake. The text will not warrant it. He also wrongs the metaphor that wrests it till he has forced it quite out of its place. Pray, think of the Sharon-similitude literally, how came that Rose to be more influential, more sanative, &c., than another country-rose? He argues at unawares, {in running from the text} it was not; because he deals with that natural rose and all other natural roses alike. For though Christ hath all the virtues of the Rose in him transcendently, yet the Rose has none of those virtues of Christ which are grafted by our author upon his Rose-bush {his sermon book} resemblingly.

What a wandering fantasy is it to depart from all true resemblance of Christ in Song 2:1, and enlarge upon his beautifying virtue out of the analogy of those words! “There is in Christ {says he} this Rose of Sharon, a beautifying virtue for deformed souls.” {Page 50}

That there is this virtue in Christ is sure, but that this virtue in Christ is resembled by the Rose of Sharon, is false. For, though there may be allowed a beauty, a beautiful aspect {if his observation that “roses are not very delightful to the eye” do not contradict it} in the literal Rose of Sharon, yet that it had any beautifying virtue, or power to communicate the Rose-beauty {neither doth Mr. Hunt meddle with what himself owns to be excelling properties in Christ beyond what are in the rose till many pages after} I never knew one author to give me so much as a hint of, till this book came out, and there I found it in Wandering Lane, and Long Parish. Nevertheless, let me query upon this novelty, if the literal Rose of Sharon had no beautifying virtue for deformed bodies, why is it brought as a resembling virtue of that same beautifying virtue in Christ for deformed souls? Christ is a Physician of the sick in their souls, by an analogy, or resemblance in the name, on good grounds from physicians of the sick in their bodies. There is some ground for the name in the nature of the things. But what ground there is from the nature of any literal rose to beautify deformed bodies, and therein to hold forth a meet resemblance of the beautifying virtue of Christ, as the mystical Rose of Sharon, to beautify deformed souls, I am yet to learn, till Mr. Hunt comes out with his flings at the Gospel in another appendix.

The second set of his wanderings are into no resemblances at all of Christ out of these words, “I am the Rose of Sharon.”

First, his wanderings from the resemblance of Christ in the Sharon-Rose to all things crammed into one, and whatsoever is good in the creatures summed up into this single metaphor of the text. To prove this I need go no farther than his doctrine, wherein he had laid a foundation pretty early for his after-wandering through the whole discourse. The wandering doctrine upon Song 2:1, which he has presented us, is in these words.

Doctrine: “So that the words do naturally {says he} hold forth this sweet and comfortable doctrine. Whatever there is which is desirable, or truly good, in, or appertaining to, the creatures, is to be found in a far more transcendent and excellent manner in the Person of Jesus Christ.” {Page 72}

1. That this doctrine is sweet and comfortable must be granted.

2. That it is a truth in itself I do as readily allow.

3. That the words of the verse in the Canticles he had raised this doctrine from, do naturally hold it forth, as he with more confidence than wisdom pretends, I must utterly deny for these reasons.

Reason #1. When words do naturally hold forth a doctrine, that doctrine flows from the words. ‘Tis then a proposition scarce at all variable in the form, much less in the entire matter, as this openly is. The truth is, this doctrine here is so far from flowing from the words, that it is merely forced and crammed into them.

Reason #2. There is abundance more in this doctrine than is in that text. The text-part he lighted on is a real metaphor, or a metaphor of Christ which is taken from a thing, and limited to one thing alone. But the doctrine laid down is exceeding wide from it, and takes in the personal metaphors of the Old Testament, together with this one real one {or one about a thing} to set the Person of Christ forth by in his book of Sermons. ‘Tis certain that every one of the representations that are made of Christ in the personal types will be easily gathered {and as this writer hath done it in some instances} under his capacious form, instead of a doctrine fitted to one particular similitude; whatever is good, in, or appertaining to, the creatures, is to be found in a far more transcendent manner in Christ.

Reason #3. The former part of Song 2:1, which is all the text Mr. John Hunt handles in his Glory of Christ Unveiled, is but one metaphor, or similitude; but his doctrine is a complication of all the metaphors in the Word of God. Besides, whatsoever is desirable or truly good in the creature is all the desirable good things in the universe, none excepted.

Reason #4. The text sets out only the peculiar excellency in Christ as shadowed by the Rose of Sharon; but the doctrine takes in all the fullness of Christ; the nature-fullness from those words, {whatever is good in the creatures,} the grace and glory-fullness from those other words {in a far more transcendent and excellent manner in the Person of Jesus Christ.} As if nothing of Christ was held forth in any other text, but what was meant and laid together in this one; and this one is far from any universal term used by the Holy Ghost. I scarce ever knew a more open and unreasonable wandering from a text than this. The doctrine is no doctrine of the text, though it be the doctrine of the Bible. For though the whole doctrine of the Bible be the doctrine of all and every of the Bible-texts collectively or laid together, yet the doctrine of this metaphor-text distributively is not the doctrine of the whole Bible. It is a loose range upon a close text.

But how upon the text? Why, upon the text in naming it, but far enough beside the text in handling it; and doubtless many hearers would stare to see a man as much beside the cushion in delivering it. Whatever it be, we have it as it is. He hath delivered over his indigested matter to the press.

Now I confess that some of the things which have been wanderings in explication, might have been laid close, and pertinently disposed into a careful application. That which will make a suitable doctrinal inference derived from a text, will not do to make up a doctrinal composition of a text. That which it may reach circumstantially, does not do well to make up essentially. And yet all this has been done in this Sermon Book. I say it might have done well accidentally in a prudent managery of the application. As thus, if Christ be the most excellent Rose of Sharon, then there is no common excellency in the rose in general, but he hath it in himself comprehensively, in his Transcendent Excellency. But ‘tis very ill workmanship in explication of the doctrine, to bring it in explanatively, as any of the proper sense of the text; as if the Holy Ghost immediately and directly led us unto it.

Secondly, his complicated wanderings by a transition into new metaphors, instead of opening the first of all pitched on, and cutting off all wandering superfluity that is not to be found in the Second of the Canticles.

“In this chapter {says he} I shall meet with divers metaphors, which I shall handle as I go; and blessed be God for such metaphors, to help our weak understandings; each of them being as a glass to give us a clearer view of what is in Christ.” {Page 4} Here you would think now that there should not be one metaphor in the whole chapter escape him. However, very few of these are touched, not one handled. What meant his wandering from the Rose to an attendance of servants, page 96, and this enlarged on as a particular of his doctrine on Song 2:1 to bring the text up to Christ?

What did he aim at in his flying out from the Rose of Sharon to the attempting some new enterprise? {Page 98} And this is one of his particulars, as if it was to accommodate the thing to Christ. What enterprise is that metaphor fitted to express? And how are all the enterprises of Jesus Christ in his humiliation, as he runs on with them, agreeable with the scope of that similitude? What could Sharon’s Rose show forth of that kind in Christ?

How was it suitable and agreeable from the Rose of Sharon to treat upon rich and great possessions, and heir to some inheritance, as Mr. Hunt does at page 87? What is that to the Glory of Christ directly pointed at in the Second of the Canticles?

Did he keep to his matter {“I am the Rose of Sharon,”} when he proves it by Christ’s being a sufferer for a good cause, page 102; was this apt handling? Or rather tossing a text off hand? I have never met with such another rambling discourse in my life. Never anybody was so bewildered {sure} in a subject he ventured to put forth.

What affinity had this subject {“I am the Rose of Sharon”} to human government? {Page 90} What cognation is there in government with the subject he had before him? I can’t devise? What necessity had he upon the proofs of {“I am the Rose of Sharon”} to allege honor? {Page 75}

How foolishly is this misapplied to bring up the meaning of that text? For this of honor is a distinct property of Christ in other texts, as he is set forth under personal comparisons, not under this real metaphor of the Rose of Sharon. Wherein are all the eight badges of honor your heraldry insists on, {and amongst these eight, wherein is noble descent, wherein are conferred titles, as Prince, Duke, Earl, Lord, King, Pope, &c., but Christ above King’s. {Page 84} Wherein is old age {these, or any of these} the badges of honor you give to Christ out of your own wisdom from Song 2:1? Evidently the distinct Gospel Honor which the Holy Ghost has given to the Church’s Beloved, as she is the Lily among thorns, in that one metaphor of Christ, “I am the Rose of Sharon”? What relation hath honor to the rose in the ground of this resemblance? Honor is a personal relation, and the honor of Christ then in a comparison should rather have been treated from a personal comparison, as when Christ is called a Lord in Scripture, a Captain, a Commander, a King, a Husband, a Bridegroom, &c., but when he is called the Rose of Sharon, these things are not meant thereby. Honor is in the person honoring, and in the person honored too. Christ’s honor as Mediator is radically in the Father honoring him, and ‘tis an Effectual, Open and Abiding Honor on his Person. But what resemblance can there be of any thing of this in a rose {as he runs on} I am still to learn. Is the rose capable of being honored? Does the nettle bow before it? Nay, does any stock, fruit, or flower do reverence to the rose, that there is such an analogy in one, as to resemble any of the fore-laid badges?

Once more, he did not take care to be pertinent when he diverted into the healing set forth by the brazen serpent. “This healing virtue in Christ {says our wanderer from Song 2:1} is actually set forth in two pages typically, one in Numbers 21 where you read how these stung Israelites were to look to the brazen serpent,” {and all this setting forth the virtue of Christ from the Rose.} Page 47.

At this rate of handling texts I wonder that he had not the art of swelling his book beyond the dimensions of his pocket; for most certainly in this wide way he might have brought in all the Divinity of the Bible, and called it Sharon. Is it not odd to tell us that the Brazen Serpent was the Rose of Sharon and both of them one metaphor of Christ? I admire, since he took up such a multitude of themes, how he durst narrow his paper at that rate, as not to allow us more than fourteen sheets of book-room for Title, Preface, Page and every other thing. He might have allowed more space for some of the best of his matter, that the truths of the Gospel should not have been so crowded up, where any of them fall; but due scope given to show themselves, according to their due rank and estimation in his book.

Again, what need he have run away from this text to find out the cripples at Bethesda? Was there any hint given in that text to wander so far as the Pool of Bethesda, and resemble it with that which is no resemblance at all? “Christ {says he} was fitly typified by that Pool, John 5:1-3,” &c., page 25, and this was under his seventh resemblance too, roses are things that have a great virtue in them, page 24, and this he fetches over again further on, as if it was very material. “Another text to the same purpose {says he} you have, John 5:3, &c., where you read of a great multitude all of them impotent folk, some blind, some lame, some withered, and yet after the angel moved the waters, whosoever first stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had; to denote, that whatsoever diseases our souls labor under, Christ can cure all.” {Page 48}

What a wandering is here now from the rose text to represent him that is meant therein by a thing so wide as the Pool at Jerusalem by the sheep-market! How impertinent it is it upon that text in the Canticles to speak of Christ as a Physician at large! Is not here straining of the text-metaphor to no purpose, which brings it up thus to that which is no metaphor at all?

He seems to lay much stress elsewhere upon shadowing out Christ, as if he would have cautioned himself from the wandering error. Then why not here? Roses in general have this and that and the other, &c., well, but the Rose of Sharon should have been strictly kept to; but instead of this pertinency he frequently gets loose, and unites his resemblances to what is no rose at all. He might as rationally have argued thus, Christ was taken up in Simeon’s arms, for, I am the Rose of Sharon. Christ chose twelve Apostles, for, I am the Rose of Sharon. Christ opened the Book in the Revelation, for, I am the Rose of Sharon. Paul sent after Onesimus when he ran away, and labored to make up his peace with his Christian master, Philemon, for, I am the Rose of Sharon. Why surely this is as near as to argue, “he is honorable that attempts and effects some noble enterprise,” page 98, “for I am the Rose of Sharon.” “A fifth badge of honor is to have a great attendance of servants,” page 96, “for I am the Rose of Sharon,” and so on. It is not this close work to a man’s text? If a tradesman was no better a workman within his own sphere, than such preachers are workmen, what would become of our bodies? We must go naked and hungry. What would you do, if your Shoemaker instead of fit shoes, brought you home always half a dozen thin straps of leather to tie over your feet? Suppose your Taylor brings home what he calls your coat, but for want of distinction he forgets to make sleeves, and put on buttons, but in the stead of these puts in such a bundle of unnecessary cloth elsewhere, that it is impossible to wear it? Would you not loath the flesh-pots, if the Butcher that killed your meat never dressed it, but sent home every joint with the hide and hair on, quartered out with the rest? And especially if your Cook dressed it, and brought it to table after the same fashion? And yet really it’s the case, there are some Preachers {and that would be thought scholar-preachers too} that mangled and metamorphose their work much the same way, and spoil a text when they have taken it into hand.

Besides, as there is a very great wideness between Christ as the Rose of Sharon, and Christ as the Brazen Serpent, that a man in handling the one can’t fall into the other without wandering, so Mr. Hunt in wandering from the metaphor in the text to all other roses in general, hath given himself a sound box over the ear by the very instances of wandering unto the Brazen Serpent, and the Pool at Jerusalem by the sheep-market. For could another Brazen Serpent have cured, except that Brazen Serpent in the wilderness? Or an impotent man be made whole by stepping down into any other pool beside that at Jerusalem by the sheep-market? These very instances then might have instructed him in the catechetical part, how greatly he went astray, when he wandered from his metaphor Rose in the text, to make his visits to all other roses in the world, and put his readers to dance after him. It proves that as the Brazen Serpent was a serpent by itself, and had nothing to be considered in it common to all other serpents, and as the pool at Jerusalem was a pool by itself, having nothing in it to be considered, in the case of the impotent folk, common to all other pools in the world; so the Rose of Sharon ought to have been considered by itself in shadowing out Christ, and not have been thrown into a community or common place with all the roses in the world.

Let us remember we have atheist and skeptics who dwell in the land, that are ready almost to believe nothing of Religion, neither Doctrines of Christ, nor Government of Christ, nor any revealed Obedience to the Laws of Christ. Now how does it tend to harden such, when the Nonconformists, who profess greater strictness than other men in their Faith and Obedience, do most loosely range from their point in any text into all the foreign metaphors they can think on? The ungodly may think from our being so hard put to it in wandering, that we have no clearer proofs of the truth in such places as ought to content us, than we have in others whither we wander to call in help. What occasion does it give a profane man to scoff at the Mysteries of Religion, and expose true Godliness as a mere crazy dream, when he takes notice how men exalt the Efficacy of Christ’s healing power from the metaphor of a rose, and illustrated by this proof that he is the true brazen serpent? Though most certainly, on a proper text and occasion, that healing power of Christ ought to be Exalted, from the supernatural instance of his healing the bodies of the stung Israelites in their looking to his own Institution to the Serpent of Brass lifted up upon the pole before their eyes, to denote his lifting up at his Crucifixion that was then openly to come, and afterwards be to men. How does it tend to bind down the prejudice of the Jew against Christ, when he shall see most of what men profess to believe from the whole Bible to make up the full character of Messiah, crowded into a treatise upon the Canticle-Rose? For, if in following Mr. Hunt into some of his wide mistakes in that treatise, it’s necessary to expiate almost all the divinity, what must be supposed to have been done, if that book had been examined sentence by sentence through the whole? It’s very sad that where things are in themselves the truth of the Gospel, they should be sent up and down the world with as foreign proofs as that the Institution of the Lord’s Supper is in the Minor Prophets, or that one of the Minor Prophets is Deuteronomy. And yet there are things absolutely as wide in Mr. Hunt’s way of proving Christ to be the Most Excellent from Song 2:1.

Lastly, what an impractical wandering should that have been, if the mind had been thoughtful, to go off from the persons or collocutors in this Divine Song, and bring in such as absolutely never believe nor repent, whom the Scripture sets forth as matter never subject to Effectual Calling, but as beasts, dogs, swine, children of the devil, &c, especially, in this part of the Song which sets forth that nearness there is between the Rose and the Lily. Yet in this book he runs off from these twain, Christ and they that are Christ’s to the very thorns themselves with some expectations to see them lilies, a thing that never was, nor ever will be. Here’s wandering indeed! And all because we are afraid to put Election, Adoption, Free Justification in Christ of the same persons who have yet no communicated Justification through Christ, at the bottom of our preachings, consistently with the very Foundations of the Christian Religion; but rather in our own blind Adam’s path we must choose to have the Christian Religion, or the Religion of the Gospel, all off from God and Christ and the Spirit, and planted in nature, till it is the most topsy-turvy Religion in the world, as we have made it, by running quite off from what God has made it!

A man ought in his treatises on the Sacred Oracle to walk close, and not straggle till he has quite lost the text. If he does not, I can’t see how he is a “workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” For it is to be approved of God, to have God’s Mind in the text; and if a man be led into God the Spirit’s Mind from the Father and Christ in a text, though he goes against a whole stream of Interpreters, yet he may be graciously confident through the Lord, that he need not be ashamed. For if I am enabled of the Lord to speak the Mind of the Lord in a text, that text in keeping close to its self will defend me, though all men should oppose me. And that’s the brave way of opening the Scripture indeed! ‘Tis no matter if men grumble you down, for you must expect this! Other men may be of another mind; and what is that to you, if the Spirit of the Lord seal Divine Truth in your inward parts? “Are you singular,” they will ask? “How come you to know more or better than others, &c.?” Yet so long as you go right, it may be answered; because they can never run you down from the text.

It was a notable rule to have prevented Mr. Hunt’s own wandering from his text, if he had understood to have laid it down without a manifest self-contradiction. “It would be time {says he} unprofitably spent, to prove more generally that Christ must needs be the most excellent.” {Page 73} And yet how much unprofitable time has he spent to prove it throughout a generality subdivided into almost all particularities?

To sum it up. By his going to work so generally and taking in almost everything he could think of, it looks to be more of kin to a general text, as suppose that in the Gospel, “come for all things are now ready,” than to such a particular text, “I am the Rose of Sharon.” And thus it’s plain, upon a comparison of the two treatises, the Gospel Feast, and Christ the Rose of Sharon, to see whither he hath wandered. And surely he was very blameworthy to wander into my former wanderings. He knew that book of mine1 to be a weak piece as himself hath phrased it, and yet would venture in all his own strength {the best book he hath written} to steal the weak things in it into his own. Those Sermons of mine on Luke 14:17, had been preached to an Auditory in Hertfordshire eighteen years ago, and then afterwards preached at Cambridge near fourteen years ago, and at request published. Yet from this early and unripe performance together with so many weaknesses and faults in it, Mr. Hunt has thought fit but the other year in 1704, to supply his plagiarism, or book-theft.

Whatever it be, as to the Revision of that work wherein Mr. Hunt {I will say} hath excelled, and sometimes, when I get him distinct from the theft, outdone the Gospel-Feast treatise, I am very well pleased, and do hardly thank him for mending some parts of a bad piece of way, and some of the worst of it in all the doctrinal part of the said treatise of mine, to wit, from page 134 to page 185 taking some pains in his emendations and alterations of more than 50 pages together. The manner thus.

He goes on by parallels. That is to say, out of nine of my twenty particulars, in the sixth general thing, about the suitableness of all things ready in the Gospel to the condition of poor Gospel-sinners, he hath partly by splitting one into two {as the numbers ordinal by and by will show} and partly by transplacing the order, picked and dressed out ten particulars by imitation, in way of suiting this, and suiting that, just as I had done. It may be seen at his page 26 and carried on to pages 62, 63 of his book. Now to steal ten thoughts thus to make up the fundamental part of his own book out of my Gospel Feast, when he had so branded that book of mine in a letter of his to me, dated April 4, 1700, which letter of his too he has undertaken to disperse copies of through the country, is methinks an unaccountable piece of stupidity. Nevertheless.

As to his making use of my labors on Luke 14, I must thank him that he hath now and then really mended the phrase. I like some of his words better than my own. I have used sometimes words less proper upon the argument, he has now and then adapted them; that is, spoken more correctly.

He hath once mended the matter. He hath said diseased, I have said backsliding. Here he was right, and I was wrong.

He hath spoiled the order, as hath been shown enough in the chapter of his disorders.

He hath discerned none of my wanderings from Luke 14:17, which misled him into the same kind, yea, into the same individual wanderings from Song 2:1. I ought to have kept more to the “all things” of the Gospel-Feast, and not have departed into the whole extent of the Gospel in that head of the matter; especially having the proper place of them provided on another head, where many of the things should have been put in about such things as we had need of against the Feast, or before our partaking of the Gospel as a Feast. Yet he not attending to this, hath instead of keeping to the particularity of “I am the Rose of Sharon,” as Christ was shadowed out there only under that one similitude, widely brought him in almost under all shadows besides, where he is represented in different similitudes elsewhere. And thus, I am sorry I misled the poor man. I have the more reason in this, to speak the comfortable words of owning my own faults unto him, and try, if I can persuade him to confess his wanderings, although the Holy Spirit should not discover to him the Arminianism, &c., which he hath set forth.

Where my own order of things had proved bad, he hath mended it not in his, and were mine was good he has spoiled it.

Lastly, give him his due, his enlargements upon each particular, are none of my expressions, but often much better; and this is more than can be said for the late indiscreet Publisher of the famous Mr. William Bridge’s Two Sermons on Justification; because he hath sometimes ignorantly mingled such empty dashes of a quill not used to ink, as rather spoils the good design of the author, than promotes it. Which therefore, must come short {from the inactivity of the strokes} of accomplishing the grand office that it was chosen for in another’s hands, and pressed by a notable nameless man to serve, who is so faint-hearted a soldier he durst not give up his name to Christ in that service. It had been a thousand times more to the purpose, if he durst have been satisfied with Mr. Bridge’s own words, to have published it in the supervisors preface, and have declared {for then we would have believed it} that not a word of Mr. Bridge’s own had been assisted, nor prompted {for he was once of age to have spoken for himself} in all that tract. But now when a man who is at a loss to publish an argument he has not seen in his worthy author, and that there is not set his own hand to the timorous preface, shall pretend to interrupt grave Mr. Bridge, and tutor that divine to speak orthodoxy upon Justification, especially that which he never thought fit to publish himself, nor left his manuscripts with any other to do, it must surely argue, that that man accounted it a very great privilege to carry the speaking trumpet, and put men upon looking this way and the other way, to see who called after them, and bid them stand, for the high ways be set.

Now I must needs say for Mr. Hunt, this hath not been his practice, for he hath had no Mr. Bridge to copy after, but a very raw and injudicious publisher of the Gospel Feast; and so he has had the happy enlargement of now and then mending both matter and phrase. He hath only built upon my ground, but brought his own timber; for it is but wood, though not hay and stubble, as his is who hath built upon Mr. Bridge.

And here I put an end to all my Examinations and Corrections of Master John Hunt of Northampton, his mismanagements in his Sermon book. It remains only that having dismantled his cloud upon the text, it appears with a true face.

1 The Gospel-Feast Opened, or, the Great Supper of the Parable, by Joseph Hussey, 1692.