The Preface

Although the Vindication ensuing be a complication of noble subjects, setting forth Christ above all Created Excellency, yet it may be assaulted, Lk.2:34, by some popular objections raised against its open appearance. For, as one may associate Mr. Hunt generally amongst such as stand in a way of orthodoxy, &c., those who would normally object to such sentiments, are more afraid of the naming of him, than they are of his reflections upon the truths of Christ? So am not I! Neither is it fair quarter given the Truth to shroud a name in the thoughts which that name hath openly exposed with the pen. Besides, can you tell me, where the agreeableness is to oppose somebody doctrinally, and yet nobody by quotation and appellatively, in a whole book I directly consider, and more than two hundred instances of confutation? Whatever it be; the reader may believe I have some reason, and not will and pleasure for the grounds of it. Jn.8:54. I will not therefore in such a coherence of chain-work amuse the people with conjectures who I mean, but will openly name the man. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” {Rom.16:17}

But why do you write against him more than another, since many of the things opposed are but common in him with many? I am conscious that I write against the many among whom the errors I encounter are common, and do assault them as espoused in the plural style by a great number of advocates, and some on all hands. Howbeit, the many cannot be named, nor their sayings wrought up in particulars, as one single person and his works may be; especially one that hath written so little, and by a beginning made only a bad way for more, as bad as the former. Gen.41:21. Moreover, I faithfully declare that this is no party quarrel. This is not one side looking to themselves against another side. I abhor the cause of partisans in Divinity, and the treatment of men against men without any due regard to Christ. I can through Grace truly say, that I delight to engage only in the controversy of my Beloved, whose I am, and whom I serve; and Oh; that I served him better. I Cor.15:58. “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” {Col.1:29} It is not worthwhile to side with men against men, nor oppose men, but error! I do not write to vindicate a party, Dissenter against Dissenter, but to vindicate the Person, Office, Righteousness and other Truths of Christ. “I am set for the defense of the gospel.” {Phil.1:17} I am not for lifting myself under one sort of pen combatants against another sort, like too many mercenary scribblers of the News, or Public Papers, who write, not to serve our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom.16:18, but their own bellies, and to live by bread alone. Mt.4:4.

Though it is a pity that they should so live, these whose lives are not devoted to, or engaged by the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and who will yet spend more time and money too in a year upon worldly divertissements, than they will spend upon the interests of the true Gospel and the labors of the servants of Jesus Christ, employed in supernatural Religion. Nor yet would I be found for a world, like some moral chameleon, to live with the soul upon the popular breath, Lk.6:26, and write for the air of applause. I would not foul paper with the stain of ink to espouse this trifle of personal or party spirit, to this a low end and unlawful too, that is by no means worth it. No, no, where God and Christ are not concerned in the Gospel, where the Spirit and the Gospel have nothing to do in my labors ultimately, I would not step out of my way immediately. “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” {I Pet.1:12} “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” {I Cor.10:31}

It’s true for ends spoken, blessed be God, I have elsewhere done it, though so much by natural acquirements, &c., Ecc.2:4-9, cut down bushes, bought books, quoted authors, exercised the faculty, &c., and all to fence off distantly the unruly swine that would root up every pleasant thing, if they found but a gap on the side of human learning, I Cor.2:14, to get into the open vineyards. The truth is, if there had been nothing to be done for Christ in the enclosure, when fencing and ditching was over, it would be an insupportable burden to me, to sit at such an empty sort of studies, as humanity, if I reap no other fruits in my soul than from this “garden of nuts.” Song.6:11. “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do; and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” {Ecc.2:11} “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” {I Pet.2:15}

“Well, but still, why do you write against Mr. Hunt?” He meant no ill in these matters. It may be so; nor do I mean ill in the vindication of Christ, though it cannot be done without some exposure. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” {I Tim.5:20} The Objectors ought to know, that Truth may suffer by a good man’s doing ill, though he means well. Job 42:8. And let readers judge, whether these papers be as an instrument made use of by the Lord, or by Him that gives the discerning eye, Prov.20:12, towards a discovery that what he meant well {as is pretended} in his doctrine on the Rose of Sharon, he hath ill managed. Job 26:4.

“Be it so, others nevertheless would {in all probability} have received no harm by those things, nor had entered into a quarrel in regards to them, if you had but left them alone, and not exposed them.” Say you so? Why, how do men read. Certainly, this objection makes men to be very ignorant in plain things, or very careless in their reading, Lk.10:26; also, ascribes to me far more than I am willing to admit of myself. “But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.” {Dan.2:30} Moreover, if the bad be not taken notice of, I am afraid the good will not be, as it ought to be. Isa.17:10. For, if persons are disposed to overlook the Truths of Christ, Hos.8:12, as they slightly pass an error, there is the more need to awaken their instructions, and by this means quicken up themselves, if the Lord the Spirit will use such means, to look better to it the next time. “Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” {II Cor.3:17}

“But you take notice of some slight things in the work that are not Divinity. If he hath failed in these, it might have been candidly overlooked.” It is true, I have taken notice of some few things that are not Divine, Jn.3:12, nor yet any immediate vindication of the Excellency of Christ, towards the latter end of the book, Deut.8:16, things spoiled by ignorance, wanderings and self-opposition, although his ignorance and wanderings are but of the lesser rank of miscarriages, and appertaining to humanity, towards the latter end of chapters 43, and in chapters 46 of this vindication. {The thirty-ninth and forty-first chapters of Job are written all about natural things.} Nevertheless, as all is in love to the Truths of Christ, and in love to him too, as a good man {for had I not looked upon him to be such, he had not been worth my dealing with in the cause of Christ} so all may tend, by the Lord’s blessing, to do him good at his latter end, and may be assisting towards his growth in Christ, and in a spiritual understanding of the things of Christ. II Pet.3:18.

Oh! but the Canaanite dwells in the Land, Gen.13:7, and what will he say? Aye, these be your Israelites indeed! Do but see how they write one against another. Be it so; for our writing one against another, I Kgs.13:18, argues, we believe ourselves spiritually interested in that which attends upon the Main. Now that’s above all carnal party-interest. It argues that we are concerned so as to take pains in the Bible, Dan.12:4-13, when God the Comforter quickens up our thoughts and hearts to pursue these Everlasting Interests. It is likewise evident that we must spend less time in other things that divert the flesh and the mind. It’s a good Argument to prove that we will not, as the manner of some is, merely dress up an easy chat by the walls, Ezek.33:30, against the Injures of Truth, and there leave our Eternal Interests. “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” {I Tim.4:15} This becomes none who receive “the Truth as it is in Jesus.” Eph.4:21.

Others will talk high, and spend themselves at the lip {if hard to put to it} but never do their duty towards Him who maintains them, in whom they live and move and have their being, Acts 17:28, and in whom all their interest lies, if they have any interest for eternity. And to this, it is a great shame to men who have time, books, revenues, supposed learning, the best cause; for doth not every man to himself think his own cause the best? And things too go against their very persuasions; nevertheless these in what they take to be their Salvation will lazily sit still and do nothing. Pv.17:16. “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep; so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” {Pv.6:10-11}

Yea at a time, when their Whole Duty of Man in itself hath been lessened, do they not know what integrity hath lately appeared in an honest Pilgrim who would not go by the devotions at Mars Hill without reflections upon the praise-worthiness of their Unknown Author? Acts 17:24. See the offices and accomplishments of a preacher; for without a doubt, it’s a pity that a man’s business lies all at his tongues end in a little off-hand discourse with a friend or over a glass of wine, or a dish of coffee, &c. When ‘tis high time he was got up over tiptoe consulting authors, wrestling large folio volumes to knock quarto’s on the head, as brave men did twenty, thirty and forty years ago; yea, fifty and sixty years since. Where are all your brave Montague’s, Sanderson’s, Taylor’s, Hammond’s, Stillingfleet’s, &c.? What, not a folio-writer of them left? Whatever it be, if he that makes the objection will lie idle and dormant {when his talk is run out} and never study down his best cause from God’s Word to subdue the opposition; or if he will live all his days in Galileo’s mind, and care no further for the Truth than to give out a few ill words against him whom he thinks perverts it, or convey off a six-penny pamphlet when it arrives at the Cambridge Coffeehouse, it’s a sure sign that everybody is not contented to do so; but when I see mine own and others’ Eternal Interest in the things of the Gospel assaulted, it becomes my duty to awake and rise as Christ gives me light, Eph.5:14, and reply in the Vindication of the Cause, like David. “And David said, what have I now done? Is there not a cause?” {I Sam.17:29}

“But you call him sometimes servant of the Lord and brother, and do you now treat such a one at this rate to make him common town talk?” “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” {Rom.10:2} Hold, for he will never be half so much, nor half so long talked of in town or country, as Peter was at Antioch, when Paul withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. Gal.2:11. No, what Peter met with at Antioch from his beloved Paul hath been talked of in all places where the Gospel has come, and throughout all ages. And yet in that day they called one another brethren; even Peter himself, notwithstanding the disgrace, called him beloved brother Paul. II Pet.3:15. And, as it is very consistent to be a servant of the Lord, and yet {through the talkative itch} to be a disparager of his own master, and have a great deal of sin and failing; so it’s very agreeable with my owning and relation to find fault for Christ’s sake, and publish the antidote of a man’s fault, telling everyone it is the antidote, when he hath first sent abroad the poison.

I write not this Preface as an apology, {as if I begged a candid acceptance; for I leave that with the Lord who disposes of all events,} but as Information to the reader, in matters of the naked Truth. It is a fact to declare how, and for what reasons, I have contested against the man. I answer, that matters of fact will prove that I have dealt faithfully and fairly; for, I have transcribed the matters carefully from his own copy into my book. Job.34:36. I do often present more words than are answered or blamed, because I would not divide the meaning from the man, nor injure, Deut.16:19, the page {where soundness is necessary} for want of due connection. As often as I can, I have given answers to his bad side, Eccles.7:5, out of his own best side, Pv.15:28, and have frequently examined John by Hunt, and then answered Hunt with John, Hos.10:2, and that coincidentally with other arguments enlarged. In short, I have answered himself by himself in the same book. In the order of my own book I have not placed the principal of his errors first, Job 34:4, because as the answers are sometimes longer, so if more of such lengths {without variety} had lain together, they would have been rather burdensome to the reader, Eccles.10:15, than perhaps when the matter is diversified, and the designed method-mixture of things rising sometimes in bigger and sometimes in smaller chapters interchangeably.

In some places speaking of Christ, I have rather chosen to say, his Man-Covenant, his Man-Nature, &c., than to express it, Human-Covenant, Human-Nature, &c., and why so? Not because I love to be singular, Eccles.12:10, but to prevent the mischief which might arise in some other men’s souls, Isa.57:14, with the same kind of evils which sometimes I have found in my own soul, in the days of my ignorant preaching of Christ. “Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” {Acts 17:23} “Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship.” {Jn.4:22} And all because I found the term ‘human nature’ so often used in men’s writings. For rare it was, until Dr. Goodwin’s first Folio-Works came out on the Ephesians, to meet with anyone who would venture to call him the Man Christ Jesus. Hence books rather made me an infidel than a Christian. The reason was, because by this means I did never believe into Christ-Man, that narrow way, that straight gate of his Incarnation; I say, until then I never believed into the Man standing in the Second Person of God, nor could thereby apprehend that the Human Nature was any more than a quality, and an arbitrary denomination of Christ, which men had got up, and not the very Substance of the Mediator. The term ‘Human Nature’ in my thoughts did not then at that day reach to signify the Man, especially as the Man in Glory, as Divine in my thoughts {from too oftener use of the word} did reach the Substance of his Godhead. Therefore, as this was a blind cast in my way, Job 34:35, so I know not but it may be a darkening of the thing in the minds of others; for which cause I have frequently said, the Man, and not contended myself to say only the Human Nature. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD; even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” {Zech.6:12-13}

In many places likewise I have chosen to say the Glory-Man {by a compound of texts} rather than the Glorious Man. The reason is the abstract ‘Glory’ denotes something of glory in the Man Christ Jesus, incommunicably personal, Psa.21:5, or such unutterable Glory in that Man which is not to be in other men or creatures to eternity. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” {Jn.1:14} “I am the LORD; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” {Is.42:8} Nevertheless there is to be a measurable conformity to that {man-glory} in the glorious Church, Eph.5:27, so far as it can be manifested forth in other men or creatures. Now then as Glorious Man, the Glorious Man, Christ Jesus, would not have expressed it so fully, Glory-Man doth it {according to the composition of Scripture allowance} to the utmost, expressing still to us what Christ is, farther than glorious, even the altogether Incomprehensible, Unparalleled and Supreme Lord of Glory, and no less than God-Man. “Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” {I Cor.2:8} “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” {Jas.2:1} Another man may be glorious, but he is not ‘Glory.’ Besides, as the word ‘Man’ is but the low abstract, it is advanced by the high abstract in the word ‘Glory;’ whereas ‘glorious’ being no more than a concrete, it would not help out the low abstract enough in our thoughts, to say the Glorious Man. This cannot assist our minds to that sublime measure, which the double abstract ‘Glory Man’ is enabled to convey. Howbeit, it is manifest why ‘tis otherwise in Glorious Lord, Isa.33:21, or the Glorious Jehovah; for there the high abstract, Jehovah, incommunicable of itself to creatures, carrying it above all other abstracts whatsoever, a common concrete joined with it is enough; because nothing else can rise so high as JEHOVAH. Besides, the Human Nature is no express form of phrase in Scripture for Christ; however it is the substance of Scripture; nor is God-Man {the name which divines commonly use for the Mediator} to be found in any single text; but it is plainly made out of a composition of texts that lie asunder. So is Glory-Man the same, and communicated to our faith the same way. This name may be plainly proved from Psalm 8:1, compared with verses 4 & 5. “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens, vs.1, what is man, that thou art mindful of him; and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” {vs.4,5}

Furthermore, in declaring against Arminian Doctrine, I have avoided an empty and clamorous way of the trumpet, in giving an uncertain sound, I Cor.14:8, as hath been commonly practiced against the reputed Antinomians; and that almost by every writer which has his fling at them, when he is in the humor; as Mr. Rutherford, Mr. Gataker and Mr. Baxter; Mr. Geree, and Dr. Sam Bolton formerly, and Mr. Williams of late, who only drew his modest veil over an unintelligible Scripture-Gospel defended. These have fairly named man; so let men also nowadays fairly quote sentences out of their Antinomian Authors, viz., Charnock, Dr. Goodwin, &c., and that like men taught of God to confute error; and not {like a late academic amongst the Nonconformists in Cambridge} huff the doctor {Goodwin} out of their studies and blow upon a false impression, which will be a book one day that shall rise up in judgment against a whole cartload of their ‘Protestant Doctrine’ which they are tutoring their lads under. I have not served Arminian doctrine thus; besides to cry “fire, fire” and never name one town, one street or house where the new flames have continued to break out, is rather like children playing with fire, than like faithful watchmen that {when they have raised a people out of their beds} direct them to where the fire is, so as it may not mischievously spread without notice. “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.” {Eze.33:6-7} I do therefore take leave to be plain with Mr. Hunt, and not merely call things in his book Arminianism, but prove them at large to be such, by reducing the several heads to their Dordrecht Standard, or their standard at the Synod of Dort. Since my book is a direct answer to his, I look upon it that the plainer I call it so in language {viz., Arminianism, since I lay it open by the fairest evidence and not the noise of the young mob and the schoolboy} so much is it a more honest and faithful way of dealing.

Again, the more I have eyed Christ in this work, and not the unbelieving cry of the times, the better times I shall live to see, even the times of refreshing, Acts 3:19, which shall come from the presence of the Lord. “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” {Ps.34:2} “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” {I Cor.1:31} I must needs say, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ hath made me hate the cowardice and unbelief of many among ourselves in the churches, being worse than the unbelieving Prince who was trod to death in the gate of Samaria, II Kings 7:19-20, for whilst the Lord is making windows in heaven they will not believe. “Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” {II Kings 7:2} No, they wear out the very glory of their profession into this rag of their shame, murmuring that if we write thus one against another, then, though the Lord make these windows in heaven, can this thing tend to the building up and the fortification of the gates of Zion? “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?” {Ps.4:2}>Alas, if we could write more one against another under that spirit which Paul prays for on the behalf of his Ephesians, that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you {says he unto them} the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;” Eph.1:17, we should see a far greater need of making a discrimination in the churches, Rom.9:27, than what we do make; and all far enough from setting everybody together by the ears, as old Adam cries out. “Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind; thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed; neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.” {Lev.19:19}

Reader, if the Lord Jesus Christ may be exalted in the souls of any of God’s children by the things written in this book, it is what my soul is made to breathe after; and tis’ so great a reward, to the laborer in this body, that he must look therewith to suffer shame for his name, Acts 5:41, and learn to bear the reproach of Christ, Acts 20:23, under the power and life of the same Spirit that hath foretold it. “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” {Heb.11:26} “Ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions.” {Heb.10:33}

Furthermore, I argue against the heterodoxy, or else absurdity of above two hundred and fifty passages or mistakes, collected out of Mr. Hunt’s short treatise containing but 217 octavo pages. I have not propounded to answer everything, and yet have undertaken more than could be comprehended within the first designed number of sheets. I have in the workmanship digested the whole into chapter and section. Read the work through, and the Lord give the understanding in all things. II Tim.2:7. Farewell.