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Vindiciae mediorum & mediatoris. OR, THE PRESENT Reigning Errour Arraigned, at the Barr of Scripture and Reaſon.

WHEREIN IS DISCOVERED the Falſhood and Danger of that late borne Opinion, that pretends to an immediate enjoyment and Call of the Spirit of God, both above and againſt its owne Fffects, Cauſe, Word, Miniſtry, and Witneſs, in all reſpects.

OCCASIONED BY A PAMPHLET, intituled, The Saints travell to the Land of Canaan, or a Diſcovery of Seventeen falſe Reſts, &c. By one R. Wilkinſon, a Preacher of this Errour a­bout Totnes in the Weſt.

IN THE TREATISE FOLLOWING, the Reader ſhall finde, moſt of the maine Fundamen­tall Doctrinall Truths that this Age doth controvert, faithfully vindicated, cleared, confirmed.

By F. FULLWOOD, Miniſter of the Goſ­pell at Staple Fitzpane in the County of Somerſet.

Jer. 6. 16.

Thus ſaith the Lord, Stand ye in the wayes and ſee, and aske for the old way, which is the good way, and walk therein, and yee ſhall finde reſt for your ſoules: but they ſayd, We will not walk therein.

London, Printed by Tho: Roycroft, and are to be ſold by Jo: Ridley at the Caſtle in Fleet-ſtreet, by Ram Alley, 1651.



THE A. B. C. of the Infants lan­guage, is Dad and Mam, that thus the firſt fruits of their lipps might acknowledge their Pa­rents: And ſince moſt happy Providence hath brought me forth into ſo neer a relation to your Ladiſhip, to offer you this, the firſt fruit of my labour in this kind, ſeemes but my dutifull acknowledgement of you.


I am moſt fully confident, that your advan­tage gained, by the dew of Heaven, upon your Church, Family, and Cloſet meanes of knowledge, with the ſo many yeares influence of the moſt Learned and gracious, your head and (late de­ceaſed) Husband; the fruit of all theſe made yet more ſollid, by your exceeding great, though by you eſteemed light afflictions, eſpecially in theſe late Troubles, have bred within you an utter diſlike to the receiving weighty Truths in­to light and doubtfull Diſputations.

1. Yet may you pleaſe to behold, that ſpirit al­layd by the Charme of the Word, that moves their Diſturbance.

2. Moreover, you may eaſily call to your re­membrance, that God by the ſhaking of the Houſe, did once, more ſtrongly eſtabliſh the Faith of his Saints; and doth not the Plant take deep­er root, by too weak endeavours to pluck it up? And why may not Truth be more deeply rooted, more firmely eſtabliſhed in our hearts, by the malicious, yet weak hand of Errour, though it put to all its ſtrength, to ſhake and ſupplant it?

At the firſt (though but a ſuperficiall) view, I may gueſſe a Caſtle to be ſtrong, but when up­on a doubt, I examine, and upon examination, finde the foundation ſure, the Walls imbattera­ble, and prove it well ſupplyed, with Men, Meat, Ammunition, Ordnance, and whatever elſe is requiſite for to keep it invincible; then I may with how much more confidence, judge and re­port it a ſtrong Caſtle: Thus upon a ſuperfi­ciall receit of Truth, we may happily diſcerne it to be ſtronger then Errour; but when, urged by Errours impetious motion, we examine the Truth, When wee have walked about Truth, and gone round about her, and told the Towers thereof;Pſal 48. 12. 13. when we have marked well her Bulwarks, and con­ſidered her Palaces, and have ſeen with our eyes the greatneſſe of its ſtrength, and the ſtrengthHeb. 2. 3. of its foundation, Viz. Chriſt and his Apoſtles: How may we then glory in our ſtrength? How well fortified, how ſafe and ſecure may we boaſt our ſelves to be, in this our invincible Caſtle,Pſal. 48. 11. with 13. Truth? With how much more courage ſhall we be able to repell malignant Errour in all its aſ­ſaults? And ſay, Let mount Sion rejoyce, and the Daughters of Judah be glad, and tell it in triumph1. Eſdras 4. 38. 40. Nil tam certum quam quod ex dubio certum. unto the Generations following, that as for Truth it endureth and is alwayes ſtrong, it liveth and con­quereth for ever and ever; ſhe is the ſtrength, King­dome, power, and maieſty of all ages: Bleſſed be the God of Truth.

3. It is empty Chaff, not ſound Corne, that is car­ryed away with the winde, and they are rotten Trees, which a ſtorme overthrows: But the Sons and Daughters of Truth, are ſound and ſtedfaſt, though the raine diſcend, the Floods come, and the Winds blow againſt them, they ſhall not fall, becauſe they are founded upon a Rock: And Ma­dam, I doubt not, but that the God of Truth will preſerve you rooted and grounded in Truth, to the end, that when all the Guſts of Errour have done their utmoſt ſpite againſt you, you will be found to ſtand: The Devil may thus but winnow out your Chaff, but as for your Wheat that cannot be toſſed up and down with every winde of Doctrine.

4. Yea, you will become more fit and ſer­viceable for your Maſters uſe by winnowing: The fire burnes hotteſt when the weather is cold, and the Candle ſhines brighteſt when the ayre is dark: na­ture teaching theſe inanimate Creatures, to re­joyce as it were in danger, and to tryumph over oppreſſion, and I make no queſtion, but by the like heavenly Antiperiſtaſin, the chilneſſe and dark­neſſe of Errour, will brighten and heighten both your light and heat, your knowledge and zeale, e­ven unto all the riches of full aſſurance of under­ſtanding,Col. 2. 2. and to the acknowledgement of the my­ſtery of God, and of the Father, and of Chriſt.

For this moſt bleſſed end I preſume, good Madam, to put this ſmall Treatiſe into your hand; and now I beſeech the Lord God of the holy Prophets, that he would be your light in the reading hereof; and by all meanes make your Path as the ſhining light, that ſhineth more andPro. 4. 18. more unto the perfect day: This is the prayer of,

Your obedient Son, And moſt humble Servant, In the Truths of the Goſpell; F: FULLWOOD.

TO The Reverend Paſtour, and his Pious Flock, AT TOTNES in Devon: ſſ. And in them, to all the Faithfull and Pious Miniſters and People (eſpecially in the Weſt) of ENGLAND, Truth and Grace.

I Would you knew, moſt dearly beloved, how great conflict I have for you, though very many of you have not yet ſeen my face in the fleſh.


I Need not mind you of what our Savior once preacht, and our ſad and daily ex­perience repeateth, that there ſhal ariſe falſe Chriſts and falſe Prophets, who if that it were poſſible, ſhould even deceive the very Elect: and your dwelling is neer where Satans Seat is, and where his Miniſters ſhineMat. 24. 24. as Angels of light. Now though I doubt not in the leaſt, but that your ſelf are ſo ſtrong­ly rooted and built up in the faith of the Goſpel, that the gates of Hel shal never be able to prevail againſt you, yet muſt I needs ſympathize with you in that troble of heart that muſt needs be occaſioned by that Godly Jealouſy, wherewith you are jealous over your flock.

Ever ſince I left you, I have travelled for you, yet not for you, but yours, or if for you in yours, that I might bring forth this word of warning for them. Whreunto I have labored till now, as the other my manifold occaſions left me opportunity, and ac­cording to his working that worketh in me.

Sir, My Requeſt to you is only this: that this poor Iſsue of my faithfull labours might have the honour and advantage of being delivered by your hand. For as that will be an honorable, ſo a certain convey, and gain it imbracement with better wel­come at leaſt, if not effect. This done, worthy Sir, I muſt take my leave of you, and turn to your people.

And I have but a few things for you, deer Chriſtians, which if there be any conſola­tion in Chriſt, if any comfort of love, if a­nyPil. 2. 1. fellowſhip of the ſpirit, if any bowells and mercies, receive, and fulfill ye my joy therein.

The great and main word of warning which I think may moſt ſeaſonably be com­mended to you, I finde in Coll. 2. 18. 19. Take heed of being ſo vainly puft up in your fleſhly minde, as not to hold the head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nouriſhment miniſtred, and knit together, increaſeth with the in­creaſe of God. Hold,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, here uſed comes from〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Robur, ſtrength: tis not only, barely to hold, but Firmiter teneo, hold faſt, hold hard with all your might and ſtrength, as if Satan and his Inſtruments were plucking and tugging at you to wrest you away from your head. So we finde it conſtrued in Apo. 3. 11. Hold faſt what you have, hold your hold in Chriſt. Secondly, Hold the head, hold Chriſt as a head; in ſub­ordination and union: (i. Not as the Pope and too too many among us, alſo, that ſet up themſelves Check by Jole with Chriſt their head, yea and exalt themſelves above him: If the Body be not under, and ſubor­dinate to the head, how can it receive influ­ence from it? when the Body ſuffers not the head to be the head for eminence, it rejects the ſame as a head for influence. Secondly, Hold Chriſt as your head (i. ) be united, keep neer and cloſe to Chriſt, leaſt his influences ſhould looſe their heat, or abate of their ſtrength before they reach you. Take heed of not holding the head, in theſe re­ſpects, if we once cut our ſelves off from Chriſt, we cut our ſelvs off from al growthCol. 1. 18, 19. Eph. 3. 19. and nouriſhment. It pleaſed the Father that in him (alone) should all fulneſſe dwell, and he is the head of the body the Church. Do you ever think to be filled with all the fulneſſe of God, and not through Chriſt? to increaſe with the increaſe of God, and not by keeping your ſelves ſubor­dinately united to Christ? be not deceived,Col. 2. 9, 10. deer Chriſtians, for in him dwelleth all the fulneſs of the God-head Bodily, and ye alone can be compleat in him.

2. Take heed of ſuch a corrupt minde as2 Tim. 3. 18. to be reprobate concerning the Faith, or as in the Margin of your Bibles, of no Judg­ment concerning the Faith, of no judgment (i. ) indifferently, inexpert, unſetled, igno­rant,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Experience. Hetrodox in judgment, concerning the Faith. If you take Faith here in a ſtrict and ſpeciall ſenſe, as one of thoſe bands be­twixt Chriſt and the Soul, the Inſtrument of its union with its head, ſurely not ſo light, ſlight, or indifferent a thing, as that we may be〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, concerning it, as our redemptionPſa. 49. 8. 1 Pet 2. 7. 2 Pet. 1. 1. is precious, our Chriſt is precious, ſo is Faith precious alſo, herby we hold the head, & by holding the head we have nouriſhment miniſtred to make us increaſe with the in­creaſing of God. Therefore the Holy Ghost hath ſo honored Faith by aſcribing unto it mighty acheivements: we are juſtified byRo. 3. 28. faith, faith purifies the heart, yea by Grace we are ſaved, through faith. Secondly, TakeEpheſ. 2. 8 Faith in a larger ſenſe, for the beleefe or profeſſion of the Goſpell, and Faith as it be­leeves the word, receives the truth as taken in the place now quoted, ſurely Faith is no indifferent, but a moſt neceſſary thing. Take heed of holding the beleef of the Scriptures, a thing indifferent, as Jannes and Jambres withſtood Moſes, ſo this alſo reſiſts the truth; this is the fruit of the corruption of our Minde cheifly, and is of moſt dangerous conſequence: If we hold Chriſt, we must hold his Word alſo, we beleeve in Chriſt a­lone as in his word; we are knit to Chriſt the head by this Band his Word, alone. Therefore Chriſt is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Word, theJoh. 1. 1. World hath in it, the〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that that may be known of God, but the word a­lone,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that that may be knowne of Chriſt. Therefore ſaith our Saviour, Search the Scriptures, for they teſtifie of me, yea they are they, which teſtifie of me: As if nothing elſe, but the Scriptures did witneſſe to Chriſt: But the Scriptures are able to make us wiſe unto Salvation,2 Tim. 3. 15. through Faith which is in Chriſt Je­ſus.

3. Deſpiſe not propheſyings. This is a­notherTheſ. 5. 20 ſpeciall Band, whereby we receive nouriſhment and growth from Chriſt by his ſpirit. Therefore it is immediately prefixed, quench not the ſpirit (i. ) by diſpiſing pro­pheſyings〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, deſpiſe, comes from〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Nihil, it is the vanity and folly of our agePro nihilo Habere. to account the Miniſtry as nothing worth, a needleſs, fruitleſs thing. But the able Mini­ſters of the new Teſtament, are the Mini­ſtration of the ſpirit, and in Effect, the Miniſtration of Righteouſneſſe and life: Now doth not this exceed in Glory? this2 Cor 3. 6. 6. and 9. and 11 is the Miniſtry that remaineth, and ſhall remaine, for the word of the Miniſtry, the edifying of the Body of Chriſt, untill the top ſtone of this building is laid, without the help of theſe Builders (according to the revealed will) we ſhall never be built up to perfection. Therefore they muſt work in this houſe till we all come (not a few but till we all come) in the Unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the ſon of God unto a perfect man. Epheſ. 4. 12, 13.

Therefore let a man ſo account of us as of the Miniſters of Chriſt, and Stewards of the Miſteries of God, to diſpence the miste­ries and fulneſſe of Chriſt to all his Mem­bers: But though it be a very ſmall matter to be judged of you, or mans judgment,1 Cor. 4. 1 3, 5. yet judge nothing of the Miniſtry, much leſſe condemn it before the time, untill the Lord come, and the miniſteriall Kingdome be given up to the Father. As you prize the vertue and influence of Chriſt your head, de­spiſe not propheſyings: And as you prize the fulnes of God deſpiſe not the vertue and influence of the head Chriſt. By Faith we are united to the head, and by holding the head we receive all ſpirituall nouriſhment and growth, and who is Paul, who Apollo, but Miniſters by whom ye beleeve. By FaithRom. 10. 17. 14. in Chriſt, we are juſtified, ſanctified, ſaved, and Faith cometh by hearing, and how ſhall we hear without a Preacher.

Be not deceived by any means whatever to ſleight your Saviour and his ſalvation thus, by ſleighting his Miniſtry, your Miniſter, who hath been and is in labours more a­bundant among you.

Laſtly, Pray evermore; in every thing1 Theſ. 5. 17. Eph. 4. 6. by prayer and ſupplication with thankſgi­ving, let your Requeſt be made known unto God. God hath indeed promiſed all things to his People: yet unto them as a praying People. Eze. 36. 37. Notwith­ſtanding, all the promiſes before mentioned, thus ſaith the Lord, I will yet for this beJoh. 1. 12. 16. Verſ. compared inquired of by the houſe of Iſrael to do it for them. Faith indeed is that vitall ſpirit by which, but yet prayer is the Organ through which, we receive from the fulneſs of our head, and grace for grace. Faith is the Bucket, but prayer is the rope whereby we let down the Bucket of Faith and draw wa­ter out of the wells of Salvation, whoſoe­ver ſhall call upon the name of the LordRom. 10. 13. ſhall be ſaved. In this verſe both ends of a Golden Chain are lincked together. Here is Salvation promiſed to Prayer; but ſhall e­very one that ſaith Lord, Lord, enter in? no verily, Salvation is promiſed to ſuch a Prayer alone as proceeds from Faith; How ſhall they call on him on whom they have not beleeved? but as Salvation is promiſed to prayer, and all true prayer proceeds from Faith, ſo Faith comes by hearing: How ſhall they beleeve on him on whom they have not heard, and how ſhall they hear without a Preacher? Faith comes by hearing, by Faith comes prayer, and by prayer Salvati­on. Caſt away prayer and you have denied the Faith, refuſed your own mercies, yea neglected your own Salvation. And the heighth and depth, the length and bredth of this word (Salvation) the Epitomy, and Center of all and every mercy, the ſum and all of every promiſe, Salvation. And yet, whoſoever calls upon the name of the Lord, shall be ſaved.

You cannot looſe the Benefit of Chriſt, but you looſe Salvation, you cannot looſe the uſe of Faith, but you looſe the bene­fit of Chriſt; and laſtly, you cannot looſe the uſe of the word and prayer, but ye looſe the uſe of Faith. He that neglects Chriſt, Faith, Word, or Prayer, neglects Salvation. O then take heed, for how shall we eſcapeHeb. 2. 3. if we neglect ſo great Salvation.

But leaſt my Porch ſhould be too large for the Temple, I have but a word or two of caution more, by way of reflection for you, and I ſpeedily conclude.

1. Firſt, Then beware of ſuch in generall as teach otherwiſe (that fight againſt teach­ing, with teaching againſt ordinances with the uſe of Ordinances) and conſent not to wholſome words, even the words of our Lord Ieſus Chriſt, and to the Doctrine which is according to Godlineſs, ſuch are proud, knowing nothing but doting about que­ſtions and ſtrifs of words, whereof come perverſe diſputings of men of corrupt minds deſtitute of the truth.

2. But eſpecially take heed of ſuch, who concerning the Faith have erred, ſaying,2 Tim. 2. 18. that the reſurrection is paſt already: take heed of ſuch, becauſe of their prevelancy and danger; for the firſt, Their word doth eat as doth a Canker. For the ſecond, It over­throwsver. 17. the faith of them that receiveth it, and ſeems not compttible with truth ofver. 18. grace, nevertheleſſe the foundation of God ſtandeth ſure, having the Seal, the Lordver 19. knoweth them that are his.

Now for theſe great ends, dear Chriſti­ans, I make bold to offer you this ſmall means this little Treatiſe which indeed was compiled (though as in Publick it com­mend it ſelf to all) eſpecially for your and your Neighbours ſakes, you having occaſi­on to be acquainted, more then others, and I fear, then enough, with my Antagoniſt. Now the Lord manifeſt his ſtrength in weakneſs and make this my ſmall indeavour to be greatly effectuall at leaſt for preventi­on, if not the ſubverſion of this errour a­mong you. I therefore commend you to theAct 20. 32 ver. 29. word of his grace, which, notwithstanding all greivous wolves, which, ſpare not the flock, if you watch, is able to build you upver. 31. and to give you an Inheritance among all them that are ſanctified; and ſubſcribe my my ſelf, as truly I am, your Chriſtian Bro­ther,

That loveth you with all Chriſtian brotherly love: FR: FƲLLWOOD.

The Analyſis.

  • This Errour is conſidered here,
    • 1. Generally, where we have two things,
      • 1. Its Definition,
      • 2. Its Grounds.
    • 2. Specially, where it is handled two wayes,
      • 1. Abſolutely, or in its Do­ctrine, about which two things.
        • 1. Its Diviſion (i. ) in­to five ſorts: It op­poſeth the ſpirit a­gainſt its owne,
          • 1. Effects.
          • 2. Cauſe.
          • 3. Word.
          • 4. Miniſtry.
          • 5. Witneſſe.
        • 2. Its Parts, (i.) All its particular propoſitions, and of them five things uſually.
          • 1. Whither reduced.
          • 2. What they are.
          • 3. Whence they are.
          • 4. Their Grounds.
          • 5. Their confuta­tion, this twofold.
            • 1. Mediate anſwering their Ar­guments.
            • 2. Immedi­ate, confu­ting the Errour.
    • 2. Reſpectively, or in its uſe, where are ſhew­ed two things.
      • 1. Its End, namely, to be cheifly a Reſt and Evidence.
      • 2. Its Falſeneſſe and weakneſſe, as to that End.

THE TRUTHS THAT are maintained in this Treatiſe in order, are,

Firſt, concerning Evidences, and are theſe.

  • 1. THE word of Grace or gra­cious qualifications are ſuf­ficient good evidences of Gods favour.
  • 2. The ſpirit of Christ doth not with its own immediate light diſcover it ſelf to the Soul.

Secondly, concerning Chriſt.

  • 1 The perſon of Chriſt is not a Form, Type and ſhadow onely, or a bare repreſenta­tion of his ſpirit.
  • 2. The Perſon of Chriſt is the Object or Medium of Faith.

Thirdly, concerning ſcripture, as firſt abſolute.

  • 1. The viſible ſcripture is more then a bare Allegory.
  • 2. VVe are bound to beleeve more of Gods words then the ſpirit hath cleerd and perſwaded to us.

Secondly, reſpective to our uſe, thus both in the whole.

  • 1. The Scriptures are to be the rule of Faith.
  • 2. The Scriptures are to be the triall of ſpirits.

Thus alſo in many parts, eſpecially.

  • The Scripture is profitable in its Do­ctrine for inſtruction; in its commands for obedience, in its promiſes for comfort and conſolation.

Fourthly concerning the Miniſtry.

  • 1. Communion of Saints is the way of God.
  • 2. The Miniſtry of the word and pray­er, are yet abiding Ordinances in the Church of Chriſt.

Laſtly concerning Experiences.

  • That we may take comfort to our ſelves against both our preſent and future ends from former experiences.

Theſe markable Scriptures follow­ing, eſpecially, are largely opened, in this Treatiſe, accordingly as the Margin points to.

ROm. 8. 16.

The ſpirit it ſelfe beareth witneſſe with our ſpirits, that we are the Children of God.

2 Cor. 5. 16.

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the fleſh: yea though we have known Christ after the fleſh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

Iſa. 8. 20.

To the Law and to the Teſti­mony: If they ſpeak not according to this word, it is becauſe there is no light in them.

1 Joh. 4. 1.

Dearly beloved belleeve not every ſpirit: but try the ſpirits whether they be of God; for there are many falſe Prophets gon out into the World.

2 Pet. 1. 19.

We have alſo a more ſure word of propheſy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed. as unto a light that ſhineth in a dark place, untill the day dawn and the day ſtar ariſe in your hearts.

Rev. 21. 22. 23.

And I ſaw no Temple therein: For the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are the Temple therof, &c.

Heb. 8. 11.

And they ſhall not teach every man his Neighbour ſaying know the Lord: for all ſhal know me from the greateſt to the leaſt.

A Table of the ſeverall Chapters contained in this following Trea­tiſe.

  • CHap. 1. Of its Definitionfol. 1.
  • Chap. 2. Of the grounds or riſe of this Opinion in generall.fol. 5.
  • Chap. 3. Of qualifications.f. 15.
  • Chap. 4. Of the immediate witneſſe of the ſpirit.f. 55.
  • Chap. 5. Of the knowledge of Chriſt af­ter the fleſh, or in his Mediatorſhip.f. 68.
  • Chap. 6. Of the Allegoricall ſenſe of Scripture.f. 91.
  • Chap. 7. Of beleeving thoſe truths of the Word, that we are not yet convinced of by the ſpirit.f. 104.
  • Chap. 8. Of the Scripture as it is the Rule of Faith,115.
  • Chap. 9. Of the VVord as Judge of ſpi­rits,f. 133.
  • Chap. 10. Of the VVord as profitable for Inſtruction,f. 154.
  • Chap. 11. Of the Scripture, as profita­ble in its command for obedience,f. 161.
  • Chap. 12. Of the Scriptures, as uſefull in their promiſe for comfort.f. 179.
  • Chap. 13. Of the Goſpell, Communion of Saints, or Church fellowſhip,f. 192
  • Chap. 14. Of Goſpell Ordinances in ge­nerall,f. 186
  • Chap. 15. Of the Miniſtry of the word,f. 205.
  • Chap. 16. Of Prayer.f. 233.
  • Chap. 17. Of Experience,f. 252.
  • Chap. 18. Of the ſpirit of Chriſt, as the Soules immediate Reſt and Evidence.f. 263.
  • A farewell to the Reader.f. 309.


CHAP. I. Of its Definition in Generall.

IT is a pretence unto the immediate enjoyment ofDefini­tion. the Spirit of God, as alone the onely All-ſufficient means to the Soul, even for all intents and purpoſes, eſpecially, for Evidence.

1. It is a pretence, Viz. As oppoſed to that, that is true and reall; or ſo indeed.

2. The fallacy, and formality of the Errour, lies hid in the words, Immedi­ate, as alone, Means, as they have2 their place and ſenſe in this Defini­tion.

1. Immediate, that is not to be taken in oppoſition to diſtance of place, but to the meanes of enjoying: But this word Immediate, will be better clear­ed, if we will joyne it with the ſe­cond terme of fallacy mentioned, as alone.

2. As alone, without the uſe of any means, whatever ſubordinate there­unto. Thus whatſoever we can call Religious helps, Goſpell means, though owned and ordained by God himſelf, is plainly excluded this their Canaan, as imperfect, or a very needleſs thing, and all uſe thereof flatly condemned as a living and reſting below God; andOf falſe reſts, which is wholly u­ſed in this Treatiſe. therefore oftentimes compared in his Book, to the Children of Iſraels reſt­ing in the Wilderneſſe. In a word, it pretends to be in the Sunne, and holds the beames in contempt, trodden un­der foot.

It is in an everlaſting Light, and hath caſt a vaile of darkeneſſe upon theſe things below it, Viz. Ordinances, Gra­ces, Scriptures, Experiences; and not3 onely upon thoſe meanes, but upon Chriſt Jeſus the Mediatour himſelfe. Theſe are forms, types, ſhadowes, while it is ſwallowed up in the Power, Truth, Subſtance, God, its glorious Heaven.

3. Means, it is not ſaid, Efficient 'nor yet End; I adviſe the Reader to take ſpeciall notice of both thoſe.

1. The queſtion is not, whether the Spirit of God be not as alone, the one­ly All-ſufficient, Efficient of all in the Soul of a Creature: Here we diſſent not, but ſubſcribe with both hands to that of the Apoſtle, That it is God that worketh in us both to will, and to doe of his own good pleaſure.

2. Neither is the queſtion here, whether God as alone, be the onely All-ſufficient End of the Soul; in this we agree: For God is our Portion for ever. Nothing below God, nothing but God, is the reſt of Souls in this ſenſe. The ſound of this moſt fre­quent terme, namely, Reſt, is ſo equivo­call and dubious, that the weaker Rea­der had in a moſt eſpeciall manner, need to retain this Item, That we con­trovert4 not about the Finall reſt of our Souls, but the means thereof: not about our Objective, but our Eviden­tiall reſt.

3. Therefore the Spirit here, is to be underſtood as means, or as the ſup­ply of all means to the Soul; it is con­feſt, we cannot call the Spirit means, but in an unuſuall, and improper ſenſe; yet we can no way better, if any way otherwiſe, expreſſe their ſenſe, who prefer, I am ſure, and recommend their Spirit, in ſtead both of the cauſe, and means alſo.

3. To all intents and purpoſes, it ſtands in the room of all the means, both of knowledge and grace, but eſ­pecially of comfort, all our uſuall and moſt comfortable Evidences of the truth of our grace, Gods love, and fa­vour to, and preſence in us, theſe eſpe­cially are moſt ſuſpicious, and forcibly beat back with an high & zealous Arm out of this their reſt. This Errour will tell you, that Chriſt in us hath this Prerogative to be immediately (i. e. ) without, and above the uſe of any means, both the Spirit of Truth, Grace,5 and Comfort; even All in All unto its ſubject: It pretends to the immedi­ate injoyment of God, as alone the onely All­ſufficient meanes to the Soul, even to all intents and purpoſes, &c.

CHAP. II. Of the Grounds or riſe of this Opinion in generall.

WEE come now to conſider, what may be the Grounds and Principles that afford moſt occaſion and help, to the bringing forth of this fond conceit into the inventions of men, and among many others perhaps, we have thought upon theſe follow­ing.

The firſt, may be either a conceited or perceived abuſe of the uſuall Go­ſpell means and helps, either in them­ſelves, or others. Sad experience wit­neſſeth that this doth too too often create in many, a moſt zealous preju­dice6 againſt the very uſe of lawfull things: ſuch is the vulgar unſtayed raſhneſſe, it puts too an inconſiderate violent hand, and doth not onely bow as much the other way, but even breake the ſticke to make it ſtreight.

Secondly, moſt of the men that are thus deluded, were never well and throughly taught, grounded, and ex­perienced, in the former ſurer wayes of God; therefore it is that they are ſo eaſily inticed and drawn off their ground by every tempting and al­luring Fancy. The wayes of God are as Apples of Gold, in Pictures of Silver, and they that enjoy the outſide onely, not taſting the ſweetneſſe, can never know the goodneſſe of Chriſts Apples: Alas, how eaſily are ſuch cheated and guld by the ſubtle Serpent, of this bleſſed Fruit of the Tree of Life, for the dan­gerous Apple of the Tree of Know­ledge and Speculation; a prize is put into the hands of fools, and they have no heart to it: The Devill puts a gloſs upon his braſs, and how willingly men part with their true, and upright7 Crown-Gold, for a Counter. Many never trod enough the good old way, to know the profit, pleaſure, and ſafe­ty thereof, and therefore it is, that they take out their foot, and will not walk therein, but ſeek out to them­ſelves ſuch ſtrange inventions.

A third ground of this Errour may be from the now Commonneſſe of the Ordinary means; the old way they ſee is now the common Road; the way of World, which cannot be the way of God; the ordinary means of Spiritu­all nouriſhment is now become com­mon meat. Such dainty pallats will now with Peter, deſpiſe and reject them, becauſe they are common andActs 10. 14, 15. unclean. But let ſuch take heed of un­clean lips, and hear that voyce that checks from Heaven, What God hath Conſecrated, count not thou common. For ſatisfaction hereunto, let us re­member three things.

  • 1. That Jeſus Chriſt himſelf did eat with Publicans and Sinners.
  • 2. God hath promiſed to thoſe later dayes, that he will powre forth his Spi­rit upon all fleſh.
  • 8
  • 3. The devices of Sathan, are to Ape and immitate the beſt of Gods wayes, as an Angel of Light.

In the fourth place comes in, or ra­ther is forced in, the age and long con­tinuance of the way we plead for, as a Mid-wife to deliver this prodigious Progeny. The fickle humour of the World to be given to change, Eſt na­tura hominum novitatis, Avida: O how do our ears itch after noveltie? How weary are we with walking ſo long in the old way, the ordinary means are old enough (ſuch is the vanity of our thoughts) to be dead and buried, that a Spirit might ariſe out of their Aſhes, and carry up our Souls into a Fools Paradice.

Fifthly, to the reſt is added (I fear, a too willing and affected) miſtake, a­bout the uſe of means; as if no diſtin­ction is reaſonably put betwixt the Means, and the End; or betwixt the Actions that reſpectively refer; uſing, and injoying, as if we could not uſe, but we muſt reſt upon the means, as if we could not injoy God, and yet uſe the means: To this purpoſe, the Au­thor,9 to whom I chiefly relate, doth almoſt ever confound Reſt and Evi­dence, as if we made the Evidence our End, when as it is onely uſed as the means of our Reſt.

God we acknowledge is the onely Center of our Souls; yet, though Chriſt by the help of Scripture, and Ordinances, in our graces and experi­ences, as Mediatour, Means, and Evi­dences, do we Center in him.

Sixthly, what hath been ſaid before, is mightily ſtrengthened, by that Re­ligious Eccleſiaſticall Principle groſly abuſed, That Gods dealings in his Church, are uſually graduall: looſe, and unſetled; hereupon men imagine that it is time to put off their old cloaths, & to cloath themſelves with ſom new light, as with a Garment. But men ſtretch this Principle too far, when they will make it extend to things Morall, unleſs it be to cleare and elevate the ſame. Men make this Propoſition ſetch too great a compaſſe, when they will have it to bring in the Spirit upon the Stage of the World, to fight againſt all its Freinds, and Relations, as10 as this Errour would have it.

Seventhly, but all is warranted by Authority of Scripture; this phanſie would ſeem to be kindly ſtroakt with the ſmooth hand, and mightily incou­raged with the ſweete and pleaſant voyce of Scripture-Promiſe; namely, In thoſe dayes, I will powre forth my Spirit upon all fleſh, ſaith the Lord; and ſuch like.

1. Here is indeed a Promiſe of the Spirit.

2. Here is a Promiſe alſo of the ſpreading of the Spirit, Viz. Ʋpon all Fleſh.

3. Here is a Promiſe of increaſe of the Spirit, and that to abundance, I will powre out my Spirit, to which that is anſwerably ſaid, And Knowledge ſhall cover the Earth, as Water doth the Seas: Yet where is the Promiſe, that God will inſpire the World, or Saints immediately with it; that this breaking in of abundance of Spirit, ſhall carry before it, and utterly waſh away all former helps and means. Can­not we expect the performance of theſe Promiſes of Spirit, as powred11 forth through the ſame Conduit pipes? Muſt we needs expect ſuch over­flowings of Spirit as will keepe no bounds, as will not onely overflow, but alſo over-run, and forſake its ancient Channell? If not thus, the Promiſes make nothing of countenance towards this Errour.

Eightly, and that which gives ground and advantage to all the reſt, is a high Platonick, Notionall Genius; more properly peculiar to the hot upholders of this Novelty; they have Towring Fancies, moſt fit to invent and aſſert ſuch ſpeculations, and it is to be feared that the Prince of the Aire takes too too much advantage hereof; well fore-ſeeing, that if he help them to an Inch, they will take an Ell: He darts into them a beame of falſe light, and they with all joy preſently receive it, hug and imbrace it, and kiſſe it with an holy kiſſe, as a reall ray of God himſelf. Truly, I ſpeak it with a meek and unpaſſionate Spirit, I fear nothing elſe, but the heat of Phancy, and light of Satan upon the Seeds before ſcat­tered, hath ingendred and begot this12 new Heaven, God and Glory, that ſeems ſo overcomming, and ſo migh­tily raviſhing in theſe ſadly deluded Souls.

Laſtly, now that that pins the baſ­ket, and maketh all aforeſaid moſt wonderfully prevalent on this Errours behalf, is doubtleſſe a curſe from Hea­ven, ſecretly ſiding with, and ſecond­ing the ſame. Man over-preſuming up­on gracious Providence, will ſome­times above warrant take their foote off from the wayes of God, and venter upon the rotten and deceitful grounds of Errour, where God doth juſtly leave them, even to ſink away and fall into the Pit, and irrecoverable plunge thereof. When men will ſhut, volunta­rily ſhut their eyes, God is not neceſ­ſarily bound to open them, but doth ſometimes moſt juſtly ſeal them up, leaſt they ſhould again ſee with their eyes, and that for ever: When men are bold to abuſe or miſuſe that Talent of Light, by ſeeking after ſtrange in­ventions: The hand of Heaven is ſtretcht out againſt them many times,Matth. 25. 29. even to ſtrik them blind, & to take away13 from them even that which they have it deprives them many times of that Spirit of reaſon, diſcerning and judge­mentRom. 1. 28. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. that they had before, delivering them up into an injudicious mind, and ſending them ſtrong deluſions, that they ſhould beleive lyes.

2. Eſpecially, when in the day and ſeaſon of light; when God by a more then ordinarily Providence, hath put a Prize into mens hands to get know­ledge: If men now love darkneſſe, rather then light; and when God comes to viſit his Fig-trees, with full expectations of anſwerable Fruit, but findeth none; or in ſtead of Grapes, wilde Grapes: ſhall not God be a­venged on ſuch a People as this? ſhall not his anger wax hot againſt the trees that bring not forth fruit in their ſea­ſon, even to ſcorch, and to make them to wither immediately, pronouncing that ſpeedy and effectuall Curſ againſt them, Never Fruit grow on you more.

3. Finally, when men have happily for many years together (the Candle of the Lord within them enlightned, at leaſt with common Illumination) have14 ſhowne in a Chriſtian Profeſſion, if they will venture into the Pit, and wantonly hazzard the Candle of the Lord to the Damp of Errour; how eaſily may now the Father of Lights, and yet his Juſtice ſafe, ſuffer the light of theſe men to goe out, and leave the men offenſive as the ſnuff of a Can­dle. Men that have a long time appa­rently drawne hard in the wayes of God; If they draw back, ſurely Gods Soul ſhall have no pleaſure in them: but as an effect of his high diſpleaſure, while they are drawing back, he ſhall let goe the Cord wherein they were holden, that they may fall as far back, as the violence and force of the ſwing wil caſt them. Thoſe that have ſet their〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Luke 9. 62. hands to this Plow, if they do but looke back, they are hereby ill diſpoſed for the Kingdome of God, and made more meetely fit to be Satans Bond-ſlave, to goe to Plow for him: There­foreWiſd. 12. 25. unto them, as unto Children with­out the uſe of reaſon, thou didſt ſend a Judgement to mock them.



CHAP. II. Of Qualifications.

NOw we ſhall deſcend to fixe a more ſtrict and ſpeciall eye and hand, upon the Errour aimed at; and that firſt in its Doctrine, Secondly, in its Uſe.

The Doctrine thereof in its diviſi­on, divides betwixt the Spirit, and moſt of his near and dear Relations, it op­poſeth the Spirit.

  • 1. Againſt its own Effects, Viz. true and gracious Qualifications.
  • 2. Againſt his Cauſe, namely Chriſt.
  • 3. Againſt his Word, the Scriptures.
  • 4. Againſt his Miniſtery, to wit,16 Church Communion and Ordinances.

Laſtly, againſt its Witneſſes, or for­mer Experiences.

The Doctrine of the firſt of theſe kinds, namely, touching Evidences, wherein the Holy Ghoſt is made to oppoſe its own effect in us, brancheth it ſelf into theſe two Aſſertions.

1. That no Qualification of the Creature, whatever, can be, or may be, uſed as a ſufficient Evidence of Gods Love or Preſence: this as the intelligent Reader may finde, is the ſenſe of the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15. falſ Reſts.

2. That the Spirit of God doth ever manifeſt his preſence to the Soul, with his owne immediate Light, Pag. 60.

Thus doth the Errours Rod in the firſt place, devoure the Antinomian Rod: But of them in order; For the firſt of theſe, we ſhall give you its Senſe: Secondly, its Reaſons. And having firſt raced the foundation of the Errour, we ſhall afterward build up the Contrary Truth, upon better Grounds; and though this undertaking be long, yet I hope not tedious, for that the Truth, this Errour gain-ſaies,17 is known by us all, to be oppoſed by many, queſtioned by more; and cheifly ſtruck at by thoſe that maintain this Opinion in hand. You may better un­derſtand the ſenſe of this particular, by the Booke of Reſts, that tells us that,

No Qualification, that is, no Gifts, or Graces, though truely infuſed or wrought in the Soul, by the Spirit and Finger of God himſelf, either in their Root or Branches, themſelves, or effects; whether it be the gifts of Knowledge, (Pag. 3. line 18.) or Prayer, &c. (the third falſe Reſt) or whether that Grace more generall, to wit, a ſutable anſwerable frame of Spirit to the Word of God, (falſe reſt the Tenth:) or more particular, whether the Grace of Evangelicall Faith, (falſe Reſt, 15.) Humility, (Falſe Rest the third, page 22. line 22.) Ropentance, (falſe Reſt the 6. page, 38. line 15.) or Zeal, (falſe Reſt the fourth, page, 28. line 14.) Not any, or all of theſe, together with their acts and expreſſions, either of Negative, or Poſitive Godlineſſe, Righ­teouſneſſe, or Sobriety, (falſe Rest, the firſt, ſecond, and fifth,) can be, or are to18 be, the Creatures evidence of its true en­joyment of God.

The firſt Reaſon for this, we finde page 24. line 2. Of the falſe Reſts, name­ly, Why, ſaith he, ſhould any man place his Reſt upon any thing which will come to nothing, or is given to change? or why ſhould we make that the ground of our happineſſe, which is but a Talent given onely to be improved, which may be taken away at the owners pleaſure: which words would prove our Qualifications to be deceivable Evidences from their Mutability; but before we diſcover the Fallacy, let us underſtand the termes, and ſtrength hereof.

For the termes, it is moſt requiſite for us to conſider his impropriated ſenſe of this word Reſt: which is here ſeconded with the ground of Happineſſe, and we muſt know that it is utterly beſides his intent and ſcope to mean by Reſt, in the place now cited, or throughout his Book, the objective, finall objective Reſt of Souls, which we as well as he acknowledge to be onely God. This terme may hear fallaciouſly in the Vul­gar eare, and therefore I here (at firſt,19 leaſt we ſhould both be by any miſta­ken) take occaſion to declare his mean­ing herein. For he certainly means no­thing elſe, when he calleth the particu­lars lately mentioned, falſe Reſts, but that they are falſe means of Peace and ſettlement to the Soul, ſo far as we uſe them for the aſſuring of our Souls of Gods Love and preſence; he means, they are no infallible or warrantable tokens of Gods Love, or ſymptomes of his preſence to us: therefore he almoſt throughout his Booke, Uſhers in the word Reſt: with this Interpreter, Evi­dence: his moſt frequent Concluſion is this, that ſuch and ſuch things, as he there treats of, are not to be Reſts and Evidences to the Soul. I am very confi­dent the Author will bear with, and ac­cept this Candid Interpretation of his ſenſe and meaning, as in generall, throughout his Booke, ſo particularly in the place now mentioned; wherein his endeavor is to draw us off from this means of our reſt and comfort, Qualifi­cations, with arguing their Changeable­neſſe, and by conſequence their Falſe­neſſe, that is, Fallibility.


2. For the ſtrength of this Argument it ſeemeth double: Firſt, our Qualifications are changeable in their own nature: Se­condly, and with reſpect to the givers diſpoſall. The firſt, I thinke I may ſafe­ly gather from theſe two expreſſions; They ſhall come to nothing, and are given to change: the laſt is as clearly expreſſed in the later words, They may be taken away at the owners diſpoſall.

Now to the firſt of theſe that affirm­eth, Our gifts and graces are given to change:Anſw. I Anſwer,

1. By Conceſſion, that Grace in it ſelf may be ſaid to be changeable, that is, the gracious holy frame and diſpoſi­tion of the Soul, may be ſpoyled by ſin, and loſt in ruines, as is ſadly inſtanced in the unhappy fall of the firſt holy Man, and glorious Angells. Yet,

2. By Exception, to ſay notwith­ſtanding, That the Graces wrought by the Spirit of God in the Members of Chriſt the ſecond Adam, are given to change, is an unſavory Arminian Po­ſition: Let us learn to diſtinguiſh, there is Naturall, Common, and Speciall, (i. e. ) ſaving Goſpell Grace: the Naturall, O­riginall21 Grace, that Image of God in our firſt Parents, and the Grace that is wrought by the common influence of the Spirit of God upon Hypocrites, was and is lyable to change and ruine; yet that later ſpeciall ſaving Goſpel Grace, that is, the fruit and bleſſing of the Spi­rit, and promiſe of the Goſpell, is not as the flower that fadeth away, though it fadeth, it ſhall never die: Is it ever ſeemingly dead? It is but as the Coal that is covered with Aſhes, buried a­live.

Grace is of an Eternally conqueringImmor­tall Seed. Nature, and ſpite of all oppoſition in the end, ſhall diſcover it ſelf moſt cer­tainly effectuall in the Redemption of its Subject the Soul, from Hell to Hea­ven. Grace came from Chriſt, and will return to him again, but yet not empty, it will do its work for which it was ſent, and carry our Souls to Heaven with it; that where he is, we may be alſo: that Water, that Radicall Moiſture, Chriſt gives, and deriveth into his Branches, is within them, as a Well of water ſpring­ing up into everlaſting Life. Though it meet with oppoſition that would keep22 it down, and choak it, it will up again, and with a moſt prevalent force, at the laſt overcome all enmity, and in high contempt, and triumph, bubble up it ſelf into life everlaſting, Jo. 4. 14.

This Water ſhall never be wholly ex­hauſt, for the aſſurance of which, the Church is a Fountain, and for the more ſecurity, a Fountain ſealed.

A true Member of Chriſt, ſhall never be without Grace for Grace, while the immeaſurable fulnes of the Grace of our Head, and the inexhauſtible Fountain of the Fathers love, be dried up and emptied; till the Principle and means die and fail: how is it poſſible that Soul ſhould wholly and finally fall a­way; that is, is kept, i. e. held up, By the power of God through Faith, unto Sal­vation? 1. Pet. 1. 5.

Yet then our Grace may be a firm E­vidence, it is not fallible, by being thus changeable.

Object. But he that gave it, I hope may take it away at his own pleaſure: This the ſecond Plea.

Anſw. I anſwer, that Gods Executive power, as to take away that he hath given, is23 to be conſidered, either De Jure, or De Facto.

1. If we conſider it in matter of right, then the queſtion is (and indeed it is the main queſtion; for as it is concluded in matter of Right, it muſt alſo be yeild­ed as touching Fact, in God that in­jures none.)

The queſtion is, whether God can juſtly take away that Grace, that he himſelf by the ſpeciall operation of the ſpirit hath given. For the clering where­of, we muſt look upon this Right, as itDe merito­rie incur­rit iram Dei, licet non effect ve. reſpecteth us, and God. Firſt, then with reſpect to our unworthineſſe, or abuſe of Grace, doubtleſſe God, as he might have denied us, ſo he may moſt juſtly deprive us of it: But ſecondly, with re­ſpect unto himſelf, if we take it in a ſo­ber ſenſe, he cannot; and that becauſe of his already acceptation of his Sonnes merits, and his own voluntary Obliga­tions for us.

1. Theſe outward gifts and mercies, are given as but Exhypotheſi, we break­ing the condition, as we have forfeited, ſo are we lyable to give them up, at the owners pleaſure and demand. But24 God hath ingaged himſelf, never total­ly to take away Grace, and therefore lawfully without breach of Bond, can­not do it.

Now this Engagement is Reall, and Vertuall.

1. God hath properly Engaged him­ſelf in Bargain with Chriſt, not to recall the gift of Grace from his, Chriſt loved us, and gave himſelf for us, that he might Redeem us from our vain converſation, to be a holy People, even with the price of his life and blood: God accepted, Juſtice is ſatisfied, by his ſtripes we are healed, the bargain ended; it was then,Iſai. 53. as we may read, concluded; That by this knowledge, or by the acknowledge­ment of himſelf, he ſhould juſtifie ma­ny: Now the price being tendred and received, the property of the goods is altered. Can God in Juſtice now, (for Juſtice is ſatisfied) reclaim our Grace, ours not onely by gift, but purchaſe al­ſo? 1 Tim. 2. 6. Heb. 3. 6.Chriſt is our〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Ranſome, and the Mediatour of that bargaine of Grace alſo, even to ſee it performed and kept.

Secondly, as God properly EngagedJer. 32. 40.25 by bargain, not to take away Grace, ſo by Promiſe alſo. Hath not God promi­ſed,Deut. 26. 18. and moſt ſolemnly Covenanted, That he will put his feare into our hearts? and to what end and effect? Even that we ſhould be kept thereby, from falling away, that we ſhall not de­part ftom him: For the gifts of God are without repentance, yea, let this add to our great comfort, That he will not one­lyIſai. 42. 3. not breake the bruiſed Reed, not onely not quench the ſmoking flax, but bring forth Judgement into Victory: being confident of this very thing, That hePhil. 1. 6. which hath begun a good work in us, will perform or finiſh it to the day of Jeſus Chriſt; for ſhall not God be as good as his Word? Let God be True, and every man a lyar.

2. There is likewiſe a Vertuall En­gagement, whereby God is bound ne­ver to withdraw his Spirit and Grace from his; which is an addition of ſtrength to the Engagement of Pro­miſe, to hold God to his Word. The Spirit and Grace is not onely the token of Gods love, but a Pledge to ſupply Chriſts abſence; and our ſecurity for our26 Beloveds return, Joh. 14. with 16. Our Seal whereby we are ſealed, and madeEpheſ. 4. 10. Epheſ. 2. 13. 14. ſure to the day of Redemption; yea, and the earneſt of our Inheritance: Is not the man bound to ſtand to his bargain, that hath given Earneſt? he muſt either have the one, or loſe the other. Now think yee, is the precious Faith and Spi­rit of God ſo vile in Gods eyes, that he will loſe his Earneſt? Is the Redemption of the Soul, that is precious; or that his Name, his mercifull gracious Name, that is exalted above all his Word, ſo ſleight or worthleſſe in Divine thought,Gratia ſe­mel recep­ta, non po­teſt am tti, reſpectu Patris. Jo. 10. 29. Filii, 1 Cor. 6. 7. Spiritus Sancti, Epheſ. 1. 13. Weams. that God will or can ſuffer the one or the other to fail or miſcarry? Yea, He delighteth in mercy, and his mercy endureth for ever, and precious in the ſight of the Lord is the death of his Saints; ſee here the heights and depths, &c. of Divine love and tenderneſſe to his, for our Comfort and Joy: with theſe Obligations God hath tied his own hands, he can onely give, not take away his Grace given; he can bleſſe, and onely bleſſe and not curſe us; ſo that it is but right and equity on his be­half, not to deprive us of that Grace27 and Holineſſe he hath once given us. Now certainly, if God cannot lawful­ly, he cannot at all take away Grace,1 Joh. 1. 9. if he cannot De Jure, he will not De Facto, who is Juſt and Faithfull; Juſt, with relation to our Saviours Pur­chaſe,Heb. 10. 23. and Faithfull, that hath Promi­ſed.

To conclude, then Grace is no falli­ble Evidence upon this account, it is neither changeable in it ſelf, nor yet with reſpect to Gods diſpoſall.

But were it ſo, that our Grace were at the owners diſpoſall? what advantage yet is gained to this way of the Spirit by ſuch a grant? Is not Gods Spirit as much Gods own as our Grace? We read of our Light, our Grace; but ſel­dome of any ſuch or ſo clear an intereſt we have in the Spirit: is Grace, Gods right, and not much rather the Spirit? Is Grace in Gods Power, Will, Diſpoſal, and the Spirit wholly in ours? cannot God ſuck in his own Breath, as eaſily as to blot or put out our Life? hath not God the ſame, (if not more immediate) Power, over the Cauſe as effect? Yet this is the way wherein we muſt walke28 to meet and cloſe with the Spirits com­ming.

Object. But it might be further added, that though Grace cannot totally, yet may itNot quoad habitum, yet quoad gradum. ſurely ſo far periſh, as not to be decerna­ble, and ſo not evidentiall.

Anſw. Suppoſe we grant, yet what weight will it add to the ſcale in hand: The queſtion is not whether there may not be ſome Caſes experienced, wherein Grace cannot evidence, but whether Grace is not able and apt in it ſelfe to Evidence, or whether it be not lawfull to reflect upon our Grace, to clear our Evidence for Heaven.

2. For further ſatisfaction, let us a little weigh this caſe, in the ballance of Experience; and we ſhall finde that as there is a two-fold deſertion, namely, of Grace and Comfort, ſo theſe ſeldome or never fall in together to the ſame perſon; for where we finde an Ebb of Grace, we uſually find a Flood of Con­fidence; and we many times ſee Streams of Grace flowing from the wounded bleeding Conſcience.

The Spirit is called Fire, and it doth many times give much heat and little29 light; when it hath denied to bring with it the Light of Gods Counte­nance, yet it hath been as a Refiners fire, to purge the Soul to burn up its luſt, and to take away droſſe and Tinn.

So that very many, even while they do miſerably labour under ſuch ſad de­ſertions of Comfort, they are zealouſly affected to the glory of God, the be­nefits of Chriſt, the comforts of the Spirit, and doe even hunger and thirſt after Righteouſneſſe: But to apply, If the deſertion be of Comfort, as is moſt agreeable to the Caſe in hand, I con­clude, that all ſincerity and fear of God is never ſo farre gone, even under the greateſt deſertion of Comfort, as not to be diſcernable even by the Soul it ſelf that ſuffers, if Enlightned, aſſiſted by the Spirit, the Comforter: doe not all the expreſſions of Spirits ſo laboring experience ſo much, and teſtifie for them to all the hearers, their fear to offend their prizing of Chriſt, & c?

But admit the deſertion be of Grace, as it is ſad to think how far even thoſe that are truely in Chriſt, may fall; ſo is it as hard to imagine, how a perſon30 while under the ſtate of Apoſtacy, ſhould ever have ſo ſerious a ſelf-refle­ction, as to have any occaſion to make uſe of his Evidences; tis all one to him, while he lies in this ſtate, whether they be clear or blur'd.

Object. But ſuppoſe him new enlightned, new­ly convicted; then he will have need of Evidences, and finde none.

Anſw. As ſuch light brings Conviction with it, ſo ſuch Conviction brings light with it; I mean, matter of Evidence and com­fort: For if a man be ſo far humbled as to queſtion his condition, and to bring himſelf to Triall, and ſo to Conviction; this is undoubtedly a good, viſible, de­cernable mark in the light of the Spirit, even of the true enjoyment of God.

So that we ſee it nothing avails ei­ther to our Caſe, or indeed to any pur­poſe, to Object, that Grace may not be viſible, and ſo not Evidentiall.

But let us obſerve two things by the by.

1. That the Change with reſpect to Comfort, is not in our Grace, but in the Spirits preſence or abſence.

2. The Spirit it ſelfe, we finde thus31 far changeable, My God, my God, why haſt thou forſaken me?

Then what advantage hath this way of the Spirit againſt Qualificati­ons by this diſcourſe?

The ſecond Argument.

The ſecond Argument againſt Qua­lifications, is found in page 23. line 26. It is an abuſe of the Gift, Viz. Qualifi­cations, and an affront put upon the Giver, Viz. God; to make the Gift and E­vidence of the true enjoyment of God.

This Argument is ſo abſurd and ſenſe­leſs, that I ſhall onely call Earth, Earth; Senſe and Nature to beare witneſſe a­gainſt it: Such an inſtinct we finde in all tameable beaſts, even by the Gift, to acknowledge the grace and favour of the Giver: Doth not Nature teach you, &c. That herein hath God commen­ded his love, that while yet ſinners, Chriſt died for us? Muſt not we now obſerve, and acknowledge his love herein? If we endeavour thereby to know the Love of God that paſſeth knowledge, is this an abuſe of the Gift, an affront32 put upon the Giver; to conclude, ac­knowledge, bleſſe, and admire his Grace and Favour for Gifts, and Mercies, Earthy, yea Heavenly; the Graces of his Spirit, the Image of his Sonne, the Earneſt and Seal of our owne Inheri­tance, the proper End, yea, and ap­pointed End of all Gods Mercies, Eſpe­ciall, Spirituall, and to his Saints, That we might be to the praiſ of the Glory of his Grace? Epheſ. 1. 6.

The third Argument.

Object. The third and moſt frequent Argu­ment, againſt the Evidence of Qualifi­cation, is, That nothing can be a ſure Evidence, that may be true or falſe, but our Qualifications, may be true or falſe.

Anſw. The ſecond Propoſition we deny, Qualifications in the Senſe we ſpeak of may not alwayes be true or falſe; but the words true or falſe, may be Ambi­guous. For,

1. Qualifications may be ſaid to be true or falſe: 1. With reſpect to the Cauſe and Principle, as Effects.

332. With relation to their End, as means, becauſe,

3. They may be true or falſe with regard to our knowledge: Now accord­ing to the firſt Interpretation, graci­ous qualities cannot be falſe; and there­fore not either true or falſe: for they are true effects of the Spirit of Truth; and if that be his Senſe, his Argument is guilty of contradictory qualities, he before having frequently granted them all, to be truely wrought by the ſpeciall operation of the Spirit, and ſtill denying them as to be Evidences of the true Enjoyment of God, Page 22. line 22. Page 21. line 14. But if we con­ceive true or falſe in the later Conſtru­ctions, namely, by our ignorance of the Truth thereof, they may be falſe means, with reſpect to this End, Viz. The Evi­dence of the true Enjoyment of God.

I anſwer, that as I have already, ſo hereafter in their place ſhall more cleer­ly free them from this Romane ſcruple, from being falſe, (i. e. ) fallible E­vidences of the true Enjoyment of God.

Object. If it be Objected, that wicked men and34 Hypocrites, have the ſame qualifica­tions, it is a needleſſe thing: For,

Anſw. Such men have the Spirit as much, and more truely then Grace, as it works upon ſuch mens hearts, with its com­mon Effects and motions. If this then hinders our infallible Judgement of the Truth of Grace, how will ye judge of the Truth of your Spirit.

Object. It is as little worth to affirm, that Hy­pocrites may thinke their Grace to be true, as well as the Godly. For,

Anſw. Truth being ſeated in the under­ſtanding, hath its anſwerable light: and it doth not hinder the Godly mans aſ­ſurance of the truth of his Grace, be­cauſe wicked men flatter and deceive themſelves with a falſ opinion of theirs, not ſo; becauſe the Mad-man thinks he is a ſober man, cannot the man that is ſober indeed be aſſured thereof? The Childe accounts his Counter gold, and ſo is miſtaken, therefore cannot the Fa­ther know his Gold to be Gold. Men in the dark may err, and no wonder; but the Candle of David is Enlightned: the Diſciples of Chriſt have a light within them; a light that manifeſts evil from35 good, truth from Errour, even that Anointing that teacheth them all things.

But to conclude, a wicked man may as well, and more eaſily miſtake in his judgement of his Spirit, if Judge there­of, and not by its effects, then of his Grace; this being more viſible, deſcern­able, as corporall; the other more ſubtill and indeſcernable, as Spirituall.

The fourth and laſt Argument.

Object. The laſt Objection againſt Qualifica­tions, lyes in experience: the Abbettors of this way, have found by experience, that ſuch Evidences as theſe, are as a rotten wall to thoſe that truſt and lean thereon.

Anſw. It is moſt clear, they lean too much upon their own phanſied Experience: But I ſhall onely put their Experiences in one ſcale, and the many thouſand Counter Experiences of Holy men of all Ages, that have abundantly teſtified for ſuch Qualifications, as bearing in­vincible Truth of Evidence in the other ſcale: leaving them to be poyſed by in­different Judgements.

Yea, are not many Experiences of this36 very kind, left recorded in Scripture on purpoſe, for our clear inſtruction, and ſtrong conſolation in this Caſe? and that not onely in the old, but new Te­ſtament alſo, even of ſuch as had attain­ed Goſpell perfection? Our Pattern, Chriſt Jeſus, takes great boldneſſe to himſelf in Prayer to Heaven, that he had glorified his Fathers Name; and if you aske Holy Pauls advice and expe­rience in this kinde, you may hear his anſwer, 2 Cor. 1. 12. This is our rejoycing, even the Teſtimony of our Conſcience, that in ſimplicity, and Godly ſincerity, we have our Converſation in the world. Yet then we may affirm what this Errour denies, that Qualifications wrought by the Spirit, are good and ſure Evidences of our enjoyment of God.

Arguments to prove the Affirmative, that Qualifications may be uſed as Evidences.

Having pulled downe, and laid Errour deſolate, we ſhall now attempt to build up Truth, and render it ſtrong and glorious, upon the Grounds following. Arg. 1The firſt Argument is taken from37 that of S. Peter, 2 Epheſ. 1. 10. where the Apoſtle doth exhort us, To give all diligence, to make our Calling and Ele­ction ſure: now how ſhall we make our Election ſure, but by our Calling? for we are called according to his pur­poſe, Rom. 8. 28. And how ſhall we makeVerſ. 5. our Calling ſure, but by the worke of Cal­ling, and the effects thereof, but by ad­ding unto Faith, Vertue, &c. Now if ye doe theſe things, you ſhall never fall; do you fear your falling away? is this your deſire to make your Calling and Election ſure? This is the way, add to Faith, Vertue, &c. and if you doe theſe things, you ſhall never fall, &c.

Arg. 2You muſt give us leave to make uſe of our Reaſon, Whom God hath joyned together, let no man put aſunder; the Spirit of God, and our Reaſon: theſe two make up a truely enlightned and refor­med judgement, a ſound minde. Then,

1. While the Scripture hath plainly laid down this Propoſition, He that be­leiveth, ſhall be ſaved: If I can aſſume I beleive; why may not blood be my wit­neſſe, and my Faith a bleſſed Evidence of ſalvation to me?

382. If the Word of God witneſſeth the deceitfulneſſe of our heart, in be­ing apt to perſwade us, that we beleive, when our Faith is dead: doth not the Law of Reaſon, as well as of Scripture, command, Examine your ſelves whether you be in the Faith, prove your owne ſelves, But how? Therefore,

3. While the Scripture declares, that Faith works by love, purifieth the heart, &c. As it thus affords a Rule for triall, ſo by meaſuring our ſelves by this Rule, if we can truely finde, That we are ſuch as love God, Chriſt, our Brethren, our Enemies, &c. and that our hearts are1 Joh. 2. 3. cap. 3. 19. 21. Ver. 14. cap. 2. 3. purifying in the Refiners fire; doth it not incourage, yea command to con­clude, That we are paſt from Death, to Life, becauſe we love, &c. And to ſtrengthen in our Souls that bleſſed hope, while we purifie our ſelves as he is pure: and ſo for any other true Grace.

I cloſe up this, with that invincible Scripture, that hath already been hint­ed, and if truely weighed, might end this Controverſie, 2 Cor. 13. 5. Examine your ſelves whether you be in the Faith, prove your own ſelves, know ye not even39 your own ſelves, that Jeſus Chriſt is in you, unleſſe you be Reprobates, (i. e. ) unapproved; whence, 1. the ordinary rule for the triall of our Faith, of which it is a ſhame for Profeſſors to be ignorant, is the being of Chriſt in the Soul.

2. The ordinary way for Profeſſors to finde whether Chriſt be in them, is by a ſelf-ſearching examination, not by a waiting for the immediate, inviſible, ſhining of the Spirit, for its own diſco­very and evidence.

Arg. 3A reflecting upon, and reaſoning from Grace, for Evidence of our true enjoy­ment of God, is but a judgeing of Gods preſence by his working, what ab­ſurdity? or but a knowing of the Cauſe by the Effect, and is this a ſtrange thing? I would fain know what hinders, but that the Spirit may give us to ſee him­ſelf in his own work? when as we be­hold the Creation and Providence of God; this is that that may be known of God: So, the new Creation and Govern­ment within us, is that, that may be known of the Spirit.

Arg. 4Since God is too wiſe a Work-man, to make more work then needs, why40 may not he make uſe of the Reaſon of man, ſo eaſie, and open, and ready a way in this particular Caſe of Evidence, as well as in thoſe particulars following; wherein I ſhall argue.

The Holy Ghoſt doth exerciſe the reaſon of man, to evidence to him this ſtate of Nature; then why may he not by the ſame faculty, Evidence to man his ſtate of Grace?

Theſe are in themſelves proper con­traries, and both equally Relative unto man; the one the depravation, the o­ther the recovery and reparation of his Nature: yet we finde the firſt foot-ſteps of God, for the Evidence of ſinne, in our firſt Parents, trod in ſuch a path, God comes towards them, to finde out, and convince them of their ſinne and Rebel­lion in eating, &c. How? By a reaſona­ble expoſtulation. And hath the Spirit of Chriſt any other way then this, ac­cording to the Goſpell? The Truth is my witneſſe, the Spirit at his comming, (this glorious diſpenſation of the Spirit) ſhall convince the World of ſinne, John 16. 8. the Spirit may diſcover ſinne long enough, and I never ſee it; unleſſe41 it be with the eye of Reaſon, and ſhew me Grace long enough, and I never be comforted; unleſſe I ſee it with the ſame eye: He ſhewes us the things of Chriſt, but muſt not we ſee them too,John 16. 14. elſe how ſhall we glorifie him?

God may accuſe, but he cannot con­vince us of ſin, without the enlightning of our own Reaſon; and therefore that his ancient People might be convin­ced of their ſinne, and that he did not accuſe them without a cauſe, Come now let us reaſon together, ſaith the Lord, Iſa. 1. 18.

Therefore to conclude, as the Repro­bate ſhall not be caſt into Hell, untill they be fully convinced of their ſin, by moſt cleare and invincible Evidence, having all their Objections anſwered; their mouths quite ſtopped, when they have read their Debts in the Book, that are in their own judgement ſufficient to caſt them into the Eternall Dungeon, Matth. 25. 45. &c.

So if any of the Saints want the knowledge of the ground of Aſſurance, while they are in the World; they ſhall, it ſeems, with their reaſon enlightned42 by Chriſt at that day, know it, before they enter into his Kingdome, Matth. 25. 37. to 40.

The Holy Ghoſt maketh uſe of the reaſon of Man, for his Converſion; then why not alſo for his Conſolation? Is it not the ſame Object, that doth con­vert Man to, and comfort him in God? On the one hand Hell, and on the other hand Heaven? and is it not the ſame Light, that doth diſcover the ſame Ob­ject, though for theſe divers Ends? doth it not then require the ſame Organ, the ſame Faculty? Reaſon enlightned is the eye whereby we apprehend the terrour of Hell, Law, Juſtice, &c. with the glo­ry of Heaven, Grace, and Happineſſe, and are changed in our thoughts and wayes; and ſurely alſo whereby we ap­prehend the ſame Objects, and our ſelves as freed from the one kind, and intereſſed in the other, and are raviſhed with joy unſpeakable and glorious: God is the Primum movens, and he muſt firſt move our Primum mobile, before the inferiour Orbes will turn to­wards him; the will having its imme­diate Light and Evidence, not from the43 Spirit of God, but the mind, the Candle of the Lord, if the underſtanding be darkned, it walks in darkneſs and ſeeth no light, the heart is blinded: but if this Candle be inlightned by the Spirit of God, it is ſubſervient, not onely to the will, but conſequently to the whole Man, in its turning from Sin and Nature, to God and Grace. Now the ſame light that doth. convert the minde, by Re­flection doth comfort and refreſh the heart.

The Holy Ghoſt doth work by our reaſon in the Creation of Faith, then why not alſo for Hope and Aſſurance? God hath provided a Saviour for Sin­ners, the way of their Salvatian by him, is beleiving in him. Now, that God might work up the Souls of ſinners to beleive and be ſaved, he hath ordained a Miniſtery, hath put into its hand, a word of Reconciliation, to ſhew them the neceſſity and worth of a Saviour, by convincing them of Sin and Righteouſ­neſſe, offering them a Saviour, and Life, and Heaven with him, will they but be­leive; beſeeching in Chriſts ſtead, that through him they would be reconciled44 to God, and ſaved, and all this is, that he might not force, but win Men to the Faith, that Faith might come by Rea­ſon; and in the day of Gods Power, hisPſal, 110. People might be a willing People: as we will not beleive, ſo we cannot be aſſu­red, but by Reaſon, they are both Acts of the ſame Faith: And now what ſhould priviledge the reflex Act of Faith, more then its direct, from being beholding to Reaſon; I know not: The Scriptures ſay, He that believeth, ſhall be ſaved, my reaſon being inlightned, in­abled to ſee the truth and ſtableneſs of the Propoſition, is effectually perſwaded to cloſe with this offer, and to beleive. But now I beleive, cannot the ſame fa­culty of reaſon, inlightned and aſſiſted by the ſame Spirit, reflect Conſolation herefrom, He that beleives ſhall be ſaved; but I believe, therefore I am ſure I ſhall be ſaved; this is the Joy of my Salvation. What hinders but that the ſame reaſon that upon the perſwa­ſion of the truth of the Goſpell cauſed me to beleive, may upon the aſſurance of the truth of my Faith, together with the veiw of the Glory of Salvation,45 cauſe me to rejoyce? becauſe I did not doubt, But he that beleiveth, ſhall be ſaved; therefore I beleived: ſo for that I am aſſured I beleive, I am aſſured of ſalvation, and therefore am at reſt. What more neede of the immediate ſhining of the Spirit in us for Faith of Evidence, then for Faith of Adherence? as I reaſon about miſery for the work of the firſt, ſo I reaſon about happineſs for the Act of the ſecond; that is the greateſt difference. Yea, inſomuch as we having aſſurance in Adam, and not Faith, Faith is the more difficult work.

Secondly, inſomuch as it being more difficult to attain to any habit, then to Act from that habite, when attained, to act Faith of Evidence, is far more eaſy for beleivers, then for ſuch as doe not yet beleive, to act Faith of Adherence: It ſeems moſt ſtrange that the Spirit ſhould chooſe to work a Miracle where is leaſt need, and work no Miracle, where moſt; ſhould make uſe of means or inſtruments for the creating of Faith, and yet afterwards work comfort in the ſame ſoul, immediately, miraculouſly. Faith of Adherence is a Creation, and46 giving life: Faith of Evidence is onely the motion of that life given. For the firſt, the Spirit muſt enlighten; for the laſt, he need onely ſnuff this Candle of the Lord in Man. The worke of aſſu­rance is halfe wrought, by, and in the Faith of Adherence, the Soul hath re­ceived the prime efficient of it, Viz. The Spirit: Secondly the Principle, or ſecond efficient, Faith: together, third­ly, with the matter of comfort, Viz. Juſtification, and a right to Heaven. There wants nothing for the Soul to be aſſured of this, but the work of his Faith through reaſon of his Qualification, ſhewed to the Soul in the light of the Spirit. Now how fitly doth enlightned Reaſon, and this habit of Faith, offer themſelves for this bleſſed work, Aſſu­rance? God hath put an inclination in Reaſon and Faith, towards this work, and ſhall Potentiality never come to act? Shall a Miracle be rather wrought to act their proper work without them? No aſſuredly, God will not ſpend his own Omnipotency in ſuch Caſes as this, who as he maketh nothing in vain, ſo he doth not delight to work47 a Miracle for that, that is more eaſilyWeames. done in an ordinary way.

The Holy Ghoſt doth make an Ex­erciſe of our Reaſon, about our Quali­fications, in the humbling of our Souls, with Godly ſorrow, then why not alſo for heavenly Joy? Why may not the Spirit, as the Spirit of Adoption, as well as a Spirit of Bondage work mediately, through Qualifications? There can be no Godly ſorrow, but it aims at Sinne, is converſant about ſin; and can there be any Godly ſolace, that ſprings not from Grace? As reaſon exerciſed about ſin, cauſeth ſorrow: doth not Reaſon exerciſed about Grace, work out com­fort? Let the rule of Contraries judge betwixt us: It is the ſame that aſcends, and the ſame that deſcends: the ſame Spirit that humbles and exalts, the change is not in the efficient, but the matter or object, Sin and Grace: But is there not the ſame reaſon for our ex­altation and comfort from gracious, as for our dejection from ſinnefull Qua­lities? Have I not as much cauſe to re­joyce at my recovery, as to ſor­row and greive at my decay or delay48 in ſickneſs? Why ſhould not the Spirit diſcover our Grace for matter of rejoy­cing, that diſcovers our ſinne for cauſe of ſorrow?

But all Reaſon and Scripture will af­firm, that that is no godly ſorrow, Evan­gelicall repentance, that is not the fruit of conviction of ſin: That ſorrow, is a­gain2 Cor. 7. 8. with 13. to be ſorrowed for, and that repen­tance to be repented of, that with its wa­tery eyes lookes not at ſinne, whoſe tears fall not down on ſinne. (For, for what muſt I greive? ſurely for ſomething: and for what muſt I greive with Goſpel-ſorrow? ſurely for ſin:) ſo conſequent­ly, Is not Joy infidelious, and alſo ridi­culous that comes not from Reaſon, and as exerciſed on Grace: laughter is the immediate Affection of the reaſon­able Soul.

The Holy Ghoſt doth exerciſe our Reaſon about our Qualifications in our Petition; then why not in our prayſe and rejoycing alſo? they are both parts of the ſame duty; and both affect the ſame matter. I pray for that, for which when obtained, I am bound to give prayſe: and I prayſe and give thankes49 for that, which is unto me the return of Prayer. Now moſt Evident it is, thatCol. 1. 9, 10, 11. Heb. 4. 16. I muſt pray for Grace, and that under the ſenſe of the want of Grace, I muſt ad­dreſſe my ſelfe unto the Throne of Grace, to finde Grace to help in time of need: Therefore, I may and muſt rejoyce in God, as I reveiw that Grace, the return of my Prayer derived into me from my Head Chriſt: as the Spirit of Prayer doth make uſe of my reaſon, to ſee and expreſs my want of Grace, and ſo teach me to pray: ſo the Spirit of Prayſe, doth make uſe of my reaſon, to reflect from Grace obtained, my thanks unto, and my Joy in God, and ſo is my Comfor­ter.

Laſtly, the Holy Ghoſt by reaſoning from our Qualifications, doth Evidence to us our right and intereſt in the Sup­per of the Lord: then why not alſo by the ſame means, our right and inte­reſt in Heaven and Happineſs? If hereby we come to know our propriety and in­tereſt in the fleſh and blood of Jeſus Chriſt Sacramentall, why not hereby alſo our right and benefit in the fleſh and blood of Chriſt reall? and con­ſequently,50 in the fovour of Heaven?

The conſequence is clear, for we muſt put on the wedding Garment, we muſt know our ſelves to be the freinds of the Maſter of the Feaſt, before we may en­ter and venter to his Feaſt. Now what is the matter of our Spirituall Joy? yea, what the Hellen we ſo much ſtrive for, but even this, The Knowledge, or Evi­dence of theſe conditions, Viz. our Uni­on with Chriſt, our intereſt in Heaven, &c. So that we muſt know our inte­reſt in Heaven, in order to the know­ledge of our intereſt in the Sacrament, or in our preparing for it.

But the Argument is proved from 1 Cor. 11. 28, 29. Let a man examine himſelfe, and ſo let him eat, &c. Where­fore examine? That he may eat, &c. of what examine? Whether he be worthy, (i. e. ) fitly qualified for this Supper; (i. e. ) whether he have an intereſt in the Maſter of the Feaſt: but whereby muſt he know this? By ſearching, try­ing and examining himſelfe, by exerciſe­ing his reaſon about his Qualifications, Viz. Whether hee can come in Faith, Love, &c. But can this Examination51 prove a means effectuall for this end? Yes verily, ordained of God for that very purpoſe, Let a man examine him­ſelfe: and by the Holy Ghoſt ſuppoſed effectuall, and ſo let him eate, having found himſelf worthily qualified for it, by a ſober, due and rationall examina­tion of himſelf, ſo let him eate.

Then examin your ſelves in the like manner, Whether you be in the Faith, or no? and if by the Evidence of your own Examination of your ſelves, impar­tially exerciſed by your reaſon enlight­ned by the Spirit of God, you can true­ly conclude you beleive; Fear not, but rejoyce in the light of this Evidence, with Joy unſpeakable, and full of Glory in be­leiving, giving thankes unto the Father, that hath made you meete, not onely to be partakers of the Supper of the Lord,Col. 1. 12, 13. but of the inheritance of the Saints in Light.

Thus we have at length ended, as we hope, this Controverſie; for, the fruit of Righteouſneſſe is Peace, and the effect thereof aſſurance for ever, Iſa. 32. 17. 18. Cautions about Qualifica­tions.

But before we conclude this Chap­ter, we ſhall ſubjoyne theſe neceſſary52 cautious, as a Qualification to Quali­fications.

"Firſt, let the Reader take a ſpeciall difference (in order to the deciding of the preſent queſtion) betwixt Aſ­ſurance, and Comfort. For as aſſu­rance is the effect of Righteouſneſs, ſo Joy and Comfort are effects of Aſ­ſurance, and as they are divers in themſelves, ſo are they differently ob­tained by us: Even as the Habit, and the Act of the Habit. For when I would confirm my Brother in a (by him doubted) Truth, as I fetch all the Arguments from Scripture, and Reaſon, to prove it to him; even ſo muſt I deal with my doubting Con­ſcience, to bring it unto an aſſured knowledge of the truth of my State of Grace, and Title to Heaven. This, as the obtaining of a Habit, requires ſome time, with a ſerious deliberate Exerciſe of Reaſon: but as when we have gotten a habit, there is nothing more ready, and eaſie, then to Act therefrom; ſo Spirituall Comfort is the moſt proper and immediate Ef­fluvium, and effect of Aſſurance ob­tained. 53Though we come very hard­ly to the aſſured knowledge of our ſtate of Grace, yet we paſſe moſt ea­ſily from that aſſured knowledge, &c. to joy unſpeakable; as the reflection of the Sun doth naturally recoile, by, or from its direct Act: ſo that as it is neceſsary, that there be ſome glance from the Exerciſe of beleiving reaſon upon Pardon, Grace, God, Heaven, &c. (For every Paſſion, muſt have its Object) for the begetting of Spiritu­all Joy from Aſſurance; ſo doth it im­mediately, and upon a ſudden flaſh, take life from thence: (as when a Candle is lighted, light immediately ſprings all over the houſe;) yet this Joy is moſt reall, ſollid and ſubſtan­tiall.

"Secondly, it is not at all required, (eſpecially) from ſuch as are already perſwaded to Aſſurance upon good grounds, that every Act of their Spi­rituall Joy, ſhould be the iſſue of their immediate Conception of Grace; as if a Chriſtian might never take Spiritu­all Comfort to himſelf, but as from the reflexion of reaſon upon his Gra­ces. 54We many times rejoyce in our God and Saviour, and by Faith, (that is the ſubſtance of things hoped for) even bathe our Souls in thoſe rivers of pleaſure, &c. and that from Aſſurance already made, and not now queſtio­ned; the Spirit of God doth aſſure us by ſhewing us our own things, and thus giving us matter of Joy, doth comfort us mediately: but he doth alſo ſhew us the things of Chriſt, andJohn 16. thus is more immediately and proper­ly our Comforter: for we have re­ceived the Spirit of God, that makes us know the things that are freely given to us of God. To conclude, as when I have ſufficiently proved my Doctrine, it would be but a needleſs perplexity and folly, to turn back for the renewing of the proof of my Do­ctrine, for every Ʋſe that I make thereof; ſo for a Saint upon every oc­caſion of Spirituall rejoycing, to go ſo far about, as to the triall of the grounds of Aſſurance, as it would be a ſign of over much ſuſpicion and in­fidelity; ſo a groſſe (in that an un­gratefull) abuſe of Aſſurance.


"Laſtly, our reaſon moſt diligently exerciſed even upon the beſt of our Qualifications, can give us but a dark, indiſtinct, and uncertain Evidence: without the light and helpe of the Spirit of God; as our eyes cannot give vs an exact diſtinct knowledge of colours (without the light of the Sun) by a candle: Now the underſtanding of a man, is the Candle of the Lord, Prov. 20. 27.

CHAP. IV. Of the immediate witneſſe of the Spirit.

HAving done my Endeavour, aſſiſted I hope by the Spirit of God, for the clearing of our Evidences; we now proceed to lay hold on the other branch ſpringing from the ſame roote, which hath been before delivered in theſe words, Viz. The Spirit of God doth ma­nifeſtErrour. his Preſence to the Soul, by his own immediate light.


Arg. 1The firſt Reaſon that endeavours the maintenance of this, and is every where hinted by the diſturber of the falſe reſts, is the Spirits ſufficiency to diſcover him­ſelf immediately to us.

Anſw. But he ought to know, that from a ſufficiency to an efficiency, is no good ar­guing; the death of that perſon that was God as well as Man, being infinitely me­ritorious, then how falls it out that all Men, yea, and Devils themſelves, are not ſaved?

2. From the power, to the Act, gives no good Argument; becauſe the power of God is ſufficiently able to deſtroy the World, and all therein; therefore will he, muſt he doe it? Can the ſpirit diſcover himſelf to the Soul immediate­ly? that therefore he will uſe no means in this work, is a pure non ſequitur; yet this Aſſertion is built, eſpecially when illuſtrated with that that followes, Viz.

Arg. 2The Spirit is a Sunne, Page 60. line 17. Now the Sunne doth manifeſt it ſelfe unto the World in its owne Light; there­fore the Spirit in like manner to our hearts.


Anſw. It is ſaid, that Chriſt ſhall come as a theife, &c. therefore as a theif comes to do that that is ſinnefull, muſt Chriſt al­ſo? Such it the abſurdity of the prece­dent Argument, for compariſons run not on foure feet.

2. But ſecondly, this compariſon holds at leaſt thus far:

Firſt, the Sunne doth manifeſt it ſelfe in its owne Light, ſo doth the Spirit: a­gain, the Sunne doth convey his Light, whereby we ſee other Objects and himſelfe through a Medium. Viz. the Aire; ſo the ſpirit through our Graces: More­over, the Sunne requires an Eye of Senſe in us, whereby we muſt ſee, and uſe his light, &c. ſo the Spirit an Eye of Rea­ſon.

Laſtly, we feel, as ſome will have it, the heat and comfort of the Sunne by re­flection onely; and thus by reflection we grant, we have the ſweet and comfort of this our Spirituall Sunne, the Holy Ghoſt.

3. But thirdly, the Sun and the Spirit muſt in ſomewhat be unlike, elſe not alike, and this indeed may be received for full ſolution: The Sunne is a ne­ceſſary,58 but the Spirit is a free Agent; the Sunne muſt ſhine and ſhew it ſelfe, but the Spirit blowes where it liſteth: therefore ſome have it, and ſome have it not; and others have it, and know it not: while the Sunne muſt alwayes, and alwayes one way diſcover himſelfe; the Spirit is not bound by this means, nor yet by that, much leſſe immediat­ly, to ſhew himſelf to us.

Arg. 3It hath been objected to me in diſ­courſe, By one, whom I judge both very knowing and Godly, that Chriſt is our Husband, and that therefore it ſhould ſeem more anſwerable to that relation to tell us, he loves us, with his owne mouth, and immediately, then to leave his Spouſe, to conſtrue his love from his tokens onely.

Anſw. For ſatisfaction hereunto, I anſwer,

Suppoſe we, that Chriſt is our Hus­band, and that therefore it ſeems more fit, that he himſelf declare his Love to us immediately; What is it that muſt Judge of this Meeteneſſe? our Phancy, or Faith? We have moſt plainly made it appear, out of the Scripture I ſuppoſe, Chriſts Will and Way is to make uſe of59 his effects in giving us aſſurance of his favour, or preſence, we muſt as well ac­knowledge Chriſt to be our Lord, as challenge him to be our Husband, as his way is beſt in it ſelfe, ſo let it ſeem to us; For who art thou that replieſt againſt God? what is this leſſe, then a reſiſtance of the Spirit with Carnall reaſon, and our vain imagination, while we pretend and plead for him?

Yet further conſider, and whether of the two gives moſt ſatisfaction to the Wife, or beſt aſſurance of her Husbands love; the expreſſion thereof by mouth and words, or its ſignall Teſtimony by life and actions, Judge ye.

Moreover, we ought to obſerve, that our Saviour is not ſo properly our Hus­band here, while we are but espouſed or betrothed to him; there is a day ap­pointed, which is not yet come, for the Marriage of the Lambe (and if we may ſpeak, Humano more, or after the man­ner and cuſtome, and practice of Men) for a Lover to aſſure his Beloved of his heart, affection, by the Speciall motions and effects thereof, is not more ſtrange then common; eſpecially, if we com­mend60 this courſe and practice by theſe three conſiderable ingredients, 1. Our beloved is at a diſtance of place and ab­ſent from us: Secondly, there are others plead intereſt in him, and ſuch as are inconſiſtent with ours.

Laſtly, we are too apt to delude our ſelves, and to be deluded in this Caſe; Affection is blinde, and our hearts are de­ceitfull, and that above meaſure.

But laſtly, were it acknowledged by al to be the moſt reaſonable way among creatures of one nature and language, to make their love known by word of mouth, whil this bears Analogy to Chriſt & the ſoul, there is I conceive much dif­ference: for as a man, and one that knows but in part, according to my meaſure, I muſt thus (yet humbly) Judge; that Chriſt, I mean not with regard to his power, as abſolute, but as limited by his revealed Will in condeſcention to our reaſon and ſhallow capacity, Chriſt cannot acquaint himſelf to the ſoul of man, in ſuch an immediate way and manner as is now diſcourſed: and firſt, not in his Perſon by reaſon of diſtance of place.


Secondly, not in his ſpirit, becauſe of diſtance in natures: to me, and yet I humbly ſubmit to higher apprehenſions, yet to me this ſeemes defended by the hand of ſound and upright reaſon: the preſence of Chriſt in his Spirit is of too ſubtil and ſpiritual a nature to fal under, or any way to bediſcerned by ſuch groſsThis is largly diſ­cuſſed in Chap. 18. and carnall Creatures, as the Sons of men, but by and through a medium, I mean, its effects, is any thing that comes under the name of Spirit immediatly, or in it ſelf decernable to us? Let us be­think our ſelves with what Eye do we ſee Spirits? Is it not the Eye of Reaſon, which alwayes Judgeth of their pre­ſence by Effects? Can the wiſeſt man tell me, What Man, or Beaſt, or Tree, is alive, hath its formall Spirit in it, but by the effects, or motions of it? Now the Spirit of the Lord, is that pure Spirit, infinitely far more pure Spirit: the very name of ſpirit being groſſe and carnall, with reſpect thereto: how ſhall we then judge of that immediately? A man need not indeed to argue his life to himſelfe by its motion, &c. For he knoweth he is alive by the firſt light and62 inſtinct of nature in himſelf: So would we conceive that the Spirit of Chriſt, did properly inform us, and was part of our Eſſence; we might know it to be in us in a way more immediate; but this is the groſſeſt abſurdity imaginable: Till then let us follow the Dictate of re­formed Reaſon, and hear our Saviour ſpeaking his love by his Actions, and re­vealing his Preſence by his Effects: whoſe ſpirit is therefore compared to Winde, by his Word, that blowes where it liſteth, and no man knoweth whence it comes, nor whither it goes, whoſe pre­ſence is knowable onely by its Effects upon us; even ſo is every one that is borne of the Spirit, which is onely per­ceivable by us, as it makes a diſtur­bance in the Naturall Man; as it breathes into us Spirituall Life, as it ſweetly blowes upon the Spices, Graces of our Souls; and moves us dayly for­ward towards the bleſſed Haven, Hea­ven: Such gracious Effects, and Ope­rations in us.


The Truth Confirmed.

But ſo much may ſerve for the weak­ning of the Errour, now a few things may be added for the further clearing of the Contrary Truth; namely, that though the ſpirit doth onely, yet doth it not alone, at leaſt ordinarily, much leſſe of neceſſitie, Evidence it ſelfe, or teſtifie our true enjoyment of God. For there are three that beare witneſſe on Earth; the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, 1 Joh. 5. 8. and theſe three agree in one, (i. e. ) in one end, the enjoyment of God; Verſ. 10. With our right and intereſt in eternall Life, Verſ. 11. And as they a­gree in their end, ſo in themſelves, as the means, or teſtimony: the Spirit doth wit­neſſe to the pureneſſe of the Water, the truth of our Sanctification: and in the Water, we ſee the efficacy of the blood, for our Regeneration; Generatio fit per Sanguinem, per aquam ablutio.

Indeed the Spirit doth witneſſe, emi­nently,Zanch. and efficiently, but Water and Blood, materially, and our Spirit and Reaſon inſtrumentally. So the Spirit64 witneſſeth with our ſpirits, through or by our graces and qualifications, that we are the Children of God, Rom. 8. 16. As the ſpirit of God is derived into us, through the ſacred Ordinances, ſo is it diſcovered in us by its holy effects; therefore is it thus plainely ſayd, to wit­neſſe with our ſpirits, &c. in this 8. of the Romans, which Chapter, read with impartiall and due obſervation (it is ſo abundantly full for the preſent purpoſe) is doubtleſſe ſufficient to end the controverſie betwixt us.

The caſe reſolved there, ſeemes very neer the caſe in hand, Viz. How wee ſhall know whether we be in a ſtate of life or death, Verſ. 13. The Efficient is Gods ſpirit; the Inſtrument, ours, Verſ. 16. and the Medium or matter of the ar­gument, Viz. The rules layd downe for the tryall of the caſe, ſuch as follow; if yee live after the fleſh, yee ſhall dye; well, but if yee through the ſpirit, doe mortifie the deeds of the fleſh, yee ſhall live, Verſ. 9, 10. The ſecond Argument in order hereunto, is, Our having the ſpirit of Chriſt, from the effect to the cauſe; if we doe mortifie the deeds of the65 fleſh, it is through the ſpirit, we have the Spirit: and if we have the ſpirit we live, therefore the ſpirit is a ſpirit of life, and, as it makes us free from the Law of ſin and (conſequently) death, v. 2. This Argu­ment is expreſly contained, v. 9. Now if any man have not the ſpirit of Chriſt he is none of his. But this ſeems to infer another Argument, as ſubordinate to the main Concluſion taken from the ſpirit, not onely as a Cauſe, but as a neceſſary effect, conſequent, ſigne, ad­junct, or companion of Chriſts intereſt in us, or relation to us; he that hath not the ſpirit is none of Chriſts: but he that hath, it then, is his, his Diſciple, his mem­ber, his Brother, &c. Now how ſhall we know that we have the ſpirit? By ſan­ctification: for, if the ſpirit that raiſed up Jeſus from the dead dwell in you, he that raiſed up Jeſus from the dead ſhall alſo quicken your mortal bodies, &c. verſ. 9. & 11. And how ſhall we know that Chriſt hath relation or intereſt in us? by that inſeparable conſequent or adjunct of the ſpirit, for if any man have not the ſpirit of Chriſt, he is none of his. Laſtly, and that that brings the66 Concluſion & Argument together, is an Argument drawn from the higheſt and choiſeſt effect of the Fathers love, and our Saviours Office; the principal cau­ſes of our ſalvation, viz. our ſonſhip, verſ. 14. For as many as are led by the ſpirit of God, are the ſons of God. Or we may interpoſe between the terms of this truth, Chriſts intereſt in us; then thus; thoſe that are led by the ſpirit of Chriſt are his, and thoſe that are Chriſts; (i. ) his Members, Brethren, are (by adoption) the ſons of God, and then it is moſt clear, that if ſons, then heirs, co-heirs with Chriſt, verſ. 17. and are, for reſolution of the caſe pro­pounded, in a ſtate of life.

Theſe and ſuch like are the Rules, by which a mans ſpirit, according to Gods Word, examining his condition, doth either acquit or condemn, if this ſpeak peace, viz. that he is a childe of God, and an heir of Heaven, this is the teſti­mony and anſwer of a mans own ſpirit; but to make this our teſtimony clear, and demonſtrative, ſure, and infallible, the ſpirit it ſelf beareth witneſs with our ſpirit, &c. not onely together with, as67 two diverſe Witneſſes of the ſame truth, but with (i. ) nor yet onely with the qualification of our ſpirit, the mat­ter of evidence, Water and Blood; but laſtly, and eſpecially with, (i. ) with our ſpirit, as ſubordinate in the work, through, by, ſo with, making uſe of the teſtimony of our ſpirit, ſealing, and clearing our rational evidence with the truth and light of his, that we are the children of God.

Nothing can indeed perſwade us of our ſonſhip to God, but the Spirit of Adoption; yet the ſpirit perſwadeth us as rational Creatures, viz. as we have heard, by inabling us to reaſon our re­lation to God, by Chriſts relation and intereſt in us, and that by the having of his ſpirit, and that by its holy effects of mortification of ſin, and ſpiritual life, which gives occaſion to cloſe as we be­gan, that, If ye live after the fleſh ye ſhall die, but if ye through the ſpirit do morti­fie the deeds of the ſpirit, ye ſhall live: therefore Examine your ſelves, know ye2 Cor. 13. 5. not, even your own ſelves, how that Jeſus Chriſt is in you, except ye be Reprobates: and the Lord give you the comfort of68 the witneſs in your ſelves, with the conteſt of the ſpirit, to be an infallible aſſurance of your adoption to God,Col. 1. 9. and of the truth of this point; and for this cauſe alſo, godly Reader, ſince the day you heard of me, do not, I beſeech thee, ceaſe to pray, that with reſpect, both to one and the other, I may fight a good fight, and finiſh my courſe, that henceforth I may be comfortably aſſu­red with holy Paul, that there is laid2 Tim. 4. 8. up for me a Crown of righteouſneſs, which the righteous Judge ſhall give me at that day, &c.

CHAP. V. Of the knowledge of Chriſt after the Fleſh, or in his Mediatorſhip.

BEfore, we have reconciled the Spirit, and its effects, our gracious quali­ties infuſed by it. But this following Chapter will ingage us to atone the ſame ſpirit on its Cauſes behalf, the Perſon of Chriſt, which I may call with­out offence, the cauſe of the ſpirit, both69 with regard to its Perſon and Office. Firſt, the Perſon of Chriſt is the cauſe of the perſon of the Spirit, by deriva­tion; the Spirit being the joynt breath and iſſue both of the Father and Son. Secondly, the Perſon of Chriſt is the cauſe of the Office of the Spirit: firſt, by merit, 1 Pet. 1. 2. Secondly, by miſſi­on, Joh. 14, 15, 16. cap. Therefore is the holy Ghoſt in the Goſpel ſo peculiarly ſtiled the Spirit of Chriſt.

Yet this their ſpirit (and the Spirit of God by them ſo called) how ungrate­fully wicked; doth even ſtab at Chriſt himſelf, with theſe two erroneous Points: namely,

1. That the Perſon of Chriſt is but a form, type, or ſhadow onely, or a bare repreſentation of the Spirit at his coming: as the types and ſhadows of the Law were before of the coming of Chriſt. See falſe reſts in pag. 103, 104.

2. That Chriſt is not to be the object or Medium of Faith, (i.) We are not to believe on Chriſt as our Mediator and Saviour. See the fifteenth falſe reſt.

The firſt of theſe the Seekers own; but the laſt is the very dregs of Soci­nianiſme;70 which affirms, that Chriſt came not among men to procure ſatiſ­faction to God, but to be an Object of imitation to men.

No wonder, we have had boiſterous Times of late, while ſuch Devils, ſuch Errours as theſe, have been conjuring up.

Yet how great a wonder it is, that ſuch groſneſs of darkneſs ſhould call it ſelf light, and that to the face of the Sun it ſelf, in this our day of Goſpel, when knowledge abounds amongſt us.

But I ſhall not ſo far queſtion my ſal­vation, as to receive my Saviour into doubtfull disputings; yea doubtleſs, the mention of ſuch Errours as theſe is ſuf­ficient confutation, and confuſion of them alſo, in all humble ears, and god­ly judgements.

Yet though there be not the leaſt ſhadow of Reaſon, that will entertain ei­ther the one or the other, there is one notable Scripture, that ſeems to ſome eyes, to caſt a very favourable glance and countenance to the firſt of theſe Errours, viz. That the Perſon of Chriſt71 is but a type of the ſpirit, (a diſpenſationErrour. and form that is ruined or diſſolved by the coming of the ſpirit.) The ScriptureScripture counte­nancing it. is the 1 Cor. 5. 16. Yea, though we have known Chriſt after the fleſh, yet hence­forth know we him ſo no more. To make this Scripture paſs for them, the Abbet­tors of this Errour have ſtamped upon it, this Interpretation, viz. That the knowledge of Chriſt after the fleſh, was the diſpenſation of his Perſon, a fleſhly diſpenſation which Paul had formerly been under; but ſince the diſpenſation of the ſpirit, the diſpenſation of Chriſts Perſon, it chiefly meant the Office of his Preiſthood, is diſſolved, is diſſolved to Paul, though I have known Chriſt after the fleſh, and have had commu­nion with Chriſt in his death, ſuffering, ſatisfaction, for my peace, righteouſ­neſs, juſtification; yet now I have a more immediate way to God, to wit, by, in, through the ſpirit, without Chriſts mediation in his perſon; there­fore henceforth know I Chriſt ſo no more; thus are both theſe Errours be­come one, and one Anſwer may ſerve for both.


Anſw. O Paul (might it be retorted) now ſee your inconſiderate raſhneſs, where is that ſhame and ſorrow for your for­merProſopo­peia. (vain it ſeems though) ſo deeply re­ſolved determinations? Do you not re­member your ſelf good Paul, how in 1 Cor. 2. 2. how ſolemnly you deter­mined there to know nothing elſe but Jeſus Chriſt, and him crucified, &c. But let us reſerve one ear unprejudiced, to hear Pauls Anſwer: Me thinks I hear him apologize after this manner; Alas, poor ignorant Wretches, how apt to miſtake, weak and unadviſed Babes, how eaſily ſeduced and overthrown! Ah, fooliſh People, who hath bewitched you? Do you make no difference be­twixt the knowledge of Chriſt after the fleſh, and the knowledge of Chriſt and him crucified! as a Saviour and Me­diator?

How unworthy of ſo great a truſt