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of those impressions from Christ by which it should or might otherwise be thus lifted up by him, will undoubtedly, above the rate of all other things, abound to the shame, judgment, confusion, and condemnation of men. When men of rich endowments, and worthy abilities of learning and knowledge, shall give their strength in this kind to other studies, contemplations, and inquiries, suffering, in the mean time, the minds and consciences of men to corrupt, putrify, and perish in their sad pollutions through that ignorance, or, which is worse, those disloyal and profane notions and conceptions of God and of Christ which reign, or rather indeed rage, in the midst of them, without taking any compassion on them, by searching out and discovering unto them those most excellent and worthy things of God and Christ, the knowledge whereof would be unto them as a resurrection from death unto life; they do but write their names in the dust, and buy vanity with that worthy price which was put into their hand for a far more honourable purchase. And yet, of the two, they are sons of the greater folly, and prevaricate far more sadly with the dearest and deepest interest, both of themselves and other men, who, by suffering their reasons and judgments to be abused either by sloth and supine oscitancy, or else by sinister and carnal respects otherwise (for there is a far different consideration of those who miscarry at this point, through a mere nescience or human infirmity) bring forth a strange God and a strange Christ unto the world, such as neither the Scriptures, nor reason unbewitched, know or own, and this under the name of the true God indeed, and of the true Christ; yea, and most importunely and imperiously burden and charge the consciences of men with the dread of Divine displeasure and the vengeance of hell-fire, if they refuse to fall down, and bow the knee of their judgments before those images and representations which they set up, as if in all their lineaments and parts they exhibited the true God and the true Christ, according to the truth.

The apostle Paul relates a sad story of a great fire of indignation kindled in the breast of God, and breaking out, in a very formidable manner, upon the heathen, who, as he saith, "knew God," Rom. i. 21, (i. e. had means sufficient to bring them to the knowledge of God, *) and withal “professed themselves wise

Men under means and opportunities of knowledge are still estimated, and this justly, in their delinquencies, as having knowledge, whether they be actually knowing or no. Comparo Matt. xxv. 44, 45, with Luke xii. 47, 48, &c.

men,” Rom. i. 22. Whether by such men he means the philosophers in particular, and learned men amongst them, (which is the more probable, and the more received sense of interpreters,) or whether the generality of them, (as Calvin rather supposeth,) varieth not the story in any point of difference much material to my purpose. The misery which these men brought upon themselves through the just displeasure of God, is first, in general, drawn up by the apostle in these words, that “professing themselves wise, they became fools,"* (or rather were infatuated, or made fools, as Calvin well expoundeth,) i. e. whilst they assumed unto themselves the honour and repute of much wisdom and understanding, God, as it were, insensibly, and by degrees, withdrew that lively presence of his Spirit from them, by which they had been formerly raised and enlarged, as well to conceive and apprehend, as to act and do, like wise and prudent men: but now the wonted presence of this Spirit of God failing them, the savour and vigour of their wisdom and understandings proportionably abated and declined, as Samson's strength upon the cutting of his hair, sank and fell to the line of the weakness of other men. Secondly, The misery which these men drew upon their own head, by breaking, as they did, with God, is termed by the apostle “ a delivering up” or giving over “to a reprobate mind,” Rom. i. 28; which seems to import somewhat more sad and deeply penal than a simple infatuation, or at least the height and consummation hereof. “A reprobate" or injudicious "mind," + implies such a constitution or condition of that sovereign and supreme faculty in man, his understanding, whose proper office and work it is to order, umpire, and command in chief all his motions, and actions, as well internal as outward, that light and darkness, things comely and things uncomely, actions and ways pregnantly comporting with, and actions and ways palpably destructive unto, the dear interest of his eternal peace, shall, especially upon a practical account, be of one and the same consideration to him; neither shall he be capable of any difference of impression from things that differ in the highest. The “delivering up" of a man by God to such “a reprobate mind" as this, clearly supposeth the frame and constitution of the mind and understanding of man to be naturally reprobate ; I mean, considered as the sin of Adam hath defaced and distempered it, and as it would

* 'Euwpávonoav. Justâ Dei ultione fuerunt infatuati.
+ 'Αδόκιμος νους.

have been in all men in case the great Advocate and Mediator of mankind had not interposed to procure the gracious conjunction of the illuminating Spirit of God with it; yea, and as it will be, whensoever this Spirit of God shall be so far offended and provoked by a man as wholly to depart and desert it. So that this judiciary act of God, in "giving" men "over to a reprobate mind,” imports nothing but the total withdrawing of all communion and converse by his Spirit with them, hereby leaving them in the hand, and under the inspection, of such a mind or understanding which is naturally, properly, and entirely their own. In which case the mind and understanding of a man suffers after some such manner as a quantity of good, wholesome, and spiritful wine would do, in case it should be bereft of all the subtile and spirituous parts of it by a chemical extraction made by fire ; that which should remain after such a separation, would be but as water, without strength or taste.

Now the cause of this fire of displeasure kindled in the breast of God against the persons mentioned, burning so near to the bottom of hell, as we heard, our apostle recordeth, first in these words, "Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful,” Rom. i. 21; afterwards in these, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, &c., ver. 28, or, as the original, I humbly conceive, would rather bear,) “ as they did not make trial,” i. e. put themselves to it, engage their abilities, “to have God in acknowledgment,"* i. e. so to discover him to the world, that he might be acknowledged in his sovereign greatness and transcendent excellences by men. From which passages laid together, it clearly appears, 1. That for men that “know God," or have means and opportunities of knowing him, not to “glorify him” like himself, and "as God," is a sin of a very high provocation, and which directly, and with a swift course, tends to an utter dissolution of all communion and friendly converse between God and men. 2. That for men of knowledge, parts, and abilities, to neglect the manifestation and making known of God, in and to the world, to the intent that he may be “acknowledged," reverenced, loved, delighted in by his creature, is a strain of the worst resentment with God of that unthankfulness, which he interprets a “non-glorifying him as God,” or like himself.

* Και καθώς ούκ εδοκίμασαν τον θεόν έχειν εν επιγνώσει, &c.

Knowing the terror of the Lord in the way of the premises, brethren honoured and beloved in the Lord, according to the measure of the light of the knowledge of himself which he hath been graciously pleased to shine in my heart, εδοκίμασα αυτόν έχειν εν ÉTLYVwoel, I have in the ensuing discourse lifted up my heart and soul, and all that is within me, to the discovery and manifestation of him in the world, in the truth of his nature, attributes, counsels, decrees, ways, and dispensations; and that with a single eye, with clearness and simplicity of intention, to disencumber the minds, judgments, and consciences of men of such thoughts and apprehensions concerning him which are evil mediators between him and his creature, feeding and fomenting that distance and enmity between them, which have been occasioned by sinful and unworthy deportment on the creature's side. I confess that in some particulars managed and asserted in the discourse, I have been led (I trust by the Spirit of truth and of God) out of the way more generally occupied by those who of later times have travelled the same regions of inquiry with me. But deeply pondering what Augustin somewhere saith, that “as nothing can be found out more beneficial unto the world than somewhat further of God than is at present known, so nothing is attempted or sought after with more danger,"* I have steered my course in the subsequent debates with all tenderness and circumspection, arguing nothing, concluding nothing but either from the grammatical sense or best known signification of words and phrases in the Scripture, and this, for the most part, if not constantly, in conjunction both with the scope of places, the express consent and agreement of contexts, together with the analogy of the Scriptures themselves in other places, or else from the most unquestionable and universally received principles and maxims either in religion or sound reason, and more particularly from such notions concerning the nature of God, and his attributes and perfections, which I find generally subscribed with the names and

pens of all that are called orthodox amongst us, and have written of such things. Nor have I any where receded from the more general sense of interpreters in the explication of any text or passage of Scripture, but only where either the express signification of words, or the vergency (or rather, indeed, urgency) of the context, or some repugnancy to the expressness of Scripture elsewhere, or else some pregnant inconsistency with some clear principle either of religion,

* Nihil periculosius quæritur, nihil fructuosius invenitur.

or sound reason, necessitated me unto it. Yea, I seldom upon any of these accounts leave the common road of interpreters, but I find that some or other, one or more, of the most intelligent of them have trodden the same path before me. And for the most part Chrysostom, among the ancient expositors, and Calvin himself among the modern, are my companions in the paths of my greatest solitariness. Concerning the main doctrine avouched in the discourse, wherein the redemption of mankind by Jesus Christ, no particular person or member hereof excepted, is held forth and asserted, I demonstrate by many testimonies from the best records of antiquity that this was the oecumenical sense of the Christian world in her primitive and purest times. Nor am I conscious to myself (I speak as in the presence of God) of any the least mistake, either in word or meaning, of any author or testimony cited by me throughout the whole discourse, nor yet of any omission in point of diligence or care for the prevention of all mistakes in either kind.

The discourse, such as it is, with all respects of honour and love, I present unto you; not requiring any thing from you by way of countenance or approbation, otherwise than upon those equitable terms on which Augustus recommended his children unto the care and favour of the Senate, “Si meruerit."* Only as a friend and lover of the truth, name, and glory of God and Jesus Christ, and of the peace, joy, and salvation of the world, with you, I shall take leave to pour out my heart and soul in this request unto you, that either you will confirm, by setting to the royal signet of your approbation and authority, the great doctrine here maintained, if you judge it to be a truth; or else vouchsafe to deliver me, and many others, from the snare thereof, by taking away, with a hand of light and potency of demonstration, those weapons, whether texts of Scripture or grounds in reason, wherein you will find by the discourse itself that we put our trust.

Your contestation upon these terms will be of a resentment with me more precious and accepted than your attestation, in case of your comport in judgment with me, though I shall ingenuously confess and profess that, for the truth's sake, even in this also I shall greatly rejoice. Notwithstanding, I judge it much more, of the two, richly conducing to the dear interest of my peace and safety, to be delivered from

Sueton, in vitâ Augusti.

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