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deavoured to throw an odium upon what he calls the popular doctrine concerning conviction of fin, regeneration, converfion, &c. it may not be improper to fubjoin another paffage we meet with in the teatife above-mentioned, in which the learned Doctor gives his judgment concerning the oppofition made to fome important truths taught by those eminent divines relating to conviction, converfion, and other parts of the Chriftian exercife; which fome fashionable divines, in that age, ridiculed and reviled much in the fame manner as the letter-writer has done the doctrine taught by the popular preachers with relation to the fame fubjects. And as they and he have been evidently animated by the fame fpirit of malignity, and difaffection to the power of godliness, in making fuch a vigorous oppofition to fome precious truths refpecting the points afore mentioned, what the Doctor juftly affirms of them, is equally applicable to him; who in pride, arrogance, and a malicious oppofition to the true doctrine of the grace of God, equals, yea by many degrees exceeds his most renowned predeceffors. Let us now hear the Doctor, who writes in the following manner.

"The doctrine concerning these things hath been variously handled, diftinguifhed, and ap66 plied, by many learned divines and faithful mi-. "nifters of the gofpel. Unto that light which "they received into them from the infallible word "of truth, they joined thofe experiences which they "had obferved in their own hearts, and the con"fciences of others with whom they had to do, "which were fuitable thereunto. And in the dif"penfation of this truth, according to the meafure "of the gift of the grace of Chrift, which they fe"verally received, they had an useful and fruitful 5.6 miniftry in the world, to the converting of many

❝ unto

"unto God. But we have lived to fee all these "things decried and rejected. And the way which "fome have taken therein, is as ftrange and un"couth as the thing itself. For they go not about "once to difprove by Scripture or reafon, what "hath been taught or delivered by any fober per"fons to this purpofe; nor do they endeavour "themselves to declare from, or by the Scriptures, "what is the work of regeneration, what are the "caufes and effects of it in oppofition thereunto. "These and such like ways made use of by all that "have treated of fpiritual things, from the founda"tion of Chriftianity, are defpifed and rejected. "But horrible and contemptuous reproaches are caft

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upon the things themselves, in words heaped to"gether on purpose to expose them unto fcorn,

among perfons ignorant of the gospel and them"felves. All conviction, fenfe of, and forrow "for fin; all fear of the curfe and wrath due unto "fin, all troubles and diftreffes of mind, by reason "of these things, are foolish imaginations-en"thufiaftic notions arifing from the diforders of "mens brains, and I know not what untoward "humours in their complexions and conftitu❝tions." Palamon calls them the "froth of hu"man pride and the idle process of a law-work." "The fame or the like account," fays the Doctor, " is also given concerning all spiritual directions, or "joys and refreshments. And the whole doctrine "concerning these things is branded with novelty, " and hopes expreffed of its fudden vanishing out "of the world. This contempt and fcorn of the "gospel have we lived to fee, whereof it may be "other ages and places have not had experience. "For as all these things are plentifully taught by

Letters, p. 87, 292.


"fome of the ancients in their expofitions of the "Scriptures; fo the doctrine concerning them "is in a great meafure retained in the church of "Rome itfelf. Only fome amongst ourselves are

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weary of them; who being no way able to op"pofe the principles and foundations whereon they ་ are built, nor to difprove them by Scripture or "reason, betake themselves to thefe revilings and "reproaches. And as if it were not enough for "them to proclaim their own ignorance and per"fonal unacquaintance with those things which "infeparably accompany that conviction of fin,

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righteoufnefs and judgment, which our Lord "Jefus Chrift hath promised to fend the Holy Spi"rit to work in all that fhould believe, they make the reproaching of it in others a principal effect "of that religion which they profefs. Neverthe"lefs the foundation of God ftandeth fure: God know"eth who are his *."

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That malignant oppofition to the truth which the Doctor here complains of, was then to be found chiefly with fome high-flying prelatifs and dignitaries of the church of England; but perhaps it would have not a little furprised him, had he lived to see a spawn of error and malignity produced by Independency and Sectarianism in North Britain, more hideous and monftrous than any of the unfcriptural notions advanced, in oppofition to that doctrine which is according to godliness, by the Gentlemen above-mentioned.

Before I leave this head I fhall only obferve, that fince, according to the letter-writer's hypothesis, unbelievers cannot be under any obligation to obey the divine law, and confequently cannot be justly

• Difcourfe concerning the Holy Spirit. Book III. c. ii. p. 195, 197.


punished for the breach of it; and he affirms in effect, that believers being still under the law as a covenant of works, are liable to condemnation and everlasting wrath for every fin they commit; the latter must be acknowledged to be in a far more dangerous and miferable condition than the former. Any benefit they receive from the atonement, one would think, cannot be very great, if by it, and their faith in it, which diftinguifhes them from unbelievers, they are brought under the law, that others have nothing to do with; under an obligation to obey every precept of it under the pain of eternal damnation; while unbelievers are wholly dead to the obligation of it, and confequently incapable of contracting any guilt, or becoming liable to condemnation and the wrath of God, by any tranfgreffion of it. The apostle Paul afferts, that to be dead to the law, that is, to the curfe and condemning power of it, as a covenant of works, is the peculiar privilege of true believers +; but if we may credit Palamon, believers are as much alive to the law as ever they were before; yea by their very believing, inftead of dying, they become alive to it, or liable to condemnation and the wrath of God for the leaft breach of it; while on the contrary unbelievers are dead to the commanding, and confequently to the condemning power of it. Is this the apoftolic gospel !

But we proceed to confider another extraordinaarticle of Palamon's new creed, which is as follows.


Letters, &c. p. 419. † Rom. vii. 1-4. Gal.

H. 19.




HE gofpel being only an historical account of fome plain facts relating to the death and refurrection of Jefus, includes no offers, or promifes of the remiffion of fins, or eternal falvation through him, nor indeed any calls of grace directed to unbelieving finners of mankind.


THE word gospel in this propofition, is not to

be understood in a large sense for the whole doctrine of Chrift and his apoftles contained in the New Teftament; for if we take it in this sense, I doubt not but the letter-writer will allow, that all the promises, precepts and exhortations, as well as doctrines and hiftories that any way concern man's recovery and falvation from that ftate of fin and condemnation he is naturally in, or that obedience which as a believer in Chrift every Chriftian is bound to perform to the glory of God, do belong to it. But the gofpel here is to be taken, in a ftrict and proper fenfe, for that which is revealed and propofed as the immediate ground of faith to finners of mankind who hear the gofpel, which Palamon calls the revealed reafon of hope, or who read the New Teftament.

This he all along supposes to be nothing else but a well-attefted account of a fupernatural fact, namely, the refurrection of Jefus. He plainly infinuates, that the hiftory of this fact, and others connected with it, is all that is neceffary to be believed in order


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