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The Christian Creed.
The Arminian Creed.
Mr. Mather's Creed.
and Christ are loved of the Spirit. Dr. Whit- that not more than one more than wives and l by on the five points.
convert in a hundred can children, than houses and
say, with a good conlands; yea, than our own
science, that he loves lives. Whereby we are
God at all. And so saints disposed and prepared to
as well as sinners stand deny ourselves, take up
in need of the external our cross, and follow
covenant. First book, p. Christ: and publicly join
39. 60. Second book, p. with his people, and es
45-48. 78, 79, 80, 81. pouse his cause.
Remark 1. According to the Arminian creed, mankind are the injured party, Christ died to get justice done us; and siinply to have justice done us is all we need to bring us to be at peace with God. Let the terms of salvation be as low as in justice they ought to be ; let us have all that assistance which in justice we ought to have ; and we need no indre : the rest we will do ourselves. But for God to do us justice, is not an act of grace.
2. According to Mr. Mather's creed, the divine law, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, requires us, on pain of eternal death, to do that which is not our duty to do: yea, that which to do, in us, would be a sinful thing, viz. to love God with all our heart. And so Christ fulfilled a law, in our stead, which it was not our duty to fulfil: yea, a law to obey which, in us, had been a sinful thing. But to
which we ourselves did not owe, was needless : and to honour a law which requires sin, is a sinful thing.
s. The divinity of God the Father is the first article of the Christian creed, and so much the foundation of the whole Christian system, that if this is denied, the whole will sipk of course. Or in other words, that God, the Creator and moral governor of the universe, is an absolutely perfect, and infinitely glorious and amiable Being, infinitely worthy of supreme love and universal obedience from bis creature man, is the foundation on which the law stands, and on which the whole Gospel scheme is built. To deny this point, is in effect 10 deny the whole of divine revelation. Atheism is at the bottom of infidelity. The contrariety of the carnal mind to
pay a debt for
God's true and real character, is at bottom of Atheism. The fool saith in his heart, there is no God.
4. It was wise in God, even at the expense of the blood of his own Son, to assert and maintain the honour of a law, which is a transcript of his moral character, and which all his apostate creatures join to hate ; because in this he does justice to himself, and to his government, while he shows mercy to -sinners. But enmity against the divine law renders us blind to the wisdoin, glory, and grace of the Gospel, and is the cause of unbelief. 1 Cor. i. 18, and ii. 14. Con)pared with Rom. viii. 7. and iïi. 25. and vii. 12. John viii. 42, 43.
5. He who understands and believes the Christian creed, and who is affected and acts accordingly, is a Christian qualified for baptism, and entitled to eternal life. Mat. xiii. 23. Mark xvi. 16. John xvii. S.
6. He who believes the first article of the Christian creed, with a living faith, has what Paul means by repentance toward God. And he who believes the second article of the Christian creed, with a living faith, bas what Paul means by faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. A belief of both which is implied in that faith by which a sinner is justified. Luke již. 3. and v. 31, 32. and xviii. 14. and xxiv. 47. Acts xx. 21. Rom. iii. 19-26. And this faith is the first grace, and the sum, seer!, and root of all Christian graces. Mat. xiii. 23. And is peculiar to the regenerate. Rom. viii. 7.' John v. 1. 1 Cor. i. 18. and ii. 14. John i. 13. Luke viii. 11–15. And is eternal life begun in the soul. John xvii. 3.
7. The love of the truth is the life of faith ; or in other words, love to the truth believed is of the essence of a living faith, and that wherein it specifically differs from the faith of devils, or a dead faith. John xvi. 27. 2 Thes. ii. 10, 11, 19. Jam. ii. 26. And therefore,
8. There is a universal inseparable connexion between a living faith, and a holy life, (which renders assurance attainable by believers in common. Mat. xiii. 23. Jam. ii. 17, 18. 1 John ii. 3.) So that those words are strictly true, 1 John ij. 4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him. But,
9. The faith of devils, attended with a lying profession, is not that
qualification for baptism which our Saviour bad in view, in Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptised shall be sated.
10. The Gospel may be, and ought to be, preached to all in common, even to every creature, let their character be ever so vicious, as a means of their conversion : but baptism is not to be administered to adults until they believe, and profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him. Mark xvi. 15, 16. Acts viii. 37. Rom. x. 9, 10.-For,
11. The adult person, in the act of offering himself to God in baptism, practically declares, that he devotes bimself to God through Jesus Christ, and so puts on Christ. Gal. iii. 26, 27. But a false and lying profession is condemned by God in the Old Testament. Psalm 1xxviii. 36, 37. Eccl. v. 5. and by Jesus Christ in the new. Luke .vi. 46. Mat. xxii. 12. Luke xiv. 25—35. 1 John ii. 4. Rev. ii. 2. 9. And is a means, not of salvation, but of destruction, Acts v. 1-.11.
12. The adult person, who is unqualified to offer himself in baptism, is equally unqualified to offer bis infant child in baptism. For he who is without a heart to devote himself to God, is equally without a heart to devote his child to God.
13. Pride, in ambitious minds, may excite very, strong inclinations to make a false profession ; but a well enlightened conscience never will dictate this, as matter of duty.
14, It is the indispensable duty of every one, to whom the Gospel comes, to become a real Christian without delay : and then without delay to make a public profession of Christianity: and then to attend the seals. But to seal the corenant of grace with our hands, while we reject it in our hearts, is to act deceitfully with our Maker. And to invent a new covenant which God never exhibited, and a new scheme of religion to support it, which God never revealed, suited to the hearts of those who reject the covenant of grace, and who are under the curse of the covenant of works, is to find a resting place for the wicked.
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OUR author professes in his preface, not to be fond of his own judgment;' but to stand ready to give it up,' when any one will do the friendly office of setting light before him.' And be desires that if there be any material mistakes' in his scheme, they may be 'pointed out.' It is therefore to be hoped, that he will not be displeased, if, in addition to the light already set before him, some of the various inconsistent sentiments of his scheme are contrasted, whereby he may be farther assisted to discern, that his scheme must be wrong some where : for the truth is ever consistent with itself.
1. In his first book, he says, (p. 59.) 'A child dedicated to God in baptism is thereby brought into covenant with God, and has a promise left to it of the means of grace, and the strivings of God's holy Spirit, in order to render them effectual for salvation. But in his second book, he says, (p. 51.) That they must submit to a sovereign God.' But if they have a covenant right to the strivings of the holy Spirit,' if they have a promise,' then they do not lie at God's sovereign mercy in the case ; but may plead the covenant and promise of God.
2. In his first book, (p. 8.) he endeavours to prove that the covenant with Abraham, Gen. xvii. was not the covenant of grace, because it might be broken. Which implies, that it had some condition, which, if not fulfilled, all the blessings of it would be forfeited. But in his second book, (p. 60, 61, 62.) he endeavours to prove, that the covenant with Abraham, Gen. xvii, was not the covenant of grace,
because it had no conditions, but all the blessings of it were promised to Abaham and his seed absolutely and unconditionally;' on which hypothesis this covenani could not be broken'. But his two books are not only inconsistent with each other, but this last book is inconsistent with itself. And
to the instances which have already been taken notice of in the preceding sections, some few more may here be pointed out.
3. That man must be a moral agent, possessed of every qualification essential to moral agency, previous, and in order to his being bound by God's law, is a fundamental point with Mr. M. p. 6. 50, &c. That man may be bound by the moral law to be a moral agent, to have the qualifications essential to moral agency, is with him another fundamental point. p. 6. But as these two fundamental points in his scheme are inconsistent with each other, so they cannot both be true. He says, “Self-love is essential to moral agency; and yet this essential qualification of a moral agent ? is a duty required of us by God's law. But according to him, the law cannot bind us unless we are already moral agents. Therefore it cannot bind us to be moral agents. For then a man need not be a moral agent, previous, and in order to his being bound by the moral law; which yet he maintains.
4. He says, (p. 10.) ' That Adam, by becoming guilty, was totally depraved,' and yet according to him Adam's depravity was not total, for he still continued to exercise that love to himself, which the luwo of God requires, in a conformity to which the image of God consisted, in which he was created. p. 6. and p. 12. • Perhaps' be also continued to exercise toward God 'the love of esteem and benevolence.'
5. He says, (p. 6.) That the divine law requires us“ to love God with all our hearts,' and that it also requires us 'to love ourselves.' And he adds, that this self-love is absolutely inconsistent with the love of God.' So that, according to him, the divine law requires of us in our guilty stare, two duties, in their own nature absolutely inconsistent. And therefore he boldly affirms, that it is 'contrary to the law of God for us, while in our guilty state, to love God with all our hearts; and yet he says, p. 51. that God has given us his law to show us what our duty is.' And that we are justly condemned to eternal misery for not obeying of it. And this law he calls 'a glorious law,' and the character exhibited in it be calls
glorious ;' and even supposes that the Son of God became incarnate, lived, and died to honour this law,' and to vindicate and maintain the honour and dignity of the divine cha