« AnteriorContinuar »
forth a book, sentences his reason to the gantelope: one will strive to have a lash at it in its course, and list be content to bear it. It may be said of books of kind, as he said of childrend (things often compared), utcrS'eu Trartpo iraiSwv, Xwt], 0o]3oe, tj>povrls. 'Anxiety, and trouble, attend their authors.' For my own part, provoked no man causelessly in any of my writings, deed no other doctrine professedly but the common faith le Protestant churches, of which I found the saints of in possession, when I came first acquainted with them; have from the beginning resolved, not to persist in any ;roversy, as to the public debate of it, when once it as to degenerate into a strife of words, and personal actions ; so much the more grievous is it to me, to ene in this now in hand, of the necessity whereof I shall ; the reader a brief account. That as to the matter of contest between Mr. B. and myself, Mr. B. is my wits, that I gave not the occasion of it; so as to the manner ts handling, that I carried not on the provocation, I ap1 to all that have read my treatise, which is nowanimadted on. The same person, 'et initium dedit, et modum itulit.' Some freedom of expression, that perhaps I might hteously have made use of, to prevent future exacerbations lesignedly forbore. I know that some men must have amva prj/uara. Expressions" concerning them, had need be 3oj3psxtjC' or like the letters, that men print one of anosr, which are oftentimes answerable to that of Augustus Maecenas; 'vale mel gemmeum, medulliae ebur ex Hetrui, lasera-rietinum, adamas supernas, Tiberinum margarim, cilniorum smaragde, jaspis figulorum, berille Porsennae, rbuhculuin Italiae,' Kal 'iva avvTifi<i> iravra, &c. I hoped erefore this business had been at an issue ; others also were 'the same mind; especially considering that he had almost •ofessed against proceeding farther in this controversy in >me other treatises and apologies. For my own part, I mst profess my thoughts arose only from his long silence, he reason of this I knew could not be that of him in the oet,f <j>l\ii yap oKVtiv iTfiayfi avijp iTpaaawv fiiya' seeing he
* Menander. « Tnv xEvoSoJiav we TSXtoniiov trims n 4.y^' wfyuxiv aw«ri&i»p9«ii 1 Sophocles.
could have done it as speedily as have written so much paper. The expressions in his books seemed to me, as the fermentation of a spirit, that at one time or other would boil over. I confess I was something delivered from the fear of it, when not long before the publishing of his confession and apology, I met with him, and had occasion of much conference with him at London, even about justification; and he made not the least mention of this confutation of me, which he hath now published; but 0tXXiicoTe ?v«8n» ofipatnv' but though this present contest might have been easily prevented (as the reader will instantly perceive), yet I presume the book was then wholly printed, and Mr. B. was not to lose his pains, nor the world the benefit thereof, nor the printer his ink and paper, for so slight a cause, as the preventing of the aspersion of me for an Antinomian.
But 'jactaest alea, ' now it is out, we must make the best of it; and I hope the reader will excuse me in what follows, w£ ov% virap^wv aXXa Ttjuwpoujtitvoe
But why must my arguments be answered, and myself confuted? Two reasons hereof are given. The first by very many insinuations; namely, that I have delivered dangerous doctrines, such as subvert the foundation of the gospel, plain antinomianism; and these two positions are laid down to be confuted, viz. first, That the elect are justified from eternity, or from the death of Christ, before they believe. Secondly, That justification by faith, is but in foro conscientia, or in our own feeling, and terminated in conscience, and not in foro Dei: farther, then, conscience may be so called; and my arguments for them are answered; chap. viii. p. 189. But what should a man do in this case? I have already published to Mr. B. and all the world, that I believe neither of these propositions; must I take my oath of it, or get compurgators, or must we have no end of this quarrel? Let Mr. B. prove any such thing, out of any thing I have written, and as Nonius says, out of Naevius, 'ei dum vivebo, fidelis eroJ I am sure this minds me of that passage in the Jewish liturgy, 'placeat tibi domine liberare me a lite difficili, et ab adversario difHcili, sive is ad fcedus tuum pertineat, sive non pertineat.' The following examination of the particulars excepted against by Mr. B. will make this evident, whence it will appear, that8 Juk/m trpoQame t<m rov 7rpa£<u Kaicwe' yea but,
Secondly,11 two or three reverend brethren told him, that to that part which he hath considered, it was necessary I should be confuted; who these reverend brethren are I know not; I presume they may be of those friends of Mr. B. that blame him for replying to Mr. Blake, but say for all the rest with whom he hath dealt (of whom I am forced to be one) that it is no matter, they deserved no better. Whoever they are, they might have had more mercy than not a little to pity poor men under the strokes of a heavy hand. Nor do I know what are the reasons of the brethren, why my name must be brought on this stage; nor perhaps is it meet they should be published. It may1 be it is necessary that Mr. Owen should be confuted among Antinomians, and that Ek rpiiroSog. But what if it should appear in the issue, that Mr. Owen hath deserved better at their hands, and that this advice of theirs might have been spared? But not to complain of I know not whom, to those reverend advisers I shall only say, Gus irav t\a KaXwg, r<£, iraiyviii), Sort icpolrov, Koi iravrtg ujutt? jtiera ^apa?, iroirirvaart' but if it appear in the issue, that I was charged with that which I never delivered, nor wrote, and that my arguments to one purpose, are answered in reference to another, and that this is the sum of Mr. B.'s discourse against me, I shall only recommend to them some verses of old Ennius, as I find them in Aus. Pop.
Nam qui lepide postulat altenim frustrari .
What then shall I do? I am imposed on to lay the foundation of all antinomianism (as Mr. Burgess is also), to maintain justification from eternity, or at least in the cross of Christ, of all that should believe; and justification by faith to be but the sense of it in our consciences (which last I know better and wiser men than myself that do, though I do not) and so reckoned amongst them that overthrow the whole gospel, and place the righteousness of Christ in the room of our own believing and repentance, rendering them useless.
* Menander. h Mr. B.'s Preface.
''AurS xaxi -riv^u a.tn(, a\X« xaKa St ride ta &au\n rS 0ouXEi5<ravTi tuaurn.
Shall I undertake to confute Mr. B.'s book, at least wherein we differ, and so acquit myself both from Antinomianism and Socinianism in the business in hand? But, 1. The things of this discourse are such, and the manner of handling them of that sort, that Mr. B. heartily in the close of his book,k begs pardon for them, who have necessitated him to spend so much time to so little purpose; ic<u ravra wp&aatov <f>6oK avrjp ovSlv Ttokov. As I see not yet the necessity of his pains, so I desire his reverend advisers may thank him for this intercession, for I suppose myself (at least), not concerned therein. But this I can say, that I am so far from engaging into'a long operose contest, in a matter of such importance and consequence, as the subject of that book is represented to be, that I would rather burn my pens and books also, than serve a provocation so far, as to spend half that time therein, which the confutation of it would require from so slow and dull a person as myself.
2. He hath in his preface put such terrible conditions upon those that will answer him, that I know no man but must needs be affrighted with the thoughts of the attempt. He requires, that whoever undertake this work, be of a stronger judgment, and a more discerning head, than he; that he be a better proficient in these studies than he; that he be freer from prejudice than he; that he have more illumination and grace than he: that is, that he be a better, wiser, more holy, and learned man, than Mr. B. Now if we may take Mr. B.'s character, by what he discourseth of his mortification and sincerity, his freedom from prejudice, &c; as there is no reason but that we should; I profess I know not where to find his match, much less any to excel him, with whom I might intercede for his pains in the consideration of this treatise; for as for myself, I am seriously so far ^im entertaining any such thoughts, in reference to Mr. B. ■•. I dare not do it in reference to any one godly minister I know-in the world; yea, I am sure that I am not in ect of all the qualifications mentioned, put together, to referred before any one of them. If it be said, that it requisite that a man should know this of himself, but
k Page 462.
only that he be so indeed; I must needs profess, that being told beforehand that such he must be, if he undertake this work, I am not able to discern how he should attempt it, and not proclaim himself, to have an opinion of his own qualifications, answerable to that which is required of him.
3. It is of some consideration, that a man that doth not know so much of him as I do, would by his writings take him to be intimitis and immisericors a very Achilles, that will not pardon a man in his grave; but will take him up, and cut him in a thousand pieces. I verily believe, that if a man (who had nothing else to do), should gather into one heap all the expressions, which in his late books, confesssions, and apologies, have a lovely aspect towards himself, as to ability, diligence, sincerity, on the one hand, with all those which are full of reproach and contempt towards others, on the other, the view of them could not but a little startle a man of so great modesty, and of such eminence in the mortification of pride as Mr. B. is. But,
'Ovflgiff Iflr aiiroZ ret Kxxa cuvopcL
Had I not heard him profess how much he valued the peace of the church, and declare what his endeavours for it were, I could not but suppose upon evidences which I am unwilling to repeat together, that a humour of disputing and quarrelling, was very predominant in the man :'however, though a profession may pass against all evidences of fact to the contrary whatever; yet I dare say that he lives not at airpayoiroXiQ.
That he hath been able to discern the positions he opposes in the beginning of his eighth chapter to be contained in any writings of mine, as maintained by me, I must impute to such a sharp sightedness, as was that of Caius Caligula; to whom, when he inquired of Vitellius whether he saw him not embracing the moon, it was replied, is solis (domine) vobis diis licet invicem videre.'
What shall I then do? Shall I put forth a creed, or an apology, to make it appear that indeed I am not concerned in any of Mr. Baxter's contests? But,
1. I dare not look upon myself of any such consideration to the world, as to write books to give them an account of