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A09277 VindiciƦ gratiƦ. = A plea for grace More especially the grace of faith. Or, certain lectures as touching the nature and properties of grace and faith: wherein, amongst other matters of great use, the maine sinews of Arminius doctrine are cut asunder. Delivered by that late learned and godly man William Pemble, in Magdalen Hall in Oxford. Pemble, William, 1592?-1623.; Capel, Richard, 1586-1656. 1627 (1627) STC 19591; ESTC S114374 222,244 312

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actuall Concurrence yet we truly and properly ascribe such effects to their Visible apparant immediate causes But in this point concerning the replantation of Holinesse in a Sinfull man we affirme against Pelagians Semi-pelagians Papists Arminians or other sectaries however branded that as the Agent or Efficient of mans Sanctification is simply supernaturall viz. the Holy Hhost so is his manner of working altogether Divine beyond the power and without the helpe of any thing in man An assertion that layes nature flat on her backe and yet gives vnto her as much as Sinne hath left her and that 's just Nothing in matter of Grace And the truth hereof will easily appeare to any that will without pride and prejudice consult the Scriptures or common experience Me thinkes when we reade in the booke of God these and such like sayings that every imagination of the thoughts of mans heart is only evill continually that of the children of men there is none that understands and seeks after God that they are become altogether filthy none that doth good no not one that the naturall man perceiueth not the things of the Spirit nor can he know them being spiritually discerned that wee are blinde till God Open our eyes that wee are deafe till God bore our Eares that wee are Darknesse vtterly destitute of Spirituall light that the Wissdome 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 of the flesh is enmity or hatred against God is not nor can be subiect to him that the flesh lusteth against the Spirit rebelling against the worke thereof even in the regenerate much more before regeneratiō that of our selves we are not sufficient to thinke a good thought as of our selves but that our sufficiency is of God that it is God which worketh in us both the will and the deed of his good pleasure that in our conversion wee are New begotten New borne New creatures created in Christ Iesus to good workes in fine to put all out of doubt That wee are Dead in trespasses and Sinnes and that our Sanctification is the first resurrection from death effected in us by the same Almighty power which God declared in raising Christ from the grave When I say wee consider of these and the like places were wee not too much in love with our selves and held some scorne to con God all the thankes for our salvation our hearts and tongues would presently bee filled with a sincere acknowledgement Not unto us O Lord not unto us but unto thy Name wee give the glory for thy loving mercy and for thy truths sake Besides I wish wee would descend unto an unpartiall examination of our owne hearts to make discovery by the light of the Spirit of that body of Death wee be are about with us what strong rebellion there is of the Law in our members against the law of our mindes what secret and powerfull attractives the affections of Sinne have to pull us unto disobedience what violent and bitter opposition they make against Grace checking their disorderly motions how seldome any blessed resolution tending to sanctity rises up in our thoughts how vnwildy we are in the managing of any gracious motion from the Holy Ghost with what slacknesse and cumber wee prosecute such holy inspirations to action and full accomplishment in a word how passing slow our course towards heaven is when wee have all helpes of nature and Grace to carry us forward I am fully perswaded that whatsoever any man may conceive in abstract speculation there is no converted person if he make application to his owne particular but will confesse freely if he deale truly with his owne heart that not only if God had not done More for him than he could for himselfe but if God had not done All for him he had utterly perished in his sinnes And he will acknowledge that it is impossible there should be in and of himselfe such Preparations and forward dispositions to worke his owne Conversion who being Converted is hindered by none so much in the finishing of his salvation as by his owne perpetuall indisposition to goodnesse This our disabilitie whereof wee are convinced in our owne sense and by testimony of the Scripture will inforce us if our pride bee not as great as our povertie to confesse whence wee have our riches without stammering shifting and mineing of the matter as the fashion of too many is who by many prety scholasticall devices distinguish God out of all or the greatest part or at least some part of his Glory due unto him for our Conversion and thrust in the Abilities of their owne Free-will as co-workers with Gods Spirit joynt-purchasers of this inheritance of Grace But let God have glory and every man shame and let all whom grace hath taught to judge of their Corruption say with the Church Es. 26. 12. Thou O Lord hast wrought all our workes in us I will not prevent my selfe by larger explication of this point at this time but wrapp up all touching this first conclusion in a needfull distinction or two and so passe on Mans Concurrence in the worke of his sanctifications is double 1 Passive which is the Capacity or Aptnesse that is in mans nature for the Receiuing of Grace for being a Reasonable creature hee is naturally prepared and disposed with such a substance and faculties as are meet subjects to receive the Habit and instruments to performe the actions of Grace This Concurrence of man to his regeneration is most necessary nor doth God sanctifie senslesse or irrationall creatures nor is man in his conversion in such sort passive as is a stone blocke or brute beast as our adversaries absurdly cavill 2 Active which is some Strength or Power that man hath in the Vse of his faculties especially of his will for the Production of Grace This strength of man in doing good is to be distinguished in regard 1 Of the Beginning and first Act of our Conversion when Holinesse is at the first reimplanted in the Soule 2 Of the Progresse of our Conversion in the practise of Sanctification In this second respect none denies Mans actuall concurrence with the Spirit of God for being sanctified and inwardly inabled in his faculties by Spirituall life put into them he can Move himselfe in and towards the performance of all living actions of grace even as Lazarus of Nature Whereas yet you are to remember that even in these actions wee cannot worke alone we are but Fellow-workers with the Spirit of God and this not in an Equality but Subordination to him we indeed move our hands to write but like raw schollers wee shall draw mishapen charecters unlesse our heavenly Master guide our hands Neverthelesse these actions take their denominations from the next Agent and though performed by speciall assistance of the Spirit yet are rightly said to be mans actions so that when a regenerate person Beleeves Praies gives almes rejoyceth in God c. we doe not say that the Holy Ghost in us
occasion to handle at large Having now thus distinguished them let us see how these effects are appliable to their Causes the Word and the Spirit the dependance is thus 1. Common illumination and the naturall movings of the Will that follow thereupon are the effects of the ordinary grace of the Spirit in the ministerie of the Word preached 2. Proper illumination with the Spirituall affections thence arising are the Effects of the Speciall Vertue of the Holy Ghost in the ministery of the Word regenerating the Soule But we must goe further yet and whereas the Word and Spirit are both joyned together in this worke of regeneration wee must carefully see what belongs to one what to the other Wherefore we are to distinguish betweene the 1. Instrument For whatsoever can be ascribed to the Word agrees to it but only as it is an instrument of the power of Gods Spirit Now instruments are either Cooperative or Passive and the word must be one of the two Cooperative it is not moving and working on the soule by any inward force of it selfe For it cannot bee declared what operative force there should be in the bare Declaration of Gods Will to produce the reall effect of Sanctification in the unregenerate heart It is therefore in it selfe a Passive instrument working only Per modum Objects as it containes a Declaration of the Divine will and as it proposeth to the understanding and will the things to be knowne beleeved and practised Now 't is well knowne that no Object whatsoever hath any Active power per se to worke any thing upon the Organ but is only an occasion of working which some Force in or about the Organ makes use of But whence then hath the word its effect from the 2. Principall Agent the Spirit of God who by his immediate and proper vertue workes upon the Vnderstanding and Will causing in that a thorough apprehension of the things proposed and in this a cheerefull obedience to the things so understood The Object of this worke of the Holy Ghost is not the Word as if the Holy Ghost did infuse into it any speciall Vertue wherby it should worke together with himselfe as a partiall Coordinate efficient cause in our Coaversion the Word working one part the Holy Ghost another as the Arminians vainely dispute Act. Synod Defens Act. 4. p. 136. But the object of this Worke is the Soule of man whereinto this vertue of the Spirit is Infusa or Affusa or rather whereabout this Vertue is imployed quickening changing renuing the Faculties of the Soule with such spirituall strength and holinesse that so it may performe what the Word declares is to be done Which effect of Regeneration though properly it commeth only from the Sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost yet by a cōmon Metonymie it is ascribed also to the Word and for that cause wee are said to be borne againe by the Word 1 Pet. 1. 23. to get Faith by Hearing Rom 8. to bee begotten by the Holy Ghost 1 Cor. 4. 15. to be sanctified by the truth id est the Word Ioh. 17. 17. and hence such proporties as these are ascribed to the Word that it is the Power of God to Salvation Rom. 1. that it is mightie in operation sharpe as a two edged Sword Heb. 4. 12. that it is a Sword Eph. 6. 17. Revel 19. 15. that it is Fire and a Hammer to breake the Rocke Ier. 23. 29. that it is Powerfull to cast downe all strong bolds of Mans proud imagination 2 Cor. 10. 4. with many the like which though they properly belong to the invisible power of the Holy Ghost giving effect unto his owne Word yet are figuratively attributed unto the Word it selfe which he useth as his visible Instrument I cannot better expresse the manner how the Holy Ghost useth the Word in the worke of Sanctification than by a Similitude or two Christ meeting a dead Coarse in the Citie of Nain touches the Beare and utters these words Yongue man I say unto thee arise Heare the Command and that given to a dead man But could these words doe any thing to raise him No t was Christs invisible power that quickened the dead not his words which only declared what hee meant to doe by his power Againe to the sicke of the Palsie Hee saith Arise take up thy bed and walke Here 's the Command given to a sicke man But was it the vertue of these words that heald him No 't was that secret vertue which went from Christs Deity which did the Cure His words declared what that should bring to passe So in this matter of our Conversion Christ bids us Awake wee that sleepe and stand up on our feet he bids us Beleeve repent obey turne unto him c. But all these commands worke nothing of themselves but take effect by the only Power of God working upon the Heart In which case the Word is truly the Voice of God not of man Now Gods Voice is not a bare sound or word carrying such or such a meaning with it and no more as mans doth but it is Verbum factivum as well as significativum it deeth and really brings to effect that which it commands to bee done it makes a world when it bids a world to be made it raises us when it bids us arise it awakens us when it bids us awake it workes faith in us when it commands us to beleeve it gives repentance when it bids us repent it makes us holy when it commands us to be so According to that of the Apostle 2 Cor. 10. The weapons of our warfare are mighty but it is through God and that in Esa. 59. 21. My word saith God shall abide in you but this cannot be till he have first put his Spirit within our hearts Wherefore where this vertue of the Spirit is wanting as it is in most there the Word hath no other vertue than to bee as a faire Mappe presented to the eye wherein are described many matters of excellent knowledge which the unregenerate may gaze upon in a kinde of shallow heartlesse speculation which will differ asmuch from good knowledge as the knowledge of a Countrie by the Mappe and by the eye in travelling it And this is the Sentence of the Orthodox Church touching the Nature and distinction of these two Callings Inward by the worke of the Spirit Outward by the voyce of the Word The Arminians are of another opinion whose judgement about this matter is thas The Word say they and the Spirit alwayes goe together and wheresoever either the Law or Gospell is preached there and then the Quickening power and effectuall vertue of the Holy Ghost is present in all even those that are unregenerate untill such time as by Contumacy and Rebellion against the Spirit they have made themselves unworthy of further helpe But now what is this effectuall power according to the Arminians and what doth it in all men It doth say
shew what he intendeth effectually to bring to passe But yet here they urge further How can God in justice command unto a man by his Word the Performance of that which cannot be done by him without the inward helpe of the Spirit and yet in the meane time God denies this inward grace unto him I answer Gods justice will herein be as free from accusation of tyranny as before his truth was from falshood and collusion God may without blemish to his justice Command man to performe his dutie although hee have now no strength to doe it because once hee had strength and he hath now lost it Yea will they say that were true did not two things hinder 1. Man indeed had strength and hath lost it but how himselfe did not decoquere wastefully spend his Patrimonie and by the Act of his sinning abolish the Image of God within him but God for a punishment of his fault did by an immediate act take away his originall abilities And it is then as great injustice in God to command us Conversion Faith and Repentance when himselfe hath taken away our abilities whereby wee should performe it as for a Iudge after he hath put out an offenders eyes yet to command him under paine of further punishment to read such a booke If hee had put out his owne eies the case had beene otherwise the Iudge being not bound to take notice of that his fact To which we answer that t is true God for our sinne hath deprived us of his image so that we cannot doe his will without new strength restored unto us yet we must remember though this deprivation be an act of God yet it happens through our merit by reason of our sinne and in this case how harsh soever it may seeme to us yet God the Iudge of the world doth not unjustly To command us the doing of that which wee cannot performe without those abilities restored which himselfe for our transgression hath taken from us and will not give us againe This is proved by that one instance beyond all exception The perfect obedience to the Morall Law is required of all and yet t is madnesse to affirme that God gives or is bound to give unto all that strength to doe it which they had in Adam without which it cannot bee done Further that God may justly command what man cannot performe is manifest by Gods commanding Pharaoh to let the Israelites goe which yet Pharaoh could not doe for God himselfe hardened his heart that hee should not be willing to let them depart 2. When God commands man to beleeve the Gospell here 's a duety injoyned that man never had strengh in Adam to performe And therefore if God doe require a new duety he is bound to afford new strength because by that which he had and lost he was never inabled to doe it To which we answer that it is an errour to affirme that Faith which is the condition of the new Covenant is not commanded in the Morall Law Legall and Evangelicall or the Faith of Adam in innocency and of man since his Fall is for the substance of the grace one and the same viz. Credence and Confidence of and in all things whatsoever that God shall reveale unto man The difference is onely in the Vse and in the particular object as we shall see in the handling of that point of Faith Now Adam being commanded in all things to beleeve his Creator whether revealed or to be revealed and having ability so to doe so that if God had told of him the mystery of the Gospell he would have beleeved it we also are bound by the Law of our Creation and so the Morall Law to beleeve in Christ as soone as God reveales vnto us this thing to be beleeved and God may require it of us because wee had power once to doe it and what is lost God is not bound to restore 2. Reason If the Word at any time be destitute of the quickning Spirit it will follow that the Word shall be of it selfe a dead letter and the ●avour of death because it is destitute of the Spirit which only puts life unto it But this is not to be affirmed for as much as it is only our fault that the Word proves the ●avour of death c. To this we answer That the Word is never of it selfe the ●avour of death no not then when it is without the vertue of the Spirit and we reject those assertions as utterly erroneous That the Word should bee preached unto some to damne them or with this intent to make them inexcusable The Gospell is not published with any such purpose at all for the judgement of our English Divines in the Synod is ●ound that those who being called refuse to convert should be made more inexcusable Neque enim ea singi potest homines reddere inexcusabiles per Verbum Spiritum vocatio quae eo tantum Fine exhibetur ut reddat inexcusabiles No there 's no such matter The end of the VVord preached is to shew unto man what is that good and that acceptable will of God which he requires man should performe and the declaration of the will of God to man is alwaies in it selfe most good and excellent nor doth it vary in its owne nature whether the vertue of the Spirit goe with it or no. For as I touched before the power of the Spirit doth not worke upon the VVord to put life into it but it workes upon our soules to put life into them So that whether our hearts be sanctified or not sanctified t is all one to the VVord it makes no alteration in the nature of that All the difference lies in the Effect where the heart is sanctified there the VVord is heard with obedience where t is not sanctified there t is heard and disobeyed But the cause of this difference is meerely in the disposition of mans heart not any jot from the VVord the preaching whereof is good and to a good intent but unto some it becomes hurtfull not because the VVord hurts them but they hurt themselves by their owne sinnefulnesse leaving themselves inexcusable in their fault and aggravating their damnation by wilfull disobedience The VVord is neither dead nor deadly in it selfe but wee are dead and by our sinnes against the VVord slay our selves 3. Reason If the preaching of the VVord be sometimes destitute of the vertue of the Spirit it will follow that men should bee condemned for not beleeving and being converted by that which hath no power to cause them to beleeve and convert as the VVord without the Spirit hath not But that were injustice so to doe c. Ergo. To this slight argument we answer that the default of mens not beleeving and converting is not through want of any thing in the VVord which is onely to tell them what God requires of them and this the VVord doth fully and sufficiently If they obey not
so with us that wee know not what these things meane if to our apprehension there appeare more terror in the angry words of a King than the most peremptory threatnings of God if a reproofe of a knowne fault will be rejected by us with contempt and gall if we sleight the sweetest exhortations and the Consolations of God seeme a small matter to us if wee can with a Confident scorne of all Gods counsells hold a resolution to goe on still in our owne courses let God and his Ministers say what they list if our Corruptions trouble us not and of all things in this life we take least notice of the sinfull estate of our soules or of all pleasures and studies wee finde least content in hearing reading meditating on the Word These things are infallible Symptomes of Spirituall death that hath seazed on us and that as yet wee have not so heard the Word the Voyce of the Sonne of God as to be made alive by the hearing of it This tryall is certaine and this Change that the Word and Spirit worke in our regeneration is very sensible if wee be not sensible of it we may be bold to Censure our selves that as yet wee have it not To conclude they only heare the Word as the word of God which finde in it Gods power working Sanctification in their hearts others heare it only as the word of man which goes no further than the naturall care and understanding Where this change of the heart is not all reformation in the life is but counterfeit and hypocriticall In the two former Questions wee have examined the pretended sufficiency of Grace universally bestowed on all whether within or without the Church and shewed you that all those gifts which are ordinarily given either to Christians or Heathens are utterly insufficient for to worke their true Conversion unlesse there bee a further aide of the speciall grace of the Holy Ghost working on the Soule to the sanctification thereof Wee are at this time to come unto our third and last Question whether or no supposing such grace to be given as is truly sufficient to convert it be notwithstanding in mans power freely to choose whether he will be converted or not converted by it The Arminian affirmes that it is so and that when God directly intends to Convert a man and for that purpose affords him all gracious helpes needfull to be given on his part then Man by the liberty of his Will may resist Gods will and worke so as they shall not worke his Conversion A desperate error which whosoever maintaines it is impossible that Christian Humilitie and thankfulnesse can have any place in that mans heart Wherefore it behooves us much to be rightly informed in a point of such consequence wherein it is so easie to become an enemy against the grace of God The Question then is this Whether it be in mans power so to resist the grace of God as finally to hinder his owne Conversion In the explication of this Controversie I shall with Gods helpe proceed in this order 1. To shew unto you in briefe the Opinion and Errours of our Adversaries in this point 2. To unfold and confirme that Truth which the orthodox Church defends as touching this matter 3. To answer such Arguments as are made against it The Opinion of the Arminians touching the power of Mans free Will in the worke of Conversion is most fully and freely expressed by that perverse Sectary Iohannes Arnoldi Corvinus in these words of his so often mentioned in the acts of the late Synod and which are most worthy to be had in everlasting detestation Positis saith he omnibus operationibus gratiae quibus ad Conversionem in nobis e●●iciendam Deus utitur manet tamen ipsa Conversio it a in ●ostra Potestate libera ut possimus non converti id est nosmetipsos vel convertere vel non converters id est Suppose all the operations of Grace which God useth to worke conversion in us bee present yet Conversion it selfe remaines in that sort free in our power that wee may be not converted that is we may convert or not convert our selves This is plaine dealing without ambiguity and doubling When God hath done all that is to be done for his part 't is still on our free choyce whether wee will convert or not Their explication of this conclusion is as strange as the conclusion it selfe is hereticall It is thus there are two operations of Grace precedent to a mans Conversion 1. Illumination of the Vnderstanding in the cleere knowledge of the Law and Gospell Sinne and Grace Which illumination is not you must thinke wrought by any immediate worke of the Holy Ghost opening the understanding to discerne of Spirituall things but by the very plaine evidence of the things themselves so cleerely declared and represented to the Vnderstanding that every man having the use of reason a●d judgement and being attentive in the hearing or reading of the Word may by the help of his naturall reason without other Supernaturall light understand the sense of all things delivered in Scripture needfull to be knowne beleeved hoped for or practised This is the first worke of Grace upon the Vnderstanding the next is in the 2. Renovation of the Affections which are quickened and rectified with new motions towards spirituall things So that a man not yet converted may truly Sorrow for his offending of God Bewaile his spirituall death in sinne be inflamed with the love of the truth Desire Grace and the Spirit of regeneration hunger and thirst after righteousnesse and eternall life truly wish for deliverance out of his sinfull estate in briefe offer up to God the Sacrifice of a contrite and broken heart in Humilitie in Confession of sinne in Prayers for mercy in a Purpose and an Assay of amendment of life And thus farre the heart or affections may be changed and quickened when yet a man is not Converted Now this alteration which is wrought in affections is if you will beleeve them not any immediate effect of the Holy Ghost working this change in them but the proper cause of it is the Illumination of the understanding whereupon followes necessarily the stirring up of the affections in their right orderly motions which formerly were dead and disordered by reason of the darknesse of the minde misguiding them These two workes goe before mans Conversion and are wrought in all that heare the Word Vniversally and Irresistably the plainesse of Divine truth is such that men though they would cannot avoide the knowledge of it and the dependance of the affections on the Vnderstanding is such that their motions must needs bee conformable to the knowledge and apprehensions thereof When these two effects are wrought in a man hee is then furnished with sufficient strength to Beleeve and Convert if he will This power and strength is given him irresistably will he nill hee but for the Act of
Faith or Beliefe in generall as this word is taken in the largest extent in relation to all civill or naturall things 2. In the next place explaining the meaning of this word Faith as it is used in speciall about Divine and Supernaturall things declared to us in Scriptures The opening of the nature of Beliefe in generall will give much light for the understanding of the speciall consideration thereof therefore I begin with that first Not to trouble you with reckoning up all the improper acceptions of this word Fides 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 and to tell you that sometime it is taken for Fidelity or Trustinesse 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 as when a thing is done or spoken bonafide faithfully or trustily and in that exclamation Vestram fidem c. sometimes for Arguments or Proofes from Reason or Authority brought to breed beliefe in another which acception is usuall in Rhetoritians Arist. 1. Rhet. c. 2. 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 c. Quintil. l. 5. cap. 10. Haec omnia argumenta generaliter 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 appellant c. Faith or Beliefe in the proper acception of the word is an Assent to such matters a● are knowne only by Revelation from another This definition agrees to beliefe as it is taken in the largest sense the Genus i● Assent the difference is taken from the object whereto Assent is yeelded and that is such things as wee understand onely by anothers revelation Both parts will be plainly understood if we distinguish between three sorts of knowledge Cognitionis 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 that are incident unto man 1. The first is Scientia 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Knowledge properly so called which is bred in us by the evident certainety of things presented unto our reason or sense When wee understand such principles and conclusions in all arts and sciences as are demonstrable by evident and infallible reason or when we know such particulars as come under our senses when they are rightly disposed 2. The second is Opinio 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Opinion an imperfect knowledge of things not cleerely presented unto reason or sense when we apprehend things in part and obscurely so that wee cannot absolutely say t is this or t is that 3. The third is Fides 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Beliefe which is a knowledge grounded on testimony and authority of others when wee assent to those things whereof by our owne sense and reason we have no certainety nor evidence only we beleeve them because such and such have told us they are so These three divers apprehensions of things wee expresse in formes of speech agreeable the first when we say I know this to be so the second thus I thinke it is so the last in this I beleeve it is so A great difference there is betweene these three apprehensions of the understanding as every one may easily discerne but more cleerly thus it stands 1. Knowledge whether it be of things past present or to come hath evermore certainety in the subject and evidence in the object accompanying it For the things that are knowne must bee alwaies apparant to the senses or to the understanding To the senses by the proportionablenesse of the qualities in the Object and due application of them to the Organ To the understanding by the bright light of reason shining in the things themselves Wherefore the Object of knowledge is evermore evident and being thus evident and apparant the apprehension thereof in the Subject by the sense and understanding must needs bee cleere and most distinct whence ariseth such an assent unto the truth of the thing as is most firme and certaine excluding all doubting whatsoeuer as for instance that the Fire is hot the Water moist the Sunne light that Quicquid dicitur vel negatur de Vniversali dicitur vel negatur de Particulari Quae conveniunt in uno tertio inter se conveniunt with the like these things are evident making such a lively impression upon the senses and so cleerly discovering their reasonablenesse to the understanding that we strongly assent unto their truth without all doubting 2. Opinion is contrary unto knowledge and alwayes hath uncertainetie in the Subject and inevidence in the Object attending on it For some things there are of their owne nature uncertaine and contingent whereof our best knowledge is but a doubtfull conjecture as that a red evening and a gray morning should bring a faire day Againe those things that are in themselves certaine enough and necessary yet unto us they will be but onely probable and conjecturall if either our senses through weakenesse and distemper perceive them not throughly or our understanding doe not cleerely apprehend the nature and reason of them Whence it followes that for want of cleere evidence in the things themselves our assent unto their truth will be alwayes wavering doubtfull without any fixed determination to embrace any side resolvedly but so holding it selfe to that part which for the present seemes most probable as that it is ready to shift it selfe unto the other side when better reason shall bee discovered 3. Beliefe partly agrees partly differs both from the one and the other for it partakes but of one property namely certainety in the Subject though very variable but never of evidence in the Object Both shall appeare unto you in order For the Object of beliefe it may bee certaine and necessary in it selfe but quâ tale it is never evident to the beleever For evident as I said before those things onely are which by their owne proper qualitie and light worke a cleere apprehension of themselves in the senses or understanding or both Now such things are not beleeved but knowne as for instance what wee see heare touch taste or smell by these senses orderly disposed we doe not say we beleeve it but we know it as that the Fire is hot the Water cold He that relates unto mee an accident that himselfe hath seene He knowes it but I that heare him doe beleeve it Againe things that wee understand by manifest and infallible reason those also we know we doe not beleeve as for example If an Astronomer foretell an Eclipse to fall out an hundred years hence hee doth not beleeve but he knowes this effect will ensue by the infallible motion of the Heavens but an unlearned man that findes this in an Ephemerides hee onely beleeves it But now that which is the Object of Beliefe so farre as it is the Object thereof doth not fall under the cleere apprehension either of sense or understanding by its owne naturall light For things beleeved are of three sorts Past Present or to Come Of things Past before we were and of things to Come t is not possible for us to get any knowledge from the things themselves by our sense or reason unlesse it be Astronomicall demonstrations as was touched before or such Physicall effects as depend upon necessary connexion of their causes Touching things
workes makes our Faith i. e. our assent to the Articles of Religion because of Gods authority to deserve eternall life Is there in the Scriptures the least intimation of such a strange and uncouth meaning when it tells that wee are justified by Faith To the places of Scriptures Gael 5. 6. Faith workes by Charity 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 wee answer the meaning of the place is no more but That in Christianity no outward matters are of value that onely which is to be regarded is Faith that bringeth forth good workes These good workes come from Charity or inward love of God and man This Charity is stirred up and provoked to worke through Faith So that Faith workes by Charity as by that chiefe instrument which Faith imployes in the doing of all good works but Charity works by Faith as by the moving cause whereby t is excited to worke according to 1. Tim. 1. 5. 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Faith is the first wheel in the clock that moves all the rest Faith stirs up and directs the other graces of the soule in their operations whose strength and vigour increaseth according as Faith increaseth Tantum amam●… quantum credimus t is cleer in all experience those that have the strongest Faith they shew the greatest love to God and man as in Abraham Moses Paul all the Martyrs But of this more in shewing the connexion between Faith and Obedience To that other place Iames 2. 26. As the body without the Spirit is dead even so Faith without workes is dead we answer that S. Iames understands by that similitude not modum Informationis but necessitatem Vnionis that good workes are necessarily coupled with a justifying Faith not that good workes are the forme and life of Faith à priori They are arguments and effects of a living Faith they are not causes that make it living as is apparent because it is impossible any good worke should goe before justifying Faith Heb. 11. 6. Wherefore this similitude is not so to be strained unto a Philosophicall construction where the Apostle intends no more in all his dispute but to shew that true saying Faith must of necessity bee conjoyned with good workes And if our adversaries bee so strict upon the termes of this similitude t is manifest that they fit not their doctrine for so as the soule is the forme of the body so workes shall be the forme of Faith i. e. an Act shall bee the forme of a Habite which is against reason and their owne doctrine who make the Habituall grace of Charity not good workes the fruits of it to be the forme of Faith S. Iames therefore is to bee taken in the former sense or else wee may without any violence interpret 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 in that place not Spiritum i. e. Animam but Spiritum i. e. Halitum Respirationem and thus the comparison is exact as the body without breathing and motion is dead so Faith without workes Thus it appeares how Faith is sleighted by our adversaries whilst they hold that the Faith wherby a sinner is justified is nothing but an assent to Articles of Religion because of Gods authority Some places of Scriptures there are they would faine build this upon as Heb. 11. 1. Rom. 4. 3. Tit. 1. 1. Ioh. 20. 31. but their arguments thence are so inconsequent and weake they are not worth the mentioning or refuting I proceed therefore from this generall Faith unto that other which is speciall particular Particular assent of Faith is when all things revealed by God are assented unto as most true and excellent in regard of our selves when they are particularly applyed to our proper occasion and compared with all desires and provocations whatsoever to the contrary When we know and beleeve those things that are generally delivered for our selves in application to our owne use and practice as Iob was counselled by his friends so that wee beleeve in this particular aswell as in that at this time aswell as at another In the Explication of the nature of such a particular assent I propose to your consideration two things 1. The Roote and Cause whence it springs 2. The Object of it whereto it is directed 1. The true root and fountaine whence this Blessed assent of Faith ariseth is that grace of sanctification wrought in the heart by the holy Ghost renewing the soule in all the powers thereof T is not common illumination for many know and despise the truth or beleeve it but in generall T is not the Authority of all the men in the world that can perswade to it wee should not then have had so many thousand ●…rmons of Prophets Ministers learned holy and powerfull in their doctrine yet preached to very small purpose with the most of m●n T is not miracles and strange accidents that can force this Faith the Iewes had plenty of them yet continued still unbeleeving T is only the sanctifying Grace of Gods spirit that brings this to passe For consider with your selves how deadly an opposition there is betweene a mans unsanctified nature and the wisedome and goodnesse of God all his counsells seeme but craft his words foolishnesse his mercies light and not worthy of estimation His exhortations promises or threatnings are entertained with inward disdaine and the heart saith within it selfe Who is God that I should feare him or what profit shall a man have by beleeving his Word and walking in his wayes Yea men that are otherwise ingenuous and of fairer temper in this case are full of secret scorne and despite of God and goodnesse they account basely of the holinesse of Religion being privie scoffers and bitter deriders of the power of Grace when they are alone by themselves or in company that fits them They make a tush at Scriptures and smile at such perswasions to pietie as they afford counting it an indignitie for men of parts and resolution to bee moved with faire words of a simple man though hee speake in the words of God If their beliefe and knowledge of the truth be good in the generall yet in the application the heart makes violent opposition it begins to hold probable dispute whether it be wisedome to doe so or so whether they be bound in conscience considering such and such circumstances it casts all inconveniences that may possibly be thought on to discourage it selfe yea perchance the truth it selfe shall be called in question and it thinkes Sure I am deceived Gods meaning is otherwise at last it resolves I may doe this and yet fare well enough and If I doe no worse I hope t will not be much amisse and I trust that these commodities and pleasures I enjoy may well countervaile the neglect of such or such a small matter Thus the heart not washed by the holy Ghost in the laver of Regeneration but abiding in its naturall corruption is not nor can be subject to the law of God but proves either impudent and
all Vncleannesse to make us holy vessells of pleasure fit for the seruice of Gods Sanctuary Now whereas this worke of the Holy Spirit is by divines called Donatio Spiritus Sancti the Giving of the Holy Ghost that we be not mistaken you are to note briefly that the Holy Ghost is said to be given two waies 1. In his Essence and Graces both together and so was he given to Christ the Head of the Church in whom dwelleth the fulnesse of the Godhead bodily or substantially whom God hath annointed with the Holy Ghost and with Power and that above all his brethren having given him the Spirit without measure 2. In his Graces and Vertues only and so is hee given unto the Church the body of Christ. Touching this Sending forth of