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OBJECT. XIV.

Either unsanctified persons may lawfully come to the Lord’s supper, or it is unlawful for them to carry themselves as saints; but it is not unlawful for them to carry themselves as saints.

Answ. It is the duty of unconverted men both to become saints, and to behave as saints. The scripture rule is, Matthew xii. 33 . Make the tree good, that the fruit may be good. Mr. Stoddard himself never supposed, that the fruit of saints was to be expected from men, or could possibly be brought forth by them in truth, till they were saints.

And I see not how it is true, that unconverted men ought, in every respect, to do those external things, which it is the duty of a godly man to do. It is the duty of a godly man, conscious of his having given his heart unto the Lord, to profess his love to God and his esteem of him above all, his unfeigned faith in Christ, &c. and in his closet-devotions to thank God for these graces as the fruit of the Spirit in him. But it is not the duty of another that really has no faith, nor love to God, to do thus. Neither any more is it a natural man’s duty to profess these things in the Lord’s supper.—Mr. Stoddard taught it to be the duty of converts, on many occasions, to profess their faith and love and other graces before men, by relating their experiences in conversation: but it would be great wickedness, for such as know themselves to be not saints, thus to do; because they would speak falsely, and utter lies in so doing. Now, for the like reason, it would be very sinful, for men to profess and seal their consent to the covenant of grace in the Lord’s supper, when they know at the same time that they do not consent to it, nor have their hearts at all in the affair.

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