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SECT. V.

Instances of the fifth and sixth particulars, in Mr. W.‘s method of disputing, viz. his using confident and peremptory assertions, and great exclamations, instead of arguments.

We have an instance of the former, in his reply to my answer to the 14th objection, viz. That it is not unlawful for unsanctified men to carry themselves like saints. I objected against this, if thereby be meant, that they may lawfully carry themselves externally like saints in all respects, remaining ungodly; and mentioned some things which belonged to the external duty of godly men, which no ungodly man, remaining such, may do. To which Mr. W. makes no reply; but to prove the point says, “Mr. St—d knew, and all divines know, That the external carriage of some unsanctified men is to the outward appearance, and the public judgment of the church, the same with the carriage of the saints; and they know they are bound to such a behaviour.” And this peremptory confident assertion is all the argument he brings to prove the thing asserted.

Again, I observe, that sometimes Mr. W. uses great exclamation, as though he intended to alarm, and excite terror in his readers, and raise their indignation; though they are perhaps never likely to know for what. We have two very remarkable instances of this, (p. 136 and 137.) where he says, “I shall further take notice of two extraordinary and surprising passages, if I understand them. And I have with great diligence tried to find out the meaning of them. One is p. 129. between the 17th and 23d lines; if it be rightly printed.”—He does not quote my words; this mighty exclamation would have become too flat, and appeared ridiculous, if he had.—The passage referred to is in these words—“Indeed such a tendency (i. e. a tendency to irreligion and profaneness) it would have, to shut men out from having any part in the Lord, in the sense of the two tribes and half, Josh. xxii. 25. or to fence them out by such a partition-wall, as formerly was between Jews and Gentiles; and so to shut them out as to tell them, if they were never so much disposed to serve God, he was not ready to accept them: according to the notion the Jews seem to have had of the uncircumcised Gentiles.” That is, plainly to shut them out so as to tell them, that let them have hearts never so well and piously disposed to love and serve God, their love and service could not be accepted.—This doubtless would have a tendency to discourage religion in men. And how the owning of it, is an owning my scheme to have such a tendency, I do not know. Mr. W. might as well have picked out any other sentence through all the 136 pages of the book, and called it an extraordinary postage, and stood astonished over it, and told how he was ready to doubt whether it was rightly printed, and what great diligence he had used to find out the meaning of it!

The other extraordinary passage he stands thunderstruck with, is in these words; “May it not be suspected, that this way of baptizing the children of such as never make any proper profession of godliness, is an expedient originally invented for that very end, to give ease to ancestors with respect to their posterity, in times of great declension and degeneracy?”—Mr. W. knows, that through the whole of my book I suppose, this practice of baptizing the children of such as are here spoken of, is wrong; and so does he too; for he abundantly allows, that persons in order to be admitted to the privileges of visible saints, must make a profession of real piety, or gospel-holiness. And if it be wrong, as we are both agreed, then surely it is nothing akin to blasphemy, to suspect that it arose from some bad cause.

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