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Concerning Judas’s partaking of the Lord’s supper.

I think, we have a remarkable instance of tergiversation, in what Mr. W. says in support of the argument from Judas’s partaking of the Lord’s supper. By those on his side of the question, it is insisted upon, as a clear evidence of its being lawful for unsanctified men to come to the Lord’s table, that Christ gave the Lord’s supper to Judas, when he knew he was unsanctified. In answer to which I showed, that this is just as much against their own principles, as mine; because Christ knew as perfectly that he was not morally sincere, as that he was not graciously sincere; and they themselves hold, that it is not lawful for such as are not morally sincere, to partake. Mr. W. ridicules this, as very impertinent and strange; because Christ did not know this as head of the visible church, but only as omniscient God and searcher of hearts. And what does this argue? Only, that although Judas was really not fit to come, yet, inasmuch as Christ, acting as king of the visible church, did not know it, he might admit him: but not, that it was lawful for Judas himself to come, who knew his own heart in this matter, and knew his own perfidiousness and treachery; Mr. W. denies, that it is lawful for such to come, as have no moral sincerity. So that here the question is changed; from, who may lawfully come, to who may lawfully be admitted? Mr. W. abundantly insists, that the question is not, who shall be admitted? but, who way lawfully come? Not, whether it be lawful to admit those who have not a visibility of saintship, or do not appear to be true saints? but whether those who are not true saints, may lawfully partake? And this he insists upon in his discourse on this very argument, (p. 104, c. d.) And to prove this latter point, viz. That those, who are not real saints, may lawfully come, the instance of Judas’s coming to the Lord’s supper is produced as an undeniable evidence. But when it is answered, that the argument does not prove this, any more than that the morally insincere may lawfully come; because Judas was 523 morally insincere: then Mr. W. (p. 106.) to shelter himself, evidently changes the question, at once, to that which he had so much exclaimed against as not the question. Now, to serve his turn, the question is not, whether Judas might lawfully come? but, whether Christ might lawfully admit him, acting on a public visibility? And he makes an occasion to cry out against me, as talking strangely, and soon forgetting that I had said, Christ in this matter did not act as searcher of hearts. Whereas, let the question be what it will, the argument from Judas’s partaking, (should the fact be supposed,) if it proves any thing relating to the matter, is perfectly, and in every respect, against the one, just as it is against the other. It the question be about profession and visibility to others, and who others may lawfully admit, then Judas’s being admitted, (if he was admitted,) no more proves, that men may be admitted without a visibility and profession of godliness, than without a visibility of moral sincerity. For it no more appears, that he was without a profession and visibility of the former, than of the latter. But if the question is not about visibility to others, or who others may admit, but who may lawfully come, then Judas’s coming no more proves, that a man may come without grace, than without moral necessity; because he was in like manner without both: and Christ knew as perfectly, that he was without the one, as the other; and was not ignorant of the one case, as king of the visible church, any more than of the other. So that there is no way to support this argument, but to hide the question, by shifting and changing it; to have one question in the premises, and to slip in another into the conclusion. Which is according to the course Mr. W. takes. In the premises, (p. 104, 105.) he expressly mentions Mr. S—d’s question, as now in view: and agreeably must here have this for his question, whether it was lawful for a man so qualified to come to the Lord’s supper? Who, according to Mr. W.‘s own doctrine, (p. 111.) ought to act as a discerner of his own heart. But in his conclusion, (p. 106.) he has this for his question, whether Christ might lawfully admit a man so qualified, therein not acting as the searcher of hearts?—What shuffling is this!

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