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only saving knowledge we can have of the everblessed and glorious Trinity, agreeable to the apostolic benediction; “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you. Amen."
The above, reader, is Mr. Vessey's confession of faith.
1. He says that there is but one eternal, incomprehensible, self-existing, and immutable Jehovah, which is true. • 2. That this all-wise Being hath made himself known to the heirs of glory, in the mystery of redemption, by three distinct personal names and covenant characters; Father, Word, and Holy Ghost; all which amounts to this, that there is a trinity of names in one person, and one person in a trinity of names; or three names in one person, and one person in three names. This is Sabellianism, this is old Butler's heresy; which appears to me to be blasphemous, insolent, and damnable; for it is denying the person of God the Father and of God the Holy Ghost. The king of Babylon's vision and confession is sufficient to overthrow Mr. Vessey's heresy; “This inatter is by the decree of the Watchers, and the demand by the word of the Holy Ones, to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. This dream I Nebuchadnezzar have seen.” Here is a plurality of Watchers, or Holy Ones, in one Most High, and one Most High in a plurality of Watchers
or Holy Ones. Should any object that these Watchers and Holy Ones are angels, I answer, Decrees are not made by them, nor is the decree ascribed to angels in the text, but to the Most High, even by Daniel himself, in the 24th verse: Nor are they ever called Holy Ones, though they are called holy angels. Holy One, and Holy Ones, belongs to the fountain of holiness, even God, who is holiness itself, and the author of all holiness, that is found either in saints or angels. Furthermore, the saints in the Hebrew text, Dan: viii. 24, are expressly called the people of the Holy Ones.
In Mr. Vessey's confession of faith, touching the knowledge of God, there is no repentance, conversion, or change of heart, mentioned. Mention is made; indeed, of an application of the atonement; but no sense of sin, nor sensible pardon of forgiveness of sins, described; all which, according to his own acknowledgment at the prayermeeting, he was an utter stranger to. Most of the expressions used in the above are borrowed from my writings; only they are confusedly jumbled together, for want of an unctious experience of the power and grace of God, and that the theft might not be perceptible.
The following extracts, concerning the decrees of God, &c. &c. are taken from the manuscript treatise of Mr. Vessey before mentioned; and com- . municated to Mr. Huntington, desiring him to shew whether the sentiments therein contained
are agreeable to the word of God, by John Pavey, of Kingston, Surry.
Quot. Page 7. The only wise God and our Saviour, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working, from all eternity, according to the good pleasure of his will, and by his irrevocable decree, fixed the eternal state of all his creatures, both angels and men, without any foreseen causė or condition whatsoever; either of the reprobate or the elect; or of sin in the reprobate, or righteousness in the elect. This is evident, if carnal reason drop the cause, and the tesimony of God in his word be admitted as evidence and judge.
Again. Nothing foreseen or foreknown, in either elect or reprobate, could cause God, as a sovereign, to save the elect or damn the reprobate. See Rom. ix. 18—21.
Again. The reprobates are emphatically termed vessels of wrath, and the elect vessels of mercy; the former made for dishonour and destruction, and the latter for honour and glory: and Jehovah's will is the sole cause of both.
Again. Man was not rejected or reprobated on account of any foreseen cause, but according to the good pleasure of God's will. Again, It was not because the Lord foresaw that mankind would fall by iniquity, and consequently prove base and unprofitable, that he thus reprobated and rejected them; but their proving thus is rather the result or effect of their being rejected, as is evident from the following text of scripture; as it is written,
« Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them,” Jer. vi. 30. Again, Did Israel of old harden ther necks, and turn a deaf ear to the exhortations and admonitions? They did; and the reason or cause is assigned; “ For the Lord hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath,” Jer. vii. 29. See also Heb. vi. 8.
Again. The unerring wisdom, immutable will, and irrevocable decree, of Jehovah, without any prior or foreseen cause, determined the state of the reprobate. And the strugglings of the twins in Rebecca's womb shewed the everlasting enmity that God hath fixed between these two houses or families; as it is written, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;" viz. between Satan and his family, and between Christ and his family. This truth was preached clearly in heaven, to an Ar. minian in hell. See the story of the rich inan and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 19.
Again. As touching the elect, some have asserted, that the love of God is wholly founded upon the meritorious obedience of his Son; viz. by the Saviour's uudertaking our cause to obey that law we had broken, and suffer the wrath and curse due to sinners; that hereby the Father hath been won over to love and pity the elect: and, furthermore, that this love of the Father is still kept fixed upon his children, and his bowels of mercy are still kept sounding towards them by the perpetual
verbal intercession of Christ. Such doctrine is awful; it is turning things upside down, corrupting the word of God, and marring and setting at nought the precious doctrine of his eternal love and mercy, which is the sole moving cause or spring of all good toward his people.
We have an undoubted right to use any terms or phrases whatever, admitting that the doctrines they are meant to convey can be clearly proved from the oracles of truth, for to the pure all things are pure.
The phrase, original sin, is no where to be found in scripture; yet none but an Arian, a Pelagian, or Quaker, would deny it. So, likewise, the word, perseverance, cannot be found in scripture, nor the word, reprobation. So, likewise, the word, trinity, doth not occur any where in sacred writ; yet who but an Arian, a Socinian, or a Sabellian, would attempt to otherthrow the truth which that term is intended to convey? When the scripture declares, that “ there are three that bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost;" and again, “ That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding to the acknowledging of the mystery of God (the Holy Ghost], and of the Father, and of Christ,” Col. ii. 2.
Foreseen sin could never cause God to hate the reprobate; for, if foreseen sin had been the cause of reprobation, then it could not have been