Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BT70 .B397 1675

I PREMONITION. MY work at prefent is but to lay down, fo much of the Chriftian Da-trine briefly, as is neceffary to be underftood for the reconcilingoftheControverfies about Predeftination; Providence, Grace andFree-will : And thereforepafs over many other weighty Points, and mutt not Band largely to prove all as I go, which carrieth its own evidence : The true nature of the firft Law or Covenant deferveth a more accuratedifcufiion than Ì can here make; and much paffeth as certain with fome, which bath but little proof. And here I meet with thefe different Opinions : i. Some fay thatthe conditionof the firft Covenant was not Innocency, butfincerity : And that Innocency was only aDuty, neceffary neceffitatepr,ecepti, but not medii : or that it was ut medium neceffary admelins effe, or to fome cer- tain degrees of felicity, whereof it was a condition, but not to felicity it felf. And that the Covenant ofGrace dothherein agree with it ; both of them damning man only for mortal fin , and punifhing themtempo- rally only for venialfin. And he feemeth to beof this mind, who faith that, Do this and live, or Innocencyor Works was the Condition only ofMofes Law, but that Adhere and Vanquifh wasthe Condition ofthe firft Covenant : But there are ambiguous unfatisfalkory terms : If the meaning be, [ Adhere to God and his Lawbyperfet,I Innocency, and van grsifhall temptations to Sin, ] this is the famewith that Innocencywhich we faywas theCondition. But ifhe mean only, [Adhere to me fini cerely by love as thyUltimate End, and vanquifh all temptations which would draw thee from me, toanother Ultimate End or God, ] this is the famewith the firft opinion ; whichmatey Papifls feem tohold. 2. But the more common Opinion is that which I affert, That Inno- cency was the Condition, not only of Life eternal, but of all the be- ; nefits ofGods Covenant, and the leaft fin the forfeiture ofall. They that are for the firft Opinion think, that ifAdam had committed but a (mall or venial fin (as afinful thought or defire after the forbidden Fruit, without the aet orfull confent) it had been againft Gods natural Goodnefs and Juftice tohave condemned him to Hell for it. And eon-. fequently that Chrift died not to pardon thepains ofHell asdue for fuch little fins; but only temporal fmaller punifhments. But God belt knowethhis own Nature; And nature telleth us, That allfn defervethpnnifhment: And he thatJmnneth, fo far removeth his Jaeart fromGod, and forfeiteth his Spirit or Grace: And he that Math, oncefo turned fromGod in theleaft degree, cannot of himfelfreturn nor heal himfelf; and had no promífe of Gods Grace to do it: And therefore it is not tobe fuppofed that he fhould fin no more, but fuch a Minute fin; for g ¡eater will come in prefently at thatbreach, unlefs God recover him,whichhe wasnot in Juftice bound todo: And no one know- eth fo well as God how muchmalignity is in thefmalleft fin;And it was as eafie for finlefs Adam tohave continued finlefs, as for carnal men now to forbear grog fin. And he that finneth deferveth not Heavenor Life i And there are divers degrees of punifhment in Hell, according to the B degrees