Baptist Heritage

Benjamin Coxe

In answer to one infected with some Pelagian Errours.

Written by Benjamin Cox when he was first Prisoner in Coventrie.
Now Published by the Author for the clearing of the truth.

I Cor. 2. 14.
The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God,
for they are foolishnesse unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned,

Licensed and entered according to Order.

London,
Printed by Tho. Paine,
living in Red-crosse-Street
in Gold-Smiths Alley,
over against the Suger loafe. 1646.

 

Benjamin Cox (sometimes Coxe or Cockes) was trained for divinity in the scholastical methodology of his day to minister in the National or Anglican Church. He eventually changed some basic theological perspectives and therefrom aligned himself with the Particular Baptists.

In 1643 he was sent to confirm a small group of Particular Baptists in Coventry. While in the town, Richard Baxter challenged him to a public theological debate on the topic of baptism. As a result of this exchange, Cox was imprisoned. While incarcerated, Cox wrote Some Mistaken Scripture Sincerely Explained. Three years later, for the "clearing of truth," this work was published with the permission of the authorities. In the same year this work was made public, Cox, along with fifteen other pastors and elders from seven Particular Baptist Churches in and around London, signed what has been called in our day, the 1646 or First London Baptist Confession. These men wanted to display before the watching world the theological unanimity between their beliefs and the Reformed and Puritan thinking of their day. This was especially true with a view to the work of the Westminster Divines then assembled in London. This small work by Cox gives insight into one of the mature minds involved in the formulation of that 1646 Confession. It becomes clear that Cox did not hold a neo-Marcion view that put the New Covenant against the Old. But, rather, he assumes a divine unity between God's self-disclosure to ancient Israel and the fuller disclosure of Himself in Christ in the New. In his methodology and exegesis we see that Cox, as regards the Old Testament, believed it to be authoritative and binding for Christian faith and practice.

We do not know who the "one infected with some Pelagian Errours" was, but we do know there are many of his theological kin and doctrinal cousins alive today. In an age when there is the ever-growing weed of man-centeredness in the professing Church, we do well to consider the balanced Calvinism of men like Benjamin Cox. In our own self-absorbed way, we tend to remove one weed only to let another grow in its place. May God use these things to hone our faith and sharpen our dull minds that we might love Christ as our first and best.

The editor shares Benjamin Cox's concern as we pray that our gracious God might use this small work for a "clearing of his truth." We also pray this little piece might be a pole to balance us all on truth's razors edge so we don't fall into the abyss Pelagianism on the one hand nor the entangling net of hyper-Calvinism on the other. For the most part, the text is as it appears in the original edition. Some of the spelling has been brought up to date and two antiquated words have been replaced. I am confident these do not affect Cox's original intended meaning.

May God be glorified and your soul edified through the reading of this little work.

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Edited by
Mike Renihan