THE FIRST PART
FIFTH CHECK TO ANTINOMIANISM:
AN ANSWER TO "THE FINISHING STROKE"
OF RICHARD HILL, ESQ.
WHICH SOME REMARKS UPON MR. FULSOME'S ANTINOMIAN CREED, PUBLISHED BY THE REV. MR. BERRIDGE, ARE OCCASIONALLY INTRODUCED.
WITH AN APPENDIX,
UPON THE REMAINING DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CALVINISTS AND THE ANTI-CALVINISTS, WITH RESPECT TO OUR LORD'S DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION BY WORDS, AND ST. JAMES' DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION BY WORKS, AND NOT BY FAITH ONLY.
CONTENTS OF FIFTH CHECK.
Mr. Hill endeavours to screen his mistakes, by presenting the world with a wrong view of the controversy.
His charge, that the practical religion recommended in the Checks "undermines both law and Gospel," is retorted, and the Mediator's law of liberty is defended.
Mr. Hill's faint attempt to show that his scheme differs from speculative Antinomianism. His inconsistency in pleading for and against sin is illustrated by Judah's behaviour to Tamar.
At Mr. Hill's special request, Mr. Fulsome, (a gross Antinomian, first introduced to the world by Mr. Berridge,) is brought upon the stage of controversy. Mr. Berridge attempts in vain to bind him with Calvinistic cords.
Mr. Hill cannot defend his doctrines of grace before the judicious, by producing a list of the gross Antinomians that may be found in Mr. Wesley's societies.
Mr. Hill, after passing over the arguments and scriptures of the Fourth Check, attacks an illustration with the ninth article. His stroke is warded off, and that article turned against Calvinism.
His moral creed about faith and works is incompatible with his immoral system.
He raises a cloud of dust about a fair, though abridged quotation from Dr Owen; and in his eagerness to charge Mr. Wesley and his second with disingenuity, furnishes them with weapons against his own errors.
The "execrable Swiss slander" proves sterling English truth.
The sincerity of our Lord's intercession, even for Judas, is defended.
Some queries concerning Mr. Hill's forwardness to accuse his opponents of disingenuity, gross perversion, calumny, forgery, &c, and concerning his abrupt manner of quitting the field of controversy.
A perpetual noise about gross perversions, and base forgeries, becomes Mr. Hill as little as any writer, considering his own inaccuracy with regard to quotations, some flagrant instances of which are produced out of his Finishing Stroke.
The author, after professing his brotherly love and respect for all pious Calvinists, apologizes for his antagonist before the Anti-Calvinists; and,
Takes his friendly leave of Mr. Hill, after promising him to publish a sermon on Rom. ii, 5, 6, to recommend and guard the doctrine of free grace in a Scriptural manner.
In the Appendix, the author proves, by ten more arguments, the absurdity of supposing, with the Solifidians, that believers are justified by works before men and angels, but not before God.
THE FINISHING STROKE
OF RICHARD HILL, ESQ.
HON. AND DEAR SIR,I have received your Finishing Stroke, and return the following answer to you; or, if you have quitted the field, to your pious second, the Rev. Mr. Berridge, who, by a public attack upon sincere obedience, and upon the doctrine of a believer's justification by works, and not by faith only, has already entered the lists in your place.
Sec. i, p. 6. You complain that I represent you as fighting the battles of the rankest Antinomians, "because (say you) we firmly believe and unanimously assert, that 'the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin,' and that, 'if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,' &c, and that this advocacy prevails." Not so, dear sir: I apprehend you give your readers totally wrong ideas of the question. You know I never opposed you for saying that "the blood of Christ cleanseth penitent believers from all sin." On the contrary, this I insist upon in a fuller sense than you do, who, if I mistake not, suppose that death, and not the blood of Christ, applied by the sanctifying Spirit, is to be our cleanser from all sin. The point which we debate is not then whether Christ's blood cleanses from all sin, but whether it actually cleanses from all guilt an impenitent backslider, a filthy apostate; and whether God says to the fallen believer, that commits adultery and murder, "Thou art all fair, my love, my undefiled, there is no spot in thee." This you affirm in your fourth letter; and this I expose as the very quintessence of Ranterism, Antinomianism, and Calvinistic perseverance.
The second part of your mistake is yet more glaring than the first. The question is not, (as you inform your readers,) whether, if "any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father," &c. You know, sir, that far from denying this comfortable truth, I maintain it in full opposition to your narrow system, which declares that if any man, who is passed by or non-elected, sinneth, there is no advocate with the Father for him: and that there are thousands of absolutely reprobated wretches, born to have the devil for a tempter and an accuser, without any help from our Redeemer and Advocate.
Nor yet do we debate whether Christ's advocacy prevails in the full extent of the word, for all that know the day of their visitation this is a point of doctrine in which I am as clear as yourself. But the question about which we divide is, (1.) Whether Christ's advocacy never prevails when he asks that barren fig trees, which are at last cut down, for persisting in their unfruitfulness, may be "spared this year also?" (2.) Whether it prevails in such a manner for all those, who once made ever so weak an act of true faith, that they shall never "make shipwreck of the faith," never "deny the Lord that bought them," and "bring upon themselves swift destruction?" (3.) Whether Aaron and Korab, David and Demas, Solomon and Hymeneus, Peter and Judas, Philetus and Francis Spira, with all that fall from God, shall infallibly sing louder in heaven for their grievous falls on earth? In a word, whether the salvation of some, and the damnation of others, are so finished, that, during "the day of their visitation," it is absolutely impossible for one of the former to draw back to perdition from a state of salvation; and for one of the latter to draw back to salvation from a state of perdition?
These important questions you should have laid before your readers as the very ground of our controversy. But instead of this you amuse them with two precious scriptures, which I hold in a fuller sense than yourself. This is a stroke of your logic, but it is not the finishing one, for you say: Sec. ii, p. 6. "We cannot admit the contrary doctrine [that of the Checks] without at once undermining both law and Gospel. For the Jaw is certainly undermined by supposing that any breach of it whatever is not attended with the curse of God." What law do I undermine? Is it the law of innocence? No: for I insist upon it as well as you, to convince unhumbled sinners that there can be no salvation but in and through a Mediator. Is it the Mediator's law, "the law of liberty?" Certainly not: for I defend it against the bold attacks you make upon it; and shall now ward off the dreadful blow you give it in this argument.
O sir, is it right to confound, as you do, the law of paradisiacal innocence with the evangelical law of liberty, that in point of personal, sincere obedience, you may set both aside at one stroke? Is not this Calvinistic stroke as dangerous as it is unscriptural? "There is no law but one which damns for want of absolute innocence: all those that are under any law, must be under this law, which curses for a wandering thought as well as for incest. But believers are not cursed for a wandering thought. Therefore they are under no law: they are not cursed even for incest; they may break their 'rule of life' by adultery, as David, or by incest, as the unchaste Corinthian, without falling under the curse of any Divine law in force against them: in a word, without ceasing to be men 'after God's own heart.'"
Now whence arises the fallacy of this argument? Is it not from overlooking the Mediator's law, the law of Christ? Can you see no medium between being under "a rule of life," the breaking of which shall "work for our good," and being under a law that curses to the pit of hell for the least want of absolute innocence? Between those two extremes is there not the evangelical "law of liberty?"
O sir, be not mistaken: the Gospel has its law. Hear St. Paul:
"God shall JUDGE the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel," Rom. ii, 16. Hear St. James: "So speak ye [believers] and so do, as they that shall be judged by the LAW OF LIBERTY; for he [the believer] shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy," James ii, 12, 13, illustrated by Matt. xviii, 2335
Christ is neither an Eli nor a Nero, neither a dolt nor a tyrant; but a priestly king, a "Melchisedec." If he is a king, he has a law; his subjects may, and the disobedient shall, be condemned by it. If he is a priestly king, he has a gracious law; and if he has a gracious law, he requires no absolute impossibilities. Thus the covenant of grace keeps a just medium between the relentless severity of the first covenant, and the Antinomian softness of the covenant trumpeted by some Calvinists.
Be not then frightened, O Sion, from meditating in Christ's law day and night; for it is the law of thy gracious "King, who cometh unto the meek, and sitting upon the foal" of a mild, pacific animal: and not that of thy fierce and fond monarch, O Geneva, who comes riding upon the wings of storms and tempests, to damn the reprobates for the preordained, unavoidable consequences of Adam's preordained, unavoidable sin; and to encourage fallen believers, that climb up into their neighbours' beds, by saying to each of them, "Thou art all fair, my love, my undefiled, there is no spot in thee." But more of this to Mr. Berridge. When you have given us a wrong idea of the Mediator's law, you proceed to do the same by the Gospel, with which that law is so closely connected. For you say: Page 6. "The Gospel is certainly undermined, by supposing that there is provision made in it for some sins, and not for others." Well then, sir, Christ and the four evangelists have "certainly undermined the Gospel;" for they all mention the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, "the sin unto death," or the sin of final impenitency and unbelief; and they not only suppose, but expressly declare, that it is a sin for which "no provision is made," and the punishment of which obstinate unbelievers and apostates must personally bear. Is it not strange that the capital doctrine by which our Lord guards his own Gospel, should be represented as a capital error, by which "the Gospel is certainly undermined?"
Sec. iii, p. 6. To show that your scheme is different from speculative Antinomianism, you ask, "Is the experience of David, Lot, and Solomon, that of all those who abide by those doctrines?" I answer, It may be that of thousands for aught you know, and if it is not that of myriads, no thanks to you, sir, for you have given them encouragement enough: (though I still do you the justice to say, you have done it undesignedly:) and lest they should forget your former innuendo, in this very page you say, that "the covenant of grace [including, no doubt, finished salvation] standeth sure in behalf of the elect, under every trial, state, and circumstance they can possibly be in;" which, if I mistake not, implies, that they may be in the impenitent "state" of drunken Lot, and adulterous David, or in the dangerous "circumstance" of idolatrous Solomon, and the incestuous Corinthian, without being less interested in finished salvation than if they served God with Noah, Job, and Daniel. To this answer I add Flavel's judicious observation: "If the principle will yield it, it is in vain to think corrupt nature will not catch at it, and make a vile use and dangerous improvement of it." But you state, (p. 7,) "You know in your conscience that we detest and abhor that damnable doctrine and position of real Antinomians: 'Let us sin, that grace may abound.'" I believe, dear sir, that all pious Calvinists, and consequently you, abhor that horrible tenet practically, so far as you are saved from sin. And yet, to the great encouragement of practical Antinomianism, you have made an enumeration of the good that sin, yea, any length in sin, unto adultery, robbery, murder, and incest, does to the pleasant children. You have assured them that sin shall work for their good; and you have closed the strange plea by saying, that "a grievous fall will make them sing louder the praises of free, restoring grace, to all eternity in heaven." Now, honoured sir, pardon me if I tell you my whole mind. Really, to this day, I think, that if I wanted to make Christ publicly the minister of sin, and to poison the minds of my hearers by preaching an Antinomian sermon from these words, Let us sin, that grace may abound, I could not do it more effectually than by showing, according to the doctrine of your fourth letter: (l.) That, upon the whole, sin can do us no harm. (2.) That, far from hurting us, it will work for our good. And, (3.) That even a grievous fall into adultery and murder will make us "sing louder in heaven; all debts and claims against believers, be they more or be they less, be they small or be they great, be they before or be they after conversion, being for ever and for ever cancelled by Christ's fulfilling the law for them." In the name of reason, I ask, Where is the difference between publishing these unguarded tenets and saying roundly, Let us sin, that grace may abound?
Do not reply, sir, that this objection was brought against St. Paul as well as against you, and therefore the apostle's doctrine and yours exactly coincide; for this would be impeaching the innocent to screen the guilty. The charge of indirectly saying, "Let us sin, that grace may abound," is absolutely false, when it is brought against St. Paul; but alas, it is too true when produced against the author of Pietas Oxoniensis. Where did that holy apostle ever say that sin works for our good? When did he declare that the Lord overrules sin, even adultery and murder, for the good of his backsliding people; and that grievous falls in this world will make us more joyful in the next? But you know, sir, who has published those maxims, and who stands to them, even in a Finishing Stroke: intimating still, that it is God's "secret will" to do good to his people by "the abominable thing which his soul hateth," (p. 55, 1. 36, &c.) O sir, hell is not farther from heaven than this doctrine from that of the apostle: for while you absolutely promise fallen believers louder songs in heaven, he conditionally threatens them with "much sorer punishment" in hell, Heb. x, 29, and Christ says, "Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing happen unto thee." But your scheme says, "Go any length in sin, and a more excellent thing shall happen unto thee: a grievous fall will drive thee nearer to Christ."
Leaving you to reconcile yourself with holy Paul and our blessed Lord, I beg leave to account for the warmth with which you sometimes plead for and sometimes against sin. As a good man, you undoubtedly "detest and abhor" this dangerous maxim of the great Diana of the Antinomians; "sin works for good to believers;" but, as a sound Calvinist, you plead for it, yea, and you father it upon the apostle too. (See Third Check, p. 186.) This contrariety, in your sentiments, may be illustrated by Judah's inconsistent behaviour to Tamar
As Tamar was an agreeable woman, Judah took an Antinomian fancy to her, gave her his "signet, bracelets, and stall;" for a pledge; and faithfully "sent her a kid from the flock." But as she was his disgraced daughter-in-law, big with a bastard child, though he himself was the father of it, he rose against her with uncommon indignation, and said, in a fit of legality, "Bring her forth that she may be burnt!" O! that instead of calling me "a spiritual calumniator," and accusing me of "vile falsehood and gross perversion," for bearing testimony against a similar inconsistency, you would imitate the undeceived patriarch, take your signet and bracelets again; I mean, call in your fourth letter, that fatal pledge sent me from the press of your great Diana, and from this time "know her again no more!" Gen. xxxviii, 26.
Sec. iv. But you are not put out of countenance by your former mistakes, for, (pp. 8, 9,) speaking, it seems, of those mistaken good men, "who say more at times for sin than against it," or of those who traduce obedience, and make void the law through faith, representing it as a bare rule of life, the breaking of which will in the end work for the believer's good, you say, "Though I have begged you so earnestly in my Review to point out by name who these wretches [you should say these persons] are: though I have told you that without this the charge of slander must be for ever at your door; still neither they nor their converts are produced; no, nor one quotation from their writings, in order to prove these black charges upon them." Here is a heap of gross mistakes. I have not only produced one quotation, but many both from Dr. Crisp's writings and your own. See Second Check, from p. 115 to 118, and Third Check, from p. 176 to p. 191. Again: that "neither they nor their converts are produced," is a capital oversight. Turn to Fourth Check, p. 282: "Produce a few of them," says your brother; to which I answer, "Well, sir, I produce, first, the author of Pietas Oxoniensis, next yourself, and then all the Calvinists who admire your brother's fourth letter, where he not only insinuates, but openly attempts to prove, that David, &c, stood absolved and complete in the everlasting righteousness of Christ, while his eyes were full of adultery and his hands of blood. Now, sir, if this was the case of David, it may not only be the case of many, but of all the elect:" for the imaginary covenant of finished salvation stands as sure for fallen believers, who cheat, swear, and get drunk, as for those who commit adultery, murder, arid incest.
But since you press me still to produce witnesses, I promise you to produce by and by the Rev. Mr. Berridge, your second, together with his Antinomian pleas against sincere obedience. In the meantime I produce "Mr. Fulsome," together with a quotation from "The Christian World Unmasked." It contains a ludicrous description of a consistent Antinomian, brought over to the doctrines of grace by, I know not which of our Gospel ministers.
His name, says Mr. Berridge, was Mr. Fulsome, and his mother's maiden name was Miss Wanton. "When the cloth was removed, and some few tankards had gone round, Mr. Fulsome's face looked like the red lion painted on my landlord's sign, and his mouth began to open. He talked swimmingly about religion, and vapoured much in praise of [Calvinistic] perseverance. Each fresh tankard threw a fresh light upon his subject, &c. No sin; he said, can hurt me. I have had a call, and my election is safe. Satan may pound me, if he please:
but Jesus must replevy me. What care I for drunkenness or whoredom, for cheating, or a little lying? These sins may hurt another, but they cannot hurt me. Let me wander where I will from God, Jesus Christ must fetch me back again. I may fall a thousand times, but I shall rise again: yes, I may fall exceeding foully. And so he did, for instantly he pitched with his head upon the floor, and the tankard in his hand." (Christian World Unmasked. 2d ed. p. 191.)
Thus fell the Antinomian champion of Calvinistic perseverance. "The tankard (adds Mr. Berridge) was recovered, but no one thought it worth his while to lift up Mr. Fulsome." And what does Mr. Fulsome care for it, if Jesus Christ himself is absolutely engaged to raise him up, though he had spilt not only some of my landlord's ale, but all my landlord's blood? Let Mr. Fulsome take a peaceful nap upon the floor, till he can call for another tankard; it will never hurt him, for Mr. Hill declares that "the covenant of grace standeth sure in behalf of the elect under every trial, state, and circumstance they can possibly be in: and that God overrules sin for their good." (Finishing Stroke, pp. 6, and 55.)
Upon the principles of Calvinism, no logician in the world can, I think, find a flaw in the following arguments of Mr. Fulsome:If I am unconditionally elected, irresistible grace will certainly save me at last; nay, my salvation is already finished: and for this tankard and twenty more, I shall only sing "louder" in heaven the praises of free, distinguishing, restoring grace, which, passing by thousands, viewed me with unchangeable love, and determined to save me with an everlasting salvation, without any regard to that "Jack o'lantern, sincere obedience." If, on the other hand, I am unconditionally reprobated, I shall absolutely be damned. Again: supposing Christ never died for me, not only all my faith, but also all my endeavours and works, (were they as many as those of Mr. J. W.) like a "Jack o'lantern," will only dance before me to the pit of hell. Once more: if I am absolutely justified, it is not all the tankards and harlots in the world that can blot my name out of the book of life. And if I am in the black book, my damnation is as good as finished. My sincere obedience will never reverse a personal, absolute decree, older and firmer than the pillars of heaven. Nay, it may be the readiest way to hell: for our vicar, who is one of the first Gospel ministers in the kingdom, tells us, that "the devil was surely the author of the condition of sincere obedience," and that "thousands have been lost by following after it." Landlord, bring in another tankard. Here is the health of all who do not legalize the Gospel
Mr. Berridge is too good a logician to attempt proving that Mr. Fulsome's creed is not quite rational, upon the principles of Calvinism. He only says, (p. 192,) "Such scandalous professors are found at all times, in our day, and in St. Paul's day, yet St. Paul will not renounce the doctrine of perseverance." True; he will not renounce his own doctrine of conditional perseverance, because it is the very reverse of the doctrine of absolute, or Calvinistic perseverance, from which Mr. Fulsome draws his horrible, and yet just inferences.
But, says Mr. B., (p. 178,) "A believer's new nature makes him hunger for implanted righteousness;" insinuating that a believer's holy nature puts him upon such spontaneous obedience to his "rules of life," that he needs not the help of a law, as a ride of rewards and punishments, to encourage him in the path of duty, and to keep him from the broad way of disobedience. As this is one of the grand arguments by which pious Calvinists defend the Antinomian Babel, I shall answer it first as an anti-Calvinist, and Mr. Fulsome next as a Calvinist.
1. Experience shows, that to secure the creature's obedience, or the Creator's honour, the curb of a law is necessary for all free agents who are yet in a state of probation; and that so long as we are surrounded with so many temptations to faint in duty, and to leave the thorny way of the cross for the flowery paths of sin, the spur and bridle of a promising and threatening law are needful, even with respect to those duties which natural or supernatural inclination renders in general delightful; such as for mothers to take care of their own children, and believers to do good to their own neighbour. Now as the civil law, that condemns murderers to death, does not except mothers who destroy the fruit of their womb, because natural affection makes them in general glad to preserve it; so the penal law of Christ makes no exception in favour of believers who fall into adultery and murder, under the Calvinistic pretence that their new nature makes them in general hunger after purity and love. See I Cor. vi, 8, 9. Again: all sophisms flee before matter of fact. Fallen angels and our first parents once naturally hungered after righteousness, more than most believers do; and yet they grossly apostatized. And if you object to these instances, I produce David and the incestuous Corinthian: both had a "new nature" as believers; and yet as fallen believers, the one could thirst after Uriah's blood, and the other hunger after his father's wife, far more than after "implanted righteousness." But,
2. Mr. Fulsome may answer Mr. Berridge as a Calvinist thus:My new nature will make me hunger for implanted righteousness "in the day of God's power:" God will do his own work: in the meantime I am "in a winter season:", "I am carnal and sold under sin," as well as St. Paul, and I thirst after my tankard as David did after Bathsheba's beauty, and Uriah's blood: thus the Antinomian gap remains as wide as ever.
It is true also that Mr. Berridge says, (p. 173,) "Cheats will arise: and how must we deal with them? Deal with them, sir! why, hang them, when detected; as Jesus hanged Judas." I thought that Judas, and not Jesus, was the hangman. But I let that pass, to observe, that Mr. Fulsome may justly ask, Why will you hang me? Does not our Lord, speaking of his elect, say, "He that touches you, touches the apple of mine eye?" If Mr. Berridge answers, You are no elect; you are a hypocrite; you never had grace: Mr. Fulsome may justly reply, upon the plan of the Calvinistic doctrines of grace, "I have had a call, and my election is safe. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? Whom he called, them he also justified: yea, they are justified from all things. You have no more right to condemn me as a hypocrite, because you see me with a tankard in my band, than to pass a sentence of hypocrisy upon all backsliders. How will you prove that I have not as much right to toss my tankard, as David to write a sanguinary letter; Solomon to worship devils; and the incestuous Corinthian to invade the rights of his father's bed? I will maintain the privileges of God's children against all the legalists and the Wesleys in the world: I will fight for free grace to the last drop in my tankard: my service to you!"
If Mr. Fulsome's arguments are conclusive, as well as Calvinistical, how can he be brought to give up his Antinomian creed? Undoubtedly, by being brought to give up Calvinism. Till then it is evident that he will still hold his doctrines of grace in theory, or in practice: indirectly and with mental reserves, as all pious Calvinists do; or openly and without shuffling, as he does in his confession of faith. Thus has Mr. Berridge presented the world with an Antinomian creed as horrid as that which I have composed with the unguarded principles of your fourth letter. And by acknowledging that "such scandalous professors as Mr. Fulsome are found at all times," he has confirmed the necessity of my Checks, shown they are really Checks to Antinomianism, and not "Checks to the Gospel," silenced those who have accused me of misrepresentation, and helped me to give the world a just idea of Calvinistic principles. I say principles, because many, very many Calvinists, like Mr. Berridge, are too moral not to reject in their practice, and not to explode as detestable in their discourse, the immoral inferences consistent Antinomians justly draw from their doctrines of grace.
Sec. v. Having thus complied with your request, sir, by producing "a quotation" from an eminent Calvinist divine, to show that I do not fight against a shadow when I oppose Mr. Fulsome; and having described a rational "convert" to your doctrines of grace, I return to the Finishing Stroke, where, to ward off the blow given to your system by the orthodoxy and bad conduct of the Fulsomes,
Page 9. You offer to show me "a long black list of deluded creatures, (some of whom have been principal leaders in Mr. Wesley's classes, &c,) who have been carrying on abominations, and wicked practices under the mask of religion." And you tell us they are "some of the fruits which the doctrines" of Mr. Wesley "have produced." But you have forgot the proof, unless you think that your bare assertion is quite sufficient. Suppose that one out of twelve of Mr. Wesley's class leaders had actually turned out a "temporary monster," what could you infer from it against Mr. Wesley's doctrine, but what the Pharisees could, with equal truth, or rather with equal justice, have inferred against the doctrine of our Lord?
By what plain and easy consequence, or by what Scriptural argument will you make it appear that even the most abhorred of all Mr. Wesley's doctrines, that of Christian perfection, (or, which is all one, that of believing in Christ with a penitential faith, till we love God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves,) has any more tendency to turn his hearers into "temporary monsters," than our Lord's sermon upon the mount had to turn his apostles into covetous traitors? But how can you free your doctrine from the dangerous consequences which flow from it as naturally as a river does from its source? Have I not just proved, I hope to the satisfaction of judicious readers, that Mr. Fulsome's practice perfectly agrees with your Calvinistic principles? O sir, that vapourer, in favour of your perseverance, fairly and consistently builds upon what your brother calls "the foundation of the Calvinists," that is, unconditional election and finished salvation: he is a wise master builder. Apply the most exact plummet of reason to the walls of his Antinomian Babel, and you will find them straight. They do not project a hair's breadth from your doctrines of grace, which are the foundations laid in some our celebrated pulpits for him and all the clan of the Fulsomes to build upon. He is a judicious monster; he has reason and your orthodoxy on his side. But the monsters of your long black list (supposing it to be a true one) are barefaced hypocrites, equally condemned by their reason and profession: for, so far as they adhere to Mr. Wesley's doctrine, their principles are diametrically opposed to their practice, and therefore he is no more accountable for their "abominations" than our Lord was for Judas' treason.
Sec. vi, pp. 12, 13. You leave me in full possession of the scriptures, arguments, and quotations from our homilies and liturgy which I have advanced in the Fourth Check, supposing that when you have called them "the novel chimeras of the Fourth Check," or a "mingle mangle;" and that when you have referred your readers to "the faith of Mr. Ignorance," you have given my sentiments a Finishing Stroke. To such forcible arguments I can make no better and shorter reply than that of my title page, Logica Genevensis! However,
Page 11. You decide that my illustration of the woman dropping her child down the precipice "is totally foreign to the purpose," i.e. does not at all prove that Calvinism fathers "unprovoked wrath" upon the God of love. But how do you make it appear? Why, you insinuate that "man has forfeited all right and title to the favour of God by his fall in Adam;" and therefore God has been justly provoked to drop the reprobates down the precipice of sin into hell, by an eternal, unconditional, absolute decree of non-election.
The argument is specious, and has deceived thousands of simple souls into Calvinism: but can it bear examination? Who, or what provoked God to make, from all eternity, a decree of absolutely dropping Adam down the precipice of sin, and the reprobated part of his posterity down the precipice of damnation? Was it the sin of reprobates? No: for millions of them are as yet unconceived, and therefore sinless; for what has not yet a substance cannot yet have a mode; what does not yet exist cannot yet be sinful. Was it a foresight of their sin? No:
for, upon the Calvinistic plan, God certainly foresees what will happen, only because he has absolutely decreed what shall happen. Was it Adam's sin, as you insinuate? No: for Adam's sin was committed in time, and therefore could not influence an absolute decree of personal reprobation made before time, yea, from all eternity. But you add: Pages 11, 12, "If you believe that the transgression of our first parent entailed no condemnation upon his posterity, why did you subscribe to the ninth article of our Church, which says, that in every man born into the world it deserves God's wrath and damnation?" I apprehend you mistake, sir: that article says no such thing. What it affirms of a derivation of Adam's corruption, or of "the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, "you represent as spoken of Adam's personal transgression; which is absolutely confounding the cause and the effect. Every anti-Calvinist may, and I, for one, do believe, that in every man born into the world, and considered according to the first covenant, original corruption (not Adam's transgression) deserves God's wrath and damnation at the hands of a holy and righteous God, without dreaming that any man shall be ever damned for it: seeing that according to God's mercy and goodness displayed in the second covenant, Christ, "the second Adam," is come "to taste death for every man;" and to be "the Saviour of all men;" so that for his sake "the free gift is come upon all men to justification of life." (See the Fourth Check, p. 283, &c.) Thus, by looking at our Divine compass, the word of God, we sail through the straits of error, keeping at an equal distance from the rocks against which Calvinists run on the right hand, and the Pelagians on the left.
I have warded off the Stroke which you have attempted to give my sentiments with our ninth article; and now it is but just you should suffer me to return it. If I am not mistaken, that article is repugnant to Calvinism in two respects. (1.) It says not one word about the imputation of the demerits of Adam's first transgression; but makes original sin to consist only in the "infection of our nature;" which saps the foundation of your imaginary imputation of Adam's personal sin, and consequently ruins its counterpart, namely, your imaginary imputation of Christ's personal good works distinct from some actual participation of his holiness. (2.) It affirms that this infection, in every person born into the world, deserves God's wrath: a strong intimation this that it did not actually deserve that wrath before we were actually defiled by a sinful birth or conception. Now this, if I mistake not, implies, that of all the men now living upon the earth, not one actually deserved God's wrath and damnation two hundred years ago. So that if God absolutely reprobated one man now living, three hundred, much more six thousand years ago, much more from all eternity, he did it according to Calvin's doctrine of rich, free, unprovoked, gratuitous, undeserved wrath. O ye considerate Englishmen, stand to your articles, and you will soon shake off Geneva impositions!
Sec. vii, p. 12. You say in your moral creed about faith and works: "Faith when genuine will always manifest its reality by bringing forth good works, and all the fruits of a holy life." Now, sir, if you stand to this, without secret reserves about "a winter state," in which a genuine believer (so called) may commit adultery, murder, and incest, for many months, without losing the character of "a man after God's own heart," and his title to heaven; you make up the Antinomian gap, you set your seal to St. James' Epistle, you ratify the Checks; and consequently you give up your fourth letter, which contains the very marrow of Calvinism: unless, by some salvo of Geneva logic, you can reconcile these two propositions, which, upon the rational and moral plan of the Gospel, appear to me utterly irreconcilable. (1.) Faith, when genuine, always brings forth all the fruits of a holy life. (2.) A man's faith may be genuine while he goes any length in sin, and brings forth all the fruits of an unholy lifeadultery and murder not excepted. Sec. viii. My quotation from Dr. Owen, which sets Calvinistic contradiction in a most glaring light, seems to embarrass you much, (p. 14, &c.) You produce passage upon passage out of his writings to show that he explodes "the distinction of a double justification." But you know, sir, the doctor had as much right to contradict himself in his writings as you to militate against yourself in your Review. (See Fourth Check, letter i.) Beside, I have already observed, (Fourth Check, letter x,) that "a volume of such passages, instead of invalidating the doctrine I maintain, (or the quotation I produce,) would only prove that the most judicious Calvinists cannot make their scheme hang tolerably together." However, you say,
Pages 13, 14. "He [Dr. Owen] drops not the least intimation of any fresh act of justification which is then to pass upon a believer's person." What, sir, has not the doctor said, in his Treatise upon Justification, (p. 222,) "Whenever this inquiry is made, not how a sinner, &c, shall be justified, which is [as we are all agreed, by faith, or to use the doctor's unscriptural phrase] by the righteousness of Christ alone imputed to him; but how a man that professes evangelical faith in Christ shall be tried and judged; and whereon, as such, [that is, as a believer,] he shall be justified: we grant that it is, and must be by his own personal obedience." Now, sir, if the doctor has said this, and you dare not deny it, has he not said the very thing which I contend for?
When you affirm that he makes no mention of a fresh act of justification, do you not betray your inattention? Does he not declare that a sinner is justified by imputed righteousness, and that a believer as such shall be tried and justified by his own personal obedience? Now, if justification is the act of justifying, are you not greatly mistaken, when you represent the justification of a sinner by Christ's imputed righteousness, and the justification of a believer, or a saint, by his own personal obedience, as one and the same act? Permit me, sir, to refer you to the argument contained in the Fourth Check, p. 213; on which, next to the words of our Lord, Matt. xii, 37, I chiefly rest our controversy about justification. An argument, the answering of which (if it can be answered) would have done your cause more honour and service than what you are pleased to insinuate next concerning Mr. Wesley's honesty and mine.
D. Williams, out of whose book I copied my quotation from Dr. Owen, being a Calvinist, and as clear about a sinner's justification by faith as Dr. Owen himself, for brevity's sake, left out what the doctor says about it under the Calvinistic phrase of Christ's imputed righteousness. Here, as if D. Williams' wisdom were duplicity in me, (p. 14,) you triumph not only over me, but over Mr. Wesley, thus: "I never dare trust to Mr. Wesley or Mr. Fletcher in any quotations, &c. More words expunged by Mr. Fletcher out of the short quotation he has taken from Dr. Owen." But suppose I had knavishly expunged the words which D. Williams wisely left out as useless to his point, what need was there of reflecting upon Mr. Wesley on the occasion? O ye doctrines of free grace and free wrath, how long will ye mislead good men? How long will ye hurry them into that part of practical Antinomianism which consists in rash accusations of their opponents, in a lordly contempt of their gracious attainments, and in repeated insinuations that they pay no regard to common honesty?
When a combatant is too warm, he frequently gives an unexpected advantage to his antagonist. You are an instance of it, sir; your eagerness to reflect upon Mr. Wesley and me, has engaged you to present the world with a clause, which, though it was useless to the question debated by D. Williams, is of singular use to me in the present controversy, and in a manner decides the point. For in the passage left out by D. Williams, Dr. Owen speaks of the justification of a sinner, and says, as I have observed, that he is "justified by the righteousness of Christ alone, imputed to him: and this justification he evidently opposes to that of a believer, which" says he, "is and must be by his own personal obedience." So that the world (thanks be to your controversial heat!*) sees now that even your champion, in one of those happy moments when the great Diana did not stand in his light, saw, and held forth the important distinction between St. Paul's and St. James'-justification, that is, between the justification of a sinner by Christ's proper merits, according to the first Gospel axiom; and the justification of a saint by his own personal obedience of faith, or by Christ's derived merits, according to the second Gospel axiom.
[ * The second instance of this heat, so favourable to my cause, may be seen in the appendix, (No. 10.)]
Nor is this a new distinction, you would say, a "novel chimera," among Protestants: for, looking lately in a treatise upon good works, written by La Placette, that famous Protestant champion and confessor abroad, who, after be had left his native country for righteousness' sake, was minister of the French Church at Copenhagen, p. 272, Amst. Edition, 1700, I fell upon this passage:" Les Protestants de leur cote distinguent ena double justification, celle du peclieur, et celle du juste,"
4.c. That is, "Protestants on their part distinguish a two-fold justification, that of the sinner and that of the righteous," &c. Then speaking of the latter, he adds, "The justification of the righteous, considered as an act of God, implies three things: (1.) That God acknowledges for righteous him that is actually so. (2.) That he declares him such. And, (3.) That he treats him as such." How different is this threefold act of God from that which constitutes a sinner's justification? For this justification, being also considered as the act of God, implies:
(l.) That he pardons the sinner. (2.) That he admits him to his favour. And, (3.) That, under the Christian dispensation, he witnesses this double mercy to the believing sinner's heart, by giving him a sense of "the peace which passes all understanding," and a taste of the "glory which shall be revealed." However, as if all this was a mere "chimera," you say, Page 17. "Having fully vindicated Dr. Owen from the charge you have brought against him of holding two justifications," &c. Nay, sir, you have not vindicated him at all in this respect. All that you have proved, is, that he was no stranger to your logic, and that his love for the great Diana of the Calvinists made him inconsistently deny at one time what at another time his hatred of sin forced him to confess. Nor is this a few thing in mystic Geneva: you know, sir, a pious gentleman, who, after militating in a book called the Review against the declarative justification by works, which I contend for, drops these words, which deserve to be graven in brass, as an eternal monument of Calvinistic contradiction:" Neither Mr. Shirley, nor I, nor any Calvinist, that I ever heard of, denies that a sinner [should you not have said a believer?] is declaratively justified by works, both here and at the day of judgment." (Review, p. 149.) Now, if no Calvinist you ever heard of denies, in his luminous intervals, the very justification which I contend for in the Checks, do you not give a Finishing Stroke to Calvinistic consistency, when you say, (p. 18,) "I am determined to prove my former assertion against you, viz., that you cannot find one Protestant divine among the Puritans, &c, till the reign of Charles II, who held your doctrines!" You mean those of a sinner's justification by faith, and of a saint's justification by works, according to Gal. ii, 16, and Matt. xii, 37. Is it not granted on all sides that they all held the former justification? And do you not tell the world, No Calvinist that you ever heard of denied the latter? However, while you thus candidly confess that all Protestant divines held those capital doctrines of the Checks, I should not do you justice if I did not acknowledge that few, if any of them, held them uniformly and consistently in England, till Baxter began to make a firm stand against "Antinomian dotages."
Sec. ix, p. 20. You produce these words of mine, taken from the Fourth Check, "Your imputation stands upon a preposterous supposition that Christ the righteous was an execrable sinner." To this you reply with the warmth of a gentleman, who has learned politeness in mystic Geneva: "I tell you, Rev, sir, with the bluntness and honesty of an Englishman, that this is execrable Swiss slander." Now, sir, that what you call "execrable Swiss slander," is sterling English truth, I prove by these quotations from your favourite divine, Dr. Crisp, who, as quoted by D. Williams, says, (p. 328:) "God makes Christ as very a sinner as the creature himself was." Again, (p. 270:) "Nor are we so completely sinful, but Christ, being made sin, was as completely sinful as we." And it is well known that Luther, in one of his unguarded moments, called Christ the greatest, and consequently the most execrable sinner in the world. Now, sir, if "Christ was as completely sinful as we," (to use the words of your oracle,) does it not follow that he was a sinner as completely execrable as we are? And that you deviate a little from brotherly kindness when you call Dr. Crisp's Calvinistic mistake an execrable slander of mine?
Sec. x, pp. 21, 22. You find fault with my saying, "Is this (Christ's praying for Peter) a proof that he never prayed for Judas?" And you declare that this "assertion" (you should have said query) "does little honour to the advocacy of Christ." Permit me, sir, to explain myself. Though I believe, with Bishop Latimer, that Christ shed as much blood for Judas as for Peter, I never said nor believed, as you insinuate, "that Christ took more pains for the salvation of Judas than for that of Peter." You cannot justly infer it from my mentioning a matter of fact recorded in Scripture, viz., that once our Lord spoke to Judas, when he only looked at Peter; for he had explicitly warned Peter before. Therefore, in either case, Christ showed himself void (not of a peculiar regard for Peter's peculiar sincerity, but) of Calvinistic partiality. Again: I am persuaded that during the day of Judas' visitation, Christ prayed for him, and sincerely too; for if Christ had borne him a grudge, and, in consequence of it, had always made mental reserves, and excepted him when he prayed for his apostles; would he not have broken the second table of the law? And might he not be proposed as a pattern of inveterate malice, rather than of perfect charity?
You reply, (p. 22,) "If this were the case, [i.e. if our Lord prayed for Judas,] those words of his, 'I know thou hearest me always,' must be untrue; for when he prayed for Judas his prayer was rejected." But is your inference just? Christ always prayed with Divine wisdom, and according to his Father's will. Therefore he prayed consistently with the eternal decree, that moral agents shall be invited, drawn, and gently moved, but not forced, to obey the Gospel. Now, if our Lord prayed conditionally for Judas, (as he certainly did for all his murderers, since they were not all forgiven,) he might say, "I know thou hearest me always;" and yet Judas might, by his perverseness, as a free agent, "reject against himself" the gracious counsel of God, till he was absolutely given up. Thus our scheme of doctrine, instead of dishonouring Christ's advocacy, represents it in a rational and Scriptural light; while yours, I fear, wounds his character in the tenderest part, and fixes upon him the blot of cunning uncharitableness, and profound dissimulation.
Sec. xi, p. 25. You say, "Time would fail me to pretend to enumerate the many gross misrepresentations," &c. However, as you have actually represented me as saying, that the more a believer sins upon earth, the merrier he will be in heaven, I beg you will point out to me where, in the plain, easy sense of my words, I have spoken any such thing; or where I have ever used so ludicrous an expression as mirth, &c, when speaking of those "pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore."
I conclude my Antinomian creed thus, (Fourth Check, p. 261,) "Adultery, incest, and murder, shall, upon the whole, make me holier upon earth and merrier in heaven." Two lines below, I observe that "I am indebted to you for all the doctrines, and most of the expressions of this creed." You have therefore no right to say, "Where have I used the expression merry?" For I never said you have used it, though our Lord has, Luke xv, 32. But as you have a right to say, Where is the doctrine? I reply, In your fourth letter, sir, where you tell us, that "a grievous fall will make believers sing louder in heaven to all eternity." Now as louder songs are a certain indication of greater joy, where nothing is done in hypocrisy, I desire even Calvinists to say if I have wrested "the plain, easy sense of your words," in observing that, according to your scheme, apostates shall be merrier, Or, if you please, more joyful in heaven for their grievous falls on earth.
Page 27. "Now, sir, give me leave to pluck a feather out of your high soaring wings, &c, by asking you simply, "whence have you taken it? [this quotation so called.] Did I ever assert any thing like this? &c. Prove your point, and then I will confess that you are no calumniator of God's people." I answer,
(1.) I did not produce as a quotation the words which you allude to: I put them in commas, as expressive of the sentiments of "many good men." How then could you think that you alone are many good men? (2.) But you say that you, for one, understand the words of St. John, "He that does righteousness is righteous," of personal holiness. Now, sir, to prove me a "calumniator," you have only to prove that David did righteousness, when he defiled Uriah's wife; for you teach us directly, or indirectly, that when he committed that crime he was "undefiled," and continued to be "a man after God's own heart," i.e. a righteous man, for "the Lord alloweth the righteous, but the ungodly does his soul abhor." (3.) However, if I have mistaken one of the scriptures, on which you found your doctrine, I have not mistaken the doctrine itself. What are the words for which you call me a "calumniator," and charge me with "horrid perversion, falsehood, and base disingenuity?" Why, I have represented "many good men" as saying, (by the general tenor of one of their doctrines of grace, the absolute perseverance of fallen, adulterous, idolatrous, incestuous believers,) "Let not Mr. Wesley deceive you: he that actually liveth with another man's wife, worships abominable idols, and commits incest with his father's wife, may not only be righteous, but complete in imputed righteousness," &c. This is the doctrine I charge upon many good men. and if you, for one, say, "Did I ever assert any thing like this?" I reply, Yes, sir, in your fourth letter, which is a professed attempt to prove that believers may, like adulterous David, idolatrous Solomon, and the incestuous Corinthian, go any length in sin without ceasing to stand complete in, what I beg leave to call, Calvinistic righteousness. Thus, instead of "plucking a feather out of my wings," you wing the arrow which I let fly at your great Diana. [Proofreader's note: 'Fletcher' means 'one who puts feathers -- fletching -- on arrows'!]
Sec. xii. For brevity's sake I shall reduce my answer to the rest of your capital charges into plain queries, not doubting but my judicious readers will see their unreasonableness without the help of arguments.
1. Is it right in Mr. Hill to call (pp. 34, 35) my extract from Flavel "a citation," and "a quotation;" and then to charge me with "disingenuity, gross perversion, expunging," &c, because I have not swelled my extract by transcribing all Flavel's book, or because I have taken only what suits the present times, and what is altogether consistent? Especially when I have observed, (Fourth Check, p. 234,) "that, when Flavel encounters Antinomian errors as a disciple of Calvin, his hands hang down, Amalek prevails; and a shrewd logician could, without any magical power, force him to confess, that most of the errors which he so justly opposes are the natural consequences of Calvinism?"
2. Is it right in Mr. Hill to charge me (p. 57) with "base forgeries;" and to represent me (p. 56) as "descending to the poor, illiberal arts of forgery, and defamation," because I have presented the public with a parable in the dress of a royal proclamation, which I produce as a mere "illustration;" because I charge him with indirectly propagating tenets which as necessarily flow from his doctrines of grace, as light does from the sun; and because I have distinguished by commas a creed framed with his avowed principles? Although I have added these words, to show that I took the composition of it upon myself: "You speak indeed in the third person, and I in the first; but this alters not the doctrine. Some clauses and sentences I have added, not to misrepresent and blacken, (for what need is there of blackening the sable mantle of midnight?) but to introduce, connect, and illustrate your sentiments."
3. Angry as the Pharisees were at our Lord when he exposed their errors by parables, did they ever charge him with base forgery, because his "illustrations" were not true stories? Is it not strange that this admirable way of defending "the truth" should have been found out by the grand defender of "the doctrines of grace?" Again: if marking with commas a paragraph of our composing, to distinguish it from our own real sentiments, is a crime; is not Mr. Hill as criminal as myself? Does he not (p. 31,) present the public with a card of his own composing, in which he holds forth the supposed sentiments of many clergymen, and which he distinguishes with commas thus: "The Feather's Tavern fraternity present compliments to Messrs J. Wesley and Fletcher," &c. Shall what passes for wit in the author of Pietas Oxoniensis, be gross disingenuity, and base forgery, in the author of the Vindication? O ye candid Calvinists, partial as your system is, can you possibly approve of such glaring partiality?
4. Is it right of Mr. Hill to take his leave of me in this abrupt manner, (pp. 39, 40:) "The unfair quotations you have made, and the shocking misrepresentations and calumnies you have been guilty of, will for the future prevent me from looking into any of your books, if you should write a thousand volumes:" and this especially under pretence, that I have "shamefully perverted and misrepresented the doctrines of Anthony Burgess," when I have simply produced a quotation from him, in which there is not a shadow of misrepresentation, as the reader will see by comparing Fourth Check, (p. 226,) with the last paragraph of the twelfth Sermon of Mr. Burgess on Grace and Assurance?
Sec. xiii. This perpetual noise about "gross misrepresentations, shameful perversions, interpolations, base forgeries," &c, becomes Mr. Hill as little as any man; his own inaccuracy in quotation equalling that of the most inattentive writer I am acquainted with. Our readers have seen on what a slender basis he rests his charge of "base forgeries." I beg leave to show them how on what solid ground I rest my charge of uncommon inaccuracy; and not to intrude too long upon their patience, I shall just produce a few instances only out of his Finishing Stroke.*
[ * To produce such instances out of the "Review," would be almost endless. One, however, Mr. Hill forces me to touch upon a second time. This is the case. The sword of the Spirit, which Mr. Wesley uses, is two edged. When he defends the first Gospel axiom against the Pharisees, he preached "salvation, not by the merit of works, but by believing in Christ:" and when he defends the second Gospel axiom against the Antinomians, he preaches "salvation, not by the merit of works, but by works as a condition." No sooner did the Calvinists see this last proposition at full length in the Minutes than they took the alarm, fondly imagining that Mr. Wesley wanted to overthrow the Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith. To convince them of their mistake, I appealed to Mr. Wesley's works in general, and to the Minutes in particular; two sentences of which evidently show that he had not the least intention of setting aside faith in Christ, in order to make way for the antichristian merit of works. Accordingly, I laid those sentences before my readers, taking special care to show by commas that I produced two different parts of the Minutes, thus: "Not by the merit of works," but by "believing in Christ." Here is not a shadow of disingenuity, either as to the quotations, for they are fairly taken from the Minutes; or as to the sense of the whole sentences, for many volumes, and myriads of hearers can testify, that it perfectly agrees with Mr. Wesley's well-known doctrine. But what does Mr. Hill? Biased by his system, he tampers with my quotations; he takes off the two commas after the word works; he overlooks the two commas before the word believing! He (inadvertently, I hope) throws my two distinct quotations into one; and by that means adds to them the words "but by," which I had particularly excluded. When he has thus turned my two just quotations into one that is false, he is pleased to put me into the Geneva pillory for his own mistake; and as his doctrines of grace teach him to kill two birds with one stone, he involves Mr. Wesley in my gratuitous disgrace, thus: "Forgeries of this kind have long passed for no crime with Mr. Wesley: I did not think you would have followed him in these ungenerous articles." ("Review," p. 27.) Upon the remonstrance I made about this strange way of proceeding, (see note, Fourth Check, p. 229,) I hoped that Mr. Hill would have hanged down his head a moment, and dropped the point for ever. But no: he must give a Finishing Stroke, and drive home the nail of his rash accusation, by calling my remarks upon his mistakes "attempts to vindicate that most shameful, false quotation he [Mr. Fletcher] has twice made from the Minutes." (Log. Wesl. p. 35.) And to prove that my attempts have been unsuccessful, he produces passages out of a newspaper, which represent "his majesty,""stealing bread," "her majesty,""committed to the house of correction." To this I answer, that if such unconnected quotations (of which I only give here the substance) were properly distinguished by commas; if they were separated by intervening words; and, if they did not in the least misrepresent the author's sense, it would be great injustice to call them either "a most shameful false quotation," or a "forgery." Now these three particulars meet in my two quotations from the Minutes. (1.) They are both properly distinguished with commas. (2.) They are parted by intervening words. And (3.) They do not in the least misrepresent Mr. Wesley's meaning: whereas, (to say nothing more of my commas expunged in the Review,) no word intervenes between Mr. Hill's supposed quotations out of the papers; and they form a shameful misrepresentation of the publisher's meaning.
O but as the quotations from the Minutes are linked, they "speak a language directly opposite to the Minutes themselves." So says Mr. Hill, without producing the shadow of a proof. But, upon the arguments of the five Checks, I affirm that the two Gospel axioms, or my linked quotations and the Minutes, agree as perfectly with each other as those positions of St. Paul to which they answer: "By grace ye are saved through faith." Therefore "work out your salvation with fear."
From this redoubled stroke of Mr. Hill, I am tempted to think, that, like Justice, "Logica Genevensis" has a covering over her eyes; but, alas! for a very different reason. Like her also she has a balance in her left hand; but it is to weigh out and vend her own assertions as proofs. And, like her, she holds a sword in her right hand; but, alas! it is often to wound brotherly love, and stab evangelical truth. Bring her into the field of controversy, and she will at once cut down Christ's doctrine as dreadful heresy. Set her in the judgment seat to pass sentence over good works, and over honest men, that do not bow at her shrine; and without demur she will pronounce, that the former are dung, and that the latter are knaves.]
1. That performance does not do my sermon, justice; for, (P. 51,) Mr. Hill quotes me so: "They [good works] are declarative of our free justification;" whereas my manuscript runs thus: "They are the declarative cause of our free justification," viz., in the day of trial and of judgment. The word "cause" here is of the utmost importance to my doctrine, powerfully guarding the Minutes and undefiled religion. Whether it is left out, because it shows at once the absurdity of pretending that my old sermon "is the best confutation of Mr. Wesley's Minutes," or because Mr. Hill's copier omitted it first, is best known to Mr. Hill himself.
2. I say in the Fourth Check, (p. 293,) "To vindicate what I beg leave to call God's honesty, permit me to observe, first, that I had rather believe Joseph told once 'a gross untruth,' than to suppose that God perpetually equivocates." For undoubtedly of two evils I would choose the least, if a cogent dilemma obliged me to choose either. But this is not the case here: the dilemma is not forcible; for in the next lines I show that Joseph, instead of "telling a gross untruth," only spake the language of brotherly kindness. However, without paying any regard to my vindication of Joseph's speech, Mr. Hill catches at the conditional words, "I had rather believe:" just as if I had said, I do actually believe, he turns them into a peremptory declaration of my faith, and three times represents me as asserting what I never said nor believed. Thus, (p. 38,) "your wonderful assertion, that Joseph told his brethren a gross untruth." Once more, (p 39,) "The repeated words of inspiration you venture to call gross untruth." Solomon says, "Who can stand before envy?" And I ask, "Who can stand before Mr. Hill's inattention?" I am sure, neither I, nor Mr. Wesley. At this rate he can undoubtedly find a blasphemy in every page, and a farrago in every book.
3. Take another instance of the same, want of exactness. I say in the Fourth Check, (p. 222,) "I never thought Mr. Whitefield was clear in the doctrine of our Lord: 'In the day of judgment by thy words shalt thou be justified;' for if he had seen it in a proper light, he would instantly have renounced Calvinism." This passage Mr. Hill quotes thus, in italics and commas, (p. 23:) " You never thought him clear in our Lord's doctrine; for if he had, he would have renounced his Calvinism." The inaccuracy of this quotation consists in omitting those important words of our Lord: "In the day of judgment," &c. By this omission that sense of the preceding clause is indefinite; and I am represented as saying, that Mr. Whitefield is not clear in any doctrine of our Lord, no not in that of the fall, repentance, salvation by faith, the new birth, &c. This one mistake of Mr. Hill is sufficient to make me pass for a mere coxcomb in all the Calvinistic world.
4. It is by the like inattention that Mr. Hill prejudices also against me the friends of Mr. Wesley. In the Fourth Check, after having answered an objection of the Rev. Mr. Hill against Mr. Wesley, I produce that objection again for a fuller answer, and say: "But, supposing that Mr. Wesley had not properly considered, &c, what would you infer from thence? &c. Weigh your argument, &c, and you will find it is wanting." Then I immediately produce Mr. Hill's objection in the form of an argument, thus: "Twenty-three, or, if you please, three years ago, Mr. Wesley wanted clearer light," &c. Now what I evidently produce as a supposition, and as the Rev. Mr. Hill's own argument unfolded in order to answer it, my opponent fathers upon me thus:" The following are your own words, "Three years ago Mr. Wesley wanted clearer light." &c. True, they are my own words: but, to do me justice, Mr. Hill should have produced them as I do, namely, as a supposition, and as the drift of his brother's objection, in order to show its frivolousness. This is partly such a mistake as if Mr. Hill said: "The following are David's own words, 'Tussah! there is no God.'"
However, he is determined to improve his own oversight, and he does it by asking, (p. 17,) "What then is become of thousands of Mr. Wesley's followers who died before this clearer light came?" An argument this by which the most ignorant Papists in my parish perpetually defend their idolatrous superstitions: "What is become of all our forefathers," say they, "before Luther and Calvin? Were they all damned?" Is it not surprising that Mr. Hill, not contented to produce a Popish friar's conversation, should have thus recourse to the argument of every Popish cobbler who attacks the doctrine of the reformation? O Logica Genevensis! how dost thou show thyself the genuine sister of Logica Romana!
5. I return to the mistakes by which Mr. Hill has supported, before the world, his charge of "calumny." I say, in the Second Check, (p. 109.) "How few of our celebrated pulpits are there where more has not been said at times for sin than against it?" Mr. Hill (p. 7) says, "The ministers, who preach in these (our most celebrated pulpits,) are condemned without exception, as such pleaders for sin, that they say more for it than against it." Here are two capital mistakes, (1.) The question, How few? &c, evidently leaves room for some exceptions; but Mr. Hill represents me as condemning our most celebrated pulpits "without exception." (2.) This is not all. To mitigate the question, I add, "at times," words by which I give my readers to understand that sin is in general attacked in our celebrated pulpits, and that it is only at times, that is, on some particular occasion, or in some part of a sermon, that the ministers alluded to say more for sin than against it. Now, Mr. Hill leaves out of his quotation the words, at times, and by that means effectually represents me as "a calumniator of God's people: for what is true with the limitation that I use, becomes a falsehood when it is produced without. This omission of Mr. Hill is the more singular, as my putting the words, at times, in italics, indicates that I want my readers to lay a peculiar stress upon it on account of its importance. One more instance of Mr. Hill's inaccuracy, and I have done.
6. Pages 7, 8. He presents his readers with a long paragraph produced as a quotation from the Second Check. It is made up of some detached sentences picked here and there from that piece, and put together with as much wisdom as the patches which make up a fool's coat. And among these sentences he has introduced this, which is not mine in sense any more than in expression: "They [celebrated ministers] handle no texts of Scripture without distorting them," for I insinuate just the contrary, in the Second Check.
7. But the greatest fault I find with that paragraph of Mr. Hill's book is the conclusion, which runs thus: "They [celebrated ministers] do the devil's work till they and their congregations all go to hell together. Second Check, pp. 97, 103." Now, in neither of the pages quoted by Mr. Hill, nor indeed any where else, did I ever say so wild and wicked a thing. Nothing could engage my pious opponent to father such a horrid assertion upon me, but the great and severe Diana, that engages him to father absolute reprobation upon God.
It is true, however, that, alluding to the words of our Lord, Matt. i, I say, in the Second Check, p. 129, "If these shall go into everlasting punishment," &c. But who are these? well celebrated ministers, with all their congregations! So says Mr. Hill; but, happily for me, my heart starts from the thought with the greatest detestation, and my pen has testified that these condemned wretches are in general "obstinate workers of iniquity," and, in particular, "unrenewed antiCalvinists, and impenitent Nicolaitans." Page 126, (the very page which Mr. Hill quotes,) I describe the unrenewed anti-Calvinists thus: "Stubborn Sons of Belial, saying, Lord, thy Father is merciful; and if thou didst die for all, why not for us? Obstinate Pharisees, who plead the good they did in their own name to supersede the Redeemer's merits." Impenitent Nicolaitans or Antinomians, I describe thus, (pp. 129, 136, 137: "Obstinate violators of God's law, who scorned personal holiness; rejected Christ's word of command; have gone on still in their wickedness; have continued in doing evil; have been unfaithful unto death; and have defiled their garments to the last." Is it possible that Mr. Hill should take this for a description of all celebrated ministers, and of all their congregations, and that, upon so glaring a mistake, he should represent me as making them "all go to hell together?"
Sec. xiv. O ye pious Calvinists, whether ye fill our celebrated pulpits, or attend upon them that do, far from sending "you all to hell together," as you are told I do, I exult in the hope of meeting you all together in heaven. I lie not. I speak the truth in Him that shall justify us by our words; even now I enjoy a foretaste of heaven in lying at your feet in spirit; and my conscience bears me witness, that, though I try to detect and oppose your mistakes, I sincerely love and honour your persons. My regard for you, as zealous, defenders of the first Gospel axiom, is unalterable. Though your mistaken zeal should prompt you to think or say all manner of evil against me, because I help Mr. Wesley to defend the second; am determined to offer you still the right band of fellowship. And if any of you should honour me so far as to accept it, I shall think myself peculiarly happy; for, next to Jesus and truth, the esteem and love of good men is what I consider as the most invaluable blessing. A desire to recover the interest I once had in the brotherly kindness of some of you, has in part engaged me to clear myself from the mistaken charges of calumny and forgery, by which my hasty opponent has prejudiced you against me and my Checks. If you find that he has defended your cause with carnal weapons, hope with me that precipitation, and too warm a zeal for your doctrines have misled him, and not malice or disingenuity.
Hope it also, ye anti-Calvinists, considering that if St. James and St. John, through mere bigotry and impatience of opposition, were once ready to command fire from heaven to come down upon the Samaritans, it is no wonder that Mr. Hill, in an unguarded moment, should have commanded the fire of his Calvinistic zeal to kindle against Mr. Wesley and me. As you do not unchristian now the two rash apostles for a sin, of which they immediately repented, let me beseech you to confirm your love toward Mr. Hill, who has probably repented already of the mistakes into which his peculiar sentiments have betrayed his good nature and good breeding.
Sec. xv. I return to you, honoured sir, and beg you would forgive me the liberty I have taken to lay before the public what I should have been glad to have buried in eternal oblivion. But your Finishing Stroke has been so heavy and desperate, as to make this addition to Logica Genevensis necessary to clear up my doctrine, to vindicate my honesty, to point out the mistaken author of the Farrago, and give the world a new specimen of the arguments by which your system must be defended, when reason, conscience, and Scripture, (the three most formidable batteries in the world,) begin to play upon its ramparts.
You "earnestly entreat" me, in your postscript, to publish a manuscript sermon on Rom. xi, 5, 6, that I preached about eleven years ago in my Church, in defence of the first Gospel axiom. You are pleased to call it three times "excellent," and you present the public with an extract from it, made up of some unguarded passages; detached from those that in a great degree guard them, explain my meaning, confirm the doctrine of the Checks, and sap the foundation of your mistakes. As I am not less willing to defend free grace, than to plead for faithful obedience, I shall gladly grant your request, so far at least as to send my old sermon into the world with additions in brackets, just as I preached it again last spring; assuring you that the greatest addition is in favour of free grace. By thus complying with your "earnest entreaty," I shall show my respect, meet you halfway, gratify the curiosity of our readers, and yet give them a specimen of what appears to me a free guarded Gospel.
That discourse will be the principal piece of An Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism which I have prepared for the press. Upon the plan of the doctrines it contains, I do not despair to see moderate Calvinists, and unprejudiced anti-Calvinists acknowledge their mutual orthodoxy, and embrace one another with mutual forbearance. May you and I, dear sir, set them the example! In the meantime, may the brotherly love, with which we forgive each other the real or apparent unkindness of our publications, continue and increase! May the charity that is "not easily provoked," and "hopeth all things," uniformly influence our hearts! So shall the words that drop from our lips, or distil from our pens, evidence that we are, or desire to be, the close followers of the meek, gentle, and yet impartial, plain-spoken Lamb of God. For his sake, to whom we are both so greatly indebted, restore me to your former benevolence, and be persuaded, that notwithstanding the severity of your Finishing Stroke, and the plainness of my answer, I really think it an honour, and feel it a pleasure to subscribe myself, honoured and dear sir, your affectionate and obedient servant, in the Gospel of our common Lord,
MADELEY, Sept. 13, 1773.
Upon the remaining difference between true Calvinists and the anti-Calvinists with respect to our Lord's doctrine of justification by words, and St. James' doctrine of justification by works.
To force my dear opponents out of the last entrenchment in which they defend their mistakes, and from behind which they attack the justification by words and works peculiarly insisted on by our Lord and St. James, I only need to show how far we agree with respect to that justification; to state the difference that remains between us; and to prove the unreasonableness of considering us as Papists, because we oppose an unscriptural and irrational distinction, that leaves Mr. Fulsome in full possession of all his Antinomian dotages.
On both sides we agree to maintain, in opposition to Socinians and Deists, that the grand, the primary, and properly meritorious cause of our justification, from first to last, both in the day of conversion and in the day of judgment, is only the precious atonement, and the infinite merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. We all agree, likewise, that, in the day of conversion, faith is the instrumental cause of our justification before God. Nay, if I mistake not, we come one step nearer each other, for we equally hold that after conversion the works of faith are in this world, and will be in the day of judgment, the evidencing cause of our justification; that is, the works of faith (under the above-mentioned primary cause of our salvation, and in subordination to the faith that gives them birth) are now, and will be in the great day, the evidence that shall instrumentally cause our justification as believers. Thus Mr. Hill says, (Review, p. 149:) " Neither Mr. Shirley, nor I, nor any Calvinist that I ever heard of, denies, that though a sinner be justified in the sight of God by Christ alone, he is declaratively justified by works, both here and at the day of judgment." And the Rev. Mr. Madan, in his sermon on justification by works, by, stated, explained, and reconciled with justification by faith, &c, says, (p. 29,) "By Christ only are we meritoriously justified, and by faith only are we instrumentally justified in the sight of God; but by works, and not by faith only, are we declaratively justified before men and angels." From these two quotations, which could easily be multiplied to twenty, it is evident, that pious Calvinists hold the doctrine of a justification by the works of faith; or, as Mr. Madan expresses it, after St. James, "by works, and not by faith only."
It remains now to show wherein we disagree. At first sight the difference seems trifling, but upon close examination it appears that the whole Antinomian gulf still remains fixed between us. Read over the preceding quotations; weigh the clauses which I have put in italics; compare them with what the Rev. Mr. Berridge says in his "Christian World Unmasked," (p. 26,) of "an absolute impossibility of being justified in any manner by our works," namely, before God; and you will see that although pious Calvinists allow we are justified by works before men and angels, yet they deny our being ever justified by works before God, in whose sight they suppose we are for ever "justified by Christ alone," i.e. only by Christ's good works and sufferings absolutely imputed to us, from the very first moment in which we make a single act of true faith, if not from all eternity. Thus works are still entirely excluded from having any hand either in our intermediate or eternal justification before God, and thus they are still represented as totally needless to our eternal salvation. Now, in direct opposition to the above-mentioned distinction, we anti-Calvinists believe that adult persons cannot be saved without being justified by faith as sinners, according to the light of their dispensation; and by works as believers, according to the time and opportunities they have of working. We assert that the works of faith are not less necessary to our justification before God as believers, than faith itself is necessary to our justification before him as sinners: and we maintain, that when faith does not produce good works, (much more when it produces the worst works, such as adultery, hypocrisy, treachery, murder, &c,) it dies, and justifies no more, seeing it is a living and not a dead faith that justifies us as sinners; even as they are living, and not dead works that justify us as believers. I have already exposed the absurdity of the doctrine, that works are necessary to our final justification before men and angels, but not before God. However, as this distinction is one of the grand subterfuges of the decent Antinomians, and one of the pleas by which the hearts of the simple are most easily deceived into Solifidianism, to the many arguments that I have already produced upon this head in the sixth letter of the Fourth Check, I beg leave to add those which follow:
1. The way of making up the Antinomian gap, by saying, that works are necessary to our intermediate and final justification before men and angels, but not before God, is as bad as the gap itself. "If God is for me (says judicious Mr. Fulsome) who can be against me? If God has for ever justified me only by Christ, and if works have absolutely no place in my justification before him, what care I for men and angels? Should they justify when God condemns, what would their absolution avail? And if they condemn when God justifies, what signifies their condemnation? All creatures are fallible. The myriads of men and angels are as nothing before God. He is all in all." Thus, Mr. Fulsome, by a most judicious way of arguing, keeps the field of licentiousness where the Solifidian ministers have inadvertently brought him, and whence he is too wise to depart upon their brandishing before him the broken reed of an absurd distinction.
2. Our justification by works will principally, and in some cases entirely, turn upon the works of the heart, which are unknown to all but God. Again: were men and angels in all cases to pass a decisive sentence upon us according to our works, they might judge us severely, as Mr. Hill judges Mr. Wesley: they might brand us for forgery upon the most frivolous appearances; at least they might condemn us as rashly as Job's friends condemned him. Once more: were our fellow creatures to condemn us decisively by our works, they would often do it as unjustly as the disciples condemned the blessed woman, who poured a box of very precious ointment on our Lord's head. They had indignation, and blamed as uncharitable waste what our Lord was pleased to call "a good work wrought upon him," a good work, which shall be told for a memorial of her as long as the Christian Gospel is preached. To this may be added the mistake of the apostles, who, even after they had received the Holy Ghost, condemned Saul of Tarsus by his former, when they should have absolved him by his latter works. And even now, how few believers would justify Phinehas for running Zimri and Cosbi through the body, or Peter for striking Ananias and Sapphira dead, without giving them time to say once, "Lord, have mercy upon us!" Nay, how many would condemn them as rash men, if not as cruel murderers! In some cases, therefore, none can possibly justify or condemn believers by their works, but He who is perfectly acquainted with all the outward circumstances of their actions, and with all the secret springs whence they flow.
3. The Scriptures know nothing of the distinction which I explode. When St. Paul denies that Abraham was justified by works, it is only when he treats of the justification of a sinner, and speaks of the "works of unbelief." When Christ says, "By thy words thou shalt be justified," he makes no mention of angels. To suppose that they shall be able to justify a world of men by their words, is to suppose that they have heard, and do remember, all the words of all mankind, which is supposing them to be gods. Nay, far from being judged by angels, St. Paul says, that "we shall judge them;" not indeed as proper judges, but as Christ's assessors and mystical members: for our Lord, in his description of the great day, informs us that he, and not men or angels, will justify the sheep, and condemn the goats, by their works.
4. St. Paul discountenances the evasive distinction which I oppose when he says, "Thinkest thou, O man, who doest such things, that thou shalt escape the righteous judgment of God, who will render eternal life to them that by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, &c, when he shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ?" For reason dictates, that neither men nor angels, but the Searcher of hearts alone will be able to justify or condemn us by secrets, unknown possibly to all but himself.
5. If you say, Most men shall have been condemned or justified long before the day of judgment; therefore the solemn pomp of that day will be appointed merely for the sake of justification by men and angels: I exclaim against the unreasonableness of supposing that "the great and terrible day of God," with an eye to which the world of rationals was created, is to be only the day of men and angels. And I reply: Although I grant, that judgment certainly finds us where death leaves us; final justification and condemnation being chiefly a solemn seal set, if I may so speak, upon the forehead of those whose consciences are already justified or condemned, according to the last turn of their trial on earth: yet it appears, both from Scripture and reason, that mankind cannot properly be judged before the great day. Departed spirits are not men; and dead men cannot be tried till the resurrection of the dead takes place, when departed spirits and raised bodies will form men again by their re-union. Therefore, in the very nature of things, God cannot judge mankind before the great day; and to suppose that the Father has appointed such a day, that we may be finally justified by our works before men and angels, and not before him, is to suppose that he has committed the chief judgment to the parties to be judged, i.e. to men and angels, and not to Jesus Christ.
6. But, if I mistake not, St. James puts the matter out of all dispute, where he says: "You see, then, that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only," chap. ii, 24. This shows that a man is justified by works before the same judge, by whom he is justified by faith; and here is the proof. Nobody was ever justified by faith before men and angels, because faith is an inward act of the soul, which none but the Tryer of the reins can be a judge of. Therefore, as the Justifier by faith alluded to in the latter part of the verse is undoubtedly God alone, it is contrary to all the rules of criticism to suppose that the Justifier by works, alluded to in the very same sentence, is men and angels. Nay, in the preceding verse, God is expressly mentioned, and not men or angels: "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness," i.e. he was justified before God. So that the same Lord, who justified him as a sinner by faith in the day of his conversion, justified him also as a believer by works in the day of his trial.
7. But this is not all. Turning to Gen. xxii, the chapter which St. James had undoubtedly in view when he insisted upon Abraham's justification by works, I find the best of arguments, matter of fact. "And it came to pass, that God did tempt [i.e. try] Abraham." The patriarch acquitted himself like a sound believer in the hard trial; he obediently offered up his favourite son. Here St. James addresses a Solifidian, and bluntly says, "Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead," i.e. that when faith gives over working by obedient love, it sickens, dies, and commences a dead faith? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac upon the altar? If Mr. Hill answer, Yes, he was justified by works before men and angels, but not before God; I reply, Impossible! For neither men nor angels put him to the trial to bring out what was in his heart. God tried him that he might justly punish, or wisely reward him; therefore God justified him. If a judge, after trying a man on a particular occasion, acquits him upon his good behaviour, in order to proceed to the reward of him, is it not absurd to say, that the man is acquitted before the court, but not before the judge; especially if there is neither court nor jury present, but only the judge? Was not this the case at Abraham's trial? Do we hear of any angel being present but the Angel Jehovah? And had not Abraham left his two servants with the ass at the foot of the mount? Is it reasonable then to suppose that Abraham was justified before them by a work, which as yet they had not heard of; for, says St. James, "When [which implies as soon as] he had offered Isaac, he was justified by works?" If you say that he was justified before Isaac, I urge the absurdity of supposing that God made so much ado about the trial of Abraham before the lad; and demand proof that God had appointed the youth to be the justifier of his aged parent.
8. But let the sacred historian decide the question. "And the Lord called to Abraham out of heaven, and said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, for now I know [declaratively] that thou fearest God," (i.e. believest in God.) Now I can praise and reward thee with wisdom and equity: "Seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thy only son from me." Upon Calvinistic principles, did not God speak improperly? Should not he have said, Now angels and men, before whom thou hast offered Isaac, do know that thou fearest me? But if God had spoken thus, would he have spoken consistently with either his veracity or his wisdom? Is it not far more reasonable to suppose, that although God as omniscient, with a glance of his eyes, "tries the hearts, searches the reins," and foresees all future contingencies; yet, as a judge, and a wise dispenser of punishments and rewards, he condemns no unbelievers, and justifies no believers, in St. James' sense, but by the evidence of tempers, words, and actions, which actually spring from their unbelief, or their faith?
9. Was it not from the same motive that God tried Job in the land of Uz, chap. i, 12, Israel in the wilderness, Deut. viii, 1, compared with Josh. xxii, 2, and King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, 2 Chron. xxxii, 31. "God (says the historian) left him [to the temptation] that he [God] might know [declaratively] all that was in his heart." It is true, Mr. Hill supposes, in the second edition of his Five Letters, that the words, he might know, refer to Hezekiah; but Canne more judiciously refers to Gen. xxii, 1, where God tried Abrahamnot that Abraham might know, but that he himself might declaratively know what was in Abraham's heart. If the word that HE might know, did refer to Hezekiah, should not the affix (') he, or him, have been added to [rn-i], thus, as it is put to the two preceding verbs, 'he left him', to try HIM!
10. Our Lord himself decides the question, where he says to his believing disciples, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven." It was undoubtedly an attention to this scripture that made Dr. Owen say: "Hereby [by personal obedience] that faith whereby we are justified [as sinners] is evidenced, proved, manifested in the sight of God and man." And yet, astonishing! this passage, which indirectly gives up the only real difference there is between Mr. Hill's justification by works and ours; this passage, which cuts him off from the only way he has of making his escape, (except that by which his brother tried to make his own, see Fourth Check, p. 279;) this very passage which makes so much for my sentiment, is one of those concerning which he says, (Finishing Stroke, p. 14) "Words prudently expunged by Mr. Fletcher," when they are only words, which for brevity's sake I very imprudently left out, since they cut down Solifidianism, even with Dr. Owen's sword.
To conclude. Attentive reader, peruse James ii, where the justification of believers by works before God is so strongly insisted upon. Observe what is said there of the law of liberty; of believers being judged by that law; of the "judgment without mercy;" that shall be shown to fallen, merciless believers according to that law. Consider that this doctrine exactly coincides with the sermon upon the mount, and the Epistle to the Hebrews; that it perfectly tallies with Ezek. xviii, xxxiii; Matt. xii, xxv; Rom. ii; Gal. vi, &c; and that it is delivered to brethren, yea, to the beloved brethren of St. James, to whom he could say, "Out of his own will the Father of lights begat us with the word of truth." Take notice that the charge indirectly brought against them is that they "had the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons;" and that they " deceived their own selves," by not being as careful doers as they were diligent "hearers of the word." Then look round upon some of our most famous believers: see how foaming, how roaring, how terrible are the billows of their partiality. Read "An Address from candid Protestants to the Rev. Mr. Fletcher;" read "The Finishing Stroke;" read "More Work for Mr. Wesley;" read the Checks to Arminianism; and say if there is not as great need to insist upon a believer's justification by words and works as there was in the days of our Lord and St. James: and if it is not high time to say to modern believers, "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy: for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again, [by Him that] shall render to every one according to what he has done in the body, whether it be good or bad." But "candid Protestants" have an answer ready in their "Address." This is "the Popish doctrine of justification by works," and "Arminian Methodism turned out rank Popery at last." This is a mingle mangle of "the most high and mighty, self. righteous, self-potent, self-important, self-sanctifying, self-justifying, and self-exalting medley minister."* The misfortune is, that amidst these witticisms of " the Protestants," (for it seems the Calvinists engross that name to themselves,) we, "rank Papists," still look out for arguments; and when we find none, or only such as are worse than none, we still say Logica Genevensis! and remain confirmed in our "dreadful heresy," or rather in our Lord's anti-Calvinistic doctrine, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
[ * See the above-mentioned "Address from Candid Protestants."]
END OF THE FIRST PART.