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a person described under the influence of a twofold prin ciple, corruption and grace? The former fo brought into fubjection, that its actings are not to be attributed, strictly speaking, to him (being so contrary to the new man, his predominant principle, according to which God accounts of us, and denominates us) but are imputable only to the remains of the old man, or indwelling sin. The latter having such an empire in his soul, as to be called himself, so that (notwithstanding his corruptions and the out-breakings of them) he can fay, I myself serve the law of God. In fine, this conclusion moft certainly appears to be necessary and uniquestionable, that they must be in a regenerate state, who are delivered from condemna. tion, and who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and who are by the law of the Spirit of life, in Chrift Jefus, made free from the law of fin and death ; as the apostle fhews to be his own case, according to the de fcription tie had before given of himfelf. To suppose that he here personates a professor unregenerate, must upon the whole appear utterly inconfiftent with the case described in these paffages : and therefore fuch an exposition, as altogether forced, is not to be received.
But after all, you'll perhaps object, that my interpretation tends to make men fecure and careless, bold and piesumptuous, in a state and courfe of fin.
I answer, it is so far from this, that it has a direct contrary tendency. It is a folemn admonition to the children of God, to be upon their guard, fince they have fuch a domestick enemy to deal with; and a like admonition it is to all careless secure habitual finners, not to flatter themselves with a vain presumptuous hope of their regenerate state, on any pretences whatsoever.
It is here the character of a Christian indeed, that he hates evil, without referve. If therefore they who retain any favourite luft, and roll it as a fweet morsel un. der their tongue, cry peace to their souls, they are sleep. ing upon the top of a mall : There is no peace, faith my God, to the wicked. The peace of such is all a delusion; á mioft falfe, absurd and dangerous peace.
It is here likewise the character of a true Chriftian, that he does not allow fo much as his imperfections ; that when these obtain, they are without his consent and
against his will. These are what he would not, and a. mong the evils, which he hates. They therefore are entertaining but a vain dream of a safe ftate,who are know. ingly and deliberately living in any way of finning, and who customarily allow any moral imperfection. They will certainly in the conclusion be rejected, among the workers of iniquity.
It is here also represented as the property of every sin. cere Christian, that he has a will present with him to that which is good, that he consents to the law that it is good, and that he delights in the law of God after the inward man; that is, in other words (as I have thewn) he truly loves God and godliness. Here is therefor: no foundation for them to think well of their state, whofe whole religion is constrained by fear; and whose hearts and affections are not sincerely engaged in the service of God. As for them who love the world and their in dols, more than God and a life of sincere universal obe. dience to him, such are in the bonds of iniquity, and have no part or lot in this matter.
It is moreover given as the mark of a true Christian, that he groans after the deliverance from the body of death ; not only from guilt and danger, but from the remainder of his corruption, and maintains a constant war against the law of an in his members, couragement is there therefore for such an one to hope well of his state, that does not make it his business to keep his heart, and to watch over his lips and life; that does not wrestle with God for deliverance from, and greater victory over his corruptions ; and that does not look upon his remaining imperfections, as the great burden of his life?
It is furthermore given in character of the true Chriftian that he thankfully expects his deliverance only by Jesus Christ. The apostle's answer to the question, Who shall deliver me? is, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. q. d. I thankfully look unto God, in and through Jesus Christ, as a sure refuge in this difficulty; and as the fountain of life, from whence I may safely expect my needed supplies. All unbelievers therefore, as excluded from any justifiable pretence to this character, have no room left them to think well of their states
In fine, the Christian here described, is one who with his mind does himself serve the law of God. He has had God's law put into his mind, and he ferves God with his fpirit. His whole man, all that can be called himself, is engaged in a life of Gospel obedience. What can they therefore have to do with the peace and comfort, which is here offered to Christians indeed, who are grofly defective, partial, and unsteady in their obe. dience ; whose minds are wavering and whose hearts are divided between the service of God and their idols? A double minded man is unstable in all his ways ; and let not that man think that he fball receive any thing of the Lord. James i. 7, 8.
Now, to conclude this long letter, I will only further observe, that you may here find, in a summary and concise representation, the true characters of the children of God; as well as matter of conviction to those who cannot, and of consolation to those who can, apply these marks to themselves. If upon an impartial examination you can justify your claim to the characters here given, let no man rob you of the comfort and hope thereby set before you. But if you cannot find such marks in yourself, never rest till you obtain these evi. dences of a converted state.
That the Lord may comfort your heart, and stablisb you in every good word and work, to do his will, is the
LETTER XI. Wherein the MORAVIAN and
ANTINOMIAN Doctrine of JUSTIFICATION, in some of its peculiar Points, is considered and refuted, Sii, T is true, that I do agree with the Antinomians' and
Moravians in this, that "The righteoufness of our Lord Jesus Christ is the alone matter of our juftifica<tion before God.' But I am notwithstanding very far from agreeing with them, in the whole of their doctrine
Faith in Chrift. The person you have conversed with,
on that important article of a sinner's justification by has imposed upon you, in pretending, that they and we are of the fame sentiments with respect to the doctrine
of justification. In compliance with your demands, I fhall therefore endeavour to Thew you, " What is the "! difference between them and those of our profession, ! in this great point : and what are the reasons of our
differing from them. I presume, you do not expect * from me a particular detection of all the Moravian and Antinomian errors: this would require a larger volume, than I have leisure to write, or you would have patience to read. I shall therefore limit myself to the subject, which you have proposed.
There are these two things especially in the doctrine of our justification by faith, which are to be condemned, as most dangerous errors in the sects you speak of. The first is, their notion of the nature of a saving faith. The second is, the part which they assign to faith in our juftification. It is necessary in order to set the affair in a proper light, that I be something particular upon each of these.
The first thing then to be considered, is their notion of the nature of a saving faith. This they suppose to confift in a joyful persuasion of our interest in Chrift, and of our title to his purchased salvation. And accord. ingly Count Zinzendorf in his discourses on the redemp
man, p. 120. frequently gives us this view of a saving faith. Believe then (says he) that Jesus has a' toned and payed a ransom for you all; and that you
may experience it this very moment; and know that 'ye bave been healed by his wounds and by his stripes. And the Antinomians in general agree with him in this, that saving faith congifts in a comfortable persuasion of our personal interest in the Lord Jesus Christ. But then on the contrary, you may perceive by what I have written to you on this subject, that I do not suppose this persuasion to enter into the definition of a laving faith ; nor to be any part of it. It is what a true believer may want; and an unbelieving and impenitent finner may entertain in an high degree. This is an affair of vast consequence, and therefore do
mands a more distinct and particular consideration, than I can now have opportunity for. I fhall however attempt to set it in as plain and familiar a light as I can.
In or der to this, it will be proper (previous to my reasoning against this wild opinion) to premise these observations.
That believers may have good satisfaction of their fafe estate, and full persuasion of their interest in Christ, from their experience of a work of grace in their hearts; and from the fruits of faith, in their affections and con: verlations. It is just reasoning, from the nature of the fruit, to the quality of the tree that bears it. If there. fore a man finds in himself an habitual, predominant des fire after the Lord Jesus Chrift, as the portion of his foul; if he feels his sins to be the burtben of his soul, what he hates without reserve, what he strives, watches and prays against, and never willingly and deliberately indulges; if he delights himself in the Lord, in near approaches to him, and communion with him in his ordinarsces; if he knows it to be the bent and disposition of his foul, to approve himself to God in a life of fpiritual mindedness, and in all holy conversation, and gode liness, in self-denial, in piety towards God, in righteousness, and charity towards men: though he may yet groan under many disallowed imperfections, he nevertheless may be, and ought to be persuaded of his interest in Christ; and give the praise and glory of these di'vine influences upon his foul, to the bleffed author of them. This is the ordinary and standing evidence to the children of God, of the safety of their fate. By this they have a comfortable and joyful persuasion, that he who has begun a good work in them, will perform it to the day of Christ. By this the children of God are manifest, both to themselves and others. In this sense then, I do not deny to believers a persuasion, or manifestation of their own good estate. This persuasion is what they should by no means contentedly rest short of. It is greatly needful, not only to their comfort and hope, but to their serving God with the dispositions becoming children, with enlargement of soul, and with chearful: nefs and delight. But then you must remember, that this persuasion is not faith ; but arises from the fruits and effects of faith upon the foul, and is what may (fomc.