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righteousness and your new glass shews his vindictive justice in the same unfavourable light, in which England saw two years ago the behaviour of a great monarch, who was exposed in the public papers for unmercifully cutting with a whip, and tearing with spurs, the horses worked in a tapestry of his royal apartment, because they did not prance and gallop at his nod.

If a commendable, but immoderate fear of Pelagius's doctrine drove you into that of Augustin, the oracle of all the Dominicans, Thomists, and Jansenists, you need not go so far beyond him as to recant all your Sermons, because you mention perhaps three or four times, the freedom of our will in the whole volume. "Let no one, says judicious Melancthon, be offended at the word free will, (liberum arbitrium) for Augustin himself uses it in many volumes, and that almost in every page, even to to the surfeit, of the reader."

The most ingenious Calvinist that ever wrote against free will, is, I think, Mr. Edwards of New England. And his fine system turns upon a comparison by which it may be overturned, and the freedom of the will demonstrated.

The will, says he, (if I remember right) is like an even balance which can never turn without a weight, and must necessarily turn with one. But whence comes the weight that necessarily turns it? From the understanding answers he; the last dictate of the under standing necessarily turns the will.-And is the understanding also necessarily determined? Yes, by the effect which the objects around us necessarily have upon us, and by the circumstances in which we necessarily find ourselves; so that from first to last, our tempers, words, and actions, necessarily follow each other, and the circumstances that give them birth, as the 2d, 3d, and 4th links of a chain follow the first, when it is drawn along. Hence an eternal, infallible, ir resistible, universal concatenation of events, both in the moral and material world. This is, if I mistake not, the scheme of that great divine, and he spends no less than 414 large pages in trying to establish it.

I would just observe upon it, that it makes the first cause, or first Mover, the only free Agent in the world: all others being necessarily bound with the chain of his decree, drawn along by the irresistible motion of his arm, or, which is the same, entangled in forcible circumstances unalterably fixed by his immutable counsel.

And yet, even upon this scheme you need ed not Sir, be so afraid of free will; for if the will is like an even balance, it is free in itself, though it is only with what I beg leave to call a mechanical freedom; for an even balance, you know, is free to turn either way.

But with respect to our ingenious author's

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assertion, that the will cannot turn without a weight, because an even balance cannot; I must consider it as a mere begging the question, if not as an absurdity. What is a balance, but a lifeless matter? And what is the will, but the living "active soul springing up in its willing capacity, and self-exert. ing, self-determining power?" O how tottering is the mighty fabric raised, I shall not say upon such a fine-spun metaphysical speculation, but upon so weak a foundation as a comparison, which supposes that two things so widely different as spirit and matter, a living soul and a lifeless balance, are exact. ly alike with the reference to self-determination! Just as if a spirit made after the image of the living, free, and powerful God, was no more capable of determining itself, than an horizontal beam supporting two equal copper bowls by fixed silken strings!

I am sorry Sir, to dissent from such a respectable Divine as yourself, but as I have no taste for new refinements, and cannot even conceive how far actions can be morally good or evil, any farther than our free will is concerned in them; I must follow the universal experience of mankind, and side with the Author of the Sermons, against the Author of the Narrative, concerning the freedom of the will.

Nor is this freedom derogatory to free grace; for as it was free grace that gave an upright free will to Adam at his creation, so whenever his fallen children think or act aright, it is because their free will is mercifully prevented, touched, and so far rectified by free grace.

However, it must be granted that fashionable professors, and the large book of Mr. Edwards, are in general for you; but when you maintained the freedom of the will, Jesus Christ and the Gospel were on your side. To the end of the world this plain peremptory assertion of our Lord, I would, and ye would not, will alone throw down the sophism, and silence the objections of the most subtle philosophers against free will. When I consider what it implies, far from supposing the will is a lifeless pair of scales, necessarily turned by the least weight; I see it is such a strong, self-determining power, that it can resist the effects of the most amazing weights; keep itself inflexible under all the warnings, threatenings, miracles, promises, entreaties, and tears of the Son of God; and remain obstinately unmoved under the strivings of his Holy Spirit. Yes, put in one scale the most stupendous weights, for instance the hopes of heavenly joys, and the dread of hellish torments; and only the gaudy feather of honour, or the breaking bubble of worldly joy in the other; if the Will casts itself into the light scale, the feather or the bubble will instantly preponderate. Nor is the power of the rectified Will less wonderful; for though you should put all the kingdoms of the world and their glory in one scale, and nothing but


the reproach of Christ in the other; yet if the Will freely leaps into the infamous scale, a crown of thorns easily outweighs a thousand golden crowns, and devouring flames makes ten thousand thrones kick the beam.

Thus it appears the Will can be persuaded, but never forced. You may bend it by moral suasions, but if you do it farther than it freely gives way, you break, you absolutely destroy it. A Will forced is no more a Will, it is mere compulsion; freedom is not less essential to it, than moral agency to man. Nor do I go, in these observations upon the freedom of the Will, one step farther than honest John Bunyan, whom all the Calvinists so deservedly admire. In his Holy War be tells us there is but one Lord Will-beWill in the town of Man's-soul: whether he serves Diabolus or Shaddai, he is Lord Willbe-will still, 66 a man of great strength, resolution, and courage, whom in his occasion no one can turn," if he does not freely turn or yield to be turned.

I hope, Sir, these hints upon the harmlessness of mysticism, and the important doctrine of our free agency, will convince you, and the purchasers of your Sermons, that you have been too precipitate in publicly recant ing] them in the face of the whole world, especially the ninth.

If you ask why I particularly interest my self in the behalf of that one discourse, I will let you into the mystery. At the first reading I liked and adopted it; I cut it out of the volume in which it was bound, put it in my sermon case, and preached it in my Church. The title of it is, you know, Justification by Faith, and among several striking things on the subject, you quote twice this excellent passage out ofour homilies. "Justification by faith, implies a sure trust and confidence a man hath in God, that by the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and he is reconciled to the favour of God." O Sir, why did you not except it in your recantation, both for the honour of our Church and your own?

Were I to print and disperse such an advertisement as this, "Eight years ago I preached in my Church a Sermon entitled Justification by faith, composed by the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Shirley, to convince Papists and Pharisees that we are accepted through the alone merits of Christ; but I see better

now; I wish this Sermon had been burned, and I publicly recant it in the face of the whole world," how would the Popish Priest of Madely rejoice! And how will that of Loughrea triumph, when he hears you have actually done it in your Narrative! What will your Protestant parishioners, to whom your book is dedicated, say, when the surprising news reaches Ireland? And what will the world think, when they see you warmly plead in August for Justification hy Faith, as being, "the foundation that must

by all means be secured;" and publicly recant in September, your own excellent Sermon on Justification by Faith?

Indeed Sir, though I admire your candour in acknowledging there are some exceptionable passages in your discourses, and your humility in readily giving them up, I can no more approve of your readiness in making, than in insisting upon formal recantations. We cannot be too careful in dealing in that kind of ware; and it is extremely dangerous to do it by wholesale; as by that means we may give up, before the whole world, precious truths, delivered by Christ himself, and brought down to us in streams of the blood of martyrs.

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Among some blunt expostulations that Mr. Wesley erased in my fifth letter, as being too severe, he kindly, but unhappily, struck out this, "Before you could with candour insist upon a recantation of Mr. W.'s Minutes, should you not have recanted yourself the passages of your own Sermons, where the same doctrines are maintained; and have sent your recantation through the land, together with your circular letter?" Had this been published, it might have convinced you of the unreasonableness of your recantation; thus this second hasty step would have been prevented; and if I dwell so long upon it now, believe me, Sir, it is chiefly to prevent a third.

And now your Sermons are recanted, is the Vindication of Mr. W.'s Minutes, invalidated?-Not at all; for you have not yet recanted the Bath Hymn Book, nor can you ever get Mr. Henry, Mr. Williams, and a tribe of other anti-Crispian though Calvinist Divines, now in Glory, to recant with you; much less the Prophets, Apostles, and Christ himself, on whose irrefragable testimony we chiefly rest our doctrine,

II. As I have pleaded out the cause of free will against bound will, or that of your Sermons against your Narrative, and am insensibly come to the Vindication; give me leave, Sir, to speak a word also for that performance and the author of it.

You say he has "attempted a Vindication of the Minutes;" but do not some people think he has likewise executed it? And have you proved he has not?

You reply, "There would be a great impropriety in my giving a full and particular answer to those letters, because the author did all he could to revoke them, and has given me ample satisfaction in his letter of submission." Indeed, Sir, you quite mistook the nature of that submission: it had absolutely no reference to the Arguments of the Vindication. It only respected the polemic dress in which the Vindicator had put them. You might have been convinced of it by this paragraph of the letter of submission.

"I was going to preach, when I had the news of your happy accommodation, and

was no sooner out of church, than I wrote to beg my Vindication might not appear in the dress in which I had put it. I did not then, nor do I yet repent having written upon the Minutes; but as matters are now, 1 am very sorry I did not write in a general manner, without taking notice of the circular letter, and mentioning your dear name." He begs therefore you will not consider his letter of submission as a reason not to give a full or particular answer to his Arguments; on the contrary, if you can prove they want solidity, a letter of thanks shall follow his letter of submission; if he is wrong he sincerely desires to be set right.

You add however, that he has "broken the Minutes into sentences, and half sentences, and by refining upon each of the detach ed particles, has given a new turn to the whole." But he appeals to every impartial Reader, whether he has not, like a candid man, first considered them all together, and then every one asunder. He begs to be in formed whether an artist can better inquire into the goodness of a watch, than by making first his observations on the whole movement in general, and then by taking it to pieces, that he may examine every part with greater attention. And he desires you would shew whether what you are pleased to call a new turn, is not preferable to the heretical turn some persons give them; and whether it is not equally, if not better adapted to the literal meaning of the words, as well as more agreeable to the antinomian state of the Church, the general tenor of the propositions, and the system of doctrine maintained by Mr. Wesley for near 40 years?

The Vindicator objects likewise to your asserting, page 21, that "when he first saw the Minutes, he "expressed to Lady Huntingdon his "abhorrence of them:" had you said surprise, the expression would have been strictly just; but that of abhorrence is far too strong. Her Ladyship who testified her detestation of them in the strongest terms, might easily mistake his abhor rence of the sense fixed upon the Minutes, for an abhorrence of the Minutes themselves; but she may recollect that far from ever granting they had that sense, he said again and again, even in their first conversation upon them, Certainly, my Lady, Mr. W. can mean no such thing he will explain himself."


But supposing he had at first been so far wrought upon by the zealous fears of Lady Huntingdon, as to express as great an abhorrence of the Minutes, as the mistaken disci ples did of the person of our Lord, when they took him for an apparition, and cried out for fear; would this excuse either him or you, Sir, for resolutely continuing in a mistake, in the midst of a variety of means and calls to get out of it? And if the Vindicator, be fore he had weighed the Minutes in the ba

lance of the sanctuary, had a mind to take his pen, and condemn them as dangerously legal, what can you fairly conclude from it, but that he is not partial to Mr. W. and has also "leaned so much towards Calvinism," as not instantly to discover and rejoice in the truth?

In your last page you take your friendly leave of the Vindicator, by saying you" desire in love to cast a veil over all apparent mistakes of his judgment on this occasion ;" but as he is not conscious of all these apparent mistakes; he begs you would in love take off the veil you have cast upon them, that he may see, and rectify at least those which are capital.

III. And that you may not hastily conclude he was mistaken in his Vindication of that article that touches upon Merit, he embraces this opportunity of presenting you with another quotation from the John Wesley of the last century, he means Mr. Baxter, the most judicious Divine, as well as the greatest, most useful, and most laborious Preacher of his age.


In his Catholic Theology, answering the objections of an Antinomian, he says: Merit is a word I perceive you are against, you may therefore choose any other of the same signification, and we will forbear this, rather than offend you. But yet tell me, 1. What if the words agog and asia were translated deserving and merit, would it not be as true a translation as worthy and worthiness, when it is the same thing that is meant? Do not all the ancient Teachers of the Churches, since the Apostles, particularly apply the name aia and meritum to believers? And if you persuade men that all these teachers were Papists, you will persuade most who believe you, to be Papists too? 3. Are not reward and merit, or desert, relative words, as punishment and guilt, master and servant, husband and wife? And is there any reward which is not meriti, pranium, the reward of some merit? Again,

Is it not the second article of our faith, and next to believing there is a God, that "He is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him?" When you thus extirpate faith and godliness, on pretence of crying down merit, you see what overdoing tends to. And indeed by the same reason that men deny a reward to duty, (the faultiness being pardoned through Christ) they would infer there is no punishment for sin; for if God will not do good to the righteous, neither will he do evil to the wicked; he is like the God of Epicurus, he does not trouble himself about us, nor about the merit or demerit of our actions. But David knew better, "The Lord,' says he plenteously rewardeth the proud doers," and "verily there is a reward for the righteous," for "there is a God that judgeth in the earth," that sees matter of praise or dispraise, rewardableness, or worthiness of pu


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nishment, in all the actions of men. This is, Sir, all Mr. Baxter and Mr. W. mean by merit or demerit; and if the Vindicator is wrong for thinking they are both in the right, please to remove the veil that conceals his mistake.

IV. As one of his correspondents desires him to explain himself a little more upon the article of the Minutes which respects under valuing ourselves; and as you probably place the arguments he has advanced upon that head among his apparent mistakes, he takes likewise this opportunity of making some additional observations on that delicate subject.

How we can esteem every man better than ourselves, and ourselves the chief of sinners, or the least of saints, seems not so much a calculation for the understanding, as for the lowly, contrite, and loving heart. It puzzles the former, but the latter at once makes it out. Nevertheless the seeming contradiction may, perhaps, be reconciled to reason, by these reflections.

1. If friendship brings the greatest monarch down from his throne, and makes him sit on the same couch with his favourites, may not brotherly love, much more powerful than natural friendship, may not humility excited by the example of Christ washing his disciples feet, may not a deep regard for that precept, "he that will be greatest among you let him be least of all," sink the true chris tian in the dust, and make him lie in spirit at the feet of every one?

2. A well-bred person uncovers himself, bows, and declares even to his inferiors, that he is their "most humble servant." This affected civility of the world is but an apish imitation of the genuine humility of the church, and if those who customarily speak humble words without meaning, may yet be honest men, how much more the saints, who have "truth written in their inward parts," and "speak out of the abundance of their humble hearts !"

3. He who walks in the light of divine love, sees something of God's spiritual, moral, or natural image in all men, the worst not excepted; and at the sight, that which is merely creaturely in him (by a kind of spiritual instinct found in all who are born of the Spirit) directly bows to that which is of God in another. He imitates the Captain of a first rate man of war, who, upon seeing the King or Queen coming up in a small boat, forgetting the enormous size of his ship, or cousidering it is the King's own ship, immediately strikes his colours; and the greater vessel, consistently with wisdom and truth, pays respect to the less.

4. The most eminent saint, having known more of the workings of corruption in his own breast, than he can possibly know of the wickedness of any other man's heart, may with great truth (according to his present

views and former feelings of the interral evil he has overcome) call himself the chief of sinners.

5. Nor does he know, but if the feeblest believers had had all his talents and his graces, with all his opportunities of doing and receiving good, they would have made far superior advances in the christian life; and in this view also, without hypocritical humility, he perfers the least saint to himself. Thus, although according to the humble light of others, all true believers certainly undervalue, yet according to their own humble light, they make a true estimate of themselves.

V. The Vindicator having thus solved a problem of godliness, which you have undoubtedly ranked among his apparent mistakes, he takes the liberty of presenting you with a list of some of your own, apparent mistakes on this occasion."


1. In the very Letter in which you recant your circular letter, you desire Mr. W. to give up the fatal errors of the Minutes, though you have not yet proved they contain one; you still affirm "They appear to you evidently subversive of the fundamentals of Christianity," that is in plain English, still "dreadfully heretical;" and you produce a letter which asserts also, without shadow of proof, that the "Minutes were given for the esta blishment of another foundation than that which is laid,"-that they are repugnant to Scripture, the whole plan of man's salvation under the new covenant of grace, and also to the clear meaning of our established Church, as well as to all other Protestant Churches."


2. You declare in your Narrative, that "when you cast your eye on the Minutes, you are just where you was," and assure the public that "nothing inferior to an attack upon the foundation of our hope, through the allsufficient sacrifice of Christ, could have been an object sufficient to engage you in its defence:" Thus, by continuing to insinuate such an attack was really made, you continue to wound Mr. W. in the tenderest part.

3. Although Mr. W. and fifty three of his fellow-labourers, have left you quietly to se cure the foundation (which, by the bye, had been only shaken in your own ideas, and was perfectly secured by these express words of the Minutes, "not by the merit of works," but by " believing in Christ") yet far from allowing them to secure the superstructure in their turn, which would be nothing but just, you begin already a contest with them about 66 our second justification by works in the day of judgment."

4. Instead of frankly acknowledging the rashness of your step, and the greatness of your mistake, with respect to the Minutes, you make a bad matter worse, by treating the Declaration as you have treated them; forcing

upon it a dangerous sense, no less contrary to the Scriptures, than to Mr. W.'s meaning, and the import of the words.

5. When you speak of the dreadful charges you have brought against the Minutes, you softly call them misconstructions you MAY SEEM to have made of their meaning. Page 22, Line 4. Nor is your Acknowledgment much stronger than your-may seem; at least it does appear to many, inadequate to the hurt done by your circular letter to the practical gospel of Christ, and the reputation of his eminent servant, thousands of whose friends you have grieved, offended, or stumbled; while you have confirmed thousands of his enemies in their hard thoughts of him, and in their unjust contempt of his ministry.

6. And lastly, far from candidly inquiring into the merit of the arguments advanced in the Vindication, you represent them as mere metaphysical distinctions; or cast, as a veil over them, a friendly submissive letter of condolence, which was never intended for the use to which you put it.

Therefore the Vindicator, who does not admire a peace founded upon a may seem, on your part, and on Mr. W.'s part upon a Declaration, to which you have already fixed a wrong unscriptural sense of your own;takes this public method to inform you, he thinks his arguments in favour of Mr. W.'s anti-Crispian propositions, rational, scriptural, and solid; and once more he begs you would remove the veil you have hitherto 16 cast over all the apparent mistakes of his judgment on this occasion," that he may see whether the antinomian gospel of Dr. Crisp, is preferrable to the practical gospel which Mr. W. endeavours to restore to its primitive and scriptural lustre.

VI. Having thus finished my remarks up on the mistakes of your Narrative, I gladly take my leave of controversy for this time: Would to God it were for ever! I do no more like it, than I do applying a caustic to the back of my friends; it is disagreeable to me and painful to them, nevertheless, it must be done, when their health and mine is at stake.

I assure you, Sir, I do not love the warlike dress of the Vindicator, any more than David did the heavy armour of Saul. With gladness therefore I cast it aside to throw myself at your feet, and protest to you, that although I thought it my duty to write to you with the utmost plainness, frankness, and honesty, yet the design of doing it with bitterness, never entered my heart. However, for every "bitter expression" that may have dropped from my sharp vindicating pen, I ask your pardon; but it must be in general, for neither friends nor foes have yet particularly pointed out to me one such expression.

You have accepted of a letter of submission from me; let, I beseech you, a concluding

paragraph of submission meet also with your favourable acceptance. You condescend, Rev. Sir, to call me your "learned friend." Learning is an accomplishment I never pretended to; but your friendship is an honour I shall always highly esteem, and do at this time value above my own brother's love. Appearances are a little against me; I feel I am a thorn in your flesh; but am persuaded it is a necessary one, and this persuasion reconciles me to the thankless and disagreeable part I act.

If Ephraim must vex Judah, let Judah bear with Ephraim, till, happily tired of their contention, they feel the truth of Terrence's words Amantium (why not credentium) iræ amoris redintegratio est. I can assure you, my dear Sir, without a metaphysical dictine. tion, I love and honour you, as truly as I dislike the rashness of your well meant zeal. The motto I thought myself obliged to follow wast E bello par; but that which I delight in is In bello pax; may we make them harmonize till we learn war and polemic divinity no more!

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If in the mean time we offend our weak brethren; let us do something to lessen the offence till it is removed. Let us shew them we make war without so much as shyness. Should you ever come to the next county, as you did last summer, honour me with a line, and I shall gladly wait upon you, and shew you (if you permit me) the way to my pulpit, where I shall think myself highly favoured to see you secure the foundation, and hear you enforce the doctrine of justifica tion by faith, which you fear we attack. And should I ever be within 30 miles of the city where you reside, I shall go to submit myself to you, and beg leave to assist you in reading prayers for you, or giving the cup with you. Thus shall we convince the world, that controversy may be conscientiously carried on, without interruption of brotherly love; and J shall have the peculiar pleasure of testifying to you in person, how sincerely I am, Hon. and dear Sir, your submissive and obedient Servant in the bond of a practical gospel.

J. F.

The misunderstandings of lovers (why not of believers) end in a renewal and increase of love.

We make war in order to get peace.
We enjoy peace in the midst of war.

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