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ceremonies, and the stubble of fleshly lusts. With great propriety therefore the Apostle called them back, with sharpness to the only sure foundation, the merits of Jesus Christ; and wanted them to build upon it gold and precious stones, all the works of piety and mercy, that spring from faith working by
Now which of these errors do we hold? Do we not preach present justification by faith, and justification at the bar of God according to what a man soweth, the very doctrine of this epistle? And do we not "secure the foundation," by insisting that both these justifications are equally through the merits of Christ, though the second, as our Church intimates in her 12th article, is by the evidence of works.
Will you bear with me if I tell you my thoughts? We are all in general condemned by the Epistle to the Galatians, for we have too much dependance on our forms of piety, speculative knowledge, or past experience: and too little heart-felt confidence in the merits of Christ: we sow too little to the Spirit, and too much to the flesh. But those, in the next place, are peculiarly reproved by it, who return to the beggarly elements, the idle ways and vain fashions of this world :— Those who make as much ado about the beggarly element of water, about baptizing infants and dipping adults, as the Troublers of the church of Galatia did about circumcis
ing their converts, that they might glory in their flesh-Those who zealously affect others but not well :-Those who now de
spise their spiritual Fathers, whom they once received as angels of God:-Those who turn our enemies when we tell them the truth, who heap to themselves teachers smoother than the evangelically legal Apostle, and would call·us blind, if we said as he does, "Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another," Gal. vi. 4.Those who plead for spiritual bondage while they talk of gospel liberty, and affirm that the son of the bond woman shall always live with the son of the free, that sin can never be cast out of the heart of believers, and that Christ and corruption shall always dwell together in this world. And lastly, those who say there is no falling away from grace when they are already fallen like the Galatians, and boast of their stability chiefly because they are ignorant of their fall!
Obj. 5. "However your pharasaic doctrine flatly contradicts the gospel summed up by our Lord in these words, "He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." Here is not one word about works, all turns upon faith."
Ans. Instead of throwing such hints, you might as well speak out at once, and say that Christ in Mark xvi. 16, "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, and
he that believeth not shall be damned," flatly contradicts what he had said, Matt. xii. 37, "By thy words shalt thou be justified, or by thy words thou shalt be condemned." But drop your prejudices, and you will see that the contradiction is only in your own ideas. We steadily assert as our Lord, that he who believeth, or endureth unto the end believing (for the word implies both the reality and continuance of the action) shall infallibly be saved: because faith which continues living, works to the last by love and good works, which will infallibly justify us in the day of judgment. For when faith is no more, love and good works will evidence, 1. That we were grafted into Christ by true faith; 2. That we did not make shipwreck of the faith:-that we were not taken away as branches in him which bear not fruit, but abode fruitful branches in the true vine; and 3. That we are still in him by holy love, the precious and eternal fruit of true persevering faith. How bad is that cause which must support itself by charging an imaginary contradiction upon the wisdom of God, Jesus Christ himself! *
This is frequently the stratagem of those who have no arguments to produce. I bore my testimony against it in the Vindication, and flattered myself that serious writers would be less forward to oppose the truth, and expose the Ministers of Christ by that injudicious way of discussing controverted points. Notwithstanding this, I have before me a little pamphlet, in which the editor endeavours to answer Mr. W's Minutes, by
extracting from his writings, passages supposed to stand in direct opposition to the Minutes. Hence in a burlesque upon the Declaration he tries to represent Mr. W. as a knave.
that by this method of raising dust, and avoiding to I would just observe upon that performance, (1.) reason the case fairly, every malicious infidel may blind injudicious readers, and make triumphing scoffers cry out, Jesus against Christ! Saul against St. Paul! or as Wesley against John! and John against Wesley. John the Divine against John the Evangelist! as well (2) Mr. W. having acknowledged in the beginning of the Minutes, he "had leaned too much towards Calvinism," we may naturally expect to meet in his volum inous writings with a few expressions that look a little towards Antinomianism: and with some paragraphs, which (when detached from the context, and not considered as to deep mourners in Zion, or to souls of sion of the present times. (3.) This may easily be undoubted sincerity) seem directly to favour the deluaccounted for, without flying to the charges of kuavery or contradiction When after working long without cheering light, we discover the ravishing day of luminous faith, we are all apt in the sincerity of our heart to speak almost as unguardedly of our works, as Luther did; but when the fire of Antinomian temptations has frequently burned us, and consumed thousands around wards Crisp's divinity, we return to St. James, St. us, we justly dread it at last; and ceasing to lean toJohn, and St, Jude, and to the latter part of St. Paul s Epistles, which is too often overlooked, and to which, hardly two Ministers did, upon the whole, ever do
more justice than Mr. Baxter and Mr. W. (4.) A man who gives to different people, or to the same people at different times, directly contrary directions does not always contradict himself. I have a fever, and my physician, under God, restores me to health by cooling medicines; by and by I am afflicted with the cold rheumatism, and he prescribes fomentations and warming remedies, but my injudicious Apothecary opposes him, under pretence that he goes by no certain rule, and grossly contradicts himself. Let us apply this to Mr. W. and the Versifier, remembering there is
Obj. 6. "Your doctrine exalts man, and, by giving him room to boast, robs Christ of the glory of his grace. The top-stone is no more brought forth with shouting Grace! Grace! but Works! Works! unto it; and the burden of the song in heaven will be,Salvation to our works!—and no more Salvation to the Lamb!"
Ans. I no less approve your godly jealously, than I wonder at your groundless fears. To calm them, permit me once more to observe, 1. That this, doctrine is Christ's, who would not be so unwise as to side with our self righteous pride, and teach us to rob him of his own glory. It is absurd to suppose Christ would be thus against Christ, for even Satan is too wise to be against Satan. 2. Upon our plan as well as upon Crisp's scheme, free grace has absolutely all the glory. The love and good works by which we shall be justified in the day of judgment, are the fruit of faith, and faith is the gift of God. Christ the great object of faith, the Holy Scripture calleth the spirit of faith The power of believing, the means, opportunities, and will, to use that power, are all the rich presents of God's free grace. All our sins, together with the imperfections of our works, are mercifully forgiven through the blood and righteousness of Christ: our persons and services are graciously accepted merely for his sake, and through his merits: and if rewards are granted us according to the fruits of righteousness we bear, it is not because we are profitable to God, but because the meritorious sap of the Root of David produces those fruits, and the meritorious beams of the Sun of Righteousness ripen them. Thus you see, that which way soever you look at your justification, God has all the glory of it, but that of turning moral agents into mere machines, a glory which we apprehend God does no more claim, than you do that of turning your coach-horses into hobby-horses, and your servants into puppets.
If faith on earth gives Christ the glory of all our salvation, you need not fear that Love (a superior grace) will rob him in heaven; for "love is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, and does not behave herself unseemly" towards a beggar on earth; much less will she do so towards the Lord of glory, when she has attained the zenith of heavenly perfection. Away then with all the imaginary less difference between a burning fever and a cold rheumatism, than between the case of the trifling antinomian and that of the dejected penitent. (5) Whoever considers without prejudice what our Satyric Poet produces as contradictions, will find some of them do not so much as amount to an opposition, and that most of them do not seem so contradictory, as numbers of propositions that might be extracted from the oracles utes will compare this note with the 12th page of the Vindication, I hope he will find his performance answered, his indirect attack upon the Minutes frus. trated, and Mr. W's honestly fully vindicated.
of the answer to the Min
lions you place in your way to truth! Notwithstanding Crisp's prohibitions, like the Bereans, receive Christ in his holy doctrine and be persuaded that in the last day you will shout as loud as the honest Doctor, Grace! Grace! and Salvation to the Lamb: without suggesting with him to those on the left hand, the blasphemous shouts of Partiality! Hypocrisy! Barbarity and Damnation to the Lamb! Thus shall you have all the free grace he justly boasts of, without any of his horrid reprobating work."
Obj. 7. "How will the converted thief that did no good works be justified by works?"
Ans. We mean by works, the whole of our inward tempers and outward behaviour; and how do you know the outward behaviour of the converted thief? Did not his reproofs, exhortations, prayers, patience, and resignation, evidence the liveliness, of his faith, as there was time and opportunity? 2. Can you suppose his inward temper was not love to God and man? Could he go into paradise without being born again? Or could he be born again and not love? Is it not said, "he that loveth is born of God;" consequently "he that is born of God loveth?" Again, does not he who loveth fulfil all the law, and do, as says Augustin, all good works in one? And is not the fulfilling of the law of Christ, work enough to justify the converted thief by that law?
Obj. 8. "You say, that your doctrine will make us zealous of good works, but I fully discharge it from that office; the love of Christ, constraineth us to abound in every word and work."
Ans. 1. St. Paul, who spoke those words with more feeling than you, thought the contrary; as well as his blessed Master, or they would never have taught this doctrine. You do not, I fear, evidence the temper of a Babe, when you are so exceedingly wise above what Christ preached, and prudent above what the Apostle wrote. 2. If the love of Christ in professors is so constraining as you say, why do good works and good tempers bear so little proportion to the great talk we hear of its irresistible efficacy? And why can those who have tasted it return to sin as dogs to their vomit! Why can they even curse, swear, and get drunk? be guilty of idolatry, murder, and incest? 3. If love alone is always sufficient, why did our Lord work upon his Disciples, hearts by the hope of thrones and a kingdom, and by the fear of a worm that dieth not, and a fire that is not quenched? Why does the Apostle stir up be lievers to serve the Lord with godly fear, by the consideration that-" He is a consuming fire?" Illustrating his assertion by this awful warning, "If they (Korah and his company) escaped not," but were consumed "refused by fire from heaven, because they him (Moses) that spake on earth ; much
more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven?" Why did St. Paul himself, who no doubt under stood the gospel as well as Crisp and Saltmarsh, run a race for an incorruptible crown, and keep his body under, lest he himself should be a cast-away? O ye ortho dox divines, and thou ludicrous versifier, of an awful Declaration, instead of attempting to set Paul against Paul, and to oppose Wesley to Wesley, answer these scriptural questions; and if you cannot do it without betraying heterodoxy, for the Lord's sake, for the sake of thousands in Israel, keep no more from the feeble of the flock those necessary helps, which the very chief of the Apos tles, evangelical Paul, without any of your Crispian refinements, continually recommended to others, and daily used himself. And for your own souls' sake, never more prostitute these awful words, "the love of Christ constraineth us;" never more apply them to yourselves, while you refuse to treat the most venerable ambassador of Christ, I shall not say with respectful love, but with common decency.
Obj. 9. All the formal and pharisaical ministers, who are sworn enemies to Christ and the gospel of his grace, preach your legal doctrine of "justification by works in the day of judgment."
Ans. And what do you infer from it? That the doctrine is false? If the inference is just, it will follow there is neither heaven nor hell; for they publicly maintain the existence of both. But suppose they now and then preach our doctrine without zeal, with out living according to it, or without previously preaching the Fall, and a present justification by faith in Christ, productive of peace and power, what can be expected from it? Would not the doctrine of the atonement it self be totally useless, if it were preached under such disadvantages?- -The truth is such ministers are only the roof, and you it seems, only for the foundation; but a roof unsupported by solid walls crushes to death, and a foundation without a roof is not much better than open air. Therefore wise masterbuilders, like St. Paul, are for having both in their proper places. Like him, when the foundation is well laid, leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, they go on to perfection;" nor will they forget, as they work out their perfection to shout grace, to the last slate that covers in the building; or to the top stone, the key that binds the solid arch.
Obj, 10"Should I receive and avow such a doctrine, the generality of professors would arise against me; and while the warmest would call me a Papist, an Antichrist, and what not; my dearest christian friends would pity me as an unawakened pharisee, and fear me as a blind legalist."
Ans. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad
when all men (the godly not excepted) shall say all manner of evil of you falsely for Christ's sake,-for preferring Christ's holy doctrine to the loose tenets of Dr. Crisp: and remember that in our Antinomian days, it is as great an honour to be called legal by fashionable professors, as to be branded with the name of Methodist, by the sots who glory in their shame.
VII. As I would hope my Objector is ei ther satisfied or silenced, before I conclude, permit me a moment, Rev. Sir, to consider the two important objections which you directly or indirectly make in your Narra tive.
1. "I should tremble (say you, page 21.) lest some bold metaphysician should affirm that a second justification by works is quite consistent with what is contained in Mr. W.'s Declaration; but that it is expressed in such strong and absolute terms, as must for ever put the most exquisite refinements of metaphysical distinctions at defiance."
Ans. "For ever at defiance !"-You surprise me, Sir: I, who am as perfect a stranger to exquisite refinements as to Crisp's eternal justification, defy you (pardon a bold expression to a bold metaphysician) ever to produce out of Mr. W.'s Declaration, I shall not say (as you do,) strong and absolute terms, but one single word or tittle denying or excluding a second justification by works; and I appeal both to your second thoughts and to the unprejudiced world, whether these three propositions of the Declaration, "We have no trust or confidence but in the alone Merits of Christ for justification in the day of judgment.-Works have no part in meriting or purchasing our justification from first to last, either in whole or in part.—He is not a real Christian Believer (and consequently cannot be saved) who does not good works where there is time and opportunity." I appeal, I say, to the unprejudiced world, whether these three propositions are not highly consistent with this assertion of our Lord "By thy words thou shalt be justified," that is "Although from first to last, the merits of my life and death purchase or deserve thy justification; yet in the day of judgment thou shalt be justified by thy works; that is, thy justification which is purchased by my merits, will entirely turn upon the evidence of thy works, according to the time and opportunity thou hast to do them."
Who does not see that to be justified by the evidence of works, and to be justified by the merits of works, are no more phrases of the same import, than Minutes and Heresy are words of the same signification? The latter proposition contains the error strongly guarded against, both in the Declaration and in the Minutes: The former contains an evangelical doctrine, as agreeable to the Declaration and Minutes as to the Scriptures; a doctrine of which we were too sparing when we "lean
ed too much towards Calvinism," but to which, after the example of Mr. W. we are now determined to do justice.
Whoever is ashamed of Christ's words, we will proclaim them to the world. Both from our pulpits and the press we will say, "By thy words thou shalt be condemned." -Yea, "Whoever shall say to his brother, thou fool! shall be in danger of hell fire; and whosoever maketh a lie shall have his part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone;" for as "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness," or disbelieveth to unrighteousness, so "with the mouth confession is made to salvation," or hard speeches are uttered to damnation. Reserve therefore, Rev. Sir, your public praises for a more proper occasion than that which caused their breaking out in your Narrative. "Blessed be God (say you, page 16) Mr. Wesley and fifty-three of his preachers do not agree with Mr. Olivers in the material article of a second justification by works." Indeed Sir, you are greatly mistaken, for we do agree with him, and shall continue so to do, till you have proved he does not agree with Jesus Christ, or that our doctrine is not per fectly consistent both with the Scriptures and the declaration.
2. Your second objection is not so formal as the first; it must be made up of broad hints scattered through your Narrative, and they amount to this, "Your pretended difference between justification by the merit of works, and justification by the evidence of works, and between a first and second justification, is founded upon the subtleties of metaphysical distinctions: If what you say wears the aspect of truth, it is because you give a new turn to error, by the almost magical power of metaphysical distinctions." Page 16, 20, and 21.
Give me leave, Sir, to answer this objection by two appeals, one to the most ignorant collier in my parish, and the other to your own sensible child; (and if they can at once understand my meaning, you will see that my metaphysical distinctions, as you are pleased to call them, are nothing but the dictates of common sense. I begin with the collier.
Thomas, I stand here before the judge, accused of having robbed the Rev. Mr. Shirley near Bath, last month on such an evening; can you speak a word for me? Thomas turns to the judge and says, "Please your Honour, the accusation is false, for our parson was in Madeley-wood, and I can make oath of it, for he even reproved me for swearing at our pit's mouth that very evening." By his evidence the Judge acquits me. Now, Sir, ask cursing Tom, whether I am acquit ted and justified by his merits, or by the simple evidence he has given, and he will tell you, "Aye, to be sure, by the evidence: Tho' I am no scholar, I know very well if
our methodist parson is not hanged, it is none of my deservings." Thus, Sir, an ignorant collier, as great a stranger to your metaphysics as you are to his mandrell, discovers at once a material difference between justification by the evidence, and justification by the merits of a witness.
My second appeal is to your sensible child. By a plain comparison I hope to make him at once understand both the difference there is between our first and second justifications and the propriety of that difference. The lovely boy is old enough, I suppose, to follow the gardener and me to yonder nursery. Having shewn him the operation of grafting, and pointing at the crab-tree newly grafted, "My dear child, would I say, though hitherto this tree has produced nothing but crabs, yet by the skill of the gardener, who has just fixed in it that good little branch, it is now made an apple tree, I justify and warrant it such. (Here is an emblem of our first justification by faith!) In three or four years, if we live, we will come again and see it: If it thrives and bears fruit well; we shall then by that mark justify it a second time, we shall declare that it is a good appletree indeed, and fit to be transplanted from this wild nursery into a delightful orchard. But if we find that the old crab-stock, instead of nourishing the graft, spends all its sap in producing wild shoots and sour crabs, or if it is a "tree whose fruit withereth, with out fruit, twice dead, (dead in the graft and in the stock) plucked up by the root," or quite cankered, far from declaring it a good tree, we shall pass sentence of condemnation upon it, and say, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? For every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Here is an emblem of our second justification by works, or of the condemnation that will infallibly overtake those Laodicean professors and wretched apostates, whose faith is not shown by works, where there is time and opportunity.
Instead of offering an insult to your superior understanding, in attempting to explain by metaphysical distinctions what I suppose your sensible child has already understood by the help of a grafting-knife, I shall leave you to consider whether Scripture, reason, and candour, do not join their influence to make you acknowledge, at least in the court of your own conscience, that you have put as wrong a construction upon Mr. W.'s Declaration as upon his Minutes, and by that means, inadvertently given another rash touch to the ark of practical religion, and to the character of one of the greatest ministers in the world. I am with due respect, Hon. and Rev. Sir, your obedient servant, in the bonds of the practical gospel of Christ,
HON. AND REV. SIR,
Having endeavoured in my last to do justice to the practical gospel of Christ, and Mr. W's awful Declaration; I pass on to the other mistakes of your Narrative. That which strikes me next is-the public recantation of your useful Sermons, in the face of the whole world. Page 22.
I. Oh! Sir, what have you done! Do you not know that your Sermons contain not only the legally evangelical doctrine of the Minutes, but likewise all the doctrines which moderate Calvinists esteem the marrow of the gospel? And shall all be treated alike? "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? That be far from thee to do after this manner!" Thus did a good man formerly plead the cause of a wicked city, and thus I plead that of your good Sermons, those twelve valuable, though unripe fruits of your ministerial labours. Upon this plea the infamous city would have been spared, had only ten good men been found in it. Now, Sir, spare a valuable book for the sake of a thousand excellent things it contains. But if you are inflexible, and still wish it "burned," imitate at least the kind angels who sent Lot out of the fiery overthrow, and except all the eveangelical pages of the unfortunate vol
whom you lay, I fear, a dangerous example; for when they shall hear that the author has publicly recanted it in the face of the whole world, it will be a temptation to them to slight the gospel it contains, and perhaps to ridicule it in the face of the whole world.
You add, "it savours too strongly of mys. tycism." Some passages are a little tainted with Mr. Law's capital error, and you might have pointed them out; but if you think mysticism is intrincsially bad, you are under a mistake, one of the greatest mystics, next to Solomon, is Thomas à Kempis, and a few errors excepted, I would no more burn his Imitation of Jesus Christ, than the Song of Solomon, and Mr. Romaine's edifying paraphrase of the 107th Psalm.
You urge also, "Your sermons savour too much of free will." Alas! Sir, can you reWas not your will as free cant free will? when you recanted your sermons as when you 1s there not as much free composed them? will expressed in this one line of the gospel as in all your Sermons, "I would have gathered you, and ye would not?" Do not free will offerings with an holy worship, delight the Lord more than forced, and if I maybe allowed the expression, bound-will services? Is not the free will with which the martyrs went to the stake as worthy of our highest admiration, as the mysticism of the Canticles is of our deepest attention? If all that strongly savours of free will" must be "burned," Ye heavens! what Smithfield work will there be in your lucid plains! Wo to saints! Wo to angels! for they are all free-will Beings,
all full of free-will: nor can you deny it, unless you suppose they are bound by irrethe Heathens fancied sistible decrees, as their Deities were hampered with the adamantine chains of an imaginary something they and called Fute; witness their Fata vetant, Fata jubent, and ineluctabile Fatum.
Were it not ridiculous to compare wars which cost us only a little ink, and our friends a few pence, to those which cost armies their blood, and kingdoms their treasures, I would be tempted to say you imitate the Dutch in their last effort to balance the victory, and secure the field. When they are pressed by the French, rather than yield, they break their dykes, let in the sea upon themselves, and lay all their fine gardens and rich pastures under water: but before they have recourse to that strange expedient, they prudently save all the valuable goods they can. Why should you not follow them in their prudential care, as you seem to do in their bold stratagem? When you publicly lay your useful book under the bitter waters of an anathema, why do you save absolutely nothing? Why must gospel truths, Fortius ac melius stultas plerumque secat more precious than the wealth of Holland and the gold of Ophir, lie for ever under the severe scourge of your recantation? Suppose you had recanted your third Sermon, The way to eternal life, in opposition to Mystycism; and burned the fourth, Salvation by Christ for Jews and Gentiles, in honour of Calvinism, could you not have spared the
Pardon, Rev. Sir, the oddity of these exclamations. I am so grieved at the great advantage we give infidels against the Gospel, by making it ridiculous, that I could try even the method of Horace, to bring my friends back from the fashionable refinements of Crisp, to the plain truth as it is in Jesus. Ridiculum acri
Nor is this the only bad tendency of your the will, you rob us of free agency; you afnew doctrine: for by exploding the freedom of ford the wicked, who determine to continue in sin, the best excuse in the world to do it without either shame or remorse; you make us mere machines, and indirectly reflect upon the wisdom of our Lord for saying to a set of Jewish machines, I would, and ye would not. But what is still more deplor able, you inadvertently represent it an unwise thing in God to judge the world in