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the above-described justification, without doing some previous' works meet for repentance.' If you cannot produce one such instance, Mr. W.'s doctrine is supported by the printed experiences of all the converted Calvinists, as well as of all the believers in his own societies. Nor am I afraid to appeal even to the expe- , rience of your own friends : If any one of these can say, with a good conscience, that he found the above-described justification, without first stopping in the career of outward sin, without praying, seeking, and confessing his guilt and misery, I promise to give up the Minutes. But if nove can make such a declaration, you must grant, Sir, that experience is on Mr. W.'s side, as much as reason, revelation, the best Calvinists, and yourself. I say yourself :
Give me leave to produce but one instance : Page 76 of your serions, you address those “ who see themselves destitute of that knowledge of God which is eternal life,” the very same thing that Mr. W. calls Justification; and which you define,
“ A home-felt knowledge of God, by the experience of his love being shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto U8 : The Spirit of God bearing witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God;" and you recommend to them “ to seek and press after it.” Now, Sir,
seeking and pressing after it" is certainly “ doing something in order to find it."
I must not conclude my vindication of the third proposition, without answering a specious objection. If
we must do something in order to justification, fare“ well free justification! It is no more of grace, but “ of works, and consequently of debt. The middle “ wall of partition between the Church of Rome, and “ the Church of England, is pulled down, and the two “ sticks in the hands of that heretical juggler, J. W.,
are become one."
I reply, (1.) That some who think they are real pillars in the Protestaut Church, may be nearer the Church of Rome than they are aware of : For Rome is far more remarkable for lording it over God's heritage,
and calling the most faithful servants of God heretics, than even for her Pharisaic exalting of good works. (2.) If the Church of Rome had not insisted upon the necessity of unrequired, unprofitable, and foolish works ; and if she had not arrogantly ascribed saving merit to works, yea, to merely external performances, and by that means clouded the merits of Christ; no reasonable Protestant would have separated from her on account of her regard for works.—(3.) Nothing can be more absurd thau to affirm, that when “ something is required to be done in order to receive a favour, the favour loses the name of a free gift, and directly becomes a debt.” Long, too long, persons who have more honesty than wisdom, have been frighted from the plain path of duty by a phantom of their own making. Oh may the spare break at last! And why should it not break now ? Have not sophisms been wire-drawn, till they break of themselves in the sight of every attentive spectator ?
I say to two beggars, “Hold out your hand; here is an alms for you.” The one complies, and the other refuses. Who in the world will dare to say, that my charity is no more a free gift, because I bestow it only upon the man that held out his hand? Will nothing make it free but my wrenching his band open, or forcing my bounty down his throat ?-Again; the king says to four rebels, “ Throw down your arms; surrender, and you “ shall have a place both in my favour and at court." One of them obeys, and becomes a great man; the others, upon refusal, are caught and hanged: What sophister will face me down, that the pardon and place of the former are not freely bestowed upon him, because he did something in order to obfain them? Once
The God of Providence says, “ If you plough, sow, “harrow, fence, and weed your fields, I will give the
increase, and you shall have a crop." Farmers obey: And are they to believe, that, because they do so many things towards their harvest, it is not the free gift of heaven ? Do not all those who fear God, know that their ground, seed, cattle, strength, yea, and their very
life, are the gifts of God? Does not this prevent their claiming a crop as a debt; and make them confess, that, though it was suspended on their ploughing, &c., it is the unmerited bounty of Heaven ?
Apply this, Sir, to the present case ; and you will see, that our doing something in order to justification does not in the least hinder it from being a free gift ; because whatever we do in order to it, we do it by the grace of God' preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will; all being of free, most absolutely free grace through the merits of Christ. And, nevertheless, so sure as a farmer, in the appointed ways of Providence, shall have no harvest if he does nothing towards it ; a professor, in the appointed ways of grace, (let him talk of “finished salvation" all the year round, shall go without justification and salvation, unless he do something towards them. (My comparison is scriptural :) . He that now goeth on his way weeping,' says the Psalmist, and beareth forth good seed, shall doubtless come agaiu with joy, and bring his sheaves with him. -Be not deceived,' says the apostle, 'whatsoever à man soweth, that shall he also reap; and he only that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.' David, therefore, and St. Paul, must be proved enemies to free grace, before Mr. W. can be represented as such : For they both did something in order to justification; they both sowed in tears,' before they'reaped in joy ;' their doctrine and experience went hand in havd together.
Having now vindicated the three first propositions of the Minutes, levelled at three dangerous tenets of Dr. Crisp; and shewn, that not only yourself, Sir, but moderate Calvivists are (so far) entirely of Mr. W.'s sentiment ; I remain, Honoured and Reverend Sir,
Your obedient Servant, in the bonds of a free and peaceful gospel,
HONOURED AND REVEREND SIR,
If the three first propositions of the Minutes are scriptural, Mr. W. may well begin the remaining part, by desiring the preachers in his Connexion to emerge, along with him, from under the noisy billows of prejudice, and to struggle quite out of the muddy streams of Antinomian delusions, which have so long gone over our heads, and carried so many souls down the chahnels of vice, into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. Well may he entreat them to “review the whole affair."
And why should this modest request alarm anyone? Though error dreads a revisal, truth, you know, can. not bat gain by it.
Dir. Wesley says in this Review, “ I. Who is now accepted of God ?-He that now “ believes in Christ with a loving, obedient heart."
Excellent answer! Worthy of St. Paul and St. James; for it sons up in one line the Epistles of both, In the FIRST part of it, (“' he that now believes in Christ,") you see St. Paul's Gospel calculated for lost sinners, who now fly from the Babel of self-righteousness and sin, and find all things in Christ 'ready for their reception. And in the second part, (“ with a loving and obedient heart,”) you see the strong bulwark raised by St. James, to guard the truth of the gospel agaiust the attacks of Antinomian and Laodicean professors. Had he said, “ He that shall believe the next hour, is now accepted,” he would have bestowed upon present upbelief the blessing that is promised to present faith. Had he said, “ He that believed a year
ago, is now accepted of God,” he would have opened the kingdom of heaven to apostates, contrary to St. Paul's declarations to the Hebrews. He therefore very properly says, “ He that now believes :" for it is written, 'He that believeth,' (not he that shall believe, or he that did believe,) 'hath everlasting life.'
What fault can you then fiud, with Mr. W. here? Surely you cannot blame him for proposing. Christ as the object of the Christian's faith, or for saying that the believer hath a loving and obedient heart; for lie speaks of the accepted man, and not of him who comes for acceptance. Multitudes, alas !, rest satisfied with an unloving, disobedient faith,-a faith that engages only the head, but has nothing to do with the heart ; - faith that works by malice, instead of working by love ;'-a faith that pleads for sin in the heart, instead of purifying the heart from sin ;-a faith that St. Paul explodes, (1 Cor. xiii. 2,) and that St. James compares to a carcass. (ii. 26.) There is no need that Mr. W. should countenance such faith by his Minutes. Too many, alas!, do it by their lives ; and, God grant, none may do it by their sermons! Whoever does, Sir, it is not you: For you tell us in your's, page 150, that “ Christ is to be found only by living faith ; even a faith " that worketh by love ; ereu a faith that layeth hold “ of Christ by the feet, and worshippeth Him;"—the , very faith of Mary Magdalen, who certainly had a lov. ing and obedient heart, for our Lord testified, that • she loved much,' and ardent love cannot but bc zealously obedient. There is not then the least shadow of heresy, but the very marrow of the gospel, in this article. Let us see whether the second is equally de. fensible.
“ II. But who among those that never heard of “ Christ ? --He that feareth God, and worketh right
eousness, according to the light he has ?”
And where is the error here? Did not St. Peter begin his evangelical sermon to Cornelius by these very words, prefaced by some others that make them remark.