Page images


from their old sins, and counted the blood of Christ, where with they were sanctified, an unholy thing. But I refer you, Sir, to the two Johu Goodwins of the age, the Rev. Mr. Wesley, and the Rev. Mr. Sellon, who have so cut down and stripped the Crispian Orthodoxy, that some people think it actually lies without either root, bark or branches, exposed to the view of those who have courage enough to see and think for themselves.

Should all they have advauced, to shew that are every hour and every moment pleasing or displcas. ing to God, according to our internal and external works,” have no weight with you; let me conclude by producing the testimony of two respectable divines, against whom you will not enter a protest.

The one is the rector of Loughrea. You tell us, Sir, in your Sermons, page 88, that the acceptance of Cordelius “ was not absolutely final and decisive;" and you add,“ So long as we continue in the flesh, we are doubtless in a probationary state. Even after Cornelius had been endued with the Holy Ghost, had he wilfully done despite to the Spirit of grace, he might have" (not only displeased God, which is all Mr. W. asserts in this proposition, but] “ falleu as deep into perdition as ever Judas did.”

I know oue, Sir, who was burned as “a dreadful beretic," that did not go farther in this heresy than you do. And that is good Bishop Latimer, my second witness. He not only affirmed, that “ Christ shed as much blood for Judas as he did for Peter," but roundly asserted, “We may one time be in the book and another out; as it appeareth by David, who was written in the book of life; but when he sinued with an high hand, (which, hy the bye, we may do every moment,] he, at the same time, was out of the favour of God, antil he had repented; out of Christ, who is the book in which all believers are written.”-LATIMER's Sermon, on the Third Sunday after Epiphany.

Thus, Sir, have I looked out for “ the heresy," the dreadful herecy of Mr. W.'s Minutes, by bringing all

the propositions they contain to the touchstone of scrip.. ture and Common Sense ; but, instead of finding it, I have found the very marrow of the gospel of Christ, so far as it is opposed to Dr. Crisp’s Antinomian gospel : Which at this time would overflow our little Sion, if God did not sit above the water-floods, and say to the proudest billows of error, ‘Hitherto shall ye come, and no farther.' I have shewed that the Minutes contain nothing but what is truly scriptural, and nothing but what the best Calvinist divines have themselves directly or indirectly asserted; except perhaps the sixth proposition concerning the merit of works ; and with respect to this, I hope I have demonstrated, upon rational and evangelical principles, that Mr. W., far from bringing in a damnable heresy,' has done the gospel justice, and Protestantism service, by candidly giving up an old prejudice equally contrary to scripture and good seusé, a piece of bigotry which hath long hardened the Papists against the doctrine of “Salvation by the merit of Christ,” and hath added inconceivable strength to the Antinomian delusion among us. One difficulty remains, and that is, to account for your attacking Mr. W., though you could not wound him without stabbing yourself. Reserving my reflections upon this amazing step for another letter, I remain

Your astonished Servant,
In the bonds of a peaceful Gospel,




Having vivdicated both some important doctrines of the gospel, and an eminent servant of Christ from the charge of “dreadful heresy;" I will now take the liberty of a friend to expostulate a little with you.

Wheu Brutus, among other senators, rushed upon Cæsar, the venerable general, as he wrapped himself in his mantle, just said, “ And art thou also among them? Even thou, my son ?," may not Mr. W. address you, Sir, in the same words and add, “ If a hody of men must be raised to attack me, let some zealous follower of Dr. Crisp, some hot-headed vindicator of reprobation and eternal justification, blow the trumpet, and put himself at their head : But let it not be you, who believe with me, that we are moral agents; that God is love ; that Jesus tasted death for every man; and that the Holy Spirit shall not always strive with sinners. If you do not regard my reputation, consider at least your own; and expose me not as an heretic for advancing propositions, the substance of which you have avowed before the sun."

But had those propositions at length appeared to you unsound, yea, and had you never maintained them your. self, should you not, as a Christian and a brother, have written to him, acquainted him with your objections, and desired him to solve them and explain himself, or you should be obliged publicly to expose him ?

Was this condescension more than was due from you, Sir, and our other friends, to a grey-headed minister of Christ, an old general in the armies of Emmanuel, a father who has children capable of instructing even masters in Israel; and one whom God made the first aud princi

pal instrument of the late revival of internal religion in our church?

lustead of this friendly method, as if you was a Barak, 'commanded by the Lord God of Israel, yon call together the children of Napthali, and Zebulon :' You convene, from England and Wales, clergy and laity, Charchmen and Dissenters, to meet you at Bristol, where they are, it seems to be entertained in good and free quarters. And for what grand expedition ? Why, on a day appointed, you are to march up “in a body;" not to attack Sisera and his iron chariots, but an old Caleb, who, without meddling with you, quietly goes on to the conquest of Canaan; not to desire in a friendly manner, after a fair debate of every proposition that appears dangerous, and upon previous conviction, that what is exceptionable may be given up; but to do, what I think was never done by nominal, much less by “real Protestants."-0 let it not be told in Rome, lest the sons of the Inquisition rejoice !—This mixed, this formidable body is to “ insist upon” Mr. W., and the preachers in his connexion, “ formally recanting" their Minutes, as appearing “ injurious to the very fundamental principles of Christianity, and being dreadfully heretical.” And this, (astonishing !) without the least inquiry made into their meaning and design ;-without a shadow of authority from our superiors in church or state ;--without au appeal to the law and to the testimony; -without form of process ;-without judge or jury ;-without so much as allowing the poor “ beretics,” (who are condemned six weeks before they can possibly be heard,) to answer for themselves !

As I was fortunate enough to stop, some months ago, soch rash proceedings in Wales, permit mc, Sir, to bear my testimony against them in England, and to tell you they exceed the late transactions in Edmund-Hall. The six students, against whom wrath was gone forth, were allowed to say what they could in their own defence before they were sentenced, as unfit members of a literary society. Likewise the Vice-Chancellor had the statutes of the University of Oxford, seeming to coun

tenance his proceedings : But what statute of the Uni. versity of Jesus can you produce, even to save appearances ? Surely not that which the Papists made use of, *Compel them to come iu ;' for I am persuaded, that although clergy and laity, Churchmen and Dissenters, are convened to go in a body to Mr. W.'s Conference, you mean no external compulsion. Much less are you authorised to “insist” upon his owuing himself “a heretic,” by these words of the apostle, “ As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men, and esteem ministers highly in love for their works' cake.'-Neither by his command, ' An heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject,' &c.; for you have neither proved Mr. W. an heretic, nor once admonished him as such.

Surely our Lord will not smile upon your undertaking; for he has left his sentiments upon record, the reverse of your practice. He had said, “Whosoever shall receive, not provoke, ‘one of such children in my name, receiveth me. But John answered Him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. Forbid him vot,' said Jesus, 'for there is no man who can do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.' Festus himself, though a poor Heathen, will disapprove of such a step: “It is not the manner of the Romans,' says he, 'to deliver any man to die,' (or to insist on his publicly giving up his reputation, which in some cases is worse than death,) before that he who is accused, have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.' The lordliness of your procedure even exceeds, in one respect, the severity of the Council of Constance ; where poor Jerome of Prague had leave to plead his own cause, before he was obliged to acknowledge himself an heretic; and make “ a formal recantation" of the propositions he had advanced.

Besides, how could you suppose, Sir, that Mr. W., and the preachers who shall assemble with him, are such weak men, as tamely to acknowledge themselves heretics upon your ipse dixit ? Suppose Mr. W. took

« PreviousContinue »