Page images

all bis talents and 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 prefers 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 preseuting you with a list of some of your own “apparent mistakes on this occasion."

1. In the very letter in which yon recant your circuJar letter, you desire Mr. W. to“ give up the fatal errors of the Miuntes,” 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 he

retical;" and you produce a letter which asserts also, without shadow of proof, that the “Minutes were giren for the establishment 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 theclear 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 over the Minutes, you are just where you was,” and assure the public that “ nothing inferior to pay attack upon the foundation of our hope, through the all-sufficient 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, yon continue to wound Mr. W. in the tenderest part.

073. Although Mr. W. and fifty-three of his fellowlabourers, have let you quietly“ secure the foundation," (which, by the bye, had only been shaken in your own aideas, and was perfectly secured by these express words of the Minutes, “not by the merit of works," but by

[ocr errors]


“ believing in Christ,”) yet, far from allowing them to secure the super-structure in their turn, which would be nothing but jnst, you begin already a contest with them about our second justification by works iv 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 im, port 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

may seem ;' at least, it does not appear, to many, adequate 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, yon 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 have 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 fised 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 propositious, rational, scriptural, and solid; and ouce more he begs you would remove the veil you have hitherto "cast over all the apparent mistakes of his judgment on this occasion,” that he may see whether the Antinomian gospel of Dr. Crisp is preferable to the practical gospel, which Mr. W. endeavours to restore to its primitive and scriptural lustre.

VI. Having thus finished niy remarks upon the mis. takes of your Narrative, I gladly take my leave of con. troversy for this time: Would to God it were for ever! I no more like it than I do applying a caustic to the back of my friends; it is diagreeable to me, and painful to them; and uevertheless it must be done, when their health and mine is at stake.

I assure you, Sir, I do not like the warlike dress of the Vindicator, any nuore 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 desigu of doing it with bitterness never entered my heart. However, for every “ bitter expression” that may have dropped from my sharp viudicating pen, I ask your pardon ; but it must be in general, for neither friends nor foes have yet particularly poiuted out to me one such expression.

You have accepted of a letter of submissiou" 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, arid 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 I an per. suaded 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 Terence's words, Amantium (why not credentium ?) ire amoris redintegratio est.§ I can assure

$ The misunderstandings of lovers (why not of believers ®) end in you, my dear Sir, without metaphysical distinction, 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 was E bello pax ;* but that which I delight in is, In bello pax it may we make them harmonize till we learn war and polemic divinity no more!

a renewal and increase of love.

My Vindication cost me tears of fear, lest I shonld have wounded you too deeply. That fear, I find, was groundless; but should you feel a little for the great truths and the great Minister i vindicate, these expostulations will wound me, and probably cost me tears again.

If, in the mean time, we offend our weak brethren; let us do something in order to lessen the offence till it is removed. Let us show 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 justification by faith, which you fear we attack. And should I ever be within thirty 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 I shall have the pe.. culiar 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,


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



If I mistake not the workings of my heart, a concern for St. James's pure and undefiled religiou’excites me to take the pen once more, and may account for the readiness with which I have met you in the dangerous field of controversy. You may possibly think mere partiality to Mr. Wesley has inspired me with that boldness; and others may be ready to say as Eliab, * We know the pride and naughtiness of thy heart : Thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.' But may I not answer with David, “Is there not a cause?'

Is it uot highly necessary to make a stand against Antinomianism? Is not that gigantic 'man of sin' a more dangerous enemy to King Jesus, than the champion of the Philistines was to King Saul ? Has he not defied more than forty days the armies and arms, the people and truths, of the living God ? By audaciously daring the thousands in Israel, has he not made all the faint-hearted among them ashamed to stand in the whole armour of God,' afraid to defend the important post of duty ? And have not many left it already, openly running away, flying into the dens and caves of earthly-mindedness,puttiug their light under a bushel,' and even burying themselves alive in the noisome grave of profaneness?

Multitudes indeed still keep the field, still make an open profession of godliness. But how few of these • eudure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ!' How many have already cast away 'the shield of gospel faith, the faith which works by love !' What pumbers dread the cross, the heavenly standard they should stea

« PreviousContinue »