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XVIII, l'pon the same principle you add, “How have inany others been raised out of the mire, by considering the tenderness shown to the incestuous Coriathian!"--I am glad you do not say, “by considering the incest of the Corinthiau.” The good received by many did not then spring from this horrid crime, but from the tenderness of the apostle. This instance, therefore, by your own confession, does not prove that sin does any good to believers.
But as you tell us with what “ tenderness" the apostle restored that man, when he was swallowed up in godly sorrow, you will permit me to remind you of the severity which he shewed him while he continued impenitent. Tu the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,' said he,when ye are gathered together, deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that bis spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.' Hence it appears, the apostle thought his case so desperate, that his body must be solemnly delivered to Satan, in order, if possible, to bring his soul to repentance. Now, if the incestuous man's sins “had been for ever and for erer cancelled;" if he had not forfeited the divine favour, ard cut himself off from the general assembly of the first-born' by his crime; what power could the apostle, who acted under the influence of the Spirit, have had to cut him off from the visible church as a corrupt member? What right to deliver the body of one of “God's pleasant children” to destruction ? Was this “finished salvation ?" For my part, as I do not beliere in a two-fold, I had almost said Jesuitical, will in God, I am persuaded, he would have us consider things as they are; an impenitent adulterer as a profligate Heathen; and a penitent believer as his “ pleasant child."
XIX. You add, (1.) A “grievous fall serves to make believers kuow their place.”—No, indeed, it serves only to make them forget their place; witness David, who, far from knowing his place, wickedly took that of Uriah; and Eve, who, by falling into the condemnation of the devil, took her Maker's place, in her imagination, and
esteemed herself as wise as God.-(2.)“ It drives them nearer to Christ."-Surely, you mistake, Sir ; you mean nearer the devil: For a fall into pride may drive me nearer Lucifer, a fall into adultery and murder may drive me nearer Belial and Moloch ; but not nearer Jesus Christ.(3.) “ It makes them more dependant on his strength.”—No such thing. The genuine effect of a fall iuto siu, is to stupify the conscience and harden the heart; witness the state of obduracy in which God found Adam, and the state of carnal security iu which Nathan found David after their crimes.-(4.) “ It keeps them more watchful for the future."-Just the reverse : It prevents their watching for the future. If David had been made more watchful by falling into adultery, would he have fallen into treachery and murder ? If Peter had been made more watchful by his first falling into perjury, would he have fallen three times successively?-(5.) “ It will cause them to sympathize with others in the like situation.”—By no means. A fall into sin will naturally make us desirous of drawing another into our guilty condition. Witness the devil and Eve, Eve and Adam, David and Bathsheba. The royal adulterer was so far from sympathizing with the man who had unkindly taken his neighbour's favourite ewe-lamb, that he directly swore, 'As the Lord liveth, the man that has done this thing shall surely die.'
6. “ It will make them sing louder to the praise of restoring grace throughout all the ages of eternity."--I demand proof of this. I greatly question whether Demas, Alexander the coppersmith, Hymeneus, Philetus, and many of the fallen believers mentioned in the Epistles of our Lord to the Churches of Asia, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in those of St. Peter, St. James, and St. Jude, shall sing restoring grace at all. The apostle, far from representing them all as singing louder, gives us to understand, that many of them shall be
thought worthy of a much sorer punishment than the sinners consumed by fire from heaven ; and that 'there remaineth therefore no more sacrifice for their sins ;'(a sure proof that Christ's sacrifice availed for them, till
they “ accounted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing;'; for, adds the apostle, “The Lord will judgt his people ;' and, notwithstanding all that Dr. Crisp says to the contrary, 'There remaineth [for apostates. a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Weeping, wailing, and gnaslıing of teeth,' and not “ louder songs," await 'the unprofitable servaut.'
But sopposing some are ' renewed to repentance, and escape oli of the sware of the devil;' can you imagine they will be upon the footing of those, who, standing
steadfast and immoveable, always abounded in the work of the Lord ?' Shall then the labour of these be in rain in the Lord ?' Are not our works to follow us: Shall the unprofitable servant, if restored, receive a crown of glory equal to his, who, from the time he listed, has always ' fought the good fight, and kept the faith? The doctrine you would inculcate, at once bears hard upon the equity of the divine conduct, and strikes a fatal blow at the root of all diligence and faithfulness, so strongly recommended in the oracles of God.
You will be sensible of your error if you observe, that all the fine things which you tell us of a fall into sin, belong not to the fall, but to a happy recovery from it : Aud my honoured correspondent is as much mistaken, when he ascribes to sin the effects of repentance and faith, as if he ascribed to a frost the effects of a thaw, or to sickness the consequence of a recorery.
And now that we have seen how you have done a pious man’s strange work, permit me, Sir, to tell you, that, through the prevalence of human corruption, a word spoken for sin generally goes farther than ten thousand spoken against it. This I know, that if a fall, in an hour of temptation, appears only half so profitable as you represent it, thousands will venture after David into the whirlpool of wickedness. But alas !, facilis descensus verni, &c.: It is easier to follow him when he plunges in, than when he struggles out, with his eyes wasted, his flesh dried up, and his bones broken.
XX. I gladly do you the justice, honoured Sir, to observe, that you exclaim against sin in the next page; but does not the antidote come too late? You say, «« Whatever may be God's secret will, we are to keep close to the declaration of his own written word, which binds us to resist sin." But, alas, you make a bad matter worse, by representing God as having two wills, a secret, effectual will that we should sin, and a'revealed will, or written word, commanding us to resist sin ! If these insinuations are just, I ask, Why should we not regard Goui's secret, as much as his revealed will ? Nay, why should we not regard it more, since it is the more efficacious, and consequently the stronger will ?
You add, “ He would be mad who should wilfully fall down, and break a leg or an arm, because he knew there was a skilful surgeon at hand to set it.” But I beg leave to dissent from my honoured opponent. For, supposing I had a crooked leg, appointed to be broken for good, by God's secret will intimated to me; and supposing a dear friend strongly argued, not only that the surgeon is at hand, but that he would render my leg straighter, handsomer, and stronger than before ; must I not be a fool, or a coward, if I hesitate throwing myself down?
O Sir, if' the deceitfulness of sin' is so great, that thousands greedily commit it, when the gallows on earth, and horrible torments in hell, are proposed for their just wages; how will they be able to escape in the hour of temptation, if they are encouraged to transgress the divine law, by assurances, that they shall reap eternal advantages from their sin ? () ! how highly necessary was it, that Mr. W. should warn his assista ants against talking of a state of justification aud sanctification, in so unguarded a manner as you, and the other admirers of Dr. Crisp so frequently do!
You conclude this letter by some quotations from Mr. Wesley, whom you vainly try to press into the Doctor's service, by representing him as saying of established Christians, what he speaks of babes in Christ, and of
the commission of adultery and murder, what he only means of evil desire resisted, and evil tempers restraised: But more of this in a “ Treatise on Christian Perfection."
REMARKS ON THE FIFTH LETTER. This Letter begins by a civil reproof for “ speaking rather in a sneering manner of that heart-cheering espression so often used by awakened divines, the finished salvation of Christ ;” an expression which, by the bye, you will not find once in all my letters. But why some divines, whom you look upon as unawakened, do not admire the unscriptural expression of finished salvation, you may see in the Second Check, p. 393.
I am thankful for your second reproof, and hope it will make me more careful not to “ speak as a man of the world." But the third I really cannot thank you for. “ You are not very sparing of hard names against Dr. Crisp,” says my honoured correspondent; and again, “ The hard names, and heavy censures, thrown out against the Doctor, are by far more unjustifiable than what has been delivered against Mr. W.” The bardest names I give to your favourite divine are, the Doctor, the good Doctor, and the honest Doctor, whom, notwithstanding all his mistakes, I represent, (Second Check, p. 340,) as a good man shouting aloud, Salvation to the Lamb of God! Now, Sir, I should be glad to know by what rule, either of criticism or charity, you can prove that these are hard vames, more unjusti. fiable than the names of " Papist unmasked, heretic, apostate, worse than Papists," &c., which have been of late so liberally bestowed upon Mr. W.?
I confess, that those branches of Dr. Crisp's doctrine which stand in direct opposition to the practical gospel of Christ, I have taken the liberty to call Crispianity: for had I called them CHRISTIANITY, my conscience and one half of the Bible would have flown in my face; and had I called them Calvinism, Williams, Flavel, Alleine, Bishop Hopkins, and numbers of sound Cal. vinists would have proved me mistaken ; for they agree