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meekness of wisdom,' permit him to offer you some reasonable advices, which he wants to inculcate upon his owo mind also.
1. More than ever let us confirm our love towards our Calvinist brethren. Jf our arguments gall them, let us not envenom the sore by maliciously triumphing over them. Nothing is more likely to provoke their displeasure, and drive them from what we believe to be the truth. If we, that immediately“ bear the burden and heat of this controversial day,' are obliged to cut; help ns to act the part of friendly opponents, by directly pouring into the wound the healing balsam of brotherly love; and if you see us carried beyond the bounds of moderation, instantly admonish us, and check our Checks. Your whispers will go farther than the clamours of our opponents. The former, we know, must proceed from truth : But, we are apt to suspect, that the latter spring from partiality, or a mere stratagem not uncommon in coutroversial wars. Witness the clamours of the Jews, and those of the Ephesiaus, when the one saw, that their idol-temple, the other, that great Diana was in danger.
2. Do not rejoice in the mistakes of our opponents, but in the detection of error. Desire not that we, but that truth may prevail. Let us not only be willing that our brethren should win the day, if they have truth on their side ; but let us make it matter of solemn, earnest, and constant prayer. While we decry confined, shackled grace obtruded upon us as free grace; let not bigotry confine our affections, and shackle our hearts. Nothing would be more absurd than to fall into Calvinian narrowness of spirit, while we oppose Calvin's narrow system. If we admit the temper, we might as well be quite consistent, and at once embrace the doctrine. The best method of recommending God's universal love to mankind, is to love all men universally. If absolute reprobation has no place in our principles, let it have none in our affections. If we believe that all share in the divine mercy, let all be interested in our brotherly kindness. Should such practical demonstrations of uni. Vol. I.
versal love second our scriptural arguments for it, by God's blessing, bigotry would soon return to Rome, and narrow grace fly back to Geneva.
3. Let us strictly observe the rules of decency aud kindness, taking care not to treat, upon any provocation, any of our opponents, in the same manner that they have treated Mr. Wesley. The men of the world hint sometimes that he is a Papist and a Jesuit: But good mistaken men have gone much farther in the present controversy. They have published to the world, that they “ do verily believe his principles are too rotten for even a Papist to rest upon ;—that it may be supposed, Popery is about the midway between Protestantism and him;that she wades through the quagmires of Pelagianism, deals in inconsistencies, manifest contradictions, and strange prevarications ;-that, if a contrast was drawn from his various assertions, upon the doctrine of sinless perfection, a little piece might extend into a folio volume; and that they are more than ever convinced of his prevaricating disposition." Not satisfied with going to a Benedictine Monk, in Paris, for help against his dreadful heresy, they have wittily extracted an argument ad hominem, from the comfortable dish of tea which he drinks with Mrs. Wesley ; and to complete the demonstration of their respect for that grey-headed laborious minister of Christ, they have brought him upon the stage of the controversy in a dress of their own contriving, and made him declare to the world, that“ whenever he and fifty-three of his fellow-labourers say one thing, they mean quite another.” Aud what has he done to deserve this usage at their hands ? Which of them has he treated unjustly or unkindly? Even in the course of this controversy, has he injured any man? May he not say to this hour, Tu pugnas : Ego vapulo tantum ? Let us avoid this warmth, my brethren ; remembering that personal reflections will never pass for convincing arguments with the judicious and humane.
I have endeavoured to follow this advice with regard to Dr. Crisp; nevertheless, lest you should rank him with practical Antinomians, I once more gladly profess
my belief that he was a good man; and desire that none of you would condemn all his sermons, much less his character, on account of his unguarded Antinomian propositions, refuted by Williams and Baxter, some of which I have taken the liberty to produce in the preceding Checks. As there are a few things exceptionable in good Bishop Hopkins, so there are many things admirable iu Dr. Crisp's works: And as the glorious truths advanced by the former, should not make you receive his Calvinian mistakes as gospel; so the illegal tenets of the latter should by no means make you reject his evangelical sayings as Autinomianism. 'Prove, therefore, all things, and hold fast that which is good,' though it should be advanced by the warmest of our opponents; but whatever unadvised step their zeal, for what they believe to be the truth, makes them take, 'Put ye on (as the elect of God, holy and beloved,) bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, long-suffering, forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any : Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.'
4. If you would help us to remove the prejudices of our brethren, not only grant with a good grace, but strongly insist upon the great truths for which they make so noble a stand. Steadily assert with them, that the scraps of morality and formality, by which Pharisees and deists pretend to merit the divine favour, are only • filthy rags' in the sight of a holy God; and that no righteousness is currentiu heaven but'the righteousness which is of God by faith. If they have set their heart upon calling it “the imputed righteousness of Christ,” though the expression is not strictly scriptural, let it pass ; but give them to understand, that as divine imputation of righteousness is a most glorious g reality, so
$ God's imputation of righteousness is always according to truth. As all sinful men actually partake of Adanı’s sinful nature, by the defiling seed of his corruption, before God accounts them guilty together with him ; so all righteous men partake of Christ's holy nature by the seed of divine grace, before God accounts them righteous together with Christ. This dictate of reason is eonfirmed by scripture. * Abraham was fully persuaded that what God had promised he was able also to perform; and therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness ;
human imputation is a most delusive dream; and that of this sort is undoubtedly the Calvivian impu tation of righteousness to a man, who actually defiles his neighbour's bed, and betrays innocent blood. A dangerous contrivance this !, not less subversive of common Heathenish morality, than of St. James's “pure and undefiled religion.'
Again, our Calvinist brethren excel in setting forth a part of Christ's priestly office ; I mean the immaculate purity of his most holy life, and the all-atoning, allmeritorious sacrifice of his bloody death. Here imitate, and if possible surpass them. Shont a finished atonement louder than they. Behold with raptures of joy, i and bid all around you behold with transports of gratitude,' the Lamb of God that taketh away the sid of the world. If they call this complete atonement finished salvation, or the finished work of Christ, indulge them still ; for peace's sake, let those expressions pass. Nevertheless, at proper times give them to understand, that it is absolutely contrary to Reason, Scripture, and Christian Ex ace, to think that all Christ's medias torial work is finished. Insinuate, you should be very miserable if he had nothing more to do for you and in you. Tell them, as they can bear it, that he works daily as a Prophet to enlighten you, as a Priest to make intercession for you, as a King to subdue your enemies, as a Redeemer to deliver you out of all your troubles, and as a Saviour to help you to work out your own salvation ; and hint, that, in all these respects, Christ's work is no more finished, than the working of our own salvation is completed.
The judicious will understand you; as for bigots on all sides, you know, they are proof against scripture and good sense. Nevertheless, mild irony sharply pointing and it shall be imputed to us, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus from the dead.' (Rom. iv. 21, &c.) From this passage is is evi. dent, that faith, which unites to Christ and purifies the heart,' is pre. vious to God's imputation of righteousness, falthough not to Crisp's imputation, which by a little mistake of only 5 or 6000 years he dates from before the foundation of the world. One is sadly out, either the good Doctor, or the great apostle.
a scriptural argument, may yet pass between the joints of their impenetrable armour, and make them feel either some shame, or some weariness of contention. But this is a daugerous method, which I would recommend to very few. None should dip his pen in the wine of irony, till he has dipped it in the oil of love; and even then he should not use it without constant prayer, and as much caution as a surgeon lances an imposthume. If he goes too deep, he does mischief; if not deep enough, he loses his time; the virulent humour is not discharged, but irritated by the skindeep operation. And who is sufficient for these things a' Gracious God of wisdom and love!, if thou callest us to this difficult and thankless office, let all 'our sufficiency be of thee;' and should the operation succeed, thine and thine alone shall be all the glory.
5. And yet, brethren, 'I show you a more excellent way' than that of mild irony sharpeuing a strong argument. If love is the fulfilling of the law, love, after all, must be the destruction of Antinomianism. We shall do but little good by exposing the doctrinal Antinomianism of Dr. Cri sp's admirers, if our own tempers and conduct are inconsistent with our profession of erangelical legality. When our antagonists cannot shake our arguments, they will upbraid us with our practice. Let us then take care not to hold the truth in anrighteousness :' Let our moderation and evangelical legality appear even to our candid opponents : So shall the righteousness of the law be fulfilled in us' that believe the Anti-Crispian truth So shall our faith establish the law' of ardent love to God and man; and wherever that law is established, Antinomianism is no more. And if, when we truly love our antagonists, they still look upon our opposition to their errors as an abuse of their persons, and call our exposing their mistakes “sneering at the truth;" let us wrap our souls in the mantle of that 'love which is not provoked;' remembering,' the disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord.'