Page images


you shall demonstrate that the witnesses, upon whose testimony a criminal is absolved, are the same thing as the sentence of absolution pronounced by the judge, you will be able to make it appear, that sanctification is the same thing as justification in the last day; 01, which is all one, that there is no difference between an instrumental cause, and its proper effect.—May both vur hearts lie open to the bright beams of convincing truth! And inay you believe, that my pen expresses the feelings of my heart, when I subscribe myself, Honoured and dear Sir, Your most obedient Servant in Him who will justify us by our words,


[ocr errors]




An assertion of your's seems to me of greater moment, than the quotation from Bishop Cowper, which I answered in my last. You maintain, (p. 11,) “ that the doctrine of a two-fold justification is not to be found in any part of the Liturgy of our Church.”

1. Not to mention again the latter part of St. Athanasius's Creed; permit me, Sir, to ask you, if on the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Sundays after Trinity, you never considered what is implied in these and the like petitions ? “ Grant that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises, through the merits of Jesus Christ. - Make us to love that which thou dost command, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise.Again, un St. Peter's day, “ Make all pastors diligently to preach thy holy word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ.” And on the Third Sunday in Advent, “ Grant that thy miuisters may so prepare thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient, that at thy second coming to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight.”

St. James's justification by works, consequent upon justification by faith, is described in the service for AshWednesday : If from henceforth we walk in his ways : If we follow him in lowliness, patience, and charity, and be ordered by the governance of his Holy Spirit, seeking always his glory, and serviug him duly with thanksgiving :”—Then comes the description of our final justification, which is but a solemo and public cophrmation of St. James's justification by works.“ This if we do, Christ will deliver us from the curse of the law, and from the extreme malediction which sbal light upou them that shall be set on the left hand; and he will set ns on his right hand, and give us the gracious benediction of his Father, commanding us to take possession of his glorious kingdom.”—Commination.

I fatter myself, honoured Sir, that you will not set these quotations aside, by just saying what you do on another occasion : “As to the quotation you have brought from Mr. Henry in defence of this doctrine, for any good it does your cause, it might as well have been urged in defence of extreme unction.” I hope you will not object, that the words, second justification by works, are not in our Liturgy; for if the THING be evidently there, what can a candid enquirer after truth require more ? Should you have recourse to such an argument, you will permit me to ask you, what you would say to those who assert, that the DOCTRINE of the Trinity is not found in the scripture, because the WORD Trinity is not read there?

And the same answers which you would give to such opponeuts, I now beforehand return to yourself.

II. As final justification by the evidence of works is clearly asserted in our Liturgy, so it is indirectly maintained in our Articles. You know, honoured Sir, that the Eleventh treats of Justification by Fuith at our conversion, and you yourself very justly observe, (p. 11,) “That our Reformers seemed to have had an eye to the words of our Lord, “ The tree is known, (that is, is evidenced,] by its fruits,' when they drew up our Twelfth Article, which asserts, that a lively faith may be as evidently known by good works, as a tree discerned by its fruit." This, honoured Sir, is the very basis of Mr. Wesley's “ rotten” doctrine ;

the very foundation on which St. James builds his pure

and undefiled religion.' This being granted, it necessarily follows, to the overthrow of your favourite scheme, that a living, justifying faith may degenerate into a dead, condemning faith, as surely as David's faith, once productive of the fruits of righteousness, degenerated into a faith productive of adultery and murder.

You are aware of the advantage that the Twelfth Article gives us over you; therefore, to obviate it, you insinuate, in your Five Letters, that David's faith, when he committed adultery was the same as when he danced before the ark. It was justifying faith still, oply “ in a Winter-season.” This argument, which will pass for a demonstratiou in Genera, will appear an evasion in England, if our readers consider, that it is founded merely upon the Calvinian custom of forcing rational comparisons to go upon all four like brutes, and then driving them far beyond the intention of those by whom they were first produced. We know that a tree on the banks of the Severn may be good in Winter, though it bear no good fruit; because no trees bear among us any fruit, good or bad, in January. But this caunot be the case either of believers or unbelievers ; they bear fruit all the year round ; unless you can prove, that like men in an apoplectic fit, they neither think, speak, nor act os in a Winter-season." Again,

Believers who commit adultery and murder are not good trees, even in a negative sense; for they positively bear fruit of the most poisonous nature. How then can either their faith or their persons be evidenced a good tree, by such bad fruit, such detestable evidence? While you put your logic to the rack for an answer, I shall take the liberty to encounter you a moment with your own weapons, and making the degraded comparison of our Twelfth Article walk upon all four against you, I promise you, that, if you can shew me an apple-tree which bears poisonous crabs in Summer, much more one that bears them “in a Winter-season," I will turn Antinomian, and believe

[ocr errors]

that an impenitent murderer has justifying faith, and is complete in Christ's righteousness.

[ocr errors]

III. Having thus, I hope, rescued our Twelfth Article from the violence which your scheme offers to its holy meaning, I presume to ask, Why do you not mention the Homilies, when you say that the doctrine of a two fold justification is not found in any part of the Offices and Liturgy of our Church? Is it because you never consulted them upon the subject of our controversy? To save you the trouble of turning them over, and to undeceive those who are frighted from the pure doctrine of their own Church by the late cries of Arminianism! Pelagianism! and Popery!, I shall present you with the following extract from our Homilies, which will shew you they are not less opposite to Antinomianism than our Liturgy and Articles :

The first coming unto God is through faith, whereby we are justified before God. And, lest any man should be deceived, it is diligently to be noted, that there is one faith, which in scripture is called a dead faith, which bringeth forth no good works, but is idle, barren, and uufruitful. And this faith, by the holy apostle St. James, is compared to the faith of devils. And such faith have the wicked, naughty Christian people, who, as St Paul saith, 'confess God with their mouth,' but deny Him in their deeds.-Forasmuch as 'faith without works is dead, it is not now faith, as a dead man is not

The true, lively Christian faith liveth and stirreth inwardly in the heart. It is not without the love of God and our neighbour, nor without the desire to hear God's word, and follow the same, in eschewing evil, and doing gladly all good works.—Of this faith, this is first to be noted, that it does not lie dead in the heart, but is lively and fruitful in bringing forth good works. As the light cannot be hid, so a true faith cannot be kept secret, but shews itself by good works : And as the living body of a man ever exerciseth such things as belong to a living body; so the soul that has a lively faith in it, will be doing alway some good work, which

a man.

« PreviousContinue »