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are (Christ's merits defaced; then are we justified by works, and by our deeds may we merit hearen. But understand, dearly be loved, that no godly men, when they, in extolling the dignity, profit, and effect of virtuous and liberal alms, do say that it bringeth us to the favour of God, do mean that our work is the original cause of on acceptance before God, &c. For that were indeed to deface Christ, and to defraud hini of his glory. But they mean, that the Spirit of God mightily working in them, who seemed before children of wrath, they declare by their outward deeds, that they are the undoubted children of God.- By their tender pity, (wherein they shew themselves to be like unto God,) they declare openly and manifestly unto the sight of all men, that they are the sons of God For as the good fruit does argue the goodness of the tree, so doth the good deed of a man prove the goodness of him that doeth it.”
In justice to our holy church, whom some represent as a patroness of Antiuomianism; in brotherly love to you, honoured Sir, who seem to judge of her doctrines by a few expressions which custom made her use after St. Augustin; in tender compassion to many of her members, who are strangers to her true seutiments ; and in common humanity to Mr. Wesley, who is perpetually accused of erecting Popery upon her ruins ; I have presented you with this extract from our Homilies. If you lay by the veil of prejudice, which keeps the light from your honest heart, I humbly hope it will convince you, that our church nobly contends for St. James's evangelical legality; that she pleads for the rewardableness (which is all we understand by the merit) of works, in far stronger terms than Mr. Wesley does in the Minutes; and that in perpetually making our justification, merited by Christ, turn upon the instrumentality of a lively faith, and the evidence of good works, as there is opportunity to do them, she tears up Calvinism and Antinomian delusions by the very roots.
Leaving you to consider, how you shall bring about a reconciliation between your Fourth Letter and our
godly Homilies, I shall just take the liberty to remind you, that when you entered, or took your degrees at Oxford, you subscribed to the 39 Articles; the 35th of which declares, that “the Homilies contain a godly and wholesome doctrine, necessary for these” Papistical and Antinomian “times.”
That keeping clear from both extremes, we may evidence the godliness of that doctrine, by the soundness of our publications, and the exemplariness of our conduct, is the cordial prayer of,
Honoured and dear Sir, Your obedient Servant in the Liturgy, Articles, and Homilies of the Church of England,
TO RICHARD HILL, ESQ.
HON. AND DEAR SIR,
In my last, I endeavoured to shew you, that our church, far from warping to CrisPIANITY, strongly enforces St. James's undefiled religion : Let us now see what modern divines, especially the Puritan, thought about the important subject of our controversy.
Page 13, you oppose the doctrine which you have (p. 11,) so heartily wished to be firmly estublished in the mouth of two witnesses : “Jf Mr. Whitefield had been now living,” say you, “ I doubt not but he would have told you, that if need should be, he was ready to offer himself among the foremost of those true Protes. tants, who, you tell us, could have burned against the doctrine of a second justification by works. And as to the Puritan divines, there is not one of the many hundreds of them but what abhorred the doctrine of a second justification by works, as full of rottenness and deadly poison.-Surely then it not without justice that I accuse you of the grossest perversions and misrepresentations, that perhaps ever proceeded from any author's pen. The ashes of that laborious man of God, Mr. Whitefield, you have raked up, in order to bring him as a coadjutor to support your tottering doctrine of a second justification by works.”—And again, (91, 92,) “I am not afraid to challenge Mr. Fletcher, to fix upon one Protestant minister, either Puritan or of the Church of England, from the beginning of the Reformation to the reign of Charles the Second, who held the doctrines he has been contending for.”—“Sure I am, that you have grieved inany a pious heart among our Dissenting bre
thren, by fathering upon their venerable ancestors such a spurious offspring, as can only trace its descent from the loins of the man of sin,' by which it was begotten, out of the mother of abominations, the 'scarlet Babylonish whore, which sitteth upon many waters.””
Your charges and challenge, honoured Sir, deserve an answer, not because they fix the blot of the grossest perversions upon my insignificant character ; but because they represent the holy apostle James, whose doctrine I vindicate, as the man of sin,' begetting his
undefiled religion“ out of the Babylonish whore." I E, begin with what you say about Mr. Whitefield:
I never thought he was clear in the doctrine of our Lord, 'In the day of judgment by thy words shalt thou be justified ;' for if he had seen it in its proper light, he would instantly have renounced Calvinism. All I have asserted is, that the most eminent ministers, Mr. Whitefield himself not excepted, perpetually allude to that doctrine, when their enlarged hearts, (under a full gale of God's free Spirit,) get clear of the shallows of bigotry, or the narrow channels of their favourite systems: For then, sailing in deep water, and regardless of the rocks of offence, they cut their easy way through the raging billows of opposition, and speak ALL the truth as it is in Jesus ; or at least “ allude" (this was my expression, see Second Check, p. 331) to what, at another time, they would perhaps oppose with all their might.
And do you not, honoured Sir, allow that Mr. Whitefield did this in the application of his sermons with regard to my doctrine, when you say?, (p. 15,)“ All that ca'l be gathered from his expressions, is, that he believed there would be a great and awful day in which all who sit under the sound of the gospel, shall be called to give a solemo account of what they hear, and every ministeras solemn an account of the doctrine delivered by him.” To convince you, that you grant me all 1 contended for, permit me to ask, whether this solemn account will be in order to a mock trial, or to the solemn justification or condemnation mentioned by our Lord,
Matt. xii. 37 ? If you affirm the former, you traduce Heavenly Wisdom, you blaspheme Jesus Christ: li the latter, you give up the point; our hearing and speaking, that is, our works, will turn evidence for or against us in the day of judgment; and according to their deposition, the scale of absolution and condemnation will turn for heaven or hell.
Let therefore the public judge, who wrongs Mr. Whitefield ;-), who represent him as speaking agree. ably to the plain words of his heavenly Master, Matt xii. 37 ;-or you, dear Sir, who make him advance as a zealot, at the head of a body of prejudiced men, to burn against as explicit and important a declaration as ever dropped from the Redeemer's lips. I say important; because the moment you strike at our justification by works in the last day, you strike at the doctrine of a day of judgment; and the moment that fundamental doctrine is overthrowo, natural and revealed religion sink in a heap of common ruins.
Pass we on now to the other reason, for which you accuse me of the grossest misrepresentations and perversions that perhaps ever proceeded from any author's pen." I have affirmed, (Second Check,p.331,) that “all the sober Puritan divines have directly or indirectly* asserted a second justification by works ;' and you tell us, (p. 13,)“There is not one of them but what abhorred it, as full of rottenness and deadly poison.” One of us is undoubtedly mistaken; for our propositions are diametrically opposite. Let us see who is the man.
To dispute about words is uubecoming men of reason and religion; and that we may not be guilty of this common absurdity, and oppose one another, when perhaps we mean the same thing, permit me to state the question as clearly as I possibly can. Not considering the meritorious, but the instrumental cause of our justi. fication, I ask, In the day of judgment, shall we be justified or condemned by the works which Christ did in the days of his flesh ?-Or, in other terms, Shall we be
* These were my limited expressions.