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word rewardableness is long and harsh. But it is nothing else that we mean." (Baxter's End of Doctrinal Controversies, page 294.)


I am glad that my honoured opponent, in the beginning of his fourth letter, does Mr. Wesley the justice to admit of the explanation I have given of that misunderstood assertion, "All who are convinced of sin undervalue themselves." Had you done otherwise, sir, you would have "shown judgment without mercy." Nevertheless, you still think that explanation forced; while many believe it not only natural and agreeable to Mr. Wesley's whole plan of doctrine, but so solid that no arguments can overthrow it. If you turn to the Second Check, (pp. 95, 96,) you will see more clearly that you do. Mr. Wesley no favour in "dismissing this article of the Minutes."


But you prepare to attack the next with the utmost vigour. A part of the Minutes which you esteem most contrary to sound doctrine, is, say you, that "we are every hour and every moment pleasing, or displeasing to God, according to the whole of our inward tempers and outward behaviour," &c. And it is, I own, diametrically opposite to the favourite sentiment which you thus express: "Though I believe that David's SIN displeased the Lord, must I therefore believe that David's PERSON was under the curse of the law?" (I suppose you mean under God's displeasure, for of this Mr. Wesley speaks; nor does he mention the curse of the law in all the Minutes.) You boldly answer, "Surely Like Ephraim, he was still a pleasant child: though he went on frowardly," in adultery and murder, "he did not lose the character of the man after God's own heart." You might as well have advanced at once that unguarded proposition of Dr. Crisp: "God does no longer stand displeased, though a believer do sin often. No sin can possibly do him any hurt." Is this what you call "sound doctrine?" And is that the worst part of the Minutes, which opposes such a dangerous tenet? Then how excellent must the other parts be! Indeed, sir, their vindicator could say nothing stronger to demonstrate their soundness, seasonableness, and importance. But let us consider your arguments; and that with such care as the importance of the subject requires.

I. "David's SIN displeased the Lord," but not "his PERSON." This is what you must mean, if you oppose Mr. Wesley's proposition. I like your shifting the terms; it is a sign that you are a little ashamed the world should see the good doctor's scheme without some covering. Erubuisti, salva res est. (1.) Your intimation, that the Lord was not displeased at David's person, bears hard upon the equity and varacity of God. David commits adultery and murder in Jerusalem, and Claudius in Rome. God sees them, and says, agreeably to your scheme,


They are both guilty of the same crimes, and both impenitent; but David is a Jew, an elect, a sheep, and therefore, though he sins against len times more light than the other, I am not at all displeased at him. But Claudius is a heathen, a reprobate, a goat, and my anger smokes against him; he shall surely die." If this is God's method, how can he make the following appeal? "O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? Are not your ways unequal? The soul that

sinneth it shall die: wherefore, turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel?" See Ezek. xviii, and Second Check, pp. 109, 110.

(2.) Your distinction is overthrown by Scripture: for we read, Gen. Xxxviii, 10, that "the thing which Onan did displeased the Lord." "True," might you say, upon your scheme, "this is the very thing I assert. This mode of speech shows that God was angry at Onan's sin, and not at his person." But this would be a great mistake, honoured sir; for the sacred historian adds immediately, Wherefore God slew him also. He showed his heavy displeasure at his person, by punishing him with death, as well as his brother Er, who was wicked in the sight of the Lord.

(3.) But if you will not believe Mr. Wesley when he declares, that God is displeased at the persons of the righteous, the moment they do those things which displease him, believe at least the oracles of God. "God's anger was kindled against Moses," Exod. iv, 14. "The Lord was very angry against Aaron," Deut. ix, 20; and with all Israel: witness those awful words, "Let me alone, that I may consume them in a moment!" Isaiah, whom you allow to be an elect, says, "Thou wast angry with me." God himself says, Isaiah xlvii, 6, "I was angry with my people :" and David, who frequently deprecates God's wrath in his penitential Psalms, observes, that "his anger smokes against the sheep of his pasture," when they go astray, Psalm lxxiv, 1.

(4.) The New Testament inculcates this doctrine as well as the Old. St. Paul having reminded the believers of Ephesus, that "no whoremonger, or covetous person, hath an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God," subjoins this seasonable caution, "Let no man deceive you;" no, not those good men, Dr. Crisp and the author of Pietas Oxoniensis: "for because of these things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience." "Impossible !" say those orthodox Protestants; "you may be children of disobedience,' not only unto whoredom and covetousness,' but unto adultery and murder, without fearing that the wrath of God will come upon you for these things.' No, no, you will be pleasant children still." See Vindication, pp. 59, 60.


II. You proceed: "Shall I believe, that, because David was ungrateful, God, whose gifts and callings are without repentance, was unfaithful?" And shall I believe that God is not as faithful when he accomplishes his threatenings, as when he fulfils his promises? You reply," God's gifts and callings are without repentance." And does this prove that God's warnings are without meaning, and his threatenings without truth? St. Paul spoke those words of the election of the Jews; and, it is certain, God does not repent that he formerly called them, and gave them the land of Canaan; any more than he repents his having now rejected them, and taken from them the good land which he gave their fathers: for as he had once sufficient reasons to do the one, so he has now to do the other.

But if you will make this passage mean, that the Divine favour and blessings can never be forfeited through any fall into sin, I beg you will answer these queries. Had not God given all angels a place in his favour and glory? and did not many of them lose it by their fall?



Was not innocent Adam interested in the Divine favour and image? and did he not lose both, together with paradise, when he fell into sin? Did not King Saul forfeit the crown which God had given him, and the throne to which he had called him? Were not Judas' calling and apostleship forfeited by his unfaithfulness, as well as one of the twelve thrones which Christ had promised him? What will you say of the unprofitable servant from whom his lord took the talent unim proved? Lost he not a blessing given, and his calling to occupy with it? And can you assert that the man who took his fellow servant by the throat did not lose the forgiveness of a debt of ten thousand talents? Or that those apostates, who "tread under foot the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified," do not forfeit their sanctification by doing despite to the Spirit of grace? Is it right thus to set the author of the Epistle to the Romans against the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews?


III. Your bringing in "backsliding Ephraim, the pleasant child,” as a witness of the truth of your doctrine, is a most unhappy proof. Rejoice not, O Israel, as other people," says the Lord, Hosea ix, 1, "for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God." This whoring Israel is called Ephraim, verse 13. Ephraim, the pleasant child, is planted as a pleasant plant. Notwithstanding, "Ephraim shall bring forth his children for the murderer. All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them. For the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house: I will love them no more." Hence the prophet observes immediately after, "Ephraim is smitten; my God will cast them away because they did not hearken unto him."

IV. However, my honoured friend still affirms, that "David, notwithstanding his horrible backslidings, did not lose the character of the man after God's own heart." But you will permit me to believe the contrary.

1. Upon the testimony of the Psalmist himself, who says, in your favourite Psalm, "Thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been very wroth with thine anointed; thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant; thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground," Psalm lxxxix, 38.

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2. Where is David called the man after God's own heart, while he continued an impenitent adulterer? How much more guarded is the Scripture than your Letters? "David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside, SAVE only in the matter of Uriah," 1 Kings xv, 5. Here you see the immoral parenthesis of ten months spent in adultery and murder, expressly pointed at, and excepted by the Holy Ghost.

3. David himself, far from thinking that sin could never separate between God and a just man who draws back into wickedness, speaks thus in the last charge which he gave to Solomon: "And thou, Solomon, my son, know the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart. If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever," 1 Chron. xxviii, 9. Hence it appears that the God of Solomon's father is very different from the picture which Dr. Crisp draws of David's God! The former can be so displeased at an impenitent backslider, as to cast him off for ever ;

while the latter accounts him a pleasant child still. But let us come to matter of fact.

4. Displeasure, anger, or wrath in God, is not that disturbing, boisterous passion so natural to fallen man; but an invariable disapprobation of sin, and a steady design to punish the sinner. Now God severely manifested his righteous displeasure at David's person, when he punished him by not restraining any longer the ambition of his rebellious son. How remarkably did his dreadful punishments answer his heinous crimes! He wanted the fruit of his adultery to live, but inflexible justice destroys it. "The crown of righteousness was fallen from his head," and his royal crown is "profaned and cast to the ground." He had not turned out "the way faring man," the hellish tempter; and he is turned out of his own palace and kingdom. He flees beyond Jordan for his life; and, as he flees, Shimei throws stones at him; volleys of curses accompany the stones; and the most cutting challenges follow the curses :-"Come out, thou bloody man," said he, "thou man of Belial! The Lord hath delivered thy kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son; and behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. "" To which David could answer nothing, but "Let him curse; for the Lord,' by not restraining his wickedness, hath permissively said unto him, Curse David.' I see the impartial justice of a sin-avenging God, through the cruel abuse of this raging man." This was not all. He had secretly committed adultery with Uriah's wife, and his son publicly commits incest with his wives. And, to complete the horror of his punishment, he leaves the most dreadful curse upon his posterity. "Thou hast slain Uriah with the sword of the children of Ammon," says the Lord, "now therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house," and thy own children shall murder one another. What a terrible punishment was this! And how strong must be the prejudice of those who maintain that God was not displeased at David's person!


V. Pass we now to an argument which you seem to consider as one of the main pillars of your doctrine: "If one believer sin by an unclean thought," say you, "and another by an unclean act, does the former continue in a state of grace, and the other forfeit his sonship? Take heed lest you should be forced to go to Rome for an answer to this query."


Without going even to the convent of the Benedictine monks in Paris, I answer, It is evident from Scripture that an adulterous thought, delighted in, is adultery. He that entertains such a thought is an adulterer, one who is absolutely unfit for the presence of a holy God. "Be not deceived," says St. Paul, "neither fornicators nor adulterers shall inherit the kingdom of God." Therefore adultery of heart certainly excludes an impenitent backslider out of heaven; though it will not sink him into so deep a hell, as if he had drawn another into the commission of his intended crime. You add:

"But if David had only had an angry thought, he had still been a murderer in the sight of God." Not so: for there is a righteous anger, which is a virtue and not a sin; or else how could Christ "have looked round about on the Pharisees with anger," and continued sinless? You mean, probably, that if David had only hated Uriah in his

heart, he would have been a murderer. If so, your observation is very just, for, "he that hateth his brother," says St. John, " is a murderer; and you know," adds he, “that no murderer," though he were a royal psalmist, "hath eternal life abiding in him."

But what do you get by these arguments? Nothing at all. You only make it easier to prove that your doctrine is erroneous. For if David would have forfeited heaven by "looking on Uriah's wife, to lust after her in his heart," or by intending in his breast to murder her husband; how much more did he forfeit it when mental sin fully ripened into outward enormities! "Ye are of your father the devil, whose works ye do," said Christ to some of the chosen nation. And if adultery and murder are works of the devil, it follows from those words of our Lord, that while David continued impenitent, he was not "a man after God's own heart," as my honoured opponent too charitably supposes; but a man after the own heart of him "who abode not in the truth, and was a murderer from the beginning."

VI. But you add, "Sin did not reign in him as a king, it only for a time usurped as a tyrant." Nay, sir, sin is a tyrant wherever he reigns, and he reigns wherever he usurps. "Where will you draw the line" between the reign and tyranny of sin? Are not both included under the word dominion? "Sin," says St. Paul, "shall not have DOMINION Over you that are under grace." Had I made such a distinction as this, some Protestants would deservedly have called it metaphysical; but as it comes from the orthodox author of Pietas Oxoniensis, it will probably pass for evangelical.

Very different, however, is St. Peter's orthodoxy. "Of whom a man is overcome," says he, "of the same is he brought into bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." Nevertheless, even such apostates, so long as the day of their visitation lasteth, may again repent and believe; for, as you justly observe, they have still an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." VII. You try to prove your point by Scripture. "There is," say you, "no condemnation to them who are in Christ." True: but it is while they "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;" a clause which you prudently keep out of sight. And, surely, David walked after the flesh, when in the act of adultery and murder. You proceed: "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?" Nobody, if God's elect are penitent believers," who walk not after the flesh;" but if they are impenitent adulterers and hypocritical murderers,-Jews and Gentiles, law and Gospel, prophets and apostles, God and their own conscience, ALL will agree to lay their crimes to their charge. You urge, that "Christ, by one offering, hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified." True! But not those who are unsanctified: and, certainly, such are all adulterers and murderers. These ought rather to be ranked with those who "tread under foot the blood of the covenant where with they WERE sanctified."

It is said, however, "Ye," believing, loving, fruitful Colossians, see chap. i, 4, 6," are complete in him." It is so; but not, ye impenitent

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