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I shall not say that my new opponent's mistake "is enough to make* a devil blush;" but I may venture to affirm, that before he can prove the law of liberty is "a cobweb," he must not only burn St. James' Epistle, but sweep away the Epistles of St. Paul to the Romans and to the Galatians; together with the law, the prophets, and the Psalms. While he considers whether the tree of Antinomianism will yield a besom strong enough for that purpose, I beg leave to dwell a moment upon another of his mistakes. It respects obedience and good works, against which Solifidians indirectly wage an eternal war. It runs through several pages, but centres in the following unguarded propositions:

Page 35, l. 18. "Sincere obedience is no where mentioned in the Gospel as a condition of salvation ;" and, (p. 36, 1. 4,) "Works have no share in the covenant of grace as a condition of life." I grant it, if by salvation, in the first proposition, and by life in the second, Mr. Berridge means initial salvation, and life begun in the world of grace.

How strangely may prejudice influence a good man! Mr. Berridge (page 164, &c,) raises a masked battery against the article of the Minutes, where Mr. Wesley hints that the word merit might be used in a Scriptural sense to express what Dr. Owen, by an uncouth circulocution, calls "the rewardable condecency, that our whole obedience, through God's gracious appointment, has unto eternal life." "O sir," says Mr. Berridge, "God must abominate the pride, the insolence of human pride, which could dream of merit: it is enough to make a devil blush." There is great truth in these words, if Mr. Berridge speaks only of proper merit, or merit of condignness and equivalence; but if he extends them to the evangelical worthiness so frequently mentioned by our Lord-if he applies them to inproper merit, generally called merit of congruity-he indirectly charges Christ with teaching a doctrine so excessively diabolical, that the devil himself would be ashamed of it: and what is more surprising still, if I mistake not, he indirectly enforces the dreadful heresy himself by an illustration, which, in some degree, shows how God rewards us "for" our works, and "according to" our works. "A tender-hearted gentleman," says he, "employs two labourers out of charity to weed a little spot of four square yards: both are old and much decrepit, but one is stronger than the other. The stronger weeds three yards, and receives three crowns; the weaker weedeth one, and receives one crown. Now both are rewarded for their labour, and according to their labour, but not for the merit of their labour." Granted, if merit is taken in the sense of proper merit, or merit of condignness and equivalence; but absolutely denied if it is taken in the sense of improper worthiness, or merit of congruity. Let Thomas Aquinas, the most famous of all the Papist divines, bring his standard of merit, and measure Mr. Berridge; and if the vicar of Everton (how loud soever he may exclaim against the word) is not found holding the doctrine of merit of congruity as much as Mr. Baxter, let me for ever forfeit all pretentions to a grain of common sense. "The angelic doctor" defines merit thus: Dicitur aliquis mereri ex condigno, quando invenitur equalitas inter præmium et meritum secundum estimationem; ex congruo autem, tantum quando talis æqualitas non invenitur: sed solum secundum liberalitatem dantis munus tribuitur quod dantem decet: that is, "A man is said to merit with a merit of condignness, [i. e. to merit properly,] when, upon an average, there appears an equality between the reward and the merit. But he is said to merit only with a merit of congruity [i. e. to merit improperly] when there is no such equality; and when a benefactor, out of mere liberality, makes a present which it becomes him to make." Now, let candid men compare Mr. Berridge's illustration with the definition that the most renowned Papist doctor has given us of merit; and let them say if Mr. Berridge, instead of splitting the hair, does not maintain and illustrate the doctrine of merit of congruity and if one of the blushes which he supposes our Lord's doctrine of worthiness, or merit, would bring upon the face of some modest devil, does not become the author of the "Christian World Unmasked," more than the author of the Minutes.


For undoubtedly the "free gift is come upon all men to justification," or salvation from the damning guilt of original sin, and consequently to some interest in the Divine favour previous to all obedience and works. Again and again have I observed, that as "by one man's disobedience many [ooλo, the multitudes of men,'] were made sinners; so by the obedience of one, many [o woλ201, the multitudes of men,'] shall, [to the end of the world,] be made righteous," i. e. partakers of the above-mentioned justification, in consequence of Christ's atonement, and the talent of free grace, and supernatural light, which “ enlightens every man that comes into the world;" compare Rom. v, 18, 19, with John i, 4, 5, 9. Far from opposing this initial life of free grace, this salvation unconditionally begun, I assert its necessity against the Pelagians, and its reality against the Papists and Calvinists, who agree to maintain that God has* absolutely reprobated a considerable part of

* Some of my readers will wonder at my coupling the Calvinists and the Romanists, when I speak of those who hold absolute reprobation; but my observation is founded upon matter of fact. We are too well acquainted with the opinion of the Calvinists concerning the vessels of wrath. The sentiments of the Papists not being so public, may be brought to light by the following anecdote:Being some years ago at Ganges, in the south of France, I went with Mr. Pomaret, the Protestant minister of that town, to recommend to Divine mercy the soul of a woman dying in child bed. When he came out of the house, he said: "Did you take notice of the person who was by the bed side? He is a man. midwife, and a strenuous Papist. You see by the consequences that this poor woman had a very hard labour. As it was doubtful whether the child would be born alive, he insisted upon baptizing it in the womb, avec une seringue, according to custom. The Protestant women in the room exclaimed against his intention of tormenting a woman in that extremity, by so ridiculous and needless an ope ration. Needless replied he, 'how can you call that needless, which will save a soul? Do you not know that if the child dies unbaptized it will certainly be lost?" The doctrine of the Romish Church is, then, free wrath, or free reproba. tion, for the myriads of infants who die without baptism all the world over.


I beg leave to confirm this anecdote by a public testimony. My opponents have frequently mentioned the agreement of my sentiments with those of the Popish champion Bellarmine. This gave me a desire of looking into his works Accordingly I procured them last winter; and, to my great surprise, before I had read a page, I found him a peculiar admirer of the great Predestinarian St. Augustine, whom he perpetually quotes. Nay, he is so strenuous an assertor of Calvinistic election, that, to prove "we can give no account of God's election on our part," among the reasons advanced by Calvin, Coles, Zanchius, &c, in support of unconditional election and reprobation, he proposes the following argument:Tertia ratio, &e, ducitur a parvulorum diversitate, quorum aliqui rapiuntur statim a baptismo, ali paulo ante baptismum, quorum priores ad gloriam prædestinatorum, posteriores ad pœnam reproborum pertinere non est dubium; nec possunt hic ulla merita previsa, ullusve bonus usus liberi arbitrii, aut gratia fingi." (Bell. Opera de gratia et libero arbitrio. Cap. v, Antverpiæ, 1611, p. 766.) That is, "The third reason is taken from the different lot of little children; some being snatched immediately after baptism, and others a little before baptisin: the former of whom undoubtedly go to the glory of the elect; and the latter to the punishment of the reprobates. Nor can any desert foreseen, or any good use of free will, or of grace, be here pretended." This argument is truly worthy of the cause which it sup ports. The very essence of Calvinism is an irreconcilable opposition to the second Gospel axiom. And as Bellarmine's argument demolishes that axiom, (it being impossible that the damnation of reprobated infants should be from themselves,) he necessarily builds up Calvinism, with all its gracious doctrines. I might here return my last opponent these words of his "Finishing Stroke," (p. 15,) which he writes in capitals, "So BELLARMINE." "See, sir, what company you are again found in!" But I do not admire such arguments. Were father Walsh and Cardinal Bellarmine in the right, it would be no more disgrace to Mr. Hill to stand


mankind. But Mr. Berridge's propositions are Antinomianism unmasked, if he extends their meaning (as his scheme does) to finished salvation, and to a life of glory, unconditionally bestowed upon adulterous backsliders: for sincere obedience, or the good works of faith, are a condition, (or, to use Mr. Berridge's word, "a term,") indispensably required of all that stay long enough upon the stage of life to act as moral agents. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away," John xv, 2. "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, &c, shall inherit the kingdom of God," 1 Cor. vi, 9: see Ezek. xviii, and xxxiii. "If the penitent thief had lived, (says our Church,) and not regarded the works of faith, he should have lost his salvation again." As for the argument taken from these words: "He that believeth now with the heart unto righteousness, hath everlasting life," (i. e. has a title to it, and a taste of a life of glory, and shall have the enjoyment of it, "if he continues in the faith rooted and grounded,") it is answered at large in the Fourth Check, p. 254.

Page 38, Mr. Berridge unmasks Antinomianism in the following proposition::-"I have gathered up my ends, respecting this matter; and I trust you see, at length, that sincere obedience is nothing but a Jack o'lantern, dancing here and there and every where: no man could ever catch him, but thousands have been lost by following him." If I mistake not, Mr. Berridge here exceeds Mr. Hill. The author of Pietas Oxoniensis only supposes that works have nothing to do before the Judge of all the earth in the matter of our eternal salvation, and that all believers shall "sing louder" in heaven for all their crimes upon earth: but the vicar of Everton represents sincere obedience (which is a collection of all the good works of upright heathens, Jews, and Christians,) as "a Jack o'lantern; and thousands," says he, "have been lost by following him." Here is a blow at the root! What! thousands lost by following after sincere obedience to God's commands! Impossible! Our pious author, I hope, means insincere obedience; but if he stands to what he has written, he must not be surprised, if, with the "good folks cast in a Gospel foundry, I ring a fire bell," and warn the Protestant world against so capital a mistake. That thousands have been lost by resting in faithless, superficial, hypocritical, insincere obedience, I grant: but thousands! lost! by following after sincere obedience, i. e. after the obedience we uprightly perform according to the light we have! This is as impossible as that the Holy Spirit should lie when he testifies, "In every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him ;" according to one or another of the Divine dispensations: he is accepted as a converted heathen, Jew, or Christian.

Had I the voice of a trumpet, I would shout upon the walls of our Jerusalem: 66 Let no man deceive you :" nobody was ever lost, but for not following after, or for starting from sincere obedience; Christian faith itself being nothing but sincere obedience to this grand Gospel precept: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

between them both, than it is to me to believe, with the cardinal, that Christ has said, "In the day of judgment, by thy words thou shalt be justified:" for, as a diamond does not become a pebble upon the finger of a Papist, so truth does not become a lie under his pen.

"We have received apostleship," says St. Paul, "for obedience to the faith among all nations," Rom. i, 5. No adult children of Adam were ever eternally saved, but such as followed after sincere obedience, at least from the time of their last conversion, if they once drew back toward perdition. For "Christ," says the apostle, "is the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him ;" and he undoubtedly means, that obey him sincerely. "He will render eternal life to them who by patient continuance in well doing," or by persevering in sincere obedience, "seek for glory." "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings," says Samuel, "as in obeying [and I dare say he meant sincerely obeying] the voice of the Lord? Behold! [whatever Solifidians may say] to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams: for rebellion [or disobedience] is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as idolatry," Heb. v, 9; Rom. ii, 7; 1 Sam.

XV, 22.

God, to show the high value he puts upon sincere obedience, sent Jeremiah to the Rechabites with this message: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts; therefore Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever." His capital charge against Israel is that of disobedience. St. Peter, who observes that the believing Jews had purified their souls by obeying the truth, asks, "What shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel?". And St. Paul answers, that "Christ will come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them," and that "God will render tribulation and wrath to them that do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness:" and even that famous passage, "He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life," John iii, 36, is in the original a rampart against Solifidianism; for in the last sentence of it, the word rendered "believeth not," is not ou 15euwv, in opposition to the first clause; but arawv, an expression which, by signifying equally "he who disobeyeth," and "he who believeth not," guards the doctrine of obedience as strongly as that of faith.


An answer to Mr. Berridge's capital arguments against sincere

THE serious reader probably wonders at the pious vicar of Everton, and asks, if he supports his assertions against sincere obedience by arguments? Yes, he does, and some of them are so plausible that the simple can hardly avoid being deceived by them; nay, and some of the judicious too: for asking, last summer, a sensible clergyman what part of Mr. Berridge's book he admired most, he convinced me of the seasonableness of this publication, by replying, "I think him most excellent upon sincere obedience." A glaring proof this, that the impossibility of deceiving the very elect is not absolute, and that our Lord did not give them an impertinent caution, when he said, "Take heed that no man deceive you." But let us hear Mr. Berridge :

Page 24. "Perhaps you think that Christ came to shorten man's duty, and make it more feasible by shoving a commandment out of Moses' tables, as the Papists have done; or by clipping and paring all the commandments, as the moralists do. Thus sincere obedience, instead of perfect, is now considered as the law of works. But if Jesus Christ came to shorten man's duty, he came to give us a license to sin. For duty cannot be shortened without breaking commandments. And thus Christ becomes a minister of sin with a witness, and must be ranked at the head of Antinomian preachers." To this specious argument I reply :

(1.) After the fall, Christ was given in the promise to mankind as a Mediator; and "help was laid upon him" to make man's duty (as a redeemed sinner) feasible. To deny it, is to deny man's redemption. At that first promulgation of the Gospel, what St. Paul calls "the law of faith," and St. James, "the law of liberty," took place. This gracious law has been in force under all the dispensations of the everlasting Gospel ever since. And according to its tenor, in the day of judgment, we shall be justified or condemned," Matt. xii, 37. (2.) To assert that "the law of liberty," or "the law of faith," requires of us paradisiacal innocence, and such a perfection of bodily and rational powers as Adam had before the fall, is to set Christ's mediation aside and to suppose that it leaves us just where it found us, that is, under the old Adamic covenant. (3.) "The law of liberty" "neither shoves out, pares, nor clips" any moral commandment; for it condemns a man for the adultery of the eye, as well as for gross fornication; and for the murder of the tongue or heart, as well as for manual assassination; and it requires us to "love God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves," according to the light of our dispensation, and the talent of power we have received from above. He that "keeps this whole law, and breaks it in one point," (as Saul did in the matter of Agag, David in the matter of Uriah, Judas in the matter of Mammon, some Corinthians and Galatians in biting one another, and some of the Christians, to whom St. James wrote, in despising the poor, and showing a mean partiality to the rich,) he, I say, that knowingly and wilfully "breaks this law in one point, is guilty of all ;" and he remains under the curse of it, till he has repented, and resumed the obedience of faith. Therefore, when our Lord substituted the law of liberty for the law of innocence, he neither "gave us a license to sin," nor "became a minister of sin with a witness," as Mr. Berridge rashly affirms. (4.) The fourth Mosaic commandment allows "no manner of work," but the last edition of the law of liberty allows all manner of works of necessity and mercy to be done on the Sabbath. Our Lord, therefore, dispenses with the uncommon rigour with which the Jews observed the sacred day and if Mr. Berridge will call that indulgence "clipping, paring," or altering the fourth commandment, he is at liberty; but if we break a commandment in availing ourselves of our Lord's gracious dispensation, why does Mr. Berridge allow his man servant, his maid servant, or his horse to work on the Saturday? Why does he not keep the seventh day holy, "like the circumcised race?"


(5.) Innocent man, with unimpaired powers, could yield perfect obedience to the law of innocence; therefore that law made no allow

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