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of works odious to humble souls. He takes it for granted that it encourages boasting; still confounding the works of faith, which he at times recommends as well as I, with the Pharisaical works of unbelief, which I perpetually decry as well as he. But even this argument, about which the Calvinists make so much noise, may be retorted thus: There is as much danger of being proud of one's faith, as of one's works of faith. And if Mr. Berridge presses me with Rom. iii, 27,"Boasting is excluded by the law of faith:" I reply, that the works I plead for being the works of faith, his argument makes as much for me as for him: and I press him in my turn with Rom. xi, 18, 20, "Boast not thyself against the branches. Thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear :" which shows it is as possible to be proud of faith, as of the works of faith. Nor can a believer boast of the latter, unless his humble faith begins to degenerate into vain fancy.
Such are the capital objections that Mr. Berridge, in his unguarded zeal for the first Gospel axiom, has advanced against the second. Should he attempt to exculpate himself by saying, that all his arguments against sincerc obedience are levelled at the hypocritical obedience which Pharisaic boasters sometimes call sincere: I reply, (1.) It is a pity he never once told his readers so. (2.) It is surprising that he who unmasks the Christian World, should so mask himself, as to say just the reverse of what he means. (3.) If he really designs to attack insincere obedience, why does he not attack it as insincere? And why does he advance no arguments against it, but such as would give the deepest wound to truly sincere obedience, if they were conclusive? (4.) What would Mr. Berridge say of me, if I published an impious essay against Divine worship in general, and, to vindicate my own conduct, gave it out, some months after, that I only meant to attack "the worship of the host," which makes a part of what the Papists call "Divine worship?" Would so lame an excuse clear me before the unprejudiced world? But, (5.) The worst is, that if Calvinism is true, all Mr. Berridge's arguments are as conclusive against evangelical, sincere obedience, as against the hypocritical works of Pharisees: for, if Christians (who have time to add the works chiefly recommended by St. James to the faith chiefly preached by St. Paul,) have a full, inamissible title to final justification without those works, nay, with the most horrid works, such as adultery and murder; is it not evident that the passport of good works and sincere obedience is as needless to their eternal salvation as "a rotten buttress, a paper kite, or a Jack o'lantern?"
When Mr. Berridge grants "that our damnation is wholly from ourselves," he grants that our salvation is suspended upon some term, which through grace we have power to fulfil; and in this case, unconditional reprobation, absolute election, and finished salvation, are false doctrines: and Calvin's whole system stands upon a sandy foundation.
WHEN a man grants me two and two, he grants me four; he cannot help it. If he exclaims against me for drawing the necessary inference, he only exposes himself before men of sense. Mr. Berridge, (p. 190,) fully grants the second Gospel axiom: "Our damnation," says he, "is wholly from ourselves." Nevertheless, he declares, (p. 26,) that there is "an absolute impossibility of being justified [or saved] in any manner by our works ;" and part of his book seems levelled at this proposition of the Minutes, "Salvation, not by the merit of works, but by works as a condition." Now, if I am not mistaken, by granting the above-mentioned Gospel axiom, as all moderate Calvinists do, he grants me Mr. Wesley's proposition, together with the demolition of Calvinism. For,
1. If my damnation is wholly from myself, it is not the necessary consequence of an absolute, efficacious decree of non-election, for then my damnation would be wholly from God. Nor is it the necessary consequence of the devil's temptation, for then it would be from the devil. Nor is it (upon the Gospel plan) the necessary consequence of Adam's fall: because, although I fell seminally into a state of damnation in the loins of Adam, yet the free gift came seminally upon me as well as upon all men unto initial justification; for I was no less in Adam when God raised him up by the true promise of a Mediator, than when he fell by the lying promise of the tempter.
Now, if my damnation is neither from any unconditional decree of reprobation, nor from the fall of Adam, what becomes of Apollo and his sister, the great Diana? What becomes of absolute reprobation, and its inseparable companion, unconditional election? What becomes of all the horrors that St. Paul is supposed to father upon the God of love, Rom. ix? In a word, what becomes of Calvinism?
Again If" my damnation is wholly from myself," the just Judge of all the earth must damn me personally for something which he had put it in my power personally to do or to leave undone. My damnation, then, and consequently my salvation, is necessarily suspended on some term or condition, the performance or non-performance of which is at my option. Nor is light more contrary to darkness than these two
By the word wholly, Mr. Berridge cannot mean that our damnation may not have secondary causes-such as a tempting devil, an alluring world, wicked com pany, a bad book, &c. He is too wise to deny it. All I suppose he means, as well as myself, is, that every reprobate is the primary, meritorious cause of his damnation. Just as Divine grace in Christ is the primary, meritorious cause of our salvation; although under that original, principal leading cause, there are inferior, instrumental, evidencing causes-such as Bibles, ministers, religious conversation, faith, good works, &c.
propositions of Mr. Berridge are to each other, "Our damnation is wholly from ourselves :" and, "St. Paul plainly shuts out all works of sincere obedience as a condition" of eternal salvation. On the first stand the Minutes and the Checks: on the second, Calvinism and Antinomianism. And as some of Mr. Berridge's readers cannot receive two incompatible propositions, they desire to know which of them we must give to the winds, with the paper kite of sincere obedience.
I hope that gentleman will not endeavour to screen Calvinism by saying, that the reprobates are damned merely for their personal sins, and therefore "their damnation is wholly from themselves." An illustration will easily show the fallacy of this argument, by which Calvinism is frequently kept in countenance.
A monarch, in whose dominions all children are naturally born lame, makes a law, that all who shall not walk straight before a certain day shall be cast into a fiery furnace. The terrible day comes, and myriads of lame culprits stand before him. His anger smokes against them; and with a stretched-out arm he thunders, Depart from me, ye cursed, into that place of torment prepared for obstinate offenders; for when I bid you walk upright, ye persisted to go lame. Go, burn to all eternity, and, as ye burn, clear my justice; and remember, that "your misery is wholly from yourselves."
"Wholly from ourselves!" they reply with one voice: "Was it ever in our power not to be born lame; or to walk upright in our crippled condition? Wast not thou acquainted with our natural misfortune? When a wonderful man came into thy kingdom to heal the lame, didst thou not order that he should pass us by? If he and his servants have tantalized us with general offers of a free cure, dost thou not know they were complimental, lying offers? Hast thou forgotten, how thou orderedst the loving physician, who wept over us, never to prepare one drop of his purple tincturé for us? And how thy 'secret will' bound us with the invisible chains of an efficacious decree of preterition, that we might never come at that precious remedy? In a word, was it not from the beginning thy fixed determination, that, as we were born lame and helpless subjects to thy crown, so we should remain the lame and remediless victims of thy wrath? If therefore thou wilt show the boundless extent of thy grim sovereignty, by casting us into that flaming abyss, do it; for we cannot resist thee! But do not pretend that we have pulled down thy wrath upon us. Rob, O rob us not of the only alleviation that our deplorable case can admit of, viz. the comfort of thinking that our destruction is not from ourselves. If thou wilt be fierce as a lion, at least be not hypocritical as a crocodile."
"Hear, ye heavens," replies the absolute monarch, "give ear, O earth, and judge of the justice of my proceedings against these lame culprits. In consequence of a permissive, efficacious decree of mine, five or six thousand years ago, one of their ancestors brought lameness upon himself and upon them: therefore their necessary lameness, and the fearful destruction with which I am going to punish their lame steps, are wholly from themselves. Are not my ways equal, and theirs unequal? And far from being a crocodile toward them, am I not a VOL. I.
lamb in whose mouth is no guile? or at least a lion who, like that of the tribe of Judah, use my sovereign power only according to the clearest dictates of justice and equity?" "Out of thine own mouth," reply the wretched culprits, "the world of rational beings will condemn thee, thou true king of terrors! Thou acknowledgest that thousands of years before we were born, one of our ancestors brought upon us the necessary lameness, in consequence of which we must be cast into that fiery furnace, without having ever had it in our power to take one straight step; and yet thou sayest that our destruction is wholly from ourselves! If thou wert not lost to all sense of equity and regard for truth, thou wouldst say that our condemnation is not from ourselves, but wholly from a man whom most of us never heard of; unless thou wast the grand contriver of the fall, which brought on his lameness and ours; and in that case our destruction is far less from him than from thyself. Beside, thou hast published a decree, in which thou declarest, They shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge; but every one shall die for his own iniquity. Behold, all souls are mine, as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine. The soul that sinneth it shall die' the death thou designest us. Now iniquity that we could never personally help, an iniquity caused by one of our ancestors can never be our own iniquity, contradistinguished from that of our fathers. If thou didst cast all the asses of thy kingdom into thy fiery furnace, because they do not bray as melodiously as the nightingale sings; or all the ravens, because they are not as white as swans; couldst thou with any truth say, Their torments are wholly from themselves?' And hast thou any more reason to say that our perdition is from ourselves, when thou burnest us merely for our natural, necessary lameness, and for the lame steps that it has naturally and necessarily occasioned ?"
The judicious reader will enter into this illustration without being presented with a key of my own making; and, trusting his candour and good sense with that business, I draw the following inferences from the second Gospel axiom, which Mr. Berridge has explicitly granted. (1.) God does not prevaricate, but speaks a melancholy truth, when he says, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." (2.) Every reprobate is his own destroyer, not only because he has wilfully sinned away the justification mentioned Rom. v, 18, by which all infants are entitled to the kingdom of heaven, but also because he wilfully rejects the salvation really prepared for, and sincerely offered to him in Christ. (3.) According to the second covenant, we are never in a state of personal damnation till we have personally buried the talent of that "grace which bringeth salvation, and hath appeared to all men." (4.) Calvinism, which teaches the reprobates fully to exculpate themselves, and justly to charge God with shuffling, lying, injustice, cruelty, and hypocrisy, is a system that does the reprobates infinite honour, and the Divine perfections unspeakable injury. And, (5.) When Mr. Berridge maintains that "our damnation is wholly from ourselves," he maintains indirectly that the Minutes and Checks, which necessarily stand or fall with that Gospel axiom, are truly Scriptural. Thus, like other pious Calvinists, he gives us an excellent dose of antidote to *The warm author of a pamphlet, entitled, "Dr. Crisp's Ghost, or a Check
expel Antinomian poison. But who shall recommend it to the Calvinistic world? Mr. Wesley they will not hear. My Checks they will upon Checks, being a Bridle for Antinomian, and a Whip for Pelagian and Arminian Methodists," with this motto, "Without are dogs, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie;" designed, it seems, to whip the Arminian dogs, and to prove that Flavel, Baxter, Williams, and I, make a lie, when we represent Dr. Crisp as an abettor of "Antinomian dotages." This warm author, I say, informs us, that even Dr. Crisp, overcome by the glaring evidence of truth, once said, "I must read the fearful doom of all who have not learned this lesson [denying ungodliness,] and are not yet taught it of God, &c. They are yet in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity, and have not their part in this matter. I say, as yet, this is their fearful doom; and if they continue thus untaught their lesson, there can be no salvation by grace for them. Not every one that says, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in heaven,' &c. Some licentious, ungodly wretches I know reply, though to their own ruin, &c, that Christ justifies the ungodly, and we are saved by faith without works. But, alas! they observe not how cunningly the devil equivocates to lull them asleep in their ungodly practices. It is true indeed that Christ justifies the ungodly; that is, he finds them ungodly when he imputes his righteousness to them: but he does not leave them ungodly after he has inspired them; he teacheth them to deny ungodliness. He affords no cloak to perseverance in ungodliness; but will come in flaming fire, with his mighty angels, to render vengeance unto such. He that denies not ungodliness, him will Christ deny before his Father which is in heaven. Why, then, wilt thou be deluded with gross sophistry in so clear a sunshine of the Gospel? Is not the light so bright that thine own heart checks thee? And if thine heart condemns thee, God is greater, and searches all things."
Hail: Crisp. Far from checking my Checks, and whipping the Arminian dog, in a happy moment thou manfully fightest St. James' battle. Thou callest the doctrine of the Checks "sunshine;" and whippest thine own speculative error out of the Church as "gross sophistry."
Dr. Crisp (as quoted by his opponent,) almost discovered once the important difference between the salvation of a sinner previous to works; and the salvation of a believer consequent upon works.
His excellent words run thus: "It is true, also, we are saved by faith without works; but here also Satan equivocates as grossly as in the other case: for though faith only saves without works efficiently, yet not consequentially, as I said before; that is, though faith only saves, yet that faith must not be alone that saves, but must be attended with its fruits, to wit, denying ungodliness; else it is so far from saving, that it is but a dead faith; and he is but a vain man that has no better, as St. James well affirms. The person believing must deny ungodliness, though this denial works not his salvation." This is very true, if it is understood either of initial salvation, or of the primary cause of eternal salva. tion. "Our Saviour speaks to the same purpose: A good tree bringeth forth good fruit. He does not say, the fruit makes it a good tree; yet the good fruit is inseparable. I speak not of quantities or degrees, &c, but of the truth; to wit, a real and sincere denial of ungodliness." Excellent! To whip the dogs, the Rev. Mr. P―l need only prove, that when David robbed Uriah of the ewe lamb that lay in his bosom, tried to kill his soul with drunkenness, and treacherously killed his body with the sword of the Ammonites, he "really and sincerely denied ungodliness." And that his faith produced the good fruit, which is INŠEP. ARABLE from saving faith. The moment this is done I promise the public to clear the pious Calvinists in general from the charge of speculative Antinomian. ism, Dr. Crisp in particular from that of glaring contradiction, and his zealous second, who accuses me with " gross falsities," from Calvinistic rashness.
We can no more exculpate warm Calvinists, when they betray holiness into the hands of practical Antinomians, because they now and then speak honourably of good works, than we can clear Pontius Pilate from the guilt of delivering the Messiah to the Jews, because he once solemnly "took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I find no fault in this just person: I am innocent of his blood: see ye to it." If the author of the " Whip for the Arminians" considers this, or if he turns to Fourth Check, p. 224, where I produce