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not read. Go, then, " valiant Sergeant IF." Thou comest from Everton, therefore thou shalt be welcome. Thou knowest the way to the closets of Solifidians: nay, thou art there already with "The Christian World Unmasked."


Mr. Berridge candidly grants the conditionality of perseverance, and consequently of election, by showing much respect to "Sergeant IF" who "guards the camp of Jesus." But soon picking a quarrel with the valiant sergeant, he discharges him as a Jew, opens the camp to the Antinomians, by opposing to them only a sham centinel, and shows the foundations of Calvinism in a most striking light.

THE pious author of "The Christian World Unmasked," speaking of the Calvinistic doctrine of unconditional perseverance, which he confounds with the evangelical doctrine of conditional perseverance, (p. 194,) says with great truth, provided he had spoken of the latter: It "affords a stable prop to upright minds, yet lends no wanton cloak to corrupt hearts. It brings a cordial to revive the faint, and keeps a guard to check the forward. The guard attending on this doctrine is Sergeant IF; low in stature, but lofty in significance; a very valiant guard, though a monosyllable. Kind notice has been taken of the sergeant by Jesus Christ and his apostles; and much respect is due unto him, from all the Lord's recruiting officers, and every soldier in his army. Pray listen to the sergeant's speech: IF ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed,' John viii, 31. Ir ye do these things, ye shall never fall,' 2 Pet. i, 10. Ir what ye have heard shall abide in you, ye shall continue in the Son and in the Father,' 1 John ii, 24. We are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold steadfast unto the end,' Heb. iii, 14. Whoso looketh and continueth [that is, IF he that looketh doth continue] in the perfect law of liberty, that man shall be blessed in his deed,' " James i, 25. And again, (p. 194,) “ Ir backsliders fancy they must all be restored by repentance, because David was restored, and Peter was; they might as well suppose they must all be translated into heaven without dying,* because Enoch and Elijah were." (Page 199, l. 17.)

Upon this plan of doctrine, we are ready to lay by our controversial pens, and shake hands with our Calvinist brethren. All that we desire of them, in order to a lasting agreement, is, (1.) To consider what is implied in the preceding concessions; and not to gag Sergeant IF, when he honestly speaks the very words of "the Captain of our salvation," or those of the apostles, his lieutenant generals. (2.) Not to call him

D. Williams' observation concerning Dr. Crisp's inconsistency, he will be probably less forward in checking Checks that he has not candidly considered; and in making whips for the backs of his honest neighbours, lest some of them should take them from him to lash his mistakes, and chastise his precipitation.

*Here Mr. Berridge, in a fit of legality, far exceeds the limits of the truth which I maintain in the Checks; for he insinuates that the recovery of backsliders is as improbable as their bodily translation into heaven. For my part, severe as I am represented to backsliders, I believe their return is ten thousand times more probable, than their going to hoaven as Enoch and Elijah did.

a Galatian or a Papist, when he is found in company with St. James. (3.) Not to enter an action against him, for disturbing the peace of those backsliders, who, having denied the faith, and lost their first love now quietly hug a bosom sin, or take their Laodicean rest on the pillow of self election. (4.) Not to put him under arrest, for heading a platoon of those whom some of the elect call diabolonians, because they doubt the truth of unconditional election, or election without IF; and choose to fire at sin, rather than at their captain. And, (5.) Not to say to him, Hail! sergeant, kissing him as if he were a good Christian, in order to betray him with some decency into the hands of the Antinomians, as "a circumcised caitiff."

Whether my pious opponent has not treated the honest sergeant in "Yet take nothat manner, I leave the candid reader to determine. tice," says he, (p. 194,) "that Sergeant ir is not of Jewish, but Christian parentage: not sprung from Levi, though a son of Abraham: no centinel of Moses, but a watchman for the camp of Jesus. He wears no dripping beard, like the circumcised race; and is no legal blustering condition to purchase man's salvation, but a modest Gospel evidence to prove the truth of grace. He tells no idle tales." Enough, Rev. sir: if "he tells no idle tales," he does not cavil and quibble, much less does he deny his proper name, and well known meaning. Although he no more dreams of "purchasing man's salvation" than you do, yet he is conditional Ir,-Sergeant IF-a very valiant guard to the Scriptural doctrine of perseverance, and an irreconcilable enemy to Calvinian election, and "Antinomian dotages."

O ye opposers of the second Gospel axiom, "Pray come and peep!" See Calvinism "unmasked" by one of your principal leaders, who shows to the world the futile foundation of your doctrine of grace! Thanks be to his humourous honesty, we see now that those famous doctrines stand upon the super-metaphysical difference there is between IF and IF; between Jewish IF, and Christian IF; legal IF, and evangelical When IF, the culprit, appears IF; IF at Madeley, and Ir at Everton. in the Foundry pulpit, he tells idle tales, it seems! He slily disguises himself! But when IF the orthodox shows himself in the desk at Everton, (for it is to be feared that he seldom appears in the pulpit valiantly to guard Bible perseverance,) he never equivocates! When he says to people that never stood, or to people that can never fall," IF ye do these things ye shall never fall," &c, he is not a condition, and yet he never shuffles! These are strange hints indeed!

Patient reader, permit me to try, by the following questions, the solidity of the Calvinistic distinction between IF and IF, which supports the amazing weight of the great Diana. (1.). When the Gospel said to David, "IF thou dost these things thou shalt never fall,” and he fell into adultery; was “ Sergeant if a modest Gospel evidence to prove the truth of his grace?" And supposing he was such a modest evidence, did he "lend no wanton cloak to a corrupt heart?" (2.) When our Lord said to the young ruler, "I thou wilt be perfect, sell all;" was Sergeant Ir of Jewish or Christian parentage? (3.) How shall I know when the sergeant is "a centinel of Moses," or when he is "a watchman for the camp of Jesus?" Should you answer, "A Jewish IF wears a dripping beard," you may indeed, by such an argument, convince and


entertain some Calvinists; but you leave me quite in the dark; and with "some very honest folks, who are cast in a Gospel foundery," instead of "ringing a fire bell," I smile at your wit and orthodoxy, but can no more understand what you mean by an IF, "with a dripping beard," than you could conceive what I would be at, if I spoke of a yes, with a long tail, or a perhaps, with dreadful horns! (4.) How shall I distinguish a "legal" from an evangelical IF? Should you say, that the "legal, blustering" sergeant wears a halberd, but the evangelical, mild IF has no weapon at all: I ask, What business has an unarmed IF in "the camp of Jesus?" Why do you call him sergeant? Is he not a sham centinel, a ridiculous scarecrow, to deceive the simple, rather than "a very valiant guard to check the forward?" (5.) How shall I make a difference between an Everton IF, and a Madeley ir? When I have read my Bible in both places, I have always found the sergeant exactly of the same stature; he always appeared in the same black regimentals and to this day a Madeley IF exactly answers to the description that the pious vicar of Everton gives of him. He is "a monosyllable, low in stature, but of lofty significance." Whereas the Everton IF is yet lower in significance than in stature, since you make him signify just nothing. Should you reply, that a Madeley IF is "like one of the circumcised race;" I answer that, although about eleven years ago, I circumcised him with an Antinomian knife, yet I did not mutilate him. But I could name a Gospel minister, who has "served more than three apprenticeships at a noted hall of physic," by whom the unhappy sergeant has not only been "circumcised," but quite emasculated; yea, deprived of his very vitals. For when IF, in the above-quoted scriptures, is absolutely divested of conditionality, and turned into an unnecessary evidence of grace, which the elect can do without, as well as David and Solomon; may it not be compared to a dead sergeant, whose lungs and heart are pulled out: and whose illsmelling remains, far from being a "valiant guard" against the forward, prove an enticing lure to unclean birds, who fly about in search of a carcass !

Excuse, reader, this prolix and ludicrous defence of the sergeant. The subject, though treated in so queer a manner, is of the utmost importance; for the Minutes, the Checks, and the second Gospel axiom, stand or fall with Sergeant IF. If he is a coward, a knave, or a cipher, Antinomianism will still prevail; but if he recovers his true and lofty significance, he will soon rid the Church of Antinomian dotages. As "much respect is due unto him," and to St. James' undefiled religion, which the ingenious book I quote indirectly undermines, I thought it my duty to " open my bag" also, and let out a ferret; or to speak exactly the language of Everton, "a fox," to chase "a straggling "I goose," Take notice, however, that by the " goose hard at hand." do not mean the reverend author of The World Unmasked, for he has wit enough, and to spare; but the "waddling dame," Calvinistic contradiction, alias Logica Genevensis. And now, reader, I lay her before thee, not to make thee "sup" upon her, "amidst a deal of cackling music," but that thou wouldst help me to nail her up to the everlasting doors of the temple of truth, as sportsmen do cranes and foxes to the doors of their rural buildings.


WERE I to conclude these strictures upon the dangerous tenets, inadvertently advanced, and happily contradicted, in The Christian World Unmasked, without professing my brotherly love and sincere respect for the ingenious and pious author; I should wrong him, myself, and the cause which I defend. I only do him justice, when I say, that few, very few of our elders, equal him in devotedness to Christ, zeal, diligence, and ministerial success. His indefatigable labours in the word and doctrine, entitle him to a double share of honour; and I invite all my readers with me to "esteem him highly in love for" his Master's and "his work's sake;" entreating them not to undervalue his vital piety, on account of his Antinomian opinion; and beseeching them to consider, that his errors are so much the more excusable, as they do not influence his moral conduct, and he refutes them himself, far more than his favourite scheme of doctrine allows him to do. Add to this, that those very errors spring, in a great degree, from the idea, that he honours Christ by receiving, and does God service by propagating them.

The desire of catching the attention of his readers has made him choose a witty, facetious manner of writing, for which he has a peculiar turn; and the necessity I am under of standing his indirect attack, obliges me to meet him upon his own ground, and to encounter him with his own weapons. I beg that what passes for evangelical humour in him may not be called indecent levity in me. A sharp pen may be guided by a kind heart; and such, I am persuaded, is that of my much esteemed antagonist, whom I publicly invite to my pulpit; protesting that I should be edified, and overjoyed, to hear him enforce there the guarded substance of his book, which, notwithstanding the vein of Solifidianism I have taken the liberty to open, contains many great and glorious truths.


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