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"But, upon that footing, what becomes of distinguishing grace?" If by "distinguishing grace" you mean Calvinistic partiality, I answer, it must undoubtedly sink, together with its inseparable partner, unconditional reprobation, into the pit of error, whence they ascended to fill the Church with contentions, and the world with infidels. But if you mean Scriptural, distinguishing grace, that is, the "manifold wisdom of God," which makes him proceed gradually, and admit a pleasing variety in the works of grace, as well as in the productions of nature; -if you mean his good pleasure to give the heathens one talent, the Jews two, the Papists three, the Protestants four; or if you mean the different methods which he uses to call sinners to repentance, such as his familiar expostulation with Cain: his wonderful warning of Lot's sons-in-law: his rousing King Saul by the voice of Samuel, and Saul of Tarsus by the voice of Christ: (Samuel and Christ coming, or seeming to come from the invisible world for that awful purpose:) his audibly inviting Judas and the rich ruler to follow him, promising the latter heavenly treasure if he would give his earthly possessions to the poor: his shocking, by preternatural earthquakes the consciences of the Philippian jailer and the two malefactors that suffered with him: his awakening Ananias, Sapphira, and thousands more by the wonders of the day of pentecost, when Lydia and others were called only in the common way: if you mean this by "distinguishing grace," we are agreed. For grace displayed in as distinguishing a manner as it was toward Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida, greatly illustrates our Lord's doctrine: "Of him to whom little is given, little shall be required; but much shall be required of them that have received much ;" the equality of God's way not consisting in giving to all men a like number of talents, any more than making them all archangels; but in treating them all equally, according to the various editions of the everlasting Gospel, or law of liberty; and according to the good or bad uses they have made of their talents, whether they had few or many.

To return to your grand objection: you suppose (and this is probably the ground of your mistake) that when a deliverance, or a Divine favour, turns upon something which we may do, or leave undone, at our option, God is necessarily robbed of his glory. But a few queries will easily convince you of your mistake. When God had been merciful to Lot and his family, not looking back made all the difference between him and his wife; but does it follow that he claimed the honour of his narrow escape? Looking at the brazen type of Christ made some Israelites differ from others that died of the bite of the fiery serpents; but is this a sufficient reason to conclude that the healed men had not sense to distinguish between primary and secondary causes, and that they ascribed to their looks the glory due to God for graciously contriving the means of their cure? One of your neighbours has hanged, and another has poisoned himself; so that not hanging yourself, and taking wholesome food, has so far made the difference between you and them: but can you reasonably infer that you do not live by Divine bounty, and that I rob the Preserver of men of his glory, when I affirm that you shall surely die if you do not eat, or if you take poison?

Permit me to make you sensible of your mistake by one more illus

tration. An anti-calvinist, who observes that God has suspended many of his blessings upon industry, diligently ploughs, sows, and weeds his field. A fatalist over the way, lest free grace should not have all the glory of his crop, does not turn one clod, and expects seed to drop from the clouds into furrows made by an invisible plough on a certain day, which he calls "a day of God's power." When harvest comes, the one has a crop of wheat, and the other a crop of weeds. Now, although industry alone has made the difference between the two fields: who is most likely to give God the glory of a crop, the Solifidian farmer who reaps thistles? or the laborious husbandman who has joined works to his faith in Divine Providence, and joyfully brings his sheaves home, saying, as St. Paul, "By Divine bounty I have planted and Apollos has weeded, but God has given the increase, which is all in all?"


FLATTERING myself that the preceding answers have removed the reader's prejudices, or confirmed him in his attachment to genuine free grace, I shall conclude this Essay by some reflections upon the pride, or prejudices of those who scruple working with an eye to the rewards that God offers with a view to promote the obedience of faith.

"If heaven, (say such mistaken persons,) if the enjoyment of God in glory be the reward of obedience, and if you work with an eye to that reward, you act from self, the basest of all motives. Love, and not self interest, sets us, true believers, upon action. We work from gratitude and not for profit; from life and not for life. To do good with an eye to a reward, though that reward should be a crown of life, is to act as a mercenary wretch, and not as a duteous child or a faithful servant."

*This is not spoken of pious Calvinists; for some of them are remarkably diligent in good works. They are Solifidians by halves;-in principle, but not in practice. Their works outshine their errors. I lay nothing to their charge, but inattention, prejudice, and glaring inconsistency. I compare them to diligent, good-natured druggists, who, among many excellent remedies, sell sometimes arsenic. They would not for the world take it themselves, or poison their neigh. bours; but yet they freely retail it, and in so doing they are inadvertently the cause of much mischief. Mr. Fulsome, for example, could tell which of our Gospel ministers taught him that good works are dung, and have nothing to do with eternal salvation. He could inform us who lulled him asleep in his sins with the syren songs of "unconditional election" and "finished salvation, in the full extent of the word;" that is, he could let us know who gave him his killing dose; and numbers of Deists could tell us that a bare taste or smell of Calvinism has made them loath the genuine doctrines of grace, just as tasting or smelling a tainted partridge has for ever turned some people's stomachs against partridge. + The reader is desired to observe that we recommend working from life and gratitude, as well as our opponents. Life and thankfulness are two important springs of action, which we use as well as they. We maintain, that even those who have a name to live, and are dead in trespasses and sins," cannot be saved without "strengthening the things that remain and are ready to die" and that thankfulness for being out of hell, and for having a day of salvation through Christ, should be strongly recommended to the chief of sinners. But thankfulness and life are not all the springs necessary, in our imperfect state, to move all the wheels of obedience; and we dare no more exclude the other springs, because we have these two, than we dare cut off three of our fingers, because we have a little finger and a thumb.

This specious error, zealously propagated by Molinos, Lady Guion, and her illustrious convert, Archbishop Fenelon, (though afterward renounced by him,) put a stop to a great revival of the power of godliness abroad in the last century; and it has already struck a fatal blow at the late revival in these kingdoms. I reverence and love many that contend for this sentiment; but my regard for the truth overbalancing my respect for them, I think it my duty to oppose their mistake, as a pernicious refinement of Satan transformed into an angel of light. I therefore attack it by the following arguments :—


1. This doctrine makes us "wise above what is written." read that hunger and want of bread brought back the prodigal son. His father knew it, but instead of treating him as a hired servant, he entertained him as a beloved child.

2. It sets aside, at a stroke, a considerable part of the Bible, which consists in threatenings to deter evil workers, and in promises to encourage obedient believers: for if it be base to obey in order to obtain a promised reward, it is baser still to do it in order to avoid a threatened punishment. Thus the precious grace of faith, so far as it is exercised about Divine promises and threatenings, is indirectly made void.

3. It decries "godly fear," a grand spring of action, and preservative of holiness in all free agents that are in a state of probation; and by this mean it indirectly charges God with want of wisdom, for putting that spring in the breast of innocent man in paradise, and for perpetually working upon it in his word and by his Spirit, which St. Paul calls "the spirit of bondage unto fear;" because it helps us to believe the threatenings denounced against the workers of iniquity, and to fear lest ruin should overtake us if we continue in our sins.

If ever there was a visible Church without spot and wrinkle, it was when "the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." The worldly mindedness of Ananias and Sapphira was the first blemish of the Christian, as Achan's covetousness had been of the Jewish Church on this side Jordan. God made an example of them, as he had done of Achan; and St. Luke observes upon it that "great fear came upon all the Church;" even such fear as kept them from "falling after the same example of unbelief." Now were all the primitive Christians mean-spirited people, because they were filled with great fear of being punished as the first backsliders had been, if they apostatized? Is it a reproach to righteous Noah, that "being moved with fear he prepared an ark for the saving of his house?" And did our Lord legalize the Gospel, when he began to say to his disciples first of all, &c, I say unto you, my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, &c; but fear him, who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him?" Does this mean, "Be mercenary: yea, I say unto you, be mercenary ?"

4. HOPE has a particular, necessary reference to promises and good things to come. Excellent things are spoken of that grace. If St. Paul says, "Ye are saved through FAITH," he says also, “We are saved by HOPE." Hence St. Peter observes, that "exceeding great promises are given to us, that we might be partakers of the Divine nature" and St. John declares, "Every man that hath this hope in

him purifieth himself even as God is pure." Now hope never stirs, but in order to obtain good things in view: a motive this which our Gospel refiners represent as illiberal and base. Their scheme therefore directly tends to ridicule and suppress the capital, Christian grace, which faith guards on the left hand, and charity on the right.

5. Their error springs from a false conclusion. Because it is mean to relieve a beggar with an eye to a reward from him, they infer that it is mean to do a good work with an eye to a reward from God; not considering that a beggar promises nothing, and can give nothing valuable; whereas the Parent of good promises and can give "eternal life to them that obey him." Their inference is then just as absurd as the following argument: "I ought not to set my heart upon an earthly, inferior, transitory good; therefore I must not set it upon the chief, heavenly, permanent good. It is foolish to shoot at a wrong mark; therefore I must not shoot at the right: I must not aim at the very mark which God himself has set up for me ultimately to level all my actions at, next to his own glory, viz. the enjoyment of himself, the light of his countenance, the smiles of his open face, which make the heaven of heavens."

6. God says to Abraham, and in him to all believers, "I am thy exceeding great reward." Hence it follows, that the higher we rise in holiness and obedience, the nearer we shall be admitted to the eternal throne, and the fuller enjoyment we shall have of our God and Saviour, our reward and rewarder. Therefore, to overlook Divine rewards, is to overlook God himself, who is "our great reward;" and to slight "the life to come," of which "godliness has the promise."

7. The error I oppose can be put in a still stronger light. Not to strive to obtain our great reward in full, amounts to saying, "Lord, thou art beneath my aim and pursuits: I can do without thee, or without so much of thee. I will not bestir myself, and do one thing to obtain either the fruition, or a fuller enjoyment of thy adorable self." An illustration or two, short as they fall of the thing illustrated, may help us to see the great impropriety of such conduct. If the king offered to give all officers, who would distinguish themselves in the field, his hand to kiss, and a commission in his guards, that he might have them near his person; would not military gentlemen defeat the intention of this gracious offer, and betray a peculiar degree of indifference for his majesty, if in the day of battle they would not strike one blow the more on account of the royal promise?

Again: when David asked, What shall be done to him that killeth the giant? And when he was informed that Saul would give him his daughter in marriage; would the young shepherd have showed his regard for the princess, or respect for the monarch, if he had said, “I am above minding rewards: what I do, I do freely: I scorn acting from so base a motive as a desire to secure the hand of the princess, and the honour of being the king's son-in-law?" Could any thing have been ruder and more haughty than such a speech? And yet, O see what evangelical refinements have done for us! We, who are infinitely less before God than David was before King Saul;-we, worms of a day, are so blinded by prejudice, as to think it beneath us to mind the offers of the King of kings, or to strive for the rewards of the Lord of lords.

"Wo to him that striveth [in generosity] with his Maker! Let the potsherds strive thus with the potsherds of the earth: [but let not] the clay say to him that fashioneth it," "What doest thou when thou stirrest me up to good works by the promise of thy rewards? Surely, Lord, thou forgettest that the nobleness of my mind, and my doctrine of finished salvation, make me above running for a reward, though it should be for a life of glory, and thyself. Whatever I do at thy command, I am determined not to demean myself; I will do it as Araunah, like a king." What depths of Antinomian pride may be hid under the covering of our voluntary humility!


8. The Calvinists of the last century, in their lucid intervals, saw the absolute necessity of working for heaven and heavenly rewards. We have a good practical discourse of J. Bunyan upon these words, "So run that you may obtain." The burden of it is, "If you will have a heaven, you must run for it." Whence he calls his sermon," The heavenly footman ;" and Matthew Mead,* a staunch Calvinist, in his treatise on The Good of Early Obedience, (p. 429,) says, with great truth, “ Maintain a holy, filial fear of God. This is an excellent preservative against apostasy. By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil,' says Solomon, and he tells you, The fear of the Lord is the fountain of life, whereby men depart from the snares of death;' and backsliding from Christ is one of the great snares of death. Think much of the day of recompense, and of the glorious reward of perseverance in that day: 'Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.' It is not those that begin well, but those who end well, that receive the crown. It is not mercenary service to quicken ourselves to obedience by the hope of a recompense. Omnis amor mercedis non est mercenarius, &c. David said, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.' He encouraged himself to duty by the hope of glory, &c. Hope of that glorious recompense is of great service to quicken us to perseverance. And to the same end does the apostle urge it: Be unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.””

9. When voluntary humility has made us wise above what is written by the apostles and by our forefathers, it will make us look down with contempt from the top of our fancied orthodoxy, upon the motives by

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*As a proof of his being sound in the doctrines of Calvinistic grace and confusion, I present the reader with the following passage, taken from the same book, printed in London, 1683, (p. 307:) "A believer is under the law for conduct, but not for judgment, &c. It is the guide of his path, but not the judge of his state. The believer is bound to obey it, but not to stand or fall by it." That is, in plain English, he should obey it, but his disobedience will never bring him under condemnation, and hinder him to stand in judgment. "It is a rule of life, &c, and therefore it obliges believers as much as others, though upon other mo tives, &c: for they are not to expect life or favour from nor fear the death and rigour that comes by it. The law has no power to justify a believer, or condemn him, and therefore can be no rule to try his state by." In flat opposition to the general tenor of the Scriptures, thus summed up by St. John: "In this," namely, committing or not committing sin, "the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil." What this author says is truc, if it be understood of the Adamic law of innocence; but if it be extended to St. Paul's law of Christ, and to St. James' law of liberty, it is one of the dangerous tenets that support the chair of the Antinomian "man of sin."

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