Obrazy na stronie

Paul, and to oppose Wesley to Wesley, answer these Scriptural questions; and if you cannot do it without betraying heterodoxy, for the Lord's sake, for the sake of thousands in Israel, keep no more from the feeble of the flock those necessary helps which the “very chief of the apostles," evangelical Paul, without any of your Crispian refinements, continually recommended to others, and daily used himself. And for your own souls' sake, never more prostitute these awful words, "The love of Christ constraineth us;" never more apply them to yourselves, while you refuse to treat the most venerable ambassador of Christ, I shall not say, with respectful love, but with common decency.

NINTH OBJection. "All the formal and Pharisaical ministers, who are sworn enemies to Christ and the Gospel of his grace, preach your legal doctrine of justification by works in the day of judgment."

ANSWER. And what do you infer from it? That the doctrine is false? If the inference be just, it will follow there is neither heaven nor hell; for they publicly maintain the existence of both. But suppose they now and then preach our doctrine without zeal, without living according to it, or without previously preaching the fall, and a present justification by faith in Christ, productive of peace and power, what can be expected from it? Would not the doctrine of the atonement itself be totally useless, if it were preached under such disadvantages? The truth is, such ministers are only for the roof, and you, it seems, only for the foundation. But a roof, unsupported by solid walls, crushes to death; and a foundation without a roof is not much better than the open air. Therefore, "wise master builders,” like St. Paul, are for having both in their proper places. Like him, when the foundation is well laid, "leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, they go on to perfection;" nor will they forget, as they work out their salvation, to shout, Grace! Grace! to the last slate that covers in the building; or to "the top stone," the key that binds the solid arch.

TENTH OBJECTION. "Should I receive and avow such a doctrine, the generality of professors would rise against me; and while the warmest would call me a Papist, an antichrist, and what not; my dearest Christian friends would pity me as an unawakened Pharisee, and fear me as a blind legalist."

ANSWER. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad when all men (the godly not excepted) shall say all manner of evil of you falsely for Christ's sake," for preferring Christ's holy doctrine to the loose tenets of Dr. Crisp and remember, that, in our Antinomian days, it is as great an honour to be called legal by fashionable professors, as to be branded with the name of Methodist by the sots who glory in their shame.


VII. As I would hope my objector is either satisfied or silenced, before I conclude, permit me a moment, Rev. sir, to consider the two important objections which you directly, or indirectly, make in your Narrative.

1. "I should tremble," say you, (page 21,) "lest some bold metaphysician should affirm, that a second justification by works is quite consistent with what is contained in Mr. Wesley's declaration; but that it is expressed in such strong and absolute terms as must for ever

put the most exquisite refinements of metaphysical distinctions at defiance."


ANSWER. "For ever at defiance!" You surprise me, sir: I, who am as perfect a stranger to exquisite refinements" as to Dr. Crisp's eternal justification, defy you (pardon a bold expression to a bold metaphysician) ever to produce out of Mr. Wesley's declaration, I shall not say (as you do) "strong and absolute terms," but one single word or tittle denying or excluding a second justification by works; and I appeal both to your second thoughts and to the unprejudiced world, whether these three propositions of the declaration, "We have no trust, or confidence, but in the alone merits of Christ for justification in the day of judgment. Works have no part in meriting or purchasing our justification from first to last, either in whole or in part. He is not a real Christian believer, (and consequently cannot be saved,) who does not good works where there is time and opportunity." I appeal to the unprejudiced world, whether these three propositions are not highly consistent with this assertion of our Lord," By thy words thou shalt be justified," that is, "although from first to last the merits of my life and death purchase, or deserve, thy justification; yet in the day of judgment thou shalt be justified by thy works; that is, thy justification, which is purchased by my merits, will entirely turn upon the evidence of thy works, according to the time and opportunity thou hast to do them."

Who does not see, that, "to be justified by the evidence of works," and to be justified by the merit of works," are no more phrases of the same import than minutes and heresy are words of the same signification? The latter proposition contains the error strongly guarded against, both in the declaration and the Minutes: the former contains an evangelical doctrine, as agreeable to the declaration and Minutes as to the Scriptures; a doctrine of which we were too sparing when we "leaned too much toward Calvinism," but to which, after the example of Mr. Wesley, we are now determined to do justice.

Whosoever is "ashamed of Christ's words," we will proclaim them to the world. Both from our pulpits and the press we will say, "By thy words thou shalt be condemned." Yea, "Whoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool! shall be in danger of hell fire; and whosoever maketh a lie shall have his part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone ;" for as "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness," or disbelieveth to unrighteousness, so "with the mouth confession is made to salvation," or "hard speeches" are uttered to "damnation." Reserve, therefore, Rev. sir, your public praises for a more proper occasion than that which caused their breaking out in your Narrative. "Blessed be God!" say you, (page 16,) “ Mr. Wesley and fifty-three of his preachers do not agree with Mr. Olivers in the material article of a second justification by works." Indeed, sir, you are greatly mistaken, for we do agree with him; and shall continue so to do, till you have proved he does not agree with Jesus Christ, or that our doctrine is not perfectly consistent both with the Scriptures and the declaration.


2. Your second objection is not so formal as the first; it must be made up of broad hints scattered through your Narrative, and they

amount to this: "Your pretended difference between justification by the merit of works, by the evidence of works, and between a first and a second justification, is founded upon the subtilties of metaphysical distinctions. If what you say wears the aspect of truth, it is because you give a new turn to error, by the almost magical power of metaphysical distinctions," pages 16, 20, 21.

Give me leave, sir, to answer this objection by two appeals, one to the most ignorant collier in my parish, and the other to your own sensible child; and if they can at once understand my meaning, you will see that my metaphysical distinctions," as you are pleased to call them, are nothing but the dictates of common sense.. I begin with the collier.


Thomas, I stand here before the judge, accused of having robbed the Rev. Mr. Shirley, near Bath, last month, on such an evening; can you speak a word for me? Thomas turns to the judge, and says, "Please your honour, the accusation is false, for our parson was in Madeley Wood; and I can make oath of it, for he even reproved me for swearing at our pit's mouth that very evening." By his evidence, the judge acquits me. Now, sir, ask cursing Tom whether I am acquitted and justified, by his merits, or by the simple evidence he has given, and he will tell you, "Ay, to be sure by the evidence; though I am no scholar, I know very well that if our Methodist parson is not hanged, it is none of my deservings." Thus, sir, an ignorant collier, as great a stranger to your metaphysics as you are to his mandrel, discovers at once a material difference between justification by the evidence, and justification by the merits of a witness,

My second appeal is to your sensible child. By a plain comparison I hope to make him at once understand, both the difference there is between our first and second justification, and the propriety of that difference. The lovely boy is old enough, I suppose, to follow the gardener and me to yonder nursery. Having shown him the operation of grafting, and pointing at the crab tree newly grafted, "My dear child," would I say, "though hitherto this tree has produced nothing but crabs, yet by the skill of the gardener, who has just fixed in it that good little branch, it is now made an apple tree: I justify and warrant it such. (Here is an emblem of our first justification by faith!) In three or four years, if we live, we will come again and see it: if it thrives and bears fruit,' well; we shall then by that mark justify it a second time, we shall declare that it is a good apple tree indeed, and fit to be transplanted from this wild nursery into a delightful orchard. But if we find that the old crab stock, instead of nourishing the graft, spends all its sap in producing wild shoots and sour crabs; or if it is a tree whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, (dead in the graft and in the stock,) plucked up by the root,' or quite cankered, far from declaring it a good tree,' we shall pass sentence of condemnation

upon it, and say, • Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

For every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire." Here is an emblem of our second justification by works, or of the condemnation that will infallibly overtake those Laodicean professors and wretched apostates, whose faith is not shown by works, where there is time and opportunity.

Instead of offering an insult to your superior understanding, in attempting to explain by "metaphysical distinctions," what I suppose your sensible child has already understood by the help of a grafting knife, I shall leave you to consider whether Scripture, reason, and candour do not join their influence to make you acknowledge, at least, in the court of your own conscience, that you have put a wrong construction upon Mr. Wesley's declaration as upon his Minutes, and by that mean inadvertently given another rash touch to the ark of practical religion, and to the character of one of the greatest ministers in the world.

I am, with due respect, Hon. and Rev. sir, your obedient servant, in the bond of the practical Gospel of Christ,



HONOURED AND REVEREND SIR,-Having endeavoured in my last to do justice to the practical Gospel of Christ, and Mr. Wesley's awful declarations, I pass on to the other mistakes of your Narrative. That which strikes me next is "the public recantation of your useful sermons, in the face of the whole world." (Page 22.)

1. O! sir, what have you done! Do you not know that your sermons contain not only the legally evangelical doctrine of the Minutes, but likewise all the doctrine which moderate Calvinists esteem as the marrow of the Gospel? And shall all be treated alike? "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? That be far from thee to do after this manner!" Thus did a good man formerly plead the cause of a wicked city, and thus I plead that of your good sermons, those twelve valuable, though unripe fruits of your ministerial labours. Upon this plea the infamous city would have been spared, had only "ten" good men been found in it. Now, sir, spare a valuable book for the sake of a "thousand" excellent things it contains. But if you are inflexible, and still wish it "burned," imitate, at least, the kind angels who sent Lot out of the fiery overthrow, and except all the evangelical pages of the unfortunate volume.

Were it not ridiculous to compare wars which cost us only a little ink, and our friends a few pence, to those which cost armies their blood, and kingdoms their treasures, I would be tempted to say to you, Imitate the Dutch in their last effort to balance the victory, and secure the field. When they are pressed by the French, rather than yield, they break their dykes, let in the sea upon themselves, and lay all their fine gardens and rich pastures under water: but before they have recourse to that strange expedient, they prudently save all the valuable goods they can. Why should you not follow them in their prudential care, as you seem to do in their bold stratagem? When you publicly lay your useful book under the bitter waters of an anathema, why do you save absolutely nothing? Why must Gospel truths, more precious than the wealth of Holland and the gold of Ophir, lie for ever under the severe scourge of your recantation? Suppose you had "recanted" your third sermon, The way to eternal life, in opposition to mysti.

cism; and "burned" the fourth, Salvation by Christ for Jews and Gentiles, in honour of Calvinism, could you not have spared the rest?

If you say, you may do what you please with your own; I answer, Your book, publicly exposed to sale, and bought perhaps by thousands, is, in one sense, no more your own; it belongs to the purchasers, before whom you lay, I fear, a dangerous example: for when they shall hear that the author has "publicly recanted it in the face of the whole world," it will be a temptation to them to slight the Gospel it contains, and perhaps to ridicule it "in the face of the whole world."

You add, "It savours too strongly of mysticism." Some passages are a little tainted with Mr. Law's capital error, and you might have pointed them out: but if you think mysticism is intrinsically bad, you are under a mistake. One of the greatest Mystics, next to Solomon, is Thomas a Kempis, and a few errors excepted, I would no more burn his "Imitation of Jesus Christ," than the Song of Solomon, and Mr. Romaine's edifying" Paraphrase of the 107th Psalm."

You urge also, your sermons "savour too much of free will." Alas! sir, can you recant "free will?" Was not your will as free when you recanted your sermons as when you composed them? Is there not as much free will expressed in this one line of the Gospel as in all your sermons, “I would have gathered you, and ye would not?" Do not "free-will offerings, with a holy worship," delight the Lord more than forced, and, if I may be allowed the expression, bond-will services? Is not the free will with which the martyrs went to the stake as worthy of our highest admiration, as the mysticism of the Canticles is of our deepest attention? If all that strongly "savours of free will" must be "burned," ye heavens! what Smithfield work will there be in your lucid plains! Wo to saints! Wo to angels! for they are all free-willing beings-all full of free will. Nor can you deny it, unless you suppose they are bound by irresistible decrees, as the heathens fancied their deities were hampered with the adamantine chains of an imaginary something they called "fate :" witness their Fata vetant, and Fata jubent, and ineluctabile Fatum.

Pardon, Rev. sir, the oddity of these exclamations. I am so grieved at the great advantage we give infidels against the Gospel, by making it ridiculous, that I could try even the method of Horace, to bring my friends back from the fashionable refinements of Crisp, to the plain truth as it is in Jesus.

Ridiculum acri

Fortius ac melius stultas plerumque secat res.

Nor is this the only bad tendency of your new doctrine for by exploding the freedom of the will, you rob us of free agency. You afford the wicked, who determine to continue in sin, the best excuse in the world to do it without either shame or remorse; you make us mere machines, and indirectly reflect upon the wisdom of our Lord, for saying to a set of Jewish machines, "I would, and ye would not." But what is still more deplorable, you inadvertently represent it an unwise thing in God to judge the world in righteousness; and your new glass shows his vindictive justice in the same unfavourable light, in which England saw two years ago the behaviour of a great monarch, who was exposed in the public papers, for unmercifully cutting with a whip, and


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