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parison is not very fortunate ; for ashes frequently preserve the spark which they cover ; but the commission of murder always tends to quench the Spirit. If you say, “ that David repeuted' in some sort while he sinned, because he undoubtedly sinned with remorse of conscience : I reply, (1.) That he seems to have enjoged his crimes at least, with as much carnal security as Clodius could possibly do.—(2.) If remorse is confounded with repentauce, hell is filled with penitents; and most drunkards and murderers are in a sort penitent; for when they sin, they do it frequently with much reluctance.

5. This scheme of a sort of repentance, covered as å spark in the heart of those whose eyes are full of adultery, and hands full of blood, is attended with the most fatal consequences. It tends to breed negligence in the hearts of believers, and carnal security in the breasts of apostates; for how can the former be careful vot to lose what is inamissible? And how can the latter endeavour to recover what they have not lost ? Again, it supersedes the distinction there is between the righteous and the wicked, and opens the door to the most horrid confusion in the moral world. Has not a traitor as much right to plead the spark of loyalty, a drunkard the spark of sobriety, and a highwayman the spark of honesty, covered under the ashes of his sin; as you have to plead the spark of repentance, chastity, and brotherly love, that lay covered in the heart of David during his long apostacy ?

6. But this is not all: If your doctrine is true, that of Christ and his apostles is evidently false. For St.

zul says to the Corinthians, 'Examine yourselves whether you are in the faith.' And he gives them this rule of examination, ‘Be not deceived ; neither fornicators, nor adulterers, &c., have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ.' Now, if a man who commits adultery and murder, may have a spark of grace and repentance, which actually coustitutes him a pleasant child of God, how can he know, by the apostle's rule, whether he is in the faith or not ? St. John says, with apostolic bluutness, “He that committeth sin is of the devil :' Yes, in Rome, replies one who is versed in your divinity; but in Jerusalem, he that comunitteth adultery and murder may be in a sort peuitent, consequently a man after God's owu heart. Again, ‘ By their fruits ye shall know them,' says our Lord, when he speaks of wolves in sheep's clothing. Now, it is clear, that if your doctrine is true, even when they commit adultery and murder, it cannot be known whether they are wolves, because the spark of chastity and charity that constituted David a pleasant child during his dreadful fall, may be concealed under their debaucheries "and barbarities.

IX. P. 13. To enforce your doctrine of a twofold, and, as it appears to me, Jesuitical will in God, you again produce God's forbidding murder to free agents : And to this prohibition you oppose the murder which the Jews committed as free agents, when hy wicked hands they crucified Christ, who was delivered to them by the determinate couusel and foreknowledge of God.' I hope, Sir, you would not insinuate, that God solemnly forbids murder by his revealed, and forcibly enjoins it by his secret will ! To what I have already said on the point in the Third Check, (p. 506,) I now add, (1.) God never instigated the Jews to murder Christ. On the contrary, he frequently restrained then from the commission of their intended crime. * Ye seek to kill me,' said Jesus to them many months before they actually did it. They even made open attempts to stone him, and cast him down a precipice, before the time foretold.—(2.) When that time was come, God being about to give his Son a ransom for the many,“ by his determinate counsel,' that one should die for all; and seeing “ by his foreknowledge,' that the Jews, who thirsted for his blood, would put him to death, he no louger hindered them from taking him. Thus Jesus went to meet their malicious band, in the garden of Gethsemane, and said, 'I am he whom ye seek.'--(3.) This only shows, that divine Providence

sometimes suffers moral agents to commit outwardly the sins which they have already committed in their own breasts : And he suffers it, that they may come to condign punishment, or that other wicked men may be punished : Sometimes also, that good men may be tried, hypocrites detected, and the godly made perfect by sufferings, like their Lord.

X. P. 13. In support of the same mistake, you add, “You believe it to be God's revealed will, that every man should love his brother as himself; yet it was certainly according to the secret will of God, that Joseph's brethren should sell, (why do you not say, should hate] him, and that he should go into Egypt; otherwise Joseph must have told a gross untruth, when he said, 'God did send me to preserve life :-It was not you that sent me hither, but God.''"

To vindicate what I beg leave to call God's honesty, permit me to observe, (1.) That I had rather believe, Joseph told once a gross untruth, than suppose that God perpetually equivocates.—(2.) You must not raise a doctrine upon two sentences which Joseph spake as a fond brother, rather than as a judicious divine. When he saw his brethren confounded, and when, ip a cordial embrace, he mixed his tears of joy with their tears of shame and repentance, how natural was it for him to draw a veil over their crime, and to comfort them, by observing with what providential wisdom God had over-ruled a circumstance which attended their sin ? (3.) All that you can therefore infer from Joseph's case is, that God would have his brothers love him as free agents; and that when, as free agents, they chose to hate and murder him, the Lord, to save his life and bring about his deep designs, excited some compassion in their breasts: Hence they thought it less cruel, while the providential appearance of the Ishmaelites made it appear more profitable, to sell him as a slave, than to starve him to death in a pit. Thus God, contrary to their intention, but not contrary to his owu law, sent him into Egypt to preserve life. But what is this to the purpose ? Was it God's secret, effectual

will, that Joseph's brothers should hate him, while his revealed will commanded them to love him, under pain of eternal dawination ? Before you can establish this doctrine, you must prove, that man is a mere machine, and God a mere Moloch.

XI. But to excuse yourself, you ask, (p. 12,)“ By speaking of the secret and revealed will of God, do I suppose that God has two contrary wills ?" Undoubt- edly you do, hovoured Sir, if you are consistent. God's revealed will, for example, is, that all the families of the earth should be blessed in Christ,' with“ the grace that bringeth salvation to all men ;' but by his secret will, if we may believe Calvin, most families of the earth are absolutely cursed : A decree of preterition eternally excludes them from an interest in Christ, and from the least degree of saving grace.

Again, it is God's revealed will, that all men every where should repent,' under penalty of destruction : But upon your plan of doctrine, it is his secret, effectual will, that most men, even all the reprobates, shall never repent. And, indeed, how should they, if he hardens them either from their mother's womb, or from the loins of their first parent? Once more, it is God's revealed will, that all men should believe the gospel, and be saved as free agents, if they submit to his gracious and easy terms: But according to your scheme, it is his secret, indefectible will, either that there shall be no gospel, or only a lying gospel for most men ; and that there shall be no conditions or terms in the gospel. Hence we are openly told, that God does not treat with the sous of men in a way of condition ; his language being absolute, like himself, I WILL,

and you SHALL :” That is, “ Ye elect, I will that ye believe and be saved, and you shall believe and be saved: And ye reprobates, I will that you sin and be damned, and you shall sin and be damned.” If you do not hold those propositions, you are with reason ashamed of Calvinism ; if you hold them, you certainly maintain that there are two contrary wills in God, whether you suppose that you do so or not.

XII. One more observation, and I have done. In your Five Letters you have opposed this proposition,

Believing is previous to justification,” and said, " I deny that believing precedes justification" in the day of conversion. I have observed in my reply, that this assertion sets aside justification by faith ; because if believing does not precede justification, there is no peed of believing in order to be justified. “This is disingenuous : (say you, Remarks, p. 10 :) Where do I assert that justification precedes believing ? I believe that true faith and justification are as inseparable as fire and heat."

To this I answer, (1.) Your comparison is not just. Fire is not the instrument by which heat is apprehended, but the very fountain of heat itself: Whereas faith justifies, not as being the very fountain of justification, but merely as an instrument that apprehends the truth of him who justifies the ungodly' that believes in Jesus. Here, then, you indirectly give to justifying faith the honour due to none but the heavenly Justifier.

(2.) We grant you, that as, in the very ivstant in which we open our eyes, we receive the light, and see: So in the very moment in which we believe, we receive Christ the truth, and are justified. But still you must grant us, that believing is as much previous to justification, as opening the eyes is previous to seeing. We are justified by faith, and common sense dictates, that the instrument by which a thing is apprehended, must exist before it can be apprehended,

Having thus endeavoured to follow you in your retreat, to cut you off from your various subterfuges ; and having exposed, with my usual bluntness, the hard shifts you have been obliged to make, in order to keep your doctrine the least in countenance, permit me to assure you, that I still remain, with brotherly love and respect, Gentlemen, Your obedient Servant in the whole Gospel of Christ,

JOHN FLETCHER.

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