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blessing upon his labour and industry, he gets a good estate, and lives comfortably upon it. And thongh he frequently entertains you with descriptions of the rich robes which he has at Geneva, he takes care to have always a good decent coat upov his back. Now, is it not plain, that, though Fantasticus would be a mere beggar, for all his great estate near Geneva ; yet as matters are at present, you cannot justly consider him as burthensome to his parish, unless you can make it appear, that his trusting to his imaginary property abroad, has lately made him squander away his goods personal, and real estate, in England.
This simile needs very little explanation. A pious Calvinist does not so dream about his imaginary imputation of Christ's personal obedience and good works, as to forget, that he must personally believe, or be. damned ; yea, and believe too with the heart unto personal righteousness,' and good works. Therefore, he cries to God, for the living 'faith which works by love. He receives it; Christ dwells in his heart by faith,' and 'this faith is imputed to him for righteousness, because it really makes him righteous. Thus, while he talks about the false imputation of righteousness, he really enjoys the true: He has inherent righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. When he speaks against good works, he is so happily inconsistent' as to do them. If he ignorantly builds up the Antinomnian Babel with one hand, he sincerely tries to pull it down with the other: And while he decries the perfection of holiness, he goes on 'perfecting holiness in the fear of God.' Thus his doctrinal mistakes are happily refuted by his godly conversation.
Hence it is, that, although we severely expose the mistakes of godly Calvinists, we siucerely love their persons, truly reverence their piety, and cordially rejoice in the success which attends their evangelical lahours. And although we cannot admit their logic, while they defend a bad cause with bad arguments; we should do them great injustice, if we did not acknowledge, that there have been, and still are
among them, men eminent for good sense and good learning ;-men as remarkable for their skill in the art of logic, as for their deep acquaintance with the oracles of God. How they came to embrace doctrines, which appear to us so unscriptural and irrational, will be the subject of a peculiar dissertation.
In the mean time, I observe again, that as many, who have right opinions concerning faith, holiness and good works, go great lengths in practical Antinomianism ; so many Antinomians in principle distinguish themselves by the peculiar strictness and happy legality of their conduct. Both are to be wondered at: The one for doing the works of darkness' in the clearest light: And the other for walking as children of light under the darkest cloud. The former we may compare to green wood, that is always upon the altar, and never takes the hallowed fire. The latter to the bush which Moses saw in the wilderness. The flames of Antinomianism surround them and ascend from them; and yet they are not consumed! Would to God I could say, they are not singed !
Nay, what is a greater miracle still, the love of Christ burns in their breasts, and shines in their lives. They preach him, and they do it with success. 'Some, indeed, preach him of envy and contention, and some of love and good-will. What then ? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached ; and we therein do rejoice ; yea, and will rejoice.' Add to this, that some are prudent enough to keep their opinions to themselves. You may hear them preach most excellent sermons, without one word about their peculiarities ; or, if they touch upon them, it is in so slight a manner as not to endanger either the foundation or superstructure of undefiled religion. Nay, what is a greater blessing still, sometimes their hearts are so enlarged, and their views of the gospel so brightened, that they preach free grace as well as we : And in the name of God, seriously command All [men EVERY WHERE to repent.'
Far be it from us, therefore, to “cut off all intercourse and friendship,” with such favoured servants of the Lord. On the contrary, we thank them for their pious labours; we ask the continuance, or the renewal of their valuable love. Whereinsoever we have given them any just cause of offence, we entreat them to forgive us. Upon the reasonable terms of mutual forbearance, 'we offer them the right hand of fellowship,' together with our brotherly assistance. We invite them to our pulpits; and assure them, that if they admit us into theirs, we shall do by them as we would be done by ; avoiding to touch there, or among their own people occasionally committed to our charge, upon the points of doctrine debated between us; and reserving to ourselves the liberty of bearing our full testimony in our own pulpits, and from the press, against Antinomianism and Pharisaism in all their shapes.
With these pacific sentiments towards all pious Calvinists, and in particular towards your brother and yourself; and with my best thanks for the condescending manner in which you have closed your Remarks upon the Third Check, I conclude this ; assuring you, that, (notwithstanding the repeated proofs, which I find in your Review, of your uncommon prejudice against the second gospel axiom, and against Mr.Wesley, who is set for the defence of it,) I remain, with all my former love, and a considerable degree of my former esteem, honoured and dear Sir, your affectionate com. panion in tribulation, and obedient servant in Christ, MADELEY,
JOHN FLETCHER, Nov, 15, 1772.
Some persons think our Controversy will offend the world ; and, indeed, we were once afraid of it our. selves. Of this ill-judged fear, and of the voluntary bumility, which made us reverence the very errors of the good men from whom we dissent, the crafty, diligent tempter has so availed himself, as to sow his Antinomian tares with the greatest success. Messrs. John and Charles Wesley, and Mr. Sellon, have indeed made a noble stand against him : But an impetuous torrent of triumphant opposition still rolls and foams through the kingdom, bent upon drowning their works and reputation in floods of contempt and · reproach, And some good, mistaken men, warmly carry on still the rash design of publicly turning the second gospelaxiom out of our Bibles, and out of the Church of England, under the frightful names of “ Arminianism and Popery.” The question with us, then, is not so much, whether Mr. Wesley shall be ranked with here-tics ; as, whether the uudefiled religion particularly described in the Epistle of St. James, and in our Lord's Sermon on the mount, shall pass for a dreadful heresy, while barefaced Antinomianism passes for pure gospel.
Now, we apprehend, that to debate such a question in a fair and friendly manner, will rather edify than offend, either the religious or the moral world. Fair arguments, plain scriptures, honest appeals to conscience, and a close pursuit of ridiculous error, hunted down to its last recesses, will never displease inquirers after Truth: And among the by-standers, few, beside these, will trouble themselves with our publications. If we offend our readers, it is only when we take our leave of scripture and argument, to cry out, without rhyme and reason, “ Disingenuity! Slander ! Falsehood ! Calumny! Forgery! Heresy ! Popery!"
Bad as we are, the moral world regards yet a good argument, and the religious world still shews some respect for scripture quoted consistently with the context. Fight we then lovingly with such weapons, for what we esteem to be the Truth; and be the edge of our controversial swords ever so keen, we shall be sure to wound nobody but the bigots of the opposite party ; and such as are so great a disgrace to Christianity, that we shall do the cause of religion service by stumbling them out of their profession of it, if they are above learning the lessons of moderation.
Undoubtedly we are severely condemued by some good people, who forget that Moses was once obliged to oppose not only Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who styled themselves the Lord's people ; but his own dear elect brother Aaron himself : And that St. Paul was forced by peculiar circunıstances, at all hazards, to withstand St. Peter himself. Well-meaning Eli's also, who do not covsider consequences, and love to enjoy their own ease, rather than to make a vigorous resis.. tance against error and sin, will be very apt to conclude that our opposition springs from mere obstinacy and party-spirit. But should such hasty judges read atteutively the Epistle of St. Jude, that of St. James, the first of St. John, and the second of St. Peter, which are all levelled at Antinomianism, they will think more farourably of the stand we make against our pious brethren, who inadvertently countenance, the Antino. mian delusion.
However, it is objected, “ This controversy will hurt the men of the world, and set them against all religion.” Just the contrary. There are, indeed, Gallios, men that care for no religion at all, who, upon hearing of our controversy, will triumph, and cry out, “ If these men do not agree among themselves, how can they desire that we should agree with them ?” As if