« PoprzedniaDalej »
fied state; therefore they reasonably conclude, that they are still justified and sanctified. Thus they live, and if God does not send them an honest Nathan,' or if when he comes they stop their ears, and cry out, Heresy, thus like Judas they will die.
With respect to the last clause of the Minutes, you must acknowledge,“ that we are every moment pleasing or displeasing to God, according to the whole of our inward tempers and outward behaviour :" Or, to clothe Mr. Wesley's doctrine in words in which you agree with me; you must confess, that, “As we may die every hour, and every moment, we are liable to be every hour and every moment justified, or condemned, by the evidence of our works."|| This is evident, if you consider St. Paul's words, “Without faith it is impossible to please God ;' and if you do not recant what you say, (Review, p. 12) Justifying faith [the faith by which we please God] cannot be without good works.” You must therefore prove, that adultery, treachery, and murder, are good works, and by that means openly plead for Belial, Baal, and Beelzehub; or you must grant, that, when David committed those crimes, he had not justifying faith, and consaquently did not please God. And the moment you grant this, you set your seal to the last proposition of the Minutes, which you esteem most contrary, and I entirely agreeable, to sound doctrine.
Having thus, by the help of your own concessions, once more removed the rock of offence, under which you try to crush the seasonable rampart of St. James's undetiled religion, which we call the Minutes, I leave you to consider how much Mr. Wesley has been mis. understood, and how much the truth of the gospel has been set at naught.
I am, honoured and dear Sir,
J. FLETCHER. The reader is once more desired to remember, that by works we understand, not only the works of the tongue and hands, i. e, words and actions; but also, and chiefly, the works of the mind and heart, that is, thoughts, desires, and tempers.
WHILE my engine, Common Sense, stands yet firm upon the point of our Justification by the evidence of works, which you have so fully granted me, permit me to level it a moment at the basis of the main pillars which support Antinomianism and Calvinism.
1. If righteous Lot had died when he repeated the crimes of drunkenness and incest, his justification would have been turned into condemộation, according to St. Paul's plain rule, If thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made umcircumcision : For neither the holy God, nor any virtuous man, can possibly justify a sinner upon the evidence of drunkenness and incest.
2. If old Solomon, doating upon Heathenish young women, and led away by them into abominable idolatries, had died before he was brought again to repentance, he could never have seen the kingdom of God: :-He should have perished in his sin ; unless Geneva logic can make it appear, iu direct opposition to the word of God, that the impenitent shall not perish, and that idolaters shall inherit the kingdom of God. (Luke xiii. 3; I Cor. vi. 9.)
3. If the incestuous Corinthian had been cut off while he defiled his father's bed, the justification ranted him at his first conversion, far from saving im in the day of judgment, would have aggravated his -ndemnation, and caused him to be counted worthy of much severer punishment, thau if he never had known
way of righteousness,-never been justified ; unless 1 can prove, that Christ would have acquitted hine
upon the horrid evidence of apostacy and incest, which appears to me as difficult a task, as to prove that Christ and Belial are one and the same filthy god.
4. If David and Bathsheba had been run through by Uriah, as Zimri and Cosbi were by Phineas; and if they had died in their fagrant wickedness; no previous justification, no Calvinian imputation of righteousness, would have secured their justification in the last day. For, upon the evidence of adultery and premeditated murder, they would infallibly have been condemned ; according to those awful words of our Lord, I come quickly to give EVERY MAN, [here is no exception for the “ pleasant children,”] according as his work shall be, not according as my work has been : Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may enter in through the gates into the city ; for without are dogs, WHOREMONGERs and MURDERERS. (Rev. xxii. 12, &c.)
Should you say, honoured Sir, It is provided in the decree of absolute election, that adulterers, who once walked with God, shall not die till they have repented : (1.) I demand proof that there ever was such a decree. In the secoud Psalm, indeed, I read about God's decree respecting Christ and mankind; but it is the very reverse of Calvin's decree, for it implies General Redemption and Conditional Election. I will declare the decree : Thou art my Son : I will give thee the HEATHEN for thine inheritance, and the UTTERMOST parts of the earth for thy possession.-Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way.
2. This evasion is founded upon a most absurd supposition, which sews pillows to the arms of backsliders and apostates, by promising them immortality if they persevere in sin. But setting aside the absurdity of supposing, that old Solomon, for example, might have kept himself alive till now by assiduously worshipping Ashtaroth; or which is the same, that he might have put off death by putting off repentance, because he could not die till he had repented : 1 ask, Where is this strange gospel written ? Certainly not in the Old Testament; for God asks there with indignation, When the right
eous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, SHALL HE LIVE?' No ; * In his sin that he has sinued SHALL He die.' (Ezek. xviii. 24.) Much less in the New, where Christ protests, that he will spue luke-warm believers out of his mouth, and that every branch in him which bears not fruit, shall be taken away or cut off : An awful threatening this, which was executed even upon one of the twelve apostles ! For our Lord himself says, Those that thou GAVEST me I have kept, and none of THEM is lost but Judas, who fell finally, since he died in the very act of self-murder, and is particularly called the son of perdition.
But granting you, that lest Lot, David, and Solomon should be condemned by works in the day of judgment, they were to be immortal till they repented and did their first works ; this very supposition indicates, that till they repented they were sons of perdition, according to that solemn declaration of 'Truth Manifest in the flesh, Except ye repent, ye shall all perish.
As if you were aware of this difficulty, (p. 149,) you have recourse to a noted distinction in Geneva Logic, by which you hope to secure your favourite doc. trine, as well as fond Rachel once secured her favourite Teraphim. You say, “ that though a sinner [David, for instance, or Solomon] be justified in the sight of God by Christ alone, he is declaratively justified by works both here and at the day of judgment.”
Now, honoured Sir, this necessarily implies, that though David in Uriah's bed, and Solomon at the shrine of Ashtaroth, are justified in the sight of God by Christ's chastity and piety imputed to them; yet, before men, and before the Judge of quick and dead, they are justified by the evidence of their own chastity and piety. This distinction, one of the main supports of Calvinism, is big with absurdities; for if it be just, it follows,
1. That while God says of Solomon, worshipping the goddess of the Zidonians, he is still a true believer, "he is justified from all things ;' Christ says, By his fruit ye shall knour him; he is an impenitent, unjustiChrist says,
fied idolater ; and St. James, siding with his Master, says roundly, that Solomon's faith being now without works is, a dead, unjustifying faith ; by which, as well as by his bad works, he is condemned already. Now, Sir, it remains that you should give up Antinomian Calvinism, or tell us who is grossly mistaken, God or Christ: For upon your scheme, God says of an impenitent idolater, who once believed in him,
6. He is fully justified by the perfect law of liberty :" And
“ He is fully condemned by the same law!" And reason dictates, that both parts of a full contradiction cannot be true.
Do not say, honoured Sir, that, upon the Calvinian plan, the Father and the Son never contradict one another in the matter of a sinner’s justification; for if the Father justities by the imputation of an external righteousness, which constitutes a sinner righteous while he commits all sorts of crimes ; and if the Son, on the other hand, condemns a sinner for his words, much more for the commission of adultery, idolatry, and murder , their sentence must be as frequently different as a believer acts, or speaks, contrary to the law of liberty. For Christ being the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, cannot justify, he must condemn now, as well as in the day of judgment, every man who now acts or speaks wickedly.
Should you attempt to account for the Father's imaginary justification of an impenitent idolater, by bringing in Calvin's decrees, and saying that God reckoned Solomon a converted man at the shrine of Ashtaroth, because he had absolutely decreed to give him restoring grace; I reply, supposing such decrees are not imaginary, is it not absurd to say, God 'reckons that cold is heat, and confounds January with July, because he has decreed that summer shall follow winter? There. fore, which way soever you turn, absurdities or impie, ties stare you in the face.
2. The unreasonableness of Calvinism will appear to you more glaringly still, if you suppose for a moment that David died in Uriah’s bed. For then, according