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for pardon, and for stronger supplies of sanctifying grace.
However, Mr. Berridge, as if the Antinomians bad already burned St. James's Epistle, says, (p. 144,) after speaking of the law of innocence given to Adam before the fall, “ All other laws, [and conseqnently the law of liberty,] are cobwebs of a human brain :" What, Sir, do you think that Moses was a spiritual spider, when he wove the ceremonial law ? Can you possibly imagine that David's ' blessed man, whose delight is in the law of the Lord, meditates day and night in a law,' which bids him “ stand upon his own legs," and absolutely despair of mercy upon “a single trip?" Would you, on second thoughts, say, that St. Paul and St. James weave" cobwebs" in the brains of mankind, when they declare, that the end of the commandment (or of Christ's law] is charity, from a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned;' when they speak of fulfilling the royal law according to the scripture,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ;' Or when they assure us, that he who loveth another hath fulfilled it ;' and exhort us to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ ?' (See 1 Tim. i. 5 ; James ii. 8.; Gal. v. 13, and Gal. vi. 2.)
I shall not borrow here the rash expression which Mr. Berridge uses when he confounds original worthi. ness, and derived merit, and reflects upon Christ, who eridently attributes the latter to believers : I shall not say, that iny new opponent's mistake “is enough to inake* a devil blush ;" but I may venture to affirm, that, before he can prove the law of liberty is “a cobweb,.'
* How strangely may prejudice influence a good man! Mr. Berridge, (p. 164, &c.,) raises a masked battery against the article of the Minutes, where Mr. Wesley hints, that the word merit might be used in a scriptural sense to express what Dr. Owen, by an uncouth circumlocution, calls, “ The rewardable condecency, that our whole obedience, through God's gracious appointment, has unto eternal life.”—“O Sir," says Mr. Berridge; “God must abominate the pride, the insolence of human pride, which could dream of merit: it is enough to make a devil blush." Voi. II.
he niust not only burn St. James's Epistle, but sweep away the Epistles of St. Paul to the Romans, and to the Galatiaus ; together with the law, the prophets, and the Psalms., While he considers whether the tree of
There is great truth in these words, if Mr. Berridge speaks only of proper merit, or merit of condignness and equivalence; but if he extends them to the evangelical worthiness so frequently mentioned by our Lord; if he applies them to jmproper merit, generally called merit of congruity: He indirectly
Christ with teaching a doctrine so excessively diabolical, that the devil himself would be ashamed of it; and what isi jmore surprising still, if I mistake not, he indirectly enforces the dreadful heresy himself by an illustration, which,
some degree, shews how God rewards us " for" our works, and according to” our works.“ A tender-hearted gentle man," says he, : " employs two labourers out of charity to greed a little spot of four square yards. Both are old and much decrepit, but is stronger than the other.
The stronger weeds is three yards, and receives three
the weaker weedeth one, and receives" one crown. Now both are rewarded for their labour, and according to their labour, but not for the merit of their labour."-- Granted, if merit is taken m the sense of proper merit, or merit of condignness and equivalence; but absolutely denied, if it is taken in the sense of improper worthiness, or merit of congruity. Let Thomas Aquinas, the most famous of all the Papist divines, bring his standard of merit, and' measure Mr. Berridge; and if the Vicar of Everton Thow loud soever he may exclaim against the word) is not found holding the doctrine of merit of congruity as much as Mr. Baxter, let me for ever forfeit all pretensions to a grain of common sense. “ The angelic Doctor"
defines merit thus : Dicitur aliquis mereri ex condigno, quando invenitur equalitas iter præmium et meritum secundum estimationem ; ex congruo autem, tantum quando talis æqualitas non invenitur ; sed solum secundum liberalitatem dantis munus tribuitur quod dantem decet. That is, « A man is said to merit with a merit of condignness, [i. e, to merit properly,] when, upon an average, there appears an equality between the reward and the merit. But he is said to merit only with a merit of congruity [i. e., to merit improperly] when there is no such equality; and when a benefactor, out of mere liberality, makes a present which it becomes him to make." -Now let candid men compare Mr. Berridge's illustration, with the definition that the most renowned Papist doctor has given us of merit; and let them say if Mr. Berridge, instead of splitting the hair, does not maintain and illustrate the doctrine of merit of congruity: and if one of the blushes which he supposes our Lord's doctrine of worthiness, or merit, would bring upon the face of some modest deyil, does not beccme the author
Antinomianism will yield a besom strong enough for that purpose, I beg leave to dwell a moment upon another of his mistakes. It respects obedience and good works, against which Solifidians indirectly wage an eternal war. It runs through several pages, but centres in the following unguarded propositious :
P. 35, 1. 18. “Sincere obedience is no where mentioned in the gospel as a condition of salvation ;" and, (p. 36, 1. 4,) “ Works have no share in the covenant of grace as a condition of life." I grant it, if by salvation, in the first proposition, and by life in the second, Mr. Berridge means initial salvation, and life begun in the world of grace. For undoubtedly the
free gift is come upon all meu to justification,' or salvation from the damning guilt of original sin, and consequently to some interest in the diviue favour prévious to all obedience and works. Again and again have I observed, that as " by one man's disobedience many: (ou worlot, "the multitudes of men,"] were made siuuers ; so by the obedience of one, many [o πολλοι, “the multitudes of men,'') shall,[to the end of the world,] be made righteous,' i. e., partakers of the above-mentioned justification, in consequence of Christ's atonement, and the talent of free grace, and supernatural light, which euliglitens every man that comes into the world.” (Compare Rom. V, 18, 19, with John i. 4,5,9.) Far from opposing this initial life of free grace, this salvation unconditionally begun, I assert its necessity against the Pelagians, and its reality against the Papists and Calvinists, who agree to maintain, that God hast absolutely reprobated a cousiderable part of mankind. But Mr. Berridge's propositions are Antinomianism unquasked, if he ex
the Christian World Unmasked,” 'inore than the author of the Minutes. mp4 t Some of my readers will wonder at my coupling the Calmists and the Romanists,' when I speak of those who hold absolute reprobation: But my observation is founded upon malter of fact. We are too well acquainted with the opinion of the anecdote. Being some years ago at Ganges, in the South of France, I went with Mr. Pomaret, the Protestant minister of that town, to recommend to divine mercy the soul of a woman dying in child-bed. When he came out of the house, he said: "Did you take notice of the person who was by the bed-side ? He is a man-midwife, and a strenuous Papist. You see by the consequences that this poor woman had a very hard labour. Aš it was doubtful whether the child would be born alive, he insisted upon baptizing it in the womb, avec une seringue, according to custom. The Protestant women in the room exclaimed against his intention of tormenting a woman in that extremity, by so ridiculous and needless an operation. • Needless ! replied he,
tends their meaning (as his scheme does) to finished salvation, and to a life of glory, unconditionally bestowed upon adulterous backsliders : For sincere obedience, or the good works of faith, are a condition (or, to
Calvinists concerning the vessels of wrath. The sentiments of the Papists not being so public, may be brought to light by the following
how can you call that needless, (which will save a soul? Do you not know, that if the child dies unbaptised, it will certainly be lost ?'” The doctrine of the Romish Church is then free wrath, or free reprobation, for the myriads of infants who die without baptism all the world over.
I beg leave to confirm this anecdote by a public testimony. My opponents have frequently mentioned the agreement of my sentiments with those of the Popish champion Bellarmine, This gave me a desire of looking into his works. Accordingly I procured them last winter; and, to my great surprise, before I had read a page, I found him a peculiar admirer of the great Predestinarian St. Augustin, whom he perpetually quotes. Nay, he is so strenuous an assertor of Calvinistic election, that, to prove “ We can give no account of God's election on our part," among the reasons advanced by Calvin, Coles, Zanchius, &c, in support of unconditional election and reprobation, he proposes the following argument : Tertia ratio, &c., ducitur a parvulorum diversitate, quorum aliqui rapiuntur statim a baptismo, alii paulo ante-baptismum, quorum priores ad gloriam prædestinatorum, posteriores ad poenam reproborum pertinere non est dubium; nec possunt hic ulla merita previsa, ulusve bonus usus liberi arbitrii, aut gratia fingi.” (Bell. Opera de gratia et libero arbitrio. Cap. V. Antverpiæ, 1611, p. 766.) That is, « The third reason is taken from the different lot of little children; some being snatched immediately after baptism, and others a little before baptism : The former of whom undoubtedly go to the glory of the elect ; and the latter to the punishment of the reprobates.
Nor can any desert foreseen, or any good use of Free Will or of Grace be here pretended." This argument is truly worthy of the cause which it supports. The very essence of Calvinism is an irreconcilable opposition to the second gospel-axiom.
ase Mr. Berridge's word, “a term,") indispensably required of all, that stay long enough upon the stage of life, to act as moral agents. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.' (John xv, 2.) 'Be not deceived, neither fornicators, &c., shall inherit the kingdom of God.' (1 Cor. vi. 9. See Ezek. xviii. and xxxiii.) “ If the pepitent thief had lived, (says our church, and not regarded the works of faith, he should have lost his salvation again.” As for the argument taken from these words, “He that believeth now with the heart unto righteousness, hath everlasting life,' (i. e., has a title to it, and a taste of a life of glory, and shall have the enjoyment of it, if he con tinues in the faith rooted and grounded ;') it is answered at large, in the Fourth Check, p. 43.
Page 38, Mr. Berridge unmasks Antinomianism in the following proposition : “ I have gathered up my ends, respecting this matter ; and I trust you see, at length, that sincere obedience is nothing but a jacko'-lantern, dancing here and there and every where : No man could ever catch him, but thousands have been lost by following him."
If I mistake not, Mr. Berridge here exceeds Mr. Hill. The author of Pietas Oxoniensis only supposes, that works have nothing to do before the Judge of all the earth in the matter of our eternal salvation, and
And as Bellarmine's argument demolishes that axiom, (it being impossible that the damnation of reprobated infants should be from themselves,) he necessarily builds up Calvinism, with all its gracious doctrines. I might here return my last opponent these words of his Finishing-Stroke,” (p. 15,) which he writes in capitals, * So BELLARMINE."-" See, Sir, what company you are again found in*!"-But I do not admire such arguments. Were Father Walsh and Cardinal Bellarmine in the right, it would be no more disgrace to Mr. Hill to stand between them both, than it is to me to believe with the Cardinal, that Christ has said, “In the day of judgment, by thy words thou shalt be justified.'-For, as a diamond does not become a pebble upon the finger of a Papist, So truth does not become a lie under his pen.