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FIFTH CHECK TO ANTINOMIANISM,
“ valiant Serjeant IF." Thou comest from Evertort, therefore thou shalt be welcome. Thou knowest the way to the closets of Solifidians : Nay, thou art there - already with “ The Christian World Unmasked."
of the Ammonites, he “really and sincerely denied ungodliness." And that his faith produced the good fruit, which is INSEPARABLE from saving faith. The moment this is done, I promise the public to clear the pious Calvinists in general from the charge of Seculative Antinomianism, Dr. Crisp in particular from that of glaring contradiction, and his zealous cond, who accuses me with ** gross falsities," from Calvinistie rashness.
We can no more exculpate warm Calvinists, when they betray holiness into the hands of practical Antinomians, because they now and then speak honourably of good works; than we can clear Pontius Pilate from the guilt of delivering the Messiah to the Jews, because he once solemnly' took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying I find no fault in this just person ; I am innocent of his blood : Sce ye to it. If the author of the “Whip for the Arminians” considers this, or if he turns to Check iv. p. 566, where I produce D. Williams's observation concerning Dr. Crisp's inconsistency, he will be probably less forward in checking Checks that he has not candidly considered ; and in making whips for the backs of his honest neighbours, lest some ,of them should take thern from him to lash his mistakes, and chastise his precipitation.
Mr. Berridge candidly grants the Conditionality of
Perseverance, and consequently of Election, by showing much respect to
Serjeant IF,” who “ guards the Camp of Jesus." But soon picking a quarrel with the Valiant Serjeant, he discharges him as a Jew, opens the Camp to the Antinomians, by opposing to them only a sham Centinel, and shews the Foundations of Calvinism in a most striking light.
THE pious author of “ The Christian World Unmusked," speaking of the Calvinistic doctrine of unconditional perseverance, which he confounds with the evangelical doctrine of conditional perseverauce, (p. 194,) says with great truth, provided he had spoken of the latter : It “ affords a stable prop to upright mivds, yet lends vo wauton cloak to corrupt hearts. It brings a cordial to revive the faint, and keeps a guard to check the forward. The guard attending on this doctrine, is Serjeant IF; low in stature, but lofty iu significance; a very valiant guard, though a monosyllable. Kind notice has been taken of the Serjeant by Jesus Christ and his apostles; and much respect is due unto him, from all the Lord's recruiting officers, and every soldier in his army. Pray listen to the Serjeant's speech : ' JF ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.' (John viii. 31.) • If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.' (2 Pet. i. 10.) • IF what ye have heard shall abide in you, ye shall continue in the Son and in the Father.' (1 John ii. 24.) • We are made partakers of Christ, If we hold steadfast unto the end.' (Heb. iii. 14.) “Whoso looketh and continueth (that is, If he that looketh doth continue] in the perfect law of liberty, that man shall be blessed in his deed. (James i. 25.)"-And again, (p. 194,) “ JF backsliders fancy they must all he restored by repentance, because David was restored, and Peter was ; they might as well suppose, they must all be translated into heaven without dying,* because Enoch and Elijah were.” (p. 199, L. 17th.)
Upon this plan of doctrine, we are ready to lay by our controversial pens, and shake hands with our Cal. vinist brethren. All that we desire of them, in order to a lasting agreement, is—(1.) To consider what is implied in the preceding concessions ; and not to gag Serjeant IF, when he honestly speaks the very words of the Captain of our salvation,' or those of the apostles his lieutenant-generals :-(2.) Not to call him a Galatian or a Papist, when he is found in company with St. James.—(3.) Not to enter an action against him, for disturbing the peace of those backsliders, who, having denied the faith, and lost their first love, now quietly hug a bosom sin, or take their Laodicean rest on the pillow of self-election. -(4.) Not to put him under arrest, for heading a platoon of those, whom some of the elect call diabolonians, because they doubt the truth of unconditional election, or electiou without IF; and choose to fire at sin, rather than at their captain.–And (5.) not to say to him, Hail! Serjeant, kissing him as if he were a good Christian, in order to betray hini with some decency into the hands of the Antinamians, as “a circumcised caitiff.”
Whether my pious opponent has not treated the ho·nest Serjeant in that manner, I leave the candid reader to determine. “ Yet take notice,” says he, (p. 194,) " that Serjeant If is noi of Jewish, but Christian parentage : Not sprung from Levi, though a son of Abraham : No centinel of Moses, but a watchman for the camp of Jesus. He wears no dripping beard, like the circumcised race; and is no legal blustering condition to purchase mau's salvation, but a modest gospel evi
Here Mr. Berridge, in a fit of legality, far exceeds the limits of the truth which I maintain in the Checks; for he insinuates that the recovery of backsliders is as improbable as their bodily translation into heaven. For my part, severe as I am represented to backsliders, I believe their retum is ten thousand times more probable, than their going to heaven as Enoch and Elijah did.
dence to prove the truth of grace. He tells no idle tales.”—Enough, Rev. Sir, if “ he tells no idle tales," he does not cavil and quibble, much less does he deny his proper name, and well-known meaning. Although he no more dreams of “ purchasing man's salration" than you do, yet he is conditional 15,-Serjeant If--a very valiant guard to the scriptural doctrine of perseverance, and an irreconcilable enemy to Calvinian election, and “ Antinomian dotages.”
Oye opposers of the second gospel axiom, “ Pray come and peep !"-See Calvinism“ unmasked" by one of your principal leaders, who shews to the world the futile foundation of your doctrine of grace !—Thanks be to his humourous honesty, we see now, that those famous doctrines stand upon the super: metaphysical difference there is, between if and if ;-between Jewish 1f, and Christiau if ;-legal if, and evangelical if; -15 at Madeley, and if at Everton. When IF, the culprit, appears in the Foundry-pulpit, he tells idle tales, it seems ! He slily disguises himself! But when if the orthodox, shews himself in the desk at Everton, (for it is to be feared, that he seldom appears in the pulpit valiantly to guard Bible perseverance,) he never equivocates! When he says to people that never stood, or to people that can nerer fall, “ If ye do these things, ye shall never fall,' &c., he is not a condition, and yet he never shuffles ! These are strange hints indeed!
Patient Reader, permit me to try, by the following questions, the solidity of the Calvinistic distinction between it and if, which supports the amazing weight of the great Diana. (1.) When the gospel said to David, ' If thou dost these things thou shalt nerer fall,' and he fell into adultery : Was“ Serjeant If a modest gospel evidence to prove the truth of his grace ?” And supposing he was such a modest evidence, did he “lend no wayton cloak to a corrupt heart?"-(2.) When our Lord said to the young ruler, "If thou wilt be perfect, sell all ;' was Serjeant If of Jewish or Christian pa. rentage ?-(3.) How shall I know when the Serjeant is “a centinel of Moses," or when he is “ a watchmau for the camp of Jesus ?" Should you answer, "A Jewish if wears a dripping beard,” you may indeed by such an argument convince, and entertain some Calvinists; but you leave me quite in the dark; and with
some very honest folks, who are cast in a gospelfoundery," instead of " ringing a fire-bell” I smile at your wit and orthodoxy, but can no more understand what you mean by an IF, “ with a dripping beard,” than you could conceive what I would be at, if I spoke of a Yes, with a long tail, or a Perhaps, with dreadfu! horns !-(4.) How shall I distinguish a legal” from an evangelical if ? Should you say, that the " legal, blustering” Serjeant wears an halherd, but the evangelical, mild if has no weapon at all : I ask, What business has an unarmed if, in “ the camp of Jesus ?" Why do you call him Serjeant ? Is he not a sham centinel, a ridiculous scarecrow, to deceive the simple, rather than “ a very valiant guard to check the forward ?"-(5.) How shall I make a difference between an Everton if, and a Madeley if ? When I have read my Bible in both places, I have always found the Serjeant exactly of the same stature ; he always appeared in the same black regimentals : And to this day å Madeley if exactly answers to the description, that the pious Vicar of Everton gives of him. He is " a monosyllable, low in stature, but of lofty significance :" Whereas the Everton if is yet lower in significance than in stature, since you make him signify just nothing. Should you reply, that a Madeley if is “ like one of the circumcised race;" I answer that, although about eleven years ago, I circumcised him with an Ane tinomian knife, yet I did not mutilate him. But I could vame a gospel minister, who has “served more than three apprenticeships at a noted hall of physic," by whom the unhappy serjeant has not only been “ circumcised," but quite emasculated; yea, deprived of his very vitals. For when if, in the above quoted scrip tures, is absolutely divested of conditionality, and turned into an unnecessary evidence of grace, which the elect