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lows, that he is but a curious machine, superior to a brute, as a brute is superior to a watch, and a watch to a wheel-barrow. Upon Calvin's priuciples, this wonderful machine is as much guided by God's invisible hand, or rather by his absolute decrees, as a puppet by the unseen wire, which causes its seemingly spontaneous motions. This being the case, it is evident that God is as much the author of our actions good or bad, as a show-man is the author of the motions of his puppets, whether they turn to the right or to the left. Now, as God is infinitely wise, and supremely good, he will set his machines upon doing nothing but what, upon the whole, is wisest and best. Hence it appears, that if the doctrine of absolute decrees, which is the fundamental principle of Calvinism, is true, whatever sin we commit, we only fulfil the absolute will of God, and do that which, upon the whole, is wisest and best; and therefore that you have not unadvisedly pleaded for Baal, but rationally spoken for God, when you have told us, what great advantages result from the commission of the greatest crimes. In doing this strange work, then, you have acted only as a consistent predestivarian ; and though some thoughtless Calviuists may, yet none that are judicious will blame you, for having spoken agreeably to the leading principle of - the doctrines of grace."

I have observed, that speculative Antinomianism, or barefaced Calvinism, stalks along upon the doctrine of finished salvation, and finished damnation, which we may consider as the two feet of your great Diana; and the preceding Creed, which is drawn up for an elect, uncovers only her handsome foot, finished salvation. To do my subject justice, I should now make an open show of her cloven foot, by giving the world the creed of a reprobate, according to the dreadful doctrine of finished damnation. But as I flatter myself, that my readers are already as tired of Calvinism as myself, I think it needless to raise their detestation of it, by drawing before their eyes a long chain of blasphemous positions, capable of making the hair of their heads

stand up with horror. I shall, therefore, with all wise Calvinists, draw a veil over the hideous sight, and conclude by assuring you, few people more heartily wish you delivered from speculative Antinomianism, and possessed of salvation truly finished in glory, than, Honoured and dear Sir, your affectionate and obedient servant, in the bonds of what you call the “ legalised gospel,"

JOHN FLETCHER.

LETTER VIII.

To Richard Hill, Esq.

HON, AND DEAR SIR,

HAVING endeavoured, in my last, to convince you out of your own mouth, that undisguised Calvinism, and speculative Antinomianism, exactly coincide ; before I turn from you to face your brother, I beg leave to vindicate good works from an aspersion, which zealous Calvivists perpetually cast upon them: For as practical Antinomianism destroys the fruits of righteousness, as a wild boar does the fruit of the vine; so speculative Antinomianism besprinkles them with filth, as an unclean bird does the produce of our orchards.

Hence it is, that you charge me, (Review, p. 69,) with “ vile slander,” for insinuating that our freegrace preachers do not

“ raise the superstructure in good works :", P. 41, as if you wanted to de. monstrate the truth of my

“ vile slander," you say,

6 « 'Though we render the words kala epya, "good works, yet the exact translation is, ornamental works ;' and truly, when brought to the strictness of the law, they do not deserve the name of good.' But however grating the expression may sound, to those who hope to gain a second justification by their works, yet we have scripture authority to call them dung, dross, and filthy rags.”

Now, Sir, if scripture anthorises us to call them thus, they are undoubtedly very useless, loathsome, and abominable; and the Minutes, which highly recommend them, are certainly dreadfully heretical. I must then lose all my controversial labour, or once more take up the shield of truth, and quench this fiery (should I not say, this “ filthy") dart, which you have thrown at St. James's undefiled religion : I begio with your criticism.

1. “Though we render the words kara epya, good works, yet the exact translation is, ornamental works." I apprehend, Sir, you are mistaken : The Greek word Karos exactly answers to the Hebrew (290) which conveys the joint ideas of goodness and beauty. Before there was any

“ filthy rag” in the world, ‘God saw every thing that he had made ; and behold it was (THD 270) very good, which the Septuagint very ex. actly renders; kaha Alav. Fully to overthrow your criticism, I need only to observe, that good works are called good, with the very same word, by which the goodness of the law, and the excellence of the lawgiver are expressed : For St. Paul, speaking of the law, (Rom. vii. 16,) says, that it is salos, "good :" And our Lord, speaking of himself, says, “I am o wolunu o 'kalos, the good shepherd.' Now, Sir, as you are too pious to infer from the word karos, that neither the law nor Christ “ deserved to be called good ;" I hope you will be candid enongh to give up your similar inference concerning good works.

fuconsistency is the badge of error. You give us, "if I mistake not, a proof of it, by telling us with one breath, that “ good works do not deserve the name

of good,, but that of “. ornamental," and with the next, that scripture authorises us to call them, “ dung, dross, and filthy rags.” Are then, dung, dross, and filthy rags, ornamental things? or did you try to render Geneva criticism as famous as Geneva logic? But,

LII. You have recourse to divinity as well as to criticism : For you say, “ When good works are brought to the strictness of the law, they do not deserve the name of good.L'answer : If our Lord himself called them good, it does not become us to insinuate that in so doing he passed a wrong judgment, and countenanced“ proud justiciars” in their legal error, With respect to the “ &trictness of the 'law,” which you so frequently urge, your frightful notions about it cannot drive us into Antinomianism ; because we think that Christ and St. Paul were better acquainted with the law than Calvin and yourself. If all the law and the prophets hang on the grand commandment of love,' as our Lord informs us; and if he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law,' as the apostle declares we see no reason to believe, that the law condemna as “dung," the labour of that love by which it is fulfilled ; and rejects, as “ filthy rags,” works which Christ hiinself promises to crown with eternal rewards. You probably reply:

III.“ Many Pharisees go to church without devotion, and many fornicators give alms without charity, fancying that such good works make amends for their sins; and merit heaven." Good works, do you call them? The scriptures never gave them that honour. able name. They are the hypocritical righteousness of unbelief, and not works meet for repentance,' or • the fruits of the righteousness of faith.' Treat them as you please, but spare good works. It is as unjust to asperse good works on their account, as to hang the honest men who duly carry on the king's coinage at the mint, because the villains who counterfeit his majesty's coin evidently deserve the gallows.

IV. Should your object that “ the best works 'have flaws, blemishes, and imperfections; and therefore

may properly be called dung, dross, and filthy rags :" I deny the consequence. The best guineas may have their flaws: Nay, some dust or dirt may accidentally cleave to them; but this does not turn them into dross. As therefore a good guinea is gold, and not dross, though it has some accidental blemishes: So, God himself being judge, a good work is a good work, and not a filthy rag, though it is not free from all imperfections.

V. Not so, do you say ? “ We have scripture authority to call good works filthy rags." You build, it seems, your mistakes upon Isaiah lxiv. 6, “ All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags :' A passage which, upon mature covsideration, I beg leave to rescue from the hands of the Calvinists. The Jews were extremely corrupted in the days of Isaiah : Hence he opens his prophecy by calling the rich, ' Ye rulers of Sodom,' and the poor, ‘Ye people of Gomorrah.' And what says he to them ? 'How is the faithful city become a harlot! Righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers !' Yet these murderers hypocritically went on keeping their sabbaths and new moons. They' fasted,' but it was 'for strife,' and 'to smite with the fist of wickedness.' They made many prayers,' and offered multitudes of sacrifices, but their hands were full of blood.' Nor did they consider, that he, who, under these circumstances,' sacrifices an ox, is as if he slew a man.'

This corruption of the Jews, though general, was not universal : For the Lord of hosts had left to thein a remnant, though very small. Now Isaiah, one of that very little flock, being humbled at the sight of the general wickedness of his people, confesses it in the first person (we) as ministers always do on such occa

and he uses the word all, because the small remnant of the righteous was as lost in the multitude of the wicked. The verse, taken in connection with the context, runs thus : Thou meetest him that rejoiceth, and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways.' But, alas ? we are not

sions ;

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