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not then, dear Sir, under a mistake, when you think, you may take the same liberty with God's undeniable truth, which I have taken with Dr. Crisp's indefensible error ?
Permit me to state the case more fully still. Mr. Wesley cries to believers : “ It is your privilege, so to believe in Christ, and receive the Spirit, as to ' love God with all your hearts, and your neighbours as yourselves.'"
And you say to them : “ Mr. Wesley is blinder than a Papist, regard not his heretical words. Your salvation is finished. Whatever lengths you go in sin, you are as sure of heaven as if you were already there. It is your privilege to commit adultery, murder, and incest, not only without fearing that the Lord will be displeased with you; but conscious that, black as ye are in yourselves by the actual commission of these crimes, through Christ's comeliness put upon you, God can address each of you with, “Thou art all fair, my love, my undefiled, there is no spot in thee !” (Five Letters, p. 28.) Now Sir, are you not a partial judge, when, by way of retaliation, you serve the holy doctrine maintained by Mr. Wesley, as I have served the unholy tenet propagated by Calvin and yourself?
Think you really, that because a judge, after a fair trial, justly condemos a notorious robber to be hanged; another judge, to retaliate, has a right to quarter a good man, after a mock trial, or rather, without any trial at all? And do you suppose, that because Jehu deservedly made the house of Baal a draught-house ;' or because Josiah burned dead men's bones upon the unhallowed altar in Bethel,' to render it detestable to idolaters; Antiochus had a right to turn the temple of the Lord into a stye, and to pollute' the altar of incense,' by burning “dang and filthy rags” upon it, that true worshippers might abomiuate the offering of the Lord, and loathe the holy of holies ? Thus, however, have you (inadvertently, I hope,) treated Good Works and Christian Perfection, which are ten thonsand times more sacred and precious in the sight of
God than the holy, and the most holy place in the temple of Jerusalem.
And now, dear Sir, please to look at the preceding list of the good works, which adorn the Christian's breast, or blazon his shiniug character; and tell us, if there is one, which, upon second thoughts, you object against as a nuisance : One, which you would put away like “ dross :" One, which you would have carried out of his apartment as “dung,” or remove from his pious breast as a filthy rag.”
Methinks I hear you answer, “ Not one : May they all abound more and more iu my heart and life, and in the hearts and lives of all God's people !” Methinks that all the church militant and triumphaut, cry out, “Amen!” A divine power accompanies their general exclamation. The veil of prejudice begins to rend. Your honest heart relents. You acknowledge that Calvinism has deceived you. You retract your un. guarded expressions. The Spirit of holiness, whom you have grieved, returns. The heavenly light shines. The Antinomian charm is broken. “ Dross" is turned into fine gold; “dung” into savoury meat, which every believer loveth next to the bread of life; and“ filthy rags,” into the linen, fine and white, which is the righteousness of the saints, and the robe made white in the blood of the Lamb. Far from pouring contempt, through voluntary humility, upon this precious garment, you give praise to God, and in humble triumph put it on together with the Lord Jesus Christ.
In that glorious dress you 'walk with Christ in white,' and in love with Mr. Wesley. Paris, and the convent of Benedictine monks, disappear. The “ New Jerusalem,' and 'the Tabernacle of God, come down from heaven. Leaving the things that are behind, you solemnly hasten unto the day of the Lord. Following peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord, you daily perfect it in the fear of God. You feel the amazing difference there is between a real and an imaginary imputation of righteousness. You tear away, with honest indigna
FOURTH CHECK TO ANTINOMIANISM.
tion, the pillow of finished salvation from under the head of Laodicean backsliders, who sleep in sin ; and of bloody murderers, who defile their neighbour's bed. You set fire to the fatal canopy, under which you have inadvertently taught them to fancy, that the holy and righteous God calls them, “My love, my undefiled! even while they wallow in the poisonous mire of the most atrocious wickedness. And to uudo the harm you have done, or remove the offence you have given by your letters, you show yourself reconciled to St. James's pure religion ; you openly give Mr. Wesley the right hand of fellowship, and gladly help him to provoke' believers to uninterrupted love and good works,' that is, to Christian Perfection.
Sach is the delightful prospect which my imagination discovers through the clouds of our coutroversy ; and such are the pleasing hopes, that sometimes soothe my polemical toil, and even now make me subscribe myself, with an additional pleasure, Honoured and dear Sir, your affectionate brother and obedient servant, in the bonds of a pure gospel,
YOUR uncommon zeal for God, so far as it is guided by knowledge, entitling you to the peculiar love and reverence of all that fear the Lord; I should be wanting in respect to you, if I took no notice of the arguments with which you are come from Cambridge to the help of your pious brother. In the Friendly Remarks that you have directed to me, you say with great truth, (p. 31,) “ the principal cause of controversy among us, is the doctrine of a second justification by works. Thus much you indicate throughout, that a man is justified before the bar of God a second time, by his own good works."
So I do, dear Sir; and I wonder how any Christian can deny it, when Christ himself declares, “In the day of judgment, by thy words shalt thou be justified,' &c. Had he said, “By my words imputed to thee thou shalt be justified,” you might indecd complain. But now, what reason have you to assert, as you do, that I “have grossly misrepresented the scriptures,” and “ made universal havoc of every truth of the gospel ?” The first of these charges is heavy, the second dreadful; let as see by what arguments they are supported.
After throwirig away a good part of your book, in passing a long, Calvinian, juvenile sentence upon my spirit as a writer, you come at last to the point, and attempt to explain some of the scriptures, which you suppose I bave " misrepresented.”
I. P. 32. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of hea
but he that doeth the will of my Father.' (Matt. vii. 21.) And what is this (say you) more than a description of those who are to be saved ?"
What, Sir, is it nothing but a description ? Is it not a solemn declaration, that no practical Antinomian shall be saved by faith in the last day? And that Christ is really a Lord and a King, who has a law, which he will see obeyed ? Had he not just before, (ver. 12,) adınitted the law and the prophets into his gospel dispensation, saying, “All things which ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them, for this is the law and the prophets ?' Are we not under this law to him? And will he not command his subjects, who obstinately violate it, to be brought and slain before him?
Again, when he declares that they who hate a brother, and call him, Thou fuol! are in danger of hell fire as murderers !,' do we not expose his legislative wisdom, as well as his paternal goodness, by intimating, that, without having an eye to the murder of the heart or the tongue, he only describes certain wretches whom he unconditionally designs for everlasting burnings ?
What I say of a punishment threatened, is equally true of a reward promised ; as you may see by the following illustration of our controverted text. A general says to his soldiers, as he leads them to the field of battle, “ Not every one that calls me, Your honour, Your honour, shall be made a captain ; but he that fights manfully for his king and country." You say, " What is this more than a description of those that shall be promoted ?" And I reply, If warlike exploits have absolutely nothing to do with their promotion ; and if the general's declaration is only a description of some favourites, whom he is determined to raise at any rate; could he not as well have described them by the colour of their hair, or height of their stature ? And does he not put a cheat upon all the soldiers, whom he is absolutely determined not to raise ; when he excites them to quit themselves like men, by the