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and trembling.” Again : they make much ado about a robe of imputed righteousness: but still they go on “washing their own robes, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Therefore, their errors, which they practically renounce, do not endanger their salvation : and it would be the highest degree of injustice to confound them with abandoned Nicolaitans.

Fantasticus tells you he is possessed of an immense estate in the territories of Geneva ; where, by the by, he has not an inch of ground. But though he talks much about his fine estate abroad, he wisely considers that he stands in need of food and raiment; that he cannot live upon a chimera : and that he must work or starve at home. To work therefore he goes, though much against his will. In a little time, by the Divine blessing upon his labour and industry, he gets a good estate, and lives comfortably upon it. And though he frequently entertains you with descriptions of the rich robes which he has at Geneva, he takes care to have always a good, decent coat upon his back. Now, is it not plain, that though Fantasticus would be a mere beggar, for all his great estate near Geneva ; yet, as matters are at present, you cannot justly consider him as burthensome to his parish, unless you can make it appear, that his trusting to his imaginary property abroad has lately made him squander away his goods personal, and real estate, in England.

This similé needs very little explanation. A pious Calvinist does not so dream about his imaginary imputation of Christ's personal obedience and good works, as to forget that he must personally believe, or be damned; yea, and “ believe too with the heart unto personal righteousness," and good works. Therefore, he cries to God for the living “ faith which works by love.” He receives it ; “ Christ dwells in his heart by faith,” and “this faith is imputed to him for righteousness," because it really makes him righteous. Thus, while he talks about the false imputation of righteousness, he really enjoys the true : he has inherent righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. When he speaks against good works, he is so happily inconsistent as to do them. If he ignorantly builds up the Antinomian Babel with one hand, he sincerely tries to pull it down with the other: and while he decries the perfection of holiness, he goes on “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Thus his doctrinal mistakes are happily refuted by his godly conversation.

Hence it is, that, although we severely expose the mistakes of godly Calvinists, we sincerely love their persons, truly reverence their piety, and cordially rejoice in the success which attends their evangelical labours. And although we cannot admit their logic, while they defend a bad cause with bad arguments; we should do them great injustice, if we did not acknowledge that there have been, and still are among them, men eminent for good sense and good learning ; markable for their skill in the art of logic as for their deep acquaintance with the oracles of God. How they came to embrace doctrines, which appear to us so unscriptural and irrational, will be the subject of a peculiar dissertation.

In the meantime, I observe, again, that as many, who have right opinions concerning faith, holiness, and good works, go great lengths

men as re

in practical Antinomianism; so many Antinomians in principle distinguish themselves by the peculiar strictness and happy legality of their conduct. Both are to be wondered at: the one for doing "the works of darkness,” in the clearest light; and the other for “ walking as children of light,” under the darkest cloud. The former we may compare to green wood, that is always upon the altar, and never takes the hallowed fire. The latter to the bush which Moses saw in the wilderness. The flames of Antinomianism surround them and ascend from them; and yet they are not consumed ! Would to God I could say they are not singed !

Nay, what is a greater miracle still, the love of Christ burns in their breasts, and shines in their lives. They preach him, and they do it with success. “Some, indeed, preach him of envy and contention, and some of love and good will. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached ; and we therein do rejoice; yea, and will rejoice.” Add to this that some are prudent enough to keep their opinions to themselves. You may hear them preach most excellent sermons, without one word about their peculiarities; or, if they touch upon them, it is in so slight a manner as not to endanger either the foundation or superstructure of undefiled religion. Nay, what is a greater blessing still, sometimes their hearts are so enlarged, and their views of the Gospel so brightened, that they preach free grace as well as we: and in the name of God seriously “ command all [men] EVERY WHERE to repent.”

Far be it from us, therefore, to “ cut off all intercourse and friendship". with such favoured servants of the Lord. On the contrary, we thank them for their pious labours ; we ask the continuance or the renewal of their valuable love. Whereinsoever we have given them any just cause of offence, we entreat them to forgive us. Upon the reasonable terms of mutual forbearance, “ we offer them the right hand of fellowship,” together with our brotherly assistance. We invite them to our pulpits, and assure them, that if they admit us into theirs, we shall do by them as we would be done by ; avoiding to touch there, or among their own people occasionally committed to our charge, upon the points of doctrine debated between us; and reserving to ourselves the liberty of bearing our full testimony, in our own pulpits, and from the press, against Antinomianism and Pharisaism in all their shapes.

With these pacific sentiments toward all pious Calvinists, and in particular toward your brother and yourself; and with my best thanks for the condescending manner in which you have closed your Remarks upon the Third Check, I conclude this, assuring you, that, (notwithstanding the repeated proofs, which I find in your Review, of your uncommon prejúdice against the second Gospel axiom, 'and against Mr. Wesley, who is set for the defence of it,) I remain, with all my former love, and a considerable degree of my former esteem, honoured and Gear sir, your affectionate companion in tribulation, and obedient servant in Christ,

J. FLETCHER MADELEY, Nov. 15, 1972.


SOME persons

think our controversy will offend the world ; and, indeed, we were once afraid of it ourselves. Of this ill-judged fear, and of the voluntary bumility which made us reverence the very errors of the good men from whom we dissent, the crafty, diligent tempter has so availed himself as to sow his Antinomian tares with the greatest success. Messrs. John and Charles Wesley, and Mr. Sellon have, indeed, made a noble stand against him: but an impetuous torrent of triumphant opposition still rolls and foams through the kingdom, bent upon drowning their works and reputation in floods of contempt and reproach. And some good, mistaken men, warmly carry'on still the rash design of publicly turning the second Gospel axiom out of our Bibles, and out of the Church of England, under the frightful names of “ Arminianism and Popery." The question with us, then, is not so much whether Mr. Wesley shall be ranked with heretics,' as whether the undefiled religion, particularly described in the Epistle of St. James, and in our Lord's

's sermon on the mount, shall pass for a dreadful heresy, while barefaced-Antinomianism passes for pure Gospel.

Now, we apprehend, that, to debate such a question in a fair and friendly manner, will rather edify than offend either the religious or the moral world. Fair arguments, plain scriptures, honest appeals to conscience, and a close pursuit of ridiculous error, hunted down to its last recesses, will never displease inquirers after truth : and among the bystanders, few, beside these, will trouble themselves with our publications. If we offend our readers, it is only when we take our leave of Scripture and argument, to cry out, without rhyme and reason, " Disingenuity! Slander! Falsehood! Calumny! Forgery! Heresy! Popery !"

Bad aś we are, the moral world regards yet a good argument, and the religious world still shows some respect for Scripture quoted consistently with the context. Fight we then lovingly with such weapons, for what we esteem to be the truth ; and be the edge of our controversial swords 'ever so keen, we shall be sure to wound nobody but the bigots of the opposite party, and such as are so great a disgrace to Christianity, that we shall do the cause of religion service by stumbling them out of their profession of it, if they are above learning the lessons of moderation.

Undoubtedly we are severely condemned by some good people who forget that Moses was once obliged to oppose not only Korah, Dathar, and Abirám, who styled themselves the Lord's people, but his own dear elect brother Aaron himself: and that St. Paul was forced by peculiar circumstances, at all hazards, to withstand St. Peter himself. Well-meaning Elis also, who do not consider consequences, and love 10 enjoy their own ease rather than to make a vigorous resistance against error and sin, will be very apt to conclude that our opposition


springs from mere obstinacy and party spirit. But should such hasty judges read attentively the Epistle of St. Jude, that of St. James, the first of St. John, and the second of St. Peter, which are all levelled at Antinomianism, they will think more favourably of the stand we make against our pious brethren who inadvertently countenance the Antinomian delusion.

However, it is objected, “ This controversy will hurt the men of the world, and set them against all religion.” Just the contrary. There are, indeed, Galios, men that care for no religion at all, who, upon hearing of our controversy, will triumph, and cry out, “ If these men do not agree among themselves, how can they desire that we should agree with them ?" As if we had ever desired them to agree with us any farther than the plain letter of Scripture, and the loud dictates of conscience invite them so to do! But such prepossessed judges will not be hurt by our controversy though they should pretend they are : for they have their stumbling block in their own breast. They would not have wanted pretences to ridicule religion, if our controversy had never been set on foot; nor would they entertain more favourable thoughts of it, if we dropped it without coming to a proper eclaircissement.

But these, however numerous, are not all the world. There are, in our universities, and throughout the kingdom, hundreds, and we hope thousands, of judicious and candid men who truly fear God, and sincerely desire to love him. These, we apprehend, are offended at the first Gospel axiom, and driven farther and farther from it by the mixture of “ Antinomian dotages,” which renders it ridiculous. They are tempted to throw away the marrow of the Gospel, on account of the luscious, fulsome additions made to it, to make it richer. And to these, we flatter ourselves, that our controversy will prove useful, as well as to our candid brethren.

We hope it will open to the view of these Gamaliels and Obadiahs the confused heap of truth and error at which they so justly stumble, and help them precisely to separate the precious from the vile, that while they “ abhor that which is evil, they may cleave to that which is good.” This is not all: when they shall see that some of those men, whom they accounted wild enthusiasts, candidly take their part, where they are in the right, and fight their battles in a rational and Scriptural manner, their prejudices will be softened, the light will imperceptibly steal in upon them, and, by Divine grace, convince them, that they go as far out of the way to the left hand, as our opponents do to the right.

The truth, which we maintain, lies between all extremes, or rather, it embraces and connects them all. The Calvinisis fairly receive only the first Gospel axiom, and the moralists, the second. If I may compare the Gospel truth to the child contended for in the days of Solomon, both parties, while they divide, inadvertently destroy it. We, like the true mother, are for no division. Standing upon the middle Scriptural line, we embrace and hold fast both Gospel axioms. With the Calvinists, we give God in Christ all the glory of our salvation ; and, with the moralists, we take care not to give him in Adam any

of the shame of our damnation : we have need of patience with both, for they both highly blame us because we follow the poet's direction,

Inter utrumque tene, inedio tutissimus ibis :

Both think hardly of us, because we do not so maintain the particular Gospel axiom which they have justly espoused as to exclude that which they rashly explode. But if we can use, with meekness of wisdom, the ó armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,” and give our opposite adversaries, on every side, a Scriptural and rational “ account of the hope that is in us,” moderate Calvinists and evangelical moralists will at last kindly " give us the right hand of fellowship.” Discovering that the advantages of both their doctrines join in ours, they will acknowledge, that the “ faith working by love," which we preach, includes all the privileges of solifidianism and morality ; that we do justice to the Gospel, without making“ void the law through faith ; that we establish the law,” without superseding free grace ; and that we extol our High Priest's cross, without pouring contempt upon his throne. In a word, they will perceive, that we perfectly reconcile St. Paul with St. James, and both with reason, conscience, and all the oracles of God.

Thus shall all good men of all denominations agree at last among themselves, and bend all their collected force against Pharisaic unbelief, which continually attacks the first Gospel axiom; and against Antinomian contempt of good works, which perpetually militates against the second. The Father of lights grant that this may be the happy effect of our controversy! So shall we bless the hour when a variety of singular circumstances obliged us to come to a full eclaircissement, and to lay, by that mean, the foundation of a solid union, not only with each other, but also with all good and judicious men, both in the religious and in the moral world.

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