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tion, Christ prayed for him, and sincerely too ; for if Christ had borne him a grudge, and, in consequence of it, had always made mental reserves, and excepted him when he prayed for his apostles; would he not have broken the second table of the law ? And might he not be proposed as a pattern of inveterate malice, rather than of perfect charity?
You reply, (p. 22,) “ If this were the case, [i. e. if our Lord prayed for Judas,] those words of his, I know thou hearest me always,' must be untrue; for when he prayed for Judas his prayer was rejected.” But is your inference just? Christ always prayed with Divine wisdom, and according to his Father's will
. Therefore he prayed consistently with the eternal decree, that moral agents shall be invited, drawn, and gently moved, but not forced, to obey the Gospel. Now, if our Lord prayed conditionally for Judas, (as he certainly did for all his murderers, since they were not all forgiven,) he might say,
6 I know thou hearest me always ;” and yet Judas might, by his perverseness, as a free agent, “ reject against himself” the gracious counsel of God, till he was absolutely given up. Thus our scheme of doctrine, instead of dishonouring Christ's advocacy, represents it in a rational and Scriptural light; while yours, I fear, wounds his character in the tenderest part, and fixes upon him the blot of cunning uncharitableness, and profound dissimulation.
Sec. xi, p. 25. You say, “ Time would fail me to pretend to enumerate the many gross misrepresentations,” &c. However, as you have actually represented me as saying, that the more a believer sins upon earth, the merrier he will be in heaven, I beg you will point out to me where, in the plain, easy sense of my words, I have spoken any such thing; or where I have ever used so ludicrous an expression as mirth, &c, when speaking of those “ pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore."
I conclude my Antinomian creed thus, (Fourth Check, p. 261,) Adultery, incest, and murder, shall, upon the whole, make me holier upon earth and merrier in heaven.” Two lines below, I observe that “I am indebted to you for all the doctrines, and most of the
expressions of this creed.” You have therefore no right to say, - Where have I used the expression merry ?” For I never said you have used it, though our Lord has, Luke xv, 32. But as you have a right to say, Where is the doctrine? I reply, In your fanrth letter, sir, where you tell us, that “a grievous fall will make believers sing loudler in heaven to all eternity.” Now as louder songs are a certain indication of greater joy, where nothing is done in hypocrisy, I desire even Calvinists to say if I have wrested “ the plain, easy sense of your words,” in observing that, according to your scheme, apostates shall be merrier, or, if you please, more joyful in heaven for their grievous falls on earth. Page 27. “
Now, sir, give me leave to pluck a feather out of your high soaring wings, &c, by asking you simply, Whence have you taken it? [this quotation so called.] Did I ever assert any thing like this? &c. Prove your point, and then I will confess that you are no calummiator of God's people.” I answer,
(1.) I did not produce as a quotation the words which you allude to: I put them in commas, as expressive of the sentiments of “ many good
call me a
men.” How then could you think that you alone are many good men? (2.) But you say that you, for one, understand the words of St. John, " He that does righteousness is righteous," of personal holiness. Now, sir, to prove me a "calumniator," you have only to prove that David did righteousness when he defiled Uriah’s wife ; for you teach us directly, or indirectly, that when he committed that crime he was “undefiled,” and continued to be “a man after God's own heart," i. e. a righteous man, for the Lord alloweth the righteous, but the ungodly does his soul abhor.” (3.) However, if I have mistaken one of the scriptures, on which
your doctrine, I have not mistaken the doctrine itself. What are the words for which
66 calumniator,” and charge me with “horrid perversion, falsehood, and base disingenuity ?" Why, I have represented many good men" as saying, (by the general tenor of one of their doctrines of grace, the absolute perseverance of fallen, adulterous, idolatrous, incestuous believers,)
Let not Mr. Wesley deceive you : he that actually liveth with another man's wife, worships abominable idols, and commits incest with his father's wife, may not only be righteous, but complete in imputed righteousness,” &c. This is the doctrine I charge upon many good men : and if you, for one, say, “ Did I ever assert any thing like this?” I reply, Yes, sir, in your fourth letter, which is a professed attempt to prove that believers may, like adulterous David, idolatrous Solomon, and the incestuous Corinthian, go any length in sin without ceasing to stand complete in, what I beg leave to call, Calvinistic righteousness. Thus, instead of “plucking a feather out of my wings,” you wing the arrow which I let fly at your great Diana.
Sec. xii. For brevity's sake I shall reduce my answer to the rest of your capital charges into plain queries, not doubting but my judicious readers will see their unreasonableness without the help of arguments.
1. Is it right in Mr. Hill to call (pp. 34, 35) my extract from Flavel
a citation,” and “ a quotation;" and then to charge me with “ disingenuity, gross perversion, expunging," &c, because I have not swelled my extract by transcribing all Flavel's book, or because I have taken only what suits the present times, and what is altogether consistent ? Especially when I have observed, (Fourth Check, p. 234,)." that, when, Flavel encounters Antinomian errors a disciple of Calvin, his hands hang down, Amalek prevails ; and a shrewd logician could, without any magical power, force him to confess, that most of the errors which he so justly opposes are the natural consequences of Calvinism ?"
2. Is it right in Mr. Hill to charge me (p. 57) with “ base forgeries;" and to represent me (p. 56) as “ descending to the poor, illiberal arts of forgery, and defamation,” because I have presented the public with a parable in the dress of a royal proclamation, which I produce as a mere « illustration ;? because I charge him with indirectly propagating tenets which as necessarily flow from his doctrines of grace, as light does from the sun; and because I have distinguished by commas a creed framed with his avowed principles ? Although I have added these words, to show that I took the composition of it npon myself: “You speak indeed in the third person, and I in the
first; but this alters not the doctrine. Some clauses and sentences I have added, not to misrepresent and blacken, (for what need is there of blackening the sable mantle of midnight?) but to introduce, connect. and illustrate your sentiments."
3. Angry as the Pharisees were at our Lord when he exposed their errors by parables, did they ever charge him with base forgery, because his “illustrations” were not true stories? Is it not strange that this admirable way of defending “ the truth”, should have been found out by the grand defender of the doctrines of grace?" Again: if marking with commas a paragraph of our composing, to distinguish it from our own real sentiments, is a crime ; is not Mr. Hill as criminal as myself? Does he not (p. 31,) present the public with a card of his own composing, in which he holds forth the supposed sentiments of many clergymen, and which he distinguishes with commas thus: “The Feather's Tavern fraternity present compliments to Messrs J. Wesley and Fletcher," &c. Shall what passes for wit in the author of Pietas Oxoniensis, be gross disingenuity, and base forgery, in the author of the Vindication? O ye candid Calvinists, partial as your system is, can you possibly approve of such glaring partiality?
4. Is it right in Mr. Hill to take his leave of me in this abrupt manner, (pp. 39, 40 :) “ The unfair quotations you have made, and the shocking misrepresentations and calumnies you have been guilty of, will for the future prevent me from looking into any of your books, if you should write a thousand volumes:” and this especially under pretence, that I have "shamefully perverted and misrepresented the doctrines of Anthony Burgess,” when I have simply produced a quotation from him, in which there is not a shadow of misrepresentation, as the reader will see by comparing Fourth Check, (p. 226,). with the last paragraph of the twelfth Sermon of Mr. Burgess on Grace and Assurance ?
Scc. xiii. This perpetual noise about “gross misrepresentations, shameful perversions, interpolations, base forgeries,” &c, becomes Mr. Hill as little as any man; his own inaccuracy, in quotation equalling that of the most inattentive writer I am acquainted with. Our readers have seen on what a slender basis he rests his charge of “base forgeries.” I beg leave to show them now on what solid ground I rest my charge of uncommon inaccuracy; and not to intrude too long upon their patience, I shall just produce a few instances only out of his Finishing Stroke.*
* To produce such instances out of the “ Review," would be almosť endless. One, however, Mr. Hill forces me to touch upon a second time. This is the case. The sword of the Spirit, which Mr. Wesley uses, is two edged. When he defends the first Gospel axiom against the Pharisees, he preaches "salvation, not by the merit of works, but by believing in Christ :' and when he defends the second Gospel axiom against the Antinomians, he preaches “salvation, not by the merit of works, but by works as a condition.” No sooner did the Calvinists' see this last proposition at full length in the Minutes than they took the 'alarm, fondly imagining that Mr. Wesley wanted to overthrow the Protestant doctrine of sal. vation by faith. To convince them of their mistake, I appealed to Mr. Wesley's works in general, and to the Minutes in particular; two sentences of which evidently show that he had not the least intention of setting aside fáith in Christ, in order to make way for the antichristian merit of works. Accordingly, I laid those sentences before my readers, taking special care to show by commas that
1. That performance does not do my sermon justice ; for, (p. 51,) Mr. Hill quotes me so: “They (good works) are declarative of our free justification;" whereas my manuscript runs thus : “ They are the declarative cause of our free justification,” viz. in the day of trial and of judgment. The word " cause” here is of the utmost importance to my doctrine, powerfully guarding the Minutes and undefiled religion. Whether it is left out, because it shows at once the absurdity of pretending that my old sermon “is the best confutation of Mr. Wesley's I produced two different parts of the Minutes, thus : “Not by the merit of works,” but by “believing in Christ." Here is not a shadow of disingenuity, either as to the quotations, for they are fairly taken from the Minutes; or as to the sense of the whole sentences, for fifty volumes, and myriads of hearers can testify, that it perfectly agrees with Mr. Wesley's well-known doctrine. But what does' Mr. Hill?. Biassed by his system, he tampers with my quotations; he takes off the two commas after the word works; he overlooks the two commas before the word believing! He inadvertently, I hope) throws my two distinct quotations into one; and by that means adds to them the words“ but by,” which I had particularly excluded. When he has thus turned my two just quotations into one that is false, he is pleased to put me into the Geneva pillory for his own mistake; and as his doctrines of grace teach him to kill two birds with one stone, he involves Mr. Wesley in my gratuitous disgrace, thus: Forgeries of this kind have long passed for no crime with Mr. Wesley: I did not think you would have followed him in these ungenerous artifices." ("* Review,” p. 27.)
Upon the remonstrance I made about this strange way of proceeding, (see note, Fourth Check, p. 229,) I hoped that Mr. Hill would have hanged down his head a moment, and dropped the point for ever. But no: he must give a Finishing Stroke, and drive home the nail of his rash accusation, by calling my remarks upon his mistakes " attempts to vindicate that most shameful, false quotation he [Mr. Fletcher] has twice made from the Minutes.” (Log. Wesl. p. 35.) · And to prove that my attempts have been unsuccessful; he produces passages out of a newspaper, which represent “ his majesty," -“ stealing bread,” “ her majesty,”-“committed to the house of correction.” To this I answer, that if such unconnected quotations (of which I only give here the substance) were properly distinguished by commas ;' if they were separated by intervening words; and if they did not in the least misrepresent the author's sense, it would be great injustice to call them either “a most shameful false quotation,” or a
forgery.” Now these three particulars meet in my two quotations from the Minutes. (1.) They are both properly distinguished with commas. (2.) They are parted by intervening words. And (3.) They do not in the least misrepresent Mr. Wesley's' meaning: whereas, (to say nothing more of my commas expunged in the Review,) no word intervenes between Mr. Hill's supposed quotations out of the papers; and they form a shameful misrepresentation of the publisher's meaning.
0! but as the quotations from the Minutes are linked, they “speak a lan. guage directly opposite to the Minutes themselves." So says Mr. Hill, without producing the shadow of a proof. But, upon the arguments of the five Checks, I affirm that the two Gospel axioms, or my linked quotations and the Minutes, agree as 'perfectly with each other as those positions of St. Paul to which they
"By grace ye are saved through faith.” Therefore “work out your salvation with fear."
From this redoubled stroke of Mr. Hill, I am tempted to think, that, like Jus. tice, “ Logica Genevensis” has a covering over her eyes; but, alas! for a very different reason. Like her also she has a balance in her left hand; but it is to. weigh out and vend her own assertions as proofs. And, like her, she holds a sword in her right hand; but, alas ! it is often to wound brotherly love, and stab evangelical truth. Bring her into the field of controversy, and she will at once cut down Christ's doctrine as dreadful heresy. Set her in the judgment seat to pass sentence over good works, and over honest men, that do not bow at her shrine ; and without deinur she will pronounce, that the former are dung, and that the latter are knaves. Vou. I.
Minutes,” or because Mr. Hill's copier omitted it first, is best known to Mr. Hill himself.
2. I say in the Fourth Check, (p. 293,) “ To vindicate what I beg leave to call God's honesty, permit me to observe, first, that I had rather believe Joseph told once “a gross untruth,' than to suppose that God perpetually equivocates." For undoubtedly of two evils I would choose the least, if a cogent dilemma obliged me to choose either. But this is not the case here: the dilemma is not forcible ; for in the next lines I show that Joseph, instead of " telling a gross untruth,” only spake the language of brotherly kindness. However, without paying any regard to my vindication of Joseph's speech, Mr. Hill catches at the conditional words, “ I had rather believe :" just as if I had said, I do actually believe, he turns them into a peremptory declaration of my faith, and three times represents me as asserting what I never said nor believed. Thus, (p. 38,) “your wonderful assertion, that Joseph told his brethren a gross untruth.”
Once more, (p. 39,) “ The repeated words of inspiration you venture to call gross untruth.” Solomon says, “ Who can stand before envy ?" And I ask, 56 Who can stand before Mr. Hill's inattention?" I am sure, neither 1, nor Mr. Wesley. At this rate he can undoubtedly find a blasphemy in every page, and a farrago in every book.
3. Take another instance of the same want of exactness. I say in the Fourth Check, (p. 222,) “I never thought Mr. Whitefield was clear in the doctrine of our Lord: • In the day of judgment by thy words shalt thou be justified ;' for if he had seen it in a proper light, he would instantly have renounced Calvinism.” Mr. Hill quotes thus, in italics and commas, (p. 23 :) “ You never thought him clear in our Lord's doctrine ; for if he had, he would have renounced his Calvinism.” The inaccuracy of this quotation consists in omitting those important words of our Lord: “In the day of judgment,” &c. By this omission that sense of the preceding clause is indefinite ; and I am represented as saying, that Mr. Whitefield was not clear in any doctrine of our Lord, no not in that of the fall, repentance, salvation by faith, the new birth, &c. This one mistake of Mr. Hill is sufficient to make me pass for a mere coxcomb in all the Calvinistic world.
4. It is by the like inattention that Mr. Hill prejudices also against me the friends of Mr. Wesley. In the Fourth Check, after having answered an objection of the Rev. Mr. Hill against Mr. Wesley, I produce that objection again for a fuller
say : posing that Mr. Wesley had not properly considered, &c, what would you infer from thence? &c. Weigh your argument, &c, and you
will find it is wanting.” Then I immediately produce Mr. Hill's objection in the form of an argument, thus: Twenty-three, or, if you please, three years ago, Mr. Wesley wanted clearer light,” &c. Now what I evidently produce as a supposition, and as the Rev. Mr. Hill's own argument unfolded in order to answer it, my opponent fathers upon me thus :
:-" The following are your own words, . Three years ago Mi. Wesley wanted clearer light,' " loc. True, they are my own words: but, to do me justice, Mr. Hill should have produced them as I do, namely, as a supposition, and as the drift of his brother's objection,