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in order to show its frivolousness. This is partly such a mistake as if Mr. Hill said : “ The following are David's own words, • Tush! there is no God.'»
However, he is determined to improve his own oversight, and he does it by asking, (p. 17,) “ What then is become of thousands of Mr. Wesley's followers who died before this clearer light came ?” An argument this by which the most ignorant Papists in my parish perpetually defend their idolatrous superstitions : “What is become of all our forefathers,” say they, “ before Luther and Calvin ? Were they all damned ?" Is it not surprising that Mr. Hill, not contented to produce a Popish friar's conversation, should have thus recourse to the argument of every Popish cobbler who attacks the doctrine of the reformation? 0 Logica Genevensis ! how dost thou show thyself the genuine sister of Logica Romana !
5. I return to the mistakes by which Mr. Hill has supported, before the world, his charge of “ calumny.” I say, in the Second Check, (p. 109.) “ How few of our celebrated pulpits are there where more has not been said at times for sin than against it?” Mr. Hill (p. 7) says, “ The ministers, who preach in these (our most celebrated pulpits,) are condemned without exception, as such pleaders for sin, that they say more for it than against it.” Here are two capital mistakes, (1.) The question, How few ? &c, evidently leaves room for some exceptions ; but Mr. Hill represents me as condemning our most celebrated pulpits “ without exception.” (2.) This is not all. To mitigate the question, I add, " at times,” words by which I give my readers to inderstand that sin is in general attacked in our celebrated pulpits, and that it is only at times, that is, on some particular occasion, or in some part of a sermon, that the ministers alluded to say more for sin than against it. Now, Mr. Hill leaves out of his quotation the words, at times, and by that means effectually represents me as a calumniator of God's people:" for what is true with the limitation that I use, becomes a falsehood when it is produced without. This omission of Mr. Hill is the more singular, as my putting the words, at times, in italics, indicates that I want my readers to lay a peculiar stress upon it on account of its importance. One more instance of Mr. Hill's inaccuracy, and I have done.
6. Pages 7, 8. He presents his readers with a long paragraph produced as a quotation from the Second Check. It is made up
of some detached sentences picked here and there from that piece, and put together with as much wisdom as the patches which make up a fool's coat. And among these sentences he has introduced this, which is not mine in sense any more than in expression : “ They (celebrated ministers] handle no texts of Scripture without distorting them,” for I insinuate just the contrary, in the Second Check.
7. But the greatest fault I find with that paragraph of Mr. Hill's book is the conclusion, which runs thus : “ They [celebrated ministers] do the devil's work till they and their congregations all go to hell together. Second Check, pp. 97, 103.” Now, in neither of the pages quoted by Mr. Hill, nor indeed any where else, did I ever say so wild and wicked a thing. Nothing could engage my pious opponent to father such a horrid assertion upon me, but the great and
severe Diana, that engages him to father absolute reprobation upon God.
It is true, however, that, alluding to the words of our Lord, Matt. XXV,
in the Second Check, p. 129, If these shall go into everlasting punishment," &c. But who are these ? All celebrated ministers, with all their congregations! So says Mr. Hill; but, happily for me, my heart starts from the thought with the greatest detestation, and my pen has testified that these condemned wretches are in general s obstinate workers of iniquity,” and, in particular, “unrenewed antiCalvinists, and impenitent Nicolaitans.” Page 126, (the very page which Mr. Hill quotes,) I describe the unrenewed anti-Calvinists thus : “ Stubborn sons of Belial, saying, Lord, thy Father is merciful; and if thou didst die for all, why not for us? Obstinate Pharisees, who plead the good they did in their own name to supersede the Redeemer's merits.” Impenitent Nicolaitans or Antinomians, I describe thus, (pp. 129, 136, 137 : “ Obstinate violators of God's law, who scorned personal holiness ; rejected Christ's word of command; have gone on still in their wickedness; have continued in doing evil ; have been unfaithful unto death ; and have defiled their garments to the last.” Is it possible that Mr. Hill should take this for a description of all celebrated ministers, and of all their congregations, and that, upon so glaring a mistake, he should represent me as making them “all go to hell together?"
Sec. xiv. O ye pious Calvinists, whether ye fill our celebrated pulpits, or attend upon them that do, far from sending “ you all to hell together," as you are told I do, I exult in the hope of meeting you all together in heaven. I lie not. I speak the truth in Him that shall justify us by our words ; even now I enjoy a foretaste of heaven in lying at your feet in spirit; and my conscience bears me witness, that, though I try to detect and oppose your mistakes, I sincerely love and honour your persons. My regard for you, as zealous defenders of the first Gospel axiom, is unalterable. Though your mistaken zeal should prompt you to think or say all manner of evil against me, because I help Mr. Wesley to defend the second ; I am determined to offer you still the right hand of fellowship. And if any of you should honour me so far as to accept it, I shall think myself peculiarly happy; for, next to Jesus and truth, the esteem and love of good men is what I consider as the most invaluable blessing. A desire to recover the interest I once had in the brotherly kindness of some of you, has in part engaged me to clear myself from the mistaken charges of calumny and forgery, by which my hasty opponent has prejudiced you against
my Checks. If you find that he has defended your cause with carnal weapons, hope with me that precipitation, and too warm a zeal for your
doctrines have misled him, and not malice or disingenuity. Hope it also, ye anti-Calvinists, considering that if St. James and St. John, through mere bigotry and impatience of opposition, were once ready to command fire from heaven to come down upon the Samaritans, it is no wonder that Mr. Hill, in an unguarded moment, should have commanded the fire of his Calvinistic zeal to kindle against Mr. Wesley and me. As
you do not unchristian now the two rash apostles for a sin, of which they immediately repented, let me beseech
you to confirm your love toward Mr. Hill, who has probably repented already of the mistakes into which his peculiar sentiments have betrayed his good nature and good breeding.
Sec. xv. I return to you, honoured sir, and beg you would forgive me the liberty I have taken to lay before the public what I should have been glad to have buried in eternal oblivion. But your Finishing Stroke has been so heavy and desperate, as to make this addition to Logica Genevensis necessary to clear up my doctrine, to vindicate my honesty, to point out the mistaken author of the Farrago, and give the world a new specimen of the arguments by which your system must be defended, when reason, conscience, and Scripture, (the three most formidable batteries in the world,) begin to play upon its ramparts.
You “ earnestly entreat” me, in your postscript, to publish a manuscript sermon on Rom. xi, 5, 6, that I preached about eleven years ago in my Church, in defence of the first Gospel axiom. You are pleased to call it three times “excellent,” and you present the public with an extract from it, made up of some unguarded passages ; detached from those that in a great degree guard them, explain my meaning, confirm the doctrine of the Checks, and sap the foundation of your mistakes. As I am not less willing to defend free grace, than to plead for faithful obedience, I shall gladly grant your request, so far at least as to
old sermon into the world with additions in brackets, just as I preached it again last spring; assuring you that the greatest addition is in favour of free grace. By thus complying with your "earnest entreaty,” I shall show my respect, meet you half way, gratify the curiosity of our readers, and yet give them a specimen of what appears to me a free guarded Gospel.
That discourse will be the principal piece of An Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism which I have prepared for the press. Upon the plan of the doctrines it contains, I do not despair to see moderate Calvinists, and unprejudiced anti-Calvinists acknowledge their mutual orthodoxy, and embrace one another with mutual forbearance. May you and I, dear sir, set them the example! In the meantime, may the brotherly love, with which we forgive each other the real or apparent unkindness of our publications, continue and increase! May the charity that is “not easily provoked,” and “hopeth all things,” uniformly influence our hearts ! So shall the words that drop from our lips, or distil from our pens, evidence that we are, or desire to be, the close followers of the meek, gentle, and yet impartial, plain-spoken Lamb of God. For his sake, to whom we are both so greatly indebted, restore me to your former benevolence, and be persuaded, that notwithstanding the severity of your Finishing Stroke, and the plainness of my answer, I really think it an honour, and feel it a pleasure to subscribe myself, honoured ard dear sir, your affectionate and obedient servant, in the Gospel of our common Lord,
J. FLETCHER. MADELEY, Sept. 13, 1773.
Upon the remaining difference between the Calvinists and the anti-Calvinists with respect to our Lord's doctrine of justification by words, and St. James' doctrine of justification by works.
To force my dear opponents out of the last entrenchment in which they defend their mistakes, and from behind which they attack the justification by words and works peculiarly insisted on by our Lord and St. James, I only need to show how far we agree with respect to that justification ; to state the difference that remains between us; and to prove the unreasonableness of considering us as Papists, because we oppose an unscriptural and irrational distinction, that leaves Mr. Fulsome in full possession of all his Antinomian dotages.
On both sides we agree to maintain, in opposition to Socinians and Deists, that the grand, the primary, and properly meritorious cause of our justification, from first to last, both in the day of conversion and in the day of judgment, is only the precious atonement, and the infinite merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. We all agree, likewise, that, in the day of conversion, faith is the instrumental cause of our justification before God. Nay, if I mistake not, we come one step nearer each other, for we equally hold that after conversion the works of faith are in this world, and will be in the day of judgment, the evidencing cause of our justification ; that is, the works of faith (under the above-mentioned primary cause of our salvation, and in subordination to the faith that gives them birth) are now, and will be in the great day, the evidence that shall instrumentally cause our justification as believers. Thus Mr. Hill says, (Review, p. 149 :) “ Neither Mr. Shirley, nor I,
any Calvinist that I ever heard of, denies, that though a sinner be justified in the sight of God by Christ alone, he is declaratively justified by works, both here and at the day of judgment.” And the Rev. Mr. Madan, in his sermon on justification by works, fic, stated, explained, and reconciled with justification by faith, &:c, says, (p. 29,) “ By C ist only are we meritoriously justified, and by faith only are we instrumentally justified in the sight of God; but by works, and not by faith only, are we declaratively justified before men and angels.” From these two quotations, which could easily be multiplied to twenty, it is evident, that pious Calvinists hold the doctrine of a justification by the works of faith ; or, as Mr. Madan expresses it, after St. James, " by works, and not by faith only."
It remains now to show wherein we disagree. At first sight the difference seems trifling, but upon close examination it appears that the whole Antinomian gulf still remains fixed between us. Read over the preceding quotations; weigh the clauses which I have put in italics ; compare them with what the Rev. Mr. Berridge says in his “ Christian World Unmasked,” (p. 26,) of an absolute impossibility of being justified in any manner by our works,” namely, before God; and you will see that although pious Calvinists allow we are justified by works
before men and angels, yet they deny our being ever justified by works before God, in whose sight they suppose we are for ever “ justified by Christ alone,” i. e. only by Christ's good works and sufferings absolutely imputed to us, from the very first moment in which we make a single act of true faith, if not from all eternity. Thus works are still entirely excluded from having any hand either in our intermediate or final justification before God, and thus they are still represented as totally needless to our eternal salvation. Now, in direct opposition to the above-mentioned distinction, we anti-Calvinists believe that adult persons cannot be saved without being justified by faith as sinners, according to the light of their dispensation ; and by works as believers, according to the time and opportunities they have of working. We assert that the works of faith are not less necessary to our justification before God as believers, than faith itself is necessary to our justification before him as sinners: and we maintain, that when faith does not produce good works, (much more when it produces the worst works, such as adultery, hypocrisy, treachery, murder, &c,) it dies, and justifies no more, seeing it is a living and not a dead faith that justifies us as sinners ; even as they are living, and not dead works that justify us as believers. I have already exposed the absurdity of the doctrine, that works are necessary to our final justification before men and angels, but not before God. However, as this distinction is one of the grand subterfuges of the decent Antinomians, and one of the pleas by which the hearts of the simple are most easily deceived into Solifidianism, to the many arguments that I have already produced upon this head in the sixth letter of the Fourth Check, I beg leave to add those which follow :
1. The way of making up the Antinomian gap, by saying, that works are necessary to our intermediate and final justification before men and angels, but not before God, is as bad as the gap
itself. God is for me (says judicious Mr. Fulsome) who can be against me? If God has for ever justified me only by Christ, and if works have absolutely no place in my justification before him, what care I for men and angels ? Should they justify when God condemns, what would their absolution avail ? And if they condemn when God justifies, what signifies their condemnation ? All creatures are fallible. The myriads of men and angels are as nothing before God. He is all in all.” Thus, Mr. Fulsome, by a most judicious way of arguing, keeps the field of licentiousness where the Solifidian ministers have inadvertently brought him, and whence he is too wise to depart upon their brandishing before him the broken reed of an absurd distinction.
2. Our justification by works will principally, and in some cases entirely, turn upon the works of the heart, which are unknown to all but God. Again: were men and angels in all cases to pass a decisive sentence upon us according to our works, they might judge us severely, as Mr. Hill judges Mr. Wesley: they might brand us for forgery upon the most frivolous appearances; at least they might condemn us as rashly as Job's friends condemned him.
Once more : were our fellow creatures to condemn us decisively by our works, they would often do it as unjustly as the disciples condemned the blessed woman, who poured a box of very precious ointment on our