Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Mr. Berridge goes farther still. Without ceremony he shuts the gate of heaven against every man who seeks to be justified by works, according to our Lord's and St. James' doctrine. For when he has assured us, (p. 171,) that faith must utterly exclude all justification by works, he immediately adds, " And the man who seeks to be justified by his passport of obedience, will find no passage through the city gates.” Might not our author have unmasked Calvinism a little more, and told the Christian world that the man who minds what Christ says shall be turned into hell.

See the boldness of Solifidianism ?* In our Lord's days believers svere to keep their mouths as with a bridle, and to abstain from every idle word, lest in the day of judgment they should not be justified. In St. John's time they were to do Christ's commandments, that they might enter through the gates into the city, Rev. xxii, 14. But in our days, a Gospel minister assures us, (p. 171,) that the believer, who, according to our Lord's doctrine, seeks to be “ justified by his passport of obedience, will find no passage through the city gates. He may talk of the tree of life, and soar up with his paper kite to the gates of paradise, but will find no entrance.” I grant it, if an Antinomian pope has St. Peter's key; but so long as Christ has the key of David, so long as he opens, and no Solifidian shuts, the dutiful servant, instead of being sent flying to hell after the “paper kite” of obedience, will, through his Lord's merits, be honourably admitted into heaven by the passport of good works which he has about him. For though the remembrance of his sins, and the sight of his Saviour, will make him ashamed to produce it; yet he had rather die ten thousand deaths than be found without it. The celestial Porter, after having kindly opened it for him, will read it before an innumerable company of angels, and say, “ Enter into the joy of thy Lord, for I was hungry and thou gavest me meat,”' &c, Matt. xxv, 35, &c.

If the vicar of Everton throws in an Antimomian caveat against this “passport of obedience,” and ridicules it still as a 6

paper kite," Isaiah and St. Paul will soon silence him. 66

Open ye

the gates,” says the evangelical prophet, “ that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth (of the Gospel doctrines] may enter in :” for, adds the evangelical apostle, “ Circumcision (including all professions of faith) is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Yea, though I have all faith and no charity, I am nothing,” Isa. xxvi, 2; 1 Cor. vii, 19; xiii, 2.

If I am at the city gates when Mr. Berridge will exclaim against the passport of obedience," I think I shall venture to check his imprudence by the following questions :-Can there be a medium between not having a passport of obedience, and having one of disobedience ? Must a man, to the honour of free grace, take a passport of refractori

* Solifidianism is the doctrine of the Solifidians; and the Solifidians are men who, because sinners are justified (sola fide) by “sole faith” in the day of con. version, infer, as Mr. Berridge, that “ believing is the total term of all salvation,” and conclude, as Mr. Hill, that the doctrine of final justification by the works of faith in the great day is “full of rottenness and deadly poison.” It is a softer word for Antinomianism.

+ I speak only of the obedience of faith. It is only for that obedience, and for the works of faith, that St. James pleads in his epistle, Mr. Wesley in the Minutes, and I in the Checks. All other obedience is insincere; all other works Pharisaical.

ness along with him ? Must he bring a certificate of adultery and murder to be welcome into the New Jerusalem? I am persuaded that, with the utmost abhorrence, Mr. Berridge answers, “ No!" But his great Diana speaks louder than he, and says, before all the world : " There is no need that he should have a testimonium of adultery and murder, but he may if he pleases. Nay, if he is so inclined, he may get a diploma of treachery and incest ; it will never invalidate his title to glory; for, if David and the incestuous Corinthian had saving faith, inamissible, eternal life, and finished salvation, when they committed their crimes; and if faith or believing (as Mr. Berridge affirms, p. 168,) be the total term of all salvation,” why might not every Christian, if he is so minded, murder his neighbour, worship idols, and gratify even incestuous lusts, as well as primitive backsliders, without risking his finished salvation! Upon this Antinomian axiom, advanced by Mr. Berridge, “ believing is the total term of all salvation,” I lay my engine, a grain of reason, and ask every unprejudiced person who is able to conclude that two and two make four, whether we may not, without any magical power, heave morality out of the world, or Calvinism out of the Church?

If Mr. Berridge pleads, that, when he says, (p. 168,) - Believing is the total term of all salvation,” he means a faith including and producing all obedience," I reply, Then he gives up Solifidianism ; he means the very faith which I contend for in the Checks; and pressing him with his own definition of faith, I ask, How can a “ faith including all obedience,” include murder, as in the case of David ; idolatry, as in the case of Solomon; lying, cursing, and denying Christ, as in the case of Peter ; and even incest, as in the case of the apostate Corinthian? Are murder, idolatry, cursing, and incest, “ all obedience ?" If Mr. Berridge replies, * No:" then David, Solomon, &c, lost the justifying faith of St. Paul when they lost the justifying works of St. James ; and so Mr. Berridge gives up the point together with Calvinism. If he says, “ Yes:" he not only gives up St. James' justification, but quite unmasks Antinomianism : and the rational world, who "come and peep,” may see that his doctrine of grace is not a chaste virgin, but a great Diana, who pays as little regard to decency as she does to Scripture.

If this is a sophism, I humbly entreat the learned fellow of Clare Hall to convince the world of it, by showing where the fallacy lies. He can do it, if it can be done, “ having consumed a deal of candle at a noted hall at Cambridge in lighting up a good understanding,” even after he was declared master of the art of logic. But if the dilemma is forcible, and grinds Calvinism as between an upper and nether mill stone, I hope that he will no longer oppose the dictates of reason, merely to pour contempt upon our Lord's doctrine of a believer's jusification by the works of faith ; and to sport himself with obedience, rendered as ridiculous as Samson was when the Philistines treated nim as a blind mill horse.

SECTION II.

are

We have already seen how Mr. Berridge gives the passport of obedience” to the winds, as a boyish trumpery. To render the “ paper kite” more contemptible, (p. 145,) he ties to it, instead of a tail, “ a spruce new set of duties half a yard long, called legally evangelical and evangelically legal, unknown to Christ and his apostles, but discovered lately by some ingenious gentlemen.” Just as if I, who have ventured upon those expressions, to indicate the harmony that subsists between the promises of the Gospel and the duties of the law of liberty, and Mr. Wesley, who has let those compounded words pass in the Second Check, were the first men who have taught that believers not without law to God, but under a law to Christ,” 1 Cor. ix, 21. Just as if nobody had said before us, “ Do we make void the law through faith,” or through the Gospel? • God forbid! Yea, we establish the law,” Rom. iii, 31: that is, by preaching “a faith that worketh by love,” we establish the moral law; for “ love is the fulfilling of it, and he that loveth another has fulfilled the law,” Rom. xiii, 8, 10. Not indeed the ceremonial law of Moses, for ceremonies and love are not the same thing ; nor yet the Adamic law of innocence, for if the apostle had spoken of that law, he would have said, “ He that has always loved another with perfect love has fulfilled the law.” Therefore he evidently speaks of the evangelical law preached thus by St. James to believers : “ So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty," James ii, 12. A law which is so called, not because it gives us the least liberty to sin; but because, during the day of salvation, it indulges us with the precious liberty to repent of our former sins, and come to Christ for pardon, and for stronger supplies of sanctifying grace.

However, Mr. Berridge, as if the Antinomians had already burned St. James' Epistle, says, (p. 144,) after speaking of the law of innocence given to idam before the fall, “ All other laws (and consequently the law of liberty] are cobwebs of a human brain.'' What, sir, do you think that Moses was a spiritual spider, when he wove the ceremonial law? Can you possibly imagine that David's “ blessed man, whose delight is in the law of the Lord, meditates day and night in a law” which bids him stand

upon his own legs,'' and absolutely despair of merey upon a single trip?” Would you, on second thoughts, say that St. Paul and St. James weave - cobwebs” in the brains of mankind, when they declare that “the end of the commandment (or of Christ's law] is charity, from a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned;" when they speak of fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture : "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:” or when they assure us, “ that he who loveth another hath fulfilled it ;” and exhort us to 6 bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ?” See 1 Tim. i, 5; James ii, 8; Gal. v, 13, and vi, 2.

I shall 2200 borrow here the rash expression which Mr. Berridge uses when he confounds original worthiness and derived merit, and reflects upon Christ, who evidently attributes the latter to believers :

66

I shall not say that my new opponent's mistake “ is enough to make* à devil blush ;"but I may venture to affirm, that before he can prove the law of liberty is “ a cobweb,” he must not only burn St. James' Epistle, but sweep away the Epistles of St. Paul to the Romans and to the Galatians; together with the law, the prophets, and the Psalms. While he considers whether the tree of Antinomianism will yield a besom strong enough for that purpose, I beg leave to dwell a moment upon

another of his mistakes. It respects obedience and good works, against which Solifidians indirectly wage an eternal war.

It runs through several pages, but centres in the following unguarded propositions :

Page 35, l. 18. 66 Sincere obedience is no where mentioned in the Gospel as a condition of salvation ;” and, (p. 36, 1. 4,) “ Works have nó share in the covenant of grace as a condition of life.” I grant it, if by salvation, in the first proposition, and by life in the second, Mr. Borridge means initial salvation, and life begun in the world of

grace. * How strangely may prejudice influence a good man! Mr. Berridge (page 164, &c,) raises a masked battery against the article of the Minutes, where Mr. Wesley hints that the word merit might be used in a Scriptural sense to express what Dr. Owen, by an uncouth circulocution, calls “the rewardable condecency, that our whole obedience, through God's gracious appointment, has unto eternal life.” “O sir," says Mr. Berridge, “ God must abominate the pride, the insolence of human pride, which could dream of merit : it is enough to make a devil blush.” There is great truth in these words, if Mr. Berridge speaks only of proper merit, or merit of condignness and equivalence; but if he extends them to the evangelical worthiness so frequently mentioned by our Lord—if he applies them to improper merit, generally called merit of congruity—he indirectly charges Christ with teaching a doctrine so excessively diabolical, that the devil himself would be ashamed of it: and what is more surprising still, if I mistake not, he indirectly enforces the dreadful heresy himself by an illustration, which, in some degree, shows how God rewards us “for” our works, and “according to” our works. “A tender-hearted gentleman,” says he, "employs two labourers out of charity to weed a little spot of four square yards: both are old and much decrepit, but one is stronger than the other. The stronger weeds three yards, and receives three crowns; the weaker weedeth one, and receives one crown. Now both are rewarded for their labour, and according to their labour, but not for the merit of their labour." Granted, if merit is taken in the sense of proper merit, or merit of condignness and equivalence; but absolutely denied if it is taken in the sense of improper worthiness, or merit of congruity. Let Thomas Aquinas, the most famous of all the Pa divines, bring his standard of merit, and measure Mr. Berridge; and if the vicar of Everton (how loud soever he may exclaim against the word) is not found holding the doctrine of merit of congruity as much as Mr. Baxter, let me for ever forfeit all pretentions to a grain of common sense. “ The angelic doctor" defines merit thus: Dicitur aliquis mereri ex condigno, quando invenitur equalitas inter premium et meritum secundum estimationem; ex congruo autem, tantum quando talis æqualitas non invenitur : sed solum secundum liberalitatem dantis munus tribuitur quod dantem decet : that is, “ A man is said to merit with a merit of condignness, [i. e. to merit properly,] when, upon an average, there appears an equality between the reward and the merit. But he is said to merit only with a merit of congruity (i. e. to merit improperly] when there is no such equality; and when a benefactor, out of mere liberality, makes a present which it becomes him to make.” Now, let candid men compare Mr. Berridge's illustration with the definition that the most renowned Papist doctor has given us of merit; and let them say if Mr. Berridge, instead of splitting the hair, does not maintain and illustrate the doctrine of merit of congruity: and if one of the blushes which he supposes our Lord's doctrine of worthiness, or merit, would bring upon the face of some modest devil, does not become the author of the 56 Christian World Unmasked," more than the author of the Minutes.

For undoubtedly the " free gift is come upon all men to justification,” or salvation from the damning guilt of original sin, and consequently to some interest in the Divine favour previous to all obedience and works. Again and again have I observed, that as “by one man's disobedience many [oi wodãos, “the multitudes of men,'] were made sinners; so by the obedience of one, many [Os Toldo1, the multitudes of men,'] shall, [to the end of the world, be made righteous," i. e. partakers of the above-mentioned justification, in consequence of Christ's atonement, and the talent of free.grace, and supernatural light, which " enlightens every man that comes into the world ;” .compare_Rom. v, 18, 19, with John 1, 4, 5, 9. Far from opposing this initial life of free grace, this salvation unconditionally begun, I assert its necessity against the Pelagians, and its reality against the Papists and Calvinists, who agree to maintain that God has* absolutely reprobated a considerable part of

* Some of my readers will wonder at my coupling the Calvinists and the Romanists, when I speak of those who hold absolute reprobation; but my obser. vation is founded upon matter of fact. 'We are too well acquainted with the opinion of the Calvinists concerning the vessels of wrath. The sentiments of the Papists not being so public, may be brought to light by the following anecdote :-Being some years ago at Ganges, in the south of France, I went with Mr. Pomaret, the Protestant minister of that town, to recommend to Divine mercy the soul of a woman dying in child bed. When he came out of the house, he said: "Did you take notice of the person who was by the bed side? He is a man. midwife, and a strenuous Papist. You see by the consequences that this poor woman had a very hard labour. As it was doubtful whether the child would be born alive, he insisted upon baptizing it in the womb, avec une seringue, according to custom.. The Protestant women in 'the room exclaimed against his intention of tormenting a woman in that extremity, by so ridiculous and needless an operation. "Needless ! replied he, how can you call that needless, which will save a soul ? Do you not know that if the child dies unbaptized it will certainly be lost ?!” The doctrine of the Romish Church is, then, free wrath, or free reprobation, for the myriads of infants who die without baptism all the world over.

I beg leave to confirm this anecdote by a public testimony. My opponents have frequently mentioned the agreement of my sentiments with those of the Popish champion Bellarmine. This gave me a desire of looking into his works. Accordingly. I procured them last winter; and, to my great surprise, before I had read a page, I found him a peculiar admirer of the great Predestinarian St. Augustine, whom he perpetually quotes. Nay, he is so strenuous an assertor of Calvinistic election, that, to prove “we can give no account of God's election on our part,” among the reasons advanced by Calvin, Coles, Zanchius, &c, in support of unconditional election and reprobation, he proposes the following argument: Tertia ratio, foc, ducitur a parvulorum diversitaté, quorum aliqui rapiuntur statim a baptismo, alii paulo ante baptismum, quorum priores ad gloriam prædestinatorum, posteriores ad pænam reproborum pertinere non est dubium; nec possunt hic ulla merita previsa, ullusve bonus usus liberi arbitrii, aut gratia fingi." (Bell.

Opera de gratia et libero arbitrio. Cap. v, Antverpiæ, 1611, p. 766.) That is, “ The third reason is taken from the different lot of little children; some being snatched immediately after baptism, and others a little before baptism: the former of whom undoubtedly go to the glory of the elect; and the latter to the punishment of the reprobates. Nor can any desert foreseen, or any good use of free will, or of grace, be here prétended.” This argument is truly worthy of the cause which it sup. ports. The very essence of Calvinism is an irreconcilable opposition to the second Gospel axiom. And as Bellarmine's argument demolishes that axiom, (it being impossible that the damnation of reprobated infants should be from themselves,) he necessarily builds up Calvinism, with all its gracious doctrines. I might here return my last opponent these words of his “ Finishing Stroke,” (p. 15,) which he writes in capitals, “So BELLARMINE.” “See, sir, what company you are again found in!" But I do not admire such arguments. Were father Walsh and Cardinal Bellarmine in the right, it would be no more disgrace to Mr. Hill to stand

« AnteriorContinuar »