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sins, or one fiftieth, or one hundredth part; [shedding] half [a score of tears,] - or fifty, or one hundred. I dare défy all the lawyers in the world to tell me, whether (faith unfeigned;] means [believing) half [the Bible,] or three quarters, or one quarter, or one fiftieth, or one hundredth part; or whether it means [believing with*] half [a grain of the faith which removes a m ntain load of guilt,] or one fiftieth, or one hundredth part [of a grain : or whether it implies believing with all our hearts, or with] half, or three quarters, or one quarter, &c. Where must we draw the line ? It surely needs a magic wand to draw it.”” (See p. 27; &c.)

Mr. Berridge turns his flaming argument against sincere obedience, like the cherub's sword, “ every way." Take two more instances of his skill : still giving me leave to level at faith unfeigned “ the total term of all salvation," what he says against sincere obedience. Page 28: “ If God has made sincere obedience [I retort, faith unfeigned] the condition [or term] of salvation, he would certainly have drawn the line, and marked out the boundary precisely, because our life de pended on it.” Page 28 : “Sincere obedience [I continue to say, faith unfcigned) is called a condition, [or a term,] and no one knows what it is, &c. O fine condition! Surely Satan was the author of it."

Page 24. “ It is Satan's catch word for the Gospel.” Page 38. It is “ nothing but a Jack o’lantern, dancing here and there and every where," &c. For, (p. 29,) “If God has drawn no boundary, man must draw it, and will draw it where he pleaseth. Sincere obedience [I still retort, sincere repentance, or true faith] thus becomes a nose of wax, and is so fingered as to fit exactly every human face. I look upon this doctrine as the devil's masterpiece," &c.

And I look upon these assertions as the masterpiece of Antinomian rashness, and Geneva logic in the mouth of the pious vicar of Everton. Is it not surprising, that he who unmasks the Christian World should be so hood-winked by Calvinism, as not to see that there are as many false, professors of sincere repentance and true faith, as there are of sincere obedience; that even the Turks call themselves Mussulmen, or true believers ; and that he has full ás much reason to call sincere repentance, or true faith, “ a rotten buttress, a nose of wax, a paper kite, a Jack o’lantern,” &c, as sincere obedience ?

What a touch has this learned divine given here to the ark of God, in order to prop up that of Calvin? And how happy is it for religion, that this grand argument against obedience, repentance, and faith, is founded upon a hypothetical proposition, (p. 29, 1. 8, “If God has drawn no boundary!” This supposition Mr. B. takes for granted, though it is evidently false ; the boundaries of sincere obedience being full as clearly drawn in the Scriptures, as those of true repentance, and faith unfeigned. God himself

, without “ a magic wand,” has “ drawn the line,” both in

every man's conscience, and in his written word. The line of Jewish

* Mr. Berridge invites me thus to retort bis bad argument against sincere obedience, (p. 94, 1. 18:) “I have been praying fifteen years for faith with some earnestness, and am not yet possessed of more than half a grain, Jésus assures you that a single grain, &c, would remove a mountain load of guilt from the conscience,” &c.

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obedience is drawn all over the Old Testament, especially Exod. xx; Psa. XV; Ezek. xviii, and Mic. vi, 8. The line of Christian obedience is exactly drawn all over the New Testament, and most particularly in our Lord's sermon on the mount. And the line of heathen faith and obedience is, without the Scripture, drawn in every breast by the graciou light enlightens every man who comes into the world.” Through this light even Mohammedans and heathens

may

o believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him ;” and by this faith they may “work righteousness," do to others as they would be done by, and so.“ fulfil the law of liberty,” according to their dispensation. And that some do is evident from these words of the apostle : “ When the Gentiles, who have not the [written] law, do by nature [in its present state of initial restoration, without any other assistance than that which Divine grace vouchsafes to all men universally] the things contained in the law: these having no [written) law are a law unto themselves, and show the work (or precepts] of the law written in their hearts; their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts accusing or excusing one another,” Rom. ii, 14, 15. Therefore the dreadful blow inadvertently struck at all religion, through the side of sincere obedience, is happily given with a broken reed. Christianity stands. The important term of sincere obedience, with respect to adult persons, has not Satan, but God for its author ; and Antinomianism is more and more « unmasked.”

But these are not all Mr. Berridge's objections against sincere obedience: for (p. 30) he says, “ If works are a condition in the Gospel covenant, then works must make the whole of it.” Why so ? May not faith and repentance, so long as they continue true and lively, produce good works, their proper fruit? Why must the fruit “ make the whole” of the tree? Beside; works being the evidencing cause of our salvation according to the Gospel, you have no warrant from Scripture to say, they must make the whole cause of it. They agree extremely well with faith, the instrumental cause ; with Christ's blood, the properly meritorious cause ; and with God's mercy, the first moving cause. May I not affirm, that the motion of the fourth wheel of a clock is absolutely necessary to its pointing the hour, without supposing that such a wheel must make the whole of the wheel work? O how have the lean kine, ascending out of the lake of Geneva, eaten those that fed so long near the river Cam!

But you add, (p. 30,) “ Sincere obedience, as a condition, will lead you unavoidably up to perfect obedience.” And suppose it should, pray, where would be the misfortune? Is it right to frighten the Christian world from. sincere obedience, by holding out to their view Christian perfection, as if it were Medusa’s fearful head? Are we not commanded to “go on to perfection ?” Was not this one of our Lord's complaints against the Church of Sardis : “ I have not found thy works perfect before God ?” Does not St. Paul sum up all the law, or all obedience, in love? And does not St. John make honourable mention of perfect love, and excite those who are “ not made perfect in love to have fellowship with him ;” and with those who could say,

6. Our love is made perfect?" i John iv, 17. Why then should the world be driven from sincere, by the fear of perfect, obedience? Especially

Those gra

I follow you

as our Lord never required absolute perfection from archangels, much less from fallen man. The perfection which. -he kindly calls us to being nothing but a faithful improvement of our talents, according to the proportion of the grace given us, and the standard of the dispensation we are under. So that, upon this footing, he whose one talent gains another, obeys as perfectly in his degree as he whose five talents gain five more. Notwithstanding all the insinuations of those " fishers of men,” who beat the streams of truth to drive the fishes from Christian perfection into the Antinomian net, God is not an austere master, much less a foolish one. He does not expect to reap where he has not sown; or to reap wheat where he sows only barley. cious words of our Lord, repeated four times in the Gospel, might alone silence them that discourage believers from going on to the perfection of obedience peculiar to their dispensation: To every one that hath to purpose shall be given, and he shall have'abundance," he shall attain the perfection of his dispensation ; " but from him that hath not,” because he buries his talent under pretence that his Lord requires unattainable obedience, “ shall be taken away even that which he hath." Compare Matt. xiii, 12, with Matt. xxv, 29 ; Mark iv, 24, and Luke vüi, is.

The two last arguments of Mr. Berridge against sincere obedience may be retorted thus :-(1.) If faith is a condition (or term) in the Gospel covenant, then faith must make the whole of it. But if this be true, what becomes of Christ's obedience unto death? You reply, Faith necessarily supposes it. But you cannot escape. step by step, and say, The works I plead for necessarily suppose not only our Lord's obedience unto death, but faith, which you call “ the only term of all salvation.” (2.) You say,

o Sincere obedience, as a condition, will lead you unavoidably up to perfect obedience.”. And I retort : faith unfeigned, as a term or condition, will lead you unavoidably up to perfect faith : for if “ the law of liberty.” commands. us to love God.“ with all our soul,” it charges us also to believe in Christ " with all our heart,” Acts visi, 37. Should you reply, I am not afraid of being' led up to perfect faith : I return the same answer with regard to perfect obedience.

This argument against sincere obedience, taken from the danger of going on to the perfection of it, is so much the more extraordinary, when dropping from Mr. Berridge's pen, as it is demolished by the words of his mouth, when he sings :

Thee we would be always blessing,

Serve thee as thine hosts above,
Pray and praise thee without ceasing,

Glory in thy perfect love.
Finish then thy new creation;

Pure and spotless may we be!
Triumph in thy full salvation,

Perfectly restor’d by thee!
See A Collection of Divine Songs, by J. Berridge, M.A., &c, p. 178.

To conclude. Another argument is often urged by this pious author to render the doctrine of a believer's final justification by the evidence

of works odious to humble souls. He takes it for granted that it encourages boasting ; still confounding the works of faith, which he at times recommends as well as I, with the Pharisaical works of unbelief, which I perpetually decry as well as he. But even this argument, about which the Calvinists make so much noise, may be retorted thus: There is as much danger of being proud of one's faith, as of one's works of faith. And if Mr. Berridge presses me with Rom. iii, 27, “ Boasting is excluded by the law of faith :" Í reply, that the works I plead for being the works of faith, his argument makes as much for me as for him : and I press him in my turn with Rom. xi, 18, 20, “ Boast not thyself against the branches. Thou standest by faith. Be not high miņded, but fear :" which shows it is as possible to be proud of faith, as of the works of faith. Nor can a believer boast of the latter, unless his humble faith begins to degenerate into vain fancy.

Such are the capital objections that Mr. Berridge, in his unguarded zeal for the first Gospel axiom, has advanced against the second. Should he attempt to exculpate himself by saying, that all his arguments against sincere obedience are levelled at the hypocritical obedience which Pharisaic boasters sometimes call sincere : I.reply, (1.) It is a pity he never once told his readers so. (2.) It is surprising that he who unmasks the Christian World, should so mask himself

, as to say just the reverse of what he means. (3.) If he really designs to attack, insincere obedience, why does he not attack it as insincere ? And why does he advance no arguments against it, but such as would give the deepest wound to truly sincere obedience, if they were conclusive ? (4.) What would Mr. Berridge say of me, if I published an impious essay against Divine worship in general, and, to vindicate my own .conduct; gave it out, some months after, that I only meant to attack. “ the worship of the host,”

which makes a part of what the Papists call.“ Divine worship?" Would so lame an excuse clear me before the unprejudiced world? But, (5.) The worst is, that if Calvinism is true, all Mr. Berridge's arguments are as conclusive against evangelical, sincere obedience, as against the hypocritical works of Pharisees : for, if Christians (who have time to add the works chiefly recommended by St. James to the faith chiefly preached by St. Paul,) have a full, inamissible title to final justification without those works, nay, with the most horrid works, such as adultery and murder ; is it not evident that the passport of good works and sincere obedience is as needless to their eternal salvation as "a rotten buttress, á paper kite, or a Jack o'lantern ?"

SECTION IV.

When Mr. Berridge grants that our damnation is wholly from our

selves,he grants that our salvation is suspended upon some teğm, which through grace we have power to fulfil ; and in this case, unconditional reprobation, absolute election, and finished salvation, are false doctrines : and Calvin's whole system stands upon á sandy foundation.

says he,

When a man grants me two and two, he grants me foúr ; he cannot help it. If he exclaims against me for drawing the necessary inference, he only exposes himself before men of sense. Mr. Berridge, (p: 190,) fully grants the second Gospel axiom : “ Our damnation,” “is wholly from ourselves.” Nevertheless, he declares, (p. 26,) that there is an absolute impossibility of being justified (or saved] in any manner by our works ;” and part of his book seems leyelled at this proposition of the Minutes, “ Salvation, not by the merit of works, but by works as a condition.” Now, if I am not mistaken, by granting the above-mentioned Gospel axiom, as all moderate Calvinists-do, he grants me Mr. Wesley's proposition, together with the demolition of Calvinism. For,

1. If my damnation is wholly from myself,* it is not the nécessary consequence of an absolute, efficacious decree of non-election, for then

my damnation would be wholly from God. Nor is it the necessary consequence of the devil's temptation, for then it would be from the devil. Nor is it (upon the Gospel plan) the necessary consequence of Adam's fall : because, although I fell seminally into a state of damnation in the loins of Adam, yet the free gift came seminally upon me as well as upon all men unto initial justification ; for I was no less in Adam when God raised him up by the true promise of a Mediator, than when he fell by the lying promise of the tempter.

Now, if my damnation is neither from any unconditional decree of reprobation, nor from the fall of Adam, what becomes of Apollo and his sister, the great Diana ? What becomes of absolute reprobation, and its inseparable companion, unconditional election? What becomes of all the horrors that St. Paul is supposed to father upon the God of love, Rom. ix ? In a word, what becomes of Calvinism?

Again : If " my damnation is wholly from myself,” the just Judge of all the earth must damn me personally for something which he had put it in my power personally to do or to leave undone. My damnation, then, and consequently my salvation, is necessarily suspended on some term or condition, the performance or non-performance of which is at my option. Nor is light more contrary to darkness than these two

* By the word wholly, Mr. Berridge cannot mean that our damnation may not have secondary causes-such as a tempting devil, an alluring world, wicked 'com. pany, a bad book, &c. He is too wise to deny it. All I suppose he means, as well as myself, is, that every reprobate is the primary, meritorious cause of his damnation. Just as Divine grace in Christ is the primary, meritorious cause of our salvation ; although under that original, principal leading cause, there are inferior, instrumental, evidencing causes—such as Bibles, ministers, religious conversation, faith, good works. &c.

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