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doctrine, if the filthy sepulchre is but whitewashed, and the noisome grave adorned with a flowery turf, it little matters what is within, whether it be a dead man's bones, a dead heart swelled with pride, or all manner of corruption.

It is hard to say who do Christianity most disservice, the Solifidians, who assert that works are nothing before God;" or the Pharisees, who maintain that certain religious ceremonies, and external duties of morality, are the very soul of religion. Othou true believer, bear thy testimony against both their errors; and equally contend for the tree and the fruit, the faith of St. Paul and the works of St. James; remembering that if ever the gates of hell prevail against thee, it will be by making thee overvalue faith and despise good works, or overrate works, and slight “ precious faith.”

The world, I grant, is full of Gallios, easy or busy men, who seldom trouble themselves about faith or works, law or Gospel. Their latitudinarian principles perfectly agree with their loose conduct: and if their volatile minds are fixed, it is only by a steady adherence to such commandments as these :

:-- Be not righteous overmuch: get and spend : marry or be given in marriage : eat and drink : lie down to sleep, and rise up to play: care neither for heaven nor hell: mind all of earth, but the awful spot allotted thee for a grave,” &c. However, while they punctually observe this decalogue, their conscience is sometimes awakened to a sense of corroding guilt, commonly called uneasiness, or low spirits: and if they cannot shake it off by new scenes of dissipation, new plunges into sensual gratifications, new schemes of hurrying business; if a religious concern fastens upon their breasts, the tempter deludes them, by making his false coin pass for the “gold tried in the fire :” if his dupes will have faith, he makes them take up with that of the Antinomians. If they are for works, he recommends to them those of the self righteous. And if some seem cut out to be brands in the Church-fiery, persecuting, implacable zealots-he gives them a degree in the university of Babel.

One is a bachelor of the science of sophistry; another a master of the liberal art of calumny; and a third a doctor in human, or diabolical divinity. But if all these graduates have not as much faith as Simon Magus, or as many works as the conceited Pharisee, yet they may have as much zeal for the Church as the bigot, who set out from Jerusalem for Damascus in pursuit of heretics. They may sometimes pursue those who dissent from them, even “unto strange cities.”

Has not the world always swarmed with those devotees, who, blindly following after faith without loving obedience, or after obedience without loving faith, have “ made havoc of the Church,” and driven myriads of worldly men to a settled contempt of godliness : while a few, by equally standing up for true faith and universal obedience," have alone kept up the honour of religion in the world? Take a general view of the Church, and you will see this observation confirmed by a variety of black, bright, and mixed characters.

The first man born of a woman is a striking picture of perverted mankind. He is at once a sullen Pharisee, and gross Antinomian : he sacrifices to God, and murders his brother. Abel, the illustrious type of converted sinners, truly believes, and acceptably sacrifices.


Faith and works shine in his life with equal lustre; and in his deatlı we see what the godly may expect from the impious Church and the pious world. Protomartyr for the doctrine of this Check, he falls the first innocent victim to Pharisaical pride and Antinomian fury. 66 The sons of God” mix with “ the daughters of men, learn their works,” and “ make shipwreck of the faith.” Enoch nevertheless truly believes in God, and humbly walks with him : faith and works equally adorn his character. The world is soon full of misbelief, and the earth of violence. Noah, however, believes and works : he credits God's word, and builds the ark. This woRK " condemns the world, and he becomes heir of the righteousness which is by FAITH.” Consider Abraham ; see how he believes and works! God speaks, and he leaves his house, his estate, his friends, and native country. His faithi works by love; he exposes his life to recover his neighbour's property ; he readily gives up to Lot his right of choice to prevent a quarrel; he earnestly intercedes for Sodom; he charitably hopes the best of its wicked inhabitants ; he gladly entertains strangers, humbly washes their feet, diligently instructs his household, and submissively offers up Isaac, his favourite son, the child of his old age, the hope of his family, his own heir, and that of God's promise. By these - works his faith is made perfect," and he deserves to be called the “ father of the faithful.”

Moses treads in his steps : he believes, quits Pharaoh's court, and suffers affliction with the people of God. Under his conduct the Israelites believe, obey, and cross the Red Sea with a high hand; but soon after they murmur, rebel, and provoke Divine vengeance. Thus the destruction, which they had avoided in Goshen through obedient faith, they meet in the wilderness, through “ the works of unbeliet.” Nature is up in arms to punish their backslidings. The pestilence, the sword, earthquakes, fiery serpents, and fire from heaven, combine to destroy the ungrateful, Antinomian apostates.

In the days of Joshua, that eminent type of Christ, faith and works are happily reconciled; and while they walk hand in hand, Israel is invincible, the greatest difficulties are surmounted, and the land of promise is conquered, divided, and enjoyed.

Under the next judges faith and works seldom meet; but as often as they do, a deliverance is wrought in Israel. Working believers carry all before them: they “ can do all things through the Lord strengthening them.” They are little omnipotents. But if they suffer the Antinomian Delilah to cut off their locks, you may apply to them the awful words of David, (spoken to magistrates who forsake the way of righteousness,) “I have said, Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most lligh; but ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes ;” like Zimri or Korah, Dathan or Abiram.

The character of Samuel, the last of the judges, is perfect. From the cradle to the grave he believes and works: he serves God and his generation. His

sons, like those of Eli, halt in practice, and their faith is an abomination to God and man. David believes, works, and kills the blaspheming Philistine. He slides into Antinomian faith, wantonly seduces a married woman, and perfidiously kills an honest man. Solomon follows him in the narrow path of working faith, and in the broad way of speculative and practical Antinomianis:n. The works of the

son correspond with those of the father. Happy for him, if the repentance of the idolatrous king equalled that of his adulterous parent !

In the days of Elijah the gates of hell seemed to have prevailed against the Church. Queen Jezebel had “ cut off the prophets of the Lord,” and appointed four hundred chaplains to his majesty King Ahab, who shared the dainties of the royal table, and therefore found it easy to demonstrate, that "pleading for Baal” was orthodoxy, and prosecuting honest Naboth as “ a blasphemer of God and the king,” was an instance of true loyalty. But then all were not lost: seven thousand men showed their faith by their works: they firmly believed in Jehovah, and steadily refused bowing the knee to Baal.

In the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah, wickedness, persecution, and imaginary good works prevailed, under a show of zeal for the temple, and of regard for the people of God. But even then, also, there was a small remnant of believing and working souls, who set fire to the stubble of wickedness during the pious reign of Hezekiah and Josiah.

Follow the chosen nation to Babylon. They all profess the faith still : but how few believe and work! Some do, however: and by their “work of faith” and “patience of hope” they “ quench the violence of fire,” and “ stop the mouths of lions.” And what is more extraordinary still, they strike with astonishment a fierce tyrant, a Nebuchadnezzar ; they fill with wonder a cowardly king, a Darius : and disarming the former of his rage, the latter of his fears, they sweetly force them both to confess the true God among their idolatrous courtiers, and throughout their immense dominions.

In the days of Herod the double delusion is at the height. John the Baptist boldly bears his testimony against it in the wilderness, and our Lord

upon the mount, in the temple, and every where. But, alas! what is the consequence? By detecting the Antinomianism of the Pharisees, and the Pharisaism of Antinomians, he makes them desperate. The spirit of Cain rises with ten-fold fury against an innocence far superior to that of Abel. Pharisees and Herodians must absolutely glut their malice with his blood. He yields to their rage; and while he “puts away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” he condescends to die a martyr for the right faith, and the true works : he seals as a dying priest the truth of the two Gospel axioms, which he had so often sealed as a living prophet, and continues to seal as an eternal Melo dec.

The apostles, by precept and example, powerfully enforce their Lord's doctrine and practice. Their lives are true copies of their exhortations. Their deepest sermons are only exact descriptions of their behaviour. It is hard to say which excite men 'most to believe and obey, their seraphic discourses, or their angelic conduct. Their labours are crowned with general success. Judaism and heathenism are every where struck at, and fall under the thunder of their words of faith, and the shining power (might I not say the lightning ?) of their works of love. Thus the world is “ turned upside down" before faith and works ; " the times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord ;” and earth, cursed as it is, becomes a paradise for obedient believers.

Hell trembles at the revolution ; and before all is lost Satan hastens to “ transform himself into an angel of light.” In that favourable dis

guise he puts his usual stratagem in execution against the believing, working, and suffering Church. He instils speculative faith, pleads for relaxed manners, puts the badge of contempt upon the daily cross, and gets the immense body of the Gnostics and Laodiceans into his snare. Sad and sure is the consequence. The genuine works of faith are neglected : idle works of men's invention are substituted for those of God's commandments: and fallen Churches, through the smooth way of Antinomianism, return to the covert way of Pharisaism, or to the broad way of infidelity.

Such was the deplorable condition of the western Church when Luther appeared. True faith was dethroned by superstitious fancy: and all the works of the former were well nigh choked by the thorns that sprang from the latter. The zealous reformer, with his sharp scythe, justly cut them down through a considerable part of Germany. His terribly successful weapon, which had already done some execution in the Netherlands, France, and Italy, might have reached Rome itself, if the effects of his unguarded preaching had not dreadfully broke out around him in the north.

There the balance of the evangelical precepts was lost. Solifidians openly prevailed. Our Lord's sermon upon the mount, and St. James' Epistle, were either explained away, or wished out of the Bible. The amiable, practicable law of Christ was perpetually confounded with the terrible, impracticable law of innocence; and the avoidable penalties of the former were injudiciously represented as one with the dreadful curse of the latter, or with the abrogated ceremonies of the Mosaic dispensation. Then the law was publicly wedded to the devil, and poor Protestant Solifidians were taught to bid equal defiance to both.

The effects soon answered the cause. Lawless believers, known under the name of Anabaptists, arose in Germany. They fancied themselves the dear, the clect people of God; they were complete in Christ'; their election was absolutely made sure; all things were theirs ; and they went about in religious mobs to deliver people from legal bondage, and bring them into Gospel liberty, which, in their opinion, was a liberty to despise all laws, Divine and human, and to do every one what was right in his own eyes. Luther was shocked, and cried out : but the mischief was done, and the reformation disgraced. Nor did he perseveringly apply the proper remedy pointed out in the Minutes, “ Salvation, not by the merit of works, but by the works of faith as a condition.”

Nevertheless, he was wise enough to give up the root of the mischief in the Lutheran articles of religion, presented to the Emperor Charles the Fifth at Augsburg, whence they were called, The Augsburg Confession. In the twelfth of those articles, which treats of repentance, we find these remarkable words: 66 We teach, touching repentance, that those who have sinned after baptism may obtain the forgiveness of their sins as often as they are converted,” &c. Again : “We condemn the Anabaptists, who say that those who have been once justified can no more lose the Holy Spirit.”

This doctrine clearly opened, and frequently enforced, might have stopped the progress of Antinomianism. But, alas! Luther did not often insist upon it, and sometimes he seemed even to contradict it.

In the meantime Calvin came up; and though I must do him the justice to acknowledge that he seldom went the length of modern Calvinists in speculative Antinomianism, yet he made the matter worse by advancing many unguarded propositions about absolute decrees, and the necessary final perseverance of backsliding believers.

This doctrine, which, together with its appendages, so nicely reconciles Baal and free grace; a little, or (if the backslider is so minded) a good deal of the world and heaven; this flesh-pleasing doctrine, which slily parts faith and works, while it decently unites Christ and Belial, could not but be acceptable to injudicious and carnal Protestants. And to make it pass with others, it was pompously decorated with the name of the doctrine of grace; and free grace preachers, as they call themselves, insinuated that St. James' doctrine of " faith being dead without works,” was a doctrine of wrath, an uncomfortable, antichristian doctrine, which none but "proud Justiciaries” and rank Papists could maintain. Time would fail to mention all the books that were indirectly written against it; or to relate all the abuse that was indirectly thrown upon these two propositions of St. Paul, " Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," and, “ If ye live after the flesh ye shall die.”

Let it suffice to observe, that by these means the hellish sower of Antinomian tares prevailed. Thousands of good men were carried away by the stream; and, what is more surprising still, not a few of the wise and learned, favoured, embraced, and defended the Antinomian delusion.

Thus what Luther's Solifidian zeal had begun, and what Calvin's predestinarian mistakes had carried on, was readily completed by the synod of Dort; and the Antinomianism of many Protestants was not less confirmed by that assembly of Calvinistic divines, than the Pharisaism of many Papists had been before by the council of Trent.

It is true, that as some good men in the Church of Rome have boldly withstood Pharisaical errors, and openly pleaded for salvation by grace through faith ; so some good men in the Protestant Churches have also steadily resisted Antinomian delusions, and publicly defended the doctrine of salvation, not by the proper merit of works, but by the works of faith as a condition. But, alas! As the popes of Rome crushed or excommunicated the former almost as fast as they arose ; so have petty Protestant popes blackened or silenced the latter. The true Quakers, from their first appearance, have made as firm a stand against the Antinomians, as the Valdenses against the Papists ; and it is well known that the Antinomians, who went from England to America with many pious Puritans, whipped the Quakers, men and women, cut off their ears, made against them a law of banishment upon pain of death, and upon that tyrannical law hanged four of their preachers, three men and one woman,* in the last century for preaching up the Christian perfection of faith and obedience, and so disturbing the peace of the elect, who were “ at ease in Sion," or rather in Babel.

I need not mention the title of heretic with which that learned and

* Their names were William Leddra, Marmaduke Stephenson, William Robinson, and Mary Dyer. (See The History of the Quakers, by Sewell ; and New England Judged, by George Bishop.)

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