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that bought them, and put him to an open shame. -- And while the fourth makes even a Felix tremble, it causes believers to pass the time of their sojourning here in humble fear and chearful watchfulness. • Tho' all these degrees of justification meet in glorified saints, we offer violence to scripture if we think with Dr. Crisp that they are inseparable. . For all the wicked who quench the convincing Spirit, and are finally given up tu a reprobate mind, fall from the first, as well as Pharaoh. All who receive the feed among thorns, all who do not forgive their fellow lei. vants, all who begin in the spirit and end in the flesh, and all who draw back and become fons or daughters of perdition, by falling from the third, lose the second, as Hymeneus, Philetus, and Demas. And none partake of the fourth but those who bear fruit unto perfection according to one or another of the divine dispensations ; fome producing thirty-feld like Heathens, fome fixty-fold like Jews, and fome an hundred fold like Chriftians.
From the whole it appears that altho' we can absolutely do nothing towards our first juftification, yet to say that neither faith nor works are required in order to the other three, is one of the boldest, most unscriptural, and most dangerous affertions in the world; which fets aside the best half of the scriptures, and lets gross Antinornianism, come in fulltide upon the church.
Having thus taken a view of the confusion in which Calvin and Crisp have laid the foundation of their schemes, I return to the arguments by which you support their mistakes.
1. “ If you suppose, do you say, that there are any
conditional works before justification, these work's 66 must either be the works of one who is in a state " of nature, or in a state of grace, either condemn. 66 ed by the law or absolved by the gospel.”.
A new sophism this! No works are previous to juftification from original sin, and to the quickning
light which enlightens every man that comes into the world. And the works that a penitent does in order to the fubsequent justifications, such as ceasing to do evil, learning to do well, repenting, believing, and perlevering in obedient faith, are all done in a state of initial, progressive, or perfected grace ; not under the Adainic law which did not admit of repentance, but under the gospel of Christ which says, Let the wicked forfake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoudhts, and kt him return unto the Lord who will abundantly pardon his fins, change hem from all unrightecufrefs, and even fill him with the fulness of God.
11. You proceed: if a man in a state of nature does works in order to justification, they “ cannot please - God because he is in a state of utter enmity against “ him.”. What Sir, do you think, that a man in a state of utter enmity against God” will do any thing in order to recover his favour? When Adam was in that state, did he fo much as once ask pardon ? If he had, would he not have evidenced a desire of reconciliation, and consequently a degree of apostacy short of what you call utter enmity ?
III. You quote scripture: “ He that does fomething in order to justification cannot please God: because he is alienated from the life of God, thro' the ignorance that is in him, because of the blindness of his heart.” An unhappy quotation this: for the apostle did not speak these words of those honeft lieathens, who, in obedience to the light of the world, did something in order to justification : but of those abandoned Pagans, who, as he observes in the next verse, beini paft feelin, had given thengives over unto lafzoufiefs, to work ail uneleannes virth reed: nefs. Thesto niove that men have got a talent of power to work iki works of God, you produce men who have buried it, that they might work all uncleanness witlout control, yea with greedruifs.
You would have avo led thi mistake, if you had considered that the Heathens mentioned there by St.
Paul, were of the stamp of those whom he describes, Rom. 1. and whom he represents as given up by God to a reprobíte mind, BECAUSE when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, and did not like to retain him in their knowledge. Here we may observe (1. that those reprobate Heathens had once fome knowledge of God, and of course fome life; for this is eternal 1.1FE to KNOW God. 2.) That if they were given up, 'BECAUSE they did not use that talent of divine knowledge, it wa: not because they were eternally and unconditionally reprobated; whence I brg leave to conclude, that if eternal unconditional reprobation is a mere chimera, fo is likewise eternal unconditional election.
You might have objected with much more plausibility, that when the Ephesians were in the flesh they were without hope, without Chrift, and without God in the world: And if you had, I would have replied that these words cannot be taken in their full latitude, for the following reasons, which appear to me unanswerable. (1.) The Ephesians before their converfion were not totally without hope, but without a good hope. They probably had a presumptuous a hope as David in Uriah's bed, or Agay when lie thought tho bitterness of death was pait. (2.) They were without Chrift, juit as a man who has buried his talent is without it.
But as he may dig it up, and use it, if he fees his folly in time; fo cculd, and so did the Ephefians. (3.) If they were in every sense without Chrift, what becomes of the doctrine maintained in your fourth letter, that they “ were for ever and for ever compleat in Chrift ?" (4.) They were not entirely without God; for in him they livet, moved, and had their being ; nor were they without him as absolute reprobates, for they knew the day of their visitation before it was over. It remains then that they were without God, as the prodigal fon was without his father, when he fol fwine in the far country; and that they could and did return to their heavenly Faiher as well as he.
IV, You go on: “ He who does fomething in “order to justification, not being grafted in Chrift " the true vine, cannot bring forth any good fruit; “ he can do nothing at all." I beg, Sir, you would produce one man, who has not ferned the fin unto death, ihat can absolutely do nothing, that cannot cease frora one fin, and take
up the practice of one duty. You will as foon find a faint in hell as such a man upon earth. Even those who in their voluntary humility fay perpetually, that they can do nothing," refute their own doctrine by their very confessions; for he who confesses his helplessness, undoubtedly does - fomething, unless by some new rule in logic it can be demonstrated, that confefling our impotence, and complaining of our misery, is doing nothing."
When our Lord says, Without me ye can do nothing, does he say that we are totally without him ? When he declares that no man cometh unto him unless the Father draw him, does he insinuate that the Father does not draw all? or that he draws all irrefiftably? or that those who are drawn at one time may not draw back at any other? Is it right to press fcripture into the fervice of a system, by straining its meaning so far beyond the impoit of the words?
Again, though a man may not be “ grafted in Chrift” according to the Jewish or Chriftian difpenfation; may he not partake of his quickening fap, according to the more general dispensation
of that saving grace, which has appeared to all men ? May not the branches in which that saving grace appears, have some connexion with Christ the heavenly vine, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, as well as Job and his friends, Melchisedec, Plato, the wise men, Cornelius, some of his soldiers, and many more who brought forth fruits according to their dispensation ? Does not the first general justification so graft all men in him, that if they bear not fruit during their accepted time, they are juftly taken away, cat forth, and burned as barren branches ?
bb inner man.
[ 53 ] V. Your knowledge of the scripture made you fore: see this answer, and to obviate it you fay : “ if you “ tell me that I mistake, that although we must ceafo 6 from evil, repent, &c. yet you are far from sup
posing we can perform these things in our own na“ tural strength, I ask then, in whose strength are " they performed? You say, in the strength of Christ, * and by the power of the Holy Ghost, according to “ these scriptures, I can do all things through Christ strengthening me, being strengthened with might in the
Permit me to tell you, honored Sir, that I do not admire your quoting scripture for me. You take care to keep out of sight the passages I have quoted, and to produce those which are foreign to the question. To fhew that even a sinful Heathen may work for, as well as from life, I could never be so destitute of common sense as to urge the experience of St. Paul, a father in Chrift: and that of the Ephesians, who were Christians fealed unto the day of redemption.
To do justice to free grace, instead of the above mentioned improper fcriptures, you should have produced those which I have quoted in the vindication Christ is the light of the world, which enlightens every man that cometh into the world-I am come that they mighi: have life-Ye will not come unto me that ye might have lifea. The grace of God which bringeth falvation haih appearedi unto all men, God's spirit ftrives with man, even with those who perish. He commands all men every wluere to repent; nor does he desire to reap where he luas nota
VI. Such fcriptures as these would have been to the purpose ; but I excuse your producing cthers; for if these had appeared, you would have raised more dult in fix lines, than you could have laid in 60. pages; and every attentive reader would have de tečted the fallacy of your grand argument:
.foon 65. may we expect living actions from a dead cor;se ; 66-light out of darkness : "ht out of hlindness; live