Imágenes de páginas

132 Moravian and Antinomian Justification

In fine, the Christian here defcribed, is one who with his mind does himself ferve the law of God. He has had God’s law put into his mind, and he ferves God with his fpirit. His whol: man, all that can be called himself, is engaged in a life of Gofpel obedience. What can they therefore have to do with the peace and comfort, which is here offered to Christians indeed, who are grofly defećtive, partial, and unfteady in their obedience ; whofe minds are wavering and whofe hearts are divided between the fervice of God and their idols? A double minded man is un/table in all his ways ; and let not that man think that hefball receive any thing of the Lord. James i. 7, 8. Now, to conclude this long letter, I will only further obferve, that you may here find, in a fummary and concife representation, the true charaĉters of the children of God ; as well as matter of convićtion to thofe who cannot, and of confolation to those who can, apply thefe marks to themfelves. If upon an impartial examination you can justify your claim to the charaćters here given, let no man rob you ofthe comfort and hope thereby fet before you. But if you cannot find fuch marks in yourfelf, never reft till you obtain thefe evidences of a converted state. - |- That the Lord may comfort your heart, and stablish you in every good word and work, to do his will, is the prayer of, - ~ Sir, |- Your, ở c.

LETTER XI. Wherein the MoRAVIAN and ANTINoMIAN, Doćirine of JusTIFICATION, in fome of its peculiar Points, is considered and refuted.

S I R» - , ' T is true, that I do agree with the Antinờmians and Moravians in this, that “ The righteoufnefs of our "Lord Jesus Christ is the alone matter of our justificas tion before God.’ But I am gotwithstanding very far from agreeing with them, in the whole oftheir dostrine

on that important article of a finner’s justification by faith in Christ. The perfon you have conversed with, has imposed upon you, in pretending, that ‘ they and we * are of the fame fentiments with respećł to the doćtrine * of justification.” In compliance with your demands, I fhall therefore endeavour to fhew you, * What is the * difference between them and thofe of our profession, * in this great point : and what are the reafons of our * differing from them.’ I prefume, you do not expećt from me a particular detećtion of all the Moravian and Antinomian errors: this would require a larger volume, than I have leifure to write, or you would have patience to read. I shall therefore limit myself to the fubjeći, which you have proposed. There are these two things especially in the doĉtrine of our justification by faith, which are to be condemned, as moft dangerous errors in the fećts you speak of The first is, their notion of the nature of a faving faith. The fecond is, the part which they affign to faith in our juftification. It is neceffary in order to fet the affair in a proper light, that I be fomething particular upon each of thefe, - The first thing then to be confidered, is their notion of the nature of a faving faith. This they suppofe to confift in a joyful perfuasion of our intereft in Chrift, and of our title to his purchafedfalvation. And accordingly Count Zinzendorf in his difcourses on the redemption of man, p. 12.o. frequently gives us this view of a faving faith. “Believe then (fays he) that Jesus has a* toned and Payed a ranform for you all; and that you * may experience it this very moment ; and know that * ye haye been healed by his wounds and by his firipes.’ And the Antinomians in general agree with him in this, that saving faith confifts in a comfortable perfuafion of our personal intereft in the Lord Jefus Chrift. But then on the contrary, you may perceive by what I have written to you on this fubjećł, that I do not fuppofe this Perfuasion to enter into the definition of a faving faith ; nor to be any part of it. It is what a true believer may want; and an unbelieving and impenitent finner may entertain in an high degree. This is an affair of vast confequence, and therefore de

mands a more diftinĉt and particular confideration, than I can now have opportunity for. I shall however attempt to fet it in as plain and familiar a light as I can. In order to this, it will be proper (previous to my reafoning against this wild opinion) to premise thefe observations. 1. That believers may have good fatisfaćtion of their fafe estate, and full perfuafion of their intereft in Chrift, from their experience of a work of grace in their hearts; and from the fruits of faith, in their affećtions and con · versations. It is juft reafoning, from the nature of the fruit, to the quality of the tree that bears it. If therefore a man finds in himselfan habitual, predominant defire after the Lord Jefus Christ, as the portion of his foul ; if he feels his fins to be the burthen of his foul, what he hates without referve, what he ftrives, watches and prays againft, and never willingly and deliberately indulges; if he delights himself in the Lord, in near approaches to him, and communion with him in his ordinances; if he knows it to be the bent and difpofition of his foul, to approve himself to God in a life of fpiritual mindednefs, and in all holy conversation, and godlinefs, in felf-denial, in piety towards God, in righteoufnefs, and charity towards men : though he may yet groan under many difallowed imperfections, he nevertheless may be, and ought to be perfuaded of his intereft in Christ ; and give the praife and glory of thefe divine influences upon his foul, to the blefied author of them. This is the ordinary and standing evidence to the children of God, of the fafety of their state. By this they have a comfortable and joyful perfuafion, that he who has begun a good work in them, will perform it to the day of Chrift. By this the children of God are manifest, both to themfelves and others. In this fenfe then, I do not deny to believers a perfuafion, or manifestation of their own good estate. This perfuafion is what they should by no means contentedly reft fhort of. It is greatly needful, not only to their comfort and hope, . but to their ferving God with the difpofitions becoming children, with enlargement of foul, and with chearfulnefs and delight. But then you must remember, that this perfuasion is not faith ; but arifes from the fruits andệsteas of faith upon the foul, andiswhat may (fome

times at least) be wanting in the best of the children of God. I muft ftill further observe, 2. That God is fometimes pleased in a more fpecial manner, to /bed abroad his love in the hearts of believers, by his holy Spirit, with fuch fuperior light and evidence, that their gracious fincerity, fo confequently their interest in Chrift, and their title to the eternal inheritance, can at fuch times be no ways doubtful and questionable to them. The Spirit of God witneffeth with their spirits, ithat they are his children. And they are /ealed with the holy Spirit of promije. In this cafe, as in the other before mentioned, their comfortable perfuafion oftheirintereft in Christ arifes from an evident difcovery of the exercife of the graces of his bleffed Spirit. Herein this joyful perfuafion in both cafes agrees, that it is reafonable and well grounded. The Spirit of God never perfuades the foul to believe a truth without its proper evidence : nor caufes the believer to rejoice without rational grounds : and motives. But then this latter perfuafion differs from that beforementioned, in these following respests. It is produced in the foul with an incomparably stronger - and clearer light. In the other cafe, fatisfaċtion is obtained by a feries of reafoning, reflećtion, and felf examination ; distinétly confidering the scripture-rule, and comparing it with the state, circumflances, and fettled & habit of the foul. Whereas, in this cafe, the foul has " , fo clear a view and confcioufnefs of its prefent exercife : of faith in Christ, and love to God, that all clouds are * disperfed, all mists and darknefs vanish ; and there is * no room left for doubts and mifgiving thoughts; but * the foul fees itself fafe in the hands of Christ ; and can reft there with the greatest alacrity and pleafure. Moreover, as this perfuasion which I am now fpeaking of, makes its way into the foul with much greater light, fo it has a much quicker and more fudden produstion. The foul is not Exercifed in this cafe, for months and years togethers, with difficult enquiries into its own ftate : but at once» before it is aware, overcomes all its fears, by feeling the poffelfion and influence of the graces and * Confolations of the Spirit of God. I may ye: add, that . this Perfuasion is accompanied with fuch unfpeakable z joy, as those (even believers themfelves) cannot have any

[ocr errors]

idea of, who have not thus tasted that the Lord is gracious. The divine light fhines into the foul with a tranfporting and ravishingenergy, till it is as it were loft in a joyful aftonishment. By this the world vanishes out of fight, and death itself lofes its terrors ; by this the martyrs have been enabled to fing in the flames, and most joyfully to triumph over all that is moft frightful and distresting to nature. To which I may also add, that this joyful perfuafion, of which I now fpeak, has a transforming efficacy on the foul who is the happy fubjećt of it. It purifies the heart, and promotes conformity to God : It humbles the foul to mothing in its own eyes; brings it down to an abfolute fubjećầion to the will of God; and excites in the most vigorous exercife of the graces of the Spirit, and the duties of Chriftianity, effects, which at leaft are not fo fenfibly produced, and in fuch a degree, by the fatisfaćtion which the foul obtains of its own good state, in the method first mentioned. I have infifted the longer upon thefe heads, to obviate all mifapprehenfions of what I have yet to offer : and to the fame purpose I mustadd once more, 3. That we have no other claim to acceptance with God, but by the righteoufness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith : and therefore that we can have no just perfuafion of our being in favour with God, but from our intereft in and dependance upon his righteoufnefs, as the matter of our justification. It is only on account of what Chrift has done and fuffered for us, that we are justified before God and entitled to eternal falvation. It is only by faith, that we are interefted in this righteoufnefs. And it is only by the evidence of our having a true unfeigned faith, that we can fafely enjoy the fatisfaċtion and comfort of a justified state. That we cannot be justified before God by our own fincere obedience, either to the law of nature or to any imaginary law of grace, or even by faith itself, as it is an aćt of obedience, or any other way whatsoever, but by the împutation of the righteoufness of Christ to us, and on the account of what he did and fuffered for us, will ap

pear from the following confideration.

This appears evidently true, in that nothing can be the matter of our justification before God, but what is a

« AnteriorContinuar »