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important truth, by questions such as these : * “ Have you any soul-experiences ? Are you heart-feltly acquainted with the precious tokens of the Holy Ghost? Have you felt the graće of God converting your soul? Are you sympathetically united with Christ; washed in his blood; clothed with his righteousness ???
This is the import of his interrogatories, accompanied with certain promises of salvation, if the patient can answer, yea, to these enquiries, and threats of condemnation on the contrary. Hence the astonished Christian, who humbly trusted that by faith, repentance, and charity, he should die in peace with God, his neighbour, and himself, now finds that this confidence is void ; that something more is necessary, a conviction “ of his personal union with Christ,” oran assurance that Christ is formed in his heart the hope of glory." † - With this sort of ghostly counsel, is intera mixed much of that enthusiastic rant, which confounds the understanding, and misleads the conscience; but not a word of the conditions necessary to salvation: they are cancelled and annulled by the imputed righteousness of that meritorious cause, which indeed alone renders them efficient, but still requires their performance at our hands. Yet this is termed peculiarly gospel doctrine;
* It is well known by those who visit the sick, that this is no uncommon case.
+ Hawker's Union with Christ, p. 25, 54.
and our blessed Lord is represented as declaring, “ The single qualification I expect, is to believe the gospel, and even that my spirit shall bei stow."* Repentance and charity, then, are entirely excluded, and faith abstracted from works, and converted into the presumptuous confidence of a heated imagination, opens the door of heaven to the guilty soul. !!! Bini
Did ever Pepe or council propound a doctrine more perpiçious ?: Do extreme unction, or abso: lution, administered by the Catholic confessor, embolden, the wicked to meet his Judge, and enter upprepared into eternity with more falla: cious assurances? What is the difference to the deluded sinner, i whether he be acquitted by the last office of the Rooish priest, or of the gifted Methodist? In either case, he is equally des ceived; and whether an 'outward form or an inward feeling be substituted for true repentance, whether priestly, craft or blind fanaticism supplant the genuine knowledge and practice of religion, the error is alike fatal and irretrievable.
For the gospel promiseth not eternal life and glory to any but to persons who are qualified for itr by holiness, humility, purity, meekness, jus: tice, patiencë, temperance, charity; and God will judge every man according to his works, and the deeds he hath done in the flesh.” This is the condition, these are the terms on which we may expect with confidence the approbation of our Judge; and when we have failed in the per• formance of this necessary duty, (and who, alas! has not?) by earnestly repenting of our sins, by resolving to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking henceforth in his holy ways, we may still obtain his favour and forgiveness, through the mercy of our Redeemer. “ For we must all appear before the judgmentseat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad.*,:.:: - This most important article of faith, the very basis of Christianity, which is thus distinctly stated by our church, “ Forasmuch as after this life there is an account to be given unto the righteous Judge, by whom all must be judged, without respect of persons;" † and of which this awful account is given by St. John: “ I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened ; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works.”+ This solemn truth is utterly perverted by the sophistry of Metho
* Prop against Despair, p. 15.';. ....?!
dism, in regard to those who are “ united with the person of the Lord Jesus.”—“ As in the instance of the resurrection, so also in the event of judgment which is to follow, their case is peculiarly secured from even the apprehension of condemnation, in consequence of their union with the Lord; for though all must appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive according to those things done in the body, yet to them it is to receive the reward of their Redeemer's merits, not to be arraigned for their sins, and to await the issue of their trial.” *_-“This view of that great day of God is sweet and consolatory” indeed to those who are released by it from the terrors of a future judgment; in contemplation of which, the stoutest heart should tremble, and the least guilty of us sinful creatures stand appalled. · But how does it agree with the word of Christ? Does he inform us that we shall receive the reward of his merits, and not of our own deserts ? that we shall not await a trial? or, “ that he will reward every man according to his works?”+ St. Paul well knew the doctrine of his divine Master, when he said, “ that every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour; and that if any man's work abide, which he hath built upon, Jesus Christ, be shall receive a reward.”I
. * Hawker's Union with Christ, p. 28.
† Matt. xvi. 27. I 1 Cor. iii. 8, 14.
How dares any teacher, then, who professes to be either of Paul or of Christ, attempt to abolish that belief which they so forcibly inculcated, as being the only motive sufficient to restrain the wickedness of man ?
Yet to overthrow this simple, reasonable, and most awful doctrine, is the tendency, if it be not the design, of Methodism; and to effect it, are the principles of Christianity unhappily per'verted. ;; . • The delusion is carried on through life and
death; nor does it end there: the departed saint is made to address his brethren on earth from the mansions above, and to assure them that their fond imaginations are all realized in heaven. In the collection of “ Religious Tracts,” called “ The Cottage Library,”* there is a letter, entitled “The Triumph of Glory,” left by the Rev. S. Hayward for a friend after his decease, and addressed as from the celestial mansions;" in which, after describing the felicity” that grace has exalted him to,” in strains of rapture, he thus concludes: “Fly away, ye lingering moments, and bring my dear Fido, and my other dear friends, to the arms of Jesus. Farewell, till I see you here. Go on your way, rejoicing, Christ has your inheritance safe in his hands, and ye shall surely have it. Oh! love him, love him more and more, and lay yourself out for him. My love to your dear companion ; tell her
* Part i. No. iii.