صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

the lively actings of love to God in Chrift. But how can there be the comfort of love, when at the best we are in an awful fufpence, whether God be our friend or our enemy? - What grounds of hor. ror (instead of the pleasing exercise of love) must we constantly experience, while we are afraid we have an infinite enemy to deal with? - What strangers, in this case, must we be to joy, which flows from a refreshing view, that this God is our God, and will be our guide even to death, and our portion for ever? How unacquainted must we be with the sublime pleasures of communion with God, while we approach his presence under such an un. certain profpect of his favour, and under grounds for prevailing fear of an eternal separation from him ?-And what aggravates the case is, that this not only now is, but must continue to be our dark and disconfolate circumstance, as long as we live, if we remain under the governing influence of these principles I am impleading.

I may add to this, that a cheerful progress in all fpelholiness is necessary to our true comfort and happiness, wbile we are here in this vale of tears. In keeping of God's commands there is great reward. This is our rejoicing, the testimony of our consciences, that in fimplicity and godly sincerity, not by fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.-But I have shewn you alrea. dy, that this scheme I am oppofing affords no prin. ciple of new obedience, allows no foundation for a comfortable progress in the divine life Here is no certainty of forgiveness to be obtained; and therefore no delightful incentive to the mortification of our lufts and corruptions.-Upon this plan we are in perpe. tual danger of the curse of the law, on account of our defects; and there is therefore no room for that pleasure, which would otherwise be found in

running

running the way of God's commands.--Here can be no assured confidence in the divine affiftance or acceptance,.no absolute affiance in the riches of God's free grace in Chrift; and therefore nothing to melt the heart and conscience into love and subjection; nothing to inflame our affections and fill us with gratitude to God for bleffing us with all Spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ Jesus ; nothing to excite us to live to the praise of the glory of his grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.

- The principles of the scheme you propose are Lavish ; and the obedience must be of the fame kind with the principles from whence it flows. And consequently we muft be utter strangers to that love, delight, and satisfaction, which children might find in the service of their heavenly Father, so long as our obedience is thus excited from fear and con. straint ; or at best only from such uncertain hopes, as wholly depend upon our own righteousness, as the condition of acceptance with God.-Blessed be God, the gospel teaches us a more pleasant and de. lightful religion, the service of love, and the obedi. ence of faith, which is truly its own reward.

And now, Sir, suffer me something freely to expoftulate with you on this subject. Do not you know, that the doctrine which you and your Author plead for, is (substantially) the same with the Popish doctrine

upon

the head of remission of sins and ac. ceptance with God; and that this very doctrine was one of the greatest occasions of our glorious reformation from Popery? Read, Sir, the many ela. borate treatises written by our first Reformers, and you will find this doctrine set in its proper light. You will find all your Author's cavils, thifts, and eva.

fions, justly exposed ; all his arguments distinctly . answered; and the dangerous error stript of all that plausible dress with which it now again makes its

Y.3

appearance.

appearance. You will find that the doctrine of justification was esteemed by all our excellent Reform. ers, as well as by Luther, Articulus ftantis vel cadentis Ecclefiæ, the article by which the Church must ei. ther stand or fall. And shall we again build up those things which that glorious army of martyrs destroyed ? Shall we again revive Popery in one of its '

moft confiderable branches? Is not this to open the door to other Popish delusions and practical er. rors, as penances, pilgrimages, a monastic life, ce. libacy, and other austerities, 'to supply the defects of our fincere obedience, and patch up a righteous. ness of our own to justify us? I wish there were not too much occafion given for this apprehension by fome in the present times, who would fain be reputed Protestants * .-You will perhaps think me too fevere in this discourse, but search into the cause, as I have done, and you will find it otherwise.

And why must this Hydra be digged out of its grave, and revived? What advantage can be hoped for by this scheme? Were this doctrine true, will not sincere obedience, done from a principle of fpiritual life and holiness, and a dependence upon Christ alone, to do all in us, and for us, and to recommend us to the divine favour, be accepted of God, as well as if it had been done in our own Strength, and with a view to establish our own rightec!ufnefs Will Christ reject us at laft, for doing too much honour to his infinite merit, and to the rich and free grace of God in him? - What if you fhould find your reasoning false and deceitful, when it comes to the great trial ? Dare you venture your eternity upon it, that in this case you cannot be de. ceived ?-If the reformation in general, and the

most

See, for instance, Mr Law's Christian Perfection, and Serious Call

. Books that would be deservedly csteemed and prized, werc it not for this, Popis taint.

most excellent men for learning, fagacity and piety, that the reformed churches could ever boast of, should be found on the side of truth at the day of judgment, in determining that we cannot be jufiio fied on the foot of a moderated cavenant of works, or the easy terms you plead for; what will become of all those who have built their eternal hope on that foundation; not only notionally, I mean, but practically

But I have outgone my intended limits, and fhall therefore only add, after my hearty prayers that your hope may be built upon a fure foundation)I am, with great respect,

Sir, your, &c.

LETTER XIV. Wherein the Notion

of a first Justification by Faith, and a fecondary Justification by sincere Obedience, is discussed and confuted.

Y

SIR,
OU must conclude I have spent my time but

idly, if I should yet be “ unacquainted with your. Author's meaning, and not fully understand « in what sense he supposes our sincere obedience “ to be the condition of our justification."--It is Scarcely possible that he should, with any appearance of plausibility, offer any thing new in defence of these principles, or that has not been often advan. ced, and often refuted, long before either you or I were born.-And in particular, what you no propose, is but the old Popis doctrine new vampt, which has been repeatedly answered by all our old Pratellant writers.

You

You tell me, “ your Author acknowledges, that

our first justification is by faith alone ; that is, « God accepts us as being meet probationers for “ falvation, upon our hearty affent to the truth of " the gospel, and our being heartily willing to take 6. Christ's yoke upon us, and obey him : And this “" is the justification of which the Apostle Paul “ fpeaks, that it is by faith without the works of the « law. But our secondary justification, or continued " title to the favour of God, is by our works, or by “ a course of sincere obedience to the gospel. Of If this the Apostle James fpeaks, when he tells us, " that a man is justified by works, and not by faith " only.

Sir, you cannot be insensible, that this plea is utterly inconsistent with the evasions before offered. We are therefore now to hear no more of your former distinctions, that the Apostle Paul refers to legal, and not evangelical works, when he excludes al works from having any part in our juftification. We are to hear no more of the Apostle's referring to the ceremonial law, when he opposes the law to grace, and tells us, that if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.You now ac. knowledge, that the justification of which the Apostle Paul speaks is by faith alone.--All other pleas for the scheme which I oppose must consequently be given up ; and it must be put upon this single issue.--I shall now therefore proceed to confider, whether this foundation will bear the weight which you are putting upon it.

It is worthy of consideration, that there is nothing of this new distinction of a first and a secondary justification to be found in the Scriptures. I look upon it as an arbitrary distinction, coined to serve a purpose, and to help out a tottering scheme, which could no other way be supported. The Apostle

Paul,

« السابقةمتابعة »