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temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord remind you, that the grand enquiry “What are we !
Who thrust the supposed heretic shall I do to be saved ?" is entirely suspend. out of their sanhedrim. Who from the press, ed on this greater question, “ Have I any the pulpit, or the dictator's chair, send vole thing to do, to be eternally saved ?" A queslies of bard insinuations or soft assertions, tion this, which admits of three answers : in hope that they will pass for solid argu- 1. That of the mere Solifidian, who says, if we ments. And who when they have no more are elect, we have nothing to do in order to stones or snow-balls to throw at the sup- eternal salvation, unless it be to believe that posed Philistine, prudently avoid drawing Christ has done all for us, and then to sing the sword of the Spirit, retire behind the finished salvation ; and if we are not elect, walls of their fancied orthodoxy, raise a whether we do nothing, little, or much, eterrampart of slanderous contempt against the nal ruin is our inevitable portion.—2. That of truth that besieges them, and obstinately the mere Moralist, who is as great a stranger refuse either candidly to give up, or manfully to the doctrine of free.grace, as to that of to contend for, the unscriptoral tenets, which free-wrath ; and tells you, that there is no they impose upun oihers as pure gospel ! free, initial salvation for us ; and that we
Whether some of my opponents, good men must work ourselves into a state of initial as they are, have not inclined a little to the salvation by dint of care, diligence, and error of those sons of prejudice, I leave the faithfulness. And 3. That of their Reconcilcandid reader to decide. They have neither er, whom I consider as a rational Bible-chrisanswered, nor yielded to the arguments of tian, and who asserts : 1. That Christ has my Checks. They are shut up in their own done the part of a sacrificing Priest and city. Strong and high are thy walls, O mys- teaching Prophet upon earth, and does still tical Jericho; thy battlements reach unto that of an interceding and royal Priest in the clouds ; but truth, the spiritual ark of heaven, whence he sends his Holy Spirit God, is stronger, and shall prevail. The to act as an enlightener, sanctifier, combearing of it patiently around thy ramparts, forter, and helper in our hearts :-2. That and the blowing of ram's horns in the name the Free gift of initial salvation, and of the Lord, will yet shake the very founda- of one or more talents of saving grace, is tions of thy towers. O that I had the honour come upon all throngh the Godman, CHRIST, of successfully mixing my feeble voice with who is the Saviour of all men, especially of the blasts of the champions who encompass them that believe : And 3. That our freethe devoted city! () that the irresistible will, is enabled to work with God in a snb. shout, Reason and Scripture. -Christ and the ordinate manner : so that we may freely Truth, was universal! If this were the (without necessity] do the part of penitent, case, how soon would Jericho and Babylon, obedient, and persevering believers, accorda Antinomianism and Pharisaism, fall together! ing to the gospel-dispensation we are under.
Those two antichristian fortresses are This is the plan of this work, in which I equally attacked in the following pages; and equally fight pro aris & focis, for faith and to you, true Protestants, I submit the inspec- works, for gratuitous mercy and in partial tion of the attack. Direct me where I am justice, reconciling all along Christ our wrong, assist me where I am right, nor re- Saviour with Christ our Judge, heated Aufuse to support my feebleness by your ar- gustin with heated Pelagius, free-grace with dent prayers ; for, next to the Captain of free-will, divine goodness with human oneour Salvation, look to you for help and dience, the faithfulness of God's promises comfort.
with the veracity of his threatenings, first My opponents and I, equally pretend to with second causes, the original merits of Protestantism ; who shall judge between us ? Christ with the derived worthiness of his Shall it be the men of the world : No : for members, and God's foreknowledge with our St. Paul says,
I speak to your shame : Is free-agency. it so, that there is not a wise man among
The plan, I think, is generous ; standing you? No, not one that shall be able to judge at the utmost distance from the extremes of among his brethren ?”—There are wise men bigots. It is deep and extensive ; taking in in our despised camp able to judge between the most interesting subjects, about which us ; and ye are the men, honoured brethren; professors generally divide, such as the origin for ye are all willing to hear Reason, and of evil, liberty and necessity, the law of ready to weigh Scriptures ; Therefore, on Moses and the gospel of Christ, general and my part, I sincerely choose you as judges of particular redemption, the apostacy and perthe present dispute.
severance of the saints, the election and reAnd that you may not look upon this probation maintained by St. Paul, &c. I office as unworthy of your acceptance, permit entirely rest the cause upon protestant-ground me to tell you, that our controversy is one of that is, upon Reason and Scripture. Neverthe most important which was ever set on theless to shew our antagonists that we are foot, To convince you of it, I need only not afraid to meet them upon any ground
I prove by sufficient testimonies from the structions upon the just reproofs, which they Fatbers and the Reformers, that the most are determined to disregard ? eminent divines in the primitive church and 3. I hope, that notwithstanding the outcry our own, have passed the straits which I raised against niy former Checks, they have point out; especially when they weigbed the been of some service to such readers as are heavy anchor of prejudice, had a good gale not steeled against Argument and Scripture; of divine wisdom, and steered by the chris- but I fatter myself that, through God's tiar mariner's compass ( the word of God) blessing, this tract will be more useful :) more than by the false lights hung out by prefer it (at least,) far above the others, beparty-men.
cause it has far more of God's Word, far less If I have in any degree succeeded in the of mine : The Scriptures having so large a execution of this reconciling plan, I hope place in the following sheets, that you will that my well meant attempt will provoke find whole Sections filled with balanced abler pens to exert themselves ; and will passages, to which, for brevity's sake, I have excite more respectable divines to strike hea- added nothing but a few illustrations in vier blows, and to repeat them, till they have brackets [ ]: given the finishing stroke to divisions, which 4. My method, so far as I know, is new. harden the world against Christianity, which I have seen several concordances, made of have torn the bosom of the church for above scripture words, but have not yet met with twelve hundred years, and which have hurt one of scripture doctrines, upon the delicate or destroyed myriads of her injudicious chil- subjects handled in this book. And I fat. dren ! driving some into Pharisaic obedi. ter myself, that, as whatever throws light ence, Antinomian immorality, and not a few upon the Bible, has always met with appro-into open Infidelity, or fierce Uncharitable. bation from true Protestants, you will not
despise this attempt to make the seeming If a tradesman is allowed to recommend contradictions of that precious book vanish his goods, when he does it in a manner con- away ; by demonstrating, that they are only sistent with modesty and truth, shall I be wise oppositions, not less important in the accused of self-conceit if I make some com- world of grace, than the distinction of man mendatory remarks upon the following pa- and wife is in the world of nature. pers ?-I venture to do it in the fear of God. 5. I hope that you will see, in the follow. And,
ing pages, many passages placed in such a 1. They are plain. I deal in plain Reason light, as to have their force heightened, and and plain Scripture ; and when the depth of their obscurity removed by the opposition of niy subject obliges me to produce arguments the scriptures with which they are balanced ; that require close attention, I endeavour so the passages which belong to the doctrine of to manage them, that they do not rise above free-grace, illustrating those which belong the reach of mechanics, nor sink beneath the to the doctrine of free-will, (and vice versa,) attention of divines.
just as the lights and shades of a picture help 2. I have been charged with widening the to set off each other. I therefore earnestly breaches, which the demon of bigotry has intreat all my readers, especially those made among religious people ; but, if I have who read much, and think" little, to take done it, I take the Searcher of hearts to wit- time, and not proceed to a new Pair of ness, that it has been such a design as made Scriptures, till they have found out the our Lord bring fire upon earth, the fire of balance of the last pair which they have retruth, to burn the stubble of error, and to viewed. If they deny me this request, my rekindle the flame of love. However, have I trouble will be lost with respect to them ; in years past made a wound raskly (of which and through their hurry, my Scales will I am not yet conscious) in this book I bind degenerate into a dull collection of passages ; it up, and bring the healing, though [to proud the very life and spirit of my performance, or relaxed ftesh] painful balsam. This book consisting in the harmonious opposition of is entirely written upon a pacific plan : If I the scriptures, which prove my capital doc. sometimes give the contending parties a keen trine, that is, the Gospel-marriage of Free. reproof, in obedience to the apostolic pre- grace and Free-will. And that the Reader cept, Rebuke them sharply, it is only to make may find out with ease, in every couple of them ashamed of their contentious bigotry, texts, the hands by which they are joined, that I may bring them to reason the sooner. and see (if I may carry the allegory so far,) And if prejudiced readers will infer from the ring by which their marriage is ascere thence, that I ani a bad man, and that my tained, and their gender known, I have put, pen distills gall, I forgive their hasty conclus in different characters, the words on which sion : I once more send them back to the the opposition or connection of the paired good men of old, who have reproved far less texts chiefly depends ; hoping to help the errors with far greater severity, than I allow reader's mind, by giving his eyes a silent myself in : And I ask, if persons impatient call, and by meeting hìs attention balf way. of control, do not always put wrong con. If he exert his powers, and
Si calida verbum
of the divine roconeiler, whom the two rivals, Reddiderit junctura novam:*
Herod and Pilate, agreed to set at nought; He will, through God's grace, profit by his whom Jews and Gentiles concurred to cruJabour and mine. But, I repeat it, he must cify, inveterate enemies as they were to each
-Не find out the delicate connection, and harmon- other. He died, the loving reconciler :jous opposition of the pared scriptures which died! but by his death be slew
the enmity, I produce, or my Scales will be of as little broke down the middle wall of partition, service to him, as a pair of scale-bottom's of twain made one new man; so making without a beam, would be to a banker, who peace,” between Herod and Pilate, between wants to weigh a thousand guineas.
Jews and Gentiles: And so will you, honour6. As I make my appeal to true Protestants, ed brethren, between Zelotes and Honestus, I lay a particular stress upon the Scriptures between the Calvinists and the Pelagians, And there I find a doctrine, which, for a long between the Solifidians and the Moralists; if succession of ages, has been partly buried in you lovingly and steadily try to reconcile the rubbish of Popery and
Calvinism : I mean them. You may, indeed, be numbered among the doctrine of the various dispensations of transgressors, for attempting it. divine grace towards the children of men: or tation may even die between that of the fool, of the various talents of saving grace, which and of the knæve ;-that of the enthusiast, and the father of lights gives to Heathens, Jews, of the felm; But be not afraid ; truth and the and Christians. To the obscurity in which crucified are on your side. God will raise this doctrine has been kept, we may chiefly you secret friends. A Joseph, a Nicodemus impute the self-electing narrowness, and the will take down the hand-writing that is wide reprobating partiality of the Romish and against you :-A Mary and a Salome willemCalvinian Churches. I make a constant use balm your name ; and if it is buried in obliye of this important doctrine. It is it chiefly ion and reproach, yet it will rise again the which distinguishes this tract from most po.
third day. lemical writings on the same subject. It is my
If God is for you, fear not then what man key and my sword. With it I open the mys- can say of you, or even do to you. Smile at teries of election and reprobation; and with antinomian preterition: Triumph in pharisaic it I attempt to cut the Gordiun (should I not reprobation : And when you are reviled for say, the Calvinian and Pelagian?) knot. How truth's sake, like blunt, resolute, loving Stefar I have succeeded, is your's to decide.
phen, kneel down, and pray, that the sin of 1f these general observations, 0 ye traė your mistaken opposers may not be laid to
0 for the Protestant-spirit Protestants, make you cast a favourable look which animated confessors of old, carried upon my Seales; and, if after a close trial, martyrs singing to the stake, and there helpyou find that they contain the reconciling ed them to clap their hands in the flames, Fruth, and the one complete gospel of Christ, kindled by the implacable abettors of error rent by Zelotes and Honestus, to make the () for a Shadrach's resolution ! The rich, two partial gospels of the day ; let me intreat you to shew what you are by boldly standing vies with the meridian sun.
glittering image towers towards heaven, and
Nebuchadnez up for Reason and Scripture that is, for true Protestantism. Equally enter your protest
zar, the monarch of the kiogs of the earth, against the antinomian innovations of Zelotes points at the burning fiery furnace. The and the pharisaic mistakes of Honestus. princes, governors, captains, judges, counsel. These two champions have indeed their thou: lors, sheriffs, and rulers of provinces, in all sands and tens of thousands at their feet; and glory of his terror. "The sound of the cornet,
their dazzling magnificence, increase the they may unite their adverse forces to oppose fute, harp, sack but, psaltery, dulcimer, and you, as Jews and Gentiles did to oppose the all kinds of music, recommends the pompous Prince of peace. But, resist them with the delusion : The enthusiastic multitudes are armour of righteousness on the right hand, fired into universal applause: In Nebuchadand on the left, and you will in time, make nezzar's sense of the word, they are allorthothem friends to each other, and to yourselves : I say in time, because when peaceful men (Great is the Diana of the Babylonians."
dox; they all believe the gospel of the day. rush between fierce combatants in order to part them, they at first get nothing but blows; before her:
All people, nations, and languages, fall down The confusion for a time increases; and idle drach has not yet bowed the knee to Baal:
But the day is not lost: Sha. spectators, who have not love and courage Nor have his two friends yet deserted him: enough to rush into the danger, and to stop
What three !” — Yes, three only. Nor are the mischief, say that the peace-makers only they unequally matched :-One Shadrach add fuel to the fre of discord. Thus are the against all people! One Meshach against courageous sons of peace hated of all men, but all nations! One Abednego against all lanof true Protestants, for treading in the steps guages !-One Luther, one Protestant against * If a delicate connexión renders the word new to all the world! Oye iron pillars of the truth,
-ye true Protestants of the day, my exulting
soal meets you in the plain of Dura. Next enemies, to enter his Protest against the to bim who witnessed alone a good confession oppressive decree, by which Pharoah' requirbefore Pontius Pilate, of you I learn to pro- ed of the Israelites their usual tale of bricks, test against triumphant error. Truth and a when he refused them fuel to burn them with. furnace for us! The truth,—the whole truth Shall I be afraid in this Protestant kingdom, as it is in Jesus, and a burning fiery furnace and in the midst of my friends, to bear also for true Protestants !
my testimony against the error of Honestus? And shall we forget thee, Othou man -An error this, which consists in asserting, greatly beloved ?-Thou pattern of undaunted that our gracious God has decreed, that we Protestants ? Shall we silently pass over the shall work out our own "salvation, without bold protest against the foolish, absolute ir- having first life and strength to work, imparreversible decree of the day? No, Daniel: ted to us in a state of initial salvation ? We come to pay our tribute of admiration to Without being first helped by his free grace, thy blessed memory, and to learn of thee also to do whatever he requires of us, in order to a lesson of true protestantism. Consider him, our eternal salvation ? Shall such a suppomy brethren. His sworn enemies watch him sed decree as this, be countenanced by a from the surrounding palaces ; but he believes silence that gives consent ? No:I must, I in the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and his do also enter my protest against it, as being fearless soul has already vanquished their contrary to divine goodness, derogatory to common lions. He opens his window, he Christ's merits, subversive of the penitent's looks towards desolate Jerusalem, with ben- hope, destructive of the believer's joy, unded knees he presents his daily supplication scriptural, irrational. And, agreeable to our for her prosperity, with uplifted hands he tenth Article, I protest: 1. In opposition to enters his Jewish, protest against the Persian pharisaic pride, that we bave no power to do statute ; and, animated by his example, I en- good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, ter my Christiun protest against the Calvinian without the grace of God preventing us, that decree,
we may have a good will, and working with “ If Daniel in sight of the lions, durst tes- us when we have that good will. And 2. In tify his contempt of an absurd and cruel de- opposition to pharisaic Bigotry, I protest cree, wantonly imposed upon his king ; by upon the proofs which follow, that God's which decree the king bindered his subjects saving grace has appeared, in different defrom offering any true prayer for a month, grees, to all men; preventing (not forcing) under pretence of asserting his own absolute them, that they may have a good will, and sovereignty; shall I be ashamed to enter my working with, [Note: our church does not protest against a worse decree, absurilly impo- say, doing all for] them, when they have that sed upon the Almighty, on the very same ab- good will. And I hope, that when my, proburd pretence?-A decree which hinders the testant brethren, are acquainted with the Saviour of the world from praying for the merits of the cause, they will equally approve world ?-A decree which Calvin himself had of my anti-solicidian and of my anti-pharisaic the candour to call " horribile decretum ?” 0 protest. how much better is it to impose upon an But, shall a blind zeal for truth carry me earthly king, a decree, restraining the Per- beyond the bounds of love? Shall I hate sians from praying aright for thirty days, than Zelotes and Honestus, because I think it my to impose upon the King of kings, a decree, duty to bear my full testimony against their hindering the majority of men, in all coun. errors ? God forbid! I have entered two tries and ages, from praying once aright in all protests as a divine, and now permit me, my their life! And if Darius stained his good. Protestant-brethren, to enter a third, as a dess by eracting, that those who disobeyed plain christian. Before the searcher of his unforcible decree, should be cast into the hearts, I once more protest, that I make a den of lions, and devoured in a moment; bow great difference between the persons of good do they stain God's goodness, who teach us men, and their opinions, be these ever so peras openly as they dare, that he will cast into nicious. The God who loves me,-the God the den of devils, and cause to be devoured whom I love the God of love and truth by Aames unquenchable, all those whom his teaches me to give error no quarter, and to forcible decree binds either not 10 pray at all, confirm my love towards the men who propaor to offer up only hypocritical prayers ?
-gate it; not knowing what they do, or believe I PROTEST against doctrines of grace, which ing that they do God service. And I humbly cannot stand without such doctrines of wrath. hope, that their good intentions will, in some -I PROTEST against an exalting of Christ, degree, excuse the mischief done by their bad which so borribly debases God.-I PROTEST tenets. But in the mean time mischief, unagainst a new-fangled gospel, which holds speakable mischief is done, and the spread. forth a robe of finished salvation, lined with ing plague must be stopped. If in trying to such irreversible and finished danination.” do it as soon and as effectually as possible
Again : “ If Moses had courage enough in I press hard upon Zelotes and Honestus, and a heathen country, and in the midst of his without ceremony drive thein to a corner, I
protest, it is only to disarm them, that I may with the sight of a pamphlet, which had been make them submit to Christ's easy yoke of hawked about my parish by the news-man. evangelical moderation, and brotherly kind. It is entitled, “ Three Letters, written by
Richard Hill, Esq. to the Rev. John FletchA polemical writer ought to be a champion er," &c. It is a second Finishing Stroke, in for the truth ; and a champion for the truth which that gentleman gives his “reasons for who draws only a wooden sworu, or is afraid declining any farther controversy relative to lovingly to use a steel one, should, I think, Mr. Wesley's principles.” He quits the be hissed out of the field of controversy, as field, but it is like a brave Parthian. He not well as the disputant, who goes to Billings- only shoots his own arrows as he retires, but gate for dust, mud, and a dirty knife; and borrows all those of two persons, whom he the wretch who purposely misses his oppo- calls, “ a very eminent minister in the church nent's arguments, that he may basely stab his of England," and " a lay gentleman of great character. I beg, therefore, that the reader learning and abilities.” As I see neither arguwould not impute to “a bad spirit,” the ment nor scripture in the performance of those keenness which I indulge for covscience two new auxiliaries, I shall take no notice of sake: assuring him, that severe as I am some. their ingrafted productions. times upon the error of my antagonists, I not With respect to Mr. Hill's arguments, they only love, but also truly esteem them ; Ze- are the same which he advanced in his Finlotes on account of his zeal for Christ, Hones. ishing Stroke : Nor need we wonder at his tus on account of his attachment to sincere not scrupling to produce them over again, just obedience, and both on account of their gen- as if they had been overlooked by his oppouine, though mistaken piety.
; for, in the first page of this book, he Do not think, however, that I would pur- says, “ I have not read a single page, which chase their friendship, by giving up one of treats on the subject, since I wrote my Finmy Scales, that is, one half of the Bible. ishing Stroke." But, if Mr. Hill has not Far be the mean compliance from a true Pro. read my answer to that piece, some of our testant. I hope that I shall cease to breathe, readers have ; and they may remember, that before I cease to enter protests against anti- the crambe repetita,- I mean, his supposition, nomian faith and pharisaic works, and against that St. Paul and St. John held Dr. Crisp's the mistakes of good men, who for want of doctrinal peculiarities, is answered in the Scripture-scales, honestly weigh the truth in a Fifth Check, Part I, from p. 191, to p.[193. false balance, by which they are deceived first As for his common plea taken from the objecand with which they afterwards inadvertently tion, Who had resisted his will ? it is answerdeceive others.
ed in this book But although I would no more yield to their As Mr. Hill's argument are the same, so base assertions or inconclusive arguments, than are also his personal charges. After passing to hard names or soft speeches : I hope, my some compliments upon me as an “able de honoured brethren, that they and you will al. fender” of Mr. Wesley's principles, he conways find me open to, and thankful for every tinues to represent me as “ prostituting noble reproof, admonition, and direction, which is endowments to the advancing of a party." He properly supported by the two pillars of pro- affirms [still without shadow of proof,] that testantism, --sound Reason* and plain Scrip, he has a detected many misreprensentations ture : For, if I may depend upon the settled of facts throughout my publications." He sentiments of my mind, and the warm feul- accuses me of using " unbecoming artifices, ings of my heart, 1 am determined as well as much declamation, chicanery, and evasion, you, to live and die a constant Bible Christian. and says, “Upon these accounts, I really And, so long as I shall continue in that reso- cannot, with any degree of satisfication, lution, I hope you will permit me to claim the &c. read the works of one, who, I am in honour of ranking with you, and of subscrib- continual suspicion, is endeavouring to mising myself,
lead me by false glosses, and pious frauds." Brethren and Fathers, -If I were permitted to put this argument Your affectionate Brother, and obedient in plain English, it would run thus : I beSon in the whole Gospel of Christ, spatter my opponent's character, therefore, A TRUE PRTESTANT.
his arguments are dangerous, and not worth
my notice : I do not find it easy to overthrow POSTSCRIPT.
one of the many Scriptures, which he has Containing some strictures upon a new publica- set them all aside at a Finishing Stroke ; for
produced against Antinomianism, but I can tion of Richard Hill, Esq.
I can say, “ The shocking misrepresentations SOME time after I had sent this epistle to and calumnies you have been guilty of, will; the press, one of my neighbour's favoured me for the future, prevent me from looking into * By sound reason I mean the light of the world, thousand volumes.' So here the controversy
any of your books, if you should write a the true light which enlightens every man that cometh
must end." Fin, Stroke, p, 40,-When Metha
into the world.