Billeder på siden

sider, that they pour upon him our same. The one refuse to acknowledge him the grand author of our bliss: the other to mend the matter, represent him as the grand contriver of our ruin. Both nevertheless, have truth on their side; but alas! it is only a part of the truth as it is in Jesus; and truth divided, like an animal cut through the middle, is dreadfully mangled, if not entirely destroyed.

You are also desired to observe, judicious reader, that as a just proportion of sail and ballast, next to a favourable wind, makes a ship sail with speed and safety; so the just balance of the two gospel-axioms, next to the Spirit of God, makes a believer run swiftly and safely the race that is set before him. He does not properly run, he merely hops in the way of truth, who discarding one of the gospel-axioms, moves only upon the other. Antinomian Laodiceans therefore, and anti-christian pharisees, are equally blameable. For the piety of the former stands only upon the first axiom; and the devotion of the latter has no other basis than the second. The one will hear of nothing but faith; the other will be told of nothing but works. But the sound believer is for a faith that works righteous


Faith unfeigned and obedient love, are of equal importance to the true christian. Those precious graces, which answer to the gospel-axioms, like a well-proportioned pair of heavenly steeds, mutually draw the steady chariot of his profession across the valleys of discouragement, and over the hills of difficulty, which he meets with in his way to heaven. If I might carry on the allegory, I would observe, that all the advantage, which the right-hand steed has over the other, is, that it is first put in the traces: But this is no proof of his superiority, for he will be taken off at the gate of heaven; and obedient love alone, shall have the honour of drawing the christian's triumphal car through the realms of glory.

Reader, if in the theory and practice you maintain both gospel-axioms; If, instead of setting up the one in opposition to the other, you stand upon the scriptural line in which they harmonize; you have surmounted the greatest difficulty there is in the Christian religion; you hold the faith once delivered unto the saints. And now prepare to contend for it: Arm yourself for the fight; for antinomian believers will attack you on the left hand, and pharisaic unbelievers on the right. But be not afraid of their number; patiently receive their double fire. They may gall one another, but they cannot hurt you. Truth is great, and Love powerful; if you fight under their glorious banners, though the arrows of contempt, and the brands of calumny, will fly thick around you, you shall not be dangerously wounded. Only take the shield of faith with this motto, " By grace I am saved through faith ;" and quench with it the fiery darts of self-conceited legalists. Put on the breast-plate of righteousness, with this description, "Faith works by righteous love, the mother of good works:" This piece of celestial armour, will keep off the heaviest strokes of self-humbled gospellers. And animated by the Captain of your salvation, through the opposite forces of those adversaries, urge your evangelically-legal way, till you exchange the sword of the Spirit for a golden harp, and your daily cross for an heavenly crown.

Such is the happy medium, that the author of this book desires to recommend. Sometime ago, he thought himself obliged to oppose good mistaken men, who, in their zeal for the first gospel-axiom, wanted to represent the second as a "dreadful heresy." And now he lets these papers see the light, not only to prove to the free-thinkers of his parish, that the first axiom is highly rational; but to convince the enemies of the second axiom, that though he has exposed their mistakes with regard to works, he receives the genuine doctrines of grace as cordially as they; and is ready

[ocr errors]

scripturally, and rationally, to defend salvation by faith, against the most plausible objections of selfrighteous moralists.

He just begs leave to observe, that the preceding pages guard the first gospel-axiom; that the Four Checks to Antinomianism, guard chiefly the second; that the Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism, guards both at once; and that those tracts contain a little system of practical and polemical divinity, which it is hoped, stands at an equal distance from the errors of moral disbelievers, and immoral believers.

[ocr errors]

This book is chiefly recommended to disbelieving moralists, who deride the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in the day of conversion, merely because they are not properly acquainted with our fallen and lost estate. And the Checks are chiefly designed for disbelieving antinomians, who rise against the doctrine of a believer's salvation by grace through the works of faith in the great day, merely because they do not consider the indispensible necessity of evangelical obedience, and the nature of the day of judgment.

In the Appeal, the careless, self-conceited sinner is awakened, and humbled. In the Address the serious, humbled sinner, is raised up, and comforted. And in the Checks, the foolish virgin is re-awakened, the Laodicean believer reproved, the prodigal son lashed back to his Father's house, and the upright believer animated to mend his pace in the way of faith working by love, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »