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To Richard Hill, Esq.
HON. AND DEAR SIR,
I HAVE hitherto endeavoured to shew, that the exploded doctrine of a second justification by works, (i. e. by the evidence, or instrumentality, of works,) in the day of judgment, is scriptural, consonant to the doctrine of our church, and directly or indirectly maintained, as by yourself, so by all Anti-Crispian Puritan divines, whenever they regard St. James's holy doctrine more than Calvin's peculiar opinions. I shall now answer a most important question, which you propose about it, p. 149. You introduce it by these words:
"You cannot suppose that when Mr. Shirley said, Blessed be God, neither Mr. Wesley, nor any of his preachers, (Mr. Olivers excepted,) holds a second justification by works, he intended to exclude good works in an evidential sense." Indeed, Sir, I did suppose it; nor can I to this moment conceive, how Mr. Shirley could lean towards Calvinism, if he were settled in St. James's doctrine of justification by the evidence of works. You proceed,
"Neither Mr. Shirley, nor I, nor any Calvinist that I ever heard of, deny that a sinner is declaratively justified by works, both here and at the day of judgment." You astonish me, Sir: Why then do you at the end of this very paragraph, find fault with me for saying, that it will be absurd in a man, set on the left hand as a rebellious subject of our heavenly King, to plead the works of Christ, when his own works are called for, as the only evidences according to which he must be justified or condemned? Why do you cry out in the Fifth Letter of your Review, "O shocking to tell! Horresco referens," &c. Why do so many Calvinists shudder with horror, because I have represented our Lord as condemning by the evidence of works, (agree
ably to his own express doctrine, Matt. xxv,) a practical Antinomian, a canting apostate, who had no good works to be declaratively justified by in the day of judgment? Why do you maintain, that when David committed adultery and murder, he was "justified from all things; his sins past, present, and to come, were for ever and for ever cancelled?" And why do yon (p. 70,) call me a "snake that bites the Calvinist ministers," because I have exposed the Antinomianism of those preachers who, setting aside Christ's doctrine of justification by the evidence of works in the last day, give thousands to understand, that they shall then be abundantly justified by righteousness imputed in Calvin's way, and by nothing else? You go on :
"Therefore, I say, if you utterly disclaim all human works, as the procuring, meritorious cause of justification, what need was there of addressing Mr. Shirley as you have done? Yea, what need was there of your making this point a matter of controversy at all? We are quite agreed both as to the expression, and as to the meaning of it."
Are we indeed quite agreed, both as to the expression of a second justification by works in the day of judgment, and as to the meaning of it; to which I once more set my seal, viz. that we shall be justified, not by the merit, but by the evidence of works? What a pity is it then, that you did not find this out, till you came to the 149th page of your book! It would probably have saved you the trouble of writing it, and me the thankless office of exposing it.
However, it is but right, I should requite your can.. did concession, by auswering your important question : "What need was there of making this point, [of justification by the evidence of works in the day of judgment,] a matter of controversy at all?" I will ingenuously tell you: I wanted an immovable point to fix my engine upon, in order to throw down your great Diana, and pull up by the roots the immense trees of Antinomian knowledge. And now you have so fully and repeatedly granted me the firm point which I de
sired, permit me, honoured Sir, to throw myself at your feet, to return you thanks and tell you, that you are the happy prisoner of the truth which I vindicate. "What do you mean?"-What you little expect, dear Sir, and what I think you cannot possibly avoid. Yes, whether you will or not, I must serve a friendly warrant, and young ignorance" arrests you in the name of English Logic, to make you publicly subscribe to the Anti-Crispian propositions, which your Benedictine Monk has rashly traduced." I will never do it; I am ready to offer myself among the foremost of those true Protestants, who could have burned against the doctrine of a second justification by works."-Well then, Sir, you shall go, not to the stake near Baliol College, but to the ground and pillar of truth :' And that you may not make a needless resistance, I humbly presume to bind you before all the candid and judicious Calvinists in England, with the following necessary consequences of a capital doctrine, which, you tell us, 66 was never denied either by Mr. Shirley, or yourself, or any Calvinist you ever heard of."
If we are "justified by works, i. e. by the evidence of works, both here and at the day of judgment," it follows, (1.) That Mr. Wesley's doctrine, with respect to man's faithfulness in good works, is true; and that, if a man (Judas for instance) is not faithful in the unrighteous mammon, God will not give him the true riches' of glory. Though he should once have had faith enough to leave all and follow Christ, his shipwrecked faith,' sunk by bad works, will profit him nothing :' He shall as surely be condemned by the evidence of his unfaithfulness, as ever an highwayman was condemned, upon the fullest evidence that he had robbed upon the highway.
2. The second proposition of the Minutes also stauds now upon an immovable basis. "Every believer, till he comes to glory, works for as well as from life," since his works will appear as witnesses for or against him at the day of judgment, and life or death will be the certain consequence of their deposition.
3. The third proposition of the Minutes now shines like the meridian sun after an eclipse: Nothing is more false than the maxim, that a man is to do no thing in order to justification, either at conversion, or in the last day. For the work of faith undoubtedly takes place in the day of conversion, agreeably to those words of St. Paul, We have believed THAT we might be justified.' And, if even Calvinists grant, that a sinner is "justified by the evidence of works both here and at the day of judgment," it is indubitable, that he must provide that evidence, as there is opportunity; and that if even an apostle provides it not, he shall, notwithstanding his election, increase the number of those practical Antinomians, whose condemnation I have described in the Second Check. Hence appears also the error couched under the unguarded proposition which you advance, (p. 12.) "In the act of justification, we affirm, good works have no place :" For the good work of faith has the important place of an instrument, when we are justified at our conversion; and the good work of love will have the place of the chief witness, by whose deposition we shall be justified in the great day.
You indeed produce the words of our church: "The thief did believe only, and the merciful God justified him;" but they make against you, for they intimate, that the work of faith was previous to his justification. And that he was not saved without works, strictly speaking, although he was saved without the merit of works, I prove by your quotation from Bishop Cowper, Justifying faith, whereby we are saved, cannot be without works; and by these words of St. James, and the Rev. Mr. Madan, adapted to the present case. Could "faith save him? i. e. such a faith as hath not works; as is not productive of the fruits of the Spirit in the heart and life? Is this saving faith? Certainly not." When our church says, that he went to heaven without works, she means without the outward works which Pharisees trust to, such as receiving the sacraments, going to the temple, and giving alms; or she
grossly contradicts St. James, Bishop Cowper, Mr. Madan and herself. Therefore, notwithstanding all you have advanced, even the penitent thief's experience, who, as our church says, should have lost his salvation, and consequently his justification and election, if he had lived and not regarded the works of faith, is " a formidable rampart" for, not against St. James's undefiled religion. Again,
4. When, in the Review of the whole affair, Mr. Wesley says, that he who now believes in Christ with a loving, obedient heart, is now accepted of God," what does he say more than you, and your favourite Bishop, who tells us, (p. 12,) "That justifying faith, whereby we are saved, cannot be without good works; for faith worketh by love?" Does it not evidently follow, from your own, as well as Mr. Wesley's position, that while the incestuous Corinthian defiled his father's bed, his living, justifying faith had degenerated into a dead, devilish faith? Agreeably to that evangelically-legal proposition of Mr. Madan, "If my faith does not produce the proper fruits, it is no better than the devil's faith :" Whence it necessarily follows, that the devil's faith is justifying, or that the Corinthian backslider was condemned; and consequently, that Calvinism and Antinomianism, the grand pillars of defiled religion, are two broken reeds.
5. It is now an indubitable truth, that a sincere Heathen, who never heard the name of Christ, and nevertheless feareth God and worketh righteousness, according to his light, is accepted of him :' For, if he perseveres, he will be justified in the last day by the evidence of his works of righteousness; and he is now justified by the instrumentality of his faith in the light of his dispensation; for this light, when we receive it by faith, if we may believe those excellent Mystics,*
The word Mysticism, like the word Enthusiasm, may be used in a good or bad sense. I am no more ashamed of the true Mystics, i. e. those who fathom the deep mysteries of inward religion, than of the true Enthusiasts, those who are really inspired by the grace and love of God. When I said that Solomon was the great Jewish Mystic, I took the word Mystic in a good sense; if all are Mystics