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AN

EQUAL CHECK

TO

Pharisaism and Antinomianism :

PART I.

CONTAINING

1. An Historical Essay on the Danger of Parting

Faith and Works.

II. Salvation by the Covenant of Grace, a Discourse

preached in the Parish Church of Madeley, April 18, und May 9, 1773.

III. A Scriptural Essay on the astonishing Reward

ableness of Works, according to the Covenant of Grace.

-IV. An Essay on Truth; or a Rational Vindication

of the Doctrine of Salvation by Faith, with a Dedicatory Epistle to the Right Hou. the Countess of Huntingdon.

BY THE AUTHOR OF

THE CHECKS TO ANTINOMIAVIS.).

The armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.

2 Cor. vi. 7,

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PREFACE.

1. The first piece of this Check was designed for a preface to the discourse that follows it : But as it swelled far beyond my intention, I preseut it to the reader under the name of An Historical Essay ; which makes way for the tracts that follow.

II. With respect to the Discourse, I must mention what engages me to publish it. In 1771, I saw the propositions called the Minutes. Their author invited me to “review the whole affair.” I did so; and soon found, that I had “ leaned too much towards Calvinisin," which, after mature consideration, appeared to me exactly to coincide with speculative Antinomianism; and the same year I publicly acknowledged my error in these words.

“ But whence springs this almost general Antinomianism of our congregations ? Shall I conceal the sore because it festers in my own breast ? Shall I be partial ? No: In the name of Him, who is no respecter of persons, I will confess my sin, and that of many of my brethren, &c.—Is not the Antinomianism of hearers fomented by that of preachers ? Does it not become us to take the greatest part of the blame upon ourselves, according to the old adager Like priest, like people? Is it surprising that some of us should have an Antinomian audience? Do we not make or keep it so? When did we preach such a practical sermon as that of our Lord on the mount? or write such close letters as the Epistles of St. John ?" (Second CAECK, vol. i. p. 377, to the end of the paragraph.)

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When I had thus openly confessed, that I was involved in the guilt of “many of my brethren," and that I had so leaned towards speculative, as not to have made a proper stand against practical Antinomianism ; who could have thought, that one of my most formidable opponents would have attempted to screen his mistakes behind some passages of a manuscript sermon, which I preached twelve years ago, and of which, by some means or other, he has got a copy?

I am very far, however, from recanting that old discourse. I still think the doctrine it contains excellent in the main, and very proper to be enforced, (though in a more guarded manner,) in a congregation of hearers violently prejudiced against the first gospel-axiom. . Therefore, out of regard for the grand leading truth of Christianity, and in compliance with Mr. Hill's earnest entreaty, (Fin. Stroke, p. 45,) I sevd my sermon into the world, upon the following reasonable conditions: (1.) That I shall be allowed to publish it, as I preached it a year ago in my church; pamely, with additions in brackets, [ ], to make it at once a fuller check to Pharisaism, and a finishing check to Antinoinianism. (2.) That the largest addition shall be in favour of free grace.

(3.) That nobody shall accuse ine of forgery, for thus adding my present light to that which I had formerly; and for thus bringing out of my little treasure of experience things new and old. (4.) That the press shall not groan with the charge of disingenuity, if I throw into notes some unguarded expressions, which

formerly used without scruple, and which my more enlightened conscience does not suffer me to at present. (5.) That my opponent's call to print my sermon, will procure me the pardou of the public, for presenting them with a plain, blunt discourse, composed for an audience chiefly made up of colliers and rustics. And lastly,) that, as I understand English a little better than I did twelve years ago,

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I shall be permitted to rectify a few French idioms, which I find in my old manuscript; and to connect my thoughts a little more like an Englishman, where I can do it without the least misrepresentation of the

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If these conditions appear unreasonable to those, who will have heaven itself without any condition, I abolish the distinction between my old sermon and the additions that guard or stre it; and referring the reader to the title-page, I publish my discourse on Rom. xi. 5, 6, as a guarded sermon delivered in my church on Sunday, April the 18th, &c., 1773, exactly eleven years after I had preached upon the same text a sermon useful upon the whole, but in some places unguarded, and deficient with respect to the variety of arguments and motives, by which the capital doctrines of free grace and gospel obedience ought to be enforced.

III. With regard to the Scriptural Essay upon the rewardableness, or evangelical worthiness of works, I shall just observe that it attacks the grand mistake of the Solifidians, countenanced by three or four words of my old sermon. I pour a flood of scriptures upon it; and after receiving the fire of my objector, I return it in a variety of scriptural and rational answers, about the solidity of which the public must decide.

IV. The Essay on Truth will, I hope, reconcile judicious moralists to the doctrine of salvation by faith, and considerate Solifidians to the doctrine of salvation by the works of faith ; reason and scripture concurring to show the constant dependence of works upon faith; and the wonderful agreement of the doctrine of present salvation by TRUE faith, with the doctrine of eternal salvation by GOOD works.

I hope that I do not dissent, in my observations upon faith, either from our Church, or approved gospel- ministers. In their highest definition of that grace, they consider it only according to the fulness

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