Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

children, the little flock of the elect: Free wrath, free vengeance, free damnation for the immense herd of the reprobates !”

But to return to Judas, the first of all Christian apostates : Waving the consideration of his justification in his infancy, I observe, that as he had once true faith, he undoubtedly believed to righteousness,' and consequently it was imputed to him for righteousness.' Now, if this mean that God put upon him a loose robe of righteousness, which for ever screened him from condemnation, and under which he could conceal a bag of stolen money, as easily as you suppose Darid bid the ewe-lamb which he conveyed away from Uriah's pasture ; it follows, upon your scheme, that “ justification being one single, immutable act, in which works have no place,” Judas is still completely justified before God by Calvinian imputation of righteousness; although Christians have hitherto believed, works have so important a place in justification, that the apostate is no less condemned before God, than before men and angels, by his avarice and treason,

Let those who can split a hair, as easily as an eagle can find her passage between East and West, take the chosen apostle, who did not make his election sure hy the works of faith ; and let them split him asunder : So shall happy Iscariot, the dear elected child of God, wrapped in imputed righteousness, and carried by ever. lasting love, infallibly go to heaven without works, in consequence of his Calvinian justification before God; while poor reprobated Judas, for accomplishing God's decree, shall infallibly go to his own place, in consequence of his condemnation by the evidence of wicked works.

Thus, honoured Sir, by fixing my plain engine, Com. mon Sense, upon the immovable point which you have granted me, i.e., St. James's justification by works, I hope I have not only removed the rock of offence from off Mr. Wesley's Anti-Crispian propositions, but heaved also your great Diana, and her brother, Apollo (I mean unconditional Election and absolute Reproba

[ocr errors]

tiou) from off the basis of orthodoxy, on which you suppose they staud firm as the pillars of heaven. May the God of pure, impartial love, whom they have so long indirectly traduced, as a God of blind dotage to hundreds, and implacable wrath to millions of his creatures, in the very same circumstances ;-the God whom those unscriptural doctrines bave represented as fond Eli, and grim Appollyon ; may He, I say, arise, for his name's sake, and touch the Genera colossus with his own omnipotent finger; so shall it in a moment fall from the amazing height of reverence to which Calvin, the Synod of Dort, and Elisha Coles have raised it; and its undeceiver votaries shall perceive, they had no more reason to call Geneva impositions“ the doctrines of grace,” than good Aaron and the mistaken Israel. ites, to give the tremendous name of Jenoval to the ridiculous idol, which they had devoutly set up in the absence of legal Moses ; so, giving glory to God, they shall confess that the robe of their image, with which some so officiously cover impenitent adulterers and murderers, is no more like the true wedding garment, than the imaginary appearances of armed men in the clonds, are like the multitude of the heavenly host.

While you try to defend this robe, and I to tear it off the back of Antinomian Jezebel, let us not neglect 'putting off the old man, putting on Christ Jesus, aud walking in him’ as St. Paul, or with him as Enoch,

arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness imparted to the saints, when Christ is formed in their hearts by faith, and imputed to them so long as they walk, in their measure,

as he also walked.' That, notwithstanding our warm controversy, we may 'walk in love with each other, and all the people of God, is the prayer of, honoured and dear Sir,

Your obedient and devoted Servant,
In St. James's Gospel,

JOHN FLETCHER,

1

LETTER VII.

TO RICHARD HILL, ESQ.

HON, AND DEAR SIR,

The Fourth Letter of your Review you produce as “a full and particular answer" to what I have advanced against Dr. Crisp's scheme of Finished Salvation, and Finished Damnation. But to my great surprise, you pass in profound silence over my strongest arguments. Had I been in your place, I would have paid some regard to my word, priuted in capitals in my title-page : I would have tried to prove, that, upon the Doctor's scheme, St. Paul might, consistently with wisdom, exhort the Philippians, “to work out their [linished] salvation with fear and trembling.' And if I could not have made it appear, that our Lord has finished his work, as an interposing Mediator, a teaching Prophet, and a ruling King ; I would either have given up the point, or endeavoured to show, that he has finished it at least as a Priest.

But even this you could not do without setting aside two important parts of his priestly office : For the same Jesus, who offered up himself as the true paschal Lamb, is now exalted at the right hand of God, to bless us as our Melchisedec, and make intercession for us' as our Aaron, saying daily concerning a multitude of barren fig-trees in his vineyard, ' Let them alone this year also, till I shall dig about them; and if they bear fruit, well: And if not, then after that thou shalt cut them down.' Now if he daily carries on his own personal work of salvation, not only as a Prophet and a King, but also as a Mediator and a Priest; common sense dictates, that “his personal work” is 110 more

finished than our own; and that the doctrine of finished salvation is fouuded upon a heap of palpable mistakes, if by that expression you mean any thing more than a finished atonement.

But, overlooking these insurmountable difficulties, you open your “full and particular answer" by saying, p. 62, 63, “Finished Salvation is the grand fortress, against which all your artillery is played, and at which your heavy bombs of bitter sneer and cutting sarcasm are thrown :-Yet this very expression, in its full extent, I undertake to vindicate, and in so doing shall fly to the sword of the Spirit ; and the Lord enabling me to wield it aright, I doubt not I shall put to flight the armies of the alieus.” Let us now see how you manage your sword, put us to fight, and establish finished salvation.

1. Page 63. " When the Lord of Glory gave up the ghost, he cried, “It is finished.' And what was finished ? Not merely his life ; but 'the work which was given him to do.' And what was this work, but the salvation of his people ? One would have imagined, that the Lord's own use of this expression might have silenced every cavil.”

The Lord's own use of this contested expression, “Finished Salvation !"Pray, dear Sir, where does he use it? Certainly not in the two passages you quote, “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do,' previously to my entering on my passion; and, 'It is finished;' that is, All the prophecies relative to what I was to do, teach, and suffer before my death, are accomplished. These scriptures do not in the least refer to the work of salvation on our part; nor do they even take in the most important branches of salvation's work on Christ's part. To assert it, is to take a bold stride into Socinianism, and maintain, it was not needful to our salvation that Christ should die, and rise again. For when he said, 'I have finished the work thou gavest me to do,' he was not yet entered upon his passion : Nor had he died for our sins, much less was he yet risen for our justification, when he said upon the cross, ' It is finished.' 'To suppose then, that salvation's work on Christ's part was finished, not only before his resurrection, but also before his death, is to set aside some of his most important works ; in direct opposition to the scriptures, which testify, that he died, the just for the unjust ;' and affirm that “if he is not raised, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins.' Thus, Sir, you have so unhappily begun to "wield your sword,”. as to cut down, ät the first stroke, the two grand articles of the Christian faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

II. Page 33. To mend the matter, you have recourse to the mysterious doctrine of the decrees; and because “All events are present unto God, and were so from eternity to eternity,” you affirm that “ The glorification of the elect is as much finished as their predestination. By the same rule of Geneva logic, I may say, that because God has decreed, the world shall melt with fervent heat, the general conflagration is as much finished as the deluge. Were ever more strange assertions obtruded upon mankind ?

If this illustration does not convince you of your mistake, I turn the tables, and make your blood run cold with the dreadful counterpart of your own proposition. The damnation of the non-elect born or unborn' is as much finished as their predestination. And are these the good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people ?' And is this the comfortable gospel of free-grace, which we are to preach to every creature ?'

Alas, my dear Sir, you wield your sword so unskilfully, as absolutely to cut down all hopes and possibility of mercy for millions of your fellow-creatures; even for all the poor reprobates on the left side of the ship, who, “ from eternity to eternity, were irresistibly enclosed in the net of finished damnation !"

III. P. 63. To support your unscriptural assertion, you produce Rom. viii. 29, : Whom he did predestinate, them he called : And whom he called, them he also justified ; and whom he justified, them he also

« ForrigeFortsæt »