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ESSAY ON TRUTH;
A RATIONAL VINDICATION
OF THE DOCTRINE OF
SALVATION BY FAITH:
RIGHT HON. THE COUNTESS OF HUNTINGDON.
Without Faith it is impossible to please God. - Heb. xi. 6.
faith.-XII Ar. In Christ Jesus, fc., nothing availeth but faith, which worketh
by love.--Gal. v. 6.
BECAUSE I think it my duty to defend the works of Faith against the triumphant errors of the Solifidians, some of your Ladyship’s friends conclude, that I am an enemy to the doctrine of Salvation by Faith, and their conclusion amounts to such exclamations as these : “ How could a Lady, so zealous for God's glory and the Redeemer's grace, commit the superintendancy of a seminary of pious learning to a man that opposes the fundamental doctrine of Protestantism! How could she put her sheep under the care of such a wolf in sheep's clothing !" This conclusion, my Lady, has grieved me for your sake and to remove the blot that it indirectly fixes upon you, as well as to balance my Scriptural Essay on the Rewardableness of the Works of Faith, I publish, and humbly dedicate to your Ladyship, this piece of my Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism. May the kindness, which enabled you to bear for years with the coarseness of my ministrations, incline you favourably to receive this little token of my unfeigned attachment to Protestantism, and of my lasting respect for your Ladyship!
Your aversion to all that looks like controversy, can never make you think, that an Equal Check to the two grand delusions, which have crept into the Church, is needless in our days. I flatter myself, there. fore, that though you may blame my performance, you will approve of my design. And indeed what true Christian cau be absolutely neuter in this controversy If God has a controversy with all Pharisees and Antinomians, hare not all God's children a controversy with Pharisaisi aud antinomianism ? Have you no? for one, my Lady ? Do you not check in private, what I attempt to check in public ? Does not the religious world know, that you abhor, attack, and pursue Pharisaism in its most artful disguises ? And have I not frequently heard you express, in the strongest terms, your detestation of Antinomiauism, and lament the number of sleeping professors, whom that Delilah robs of their strength ? Nor would you, I am persuaded, my Lady, have countenanced the opposition, which was made against the Minutes, if your commendable, though (as it appears to me at that time too precipitate zeal against Pharisaism, had not prevented your seeing, that they contain the scripture truths, which are most fit to stop the rapid progress of Antinomianism.
However, if you still think, my Lady, that I mistake with respect to the importance of those propositions ; you know I am not mistaken, when I declare before the world, that a powerful, practical, actually saving faith is the only faith I ever heard your Ladyship re. commend, as worthy to be contended for. Aud so long as you plead only for such a faith : So long as you abhor the winter faith that saves the Solifidians in their own conceit, while they commit adultery, murder, and incest, if they choose to carry Antinomianism to such a dreadful length; so long as you are afraid to maintain either directly or indirectly, that the evidence and comfort of justifying faith may indeed be suspended by sin; but that the righteousness of faith, and the justification which it instrumentally
procures, can never be lost, no not by the most enormous and complicated crimes ; whatever diversity there may be between your Ladyship’s sentiments and mine, it can vever be fundamental. I preach salvation by a faith that actually works by obedient love: And your
Ladyship witnesses salvation by an actually operative e faith : Nor can I, to this day, see any material
difference between those phrases : For if I profess a iaith that is actually operative, I cannot with propriety find fanlt with a faith that actually operatez : I cannot with decency sacrifice its works to " Antinomian dotages."'*
Permit me also to observe, that the grand questions 3 debated between my opponents and me, are not (as I
fear your Ladyship apprehends) whether Pharisaic merit shall eclipse the Redeemer's worthiness ; or, whether the doctrine of salvation by a lively faith shall be given up to mere moralists : I no more plead either for the one or for the other, than I do for placing the Pretender upon the British throne, and for sacrificing the great charter to arbitrary power. No, my Lady, What we contend about is : (1.) Whether Christ's law is not perfectly consistent with his blood : (2.) Whether we are to set him at nought as a Prophet, a King and a Judge; under pretence of exalting him as a Priest, an Advocate, and a Surety of the better covenant,' that threatens fallen believers with a 'sorer punishment,' than that which was inflicted upon the
despisers of the Mosaic covenant.-(3.) Whether the * evangelical worthiness which a true believer really en derives from Christ, is not absolutely necessary to
salvation :-(4.) Whether such a worthiness is not as consistent with Christ's original and paramount merit, as the light that shines in your apartment is consistent with the original and transcendant brightness of the sun. -(5.) Whether that faith is living, which evidences itself hy gross immoralities—(6.) Whether it is not rather the dead faith that St. James ex
* The name which Flavel gives to Dr. Crisp's modish tenets.