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your pen, when you have taught the world to call good works, dung, dross, and tilthy rags; pretending to have authority from the scripture thus to revile the best thing under heaven? Is it only against the “proud justiciars?" Is it not also indirectly, though I am persuaded undesignedly, against the adorable Trinity ? Has not the Father 'created us to good works?' Did not the Son 'redeem us, that we might be a people zealous of good works ?' And does not the Holy Ghost sanctify us, that “all our works being begun, continued, and ended in him, we may glorify God's holy name," and cause it to be glorified by all around us ?
What harm did good works ever do you, or any oue, that you should decry them in so public a manner as fon have done? Did you ever duly consider their nature and excellence ? Or have you condemned them in a hurry, without so much as casting an attentive look upon them? Permit me to bring them to you, as God bronght the beasts of the field to Adam, that he might give them names according to their nature; and tell me which of them you will call dung, which dross, and which filthy rags ?
First, then, what objection have you against the good works of the heart ? Against the awaking out of sin, returning to God, repenting, offering the sacrifice of a contrite spirit, and believing unto righteousness? What objection against trusting in the Lord Jehovah, in whom is ererlasting strength ? casting the anchor of our hope within the veil ? loving God for himself, and all inankind for Goil's sake? Do you see any of these good works of the heart, that look like “ filthy rag ?”
No sooner is the “ inward man of the heart truly engaged in any one of the preceding works, than the outward mau is all in motion. The candle of the Lord is not lighted in the soul to be put under a bushel,' and extinguished; but to be set as 'on the candlestick f the body, 'that it may give light to all' around, and that men seeing our light, may glorify our heavenly father. Hence arise several classes of external good torks.
Consider the man of God as he is clothed with a corruptible body, which must be rourished without being pampered. He 'keeps it under' by moderate fasting or abstinence. He daily denies himself, and takes up his i
He works with cheerful diligence. drinks, or sleeps, 'with gladness and singleness of heart;' and if he is sick, he bears his pain with joyful resignation, doing, or suffering all to the glory of God,' in the spirit of sacrifice, and in the vame of the Lord Jesus.'
View him in his family. Not satisfied with mental prayer, he bends the knee to his Father who sees in secret ;' and not contented with private devotions, he reads to his assembled household select portions of God's word, and solemnly worships him with them in spirit and in truth.' Nor does he think, that doing his duty towards God excuses him from fulfilling it towards his neighbour. Just the reverse. Because his soul is all reverence to his heavenly Father, it is all respect to his earthly parents. Because he ardently loves the Bridegroom of souls, he feels the warmest regard for his wife, he bears the tenderest and yet the most rational affection to his children. Nor is he less desirous that his servants should serve God aud' work out their salvation,' than he is that they should serve him and do his work. Hence arise his familiar instructions, mild reproofs, earnest entreaties, encouraging exhortations. His strict honesty and meekness of wisdom, his moderation and love of peace, are known to all around him; and eveu those who despise his piety, are forced to speak well of his morals.
Behold his works as a member of society in general. In his little sphere of action he makes his star to shine upon the just and the unjust,' his charity is universal. To the utmost of his ability he opposes vice, countenances virtue, promotes industry, and patronises de. spised piety. Humble faith kindles him into a burning and shining light;' he is a minister of the God of all mercies, he is a faming fire. He feeds Christ in
the hungry, gives him drink in the thirsty, clothes him in the naked, entertains hina in strangers, attends him on sick beds, visits him in prisons, and comforts him in the mournful apartments, where the guilty are stretched on the rack of despair, or where the godly, forsaken of their friends, pledge their dying Lord with the dregs of the cup of sorrow. How easily does he overlook the unkindness of his neighbours! How readily does he forgive injuries ! How cordially heaps he coals of melting fire upon the heads of his enemies ! How sincerely does he pray for all his slanderers and perse cutors! And how ardently desire to grow in grace,' and endeavour to adorn' more and inore the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things!'
Cousider him as a member of a religious society. How excellent, how divine are his works! He respectfully holds up the hands of his minister, and kindly bears the burdens of his brethren. He watches over them for good, rejoices with those that rejoice,' and ‘mourns with those that nourn.' He compassionately sympathises with the tempted, impartially reproves sin, meekly restores the fallen, and cheerfully animates the dejected. Like undaunted Caleb, he spirits up the fearful ; and, like valiant Joshua, he leads them to the conquest of Canaan ; aud goes on from conquering to conquer.'
Aud suppose he' went on even unto perfection, and 'took the kingdom of heaven by violent faith, and bumble, patient, importunate prayer; would you call him a filthy rag-man, and insinuate, that he had only done a dung-work? O, Sir, if you can so publicly call good works dross, dung, and filthy rags; and (what is worse still) assert, that the Holy Ghost, in the scriptures, anthorises you so to do; who will wonder to see fou represent the doctrine of Christian Perfection a a perpicious Popish heresy, which turns men“ into semporary monsters ?" Would you be consistent, if you did not rise against it with the collected might of cedulous uncharitableness, and barefaced Antinomian. aa? For, Vol. II.
What is, after all, the perfection that Mr. Wesley contends for ? Nothing but two good works, productive of ten thousand more; or, if you please, two large filthy rags, in which ten thousand other filthy rags are wrapped ; that is, loving God with all our hearts, and our neighbour as ourselves.' It is nothing but' perfect love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto us,' making us steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,' always ‘zealous of good works,' always the reverse of the easy elect, who, by means of Calvin's contrivance, are all fair and undefiled,' while they wallow in the adulterer's mire, and the murderer's gore. Or, in other terms, it is nothing but Christ, through the Holy Spirit,
dwelling in our hearts by faith,' and making us always ' zealous of good works.' Now, if good works are dross, dung, and filthy rags ; it is evident that perfection is a rich mine of dross ; a heap of dung, as immense as that which Hercules got out of Augeas's
and a vast storehouse of filthy rags, spun by “ proud Justiciars," as cobwebs are by venomous spiders.
In this wrong view of Christian Perfection, I no more wonder to see multitudes of careless professors agree, like Pilate and Herod, to destroy it out of the earth ; nor am I surprised to hear even good, mistaken people cry out,“ Down with it! Down with it!" While I complain of their want of candour, I commend their well-meant zeal, and wish it may flame out against objects worthy of their detestation ; against perfection itself, suppose it is what they imagine. Yes, if it is a mine of “ dross,” let them drown it ; I give my consent; but let them do it with the floods of scripture and argument. If it is a dunghill in the church, let them carry it out, and permit even the swine, which come from wallowing in the mire,' to shake themselves upon it; I will not say it is improper. If it is a repository of filthy rags, more infectious than those
hich convey the jail distemper or the plague ; let them
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agree to set fire to it, and burn it down to the ground :
But if Christian Perfection is (next to angelic Per-
expose it as you have so frequently done ?
Shonld you apologise for your conduct, by saying, " I have only treated your perfection as you have treated our finished salvation, and our imputed righte
ousness :" I reply: The case is widely different. I ugeas hope I have made it appear, that you have not one
single text in all the Bible, to prove that a bloody adulterer (in flagrante delicto) stands complete in imputed righteousness; or that the salvation of idolatrous and incestuous apostates, who now work out their damnation with both hands, is actually finished, in the full extent of the expression. The whole stream of God's word runs counter to these “ Antivomian dotages.” Nor are they less repugnant to conscience and common sense, than to the law and the prophets. But you cannot find one word, in all the scriptures, against the pure love of God and our neighbour, against perfect love, which is all the perfection we encourage believers to press after. The law and the gospel, the Old and the New Testament, are equally for it. All who are “ filled with the Spirit,' sweetly experience it. An Heathen, that fears God and regards man, cannot speak evil of it, but through misapprehension. And even while, through the amazing force of prejudice, you write against it with so much severity, it recommends itself to your own reason, and conscience. Are you
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