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To Mr. Richard and Mr. Rowland Hill.
HON. AND DEAR OPPONENTS,
Do you hate that foul monster Antinomianism ? I know you cordially hate practical, and would cheerfully oppose doctrinal Antinomianism, if it were not inseparably connected with the favourite doctrines you have embraced. Yes, your true regard for holiness would make you wish me success, if (while I attack sin, our common adversary,) Calvinism, which passes with you for Christianity, did not justly appear to you to be sapped in its very foundation. For, to my great astovishment, I find that Calvin's doctrine of unconditional election, and Dr. Crisp's doctrine of finished salvation, are now substituted to Jesus Christ, and openly made the foundation of the present Calvinists. “Finished salvation and electing love, (says Mr. Hill, Friendly Remarks, p. 19,) is their foundation.”
Is it indeed ? Alas! I really thonght that all the Calvinists still maintained with Mr. Wesley, that other 'foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is, Jesus Christ;' (1 Cor. iii. 11 ;) but I now fear, the breach between us is wider than I imagined : For it seems we disagree no less about the foundation, than about the superstructure ; and my younger opponent does me justice when he adds, “Surely you never mean to praise the Calvinists for guarding this foundation." No, indeed, Sir, no more than I would praise them for placing two of Rachel's Teraphim upon the Mediator's throne.
You are both conscious, that your two favourite doctrines will appear empty dreams, if the doctrine of
the justification of all infants without faith is true ; much more if the doctrine of the justification of adult persons by works, both in the day of trial and in the day of judgment, is scriptural. You agree, therefore, to bear your public testimony against the Third Check, where these doctrines are set in a clearer point of view, than in my preceding publications. Permit me to remind my readers of the reasonableness of the assertions which have so greatly excited your surprise.
In the Third Check, (p. 47 and 48,) to make my readers sensible, that Calvinism has confusion, and not scripture, for its foundation, I made a scriptural distinction between the four degrees that constitute a saint's eternal justification, and each of these degrees I called a justification, because I thought I could speak as the oracles of God, without exposing the truth of the gospel to the smiles of Christian wits.
I. From Rom. v. 18, I proved the justification of infants : ' As by the offence of Adam, (says the Apostle,) judgment came upon all men to condemnation, eren so by the righteousness of Christ, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life.' In support of this justification, which comes upon all men in their infancy, I now advance the following argumeuts :
1. The scripture tells us, that' Christ in all things hath the pre-eminence :' But if Adam is a more public person, a more general representative of mankind, than Jesus Christ; it is plain, that, in this grand respect, Adam hath the pre-eminence orer Christ. Now, as this cannot be, as Christ is at least equal to Adam, it follows, that as Adam brought a general condemnation, and an universal seed of death upon all infants; so Christ brings upon them a general justification, and an universal seed of life.
2. I never yet saw a Calvinist, who denied that Christ died for Adam. Now, if the Redeemer died for our first parent, he undoubtedly expiated the original sin, the first transgression of Adam. And if Allan's origival sin was atoned for, and forgiven to him, as the Calvinists, I think, generally grant, does it not follow, VOL. II.
that although all infants are by nature children of wrath, yet through the redemption of Christ they are in a state of favour or justification? For how could God damn to all eternity any of Adam's children for a sin which Christ expiated ? A sin which was forgiven almost 6000 years ago to Adam, who committed it in person?
3. The force of this observation would strike our Calvinist brethren, if they considered that we were not less in Adam's loips, when God gave his Son tu Adana in the grand, original gospel promise, than when Eve prevailed upon him to eat of the forbidden fruit. As all in him were included in the covevant of perfect obedience, before the fall; so all in him were likewise interested in the covenant of grace and mercy, after the fall: And we have full as much reason to believe, that some of Adam's children never fell with him from a state of probation, according to the old covenant ; az to suppose, that soine of them never rose with him to a state of probation, upon the terms of the new covenant, which stands upon better promises.
Thus if we all received an unspeakable injury, by being seminally in Adam when he fell, according to the first covenant; we all received also an unspeakable blessing, by being in his loins when God spiritually raised him up, and placed him upon gospel ground. Nay, the blessing which we have in Christ, is far su.. perior to the curse which Adam entailed upon us ; wo: stand our trial upon much more advantageous terms than Adam did in paradise. For according to the first covenant, judgment was by one offence to con. demuation. One sin suuk the transgressor. But according to the free gift, or second covenant, pro. vision is made in Christ for repenting of, and rising from “ many offences unto justification.' (Rom. v. 16.)
4. Calvinists are now ashamed of consigning infants to the tormenis of hell; they begin to extend their clection to them all. Even the translator of Zanchius believes, that all children who die in their infancy are saved. Now, Sir, if all childreu, or any of them, are saved; they are unconditionally justified according to our plan ; for they carnot be justified by faith,' ac. cording to St. Paul's doctrine, (Rom. v. 1, as it is granted, that those who are not capable of understanding, are not capable of believing. Nor can they be `justified by works, according to St. James's doctrine, (chap. ii. 24,) for they are not accountable for their works, who do not know good from evil, nor their right hand from their left. Nor can they be justified by words, according to our Lord's doctrine, (Matt. xii. 37,) because they cannot yet form one articulate sound. It follows, then, that all infants must be damned, or justified without faith, words, or works, according to our first distinction, But as you believe they are saved, the first degree of an adult saint's justification, is not less founded upon your own sentiments, than upon reason and scripture.
II. When infants grow up, they are all called to believe in the light of their dispensation; and till they do, their personal sins condemn them. Here appears the absolute need of justification by the instrumentality of faith. This justification we preach to Jews and Heathens, to Pharisees and Publicans. Upon it we chiefly insist, when we address penitent prodigals, and mourning backsliders. This the apostle chiefly defends in his epistles to the Romans and Galatians. Our church strongly maintains it in her eleventh Article: And as we are all agreed about it, I shall only refer to some passages where it is evidently mentioned. (Rom. v. 1; Gal. ii. 16; Acts xiii. 39.)
III. Whoever hath present access unto that grace wherein they, who are justified by faith, do stand, is also justified hy works. 'True justification by faith is then inseparable from justification by works; for ' faith works by love, so long as it is living; and love is productive of good works. In the apostolic age, as well as in ours,' the love of inany grew cold,' and
concerving faith they made shipwreck, hy not adding to it brotherly kindness, godliness, and charity.' But
as they still professed the saving faith of God's elect, which works by love, St. James was directed by the Holy Ghost to enforce the justification of a believer by works.
Now, dear Sirs, before you can reasonably explode this justification, you must execute the Antinomiau wish of Luther, and tear St. James's Epistle out of your Bible. But, as we can never give you leave to take this liberty with ours, we shall still oppose the justification of evil workers, or practical Antinomians, iu the day of trial, by such scriptures as these : “ Know, 0 vain man, that faith withont works is dead ;-Rahab was justified by works,--Abraham was justified by works ;' and so are ail his legitimate children; ' for by work3 a man is justified, and not by faith only.'
IV. As for the last degree of an adult saint's justification, it is so fully established upon the words of our Lord,' In the day of judgment by thy words shalt thou be justified,' that Dr. Owen and multitudes of the Puritan divines, as I have made it appear from their own writings, avowed it as the gospel truth, in opposition to Dr. Crisp's Antinomian error. Nay, during our coutroversy, truth has prevailed; for, notwithstanding the strong resistance you have made against it, you have both granted all that we contend for ; witness the two first letters of this Check.
Now, instead of attempting to prove, at least by one argument, that these distinctions are contrary either to scripture or reason, Mr. Hill, sen., says, in his Remarks, (p. 5, 6,)“ What really surprises me beyond all the rest is, your having brought out two new justifications since the Second Check ;-no apologies can excuse you for having concealed the matter so long."-Mr. Hill, jun., adds iv the postscript to his Friendly Remarks, (p. 65, 66, 67,) “ Your doctrine is a mysterious jumble.-Your three publications contain a farrago :-You are quite become unanswerable :-In your First Check, we hear but of one justification ; in your Second, you treat us with two; two more are lately invented, and shoved in amongst the rest :- These four justifications