« FöregåendeFortsätt »
myself called upon to explain my- Christ into this world, to fulfil the self in the most perspicuous way law for us; and, by shedding his in my power.
most precious blood, to make a James. The sense is clear sacrifice and satisfaction, or, as enough; too clear to leave any it may be called, amends to the hope of our difference deriving its Father for our sins, to assuage his origin from any ambiguity of lan- wrath and indignation conceived guage. And so, you would have against us for the same. So that me believe, that man is a lump of Christ is now the righteousness of sin; without any spark of good- all them that truly believe on him. ness in him; without any virtuous He, for them, paid their ransom or godly motion; only given to in his death: he, for them, fulevil thoughts and wicked deeds. filled the law in his life: so that I don't deny the doctrine of ori- now, in him and by him, every ginal sin ; but, to reduce a being true Christian man may be called like man to a state so hopeless, so a fulfiller of the law; inasmuch, as wretched, by a perversion of that that, which their infirmity lacked, doctrine, is what I must protest Christ's justice hath supplied *." against," from whatever quarter it James. After what I have now may come.
heard, I can entertain no doubt, John. I was very well per- John, of your being fully imbued suaded, James, that your objec- with the Evangelical Doctrine. tion to the doctrine of justification This is the very cant that they, by faith alone, had its origin in who hold the doctrine, are so fond your mistaken view of the condi- of. They represent man as totally tion of man. Allow me, there. depraved, and completely ruined, fore, to express what I think of in order to make way for their the connexion between the two doctrine of faith. They reduce to doctrines, in the following terms: the same level a whole race of “ Because all men are sinners and beings, who ought to be classified offenders against God, and break- upon a moral scale, according to ers of his law and commandments, the degree of their respective detherefore can no man, by his own merits; and not be all consigned, acts, works, and deeds (seem they without distinction, to the same never so good), be justified and condemnation. This
error permade righteous before God: but vades the whole mass of your dievery man, of necessity, is con- vinity, and corrupts every part of strained to seek for another righ- it. If you were not completely teousness of justification, to be re- deceived, how could you include, ceived at God's own hands; that is within the same boundary, a multo say, the forgiveness of his sins titude of individuals, varying as and trespasses, in such things as much almost in their moral chahe has offended. And this justi- racter, as they do in the expression fication, or righteousness, which of their countenances ?
so receive of God's mercy John. Notwithstanding this and Christ's merits, embraced by variety, James, yet they are all faith, is taken, accepted, and al- human beings; and for the same lowed of God for our perfect and reason, that they may be physifüll justification. For the more cally considered as belonging to full understanding of which, it is
one class, so they may be morally. our part and duty ever to remem- In point of disposition, they may ber the great mercy of God, how, be all disaffected to God; and, in that (all the world being wrapped point of condition, they may be in sin by breaking of the law) God sent his only Son our Saviour * Homily on the Salvation of Mankind,
all under the sentence of con- time into his mother's womb, and demnation: and I feel no inclina- be born?'
Behold a lively pattion, nor, indeed, consistently tern of a fleshly and carnal man. with my views of truth, no power He had little or no intelligence of to depart from what I have already the Holy Ghost, and, therefore, said on that point, that “every he goes bluntly to work; and asks person born into this world de- how this thing were possible to be serves God's wrath and damna- true? whereas, otherwise, if he tion.” And, as I said before, had known the great power of the James, if you had a scriptural Holy Ghost in his behalf, that it view of this, you would see a suit- is he who inwardly worketh the reableness in the doctrine of justi- generation and new birth of mantication by faith alone, that would kind, he would never have marcommend itself to your judgment velled at Christ's words; but and conscience; and you would would rather take occasion thereby, be ready to join me in saying, that to praise and glorify God” the doctrine, “ we are justified by Such is the power of the Holy faith only, is a most wholesome Ghost to regenerate men; and, as doctrine, and very full of com- it were, to bring them forth
anew, fort; moreover, James, there is
so that they shall be nothing like another doctrine closely connected the men they were before. Neither with these, the value of which de- doth he think it sufficient, inwardly pends so much on a just view of to work the spiritual and new the condition of fallen man, that birth man, unless he also dwell while you have inadequate notions and abide in him. “ Know ye not,” of the one, you cannot duly ap- says St. Paul, “ that ye are the preciate the importance of the temple of God; and that his Spirit other.
dwelleth in you? Know ye not, Jumes. What is that?
that your bodies are the temples John. The doctrine of regene- of the Holy Ghost, which is ration.
within you?” Again he says, James. Regeneration! yes, I “ You are not in the flesh, but in know that there is a great talk the Spirit; for why? The Spirit of among you about this point; and God dwelleth in you.” To this that you entertain some mystical agrees the doctrine of St. John, notions on the subject quite fo- writing thus:
“ The anointing reign from the received opinion. I which ye have received (he means wonder you cannot be satisfied the Holy Ghost) dwelleth in you." with the sound doctrine of our And the doctrine of Peter says Church, and there let the matter the same, who has these words: rest.
“ The Spirit of glory and of God John. I am satisfied, James, resteth upon you.” O what comwith the sound doctrine of the fort is this to the heart of a true church on the subject; for which Christian, to think that the Holy - reason I cannot acquiesce in the Ghost dwelleth within him! If attempts that are made to inva- God be with us, as the Apostle lidate its truth. po When Christ says, who can be against us? said to Nicodemus, Except a James. Is this your doctrine, man be born of water and of the John? spirit, he cannot enter into the king- John. Certainly it is, James. dom of God, he was greatly James. If so, then I think amazed in his mind, and began to there is no occasion for us to proreason with Christ; demanding, ceed any farther. All intercourse How can a man be born when he is old, can he enter a second * Homily for Whitsunday.
between us must cease from this the everlasting purpose of God, time; for it is impossible that I whereby (before the foundations of can view your sentiments with any the world were laid) he hath conother feelings, than those of dis- stantly decreed by his counsel, gust and indignation. I have secret to us, to deliver from curse heard, from time to time, a good and damnation those whom he deal of methodistical cant; but I hath chosen in Christ out of mando not know that I ever had a kind; and to bring them, by Christ, more delicious specimen of it, than to everlasting salvation, as vessels that with which you have just fa- made to honour; wherefore they voured me. And now, John, as which are endued with so excellent I have neither leisure nor inclina- a benefit of God, are called, action to pursue this subject any cording to God's purpose, by his farther, there is but one point Spirit, working in due season ; upon which I wish to know your they, through grace, obey the callopinion; that I may fully make up ing; they are justified freely; they my mind about your present prin- are made sons of God by adopciples and religious character. tion; they are made like the image What do you think on the much- of his only begotten Son, Jesus disputed points of election and Christ; they walk religiously in predestination
good works; and at length, by John. These are points, James, God's mercy, they attain to everupon which I would wish to speak lasting felicity *.” under a deep sense of my inca
James. This, John, is quite pacity to do them justice; and, enough to enable me to form a debefore I state my views, I would cided judgment as to the nature of wish to make a preliminary ob- the doctrine which you have adoptservation or two. If you imagine ed; and leaves me no room to that the Scriptures furnish matter doubt of your being thoroughly for philosophical speculation on imbued with that pernicious system this question, you are under a against which the world so loudly mistake. Whatever is said upon it and so justly protests. is of a nature purely practical
,, John. You have not allowed and is intended to abate the pride 'me to finish what I had to say, of man, and to secure to God the James, or you would have seen, whole glory of every spiritual com- that I regard the subject pracmunication, and of every part of tically. There is a godly considerthe redemption of a sinner. This ation of this point, which has a object being accomplished, the beneficial operation; while proud word of God is silent as to any speculation about it is dangerous in thing else, and leaves the subject the extreme. Allow me, then, involved in impenetrable obscurity. James, to explain myself as folSo much of the veil is removed as lows: " As the godly consideration is suflicient for the purposes of of predestination and our election God; but nothing is disclosed to in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, gratify the vain curiosity of the and unspeakable comfort to godly speculative, or to afford a legiti- persons; and such as feel in themmate pretext for the controversies selves the working of the Spirit of of the polemical. Having said Christ, mortifying the works of so much to show you, that I think the flesh, and their earthly memthe point in question a very differ- bers; and drawing up their mind ent one from that of the fatalism of to high and heavenly things, as philosophy, I will now tell you well because it does greatly estawhat I think about it. « Predestination to life, I conceive to be
* Serenteenth Article.
blish and confirm their faith of peal to something in man, which is eternal salvation, to be enjoyed common to all men, which makes through Christ, as because it does him accountable; and which, if fervently kindle their love toward he prove finally disobedient, God: so for curious and carnal leaves him inexcusable. persons, lacking the spirit of James. That is, you hold two Christ, to have continually before contradictories to be true, in oppotheir eyes the sentence of God's sition to every sound principle. predestination is a most dangerous John. I deny them to be contradownfall, whereby the devil thrusts dictory, James; and though I them, either into desperation, or
should confess I have not the seinto wretchedness of most cret, by which their consistency is clean living, no less perilous than explained; that need not prevent desperation *."
me from acknowledging both to be James. Why you employ this true. When once I am satisfied uncouth phraseology in stating that the Bible is a divine revelayour sentiments, you have told me tion, my business is, with the . that I am to be informed hereafter; blessing of God, to ascertain the and I hope you may be able to ac- meaning of its contents, and to count for it in a satisfactory way; submit my understanding to its in the mean time, I can be at no communications. The proud realoss to understand your meaning. soner is repelled by those awful You hold, that the elect are to go words, “ Nay but, o man, who to heaven, because it is God's art thou that repliest against God?" pleasure that they should do so; while the humble learner is taught and that the reprobate are to be by Him“ who giveth to all men lidamned merely on the same ac- berally, and upbraideth not.” This
is a fair and practical view of the John. Let me go on, James, subject, and suficient for all good and finish my statement. “ I hold, purposes; and I therefore repeat that, we must receive God's pro- the words I finished with before; mises in such wise, as they are ge. namely, that “ we must receive nerally set forth to us in Holy God's promises, in such wise, as Scripture; and, in our doings, they are generally set forth to us in that will of God is to be followed, Holy Scripture; and, in our doings, which we have expressly declared that will of God is to be followed, to us in the word of Godt," which which we have expressly declared I think
may satisfy you, that I am to us in the word of God.” fully of opinion, that the general
James. I do not know why you invitations and promises of the should be so fond of expressing word of God will be made good to yourself in language which belongs every individual, who practically rather to the time in which our recurs to them, notwithstanding great-grandfathers lived, than to any thing on the subject of election, ours. But whatever may be your that may be found in that word: language, my objection to the I am equally persuaded that, in the whole of your scheme remains unplain meaning of the words, God altered. is desireth not the death of a sinner, John. Whose scheme, James ? but rather that he may turn from James. Your wild and fanatical his wickedness and live;” and that scheme, to be sure. “ Turn ye, turn ye,
John. And in whose language do for why will ye die ?” there is an ap- you think I have been delivering
my sentiments ? * Seventeenth Article.
James, I cannot tell.
when he says,
John. I have been quoting the have no doubt that, when I comie language of our church; and your to examine the documents which objections have been to her doc- you have produced, I shall find, trines; the
very doctrines, James, that they only seem to countenance that you have openly undertaken your opinious; I mean to return to publish and to maintain; the to the charge, and expect not only doctrines of her Articles and Ho- to recover any ground 1
lost, but coupletely to drive you James. If this be the fact, I out of the field. must only say, that you have not John. My earnest wish is, James, used me well. I told you that I that you should take the authohad only read the Articles once, rized standards of our church-her and that I had never read the Ho- Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy; milies; and you have taken advan- and try my doctrine by that test; tage of my ignorance to bring me and, if there be not a .strict cointo a dilemma. Had I known incidence between them, I am sawhat you were about, I should tisfied to be stigmatized as a herehave been more upon my guard, tic, or, if you please, a blasphemer. and have examined more closely But, before you go, James, I caninto the true sense of those expres- not refrain from giving you a causions, which I too hastily admit- tion; though, in doing so, I may ted to bear the meaning you run the risk of increasing your diswished.
pleasure against me. Remember, John. But did I put any sense I beg of you, that the question beof my own upon them? Did I do tween us is not of a speculative naany thing but leave them to speak ture; on the contrary, that it is for themselves; and had you any practical in the truest sense, and, difficulty in understanding them? above all others, important. Should
James. I admit this. But, if I you be able to silence or confute had taken time to consider, I me, the inquiry, “ What is truth?” should hāve been in some cases
would still return upon you: inasable to show you, that the real much as it would remain to be sense of the words was quite con- ascertained, whether you are right trary to its obvious one; and, in in your own views of the subject. others, that certain qualifying I own, James, that I fear you are terms altered the whole character going to exert your ingenuity in By this means,
putting a new sense upon words, you would not have been able to which you received in their obvious accomplish your object, and lead and literal import, as long as you me into unguarded concessions. saw no reason for giving them an
John. But my object, James, unnatural meaning. was to show you, that the obvious supposed the language I employed sense of the Articles and Homilies, was my own, though you thought is the sense in which those whom the phraseology affected, yet you you term the Evangelical Clergy, had no difficulty in perceiving, that understand them. And that ob- the sentiments it conveyed were ject is gained; because you rea- decidedly opposed to your own; soned against the authorities which and you proceed to combat them I produced, while you thought the without hesitation; but now that I language mine, as containing a have told you, that the language
I doctrine decidedly opposed to your made use of was identically that
which our church has chosen to James. You have, I confess, employ for the purpose of expressfor the present, gained an advan- ing her own sentiments on these tage over me by surprize; but as I subjects, you are driven to the ex
of the passage.