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subject matter of your laf Paftoral Letter, I think it my duty to answer in the best manner I can.
Your Lordship is highly to be comniended, for the care you have taken in watching over the souls of those, who are committed to your Lordship’s charge. Lukewarmness and enthusiasm, are the two rocks against which even well-meaning people are in danger of splitting. All ought to be thank ful to that pilot, who will teach them to steer a safe and middle course. I would gladly hope, that " à żeal for God in the discharge of your duty, and a hearty concern for the safety of fouls," moved your Lordship to write. These are the principles, I trust, which now excite me, to direct this answer to your Lordship. And, blessed be God, that I can write with somewhat of that love and meekness, which bea comes a disciple of Jesus CHRIST, and with all that humis lity and reverence, which is due from a presbyter to a bishop of the church of GOD.
Lukewarmness and enthusiasm, my Lord, are certainly the bane of true christianity. I thank your Lordship again for your kind cautions against them. The only query is, “ Whether there was any occasion for your Lord thip’s warning the people of your diocese, against running into either of these extremes, upon account of any thing, I have either spoken or written ?” Your Lordship thinks there was, and quotes passages out of my Journal to prove it; if it can be proved, I will ask public pardon, both of your Lordship and them, with all my heart.
As for your Lordship’s cautions against lukewarmness, I am not much concerned in them. You do not seem to point at me in particular; unless it is, where your Lordship (pag. 10.) informs your people, “ That a diligent attendance on the, duties of the station wherein Providence has placed them, is, in the ftrictest sense, the serving of God.” None but those, who condemn me unheard, can justly charge me with affirming to
However, I beg leave to observe, that your Lordship, (p. 8.) calls that a very imperfect state of chriftianity, which is no fate of christianity at all. St. Paul, writing to the Coo rinthians, 2 Cor. chap. xiii. ver. 5, says, “ Examine yourfelves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your ownselves.” And that they might have a certain rule, whereby to judge whether they were in the faith, truly so called, or not; he immediately adds, “ Know ye not your ownselves, how that CHRIST Jesus is in you, except ye be reprobates?” So that, according to St. Paul's rule, “He that finds, he has hitherto contented himfelf with a bare bodily attendance upon the public worship of God, and with following his daily employment on other days, and with abstaining from the more gross and notorious acts of fin, and from doing any hurt or injury to his neighbour, and has rested finally upon thefe, as the whole of what christianity requires of him ;” is so far from þeing in a very imperfect state, as your Lordship is pleased to affirm, pag. 8. that he is in no state of christianity at all. No, my Lord, he is a reprobate, or, one who at present is out of a state of salvation, nor can he ever have any assurance that he is in a state of falvation, till he knows that Jesus Christ is in him, by the indwelling of his Holy Spirit. If I bave mistaken your Lordship's expression, I will freely beg your Lordship’s pardon.
Another thing, my Lord, to me seems darkly expressed, in pag. 18. (let not your Lordship be angry, for indeed I will endeavour to speak with all gentleness and humility) : your Lordship’s words are these: “ Nor need they any other evidence besides those good dispositions they find in their hearts, that the Holy Spirit of God co-operates with their honeft endeavours to subdue fin and grow in goodness.” If by good dispositions, your Lordship only means good inclinations of desires, I deny that to be a sufficient evidence, that the Spitit of God co-operates with their honest endeavours to subdue fin and grow in goodness. For there is a great difference between good desires and good habits : many have one, who never attain the other. Many have good desires to subdue fing and yet, resting in those good desires, sin has always had dominion over them. A person fick of a fever may desire to be in health, but that desire is not health itself. In like manner, many have good dispositions, or desires to be good, but that is not goodness itself. And consequently men need more evidence than good dispositions, to prove to themselves or others, " that the Holy Spirit of God co-operates with their honest endeavours to subdue fin.” If by good dispositions, your Lordship means good habits wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God, such as peace, love, joy, long-suffering, goodness, truth, &c. I then agree a man needs no other evidence : for these are the proper and genuine fruits of the Spirit itself.
Your Lordship immediately adds, “. Nor thats perfevering in their course, and praying to God for his assistance, and relying upon the merits of CHRIST for the pardon of all such fins, failings, and imperfections, as are more or less unavoida able in this mortal fate.” I beg leave to ask your Lordship, whether this does not savour too niuch of the common divinity; That we are to do something for ourselves : or, in other words, that we have partly a righteousness of our own, and that Jesus Christ is to make up the deficiencies of that tighteousness? What else can your Lordship mean, by faying; That we must rely on the merits of CHRIST for the pardon of “ all such fins as are more or less unavoidable in this mortal state?” Did Jesus CHRIST coine into the world, my Lord, only to save us from the guilt of such fins, as are more or less unavoidable in this mortal state? The scriptures every where affirm, that man hath no righteousness of his Own, “ That there is none righteous, no not one ;--that all our righteousness is as filthy rags;" and that Jesus CHRIST died, not only to save us from the guilt of all such fins, failings, and infirmities, as are more or less unavoidable in this mortal state, but from all wilful fins, and also from that original corruption, which every man naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam, brings into the world with him. I hope I have not misunderstood, or overstrained your Lordship's expression.
I come now to your Lordship’s caution against enthufia[m. For that, I suppose, your Lordship intended more particularly against me.
And here, my Lord, I beg leave to observe, That, in my opinion, your Lordship has by no means been clear enough in your
definition of the word enthusiasm. According to the fair rules of writing, was it not first incumbent on your Lordship to Thew, that the word enthusias had a good as well as a bad meaning: that it fignifies no more than a person in God, and consequently every christian, in the proper sense of the word, is an enthufiaft? For St. Peter writes, “ That to us are given exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.”
And our church says, 66 If we receive the sacrament worthily, we are one with CHRIST, and CHRIST with us : we dwell in CHRIST, and Christ in us." For which the has fufficient warrant from our LORD's prayer, John xvii. 20, &c. “ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which fhall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, I in them, and they in me, that they may be made perfect in one : that the love wherewith thou haft loved me, may be in them, and I in them."
But indeed your Lordship's definition of enthusiasm, when examined, does not convey any ill idea at all. thufiasm, is a strong persuasion on the mind, that they are guided in an extraordinary manner, by immediate impulses