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long stigmatized as no Christians, as mere Pagans. For. you allow (what you could not deny without denying the clearest voice of Scripture,) that Christians are workers together with Christ. This is all we desire, and hope we shall hear no more of Christ's not needing our filthy rags, a metaphor hitherto very ill applicd to our doctrine. You allow repentance towards God or the practice of virtue and piety commanded in his word, to be a condition of redemption, salvation or justification, as essential as faith in God, as indeed you must unless you would contradict the plainest passages of scripture.
And now, Sir, what is tlie difference betwixt us on å subject on which we have hitherto seemed irreconciles able? Surely a mere verbal one! Methodists say “ Sal. vation is in scripture ascribed to Faith alone.” The established Clergy allow the sanity of the expression so explained as to be consistent with the rest of scripture, viz. "Man's obedience is so imperfect that he has no natural claim to eternal happiness in recompence of it, but even when assisted by God's Holy Spirit, must rely on or have fuith in God's mercy to accept his sincere endeavours, and give him eternal happiness.” They add, “ the phrase Salvation gained by faith alone,” is very liable to be misunderstood, as meaning that a man's persuusion of his being a favoúrite of God, and of feeling his spirit in his heart, is an ASSURANCE of his being so; and may therefore be very pernicious to him, as insensibly leading him to a negligence and contempt of all moral and christian virtue. Since, therefore, the phrasę occurs no where in scripture, and is so dangerous, the Methodists must excuse the church of England's clergy if they are afraid of using it.
You in the next place, Sir, ask the following questions, “ Are you any betier for Christ? Have you received the “ benefit of his death? Are you reconciled unto God, “ and God unto you thereby? Do you KNOW that God “ is a tender, loving, and compassionate Father by your “ own exp.RIENCE? Say not,” add you, “I hope so,
but answer in the negative or affirmative. Know this “ that (aş our Homilies say) an unapplied Christ is no “ Christ.”
Now, Sir, in answer to all this I say, “every man in proportion to his warmth of fancy and ignorance of spiritual things is disposed to take any faint dawnings of light and life in his understanding and heart, for a certain ex
. perience of God's being a tender, loving, and compassionate Father. The more wise any man is, the more humble and afraid of determining too favourably of these inward emotions will he be. An unapplied Christ is, as to in. ward comfort here, no Christ. “But Christ' may be here-after a true Saviour to those whose humble piety here dares not absolutely apply him as such.'
The 16th verse of the eighth chapter to the Romans, may very naturally receive the following explication, viz. When our spirit (or conscience] beareth witness with, [or agrees with the spirit of God, (or the declarations of the spirit of God in the scriptures ; ] that we are the children of God for religious men;] or in other words, " when our conscience informs us that our life is agreeable to the Tule of God's word, we know we shall have the gift promised by God." . This is an excellent general rule, and of the greatest importance; but the application of it in particular cases requires the greatest care., and is often highly improper. Look Sir, at what is said at the end of this very chape ter about Hope, and you will be ashamed of denying it. St. Paul, who had extraordinary gifts for his extraordinary ministry, and whose life upon his conversion to christianity was astonishingly changed, might without just imputation of vanity, speak of the life which Christ lived in him as he does in his Epistle to the Galat. ch. ii. v. 20, though christians in general cannot.
Thus when St. John (1 Epist. iii. 24, and chap. iv. 13,) speaks of KNOWING ihat Christ dwells and abides in christians, an intention to extend this KNOWLEDGE to all christians of all ages is far from evident; or if such intention were most evident, this knowledge is plainly founded on the KNOWLEDGE of love of the brethren which he wisely makes the sum of christianity. The stream can rise no higher than the source. If then it is possible, nay, much more than possible, that a man may mistake in judging of his own love of the brethren, he may just in the same proportion mistake in judging of Christ's dwelling in him. In short, St. John plainly builds not on a sensible experience of God's inspiration, but a rational deduction from a moral knowledge of the heart which may deceive, or God's word must be false.
There is no appearance, Sir, that we ought to understand the scripture phrase of “ having the son of God," of havo ing a sensible assurance that we are filled with God's spirit; DO
rkened, whd blindness World.? Now gh ignon by the goveject the company of You
the whole scope of St. Jobn's discourse, where the phrase occurs, being simply to shew that “ Christ only gives eternal life," a doctrine which the clergy of the established church as heartily assent to as Methodists can, D.;','s
You refer ns, Sir, 1o Ephes. iv., 18, and Corinth. iv. 4, for the condition of those who do not subscribe to your doctrine. We have indeed there sad pictures of men.“ whose understandings are darkened, who are alienated from the love of God through ignorance and blindness of heart; and whose minds are blinded by the god of this world. But they are drawn for Gentiles who reject the gospel.' Now in the name of charity, Sir, what can I think of you and your doctrine? You apply St. Paul's words spoken of Gentiles rejecting the gospel, to men professing them„selves teachers in an established and one of the first reformed churches of Christianity, merely because they dare not say “we are absolutely, assured that we are the children of God; that God's spirit dwells in us;" but on the contrary “we humbly hope, we do God's will, though imperfectly, yet so sincerely, that God will graciously give us eternal life, if we persevere, but we are piously afraid of making the flights of imagination and illusions of devilish spiritual pride for illapses and raptures of God's holy
You proceed, Sir, in the strain which follows; “know this that no scripture is of private interpretation ; neither respects particular persons, time, or place, but is equally applicable to us as to other Gentiles." · The passage of St. Peter (see his ad Epistle, ch. i. v. 20;) here manifestly alluded to, plainly speaks of prophecy in the strict sense of the word, " foretelling of future events," and, according to all the rules of criticism, only means that the Spirit of God which inspired the Prophets, asşişts Christians in explaining them. · But you, Sir, very unfairly in the first place take “ Prophecy” for “. Scripture at large," and in the next place," natural unassisted interpretation, for “ application to particular persons,
that innumerable passages of Scripture are necessarily to be restrained to particular persons, places, and times, Your application of the above passages from the Epistles to the Ephesians and Corinthians, is indeed extraordinary, You suppose them equally applicable, to Gentiles who reject the Gospel, and those whose forefathers above a thousand years ago having received the Gospel them.
-selves, continue to profess and believe it, explained ac-cording to the best lights of reason and criticism, with humble reliance on the Spirit of God for necessary assistance.
· You cite, Sir, 1 Epist. Tim. ch. i. v. 16. Now because God was graciously pleased to make St. Paul an example of his extraordinary grace in converting sinners, must we conclude that every thing which is said of St. Paul or other Apostles is to hold strictly true of all succeeding Christians ? The two texts you refer to, Sir, as proofs of God's Spirit in mens' hearts, crying Abba, (viz. Galat. iv. 6, and Rom. viii. 15,) prove that without the assistance of God's Spirit the Jews could not overcome a superstitious reverence to the ceremonies of their law, and sembrace the law of Christianity, whose service is perfect -freedom, and which teaches men to act with the spirit of filial reverence, but not our ability to distinguish operations of God's Spirit on our minds from suggestions of our reason or fancy, so as to entitle us to say with absolute certainty, “we are God's favourites.” ...You tell us, Sir, the sum of all is “except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” Matt. xviii. v. 3, or
"excepl:a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God," John iii. 3. This we as readily grant as you can desire; also“ that no wise man and true Christian trusts to outward acts of moral virtue. Almsgiving, &e. without a pious motive, are of no worth in God's sight;" also“ that a speculative, historical faith in the scriptures, is insufficient to salvation.”.
You proceed, Sir, to cite St. Paul's definition of faith, (Heb. xi. 1,) viz. "the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen." These two phrases express the same thing. The former is plainly figurative to set forth the strength and certainty of faith. When, therefore, you say, Sir, that you should be glad to know what is the substance which' Mr. D- enjoys by his faith, you talk with great impropriety. For no reasonable person can suppose that Earth is Heaven, or that we can enjoy here what is reserved for hereafter. (See what is said of Hope in the visith of the Romans). To be assured that God will give Heaven to sincere though imperfect obedience, and humbly to hope that our obedience is such, is the greatest comfort which this state admits of. You will not, Sir, on reflection, expect that I should put
your citation from the hymn called Te Deum, on a footing with scripture, or admit your interpretation of it different from that usually received without any reason..
You say, Sir, “ the moment you have living faith, you shall feel the weight of sin taken away, and the love of God shed abroad in your heart, &c. You shall KNOW it as certainly as that you EXIST." Now the phrase of “God's love shed abroad in our hearts," may mean the comfort arising from God's Spirit operating on our minds. But what then? Because God may sometimes give this comfort, must we conclude that he always will? Do not passages of scripture which speak of “working out our salvation with fear and trembling," and " taking heed lest we fall when we think we stand," and such like, plainly suppose these spiritual comforts not always the reward here of a living faith? Truth says that “ perfect love casteth out fear.” But truth says not that we cannot mistake a very imperfect love for a perfect one. Unless then, Sir, you would teach us to distinguish with certainty the illusions of folly, ignorance, and pride, from the operations of God's Spirit, it becomes not any Christian to talk of a certainty of favour with God, equal to that of his existence.
You seem, Sir, apprehensive of an objection ; viz. "* Inspiration ceased with the apostles: and this is an enlightened age, as we have the bibles in our houses; so that we have no need of these extraordinory gifts.” To this you answer, “ Ah! verily! without the gift of the Holy Ghost your light is darkness, and Christianity, heathenism."-Assertions prove nothing. You proceed, however; “ Though you have got all the learning in the world, you shall not be able to discover one spiritual idea without this Spirit;" and refer us to 1 Cor. ii. 14.-Now we are ready to grant that God's Spirit assists us in all matters of religion. But the questions betwixt you and us are, in what degree God's “ Spirit assists us," and “ whether or no the operations of God's Spirit on the human mind can be certainly distinguished from those of nature???-Now besides former arguments for the negative, this appears unanswerable, viz. “the affirmative implies that scripture is of little or no use. Such inspiraţion as enables us to judge of our religious state by our feelings, seems plainly to supersede the necessity, nay the use of scripture.” According to your tenet, men cannot distinguish one spiritual idea, i, e. cannot under