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who was three days in the pangs of the new-birth. I had but one retreat left; viz. "Thus, I grant, God wrought in the first ages of Christianity; but the times are changed. What reason have I to believe, He works in the same manner now ?”
“But on Sunday 22, I was beat out of this retreat too, by the concurring evidence of several living witnesses, who testified God had thus wrought in themselves : giving them in a moment, such a faith in the blood of his Son, as translated them out of darkness into light, out of sin and fear into holiness and happiness. Here ended my disputing. I could now only cry out, “Lord, help thou my unbelief.” -The remaining part of this section, with the third and fourth, eontain my own words; to which I still subscribe.
And if there is a mistake in the fifth, it is not material.
19. [6.] It is true that “on Wednesday, July 12, the Count spoke to this effect:
1. Justification is the forgiveness of sins :
6. 'But others may know he is justified, by his power over sin, by his seriousness, his love of the brethren, and his hunger and thirst after righteousness, which alone proves the spiritual life to be begun.
7. To be justified is the same thing as to be born of God: when a man is awakened, he is begotten of God, and his fear, and sorrow, and sense of the wrath of God, are the pangs of the new-birth."
20. It is true also, that I then recollected what Peter Bohler had often said on this head, which was to this effect :
1. When a man has living faith in Christ, then he is justified :
6. Which deliverance from sin he cannot have without knowing that he has it.
21. I did not apprehend it possible, for any man living to have imagined, that I believed both these accounts, the words whereof I had purposely so ranged and divided into short sentences, that the gross, irreconcileable difference between them might be plain to the meanest reader. I cannot therefore but be a little surprised at the strength of that prejudice, which could prevent any one's seeing, that in opposition to the Count's opinion, (which, in many respects, I wholly disapproved of) I quoted the words of one of his own church, which, if true, overturn it altogether.
22. I have nothing to object to the quotations made in the seventh, eighth, and ninth Sections. In the tenth are these words: “Now since Mr. Wesley went so far, to gather such materials together, leg
us see what was the system (or rather the medley) of principles he had to return with to England.
Of the Assurance of Justification, I believe that conversion is an instantaneous work. And that the moment a man is converted, or has living faith in Christ, he is justifified. Which faith a man cannot bave, without knowing that he hath it.
Yet I believe he may not know that he is justified, (i. e. that he has living faith) 'till a long time after.
I believe, also, that the moment a man is justified, he has peace with God.
Which he cannot have without knowing that he has it.
Yet I believe he may not know that he is justified, (i. e. that he has peace with God) 'till a long time after.
I believe when a man is justified, he is born of God.
Yet I believe he may not know that he is justified, (i. e. delivered from sin) till a long time after. Though I believe that others may know that he is justified by his power over sin, his seriousness, and love of the brethren.
23. “Of the Conditions of Justification. I believe that Christ formed in us subordinately to Christ given for us, (i. e. our own inherent Righteousness subordinate to Christ's Merits) ought to be insisted upon, as necessary to our Justification.
And it is just and right that a man should be humble and penitent, and have a broken and contrite heart (i. e. should have Christ formed in him) before he can expect to be justified.
And that this penitence and contrition is the work of the Holy Ghost.”
“ Yet I believe that all this is nothing towards, and has no influence on our Justification.
Again, I believe that in order to Justification, I must go straight to Christ with all my ungodliness, and plead nothing else.
Yet I believe that we should not insist upon anything we do or feet as it were necessarily previous to Justification."
24. “Of the Effects of Justification. I believe that Justification is the same thing as to be born of God. Yet a man may have a strong assurance that he is justified, and not be able to affirm, that he is born of God.
A man may be fully assured that his sins are forgiven, yet may not be able to tell the hour or day when he received this full assurance, because it may grow up in him by degrees. — Though he can remember, that from the time this full assurance was confirmed in him, he never lost it, no, not for a moment.
A man may have a weak faith at the same time that he hath peace with God, not one uneasy thought; and freedom from sin, not one unholy desire."
“A man may be justified (i. e. born of God) who has not a clean hcart (i. e. is not sanctified.)
He may be justified (i. e. born of God) and not have the indwelling of the Spirit.”
25. I entirely agree, “That the foregoing creed is a very extraordinary and odd composition.” But it is not mine. I neither composed it, nor believe it: as I doubt not every impartial reader will be fully convinced, when we shall have gone over it, once more step by step.
The parts which I do believe I shall barely repeat: on the others it will be needful to add a few words.
Of the Assurance of Justification. “I
believe that conversion (meaning thereby Justification) is an instantaneous work; and that the moment a man has living faith in Christ, he is converted or justified. (So the proposition must be expressed to make it sense.) Which faith he cannot have, without knowing that he has it."
“Yet I believe, he may not know that he has it till long after.” This I deny: I believe no such thing.
“I believe the moment a man is justified, he hath peace with God: " Which he cannot have, without knowing that he has it.”
“Yet I believe, he may not know that he has it till long after." This again I deny. I believe it not. Nor Michael Linner neither. To clear whom entirely, one need only read his own words.
“ About fourteen years ago, I was more than ever convinced, that I was wholly different from what God required me to be. Iconsulted his word again and again; but it spoke nothing but condemna. tion ; till at last I could not read, nor indeed do any thing else, having no hope and no spirit left in me. I had been in this state for several days, when being musing by myself, those words came strongly into my mind, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end that all who believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' I thought, all? Then I am one. Then he is given for me. But I am a sinner. And he came to save sinners. immediately my burden dropped off, and my heart was at rest.
“But the full assurance of faith I had not yet, nor for the two years I continued in Moravia. When I was driven out thence by the Jesuits, I retired hither, and was, soon after, received into the church. And here, after some time, it pleased our Lord to manifest himself more clearly to my soul; and give me that full sense of my acceptance in him, wbich excludes all doubt and fear.
“ Indeed the leadings of the Spirit are different in different souls. His more usual method, I believe, is to give in one and the same moment, forgiveness of sins, and a full assurance of that forgiveness, Yet in many he works as he did in me: giving first the remission of sins, and, after some weeks, or months, or years, the full assurance of it."
All I need observe is, that the first sense of forgiveness is often mixed with doubt or fear, as the very term implies.
Therefore, instead of “he may not know that he has peace with
God till long after," it should be, (to agree with Michael Linner: words,) "he may not have, till long after, that full assurance of faith, which excludes all doubt and fear."
“I believe, to be justified is the same as to be born of God. “ And he that is born of God, sinneth not.
“Which deliverance from sin he cannot have, without knowing that he has it.”
“ Yet I believe he may not know it till long after.” This also I utterly deny.
26. Of the Conditions of Justification. 1.“I believe that Christ formed in us, ought to be insisted on, as necessary to our justification.”
I no more believe this, than Christian David does, whose words concerning it are these :
“ It pleased God to show me, that Christ in us, and Christ for us, ought to be both insisted on :"
But I clearly saw we ought not to insist on any thing we feel, any more than any thing we do, as if it were necessarily previous to our justification.
“And before a man can expect to be justified, he should be humble and penitent, and have a broken and contrite heart; that is, should have Christ formed in him.” No; that is quite another thing. I believe every man is penitent, before he is justified: he repents, before he believes the gospel. But it is never before he is justified that Christ is formed in him.
“And that this penitence and contrition is the work of the Holy Ghost.”
“Yet I believe that all this is nothing towards, and has no influence on our justification."
Christian David's words are, “Observe, this is not the foundation. It is not this by which (for the sake of which) you are justified. This is not the righteousness, this is no part of the righteousness, by which you are reconciled to. God. You grieve for your sins. You are deeply humbled. Your heart is broken. Well: but all this is nothing to your justification.” The words immediately following fix the sense of this otherwise exceptionable sentence; “ The remission of your sins is not owing to this cause, either in whole or in part. Your humiliation has no influence on that.” Not as a cause; so the very last words explain it.
• Again, I believe, that in order to obtain justification, I must go straight to Christ, with all my ungodliness, and plead nothing else."
“ Yet I believe, we should not insist upon any thing we do or feel, as if it were necessarily previous to justification.” No, nor any thing else. So the whole tenor of Christian David's words implies.
Of the Effects of Justification. 27. “I believe a man may have a strong assurance he is justified, and not be able to affirm he is a child of God.”
Feder's words are these ; “I found my heart at rest, in good hope
that my sins were forgiven; of which I had a strong assurance sis weeks after." True, comparatively stronger, though still mixed with doubt and fear. “ But I dare not affirm I am a child of God.” I see no inconsistency in all this. Many such instances I know at this day. I myself was one for some time.
« A man may be fully assured that his sins are forgiven, yet may not be able to tell the day when he received this full assurance ; because it grew up in him.” (Of this also I know a few other instances.) “But from the time this full assurance was confirmed in him, he never lost it.” Very true, and, I think, consistent.
Neusser's own words are, “In him I found true rest to my soul, being fully assured, that all my sins were forgiven. Yet I cannot tell the hour or day, when I first received that full assurance. For it was not given me at first, neither at once ;" (not in its fulness) “ but grew up in me by degrees. And from the time it was confirm. ed in me, I have never lost it, having never since doubted, no, not for a moment."
“A man may have a weak faith, at the same time that he has peace with God, and no unholy desires.
“ A man may be justified, who has not a clean heart.”
28. [11.] Not in the full sense of the word. This I do verily believe is sound divinity, agreeable both to Scripture and experience. And I believe it is consistent with itself. As to the “hundred other absurdities which might be fully and fairly made out," it will be time enough to consider them when they are produced.
29. [12, 13.) But whether I have succeeded in attempting to reconcile these things or not, I verily think Mr. Tucker has. I desire not a more consistent account of my principles, than he has himselt given in the following words :
“Our spiritual state should be considered, and distinctly, under each of these views.
1. “Before justification ; in which state we may be said to be unable to do any thing acceptable to God: because then we can do nothing but come to Christ : which ought not to be considered as doing any thing, but as supplicating (or waiting) to receive a power of doing for the time to come.”
« For the preventing grace of God, wbich is common to all, is sufficient to bring us to Christ; though it is not sufficient to carry us any further, till we are justified.”
2. “ After Justification. The moment a man comes to Christ (by faith) he is justified, and born again ; that is, he is born again in the imperfect sense (for there are two [if not more) degrees of regeneration.) And he has power over all the stirrings and motions of sin, but not a total freedom from them. Therefore he hath not yet, in the full and proper sense, a new and clean heart.
But being exposed to various temptations, he may, and will fall again from this condition, if he doth not attain to a more excellent gift.”*
* "Mr. Charles Wesley, (the note says,) was not persuaded of the truth of the Moravian faith, till some time after his brother's return from Germany." There is a