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my head, and my flesh upon my bones; to see persons, so destitute of the common ideas of a work of grace, make such havock with sacred matters, and publish such confusion to the church and the world!
Quot. "This is the will of God, even your sanctification." "Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit."
Answ. But how can a man be holy who is a captive to sin, and destitute of power? And how can he be fruitful who never was made partaker of the fruits? All the applications in this 64th page are made to the gentle reader, who is under the iron yoke of bondage, and has no power to throw it off.
Quot. Should these pages fall into the hands of a professor of religion, who can hear of Christ, and talk much about Christ, and the riches of his grace, and the wonders of his salvation; and yet is careless and indifferent whether he, as an individual, is made partaker of the riches of that grace, and the wonders of that salvation, by the power of the Spirit of God, &c. &c.
Answ. If these pages should fall into the hands of such a professor, he will not condemn this book, nor will this book condemn him; for there is no more rich grace, and wondrous salvation, in this book, nor described by the authors of it, than such a professor has got in him. The one is a drum, the other a tinkling cymbal, and nothing but emptiness in either. Besides, where is
the difference between the graceless professor last described, and the gentle reader to whom the blessings were applied? The former is a captive to sin, the latter destitute of grace; the former has no power to cast off the iron yoke; the latter is without the wonders of salvation. Here is no more difference between the former saint, and the latter hypocrite, than between my two eyes: they are both under the power of the devil; only one is sinking like Judas, and the other comforting himself like Esau.
Quot. Who can live loosely, and allow himself in sinful dispositions, and sinful practices, under the idea that there is no law, and consequently no sin to a believer.
Answ. It were well if all authors had dispositions and practices agreeable to their best words. How well Maria lives up to this I shall leave to God and her own conscience, who know what she is in works from what she seems by words; nor shall I ever wish to copy after her; for then, indeed, I should be an antinomian both in heart and practice, But this I insist upon, that, if the law is the believer's rule of life, by which he is. to live and conduct himself; and that he is under the precept of it, to obey it; and that all that is amiss in him, or done amiss by him, is to be laid to that rule, as the only rule of right and wrong, or the only rule to shew what is sin; and by that rule he is to be punished for sin, sin being the transgression of no other law but that, according to this
book; then I say that Christ profits nothing; that the active and passive obedience of the Saviour is a mere phantom; the former not delivering the saint from the yoke of the precept, nor the latter from the sentence.
And that the believer differs nothing from a sinner who is dead in sin; for the law is no more than such a rule to him; it has no more than a precept and a sentence for him; it is no more than a rule of life or a rule of conduct, which you please, to him.
But, if our opponents reply, The believer is under the law to Christ, I answer, so are all sinners; all in the flesh are under the law. But, if you say, Not under the law to Christ, I answer, they are all under the law, and all are accountable to Christ. We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. I know of no other judge. The blessing and the curse will be pronounced by Christ, as the only judge of quick and dead,
And, if the law be all this, let our opponents shew us how the law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works in any sense; or whether it ever can differ from a covenant of works, seeing God doth not, will not, minister the Spirit by it, or by the works of it.
For, if it be not a covenant of works, how can the reward be reckoned of debt to him that works?
And if it be not a covenant of works, but a law of love, to the believer; then I ask how a saint can
go from the enjoyment of his liberty, from the profits of Christ, and be entangled with it as a yoke of bondage, only by seeking perfection by it?
And, if the law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works, how it can be called a law? and whence its authority to govern, convince, and punish the believer, can be derived? For, if it has ceased to exist, who stood by at its exit, and saved the life of its authority?
And, if the system of faith be not a rule of right and wrong, according to this book, how it can be called a law? And how a believer can be said to receive grace for obedience thereto? And how a man that hears it can be damned for his infidelity, or disobedience to the gospel?
And, if it be no rule to convince, and to inflict chastisements on a believer; how God, as a gracious father, not as an angry judge, in covenant love, not in the wrath of the law, can visit the sins of his children with a rod, and their iniquities with scourges, for transgressing this life-giving commandment; and yet not take the promised life of this commandment, nor lovingkindness, the bond of this covenant, from them?
Or, if he proceeds against them according to your rule, and the believer be under that rule; which way God can appear just, and they escape eternal fire? The decalogue says nothing about salvation by grace.
And, if heart-holiness, in reality, be the thing
you enforce and contend for, how came you to be so ignorant of its nature and operation as not to be able to give a description of one branch of it, consistent either with scripture or experience?
Do not you say faith is created in us; and then assert that this creature works heart-holiness in us, which is the Holy Ghost?
Does the Spirit create faith? If so, is not faith a creature? And does this creature, then, work the Creator in the sinner's heart?
Can any wise or sober man think that any thing like holiness had ever operated on a person that gives such a scandalous description of it?
And, if you are for good works indeed and in truth, how came you to traduce those who are fruitful, and walk in them, when yourselves, by ocular demonstration, are altogether barren in this respect?
And, if you can justly charge the antinomian you traduce with as many evils in ten years, as your own conscience can lay to your charge in ten weeks, why do you not publish his evil deeds to the world?
And, if there be any one doctrine advanced in all this piece, that is not plainly contradicted in another part, let the authors shew me what that doctrine is, and where it stands, and I will, if God permit, prove that it is so.
And, if this is not vain jangling, let them send me word what the apostle means by those words. Quot. "Verily, verily," says the Son of God