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Before we conclude this letter, it may be proper to take notice of another passage in Mr. Marshal's treatise; where, after several remarks concerning selfexamination, he adds these words: "You need not "trouble yourself to find out a multitude of marks and "signs of true grace; if you can find a few good ones. "Particularly, you may know, that you are passed front"death to life, if you love the brethren: that is, if you "love all whom you can in charity judge to be true "believers, and for the truth's sake that dwelleth in "them." This passage Mr. Bellamy censures in the following words: "Your few good ones are all coun"terfeit, if alone, separate from cither good ones. For "the true saint receives every grace from Christ, JohA "i. 16. Nor did Christ mean to single out a few in "his sermon; but to give a brief summary of the whole "Christian life. And he that heareth these saying of "mine and doth them,—not a few of them,—but doth "them one and all. If there is not all, there is none."
On these words we may observe, that they imply a charge against Mr. Marshal, as if he taught, that a person might have one of the genuine, saving graces of the Spirit, without the rest. But this is a supposition directly contrary to the scope of his whole treatise, which is to shew, that we are by faith to receive a new holy frame of soul, which includes all the graces of the Spirit, out of the fulness of Christ; and that all spiritual life and holiness continue, grow, or decay in us, according as faith continueth, groweth or decayeth in vigour. Because Mr. Marshal intimates that a true believer does not always discern every grace of the Spirit in himself and his doing all the sayings of Christ, as marks or signs of true grace; it will not follow, that he ever meant to teach, that a true believer is destitute of any of ttie graces of the Spirit, or allows himself in the neglect of any of the sayings of Christ. For -while our sanctification is imperfect, it wiii still be one tiling to have in reality the graces of the Spirit and a universal regard to the sayings of Christ; a,id another thing Id be sensible of these attainments, and able to reflect upon them and discern them as certain marks of grace. The actings of one grace in a Christian may be more distinct and sensible, than those of another grace. Hence the scripture represents particular saints as excelling, some in one grace, some in another; Moses in meekness, Job in patience, and so forth. This seems to be the case, in some measure, with every Christian. Now, if there be any one particular gracious exercise which is more distinct than another, more sensible, and more easily traced to an unfeigned faith as its. principle; why may not this be allowed to be a sufficient mark of a saving interest in Christ, even when the other graces of the Spirit may be much out of sight; provided always that the supposed exercise is attended with an abiding concern to have the exercise of all the other graces of the Spirit?
This way of speaking is not peculiar to Mr. Marshal. "If you can find but one mark," says a valuable writer, " you may draw a favourable conclusion. Should "you have reason to conclude, that you love the bre"thren, that you love them for the image of, Christ in "them, you need not hesitate about your state: for this "love is the exercise or. going out of that grace which "God has implanted, Sometimes one mark appears "visible and sometimes another. If you have but onei "be thankful, and give God all the glory*."
* See the xxvith of Kke and Hayward'g Cases of Conscience.* LETTER IX.
On the faith of the Go*pd, as necessary to reconcile our heart to the law.
Mr. MARSHAL and those who teach the same doctrine are represented by Mr. Bellamy as " denying, "that the law of God was holy, just and good antece"dently to the gift of Christ; or that it must appear "such to every one whose eyes are opened to see it as "it is." ILnce Mr. Bellamy calls his opponents a Antinomians of the devouter sort, who profess the a assurance of the love of God, and at the samB time "appear the most avowed enemies of the law of God." He represents them as teaching, that if God were to deal with men according to the tenor of his law, he would " act the part of a tyrant; that it is proper for a him, not for sinners, to repent; that he ought to lay a aside his law as unreasonable, sinful, wicked and "tyrannical*." ,
Heavier charges could not have been brought against the grossest heresy that ever infested the Christian church, than these which Mr. Bellamy brings against the doctrine of Mr. Marshal, Mr. Boston and Mr. HerVey. The passage in Mr. Marshal's treatise, which is principally insisted on as the ground of these charges, is the following. "Slavish fear," says he, " may ex-, "tort some slavish, hypocritical performances from us, ft such as that of Pharoah in letting the Israelites go,
• Mr. Bellamy's DiaL p. 11, 12, 13, U, 15. Essay on the Nature and the Glory, &c. p. 21,22, 23, 25, 26, 3*.
"sore against his will; but the duty of lore cannot "be extorted and forced by fear, but it must be won "and sweetly allured by an apprehension of God's love "and goodness towards us; as that eminent, loving, * and beloved disciple testifieth, 1 John iv. 18, 19. *- There is no fear in love; but perfect love castetk out "fear; because fear hath torment: he that feareth is "not made perfect in love. We love him, because he "first loved us. Observe here, that we cannot be be"forehand with God in loving him, before we appre"hend his love to us. That conscience, whereby we "judge ourselves to be under the guilt of sin and the ** wrath of God, is accounted an evil conscience in "scripture, though it perform its office truly; because "it is caused by the evil of sin, and will itself be a "cause of our committing more sin, until it can judge "us to be justified from all sin and received into the "favour of God. This evil guilty conscience so dis"-affecteth people towards God, that it cannot endure, "that they should think, or speak or hear of him or "his law; or that they should not rather strive to put *' him out of their minds by fleshly pleasures and "worldly enjoyments."
By this doctrine, according to Mr. Bellamy, sinners' are emboldened to express themselves before their Ma. ker in the following blasphemous manner: "The Di"vine law is so intolerably cruel, that, unless it is en"tirely set aside as to us, we can never be pacified to•" ward our Creator. We proclaim in the sight of hea"ven, our cause is so just, that we can never lay down "our arms, fall at the foot of our Sovereign and justirt fy his law: nay, we can never have one good thought
v- of him ; till he first set aside his law, remove his curse, "and grant us heaven upon our demand*."
The flagrant injustice of this charge against Mr. Marshal is manifest from the following considerations.
1. None can be more express than Mr. Marshal in asserting the unchangeable righteousness of the law. "The principal duties," says he, "of love to God above "all and to each other for his sake, whence all the other -" duties flow, are so excellent, that I cannot imagine "any more noble work for the holy angels in their glo"rious sphere. They are the chief works, for which "we were first framed in the image of God engraven "upon man in his first creation, and for which that "beautiful image is renewed upon us in our new creaft tion and sanctification by Jesus Christ, and shall be a perfected in our glorification. They are works which il depend not merely on the sovereignty of the will of "God to be commanded, or forbidden, or left indifferrt ent, or changed, or abolished at his pleasure; as "other works which belong either to the judicial or "ceremonial law, or to the means of salvation prescrib"ed by the gospel; but they are, in their own nature* "holy, just and good, Rom. vii. 12. and meet for us to "perform, because of our relation to our Creator and "fellow-creatures. So that they have an inseparable "dependance upon the holiness of the will of God, and "thereby an indcspensable establishment. They are "duties which we are naturally obliged to by that rea"son and understanding, which God gave to man at his "first creation, to discern what was just and meet for "him to do. And the law, that requires them, is cal"led the natural law and also the moral law; because "flic manners of all men, Infidels as well as Christians;,
* Dialogue p. 12;.