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fear your Ladyship apprehends] whether pharisaic merit shall eclipse the Redeemer's worthiness; or, whether the doctrine of salvation by a lively faith shall be given up to mere moralifts : I no more plead either for the one or the other, than I do for placing the pretender upon the British throne, and for facrificing the great charter to arbitrary power. No my Lady What we contend about is: (1) Whether Christ's law is not perfe&tly consistent with his blood: (2) Whether we are to set him at nought as a ProPHET, a KING, and a Judge; under pretence of exalting him as a Priest, an ADVOCATE, and a SURETY of the better covenant, that threatens fallen believers with a forer puniskment than that, which was inflicted upon the despisers of the Mofaic covenant : (3) Whether the evangelical worthiness, which a true believer really derives rom Christ, is not absolutely neceffary to salvation : (4) Whether such a worthiness is not as consistent with Christ's original and paramount merit, as the light, that shines in your apartment, is consistent with the original and transcendent brightness of the fun : (5) Whether that faith is live ing, which evidences itself by gross immoralities : (6) Whether it is not rather the “ dead faith" that St. James exclaims against : And (7) Whether the solifidians do not set up the abomination of desolation in the holy place, when they directly or + INDIRECTLY teach, that all believers may go any length in fin without losing their heavenly thrones, or the divine favour: that a man can have the justifying, saving, operative faith, which your Ladyship pleads for, while he adds idolatry to incontinence, murder to adultery, and curses to the repeated denial of Jesus Chrift: that fallen believers, who have returned to their fins as a fow that is washed, does to her wallowing in the mire, Itand immaculate before God in a robe of imputed righteousness, even while they turn God's

grace

+ Mr. H-1 has done it directly in the fourth of the five letters which he has inscribed to me, and all the Solifidians do it indirectly

do not

grace into lasciviousness and commit all uncleanness with greediness: that they shall all infallibly fing in heaven, in consequence of their moit grievous falls on earth ; and that a kind of hypocritical, lying freegrace is to be preached to all finners, which necesarily Thuts

up

most of them under the absolute free-wrath of a God ever graceless, and ever merciless towards the majority of mankind. Now, my Lady, as I am persuaded that

you admire such an immoral and narrow gospel ; as I believe, that, if at any time it creeps into your chapels, it is without your approbation, under the mask of decency, and only by the means of the specious phrases of free gospel, eleiting, everlasting love, finished Salvation, and free, distinguishing grace, which, according to the analogy of the modish faith, swECTLY make way for the inseparable and BITTER doctrines of a confined gold, of everlasting hate, reprobating unmercifulness, firifhed damnation, and free, dtftinguishing wrath; and as I do your Ladyship the justice to acknowledge, that your moft earnest desire is to support what appears to you a free and holy gospel at the ex. pence of your fortune, life, and character; I beg, my Lady, you will also do me the justice to believe, that if I oppose the folifidian-gospel of the day, it is only because it appears to me a confined and unholy gospel, calculated to foster the antinomianism of Laodicean

ers, and to render Christ's undefiled religion contemptible to the RATIONAL, and execrable to the MORAL world. If you grant me this requeft, I hall only trouble you with one more, which is to believe, that, notwithstanding the part I have taken in the present controversy, I remain with my former respect and devotedness,

My Lady, ,

Your Lady, hip's

Most obliged and obedient Madeley, March 12, Servant in the Gospel, 1774.

J. FLETCHER.

AN Α Ν

ESSAY ON TRUTH, &c.

INTRODUCTION.

E

XCEEDINGLY forry thould I be, if the testi

mony which I have borne to the necessity of good works, caused any of my readers to do the worst of bad works, that is, to peglect believing, and to depend upon some of the external, faithless performances, which conceited pharisees call “good works ;" and by which they absurdly think to make amends for their fins, to purchase the Divine favour, to set aside God's mercy, and to supersede Chrift's atoning blood. Therefore, left fome unwary souls, going from one extreme to the other, hhould so unfortunately avoid antinomianism, as to run upon the rocks, which are rendered famous by the destruction of the pharisees, I shall once more vindicate the fundamental, anti-pharisaic doctrine of salvation by faith : I say once more, because I have already done it in my guarded sermon: and to the scriptures, articles, and arguments produced in that piece, I call now add rational, and yet scriptural observations, which, together with appeals to matter of fact, will, I hope, foften the prejudices of judicious moralifts against the doctrine of faith, and reconcile considerate rolifidians to the doctrine of works. In order to this, I design in general to prove, that true faith is the only plant, which can possibly bear good works; that it loses its operative nature, and dies when it produces them not; and that it as much surpasses good works in importance, as the motion of the heart does all other bodily motions. Enquire we first into the nature and ground of saving faith,

SEC

S E C Τ Ι Ο Ν Ι.

A plain definition of SAVING FAITH, kor believing

is the Gift of God, and whether it is in our power to believe.

WI

7HAT is faith? It is believing heartily.-- What

is saving faith? I dare not say, that it is “be. lieving heartily, my fins are forgiven me for Christ's fake ; ” for, if I live in fin, that belief is a destructive conceit, and not faving faith. Neither dare I say, that “ saving faith is only a sure trust and confidence, that Christ loved me, and gave himself for me;" + for, if I did, I should damn almost all mankind for 4000 years. (See note 13, p. 43] Such definitions of saving faith are, I fear, too narrow to be just, and too unguarded to keep out solifidianism. A comparison may convince my readers of it. If they desired me to define man, and I said, “ Man is a rational animal, that lives in Prance in the year 1774 ;would they not ask me, whether I suppose, all the rational animals, that lived on this side the English channel in 1773 were brutes ? And if you desired to know what I mean by saving faith, and I replied : It is a supernatural belief, that Christ has actually atoned for my fins upon the cross; would you not ask me, whether Abrahain, the father of the faithful, who would have believed a lie if he had believed this, had only damn

ing faith

To

t When the church of England, and Mr. Wesley give us particular definitions of faith, it is plain, that they confider it according to the christian dispensation; the priviledges of which must be principally infifted upon among christians; and that our church and Mr. Wesley guard faith against antinomianism, is evident from their maintaining, as well as St. Paul, that by bad works.we lose a good conscience, and make shiprureck of ibe faitb.

To avoid therefore such mistakes; to contradiet no scriptures; to put no black mark of DAMNATION upon any inan, that in any nation fears God and works righteousness; to leave no room for folifidia. nisin; and to present the reader with a definition of faith adequate to the everlasting golpıl, I would chuse to say, that`justifying or faving faith is believing the faving truth with the heart ur:to internal, and [as we have opportunity] unto external righteousness, accord. ing to our light and dispensation." To St. Paul's words, Rom. X. 10, I add the epithets internal and external, in order to exclude, according to 1 John iii. 7, 8, the filthy imputation, ander which fallen believers may, if we credit the antinomians, commit internal and external adultery, mental and bodily murder, without the least reasonable fear of endangering their faith, their interest in God's favour, and their inamiflible title to a throne of glory.

But, “ How is Faith the gift of God ?"-Some perfons think, that Faith is as much out of our power, as the lightening that shoots from a distant cloud : they suppose, that God drives finners to the fountain of Christ's blood, as irresistibly as the infernal Legion drove the herd of swine into the sea of Galilee ; and that a man is as paffive in the first act of faith, as Jonah was in the act of the fish, which cast him upun the shore. Hence, the absurd plea of many, who lay fait hol on the horns of the Devil's altar, UNBELIEF, and cry out, “ We can no more believe, than we can make a world."

I call this an absurd plea for several reasons : (1) It supposes, that when God commands all men every where to repent, and to believe the gospel, he commands them to do what is as impoffible to them as the making of a new world. - (2) It supposes, that the terms of the covenant of grace are much harder than the terms of the covenant of works. For the old covenant required only perfect human obedience : but the new covenant requires of us the work of an almighty God, i. e. believing; a work this, which upon the scheme I oppose,

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