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Were I to print and disperse such an advertisement as this, Eight years ago I preached in my Church a sermon intitled JUSTIFICATION BY Faith, composed by the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Shirley, to convince Papists and Pharisees that we are accepted through the alone merits of Christ; but I fee better now, I wish this sermox had been burned, and I publicly recant it in the face of the whole world;" how would the popish priest of Madeley rejoice! And how will that of Loughrea triumph, when he hears you have actually done it in your Narrative! What will your protestant pa. rishioners, to whom your book is dedicated, say, when the surprising news reaches Ireland? And what will the world think, when they see you warmly plead in August for Fuftification by Faith, as being, " the foundation that must by all means be secured;" and publicly recant in September your own excellent sermon of Justification by Faith?
Indeed, Sir, though I admire your candor in acknowledging there are some exceptionable parfages in your discourses, and your humility in readily giving them up, I can no more approve your readiness in making, than in infifting upon formal recantations. We cannot be too careful in dealing in that kind of ware; and it is extremely dangerous to do it by wholesale; as by that means we may give up, or fem to give up, before the whole world, precious truths delivered by Christ himself, and brought down to us in streams of the blood of martyrs.
Among fome blunt expoftulations that Mr. Wesley erased in my fifth letter, as being too fevere, he kindly but unhappily struck out this, “ Before you could with candor infift upon a res cantation of Mr. W.'s Minutes, should you not: have recanted yourself the passages of your own fermons where the same doctrines are maintained ; and have sent your recantation through the land together with your circular letter ?” Had this been published, it might have convinced you of the un.
(40 feasonableness of your recantation: Thus inisSecond hafty step would have been prevented; and if I dwell so long upon it now, believe me, Sir, it is chiefly to prevent a third.
And now your sermons are recanted, is the vindication of Mr. Wi's Minutes invalidated ?-Not at all; for you have not yet recanted the Bath Hymn-book, nor can you ever get Mr. Henry, Mr. Williams, and a tribe of other anti-Crispian, though Calvinift divines now in glory, to recant with you'; much less the Prophets, Apostles, and Chrilt himself, on whose irrefragable testimony we chiefly reft our doctrine.
II. As I have pleaded out the caufe of free will against bound will, or that of your Sermons against your Narrative; and am insensibly come to the Vindication, give me leave, Sir, to fpeak a word also for that performance and the author of it.
You say be has .“ attempted a vindication of the Minutes ;” but do not some people think he has likewise executed it? and have you proved he has not?
You reply, There would be a great impropriety ir my giving a full and particular anwer to thoje letters, because the author did all he cauld to revoke them, and bas given me <mple Jatisfa&tion in his letter of lubmilion. Indeed, Sir, you quite mislook the nature of that submission; it had absolutely no reference to the arguments of the Vindication. It only refpected the polemic dress in which the Vindicator had
put them. You might have been convinced of it by this paragraph of his letter of fubmiffion. " I was just going to preach when I had the news of your happy accommodation, and was no fogner out of church, than I wrote to beg my Vindication might not appear in the dress in which I had
put it. I did not then, nor do I yet repent having written upon the Minutes; but as matters are now, I am very sorry I did not write in a general manner, without taking notice of the circular letter and
mentioning your dear name." He begs therefore you will not consider his letter of submission as a reason not to give a full or particular answer to his ARGUMENTS: On the contrary, if you can provethey want folidity, a letter of thanks shall follow.' his letter of Jubmillion; if he is wrong, he fincerely desires to be set right.
You add however, that he has broken the Minutes: into sentences and half sentences, and by refining upon: each of the detached particles has given a new turn to: the Whole. But he appeals to every impartial Reader whether he has not, like a candid man, first considered them all together, and then every one asunder. He begs to be informed whether an artist: can better inquire into the goodness of a watch, than by making first his observations on the whole movement in general, and then by taking it to pieces, that he may examine every part with greater attention. And he desires you would shew whether what you are pleased to call a new turn, is not preferable to the leretical torn some persons give them; and whether it is not equally, if not better adapted to the literal meaning of the words, as well as more agreeable to the antinomian state of the Church, the general tenor of the propositions, and the fyftem of doctrine maintained by Mr. W. for near 40 years,
The Vindicator objcets likewise to your asserting, page 21, that when he first saw the Minutes, he erprised to Lady Huntingdon Iris ABHO: RENCE OF them : Had you said Jurprize, the expression would, have been firietly jult; but that of abhorrence is far too strong. Her ladythip, who teftified her detosiation of them in the Itrongest terms, might easily mistake his abhorrence of the sense fixed upon the Minutes, for an abhorrence of the Minutes themselves; but she may recollect that far from ever granting they had that sense, he said again and again, even in their first conversation upon them,,
Certainly, my Lady, Mr. W. can mean no fach thing he will explain himself.”. E .. 3
42) But supposing he had at first been so far wrought upon by the jealous fears of Lady Huntingdon, as to express as great an abhorrence of the Minutes, as the mistaken disciples did of the person of our Lord, when they took him for an apparition, and cryed out for fear; would this excuse either him or you, Sir, for resolutely continuing in a mistake, in the midst of a variety of means and calls to get out of it? And if the Vindicator, before he had weighed the Minutes in the balance of the fanctuary, had a mind to take his pen, and condemn them as dangerously legal, what can you fairly conclude from it, but that he is not partial to Mr. W.; and has also “ Jeaned so much towards Calvinism,” as not instantly to discover and rejoice in the truth? In your last page you
your friendly leave of the Vindicator, by faying you desire in love to caff e veil over all apparent mistakes of his judgment on this occafion; but as he is not conscious of all these apparent mistakes, he begs you would in love take off the veil you have calt upon them, that he may see, and rectify at least those which are capital.
JII. And that you may not hastily conclude he was mistaken in his vindication of the article that touches upon Merit, he embraces this opportunity of presenting you with another quotation from the John Wesley of the last century, he means Mr. Baxter, the moft judicious divine, as well as the greateít, most useful, and most laborious preacher
In his Catholic Theclogy, answering the objections of an Antinomian, he says: Merit is a word I perceive you are against, you may therefore chuse any other of the same signification, and we will forbear this rather than offend you. But yet tell me, (1.) What if the words ašics and očice were translated deserving and merit, would it not be as true a translation as worthy and worthiness, when it is the same thing that is meant ? (2.) Do not all the ancient Teachers of the Churches, since the
of his age.
Apostles, particularly apply the names artic and meritum to believers ? And if you persuade men that all these teachers were Papists, will you not persuade most that believe you, to be Papists too! (3.) Are not reward and merit or defert relative words, as punishment and guilt, master and servant, husband and wife? And is there any reward which is not meriti præmium, the reward of some merit? Again,
Is it not the second article of our faith, and next to believing there is a God, that He is the ReWARDER of them that diligently seek him? When you thus extirpate faith and godliness, on pretence of crying down merit, you see what over-doing tends to.. And indeed by the same reason that men deny a. reward to duty (the faultiness being pardoned. through Christ) they would infer there is no punishment for sin; for if God will not do good to the righteous, neither will he do evil to the wicked; he is like the God of Epicurus, he does not trouble: himself about us, nor about the merit or demerit of our actions. But David knew better, The Lord, says he, plenteously REWARDETH the proud doers, and verily there is a REWARD for the righteous, for there is a God that judgeth the earth, that sees matter of praise or dispraise, rewardableness or worthiness of punishment in all the actions of men. This is, Sir, all Mr. Baxter and Mr. W. mean by merit or demerit; and if the Vindicator is wrong for thinking they are both in the right, please to remove the veil that conceals his mistake.
IV. As one of his correspondents desires him to explain himself a little inore upon the article of the Minutes which respects under valuing ourselves ; and as you probably place the arguments he has advanced upon that head among his apparent miftakes, he takes likewise this opportunity of making some additional observations on that delicate sube ject.