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How we can efteem every man better than ourselves,, and ourselves the chief of finners, or the least of faints, seems not so much a calculation for the understanding, as for the lowly, contrite and loving heart. It puzzles the former, but the latter at once makes it out. Neverthelefs the seeming contradiction may perhaps be reconciled to reason by these reflections.
(1.) If friendship brings the greatest monarch: down from his throne, and makes him fit on the fame couch with his favourites; may not brotherly love, much more powerful than natural friendship, may not humility excited by the example of Christ washing his disciples feet; may not a deep regardfor that precept, he that will be greatest among you let him be the least of all, fink the true christian in the dust, and make him lie in spirit at the feet of
(2.) A well-bred person uncovers himself, bows, and declares even to his inferiors, that he is their “ most humble servant.” This affected civility of the world is but an apish imitation of the genuine humility of the church, and if those who cu tomarily speak humble words without meaning may yet be honest men, how much more the saints, who have truth written in their inward parts, and [peak out of the abundance of their humble hearts !
(3.) He who walks in the light of divine love fees fomething of God's fpiritual, moral, or natural image in all men, the worst not excepted; and at the fight, that which is merely creaturely in hinr (by a kind of spiritual inftin&t found in all who are born of the spirit) directly bows to that which is of God in another. He imitates the captain of a first rate man of war, who, upon seeing the King or Queen coming up in a small boat, forgetting the enormous size of his ship, or confidering it is the King's own fhip, immediately strikes his colours ; and the greater vessel, confiftently with wisdom and. truth, pays respect to the less.
(4.) The most eminent faint, having known: more of the workings of corruption in his own breast, than he can poflibly know of the wickedness of any other man's heart, may with great truth (according to his present views and former feelings of the internal evil he has overcome) call himself the chief of finners.
(5.) Nor does he know but if the feebleft believers had had all his talents and graces, with all his opportunities of doing and receiving good, they would have made far superior advances in the christian life; and in this view also, without hy. pocritical humility, he prefers the least faint to himself. Thus, although according to the humble light of others, all true believers certainly under. value, yet according to their own humble light, they make a true elimate of themselves.
V. The Vindicator having thus folved a problem of godliness, which you have undoubtedly ranked among his apparent mistakes, he takes the liberty of presenting you with a list of some of your own
apparent mistakes on this occasion.” (1.). In the very letter in which you recant your circular letter, you desire Mr. W. to give up the fatal errors of the Minutes, though you have not yet proved they contain one; you fill affirm they appear to you evidently subversive of the fundamentals of christianity, that is in plain English, till “ dreadfully heretical ;'' and you produce a letter which afferts also, without thadow of proof, that the Minutes were given for the establishment of another foundation than that which is laid,--that they are repugnant to fcripture, the whole plan of man's salvation under the new.covenant of grace, and also to the clear meaning of our established Cburch, as well as to all other protefiant Churches.
(2.) You declare in your Narrative, that when you caft your eye over the Minutes you are just where jou was, and affure the public that nothing inferior
to an ATTACK UPON THE FOUNDATION of our hopegi through the all-fufficient sacrifice of Christ, could have been an objekt sufficient to engage you in its defence : Thus, by continuing to infinuate such an ATTACK was really made, you continue to wound Mr. W, in the tenderest part.
(3.) Although Mr. W. and 53 of his fellowlabourers have let you quietly secure the foundation: (which, by the bye, had been only shaken in your own ideas, and was perfectly secured by these express words of the Minutes, not by the merit of works,” but by “ believing in Chrift”) yet far from allowing them to secure the superstructure in their turn, which would be nothing but juít, you begin already a contest with them about our second justification by works in the day of judgment.
(4.) Instead of frankly acknowledging the rashness of your step, and the greatness of your mistake, with respect to the Minutes, you make a bad matter worse, by treating the Declaration as you have treated them; forcing upon it a dangerous fenfe; no less contrary to the scriptures, than to Mr. W.'s meaning, and the import of the words.
(5.) When you speak of the dreadful charges you have brought against the Minutes, you softly call them misconstructions you may seem to have. made of their meaning, Page 22. Line 4. Nor is your Acknowledgment much stronger than your may Jeem ; at least it does not appear to many, adequate to the hurt done by your circular letter to the practical gospel of Christ, and the reputation of his eminent servant, thousands of whose friends you have grieved, offended, or stumbled; while you. have confirmed thousands of his enemies in their hard thoughts of him, and in their unjust contempt of his miniftry.
(6.) And lastly, far from candidly enquiring into the mérit of the arguments advanced in the Vindication, you represent them as mere metaphy : cal. distinctions ; or cast, as a veil' over them, a.
friendly submislive letter of condolence, which was never intended for the use to which you it.
Therefore the Vindicator, who does not admire peace
founded upon a may seem on your part, and on Mr. W.'s part upon a Declaration, to which you have already fixed a wrong, unscriptural sense of your own; takes this public method to inform you, he thinks his arguments in favour of Mr. W.'s anti-Crispian propolitions, rational, scriptáral, and folid; and once more he begs you would remove the veil you have hitherto “ cast over all the apparent mistakes of his judgment on this occasion” that he may see whether the antinomian gospel of Dr. Crisp is preferable to the practical gospel which Mr. W. endeavours to restore to its primitive and scriptural lustre.
VI. Having thus finished my remarks upon the mistakes of your Narrative, I gladly take my leave of controversy for this time : Would to God it were for ever! I do no more like it than I do applying a caustic to the back of my friends; it is disagreeable to me and painful to them, and, nevertheless, it must be done when their health and mine is at stake.
I assure you, Sir, I do not love the warlike dress of the Vindicator any more than David did the heavy armour of Saul. With gladness therefore I .cast it aside to throw myself at your feet, and protest to you, that although I thought it my duty to write to you with the utmost plainness, frankness, and honesty; the design of doing it with bitterness never entered my heart. However, for every "bitter expresion" that may have dropped from my harp vindicating pen, I ak you pardon ; but it must be in general, for neither friends nor foes have yet particularly pointed out to me one such expression.
You have accepted of a letter of submision from me; let, I beseech you, a concluding paragraph of fubmiffion meet also with your favourable accept
ance. You condescend; rer. Sir, to call me your « learned friend." Learning is an accomplishment I never pretended to; but your friendship is an ho nor I shall always highly esteem, and do at this tiine value above my own brother's love. Appearances are a little againft me, I'feel I am a thorn in your flesh; but I am perfuaded it is a necessary one, and this perfuafion reconciles me to the thanklefs and disagreeable part I act.
If Ephraim muft vex Judah, let Judah bear with Ephraim, till, happily tired of their contention, they feel the truth of Terence's words, * Amantiun (why not credentium) iræ amoris redintegratio eft. I can assure you, my dear Sir, without metaphysical distinction, I love and honor you, as truly as I dislike the ralhness of your well-meant zeal. The motto I thought myself obliged to follow was + E bello pax; but that which I delight in is I In hello pax; may we make them harmonize till we learn war and polemic divinity no more !
My Vindication cost me tears of fear; left I should have wounded you too deep. That fear, I find, was groundless; but should you feel a little for the great truths and the great minister 1 vindicate, these expoftulations will wound me, and probably coft me tears again.
If in the mean time we offend our weak brethren; let us do something to lessen the offence till it is removed. Let us thew them we make war without so much as fhynefs. Should you ever come to the next county, as you did last summer, honor me with a line, and I shall gladly wait upon you, and shew you (if you permit me) the way to my pulpit, where I shall think myself highly favoured to see you “ secure the foundation, and hear you inforce the doctrine of justification by faith,
The misunderstandings of lovers (why not of believers) end in a renewal and increase of love.
+ We make war in erder to get peace. * We enjoy peace in the midA of war.