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And seconiily by Haiah, who says feek ye the Lord while he may be found: by St. Paul, who tells the Athenians that cll nations of men are to seek the Lord: and by Christ himself who !ays, they that seek me early fhall find me -- seek that you may find &c.
I leave you to judge, honored Sir, whether it was worth your while to impeach Mr. Wis good fenfe not only by reflecting upon your own, but by inevitably involving Ifaiah, St. Paul, and our Lord himself in the ridicule caft upon my vindicated friend! For the fame finner, who is represented by the loft piece, is a few verses before represented by the lojt fon : and you know Jesus Christ tells us that he came from far to seek his father's pardon and all stance. You begin your
THIRD L E T T ER By saying, “i how God may deal with the Heathen world, is not for us to pry into.” But we may believe what God has revealed. If the Holy Ghost declares, that in every nation he that feareth God, and worketh righteoufnefs, is accepted of him, we may credit what he says, without being wise above what is written."
If you cannot set aside that apostolic part of the minutes, you try however to press it into the service of your doctrine.
“ There is, say you, a material difference between saying, lie that feareth God and worketh righteoufnefs is accepted, and SHALL cepled," and because " the verb is in the present tense" you conclude, there is no need of fearing God or working righteousness, in order to find acceptance. This is exactly such another argument as that which I just now refuted, “ we need not believe in order to be justified, because it is said, all that believe ARE justified, and not shall be justified," You can no more prove by the one, that Cornelius provoking God and working unrighteousness, was accepted of him; than by the other that unbelievers ARE juftified, because it is said that believers are fo.
A similar instance may convince you of it. ALL Tun, says St. Paul, but one receiveth the prize. I who am a stranger to refinements, immediately conclude from those words, that running is previous to the receiving of the prize, and in order to it. No, fays a. friend, " there is a material difference between faying, one RECEIVETH the prize, and one SHALL RECEIVÉ the prize. The verb is in the present tense, and therefore the plain fenfe of the pafage is (not that by running he does any thing to receive the prize, but) that he who runs. is poßeffed of the prize, and proves' himfelf to be fo. Candid reader, if such an argument proselytes thee to Dr. Crisp's doctrine, I shall suspect there is no small difference between English and Suisse reason.
However to make up the weight of your argument you
add, 6 Cornelius was a chosen vessel.”. True, for God hath chosen to himself the man that is GODLY; and such was Cornelius; a devout says St. Luke, and one that feared God with all his house. But if my honored opponent speaks of an election, which drags after it the horrors of abfolute reprobation, and hangs the mill-stone of unavoidable damnation about the neck of millions of our fellow-crea. tures, I must call for proof.
Till it comes, I follow you in your observations upon the merit or rewardableness of good works. Most of them are answered Vind. page 74, &c. and ad check page 43. The rest I answer thus.
(1.) If you do not believe Mr. Henry when he assures us David speaks OF HIMSELF, the Lord rewarded me 'according to my rightroufiefs, &c. Pl. 18, believe at least the sacred historian, who confirms my assertion, ii. Sam. 22. and confider the very title of the Pfalm, David spake unto the Lord the words of this fong, in the day thut the Lord delivered him from the hand of his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.
(n.) But " when David speaks in his own person, his language is very different.”. Enter not into judgment with thy fervant, says he, for in tly fight shall rio!
man living be justified. The psalmist does not here contradiét what he says of the rewardableness of good works, Pf. :8. He only appeals from the laws of innocence to the law of grace, and only disclaims all merit in point of justification and salvation, a thing which Mr. W. takes care to do when he says, even in the minutes, “ not by the merit of works,” but by "believing in Chrift."
(3.) My honored correspondent asks next, “ where is the man who has the witness of having done what God commanded ? I answer, every one has who walks in the light as God is in the light, and can say with St. John, beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God; and what foever we afk we receive of him, BECAUSE we keep his commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in his fight.
( 4.) But Bishop Beveridge spoke just the reverse; for he said in his Private Thoughts “ I fin in my
best duties &c.” That may be ; for he was but a young convert when he wrote his Private Thoughts. I hope, before he died he enjoyed more gospel libeity. But whether he did or not, we appeal from sis private thoughts to the above-mentioned public declaration and evangelical experience of St. John.
-(5.) If many Roman Catholics do not ascribe merit to “ mere external performances,” I have “ done them great injustice ;" and to repair that wrong, I declare my full approbation of the excellent paffage upon merit which you quote in French from the works of the bishop of Meaux. I say in French, because your English translation represents him as looking on all opinion of merit as prefumptuous, whereas he blames only l'opinion d'un mérite présomptueux, the do&rine of a presumptuous merit-of a merit which is not at all derived from Chrift, and does not terminate in the glory of his grace.
The dying challenge of Alex. Seton is answered in the 2d Check, ift Letter. As to your quotation from bishop Cooper, it does as little credit to his learning, as to his charity; for St. Augustin, who had no more " the spirit of Antichrill” than the bishop himself, uses perpetually the word merit, in speaking of man and his works.
Let us now see how you " split the hair," that is, fix the difference there is, between being rewarded according to our works, + BECAUSE of our works, and fecundum merita operum, according to the merit or rewardableness which Christ gives to our works. “ The “ difference, say you, by no means depends upon the “splitting of an hair; those expressions are as wide bi as east from west." Are they indeed! Then it must be the east and the west of the map of the world, which meet in one common line upon the globe. This will appear if we consider the manner in which
untie the Gordian knot. “ Good works, say you, are rewarded because 6. God of his own meer favour, rich
grace, « deserved bounty, has promised that he will freely “ give such rewards to those whom he has chosen in his dear Son.” Now, Sir, simplify this sentence, and you
tell us just that “ good works are rewarded because God freely promised to reward them.” And is this the east of my
honored orthodoxy! Surprizing! It just meets the west of popish heterodoxy. You know Sir, that Thomas Aquinas and Scotus are as great
the Romanists, as Calvin and Luther among the Protestants: and in flying from Mr. Wesley you are just gone over to Scotus and Baxter; for Scotus and Ciara his disciple maintain, that if God gives rewards to the godly, non oritur obligatio ex natura a&tus, fed ex
+ See 1. John iïi. 22, add Vind: page 70. You have no right to throw out this middle term, till you have proved that my quotations are falle.
fuppofitione decreti E3 promiff, the obligation does not arise from the nature of the action rewarded but from the decree and free promise of the rewarder. Though so much be given in feripture to good works, says the council of Trent, yet far be it from a christian to glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose goodness is fo great to all men, that he wills those things to be THEIR MERITS, which are
Can. 16. dc Juftif. Most Proteftants, says Baxter, will take merit to fignify something which profiteth God, and which is our own, and not his gift and GRACE, but they are miftaken.
Some however are more candid; Bučer says, if by MERITING the holy fathers and others mean nothing but to do in faith, by the grace of God, good works which the Lord has PROMísed to rewardin this fenfe (which is that which Scotus, Baxter, and Mr. W. fix to merit) we shall in no wife condemn that word.
Hence it is, that whole congregations of real protestants have not scrupled at times to use the word WE MERIT in their humblest addresses to the thronę
Congregations of real Protestants! says my honored friend, Popery is about midway between Protestantism and fuch worshippers. Who are they ?" 1 answer they are the orthodox, opposers of the mi nutes, the truly honorable the Countess of Huntingdon, the Rev. Mr. Shirley, the Rev. Mr. Madan, and all the congregations that use their lrymns; for they all agree to sing,
“ Thou hast the righteousness supply'd
By which we MERIT heaven." Sce Lady Huntingdon's Hymns, Bristol edition, page 399; and the Rev. Mr. Madan's collection which you frequently use, hymn 25, page 27, last Atanza. Come then, dear Sir, while Mr. M. shakes hands with his venerable father Mr. W. permit the vindicator of the minutes to do the same with the author of Pietas Oxoniensis, and let us lovingly fol.,