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in our second etter is observed, at I Lave mistaken fr. Verforce in his dea about what Saita The objection naden by JOOK vis det so much to Mr. Wilberforce's dea of what Sith a for on hat head I fatter nyser here was in reality no diference of opinion Setween 19 wit o jis manner of leseribing hat idea, is calenlated, ne judice, to lead some readers to a conclusion, which Mr. Wilberforce himself could not mean should be drawn fom as premises. To Mr. Wilberforce's mode of expressing himself on this delicate mbject, in some parts of its valuable priblication, I still object; as calculated to promote what I give that gentleman credit for not wishing to promote, the cause of enthusiasm, rather han that of Evangelical truth: at the same time I feel myself bound to do justice to some other parts of his work, which seem purposely designed to guard against such abuse. But you go on to say, that Mr. Wilberforce, when speaking of faith, (as well as the Church of England) always means, that "it is the first radical grace of the Holy Spirit, which takes place in the heart of a sinner, and which brings with it pardon, reconciliation, and repentance, and never can exist, without producing the radical fruits of holiness."* The Church of England no where, that I know of, speaks the language that you make her and Mr. Wilberforce speak, in the passage before us. She no where describes faith * Page 45.
(abstractedly taken) as never existing, without producing the Evangelical fruits of holiness. In our Liturgy, repentance, faith, and obedience, are represented as distinct things; and consequently not so necessarily connected, that one may not exist, in some degree, without the other. In our Church catechism, repentance and faith are separately described; the one implying "the forsaking of sin; the other, the stedfast belief of the promises of God made in the sacrament of baptism." But to these preliminaries of man's salvation, if they may be so called, must be also added the fruits of obedience to the holy will and commandments of God; which Christians are enabled to bring forth by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, on the proper use of the means of grace appointed for that purpose. In page 44, you have brought two quotations, one from St. Augustine, the other from Bishop Beveridge, to prove in your sense, what I venture to say those great men never meant should be proved from them, namely, that good works are the effect of justification, and not the qualification for it. It is unnecessary to detain you on this beaten ground, because, I trust, it has already been made appear, that good works are to be seen in both lights; as the effect of justification, and the qualification for it; as both following after justification in one sense, and going before it in another. Good works follow after man's first justification, because man can do no good works, before he is brought acquainted with the principle, upon which alone good works can be done: in that sense, they may be considered as an effect, proceeding from
But good works must also go before man's final justification, otherwise man can perform no good works at all: in that sense, they may be considered as a qualification, preparatory to an event.* Without opposing, therefore, what I conceive to be the sense of those great men, to whose authority you appeal, I decidedly protest against the conclusion you have drawn from them. ++ There is no protestant but believes faith, repentance, and universal obedience, are necessary to the obtaining God's favour, and eternal happiness. This being granted, the rest is but a speculative controversy, a question about words, which would quickly vanish, but that men affect not to understand one aother. There is no protestant but requires to justification, remission of sins; and to remission of sins, they all require repentance; and repentance, I presume, may not be denied the name of a good work, being indeed, if rightly understood, and according to the sense of the word in scripture, an effectual conversion from all sin to all holiness. They have great reason to believe the doctrine of justification by faith only, as a point of great weight and importance, if it be rightly understood; that is, they have reason to esteem it a principal and necessary duty of a Christian, to place his hope of justification and salvation, not in the perfection of his own righteousness, which, if it be imperfect, will not justify, (I should rather say, not in his own righteousness, which, being imperfect, cannot justify) but only in the mercies of God, through Christ's satisfaction; and yet, notwithstanding this, nay the * Vindiciæ, e. vi. p. 314. † See Chillingworth, fol. p. 32, 33.
rather for this, may preserve themselves in the right temper of good Christians, which is a happy mixture and sweet composition of confidence and fear. If this doctrine be otherwise expounded, I will not undertake the justification of it; only I will say, that I never knew any protestant such a solifidian, but that he did believe these Divine truths-That he must make his calling certain by good works; that he must work out his salvation with fear and trembling ;— -and that while he does not so, he can have no well-grounded hope of salvation. I say, I never met with any one, who did not believe these Divine truths; and that with a more firm and with a more unshaken assent, than he does that himself is predestinate; and that he is justified, by believing himself justified. I never met with any such who, if he saw there was a necessity to do either, would not rather forego his belief of these doctrines than the former: these which he sees disputed, and contradicted, and opposed with a great multitude of very potent arguments; than those which, being the words of scripture, whosoever should call in question, could not with any modesty pretend to the title of Christian."
The idea, that where the root exists, the proper fruit will be produced, is contradicted by fact and experience. All trees in a living state do not produce fruit. Faith, though not in an actually dead state, may be alive to no saving purpose. In our Saviour's parable of the fig-tree, the lord of the vineyard is described as coming three years seeking fruit, and finding none. Had the tree been actually
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The deetrinen aith VILNONt works has. nnere. f ate cars won on countenances out though it does for sonar o menir among Christians as it once did. is still, I fear, making is way in disguise. A doctrine hearts related to is at mis day propa zated, incompatible, 1 Lunderstand it. with the grand seonomy of man's salvation: I mean that ivetrine which represents he fits of coliness as he reces wwry produce of Caristian faith. Persons who profess to write against the gross corruption of Natcomicwiem, may unintentionally promote it. by adopting a mode of reenncing the two Aposfles St. Paul and St. James, to which the Apostles themselves would not subserine. It with the view of doing honour to faith, as the root or foundation of Christian practice, because no Christian pracfice can exist independent of it, the fruits of holiness are to be considered as its necessary produce; not only a great part of St. Paul's writings would be without meaning, but the supposed attempt of St. James, to counteract the wrong conclusions that might be drawn from some parts of them, taken unconnectedly, would have been useless, because