Imatges de pÓgina

expression, kept him for many years from speaking expli- v citly on that head. Nor indeed had he leisure to speak fo largely as was necessary to obviate many difficulties. But Dr Goodwin has done it to his hand, and confirmed what. ever he advances by scripture and reason.

Let me briefly review this narrative. The imputation of the righteousness of Christ for justification, is an expresfion generally used to signify the imputation both of his active and passive obedience. If, therefore, he uses the expression, who denies the first, his trumpet gives an uncertain sound: I might have said, a deceitful found ; espe. cially when other phrases are used along with this, which - feem to imply the common doctrine ; 6.8.

Jefus hath lived, hath died for me.
Jesu! thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress: where the blood and righteousness of Chrilt seem to be diftinguished.

But whatever apology may be made for Mr Wesley's using these hynins twenty years ago, what apology can be made for his republishing them, after the danger of using such phrases was discerned? what apology for their being daily sung by Mr Wesley, and his teachers, societies, and congregations throughout Britain and Ireland? Mr Wesley says of a collection of hymns printed at Edinburgh 1763, where the above cited verses appear, There is not an hymn, not one verse inserted here, but 66 what relates to the common salvation.” From all this I conclude, and Mr Kershaw has done so before

me, Þ:53. that these hymos contain Mr Wesley's present sen. timents.

But it was not only in verse, where, it is pled, allow. ance may be made for phrases not exactly proper, that Mr Wesley has used these phrases. He has used those, nay other phrases more explicit, on occasions where the greatest precision was requisite. One would expect, if any where, to find his opinions clearly stated in bis Principles of a Me. thodist, of which I have by me the third edition, published at London, 1756. Yet there be says, p. " therefore is now the righteousness of all then that truly


« believe

« Christ

[ocr errors]

66 believe in him. He for them paid the ransom by his « death : be for them fulfilled the law in his life.' So " that now in bim, and by him, every believer may be “called a fulfiller of the law." Was it charity to the souls of men, to suffer assertions to remain in such a book, which, before that edition, he had observed, made thou: sands easy, though not saved from their fins? Was fear of grieving good men, a reason for ambiguous and ensnaring expressions, or even for silence, when from the former use of such expressions, bad men (as Mr Wesley tells us in the above-cited advertisement) blessed themselves in their unrighteousness, congratulating themselves upon their being the only men, who understand, enjoy, and defend the pure gospel ?

From that advertisement, however, it appears, that Dr Goodwin's treatise on justification is to be considered as the most full and explicit account of Mr Wesley's present sentiments of that article. If it exhibits a different view of them from what is exhibited in the hymns, and other writings, which also contain bis present sentiments, Arminians may take the first, and Calvinists the last, and both

may admire the fagacity of the teacher, who has shown the fame marks of regard to two systeins so diametrically opposite.

I make no observations on what Mr Kershaw says about Cudworth's sentiments, p. 44. et seq. I have small acquaintance with his works. If he denies the necessity of inherent holiness derived from Cbrist, he dangerously errs. But that error cannot juftly be charged upon Mr Hervey, and other asserters of the imputation of Christ's active obedience, though their subject has not led them to insist at length on the necessity of real personal holiness.

I know not what societies Mr Kershaw aims at in what he says, Appeal, p. 49 They who cause discord and di. "s vision are from the devil ; but the Metbodists do not “ cause discord and division, &c. ergo. I should not have “ took notice of this, if it had not been to express my for


many of those called religious focieties, that “ have been set up in this kingdom for many years before, “ seem not so warmly attached to the worship and disci« pline established in the church of Scotland. How do




know but God may have fent us to help to heal your breaches ?” If this is levelled at the religious fo. cieties of the Secession, or Presbytery of Relief, great inju. ftice is done them. Those of the Secession have uniformly professed a warm attachment to the doctrine, worship, and difcipline of the church of Scotland, though they think it their duty to separate from her present judicatories. Those of the Presbytery of Relief often occasionally communicate with ministers of the church of Scotland: and if they are under the ordinary inspection of pastors not in full communion with her, this proceeds, partly, from laudable attachments to one who did not feparate from her, but was deposed for refusing to do what he thought inconsistent with his ordination-vows: pirtly, from scruples to subrnit to the ministry of presentees violently intruded upon them. Both these breaches I sincerely lament, as depriving the church of Scotland of many who would be an honour and blessing to her: though I rejoice that, fo far as I can learn, the most important truths of the gospel are taught in their religious assemblies. But hardly do I think these breaches are likely to be healed by Mr Wesley's system gaining ground among members of the church of Scotland, as the principles of these feparatists are no way favourable to that system.

Mr Kershaw proceeds, Appeal, p 74. to consider my other objections. Speaking of the extracts upon which they are founded, he says, “ What sort of an extract we “ have here, those who have seen the whole mass may

judge for themselves.” Something very ugly is here insinuated, which he does not chuse to speak out. I did in the preface, as I do in this defence, sometimes give an account in a few lines of the intention of many pages: but if I had represented that intention falsely, Mr Kershaw's zeal for Mr Wesley would have led him to detect ine.

Mr Kershaw has endeavoured to wrap in obscurity Mr Wesley's account of predestination, and to lead away the reader from the only question in hand, if his doctrine corresponds with that of the church of Scotland on this head, and therefore if those warmly attached to the doctr

of the church of Scotland act wisely in encouraging Methodism.


B 2

What are indeed Mr Wesley's sentiments, learn from his own words.

Dialogue between a predestinarian and his friend, ad edition, Lond. 1741. p. 12.Predeftinarian. What then do you mean by the words election and reprobation ? Friend. I mean this. 1. God did decree from the beginning to elect or chuse in Christ all that should believe to salvation; and to reprobate all who should obftinately and finally continue in unbelief. Predeftinarian. What then do you think of absolute unconditional election and reprobation? Friend. I think it cannot be found in holy writ, and that it is a plant which bears dismal fruit; an instance of which we have in Calvin himself, who confesses that he procured the burning to death of Michael Servetus, a wise and boly man, purely for differing from him in opinion in matters of religion *,”

Scripture-doctrine concerning predestination, c. Lond. 3741. p. 4. “ As Christ was called the Lamb flain from


However unjustifiable the burning Servetus may be, predeftination was no more acceffory to his death than Methodism. He had attacked the doctrine of the Trinity in a most insolent and outrageous manner : representing it as an impoflible monIter, an imposture of the devil, a three-headed Cerberus : and afserting that all Trinitarians were truly Atheists. was therefore no wonder if this provoked the utmost severity, in an age, when the principles of toleration were little understood, and Protestants as well as Papists agreed that heretics ought to be put to death. Urbanus Regius, a Lutheran divine, published a book A. D. 1558, to justify such feverity. Nay, even so late as A. D. 2687, one Peter Gunther was put to death at Lubec for denying the divinity of Christ, the Lutheran universities of Kilan and Witteberg having signified their approbation of the sentence against him. See Bibliothec. Brem. clafs. : fasc. 5. p. 739:-768. Whatever right Servetus might have to diffent from an established religion which appeared to him absurd, and, if you will, to reason against it, surely he bad no right to rail at it, to insult it, and to blafpheme what it accounted most facred and venerable. The Apostles denionstrated the folly of idolatry by unanswere able arguments ; they enforced their reasonings by the most amazing miracles; and yet the town.clerk of Ephesus did them the justice to testify that they were no robbers of churches, nor blafphemers of the Ephesian goddess. Had they been either, in-, fidels might have fpeciously urged, that their being persecuted unto death was the just reward of their rude, uncivil, hot-brained enthusiasm. Painting new opinions or practices in ludicrous


[ocr errors]

Ib. p.5.

the foundation of the world, and yet not slain till several thousand

years after, till the day of his death; so also men are called elect from the foundation of the world, and yet are not elected perhaps till several thousand years

af. ter, till the day of their conversion to God.”

If the saints are chosen to salvation through a believing of the truth, and were called to believe that truth by the hearing of the gospel, then they were not chosen before they believed the truth, and before they heard the gospel, whereby they were called to believe. But they were chosen through belief of the truth, and called to believe it by the gospel ; therefore they were not chosen before they believed ; much less before they had a being, any more than Christ was slain before he had a being. So plain is it, that they were not elected till they believed; although God calleth things that are not as though they were.

I had said, “ Many sober-minded Arminians would be fhocked at the virulent reflections Mr Wesley has cast on the Calvinist doctrines of election, &c.” To this Mr Kershaw replies, p. 74.“ 1. As this is something of a personal reflection, and has been already answered by the gentleman it concerns, I have nothing to do with it. I leave the edi. tor and Mr Wesley to decide the point. 2. I have read those pieces, but do remember no reflections, without consequences go by that name."

In Mr Wesley's letter to the supposed editor, there is not a fyllable about the above charge. If he has answer. ed it any where else, I have not heard of the answer. The second part of Mr Kershaw's apology is good for nothing. Horrible consequences falsely ascribed to a doctrine, may fo:netimes contain the most virulent reflections; and this

colours, and exposing the folly or knavery of those who would introduce them, may often do much to stop their progress. But of all weapons that have been used against an established religion, ribaldry is the very worft. Nope disobliges and offends more, and yet none does less execution. Of Calvin's confelling that he procured Servetus's death, I know no evidence. He has denied the charge, Opusc. p. 817. Ex quo conviétus eft, me rullum de pæna verbum fecille, non folum boni omnes viri mihi tejtes erunt; fed malis etiam concedo, ut proferant, fi quid habent.

B 3

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »