Imatges de pÓgina
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Sermons, vol. I. p. 26. “Sincerity therefore is necessa. rily implied in the being almost a Christian ; a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do his will; a fincere view of pleasing God in all things, in all his conversation, in all his actions, in all he does, or leaves undone. This de sign, if any man be almost a Christian, runs through the whole tenor of his life.". -Was David mistaken when he said, Pfal.cxix.6.“ Then shall I not be ashamed when I have a respect to all thy commandments?”

Ib. vol. II. p. 265.–269. In explaining Matth. vi. 19. he observes, that it is lawful to lay up what is necessary to discharge our just debts; to provide for ourselves and families the plain necessaries of life; to put our children in a capacity, when we are gone, to provide for them. felves these necessaries, by diligent labour ; and to enable us to carry on our worldly business in such measure as is fufficient to answer these purposes : but that labouring after a larger measure of worldly substance than will answer these purposes, is absolutely forbidden." -This tends to perplex tender consciences with endless scruples. Ministers should beware of laying burdens on men which God has not laid. God has indeed denounced a woe against those that add house to house, and land to land, till there be no place in the earth ; and has charged the rich to be rich in good works : but if it is lawful to transmit to our children an estate, which we ourselves inherited, as Mr Wesley acknowledges, why should it be unlawful to transmit to them an estate which we have acquired by honest industry? Is not the last as lawful a property, and as entirely at our disposal, as the first?

1b. p. 305. he thus explains Rom. x. , 4. "Being ignorant of that holiness of heart, which is termed God's righ. teoufnofs, being his free gift through Christ, and his own work hy his Spirit, and labouring to establish that outside righteousness, which may be termed their own, because neither wrought by the Spirit of God, nor owned and accepted of him, but wrought by their own natural strength, they hardened themselves against that faith, whereby alone it was possible to attain this inward righteousuels. For Christ put an end to the law of external rites and ceremonies, that he might bring in a better righteousness through his bloed, even the image of God into the inmost soul of

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every one that believeth.” And, p. 306. he explains the righteousness which is of God by faith, Phil. iii. 9. to mean, that holiness of heart, which is the work of God through faith in Christ. These interpretations should have been mentioned, when I was considering his scheme of justification.

Sermons, vol. III. p. 47. On the other hand, they, whose hearers, if unrighteous before, remain unrighteous Still, or at least void of any righteousness which exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, they are talle prophets, they are not fent of God; therefore their word falls to the ground -That a faithful minister may

labour without success, the scripture denieth not, and expe. rience confirms.

16. vol. II. p. 50. & feq. he denies the perseverance of the saints, and represents the gradual manner of their apoo Italy. And, p. 53. he supposes that faith and love were extinct in Peter, when he committed the act of diffimula. tion for which Paul withstood hiin to the face.

1b. vol. I. p. 8. “They (viz. believers) are also saved « from the fear, though not from the pollibility of falling

away from the grace of God, and coming short of the

great and precious promises.”. -How one who be. lieves his total and final apostasy possible can truly love God, and yet feel no fear of so dreadful an evil, is inconceivable.

Mr Wesley seems to maintain not only the attainable. ness of înless perfection in a present life, but that it is ac. tually attained by every one born of God. Character of a Methodist, 3d edit. p. 10.

66 Whatso ever he doth, is all to the glory of God.

In all his em. ployments of every kind, he not only aims at this, (which is iinplied in having a single eye), but actually attains it. His business and refreshments, as well as his prayers, all serve to this great end. Whether he fit in his house, or walk by the way, he is promoting, in all he speaks or does, the one business of his life.”

Sermons, vol. I. p. 9. He that is by faith born of God, sipneth not, 1. By any habitual sin. 2. By any willful fin; for his will, while he abideth in the faith, is utterly set against all fin, and abhorreth it as deadly poison. 3. By any finful desire ; for he continually desireth the holy and

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perfect will of God; and any tendency to an unholy desire, he, by the grace of God, stifleth in the birth. Nor, 4 By infirmities, whether in act, word, or thought ; for his infirmities have no concurrence of his will ; and without this they are not properly sins. Thus he that is born of God doth not commit fin : and though he cannot say he bath not finned, yet now he finneth not.

Sermons, vol. II. p.23. An immediate and constant fruit of this faith, whereby we are born of God, a fruit which can in no wise be separated from it, no not for an hour, is power over fin; power over outward lin of every kind; over every evil word and work; for wherefoever the blood of Christ is thus applied, it purgeth the conscience from dead works: and over inward fin; for it purifieth the heart from every unholy desire and temper.

Ib. p. 25. (Having cited 1 John iii. 9. to prove the be. liever's

power over outward sin, he adds), “ But some men will say, True; whosoever is born of God doth not commit fin habitually." Habitually! whence is that? I read it not. It is not written in the book. God plainly faith, hę doth not commit fin; and thou addest, habitually! Who art thou that mendest the oracles of God? that ad. deft to the words of this book ? Beware, I beseech thee, Jeft God add to thee all the plagues that are written therein.

Sermons, vol. III. p. 203.-234. Christians are not so perfect in this life as to be free, (1.) from ignorance; (2.) from mistakes ; (3.) from infirmites, i. e. inward and outward imperfections, not of a moral nature, but such as dulinefs or confusedness of apprehension, a treacherous menory, ó'c ; 1(4.) from temptation. But, 1. Even babes in Chrilt are in-luch a sense perfect as not to commit fin. The least that can be implied in the expressions, Rom. vi. 1 Pet. iv. 1, 2. i John iii. 8. v. 18. is, that all real. Chri. ftians cease froin outward transgressions of God's law. It will not follow, that because David, one of the holiest men among the Jews, did commit fin, that all Christians commit fin as long as they live. They who argue

thus consider not our Lord's declaration, Matth. xi, 11. that the least true believer is greater than the highest Old-te. Itament saint. Solomon says, there is no man that linneth pot, and unquestionably there was none in his days, nor

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from the day that Gn entered into the world, until the
Son of God was manifested to take away our fins. We
are told, John vii. 38. « The Holy Ghost was not yet
given, because Jesus was not yet glorified," i. e. these
fanctifying influences were not bestowed whereby men are
made more than conquerors over sin. For the power of
working miracles cannot be meant, that having been gi-
ven to the apostles, when first commissioned to preach the
gospel. That this great salvation from sin was not given,
till Jesus was glorified, Peter testifies; where speaking of
his brethren, as now receiving the end of their faith, the
salvation of their souls, he adds, that the prophets only fore-
told that grace, but did not enjoy it, i Pet. i. 9,10. So
far is David from being the standard of Christian perfection,
that it is foretold, Zech.xii. 8.“ He that is feeble among
them shall be as David.” 2. They who are strong in the
Lord' are freed from evil thoughts and evil tempers.
Every one that is perfect, is as his Master, Luke vi. 40. “As
he is so are we in this world, 1 John iv. 17."!.
: I cannot stay to give a full extract of the sermon on
Christian perfection, contained in the pages above referred
to. But there is an anfwer to an obvious objection against
his scheme, which I shall transcribe, p. 218.“ The apostles
themselves, it is said, committed sin: nay the greatest of
them, Peter and Paul. St Paul, by his sharp contention
with Barnabas, and St Peter, by his dissimulation at An-
tioch. Well, fuppofe both Peter and Paul did then com.
mit fin; what is it you would infer from hence that all
the other apostles committed sin sometimes? There is no
shadow of proof in this. Or, would you thence infer,
that all the other Christians of the apostolic age coʻnmitted
fin! worse and worse; this is such an inference as one
would imagine a man in his senses could never have thought
of.

Or will you argue thus? If two of the apostles did once commit sin, then all other Christians, in all

ages,

do and will commit. Gin as long as they live. Alas, iny bro. ther! a child of comnion understanding would be'a!hained of such reasoning as this,”

Paul's contention with Barnabas is a strong presuinp. tion against the attainableness of perfection in this life ; because of all mere men he seems to have made the great

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eft advances towards it. But it is a demonstration of the falsehood of Mr Wesley's proposition, that even babes in Christ are in so far perfect as not to commit fin, Mr Wes. Jey will allow that Paul was then more than a babe in Christ, and yet he finned. To say, he at that time fell from grace, will hardly quadrate with his subsequent history, at least if Mr Wesley is right in his ideas of the man. ner of knowing true prophets, from the fruits of their doctrine, as to themselves, and as to their hearers. Ser. mons, vol. III. p. 45.--47.

If we urge against this hypothesis 1 John i. 8. “ If we " say we have no fio, we deceive ourselves, and the truth “ is not in us:" Mr Wesley replies, Sermons, vol. III. p. 223. as Barclay the Quaker did before him, “ that the Toth verse fixes the sense of the 8th:: “ If we say we have

no sin” in the former, being explained by “ if we say.

we have not sinned" in the latter verse. Neither of these verses assert that we fin now. And the question is not, whether we have Ginned heretofore."

If these writers have reason to infift, that the phrases of forgiving lins and cleansing from all unrighteousness, V: 9. are not an useless tautology, I have equal reason to deny, that ver. 10. is a mere repetition of ver. 8.–The connection and sense of the four last verses, I take to be this. Ver. 7. If we walk in the light, as he is in the " light, we have fellowship one with another, and the * blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all lin.". Here it might be asked, Have they who walk in the light, as God is in the light, any moral defilement, from which they need to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus? Yes, says the-apostle, ver. 8. “ If we say that we have no sin, we “ deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Sin, de.. pravity of heart, still remains. We have it, we feel its workings, tho' its dominion is broken by conversion, and its power till further weakened by progressive holiness. Nor does the efficacy of Christ's blood exteod only to this, but also to these actual transgreslions, from which they that walk in the light are not wholly free. Ver. 9." if:

we confess our fins, he is faithful and just to forgive us

our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' Siņs and unrighteousness here mean, our violating by ac.

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