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fore can truly believe, according to this dispensation, without being immediately conscious both of the for-, giveness of fins, and of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. This is a most important truth, derided indeed by fallen churchmen, and denied by Laodicean difsenters; but of late years gloriously revived by Mr. Wesley and the ministers connected with him :-A truth this, which cannot be too strongly, and yet too warilyinlifted upon in our lukewarm and speculative age : and as I would not obscure it for the world, I particularly intreat the reader to mind the last erratum; without omitting the last but one, which guards the doctrine of initial salvation by absolute free grace.
*I do not desire to provoke my able opponents; but I must own, I should be glad to reap the benefit of my Checks, either by finding an increase of religious fobriety and mutual forbearance among those, who make a peculiar profession of faith in Christ; or by seeing my mistakes [if I am mistaken] brought to light, that I might no longer recommend them as gospel-truths. With this view only, I humbly intreat my brethren and fathers in the church, to point out by fcripture or argument the doctrinal errors, that may have crept into the Equal Check. But if, upon close examination, they should find, that it holds forth the two gospel-axioms in due conjunction, and marks out the evangelical mean with friet impartiality ; I hope, the moderate and judicious, in the Calvinistic and Anti-calvinistic party, will so far unite upon this plan, as to keep on terms of reciprocal toleration, and bro. therly kindness together; rising with redoubled indignation, not one against another, but against those peits of the religious world, prejudice and bigotry, the genuine parents of implacable fanaticism, and bloody persecution.
Madeley, May 21, 1774.
N. B. I have confiderably shortened the following tracts; and marked the most ueful parts of them with a *.
Upon the importance and harmony of the two gospel-precepts, Believe and Obey; and upon the fatal con
fequences that flow from parting Faith and Works. WHEN
HEN the gospel is considered as opposed to
the error of the Pharisees, and that of the Antinomians, it may be summed up in the two following propositions: (1.) In the day of conversion, we are saved freely as finners (i. e. made freely partakers of the privileges that belong to our gospel dispensation in the church militant) thro' the merits of Christ, by a living faith. (2.) In the day of judgment we shall be saved freely as faints, [i. e. made freely partakers of the privileges of our gospel dispensation in the church triumphant) thro' the merits of Christ, and by the evidence of evangelical works. Whence it follows: (1.) That nothing can absolutely hinder our justifican tion in a gospel-day, but the want of true faith ; and (2.) That nothing will absolutely hinder our justifica. tion in the day of judgment, but the want of good works. If I am not ñistaken, all the evangelical doctrine of faith and works turns upon those propositions. They exactly answer to the grand direcjions of the gospel. Wilt thou enter into Christ's sheepfold? Believe.. Wilt thou stay there ? Believe and obey.-Wilt thou be numbered among his sheep in the great day? Endure unto the end: continue in well doing: that is, persevere in faith and obedience.
* To believe then and obey, or as Solomon expresses it, To fear God and keep his commandments, is the whole duty of man. Therefore a professor of faith without genuiue obedience, and a pretender to obedience
without genuine faith, equally miss their aim; while a friend to faith and works put in their proper place, a possessor of the faith which works by love, hits the gospel mark, and so runs as to obtain the prize : for the same true and faithful witness spoke the two following, and equally express declarations. He that BELIEVETH on the Son hath everlasting life ; and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not fee life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John iii. 36. And, The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall come forth, they that have DONE GOOD, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the refurrection of condemnation. John v. 29.
* See that sculler upon yonder river. The unwearied diligence and watchful skill, with which he plies his two oars, points out to us the work and wisdom of an experienced divine.
What an even, gentle spring does the mutual effort of his oars give to his boat! Observe him : his right hand never rests, but when the stream carries him too much to the left : he flacks not his left hand, unless he is gone too much to the right; nor has he fooner recovered a just me. dium, than he uses both oars again with mutual harmony. Suppose that for a constancy he employed but one, no matter which, what would be the consequence? He would only move in a circle; and if neither wind nor tide carried him along, after an hard day's work he would find himself in the very fpot, where he began his idle toil.
This illustration needs very little explaining: I fhall just observe that the Antinomian is like a fculler, who uses only his right-hand oar; and the Pharifee, like him who plies only the oar in his left hand. One makes an endless buftle about grace and faith, the other about charity and works : but both, after all, find themselves exactly in the same place'; with this fingle difference, that one has returned from truth to the right, and the other to the left.
* Not so the judicious, unbiassed preacher, who will fafely enter the haven of eternal rest, for which he
and his hearers are bound. He makes an equal use of the doctrine of faith and that of works. If at any time he insists most upon faith, it is only when the ftream carries his congregation upon the Pharisaic allows on the left hand: and if he lays a preponderating stress upon works, it is only when he fees unwary
souls fucked into the Antinomian whirlpool of the right hand. His skill consists in so avoiding one danger as not to run upon the other.
* Norought this watchful wisdom to be confined to minifters: for tho' all are not called to direct congregations; yet all moral agents are, and always were, more or less called to direct themselves, that is, 10 occupy till the Lord comes, by making a proper use of their talents according to the parable, Mat. xxv. 15, to 31. God gave to angels and man 66
remigium alarum," the two oars, or if you please, the equal wings of faith and obedience ; charging them to use those grand powers, according to their
original wisdom and enlightened conscience. Or, to speak without me. taphor, he created them in such a manner, that they believed it their duty, interest, and glory, to obey him without reserve; and this faith was naturally productive of an universal, delightful, perfe& obedience. Nor would they ever have been wanting in practice, if they had not first wavered in principle. But when Lucifer had unaccountably perfuaded himself, in part at least, either that rebellion would be advantageous; and when the crafty tempter had made our first parents believe, that if they ate of the forbidden fruit, far from dying they should be as God himself; how por. sible, how easy was it for them to venture upon an a&t of rebellion By rashly playing with the Serpent, and sucking in the venom of his crafty insinua tions, they soon gave their faith a wilful wound, and their obedience naturally died of it: but alas! it did not die unrevenged; for no sooner
had fainting faith given birth to a dead work, than she was destroyed by her spurious offspring. Thus faith and obedience, that couple more lovely than David and his friend,
more inseparable than Saul and Jonathan, in their death were not divided.' They ever met with a common grave, the corrupt atrocious breast of a rebellious angel, or of apostate man.
Nor does St. James give us a less melancholly account of this fatal event. While faith Numbered, luft conceived, and brought forth fin, and fin finished, brought forth death, the death of faith, and consequently the moral death of angelic spirits and human souls, who equally live by faith + during their state of probation. So fell Lucifer from heaven, to rule and rage in the darkness of this world : so fell Adam from pa. radise, to toil and die in this vale of tears : so fell Judas from an apostolic throne, to hang himself and go to his own place.
Nor can we rife but in a way parallel to that by which they fell. For, as a disbelief of our CREATOR, productive of bad works, sunk our first parents : so a faith in our REDEEMER, productive of good works, must raise their fallen posterity.
* Should you ask, which is most necessary to salvation, faith or works? I beg leave to propose a similar question. Which is most essential to breathing, inspiration or expiration. If you reply, that“ The moment either is absolutely at an end, so is the other; and therefore both are equally important;" I return ex. actly the same answer. If humble faith receives the breath of spiritual life; obedient love gratefully returns
+ Faith in God as Creator, Lawgiver, and Judge, was not less nécessary to Lucifer and Adam in order to their i anding in a state of innocence, than Faith in God as Redeemer, sanctifier and Rewarder, of them that diligently seek him, is necessary to finners, in order to their recovery from a state of guilt; or to believers in order to avoid relapses and final apostasy. Faith therefore, so far as it implies an unshaken confidence in God, and a firm adherence to his will, is as eternalas love and obedience. But when it is considered as the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen, which are essential properties of a believer’s fa th'in this present state of
things, it is evident that it will neceffarily end in sight, as soon as the curtain of time is drawn up; and terminate in enjoyment, as soon as God's glory appears without a veil.