Page images
PDF
EPUB

say, "A believer may be assured of pardon as soon as he commits any sin, even adultery and murder.-Sins are but scare-crows and bug-bears to frighten ignorant children, but men of understanding see they are counterfeit things:" And indeed it must be so, if, as Mr.T. tells us, Whatever is, is right, and necessarily flows from the predestinating will of him who does all things well.

2. This Thomson (as appears by his speech) was a rigid free-willer; one, who discarded the first gospelaxiom, and the doctrine of Free Grace; and therefore, his error does not affect our gospel. Nay, we oppose such free-willers, as much as we do the rigid bound-willers who discard the second gospel-axiom, and the necessity of sincere obedience in order to our judicial justification, and eterual salvation.

3. If Thomson had been sober and reasonable, Mr. Wesley might easily have made up the pretended Antinomian gap of Arminianism five different ways :—(1.) By shewing him, that, although Free Will may reject a good motion, yet it cannot raise oue without Free Grace; and therefore, to say, "To-morrow I will make myself a child of God," is as absurd in a man, as it would be in a woman, to say, "To-morrow f will conceive alone :"-It is as impious as to say, "Tomorrow I will absolutely command God, and he shall obey me."-(2.) By shewing him his imminent danger, and the horror of his present state, which he himself acknowledged when he said, "I am a child of the devil to day."-(3.) By arguing the uncertain length of the day of salvation. Grace gives us no room to depend upon to-morrow; its constant language being,' Now is the accepted time.'-(4.) By pressing the hardening nature of presumptuous sin.—And (5.) By displaying the terrors of just wrath, which frequently says, 'Take the talent from him.-Because ye refused, I will be avenged. I give thee up to thy own heart's lusts, to a reprobate mind.-Thou fool! this night shall thy soul be required of thee.'

These are five rational and scriptural ways of making

up the supposed Antinomian gap of our gospel. But if Mr. Thomson had been a Calvinist, and had said, like Mr. Fulsome, " I have had a call, and my election is safe: As my good works can add nothing to my Finished Salvation, so my bad words can take nothing from it. Satan may pound me, if he pleases; but Jesus must replevy me. Let me wander where I will from God, Christ must fetch me back again. The covenant is unconditionally ordered in all things and sure. All things work for good to the elect."-" And if all things," says Mr. Hill," then their very sins and corruptions are included in the royal promise."— "Whoredom and drunkenness may hurt another, but they cannot hurt me. God will over-rule sin for my good, and his glory. Whatsoever is, is right: For God worketh all things in all men, even wickedness in the wicked, and how much more in his elect, who are his chosen instruments !"-If Mr. Thomson, I say, had been a Calvinist, and had thus stood his ground in the Antinomiau gap which Calvin, Dr. Crisp, Mr. Fulsome, Mr. Hill, and Mr. Toplady have made; who could reasonably have beaten him off? Do not all his conclusions flow from the doctrine of Absolute Election and Finished Salvation, as unavoidably as four is the result of two and two?

ARG. LXX. (p. 97.) Mr. T. attempts again to stop up the Antinomian gap, which Fatalism and Calvinian Predestination make in practical religion. Calling to his assistance Zeno, the founder of the Stoics, or rigid predestinarians among the Heathens, he says," Zeno one day thrashed his servant for pilfering. The fellow, knowing his master was a Fatalist, thought to bring himself off by alleging that he was destined to steal, and therefore ought not to be beat for it. You are destined to steal, are you?' answered the philosopher; 'Then you are no less destined to be thrashed for it :' And laid on some hearty blows extraordinary."—I do not wonder that Mr. Hill, in his Finishing Stroke, calls Mr. Toplady's arguments "most masterly;" for

this argument of Zeno is yet more masterly than his own: "I shall not take the least notice of him, any more than, if I were travelling on the road, I would stop to lash, or even to order my footman to lash every little impertinent quadruped in a village, that should come out and bark at me." Mr. Toplady, in the Advertisement placed at the head of his Pamphlet, represents some of us as "unworthy of even being pilloried in a Preface, or flogged at a Pamphlet's tail:" We are now arrived at the tail of his Pamphlet, in the body of which he has thought Mr. Wesley so highly worthy of his rod, as to "flog" him with the gratuity, absoluteness, mercy, and justice, which are peculiar to the Reprobation defended through the whole performance. If seriousness did not become us, when we vindicate the injured attributes of the Judge of all the earth,' I might be tempted to ask with a smile, has Mr. T. so worn out his rod in making" More Work for Mr. Wesley," that he is now obliged to borrow Zeno's stick to finish the execution "at the Pamphlet's tail?" For my part, as I have no idea of rivetting orthodoxy upon my readers with a stick, and of solving the rational objections of my opponents by "laying on some hearty blows," and so "thrashing" them into conviction, or into silence, I own that Logica Zenonis and Logica Genevensis being of a piece, either of them can easily beat me out of the field. Arguments a lapide are laughable; but I flee before arguments a baculo. However, in my retreat, I will venture to present Mr. T. with the following queries:

"

If Zeno, in vindicating Fatalism, could say to a thief, that he was absolutely predestinated to steal, and to be thrashed for stealing; is it not more than Mr. Toplady can say in vindication of Calvinism? For, upon his scheme, may not a man be absolutely predestinated not only to steal, but also to escape thrashing, and to obtain salvation by stealing? Mr. Toplady is Mr. Hill's second: And Mr. Hill, in his Fourth Letter, (where he shews the happy effects of sin,) tells the public and me, "Onesimus robbed Philemon his

fer; and fleeing from justice, was brought under

Paul's preaching, and converted." Thus Zeno's predestination failed, and, with it, Zeno's argument: For robbery led not Onesimus to thrashing, but to conver sion and glory, if we believe Mr. Hill. And if Mr. Fulsome is an elect person, why might he not be guilty of as fortunate a robbery? Why might not a similar decree "secure and accomplish the [same Evangelical] end by the [same Antinomian] means?" Mr. Toplady may prevail over us by borrowing Zeno's cane, and the whip of Mr. Hill's lashing footman; but his pen will never demonstrate, (1.) That Calvinism does not rationally lead all her admirers to the deepest mire of speculative Antinomianism: And (2.) That when they are there, nothing can keep them from weltering in the dirt of practical Antinomianism, but an happy inconsistence between their actions and their principles.

SECTION XI.

A Caution against the Tenet, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT: An Antinomian Tenet this, which Mr. T. calls "a first Principle of the Bible.”—An Answer to his Challenge about finding a middle Way between the Calvinian Doctrine of Providence, and the Atheistical Doctrine of Chance.

WHATEVER the true God works, is undoubtedly right. But if the Deity absolutely works all things in all men, good and bad, it evidently follows, (1.) That the twoprincipled deity preached by Manes is the true God. (2.) That the bad principle of this double deity works wickedness in the wicked, as necessarily as the good principle works righteousness in the righteous.—And, (3.) That the original of wickedness being divine, wickedness is as right as the deity from whom it flows. Upon this horrid, Manichean scheme, who can wonder at Mr. Toplady saying,

ARG. LXXI. (p. 96.)—“This is a first principle of the Bible, and of sound Reason, that Whatever is, is right; or will answer some great end, &c., in its relation to the whole."-Error is never more dangerous than when it looks a little like truth. But when it is imposed upon the simple as "a first principle of the Bible and of sound reason," it makes dreadful work. How conclusively will a rigid Predestinarian reason if he says, "Whatever is, is right; and therefore sin is right. Again, it is wrong to hinder what is right: Sin is right; and therefore it is wrong to hinder sin.-Once more; we ought to do what is right; and therefore we ought to commit sin."-Now, in opposition to Mr. Toplady's first principle, I assert, as a "first principle of reason," that though it was right in God not absolutely to hinder sin, yet sin is always wrony.—“ Oh ! but God permitted it, and will get himself glory by displaying his vindictive justice in punishing it: For 'the ministration of condemnation is glorious.'" This argument has deluded many a pious Calvinist. To overthrow it, I need only observe, that righteousness exceeds condemnation in glory!'

(

In what respect is sin right? Can it be right in respect of God, if it brings him less glory than righteousness? Can it be right in respect of man, if it brings temporal misery upon ALL, and eternal misery upon SOME? Can it be right in respect of the Adamic law, the law of Moses, or the Law of Christ? Certainly, no: For sin is equally the transgression of all these laws. "Oh! but it is right with respect to the evangelical promise."-By no means: For the evangelical promise, vulgarly called The Gospel, testifies of Christ, the Destroyer of sin, and offers us a remedy against sin. Now, if sin were right, the gospel which remedies it, and Christ who destroys it, would be wrong. I conclude, then, that if sin be right, neither with respect of God, nor with respect of man; neither with regard to the law, nor with regard to the gospel; it is right in no shape, it is wrong in every point of view.

"But why did God permit it?" Indeed, he never

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »