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fire in some Tartarean region;" witness these lines of Virgil :
Aliæ panduntur inanes
Infectum eluitur scelus, aut exuritur igni. The second Opinion is that of the Romanists, who teach, that such souls are completely sanctified by the virtue of Christ's blood, and the sharp operation of a penal temporary fire in the suburbs of hell.—The Third Opinion is that of the Calvinists, who think that the stroke of death must absolutely be joiued with Christ's blood and Spirit, and with our faith, to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, and to kill the inbred man of sin.
The last sentiment is that of the Church of England, which teaches that there is no other Purgatory but s Christ's blood”-“Stedfast, perfect faith”- and “ The inspiration of God's Holy Spirit, cleansing the thoughts of our hearts, that we may perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his holy name.
The only Purgatory, wherein we must trust to be saved," says she, “is the death and blood of Christ, which, if we apprehend with a true and stedfast Faith, (called soon after a perfect Faith,'] it purgeth and cleanseth us from all our sins. • 'l'he blood of Christ, says St. John,
hath cleansed us from all sin.' "The blood of Christ,' says St. Paul, 'hath purged our consciences from dead works to serve the living God, &c. This then is the Purgatory wherein all Christian men put their trust and confidence.”—Homily on Prayer, Part iii.
Nor is this doctrine of Purgatory, peculiar to the Church of England; for the unprejudiced Puritans themselves maintained it in the last century. Mr. R. Alleine, in his excellent treatise on Godly Fear, printed in London, 1674, says (p. 161,) “ The Lord Christ is sometimes resembled to a Refining Fire, &c.
• He is a refiner's fire, and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.' He shall purify, ‘he shall save his people from their sins, yet so as by fire. God has his Pur. gatory as well as his Hell; though not according to
that Popish dream, a Purgatory after this life.”-Aud I beg leave to add,—though not according to that Calvinian dream, a Purgatory when we leave this life-a Purgatory in the article of death.
The scriptural doctrine of Purgatory is vindicated, and the new-fangled doctrine of a Death Purgatory is exploded in the following pages : Wherein 1 endearour both to defend the glorious liberty of the children of God,' and to attack the false liberty of those, who, whilst they promise liberty to others in Christ, are themselves [doctrinally at least] the servants of corruption ;' pleading hard for the indwelling of sin in our hearts so long as we live ; and thinking it almost “ blasphemous” to assert, that Christ's blood, fully applied by the Spirit, through a stedfast faith, can radically 'cleanse us from all sin,' without the least assistance from the arrows or sweats of death.
Reader, I plead for the most precious liberty in the world, heart-liberty ;-for liberty from the most galling of all yokes, the yoke of heart-corrruption.—Let not thy prejudices turn a deaf ear to the important plea. If thou candidly, believingly, and practically receive
the truth as it is in Jesus, it shall make thee free, and thou shalt be free indeed.' Then, instead of shouting, “ Indwelling Sin and Death Purgatory," thou wilt fulfil the law of liberty ; shouting, Christ and Christian liberty for ever !” In the meau time, when thou makest intercession for thy well-wishers, remember the author of this Essay, and pray that he may plead on his knees against the remains of sin, far more earnestly than he does in these sheets agains Mr. Hill's mistakes.
The best way of opposing the Doctrines of Christian
Imperfection and a Death Purgatory, is to place the Doctrine of Christian Perfection in a proper Light.-Christian Perfection is the Maturity of a Believer's Grace under the Gospel of Christ.-It is absurd to suppose that this perfection is sinless, if it be measured by our Creator's Law of paradisiacal Innocence and Obedience.- Established Believers fulfil our Redeemer's evangelical Law of Liberty. Whilst they fulfil it, they do not transgress it, that is, (evangelically speaking.) they do not sin.
Most of the controversies, which arise between men who fear God, spring from the hurry with which some of them find fault with what they have not yet examined, and speak evil of what they do not understand. Why does Mr. ħill, at the head of the Calvinists, attack the doctrine of Christian Perfection which we contend for? Is it because he and they are sworn enemies to righteousness, and zealous protectors of iniquity ? Not at all. The grand reason, next to their Calvinian prejudice, is their inattention to the question, and to the arguments by which our sentiments are supported. Notwithstanding the manner in which that gentleman has treated me and my friends in his controversial heats, I still entertain so good an opinion of him as to think, that if he understood our, doctrine, he would no more pour contempt upou it, than upon the oracles of God. I shall, therefore, endeavour to rectify his ideas of the glorious Christian Liberty which we press after. If producing light is the best method of opposing darkness, setting the doctrine of Christian Perfection in a proper point of view, will be the best means of opposing the doctriues of Christian Imperfection, and of a Death-purgatory. Begin we then by, taking a view of our Jerusalem and her perfection : And when we shall have marked her bulwarks,' and cleared the ground between her towers and Mr. Hill's battery, we shall march up to it, and see whether his arguments have the solidity of brass, or only the showy appearance of wooden artillery, painted and mouuted like brazen ordnance.
CHRISTIAN PerfecTION! Why should the harmless phrase offend us ?- Perfection ! Why should that lovely word frighten us? Is it not common and plain ? Did not Cicero speak intelligibly, when he called accomplished philosophers, Perfectos philosophos ; and an EXCELLENT orator', PERFECTUM oratorem ? Did Ovid expose his reputation when he said that “Chirou* perfected Achilles in music,” or “taught him to play on the lute to perfection ?” And does Mr. Hill think it wrong to observe, that fruit grown to maturity is in its perfection ? We, whom that gentleman calls Perfectionists, use the wordt Perfection exactly in the same sense ; giving that name to the Maturity of Grace peculiar to established believers under their respective dispensations; aud if this he an error, we are led into it by the Sacred Writers, who use the word Per. fection as well as we.
* Phillyrides puerum cithara perfecit Achillem.
+ The word perfection comes from the Latin perficio, to perfect, to finish, to accomplish ; it exactly answers to the words Don, and TEXELOV, generally used in the Old and New Testament. Nor can their derivatives be more literally and exactly rendered than by perfect and perfection. If our translators-render sometimes the word on by
The word predestinate occurs but four times in all the scriptures, and the word Predestination not once.; and yet Mr. Hill would justly exclaim against us, if we shewed our wit by calling for “ a little Foundry [or Tabernacle] eye-salve,” to help us to see the word Predestination once in all the Bible. Not so the word Perfection: Itoccurs,with allits derivatives, as frequently as most words in the scriptures, and not seldom in the very same sense in which we take it. Nevertheless, we do not lay an undue stress upon the expression; and if we thought that our condescension would answer any good end, would entirely give up that harnless and significant word. But, if it is expedient to retain the unscriptural word Trinity, because it is a kind of watchword by which we frequently discover the secret opposers of the mysterious distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the Divine Unity ; how much more proper it, not to renounce the scriptural word Perfection, by which the dispirited spies, who bring an evil report upon the good land of holiness, are often detected ?-- Add to this, that the following declaration of our Lord does not permit us to renouuce either the word or the thing : " Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father.' Now the words of my motto, ‘Be ye perfect,' &c., being Christ's own words, we dare no more be ashamed of them, than we dare desire him to be ashamed of us in the great day. Thus much for the word perfection.
Again : We give the name of “ Christian Perfectiou”
upright and sincere, or by sincerity and integrity, it is because they know that these expressions, like the original word, admit of a great latitude. Thus Columel calls wood that has no rotten part, and is perfectly sound, lignum sincerum ; and Horace says, that a sweet cask, which has no bad smell of any sort, is, vas sincerum. Thus also Cicero calls purity of diction, which is perfectly free from faults against grammar, integritas sermonis : Plautus says, that a pure, undefiled virgin, is filia integra. And our translators call the perfectly pure milk of God's word, the sincere milk of the word. (1 Peter ii. 2.) If therefore the words sincerity and integrity are taken in their full latitude, they convey the fullest meaning of Ton, and TEA ELO lns, that is, perfection.