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other from the summit of his paradisiacal excellence, without any previous bias inclining him to corruption ; so may those believers, whose hearts have been completely purified by faith, gradually depart from the faith, and fall so low as to account the blood of the covenant, wherewith they were sanctified, an unholy thing?'
3. The prejudices of our opponents are increased by their confoundiug Adamic* and Christian Perfection ; two perfectious these, which are as distinct as the Garden of Eden and the Christian Church, Adamic Perfection came from God our Creator in Paradise, before any trial of Adam's faithful oberience : And Christian Perfection comes from God our Redeemer and Sancti. fier, in the Christian Church, after a severe trial of the obedience of faith. Adamic perfection might be lost by doing despite to the preserving love of God our Creator; and Christian Perfection may be lost by doing despite to the redee ming love of God our Saviour. Adamic Perfection extended to the whole man : His body was perfectly sound in all its parts, and his soul in all its powers.
But Christian Perfection extends chiefly to the will, which is the capital, moral power of the soul; leaving the understanding ignorant of ten thousand things, and the body dead because of sin.'
* Between Adamic and Christian Perfection we place the gracious innocence of little children. They are not only full of peccability like Adam, but debilitated in all their animal and rational faculties, and, of consequence, fit to become an easy prey to temptation, through the weakness of their reason, and the corruption of their concupiscible and irascible powers. Nevertheless, till they begin personally to prefer moral evil to moral good, we may consider them as evangelically or graciously innocent. I say graciously innocent, because, if we consider them in the seed of fallen Adam, we find them naturally children of wrath,' and under the curse : But if we consider them in the seed of the woman,' which was promised to Adam and to his posterity, we find them graciously placed in a state of redemption, and evangelicaj salvation. For, 'the free gift which is come upon all men to justification,' belongs first to them, Christ having sanctified infancy first. And therefore we do not scruple to say, after our Lord, ' Of such is the kingdom of heaven.' Now the kingdom of heaven is not of sinners as sinners ; but of little children, as being innocent through the free-gift : Or of adults, as being penitent, that is, turned from their sins to Christ.
4. Another capital mistake lies at the root of the opposition which our Calvinian brethren make against Christian Perfection. They imagine, that, upon our principles, the grace of an adult Christian is like the body of an adult man, which can grow no more. But this consequence flows from their fancy, and not from our doctrine. We exhort the strongest believers to
grow up to Christ in ail things ;' asserting that there is no holiness and no happiness in heaven, (much less upon earth,) which does not admit of a growth, except the holiness and happiness of God himself; because, in the very nature of things, a being absolutely perfect, and in every sense infinite, can never have any thing added to him. But infinite additions may be made to beings every way finite, such as glorified saints and holy angels are.
Hence it appears, that the comparison which we make between the ripeness of a fruit, and the maturity of a believer's grace, cannot be carried into an exact parallel.--For a perfect Christian grows far more than a feeble believer, whose growth is still obstructed by the shady thorus of sin, and by the draining suckers of iniquity.-Besides, a fruit which is come to its perfection, instead of growing, falls and decays : Whereas a'babe in Christ is called to grow till he becomes a perfect Christian ;-a perfect Christian, till he becomes a disembodied spirit;—a disembodied spirit, till he reaches the perfection of a saint glorified in body and soul ;-and such a saint, till he has fathomed the infinite depths of Divine Perfection, that is, to all eternity. For if we go on from faith to faith, and are spiritually changed from glory to glory,' by beholding God · darkly through a glass' on earth; much more shall we experience improving changes, when we shall
see him as he is,' and behold him face to face in various, numberless, and still brighter discoveries of himself in heaven. If Mr. Hill did but consider this, he would no more suppose that Christian Perfection is the Pharisaic rickets, which put a stop to the growth of believers, and turn them into “ temporary monsters." Agaiu :
by kindly relieving
an idle drunken beggar, who im
child; but are you a
murderer, if you give the fatal
man, who holds many wrong opi.
213 TO ANTINOMIANISM. Does a well-meant mistake defile the conscience ? You inadvertently encourage idleness and drunkenuess, poses upon your charity by plausible lies : Is this loving error a sin ?-A blundering apothecary sends you arsenic for alum; you use it as alum, and poisou your dose in love?--Suppose the tempter had secretly mixed some of the forbidden fruit, with other fruits that Eve had lawfully gathered for use ; would she have sinned if she had inadvertently eaten of it, and given a share to her husband ?-After humbly confessing and decidental offence, her involuntary trespass ; would she , ploring her undesigned error, her secret fauit, her acand ask, May not a man who holds many right opinions, not have been as innocent as ever?-1 go farther still, be a perfect lover of the world ? And by a parity of reason, may not nions, be a perfect lover of God ? Have not some Calvinists died with their hearts over flowing with perfect love, and their heads full of the notion, that God set his everlasting, absolute hatred upon myriads of men before the foundation of the world ?-Nay, is it not even renewed in love,
possible, that a man, whose heart is
Should through mistaken humility, or through weakness of understauding, oppose the name of Christian Perfection, when he desires, and perhaps enjoys the thing ? as well as in tem
Once more : Does not St. Paul's rule hold in spirituals what a man
porals :: 'It is accepted according to not.' Does our Lord actually require more of believers
hath, and not according to what he hath than they can when they do it to the best of their power, does he not
actually do through his grace ? And see some perfection in their works, insignificant as those works may be?“ Remove this immense heap of stones," 66 and be diligent according to your strength.” While the eldest, a little child, is as cheerfully busy as any of the rest in
a strong man, removes rocks, the youngest,
indulgent father to his children ; carrying sands and pebbles. Now, may not his childlike obedience be as excellent in its degree, and, of consequence, as acceptable to his parent, as the manly obedience of his eldest brother ? -Nay, though he does next to nothing, may not his endeavours, if they are more cordial, excite a smile of superior approbation of his loving Father, who looks at the disposition of the heart, more than at the appearance of the work ? Had the believers of Sardis cordially laid out all their talents, would our Lord have complained that he did not find their works perfect before God ?? (Rev. iii. 2.) And was it vot according to this rule of perfection, that Christ testified, the poor widow, who had given but tuo mites, had nevertheless cast more into the treasury, than all the rich, “though they had cast in much :' Because, our Lord himself being Judge, she had giveu all that she had ?' Now could she give, or did God require more than her all ? And when she thus heartily gave her all, did she not do (evangelically peaking) perfect work, according to her dispensation and circumstances ?
We flatter ourselves, that if these scriptural observa. tions, and rational queries, do not remove Mr. Hill's prejudice, they will at least make way for a more candid perusal of the following pages.
Several Objections raised against our Doctrine are solved
merely by considering the Nature of Christian Per: fection. It is absurd to say that all our Christian Perfection is in the Person of Christ,
I REPEAT it, if our pious opponents decry the doctrine of Christian Perfection, it is chiefly through misapprehension; it being as natural for pious men to l'ecommend exalted piety, aš for covetous persons to extol great riches. And this msiapprehension fre
IV. “ It sets
quently springs from their inattention to the nature of Christian Perfection. To prove it, I need only oppose our definition of Christian perfection to the OBJECTIONS which are most commonly raised against our doctrine. 1. "S
Your doctrine of Perfection leads to pride." -Impossible ! if Christian Perfection is of
perfect If. " It exalts believers ; but it is only to the state of the vain-glorious Pharisee.”'-Impossible! If our Perfection is "s perfect humility," it makes us sink deeper into the state of the humble, justitied Publican.
III. " It fills men with the conceit of their own ex. by, I am holier than thou :'-Impossible again! We do cellence, and makes them say to a weak brother, Stand not preach Pharisaic, but Christian Perfection, which consists in
perfect poverty of spirit,” and in that
which vaunteth not itself, honours all men, and bears with the infirmities of the weak!'. it is a perfect repentance.”
repentance aside."--Impossible! for V. “It will make us slight Christ."'-- More and more make us slight Christ? Could it be more absurd to
How can "perfect faith" in Christ, say, that the perfect love of God will make us despise God ?
Supersede the use of vortification we to mortify it, and to watch against it?”
; for, if sin be dead, what need have This objection has some plausibility; I shall therefore answer it in various ways.--(1.) If Adam, in his fulness and perfect mortification, how much more do state of Paradisiacal Perfection, needed perfect watchwe need them good and evil)
who find the tree of the knowledge of gardens, but in the midst of our houses, markets, and
Planted, not only in the midst of our churches?(2.) When we are delivered from sin, are the inward man of sin is dead, is the devil dead? Is the
delivered from peccability and temptation ? When corruption that is in the world destroyed? And have we not still our five senses, and our appetite, 'to keep with
VI. “ It will and watchfulness