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WHEN the Author of Pietas Oxoniensis took his temporary leave of me, in his Finishing Stroke, he recommended to the public the book which I am going to answer. His recommendation runs thus: “Whosoever will consult the Rev. Mr. Toplady's last publication, entitled, More Work for Mr. J. Wesley, [or, a Vindi · cation of the Decrees, &c.,] will there find a full answer to all those cavils which Papists, Socinians, Pelagians, Armiuians, and Perfectionists, bring against those doc. trines commonly called CALVINIST, as if they tended to promote licentiousness, or to make God cruel, unjust, and unmerciful, and will see every one of their objections retorted upon themselves in a most masterly manner." Fin. Stroke. page 33.—Soon after Mr. Hill had thus extolled Mr. Toplady's performance, I was informed that
many of the Calvinists said, that it was an unanswerable defence of their doctrines. This raised in me a desire to judge for myself; and when I had sent for, and read this admired book, I was so far from being of Mr. Hill's sentiment, that I promised my readers to demonstrate, from that very book, the inconclasiveness of the strongest arguments by which Calvinism is supported. Mr. Hill, by unexpectedly entering the lists again, caused me to delay the fulfilling of my promise. But having now completed my answer to his fictitious creed, I hasten to complete also my Logica Genevensis.
Did I write a book entitled Charitas Genev ensis, I might easily shew, from Mr.Toplady's performance, that
The Doctrines of Grace" (so called) are closely connected with 66 The doctrines of free wrath." But if that gentleman, in his controversial heat, has f what he owed to Mr. Wesley and to him.
reason why I should forget the title of my book, which calls me to point out the bad arguments of our oppopents, and not their ill humour. If I absurdly spent my time in passing a censure upon Mr. Toplady's spirit, he would with reason say, as he does in the Introduction to his Historic Proof, page 35, “ After all, what has my pride or my humility to do with the argument iu hand? Whether I am haughty or meek is of no more consequence either to that, or to the public, than whether I am tall or short.” Besides, having again and again, myself, requested our opponents not to withdraw the controversy by personal reflections, but to weigh with candour the arguments which are offered, I should be inexcusable if I did not set them the example. Should it be said, that Mr. Wesley's character, which Mr. Toplady has so severely attacked is at stake, and that I ought purposely to stand up in his defence :* I reply, that the personal charges which Mr. Toplady interweaves with bis arguments, have been already fully answered* by Mr, Olivers ; and that these charges being chiefly founded upon Mr. Toplady's logical mistakes, they will, of their own accord, fall to the ground, as soon as the mistakes on which they rest shall be ex. posed. If Logica Genevensis is disarmed, Charitas Genevensis will pot be able to keep the field. If good sense take the former prisoner, the latter will be obliged to surrender to good nature. Should this be the case, how great a blessing will our controversy prove to both parties ! The conquerors shall have the glory of vindicating truth ; a od the conquered shall have the profit of retiring from the field with their judgments better informed, and their tempers better regulated ! May the God of truth and love grant, that if Mr. Toplady have the honour of producing the best arguments, I (for one) may have the advantage of yielding to them! To be conquered by truth and love, is to prove conqueror over our two greatest enemies, error and sin.
MADELEY, Oct. 1775.
See " A Letter to the Rev. Mr. Toplady," by Mr. Olivers.
THE REV. MR. TOPLADY'S
« VINDICATION OF THE DECREES," $c.
Shewing that, upon the Calvinian scheme, it is an indu
bitable truth, that some men shall be saved, do what they will, till the efficacious decree of Calvinian election necessitate them to repent and be saved ; and that others shall be damned, do what they can, till the efficacious decree of Calvinian reprobation necessitate them to draw back, and be damned.
The doctrinal part of the controversy between Mr. Wesley and Mr. Toplady may, in a great degree, be reduced to this question : If God, from all eternity, absolutely predestinated a fixed number of men, called the elect, to eternal life, and absolutely predestinated a fixed number of men called the reprobate, to eternal death, does it not unavoidably follow, that, “ The elect shall be saved, do what they will;" and that “ The reprobate shall be damned, do what they can ?" Mr. Wesley thinks, that the consequence is undeniably true : Mr. Toplady says, that it is absolutely false, and charges Mr. Wesley with “ coining blasphemous propositions,” yea, with “ hatching blasphemy, and then fathering it on others,” (pages 7, 8,) and, ir
upon the word blasphemous, he says, “ This epithet is not too strong. To say, that any shall be saved, do what they will, and others damned, do what they can, is, in the first instance, blasphemy against the holiness of God; and, in the second, blasphemy against his goodness :" And again, (p. 34,) after repeating the latter clause of the consequence, viz. “ The reprobate shall be damned, do what they can," he expresses himself thus : “ One would imagine, that none but a reprohate could be capable of advancing a position so execrably shocking. Surely it must have cost even Mr. Wesley much, both of time and pains, to invent the idea, &c. Few men's invention ever sunk deeper into the despicable, launched wider into the horrid, and went farther in the profane. The satanic guilt of the person, who could excogitate, and publish to the world, a position like that, bafiles all power of description, and is only to be exceeded (if exceedable) by the satanic shame lessness which dares to lay the black position at the door of other men.-Let us examine, whether any thing occurring in Zanchius, could justly furnish this wretched defamer with materials for a deduction so truly infernal."-Agreeably to these spirited complaints, Mr. Toplady calls his book, not only “ More Work for Mr. J. Wesley,” but also “ A Vindication of the Decrees and Providence of God, from the defamations of a late printed paper, entitled, “ The Consequence Proved.' I side with Mr. Wesley for the consequence; guarding it against cavils by a clause, which his love for brevity made him think needless. And the guarded consequence, which I undertake to defend, runs thus : From the doctrine of the absolute and unconditional predestination of some men to eternal life, and of all others to eternal death, it necessarily follows, that some men shall be SAVED, do what they will, till the absolute and efficacious decree of election actually necessitate them to obey, and be saved ; that all the rest of mankind shall be damned, do what they can, till the absolute and efficacious decree of reprobation necessitate them to sin, and be damned.