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that, having free-will, we are required to bend that free-will to a humble endeavour to co-operate with the Spirit we presume to invoke, "stedfastly purposing to lead a new life;" and that, if we presume to invoke that Spirit without such stedfast purpose, we shall invoke in vain. The path is cut, the way prepared, the direction post erected. If we believe and enter the gate, we at the same time engage to pursue the path; which, however, would soon be found too difficult for our unassisted efforts. Of ourselves, we cannot reach the summit, but we persevere through faith in promised assistance. To whom will this assistance be accorded, to those who cry and strive not, or to those who humbly and faithfully exert themselves as they are bidden to do, not fainting in doubt, though the promised assistance be delayed, but persevering, in faith, that the necessary aid will, in due time, arrive? Yet, Sir, does it follow, that those who thus acknowledge the necessity of their own exertions, who so understand the directions received, must, of necessity also suppose that they could reach the summit without this promised assistance, much more that they could have scaled the mountain ere the path was opened to them? If I understand aright your doctrine throughout, we differ but in language; but here, when you talk so strongly of "resting altogether upon the
operations of the Spirit," (p. 299), in contradistinction to our method, you would give me the idea that you imagined you had nothing to do after entering the gate, but profess, in stated orthodox terms, your utter inability to commence the ascent, and allow yourself to be dragged up the precipice, simply taking care to bless every bump you may receive in the course of the operation.
Now what, I pray, do you understand by "cordially embracing the Gospel," is it saying, Lord! Lord! or doing the will of the Father? As you go on to say, "The true Christian knows, therefore, that this holiness is not to precede his reconciliation and be its cause, but to follow it and be its effect." He knows, according to our creed, and my metaphor, that Christ who opened the gate and made the path, has reconciled to God all those who enter it with sincerity of purpose.Therefore, that this reconciliation preceded the commencement of his course designed, and without which he could not have had the opportunity of commencing one step of his journey, conse
1 This eternal repetition may appear trifling to any one of common sense, but it is really necessary fully to work it out. As, be it remembered, Mr. Wilberforce has not addressed all this to the illuminated, who possibly may, but to us unilluminated, who cannot otherwise understand him.
quently, that his exertions in ascending cannot be the cause of this. But he knows also, that they are designed to be the effect, being the purpose for which he was permitted to enter; and, that, if they are not the effect, the amnesty and promise received and accepted at his entrance are null and void. That if he will not attempt commencing the task he has undertaken, assistance will be looked for in vain. He will remain where he is, at the bottom. He is justified (i. e.) accepted into the amnesty, certainly by faith alone, as by faith alone will he seek it. But by faith alone (unless in the wide sense of fidelity), he cannot be saved. Nor by his own exertions alone, but "by grace through faith;" that is, by the mercy of God, obtained in the first instance by faith, and secondly, by his own sincere, yet humble endeavours, undertaken and persevered in through the same faith: namely, faith in the promises of God made by his acknowledged Messiah Jesus. Why will you, Mr. Wilberforce, so pertinaciously insist upon imposing upon the imaginations of yourself and others, with high sounding words of mysterious import? Why not, in a matter of argument, drop, at least for the moment, this oracular form of speech, and tell us plainly what you mean? "You are admitted into privileges!" (p. 255). Yes; but do not let your readers mis
take these privileges ! You are here a mortal man as your Saviour was made before you. By his labour, as well as by his blood, was constructed the path you are to pursue, and you must tread it as he trod it, or it is still impracticable. It was rough and difficult to him, and it is your privilege to tread it as he left it, with his example before you. That this example may not be deemed illusory, you are required to believe that his incarnation was perfect; that the difficulties were actually overcome by man, different from others, as regards human feelings, instinct, and capabilities of suffering, only in freedom from original sin; but which same freedom will, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, be effected for them, if they will with sincerity invoke it proving, at the same time, that sincerity, by endeavouring to deserve it, in conformity to the real example afforded them. You must then, to return to my metaphor, undeterred, and unappalled (through faith) by the difficulties before you, actually attempt the ascent for yourself. Its accomplishment were, however, still impossible, did not he who has gained the summit, deign both to encourage and direct, and even positively assist you at your need, that you fall not from slip nor giddiness, while you yourself strive in the ascent. And it will be your privilege to be received by him, when, through his assist,
ance, you shall have accomplished your task. By disobedience man fell from his high estate, and by obedience alone can he regain it. Such are the conditions of the covenant of salvation proclaimed by Jesus the Christ.
You affirm that "it is from neglect of your peculiar doctrines of Christianity, that arise the main practical errors of professed Christians :" (p. 256.) From neglect of what peculiar doctrines? The nice distinction between cause and effect? Indeed, I cannot see how this should affect their practice even if they did, as you say, neglect it! They would equally admit all you can say upon the danger and wretchedness of our state having caused the Almighty to send his Son to rescue us. They would not, thereby, deny the guilt of sin, or attempt to reconcile their imperfect practice with the Scripture representations of the perfection they ought to attain, or underrate the gratitude they should manifest to him who not only died but lived for them! The misunderstanding of your peculiarities can never be either cause or effect of the evils complained of; for the error you impute to us should rather have a contrary effect, if any, according even to your own argument in page 323, where you tell us that, "When men are aware of something of difficulty to be effected, they make up their minds to perse