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must presume to have popped out unawares. You blame us, saying, that we "are little apt to kindle at our Saviour's name, or, like the apostles, (the apostles are much obliged to you), to be betrayed by our fervour, into what may be almost an untimely descant on the riches of his unutterable mercy," (p. 100). Now, Sir, in sober earnest, what do you mean by this? Any where else than in an accusation, I should have passed it over as a harmless bit of scriptural declamation, all very pretty, and very proper in its place-but how comes it here? Do you, or do you not, mean to assert, by inuendo, that "religious affections are, after all, to be chiefly estimated by animal fervour, ardours, rhapsodies, &c. &c. &c.? You next say, that we "rather advise sinners to amend their ways, as a preparation for their coming to Christ, than exhort them to throw themselves, with deep prostration, at the foot of the cross," (p. 100). If we do, it is no more than John the Baptist did before us: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight!" But is this fairly put? Who are the sinners in contemplation? Are they supposed to be Christians or infidels? You will hardly deny that you are speaking of professed Christians, in whom the real sense of that which you assume as your method, and put as a contrast, is of course implied: and here it is that our advice breaks in-Where the
Christian truant, awakened to the sense of his danger, asks our advice, and that advice is there no longer irreconcileable with yours, but merely a continuation or exposition of it. Repent," "produce works meet for repentance !" The sinner must prove his penitence by breaking short off his course of sin, or I cannot understand what this
deep prostration" is good for. Without this, it would be but mere mockery and insult to his Redeemer, and, like Judas, he had better throw himself from the beam of the gallows than at the foot of the cross! If he will not invoke the Spirit by actions as well as words, the Spirit will not come ! It is really very hard, that if you can but imagine us to omit even a favourite bit of phraseology of your's, that you should immediately endeavour to make a contrast, treating us as if we thereby denied the indisputable doctrines of Scripture! Now I would ask you, Has Christianity an object on earth, or has it none? If it has, what is it? To furnish a subject for raving and declamation, or to civilize a world, by teaching men, both by precept and example, the essential differences between good and evil, and revealing to them the true attributes, and the gracious dispensations, of the Deity it bids them to adore?
For the next three pages (p. 101, 2, 3), you preach entirely our doctrine, very much what you
have been all along professing to refute, but which you now dress up in your own peculiar style, and give to us as your own, with an air of liberality of concession, which doubtless goes far to cover many of your peculiar opinions, which, by themselves, would be immediately detected, but by this judicious arrangement, it is to be feared, will slip in among the crowd to many a pious brain.
You next, in a bold exordium to a paragraph devoted to the subject, profess to "answer" the objection, "that you insist upon metaphysical niceties," (p. 103). I do not know whether your printer has been guilty of an omission, but as it stands in your book (seventeenth edition) you have forgotten even to attempt to answer it, otherwise than by simple assertion. Now I adopt the charge alluded to, and assert, that you do insist upon metaphysical niceties; that what you have required as a point of faith of no less consequence than one which distinguishes real from nominal Christians, is "the perception of a subtile distinction," and "not a state and condition of the heart1;" and that your words will not warrant any such inference as you wish to be drawn from them. You have put the distinction entirely upon whether "the fruits of
' I must beg the reader here specially to bear in mind that I speak of the proposition as stated by Mr. Wilberforce, and am not denying the necessity of Christian motives.
holiness are considered or conceived (you use both words) to be the effects or cause of our being justified and reconciled," (pp. 269. 328); and this, without any explanation of what you would imply by the terms, " justified and reconciled." I congratulate you, however, upon having discovered at last, that a man may, by sincerity, be a true Christian, without either learning or study. We thank you for your complimentary insinuation about "preaching the cross' to those that perish," (p. 104). Allow me to arrange it for you into a neat proof against us, as you have done us the honour of arranging so many of our arguments; it will be but fair. Say then, "The ungodly are them that perish! Our opponents are, by their own admission, ungodly; they, therefore, are them that perish! But our system is to them foolishness! It is foolishness, therefore, to them that perish! Therefore, it is the preaching of the cross; which, we will freely concede to our opponents, means the Gospel! Probatum est 2."
For the meaning of this expression, as well as that of "Take up thy cross and follow me," ere the manner of our Lord's death was revealed, see Discussion upon the Tau of Ezekiel, Quarterly Review.
Thus, in my great grandmother's Douay Bible, the editor, after contending that, if properly translated, Jacob should adore, not lean upon the top of his rod, and several other points of
I really can hardly persuade myself that there has not been some omission of the press, for I observe you begin the following paragraph by talking of having " removed a formidable objection," (p. 104). All I have to say upon it is, that, unless indeed the press is in fault, well may we all be humble! But what follows? (p. 105). Have you so soon forgotten your own excellent advice, when you lectured us upon "the folly of busying ourselves with what is above our comprehension, to the neglect of what is plain and practical?" It seems, at last, your opponent has obeyed you; yet far from commending him, you tell him his is vain wisdom and false philosophy; that he has woven a flimsy web, which you will at once destroy with two of the simplest texts in Scripture commanding belief. What then? are you arguing with an infidel? You know, or ought to remember, that Objector all along represents a professed Christian of the Church of England, about whose compliance with your two texts there can be no question. Were we even Unitarians and Socinians, as you so plainly insinuate that we are, still your texts would not destroy our "flimsy web;" for Unitarians and Socinians admit these texts equally with
Catholic orthodoxy, in like manner adds, "The wicked heretics laugh at these things!"