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that this is the ground work of all genuine repentance, and conversion to God,---but I cannot believe, that this blessed grace, is created in us, as by a momentary impulse ; but that it becomes a living, and growing principle abiding in us, directing us to bate sin, as the worst of evils, and enabling us to watch and pray against it all the days of our lives.
I am therefore well persuaded, that while the work of Divine grace, may have its imperceptable beginnings, it cannot be imperceptable in its progress, and its beneficial effects.
That it is as impossible to have holy sorrow of mind, without feeling it, as it is to have agonizing pain of body, without being sensible of it. And with your leave, I equally bear my humble testimony against your idea of instantaneous pardon, and forgiveness; for though we must be either pardoned or not pardoned, in the eternal mind of God, yet the evidence, or sense of that pardon, can only be made known to me, as I find I am blessed with that “ faith, which is of the operation of God," and which consequently, will enable me to bring forth fruit to his glory; and these are the only evidences that the Scriptures warrant ; and on which the soul may safely rely.
Whim. Sir, I can't take in your doctrine at all; is it not said, “the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come into his temple."
Bri. And so he did, when the Infant Savior, unexpectedly came into his Father's Temple, to receive the dedicating ordinance of circumcision : but to lound an argument on such mere allusions, is never the way to convince those, who expect a reason for what they are to believe.
Slapd. In my opinion, this notion of instantaneons pardon, as from an express revelation, is more objectionable than the former, and creates presumptuous hypocrites, by thousands.
Spri. I cannot see any material difference between the faith of Mr. Whimsey, and the faith of those Antinomians, who have lately attempted to gain a
footing in our Town ; for while the one set talk as if no faith were genuine, which does not come into the mind by an instantaneous impulse; the others insist upon it, that faith is nothing but a mere believing in the direct testimony of the word : that as Christ has performed the Redeemer's office, therefore he is their Redeemer, only because they believe it, even while they are living in adultery, or cutting a throat.* Yet these both presume they are right, from the mere fancy, or fond persuasion of the mind; while
can have no scriptural evidence that we are justified by faith, according to St. Paul, but as we have works to justify our faith, according to St. James.
Whim. Why Mr. Slapdash, 1 always thought you were a Calvinist.
Slapd. Yes Sir, I am a Calvinist ; and that makes me such an enemy to all sorts of Antinomianism. But if you mean to call any of us Calvinists, supposing we implicitly adopt the creed that Calvin has made out for us to believe, we renounce the name, however we may revere the memory of the man. We wish no more to follow him; than others who were the great lights, who sprung up in that day. But if the charge is, that we are led by the same spirit to adopt the same truths that were admitted, without controversy, for a hundred years after the reformation; we most readily yield to the charge. But pray Sir, may we be favored with the definition of what you call Calvinism ?
Whim. Why Sir, many with whom I have been acquainted, thus explain what it means. elected, do whatever wickedness we will, we are sure to be saved ; and if we are not elected, let us do what we can to be saved, we are sure to be damned.”
Bri. Now Mr. Whimsey, let me seriously ask you this question. I was your Curate for sixteen months and at times you heard me preach, and though you frequently told me, that I was leaning too much tn
* See Dialogue 38.
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wards Calvinism, did you ever hear me drop a single hint, which could have the most distant tendency towards sentiments like these ? or from what pulpits, or from what Minister did you ever hear language so blasphemous and profane?
Whim. Not directly so, but this is what is understood by Calvinism.
Slap. Understood by Calvinism !--- This fully proves that you understand nothing about it, when those Ministers, you and others so artfully and unmercifully malign, are ever urging just the reverse.
Are we not ever pressing upon our careless hearers, that while they are despisers, and profane neglecters of the means of grace, while they will not come unto Christ that they may have life, that they give every evidence in their power against themselves, that they are “given over to a reprobate mind," and are therefore permitted in just wrath to commit “all uncleanness with greediness?" and are we not ever assuring all those, who are “ giving diligence to make their calling and election sure,” that every repenting and believing sinner, who thus cometh, the Lord will in no wise cast out? And I am further persuaded, that this is much purer, and safer ground to go upon, than any antinomian persuasion on the one hand, or any
your enthusiastic, instantaneous pulses on the other; and that before any evidences, whatever can be produced. When will such men abstain from this wicked art of misrepresenting, what they cannot refute ?
Whim. Why I must say, that some sort of preachers say things they ought not, when they want to deter the people from attending on your sort of preaching : and I confess, that such as are accused of holding these doctrines, are as diligent in their way, as we can be in ours ! nor are you so apt to fall from grace* in your way, as we are in ours.
Slapd. If every impression upon the imagination is to be called grace, no wonder that it flies off so
. Yet that misquoted expression simply means, falling from a profession of the Gospel.
speedily, and evaporates so completely. So that the mystery of such people falling from grace, is easily unraveled.---they fell from that they never had. However wantonly you, and others may charge us with antinomianism, (a foul and filthy system we completely detest,) perhaps on investigation, we shall find our accusers much nearer to it than ourselves; for while we confess that every good work must have a beginning, yet we are not so inquisitive after first impressions, and for times and dates, as you and others may be. These go for nothing with us, but as their future effects and consequences prove them to have been from God. We believe that regeneration is a new creation; an immortal purifying seed; which liveth and abideth for ever. We conclude therefore, that we have no right to suppose we are justified, and accepted in Christ, but as we are cleansed, and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, dwelling in us, and enabling us by the grace of perseverance, to persevere unto the end..
Bri. What an excellent sermon Mr. Lovegood preached the other day, upon that text, “The Spirit beareth witness with our Spirits, that we are the children of God!" To me, he made it out, as clear as the light, that the Spirit bore witness to nothing but his own work upon the soul, and that the only evidence the Spirit of God gives us, is by the vouchsafement of those graces, which so blessedly belong to those, who belong to Him; and that though we may have our doubts and fears, while we find that those graces are in a weak and languid state; yet such fears, if they drove us nearer to the Lord, would be a blessing to us, still working for our eternal good ; that we might be led to put our more solemn, and entire dependence alone on him.
And how well he proved, that such holy fears while they direct us to be righteous, they completely prevent us from being self-righteous ; for “ that we choald trust in ourselves, that we are righteous," for that this holy knowledge of ourselves, would further
lead us, not to trust on these his gracious gifts, but on him the merciful giver, who would become more, and more the confidence, and the rejoicing of our souls.
Stapd. Now Sir, from these dreadful calvinistic sa ntiments, you may extract all the Antinomianism you can.
And when I want a further dash at these dangerous delusions, I am fond of bringing forward
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."*
Whim. I find you think us very inconsistent, but you are nearer to us in that point, than I thought you were ; for it is upon that principle, some of us have grounded our doctrine of a second justification by work.
Slapd. Therein we differ from you as widely as on other points; we believe our sanctification has nothing at all to do with our justification ; in short, that we are no more justified by our good works, than we are by our bad ones, only as they are evidences of our being justified, so that we can from the bottom of our hearts adopt the prayer, O God who seest that " we put not our trust in any thing we do." Holy fruits being only the effects : they follow after. Our works thus follow us to glory, and it is to God's grace alone, we ascribe all the praise.
Whim. I confess, you explain all your doctrines in a very different way, to what I have heard them explained by many of our Preachers.
Slapd. I wish with all my heart I could impute this to their ignorance, but I fear a deal of art is frequently resorted to, in order to terrify the minds of those who are not permitted to read or think for themselves. Were we positively to push bome, all the conclusions that we suppose may be drawn from the contrary system, as being that which was positively designed by the maintainers of that system, they woulă be justly indignant at such an unwarrantable attack.
Supposing people are in error, they should at least be permitted to draw their own conclusions, and not
* 1 John 2, 3.