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it more abundantly; the privileges greater, and the tenure more secure; for now our life is not in our own keeping, but is hid with Christ in God. He undertakes to do all for us, in us, and by us, and he claims the praise and honour of the whole, and is determined to save us in such a way as shall stain the pride of all human glory, that he who glorieth may glory in the Lord.

I long to see you disentangled from the scheme you seem to have adopted, because I long to see you happy and comfortable. It is good to have our hope fixed upon a rock, for we know not what storms and floods may come to shake it. I have no doubt but your soul rests upon the right foundation, but you have incautiously admitted wood, hay, and stubble into your edifice, which will not stand the fiery trial of temptation. I would no more venture my soul upon the scheme which you commend, than I would venture my body for a voyage to the East Indies in a London Wherry.

I know you too well to suppose you will be offended with my freedom. However, in a point of such importance, I dare not, in conscience, disguise or suppress my sentiments. May the Lord, by his Holy Spirit, guide us both into the paths of peace and truth.

I am, dear Sir,

Your affectionate and obliged servant.



June 5, 1779.

THOUGH I love to write to you, I am not willing to take up your time with controversy. We see, or think we see, some points of importance in a different light. And where our sentiments differ, I think I have the advantage of you, or 1 should, of course, accede to yours. But I am ashamed to insist upon notional differences with a person from whom, as to the spirit and influence of those things wherein we agree, I ought to be glad to learn. The humility, meekness, and spirituality which your letters breathe, sufficiently evince that you are taught of God; and wherein we are otherwise minded, I trust he will, in his due time, reveal to us both what may be for his glory and our comfort to know distinctly. 1 cannot retract the judgment I passed upon Mr. Law's scheme; but I was then, and still am persuaded, that, notwithstanding your favourable opinion of that author, his scheme is not properly yours. If you fully entered into the spirit of his writings, you would soon be weary of my correspondence. I believe, indeed, your ac

quaintance with his writings has led you something about, and exposed you to embarrassments which would not have troubled you if, with that humble spirit which the Lord has given you, you had confined your researches more to his holy word, and paid less regard to the dictates and assertions of men; and I believe if we could all be freed from an undue attachment to great names and favourite authors, and apply ourselves more diligently to draw the water of life from the pure fountain of the Scripture, our progress in divine knowledge would be more speedy and more certain.

I am ready to think that much of the difference between us may be in the modes of expression we use. If you mean no more by what you advance, than that every justified person is also regenerate and sanctified, and that no supposed acknowledgment of the death and atonement of Christ is available without a new birth in the soul and the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit, there remains little to dispute about, for surely I mean no less than this. Yet still it appears to me necessary for our comfort, when we know what is in our hearts, and necessary likewise to give the Redeemer the glory due to his name, that we be sensible that our sanctification is not the cause, but the effect, of our acceptance with God. I conceive that by nature we are all in a state of condemnation; that when we are, by the Holy Spirit, convinced of this, the first saving gift we receive from God is faith, enabling us to put our trust in Jesus for a free pardon, and a gratuitous admission into the family of God's children; that they who receive this precious faith, are thereby, ipso facto, interested in all the promises respecting grace and glory. They resign and devote themselves to the Saviour; he receives and accepts them, takes possession of them, and engages to care and provide for them, to mortify the principle of sin in their hearts, to carry on the work he has begun, and to save them to the uttermost. But the precise reason why they are saved, is not because they are changed, (that change, so far as it takes place, is rather the salvation itself,) but simply and solely because He lived and died for them, paid the ransom, and made the atonement on their behalf. This is their plea and hope when they first come to him, John, iii. 14, 15. when they have finished their course upon earth, 2 Tim. i. 12, and when they appear in judgment, Rom,

viii. 34.

If you mean by a rigid Calvinist, one who is fierce, dogmatical, and censorious, and ready to deal out anathemas against all who differ from him, I hope I am no more such an one than I am a rigid Papist. But as to the doctrines which are now stigmatized by the name of Calvinism, I cannot well avoid the epithet VOL. III.


rigid, while I believe them for there seems to be no medium between holding them and not holding them; between ascribing salvation to the will of man, or the power of God; between grace and works, Rom. xi. 6; between being found in the righteousness of Christ, or in my own, Phil. iii. 9. Did the harsh consequences often charged upon the doctrine called Calvinistic really belong to it, I should have much to answer for if I had invented it myself, or taken it upon trust from Calvin; but as I find it in the Scripture, I cheerfully embrace it, and leave it to the Lord to vindicate his own truth and his own ways, from all the imputations which have been cast upon them. I am, dear Sir,

Your affectionate and obliged.



September 1, 1779.

METHINKS my late publication comes in good time to terminate our friendly debate. As you approve of the Hymus, which, taken altogether, contain a full declaration of my religious sentiments, it should seem we are nearly of a mind. If we agree in Rhyme, our apparent differences in prose must, I think, be merely verbal, and cannot be very important. And as to Mr. Law, if you can read his books to your edification and comfort, (which I own with respect to some important points in his scheme, I cannot,) why should I wish to tear them from you? I have formerly been a great admirer of Mr. Law myself, and still think that he is a first rate genius, and that there are many striking passage in his writings deserving attention and admiration. But I feel myself a transgressor, a sinner; I feel the need of an atonement of something to be done for me, as well as in me. If I was this moment filled by the mighty power of God with the Spirit of sanctification in a higher degree than Mr. Law ever conceived; if I was this moment as perfectly holy as the angels before the throne, still I should want security with respect to what is past. Hitherto I have been a sinner, a transgressor of that holy law which says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Therefore I need an atonement in the proper sense of the word; some consideration of sufficient importance to satisfy me that the holy and just Governor of the world can, consistently with the perfections of his nature, the honour of his truth, and the righteous tenour of his moral government, pardon and receive such a sinner as I am; and without some persuasion of this sort, I be

lieve the supposition I have made to be utterly impossible, and the least degree of true holiness utterly unattainable. The essence of that holiness I thirst after, I conceive to be love and devotedness to God: but how can I love him till I have a hope that his anger is turned away from me, or at least till I can see a solid foundation for that hope? Here Mr. Law's scheme fails me, but the Gospel gives me relief. When I think of the obedience unto death of Jesus Christ in my nature, as a public person, and in behalf of sinners, then I see the law, which I could not obey, completely fulfilled by him, and the penalty which I had incurred sustained by him. I see him in proportion to the degree of faith in him, bearing my sins in his own body upon the tree; I see God well pleased in him, and for his sake freely justifying the ungodly. This sight saves me from guilt and fear, removes the obstacles which stood in my way, emboldens my access to the throne of grace, for the influences of his holy Spirit to subdue my sins, and to make me comformable to my Saviour. But my hope is built, not upon what I feel in myself, but upon what he felt for me; not upon what I can ever do for him, but upon what has been done by him upon my account. It appears to me becoming the wisdom of God to take such a method of showing his mercy to sinners as should convince the world, the universe, angels, and men, that his inflexible displeasure against sin, and his regard to the demands of his truth and holiness, must at the same time be equally displayed. This was effected by bruising his own Son, filling him with agonies, and delivering him up to death and the curse of the law, when he appeared as a surety for sinners.

It appears to me, therefore, that though the blessings of justification and sanctification are coincident, and cannot be separated in the same subject, a believing sinner, yet they are in themselves as distinct and different as any two things can well be. The one, like life itself, is instantaneous and perfect at once, and takes place the moment the soul is born of God; the other, like the effects of life, growth, and strength, is imperfect and gradual. The child born to day, though weak, and very different from what it will be when its faculties open and its stature increases, is as truly, and as much alive as ever it will be; and if an heir to an estate or a kingdom, has the same right now as it will have when it becomes of age, because this right is derived not from its abilities or stature, but from its birth and parents. The weakest believer is born of God, and an heir of glory; the strongest and most advanced

can be no more.

I remain, my dear Sir,

Your most obedient, &c.

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