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To The Rev. T. JOSS.
REV. AND DEAR SIR,
Grace, mercy, and peace, be with thee.
It is with some degree of grief that I frequently hear of your bearing so hard upon me as an antinomian, in your pulpit. You, who heard the whole of my testimony, and the confession of my faith, and my call to the ministry at my ordination ; you, who publicly declared, before the whole audience, that God was the author of it, and that this you should never be at a loss to prove while you was in possession of a bible. And in this faith your hands, with the rest of the presbytery, were laid upon my head, attended with an humble prayer to God to bless my labours, which he has condescended to do to this day. You then desired me to take my axe and go to work. I did so, and have kept hard at it ever since; and I took the same axe that the Lord's forerunner did; and endeavoured to lay it to the root of the trees, by cutting at their legal and partial obedience, at their birth privileges, and at their form of godliness without the power, warning such hypocrites to fly from the wrath to come; and have enforced repentance toward God, and fruits meet to prove it genuine, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ; and that he that believes on him is not condemned, nor ever shall be; but is justified freely from all things; but, “he that believeth not is condemned already, and the wrath of God abides upon him.” But then, why does my good old father cut at me for this good work? it is doing the work of an evangelist, and making full proof of the ministry. I know what I say in these things, and whereof I affirm. I am at a point when I preach them, and I am at certainty in the faith of them. I do not like partiality, My good old father has laid his hands upon some who have told all the world that they were nothing but impostors; but then they escaped without being called antinomians; this honourable title falls to me, who, by the way, and through the good hand of God, have brought more honour to them than all that they ever set apart before or since.
Last Wednesday night at the Tabernacle my good old father was very warm, and rather violent. But there were some present who could prove the apostle's assertion to be true, that those, who desire to be teachers of the law, know not what they say, nor whereof they affirm. And thou, reverend
sir, art the man; you cleared nothing, you proved nothing, you settled nothing. But my principles are horrid. Here is the charge, but no proof to support it. Is it horrid to say that we were shut up under a schoolmaster till faith comes, and when it is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster? To assert that we are redeemed from un. der the law, delivered from the law, and divorced from the law, that we might be married to another; yea, become dead to the law by the body of Christ, and espoused to him, that we might bring forth fruit unto God? Is it horrid to say that the law of faith, which is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, makes me free from the destroying power of the law of sin, and from the law of death, engraven on tables of stone, and from the bondage of it? Does looking into the perfect law of liberty, and continuing therein, bring nothing to a man's heart but horrid principles, and nothing to his life but horrid practice? I read that such a man shall be blessed in his deed, though not for it; which shews that such a law inclines him to good deeds, and the very doing is attended with the blessing of heaven. These things, sir, do not lead to licentious living; it is the proud doer that lives in sin; all that are in the flesh, and under the law, bring forth fruit unto death. Sin has dominion over every man that is under the law; nor will it ever be subdued till under grace. Where the covenant of life and peace is revealed with power, there the law of truth will be both in the heart and in the mouth; and such, and only such, will walk with God in peace and equity. And this doctrine maintained will turn many away from iniquity, Mal. ii. 5, 6; while the opposite party will cause many to stumble at the law, by being partial in it, and not using it lawfully to those persons for whom it was made; namely, for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly, and for sinners, &c. But my good old father had another throw, that I made no difference between the moral law and the ceremonial. But this charge had no more to support it than the other. When Paul tells the Romans to reckon themselves dead to the law, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ; and the Galatians, that if they sought perfection in the flesh, and righteousness by the works of the law, then Christ should profit them nothing; and the Colossians, that the hand-writing against them was nailed to the cross; and the Corinthians, that the law engraven upon tables of stone was done away and abolished; does he mean the ceremonial law? if he does, let Mr. Joss tell us when that law was given to the Romans, &c. &c.
I never read that God ever brought the Gentiles under the ceremonial law at all. It is true, the Gentiles might steal some things from the Jews, and especially the things of their altars and sacrifices, and adopt them into their heathen worship; but then we are told that those, things which the Gentiles sacrificed they sacrificed to devils, not to God; for God never gave that law to them, that
I read of; and so, according to Mr. Joss, Paul preached up among the heathen deliverance from the bondage of a law they were never under. But this fruitless toil can never be ascribed to so wise a masterbuilder. It is not to be found in Paul's writings, though it is in Mr. Joss's words. . But father Joss says he never expects to be delivered from a law, which commands him to love God with all his heart and with all his soul. The antinomian that Mr. Joss cut at loves his Maker as much as ever Mr. Joss did. But I am determined, by the grace of God, to be honest in this matter, and not make people believe that my love to God comes by the law, or that it sprung up in my heart while I was under the law; or that it flowed into my heart as a fruit of my obedience to the law: for this is giving the lie both to God and conscience; for the carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, nor can be; nor does love come by the law, nor faith, nor life; nor is love of the law; nor is it obtained by obedience to the law; nor is it communicated by the preaching of the law; for God neither works miracles, nor ministers the Spirit, by the works of the law, but by the preaching of faith. God's self-moving love to his elect was fixed upon them from everlasting, before the creation of the world, consequently before ever the law was given. This love is secured and promised to us in Christ Jesus, and not in the law, which worketh wrath, quite the reverse of love. This