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is said to be of him; and therefore we call it sovereign grace. From which argument, with several others of the like kind, from the fitness of words, he endeavoured to draw a line for the foundation of a permissive will. On the Sabbath-day following he preached wholly against what he had asserted on the Tuesday evening, declaring that every event was fore-ordained of God, and that it necessarily came to pass as it was thus ordained; which, when he was told of it, he declared that he had been established in the above doctrine some years,
Query. Whether Mr. Vessey's judgment was not affected at times by the liquor he drank in the course of preaching through the day, which was half a pint of rum in water: this was his constant allowance every Sabbath he preached, besides that which we used to give him to drink at his meals.
Some time after this, a person from Lewisham proposed himself to us for a member; and, after asking him some questions relative to his experience, we appointed a day for him to meet the church. In the interim between that and his coming, one of the members providentially heard that he lived in fornication, which we made known to our pastor: who, with an air of indifference, said that we should never go on, nor have any to join us in church-fellowship, while we gave heed to all the reports that went abroad; and made answer, that' marriage was no more than a mere. ceremony. But this not satisfying us, upon his coming we charged it home to him; which he, with some kind of confusion, denied. We then asked him, where it was that he was married? He said at London. Upon which, after having told him the necessity of having such a report cleared up before we could receive him, we asked him to give us a direction where it was performed; to which, after some hesitation, he said that he thought it would be best to decline coming, seeing such a report had got abroad, and after that time came no more; which was a sufficient evidence to us that he was guilty, though Mr. Vessey would have received him in without any examination into it, seeing no harm in it, provided they abided to their agreement; for he told one of our members, Mr. Rogers, a few days after, who had some conversation with him on the subject, that he himself would not have submitted to the ordinance, had it not been to stop the mouths of the world.
This, Sir, is some account of a man who denies the name of an Antinomian.
When he first came to Woolwich his sentiments were, that there was no true faith short of assurance; which doctrine was received by some few that became acquainted with him before he began publicly to speak at Woolwich. After he began preaching he openly denied ever teaching that doctrine; and from that went into this that it was impossible for a soul ever to doubt of his interest in Christ after he had once experienced
the efficacious virtue of his blood and righteousness; and positively asserted, that, where this was not the case, (that is, a confidence enjoyed within free from all doubting, as to spiritual things, at all times,) that soul had no assurance: through which some of us were kept in bondage and suspense, not finding this criterion and our experience to agree together; others of us were drove on to a presumptuous faith, through our own feelings; for he used to deny that these misgivings of heart, which arose through the power of unbelief and other inbred corruptions, were doubts, except they proceeded from the lips, but only temptations to doubt. The passages he used to quote as a proof against the possibility of doubting after actual justification had taken place in the soul, were these, Isaiah xxxii. 17. 2 Cor. ii. and Eph. v. 6.
When speaking on the nature of regeneration, he used to assert that an elect vessel, after his spiritual birth, had two hearts, an old one and a new one, which consisted of two consciences, wills, understandings, and affections, both of which were complete. For a proof of the first, that is, the old one, he brought Rom. viii. 7, which he applied to a believer; and what the apostle terms the flesh in the seventh chapter of the same epistle, he said was the old heart, or the old conscience, will, understanding, and affections, which did nothing but sin. The other, that is, the new heart, was perfectly holy, even as God is holy, and wanted no renewing; which, he said, to affirm was Armi
nianism; and he argued thus: If my new lieart is perfectly holy, to prove which he brought the first epistle of John iii. 9. then what holiness can be added unto it? and if it is not perfectly holy, and wants renewing, then tell me how much I am to be renewed ?
Thirdly, That the habit, or principle of grace, is not implanted in the heart when we are created anew in Christ Jesus; and that the faculty of the will, after being renewed, is not invariably to good from a principle of life within, but only as it is actuated by a power from without.
Fourthly, That sanctification is imputed the same as justification, or that Christ is our sanctification the same as he is our righteousness; that is, by the imputation of his merits unto us, which constitutes us all glorious within.
Fifthly, That there is no need of exhortations where the love of God is once shed abroad in the heart. And such language as this, “ What manner of men ought ye to be?” he used to call legal; saying, Do not tell me about ought to be; if God's Spirit is within, you want none of these exhortations. Through which some were led to slight the exhortations of the word of the gospel to diligence and watchfulness, under a feigned pretence of waiting till the Spirit operated, which, he said, would spring up spontaneously. In respect of obedience to our superiors, that he used to call the fear of man. Praying for our children, and in our families, before them that were carnal, was of
no use ; for how did we know but they were reprobates? Self-examination he called legal; asserting that, where a soul had attained to a knowledge of his election, it was impossible for him to fall into error. As to his old heart, his expression was, when any were complaining of what they laboured under, that he let it work as it would, for what could he do with it? As to any acknowledgment or thanks to the instruments God in his providence raised up to supply his temporal needs, that he was ever above; asserting that it was enough to return it unto God. Most of these things in this fifth charge he was moveable in, Sometimes establishing of them, then confuting of them, and then establishing of them again.
Sixthly, That, when the Lord Jesus Christ gave up the kingdom unto the Father, then the Godhead would be separated from the manhood, and he would be divested of all power and authority; and so be subject unto God, the same as one of us, excepting being the elder brother of the family. This he used to insist upon whenever treating upon that subject; and positively declared, that it was because of our shallow conceptions that we could not receive it. When he was told that this idea led to Arianism, he replied, indifferently; "Well! whether this be the case or not,' that is, of the Godhead being separated from the manhood, we shall be with him, and see him as he is.'
Seventhly, That the idea of three distinct per