Imatges de pÓgina
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heen mui wen L. I am neinet a vsi in a subjez vien las tinumisted for daN VENI Icreasing vir kovreire, mit be and at rest far ever. The lingerie ʼn e vet, de werI an earnest nat religions ontway 26 ↑ I may or more a de verns of de fusă fat to the govà of the spurt. huwag de Apostle's Cirection to provide me awcher se jime and to do good works, we shall be sure to be prefably eqment; for carry v1 He, wis the understanding a mysteries and all knowledge may perish with its possessor. Calvinists, IETEI Estingusted for their exemplary character, have, generally speaking, been too apt to flow the example of their prototype; with whom the worst word* was not, at times, thought too bad for those who did not see the doctrine of grace in the exact light in which he saw it. I bonour their real, I respect their piety, at the same time that I lament their want of knowledge, of judgment, and of charity. Although your language is not, I confess, clothed in so coarse a dress, as some that I have received from anonymous quarters on the subject of my book; yet I think the idea conveyed in your 91st page does not, in point of charity, fall much short of any that I have been treated with; where you say, that you believe “few will presume to question the doctrine of particular election,” &c.

Those who differ from Calvin upon his favoured points, be scrupled not to call," Perfidi et impii nebulones; stulti bomines; virulenti isti canes." And their doctrines he called, "Deliria; Impii errores; insulsitas."-Vide Epistolæ Col. 142. Institut. lib. III. cap. xxiii. sec. 2.

(in the sense in which it is understood by Calvinists) but those who are strangers to the power of sin in themselves, or to the riches of grace in God."

I forbear a comment. Permit me only to remind you, Sir, of the words of Gregory Nazianzen, when, lamenting over the contentions among Christians, he thus expressed himself: "The only godliness we glory in, is to find somewhat whereby we may judge others to be ungodly."*

But though, as an honest man, I shall never shrink from what I conceive to be truth, on account of the obloquy with which the prosecution of it may be accompanied; yet, Sir, I can assure you I would rather lose my argument, than maintain it in a manner inconsistent with the character of a Christian minister. In that character-in return for the uncharitableness of your judgment, where you suppose me capable of subscribing to articles which I do not believe, and the consequent severity of the sentence pronounced in the last page of your letter-my hearty desire to God for you is, that your knowledge of Christianity may so keep pace with your zeal, that you may become, what every Christian minister must wish you to be, as orthodox in profession, as I understand you now are exemplary in piety and in practice.

I have the honour to be,

&c. &c.

[The reader, should he be disposed, may see the subject of the foregoing letter still more fully handled, in answer to Mr. Overton, in "Vindicia Ecclesiae Anglicana," chap. ii. sec. 1 and 2.]

*Greg. Naz. in Apol.

SIR,

LETTER V.

YOUR Letter now before me, though a long one, seems not to require a long answer; because it is chiefly taken up, in conformity with the wretched fashion of the times, with indiscriminate censures of the established clergy.

You do me the honour to invest me with the office of "spokesman for the whole body." But having received no commission from my brethren to plead their cause, they may probably wish, should they think their defence necessary, to employ a more able advocate. I shall only take the liberty, therefore, of repeating what has been already said in my Postscript to occasional Separatists; that whilst I would "cordially join with you and every well-wisher to his country, in bearing the most public testimony against that lukewarmness in the cause of Christ, that indifference and even daring contempt for religion, which characterise the present age; and whilst I admit, as in truth I must, that some of our clergy do not feel that interest for

the Christian cause which they ought to feel; and by their injudicious conformity to the manners of a dissipated age lessen that influence which their sacred profession ought to have in the world; I still am inclined to think, that, taken as a body, they are more wanting in zeal than in knowledge. But upon this subject, were I disposed to enlarge, it would not well become me to do so, sensible as I am of my own manifold defects.”*

But though I feel myself justified in declining to enter on the general defence of my condemned brethren, yet it may be expected that I should make some answer to what is particularly addressed to myself.

In page 131 you make an extract from my book, which appears to me to speak plain language; but to you, it seems, it is perfectly unintelligible. Your comment upon it is this: "Now if any man upon earth can find out what meaning, drift, or system is to be collected from the above jumble; or, to use the words of that good old martyr Bishop Latimer, mingle mangle of law and Gospel, grace and works; I shall much extol his ingenuity, especially if he can explain the latter part of the quotation.”

I thought that I had written with sufficient clearness upon this subject, not to be misunderstood by any considerate reader. The idea in my mind upon it, appeared to myself to be perfectly clear; but as an author is not always so fortunate in his expressions, as to leave his reader fully possessed of his meaning, I am obliged to you, Sir, for giving me this opportunity of reviewing my ground. It * Guide, p. 246.

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