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of the Christian dispensation : But my subject has obliged me to consider it also according to the dispensations of John the Baptist, Moses, and Noah. Believers, under these inferior dispensations, have not always assurance; nor is the assurance they sometimes have, so bright as that of adult Christians. (Matt. xi. 11.) But undoubtedly assurance is inseparably counected with the faith of the Christian dispensation, which was not fully opened till Christ opened his glorious baptism on the day of Pentecost, and till his spiritual kingdom was set up with power in the hearts of his people. Nobody therefore cau truly believe, according to this dispensation, withont beiug immediately conscious both of the forgiveness of sins, and of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. This is a most important truth, derided indeed by fallen Church men, and denied by Laodicean Dissenters; but of late gears gloriously revived by Mr. Wesley and the ministers connected with him.-A truth this, which cannot be too strongly, and yet too warily insisted upon in our lukewarm and speculative age : And as I would not obscure it for the world, I particularly entreat the reader to mind the last erratum ; without omitting the last bat one, which guards the doctrine of initial salvation by absolute free-grace.
I do not desire to provoke my able opponents ; but I must own, I should be glad to reap the benefit of my Checks, either by finding an increase of religious sobriety aud mutual forbearance among those, who make a peculiar profession of faith in Christ ; or by seeing my mistakes (if I am mistaken) brought to light, that I might no longer recommend them as gospel-truths. With this view only I humbly entreat my brethren and fathers in the church, to poi: t out by scripture or argument the doctrinal errors, that may have crept into the Equal Check. But if, upon close examination, they should find, that it holds forth the two gospel-axioms in due conjunction; and marks out the evangelical mean with strict impar
tiality; I hope, the moderate and judicious, in the Calvinistic and Anti-calvinistic party, will so far unite upon this plan, as to keep on terms of reciprocal toleration and brotherly kindness together ; rising with redoubled indignation, not one against another, but against those pests of the religious world, prejudice and bigotry, the genuine parents of implacable fanaticism, and bloody persecution.
MADELEY, May 21, 1774.
Upon the Importance and Harmony of the two Gospel
Precepts, believe and obey; and upon the fatal consequences that flow from parting Faith and Works.
WHEN the gospel is considered as opposed to the error of the Pharisees, and that of the Antinomians, it may be summed up in the two following propositions : (1.) In the day of conversion, we are saved freely as sinners, (i. e., made freely partakers of the privileges that belong to our gospel dispensation in the church militant,) through the merits of Christ, and by the instrumentality of a living faith.-(2.) In the day of judgment we shall be saved freely as saints, (i. e., made freely partakers of the privileges of our gospel dispensation in the church triumphant,) through the merits of Christ, and by the evidence of evangelical works. Whence it follows : (1.) That nothing can absolately hinder our justification in a gospel day, but the want of true faith ; and, (2.) That nothing will absolutely hinder our justification in the day of judgment, but the want of good works. If I am not mistaken, all the evangelical doctrine of faith and works turns upon those propositions. They exactly answer to the graad directions of the gospel. Wilt thou enter into Christ's sheepfold ? Believe .-Wilt thou stay there? Believe and Obey.-Wilt thou be numbered among his sheep in the great day ? Endure unto the end : Continue in wel'-doing ; that is, persevere in faith and obedience.
To believe then and obey, or, as Solomon expresses it, “To fear God and keep his commandments, is the whole duty of man.' Therefore, a professor of the faith without genuine obedience, and a pretender to obedience without genuine faith, equally miss their aim, while a friend to faith and works put in their proper place, a possessor of the faith which works by love, hits the gospel-mark, and so ruus as to obtain the prize : For the same true and faithful Wituess' spoke the two following, and equally express declarations. • He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall vot see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.' (John iii. 36.) And, 'The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life : And they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of condemnation.' (John v. 29.)
See that sculler upon youder river. The upwearied diligence and watchful skill with which he plies his two oars, point out to us the work and wisdom of an experienced divine. What au even gentle spring does the mutual effort of his oars give to his boat! Observe him : His right hand never rests, but when the stream carries him too much to the left: He slacks not his left hand, unless he is gone too much to the right ; nor has he sooner recovered a just medium, than he uses both oars again with mutual harmony. Suppose that for a constancy he employed but one, no matter which, what would be the consequence? He would only move in a circle ; and if neither wind nor tide carried him along, after an hard day's work he would find himself in the very spot where he began his idle toil.
This illustration needs very little explaining ; I shall just observe that the Antinomian is like a sculler, who