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“ whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame " their lives according to the light of nature, and " the law of that religion which they do profess; " and to assert and maintain that they may, is very
pernicious, and to be detested.” All that these words are intended to assert, is, that none of our fallen race can be saved in any other way than through Christ. The slightest perusal is sufficient to ascertain that this is their real meaning. But, even if the language of the clause itself had left this point doubtful, all doubt would be removed by attending to another clause in the same chapter, and only five lines distant from that which we are considering, which expressly recognizes the possibility of some being saved, who have never had an opportunity of hearing the gospel preached. The doctrine, then, of the passage alluded to by Mr. How, is simply this, That it is false and pernicious to teach that men may be saved in
than through the atoning sacrifice, and sanctifying spirit of Christ. A position in which one would imagine all professing Christians, except Socinians and Universalists, must without hesitation, concur. But Mr. How exceedingly dislikes it, and is determined to hold it up to detestation and abhorrence, as asserting that none who have not been favoured with the preaching of the gospel can possibly be saved; and as consigning the whole heathen world to inevitable perdition. By what management does he attempt to do this? By faithfully transcribing the
clause, and laying it before his readers in a fair
and unmutilated form ? Not at all. Had he done this, his purpose would have been defeated. Every reader would instantly have recognized in the language of our Confession of Faith, a perfect coincidence with that of the Scriptures *. But by a contrivance, which it will hereafter be seen is not unusual with this gentleman, he first essentially alters the passage, and then presents it, regularly marked with inverted commas, as if it were the real language of the article. What that language in fact, is, you have already seen. Mr. How declares that it is as follows“ They who having never heard the Gos
pel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in
him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent " to frame their lives according to the light of na" ture.”. Letters, p. 25. Having thus taken out of the passage an important clause which it does contain, and added to it what it does not contain, he holds it up to his readers as consigning to inevitable perdition, the whole heathen world. And as-suming this as the acknowledged construction, he vehemently declaims against it as “ uncharitable,” + cruel,” a
position of deep-toned horror," and calculated to “ fill the rational mind with dismay."
But the most wonderful part of the story is yet to be told. It is a fact, that one of the Thirty
See particularly Acts 4. 12. Fohn 14.-6. John 17. 3. Gal. 1. 6, 7, 8.
nine Articles of Mr. How's own church, contains precisely the same declaration that he, with so much violence, condemns in our Confession of Faith. The article referred to, is the eighteenth, which is in the following words. “They also are to be had
accursed, that presume to say, that every man « shall be saved by the law or sect which he profes"seth, so that he be diligent to frame his life ac
cording to that law and the light of nature. For “ holy scripture doth set out unto us only the name “ of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved." The only difference worthy of attention, is, that the Presbyterian Confession of Faith pronounces the doctrine, that men may be saved otherwise than by Christ,“ pernicious" and to be “ detested." Whereas, the Episcopal article, more harshly, declares, that the persons who hold it, are to be had accursed. This article Mr. How has solemnly subscribed, and the doctrine contained in it, he has canonically sworn to preach and support. And yet he declares “ he has no power to ex
press the feelings with which this most de66 testable doctrine fills his bosom."? To what can we ascribe this conduct ? I am unable to think of it without the deepest astonishment and horror!
In my introductory Letter, in a note, p. 17, I expressed myself in the following terms. 6 veral distinguished writers in Great Britain, who " haye lately espoused with much warmth, the
“ exclusive Episcopal notions under consideration, “ do not scruple to assert, that all who “ communion with the Episcopal church, are in “ communion with Christ," and in the “ sure “ road to salvation.” They deny that there is
any pledged or covenanted mercy ; in other “ words, that there are any promises given in " the gospel to persons who are not in commuu nion with that church, however sincere their “ faith and repentance, and however ardent their
piety. And, accordingly, they turn into ridi“ cule every attempt to distinguish between a “ professing Episcopalian, and a real Christian.”
With this passage Mr. How is much offended. He not only rebukes me with great severity for penning a paragraph so “ calculated to deceive " and inflame my readers ;" but he goes further, and declares that the sentiment which I ascribe to the writers in question, is not held by them; and that I ought to know, and cannot but " know," that they do not hold it. 'Thus charging me in pretty direct terms with writing a known and deliberate falsehood.-p. 14, 15.
As I had mentioned no names, and as Mr. How, of course, could not certainly know to what particular writers I alluded, it is somewhat singular that he should venture a contradiction with so much confidence and indecorum. neither delicacy nor caution enter into the plan of controversy which this gentleman has adopted, I no longer wonder at any extremes of his rash.
ness or violence. The truth is, that in the paragraph above stated, I have not only not intentionally misrepresented any one, but am also still persuaded that I fell into no real error. But, however this may be, all that I said, was advanced on the authority of a respectable divine of the Church of England, now living, who expresses himself in the following words. “ Mr. Daubeny, in like
manner, sees no difference between the true “ church of Christ, and the national church; “ represents professed membership with this na" tional society as forming the line of distinc“ tion between the world which lieth in wicked
and a state of condemnation before God, 16 and those who are in a state of sanctification 6 and salvation ; and speaks indiscriminately of “ all who have been regularly baptized, and re“ main in the established communion, as “mem" bers of Christ's body,” “ partakers of Christ's “ spirit," the “ peculiar property of Christ," and
as having “a peculiar interest in him:" in “ other words, as "translated from the world," " delivered from the powers of darkness," and " heirs with Christ of an eternal kingdom.” " Guide to the Church, p. 15, 16, 171, 172, 234 “ and passim. “Every Christian,” that is, every “ professed Christian, he says again, after being “ called to re-consider the subject, who is “ living • in a state of communion with the church," “ namely, with that “ visible society” of Chris" tians, where the Episcopal form of govern