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might say many things, all circumstances considered, which will not come well from you ; as you have neither his wit, nor sense, nor learning, nor age, nor dignity.
Tibi paroula res est:
you fall upon people that meddle not with you, without either fear or wit, you may possibly find they have a little more to say for themselves than you were aware of. I follow peace with all men :' but if a man set upon me, without either rhyme or reason, I think it my duty to defend myself, so far as truth and justice permit. Yet still I am, (if a poor enthusiast may not be so bold as to style him- . self your brother,)
JOHN WESLEY. London, Nov. 17, 1759.
REVEREND DR. HORNE:
OCCASIONED BY HIS LATE SERMON PREACHED BEFORE
THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, ABOUT 1762.
REV. SIR, When you spoke of “heresies making their periodical revolutions," of " Antinomianism rampant among us," and immediately after, of “ the new lights at the Tabernacle and Foundry,” must not your hearers naturally think, that Mr. Whitefield and I were reviving those heresies? But
know the persons of whom you speak? Have you ever conversed with them? Have you read their writings ? If not, is it kind, is it just, to pass so severe a censure upon them? Had you only taken the trouble of reading one tract, the Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion, you would have seen, that a great part of what you affirm, is what I never denied. To put this beyond dispute, I beg leave to transcribe some passages from that treatise; which will shew not only what I teach now, but what I have taught for many years. I will afterward simply and plainly declare, wherein I as yet differ from you. And the rather, that if I err therein, you may, by God's assistance, convince me of it.
I. 1. Justification sometimes meanis, our acquittal at the last day. * 2. That faith alone is the proximate condition of justification.'
II. 1. I have here shewn at large, what is the doctrine I teach with regard to justification, and have taught, ever since I was convinced of it myself, by carefully reading the New Testament and the Homilies. In many points, I apprehend it agrees with yours; in some, it does not: these I come now to consider. May God enable me to do it, in love and meekness of wisdom!'
You say, p. 7, “Happy times, when faith and a good life were synonymous terms.” I conceive they never were. Is not faith the root, a good life the tree springing therefrom?
* That good works are a necessary condition of our justification, may be proved, l. From express testimonies of Scripture. So Isaiah i. 16, Cease from evil, learn to do well.' Then your sins that were as scarlet, shall be white as show.' Here ceasing from evil, and learning to do well,' are the conditions of pardon," (p. 9.) I answer, without them there is no pardon; yet the immediate condition of it is faith. He that believeth, and he alone, is justified before God. “So Ezekiel xxxiii. 14. If the sinner turn from his evil ways,' and walk in the statutes of life,' then all his sins shall not be once mentioned to him.” Most sure; that is, if he believe; else, whatever his outward walking be, he cannot be justified.
The next scripture you cite, Mat. xi. 28, (Sermon, p.10,) proves no more than this, that none find rest to their souls,' unless they first come to Christ (namely, by faith) and then obey him.
But " he says, Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.'” He does so : but how does it appear, that this relates to justification at all ?
" St. Peter also declares, "In every nation he that feareth
9. Farther. Appeal, Part I. Vol. XIX. P. A7, 48. C,
God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him,' Acts x. 34.” He is : but none can either fear God or work righteousnes, till he believes according to the dispensation he is under. « And St. John, “He that doth righteousness is righteous.' I do not see, that this proves any thing. “ And again, 'If we walk in the light as God is in the light, then have we communion with him, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,' 1 John i. 7." This would
prove something, if it could be proved, that cleansing us from all sin, meant only justification.
* The Scriptures insist upon the necessity of repentance in particular for that purpose. But repentance comprehends compunction, humiliation, hatred of sin, confession of it, prayer for mercy, ceasing from evil, a firm purpose to do well, restitution of ill-got goods, forgiveness of all who have done us wrong, and works of beneficence,” (p. 11, 12.) I believe it does comprehend all these, either as parts or as fruits of it: and it comprehends “ the fear," but not “ the love of God:” that flows from a higher principle. And he who loves God is not barely in the right way to justification: he is actually justified. The rest of the paragraph asserts just the same thing which was asserted in those words, previous to justifying faith must be repentance, and, if opportunity permit, fruits meet for repentance.'
But still I must observe, that neither the one nor the other is necessary, either in the same sense, or, in the same degree with faith.' No Scripture testimony can be produced, which any way contradicts this.
2. “ That works are a necessary condition of our justification, may be proved, secondly, from Scripture examples: particularly those recited in the eleventh chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews. These all, through faith, wrought righteousness ;' without working righteousness,' they had never obtained the promises,'.” (p. 13.) I say the same thing: none are finally saved, but those whose faith worketh by love.'
“ Even in the thief upon the cross, faith was attended by repentance, piety, and charity.” It was; repentance went
before his faith; piety and charity accompanied it. Therefore he was not justified by faith alone.' Our church, adopting the words of St. Chrysostom, expressly affirms, in the passage above cited, he was justified by faith alone. And her authority ought to weigh more than even that of Bishop Bull, or of any single man whatever. Authority, be pleased to observe, I. plead against authority; reason against reason. It is no objection, that the faith whereby he was justified, immediately produced good works. 3. How we are justified by faith alone, and yet by such a faith as is not alone: it may be proper to explain. And this also I choose to do, not in my own words, but in those of our church. : Faith does not shut out repentance, hope, love, and the fear of God, to be joined with faith in every man that is justified; but it shutteth them out from the office of justifying. So that although they be all present together in him that is justified, yet they justify not altogether.' * Neither doth faith shut out good works, necessarily to be done afterwards; of duty towards God. That we are justified only by this faith in Christ, speak all the ancient authors: especially Origen, St. Cyprian, St. Chrysostom, Hilary, Basil, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine.'
4. You go on. “ Thirdly, if we consider the nature of faith, it will appear impossible that a man should be justified by that alone. Faith is either an assent to the gospel truths, or a reliance on the gospel promises. I know of no other notion of faith,” (p. 15.) I do: an emerxos of things not seen: which is far more than a bare assent, and yet toto genere different from a reliance. Therefore, if you prove, that neither an assent nor a reliance justifies, nor both of them together, still you do not prove, that we are not justified by faith, even by faith alone. But how do you prove, that we cannot be justified by faith as a reliance on the promises ? Thus, “ Such a reliance must be founded
* Homily on the Salvation of Man.