The Arminian Skeleton
The Arminian Dissected and Anatomised.
William Huntington 1745-1813
Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be justified? Should thy lies make men hold their peace? And when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed? For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. But O that God would speak, and open his lips against thee. - Job 112?5.
EPISTLE DEDICATORY (Prefixed to the Second Edition.)
TO THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES OF CHRIST AMONG WHOM I LABOUR AT PROVIDENCE CHAPEL-AT MONKWELL-STREET MEETING ?AND AT RICHMOND IN SURREY-PEACE BE MULTIPLIED
Dear Brethren and Sisters in Faith,
Learning or eloquence you know, "I have none, but such as I have give I you." I here present you with the ARMINIAN SKELETON, together with an account of the anatomizing of Arminius, which I hope God will own and bless to you. I am well aware of all the envenomed artillery which malice is likely to discharge from her quiver: I sat down, and counted the cost before I began to build; and found, upon a proper computation, that it amounts to no more than this, "That which is highly esteemed amongst men is abomination in the sight of God. God is on my side, I will not fear. What can man do unto me?"
I have written what I believe in my conscience to be the truth; and "the lip of truth shall be established in the earth," though ten thousand set themselves against it. And "a lying tongue is but for a moment," though all the world support it. I have endeavoured in some things, to imitate young Elihu with Job; that is, not to "accept any man's person, nor give flattering titles to man, lest my Maker should take me away," Job xxxii. 21,22.
I know some of you, who are simple souls, but rather nearsighted, would like it better if there were smoother things, a softer language, and less fiery zeal in it. To which I answer, Though some upright men may be astonished at this, yet the innocent is to "stir up himself against the hypocrite." Job, xvii. 8. I ought not to aim at men-pleasing; Christ alone is my master; it is to him I look for my wages, and to him I must stand or fall. The divinity and the language I got on my knees, in answer to prayer, and by the mere dint of hard study; and, when you have read it through, I am ready to appeal to your conscience, whether the doctrine and experience be from heaven or of men. If it be of men, the Arminians will love it, though it is sure to come to nought; but if it be of God, they will hate it, though it cannot be overthrown.
This I am sure of; the doctrines which I have here written are "not after man; for I learned them not of man, neither was I taught them, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." For I have been some months in the glorious liberty of the gospel before I went to hear the gospel at all; and from this consideration I am warmly attached to the blessed tuition of that great prophet of the church, Christ Jesus my Lord; and do most heartily acquiesce with pious Job, in his confession and question, "Behold, God exalteth by his power; who teacheth like him?" Job, xxxvi. 22.
Some may say, it is presumptuous in such a babe as myself to take so capital an error by the collar. To which I answer God sometimes, "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, ordains strength to perfect praise, that he may still the enemy and the avenger," Psalm viii. 2; Matt. xxi. 16. But perhaps my reader is one of that stamp that has a hope of all the world being saved, whether they hold a truth or a lie. If thy faith is thus founded, its basis is nothing but falsehood, and God will "sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow such hiding place," Isa. xxviii. 17. Take heed, therefore, lest thou shouldest be drowned in destruction and perdition. Such a false hope, and such a gospel, is all thine own; it never came from God. If thy soul had suffered under the severity of the law, as some have, and thy deliverance from guilt and wrath had come to thy heart by faith in Christ's atonement, the same Spirit that wrought faith in thee would have led thee into the truth of God's election, that God might have all the glory, and boasting be excluded. If this be thy blessed experience, thou wilt be valiant for the truth, and, as a good soldier of Christ, fight the good fight of faith, and "contend for that faith which was once delivered to the saints." But, if thy religion be taken up upon trust only, and it is a matter of indifference with thee what thou art established in, truth or error, thy religion has no root at all in Christ; thou wouldst sell all for less than thirty pieces of silver; yea, for one morsel of bread thou wouldst transgress; for thy faith stands in the wisdom of men, not in the power of God; and therefore thy faith cannot be genuine, nor its basis firm.
Every essential truth that we part with is an infinite loss; and we daily see an awful departure from the doctrines of the gospel. Errors gain ground; and champions for the truth are but few in number when compared to the other host. If thou art a child of God by faith, see to the ground-work of it. Hast thou the faith of God's elect? let election be its basis. Hast thou a justifying faith? let imputed righteousness be its basis. Hast thou a victorious faith? thy victory lies in a Saviour's arms. Hast thou a purifying faith? then faith fetches its purifying efficacy from a Saviour's blood. Give up none of these truths; for, if we think truth is not worth contending for, we may expect the Spirit to clap his wings, and take his flight from us. You read of a bird of the air carrying a voice, and of that which hath wings declaring a matter; and woe to our souls when God departs from us. But, if thou canst not digest the doctrines herein contained, thou must wait till the day of doom, when the gospel net will be drawn to the end of time-its last shore-and then thou shalt see all Adam's offspring assembled in a valley called "the valley of decision;" perhaps so called because the Lord will decide the long controversy between the children of God and the children of the flesh, about the doctrines of sovereign grace and those of fallen nature; "Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; get ye down, for the press is full, the fats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision," Joel, iii. 13, 14. I know a controversial writer is always deemed to be in his own spirit: however, God "hath a controversy with the nations," Jer. xxv. 31; and his ministers "shall teach his people the difference between the holy and the profane; and in controversy they shall stand in judgment," Ezek. xliv. 23, 24. God's decree shall not always be called horrible, nor an everlasting righteousness be called imputed nonsense. Vindictive justice shall avenge the quarrel of sovereign mercy, so soon as old Time shall bring on "the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion," Isa. xxxiv. 8. What thou hast to say against the truths herein contained will cause but little trouble to me; God's approbation, and the testimony of a good conscience, are sufficient to support any faithful servant of the Lord under the scourge of tongues.
In all probability my reader may find some tautology in my book, which is easily accounted for; because, when I have been indulged with a great flow of matter, I have been obliged often to stop the spring, in order to study a discourse; and preaching six, seven, or eight times a week, in places lying wide apart, has been an impediment in my way. For, when I came to sit down again, I had forgotten what I had gone through; and it was some time before I could get my cruse to spring again. I have had many visitors also to hinder me, and many letters to write; together with much sickness in my family, which has sometimes obliged me to sit up all night to write.
I believe this work will be very offensive to the devil, because I have been often violently tempted since I have been at it; but those that honour God, God will honour. I also think it will be a comfort to some, because at times I have been much comforted myself. And I hope it will not be altogether without power; because I got most of it on my knees, in answer to prayer; and we all know that God never gives a stone for bread, nor a serpent for a fish.
I have more works on the wheels, and as soon as possible will mould them together, and work them off; and they shall inform the world what God has done for my soul. All the errors that thou findest in this book I acknowledge to be my own; what is truth I hope never to give up. If thou get either edification or comfort, thou art indebted to grace for it; when it is well with thee, remember Joseph. Do not condemn it until thou hast read it through; and then, if thou canst prove the devil to have influenced the author, I wish thou and all the Christian world would take up their pens against it: but, if it be of God, none can overthrow it. If thou thinkest I have darkened counsel by words without knowledge, may God incline thine heart to sit down and write a treatise better and brighter: I will readily become a subscriber, and use every effort in my power to circulate the work. For why should truth fall in the streets before the doctrines of devils, while her advocates, like Manoah and his wife, are only lookers on?
To expect salvation from truth only for ourselves, without any regard to the rising generation, is to be like Ephraim-empty vines, and to bring forth fruit only to ourselves. But, if God give us enlargement of heart, as he did to Solomon, compared to the sand on the sea-shore, we shall take all the elect into our hearts, down to the end of time-the uttermost shore of this confused and sin-disordered world: therefore we ought to contend for God's truth, and to leave our testimonies on record, that others, who come after us, may tread in our steps; and not leave volumes of free-agency, human merit, and a pack of nonsense behind us. We may be sure they will bring enough of this trash in their hearts when they come into this world, therefore we need not add to their abundance. I doubt not but many of the rising generation, when they come to be called by grace, and read some of their father's treatises about free-agency and Sinless perfection, will cry out, as the Gentiles did in the days of old, "Surely our fathers have inherited lies," Jer. xvi. 19.
It is doubtless our duty to pray for the increase of Christ's kingdom, and for more light and knowledge of the truth; to labour day and night in God's vineyard, and to be charitable to the necessitous to the uttermost of our Power; but never to strive against God's decrees in order to please rebels, or make the Bible comport with the pride of wretched and depraved nature: the man that doth this is allied to Satan, and engaged in the war of devils: "Let not him that girdeth on the harness boast himself as he that putteth it off," 1 Kings, xx. 11. I know some of you, among whom I labour are much tinctured with that abominable doctrine called free-agency; and your life and walk proclaim it as loud as your tongues; for it is visible that the world loves her own, and that you love it: being crafty, I have caught some of you who are of this stamp with guile. To talk of free-agency and good works, while the feet run to evil, is nothing but sounding the trumpet of an hypocrite. I am sure you never learned this Satanic trick from my mouth, nor from my life.
I think it my duty," as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance," lest ye be led away with the errors of the wicked; and so fall from your own steadfastness.
If God of his infinite mercy keep you from Arminianism, Arianism, and Antinomianism, I shall think you are Christians indeed. I rank the errors of Arminianism at the front, because the others are not so well masked. While the Arminian is robbing you of' the doctrines of sovereign grace, he puts the fable of sinless perfection into your hand, as a rattle to amuse you, while he robs and plunders your conscience; and, while he is teaching you to resist the sovereign will of God, he endeavours to charm your ears with free-agency. But the Arian is more open; he proclaims to every one that goes by that he is a feel. However, they are all three agreed against Christ; the Arminian cries down his merit; the Arian cries down his divinity; and the Antinomian cries down the revelation of him to the heart. May God turn their hearts to the truth, and keep your souls from turning to their errors!
Fret not yourselves about my creating to myself enemies; it is better to be hated by all the world, for the truth's sake, than to lie one week under the dread fill apprehensions of God's wrath, and the severe lashes of a guilty conscience: "When God gives peace, who can create trouble?" A man's spirit will sustain any outward affliction; "but a wounded spirit none can bear."
I must beg leave to inform my reader that I thought proper to make an alteration in the second edition of this work. The letters which were sent out in conjunction with it, relative to ministerial abilities, I thought proper to sever from it, as they had no connexion with it. But I will correct them and send them out by themselves, if there should be a call for them, as I think they are more proper to bind up with the Epistles of Faith than with this work. Having got rid of the Epistles, I have in their room brought in a few more witnesses against Universal Charity, or natural affections, influenced by a spirit of rebellion against the God of sovereign love.
The sovereignty of divine grace, displayed in the revelation of Christ to my soul, was the first saving truth that ever God made known to me: and, as I could not find one person in a thousand that had ever seen or felt the same power, it convinced me still more that what God had done for me was a sovereign act. I have since been more confirmed in it, because it was revealed to me who never expected it, and is withheld from thousands who are working hard to get it. These things led me to see that "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong;" but that both the prize and the victory are "of God, who sheweth mercy." This, and the other connected doctrines, being revealed by God himself to my soul, I think I am in duty bound to enforce and defend, with such abilities as God shall think proper to furnish me with.
To my own Master I expect to stand or fall; and, if this my testimony in behalf of his sovereignty be a false one, he has wisdom enough to overthrow it, and power sufficient to punish me for it. But I know it is the testimony that he revealed to me; the testimony impressed on my conscience; the testimony of his own word and Spirit; the testimony that himself bore; the testimony that God will ever honour; and the testimony that he never did, nor ever will, disdain to own.
Arminianism at present sadly obscures the truth of God Popery and that system will one day unite under one displayed banner, and out of each host the elect of God will one day be called; and a light sufficient will be given them to discover the enemies of their liberties, to which, by a covenant of sovereign grace, they were predestinated. These things considered, have led me to exclude the former letters, and to bring in a few more witnesses against Universal Charity, in order to push the sentence a little more home into the compassionate bowels of rebellious nature.
If my reader be inquisitive to know what I mean by the term Universal Charity; be it known to him, that I do not mean that love and liberality that is required by the second table of the moral law; far from it. For I know that in this sense a man is to love his neighbour as himself; and, if he be able, he his to shew it by a generous relief of him in his necessities. According to my ability, I have no objection to be weighed in an even balance with any accuser that I have in the world, with respect to this commodity.
Nor do I mean that affection which every converted soul should shew to his neighbour, in reproving him, exhorting him, praying for him, or holding forth the word of life to him, which (if blessed by God to his conversion) is that charity which covereth a multitude of sins. In this respect I could spend and be spent for my neighbour; and have laboured as hard, and suffered as much, in behalf of their souls, as those who have pretended to exceed the hovels of God himself in the behalf of sinners. But the universal charity aimed at in this work, is that pretended love of erroneous professors, who are contending for the salvation of all the world, and disputing against the sovereignty of God, and against his word in the behalf of them. Surely if this spirit came from God, it would never cavil against his sovereign will.
The Saviour rebuked this in Peter, as coming from the devil; "Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men," Matt. xvi 33. Thus the Saviour shews that every spirit which takes the part of flesh and blood, and rebels against the will of God, is from the devil himself.
Men of this temper seem to measure God by themselves; because they pretend to shew so much love to apostate rebels, and to those that bear the condemned image of Adam. They think that God's everlasting love must run in this their pretended channel, and that God is altogether such an one as themselves; for which wretched comparison God says he will reprove them, Psalm 1. 21. From this pretended affection, influenced by a spirit of rebellion against God, comes all the universal doctrines that we hear of in our days. God's love, which in every age Gas appeared discriminating, is fixed upon all the human race, they tell us; when the Saviour declares it to be sovereign; "for many be called, but few chosen," Matt. xx. 16. Some declare that God chose all alike (if such a choice can be); but the Saviour says that he chose his People out of the world, John xv. 19.
They tell us that Christ redeemed all men; when the scriptures declare that God redeemed his elect from among men, Rev. xiv. 4. If God redeemed some from among others, then those that the elect were redeemed from, were not redeemed. When God gave Egypt for Israel's ransom he gave no ransom for Egypt. If the wicked are a ransom for the righteous, and transgressors for the upright, Prov. xxi. 18, then those wicked transgressors had no ransom paid for them, however the doctrine of universal redemption is earnestly insisted upon But I defy the world ever to get one text of Scripture to prove it. Christ says," I lay down my life for the sheep," John, x. 15. But ah are not sheep. They that are the chosen flock of God are redeemed; "I lay down my life for the sheep." All that the Saviour died for were ordained to life; and those that are thus chosen and redeemed must be brought to receive the grace of faith; for "as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed," Acts, xiii. 48. But some are not chosen; these are not sheep, therefore the gift of faith is withheld from them: "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you," John, x. 36. Christ, in the 13th verse, had called them hirelings, and in the next place he told them that they were not of his sheep; and that was the reason why the gift of faith was withheld from them: "When the Jews heard this, then they took up stones to stone him," John, x. 31.
As universal redemption cannot be proved from the Bible, I am sure it cannot be taken or supported from any observations that can be made on the conduct of the world; for the generality of mankind give us no proof, by their conduct, of their being washed in a Redeemer's blood, or of their being "redeemed from a vain conversation," 1 Peter, i. 18.
Thus these universal bowels of corrupt nature, that sound so universally in their compassions towards the inhabitants of earth and hell, are set up as a standard for God to work by, and have brought forth the doctrines of universal grace and universal redemption, which I believe to be nothing but universal lies. Hence I conclude that those persons who pretend to have so much love for poor sinners as to make the grace of God, and the redemption of the Saviour, come over to their standard, is a pretended charity, which comes not from God, but from themselves, because it favours falsehood more than truth; and, whilst sounding out universal grace, it bears a false witness, contradicts the scriptures and rebels against the sovereignty of God, in Perverting his word to please men. Surely "there is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord," Prov. xxi. 30.
I fear that some have been so strenuous for universal, that they have neglected particular redemption. Every man that is saved must experience redemption for himself; it must be known by every particular sheep of the Saviour's fold. Universal redemption will afford but little comfort to one in rebellion against God, condemned by his own conscience, and who never was purged from his guilt, nor redeemed from his vain conversation. Thus redemption becomes particular to every chosen vessel: nor can it ever be proved to be universal, until we have gotten the universal testimony of every man in the world having received it; which I see no likelihood of at present.
Reader, fare thee well. Peace and truth be with thee: while I remain thine to serve, with such as I have.
UNIVERSAL CHARITY - PURSUED AND TAKEN.
"Try the spirits whether they are of God," 1 John 4:1.
PRAY, from what fountain does this Universal Charity flow, which seems to exceed even the bowels of the Almighty? God himself has declared his love to be discriminating; "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," Mal. i. 2; Rom. ix. 13. But is the eternal love of the Godhead fixed on all the human race? I answer, No. An erroneous church, or a mystical harlot, is one of the deep pits into which the abhorred of the Lord are to fall, Prov. xxii. 14. Now, as the scriptures declare some to be hated and others abhorred of the Lord, it cannot be "the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost" that appears so tender of rebels and so furious against the decrees, and against the obedient and loyal subjects of the King of kings.
As God does not appear to be the fountain of this love, it must come from a corrupt spring. I believe the devil, operating on the natural passions of men, has deceived many: he can shew a shining robe as well as a cloven foot. Some, whose convictions are real and deep, he will engage with dreadful assaults, and follow hard with fiery darts. He can also turn himself into an angel of light, and act on the other side of the question. In this dress he operates on the fleshly passions of many, and fills them with pity for all who bear his image; but arms them with malice against God, and against those Who shine the brightest in Christ Jesus. This unscriptural love appeared in Jezebel the queen, who fed four hundred prophets of Satan at her own table, but would not suffer a sound prophet of God to live upon earth. When the judgments of God fell on her favourites for witchcraft, her tender passions flowed so rapidly for those miserable wretches, that she would expose her soul to all the vengeance of Heaven in avenging their blood: "The gods do so to me, End more also, if the life of Elijah be not as one of them by to-morrow about this time," I Kings, xix. 2, 4.
However, she was mistaken; she could not make the life of Elijah like one of them, because he was a chosen vessel; nor could his own prayer, put up in a pet, alter God's irrevocable decree, 1 Kings, xlx. 4. Nay, though he requested to die, confessing that he was no better by nature than his fathers, yet his prayer was not answered, because he asked amiss. He neither dies according to Jezebel's threatening, nor in answer to his own prayer; but goes to heaven a new way, according to God's pre-appointment. As these bowels of charity sounded so much in Jezebel towards the basest of mortals, we have great reason to believe that they were stirred in her tender bosom by that spirit with whom she was so familiar. It appears to me that both her title and her possessions, together with all her religion, came from Satan; and, according to the portrait drown of her by the Holy Ghost, she was a mistress of witchcraft, the nurse of wizards, a murderer of saints, an enemy to Christ, a banquet for dogs, and a portion for devils.
This universal charity, tinctured with rebellion against God, has often, under the temptations of Satan, wonderfully appeared in many eminent saints of God. Various are the suggestions of Satan to such as fear the Lord, and generally suited to the person's state of mind and disposition: but all operations that beget hard thoughts of Christ, rebellion against him, or that lesson in any degree our esteem of him, most surely come from the devil and ourselves: "There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel, against the Lord," in his word, Prov. xxi. 30. When this snare has been laid in the council of Satan, in order to get God's servants to harden their faces against him, God has generally, in a reproving way, broken it, and delivered his poor saints out of it. But it appears one of Satan's strong holds to many; and I fear that many live and die in it. That soul shall never be said to be circumcised to love God with all his heart, whose tenderness is discovered in behalf of the wicked, and hardened against God and his elect.
Samuel himself, a man begged of God by his pious mother, and devoted to him from the cradle; a prophet, whose word never fell to the ground, and one of the brightest characters in the Bible, seems to have been for a while entangled in this net of Satan. Samuel found that Saul, who became a proverb for appearing among the prophets-whom he had anointed at the command of God, with oil out of a vial, to shew the brittleness of his kingdom, and his slippery foothold; to whom God gave another heart, 1 Sam. x. 9, for government and war; but not a new heart as a saint receives, Ezek. xxx. 36; and knowing he was turned into another man, 1 Sam. x. 6, but not a new creature in Christ, 2 Cor. v. 17; the thoughts of God's rejecting Saul from being king so moved the bowels of natural compassion in Samuel, that he sits up all night weeping for Saul, I Sam. xv. 11, till the reproofs of heaven stop the torrent of his tears; "Samuel, when wilt thou cease weeping for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being king?" 1 Sam. xvi. 1. "I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath," Hosea, xiii. 11. If these affections for Saul had flowed from a divine influence, surely God would not have rebuked them.
David himself seems at one time to have been entangled in this snare, and discovers it in a strange petition. He orders Israel to be numbered; and God commanded that each soul who was numbered should pay half a shekel for his head, as an offering to God, who had raised them from one as good as dead (Exod. xxx. 13) to be "as the stars of heaven for multitude, and as the sand by the sea-shore innumerable," Heb. xi. 12. This appears to be done as an offering, to acknowledge the faithfulness of God to his promise in multiplying Abraham's offspring. Seventy thousand appeared to be idolaters; or, in other words, they loved their money more than their God; they pass the poll, but could not afford their half shekel. Justice draws her sword, and cuts off the seventy thousand at one stroke. At the sight of this, universal charity is stirred up in the heart of David, dictates a desperate petition, and asks an irreverent question; "Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house: but these sheep, what have they done?" 2 Sam. xxiv. 17. However, when David got a little more into his right mind, he seems to drop his affections for idolatry, and lets them centre in their proper object; "Do not I hate them that hate thee? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them mine enemies. Search me, O God, and try me; and see if there be any wicked way m me, and lead me in the way everlasting," Psa cxxxix. 21-24.
Paul himself, our great and blessed apostle, seems to be caught in this web: but he soon finds the snare broken, and he is delivered; "I could," says he, "wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren's sake, who are Israelites according to the flesh." And this was fleshly affection with a witness, blown up to an amazing height; even to wish himself accursed from Christ for their sake, Rom. ix. 3. Howbeit, God sent him a few stripes, bonds, and imprisonments, from his fleshly brethren, in order to wean him, and then he appears with a becoming zeal for his God: "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha," I Cor. xvi. 22.
It appears to me that Moses was for a time taken in this snare, while encamped in the wilderness. Israel had made a calf, danced round it, and worshipped it; and they must all be pardoned to a man, in answer to a petition put up by Universal Charity: "And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, these people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin: and, if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written," Exod. xxxii. 31, 32. But the success of this prayer shews that it was not dictated by the Holy Ghost, as evidently appears by the answer: "And the Lord said unto Moses, whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee; behold, mine angel shall go before thee: nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sins upon them. And the Lord plagued the people because they made the calf," Exod. xxxii. 34, 35. I believe that petition in the Common Prayer-book came from the same quarter, "That it may please thee to have mercy upon all men." Christ prayed not for the world, but for them that his Father had given him out of it. I believe the earth was never without the sin unto death upon it; and the Spirit of God never gave us leave to pray for that.
David seems to be caught in this web again at the time when the withered arm (of free-will) was by Uzzah stretched out to the assistance of Omnipotence. God, in the fire of jealousy fm his own glory, struck him dead for his pains. If he is cursed of Obed who makes flesh his own arm, what can he be but doubly cursed who puts forth an arm of flesh to prop up the ark of God's strength? "God smote him for his error," because he had kindled his anger, 2 Sam. vi. 7. Universal Charity steps into the heart of David, and takes up the cause of Uzzah: "And David was displeased because God had made a breach upon Uzzah," and refused to take the ark home to him, 2 Sam. vi. 8-10. We have too many m our days who are making fleshly confidence both their basis and their bulwark; however, the fire of God's anger will make a breach in them, even if they set up a thousand.
The ark was by David refused, and consequently his God also, while this universal charity for Uzzah kept the throne of his heart. David, it seems, carried the ark aside, into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite, and there it must rest three months because it would not allow of co-partnership. However, God's blessing attended his own ark, though not the fleshly arm of Uzzah; "And God blessed Obed-Edom for the ark's sake, and all his household." These tidings coming to David, provoked him to jealousy; and a little spiritual jealousy cures the breach which Universal Charity had made between his Lord and him, and brings him to own that they had not sought God "after the due order."
I am much mistaken if this Universal Charity was not the door by which the whole troop of hypocrites crept into the primitive church; "Thou seest, brother Saul, how many thousands there are of Jews who believe, and they are all zealous of the law." Thou must shave thy head, and say, four men with thee have a vow on them (thou must say so); then purify thyself with them. This is establishing what Christ came to abolish: "And be thou at charges with them." This is reconciling the world and the elect together. But their counsel for peace God turned into a war, and Paul paid dear enough for it; and so will all those who go on with it, Acts, xxi. God soon cured the apostles of this disease, by shewing them what monsters they had embraced. Some advanced dreadful errors; some divided and scattered; others persecuted and raged; so that they were obliged to purge out this old leaven, shut up the door of Universal Charity, discharge a whole shower of artillery from the quiver of God at them, and give a command to all the elect, not to receive them into their houses, nor bid them God's speed.
God shews us in his word the unalterable doctrines of his covenant delivered by his servants, for our establishment in free grace. He likewise shews us the noble feats of their faith, and their holy walk for our example; and he shews us their failings also, and the advantage Satan took of them, for our admonition. And, among all the temptations with which they seemed to be tried, this to Universal Charity was none of the least; but God delivered his servants out of them all.
I had an experience of this temptation myself; being at times sorely tempted, for five-and-twenty years at least; and for near two years before salvation reached my heart I seldom was free a minute. I was tempted to believe that Satan made the world; and this was strengthened by my long seeking, working, striving, crying, confessing, and praying, and yet not being rewarded with grace for all this lip-service. I was grievously tempted also to pray to Satan to deal propitious with me in hell, when I came there, because I had long fled from his service. I cried also to God to deliver me from Satan; but I could find no God, therefore I was tempted to believe there was none.
What kept me from praying to Satan was, that of my being tempted perpetually to blaspheme the Almighty. If there is no God, why am I tempted thus to abuse him? Having been long tempted with such things as those, to drown myself in the Thames, and many more too base to mention, and being at last chased from all confidence in myself-finding my rationality hang long at a balance, and my life in doubt, I was obliged to throw away my Whole Duty of Man, and my Common Prayer also, and betake myself to calling on Christ alone. And, though my prayer was with the words of one desperate, yet, in answer to that prayer, Christ delivered me. My sin, guilt, despair, hardness of heart, envy at God, cavilling at election, fear of death, darkness, ignorance, and unbelief, took their flight at once, and Satan with them. Christ, with all his salvation, beauty, grace, and glory, came into my soul in a minute; for which I hope and trust I shall bless his name for evermore.
At this time I had never heard the gospel, nor did I for some months after. I now saw my calling was clear, and my eternal election sure; and for many months my soul enjoyed it. Satan now could not invade me as an assailant, but he came as a visitor, to endeavour to spoil this bright work by turning me into an Arminian. He first set me to look at the whole troop of Pharisees, who attended the church, and especially the communicants; and, to move me the more to pity them, he put my wife among them. Had it stopped here, it had been well; but, alas! it was accompanied with malice against God. I conversed with several of them, and found them all blind. And here I looked up in anger, and impiously asked Clod what was to become of all these? And he as powerfully answered me, "Except they are born again, they cannot see the kingdom of God." Having shed some thousands of tears over them, I was tempted to view the profane, the heathens, and the blacks; and then it was suggested to me, What do you think of election now? Here I began to wage war against the sovereignty of my Maker, and wept for those whom I never saw. This is taking part with the potsherds, and striving against our Maker, Isaiah, xlv. 9.
After this, the hard state of the beasts was represented to me; how hard they fared, and yet they were never to be saved. Many tears of pity I shed over them also. These tender feelings I nursed, and thought I had more mercy than even God himself. Here I felt a heart rising with malice against God, Christ, his sovereign grace, his elect, and all that held election. Long did I carry on this dreadful rebellion against God, and yet mourned and wept over beasts, creeping things, and insects; but no feeling for a suffering Saviour. God left me for a while, to shew me my folly; and folly it is, or I am sadly mistaken.
The next step I took in this wonderful progress, was to consider fallen angels, who I knew were excluded from all hope in God, and that for ever. Soon my bowels began to yearn over them; feeling this, the very heavens began, I thought, to lour over my head; my blood ran cold, my hair stood on end, my loins shook, my hope sunk, and the pains of hell gat hold upon my soul. Here God brought afresh to my mind the long siege and many snares Satan had laid in my way, in order to drag me to his infernal regions. And I was now pitying the cursed adversary of God and man, and fighting against my God and Saviour, who died to save me front sin, Satan, death and hell. I went so far in this snare as to determine to cast off all hope in God, and to take my lot with the world, supposing that eternal damnation was to be my doom.
This is the very root of Arminianism, and I know what fruit it bears. However, God, in answer to prayer, delivered me, and I went back in my affections to my dear Master, wept over him, loved him as a friend, reverenced him as a sovereign; and left heathens, brutes, and devils, to the disposal of infinite wisdom and sovereign pleasure. Since that I have thus accounted for Satan's coming in this dress.?We have more indwelling sin in us than we have grace; therefore Satan works on that, being his own seed; and hence it is that some are led to pity devils. We have also more flesh and blood than grace; hence we are led to pity our own fallen image in rebels. Every man being like the beasts that perish in his nature, and brutish in his knowledge, a very slight temptation will lead him to pity brutes; we having more of sin, flesh, and bestiality, than we have of God's Spirit. Natural affections will flow, under strong temptations, more to sinners, beasts, and devils, than they will to God himself.
These temptations have beset many of God's elect; but he always makes a way for their escape; and they who continue in them cannot say that grace reigns; and those who die in them will find none of this universal charity exist in hell-there is no love there. We need not wonder at these temptations besetting the elect, when even Christ himself was tempted to self-murder, and even to fall down and worship Satan. It is from this root of universal charity that those compassionate words flow, which we so often hear of, being poured out in behalf of Cain, Esau, Judas, Saul, Ahab, and Pharaoh; declaring that Christ died for them. Christ promised to ransom his people from the power of the grave, and to redeem them from death; "O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes," Hosea, xiii. 14. Now, if Christ redeem sinners, he has promised to redeem them from death; it cannot mean temporal death, for "it is appointed unto all men once to die." It must be spiritual death that the Saviour means: and, if all are thus redeemed, how comes it to pass that the scriptures declare so many to be in hell already?
When we hear from a pulpit those bowels of universal charity, sounding in all their tenderness, pity, sympathy, and love, for rebels, reprobates, traitors, and apostates, we may soon guess who is the preacher. And, if they call themselves apostles, as Peter was, we may answer them as Christ did him, "Get thee behind me, Satan." They ought to be an offence to us, because they savour "not the things that be of God, but those that be of men," Matt. xvi. 23. All the enemies this universal charity has appear to be only God's sovereign, electing, and everlasting love to his chosen, Christ's particular redemption of his people, and the Holy Ghost's sovereign and discriminating operations on the favourites of God. All the advocates for free-will that I ever conversed with seemed to be in love with all, but the sovereign acts of grace and the chosen of God; and these they oppose. And, seeing they open their mouths against God, his living temple, and they that dwell in the heavens, we have reason to believe there as not much of God in them; if there was, their in hearts would be where their treasure is, Matt. vi. 21.
A woman once told me that a certain preacher threw the gates of heaven wide open. I answered, that she ought to be damned if she boasted of power to enter in and yet staid out. Howbeit, I fear she is on this side the door to this day. Another told me, after hearing a discourse from me about election, that I barred the gates of heaven, but Mr. Universal Charity opened them to all. I told her, if he did, there were none let in but God's elect: for all that are there "are called, and chosen, and faithful," Rev. xvii. 14.
A free-will preacher, some time ago, made a complaint that his congregation was thin; he had preached them almost all away; and, under much concern, he said that election was the doctrine of the day; nothing would go down with the people but election. I would to God that every professor in the world were able to make their calling and election sure, as God commands; and then I believe they would rejoice, as the Saviour says, that their names were written in heaven. But, if this salesman has so clogged the market with free-will that all the buyers stand idle, he ought to set forth free grace, and see what that will do. Let him take his market-bell, and cry a sale as Isaiah did, "without money, and without price," Isaiah, Iv. 1. Why does he "set forth the refuse of the wheat, making the ephah small, and shekel great, and falsifying the balances of justice by deceit?" I know there is corn to be sold in our Egypt, and God has sent it from heaven for our food, and why should he try to make a famine? "He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him; but blessings shall be upon the head of him that selleth it," Prov. xi. 26. God has not sent us "a famine of hearing the word of the Lord," Amos, viii. 11; and why they should make our fruitful land barren by their wickedness I know not. God has promised "corn to make the young men cheerful," Zech. ix. 17; and I see no cause why they should be made sad with chaff. They ought to tread out the corn, 1 Cur. ix. 9, and feed the young asses with clean provender, Isaiah, xxx. 24.
I will take notice of the effects of free-will charity, and leave the root for awhile. After God had delivered my soul from that gilded bait, called, or rather nick-named, Charity, I walked about five months in the happy enjoyment of electing love, till one day I dropped into company with a very strenuous free-wilier, who lived at Weston-Green, in the parish of Thames-Ditton, in the county of Surrey: he was one who appeared to walk like an angel, and was fourteen years old in his profession. I mentioned God's love to my soul, and innocently told him how I had fought against election; how God had applied it to me, and my comfort in it; not in the least suspecting that he would deal with my conscience as a thief. However, his visage soon changed with envy. He told me I was wrong, and that I was but young in the ways of God, while he was of long standing. I, fool like, thought that length of days must teach wisdom, Job, xii. 12; not considering that "old men are not always wise, nor do the aged," at all times, "understand judgment," Job, xxxiii. 9. However, be being very zealous, though not according to knowledge, took me into a private apartment, to expound to me (I may say) the way of confusion, for so indeed I found it to my sorrow.
He brought forth a treatise, written by one F-h-r, and entertained me with it almost the whole afternoon. The book, as far as I can remember, seemed to be as sound as flesh and blood could make it; and I believe was as good a web as carnal reason is capable of weaving from the quills of human invention. And, in order to set it off, there was, here and there, a text of scripture jumbled in. But that good author seemed to be more earnest for fruit than for ingrafting; and I believe would be better pleased with a crop of leaves than a good root. However, we are told not to expect grapes from thorns, figs from thistles, nor good fruit from corrupt trees. I often cried out, "O Sir! that is boggy ground, I cannot venture on that." "Don't speak against it," says he, "you don't understand it." Thus he endeavoured to put a better face on it; but it was still one of the lean kine. And he laboured with more fervency to bring my soul from Christ than ever I did to bring a soul to him-" I speak this to my shame." Finding my head like a gentleman's garret, filled with this lumber. I fled out of the house, both wounded and naked, and went that night to hear the word preached; but there was nothing for me: free-will and free-grace were striving perpetually in my mind for a month or more, having nothing in me but this pro and con. The thoughts of falling from the blessed state in which I had long been, and being damned after all; knowing what a dreadful place hell was, by the dreadful pains which I had felt of it, and what a powerfull adversary Satan is; "Alas!" said I, "if final apostacy from a state of grace be true, and I only stand in my own strength, fall I must; and then there is no sacrifice for sin, but a fearful looking for of judgment,'" Heb. x. 27.
These things filled my soul with slavish fear, threw me into bondage again, set me to striving in my own strength, and my heart to fretting against the Lord, Prov. xix. 3. My evil tempers often hurried me into sin, which stopped the mouth of prayer and praise; nor could I read, meditate, or stay my thoughts upon any thing. Thus was my mind entangled in the Arminian labyrinth, till the billows of horror rolled over my soul, and I sunk "in deep waters, where there was no standing, so that the floods" of despair "overflowed me." This makes me so severe against that doctrine, as a burnt child dreads the fire.
Being one day busy in hoeing a sand-walk at Ewell, in Surrey, mourning under my present distress of mind, and the perilous state I appeared to be in, and reasoning that it was God's grace alone which begun, and would surely carry on, this work; the answer in my mind was, No; I had improved the day of grace myself, and falling away was a truth, for I was already fallen. This cut me so deep, that I cursed the day I ever saw that wretch. "O," said I, "if Christ will but shew me that the whole work was of him, and give me security for the future, I would never grudge to serve him day nor night I would not care how hard I worked, or how much I suffered, if an eternal portion of his love and presence was but secured to my soul."
In answer to this, a voice from heaven sounded in my heart with these words: "Don't you know that the scripture says, "No man can come to me except the Father draw him?'" I answered in anger, with a loud voice, "I know it says so." The answer came again, and said, "If you can find a passage in scripture where it is said that a man has a power to come, then you may prove the Bible lies." This taught me that God holds his power to command, though man has lost his power to obey. And, as there are many who boast of will and power, God has an undeniable right to set them this impossible task, namely, to put away their evil, make themselves a new heart, learn to do well, make themselves clean, &c.; and, as a just God, damn them for not performing that task which they boast of having power to do. And, as for the elect, I saw they were brought under the terrors of the law, and there set to work ill their own strength, to convince them of their inability to create in themselves a new heart and a new spirit; and, by spending their strength with nitre and much soap, Jer. it. 22; and finding it nothing but washing the Ethiopian white, Jer. xiii. 23; and that their iniquities are still marked before God, Jer. it. 22; they fly for refuge to sovereign mercy in Christ, having spent all their living, and getting only worse instead of better; then Christ gives them a new heart, a new spirit, makes them clean, causes them to walk in his statutes, and promises that they never shall depart from him, Ezek. xxxvi. 27.
This I found was the privilege of a son, the other is the task of a servant; and the son is to abide in the house for ever, John, viii. 35, while the servant is to be cast out of doors, Gal. iv. 30. And, although a gift to preach or pray, or a legal awakening, may be given to a servant in this life, yet they are all to be taken away again from him, but not from the son; he is to lose nothing of his inheritance for ever, Ezek. xlvi. 16, 17. These things made that scale of Arminianism move up, and soon I saw it kick the beam; for poor sinners in that scale are lighter than vanity. But eternal election and final perseverance came down full weight, and I soon felt myself in that scale. This brought me out of the free-will fog, and truth shone in my heart like a comet. And he that cannot reconcile these things has not lost his veil; and he that perverts them with open eyes is worse than a devil; for he is a rebel against God, and deceives the souls of others.
From that moment I waged war against free-will; and, if God spares my life a hundred years longer, I hope he will employ me in this battle, and let me die in this fight; and I am fully persuaded I shall never doubt of its being the battle of the Lord. Soon after, this champion (whose name was Hackston) attacked me again, and brought many passages to my mind, which I had not considered: yet God gave me understanding in them while he was bringing them forth, and enabled me to wrench the sword out of his band, turn its edge against him, cut his ears, and make his countenance fall. And I lived to see his fancied joy wither; for I fear he was but a son of man, Joel, i. 12; because he seemed to drop into the world again, and under every sermon he generally slept till it was over. Alas! if the grace of God does not hold us up in our profession, I am sure free-will must give way.
We had a parson in the church who was seldom sober one day in the week; against whom I never heard him say any thing: but, if he went to hear an honest, sound Calvinist, he generally wrangled against him to those in company all the way home; so it appeared not to be sin which he hated, but the truth of God. I have often been enabled to stop the mouths of these pretend9rs to good works, in point of merit, by setting my works against theirs, and appealing to their own consciences for a testimony, as they lived close by me. I told them they promised to go, but went not: I said, I would not go, but God made me go. I worked hard, yet felt myself unprofitable: they did nothing but cavil, and yet boasted of merit. And I have sometimes told them that my works would weigh down the works of fifty such trunk-makers. Though we dare not boast before God, yet we are not to debase ourselves before hypocrites: "The righteous falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain and corrupt spring, Prov. xxv. 26.
When they had been contending with me for final apostasy from grace (as they call it), I have told them, if they believed that they could finally fall and be damned, they might fall. Their faith was not the gift of God, nor the faith of God's elect. According to their faith (or rather their fancy) be it unto them. I believed I should never finally fall, and according to my faith it would be unto me, Matt. ix. 29. God is not bound to keep them on in his strength, who reject his omnipotent arm. I found I could not drag them out of their pit, and why should they want to pull us down from our Rock? They have been forced often to confess to me they were in bondage: and I do not wonder at it; for, if truth will not make free, there is no ground to expect that lies will.
These are some of the fruits and effects which my poor soul has felt of universal charity, which robbed me of that which was sweeter to my soul than life itself; I mean the peace of God ruling in my conscience. I own the man was liberal enough of such as he had; he gave it me freely: but, if a gentleman makes me a present of a draught of mercury, though it is a free gift, yet, if it kills me, I do not see much charity in it. Christian recoiler, beware, lest thou get to dealing, or rather exchanging, with them as I did. It is called charity, but it is only exchanging-they will take away your peace, and give you nought but confusion; and that man that takes away truth, and gives thee nothing but a fable, has but little right to a tribute of praise from me.
How the name of Universal came to be given to these fleshly, brutal passions, tinctured with such malice against God's sovereignty, and all who in humility bow to it, I know not. Pray, Mr. Charity, what is your Christian name?-Answer, Universal. Pray who gave you that name? Who were your godfathers and godmothers, and what did they promise to do for you? Did they promise you should live in charity with all men? -Yes. So indeed you do with all men in the flesh. But how came you to lift up your hands against the Lord's anointed? I mean the prophets, apostles, holy fathers, old honest Calvin, Hervey, Toplady, Whitfield, and all such as, though dead, yet have a voice in the church, and a blessed memory also.
If thy name be Universal, how camest thou to call the sovereign Monarch of heaven and earth a tyrant God? And how camest thou to call the King of Zion to an account about the chosen subjects of his kingdom? Dost thou want to condemn the chief Shepherd, and call him to an account about his particular fold? Dost thou want to alter his register book, and bring in endless genealogies of thy own, blotting out the names of his sheep, and interlining it with the names of goats? Thou hast put Judas, Ahab, Cain, Esau, and perhaps Simon Magus, among the redeemed. "By what authority dost thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?" Thou despisest the unconditional promise of faith. And what hast thou to do to declare God's unalterable statutes, or with thy wavering tongue and unstable heart to declare his unconditional covenant, or take it into thy mouth; seeing thou hatest all the instructions the whole cloud of witnesses have given thee, and castest all God's words spoken by them behind thy back? "When thou sawest a thief" (who robbed God of his unrivalled prerogative) then "thou contendest with him, and hast been a partaker" with the spiritual adulterers of Rome.
Thou givest thy tongue to evil, and teachest many to rebel against God; thy tongue frameth deceit, and thou hast canonized hypocrites, declaring that Christ died for some now in purgatory. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother in the flesh, and hast slandered Zion's blessed Son. These things hast thou done; and because God hath long kept silence, thou thinkest he is altogether such an one as thyself; but he shall reprove thee, and set thy wickedness in order before thine eyes, and tear thee in pieces; and it is not free-will, nor universal charity, that shall be able to deliver thee. Because judgment on thy evil work has not been Speedily executed, thy heart is fully set in thee to do evil, Eccl. viii. l 1. And thou thinkest the effect of every vision to be prolonged, Ezek. xii. 22, 23. Yet know thou that damnation slumbereth not, 2. Pet. it. 3. And, if thou couldst live a hundred years twice told, an untimely birth is better than a false conception, Ezek. vi. 3.
"Oh thou full of all subtilty," in wresting the word of God, and abridging and altering the testimony of the dead in faith, and spoiling their good report! thou "full of all mischief," in sowing discord among brethren! "thou child of the devil" by birth and practice! "thou enemy of all" imputed "righteousness!" when "wilt thou cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" Acts, xiii. 10, 11. There is a mist already fallen on thee, and thou art stumbling "on the dark mountains," Jer. xiii. 16. And, let me tell thee, judicial blindness, insensibility, and the scorner's chair, are an earnest of utter darkness, and the heaviest judgments God inflicts in time. And, though the troops which possess thee give thee the name of Legion, yet that name is no refuge. They are most in number called "children of the desolate;" and, as to the name of "legion," it is given even to devils, Mark, v. 9. Therefore put that lie out of thy hand, for it shall never deliver thy soul, Isa. xliv. 20.
I see thou art still silent. I asked the name of thy godfathers and godmothers, but thou gavest me no answer: I can answer for thee. Thy godfather is "the god of this world," and thy commanding father too; and thy godmothers are Jezebel the ancient and Jezebel the modern; and thou canst not deny it: "Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?" Gen. xlix. 15. "Why art thou wroth, and why is thy countenance fallen?" If thou canst not stand the scrutiny of the righteous, thou shalt never stand the judgment of God: "Go thy way for the present, and when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee."
UNIVERSAL CHARITY EXAMINED.
"Try the spirits whether they are of God," 1 John 4:1
"I HAVE set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their ways," Jer. vi. 27. Master Universal Charity, alias False Affections, I have a commission from the King of kings to examine and try thee; and, having obtained mercy to be put into this office, I am determined to be found faithful, and abide only by the laws of the celestial realm. I adjure thee therefore to inform me what thy occupation is, and from whence thou comest. Of what country and of what people art thou? Answer-My father is God, and I teach according to his law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." If God were thy father, thou wouldst own his sovereignty, and wouldst love Jacob: but, instead of that, thou hatest Jacob, and contendest for Esau, over whom the sword barbed in heaven hangs impending, Isaiah, xxxiv. 5.
If God were thy father, thou wouldst love them that love him: "He that loveth him that begets, loveth him also that is begotten of him," I John, v. 1. But, instead of this, thou hast cavilled against the testimony of all those who "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Yea, thou art at war with all the burning and shining lights in the land of the living. Thou hast taught men in public pulpits to belie the dying testimony of that undaunted and immovable champion for truth, Mr. Toplady; a man who stood fast, and died in the happy enjoyment of God, and in the fullest assurance of triumphant faith; and one whose divinity thou, by all thy sophistical turnings, windings, and false constructions, which thou hast used against him, canst not deny, for invincible truth was his shield and buckler, Psalm xci. 1.
And, though thou hast taught many to accuse him of being bitter and severe, yet the spirit and power of Elijah were upon him. He fought for God-bore not his sword in vain-fought the field with valour-stood and withstood all error-overcame by faith in the blood of the Lamb-cut his way through all opposition -was more than conqueror through electing love?died at war with the flesh, and under the sweetest influence of the King, the Lord of hosts, mighty in battle! And hast thou taught thy pupils to prate against him with malicious words? Surely, if he was living, he would remember thy deeds.
And I am informed that thou hast taught thy pupils to alter the Pilgrim's Progress of John Bunyan. Pray what business hast thou to set a reverend master of thy arts to interfere with the trade of tinkers? Thou hast mixed false and base metal with his golden bell, Exodus, xxxix. 26. Verily, if he was living, he would punch a thousand holes in thy tinkling cymbal, for gathering all that dross into his gold, which the Almighty by so many fires purged from him. What sayest thou to these things? "Hearest thou not how many things are witnessed against thee?" Thou sayest, I have altered them; but it was out of love to my neighbours, that all men might understand them. But how camest thou to fight against God? He says he has "hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes," Matt. xi. 25. And what right hast thou to eclipse the glory of his hidden pearls, and then cast them before swine? Matt. vii. 6.
God has bound up his testimony among his disciples, and left his whole mystery in a sealed book, Isaiah, xxix. 11. And hast thou attempted to open the broad seal of the great King, which the modesty and conscious inability of angels refused to undertake? Rev. v. 2. Even, when in heaven the question was asked, they stood silent half an hour, Rev. viii. 1. But thou, having engrossed all wisdom to thyself, hast made thy pupil a second pope, set up another infallible head, and hast rifled the treasures of the Almighty; by teaching him to explain away by human learning, magic art, and false construction, what he could not comprehend by purblind reason. And thus he appears another key-keeper, and has laid violent hands on the Saviour's girdle, who alone keeps the keys of hell and of death.
These things hast thou done, yea, and taught souls to detest and renounce the perfect obedience of Christ; which single obedience believed in, and put on, is to make many righteous, Rom. v. 19. But then hast taught thy pupils to call Christ's obedience, which is to justify many, imputed nonsense; and that they should trust in fleshly obedience, which God calls a spider's web, Isaiah, lix. 5. The gospel reveals no other righteousness to justify sinners before God than the obedience of Christ alone. This righteousness the heavens shall reveal, not the earth, Rom. i. 16, 17. It is God's righteousness, not man's, Isaiah, liv. 17. But thou hast taught men to refuse an everlasting righteousness, which alone can justify the ungodly, Dan. ix. 24, and to trust in a righteousness which God says shall never profit them at all, Isaiah, lvii. 12.
And thou sayest thy name is Universal Charity, that God is thy father, and thou art the first-fruit of the Holy Ghost. In this thou liest against God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; for, if God were thy father, thou, as Charity, wouldst believe all things in the Bible; for Charity believest all things, 1 Cor. xiii. 7. If God were thy father thou wouldst do as those who love the law of God after the inner man, and obey the voice of God therein; for God tells his preachers to bring forth the best robe to every returning prodigal, Luke, xv. 22; to fill their hungry souls with the bread of heaven and the fatted calf; to shoe their feet with that peace which Christ has prepared: to give them a ring, as an undoubted token of their indissoluble marriage union with the Son of God; to declare to their souls that they are found, and alive for ever; to charm them with a sweet foretaste of heaven's melody, Luke, xv. 24; to give them a divine kiss to cast out their fear; to destroy their doubting of his favour; and to encourage them to a holy familiarity, he then sends them with that kiss to the Son, to pay it away: "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him," Psalm ii. 12.
But thou, Mr. Charity, dost not constrain thy teachers to do this as servants, Matt. xx. 27, for thou settest them in Moses's chair, and teachest them to make laws of their own. They become task-masters-they set people to work without clothes, shoes, victuals, or tools Thou sayest that the best robe is nonsense, that the ring of everlasting love may be lost in a minute, that they who have it may receive a final divorce; and that those who are charmed with heavenly music and dancing in the large room of gospel liberty, are Antinomians. Thou teachest blind guides to preach contradictions, and to set the dead to perform impossibilities. To the dead they say, "Up, and be doing;" to the lepers, "Make ye clean;" to the distressed soul, "Be ye perfect in the flesh;" and to them that are blinded with pride, and past all feeling, that they have completely obtained it, and so are under the second blessing.
Thus thou teachest men to condemn the just, by saying they are Antinomians; and to justify the wicked, by telling the proud and insensible hypocrite that he is perfect; when, indeed, by his spiritual wickedness and hardness of heart, he is in the second darkness, which is an earnest of the third; and under the second curse, that of insensibility. To be past feeling is to be seared both against law and gospel. But these thou lovest best, and justifiest them; telling them they are perfect in the flesh, even as God is perfect, making God flesh and blood as they are: "He that says to the wicked, Thou art righteous, him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him, Prov. xxiv. 24.
Mr. Universal Charity, thou art a liar, an impostor, a deceiver, and a thief; a liar, by calling God thy father, when thou art a rebel against his laws; an impostor, because, under the name of Charity, thou art a robber; thou runnest away with the key of knowledge; thou hidest the strong meat of eternal election, which is to confirm the feeble knees; thou hast stolen and hid the best robe, and left the poor without any covering in the cold, Job, xxiv. 7. Thou art a deceiver, because thou sayest thy name is Universal Charity, whilst thou art only an Ishmaelite. Every godly man is against thee, and thy hand is against all the children of the free woman. Thou hatest every heir of promise and contendest continually for them whom God has cast away.
If thou wast the love of God, thou wouldst lead souls "to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem," to the company of elect angels, "and to the spirits of just men made perfect," Heb. xii. 22. But, instead of this, thou contendest for reprobates, which proves thy guests to be "in the depths of hell," Prov. ix. 18.
Universal Charity, what sayest thou to these things? Answer ? I teach sinners against imputed righteousness only because I am afraid it will spoil their own. And, as for election, I taught them to reject that, fearing they would get idle; and by keeping that back God gets more works from them.
O, thou cunning hypocrite! I see through thy mask; thou as one of those foxes that spoil the vines. Thou teachest against imputed righteousness, which alone can save, and to trust in one that cannot. So thou teachest to commit two evils; to forsake a fountain of living water, and make a "broken cistern that can hold no water," Jer ii. 13. To reject a wedding garment, Matt. 11, and to stand in filthy rags, Isaiah, lxiv. 6. Surely if thou wast the love of God, thou wouldst do as Christ commands; "Simon, lovest thou me? then feed my sheep," John, xxi. 16. Yea, thou wouldst not keep back their food, that a greater task might be performed, but wouldst do as Christ did; he gave them strong meat first; "Rejoice that your names are written in heaven," Luke, x. 20. Then he fills their bellies also; "Children, have ye any meat?" They answer, "No." "Then," says he, "Come and dine," John, xxi. 12. Then he lifts lip his hands and blesses them, and says he is with them always, Matt. xxviii. 20.
At the day of Pentecost, he filled them with the Holy Ghost. Acts, it. 4. Then they went forth and wrought, and the Lord wrought with them, "confirming the word with signs," Mark, xvi. 20. Christ is a priest, after the order of Melchisedec. Blesses them first, meets them with bread and wine, and then receives his own fruits. But thou hast made him a priest "after the law of a carnal commandment," instead of "the power of an endless life," Heb. vii. 16. And by these means thou hast taught souls to abhor the offerings of God: yea, thou hast taught such foolishness of men's inventions as to pervert the ways of many, until their hearts have fretted against the Lord, Prov. xix. 3.
If thy name and nature were Charity, thou wouldst feed the hungry and clothe the naked; and not lock the strong meat up in a cupboard, Jesuit-like, that people might work the harder. Who can work and starve? We commonly say hard-working men want good substantial meat; but thou sendest them into the wilderness with only a bottle of water at their back, and there they may work and wander till they are obliged to turn archers. And thus it is that, when they see others look fairer and fatter (feeding by faith) than children of their sort, they grudge (not being satisfied with husks), and often "bend their bows in secret, and shoot at the upright in heart." Thou hast not only taught souls to reject JEHOVAH OUR RIOHTEOUSNRSS, who is our JUST GOD and SAVIOUR, and the JUSTIFIER of them that believe. Rom. iv. 5; but thou hast taught souls to stagger at the arm of the Lord, by denying the final perseverance of God's elect; "In the Lord have we righteousness" to justify, "and strength" to travel on and overcome, Isaiah, xlv. 24.
We are commanded to go forth "in the strength of the Lord God;" and to "make mention of his righteousness, even of his only," Psalm lxxi. 16. God has promised to strengthen and to uphold us, Isaiah, xli. 10, and to say we are strong in him when nothing but weakness in ourselves, Joel, iii. 10. None shall pluck us out of his hands, 1 John, x. 28. Though believers fall, they shall not be cast down, "for the Lord upholdeth them with his hand," Psalm xxxvii. 24. But thou hast thrust sore at this arm of God, that they might fall, by telling souls that they might stand to-day and fall into hell to-morrow. Surely this must weaken their confidence in the omnipotence of God. And this proves thee a preacher of rebellion, by encouraging unbelief; for "he that believes not shall be damned," Mark, xvi. 16.
Thus thou preachest against the sovereignty of our elect head and foundation, Christ Jesus, by denying election: thou preachest down the everlasting righteousness of God, by denying its imputation; and thou preachest down the omnipotence of God, by denying our perseverance therein; and then thou criest out, "Lo! here is Christ, in this secret chamber of imagery!" But we believe it not, for thou tellest lies in the name of the Lord, Jer. xxvii. 15. Then thou tallest thy name Charity, when in very deed thy name and nature is nothing but thievery. Thou hast robbed God, and hast robbed his children of their bread; this is a two-fold sacrilege. When wilt thou leave off this trade of picking and stealing, lying and slandering?
O, thou walking pestilence! creeping in darkness, when wilt thou pull off thy rough garment, and cease to deceive? Zech. xiii. 4. "What shall be done unto thee, O thou false tongue?" Psalm cxx. 3. Thou speakest wickedly for God, and talkest deceitfully for him, Job, xiii. 7. "Out of thy own mouth have I judged thee, thou wicked servant." Thou ownest that thou lockedst the strong meat up in the cupboard, that sinners might work the more. Surely a sacrilegious Jesuit is two-fold worse than a begging friar! Thou art too proud to beg, but not too honest to steal. Thy wretched name, Universal, is only partial; thou regardest devils, rebels, hypocrites, and brutes; but hast no more mercy for the honest saints of God than his unmerciful holiness of Rome, when, by the laws of his bloody inquisition, he has baptized and named them Heretics.
If a person come to thine assemblies, who has learnt the Satanic trick of wresting the scriptures, cavilling against God's essential doctrines, and who is a hater of the elect, with a gloomy countenance and a Nazaritish head, proudly boasting of his own perfection, though he gives God himself the lie to his face, I John, i. 8; yet such is the man that shall dwell with Moab, and Moab becomes a covert to him from free grace, which is supposed to be a spoiler. But, if God sets a soul at liberty, he is cast out as an abominable branch, lest he should season others. If Charity cast out the salt, she has only the name, but loses the savour; and how is her family to be seasoned with it, when you say it is neither fit for your land nor for your dunghill?
Old Thomas Brown, a weaver at Gainsborough, in Lincoln- shire, sat among a society of universal lovers twenty years in chains of guilt, with his ears charmed by the class-leader, who had long entertained them with this vain repetition, "Come, my dears, lets up and be doing;" which was singing a lovely song to a heavy heart. But God at last, pitying his long captivity, applied this passage to him, with power and comfort:-"I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight; these things will I do unto them, and not forsake them," Isaiah, xii. 16.
The poor man, tasting the sweetness of this promise, went to the class-meeting, shewed the class-leader the promise, and told him the joy it came with. The class-leader, who was almost perfect in his own eyes (pope-like), snatched the Bible out of his hands, sternly asked him if he was going to turn Antinomian; and told him to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, when God had wrought in him both to will and to do. A few days after this class-leader went to him again, and, finding him reading the Bible, took it away; which much distressed the poor soul; who at last came to hear me, and God delivered him: and ever since he has been rejected of all that perfect society of universal lovers, because he by the Spirit is made perfect, even as his heavenly Father is perfect," Matt. v. 48.
If Universal Charity holds universal redemption and says Christ died for all, why not for them who are born again of the Holy Ghost, as well as for Cain and Esau? And if the Bible has no such doctrine as reprobation, nor the earth any such inhabitants, what will become of Tom Brown? Universal Charity has cast him out, excommunicated, and reprobated him. It looks as if this sort of charity had destroyed God's prerogative of choosing and refusing, only to establish her own sovereignty. But how a building of hay, straw, and stubble, is to stand, established on the ruins of God's sovereign prerogative, I know not. If God's honour be trampled in the dust, Universal Charity has little room to expect he will exalt hers: "Them that honour me I will honour; and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed," 1 Sam. ii. 30.
So the arm of the Lord there spoken of, to lead sinners into paths they have not known, is rejected; and free-will and human power are established. Surely this is making the law of God of little effect, and the gospel of none, by this old way of tithing rue, anise, and cummin; but neglecting mercy and faith, which ought to have been done, Matt. xxiii. 23. To forsake and hate a man because the mercy of God has lifted him up, is a strange way of shewing charity. However, it is the way that Saul shewed his love to David. The Lord sent an evil spirit upon Saul, but stood by his servant David; therefore David must fly the court, or receive the javelin. Saul became David's adversary continually, because God was his friend. If a pure affection for the best of men, for the sake of Christ's image on them, be the characteristic of a real saint, what shall we say of these?
However, Saul was not without charity; he exalted Doeg the Edomite for cutting off seventy of God's priests; and raised him from his former service of deer-keeping to that of being lord of his household. This place was the price of blood, 1 Sam. xxi. 7, and 1 Sam. xxii. 18. Universal Charity shews her pity further in Saul. There came up the Ziphites, and said to Saul, "Doth not David, ' the Calvinist,' hide himself with us? Now, therefore, O king, come down, according to all the desire of thy soul, and," though he has done nothing amiss, yet "our part shall be to deliver him up into the king's hand." This moved the bowels of universal charity in Saul; and he said, "Blessed are ye of the Lord, for ye have compassion on me." Ye blessed traitors, and Doeg the murderer, are my best friends!
But, as for David, he is one of the elect, the Spirit of God is in him, the anointing on him, mercy is sure to him, and the oath of God secures him; therefore I hate him. Yet the sovereign Lord God of Israel is with him, and has chosen him; and by his faith he is more righteous than I. And God has given him the kingdom by a covenant of salt, or grace, and has chosen him before me and all my house. Therefore this sovereign Lord, and his chosen vessel, are the worst tormentors I have. And he will go for refuge elsewhere: "Seek me a woman with a familiar spirit," 1 Sam. xxviii. 7. For, though he made God and Samuel his enemies for rejecting the word of truth, yet he will have a friend somewhere, if it be the devil himself; and, as he was altogether for outside things, he will have Samuel's mantle, if he cannot have him, 1 Sam. xxviii. 4. "Bring me up Samuel."
Formerly Saul had, in his zeal for God, cut off the wizards out of the land; but, when he saw the sovereignty of his Maker in his choice of David, he goes to one of that number, even with a prayer in his mouth, "Divine to me, I pray thee, by the devil," 1 Samuel, xxviii. 8; but found, as Haman did by Zeresh his wife, that he was to fall before this Israelite indeed, as Haman did before Mordecai; that is, drop into his own pit, by his own counsel. However, as he had been a friend to Satan's family, and a lover of Doeg and the traitorous Ziphites, Satan's dear daughter begins to comfort him; "Now therefore hearken unto the voice of thy handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee, and eat." But he, in mock modesty, refused; however, she persuaded him. O how wretched is the state of a carnal professor when God is become his enemy!
Saul was a man very fond of his own righteousness being established before men. He requested Samuel to honour him before Israel, though God had rejected him; his royal self was so delicate, that he could feed on nothing but human applause; he could not make a meal of Christ revealed in every sacrifice which he saw offered: but, though he could not sup on the fatted calf in the scripture, yet he could eat one dressed by the witch of Endor, Sam. xxviii. 25. Universal Charity was partial in nature then as well as now; if it hates poor old Tom Brown, yet it loves hypocrites. This appears in Saul; he will pursue the life of David through all the thousands of Judah; but, if he finds the witch of Endor, he swears by the Lord God of hosts not to put her to death, I Sam. Xxviii. 10; though God says, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," Exod. xxii. 18. This pitiful principle had shewn its pity before in the salvation of Agag, 1 Sam. xv. 19. But Samuel, that zealous advocate for God, being void of charity chopped him to pieces before the Lord, or in his presence, as a thing that pleased him, because his sword had made women childless, 1 Sam. xv. 33.
I once laid hold of some hymns written by a perfect man, or one that talks at that rate, who is a great champion for charity, or universal love; and in that piece of poetry all gospel ministers, who declare the whole counsel of God, are styled children of the devil in these words:
"Hear the hellish monster roars
For you Christ died, and not one more.
His children listen to his call,
And shout, Christ did not die for all."
Ambassadors of peace are here called children of the devil: and, because Christ said he did not pray for the world, nor die for the goats; and told some men that they were not of his sheep; we, adhering to this in the Bible, are called listeners to Satan; and preaching these truths is called shouting for the devil. This is strange language for a perfect man; and, if his charity be universal, he has a very odd way of shewing it to gospel ministers: for, though he will not allow of God's repro- bating sinners for wickedness, yet he will reprobate them that preach the truth. This appears to be a revival of the old doc- trine, calling light darkness, and darkness light; sin holiness, and holiness sin, Isaiah, v. 20.
This wonderful charity is so tender about the fall of man, that it cannot allow him to be totally depraved, but insists upon it that man has a power to do good, to come to Christ, and to improve that talent that he brought into the world with him. And it is declared that Christ's invitation for sinners to come to him, implies that they have power to come, or else Christ mocks them with a fruitless call. I read that he called Lazarus, and that Lazarus was dead and stunk when he called him; but where the word of that King went there was power, Eccles. viii. 4. The power was in the call, not in Lazarus. And I believer a sinner to be as dead in soul as Lazarus was in body, and that he stinks worse by far, for Lazarus stunk only four days: but he that says "I am more holy than others" is a smoke in God's nostrils, and a fire that burneth all his days, Isaiah, lxv. 5.
I know that Christ says, "No man can come unto me except the Father draw him," John, vi. 44. Howbeit some say he has a power, or he is mocked with a fruitless call. Christ says, "Without me ye can do nothing." Now, if we say that a man has power, and, out of charity to a fallen nature, boast of the rectitude of his will, the dignity of his nature, and praise his unbiassed reason, as some call it, and lead him to believe these lies; where is charity all this time? I cannot see that such a one has any charity either to Christ, the sinner, or himself He has none to Christ, because he gives him the lie in his word. He has none to the sinner, because, though he has led him to trust in himself, yet "he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" Isaiah, xliv. 20. Nor has he any love to himself, for his false testimony makes him one whom God hates: "Six things doth the Lord hate, yea, seven are an abomination unto him; a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren," Prov. vi. 16, 19.
The way of shewing universal love is very strange, because it only exalts the flesh and nurses pride; and he that preaches to exalt fallen man can never honour God, or deliver souls; and therefore his pretended love is nothing worth; for "a faithful witness delivereth souls, Prov. xiv. 25; but a false witness deceives his neighbour," as well as himself. "A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape," Prov. xix. 5. I cannot conceive it to be a charitable act to establish free agency among men, or rather confirm them in it: it has been established ever since Eve wanted to be as God, Gen. iii. 5. What good has free-will done for souls, that charity has so much to say in its behalf? Why it has rejected Christ: "Whom will ye that I release unto you?" Free-will says, "Barabbas." "What shall I do with Christ?" Free-will has delivered him out of envy, and desires a murderer to be granted instead of him, Acts, iii. 14. And it is free-will to this day that rejects the sceptre of grace: "We will not have this man to reign over us," ever was, and ever will be, its language.
Eternal life is in Christ; but free-will will not accept it; "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." I know none that make fairer promises than free-will, nor perform worse; "Son, go work to-day in my vineyard;" that is enough for a free agent, he wants no promises nor help. "I go, Sir," said he, Matt. xxi. 30; but we are informed he went not, Matt. xxi. 80. Israel of old told Joshua, "All that the Lord hath said we will do:" but Joshua says, "Ye cannot," Josh. xxiv. 19. And so they found it; for they sacrificed their children to devils, "and the land was polluted with blood," Psalm cvi. 38.
Is this free-will established by Universal Charity? So it seems. Then, "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger" against the truth "they have slain" many, and in their self-will they are trying to dig down the wall of free salvation: "Cursed be such anger, for it is fierce, and such wrath against souls, for it is cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel," Gen. xlix. 6. 7.
I think a free agent is the worst enemy to his own soul of any living, and deserves the sorest punishment; because he boasts of his will, power, and profound knowledge; and says, "Are we blind also?" It is an affront to tell him he is blind; yet they suffer themselves to perish, with all this noble stock, for non- improvement. Scripture informs us that those who were invited to supper begged to be excused: and were taken at their word, and excluded the feast. Not a soul comes in till compulsion is sent out: "Go, compel them to come in." Then they come: bring them also; "and the house was filled with guests." Well, we must leave them to the mercy of him who has said, "He that knows his Lord's will, and doth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes."
Universal Charity appears to me to be one that loves not God, nor regards the souls of men. Pray what right hast thou to send poor souls that feel their need of Christ to the Church of England; I mean to such of them as have nothing but blind guides in them? Christ says, "They shall east you out of the synagogue," but you drive them into it. So you drive these souls into the very mouth of divine reproof: "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" Christ is not a blind guide: he says, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate." But you teach men to say, "Keep ye among them, and be ye united." This is a plain contradiction of God's word. However, that man shall never be God's mouth who takes not "the precious from the vile," Jer. xv. 19.
Where is thy love to souls in sending them under blind guides? And when they come there they pray to be delivered from blindness of mind. Thou teachest people to deny election, and yet sendest them to church to pray God to make his chosen people joyful. First thou teachest souls to deny the doctrines of the established church, and then sendest them to church to confess them. They are taught to contradict God, and then sent to mock him. Surely that charity can be of little use to my soul that teaches me to give God the lie, and then draw out a wide mouth at him. O Charity, thou usest the tongue of the crafty, and diggest a pit for thy friends, Job, vi. 27.
The whole work of pretended charity seems to be nothing but reconciling Christ and Satan, truth and error, saints and sinners, together. But the throne of iniquity shall have no fellowship with God, nor they who frame mischief by a law, Psalm xciv. 20. "What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" I do not know, Paul; you must ask Universal Charity this question; it is all her work. If a man was to bring into my house a troop of wizards, witches, heathens, robbers, and murderers, and unite them with me and my family, I should not think it a very charitable act: and those that couple Christ and Satan will find nothing but wrath from him for their pains; "What is the chaff to the wheat?"
Surely the Saviour's family, which he received in eternity, and redeemed from among men, are not to be thus jumbled together with pagans. But all this is the noble effect of free-will, free-thinking, and pretended love. Pope says, "Though God bound nature fast in fate, yet he left free the human will." And he has acted with God and his saints as all free-willers do, namely, stirred heaven, earth, and hell, together. But God's gulfs are fixed, and no free-wilier shall ever spread the sails of human merit, nor strengthen the mast of free-will, nor use the oar of human excellency, to cross that unfathomable gulf, Isaiah, xxxiii. 23. "And, besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence," Luke, xvi. 26.
Universal Charity operates wonderfully on that learned body the deists. They discover the same enmity against the sovereign God of the universe, and his revealed word, as the Arminians or Papists do; but are as tender of rebels and brutes as any on earth beside. I believe the doctrine of Pythagoras sprung from this root, namely, the brutal passions of unsanctified nature: and we have many in our days who will advance errors to the destruction of many souls, yet are so tender of brutes and insects, that they would kiss a fly, and disdain to hurt a worm.
Not long ago I was in company with a gentleman who makes a profession of Christ, and was to spend the evening and lodge that night with him. I found his head wonderfully stocked with the doctrines of the millennium, or Christ's thousand years' personal reign on earth. I gave him to understand that I believed the heavens must receive Christ "until the restitution of all things," Acts, iii. 21; and that he would not be seen until he had arisen from a throne of grace, shut the door of mercy, and appeared on the throne of judgment. However, he had wonderful notions of the thousand years' reign to come: "To-day shall ye hear his voice." And a heart established with grace is better than a head stored with notions of a thousand years to come. However, he brought many strange things to my ears about it, which he is welcome to; for I must confess that I love a religion that is near home-I mean in my heart, that I may enjoy it in my pilgrimage through this miserable world.
Having sat a while to have my head stuffed with these things- (only my head, I say, for it went no deeper) the second entertainment was to be performed by Mrs. Charity. As soon as she came forth I expected something new and strange, for she is very pregnant with her witty inventions. Here I was told that this millennium was to restore all things; brutes, fishes, creeping things, and insects; all were to appear as when created: and he had some hope of their salvation too, devils themselves also not excluded! And, to prop up his fancy, he quoted this text of scripture; "And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, honour, glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever," Rev. v. 13.
I sat and argued with him till one o'clock in the morning, but to no purpose; he was too firmly established to be moved with such weak arguments as mine. I therefore left him in his principles; and since that time have taken care never to hear any more of them. This convinced me that Universal Charity is a resident in a carnal heart, but only a visitor to God's elect, I know a lady who is wonderfully influenced by it; she is like Saul of old, a pharisee of the strictest sect; and charitable to all sorts, except those crawling mortals called Whitfieldites. She cannot bear them nor their doctrine to be mentioned; but is very tender to any poor girl of the town whom the foul disease has rendered incapable of business; yet a poor, honest, married woman, who is rich in faith, and poor in pocket, would speed but badly if she went to her in the name of Jesus.
The innkeeper that we read of in Luke appears to have been one of this sort; the inn was full, there was room for all but Joseph and Mary; they were of another lineage, therefore they must house in the stable, though the blessed virgin was in the perils of childbirth.
I was informed that a minister of the church of England once went, on the thirtieth of January, to preach king Charles out of purgatory; in which discourse he painted the Presbyterians in very sable colours, but drew the king in very pathetic strains. Where he took his text I know not: but we all know that the Bible says nothing against an honest Presbyterian, nor any thing in behalf of the author of massacres. However, this discourse was not without effect; an aged woman, who sat very attentively to hear what the Bible, or rather the priest, had to say, had her bowels of charity so moved with sympathy for the king, that her cheeks were all bedewed with tears; and yet so incensed against the Presbyterians, that she declared to an old dissenter, who sat next to her, that, if there had been a Presbyterian as near her as he was, she would have run her knife into his heart.
It was well for the man who informed me that she was ignorant of his being one of that number. This sort of charity always flows two ways; it runs up in rebellion, but down in compassion. I believe Herod was not destitute of it, for he was very tender of his brother's wife-he could take her to his own bed rather than send her home in the dark; and a great rewarder of fleshly excellency- he offered half his kingdom to reward a dancing foot; but in the matter of John, the Calvinist, he was rather severe, as it generally happens with such sort of pretended lovers.
It is common in our days to see lapdogs in the coaches of childless women, which would look better if filled with crippled infants. I have some reason to suspect that Ahab had many of these hairy passengers in his chariot, which caused Elijah, the salt of the earth and chariot of the nation, to run in the storm to Jezreel; and very likely the blood of the king was a supper to his own dogs. I am told that many in play-houses will sit quite dissolved at the tragic scene of Hector dragged round the walls of Troy, and also at the scene of fair Elenor's fatal end; but they can read of all the agonies of a suffering Saviour, who was acquainted with our griefs, and bore our sorrows and our sins, and the wrath due to us on that account. Yea, these tender spirits, which are so pitiful to Cain, Esau, Ahab, Judas, king Charles I., fair Elenor, Hector, and dogs, can hear of a Saviour's groans, temptations, persecutions, and bloody sweat, and yet show no more signs of compunction than a flint! Surely the sable canopy of the heavens, the blushing of the sun, the convulsions of the earth, the phenomenon of the cleaving rocks, the rending of the veil, the confession of traitors, and the resurrection of many dead bodies, stand upon record to give the brutal passions of such God-hating hypocrites an everlasting rebuke.
Mr. Charity, thou appearest to be an enemy both to God and man; and I believe, upon an impartial trial, we shall find thee a chip of the old block.
We know Satan told our first parents that they should be as gods, knowing good and evil, if they would cast off God's easy yoke of obedience, and credit a lie: and Universal Charity labours hard to confirm his words. Some, under the mask of pretended affection, have crowded whole troops of apostates among the redeemed flock of Christ, and excommunicated and reprobated others, whose names are written in heaven: this is aiming at divine sovereignty.
Others are taught to trust in their own righteousness, which God calls filthy rags, Isaiah, lxiv. 6; and to reject the righteousness which God has provided, Isaiah, xlvi. 13; this is going about to establish a righteousness of the sinner's own, Rom. x. 3, upon the dishonoured obedience of the Saviour, which is to make many righteous, Rom. v. 9. And what is this but contending with the Lord, to know who is to bear the incommunicable name of Jehovah our Righteousness? Jer. xxxiii. 6. To tell a sinner he is perfect in the flesh, is teaching him to reject daily dependence on sovereign grace, and is in effect leading him to mimic the self-existence of his Maker. Some are taught to reject many of the essential truths of the Bible, and to believe contrary to the sense of others; and this is aiming at infinite wisdom, in attempting to be wise above what is written.
That man who denies the sovereignty of the Almighty, calling his absolute decrees horrible, in order to establish his own free- agency; and cries down God's acts of discriminating grace to exalt free-will and power, acts worse than all the thousands of Babylon, and offers such indignity to the God of heaven as was never offered to Nebuchadnezzar for all the decrees he published. And what is this but laying violent hands on the sceptre of Christ, aiming at his throne, and invading his royal prerogative? And he who boasts of will or power to do any thing truly good, without God working in him both to will and to do of his own good pleasure, has quite forgotten by whom he subsists, and is aiming at the omnipotence of his Maker, Job, xl. 9, who says, "Without me ye can do nothing."
And he who cries down the testimonies of God, and exalts himself as infallible in the judgment of the ignorant, has quite forgotten that every man is a liar, Rom. iii. 4; and in effect says, "I am the truth." And that man, who by uttering error against the Lord insinuates himself into the affections of sinners, and establishes himself there on the denial of Christ's particular redemption, becomes to such a soul an idol set up in the holy place of Christ (where none ought to stand); provokes the Lord to jealousy, Ezek. viii. 3; and in effect shews himself to be God, saying, "Thou shalt love me with all thy heart."
We all know that God tells us to forsake them who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof, 2 Tim. iii. 5; and not to seek the living among the dead, or think to gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles. Therefore that man, who tells us to feed on husks rather than hear them who declare the whole counsel of God; and to stick to the form rather than adhere to those preachers who declare all the power to be of God, and not of themselves, 2 Cor. iv. 7; has cast off the yoke of obedience, is exalted in the scorner's chair, and has assumed the seat of the eternal Lawgiver.
Some boast of ability to keep the law, to arise and shake themselves from the dust, and to create in themselves a new heart, &c. And he that can do this is a creator. However, all "the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens" Jer. x. 11. The preacher who advances any doctrine contrary to the plain scriptures, disannuls his Maker's counsel, attempts to bring him as a pupil to his feet, and is endeavouring to teach him knowledge, Job, xxi. 22. That man shall never be a real lover of souls who does not declare the whole counsel of God. He shews the greatest love to sinners who points out to them their danger, and the only refuge that God has set before them in his word.
To lessen any command of the law, or mitigate the severity of the threatening, is an affront offered to vindictive justice, and blunts the keen edge of her glittering sword, Deut. xxxii. 41. To teach men the wretched doctrine of final apostacy from the reigning grace of God, when a man is made a happy partaker thereof, is a most cruel reflection cast on the faithfulness of God, and is in effect giving him the lie in his promise, and declaring him purged in his oath, Isaiah, liv. 9. And that man who declares our standing in God's favour to consist in being faithful to grace received, or improving our natural talent; and that redemption is sure to all who perform these conditions, whether sheep or goats; plainly contradicts the Saviour, who says, "I lay down my life for the sheep;" and gives his dying testimony the lie, when with his last breath he said, "It is finished."
Wonder, O heavens, and stand astonished, O earth, at this! Here is an infernal mask called Universal Charity, which passes current with thousands for the covering of God's eternal Spirit, though God's wo is unto him that wears it, Isaiah, xxx. 1. Blasphemy is uttered against God, his temple on earth, and all the elect in heaven, Rev. xiii 6; and worms are establishing themselves on the dishonoured, abused, and trampled perfections of the ever-blessed Deity; while lies, and doctrines of devils, pass for an everlasting gospel! The sovereignty of God is exploded, and free-agency is introduced. The omnipotence of God, and his eternal fore-knowledge of the elect, is trampled upon, and man's wisdom and power to improve his talent defied and set up. The omnipotent arm of the Almighty, which leads a sinner out of the world, Isa. xlii. 16, keeps him on in God's way, is promised to bring him safely through, and not to suffer him to be cast down (that is to hell), even though he fall, Psalm xxxvii. 24, is cried down by a public bellman; and the excellency of human power to stand, or finally fall away, is established thereupon! The faithfulness and truth of God in his oath and promises, made sure to Christ and all his seed, Isa. lix. 21, are trampled down in the streets; and final apostacy from life and everlasting love is established thereon! The perfect obedience of Christ, who "thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet took on him the form of a servant, and became obedient," to magnify the law which we had broken, and whose obedience alone is to justify many, Isaiah, liii. 11, called of God an everlasting righteousness, which is "unto and upon all that believe," Romans, iii. 22; Daniel. ix. 24, is called imputed nonsense; and pharisaical righteousness, which sets a sinner further from heaven than publicans and harlots, is substituted in its room! Matt. xxi. 31.
The eternal power of God, who has promised to make his chosen people willing in his own appointed day (Psalm, cx. 3) is rejected; and self-will, which speaks evil of dignities, is enthroned in his stead! 2 Peter, ii. 10. The blessed holy One of Israel, who alone is holy, and whose prerogative it is to sanctify all the elect, Eph. v. 25, has many co-partners; sinless perfection (falsely so called) being brought in as co-operator with infinite purity!
The chosen vessels of mercy are in public print called children of the hellish monster, while numbers in hell are contended for. Preaching particular redemption is called listening to the devil, and obeying his voice; whilst contending for traitors, apostates, and rebels, is called charity. But how the everlasting Father will approve of his own children being condemned, disinherited, excommunicated, and fathered on the devil, and bastards brought in in their room, I know not; but we believe, as the father of the faithful could not prevail to keep his bastard in the house with Isaac, so no man will be able to bring in Judas, whom the Saviour so long ago delivered up to the devil.
Is it not strange that the pretended infallibility of a creature, who is unstable as water, should be set up, in the judgment of men, before the whole counsel of God; and that a person who contends for the damned in hell, and who by his acts sets himself above all that is called God, or worshipped, should be so zealously affected as to keep the throne of sinners' consciences, while the sovereignty, the election, the righteousness, the wisdom, goodness, and strength of God, are set at nought and despised?
But all this is done in charity to flesh and blood, while the souls of poor sinners are perishing for want of the true knowledge of God. This is called love: and labouring hard to propagate errors, though it damns their souls, is called the labour of love. But God says, "The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl be said to be bountiful; for the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry," by withholding the strong meat from them; "and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail," Isa. xxxii. 5, 6, by doing despite to the Spirit of grace.
To teach souls to deny the stability of God's covenant, is setting them to rebel against the immutability of God in his counsel, and sapping the foundation, and battering the bulwarks, both of the triumphant and militant church. To teach sinners that an imperfect righteousness can justify them, is to overthrow the law; and to deny an imputed righteousness, is making the gospel a fable: "I am not," says Paul, "ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for therein is the righteousness of God revealed," Rom. i. 16. Whoever that man be, that commits this spiritual wickedness in profound ignorance, is a novice, and ought to stand aloof from the ministry; and be that doth it wilfully hath cast off the reins of fear, runs loose in the perilous path of presumption, and is guilty of the great transgression, Psalm, xix. 12, 13.
Universal Charity, I perceive that thou art no friend to God; and, upon a strict trial, thou wilt appear to be no friend to man. Out of pretended charity to fallen nature, thou endeavourest to make the best of a bad matter, lest thou discourage fallen mortals. So thou tellest them that they are not without some power; and he that credits this is taught to reject the arm of the Lord, and slight the petition of the Psalmist, "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe," Psalm cxix. 117.
Teaching men to deny the final perseverance of a saint in the strength of the Lord, because of his infirmities, is weakening his confidence in the sufficient grace and long-suffering mercy of God. This doctrine is an enemy to faith, a nurse to unbelief, and a handmaid to the devil himself; because it makes us stagger at the immutable promises of God, and leaves a door for Satan, the accuser of the saints, to come in at.
To tell a man his works are profitable to, or can be aveilable with God, is disfiguring the beauty, and lessening the value of sovereign mercy. Setting sinners to boast of power to make themselves clean, is setting them to reject the fountain God has opened for sin and uncleanness, Zech. xiii. 1; and to tell a man he has power to come to Christ, choose him, and lay hold of him, is teaching him to give the Saviour the lie, and to reject the attracting cord of everlasting love, which saith, "None can come to me except the Father draw him."
He, who is taught to boast of free-will, is taught to reject the day of God's eternal power, Ps. cx. 3. He, who is taught to believe he is perfect in the flesh, makes the groaning petitions of the Holy Ghost, and the intercession of Jesus Christ, of none effect to him. The man that denies any plain truth, rejects the counsel of God; he, who appears so infallible as to alter it, is too proud to submit to the prophetic office of Christ; and he, who will not allow Christ to choose or refuse whom he please, in one sense, justifies the ancient saying of the rebels, and tells Christ he shall not reign over him. He, who makes the best of man's fall, lessens the benefit of the cross; and he, who can pay one mite to God, rejects the gospel surety: "He that is whole needs not the physician;" and he that is not wholly lost is never likely to be saved. All these are towering imaginations, that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God; a man drunk with such phantoms has lost his senses, and he that dies in them will certainly lose his soul.
If this be the human system of Arminian grace, and they preach final apostacy from this, they speak the truth; we agree with them. We are as sure that a building of hay, straw, and stubble, will suffer loss, as we are that the building of mercy shall reap everlasting gain; and we no more doubt of lies being established in hell, than we doubt of truth being settled in heaven.
Another crime committed by Universal Charity is her counterfeiting the graces of God's Spirit: but I suppose these labels are tied to the mouth of the sack, in order to vend the tares the better. O wretched delusion! I wish their souls had felt what mine has: they would then loathe themselves, and bless God for a crucified Saviour; for, when they have done and said what they please, there is no way to heaven but by grace, through faith in Christ Jesus.
They talk wonderfully about faith; but, finding they deny the doctrine of election, and fight against it, we readily conclude theirs is not the faith of God's elect: and, as their faith is allowed to fail, we know it is not the faith that Christ prayed for: because some honestly affirm, that, though their faith makes them children of God to-day, they may be children of the devil to-morrow. We know this is not that faith which leads from death to life, because such believers are never to come into condemnation, having everlasting life already. The faith of God's elect fights against, and overcomes, the world; but Arminian faith fights for the world, and tries to overcome the righteous.
If they talk of repentance, they are sure to set the cart before the horse: repentance, such as it is, comes first, and faith creeps along afterwards, to help this poor lame dog over the stile: and, when this faith has done its office, no righteousness is imputed to it, or to the possessor of it. Though God has promised an everlasting righteousness to faith, and faith is the hand to put that robe on: it is unto and upon all that believe. But the Arminian faith is not a hand, but a covering: so man's fancy stands as a rival to the spotless obedience of Christ, which alone makes righteous, Rom. v. 19.
However, we know that faith in the justice of God comes first, spiritual convictions next, faith in an imputed righteousness is then felt; pardon and peace appear as the fruits or effects of it; the sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Ghost sweetly operate on the soul; and then evangelical repentance flows in to bring up the rear: "I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean. From all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes; and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen." Then comes in gospel repentance: "Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities, and for your own abominations" And now all boasting is excluded, "Not for your sakes do I this saith the Lord God; be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel," Ezekiel, xxxvi. 24--30.
If they talk of patience, it is only patience in suffering to establish their own righteousness, and not the patience of Christ, for that is exercised under suffering for the sake of a righteousness already received; not to get one, or establish one of our own, but to hold fast one freely given. Patience under suffering for the truth is the patience of Christ; but patience to bear up under just and godly rebuke, for persevering in the work of error, is the patience of Satan, and is exercised in his cause; and he has wretched ends to answer in it.
If they talk of love, it is not that love which delights in the excellent of the earth, and in such as excel in virtue; but a love that is warm only for rebels and traitors, and hates the elect of God. Surely he that hateth his brother because he holds the truth of God's election, is a murderer; and no murderer hath any part in the kingdom of God and of Christ. This Universal Charity is not of God, but of the world, because it hates the elect and loves the world; and, if the elect were of the world, Universal Charity would, with the world, love her own. God forbid that a friend of the world should ever love me; because "the friendship of the world is enmity with God;" he that is a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
If one possessed of universal charity mentions, or pretends to humility, it is not that humility with which God clothes a soul. A saint in true humility has the eye of faith fixed on a reconciled God in the person of Christ; and at the same time feels the benefits of the cross flowing into his heart, and the testimony of God's Spirit witnessing with his that he is a child of God. This makes him rejoice with a joy never to be described by mortals; and reflecting on Moses's rigorous brow, Sinai's awful storm, perdition's yawning jaws, wrath's envenomed arrows, and Topnet's endless flame, makes a soul tremble, though under a sense of pardon signed and sealed; yea, tremble to think and see now nigh be was to everlasting burnings when mercy helped him up. This is rejoicing with trembling, and a man always does this work in a robe of true humility.
But Arminian humility is quite another thing; it consists in a gloomy countenance and dejected look, filled with dismay; inwardly fretting, because Moses will not accept of imperfect obedience, nor lessen the tale of bricks which they are making to build their mystical Babel; in which they shall have no better success than their ancient brethren had, who became a butt for laughter; and so shall these; "All that behold them shall begin to mock, saying, These men began to build, but were not able to finish," Luke, xiv. 29; and the reason is, because they began at their own expense, instead of drawing from the infinite fullness of the Saviour.
Such feigned humility was found in Ahab, when the artillery of heaven rattled in his ears for stealing his neighbour's vineyard; and such humility is a mask put on to deceive the souls of the simple, who think a fallen countenance, a gloomy visage, affected speech, a plain suit of apparel, and words smoother than oil, though at war with God in the heart, are the humble garb of a redeemed sheep; when, at the same time, all their grief is because their self-righteous spirits cannot make the Almighty stoop to allow of their boasting. This is "the foolishness of him who perverteth his way, and whose heart fretteth against the Lord," Proverbs, xix. 3.
A rebellious spirit, at war with God's decrees, under a sense of the venom of guilt, and the wrath of God revealed and felt in the conscience, is the root that produces all this feigned humility. But the humility of a saint, who is under the influence of everlasting love, is filled with self-loathing, and stands astonished at the lot of eternal election falling into his lap, Prov. xvi. 33. This humility makes the face to shine, and fills the heart with consolation, as a bottle that has no vent, Job. xxxii. 19, while the secret flame of everlasting love makes the soul melt like wax, till the second Adam's image appears in all his features on such a happy soul; and all his words come forth seasoned with grace, and drop like dew, while he ascribes righteousness to his Maker.
A true virgin soul carries the law of kindness on her tongue, but casts not her pearls before swine; loves the Saviour with all her affections, but shews no pity to devils, nor contends with her royal Head in the behalf of traitors; leaving the potsherds to strive with the potsherds of the earth; but escapes the woe due to them who strive with their Maker, Isa. xlv. 9.
The hope of Arminianism seems to me to differ much from the hope of the gospel, because it allows that Christ died for all men. But Christ declares that the gates which lead to destruction receive the greatest number, Matt. vii. 13. Therefore, if the lbrmer be true, some are in hell for whom Christ died; in which case there must have been a deficiency in the price the Surety paid, or else it reflects on his wisdom, and supposes him outwitted by the serpent, who, through his subtlety, has got legions in his possession, which were the Saviour's own by purchase. It does not reflect on his wisdom only, but on his power also, who could not hold them that were committed unto him; because the gates of hell have preveiled, and many are plucked out of his hand, John, x. 28.
It seems likewise to reflect cruelly on the justice of God, who drew his sword, and sheathed it in the great Shepherd, Zech. xiii. 7; and spared him not in the least, nor abated one mite of the debt, Rom. viii. 32. And it is plain that Justice promised, by the blood of his covenant, to send "forth the prisoners out of the pit in which there was no water," Zech. ix. 11; and further, to be "faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," 1 John, i. 9. But alas! this is all overthrown if Arminianism be true.
If Arminian hope be fixed on a surety that hath not paid, or cannot pay the debt; or, if it be fixed on a mutable Saviour, having no laws to encourage it but such as demand a debt twice; first of the surety, and then of the debtor; first sending them out of the prison of sin on the surety's account, or, in their own words, making them sons of God by grace to-day, and after all this letting them fall away, and locking them up in hell to all eternity, until they can pay the utmost mite of what was paid long ago; what establishment is there for hope? I answer, a hope founded on such doctrines is just as stable as a feather in a whirlwind.
However, we have many who are hardened enough, through the deceitfullness of sin, to advance such lies in the name of the Lord, and father them upon him; and it is enough to make tile flesh of those, who entertain any thoughts worthy of God, to tremble; and those who keep silent at the report of such indignity offered to God ought to be rebuked by every stone in the streets. But what has this hope, which is founded on falsehood, to do with the hope of the gospel? I answer, just as much as the throne of iniquity has to do with a throne of grace.
However, the Arminians honestly own their hope may be lost; and we verily believe it to be as they say, that a man may be a perfect man in this false-hope state to-day, and be in hell to- morrow. But the hope of the gospel is quite another thing Christ crucified is the only hope set before us; and he who takes refuge in him does not tumble into hell, but is said to fly from the wrath to come. Mark, to fly from it, not into it. He who hopes in Christ is not to be disappointed of his hope. But the hope of Arminianism has, it is to be feared, disappointed many; and no wonder, when it is founded on a conditional promise; a withered arm of impotent free-will, in copartnership with a weak and mutable Saviour of their own setting up.
But the hope of a Christian is an anchor which is cast into the immutable and unchangeable Godhead; its flukes take hold within the vail of Christ's flesh, and it is sure and steadfast to every chosen vessel of mercy, Heb. vi. 19. "The Lord is the hope of his people, and the strength of the children," Joel, iii. 16. And, if an Israelite indeed lose his hope, or fail of the grace of God, and the glory of which grace is an earnest, and be cast away, the Lord himself must fail. However, he never hath failed them that trusted in him yet, Josh. xxi. 45, and it is time enough to cry out against him when we find he has.
Though David says, "Doth his promise fail for evermore, and hath the Lord forgotten to be gracious?" yet he is honest enough to own that this was his infirmity, Psalm lxxvii. 8, 9, 10. And surely that man is a blind guide indeed who cannot distinguish between the infirmities of the flesh and the glorious and everlasting gospel of the Son of God.
If we examine the peace maintained by universal lovers, we soon shall see it has nothing to do with the gospel. The peace which the gospel proclaims is a reconciliation between God and sinners; which peace was made by Christ our Mediator, by the blood of his cross, Col. i. 20; therefore he is our peace; God pre-ordained him so to be, Isaiah, xxvi. 12. Christ paid our debt of obedience to the law, removed its curse, and took it out of the way of every believer: and by his death he paid our debt of suffering to justice, which he had long since declared: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
Having thus by his obedient life magnified the law, and by his death paid our debt of suffering to justice, a throne of grace is established on justice satisfied, truth cleared, and judgment fully executed; "Judgment and justice are the habitation of his throne, while mercy and truth go before his face." From this throne he speaks "peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh:" and believers shall be blessed with "the abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth." And it must be so; for Christ is the Prince of Peace, and to us it is proclaimed freely," My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you." Thus peace is for ever proclaimed between God and the elect, between the elect and their own consciences; yea, between the elect and the beasts of the field, Job, v. 23, and between one chosen vessel and another.
And when by faith we please God our enemies are to be at peace with us; that is to say, God awes the hosts of persecutors, making them lay down their rebel arms, and keep silence; while poor saints, almost wearied out with the long fatigues of war, may renew their strength, and rally their forces for a fresh attack.
But what has the peace of universal lovers to do with this peace proclaimed in the gospel? Surely nothing at all: those who contend for the house of Ahab and Jezebel have nothing to do with this peace. Our answer to such is, "What hast thou to do with peace?" get thee behind us; we are at war with Ahab and his bloody house, because the witchcrafts of Jezebel are so many. But these universal lovers call the decrees of God horrible; a language that savours of such rebellion as no man dare offer to an earthly prince. Such maintain an impious war with the sovereign Lord of heaven, rebel against his laws, fight against all the loyal subjects of grace, who are humbled to how to his sovereign will, and make reconciliation between the church and Jezebel.
This is making peace where God has declared war; "I will put enmity between" the church and the serpent; between Christ, the woman's seed, and the serpent's seed, which are to bruise each other. And surely Christ never came to contradict his Father's will, but to delight in and do it; "I am not come to send peace on earth, but a sword and a fire; and what will I if it be already kindled? From henceforth there shall be five in one house divided," three universal lovers against two lovers of God: and the nigher they are in the bonds of nature, the hotter shall be their war; "A man's foes shall be those of his own house."
However, we must leave these pretenders to love to shift for themselves; for they neither fight for God, for his laws, nor yet for the church of England. If they fought for God, they would not fight against us, and help the ungodly: "And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem, and Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord. Nevertheless there are good things found in thee," 2 Chron. xix. 1, 2, 3. And it was well for him that God's decrees were found in him.
Thus it appears that Universal Charity fights not for God, but helps the ungodly; nor doth it fight for God's laws: a man who is up in arms against his Maker's decrees, contending for apostates now in hell, can never be said to love God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his strength; nor can he be said to hate father and mother, wife and children, and his own life, for Christ's sake; and if he cannot he is not worthy of him.
Universal Charity, notwithstanding all her pretensions to love, is no friend of the church of England, nor to them that are of it; for it teaches them to deny her doctrines, and yet cleave to her walls; it cuts off her breasts of consolation, and then tells us to stick to her carcass. Surely this is a strange way of shewing charity! The church of England tells me, in her catechism, that I am wholly unable to come to Christ, though he commands me: or to love God, though I am bidden; or to serve him, though it is for my life. "My good child, know this, that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the commandments of God, and to serve him, without his special grace, which thou must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer." Universal Charity contradicts this, and says," Christ's calling me implies I have a power to come, or else Christ mocks me with a fruitless call." However, the spouse could reconcile Christ's call and her own weakness very well together; "Arise, my fair one, and come away," says Christ. "Draw me, and we will run after thee," say the spouse. She turns his command into a petition, and obtains an answer.
Universal Charity teaches me to call Christ's righteousness imputed nonsense, and to boast of perfection in myself; and then warns me never to forsake the church of England. But is this charity, to send me wrapped up in my own righteousness, and boasting of my own perfection, to the Lord's table in the church of England? Surely, if I go there in this manner, I shall carry lies in my mouth, for it teaches us to say, "We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table," &c. Strange language this for a perfect man, taught to despise his Maker's righteousness! Such souls have no right to approach the Lord's table, or to join the church of England service, which forbids dissemblers with God. No man, perfect in himself, has any right there, but such as "are heartily sorry for their sins," and who can say, "the remembrance of them is grievous, and the burden of them intolerable." He that is taught to deny election is instructed to deny the church catechism, which teaches, "I believe in God the Holy Ghost, who hath sanctified me and all the elect people of God."
How can a man join with the church of England service, which says, "Endue thy ministers with righteousness, and make thy chosen people joyful," when he denies it in his heart? Drawing nigh to God with the lips, and honouring him with the words of election and imputed righteousness, while the heart is far from him as a sovereign, and as the justifier of the ungodly, is only worshipping him in vain. If a man be taught to deny and detest the doctrines of Clod, and then be sent to tread God's courts in falsehood, and compass his Maker about with lies, to cloak his manifold sins with sinless perfection, and thus to "dissemble them before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father," he goes the only way to rush into the greatest damnation, which they are threatened with, who are hypocritical mockers in worship. If the subjects of Universal Charity have any better doctrine than this to deliver, let them now declare it, or for ever hold their peace about their belonging to the church of England.
If we compare this Universal Charity with the copy Paul gives us of the love of God, we shall find it as contrary to that as its doctrines are to the established church. Paul gives us a true portrait of divine charity, or love, in 1 Cor. xiii. 1, "Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels;" though I speak with all the eloquence which the wisdom of this world teacheth; and though I talk of holiness and sinless perfection as much as an elect angel could do; yet, "if I have not charity," if I am not a happy partaker of the electing and everlasting love of God, and am not brought to love God above self, and God's chosen vessels above all apostates and traitors-I am nothing but sounding brass (base metal), or a noisy instrument about charity, compared to a tinkling cymbal And, though I have the gift of Arminian prophecy, as Mr. Bell had, and could tell when London would be destroyed by an earthquake, so as to drive thousands into Hyde Park to escape it;-"And though I understand all mysteries, and have all knowledge," so that I could contradict Mr. Toplady, Mr. Hervey, Mr. Whitfield, old John Calvin, the prophets, apostles, and even Christ himself, as was before hinted, and as some in our days do, yet, "if I have not charity, I am nothing."
And, "though I have all faith, so that I could remove the mountains" of guilt, and indwelling sin also; and declare a fallen wretch as perfect in the flesh as God is perfect; yet, if I have not the discriminating love of God in my heart, I am nothing; nothing but a deluded sinner in rebellion against God. And, "though I give my goods to feed the poor," in order to make up my own righteousness, and bring in my Maker as debtor; and "though I give my body to be burned," or shew such charity for sinners as to wish my part taken out of a Saviour's blood, unless it streamed for all the race; yet all this shew of fleshly affections, which exalts me so high in the esteem of sinners, without the love of God in my heart, profiteth me nothing. "Charity suffereth long," endureth all things for the elect's sake, 2 Tim. ii. 10, "and is kind," especially to the household of faith. Gal. vi. 10, in feeding them with true knowledge and understanding, John, xxi. 15.
"Charity envieth not"- envieth no man for his faithfulness in declaring the whole counsel of God, Acts, xx. 27;-or his being valiant for truth, Jer. ix. 3. "Charity vaunteth not itself"-vaunts not about improving a natural talent, being faithful to grace received; or despising an imputed righteousness, in order to assist a sinner in establishing his own web on the ruins of a Saviour's obedience. "Is not puffed up" with a vain notion of free agency, nor with a vain conceit of fleshly perfection, or of infallibility; but says, "he that thinketh that he knoweth any thing, knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. Doth not behave itself unseemly," in crying down every preacher's reputation; nor teaches any to deny the doctrines of the Bible. "Seeketh not her own" glory; nor teaches any to speak vain visions out of their own hearts, but the glory of him who sent her; nor allows men to establish themselves in the judgment and affections of sinners above Christ and his truth. "Is not easily provoked" under just reproof when given. "Thinketh no evil" of them who preach eternal election, and contend for the stability of God's everlasting covenant, and the glorious privileges of it.
"Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity;" rejoiceth not because errors are abundantly propagated, and advocates for them are increased; shews no joy at the world's wondering after the beast; takes no delight in parties made and armed with rebellion against God; "but rejoiceth in the truth." Rejoiceth when eternal election is revealed to a poor sinner, makes his soul rejoice that his name is written in heaven, Luke, x. 20, and shews him his witnesses there, and his record on high, Job, xvi. 19. Rejoiceth in the enjoyment of an imputed righteousness, which fills the soul with joy and peace in the faith of it, Rom. xv. 13; rejoiceth in the truth of a saint's persevering, and makes him go on his way rejoicing, and praising God with joyful lips, Psalm xlv. 15; gives the saint a full persuasion of his safe arrival in glory, and tells him he shall return with songs and everlasting joy upon his head, Isa. xxxv. 10.
"Charity beareth all things;"-beareth all oppositions, temptations, and reproaches, from false doctors, and all the arrows shot from their bows, rather than give up one grain of God's truth to their fancy. "Believeth all things." Never calls God to an account about his decrees, nor teacheth men so to do; never arraigns God at the bar of carnal reason, nor allows it to be done; but believeth all things, errors excepted; crediteth the doctrines of election, and its opposite reprobation; believes the elect shall all attain to the righteousness of faith without the law, Rom. ix. 30, and that all the rest shall not attain to it, though they seek it by the works of the law, Rom. ix. 32; believes that all the elect shall be taught of God, though the rest shall be "ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth," 2 Tim. iii. 7.
Charity believes that all who are written in the Lamb's book of life shall be saved, Dan. xii. 1; yea, all that are found written among them who are ordained to eternal life, and enrolled in the heavenly Jerusalem, Isaiah, iv. 3; and that they shall bear the names of called, chosen, and faithful, even in heaven, Rev. xvii. 14; and believes that all who are not thus written in heaven shall be cast into the lake, Rev. xx. 5. In short, divine charity believes every truth in the book of God, but knows nothing of the newly- manufactured doctrines of Popery, Arminianism, and Mahometanism, or any other lies spoken in hypocrisy; but calls them the doctrines of devils, 1 Tim. iv. 1. And never doubts that God "will judge the world in righteousness, and the people with equity;" making his sovereign acts appear as clear as the sun, and his just dealing as the noon-day.
Charity never sets an universal lover to teach God knowledge, or as a counsellor to instruct him in the path of judgment; much less to condemn his eternal counsel, that a worm may appear righteous. "Hopeth all things;" hopeth to enjoy all the blessings of an everlasting covenant; and makes the soul believe he shall never be disappointed of his hope, or have his expectation cut off; but leads him into the enjoyment of hope to come, and makes a soul "rejoice in hope of the glory of God;" yea, and enables him in the strongest confidence to leave his very flesh to rest in hope.
"Charity endureth all things."-Endureth all things rather than part with any truth, or her portion therein; yea, rather than cast away her confidence for that hellish principle of falling from grace; and will cry and pray day and night, as all the elect do, Luke, xviii. 7, rather than part with her daily dependance on God by faith and prayer, or exchange it for that independent self-exalting and flesh-easing doctrine of sinless perfection.
"Charity never faileth."-Charity is a divine love fixed from all eternity, Jer. xxxi. 3, appears and draws a soul to Christ in time, John, vi. 65, and shall never be taken from him until the faithfulness of an unchangeable God can fail, Psa. Lxxxix. 33.
"Charity never faileth;"--it knows nothing of final apostacy from adopting grace, or of disinheriting the subjects of it; never dreams of God being perjured in his oath, or of the unalterable promise failing Christ and his seed; has not the least idea of an everlasting covenant being broken, or of the holiness, truth, justice, and faithfullness, of God appearing as an everlasting blank to his elect, who are secured by every perfection of deity, and with ten thousand promises and blessings, besides a whole cloud of witnesses.
And we, in the name of the eternal and invisible God, defy all the legions of devils now in hell, and all the reprobate sinners of mankind with them, together with all the universal lovers on earth, ever to point out the person who, the period when, or the crime which, one single soul, chosen of God ill Christ from all eternity, redeemed by the blood of JEHOVAH the Saviour, and internally called and sealed by the Holy Ghost, ever dropped into hell as an heir of wrath. As I said before, so I say again, I defy you all to shew me, out of the word of God, or even out of any of the infernal annals of Beelzebub himself, that any one subject of special grace ever fell as an everlasting spoil for devils.
We believe many canonized by popes have dropped into purgatory for ever, and the papists do not altogether deny it; and we believe many fools, who have boasted of fleshly perfection, have gone from their paradise to perdition, agreeably to Christ's word, "He that exalteth himself shall be abased." And we doubt not but many have fallen from Arminian grace; and that Cain and others, enrolled by universal lovers, are in hell. But what has all this to do with the point in hand?-Indeed nothing. Popish rules and God's decrees are, and ever will be, two different things. God gives heaven, and the pope cannot sell it. Samson made sport enough for the Philistines, when they prevailed only to blind his eyes; but surely a spiritual Nazarite in hell would make much more sport than Samson.
Talking of God's love being fixed on all the human race one minute, and of redeemed souls being in hell the next, is such dreadful charity as can come from none but the devil. We all know that Arminian prophecies have failed; that tongues boasting of fleshly perfection have ceased; and that a pretended infallibility hath vanished away: but still we hold that faith, hope, and charity, abide among the elect; and that the greatest of these is charity; and that charity never faileth. "And, if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and my speech nothing worth?" Job, xxiv. 25.
I have for some years narrowly watched the wonderful effects of this strange sort of charity, but never saw it produce any better fruits on the minds of others than it did on my own foolish deluded soul. A man and his wife once attended my ministry at Thames- Ditton. The man was apt to drink, and used to persecute the gospel; and his wife was of a very vain turn of mind; however, they both heard me for some time, and a visible reformation appeared in them; but the woman soon fell sick; and, having a family of seven or eight children, they were oppressed with poverty, and at that time I was almost in the same predicament. But there was an Arminian who lived in the place; she visited this poor sick woman, and, in order to get her ear, appeared very liberal. Whether Universal Charity allows a premium to be given for converts I cannot tell, but I am informed that popery does; but whether the pope pays them in cash, or in superstition I know not. However, for want of ability to give alms, I lost my convert; and, when the poor woman appeared abroad again, she was established in the scorner's chair, and told me that Christ died for Cain and Judas as well as for me; and what was I? Finding her engaged in this awful rebellion against God, I thought it proper to let her alone. However, she sent many messages to me about Christ's dying for all. I sent her word that I feared he did not die for her. The answer she returned is too filthy to mention.
What divinity this Arminian planted in the poor woman's judgment I know not; but I have room to suspect her communications were evil, because they corrupted good manners. However, it is those persons who awake to imputed righteousness, and they only of whom it may with propriety be said, they sin not; but scorners have not the knowledge of God. I speak this to their shame.
After this instruction I very seldom saw them under my ministry; and it was best so, for these reasons-those who can prove the salvation of Cain, the devil's offspring, and Judas, the son of perdition, are wise far above all that is written; and who can teach them? However, the woman went on like the rest of the world; and, as for the husband, he was often reproved for being drunk in the streets after they had mounted the scorner's chair. And with respect to the zealous Arminian that seduced them, she was indeed an universal lover of flesh and blood, and had only three enemies;-a sovereign God, his sovereign grace, and a mystical body of obedient subjects. But we had a carnal parson at Thames Ditton, who was seldom sober a day in the year; yet this tutoress could hear him preach, and receive the sacrament at his hands with pleasure; and no marvel, for the world loves its own. However, since that she is dead, and left but little encouragement to those that survived her, of her religion having done any great things for her soul.
I was once in company with a man and his wife at Sunbury in Middlesex, at a house where I was to preach that night. They were visitors, and came from London. We soon entered into conversation about religion, when I perceived the man's notes were quite wild, and had nothing in them of the heavenly dove's pleasing melody. He was a man who had read much, especially the works of heathens, mystics, and free-willers.
I believe he had been for many years in legal convictions; and his greatest trouble had been to find out what would become of heathens, blacks, and infidels. These things had better be left with God; for his judgment of the world will, no doubt, be according to truth; and I believe that both the righteous and the wicked will be constrained to justify their Maker. I gave great attention to him, and soon discerned he had been a pupil at the foot of Satan, where I had formerly sat to my sorrow. He appeared to be a man of good abilities, strong memory, quick wit, of a studious turn of mind, and not without a snatch of the original languages, and wonderfully versed in scholastic and bombastic phrases. I said but little to him, finding he was wiser in his own eyes than seven men who could render a reason.
Howbeit, at dinner he began again; and I found he had been happily delivered from his convictions and troubles about the whole race of mankind by this doctrine-that all who entered hell were to be purged by the fire of wrath, and that Christ would, after they had paid Justice the debt of suffering, instate them in the favour of God. And this was the doctrine that had delivered his soul, and he was at liberty in this belief, and at peace in his own conscience.
Hearing this, and finding it to be the same snare out of which my soul had been marvellously delivered, I was sure his judgment was established in the doctrines of devils, his peace was nothing but a benumbed conscience, and his liberty was a casting off all convictions, fear of God, and light of truth. I asked him if he had any hope of a gaol-delivery for all the damned. He told me, Yes, Christ would restore all things. I asked him if he believed that the devils would be included in this universal reprieve; and he told me, Yes, as sure as I was alive. I told him, according to his doctrine, the unfathomable and impassable gulf, which God hath fixed for ever, is to be sounded and waded through; the never-dying worm is to expire, eternal death resign his sceptre, and the ever-ascending smoke of sinners' torments to find a period. To which he answered, The word never must be limited. I told him, if it would bear a limitation in behalf of the damned, it would also against the eternal establishment of the redeemed; and, if so, even in heaven we should stand in jeopardy.
Of all that ever I heard open their mouths, I never saw any one so instructed in perverting, wrestling, turning, and explaining away, the sense of the scriptures; and during our contention I found I had been delivered from many of those temptations, in answer to prayer, wherein he seemed to be so confirmed; I therefore was enabled to chase him warmly through all the labyrinths, shades, dens, bogs, mists, fogs, obscure straits, and ambiguous turning, in this wilderness of universal charity, which, as Pharaoh said, had hemmed him in.
I told him, if he lived and died in those principles he would be damned, if either God or his word were true. He told me not to judge, nor think of disputing him out of his confidence. I told him I had no hope of that; for, if God sent a strong delusion, that a man should believe a lie, it was that he might be damned for not believing the truth, but having pleasure in unrighteousness, 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12. However, I preached before him that evening and stopped his mouth; and he told the people, preach where I might, he would attend my ministry; but I cannot say I have any hope of being made so useful an instrument as to disentangle one so embarrassed in errors. O what a blessed thing it is to be taught by the Spirit of God, and to be guided into all truth by him that never erred! Reader, if thou lackest wisdom, ask it of God, who giveth liberally and upbraideth not.
It would be endless for me to rehearse all the wonderful effects that I have seen of this Arminian charity since I have appeared in a public capacity. However, to rob souls of God's truth, and establish them in errors, is a very inhospitable act, call it what you will. I confess my very soul has been grieved within me when I have heard such strange phantoms of experience as some relate, such as seeing of ghosts, fighting with devils, which have appeared in view, as they say, and then lathering such devilish imaginations, fancies, and false doctrines, upon the ever blessed Spirit of God. Such wickedness is great; but no marvel, for God says, when the sinner's itching ears have swerved from the truth they shall be turned unto fables, 2 Tim. iv. 4.
Some time ago I was begging money for the little chapel we built at Sunbury in Middlesex, and a friend who went with me advised me to call at a china shop near Oxford-market. The man I found was a brother preacher, only he was of the Arminian persuasion. He began very warmly with me; and told me he used to hear me with pleasure, but now I did nothing but rail in the pulpit. I told him there was no preaching the gospel faithfully without railing against the devil. He told me he had read all sorts of opinions about religion, and he could teach me better than I knew of that matter.
Perceiving a large share of human wisdom in him, I asked him what he knew of the Holy Spirit's work, what doctrines the Spirit had taught him, how they were applied, and what he felt under his operations, and when liberty was proclaimed to his soul? for "where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty," 2 Cor. iii. 17. These things being strange to him, he thought proper to waive them, and get upon another subject; in order to which he asked me what the soul of man was. I began to tell him what the word of God said about it; but he interrupted me, and brought matters to a point at once, by telling me the soul of man was a thinking being, and the Spirit of God was that spirit which judged favourably of all; and real religion was to think and let think.
After a warm conversation we parted; and I began to consider this wonderful religion, and the spirit of it: and thought, if free- thinking would carry souls to heaven, there are as many ways thither as there are carnal men on earth. However, the Bible soon shewed me the religion of free-thinkers. The Saviour asked his followers, and others, what they thought of Christ; and they, as all free-thinkers do, varied much in their thought; some said he was John the Baptist, others thought he was Elias, others one of the old prophets; some thought he was a good man, others said Nay; some thought he was a deceiver, and some said he was a wine-bibber; others that he was an enemy to Caesar; others said he was Beelzebub; and some few said he was the Christ of God. And so it is now.
The Arminian thinks he is a changeable being; others think he is an angel of the highest order; the Turk thinks he is a foot- stool; the Jew thinks he is an impostor; the Arian and Socinian think he is a creature, and the Deist thinks he is nothing. However, he must reign till all his enemies be made his footstool; and he who made them at first shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel Be still, and know that he is God; he will be exalted in the earth, therefore "kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the right way," which you certainly will "if his wrath be kindled, yea, but a little."
But what has free-thinking to do with the religion of Jesus Christ? Just as much as the pope has with the keys of heaven, and no more; for God knows the thoughts of the wise that they are vain, 1 Cor. iii. 20. Therefore let the unrighteous man forsake his thoughts, Isaiah, Iv. 7; and, if he does not, the gospel has done nothing for him; for it furnishes a minister, not with the feeble weapon of purblind reason, but with the gifts and graces of God's Spirit, which are "mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in readiness to revenge all disobedience," when the obedience of the elect is fulfilled, 2 Cor. x. 4-6.
If free-thinking be the religion of Jesus, what need is there of taking men's thoughts prisoners? But this religion has nothing to do with the religion of Christ Jesus, nor has the spirit of Universal Charity, which shews such malice against God's elect in the behalf of rebels, any thing to do with the Holy Ghost. The God of heaven and the god of this world are two masters; and ye must love and serve the one, and hate the other, Matt. vi. 24. Christ and Belial are divided, and must be kept apart by every minister, 2 Cor. vi. 15; the mystery of godliness (1 Tim. iii. 16) and the mystery of iniquity are two opposite mysteries, 2 Thess. ii. 7; the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John, iv. 6) are likewise divided. A throne of iniquity must have no fellowship with God, nor those who frame mischief by a law, Psalm xciv. 20; the tribes of spiritual Israel (Rev. vii. 4) and the tribes of the earth are two distinct tribes, Matt. xxiv. 30; the righteous nation that keeps the truth (Isa. xxvi. 2) and a nation against which God has indignation for ever, are two nations, and must be so called, Matt. i. 4.
The Lord's generation is one family, Psalm xxxii. 30, but the generation of vipers is another, Matt. xxiii. 33; a believer and an infidel are not to have one part, their portions differ much; the eternal God has drawn a straight line, by which every man's portion falls to him: "The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places," says David, "yea, I have a goodly heritage," Psalm xvi. 6. It was pre-appointed for him, 1 Thess. v. 9. And a wicked man's heritage, or portion, comes from God's pre-appointment also "This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed by God," Job, xx. 29. If a man receive righteousness from the God of his salvation, it is God's line that has reached to him, Isa. xxxiv. 17; and, if mercy and peace are upon him, he is an Israelite indeed, and enjoys his blessings only while he walks by God's rule, Gal. vi. 16. And wo be to that man who breaks through God's bounds, Exod. xix. 21; Job, xiv. 15, removes his line, Psalm xix. 4, or puts a crook in his rule, Philip. iii. 16. It is true, we have some who regard neither God's bounds, lines, rules, nor hedges: but those who break through shall find the infernal serpent bite them, Eccles. x. 8.
However, Universal Charity has gone great lengths in this work; she has presumed to couple JEHOVAH and Jove together, as in Pope's Universal Prayer, where the saint and the savage are set on a level also. Others, armed with the iron breastplate of a seared conscience, are fighting against the most essential truth of the Bible; and, by the dint of magic art, explaining away the sense of others, to make them comport with carnal reason, Isa. xli. 21. Others are counterfeiting the Holy Ghost's secret flame of love to God and his chosen, under the name of Universal Charity; and by this means endeavouring to unite the world and the church together; though God says, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate."
Persecution is a bar fixed by God, to keep the vile from the precious; "You shall be hated of all men for my name's sake;" and it is because "I have chosen you out of the world." Election and reprobation are God's two mountains of brass, Zech. vi. 1. The chariot of salvation, with its white horses, Zech. vi. 3; Hab. iii. 8, came forth from between them, Zech. vi. l, even from everlasting, as her being paved with everlasting love doth witness, Cant. iii. I0; Jeremiah, xxxi. 3. The Saviour from everlasting mounted this chariot; and, with his sword girt on his thigh, he rides on prosperously, to dispense the words of truth, imputed righteousness, and meekness, to all his elect, Hab. iii. 8; Is. xlv. 3, 4. And all the daughters, or virgin souls, who were from everlasting enrolled in the sacred records of eternity, get up into this chariot, and ride with him. It was built and paved with everlasting love for the daughters of Jerusalem, Cant. iii. 10; and their names are written in the heavenly Jerusalem, Isaiah, iv. 3. And, although some are crowding this chariot with Cain, Judas, Esau, and all reprobates, yet this wise King will scatter the wicked, and bring his wheel over them, Prov. xx, 26.
The roll of God's eternal decrees is sealed with seven seals, Rev. v. 1; and, for want of being sealed by the Holy Ghost, Ephes. i. 13, these universal lovers cannot see their names enrolled there, Hab. iii. 8; Ps. xlv. 3, 4, or find their register among the Israelites, Nehem. vii. 64; so that they are at war with all who contend for God's genealogy. The glorious day-spring from on high, Christ Jesus, the ever-blessed Saviour, who guides our feet into the way of peace, is sealed also, John, vi. 27, so that the infallible Arian cannot find him out to perfection, Job, xi. 7; though he has dethroned him, trampled his honour in the dust, and taken God's awful challenges, namely, that of removing the rock of salvation, Job, xviii. 4, and that of causing the eternal day-spring to know his place, Job, xxxviii. 12; Luke, i. 78.
The Bible is a sealed book also, Isaiah, xxix. 11, and all its truths are sealed up among Christ's disciples, Isaiah, viii. 16, and none but a spiritual disciple understands them aright: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned; yea, they are even foolishness unto him." And though God writes his laws on the hearts of his chosen, and seals his testimonies among his disciples, and they preach out of their own hearts never so plainly, yet it appears a work which a self-sufficient man shall in no wise believe, though it be told him, Hab. i. 5.
The church calls herself a wall, Cant. viii. 10; and, when God by his Spirit writes his laws on her heart, as he did on the wall of Belshazzar's palace, and poor souls, trembling under the severe impression, run to men in supposed orders to read God's hand-writing on their consciences, they find a right reverend Father in God (by title only), or a carnal Master of Arts, make no better out with the hand-writing than the Babylonish magicians did with the words" Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharzin," Dan. v. 25. They do not know the appointments of God in providence, therefore have no notion of God's numbering the years of a kingdom, and finishing it. They have never been put into the balance of justice, and therefore know not what it is to be found wanting; and, as they are not acquainted with him by whom kings reign, they cannot think it is he that gives kingdoms to whomsoever he will. However, Belshazzar's wife informed him that the Spirit of the holy gods was in Daniel, and he was the man, under God, to resolve doubts and explain hard sentences; and such interpreters are so few, that Elihu compares them to one among a thousand, Job, xxxiii. 23.
I have known souls go to carnal priests under their convictions for advice, who have received very strange consolation for a troubled conscience. Some have advised them to read novels, in order to stifle an awakened mind; and, where this preveils, the wrath of God must awaken them, as it is written, "In hell he litt up his eyes, being in torment," Luke, xvi. 23. I have known others, who ordered the Bible to be taken from them: as if the promise of eternal life (which, in the hand of the Spirit, brought a prodigal to his senses, and the man bound among the tombs to his right mind) were a trap to entangle souls for Satan. Such, in effect, as others have done, call the master of the house, and substance of the Bible, Beelzebub, and all his spiritual servants mad, and say the snares of a fowler are in all their ways, Hosea, ix. 7, 8.
I have known blind guides recommend wine to heal a troubled spirit: but it must be only the new wine of the kingdom that will refresh those who are of a heavy heart, Prov. xxxi. 6. Others I have known recommending wounded sinners to physicians for a blister to be put on their head, which is a very strange remedy to draw the sting of eternal death out of the conscience. One poor woman at Thames-Ditton, who had never heard the gospel, was sorely wounded in spirit, and carried her grievous complaints to a blind priest. What comfort she got I know not; however, when she returned, she threw herself into a well, but was got out without much hurt. Soon after this she went to another blind guide, of the same family, and then went home and cut her throat. I heard of it, and went to the house, but was withstood at the door; yet, by long persuasion, I gained admittance, and told her most of the trouble of her heart. She said it was so indeed, and seemed very glad to hear of a Saviour; but before I could see her again she was in St. Luke's mad-house.
I got two godly men to go with me to the mad-house; but the woman who kept the key of her ward was (to my great grief and disappointment) one of the free-will stamp. She asked me if I belonged to Mr. Whitfield or Mr. Wesley? Such questions being quite strange to me, I answered that I belonged to neither; yet I held the doctrines of Mr. Whitfield; in which case there was no admittance for me. Wretched work this, and so God will shew them one day or other; for they shut out the kingdom of God from among men. By free-will they cannot enter themselves, and such as are going they hinder: "O my soul, come not thou into their secret," nor into their assembly; but "from all such blindness of mind, from all pride, vain glory, and hypocrisy, from envy, hatred, and malice, and from all such uncharitableness, good Lord, deliver us!"
This charitable spirit, or fleshly passion (which these free- thinkers imagine to be the ever-blessed Spirit of God), is, they say, to judge favourably of all, and to preach or exclaim against none. If a man holds a false faith, we are to think the best of it, though God tells us to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." If we find a man holding errors, we are not to level any threatening at him--it is uncharitable; nor to preach against him, though he refuse instruction. But God tells us to "cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease," Prov. xxii. 10. If a professor does not come up in life to the strictest of our sect, yet we must think the best of him, though God says, "Mark that man, and have no fellowship with him."
God declares that a self-righteous pharisee is further from the kingdom of heaven than publicans and harlots; yet we are only to judge of their lives, and, if they die insensible, benumbed, and past feeling, yet who dare judge them, or even mention any doubt of their happy end?-that is uncharitable; though God says, "The wicked have no bands in their death, and their strength is firm;" and that such lift up their eyes in hell.
If the doctrine of eternal election be offensive to those who will have some ground left for boasting, we must let it alone, says Universal Charity, though it is the leading truth of the Bible, and foundation of all others; yet we must leave it, rather than give an offence; though God tells us to speak his truth, and to diminish not a word, Jer. xxvi. 2. If we find any who have nothing but a dry form of godliness on their tongues, and mocking God therewith, though they are void of grace, yet we must say nothing against them, nor their formality; though Christ declares that such shall receive the greater damnation, and from such we are to turn away.
If we find any in Arianism or Sociniamsm, we must judge favourably of them; for, though they differ in sentiment from us, says Universal Charity., there may be some good souls among them. So to be an universal lover is to please all men. The Arminian calls upon you to forsake the strong food, or every essential truth in the Bible; the Arian and Socinian want you to give up your God, and to bow your knee to a creature; the Antinomian calls upon you to give up the Spirit's quickening power, your daily cross, and a tender conscience; and the Deist makes short work of it; he tells you there is a first cause, who had a hand in our beginning, but has nothing to do with our end, and declares that God hath forsaken the earth. These are scoffers, Ezek. viii. 12, who say, "Is there knowledge" of our ways" in the Most High?" Psalm lxxiii, 11.
The world has its main spring in itself, and all things continue as they were from the beginning, 2 Pet. iii. 4: but of his coming to judgment they are willingly ignorant, 2 Pet. iii. 5, because they do not choose to be brought to a final reckoning. As they never call upon God, they think God will never call upon them; therefore preaching the gospel is of no use in their ideas, but just to amuse an ignorant crowd, who know no better; and the Bible is nought but a cheat, religion only priestcraft, and a man is to die like a beast. It would be well for the Deist if he could end his days in annihilation, as a beast doth; but that cannot be, for God hath said that all must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ; and I can believe what he says, because my judgment is past already, and I have been justified by an act of sovereign grace.
Having thus followed Universal Charity, we find it operating at a wonderful rate on those that are pure in their own eyes, though never washed from their filthiness-I mean the Pharisees, Proverbs, xxx. 12. This charity is also to be found in Papists, Pagans, and Deists, as well as in free-willers; and it appears that devils, rebels, brutes, and insects, are more the objects of its pity than a sound orthodox Christian. The warmest contentions it enters into are against God and his word, in behalf of errors. Surely, if Mr. Universal Charity was of God, grace and truth would find some favour in his eyes.
However, agreeably to the King's command, we will call a court, and bring him to an impartial trial; being commanded to "try the spirits, whether they are of God;" and, if we bind Universal Charity on earth, he shall be bound in heaven. As Mr. Zeal-for-God has taken him into custody, let him be bound and put into the strong-hold, and deliver him to the care of Mr. Election, the gaoler; and I believe he will not escape his hands easily, for I know he is no friend to him; and, as you lead him to the hold, ask him to whom he appeals, and what court he would choose to be tried at, only to hear what he will say. For, as Milton observes, "No falsehood can bear the touch of celestial temper."
So Mr. Zeal-for-God asked him, saying, "Well, Mr. Universal Charity, to whom do you appeal?" Answer.-" I appeal to Unbiassed Reason, and should like to be tried in the honourable court of Conscience." So Mr. Zeal-for-God reported to Mr. Gospel-Experience, the magistrate, what Charity had said.- "Oh," said the magistrate, "his appeal shews his nativity; he is a child of the flesh, and it is to a fleshly court that he has appealed; had he been from above, he would have appealed to the saints, and 'to the law and testimony, for wisdom is justified of her children.' If he cannot stand the trial of God's word, he is not from above, but is ' earthly, sensual, and devilish,'" James, iii. 15.
As for his appeal to Unbiassed Reason, there is no such person; it is only a phantom, exalted by knaves, and admired by fools. But this his appeal is only to postpone the trial; for we might drag him to all the courts in the world before we should find Unbiassed Reason on the bench: and, as to the court of Conscience, where he wants to be tried, it is the court of "heathens, who, having not the law, are a law to themselves; their thoughts and conscience accuse or excuse one another," Rom. ii. 14, 15. And where a company of carnal thoughts are the jury, and a seared conscience the judge, matters must be badly managed. I know Saul was justified in this court, for persecuting the Judge of quick and dead, and murdering the saints of God, Acts, xxvi. 9, according to his own confession: "I thought," said he," that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus, which I also did." And Christ says, "The time cometh when whosoever killeth you will think that he doth God service; and all these things will they do unto you, because they know not the Father nor me."
This court seems but very little, if any, on God's side; it has been so confused ere now as to "call evil good, and good evil;" yea, they have put "darkness for light, and light for darkness," Isaiah, v. 20. And pray what is this, but putting God for Satan, and Satan for God? God is light, 1 John, i. 5, and Satan is darkness, Luke, xxii. 53. Call Mr. Zeal-for-God, and tell him to come to me. Mr. Zeal-for-God, go down to the hold, and tell Universal Charity, the prisoner, that his appeal to Unbiassed Reason, and the Court of Carnal Conscience, is objected to; his crime being spiritual, cannot be tried in a carnal court Paul was had to several of these, but they could not make a judgment