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EXTRACTS FROM AN EXPOSTULATORY ADDRESS, To the Methodists in Ireland, and a Vindication of the same, by John Walker,
late Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin.
[Continued from page 474.] You go on to observe that, in a strict adherence to the discipline of Methodism, I must “ mean to include their injunctions of morality and general piety:-and where these things are combined with a strict attendance on meelings of piety; you ask, am I-or“ is any one on earth entitled to pronounce, that such persons are really destitute of Christian faith?” Now, Sir, I answer without difficulty, that such persons may be really destitute of Christian faith; and may manifest such evidences of infidelity, as will entitle any Christian on earth, who observes them, to pronounce that they are SO.
If the observance of what is called morality and general piety cannot of themselves constitute a Christian character, certainly no attendance on meetings of piety can.
And that the former cannot, is certain from scripture, and from acknowledged fact. For strict morality-(so called)--and for general piety-not only some of all denominations of professing Christians have been eminent, from the Arminian Methodists to Pelagians of all degrees and from them—through all the shades of Arianism-to the thorough-paced Socinian, who considers the Bible only as containing a collection of moral and pious precepts—while exemplified in the life of a man, -and regards its revealed truths only as so many eastern metaphors, which he may interpret away into anything or nothing, at his pleasure:-not only some of all these have been eminent as moralists and pietists—but some avowed infidels and heathens also.
In short, Sir, while I know that there may be a kind of morality and a kind of piety, ever so fair and imposing in the sight of men, where there is no Christian faith; I know from my Bible, that there can be no true morality or piety--because no real love for man or God—but what springs from the Christian faith. And therefore where infidelity is avowed by rejection of or opposition to the fundamental truths of the gospel-believing my Bible-I must reject all the nominal morality and piety also of such profes sors, as spurious. The one only true God makes himself known to us in his word. The man, who rejects his revealed truths, may have a kind of piety; but the true God is not the object of it, and his piety is no better than that of a heathen. Nor can I doubt that many pietists as well as moralists, will be found among the “haters of God,” when I observe the indignation and enmity, that are stirred up in their minds against his attributes and dealings with men, by the proposal of his revealed truths, in which these attributes and dealings are made, known. And I do beseech the Christian Methodists, who know and love the name of the Lord
(for otherwise they would not be Christians)-to attend to the admonition-notwithstanding the advocate who represents it 23 lliberal;--and not to be so easily satisfied (as they too commonly have appeared to be) about the state of those, who give in their names to the Society; and not to be so hasty in considering them as in the way of salvation. If they have grace and wisdom from above to exercise more fidelity towards the souls, over whom come of them are called to watch, they may soon discover, from the of fence that will be taken, and the opposition that will be made të 1 them, how far some of their people are from obedience to the faith of the gospel; and how little acquainted with themselves or with God.
You ask me, whether I am “ so thoroughly informed of all that such persons say in the language of Methodism, as to be sure that they give no mark of acquaintance with God or with themselves.") de Indeed, Sir, it does not require an acquaintance with all that any
A man says, in any language, to mark him unacquainted with God or with himself; if he be an opposer of the gospel of the grace of God In scripture the power of unbelief is synonymous with the power of to darkness; and the universal character of all by nature is," alien. ated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, rig because of the blindness of their hearts.” And when any are brought out of that state, it is by God's “ shining into their hearts
, th to give them the light of the knmoledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ.” Then, and not before, they are “ children of the light and of the day:”—and then, instead of hating the light, which discovers at once their entire vileness and helplessness, and the glory and all-sufficiency of the Saviour, they love that light and M rejoice in it;—instead of disputing against the sovereignty and es. ge ceeding riches of the grace of God, they prize " the joyful sound" that proclaims these, and abhor themselves, especially for their for- be mer opposition to it. You ask me—whether I am “accustomed to
tt lay no stress whatever on the morality, &c. of my own religious
li friends.” Extraordinary as the question is, I am glad to answer it.
t Yes, Sir;—so great stress, that the man, who does not shev bis faith by his works, I can see no warrant to consider him as a believer, id though the creed that he professes to believe were as orthodox as an Apostle's, and his talk as heavenly as an Angel's. And there is no truth of scripture, that I more firmly or explicitly declare, for there is none more clearly revealed, than that those who " say that to they have fellowship with Christ and walk in darkness-lie.” No: —that very “grace of God, that bringetb salvation, teacheth” the bi objects of it “ to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, and righteously, and godly, in this present world."" “ As A many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” And, " if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
and, “the fruit of the spirit is, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance.” And just according as the believer "grows in grace and in the knowledge of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” this fruit will assuredly abound. Be assured, Sir, my testimony against those false professors, who « live after the flesh”-in any of its varied forms, while they say that they believe the doctrines of grace, is as explicit, and as offensive to some of that description, though Calvinists, as any testimony I have ever borne against those who deny those doctrines. But what then? The latter do not profess the faith of the gospel; the former shew contrary to their profession, that they do not possess it. The avowed unbelief of the latter proves their most specious morality to be but “dead works"-as not springing from faith; and the open immorality of the former (and I reckon under this head any of the allowed workings of the flesh enumerated by the A postle, Gal. v. 19, 21—though some of them may be indulged with very little discredit, even in the religious world) proves that their professional faith is vain, as not “working by love.” I pray God to keep me testifying alike against the infidelity of both.
You ask me, whether “ merely being an Arminian forfeits all right to a judgment of charity?" Let us have done, Sir, with that expression. My judgment, or opinion, both of my own state and the state of others, must be regulated by truth--by scripture truthnot by my wishes, nor by what I might hope to be true, if I set aside the declarations of God's word. Being an Arminian excludes not a man from being the object of charity, or love, in its various exercises: neither does his being a Turk or an infidel exclude him. Neither do I conceive (as I have before observed) that making a general profession of Arminian doctrine, precludes a hope, that the man is a real believer of the gospel. But I am as sure, that a man's being really an Arminian precludes that hope (though not the hope that he
through the free gracc which he denies, become a believer)-as I am sure that the tenets of Arminianism are contrary to the essential doctrines of the gospel.
The essential character of the gospel (whoever may deny it) is that of glad tidings of salvation to sinners, wholly lost, who have destroyed themselves;-of a great salvation, of which the one author is that God against whom they have sinned;—glad tidings of eternal life, as the free gift of God in Christ Jesus to the chief of sinners who believes the joyful record;—and that faitb itself his gist, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and hath mercy on whom he will have mercy. I need not spend time to prove to you, Sir, that the essential character of Arminianism stands in direct opposition to this, which I maintain to be the essential character of the gospel. But I shall have occasion, in a subsequent letter, to go into the proof of the assertion,
that the gospel is what I have described. Meanwhile I say nothing Elly but what is included in that assertion, in saying that no real Artiny ian is a real believer. This “deliberate opinion,” connected with the avowal that the belief of the gospel is essential to salvation, 4: will doubtless “ bear the appearance of much“ illiberality" ta many—to all who do not believe the gospel. But I remember that passage in the history of our Lord, (Mat. xv. 12, 14) “ Then came his disciples and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offen led after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Eiery plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted
, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind.” If all appearance of illiberality is to be deprecated, we had pet better give up our Bibles at once; for be assured, Sir, if you hold, the with the Bible, that “whosoever bwlieveth not, shall be damned," putting what interpretation you please upon the gospel that is to be to believed, there is a numerous class, to whom you will appear
hos very illiberal; and many a one will be ready to address you with such a question as you directed to me-"Does merely being a De ist forfeit all right and title to a judgment of charity?"
[To be continued.)
A SINGULAR EXPERIMENT. If any thing in the following article wears the semblance of irons, it was not thus intended by the writer. He is not fond of jesting on serious subjects; and moreover is acquainted with some Methor dist preachers, whom he loves in the affection of the gospel
. But in treating the subject, in this somewhat novel method, he found that he could not exhibit the whole truth without stating facts of almost satirical asperity,
I shall in the first place, notice a fact which is, and has been, mane isested every Sabbath in our land, for the last twenty years: viz. That many parts of the Bible are passed by, neglected, and disused
, by preachers and teachers, in the Methodist Episcopal Churcb; and in short, are not favourite passages, and do not appear to be equally beloved by those holding Arminian sentiments. We all know and grant that words of the historical parts of the Bible, cannot be prof itably quoted and rehearsed in the midst of a warm exhortation, of practical discourse; for half a chapter would have to be cited, in or: der to arrive at a few leading ideas. But I am now words of our Saviour, and of his Apostles-their sermons, doctrina and preceptive-as being thus avoided by our Arminian brethren. rians agree with Baptists and Presbyterians in saying that the
In the second place, I intend to shew that although these Chriswaths of the gospel are the powerful instrument in the hands of the
speaking of the
fre C 1
Holy Spirit for the conversion and salvation of souls, yet so long as they maintain their present system, they never can use a large portion of the New Testament, of our Saviour's preaching, and of his Apostles' discourses, unless they stop at every step-tell what those words do not mean—unless they stop at every step and try to do away any impressions that might be left concerning the doctrines of God's eternal purposes—and in short do away what those words naturally appear to mean. Although in any matter of discussion, or debate between a Calvinist and Arminian, the bulk of those who are in no church take sides with the Arminian-although it is true, that the unconverted are decidedly against Calvinism-nay hate it; yet were any appeal necessary, we might, I think safely appeal to the public at large for the truth of the first fact stated. But I deem no proof necessary—and do not fear its being denied by those Armin. ian teachers who will not equivocate, even in support of a much loved tenet. Were any one to act otherwise, I might easily say to him, “will
tell me, sir, when in an exhortation to a sinner you urged him to repent, reminding him of God's hardening Pharaoh's heart-telling him to beware of the same fate-quoting the words of St. Paul, “For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, even for this same purpose have I raised thee up,” &c. and leaving the passage without comment; you have not done it-for the sinner might understand that if God had a purpose in one case—he might have it in another.” “Will you tell me when in your call to an unconverted world you quoted the alarming words of St. John,and then left them without comment-" And they that dwell upon the earth shall wonder-whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.” Rev. xvii. 8. You never did—for those present might take up the idea that some names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. Now I use these and similar passages for the purpose of driving sinners to Christ. If this even is not their proper use, they certainly have some use—and of course ought to be used. Now let us try and retort this statement on Baptists and Presbyterians—there are parts of sacred writ which our Methodist brethren think go to shew that predestination is not true; although, I for one have never seen any which appeared to me to militate against it-yet the general invitations of the Gospel and God's reluctance to sentence the sinner, &c. we know they do consider as opposing our belief.—But those passages which they consider most against us, and as their main strength-so far from being avoided by Calvinists—are as frequently used as any otherthey are as frequently used as texts to preach from-as frequently used in warm exhortations as any others. Who proclaim the full, free invitation of the Gospel with more frequency and zeal than Calvinistic ministers?—not in the least afraid by so doing they will lead any to suppose that Calvinism is not true. Who represent the