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Dnes it say, “the laws is a school-master to lead us to Christ?" Or does it say the law, meaning the one unalterable law of God to intelligent beings, " thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart?"
Mr. Fletcher makes these laws to differ in their nature! He calls this law which I have just named, an anti-evangelical law. What are we coming to next? Did the law proceed from God? Yes. Did the gospel proceed from God? It did. And is the one anti-or opposed to the other ? Are the divine perfections quarrelling? Horrible. Now these vague, anti-scriptural notions of the law of God, make dreadful work in the Christian world. Reader, dare you say that there are two laws, both a transcript of the moral character of God, differing in their nature? By which is the knowledge of sin? But you may think, possibly, that this was merely a slip of the pen; that this was not the idea that Mr. Fletcher meant to communicate. I answer,
it is the idea which he does inculcate clear through his writings, when speaking on the subject at all. Nor is this idea peculiar to him neither; it is to be found in the writings of all Arminians of note, whom I have ever consulted. Thus Mr. Wesley says,
- Hence the best of men may say from the heart,
"Every moment, Lord, I need
The merit of thy death,” " for innumerable violations of the Adamic as well as " the Angelic law. It is well therefore that we are " not under these, but under the law of love."
Here it is again, with a point blank self-contradiotion at the end of it. For in the very same sentence that he says we are not under the Adamic law, he says we are under the law of love. The law of love? Any thing short of loving God with all the heart? Nay, I presume no one will dare say this. If they should, I would ask them, why are we not required to love God with all the heart now, as well as Adam? Has God become less holy?!!
Well, is it because we are sinful and unholy? If so, a man's unholiness or sinfulness constitutes his justification before God!! What need of Christ, then, for sin will save the world! Reader, I am not jestingthis is the very consequence of the Arminian ideas in respect to this point. Thus they reason: can be obliged to keep this law ; for no man can exercise principles which he has not ; for that implies a contradiction. But we have lost the power of yielding perfect obedience in Adam. WE cannot love God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves. WE are not to blame for not doing that which we cannot do.
This law is too severe for a fallen world. Christ has died for us, and so the law is abated." And they talk also abundantly about our present infirmities and unavoidable weaknesses, errors in judgment, weakness of memory, &c. since the fall. Now let it be ever imprinted on the tablet of your memory, reader, that the law of which we are speaking, is given to the heart of man; that God never required any more of Adam, than he requires of us, in this respect.
He required Adam to love him with all his heart, and no more ; for this includes all obedience. This, says Christ, is the first commandment, and the second is like unto it; that is, it grows out of it. If God has our hearts, he will have our heads, our hands, our feet, and in short all our natural powers. And he never required
He never required a being to exercise a judgment, memory, sight, hearing or any faculty which he did not possess. This is all vain jangling: a sound without substance. And this talk about two laws, by which is the knowledge of sin,is horrible in its consequences. Only think, reader, of this idea : Christ has died to abate the law; or to abrogate it or bring it down to man's fallen and sinful state. Was the law unjust in its requirements of sinful man antecedent to the idea of Christ's dying to abate it ? If so, who gave this unjust law ? You are obliged to say that God gave an unjust law to man !!! and what then? Why, that
Christ the Son came down and died an ignominious death to prevail on his father to do man justice by abrogating the law or making it “milder and more lenient !!" But you say, perhaps the law was given to holy Adam, and of him it might justly require sinless or perfect obedience, but his posterity being sinful, and having fallen far from the primeval holiness of Adam, it would be cruel and unjust to consider them under the law. Well if it be so, then Christ need not have .come to save them; for what need of grace where the law does not justly condemn ? According to this hypothesis, Christ might have stayed in heaven; men's sinfulness would have excused them for breaking God's holy law, and of course all inankind, (only excepting Adam aud Eve) might have gone to heaven; not by the works of the law, nor by the gospel of Christ, but by their moral depravity or sins !!! Now, reader, this is the sure consequence of this notion, that
the Adamic law is done away or made milder or aci commodated to the sinful state of man. Let it be re
membered that as long as God exists, and Angels,men and devils exist, this moral law must stand-Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”—and that this law is alike binding on angels, men and devils ; and that the devil is just as much under a moral obligation to keep it as the angel Gabriel, and that all the reason why he is a devil, is because he does not keep it,--and that all the reason why men are bad, or sinners, is because they do not keep it. And remember, that this is the only infallible rule, the unalterable criterion, by which you are to judge of your holiness or sinfulness, your faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Now, Christian reader, take this glass, and hold it up before you, and in it behold your life from day to day : mark your thoughts, words and deeds : watch your heart and see how constantly you have this supreme love to God, and do all which you do, to His glory; an remember that every moment you come short of this, you are liable to be struck dead and sink to hell, if the doctrine
of falling from grace be true. But say you what does that passage mean; “ Ye are not under the law but
" Thanks be to God it means just what it says, or we should be without hope. It does not mean that a saint after becoming interested in the covenant of grace, is put under a covenant of works again, which makes his salvation uncertain. No; this is Arminianism. It does not mean that the law of God is destroyed or done away, and is no longer a rule of life for believers ; so that let them do what they will they cannot sin. No, this is horrible Antinomianism. Nor does it mean that the grace of God has softened down the moral law of God, or rather made a milder law. This is also Arminianism, and this I have all along been shewing to be impossible in the nature of things. It means or implies this ; that the saints in the first place are found justly condemned by the moral lawthat they are redeemed from the curse of the law by Christ. That is, that Christ has made an atonement for sin, which renders it possible for a Holy God to forgive sinners of their transgressions of his law, and yet not do violence to his law or abrogate or disannul it. That saints are thus freely forgiven for Christ's sake, and at the same time become interested in the new covenant of grace which secures their final salvation. Not that the law does not continue to be a rule of life for them ; nor that they do not sin, when they transgress it, and considered in themselves, are justly condemned; but that by the first act of faith they having become entitled to eiernal salvation, according to the free grace and promise of God, he will continue to carry on the good work which he has begun in them, until the day of the Lord Jesus, causing them by the influence of his Holy Spirit to exercise renewed acts of repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of all their trespass
This, reader, is what is meant by being under grace. A glorious way of salvation, that secures the honours of God's law, and yet the sure salvation of the believer-a plan that causes the saint to continue
to the end, and preserves him from falling finally away -a way that humbles the saint, and exalts the free, unmerited grace of God-a plan that teaches us that our salvation depends on the promise and grace of God in keeping us from finally falling away, and not on our faithfulness in improving the grace of God.
I have been more lengthy in these remarks than what I first contemplated; but the subject has required it. Reader, examine what I have written, and if it be the counsel of God, reject it not against yourself. Remember what you do when you maintain the possibility of the damnation of the sheep of Christ, that you put them under the law, exposed to its final curse, and exposed to hell and everlasting burnings every moment that they do not keep the law; and I charge you not to be hypocritical ; ashamed of the doctrine of the saint's perseverance, and arguing against it, and at the same time, gathering up all your comfort and hope of heaven from it. Hope for heaven on your own ground, or according to your own system, by keering the law; or as you say by doing your duty. And this I have shewn you can be nothing less than keeping the moral law. Don't make a law for your justification which God has never made. Don't alter that which he has made, but be honest, and let the law stand and judge yourself by it, and see where you will land. This is the way that I was driven out of that darling doctrine to our self-righteousness, the possibility of the damnation of those whom God says shall never perish, as I shall presently shew,