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genuine tendency, weakens the obligations to practice, must be falfe. And I will alfo affert, in, oppofition to fome modern infidels, (tho' fome, may think that my cause might avail itself of the contrary opinion) that a man's inward principle, or the perfuafion of his mind, hath a neceffary and unavoidable influence upon his practice *., So that, if I am not able to fhew, that juftification thro' the imputed righteousness of Chrift, is fo far from weakening the obligations to holiness, that, on the contrary, the belief and reception of it, as its neceffary consequence, must make men greater lovers of purity and holinefs, and, fill them with a greater abhorrence of fin, than any other persuasion on the same subject, I am content to give up the cause.

I hope we may be indulged a candid hearing on this fubject, as experience does not feem to be unfavourable to the doctrine I am effaying to de

That is to fay, So far as it can be applied to practice, and fo far as it is real or prevalent above its oppofite; for there are many truths of a religious nature which men think they believe fome times, but which yet their corrupt paffions of. ten make them doubt of; and thefe doubts are nine parts in ten of their lives obverfant to their minds, as a vindication of their licentious practice: in fome fenfe, fuch may be faid to act in contradiction to their principles; but they are princi ples either not really believed, or, which is the fame thing, not habitually recollected; and none can expect that men will act upon a principle, tho' once ever so firmly believed, if it be forgotten, or at the time of action entirely out of view.



fend. If it appeared in fact that its friends, upon a fair and juft comparison, were more loofe in their practice than their adverfaries of any of the oppofite opinions, it would be a strong prejudice against it; or rather, if this were always the cafe, it would be an unquestionable evidence of its falfhood. But, doth not the contrary ap pear on the very face of the world? Are not the perfons who profefs to deny their own righteouf nefs, and hope for juftification thro' Chrift, ordinarily the moft tender and fearful of finning themfelves, and the moft faithful and diligent in promoting the reformation of others? And do not all careless, profane and fenfual livers, almoft to a man, profefs themselves enemies to this doctrine? I could almoft appeal to any one who hath the least experience of, or commerce with the world, whether he would expect to find, upon a ftrict fearch and enquiry, the worship of God more conftantly attended, the name of God more regularly called upon in families, children and fervants more carefully inftructed, and more dutifully governed, a greater freedom from levity, profanity, unchastity, pride, malice, or infincerity of converfation, amongst the friends or ene mies of this doctrine? So true is this, that they commonly have the appellation of the ftricter fort given them, by which is certainly underB 6 flood,


ftood, at least, an apparent strictnefs of life and manners *.

As therefore experience doth not hinder, or rather warrants us to affirm, that thofe who expect justification by free grace are, of all others, the most holy in their lives; I propofe to fhew, that it must be fo, and that this is but the native fruit, and neceflary confequence of their principles. What has induced me to this attempt, is not only the calumnies of enemies, but the weaknefs or treachery of profeffed friends. Thefe laft injure the truth often, in two different ways. Some fpeak in fuch a manner as to confirm and harden enemies in their oppofition to it; they use fuch rafh and uncautious expreffions, as do indeed juftify the objection which the apostle rejects with fo great abhorrence; and, in the heat of their zeal against the felf-rightecas legalift, feem to ftate themselves as ene

* I am not ignorant, that it is the ufual refuge of those who are evidently diffolute in their own lives, to alledge, that there is indeed an appearance of this, but that it is no more than appearance, being all hypocrify. It would be going out of the way to enter upon a large refutation of this Dander. Therefore acknowledging, hat, no doubt, whatever number of hypocrites there are in the world, and there are too many, they muft herd amongst, or attach themselves to the fociety of the best part of it: I obferve, that the general charge of hypocrify is only thrown out at a venture, is a judging of the heart, and by the very fuppofition, contrary to appearances, juftified, for the most part, by a steady perfeverance. Whereas, ufually the whole merit of those who bring the accufation, is that of being uniformly wicked, and not fo much as profeffing what it was their indifpenfible duty both to have profeffed and practifed.

mies, in every refpect, to the law of God, which is holy, just and good. Others, on the con trary, defend it in such a manner, as to destroy the doctrine itself, and give fuch interpretations of the word of God, as, if they were juft, and known to be fo, the objection would never have been made, because there would not have been fo much as an occafion given to it *.

But of all the pretended Chriftians, one fort are worthy of the highest contempt, who, acknowledging the truth of this doctrine, call it dangerous, and are backward to teach or publish it, left it should be abufed. Would fuch weak, half-thinking mortals, be wifer than God? Hath' he published it, and fhall we throw a veil over it, to remedy the rashness of his proceeding? Do the Scriptures reveal, and are we backward to "tef"tify the gofpel of the grace of God?" All the works of God are capable of being abufed ;/ that this may be fo likewife the apoftle fuppofes. It is, however, not the lefs ufeful or important; only let us endeavour to vindicate it from the falfe

* I have often thought, that there cannot be a ftronger argument, that the explication commonly given by Calvinifts, of the paffages of fcripture on this fubj et, is juft, than the apostle's fuppofition of an objection of this nature arifing from it. For if the explication of fome others, were fuppofed to be the obvious meaning of the text, and were fubftituted in its room, as all juft definitions may be without inconvenience, the apostle's words, "What shall we say then? fhall we continue in fin that "grace may abound?" would be quite unnatural and abfurd.



charge of favouring or encouraging licentiousness of life. This I would willingly do in fuch a manner, as to affert while I defend it; to maintain the doctrine itself, while I fhew not only its innocence, but its usefulness in practice.

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The words of the infpired apoftle are, "God "forbid, how fhall we that are dead to fin, live any longer therein?" In which he affirms, that the grace of God abounding in the gospel, is fo far from being an encouragement to fin, that it deftroys the power of fin, and removes the inclination to it, fo far as it prevails. The language is very strong, "We that are dead to "fin."-It seems to put us in mind of the total effectual breach of relation between a dead man, and the objects with which he was formerly connected in life: they are nothing to him, nor he to them; he neither loves them, needs them, nor ufes them. So, in proportion as the grace of God offered through' Chrift in the gofpel is received and applied, fin is mortified in the heart;i thus fays the apostle Paul elsewhere, "God for"bid that I should glory, fave in the cross of "our Lord Jefus Chrift, by which the world is "crucified unto me, and I unto the world*.' This, which is indeed the language of the Scripture throughout, is not merely denying the ac

Gal, vi, 14:



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