Maria de Fleury, Falsehood Examined at the Bar of Truth; or, a Farewell to Mr. Wm. Huntington (1791)
When I first took up my pen to write my pamphlet entitled, Antinomianism Unmasked, I did not doubt but at its appearing in the world, it would be attacked by some, the event has proved me not wrong in that supposition; though there is nothing personal in my book, as to any living characters, yet the various errors it is designed to expose and refute, have so many disciples in the present day, that it is possible more than one, or one hundred persons, may find their own sentiments exploded, and their own characters drawn in this piece; this has been particularly the case with Mr. William Huntington, and Mr. Thomas Jones, of Reading; they have met with their own likenesses so strong and picturesque that they start at the resemblance, and each cry out, “This is Me.” “This meant Me.” Mr. Jones says, “He has good grounds for concluding this book is aimed at him.” “No,” says Mr. Huntington, “it is a dreadful great bolus intended to choak me.” Now whether the book was aimed at Mr. J. or designed as a bolus for Mr. H. I can assure the public that neither of these gentlemen have been injured by it in the least, they are in good health and spirits, and as a proof of this, they have each of them published an answer, and defended their cause as well as they are able. In making a few remarks upon their publications, I mean to be as concise as possible: the love of truth, and sense of duty, constrain me once more to take up my pen upon this subject, and will render it pleasant, otherwise it would be a very disagreeable and painful task, as my oponents [sic] do not possess minds open to conviction; and one of them at least, Mr. H. is too high spirited to submit to the general rules of controversy; he disdains to be bound in the trammels of good sense, good manners, or even common decency: truth cannot bind him in her chains, he breaks through her bands, overleaps all her boundaries, and rushes impetuously on to establish his propositions through mazes of error, through all the intricacies of sophistry, perverted truth, false reasoning, passionate declamation, low ribaldry, unjust calumny, and every mean art, and that in direct violation of the dictates of conscience, and in the face of the sun. A character sunk so low as this, is truly contemptible, and falls so far beneath one’s notice, that nothing but the love of truth, a desire to see truth triumphant, (which, in the end it must and shall be, maugre every attempt to pervert it) could induce me to take up my pen once more against such an opponent; however, I can assure the public that this shall be the last time I will exercise their patience and my own in hunting M. H. out of the quagmires of deception, the false coverts, the refuges of lies, under which he is constrained to hide. It is my intention to take a last farewell of him in these strictures, unless divine grace should make a wonderful change in him, remove far from him the way of lying, (which I am sorry to say, at present seems as natural to him as to breathe) and enable him not only to preach the gospel, but also to give substantial proof that he is influenced by the spirit of the gospel; should this be the case, and I live to see it, he may very likely hear from me again: it would give me the greatest pleasure, and I would be one of the first to congratulate him on so excellent and desirable a change.
Mr. Huntington has thought proper to address his answer to my book, to the Rev. Mr. Ryland, senior, and chooses to consider that gentleman, as the author of it, directly and repeatedly: yet in doing this he must have done violence to his conscience, and has asserted not only a falshood, but a wilful falshood, and one in which he was sure to be detected by every one who reads the book, and is at all acquainted with the Rev. Mr. Ryland’s stile and manner of writing; such will easily perceive that there is no more similarity between that gentleman’s style and mine, than there is between the twinkling of a taper, and the bright beams of the sun. However, Mr. Huntington, to serve a turn, is pleased to compliment me with this assertion, but he knows in his conscience it is false; I took the pains to set him right in this matter, when his hand bills announcing his intended publication first came out, five months before it made its appearance in the world, and I also published some hand-bills to undeceive the public; and therefore in persisting to charge the Rev. Mr. Ryland with being the author of the pamphlet called, Antinomianism Unmasked, &c. he is left without excuse, and is guilty of asserting, not only a falshood, but a direct and wilful one. As to Mr. H—’s preface, I shall only say of it, that it is a jumble of incoherent nonsense, low ribaldry, and downright falshoods; it is impossible for me to treat it as it ought to be treated, without indulging those flights of levity, and perhaps stooping to make use of such language as would set me nearly upon a level with Mr. H. which of all situations in the world, I should most blush to be in. God forbid that while I am reproving evil in another, I myself should be guilty of the same: while I have God, truth, and right reason on my side, Mr. H. is welcome to have all the laugh upon his: I do not write to make people laugh, but I appeal to their understandings, to their consciences, and I humbly look up for the approbation of heaven, and of those, who though they may smile at madness and folly, can only approve of simplicity and truth.
As to Mr. Ryland’s refusing to see any body but me while this book was writing – the Printer’s boy carrying him a proof, and his conversation with Mrs. Terry, which he asserts in his preface, I solemnly protest before God and the world, it is all of it absolutely false; these things never had any existence but in the fertile imagination of Mr. H. Mr. R. was at Enfield, and I was in London almost the whole time I was writing: I had no more assistance from Mr. Ryland, in writing it, than I had from Mr. Huntington, neither did Mr. Ryland so much as see a proof sheet; the Printer is a witness to this. When these falshoods were committed to paper and print, O conscience, didst not thou cry, “Forbear?” “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour:” but this is a command of the law of God, and I recollect Mr. H. professes to have nothing to do with that, and therefore we must not wonder if it is not binding upon his conscience but how should his imagination, fruitful as it is, invent such things as these? indeed, for my own part, I should have been very much at a loss to have assigned any reason for it except his, that it suited his purpose, and as the law of God has ceased to be the rule of his conduct, I suppose his own inclination is substituted in its place, but he had given us full information upon the subject; he says, “Wist ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?” Here our astonishment ceases, or rather is greatly increased: What! Mr. Huntington a diviner? he has been to be sure of various occupations. This he informed the world of long ago, but who ever thought him a conjuror before? this is a strange piece of news; I don’t know how long Mr. H. has studied the black art, he has not informed us that; however, we are obliged to him for the intelligence that he is a master of it; and I presume in his next publication, the letters M. B. A. will appear amongst the honours of his name in the title page, in addition to S. S: many, no doubt, will stand in awe of this sublime character; many pens which were about to be taken up, will no doubt be laid down in silence; and indeed it may be prudent to keep out of the circle of Mr. H—’s magic wand. However, as I have God and truth, and a good conscience on my side, I think I need not fear either Mr. H., or his familiar spirit (who I believe, resides not a hundred miles from Paternoster Row) for surely there is no divination against Israel. Familiar spirits, I am told, are always lying spirits, and since M. H. professes himself a diviner, the falshoods which abound in his works may easily be accounted for: his lying familiar spirit helps him to them, and he has nothing to do but commit them to paper and print.
Without any further introduction, I shall now by the divine assistance, proceed to make a few strictures upon the “Broken Cistern, and the Springing Well, &c.” I shall in the first place shew what ideas Mr. H. entertains of my book, and what he says of it. I shall in the next place give all the quotations he brings from it, and enquire whether they warrant such ideas and assertions. Thirdly, I shall prove that they do not, but that they are founded on the word of God, and are clear bible and experimental truths; not head notions, but heart religion; not vain jangling, but sound doctrine. Fourthly, I shall consider Mr. Jones’s pamphlet, and then take my farewell of both these gentlemen, and conclude with a short address to the reader.
In the first place then, I am to shew what ideas Mr. H. entertains of my pamphlet called, Antinomianism Unmasked, and what he says of it. He begins page 10. “I suppose we have not a revisor nor propagator of heresy, nor one preacher of lies in the whole nation, but who first began his profession and ministry with such a dry, empty stock of speculative knowledge s this book contains: – was every unregenerate person in the nation to read this pamphlet till he acquired all the knowledge that it treats of, he would still be without God,, and having no hope in the world. – This book treats largely about the words sanctification and holiness, but it is all forced: there is no one part of it that flows from a savory, unctuous experience in the heart; nor yet from the power, influence or enjoyment of the spirit upon the soul. The whole of it is extorted, pressed and squeezed from the letter of scripture, moulded together by the dint of human wisdom, and unnaturally decorated with a little fulsome, flowery rhetorick reflected from the natural ingenuity of others.” P. 32. “Grace and truth, the effects of sovereign love, came by Moses, but Antinomianism and licentiousness, according to this book, came by Jesus Christ. Such publications as these may serve to ease the minds of authors who envy the happiness and success of God’s servants; they may serve to blacken their characters, to harden carnal professors against the grace of Christ, to stagger the minds of the simple, and to keep up the popularity of those whose emptiness God is pleased to discover to his own children; but I believe such writers will find the latter end to be bitterness.” P. 35. “As for this treatise of vain jangling, what does it confute? what does it establish? – nothing but the ignorance and foolishness of the authors.” P. 69. (Give me leave to observe here, that it is very strange that the ignorance and foolishness of the author, or authors, to use Mr. H’s expression, should be both confuted and established by this book: it is a contradiction in terms, and must strike every reader of common sense, as being an assertion which is not one step above nonsense.) “This iniquitous publication, this vile book, is intended to debase the gospel.” P. 87. “This vile book, this abominable piece.” P. 88. “Who would ever have thought that a man of sense, a scholar, a divine, a tutor, a master or mistress of arts, could ever publish such inconsistencies, such lies, such nonsense as this – and then call it a confutation of errors, to deceive the simple, harden the base, and injure them that dearly love the Lord Jesus.” P. 90. “This vile book.” P. 100. “I would to God that such ignorant, unenlightened persons would never meddle with such sublime matters, and handle them in so vile a way. O what judicial blindness, confutation and hardness of heart is this! what enmity against the gospel, and the preachers of it, must rage in the breasts of such a desperate frenzy as to plunder, pervert, misconstrue, and prostitute the divine oracles of God to such base purposes as to deceive the simple, and injure in the Lord’s work the faithful labourers of the vineyard! however, as you have got a bridle in your jaws causing you to err, go on, and by God’s help, I will follow you as long as I can hold a pen: you are got into worse than Egyptian darkness now, and the veil will gather faster and faster on your heels.” P. 94. Stop a moment, Mr. Huntington, for I am afraid you have run yourself out of breath already.
“I will not say that the authors of this book are Antinomians, this I will say, that the book contains the worst antinomianism that ever I read, and is a vile and damnable harangue, both against the law, the gospel, and the grace of God,” page 103. “Any simple person who should read this treatise, who has not eyes to see through this mask of hypocrisy, and who should be informed that this pill or bolus, was prepared for me, must conclude that of all the wretched beings out of hell, W. H. must be the vilest sinner, the worst liver, and the most dangerous preacher,” page 104. I must beg leave to remark here, that it must be not only a very simple, but also a very wicked person who could draw such a conclusion from my book, as Mr. H—s name is not to be found in it; neither any personal allusions to him whatever; but he goes on, page 111. “There is no fear of any real sadness of heart ensuing upon the perusal of this treatise; for there is no more force, power or edge to this sword, than there is in an eider-down quilt; it is calculated for nothing else, but to bolster up and to harden hypocrites in their hypocrisy. As to God’s people, no soul that ever was enlightened and quickened by the Lord, would ever give it a second reading, nor even house-room, unless it be admitted into the water-closet – To speak without lightness and without prejudice, I have read this book, till my hair has moved upon my head, and my flesh upon my bones, to see persons so destitute of the common ideas of a work of grace, make such havock of sacred matters, and publish such confusion to the church and world,” page 118.
These are the charges Mr. Huntington brings against my pamphlet entitled, Antinomianism Unmasked and Refuted. He pronounces it vile, iniquitous, abominable, and even damnable. That it is lies and confusion, that it is calculated to harden the sinner, to deceive the simple, to traduce his character, to injure his ministry; in short, that it is a compound of error and speculative notions: these are very heavy charges, and ought to be well supported. No doubt, gentle reader, but in the extracts he has made to support these charges, he has laid before thee some of those dreadful, awful, tremendous passages, the very reading of which, agitated him so violently as to cause the “very hair of his head, and the flesh on his bones to move.” It cannot be supposed but what he has picked out the very worst he could find, as the strongest and most striking proof of the truth of his assertions; and also to justify the violent convulsive throws, he complains of feeling, when reading the pamphlet. – As it cannot be doubted but he has done this, I will take all the passages he has extracted from my book, and place them in a string before my readers, and we will examine whether any or all of them together, could possibly electrify or magnetize Mr H— in the tremendous manner he describes.
Extract I. “What think ye of Christ? Matt. xxii. 42. Of all the questions which it is possible to propose to mankind, this is one of the most important; upon the right knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ depends the happiness and salvation of men. This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, John xvii.3. If our acquaintance with polite literature and the sciences is deficient, our loss will be trivial; if we are mistaken or even deceived in such matters, the mistake or deception will not be attended with much danger or damage; but a deficiency, a mistake, a deception in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, cannot but be accompanied by the most fatal consequences, eternity hangs upon it.”
Christian reader, take thy bible in thy hand, and lay thy hand upon thy heart and answer this plain single question? Is this error, is it a damnable delusion calculated to harden the sinner, and deceive the simple, or is it a grand bible truth?
Extract II. “The scriptures testify of the Lord Jesus that he is a Redeemer.” Christian reader, ask thy bible and thy own soul, is this truth, or error?
Extract III. “The scriptures also speak of the Lord Jesus under the dignified character of a King.” Is this truth or error?
Extract IV. “Procuring redemption and remission of sins, through the effusion of his blood, offering himself up a sacrifice to God, to make reconciliation and purchase an atonement.” The words purchase an atonement Mr. H— objects to, they are not my words: in quoting this passage he ought to have told his readers, what he himself very well knew that they are the words of the great Dr. John Owen, and had he given the page to his quotations, it would have been found in a subjoined note from Dr. Owen, page 12 An. Un. [Antinomianism Unmasked]
Extract V. “He (the Antinomian) denies vital, experimental, personal union wrought in the soul by faith.”
Extract VI. “The Lord Jesus Christ is made of God, sanctification to his people, as he is their great head of influence, who imparts to every member of his mystical body, by virtue of his kingly office, his holy spirit, to sanctify and make them holy in their own proper persons.” Eph. iv. 16.
Extract VII. “By his justifying righteousness he saves them from the guilt and condemnation of sin, which are the two first propositions I laid down; and this relates to his priestly office, and is that which gives them a title to heaven.”*
Extract VIII. “She (the church) shall not only be clear as the sun in her justification, but she shall also be fair as the moon in her sanctification.” Solomon’s Song vi. 10.
Extract IX. “This faith unites the soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the moment the believer is made partaker of it, he becomes one spirit with the Lord.”
Extract X. “This faith makes Christ precious: it purifies his† heart, and constrains him to hate sin; because of its deformity, because it is Christ’s enemy, and crucified him, and because Christ abhors it, and a triune God abhors it – it constrains him to love holiness for its own beauty and excellence.”
Extract XI. “Faith gives the soul victory over sin, and satan, and the world.”
Extract XII. “In this way the Lord Jesus Christ sanctifies his people, and actually saves them from the love and power of sin.”
Extract XIII. “Holiness of heart and life is indispensably necessary to enable the believer to maintain communion and fellowship with God.” I John i.6.
Extract XIV. “Sanctification, then it appears from the word of God, is a personal thing, wrought upon the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Extract XV. “From these two jarring principles, so opposite to each other, proceeds a continual warfare; sometimes divine grace treads indwelling sin under its feet, and then the christian is holy, humble and happy in his God. At other times, sin rouses up all its powers, attempts to shake off the yoke, and even prevails so far as to take the new man captive, and then the christian groans being burdened.” Rom. vii. 23. 24.
Extract XVI. “The next thing I mean to consider, is that grand Antinomian tenet, that the moral law has ceased to be the rule of a believer’s conduct, as much as it has ceased to be a covenant of works.”
Extract XVII. “That to the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the moral law has ceased to exist as a covenant of works, is a grand and glorious truth, and is granted on both sides of the question.”
Extract XVIII. “Because the Lord Jesus is become the end of the law, both moral and ceremonial, for righteousness, to every one that believeth.”
Extract XIX. “I shall not therefore, take up any time or employ any pains to prove that here, because we are already agreed upon that subject; but that the moral law ought still to be considered, as the rule of a believer’s conduct is as great a truth: it is the eternal rule of righteousness, and is incapable of any variation.”
Extract XX. “Amongst men, the idea of a king and people, supposes also a law subsisting between the parties; agreeable to which, the king is to govern, and the people to frame their actions.”
Extract XXI. “As to this subjects, they are under a threefold obligation to pay the most ready chearful and prompt obedience to whatever commands he is pleased to give them; in the first place, a natural obligation, as they are not only his subjects but the creatures which his hands formed out of the dust.” – Is not this true?
Extract XXII. “What can be more evident, than that every creature is under a natural obligation to obey the commands of its creator?”
Extract XXIII. “Secondly, a moral obligation, as they are not only creatures, but creatures possessed with rationality, grand reasoning, and thinking faculties.”
Extract XXIV. “And thirdly, a spiritual obligation.”
Extract XXV. “As for me,” says Paul, “I am determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ; God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ;” but he also adds, “I am not without law to God – but under the law to Christ,” I Cor. ix. 21. Tell me, bible Christian, is this truth, or is it, as Mr. H. pronounces it, “Confusion and damnable harangue?” But to go on –
Extract XXVI. “I am under the law to Christ,” says Paul.
Extract XXVII. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Rom. vii. 22.
Extract XXVIII. “What law? the moral law? some say the law of love, and I grant it, for the moral law and the law of love, are synonimous terms, and mean one and the self same thing.”
Extract XXIX. “Neither Paul nor James had any idea that the moral law was abolished and done away.”⍬
Extract XXX. “Some say the law cannot be a perfect rule of conduct, because it says nothing upon some subjects which are noted in the precepts of the New Testament.”⍴
Extract XXXI. “The church owns Christ for her king, as well as her priest; her master as well as her Savior: she takes his yoke upon her, and feels herself under the strictest obligations of duty, love, and gratitude, to yield the most filial, evangelical obedience to his commands, as well as to believe and rejoice in his gracious promises.”
Christian reader, is there any thing in this passage of so “vile” and “iniquitous” a nature, as to occasion the hair of Mr. H’s head to stand up, and his flesh to move at the reading of it? No, I recollect this cannot be it; for he has told us in his comment upon this abstract, that “All this is true.” P. 72. He says, “All this is true, though the authors by experience know neither what they say, nor what they mean.” If this is true, as Mr. H. has acknowledged it to be, it was totally needless for him to waste a page and a half of paper in answering and commenting upon it; and as to the author, whether she knew what she said, and what she meant or not, it was quite foreign from the subject, and a matter in which he had no concern; but Mr. H. makes use of the word authors, though he knows very well that the letter s is supernumerary: but he chose to do this, I suppose, in this place, that he might have an opportunity of giving the Rev. Mr. Ryland a specimen of that candour which he so politely promised in his preface; however, he goes on with his quotations.+
Extract XXXII. “If ye keep my commandments: ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
The reader will observe these are not my words, but they were spoken by the lip of infallible truth, they are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, John xv. 10. But Mr. H. takes up four pages in answering them; he does not presume to say this author knew not what he said, nor what he meant, but he fills up four pages in answering him.
Extract XXXIII. “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments: He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.”
This, to be sure, presses hard upon Mr. H’s idea, that the believer has nothing to do with the commandments; however, he ought not to blame me for that, these words were written before I was born. Reader, thou mayst find them where I did, I John ii. 3, 4, 5.
Extract XXXIV. As though the apostle had said, “I lay down no new rule for you, as believers, to form your life and conversation by, I refer you to the old commandment, the same that was given you from the beginning.”⍺
Extract XXXV. “I refer you to the old commandment, the same that was given you from the beginning, it is done away indeed as a covenant of works.”
Extract XXXVI. “If the law is so done away as that the believer, do what he will, cannot sin, because there is no law to forbid, and by forbidding, render the action criminal, why did the Holy Spirit dictate under the gospel dispensation, this scripture?—“Whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth also the law, for sin is the transgression of the law.”
Extract XXXVII. “Whosoever. – What can be a stronger expression? it takes in both the believer and the unbeliever – committeth sin – it is the present tense, transgresseth also the law – consequently the law still exists, or else the apostle wrote nonsense, which none but an Antinomian can suppose.”
Extract XXXVIII. “This was written to believers, and it is a strong attestation that the law is not abrogated, but still remaining in full force as the rule of righteousness.”
Extract XXXIX. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin,” I John iii. 9.
Extract XL. “In Zecharias and Elizabeth, the father and mother of John the baptist, we have a beautiful example of what the christian is, or at least, ought to be: it is said of them, they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless,” Luke i. 6.
Extract XLI. “If there is no law, and consequently no sin to a believer, why was David’s conduct with respect to Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite so peculiarly marked, so strictly stigmatized, so severely punished? his conduct in this affair, in the very nature of things must be either right or wrong; and none will dare to say it was right, because it was followed by the most evident and unequivocal proofs of divine displeasure; but if it was wrong, what was it constituted it so? it must be a deviation from the rule of right; and what can be that rule but the moral law which says, Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
Extract XLII. “We find in David, a most striking example of evangelical repentance and godly sorrow upon the account of sin; he was a sinner, but he was no Antinomian.”
Extract XLIII. “Faith is the grand bond of union between Christ and the souls of his people, and therefore we are said to be justified by faith, and sanctified by faith.”
Extract XLIV. “Because faith as a hand, receives Christ as the justifying righteousness of the soul, and actually receives out of his infinite fulness, all those communications of divine grace, &c.”
Extract XLV. “So that those who live and die without being made partakers of vital faith, it is evident never were united to Christ any other way.”
Extract XLVI. “For all those whom he has taken into union with himself, in a faederal relation and union, by an act of divine sovereignty, in the fulness of time he unites to himself by implanting in their hearts vital faith, as a divine, abiding, holy principle by which they are cut off from their old stock, and are ingrafted into the new, the living vine.”
Extract XLVII. “And on this grand union with the Lord Christ does all sanctification and communion, and walking with God depend.”
Extract XLVIII. “It is God the Holy Ghost, who alone can create this faith in the soul of a sinner.”
Extract XLIX. “For as it is impossible for a dead man to give himself natural life, so it is equally impossible for a dead sinner, that is, a man dead in sin, to give himself spiritual life, that is, divine faith.”
Extract L. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word.”
Extract LI. “The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, and when the Holy Ghost takes this noble sword into his almighty hand, he makes it quick and powerful, cutting down all opposition, and fully efficacious to the conviction, conversion, sanctification, and consolation of his people.”
Extract LII. “The sword of Scanderbeg the Great, did wonders, but it was only when it was exercised by the mighty arm of Scanderbeg.”
Extract LIII. “They that are overwhelmed with distress, and sometimes conclude that they have no right to rejoice in the liberty of the gospel, that they are not the Lord’s free men, but still slaves to sin and satan, still under the reigning power of sin, and consequently not partakers of Christ’s salvation – Now lest any of these, whose heart the Lord would not have made sad.” – This is a very unfair quotation.
Extract LIV. “Now, lest any of these should be made sad by any thing contained in this treatise—.”
Extract LV. “I would wish to observe, that whenever sin is hated, not only in its consequences and punishment, but in its nature and practice, where it is struggled with, fought against, prayed against, watched against, and groaned under, it hath no dominion.”
Extract LVI. “These things are quite incompatible with the reigning love and power of sin; it may fight hard, it may rage desperately; it may for a time play the tyrant, but during this time the soul, though a captive, is not a slave, the tyrant is detested, and the soul wants nothing but power to throw off the iron yoke.”
Extract LVII. “It was evident such a one has been taught by Christ the great prophet, a good degree of self-knowledge; the understanding is enlightened to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the spirituality of the law of God; and therefore the man cries out with Paul, I am carnal, sold under sin, and with Job, I am vile. – It is also evident his will is renewed, and his affections in part sanctified, for the evil he does, he allows not, nay, he hates it.”
Extract LVIII. “And could he be delivered from the very being of sin, and from the possibility of sinning, it would be the triumph of his heart, and the joy of his soul. – Bible, experimental christian – is not this true?”
Extract LIX. “If this is thy habitual frame of mind, gentle reader, thou art one of those happy ones to whom the promise declares Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace.”
Extract LX. “Thou are not under the law, for Christ has redeemed thee from it: it is dead to thee, as a covenant of works, and thou art dead to it, that thou mayest be married to another husband.”
Extract LXI. “And he is the God of grace, he giveth grace and glory, the Father has blessed thee with all spiritual blessings in Christ.”
Extract LXII. “Nothing is so great an enemy to heart-holiness as unbelief.”
Extract LXIII. “Nothing is so great an enemy to heart-holiness as unbelief, Satan hates it, but he cannot rob us of it, but unbelief robs us of it, or rather prevents our receiving it; faith works it in the soul.”
Extract LXIV. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification; herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit.”
These are the words of Christ and Paul, and yet they appear amongst those passages which Mr. H. has pronounced vile, iniquitous, and damnable; in the reading of which, he declares the hair of his head, and the flesh on his bones moved, with astonishment and terror, no doubt.”
Extract LXV. “Should these pages fall into the hands of a professor of religion who can hear of Christ, and talk much about Christ and the riches of his grace, and the wonders of his salvation, and yet is careless and indifferent whether he, as an individual is made partaker of the riches of that grace, and the wonders of that salvation, by the power of the Spirit of God, &c. &c.”
Extract LXVI. “Who can live loosely, and allow himself in sinful dispositions, and sinful practices, under the idea that there is no law, and consequently no sin to a believer?”
Extract LXVII. “Verily, verily,” says the Son of God himself, “I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin, (that is, habitually continues in the love and practice of it) is the servant of sin.”
I have now laid before my readers all the quotations or extracts which Mr. Huntington has brought from my book in order to prove it a “vile book,” an “abominable piece,” an “iniquitous book,” “confusion and lies; a damnable harangue, calculated to harden the sinner, to deceive the simple, to injure his character and ministry.” Let me intreat the christian reader, laying aside all partiality and prejudice, coolly and calmly to examine all these extracts; bring them to the true touchstone, the scriptures of truth; weigh them in the balances of christian experience, and sound, renewed, sanctified reason, and then pronounce whether Mr. H. is justified by them in his assertions. I make use of no mean art, no sophistical arguments, no equivocal, far-fetched explanations, to vindicate them, to explain away their true meaning, and to puzzle and perplex my readers; they stand in need of no such low subterfuges. I have not handled the word of God deceitfully, but faithfully and plainly, and I desire in the defence of my pamphlet to make use of nothing but simplicity and godly sincerity. I entreat my readers to examine every one of these extracts with the strictest attention, compare them with the bible and their own experience; and I appeal to conscience for an honest decision whether my book contains the words of truth and soberness, is calculated to promote the glory of God, and the good of souls, or is as Mr. H. has pronounced it to be a “damnable harangue.” &c. &c.
I have said that I have laid before the public every passage Mr. H. has quoted from Antin. Un. and I have said truly, but he has quoted a passage as from that pamphlet, and filled up two pages and a half in answering it, and yet the passage is no where to be found in it: the words are not mine, they are the production of an infinitely superior genius, interspersed with a word or two of Mr. H’s own. I may call upon my readers to be astonished, and upon Mr. H. to blush, while I inform them that his 68th extract is the production of the truly great and justly celebrated Mr. John Milton; for the truth of this, I refer my readers to Paradise Lost, book XII. page 346, line 528, 529.
—————— “For on earth,
Who against faith and conscience can be heard
Infallible? yet many will presume:”
The intermediate expressions (“as infallible unmaskers of Antinomianism”) are the production of Mr. Huntington’s pen; yet this passage, and these expressions he brings as a quotation from my book, and gives an answer to, or comment upon them through two pages and a half. See the Broken Cistern, p. 80. Is this fairness? Is this candour? Is this conduct becoming a minister of the gospel? Has it any thing to do with justice and honour? or is it not rather a most outrageous breach of truth, decency, and even common honesty? Reader, judge for thyself, I am persuaded that I shall not be thought too severe when I say, the man who can assert such palpable falshoods, who can stoop to such low art, and contemptible conduct as this, has forfeited all right to public confidence and respect. – Out of 67 extracts which Mr. H. has brought from my book, he has not thought proper to put the page to more than four or five of them; but these are but trifling acts of injustice, when compared with some which I am under the painful and disagreeable necessity of pointing out to the public, and which appear in almost every page of the Broken Cistern: I shall content myself with selecting only two or three, as I mean to be as brief as possible.
I shall begin with the eleventh Extract he brings from An. Un. “Faith gives the soul victory over sin, satan, and the world.” Is this truth, believer? an inspired apostle shall answer the question: “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” I John v. 4. “But,” says Mr. Huntington, “If faith can do this, I should have no objection to fall down and worship it; but I believe that Christ overcame the world, and bids me be of good cheer on that account.” Broken Cist. page 29. – Now Mr. H— knows very well that the words of Christ and his apostle John, are in the strictest and sweetest harmony, and that the scriptures never contradict themselves; but he chooses to hold them up in a contradistinct point of view, and to set two texts warring with each other, which he knows perfectly agree, in order to misrepresent my words, and to put a meaning upon them, which he knew I never meant. The truth is this, gentler reader, Christ has overcome for the christian, but there is a necessity for the christian to overcome also: and no one can rejoice in Christ’s victory, and experience the benefits of it, in actually overcoming themselves, but by faith. “With God all things are possible;” says the Lord Jesus, Matt. xix. 26. and the same infallible teacher tells us, “To him that believeth, all things are possible.” Mark ix. 23. And yet there would be no propriety in “falling down and worshipping faith.” Faith is the grand means of conveyance of spiritual blessings to the soul, but God is the author and giver of faith.
We go on to the thirteenth Extract from An. Un. “Holiness of heart and life is indispensibly necessary to enable the believer to maintain communion and fellowship with God.” I prove this from I John i.6. “If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” But says Mr. H— in his answer to, or comment on this passage, “The great question is, where this holiness of heart and life is to be had?” This is a great question to be sure, but the public will observe, and Mr. H. very well knew when he wrote this, that this question was not before me when writing the words upon which he has pleased to comment: I was not considering how divine communion was to be obtained, but when obtained, how it was to be kept up and maintained? there is a great difference in these things. I have in my book clearly shewn that holiness of heart and life, and communion with God, can only be obtained by a vital union with the Lord Jesus Christ; or, in other words, by a triune God dwelling in the heart by faith, as the next Extract I shall appeal to, will sufficiently prove.
Extract Forty-Seven, An. Un. “And on this grand union with the Lord Christ, does all sanctification and communion, and walking with God depend.” But says Mr. H— “Holiness is the effect of union.” Does not the foregoing extract strongly assert the very same thing? and does not Mr. H— here turn aside to vain jangling? but he proceeds, “Pointing to holiness in heart and life, in order to maintain communion and fellowship is always the method of those who deal in the letter; but those who are acquainted with Jesus by the spirt, and who know the spirit’s work, have not so learned Christ: – They tell the believer to hold fast the head, and that he can do nothing without him, and to abide in the vine is the only way to bring forth much fruit.” Bro. Cist. page 22. What strange work is this? with how much propriety might Mr. H— have added in his title page, Mangling done here.
Those who have really learned Christ by the teaching of his spirit, have been taught to hold him by faith as their head and their all; and they have also been taught by experience, that it is only in the way of holiness they can enjoy his presence: it is in this way alone he has promised it to them: he says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love,” John xv. 10. That is, in a sweet comfortable sense of his love; this is truth, and whoever stands up as an ambassador for Christ, and does not preach this truth, is an unfaithful servant; he keeps back part of his message and is a deceiver of souls.
Extract Forty-seven, An. Un. “And on this grand union with the Lord Jesus Christ does all sanctification, and communion, and walking with God depend.” Mr. Huntington answers, “All sanctification, which is God’s setting his elect apart from eternity, and Christ’s offering up himself upon the cross, by which offering, he for ever perfected them that are sanctified – all depends upon Maria’s bond, hand and sword, if we can but believe; for my part, I know it is a damnable lie.” Bro. Cist. page 107. The whole of this comment or answer, as Mr. H— terms it, is as inconsistent with truth and justice, as the concluding words of it are with good-manners and decency.
Mr. H— was conscious to himself as any one must be that reads my book, that I was not treating of sanctification, as it relates to the divine decree of election, or the sacrifice of a Saviour; but as it is holiness imparted to and implanted in the soul of a sinner. Mr. Huntington knew this very well, and to have answered me fairly (and no other answer is consistent either with the law or the gospel) he should have taken up my words in the same point of view with which they were written; but he durst not do this; because in that view they contain such stubborn truths, that even Mr. H— himself has not effrontery enough at present to controvert; he would have been obliged to say as he has, when commenting upon one passage, “All this is true,” that all sanctification, in this view, that is, heart-holiness, all communion and walking with God, depends on the sinner’s being united to the Lord Jesus by living faith, is such a self-evident truth, that it would be an affront to the weakest believer, to suppose he could hesitate a moment in acknowledging it. As to the grand decree of election, and the sacrifice by which the sins of the elect people of God were for ever put away, though they neither of them depend upon faith, which is what Mr. H— means by Maria’s bond, hand, &c. yet they both of them establish the necessity of faith, for under whatever similitude we may consider faith, it is the grand mean of conveyance of spiritual blessings to the soul. Faith is not a condition of salvation, but it is so essentially necessary to salvation, that there is no being saved without it: I do not expect, neither do I wish my readers to take my word for this, I refer them to a far superior authority; the lip of infallible truth informs us, “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned,” Mark xvi. 16. “He that believeth the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him,” John iii. 36. I presume this writer was as well acquainted with, and had as high a regard for the grand doctrines of election and the atonement, as Mr. H. can pretend to be, or to have: the truth is, God has not only chosen his people to salvation, but to faith and holiness; nay, through faith and holiness, “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” Acts xiii. 48. “We are bound,” says Paul, “to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the spirt, and belief of the truth, thereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14. There never was a man in the christian world better acquainted with, or who gloried more in the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus than Paul; he calls it, “That which is through faith, the righteousness which is of God by faith,” Philip iii. 9. It is that glorious robe in which alone the sinner can be found without fault before the throne of God; but faith is the hand, or may be compared to a hand by which the sinner receives and puts it on. – This is truth, Mr. H. knows and feels in his conscience it is truth, and yet he turns upon his heel, and with an air of arrogance and scorn, very unworthy of the character of a minister of the gospel, very unworthy of the seriousness and solemnity of the subject, pronounces it not only a lie, but a damnable lie; but in so doing, in all this vain-jangling, this unfair unjust dealing; this turning of things upside down; this handling the word of God deceitfully, with cunning craftiness to deceive, he is only kicking against the pricks: let him take care and guard his feet, lest those stubborn pricks should wound him; for truth, and especially divine truth, is of such a stubborn nature, that it will stand against, prevail through, and triumph over every opposition that men and devils can raise against it. I shall not trouble my readers with any more quotations from the Broken Cistern: to follow Mr. H. through all his turnings and windings, to expose all the duplicity and artful prevarications which runs through 124 pages, is a task for which I have neither time nor patience; the little I have said, I am persuaded is sufficient to enable every candid, impartial mind to form a right judgment both of Antinomianism Unmasked, and of the Broken Cistern and the Springing Well.
Before I leave Mr. H. I must observe that he has charged my book with being calculated to injure his ministry, and blacken his character, but he has not laid before the public one passage which contains the most distant allusion to his name and character: he has pronounced it a vile, iniquitous performance; nay, “a damnable harangue against the law, the gospel, and the grace of God:” and yet every extract he brings from it, bears truth, divine truth in its face, and he has not been able to affix any erroneous ideas to my words, but by wresting them from their proper connection and true meaning by the lowest and most subtle arts of prevarication. A man of honour, though destitute of religion, and professedly a heathen, would scorn to stoop so low – would blush at a conduct so unbecoming.
Before I dismiss this part of my subject, I must beg leave to address a few lines to Mr. H’s serious consideration; I do not expect, sir, that these lines will make any suitable impression upon your mind, but whether they do or not, as I am taking a final leave of you, I cannot conclude without putting you in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ, whom you call your master, is a God of consummate holiness, and holiness becometh his house for ever; if you are a servant in his house, you are called to do holy work and that in a holy manner; his cause is holy, and is to be defended with an holy zeal, with holy truth, meekness, and uprightness; nothing else is worthy of so noble a master, and so excellent a cause. Low art and cunning, sophistry and deceit, lies and falshood, slander and defamation, wrath and bitterness, and every evil work, make a sad uncooth figure in the house of Christ, doing the work of Christ – what will the Lord, the Master say to a servant who dares to affront him so much as to press these things into his service, but who hath required this at thine hands, “Will ye speak wickedly for God, and talk deceitfully for him?” Job xiii. 7. It was the boast of the great apostle of the gentiles that he had renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, not handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth “he commended himself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God,” 2 Cor. iv. 2. How far, sir, you have copied so bright an example, your writings sufficiently decide; and I from your writings have fairly proved that you not only have laid aside the moral law as the rule of your conduct, but also that you have broke through the precepts of the gospel, and every tye of truth, justice, and honour. I have laboured to convince you of the impropriety of your conduct, and that with great plainness and faithfulness, and in the spirt of meekness, though without success as to any happy alteration in you. I am now constrained to treat you with a greater degree of sharpness, but I am sure without any bitterness of heart, and I hope without any unjustifiable bitterness of expression; but as I expect you will still remain deaf to the sober voice of truth and reason, I now take my final leave of you; should you write again in answer to this, or to animadvert upon any of my publications; I shall pass you over in silence and take no manner of notice: as to whatever you may judge of me, or whatever elegant compliments you may bestow on me, will give me no manner of concern: while your conduct remains such as it has long been, it sets you beneath my anger, but it insures you a large share of my pity, and an interest in my prayers. You have told us in your Broken Cistern, that if any answer to it appeared from me, you should make your reply to the Rev. Mr. Ryland; you may with equal propriety address your answer to Tippoo Saib, or the great Mogul, those Princes have as much share in writing this Piece, Antin. Un. and my other Pieces, as that gentleman has; however, you may do just as you please, as to that matter, you may say of me just what suits your inclination; I give you a Carte Blanch, fill it up to your own satisfaction; only remember, that if you overleap the bounds of truth, justice, and conscience, “for all these things god will bring you into judgment:” to him I commend you, sincerely wishing that the grace of the gospel may write the holiness of the law upon your heart, that your future conduct may be to the praise of him who is not only the Savior of sinners but also “the righteous God who loveth righteousness.”
I have now done with Mr. H. and am at leisure to make a few observations on Mr. Jones’s (of Reading) answer to my pamphlet entitled Antinomianism Unmasked. I shall not take up much time in considering this piece, as I believe neither myself, nor my readers possess patience enough to trace Mr. Jones minutely through it; I shall content myself with fairly and faithfully extracting some passages from it, to which I shall give no forced meanings, no artful, sophistical comments to misrepresent or injure the author, or his words; I scorn any thing so ungenerous and base, not to say so unchristian and wicked: I will make no reflections upon them but what shall be strictly consistent with religion and justice, truth and honour; and I am persuaded, that when I conclude, every divinely enlightened mind will coincide with me in pronouncing it an incoherent jumble of nonsense, error and blasphemy.
Mr. Jones assures us in his preface that he has good ground for concluding my book was aimed at him, and assigns as a reason for answering of it, the shout of triumph that was raised at Reading, when my book come out – the lovers of truth will always shout when truth is properly defended, and they will always triumph when truth prevails.
He informs us, adverting to the twenty-fifth of Matthew, that he believes the goats at the left hand of the Judge to be as really human persons consisting of body, soul, and spirit, as he does the sheep on the right; see his preface: but in the fourth page of his book, he says, “I ask where do the scriptures testify that Jesus only died for a select number of mankind? I defy M. d. F. and all the world to produce one text that asserts it; and as to sins being the separation between God and innumerable millions of men as well as angels, I may boldly affirm, as it respects the human species, it cannot be true, considered as a proceeding of God against them in law; for God cannot, consistent with his justice, considering the reconciliation made for iniquity, make a law-charge of sin upon man, nor inflict penalty in law upon him as a transgressor,” p. 11. “If this faith is wrought in the heart by an act of divine power, put forth by the spirit of God upon a certain number only, the Antinomian should not be blamed and reflected upon for not having it, because he does not happen to be one of that number, God himself cannot blame him for that,” p. 19.
Viewing these passages in the most candid light, they clearly prove that Mr. Jones believes the unscriptural doctrine of general redemption, that every individual of mankind are equally interested in Christ’s salvation; they are bold affirmations indeed, but how do they coincide with his ideas that the goats on the left hand, will be real identical persons, consisting of body, soul, and spirit, which he has granted? if this be true, they must be a part of the human species, and Christ the judge, will doom them to everlasting fire consequently the whole human race will not be finally saved, and if not finally saved, it is evident they were not redeemed: it is not a great inconsistency to assert the whole human race will be saved, and must be so agreeable to divine justice; and yet to believe that a part of that race really will have their portion with everlasting burning: this is casting a black reflection on the divine Justice, which cannot be done without blasphemy; yet this inconsistency Mr. Jones believes that all will be saved, yet a part will be lost; that God cannot condemn any justly, but yet he will condemn some. “The work,” says Mr. Jones, “of sanctification wrought in the soul, is not, except contemplatively, in the world,” p. 28. He goes on, “Moreover, to speak of the Holy Spirit of God as partook to cause a guilty sense of sin, is in my view, representing the Spirit of God as working in a separate interest from Christ, when the scriptures declare, that in none of his miraculous operations on the pentecost, nor in the apostolic age, should he act any other way than testifying of Jesus in his finished work,” John xvi. 13, 14. “To speak of him therefore, operating upon men by the law and its curse, in any sense is unwarrantable, the scriptures no where giving the least hint of such a thing, who is the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, in his essence and being, but Jesus in his risen and exalted state of glory: hence the Spirit of God is called the Spirit of Christ, yea, Christ himself,” p. 31.
Christian reader, I am sure it must give thee pain to read, as it does me to transcribe so awful a passage as this, if the hair on one’s head, and the flesh on one’s bones were to move at perusing it there would be sufficient reason; here is not only the Holy Spirit’s work, but even his very existence denied: I shall pass it over without any further comment, it speaks for itself. “Rom. viii. 7” says Mr. Jones, “is brought by M. d. F. to prove the necessity of a partial renewal in the faculties of man, but flesh and spirit in the eighth chapter of Romans, intends law and gospel,” p. 51. The text in Romans is, “because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be:” by the carnal mind here, to understand the gospel, must argue a very carnal and dark mind indeed, but when people deny the work and being of the Holy Spirit, it is not to be wondered at if he leaves them to misunderstand his sacred oracles; the scriptures must be a sealed book to such.
“If imparted holiness in man in contended for, as a dark and difficult thing to be made out satisfactorily to the mind, I own it is so and can be no otherwise, as God never determined any way, about such a thing, nor as much as mentioned it once by any of the prophets or apostles; and no man to this day, could ever say, with a safe conscience, assuredly and without doubt, that he possesses it; but M. d. F. makes quite sure that this passage (Isaiah 1. 10) is on her side, and that it proves it possible for a believer in Jesus, “to walk in darkness and see no light,” and in consequence of being reduced to so sad a situation, he is exhorted to “trust in the Lord,” and encouraged “to stay upon his God.” it will be a happy thing for him if he takes heed to the exhortation, and has no more to do with the idol, “imparted holiness.” p. 59.
“Isaiah xlv. 15. cited in defence of a child of light walking in darkness, respects not any hiding of God from the view of his people, by withdrawing his presence, as is the current modern phrase; for to say nothing of the enthusiasm and absurdity of such a sentiment and its impossibility, as long as his revelation of mercy continues, it is evident this passage runs parallel with “How unsearchable is his wisdom, and his ways past finding out.” And is brought in by Isaiah upon a similar occasion to that for which it is brought in by Paul – next Job is brought in, as an experimental proof of the doctrine of walking in darkness, Job xix.8, 23. iii. 8. 10. But it must be evident to every one that considers the 19th of Job, that he is there speaking of temporal calamity and trouble, which he expresses in very sublime figures,” p. 6.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith,” brought also in defence of Christ imparting holiness to the souls of his people,” is evidently parallel with, “Christ in you the hope of glory,” Col. i. 27. intending not a quality infused or communicated under the general vague notion of what is commonly called grace, but that very Christ that was born of Mary, (a virgin espoused to Joseph) in Bethlehem, that was brought up at Nazareth, that died on the cross, and rose again, and ascended far above all heavens.” p. 37.
“According to the popular system, there is scarce a greater mark of true religion, than that of mourning for an absent God, which I conjecture M. d. F. means by the darkness of godly sorrow and desertion. Absent God puts me in mind of, “O Baal, hear us.” p. 72.
“If M. d. F. means that the church of Christ is overwhelmed with the sweet obligation of keeping the law, I must observe, the overwhelming sweet obligation, however great it is, does not effect their keeping it; for according to M. d. F. their best acts, while clogged with a body of sin and death, will be marred and spoiled, and they offend in many things. How persons, confessing themselves to be offenders, can consistently affirm the law their rule of conduct, I cannot understand; for if the law was really their rule of conduct, they would not offend, for the law is holy.” p. 71.
“There is a phrase in use amongst the religious popular, which runs thus, “It is hard work to believe.” I think myself, that it would be very hard work to believe that which has more appearance and evidence of falshood than truth; and I think it would be as hard work for me to believe the being of “heart holiness” in man’s own proper person, as it would be for me to believe papistical transubstantiation; but I never find any difficulty of believing that which is evident to my understanding.” p. 90.
From these extracts, those of my readers who are favoured with an experimental acquaintance with divine things, will easily perceive the nature and tendency of Mr. Jones’s pamphlet; they bear such palpable darkness and gross error upon their faces, that I need take no trouble to point it out: He believes that all the world will be saved, yet, a part of it will be lost – He charges the great Judge with injustice, he denies the work of grace in the heart, and the very existence of the spirit of grace; and therefore it is no wonder that he also denies the moral law being still remaining as the rule of a believer’s conduct. As my pamphlet entitled, Antinomianism Unmasked, has already sufficiently refuted all his arguments – I shall not enter into any discussion of them here, having no time to waste upon such inconsistent and erroneous jargon; – I shall only beg leave to address a few lines to the author, in as brief a manner as possible.
In the first place, Sir, give me leave to observe that though you do not appear to approve of the name of an Antinomian, yet while you preach and publickly defend all the doctrines of antinomianism, you must submit to be viewed in that light, by every judicious christian; and why, since you are so zealously attached to these doctrines, why should you be ashamed of the name which properly belongs to them; it looks like cowardice and want of sincerity; if your cause is a good one, own it boldly; if it is not, give it up at once – you profess to be a christian and you have taken upon you the sacred office of a preacher of the gospel; you are crying, “Hail, Master,” and yet you are betraying the Master into his enemies hands; you treat him worse than the Jews and Romans did; they put him to death, but you cut him in two; you divide him, that is, you separate and divide his salvation; but he has determined it shall go together – he that will not have a whole salvation shall have none at all; I believe you do this ignorantly. I believe you are honest, and that you speak as you think, and in this point of view I pity you sincerely. – I cannot be angry to see a blind man run against a post, this appears to be your situation at present, may he who alone is able, take away the veil of ignorance that covers your mind; may he give you that experimental knowledge of divine truth, which shall make you free; – that heart-holiness which now you despise: in the mean while let me caution you to take heed how you treat the Holy Spirit of God; beware of the seat of the scorner, it is a dangerous place to sit in. – He is a jealous God, and will vindicate his honour, either in a way of justice or mercy; may he visit you in the latter, remember that you have taken upon you the office of a steward, and as such are accountable to God the great housholder: when he will call you to give in your account is uncertain, but that he will, is sure; when he does, if you are found faithful, he will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” But if you are found unfaithful, guilty of having kept back part of your message, of darkening council by words without knowledge, a blind leader of the blind, what will be the consequence? why both shall fall into the ditch: but O blind guide, unfaithful steward, cruel, stupid watchman, the blood of the deceived soul shall be required at thine hands. Ezekiel xxxiii. 8. May you feel the importance of these things, and be so taught by the great and divine prophet of Israel, that in your ministerial office, you may no longer sow the tares of antinomian error, but the pure wheat of evangelic truth. Should I live to see the time, it would be the rejoicing of my heart; but whether I do or not, may it be so; and may the time be hastened when error of every kind, shall fall before the great standard of truth, as Dagon fell before the ark, and when the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus shall cover the earth, as the waters do the sea.
I have now only to address a few thoughts to the serious consideration of my readers, and conclude. We live in an evil time when satan the father of lies, through the instrumentality of numberless agents, is sowing the poisonous seeds of error up and down; there is nothing he hates more than the pure, unadulterated preaching of the whole gospel of Christ, because he knows it is the power of God to the salvation of sinners, and therefore he spares no pains to pervert it, to adulterate it, to mix it with some delusive falshood which may operate as the wild gourds did, which were gathered through ignorance, by the sons of the prophets and bring death into the pot, grieve the Holy Spirit of truth, and cause him to withhold his divine influences, without which, satan knows, ministers might preach to eternity, but no success would follow; a Paul might plant, and an Apollos water, but no divine encrease could or would appear. The spirit of God is the spirit of truth, he will own and bless his own truth, but nothing that is short of that; it was therefore with the greatest propriety, that the Lord Jesus exhorted his disciples to “take heed what they hear:” and there never was more need to recollect and obey that important exhortation than in the present day. Some men who presume to stand forth in the character of preachers of the everlasting gospel, yet dare to rob the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the sum and substance of the gospel, of the brightest jewel in his crown; they take away from him the most glorious character he possesses; they deny his divinity, and thereby take away from the christian the foundation of his hope, nay, the rock of his salvation. Others deny the grand atonement he has made for sin; they rob him of the glory of redemption, and his people of the blessings of it. Some take away the imputation of his righteousness; they rob us of the only robe in which we can find acceptance with a just and righteous God, and consequently of that eternal life which only that can procure for us. Others again step forward, and with unhallowed boldness, take from the church of Christ, his spirit and grace; they deny the necessity, nay, the possibility of a work of sanctification being wrought in the soul, though without such a work, not one soul can ever be capable of enjoying God, or glorifying him, either in earth or heaven: nay, heaven to an unsanctified soul would be the very perfection of consummate misery. These and some who do not go so far as to deny the work of grace in the heart, yet deny that it is the privilege and duty of the believer, the person in a justified state through faith in the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus, to delight in the law of God after the inward man, and to consider it as the rule of his conduct: but these are all thieves and robbers; may we not say to them, “Ye have taken away my Lord, and I know not where ye have lain him.” You see, christian reader, some take away his divinity, some his atonement, some his righteousness, some his spirit and grace, and some his law; may we not ask what sort of christianity, what sort of religion they have left us? Is Christ divided: he is by these men: but blessed be God in the bible, and in the experience of the christian indeed, he is a whole Christ still, the great God our savior, the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption of his people, their all in all for ever. – “Take heed what you hear,” do not adopt any doctrine as truth, merely because it is asserted by such, or such a man; bring every thing you hear to the great touchstone of truth, the word of God; and if it will not bear that test, reject it, though it be asserted by the lips of an archangel: but perhaps some will say, “I am but little able to judge of divine things, I think my minister is better able to judge of divine truth than I am, and it is safer for me to trust to his judgment, than to my own.” O Christian, trust not to thine own judgment, nor yet to the judgment of the greatest man under heaven; to do this, is the ready way to be deceived, to continue “Children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive,” Eph. iv. 14. The promise of Christ is, “If any man will do his (that is, God’s) will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God,” John vii. 17. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John viii. 32. “But ye have an unction from the holy one, and ye know all things,” I John ii. 20. The soul who in simplicity and godly sincerity, comes to the Lord Jesus as the great prophet, to be taught by him, what is truth, in order that knowing his will he may be helped to believe and do it, cannot fail of being thus taught, the Holy Spirit of God will give him such an experimental acquaintance with divine things, that he shall not ask with Pilate, “What is truth?” but they shall be so plain and evident to him, carry such conviction to his mind, and be so engraven upon his heart, that neither men nor devils shall be able to baffle him out of them. The Holy Spirit is the teacher of the ignorant, the instructor of babes, his divine unction will make his lively oracles a light unto the feet, and a lamp unto the paths, so that he who runs in this heavenly way, may read, and the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein.
It was observed by the truly great and excellent Mr. James Hervey, as a good criterion by which to judge of doctrines, that whatever is consistent with divine truth, must have a tendency to three things, first, to exalt the Savior; secondly, to humble and abase the sinner; and thirdly, to promote holiness of heart and life; and this was a very wise and just observation. Reader, if thou art a christian indeed, thou hast renounced thy own righteousness as filthy rags, and art confiding and glorying in Christ alone, as all thy salvation, and all thy desire; and thou art also convinced of the necessity of, and thirsting after a larger portion of sanctification, or heart-holiness; thou delightest in the law of God after the inward man, and desirest that thou mayest be enabled every day and hour to walk in conformity to it: mayest thou go on, renouncing thyself, living upon, and glorying in Christ Jesus, in a growing conformity to his Image, and running in the way of his commandments with an holy joy and divine alacrity, and so an abundant entrance shall be administered unto you into the everlasting kingdom of God our Saviour, to whom be praise ever. Amen.
* By justifying righteousness in this place, I meant both the active and passive obedience of the Saviour: When Paul says, “We are justified by his blood,” he by no means meant to exclude the active obedience of the Redeemer.
† The Christian.
⍬ As a rule of conduct.
⍴ See this objection answered in Antinomianism Unmasked, p. 46.
+ The Rev. Mr. Ryland senior, is as far superior to Mr. H—’s low calumny, as the moon when walking in brightness is to the barking of the village cur; and will I am persuaded, pass it over with equal silence and contempt: his name and writings will be an everlasting remembrance and a sweet savor to thousands, when Mr. H—’s will be swallowed up in the gulph of oblivion.
⍺ As a rule of conduct.
On the final page is the following advertisement:
Published by the AUTHOR.
I. A letter to Mr. Huntington.
II. An Answer to the Daughter’s Defence of her Father, addressed to William Huntington.
III. A serious Address to the Same.
IV. Henry: or, the Wanderer reclaim’d.
V. An Elegy on the Death of Dr. Gifford.
VI. An Hymn of Praise.
VII. British Liberty established, and Gallic Liberty restored: or, the Triumph of Freedom. A Poem.
VIII. Antinomianism Unmasked and Refuted.
Text: Falsehood | Examined at the | Bar of Truth; | or, a Farewell to | Mr. Wm.|Huntington, | and | Mr. Thomas Jones, | of Reading: | Containing Strictures on the | Broken Cistern; | written by the former, | Addressed to the | Rev. Mr. Ryland, Senior. | and upon | Mystery Babylon, |Encompassed for Utter Destruction, | written by the latter. | By Maria deFleury. | “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks,” Acts ix. 5. | London: | Printed and sold for the Author by T. Wilkins, Aldermanbury. Sold also by Mrs. Trapp, No. 1, Paternoster Row; M. Gurney, No. 228, Holborn; and by the Author, No. 31, Jewin-Street. | 1791. Just published.| Divine Poems | and | Essays | on | Various Subjects. | by Maria de Fleury.