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to the end of my days, acknowledge it as the greatest obligation that any person can confer on me; if, in the spirit of meekness, he will point out to me any error or enthusiastical delusion into which I have fallen, and by sufficient arguments convince me of it. I trust that my earnest desire to discover “ the truth as it is in Jesus,” has not 'abated in its influence: and that I still retain the same disinterested resolution to embrace it and adhere to it, with which I set'out. Still am I solicitously fearful of being betrayed, by warmth of spirit, and by the deceitfulness of my heart, into erroneous opinions. But clamour and reproach, objections and arguments brought against sentiments I detest, or consequences which I cannot see to be fairly deducible from our doctrines; or such reasonings as set one divine attribute at variance with another, make one part of the Bible contradict another, or exalt the human understanding upon the tribunal, and arraign and condemn revealed mysteries at her presumptuous bar ; will have no weight at all with me, or with any who ever “ knew the grace of God in truth.”
And now, beloved reader, let me conclude, with leaving it upon thy conscience to search for the truth of the gospel in the study of God's word, accompanied by prayer, as thou wouldst search “ for hid treasure.” I give thee this counsel, expecting to meet thee at the day of judgment, that our meeting may be “ with joy and not with grief:” may the Lord incline thee to follow it with that solemn season full in view! Time how short! eternity how long ! life how precarious and vanishing! death how certain! the pursuits and employments of this present life how vain, unsatisfying, trifling, and vexatious God's favour and eternal life how unspeakably precious! His wrath, the never-quenched fire, the never-dying worm, how dreadful !-Oh! trifle not away the span of life, in heaping up riches, which shortly must be left for ever, and which“ profit not in the day of “ wrath :” in such pleasures and amusements as will issue in eternal torments; or in seeking that glory, which shall be swallowed up in everlasting infamy. Agree with me but in this,—that it is good to redeem precious time, to“ labour for the “ meat that endureth unto everlasting life,” and to attend principally to “ the one thing needful :" take thy measure of truth, as well as duty, from the word of God; be willing to be taught of God; meditate on his word day and night; let it be “ the light of thy feet, and the lantern of thy paths ;” and, in studying it, “lean not to thine own
understanding;” trust not implicitly to expositors and commentators, but ask wisdom and teaching of God: be not a Felix, saying to thy serious apprehensions about thy soul, way
for this time, when I have a convenient season I will call for thee;" lest death and judgment come before that season and be not an Agrippa, almost persuaded to be a Christian ; but seek to be altogether such as the primitive Christians were : I say agree but with me in these reasonable requests, and we shall at length agree in all things; in many, in this world ; in all when we hear the Son of God address us in these rejoicing words, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit “the kingdom prepared for you from the founda
“ Go thy
tion of the world.”—May the Lord vouchsafe unto the writer, and to every reader, of this narrative, " that wisdom which is from above;" that teaching of his Holy Spirit, which guides into the ways of peace; that faith, which justifies, and works by love ; that peace of God which passeth understanding; and that measure of sanctifying and strengthening grace, which may enable each of us to be
“ stedfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, as knowing “ that our labour shall not be in vain in the “ Lord !"
NOTE, Page 48. A short paragraph is here omitted, in which the author, as many others have done, quotes Hooker as saying, “ As for “ such as hold with the church of Rome, that we cannot be “saved by Christ alone without works, they do, not only by "a circle of consequence, but directly, deny the foundation of , “ faith ; they hold it not, no, not so much as by a thread.” This quotation is from Hooker's Discourse of Justification, 19; but to any one who will take the pains to examine that discourse, with a view to this particular point, it will be evident that the words are not intended to convey Hooker's own sentiment.
In the first place, they do not contain his doctrine. He is
intaining the possible salvation of numbers of “ our fathers “ infected with popish errors and superstitions :” ($ 10, &c.) which he does especially upon the principle, “ that heresy is “heretically maintained (only) by such as obstinately hold it, “ after wholesome admonition;" whereas " many there were
amongst our fathers, who, being seduced by the common error “ of the church of Rome, never knew the meaning of her here“ sies." ( 11 and 20.) Thus, having, in sections 20 and 21, pointed out “ many ways " in which, even if this proposition," quoted above from section 19, “ were true,” we might yet “hope
" that thousands of our fathers which lived in popish super“ stition might be saved;" he comes, in section 22, to put the question, “ But what if it be not true? What if neither that of “ the Galatians, concerning circumcision, nor this of the church “ of Rome, by works, be any direct denial of the foundation, as “it is affirmed that both are ?” In short it was the doctrine of his opponents, that the church of Rome denied the foundation of faith“ directly;" while he maintained that she denied it only “ by a circle of consequence.”
This is made still more evident by his proceeding, in answer to the question which he has just proposed, to enquire, first,' ( 23.) “ What the foundation of “ faith is ?" and then, ($ 24, 25.) “ What is directly to over“ throw it?” in answer to which last inquiry he comes to the conclusion, that “ all infidels deny the foundation of faith di“ rectly: by consequent, many a Christian man, yea, whole “ Christian churches denied it, and do deny it at this present
day.” Accordingly (in the second place,) if we recur to section 19, we shall find that the whole of that section, beginning “ But we wash a wall of loam,” is no other than Hooker's statement of the objections of his opponents—those“ zealous," or as perhaps we might call them, ultra-protestants, by whom, as is observed in the next paragraph but one of the “ Force of “ Truth,” Hooker was put upon his defence” for making “ unwarrantable concessions” to the church of Rome. And hence the very next words to those which have given occasion to this note, are (at the opening of $20,) “ This, to my re“ membrance, being all that hath been opposed with any coun“ tenance or shew of reason, I hope, if this be answered, the
cause in question is at an end.” And the reader of Hooker's discourse will find that he frequently thus introduces the objections of his opponents in order to answer them, in a manner that might lead, on the first view, to the supposition that he was proposing his own sentiments.
But let it not be supposed that the mistake into which the author has fallen, in this particular, at all affects the question of Hooker's doctrine concerning justification : it regards merely the point of the church of Rome's denying the foundation of faith “ directly," or denying it only “by consequence." J.S.