fund of good nature; of feelings, and sentiments, the most benevolent and generous; and of a heart that melts at every scene and tale of wo. All these qualifications are both necessary and ornamental to a Minister of Christianity. Simplicity, the prominence of which is necessary to consecrate the man of God, and the Minister of religion ; but it is the simplicity of purity, not the simplicity of folly. Mr. Adams's simplicity is that of ignorance of the world.

His eyes were often fixed on the classical, or on the historic page, but the volume of human nature he had never opened. He wanted either the penetration that was necessary to qualify him to discriminate, or the attention to what was passing around him and before him, that was necessary to employ that faculty with success.

He was nearly as little acquainted with the manners and ways of men, as Mr. Fielding was with the peculiar doctrines of Christianity. From this very defect arose a considerable incompetency for dividing the word of truth, had he eren drunk deep into the doctrines of the Gospel. ticular feature of his character is entitled to high respect. Considering himself as the legate of the skies, he would neither bend to the smiles nor the threats of the great, when they were employed to seduce him from his duty; but regardless of consequences, resolutely pursued the path of true honour. But this philanthropic Divine, whom Mr. Fielding unquestionably meant to exhibit as a Minister of the Church of England, as sound and orthodox as he knew how to make him, in all his discourses on the subject of religion, discovers a total ignorance of its fundamental truths, and of their importance and influence in forming the principles and lives of men. He considered Christianity as a republication of the religion

One par

of nature, a second edition of that poble work, with enlargements and improvements, and with motives amplified and extended. Of the universal state of men as sin. ners; of the condemnation to which rebellion against the moral government of God exposes them; of the necessity of a Mediator between them and God; and of the necessity of God's Holy Spirit to restore them to the Divine image, he either had formed no idea, or he teaches those whom he addresses to form none. The figure of the cross, his office laid him under the necessity of often making; but the doctrine of the cross, and the salvation of a guilty world through his Atonement who died

upon it, formed no part of the topics from whence he drew his arguments and motives of action. The Ministry of reconciliation, either as it respects the restoration of man to the favour, or to the image of God, holds no place in his system. With respect to the last, the great promise of the Gospel, the Spirit of God to purify and sanctify the hearts of men, he falls below even Semi-Pelagianism itself. The followers of that system admit the existence, and even the operations of a heavenly Power, though they confine his energies to the assistance, and do not extend them to the formation of our good dispositions. But Mr. Adams does not appear to have known, that the promise of the Holy Ghost has any respect to our times; though he must at his ordination have declared his trust, that he was moved by the Spirit to undertake the sacred office of the ministry. It may perhaps be said that as no sermons of that divine are given in the work to which we refer, it was unnecessary in a profile to fill up the whole lines of the Church doctrine, which is the business of a more didactic composition. To this we must reply, that Mr. Adams, representing a Christian divine, ought to refer to those principles, and to proceed upon them in the instructions he communicates, which are peculiar to the religion whose Minister he claims to be. Were a Mohammedan Iman to occupy a similar place in a work of fancy, written by a Mohammedan, as Mr. Wilberforce observes, we would certainly see those doctrines brought forward which distinguish Mohammedanism from all other religions.

Mr. Adams shows himself so completely ignorant of the Articles of his own Church, as to maintain the doctrine of Justification by Works, in opposition to her own decisive declaration, in the eleventh Article ; which he is supposed to have subscribed. 66 When he (Mr. Whitfield) began to call nonsense and enthusiasm to his aid, and set up the detestable doctrine of faith against good works, I was his friend no longer : for surely that doctrine was coined in hell, and one would think none but the Devil himself could have the confidence to preach it. For, can any thing be more derogatory to the honour of God, than for men to imagine that the All-wise Being would hereafter say to the good and rirtuous, Not. withstanding the purity of thy life ; notwithstanding that constant rule of virtue and goodness in which thou walkedst upon earth, still as thou didst not believe every thing in the true orthodox manner, thy want of faith shall condemn thee ? Or, on the other side, can any doctrine have a more pernicious influence on society than a persuasion, that it will be a good plea for the villain at the last day ;– Lord, it is true I never obeyed thy commandments, yet punish me not for I believed them all?!"*

• Books, Chap. 17.

The doctrine of Faith opposed to Works is, indeed, as Mr. Adams justly pronounces it to be, a detestable one, but it is one which, we suppose, Mr. Whitfield never taught. Genuine Faith contains in it the latent germ from which all good works necessarily spring. It is the root from whence the sap flows and circulates, through every branch, to clothe the tree with blossoms, and to ripen these blossoms into good fruit. To oppose Faith to Works is therefore as absurd as to oppose the suckers of a tree to the fruit it yields. Justification by Faith, and Justification by Works, are indeed opposite doctrines; for though Faith is a vital principle of holiness, it is not in this point of view that it justifies ; but as it apprehends and puts on the Saviour. The Faith which receives the Propitiation set forth in the Gospel, being also the seed of all holy desires, good dispositions, and good works, constitutes an inseparable connexion between Justification and Sanctification, and it is only by the possession of the latter, that our title to the blessings of the former can be vindicated. Mr. Adams seems not to have known, that according to our Saviour's statement, in his intercessory prayer for the whole Church, the Truth is the great means of our Sanctification; and that according to his Apostles' declaration, the hearts of men are purified by Faith in the Truth, and that therefore Mr. Adams teaches a Sanctifi. cation unknown to the Scriptures. The plea which he pats in the mouth of a villain, is certainly an unanswerable argument against Antinomianism ; but as Evangelical religion uniformly teaches the inseparable union of Faith with Holiness, and acknowledges no Faith to be genuine, which does not produce good works, Mr. Adams's objection cannot be brought to bear upon that subject.

[blocks in formation]

Mr. Adams's exhortation to his friend in affliction, which Mr. Fielding represents as “calculated for the instruction and improvement of the Reader," sufficiently shows that the sentiments of this divine are subversive of all Christianity. “You are a man, and consequently a sinner, and this may be a punishment to you for your sins: indeed in this sense it may be esteemed as a good, yea, as a great good, which satisfies the anger of Heaven and averts that wrath which cannot continue without our destruction."* How the temporal sufferings of any human being can satisfy the anger of Heaven, and avert its wrath, is, upon the principles of the Christian Redemption, utterly inexplicable. The doctrine of the Church is, that Christ “made upon the Cross (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world." If any man can make an atonement for his sins, the same thing must be equally in the power of all men; and, upon these principles, the Atonement of Christ instead of constituting the most glorious display of the manifold wisdom, grace, and love of God, is rendered entirely useless and unnecessary. It is no wonder, when those who are unjustly called the Ministers of Christianity use such language, that the ignorant are hardened in their prejudices, being systematically taught to reject the salvation of the Gospel. Upon an occasion of recent date it was stated in the news-papers, that a poor ignorant malefactor convicted of a capital crime, begged the intercession of the Judge for his life, expressing his hope that by the good. ness of his future conduct, he might be able to atone for

• Book ou, Chapter 11.

« VorigeDoorgaan »