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corruption dwelling in their hearts, God would not say they were perfect'

This argument ought to be carefully attended to; and if it shall appear to be against our doctrine of sinful imperfection, then our doctrine must be given up, even if this should unchristian every Presbyterian, and destroy the hope of every Calvinist in the world. I think I have candidly examined the argument, and do not see any thing in it, which militates against our doctrine. The author of the Letters does not hold to the sinless perfection of all the saints. He says, "We acknowledge that some of the saints sometimes sinned; and that all, the best not excepted, are liable to sin." p. 199. The sinful imperfection of some saints is very fully acknowledged, in the book of Doctrines and Discipline, already referred to. As a proof of this take the following passages: "While so much of nature remains even in believers." p. 116. "This consideration may satisfy those who inquire, Why so few have received the blessing?" that is, the blessing of entire sanctification. See p. 121. In the next page the author (Mr. Wesley) is speaking of those believers who are not yet perfect in love, when he says, "And yet we may be sensibly pained at the sinful nature that still remains in us." In the 136th page of the book referred to, the author is very explicit in opposing the idea of complete deliverance from sin, as being considered common to all believers. He says, "Deny that any ever came up to this, if you please: but do not say all who are justified, do." So far as our opponents concede that some of the saints are sinfully imperfect, they no doubt accord with the Bible, our common standard.Here then is a point in which we are agreed, viz. That some of the saints are sinfully imperfect. But in this we disagree ;--that while we say, they are all sinfully imperfect; they say, that some of them are sinlessly perfect. We demand proof of this. They an swer, God has testified concerning Noah, Job, and others, that they were perfect. Now, if we, on our part, can prove that God has testified this about the whole company of believers, even about all the saints on earth, we shall do away the force of their argu

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ment, unless they should shift their ground, and say that sinless perfection is common to all saints. In Psal. xxxvii 37, it is said, "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace." Here it is manifest, that perfect, and upright, are used synonymously. Every upright man is a perfect man. And yet all the friends of the Redeemer are denominated upright. " The upright love thee." Sol. Song i. 4. I would turn the attention of my readers to Prov. ii. 20-22: "That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it." In this passage it is obvious, that good men, the rightceus, the upright, and the perfect, are all only different names for the same sort of men; and also, that these . men are contrasted with the wicked, and with transgressors: This implies, that all who are not perfect, are to be denominated wicked and transgressors. But there is a passage, 1 Cor. ii. 6, which more conclusively proves, that all who are born of God are, in scripture language, perfect. "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect." The apostle had in the preceding chapter shown, that Christ crucified was to the unbelieving Jews a stumbling block, and to the unbelieving Greeks foolishness, but unto them which were called both Jews and Greeks, Christ was the power of God and the wisdom of God. In the beginning of this chapter he tells them, he did not come to them with the excellency of speech, or wisdom, declaring unto them the testimony of God. In connexion with this declaration it is that be says, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect:" As much as to say, Tho' I do not come to preach the philosophy of the schools, nor to make a display of eloquence, still I would not be understood, that the doctrine which we preach is really foolish; it is wisdom, even the height of wisdom,-and so it will appear to real christians, to them who are called, both Jews and Greeks. All these he evidently denominates perfect. In the 14th verse he says; "But the natural nan receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God." The natural man

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is contrasted with them that are perfect; all therefore who are not natural, that is, unregenerate men, are in the language of the apostle perfect.

All the regenerate are also called saints, that is, holy ones. Mr. B. seeks to prove the sinless perfection of David by this, that he said, "I am holy." But this ar

gument, if it be a good one, would prove the sinless perfection of all the christian family on earth; for all the christians who were at Rome, and Corinth, and other places, to whom the apostles directed epistles, are termed saints, or holy persons. All the converted are described as being righteous, just, good, &c. Now all the names, by which the children of God are distinguished from the children of the devii are expressive of that part of their character, wherein they are made to differ. The inspired writers have not been led to invent any means, which shall, at one view, cxhibit both parts of their character, the renewed and unrenew. ed nature. The colleges have invented a compound name for one of their classes, calling them Sophomores, i. e. (being literally translated into English) wise fools. It is no doubt designed to express this idea, that they are, in this period of their academic life. just emerging from ignorance to wisdom, still retaining much of the former. But the scriptures have not furnished us with any such compound terms, to distinguish such as have some holiness mixed with some sin; some wisdom with some folly. All the children of God are denominated wise. The wise, and the fools, in scripture language, comprehend all mankind; tho' some of the wise have much more heavenly wisdom than others, and none of them are wholly free from moral folly.

If it should be asked, What propriety is there in giving such characteristic names to christians, if they are sinfully imperfect; and why do not the scriptures give them a name descriptive of the other part of their character? We answer, 1. That holiness is the thing wherein they differ from their fellow men; therefore, saints, or some other name of the like import, is proper to distinguish them. 2. Holiness, without any mixture of sin, is the point of perfection to which their présent character, according to the covenant of grace, continually tends, and to which it will at length arrive;

therefore they are even now called saints, righteous, and perfect. They may also be spoken of as perfect on account of their being complete in Christ their Head.

But it may be asked, Is not this calculated to mislead the reader of the Bible, if he there reads of some, that they are holy, just, upright and perfect, without any intimation of a draw-back upon this good character, when in reality it means no more, than that they have some holiness, justice and uprightness; and that they have perfection not in degree, but only in nature? To this it may be answered; Let the reader only compare spiritual things with spiritual, and he will not be misled. The saints are never called sinners, when contrasted with the unconverted; but they confess their sinful imperfection. Peter confesses, "I am a sinful man, O Lord." Christ represents the publican as praying,

God be merciful to me a sinner." His heart was right when he made this prayer, and yet he felt that he was a sinner. Agur, who is mentioned in the 30th chapter of Proverbs, was doubtless one of the wise, and yet he confesses, "Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man." The reader of the Bible is often reminded, at the same moment that he reads of the good character of the children of light, that this good character is not brought to perfection in them. If they are represented as fruitful branches, still they need purging, that they may bring forth more fruit. John xv. 2. If they are spoken of as just men, still we are taught, that there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.

The Methodists distinguish christians on earth by the justified, and the sanctified. They consider all as justified, but only a part as sanctified. By the sanctified, they mean those who are wholly freed from sin. These they call perfect. Now we can find no such distinction as this, between christians on earth. We read of one that feared God above many. Neh. vii. 2. David speaks of one who feared the Lord, and delighted greatly in his commandments. Psal. cxii. 1. Christ in the parable of the sower, divides the good ground into that which brought forth thirty fold, sixty fold, and an hundred fold. There are different attainments in knowledge and holi

ness; but there is no intimation that this difference exists between christians; that some have sin dwelling in them, and that others have their warfare with indwelling sin, brought to a close. They are all pressing on to the mark of perfection; but they all confess that they have not yet attained to it. We have seen that the word perfect, is not used in scripture to point out any such class of christians, as are distinguished from their brethren by an entire sanctification. Therefore if the fact exists, other proof of it is to be sought.

II. Another argument, which is much depended on by those who believe in a perfect sanctification in this life, is derived from what is said about the cleansing ef fect of the blood of Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit. The author of the Letters seeks to support his doctrine by such passages as John i. 7-" And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin ;" and Titus ii. 14; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Now, if these passages prove, that any are in this life cleansed from all sin, and redeemed from all iniquity, they will prove, that this is the case with all the justified. Those who are represented as being cleansed at all, are represented as cleansed from all sin; and those who are redeemed at all, are said to be redeemed from all iniquity. But this would be as contrary to their sentiments, as to ours. The truth is, the atonement was made for all sin, and for all sorts of sin-and they who are interested in the blood of atonement, and as it were sprinkled with it, have all their sin pardoned. They also have all their sins mortified, so that there is no Agag, no beloved sin, spared. A cleansing is begun which will eventually make thorough work. The whole redeemed church will be redeemed from all iniquity, and will be presented without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. There is no kind of impropriety in saying, that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin, because this cleansing does not become perfect at If it is perfected during the soul's stay in the body, so that when it leaves the body, it is in a state of sinless perfection, this is a short work; for the period

once.

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