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of its purifying, compared with the period of its sinless perfection in eternity, is but as a moment.*

IH. It is an argument used by our antagonists to support their doctrine, That God commands men to be perfeet. This argument is used in their book of Doctrines. We will acknowledge, that this argument proves that sinful imperfection is wrong, and, on our part, inexcu sable; and that sinless perfection is our duty. But if because it is commanded, it be proof that it will exist, it must be proof in favor of the perfection not of a part only, but of all; for surely all are required to be perfect. Christ said to all his disciples, "Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect." The command of the God of Israel to his people was to extirpate the nations of Canaan; To leave neither root nor branch. This was their duty. But the wisdom of God is represented as being concerned in their not wholly driving them out at once. A remnant of these nations was left to prove Israel, and to be the means of their learning war. This is a striking illustration, if not a proof, of our doctrine. It was probably designed as a typical representation of it. The command is plain to the spiritual Israel, to destroy the spiritual Canaanites, and give them no quarter. But the wisdom of God sees fit to leave some of these spiritual Canaanites in the land, to prove Israel, and make them know what is in their heart. By their means they are taught the spiritual warfare. While they fight under the Captain of salvation, the Lord by little and little drives out these devoted nations, until at length they are entirely dispossessed.

In their book of Doctrines which is before me, I find this is considered by them, as an unanswerable argument in favor of their doctrine of perfection; That the scripture furnishes us with prayers in favor of it. Το

*In the book of Doct. and Discip. the question is asked, “Is there any clear spiritual premise of this, 'That God will save us from all sin ? Ans. There is. Psalm cxxx. 8. He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities." We believe as fully as they can, that the Lord will redeem Israel from all his iniquities; and in consistency with this, we believe, that not a single Israelite will be perfectly redeemed from all iniquity until the end of life.

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See Deut. vii. 2. Jud. iii. 1. Psal. cvi. 34, 35.

this argument we briefly reply, 1. It is our duty to be perfectly holy now. It is our duty to desire it, in itself considered, and in its immediate consequences. These desires we may express to God in way of prayer. They are a relief to the soul burthened with the body of death, and they are pleasing in the sight of God. Jesus Christ prayed that the cup inight pass from him, which nevertheless he must drink. But, 2. The prayers which are put up for the sinless perfection of the saints, will be heard. The Church has always been praying for the universal reign of Christ; but all past generations have died without the sight; Yet their prayers are not lost. All the holy petitions, which have been put up before the throne of grace for this glorious day, will help to hasten, and bring it forward in its time. So all the prayers, which christians put up for entire deliverance from sin, will be heard. God will hasten this work. in its own time. And it will be but a little time, after any begin to pray against their inward foes, before they will all be slain, and never again break their peace.

IV. It is a very serious objection, which our antagonist brings against our doctrine, that it exceedingly favors the cause of wickedness. Perhaps there is not one of my Eight Sermons, on which his remarks are so severe in this respect, as the sermon on the sinful imperfection of good men in this life. Of all which he says on this subject, I need quote but a sentence or two, to convince the reader. "If," says Mr. B. " mankind are fond of a religion suited to their sinful nature, it is reasonable to suppose that they will seck one that permits them to foster the evils of their heart, such as pride, self-seeking, hardness of heart, unbelief, &c.

If the

reader wishes to see a description of such a system of religion, he may find it painted to the life in your sermon on sinful imperfection" Letters, p. 260. This is a heavy charge; but before we are condemned let us be heard.

We now demand, Wherein does our doctrine favor sin? Do we make void the law? Do we say, it is repealed or abated? Nay, we establish the law. Our op. ponents talk of an easier law than that given to Adam. They speak of that as being rigorous. Mr. B. page 183, says, "It ought furthermore to be observed, that no

man since the introduction of moral evil into our world, is under the Adamic law, (which was a law of works,) for justification and salvation. Neither is it a rule of life or of judgment." He pleads that christians are under the law of liberty. It is manifest that Mr. B's Lettors, and the Methodist book of Doctrine, consider christians under a less strict law, than the law first given to man; for they concede, that if christians were still considered as under that law, they would be sinful-ly defective in their obedience. See Letters, p. 159. Doct. and Discip. p. 127. Suffer me to make some · "This" (i.

as the An

quotations from the page last referred to. e. Adamic law) "is in substance the same gelic law, being common to angels and men. It requir ed that man should use to the glory of God all the pow érs with which he was created.-- And no man is obliged to perform it: God does not require it of any man. For Christ is the end of the Adamic, as well as the Mosaic law."

Now we believe, that the Adamic law, as explained in the quotation just made, obliging us to use to the glo ry of God all the powers with which we were created, is in full force as the rule of life; and just so far as we fall short of this, we view ourselves criminal, and without excuse. We know that those who are under grace, are not at the same time under the law, as a covenant of works; that is, they are not under the penalty of the law; but we view none as freed from obligation to obey the precepts of this original law of righteousness. Their obligation is perfect. This we believe, and this we preach. Does this look like favoring sin? We appeal to all the world to determine, which doctrine is more calculated to favor sin; the one which pleads for the unabated strictness of the law, and which places a perfeet rule before imperfect creatures; or the one which presents an abated law before transgressors and imperfect creatures, and which intimates, that it would now be rigid, to require creatures in their circumstances to be as holy as angels in heaven, or as holy as Adam in Eden. Is not this an easy way to get sin out of the universe; to alter laws, and accommodate them to the character of creatures? If it be proper to alter then at all, why not alter them enough to bring them quite

down to our present character? This would surely get rid of the doctrine of sinful imperfection, not only from the church, but from the world

Mr. B. speaks of our doctrine as permitting christians to foster the evils of their heart, such as pride, &c. Is this a candid representation? Can he point to a place in my sermon on the imperfection of saints in this life, in which saints are encouraged to foster the evils of their heart? Do we make any excuse for the imperfection of believers? On the authority of the word of God, we state the fact that believers are in this life imperfect, even sinfully imperfect. But as well might it be said, that we teach unregenerate sinners to foster the depravity of their hearts, because we tell them from the word of God, that they are depraved, even totally depraved.


It is well known that we believe God has power to produce a complete work of sanctification in the hearts of his people, while they live in this world; but that he has determined not to exert his power to effect this. It was thought therefore to be honorable to the divine character, to show that he might have wise designs to answer by such a constitution of things, as did not provide for the perfect sanctification of his people in this life. According to our doctrine, God has wise designs in having sin in the universe. We fully believe, that our unrighteousness will commend the righteousness of God; and still that God is not unrighteous who taketh vengeance; and that the truth of God will more abound through our lie unto his glory. See Rom. iii. 4--8. We believe that God has wise designs to answer, in never purging all sin out of the universe; and that he has wise reasons, for not purging it all away from his redeemed church while in its militant state. Some of these reasons were suggested in the Sermon ; and they are reasons, which we still believe, will bear the light of scripture; and such as do not tarnish the glory of that Being, who is of purer eyes than to behold evil. Sin exists in the created system. This is a fact. If any think it most for the honor of God, to say, It exists because he could not prevent it let them take that way to account for it but it is not our way; neither do we think it is the way which the divine oracles take to account for it. Here is another fact; The people of


God are in this life sinfully imperfect. That some of them are so, our opponents concede. Why does not God make them all perfect in holiness, without delay ? If any say, it is because he cannot; we do not take this way to account for it. To us it appears much more honorable to the character of the Almighty, and more conformable to scripture, to say; he has wise reasons for not making them perfect in holiness at once. Is it not evidently to be understood concerning the pride of Hezekiah, which he manifested when the princes of Babylon sent ambassadors to inquire about the wonder done in the land; that it was in wisdom, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart? 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. If this was consistent with the holiness of God, then there is nothing in the nature of things, to render it inconsistent, that he should leave all his children in a state of imperfection, as it respects their renovated character, until the whole of their probationary state shall be expired.

I think any one would suppose, from reading Mr. B's. strictures on the sermon under consideration, that the sermon had cautioned christians against having much holiness in this life.* But no such idea ought to

* This remark will very justly apply to what Mr. Fletcher has written on the subject of christian perfection, in what he stiles, The Last Check to Antinomianism. He begins his third Section in this manner: "1 repeat it, if our pious opponents decry the doctrine of Christian Perfection, it is chiefly through misapprehension; it being as natural for pious men to recommend exalted piety, as for covetous persons to extol great riches." To this it may be replied that Mr. Fletcher misapprehends Mr. Hill, and his other opponents, if he thinks they decry sinless perfection, considered as a duty, and the mark towards which we are all to press. His opponents, with all their talents, recommend exalted piety: but they view the most exalted piety on earth, as falling far below the sinless perfection of the heavenly state. According to their understanding of the word of God, it is one symptom of the most exalted piety on earth, to lead the christian to cry out, Not as tho' I had already attained, either were already perfect;- -O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

To convince the reader, that I have not misrepresented the strain of Mr. Fletcher's Last Check, I will refer him to a sentence in Section V. "If," says Mr. F." St. Peter, the first of Mr. Hill's witnesses, does not say a word to countenance Antinomianism, and to recommend Christian imperfection; le

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