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THAT MAXIM, WHICH IS SO ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO THEIR SCHEME, THA'T
IT CANNOT SUBSIST WITHOUT IT, LAID DOWN BY MR. MARSHALL;
THAT IN JUSTIFYING FAITH,“ WE BELIEVE THAT TO BE TRUE WHICH IS
NOT TRUE BEFORE WE BELIEVE IT,"
MR, WILSON'S ARGUMENTS IN ITS DEFENCE,
CONSIDERED AND ANSWERED;
THE WHOLE ANTINOMIAN CONTROVERSY,
AS IT NOW STANDS,
AND RENDERED PLAIN TO THE MEANEST CAPACITY.
" Go through, go through the guies ; prepare you the way of the people ; cast up, cast up the high-way; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.”_sal. lxji. 10.
IN a piece, entitled, “ Letters and Dialogues, upon the nature of love to God, faith in Christ, assurance of a title to Eternal Life," printed at Boston, New-England, 1759, re-printed, London, 1761, Mr. Marshal's account of justifying faith, was taken notice of, viz. That in justifying faith,“ we believe that to be true, which is not true before we believe it ;" and twelve queries were stated on the point. To vindicate that whole system of religion, which is founded in, and results from, this kind of faith, two volumes were printed in London, 1762, containing about 300 pages each ; entitled, Palæmon's Creed revived and examined. By David Wilson. This author, among other things, has undertaken to prove, that in justifying faith, “ we believe that to be true, which is not true before we believe it." The following pages are designed as an answer to this gentleman, on that point. And if that point, which is essential to their scheme, and the root of all the mischief, can be proved to be wrong; their whole scheme is overthrown. This little pamphlet then means to bring to a short issue, a controversy which has been the source of infinite mischief to the souls of mankind.
Bethlem, Jan. 14, 1763.
THE ROOT OF THE REFINED ANTINOMIANISM
OF THE PRESENT AGE.
The principal design of writing on' controverted points, is to assist the reader, by holding forth clear light, to come to a well grounded judgment, touching the point in dispute. And to this end we should distinguish between things that differ, state the point in dispute, with great exactness; and then present to the reader the arguments on the one side and the other, of the question in debate, and leave him to judge for himself. Accordingly, in these pages I shall, 1. Make some needful distinctions; the neglect of which has occasioned no small confusion in this controversy, about the nature of justifying faith. 2. State the question now to be disputed, with great exactness. 3. Offer arguments against, and 4. Consider the arguments in favour of the position, which contains the question in dispute; and then leave every reader to judge for himself. The distinctions to be made, are these,
1. There is an essential difference between justification in the sight of God, and a persuasion in our own minds that we are justified. One is the act of God our judge; the other is the act of our own minds; as is self-evident. God's act must of necessity be, in order of nature, at least before our act. We must be justified before we can know that we are justified. For a thing must exist before its existence can be perceived. To say otherwise, is an express contradiction.
2. We are justified by faith alone, and that whether we know our faith to be of the right kind, or not. But we are assured of our justification, by a consciousness of our faith and other Christian graces, and by knowing they are of the right kind. We are justified without respect to any thing in us, or about us, considered as a recommending qualificatiou ; simply by free grace through the redemption that is in