The Antinomian Creed
By John Fletcher
"There is no condemnation to them" whether they "walk after the Spirit!" in love, or "after the flesh" in malice; whether they "forsake all" to follow Christ, or like Judas and Sapphira "keep back part" of what should be the Lord's without reserve. Thousands boldly profess justifying faith, and perhaps eternal justification, who reverence the commandments of God just as much as they regard the scriptures quoted in Mr. Wesley's Minutes.
Upon their doctrinal systems they raise a tower of presumption, whence they bid defiance both to the law and Gospel of Jesus. His law says, "Love God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself, that thou mayest live" in glory. "If thou wilt enter into the life" (of glory,) "keep the commandments." But this raises their pity, instead of commanding their respect, and exciting their diligence. "Moses is buried," they say; "we have nothing to do with the law! We are not under the law to Christ! Jesus is not a Lawgiver to control, but a redeemer to save us."
The Gospel cries to them," Repent and believe!" (Mark 1:15,) and just as if God was to be the penitent, believing sinner, they carelessly reply, "The Lord must do all; repentance and faith are His works, and they will be done in the day of His power; and so without resistance they decently follow the stream of worldly vanities and fleshly lusts.
St. Paul cries, "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die." (Rom. 1:13,) "We know better," answer they "there are neither ifs nor conditions in all the Gospel." He adds, "This one thing I do, leaving the things that are behind, I press toward the mark for the prize of my high calling in Christ Jesus-the crown of life. Be ye followers of me. Run also the race that is set before you." "What! say they, "would you have us run and work for life? Will you always harp upon that legal string, Do! do! instead of telling us that we have nothing to do, but to believe that all is done?"
St. James cries, "Show your faith by your works; faith without works is dead already, (James 2:26,) much more that which is accompanied by bad works." "What!" say they, "do you think the lamp of faith can be put out as a candle can be extinguished, by not being suffered to shine? We orthodox hold just the contrary: we maintain both that faith can never die, and that living faith is consistent not only with the omission of good works, but with the commission of the most horrid crimes."
St. Peter bids them "give all diligence to make their election sure, by adding to their faith virtue," etc. (2 Pet. 1:10,) "Legal stuff!" say they, "The covenant is well ordered in all things sure: neither will our virtue save us, nor our sins damn us."
St. John comes next, and declares, "He that sinneth is of the devil." (1 Jn. 3:8,) "What! say they, "do you think to make us converts to Arminianism, by thus insinuating that a man can be a child of God today, and a child of the devil tomorrow?"
St. Jude advances last, and charges them to, "keep themselves in the love of God;" (Jude 21,) and they supinely reply, "We can do nothing." Beside, "We are as easy and as safe without a frame as with one."
With the seven-fold shield of the Antinomian faith they could fight the twelve apostles round, and come off, in their own imagination, more than conquerors. Nay, were Christ himself to come to them incognito, as he did to the disciples that went to Emmaus, and say, "Be ye perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect:" it would be well if, while they measured from head to foot with looks of pity or surprise, some were not bold enough to say with a sneer, "You are a perfectionist, it seems, a follower of poor John Wesley! are you? For our part, we are for Christ and free grace, but John Wesley and you are for perfection and free will."
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