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REV. JOHN FLETCHER,
Vicar of Madeley, Shropshire.
PUBLISHED AND SOLD BY S. THORNE,
PROSPECT-PLACE, SHEBBEAR, NEAR HATHERLEIGH ; ALSO BY ALL THE ITIN-
ERANT PREACHERS IN THE BIBLE CHRISTIAN CONNEXION; AND IN
AN EQUAL CHECK
PHARISAISM AND ANTINOMIANISM CONTINUED:
BEING THE FIRST PART OF THE
SCRIPTURE SCALES, To weigh the Gold of Gospel-Truth;—To balance a multitude of opposite Scriptures ;-To prove the Gospel-Marriage of Free-Grace and FreeWILL :- And restore primitive Harmony to the Gospel of the day.
WITH A PREFACE, Containing some Strictures upon the Three Letters of Richard Hill, Esq.,
which have been lately Published.
BY A LOVER OF THE WHOLE TRUTH AS IT IS IN JESUS.
“How is the most fine Gold ehanged !-Take heed that ye be not deceived: For many shall
come in my name, saying, I am Christ” doctrinal:-"I am Christ,” moral:-But, “To the Law, and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no Light in them,” (or at least because) their “Wine is mixed with water, and their Silver is, (partly] become dross.”—BIBLE.
It is the Author's desire, that the following pages should be considered as written for all those whom they exactly suit. And in order to this, he informs the reader, that in general, Zelotes,-represents any zealous solifidian, who, through prejudice, looks
upon the doctrine of Free-will as heretical.
Honestus, -any zealous moralist, who, through prejudice also, looks upon the doctrine of Free-grace, as enthusiastical.
Lorenzo,--any man of sense, yet unsettled in his religious principles.
Candidus, -any unprejudiced enquirer after Truth, who hates bigotry, and would be glad to see the differences among Protestants settled upon rational and scriptural terms.
A Solifidian is one who maintains that we are completely and eternally saved [sola fide] by sole faith,—by faith alone ; and who does it in so unscriptural a manner as to make good works unnecessary to eternal salvation; representing the Law of Christ as a mere rule of life: and calling Legalists, Pharisees, or Heretics, all those who consider that law as a Rule of Judgment,
The Author of the Checks has promised to his readers an answer to the Rev. Mr. Toplady's piece, entitled, More Work for John Wesley. His reason for postponing the finishing of that part of his Logica Genevensis, was the importance of the Equal Check, which closes the controversy with Mr. Hill. He saw life so uncertain, that, of two things which he was obliged to do, he thought it his duty to set about that which appeared to him the more useful. He considered also, that it was proper to have quite done with Mr. Hill, before he faced so able a writer as Mr. Toplady. And he hoped, that to lay before the judicious a complete system of truth, which like the sun, recommends itself by its own lustre, was perhaps the best method to prove that error, which shines only as a meteor, is nothing but a mock-sun: However he fully designs to perform his engagement in a short time, if his life be spared.
Madeley, November 12th, 1774,
A PREFATORY EPISTLE, &c.
injudicious, inconsistent, over-doing fathers.
The Reformers seeing, that at this rate, PREFATORY EPISTLE
there would be no end of the controversy,
protested three things in general : 1. That HUMBLY ADDRESSED
right reason has an important place in mat
ters of faith : 2. That all matters of faith TO THE TRUE PROTESTANTS
may, and must be decided by scripture,
understood reasonably and consistently with IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
the context : And, 3. That antiquity and Containing some remarks upon the distinguish. fathers, traditions and councils, canons and
ing character of the true Protestants, and the churches, lose their authority, when they upon the contrary disposition.—True Protes. depart from sober reason and plain scripture. tants are chosen judges of the Doctrines ad. These three general Protests are the very vanced in this book. --Å sketch of the Au- ground of our religion, when it is contradisthor's Plun.-Obserrations upon the manner tinguished from Popery. They who stand to in which it is executed.-General directions them deserve, in my humble opinion, the to the Reader.-True Protestants are encour. title of true Protestants : They are, at least, aged to protest against religious absurdities, the only persons to whom this Epistle is and unscriptural impositions : The Author inscribed. enters a double protest against the Antino- If the preceding account is just, true Protesmian and Phurisaic gospels of the day ;- tants are all candid ; christian candour being and continues to express his love and esteem nothing but a readiness to hear right Reason for the good men, who, through the force of and plain Scripture. Sincerely desirous to prejudice, espouse and defend those partial prove all things, to hold fast that which is gospels.
good, and to approve things which are excel.
lent. Protestants then are never afraid to BRETHREN AND FATHERS,
bring their creed to a reasonable and scriptural Ye know how hard the Roman- test. And, conscious that the mines of ists fought for their errors at the time of the natural and revealed religion are not yet exReforination. They pleaded, that antiquity, hausted, they think with the Apostle, that if synods, councils, fathers, canons, traditions, any man supposes he has learned all that he and the church were on their side: And should know, “ he is vainly puffed up in his they go obscured the truth by urging scrip- fleshly mind, and knows nothing yet as he ture-metapbors, and by quoting unguarded ought to know.” passages from the writings of the fathers, Hence it is, that of all the tempers which that thousands of simple souls knew not true Protestants abhor, none seems to them which of the contending parties had the truth more detestable than that of those Gnostics; on its side. The great question debated in those pretenders to superior illumination, those days was, whether the host, that is the who under the common pretence of orthodoxy bread consecrated by the priest in the Lord's or infallibility, shut their eyes against the supper, was to be worshipped as the identi. light, think plain scripture beneath their cal body of our Lord. The Roinanists pro- notice, enter their protest against reason, duced Christ's own words, Take and eat, steel their breast against conviction, and are this is my body :- This is my blood ; drink so rooted in blind obstinacy, that they had of it.-Except you eat my flesh and drink my rather hug Error in an old fantastic dress, bloud, ye have no life in you. The Reforni• than embrace the naked Truth, newly emerg. ers answered, That those expressions being ing from under the streams of prejudice :figurative, it was absurd to take them in a impetuous streams these, which the dragon literal sense ; and they proved that assertion casts out of his mouth, that he may cause the by appeals to reason, and to the scriptures, celestial virgin, to be carried away by the where the coosecrated bread is plainly called food, Rev. xii. 15. Alas ! how many probread. The Romanists replied, that in mat- fessors are there, who like St. Stephen's ters of faith we must set aside reason : And opponents, are both judges, and executioners, some of them actually decried it as the great- although neither able to resist, nor willing est enemy to faith ; while others continued to admit the truth ; who make their defence to produce crude quotations from all the by stopping their ears, and crying out, the