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far from considering himself as possessing any holy disposition, appears as a criminal deserving of destruction; and who dare not lift up his eyes to heaven, even when he cried for mercy. Mr. Scott replies, "The question is not in what light the publican viewed himself, but whether there was nothing in his spirit intrinsically better than in that of the boasting Pharisee; and whether his self-abasing cry for mercy was not an exercise of true holiness? That it sprang from humility and contrition, and was not extorted by mere terror, the Lord himself testifies. 'I tell you that this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other; for every one that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' This testimony ought to be decisive."
Finally: Mr. Booth suggests, that if there be any holiness previous to justification, those characters in whom it is found may be justified, if not wholly, yet in part by their own righteousness. Mr. Scott replies, by alleging a principle in which we suppose all Calvinistic divines were agreed; namely, that no degree of good whatever in creatures, who have once broken the divine law, can in the least avail towards their justification; and that a renunciation of our own righteousness, imaginary or real, is of the essence of faith in Christ.
We have felt much interested in this serious discussion. The parties appear in some few instances to have mistaken each other's meaning, as is commonly the case more or less in controversial writings. On the one hand, the question is not whether a carnal heart will, of its own accord, believe in Christ, but whether it does so, under divine influence, without any predisposition of the will? On the other hand, the question in dispute is not concerning a warrant, but a willingness to believe; nor in what light it is necessary for a sinner to view himself in his application for mercy, but of what manner of spirit it is necessary for him to be, ere he will rightly apply? Neither do we perceive how regeneration by or without the word, can affect the question at issue between these writers, which
is, whether regeneration presede faith? If faith were understood as a belief of the word, and the mind were allowed to be passive in it, it possibly might: but if the belief of the word be not faith, but as Mr. Booth considers it, something "presupposed," the influence of the word upon the soul, whatever it is, and in whatever way, one should think must be the same. The mind is certainly active in its "reliance" on Christ for salvation, and such activity we think Mr. Booth will not assert to be the effort of an unregenerate heart.
We earnestly wish those who may have read one of these treatises to read the other, and any thinking serious mind will find himself amply repaid for the perusal.
REVIEW OF MR. BOOTH'S TREATISE ON FAITH.
Glad Tidings to perishing sinners; or the genuine Gospel a complete Warrant for the ungodly to believe in Jesus. By the Rev. ABRAHAM BOOTH. Second edition, improved.
WE have already expressed our sentiments of this work, in reviewing Mr. Scott's "Warrant and Nature of faith," which was occasioned by it. In the present edition Mr. Booth has made some alterations, and some additions. We observe with pleasure, he has expressed himself with more caution, as to the nature of faith in Christ, than before. In the first edition, "a firm persuasion of his being the promised Messiah, and that the christian religion is from God," was excluded from the definition, and only considered as something "presupposed" in believing. But in this it is "a general persuasion" of these truths only, that is thus represented. This we consider as unexceptionable.
We wish Mr. Booth had been equally attentive in his revision of chap. iii. wherein the objections are answered. As to those persons who plead for any disposition of heart being necessary to warrant an application to Christ, whoever they are, we have nothing to say in their behalf. But those who, with Mr. Scott, consider regeneration as necessary, in the nature of things, to believing, whether they be right or wrong, appear to be rather unfairly treated. Far be it from us to accuse this truly respectable writer of wilful misrepresentation: we are persuaded he is incapable of it. But it is no uncommon thing for an author in the heat of controversy, to be insensibly warped from the line of a fair and impartial statement of the sentiments of his opponent.
"It is objected," says Mr. Booth, "though it be not necessary for a sinner to know that he is born again, before he believe in Jesus Christ; yet regeneration itself must presede faith; for the heart of a sinner being naturally in a state of enmity to the divine character, he will never turn to God, while in that situation, for pardon and acceptance." To this he answers, "Before this objection can justly be considered as valid, it must be evinced not only that regeneration presedes faith, but also that it is necessary to authorise a sinner's reliance on Jesus Christ." But why must this be first evinced? The objection, from whomsoever Mr. Booth took it, appears manifestly, not expressive of the sentiments defended by Mr. Scott, who, we are persuaded, detests the idea of any holy disposition authorising a sinner to come to Jesus. He contends however, that without it he never will come. state of mind may be necessary, in the nature of things, to our coming to Christ, which is no part of the "warrant" for so doing. Mr. Booth himself admits a speculative change of mind, with a conviction of sin, to be so; yet as he elsewhere justly observes, "It is not under the notion of being deeply awakened in conscience, that sinners must first believe in Jesus, but as transgressors." Why then may not Mr. Scott, or those of his sentiments, be
allowed to argue in the same manner, with respect to the necessity of a change of heart? Why does Mr. Booth insist, that if it be necessary at all, it must be necessary for the purpose of authorising him to come? Finally: Why does Mr. Booth allege, that a persuasion of regeneration being necessary to believing, must lead the awakened sinner to "investigate the state of his own soul in search of it, with much the same solicitude as if he considered it as a warrant." All these allegations appear to be equally directed against what he allows, as what he opposes. If conviction of sin may be necessary to believing, without affording any warrant for it, so may regeneration; and if a persuasion of the necessity of regeneration to believing must needs turn the attention of a sinner into a wrong direction, such a persuasion respecting conviction of sin must have the same effect.
Again: "It has with confidence been demanded," says Mr. Booth, "whether, if sinners must not come to Christ as penitent, and as possessing a holy disposition, they are to believe in him as impenitent, and as under the reigning power of their depravity. But this, adds he, like some other objections, is not pertinent; for the question is, what is the proper warrant for a sinner to believe in Jesus." Now, so far as we are able to judge, the contrary of this is true. The question here was not, what is the proper warrant for a sinner to believe in Jesus, for that is not a matter of dispute; but what is the state of his heart in the moment when he first believes.—Mr. Booth's answer appears to be evasive. "A sinner must come, he says, neither as penitent nor as impenitent, but merely under the character of one that is guilty and perishing." The term as, in the objection, means the character which the sinner actually sustains; but in the answer, the character under which he is to view himself. It is thus, as we apprehend, that the objection is evaded. Mr. Booth would not say, that in coming to Christ, a sinner is neither penitent nor impenitent; yet to meet the objection, it is necessary he should say so; for the question is not,
under what character a sinner must view himself in coming to Christ; but what character, with regard to penitence or impenitence, does he actually sustain.
It is not our object to enter into Mr. Booth's reasonings, many of which we cordially approve; but barely to state in a leading instance or two, wherein we conceive he has not done justice to his opponents.
We shall only add a few remarks on the Note, which Mr. Booth has introduced in answer to a passage in our review of Mr. Scott's "Warrant and Nature of Faith." It was our design in that review to give, according to the best of our capacity, an impartial statement of the controversy. Mr. Booth however complains of a misapprehension of his meaning. He had said, "If sinners be reconciled to God and his law, previous to believing in Jesus, and to a view of revealed mercy, it should seem as if they had not much occasion either for faith, or grace, or Christ. Because it must be admitted, that persons of such piety are already accepted of God, bear his image, and are in the way to heaven." On this passage we remarked, Mr. Booth suggests, that if there be any holiness previous to justification, those characters in whom it is found may be justified, if not wholly, yet in part, by their own righteousness.' We have no objection to acknowledge, on a revision of the subject, that Mr. Booth's words did not warrant this construction; and that it had been better to have quoted them as they were, than to have put any construction upon them. We also acquit Mr. Booth of the obnoxious principle alluded to. But having said thus much, it requires to be added, that the above sentence, which stands the same in both editions, appears to be far from defensible.
First: It represents that which is pleaded for only as an essential part of a sinner's return to God, as though it were a whole, sufficient to denominate his character as a saint, and to prove his being accepted of God. It was necessary that the prodigal should 'come to himself,' justify his father's conduct, and condemn his own, before and in