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vity of those men who were foremost in withstanding the heresy. When Erasmus wrote a book, propagating the same doctrines which are. now maintained by the Methodists, the protestants of that day would not own him them; and he was obliged to go back to the among Pope, who acknowledged his sentiments to be correct.* These protestants considered the supremacy of the Pope, and other forms of worship and church government, of but little consequence in comparison with the great and essential doctrines of grace, for which they contended.
When the victory is gained, and the Lord hath given us rest from the burning stake, shall we sit down contented, and suffer the same error to rise up in the church under a different name, and destroy the souls of our fellow-men? God forbid we know that the carnal heart is ever opposed to these doctrines of the gospel; and when they have lain for a long time dormant in any place, and are first brought into public view, their enemies will gain ground for a little time. lies buried in the dust of this wicked world: it Truth ever must be brought into the light; and the more it is handled, the brighter it will appear, and then, and not until then, will it make its way through an ungodly world. This, we trust, we have seen, in some degree, proved by experiIt was for these reasons, and the follow* See Milner's Church History, cent. 16, chap. 7.
ing that I was induced to invite Mr. B→→→→, the Methodist circuit rider, to meet me in the presence of the people of Haverstraw, and in a humble prayerful manner, to investigate the solemn truths about which we differed in opinion. The invitation was not given with a design to triumph over him in argument, but was designed for the eternal benefit of some of the people within the bounds of my pastoral charge, whose salvation lay near my heart. Some of them had sat under my preaching and received my pastoral visits, until I could perceive they began to attend to instruction; and, I humbly hoped, that by the blessing of God upon the truths of his word, I might one day see the salvation of their souls; but means were found to turn their friendship towards me into another channel, and artfully lead them in such a manner, that they could gain but little religious instruction, except what they got from the Methodists.
In the presence of these people, I wished to have an investigation, that they might have an opportunity of hearing and judging for themselves in a matter of such moment. Although I knew that the hearts of unregenerated men were strongly enlisted against the truths of the gospel, yet I hoped, that all the Methodists were not so far prejudiced, but that their judgments would compel them, in some degree, to yield to the force of truth, or, at least, to abandon that scheme, provided they saw the multi
tude of absurdities which were in it, and which I knew no man living could remove, without becoming a complete Methodist; and, not even then, because it contradicted itself. In this way, I hoped some good might be done for the souls of men, who must be judged at last, not according to their belief, but according to truth.
When I first made the proposition for an investigation to Mr. B. it was my wish to have it attended to immediately, that the minds of the people might not contract any further prejudice, but lie as open to conviction as possible; yet, from some cause or other, it was delayed for a long time. Mr. B. appeared to have many objections to the method of deba ting by questions and answers.
At length, Mr. Kean appeared, who had come from Ireland the fall before, and who professed to be a Methodist preacher: how long he had belonged to that order, we know not; but the reader will judge for himself, when he learns from the debate, that when the Methodist discipline was produced, he inquired of the other, if that were the right book. And when a portion of it was read, he inquired again, if that were in this book," not knowing the discipline of his own church! Besides, he has since told, when was present, that he had once written in favour of that religion. We do not make these remarks for personal re flections; we should have avoided them, if it
had not been necessary, in order that the intelligent reader may better understand some of his answers in the debate. The Roman Catholics are men as well as the Methodists; and, as such, they are entitled to our esteem, and to our pity, if they are labouring under error. Although we do not charge the Methodists with the grosser corruption of popery, yet the dif ference between them, in some of the leading doctrines of the gospel, shall appear before we have done.
I received notice on Saturday afternoon, that Mr. Kean was on the ground at Haverstraw, and ready to meet me on Monday morning at 10 o'clock. The summons was obeyed. Three moderators were chosen. Four clerks took their seats. Two hours were appointed for each of us to ask questions, and receive answers.
The minutes of three of the clerks I have before me, and I have given the debate ac cording to them; the fourth would not let me have his, or I possibly might have added something more. I will not say, that it is entirely correct. There was much said which the clerks have not recorded; but, I presume, I have given every thing which had any bearing upon the questions asked, and, I believe it to be substantially correct; at least, it is as much so as I can get it. Besides, I have read it to several judicious men who were present at the time, and some of them think, (as I do my
self,) that it appears much better now, than it did on the day of debate. I was questioned first. Almost every word that I said in answer to any question, some of the clerks have recorded, because I took pains to make my answers as short and as plain as I possibly could.
The questions put by Mr. Kean to me, and the answers given.
Q. 1. What is a condition?
A. Walker says "It is a quality, temper, state, rank, stipulation."
Q. 2. What does a condition between God and man, made in a covenant, imply? Will not a condition imply thus much knowledge enough to know it; and does not a person know it; and has he not power enough to do it, no matter how he came by that power; and is any other covenant a fair one?
A. Yes; when a covenant is made between two individuals, this is the case; and, when God the Father entered into covenant with the Son, he promised him a seed to serve him, on condition that he would die, and become a propi tiation for sin.
Q. 3. Did not Adam know the forbidden fruit, and had he not power to comply with the terms of the covenant?
A. He did; and had.