Commend the Truth, Defend the Lie

If words actually mean things, then Augustus Toplady judged John Wesley to be unregenerate:

“It has also been suggested, that ‘Mr. Wesley is a very laborious man;’ not more laborious, I presume, than a certain active being, who is said to go to and fro in the earth, and walk up and down in it: nor yet more laborious, I should imagine, than certain ancient Sectarians, concerning whom it was long ago said, ‘Woe unto you Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte. ‘… Mr. Sellon, moreover, reminds me (p. 128) that, ‘while the shepherds are quarrelling, the wolf gets into the sheep fold;’ not impossible: but it so happens that the present quarrel is not among ‘the shepherds,’ but with the ‘wolf’ himself; which ‘quarrel’ is warranted by every maxim of pastoral meekness and fidelity” (Augustus Toplady, Complete Works, p. 54).

To my recollection a “wolf” is not described in the Bible as a true Christian who is merely muddled or confused.

Evidently Toplady will judge SOME God-haters lost but he will NOT judge ALL God-haters lost. Toplady writes:

“Whilst we are upon the earth, we have need of that remarkable caution which Moses gave the children of Israel (y): Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, for my righteousness, the Lord hath brought me to possess this land …”

(y) I have been informed that, when the news of John Goodwin’s death was brought to his uncle, Dr. Thomas Goodwin, the latter cried out, “Then there is another good man gone to Heaven.” — “Gone to Heaven, Sir?” answered the person; “why, your nephew was an Arminian.” — The Doctor replied “True: he was an Arminian on earth, but he is not an Arminian now.”

Whether John Goodwin went to heaven or not (which is a question too high for sublunary decision), certain it is as I have already observed, that not one inhabitant of the celestial city ever carried a single particle of Arminianism with him into the gates of that Jerusalem. Of every Arminian now living, whose name is in the book of life, it may be truly said, that if grace do not go so far as to make him a Calvinist on earth, glory [i.e. grace made perfect] will certainly stamp him a Calvinist, in the kingdom of God, at farthest” (Toplady, Complete Works p. 361).

The Christian Confession of Faith contradicts Toplady’s assertion that those who perish denying the doctrines of the gospel — as Toplady understood said doctrines — will finally accept them in heaven (I am not implying Toplady held to the true gospel):

B. All for whom Jesus Christ did not die will live eternally in the pit of Hell and will be eternally tormented for their sins. Souls who are tormented in the next life will never suffer enough to even begin to pay for as much as one sin. Scripture rejects the lie that souls in Hell cease to exist or cease to be tormented, as this is a denial that offending the infinitely holy God is an infinite crime deserving of an infinite punishment. Scripture also rejects the lie of Purgatory as well as the lie that those who perish denying the doctrines of the gospel will finally accept them in heaven. [Deu 32:22,41; Psa 9:17; Pro 27:20; Isa 33:14; Dan 12:2; Mat 3:12; 5:22; 7:21-23; 10:28; 11:22-24; 13:41-42; 25:30,46; Mar 9:42-48; Luk 16:23-24,26; Joh 3:36; 10:11,26; 12:48; Rom 2:5-9; 6:23; Gal 3:10; 2Th 1:5-9; Heb 10:26-27; 2Pe 3:7; Jud 6-7; Rev 14:9-11; 19:2-3; 20:14-15]

John Wesley and Richard Baxter both believed their own pet-versions of the damnable-man-exalting-Christ-debasing heresy of universal atonement — with Baxter believing the Calvinist version and Wesley believing the Arminian version. Despite this basic adherence to doctrines of demons Baxter was esteemed somewhat higher by Toplady than Wesley was:

We read of Baxter (who, though heterodox in many things, was a partaker of the one thing needful), that when asked by a friend when he lay on his death-bed how he was, he replied, ‘almost well,’ which a person in the view of opening eternity could never say, unless he found God very precious and found him faithful. Whatever dross this holy man carried about him in this life, it was consumed in his death, and he received into glory. The testimony of glorified spirits above, as it bears weight in it, so it corroborates this truth. Their song is, ‘Faithful and true,’ Rev. xix. 11″ (Toplady, Works, p. 770; underlining mine–CD).

Here is at least one reason (not necessarily the only reason) why Toplady will NOT judge every single God-hater without exception, unregenerate:

“I was awakened in the month of August, 1755, but not, as has been falsely reported, under John Wesley, or any preacher connected with him.

Though awakened in 1755, I was not led into a full and clear view of all the doctrines of grace, till the year 1758, when, through the great goodness of God, my arminian prejudices received an effectual shock, in reading Dr. Manton’s Sermons on the xviith of St. John. I shall remember the years 1755, and 1758, with gratitude and joy, in the heaven of heavens, to all eternity” (Complete Works of Augustus Toplady, pp. 34-35, Sprinkle Publications 1987**)

** Printed verbatim from the first edition of his works, 1794.

Tolerant religionists like Toplady are often cautious of condemning others, NOT from charity, benevolence, or humility towards them, but out of “mercy” to themselves, not being willing to involve themselves in the same condemnation by sharing in the evil deeds of others (see Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11; 2 John 9-11). They must “spare” others in order to “spare” themselves.

Those who claim they were regenerate (saved) despite belief in a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner (Galatians 1:8-9) will NOT judge ALL those who believed in a similar false gospel to be lost. Instead, they will judge them as saved persons and claim humility, charity, and a generous and non-censorious spirit as the reason. In reality this is simply an artifice for self-defense — a defense of the LIE.