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PREFACE.

The publication of the “Vinilication of Mr. Wesley's Minutes” having been represented by some persons as an act of injustice, the following letter is made public to throw some light upon that little event, and serve as a preface to the Second CHECK TO ANTI

NOMIANISM.

TO THE REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY.

REV. AND DEAR SIR,
“ As I love open dealing, I send

you

the substance, and almost the very words, of a private letter I have just written to Mr. Shirley, in answer to one, in which he informs me he is going to publish his Narrative. He is exceedingly welcome to make use of any part of my letters to Mr. Ireland, concerning the publication of my Vindication, and you are equally welcome to make what use you please of this. Among friends all things are, or should be, common.

I am, Rev. and dear Sir, " Yours, &c.

“ J FLETCHER." « MADELEY, Sept. 11, 1771."

TO THE HON. AND REV. MR. SHIRLEY.

“ REV. AND DEAR SIR,

“ It is extremely proper, nay, it is highly necessary that the public should be informed, how much like a minister of the Prince of Peace, and a meek, humble, loving brother in the gospel of Christ you behaved at the Conference. Had I been there, I would gladly have taken upon me to proclaim these tidings of joy to the lovers of Zion's peace. Your conduct at that time of love, is certainly the best excuse for the hasty step you had taken ; as my desire of stopping my

Vindication, upon hearing it, is the best apology I can make for my severity to you.

“ I am not averse at all, Sir, to your publishing the passages you mention, out of my letters to Mr. Ireland. They shew my peculiar love and respect for you which I shall at all times think an honour, and at this juncture shall feel a peculiar pleasure, to see proclaimed to the world. They apologize for my calling myself a lover of quietness, when I unfortunately prove a son of contention : And they demonstrate, that I am not altogether void of the fear, that becomes an awkward, unexperienced surgeon, when he ventures to open a vein in the arm of a person for whom he has the highest regard. How natural is it for him to tremble, lest by missing the intended

vein, and pricking an unseen artery, he should have done irreparable mischief, instead of an useful operation.

“ But while you do me the kindness of publishing those passages, permit me, Sir, to do Mr. Wesley the justice of informing him, I had also written Mr. Ire d, that “whes • ther my letters were suppressed or not, • the Minutes must be vindicated that Mr.

W. owed it to the Church, to the real Protestants, to all his Societies, and to his own * aspersed character ;-and that, after all, the • controversy did not seem to me, to be so • much, whether the Minutes should stand as whether the Antinomian gospel of Dr. • Crisp should prevail over the practical Gos‘pel of Jesus Christ.'

“I must also, Sir, beg leave to let my vindicated Friend know, that in the very letter where I so earnestly .entreated Mr. Ireland to stop the publication of my letters to you, and offered to take the whole expence of the impression upon myself, though I should be obliged to seil my last shirt to defray it, I added that if they were pub• lished, I must look upon it as a necessary evil or misfortune;' which of the two words I used, I do not justly recollect: A misfortune for

who must appear inconsistent to the world: You, Sir, with your Sermons, and I with my Title-page; and nevertheless necessary to vindicate misrepresented truth, defend an eminent minister of Christ, and stem the torrent of Antinomian

you and me,

ism.

It may not be improper also, to observe to you, Sir, that when I presented Mr. Wesley with my Vindication, I begged he would correct it, and take away whatever might be unkind or too sharp; urging, that, though I meant no unkindness, I was not a proper judge of what I had written under peculiarly delicate and trying circumstances, as well as in a great hurry; and did not therefore dare to trust either my pen, my head, or my

heart. He was no sooner gone, than I sent a letter after him, to repeat and urge the same request; and he wrote me word, he had 'expunged every tart expression. If he has, (for I have not yet seen what alterations his friendly pen has made,) I am reconciled to their publication; and that he has, I have reason to hope from the letters of two judicious London friends, who calmed my fears lest I should have treated you with unkind

ness.

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« One of them says, I reverence Mr. Shirley for his candid acknowledgement of • his hastiness in judging. I commend the - Calvinists at the Conference for their justice 'to Mr. Wesley, and their acquiescence in " the declaration of the Preachers in connec« tion with him. But is that Declaration, however dispersed, a remedy adequate to the evil done not only to Mr. Wesley, but to the cause and work of God? Several

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