« PreviousContinue »
a maintenance. This your lordship insinuates, by applying to us those words of bishop Saunderson, And all this, to serve their own belly, to make a prey of the poor deluded proselytes : for, by this mean, the people fall unto them, and thereout suck they no small advantage.” (p. 15.). Your lordship cannot but know, that my fellowship, and my brother's studentship, afford us more than sufficient for life and godliness: especially, for that manner of life which we choose, whether out of ostentation or in sincerity.
19. But do we willingly "annoy the established ministry," OF "give disturbance to the parochial clergy?” My lord, we do not. We trust, herein, to have a conscience void of offence. Nor do we designedly “prejudice their people against them." In this also our heart condemneth us not. But you seduce their flocks from them." No, not even from those who feed themselves, not the flock. All who hear us attend the service of the church, at least as much as they did before. And for this very thing, are we reproached as bigots to the church, by those of most other denominations.
Give me leave, my lord, to say, you have mistook and misrepresented this whole affair from the top to the bottom. And I am the more concerned to take notice of this, because so many have fallen into the same mistake. It is indeed, and has been from the beginning, the apetov fevdos, the capital blunder of our bitterest adversaries : though how they can advance it, I see not, without loving, if not making a lie. It is not our care, endeavour, or desire, to proselyte any from one man to another, or from one church, (so called) from one congregation, or society to another: (we would not move a finger to do this: to make ten thousand such proselytes,) but from darkness to light, from Belial to Christ; from the power of Satan to God. Our one aim is, to proselyte sinners to repentance, the servants of the Devil to serve the living and true God. If this be not done in fact. we will stand condemned, not as well-meaning fools, but as Devils incarnate. But if it be, if the instances glare in the face of the sun, if they increase daily, maugre all the power of earth and hell: tben. my lord, neither you nor any man beside (let me use great plainness of speech) can oppose and fortify people against us,” without being found even to fight against God.'
20. I would fain set this point in a clearer light. Here are, in and near Moorfields, ten thousand poor souls for whom Christ died, rushing headlong into hell. Is Dr. Bulkely, the parochial minister. both willing and able to stop them? If so, let it be done, and I have no place in these parts. I go and call other sinners to repentance. But if after all he has done, and all he can do, they are still in the broad way to destruction, let me see if God will put a word, even in
True, I am a poor worm that of myself can do nothing. But if God sends, by whomsoever he will send, his word shall not return empty. All the messenger of God asks, is, aos 78 5w; (no help of man !) και γην κινησω The arm of the Lord is revealed. The lion roars, having the prey plucked out of his teeth. And there is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over more than one sin ner that repenteth.'
21. Is this any annoyance to the parochial minister? Then what manner of spirit is he of? Does he look on this part of his flock as lost, because they are found of the great Shepherd ?--My lord, great is my boldness towards you. You speak of the consequences of our doctrines. You seem well pleased with the success of your endeavours against them, because (you say) they “have pernicious consequences, are big with pernicious influences upon practice,-dangerous to religion and the souls of men.” (p. 8. 22.) In answer to all this, I appeal to plain fact. I say once more,
What have been the consequences (I would not speak, but I dare not refrain) of the doctrines I have preached for nine years last past? By the fruits shall ye know those of whom I speak: even the cloud of witnesses, who at this hour experience the gospel which I preach, to be the power of God unto salvation. The habitual drunkard, that was is now temperate in all things. The whoremonger now flees fornication. He that stole steals no more, but works with his hands. He that cursed or swore, perhaps at every sentence, has now learned to serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto him with reverence. Those formerly enslaved to various habits of sin, are now brought to uniform habits of holiness. These are demonstrable facts. I can name the men, with their places of abode. One of them was an avowed Atheist for many years; some were Jews; a considerable number Papists: the greatest part of them as much strangers to the form, as to the power of godliness.'
My lord, can you deny these facts ? I will make whatever proof of them you shall require. But if the facts be allowed, who can deny the doctrines to be (in substance) the gospel of Christ? • For is there any other name under heaven given to men, whereby they may' thus be saved ? Or is there any other word that thus .commendeth itself to every man's conscience in the sight of God?'
22. But I must draw to a conclusion. Your lordship has, withoui doubt, had some success in opposing this doctrine. Very many have. by your lordship's unwearied endeavours, been deterred from hearing at all: and have thereby probably escaped the being seduced into holiness, have lived and died in their sins. My lord, the time is short. I am past the noon of life, and my remaining years flee away as a shadow. Your lordship is old and full of days, having passed the usual age of man. It cannot, therefore, be long before we shall both drop this house of earth, and stand naked before God: no, nor before we shall see the great white throne coming down from heaven, and him that sitteth thereon. On his left-hand shall be those who are shortly to dwell in everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels. In that number will be all who died in their sins: and, among the rest, those whom you preserved from repentance. Will you then rejoice in your success? The Lord God grant it may not be said in that hour, . These have perished in their iniquity : but their blood I require at thy hands.' I am, your lordship's dutiful son and servant,
JOHN WESLEY. LONDON, June 11, 1747.
A LETTER TO A CLERGYMAN.
Tullamore, May 4, 1748. REVEREND SIR, I HAVE, at present, neither leisure nor inclination to enter into a formal controversy : but you will give me leave, just to offer a few loose hints, relating to the subject of last night's conversation.
1. Seeing life and health are things of so great importance, it is. without question, highly expedient, that physicians should have all possible advantages of learning and education.
2. That trial should be made of them by competent judges, before they practise publicly.
3. That after such trial, they be authorized to practise by those who are empowered to convey that authority.
4. And that while they are preserving the lives of others, they should have what is sufficient to sustain their own.
5. But supposing a gentleman bred at the university in Dublin, with all the advantages of education: after he has undergone all the usual trials, and then been regularly authorized to practise.
6. Suppose, I say, this physician settles at — for some years, and yet makes no cures at all; but, after trying his skill on five hun. dred persons, cannot show that he has healed one; many of his patients dying under his hands, and the rest remaining just as they were before he came.
7. Will you condemn a man, who, having some little skill in physic, and a tender compassion for those who are sick or dying all around hin, cures many of those, without fee or reward, whom the doctor could not cure ?
8. At least, did not, (which is the same thing as to the case in hand.) were it only for this reason, because he did not go to them, and they would not come to him?
9. Will you condemn him, because he has not learning? Or has not had an university education? What then? He cures those whom the man of learning and education could not cure.
10. Will you object, that he is no physician, nor has any authority to practise ? I cannot come into your opinion. I think, he is a physician who heals; Medicus est qui medetur : and that every man has authority to save the life of a dying man. But if you only mean, he has no authority to take fees, I contend not: for he takes none at all.
11. Nay, and I am afraid it will hold, on the other hand, Medicus non est qui non medetur : I am afraid, if we use propriety of speech. be is no physician who works no cure.
12. “0, but he has taken his degree of doctor of physic, and, therefore, has authority.” Authority to do what? “Why to heal all the sick that will employ him." But, (to waive the case of those who will not employ him: and would you have even their lives thrown away ?) he does not heal those that do employ him. He that was sick before, is sick still ; or else he is gone hence, and is no more seen.Therefore his authority is not worth a rush; for it serves not the end for which it was given.
13. And surely he has no authority to kill them, by hindering another from saving their lives!
14. If he either attempts or desires to hinder him, if he condemns or dislikes him for it, it is plain to all thinking men, he regards his own fees, more than the lives of his patients.
II. Now to apply. 1. Seeing life everlasting and holiness, or health of soul, are things of so great importance, it is highly expedient, that ministers, being physicians of the soul, should have all advantages of education and learning:
2. That full trial should be made of them, in all respects, and that by the most competent judges, before they enter on the public exercise of their office, the saving souls from death :
3. That after such trial, they should be authorized to exercise that office, by those who are empowered to convey that authority: (I believe, bishops are empowered to do this, and have been so, from the apostolic age :)
4. And that those, whose souls they save, ought, mean time, to provide them what is needful for the body.
5. But suppose a gentleman bred at the university in Dublin, with: all the advantages of education: after he has undergone the usual trials, and been regularly authorized to save souls from death ;
6. Suppose, I say, this minister settles at ---, for some years, and yet saves no souls at all : saves no sinners from their sins; but after he has preached all this time to five or six hundred persons, cannot show, that he has converted one from the error of his ways. Many of his parishioners dying as they lived, and the rest remaining just as they were before he came;
7. Will you condemn a man, who, having compassion on dying souls, and some knowledge of the gospel of Christ, without any temporal reward, saves many from their sins, whom the minister could not save ?
8. At least, did not: nor ever was likely to do it; for he did not go to them, and they would not come to him.
9. Will you condemn such a preacher, because he has not learning? Or has not bad an university education - What then? He saves those sinners from their sins, whom the man of learning and education could not save.--A peasant being brought before the college of physicians at Paris, a learned doctor accosted him, "What, friend, do you pretend to prescribe to people that have agues? Dost thou know what an ague is ?" He replied, “ Yes, Sir, an ague is, what I can cure,
you cannot." 10. Will you object, " But he is no minister ; nor has any authority to save souls ?" I must beg leave to dissent from you in this. I think he is a true, evangelical minister, dvarovos, servant of Christ and his church, who outas daarover, so ministers, as to save souls from death, to reclaim sinners from their sins: and that every Christian, if he is able to do it, has authority to save a dying soul.—But if you only mean, he has no authority to take tithes, I grant it. He takes none. As he has freely received, so he freely gives.
11. But to carry the matter a little farther, I am afraid, it will hold on the other hand, with regard to the soul as well as the body, Medicus non est qui non medetur. I am afraid, reasonable men will be much inclined to think, he that saves no souls is no minister of Christ.
12. “0, but he is ordained, and therefore has authority." Authority to do what? To save all the souls that put themselves under his care. True; but (to waive the case of them that will not: And would you desire that even those should perish ) he does not, in fact, save them that are under his care. Therefore what end does his authority serve? He that was a drunkard, is a drunkard still. The same is true of the sabbath-breaker, the thief, the common swearer. This is the best of the case : for many have died in their iniquity, and their blood will God require at the watchman's hand.
13. For surely he has no authority to murder souls: either by his neglect, by his smooth if not false doctrine, or by hindering another from plucking them out of the fire, and bringing them to life everlasting
14. If he either attempts or desires to hinder him, if he condemns or is displeased with him for it, how great reason is there to fear, that be regards his own profit, more than the salvation of souls !
I am, Reverend Sir,