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and just comforts which a true martyr receives from above, ar groundlessly applied to the counterfeit.” But this is not enough even to save appearances.
18. You subjoin a truly surprising thought. “It may moreover be observed, that both ancient and modern enthusiasts always take care to secure some advantage by their sufferings,” (p. 40.) O rare enthusiasts ! So they are not such fools neither as they are vulgarly supposed to be. This is just of a piece with the “cunning epileptic demoniacs,” in your other performance. And do not you think, (if you would but speak all that is in your heart, and let us iuto the whole secret, that there was a “compact,” likewise between Bishop Hooper and bis erecutioner, as well as between the ventriloquist and the exorcist.
But what " advantage do they take care to secure ?" A good salary? A handsome fortune ? No; quite another matter; " free 'communications with God, and fuller manifestations of his goodness, (ibid.) I dare say, you do not envy them : no more than you do those' self-interested enthusiasts” of old, who were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection."
19. You proceed to prove my enthusiasm from my notions of conversion. And here great allowances are to be made : because you are talking of things quite out of your sphere : you are got into an unknown world! Yet you still talk as magisterially as if
you were only running down the fathers of the primitive church. And, first, you say, I “ represent conversion as sudden and instantaneous," (r10.) Soft and fair! Do you know what conversion is ? (A term indeed which I very rarely use, because it rarely occurs in the New Testament.) “ Yes, it is, To start up perfect men at once,” (p. 41.) Indeed, Sir, it is not. A man is usually converted, long before he is a perfect man. It is probable, most of those Ephesians, to whom St. Paul directed his Epistle, were converted. Yet they were not come (few, if any) to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.'
20. I do not, Sir, I do not undertake to make you understand these things. I am not so vain as to think it is in my power. It is the utmost of my hope to convince you, or at least those who read your works, that you understand just nothing about them.
To put this out of dispute, you go on, “ Thus faith and being born of God, are said to be an instantaneous work, at once, and in a moment, as lightning. Justification, the same as regeneration, and having a lively faith, this always in a moment,” (ibid.). I know not which to admire most, the English or the sense, which you here father upon me: but in truth it is all your own: I do not thus confound “ faith and being born of God.” I always speak of them as different things: it is you that thus jumble them together. It is you who discover “justification” also to be the “ same as regeneration, and having a lively faith.” I take them to be three different things; so different as not ever to come under one genus. And yet it is true, that each of these, as far as I know,' is at first experienced sue
tlenly: although two of them (I leave you to find out which) gradually increase from that hour.
21. “After these sudden conversions,” say, you, “they receive their assurances of salvation,” (p. 43.) Sir, Mr. Bedford's ignorance in charging this doctrine upon me, might be involuntary, and I am persuaded was real. But yours cannot be so. It must be voluntary, if it is not rather affected. For you had before you, while you wrote, the very tract wherein I corrected Mr. Bedford's mistake, and explicitly declared, “The assurance whereof I speak, is not an assurance of salvation. And the very passages you cite from me, prove the same : every one of which (as you yourself know in your own conscience) relates wholly and solely to present pardon, not to future salvation.
Of “ Christian perfection” (p. 45) I shall not say any thing to you, till you have learned a little heathen honesty.
22. That this is a lesson you have not yet learned, appears also from your following section : wherein you roundly affirm, “Whatever they think, say, or do,” (i. e. the Methodists, according to their own account,) " is from God. And whatever opposeth, is from the Devil.” I doubt not, but Mr. Church believed this to be true when, he asserted it. But this is no plea for you : who having read the answer to Mr. Church, still assert what you know to be false. “ Here we have,” say you, “the true spirit and very essence of enthusiasm, which sets men above carnal reasoning, and all conviction of plain Scripture,” (p. 49.) It may, or may not; that is nothing to me. I am not above either reason or Scripture. To either of these I am ready to submit. But I cannot receive scurrilous invective instead of Scripture : nor pay the same regard to low buffoonery as to clear and cogent reasons.
23. With your two following pages, I have nothing to do. But in the 52d, I read as follows. "A Methodist, says Mr. Wesley, went to receive the sacrament--when God was pleased to let him see a crucified Saviour.” Very well: and what is this brought to prove ? Why, 1. That I am an enthusiast : 2. That I “encourage the notion of the real, corporeal presence, in the sacrifice of the mass.” How so? Why “this is as good an argument for transubstantiation, as several produced by Bellarmin,” (p. 57.). Very likely it may; and as good as several produced by you, for the enthusiasm of the Methodists.
24. In that “seraphic rhapsody of divine love," as you term it, which you condemn in the lump, as rant and madness, there are several scriptural expressions, both from the Old and New Testament. At first I imagined you did not know them; those being books which you did not seem to be much acquainted with. But upon laying circumstances together, I rather suppose, you were glad of so handsome an opportunity, to make as if you aimed at me, that you might have a home stroke at some of those old enthusiasts.
25. The next words which you cite from me, as a proof of my enthusiasın, are, “The power of God was in an unusual manner
present," (p. 61.) I mean, many found an unusual degree of that
of nature. But I still believe, according to the old, scriptural hypothesis, that whenever in hearing the word of God, men are filled with peace and love, God confirms that word by the Holy Ghost given unto those that hear it.'
26. As a further proof of my enthusiasm, you mention “special directions, missions, and calls by immediate revelation,” (p. 67.) For an instance of which, you cite those words, “. I know and am assured, that God sent forth his light and his truth.'” I did know this. But do I say, by immediate revelation ? Not a tittle about it. This is your own ingenious improvement upon my words.
“ However, it was by a special direction. For your own words in the same paragraph are, From the direction I received from God this day, touching an affair of the greatest importance,' (p. 68, 69.) What, are these words in the same paragraph with those, “I know, and am assured, God sent forth his light and his truth?” Why then do you tear the paragraph in two, and put part in your 67th, part in your 68th and 69th pages ? O, for a plain reason: to make it look like two instances of enthusiasm, otherwise it could have made but one at the most.
But you cannot make out one, till you have proved, that these directions were by “immediate revelation.” I never affirmed they
I now affirm they were not. Now, Sir, make your best of them. You add, “Let me mention a few directions coming by way of command-Mr. Wesley says, “I came to Mr. Delamotte's, where I expected a cool reception. But God had prepared the way before me, (p. 69.) What, by a command to Mr. Delamotte? Who told
Not I: nor any one else: only your own fruitful imagination.
27. Your next discovery is more curious still: that “itinerants order what they want at a public house, and then tell the landlord, that he will be damned, if he takes any thing of them,” (p. 69.) I was beating my brain, to find out what itinerant this should be; as ) could not but imagine, some silly man or other, probably styling himself a Methodist, must some where or other have given some ground for a story so punctually delivered. In the midst of this, a letter from Cornwall informed me, it was I: I myself was the very man, and acquainted me with the place, and the person to whom I said it. But as there are some particulars in that letter (sent without a name) which I did not well understand, I transcribe a few words of it, in hopes that the author will give me fuller information.
As to the Bishop's declaring, what the landlord of Mitchel says, in respect to your behaviour, I do not at all wonder at the story. The Bishop's declaring! Whom can he mean? Surely not the Right Reverend Dr. George Lavington, Lord Bishop of Exeter! When, or to whom did he declare it? Át Truro, in Cornwall ? Oy
in Plymouth, at his visitation ? To all the Clergy who were assembled before God, to receive his pastoral instructions? His lordship of Exeter must certainly have more regard to the dignity of the Episcopal office!
28. But to proceed. I was not offended with the Moravians, for warning men against mixing nature with grace ;” (p. 71 :) but for their doing it in such a manner as tended to destroy all the work of grace in their souls. I did not blame the thing itself, but their manner of doing it. And this you know perfectly well. But with you, truth must always give way to wit. At all events, you must have your jest.
29. Had you had any regard to truth, or any desire to represent things as they really are, when you repeated Mr. Church's objection concerning lots, you would have acknowledged, that I have answered it at large. When you have replied to that answer, I may add a word more.
30. You are sadly at a loss under the article of “ecstasies and raptures," to glean up any thing that will serve your purpose. At last, from ten or twelve tracts, you pick out two lines ; and those the same you had mentioned before. My soul was got up into the holy mount. I had no thought of coming down again into the body.” And truly you might as well have let these alone. For if by ecstasy you mean trance, here is no account of any such: but only of one • rejoicing in God with joy unspeakable and full of glory.' With the s girl of seven years old,” (p. 17,) I have nothing to do : though you honestly tack that relation to the other, in order to make me accountable for both. But all is fair toward a Methodist !
31. What I assert concerning “Peter Wright,'” (p. 79,) is this, 1. That he gave me that relation, (whether I believed or not, I did not say.) 2. That he died within a month after. Now, Sir, give us a cast of your office. From these two propositions, extract a proof of my being an enthusiast. You may full as easily prove it from these, as from the words you quote next, “God does now give remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and often in dreams and visions of God,"” (p. 79.) “But afterwards you say, I speak more distrustfully.” Indeed 1 do not.
Indeed I do not. But I guard against enthusiasm, in those words, part of which you have recited. The whole paragraph runs thus :
· From those words, • Beloved, believe not every spirit ; but try the spirits, whether they be of God:' I told them, they were not to judge of the spirit whereby any one spoke, either by appearance; or by common report, or by their own inward feelings : no, nor by any dreams, visions, or revelations, supposed to be made to their souls, any more than by their tears, or any involuntary effects wrought upon their bodies. I warned them, all these were in themselves of a doubtful, disputable nature : they might be from God, and they might not, and were therefore not simply to be relied on, (any. more than simply to be condemned,) but to be tried by a farther rule: to be brought to the only certain test, the Law and the T'estimony." Sir, can you show them a better way?
32. The last proof you produce of my enthusiasm is, “ My talking of the great work which God is now beginning to work upon carth.” (p. 80.) I own the fact. I do talk of such a work. But I deny the consequence. For if God has begun a great work, then the saying he has, is no enthusiasm. To bring sinners to repentance, to save them from their sins, is allowed by all to be the work of God. Yea, and to save one sinner is a great work of God: much more to save many.
But many sinners are saved from their sins at this day, in London, in Bristol, in Kingswood, in Cornwall, in Newcastleupon Tyne, in Whitehaven, in many other parts of England : in Wales, in Ireland, in Scotland : upon the continent of Europe : in Asia, and America. This I term a great work of God; so great, as I have not read of for several ages.
You ask, “ How I know, so great a work is wrought now? By inspiration ? No; but by common sense. I know it by the evidence of my own eyes
I have seen a considerable part of it: and I have abundant testimony, such as excludes all possible doubt, for what I have not seen.
33. But you are so far from acknowledging any thing of this, as to conclude, in full triumph, “ That this new dispensation is a composition of enthusiasm, superstition, and imposture.” (p. 81.) It is not clear what you mean by a "new dispensation.” (p. 81.) But the clear, and undeniable fact stands thus:-A few years ago, Great Britain and Ireland were covered with vice from sea to sea. Very little of even the form of religion was left: and still less of the power of it. Out of this darkness God commanded light to shine. In a short space, he called thousands of sinners to repentance. They were not only reformed from their outward vices, but likewise changed in their dispositions and tempers ; filled with a serious, sober sense of true religion, with love to God and all mankind, with a holy faith producing good works of every kind, works both of piety and mercy.
What could the God of this world do in such a case, to prevent the spreading of this serious, sober religion? The same that he has done from the beginning of the world. To hinder the light of those whom God hath thus changed, from shining before men, he gave them all in general a nickname : he called them Methodists. And this name, as insignificant as it was in itself, effectually answered his intention. For by this means, that light was soon obscured by prejudice, which could not be withstood by Scripture or reason. By the odious and vidiculous ideas affixed to that name, they were condemned in the gross, without ever being heard. So that now any scribbler, with a uniddling share of low wit, not incumbered with good nature ! inodesty, may raise a laugh on those whom he cannot confute, and run them down whom he dares not look in the face. By this means .even a comparer of Methodists and Papists, may blaspheme the great work of God, not only without blame, but with applause ; at least
, from readers of his own stamp. But it is high time, Sir, you should leave your skulking place. Come out, and let us look each other in