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the face. I have little leisure and less inclination for controversy. Yet I promise, if you will set your name to your third part, I will answer all that shall concern me, in that, as well as the preceding.
Till then I remain, Sir,
Your friend and well-wisher,
When you come to relate those horrid and shocking things, there may be a danger you are not aware of. Even you yourself may fall (as little as you intend or suspect it) into seriousness. And I am afraid, if once you put off your fool's coat, if you stand naked before cool and sober reason, you yourself may appear as inconsiderable a creature-to use your own phrase, “as if your name were Perronet,”
AUTHOR OF THE ENTHUSIASM OP METHODISTS
AND PAPISTS COMPARED.
Ecce iterum Chrispinus! Juv.
TO THE RIGHT REV. THE LORD BISHOP OP EXETER.
1. I was grieved when I read the following words, in the Third Part of the Enthusiasm of Methodists and Papists compared : “A sensible, honest woman told the Bishop of Exeter, in presence of several witnesses, • That Mr. John Wesley came to her house, and questioned her, whether she had an assurance of her salvation?' Her answer was, that she hoped she should be saved, but had no absolute assurance of it.' Why then replied he, "you are in hell, you are damned already.' This so terrified the poor woman, who was then with child, that she was grievously afraid of miscarrying, and could not in a long time recover her right mind. For this, and the Methodists asking her to live upon free cost, she determined to admit no more of them into her house. So much is her own account to his lordship, on whose authority it is here published.”
2. This renewed the concern I felt some time since, when I was
informed (in letters which I have still by me) of your lordship's put. lishing this account, both at Plymouth, in Devonshire, and at Truro, in Cornwall, before the clergy assembled from all parts of those counties, at the solemn season of your lordship’s visiting your diocess. But I was not informed, that your lordship showed a deep concern for the honour of God, which you supposed to be so dreadfully violated, or a tender compassion for a presbyter whom you believed to be rushing into everlasting destruction.
3. In order to be more fully informed, on Saturday, August 25, 1750, Mr. Trembath, of St. Ginneys, Mr. Haime, of Shaftesbury, and I, called at Mr. Morgan's, at Mitchell
. The servant telling me her master was not at home, I desired to speak with her mistress, the “honest, sensible woman.” I immediately asked, Did I ever tell you or your husband, that you would be damned if you took any money of me? (So the story ran in the first part of the Comparison : it has now undergone a very considerable alteration.) Or did you or he ever affirm, (another circumstance related at Truro) that I was rude with your maid ? She replied, vehemently, "Sir, I never said you were, or that you said any such thing. And I do not suppose my husband did. But we have been belied as well as our neighbours.' She added, “When the bishop came down last, he šent us word that he would dine at our house. But he did not, being invited to a neighbouring gentleman's. He sent for me - thither and said, “Good woman, do you know these people that go up and down ? Do you know Mr. Wesley? Did not he tell you, you would be damned, if you took any money of him? And did not he offer rudeness to your maid ?” I told him, “ No, my lord. He never said
any such thing to me, nor to my husband that I know of. He never offered any rudeness to any maid of mine. I never saw or knew any harm of him. But a man told me once (who I was told was a Methodist preacher) that I should be damned, if I did not know my sins were forgiven.?
4. This is her own account given to me. And an account it is, irreconcileably different (notwithstanding some small resemblance in the last circumstance) from that she is affirmed to have given your lordship. Whether she did give that account to your lordship or not, your lordship knows best. That the Comparer affirms it, is no proof at all ; since he will affirm any thing that suits his purpose.
5. Yet I was sorry to see your lordship's authority cited on such an occasion ; inasmuch as many of his readers, not considering the man, may think your lordship did really countenance such a writer: one that turns the most serious, the most awful, the most venerable things into mere farce; that makes the most essential parts of real, experimental religion, matter of low buffoonery; that beginning at the very rise of it in the soul, namely, Repentance towards God, a broken and a contrite heart,' goes on to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,' whereby he that believeth is born of God,' to the love of God shed abroad in the heart,' attended with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost ;' to our subsequent "wrestling not only with
Aesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, and wicked spirits in high places,' and thence to perfect love,' the loving the Lord our God, with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength :' and treats every one of these sacred topics with the spirit and air of a merryandrew. What advantage the common enemies of Christianity may reap from this, your lordship cannot be insensible.
6. Your lordship cannot but discern, how the whole tenor of his book tends to destroy the holy Scriptures, to render them vile in the eyes of the people, to make them stink in the nostrils of infidels. For instance. After reading his laboured ridicule of the sorrow and fear which usually attend the first repentance, (called by St. Chrysostom, as well as a thousand other writers, The pangs or throes of the new-birth) what can an infidel think of those and the like expressions in Scripture, I have roared for the very disquietness of my heart ? « Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and an horrible dread hath overwhelmed me? After his flood of satire on all kinds of conflicts with Satan, what judgment can a Deist form, of what St. Paul speaks concerning the various wrestlings of a Christian with the wicked one ? Above all, how will his bringing the lewd Heathen poets, to expose the pure and spiritual love of God, naturally cause them to look with the same eyes on the most elevated passages of the inspired Writings? What can be more diverting to them, than to apply his r Auxufixpoy Egwtos, (bitter-sweet of love) to many expressions in the Canticles ? (On which undoubtedly he supposes the fair Circassian to be a very just paraphrase !) Ay, say they ; the
very case: stay me with apples; for I am sick of love.'
7. Probably the Comparer will reply, No; I do not ridicule the things themselves : repentance, the new-birth, the fight of faith, or the love of God: all which I know are essential to religion: but only the folly and the enthusiasm which are blended with these by the Methodists. But how poor a pretence is this ? Had this really heen the case, how carefully would he have drawn the line under each of these beads, between the sober religion of a Christian, and the enthusiasm of a Methodist ? But has he done this? Does he take particular care to show under each, what is true, as well as what is false religion? Where the former ends and the latter begins ? What are the proper boundaries of each? Your lordshiji knows he does not so much as endeavour it, or take any pains about it; but indiscriminately pours the flood out of his unclean mouth, upon all repentance, faith, love, and holiness.
8. Your lordship will please to observe, that I do not here touch in the least on the merits of the cause. Be the Methodists what they may, fools, madmen, enthusiasts, knaves, impostors, papists, or any thing, yet your lordship perceives, this does not in any degree affect the point in question. Still it behooves every Christian, nay every reasonable Heathen, to consider the subject he is upon, and to take care, not to bring this into contempt, (especially if it be of the last importance, however inexcusable or contemptible his орponents may be.
9. This consideration, my lord, dwelt much upon my mind when I read the former parts of the Comparison. I immediately saw there was no encountering a buffoon, by serious reason and argument. This would naturally have furnished both him and his admirers with fresh matter of ridicule. On the other hand, if I should let myself down to a level with him, by a less serious manner of writing than I was accustomed to, I was afraid of debasing the dignity of the subject. Nay, and I knew not but I might catch something of his spirit
. I remembered the advice, Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him,' Prov. xxvi. 45. And yet I saw there must be an exception in some cases, as the words immediately following show: • Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.' I conceive, as if he had said, Yet it is needful in some cases, to answer a fool according to his folly, otherwise he will be wiser in his own conceit, than seven men that can render a reason. I therefore constrained myself to approach as near as I dared, to his own manner of writing. And I trust the occasion will plead my excuse with your lordship, and all reasonable men.
10. One good effect of my thus meeting him on his own ground, is visible already. Instead of endeavouring to defend, he entirely gives up the first part of his comparison. Indeed I did not expect this, when I obseryed, that the third part was addressed to me. ! took it for granted, that he had therein aimed at something like a Reply to my Answer. But going on, I found myself quite mistaken. He never once attempted a reply to one page, any otherwise than by screaming out, “ Pertness, scurrility, effrontery,” and in subjoining that deep remark, “ Paper and time would be wasted on such stuff. Third part, Preface, p. 15.
11. I cannot but account it another good effect, that he is something less confident than he was before. He is likewise not more angry or more bitter, (for that cannot be) but a few degrees more serious. So that I plainly perceive, this is the way I am to take, ii I should have leisure to answer the Third Part; although it is lar from my desire to write in this manner; it is as contrary to my inclination as to my custom.
12. But is it possible that a person of your lordship's character, should countenance such a performance as this? It cannot be your lordship's desire, to put contempt upon all that is truly venerable among men! To stab Christianity to the heart, under the colour of opposing enthusiasm And to increase and give a sanction to the profaneness which already overspreads our land as a flood!
13. Were the Methodists ever so bad, yet are they not too despicable and inconsiderable for your lordship’s notice! Against whom is the king of Israel come out! Against a flea ? Against a partridge upon the mountains ? Such they undoubtedly are, if that representation of them be just which the Comparer has given. Against whom (if your lordship espouses his cause) are you stirring up the supreme power of the nation? Against whom does your
lordship arn the ministers of all denominations, particularly our brethren of the Established Church ; inciting them to paint us out to their several congregations, as not fit to live upon the earth? The effects of this have already appeared in many parts both of Devonshire and Cornwall. Nor have I known any considerable riot in any part of England, for which such preaching did not pave
14. I beg leave to ask, Would it be a satisfaction to your lordship, if national persecution were to return? Does your lordship desire to revive the old laws, De hæretico comburendo ? Would your lordship rejoice, to see the Methodists themselves, tied to so many stakes in Smithfield? Or would you applaud the execution, though not so legally or decently performed by the mob of Exeter, PlymouthDock, or Launceston ? My lord, what profit would there be in our blood ? Would it be an addition to your lordship’s happiness? Or any advantage to the Protestant cause? Or any honour either to our church or nation?
15. The Comparer doubtless would answer, “ Yes; for it would prevent the horrid consequences of your preaching." My lord, give me leave to say once more, ‘I willingly put the whole cause upon this issue. What are the general consequences of our preaching? Are there more tares or wheat? More good men destroyed, (as Mr. Church once supposed) or wicked men saved ?? The last places in your lordship's diocess, where we began constant preaching, are near Liskeard in Cornwall
, and at Tiverton in Devonshire. Now let any man inquire here, 1. What kind of people were those a year ago, who now constantly hear this preaching ? 2. What are the main doctrines the Methodists have been teaching this twelvemontb! 3. What effect have these doctrines had upon their bearers ? And if you
do not find, 1. That the greater part of these were a year or two ago notoriously wicked men ; 2. Yet the main doctrines they have heard since were, · Love God and your neighbour, and carefully keep his commandments ;' and, 3. That they have since exercised themselves herein, and continue so to do: I say,
reasonable will be at the pains to inquire, does not find this to be an unquestionable fact, I will openly acknowledge myself an enthusiast, or whatever else he shall please to style me.
16. I beg leave to conclude this address to your lordship with a few more words transcribed from the same letter. "Allow Mr. Wesley,' says Mr. Church, but these few points, and he will defend his conduct beyond expectation,' (Second letter to Mr. Church.) That is most true. If I have indeed been advancing nothing but the true knowledge and love of God; if God has made me an instrument in reforming many sinners, and bringing them to inward and pure religion ; and if many of these continue holy to this day, and free from all wilful sin : then may I, even I, use those awful words, «He that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.' But I never expect the world to allow me one of these points. However, I must go on as God shall enable me. I must lay out whatsoever talents he intrusts
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