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shocking violation of the Christian rule, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:' the most open affront to all justice, and even common humanity, the most glaring insult upon the common sense and reason of mankind, which has lately appeared in the world.
If you say, “But I have proved the charge upon Mr. Whitefield:” admit you have, (which I do not allow,) Mr. Whitefield is not the Methodists ; no, nor the societies under his care; they are not a third, perhaps not a tenth part of the Methodists. What then can excuse your ascribing their faults (were they proved) to the whole body? You indict ten men. Suppose you prove the indictment upon one, will you therefore condemn the other nine ? Nay, let every man bear his own burden, since every man must give an account of himself to God.
I had occasion once before to say to an opponent, you know not to show mercy. Yet that gentleman did regard truth and justice. But you regard neither mercy, justice, nor truth. To vilify, to blacken, is your one point. I pray God, it may not be laid to your charge! May he show you mercy, though you show none! I am, Sir, your friend and well-wisher,
IN my late Letter to your lordship, I used no ceremony. I suppose it was not expected from one who was so deeply injured ; and, I trust, I used no rudeness; if I did, I am ready to ask your lordship's pardon.
That letter “related to a matter of fact published on your lordship’s authority, which I endeavoured to falsify," (The bishop of Exeter's letter, page 2, 3,) and your lordship, now again endeavours to support.
The facts alleged are, Ist, That I told Mrs. Morgan, at Mitchel, You are in hell; you are damned already.' 2dly, That I asked her to live upon free cost.' 3dly, “That she determined to admit no more Methodists into her house." ** At first I thought so silly and improbable a story neither deserved nor required a confutation : but when my friends thought otherwise
I called on Mrs. Morgan, who denied she ever said any such thing. I wrote down her words: part of which I transcribed in my letter to your lordship, as follows:
On Saturday, Aug. 25, 1750, Mr. Trembath, of St. Ginneys, Mr. Haime, of Shaftsbury, and I, called at Mr. Morgan's, at Mitchel. 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 sent us word 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 by 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.'
Your lordship replies, “I neither sent word that I would dine at their house, nor did I send for Mrs. Morgan; every word that passed between us, was at her own house at Mitchel.” (p. 7.) I believe it; and consequently, that the want of exactness in this point tests on Mrs. Morgan, not on your lordship.
Your lordship adds, " The following attestations will sufficiently clear me from any imputation, or even suspicion, of having published a falsehood :" I apprehend otherwise: to waive what is past, if the facts now published by your lordship, or any part of them, be not true ; then certainly your lordship will lie under more than picion of having published a falsehood."
The attestations your lordship produces are, 1si, Those of your lordship's chancellor and archdeacon. 2dly, Those of Mr. Bennet.
The former attests, that in June, or July, 1748, Mrs. Morgan did say those things to your lordship. (p. 8.) I believe she did, and therefore acquit your lordship of being the inventor of those falsehoods.
Mr. Bennet avers, that in January last, Mrs. Morgan repeated to him what she had before said to your lordship. (p. 11.) Probably she might; having said those things once, I do not wonder if she said them again.
Nevertheless, before Mr. Trembath and Mr. Haime she denied every word of it То
get over this difficulty, your lordship publishes a second letter
from Mr. Bennet, wherein he says, 'On March 4th last, Mrs. Mor"gan said, I was told by my servant that I was wanted above stairs ; here, when I came, the chamber door being open, I found them (Mr. Wesley and others) round the table on their knees.' He adds, That Mrs. Morgan owned one circumstance in it was true, but as to the other parts of Mr. Wesley's letter to the bishop, she declares it is all false.'
I believe Mrs. Morgan did say this to Mr. Bennet, and that therefore neither is he the maker of a lie. But he is the relater of a whole train of falsehoods, and those told merely for telling's sake. I was never yet in any chamber at Mrs. Morgan's. I was never above stairs there in my life. On August 25, 1750, I was below stairs all the time I was in the house. When Mrs. Morgan came in, I was standing in the large parlour ; nor did any of us kneel while we were under the roof. This both Mr. Trembath and Mr. Haime can attest upon oath, whatsoever Mrs. Morgan may declare to the contrary.
But she declared farther, (so Mr. Bennet writes,) . That Mr. John Wesley, some time ago, said to a maid of her's, such things as were not fit to be spoken,' (p. 11.) and Mr. Morgan declared, that he did or said such indecent things to the above-named maid (the same fact, 1 presume, only a little embellished) in his chamber, in the night, that she immediately ran down stairs, and protested she would not go near him or any of the Methodists more.' p. 12.
To save trouble to your lordship, as well as to myself, I will put this cause upon a very short issue. If your lordship will only prove, that ever I lay one night in Mrs. Morgan's house, nay, that ever I was in the town of Mitchel after sunset, I will confess the whole charge.
What your lordship mentions by the way” I will now consider. * Some of your western correspondents imposed upon the leaders of Methodism, by transmitting to London a notoriously false account of my charge to the clergy. Afterwards the Methodists confessed themselves to have been deceived; yet some time after, the Methodists at Cork, in Ireland, your own brother at the head of them, reprinted the same lying pamphlet, as my performance." p. 4,5.
My lord, I know not who are your lordship's Irish correspondents : but here are almost as many mistakes as lines. For, 1. They were none of my correspondents who sent that account to London. 2. It was sent not to the leaders of Methodism, but to one who was no Methodist at all. 3. That it was a false account I do not know. But your lordship may easily put it out of dispute. And many have wondered that your lordship did not do so long ago, by printing the charge in question. 4. I did never confess, it was a false account ; nor any person by my consent, or with my knowledge. 5. That account was never reprinted at Cork at all. 6. When it was reprinted at Dublin, your lordship had not disowned it. 7. My brother was not in Dublin when it was done; nor did either he or I know of it till long after
Therefore, when my brother was asked, “How he could reprint such an account, after your lordship had publicly disowned it,' I do not at all wonder, that he did not offer a single word in answer.'
Whether this, as well as my former letter, be "mere rant and declamation," or plain and sober reason, I must refer to the world and your lordship's own conscience.
I am, my lord,
JOHN WESLEY. Newcastle-upon-Tyme, May 8, 1752.
TO THE REV. MR. POTTER.
Norwich, Nov. 4, 1758. Rev. Sır,
1. TILL to-day I had not a sight of your sermon, On the pretended inspiration of the Methodists. Otherwise I should have taken the liberty, some days sooner, of sending you a few lines. That sermon, indeed, only repeats what has been often said before, and as often answered. But as it is said again, I believe it is my duty to answer it again. Not that I have any acquaintance with Mr. Caley or Osborn: I never exchanged a word with either. However, as you lump me and then together, I am constrained to speak for myself
, and once more, "to give a reason of my hope,' that I am clear from the charge you bring against me.
2. There are several assertions in your sermon which need not be allowed: but they are not worth disputing. At present, therefore, I shall only speak of two things. 1. Your account of the new birth ; and, 2. The pretended inspiration (as you are pleased to term it) of the Methodists.
3. Of the new birth, you say, “The terms of being regenerated, of being born again, of being born of God, are often used to express the works of gospel righteousness." (page 10, 11.) I cannot allow this. I know not that they are ever used in Scripture, to express any outward work at all. They always express an inward work of the Spirit, whereof baptism is the outward sign. You add, “Their primary, peculiar, and precise meaning signifies,” (a little impropriety of expression,)“ our redemption from death and restoration to eternal life, through the grace of God.” (p. 13.) It does not, unless by death you mean sin ; and by eternal life, holiness. The precise meaning of the term is, 'A new birth unto righteousness,' an inward change from unholy to holy tempers. You go on : " this grace our Lord here calls, entering into the kingdom of God.” If so, his assertion is, • Except a man be born again—he cannot be born again.'
N. B. Mr. Potter's words are inserted between inverted commas.
Not so. What he says is, 'except a man experience this change, he cannot enter into my kingdom.'
4. You proceed: "Our holy church doth teach us, that, by the laver of regeneration in baptism, we are received into the number of the children of God-this is the first part of the new birth.” (p. 13.) What is the first part of the new birth? Baptism? It is the outward sign of that inward and spiritual grace; but no part of it at all. It is impossible it should be. The outward sign is no more a part of the inward grace than the body is a part of the soul. Or do you mean, that regeneration is a part of the new birth? Nay, this is the whole of it. Or is it the laver of regeneration which is the first part of it? That cannot be: for you suppose this to be the same with baptism.
5. " The second part, the inward and spiritual grace, is a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness." What! Is the new birth the second part of the new birth ? I apprehend it is the first and second part too. And surely nothing could have prevented your seeing this, but the ardour of your spirit, and the impetuosity with which you rush along and trample down all before you. Your man. ner of writing reminds me of an honest Quaker in Cornwall, whose words I would recommend to your consideration. Being consulted by one of the Friends, whether he should publish a tract which he had read to many in private; he replied, What, art thou not content with laying John Wesley on his back, but thou must tread his guts out too ?'
6. So much for your account of the new birth. I am, in the second place, to consider the account you give of " the pretended inspiration" (so you are pleased to term it) " of the Methodists.” “The Holy Ghost sat on the Apostles with cloven tongues as of fire-and signs and wonders were done by their hands.” (Wonders indeed! For they healed the sick by a word, a touch, a shadow!
They spake the dead alive, and living dead.') * But though these extraordinary operations of the Spirit have been long since withdrawn, yet the pretension to them still subsists in the confident claim of the Methodists." (pages 16, 17, 18.) This you boldly affirm, and I flatly deny. I deny, that either I, or any in connexion with me, (for others, whether called Methodists, or any thing else, I am no more concerned to answer than you are,) do now, or ever did lay any claim to “these extraordinary operations of the Spirit.”
7. But you will prove it. They “confidently and presumptuously claim a particular and immediate inspiration.” (Ibid.) 1 answer, first, so do you, and in this very sermon, though you call it by another
By inspiration, we mean, that inward assistance of the Holy Ghost, which helps our infirmities, enlightens our understanding. rectifies our will, comforts, purifies, and sanctifies us." (p. 14.) Now all this you claim as well as I ; for these are your own words, “Nay, but you claim a particular inspiration.” So do you: do not you expect him to sanetify you in particular? “Yes, but I look for no immediate