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temper, have been fond of bearing the worst that could befall them : that others, from a sturdy humour, and the force of education, have made light of the most exquisite tortures : that when enthusiasm comes in, in aid of this natural acquired sturdiness, and men fancy they are upon God's work, and entitled to his rewards, they are immediately all on fire, for rushing into sufferings and pain.” I take knowledge of your having faithfully abridged, your own book shall I say? Or the learned Dr. Middleton's ? But what is it you are endeavouring to prove ?
Quorsum hæc tam putida tendunt. The paragraph seems to point at me. But the plain, natural tendency of it, is to invalidate that great argument for Christianity, which is drawn from the constancy of the martyrs. Have you not here also spoken a little too plain ? Had you not better have kept the mask on a little longer? Indeed you lamely add, “ The solid and just comforts which a true martyr receives from above, are 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 yulgarly 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 into the whole secret,) that there was a “compact," likewise be
, tween Bishop Hooper and his executioner, 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
do those 6 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,
" (p. 40.) 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 under
. stand 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 suddenly: although two of them (I leave you to find out which) grądually increase from that hour,
21. 6 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 leárned, 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 1“ encourage the notion of the real, corporeal presence, in the sacrifice of the mass.” How so? did not
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 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 enthusiasm, are, “The power of God was in an unusual manner present,” (p. 61.). I mean, many found an unusual degree of that peace, joy, and love, which St. Paul terms, · The fruit of the Spirit.' And all these, in conformity to his doctrine, I ascribe to the power of God. I know you, in conformity to your principles, ascribe them to the power 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 u 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
I . 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, 99.) What are these words in the same paragraph with those, “I know, and am assured, God sent forth his light and his truth.2" 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 were. 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, hy a command to Mr. Delamotte ? Who told you so ? Not I: nor any one else: only your own fruitful imagination.
27. Your next discovery is more curious still: that “itiBerants 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 I 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? At Truro, in Cornwall? Or in Plymouth, at his visitation? To all the clergy who were asnembled before God, to receive his pastoral instructions?, llis lordship of Exeter must certainly have more regard to the dignity of the episcopal office !