Images de page
PDF
ePub

A great warrior resigned his crown, because there should be some interval, he said, between fighting and death.' But Mr. Hervey, who had been a man of peace all his life, began a war not six months before he died. He drew his sword, when he was just putting off his body. He then fell on one to whom he had the deepest obligations, (as his own letters, which I have now in my hands, testify) on one who had never intentionally wronged him, who had never spoken an unkind word of him, or to him, and who loved him as his own child. O tell it not in Gath! The good Mr. Hervey (if these letters were his) died cursing his spiritual Father.

And these letters another good man, Mr. --, has introduced into Scotland, and warmly recommended. Why have you done this? “Because you have concealed your principles, which is palpably dishonesty."

When I was first invited into Scotland, (about fourteen years ago,) Mr. Whitefield told me, You have no business there: for your principles are so well known, that if you spoke like an angel, none would hear you. And if they did, you would have nothing to do but to dispute with one and another from morning to night.'

I answered, “If God sends me, people will hear.' And I will give them no provocation to dispute: for I will studiously avoid controverted points, and keep to the fundamental truths of Christianity. And if any still begin to dispute, they may : but I will not dispute with them.'

I came. Hundreds and thousands flocked to hear. But I was enabled to keep my word. I avoided whatever might engender strife, and insisted upon the grand points, the religion of the heart, and salvation by faith, at all times, and in all places. And by this means, I have cut off all occasion of dispute, from the first day to this very hour. And this you amazingly improve into a fault: construe into a proof of dishonesty. You likewise charge me with kolding unsound principles, and with saying, right opi. nions are (sometimes) no part of religion.'

[ocr errors]

The last charge I have answered over and over, and very lately to Bishop Warburton. Certainly had you

read that single tract, you would never have repeated that stale objection.

As to my principles, every one knows, or may know, that I believe the thirty-first article of the Church of England. But can none be saved who believe this? I know

you

will not say so. Mean time, in the main point, justification by faith, I have not wavered a moment for these seven and twenty years. And I allow all which Mr. Hervey himself contends for, in his entrance upon the subject, “ Come to Jesus as a needy beggar: hang upon him as a devoted pensioner.” And whoever does this, I will be bold to say, shall not perish everlastingly.

As to your main objection, convince me that it is my duty to preach on controverted subjects, predestination in particular, and I will do it. At present, I think it would be a sin. I think it would create still more divisions. And are there not enough already? I have seen a book written by one who styles himself, Ecclesia direptæ et gementis Presbyter. Shall I tear ecclesiam direptam et gementem? God forbid! No; I will, so far as I can, heal her breaches. And if you really love her, (as I doubt not you do) why should you hinder me from so doing? Has she so many friends and helpers left, that you should strive to lessen their number? Would you wish to turn any of her friends, even though weak and mistaken, into enemies? If you must contend, have you not Arians, Socinians, Seceders, Infidels, to contend with? To say nothing of whoremongers, adulterers, sabbath-breakers, drunkards, common swearers! O ecclesia gemens! And will you pass by all these, and single out me to fight with? Nay, but I will not. I do and will fight with all these, but not with you. I cannot: I dare not. You are the son of

my Father; my fellow-labourer in the gospel of his dear Son. I love your person: I love your character: I love the work wherein you are engaged. And if you will still

shoot at me, (because Mr. Hervey has painted me as a monster) even with arrows drawn from bishop Warburton's quiver, (how unfit for Mr. -—'s hand!) I can only say, as I always did before, the Lord Jesus bless

you

in

your soul, in your body, in your relations, in your work, in whatever tends to his own glory!

I am, dear Sir,
Your affectionate brother,

John WESLEY.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

March 28, 1768. Rev. Sir,

I. 1. Your charges, published five years ago, I did not see till yesterday. In the fourth 1 am unconcerned. The three former I purpose now to consider : and I do it the more cheerfully, because they are written with such seriousness as becomes the 'importance of the subject, and with less tartness than I am accustomed to expect from opponents of every kind.

2. But before I enter on the subject, suffer me to remove a stumbling-block or two out of the way. You frequently charge me with evasion: and others have brought the same charge. The plain case is this: I have written on various heads, and always as clearly as I could. Yet many have misunderstood my words, and raised abundance of objections. I answered them, by explaining myself, shewing what I did not mean, and what I did.

One and another of the objectors stretched his throat, and cried out, “ Evasion ! Evasion!” And what does all this outcry amount to? Why exactly thus much. They imagined they had tied me so fast, that it was impossible for me to escape. But presently the cobwebs were swept away, and I was quite at

liberty. And I bless God I can unravel truth and falsehood, although artfully twisted together. Of such evasion I am, not ashamed. Let them be ashamed who constrain me to

use it.

3. You charge me likewise, and that more than once or twice, with maintaining contradictions. I answer, 1. If all my sentiments were compared together, from the year 1725 to 1768, there would be truth in the charge: for during the latter part of this period, I have 'relinquished several of my former sentiments. 2. During these last thirty years, I may have varied in some of my sentiments or expressions without observing it. 3. I will not undertake to defend all the expressions which I have occasionally used during this time: but must desire men of candour to make allowance for those

Quas aut incuria fudit, Aut humana parum cavit natura. 4. It is not strange if among these inaccurate expressions, there are some seeming contradictions : especially considering I was answering so many different objectors, frequently attacking me at once: and one pushing this way, another that, with all the violence they were able. Nevertheless, 5. I believe there will be found few, if any, real contradictions, in what I have published for near thirty years.

5. I come now to your particular objections. I begin with the subject of your third charge, Assurances : because what I have to say upon this head, will be comprised in few words. Some are fond of the expression, I am not: I hardly ever use it. But I will simply declare (having nei. ther leisure nor inclination to draw the sword of controversy concerning it) what are my present sentiments with regard to the thing, which is usually meant thereby.

I believe a few, but very few Christians have an assurance from God of everlasting salvation : and that is the thing which the apostle terms, the plerophory, or full assure ance of hope.

I believe more have such an assurance of being now in the favour of God, as excludes all doubt and fear. And

[ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »