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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.
I 30. You are sadly at a loss under the article of ecstacies 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 ecstacy 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 “ girl of seven years old,” (p. 77,) 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 it 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.)
66 But afterwards you say, I speak more distrustfully.” 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 Testimony.' Sir, can you shew them a better way?
32. The last proof that you produce of my enthusiasm is, 5 My talking of the great work which God is now beginning to work upon earth," (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 Newcastle-upon-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 and ears. I have
I 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 ridiculous ideas affixed to that name, they were condemned in the gross, without ever being heard. So that now any scribbler, with a middling share of low wit, not incumbered with good nature or modesty, 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 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, Canterbury,
Your friend and well-wisher, Feb. 1, 1749-50.
POSTSCRIPT. 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, your name were Perronet.”
AUTHOR OF THE ENTHUSIASM OF METHODISTS
AND PAPISTS COMPARED,
Ecce iterum Chrispinus! Juv.
TO THE RIGHT REV. THE LORD BISHOP OF 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 publishing this account, both at Plymouth, in VOL. XIII.