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Therefore, when my brother was asked, "How he could reprint such an account, after your lordship had publickly 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 “ rant and declamation,” or plain and sober reason, I must refer to the world and your lordship's own conscience.

I am, my Lord,
Your Lordship’s most obedient servant,

.: JOHN WESLEY. Newcastle-upon-Tyne,

May 8, 1752,

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LETTER

TO THE

REV. MR. POTTER.

NORWICH, Nov. 4, 1758. REV. SIR,

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 them 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.

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N. B. Mr. Potter's words are inserted between inverted commas.

3. Of the new birth, you say, “ The terms of being rege nerated, 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. 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 apprebend it is the first and second part too. And surely nothing could have prevented your seeing this, bút the ardour of your spirit, and the impetuosity.with which you Fush along and trample' down all before you. Your manner I am, in

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 traet 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. 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 connection 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.) I answer, first, so do you, and in this very sermon, though you call it by another name. By inspiration, we mean, that inward'assistance of the Holy Ghost, which 6 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 sanctify you in particular?' “ Yes, but I look for no immediate inspiration." You do: you expect he will immediately and directly help your 'infirmities. Sometimes, 'it' is true, he does this, by the mediation or intervention of other men: but at other

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times, particularly in private prayer, he gives that help directly from himself.

“ But is this all you mean by particular, immediate inspiration?" : It is, and so I have declared a thousand times in private, in public, by every method I could devise. It is pity, therefore, that any should still undertake to give an account of my sentiments, without either hearing or reading what I say. Is this doing as we would be done to ?

8. I answer, secondly, There is no analogy between claiming “thiş inspiration of the Spirit,” who you allow, “ assists and will assist all true believers to the end of the world :” (p. 18,) and claiming those extraordinary operations of the Spirit, which were vouchsafed to the apostles. The former, both you and I pretend to: yea, and enjoy ; or we are no believers. The latter you do not pretend to : nor do I; nor any that are in connection with me. 9. “But you do pretend to them. For you pray that

. signs and wonders may still be wrought in the name of Jesus.” True: but what signs and wonders? The conversion of sinners; the healing the broken in heart: the turning men from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God.' These and these only are the signs and wonders which were mentioned in that prayer. And did I not see these signs and wonders still wrought, I would sooner hew wood, or draw water, than preach the gospel. For those are to me very awful words, which our Lord speaks of prophets or teachers; “Ye shall know them, (whether they are true or false prophets) by their fruits : Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit-Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire.' What fruit you have brought forth at Reymerston, I know not; God knoweth.

10..“ Your followers, however, do pretend to the grace of a miraculous conversion.” Is there any conversion that is not miraculous? Is conversion a natural or supernatural work: I suppose all who allow there is any such thing, believe it to be supernatural. And what is the difference

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