Wesley Center Online

The Letters of John Wesley



To Ebenezer Blackwell [1]

BRISTOL, January 26, 1747.

DEAR SIR, — Our number of patients increases here daily. We have now upwards of two hundred. Many have already desired to return thanks, having found a considerable change for the better already. But we are at a great loss for medicines, several of those we should choose being not to be had at any price in Bristol.

I have been sometimes afraid you have suffered loss for want of a frank acknowledgement of the truth: I mean with regard to the gay world. If we openly avow what we approve, the fear or shame generally lights on them; but if we are ashamed or afraid, then they pursue, and will be apt to rally us both out of our reason and religion. — I am, dear sir, Your very affectionate servant.

My best respects attend Mrs. Blackwell and Mrs. Dewal.[Mrs. Hannah Dewal lived with the Blackwells at Lewisham, and was one of the most intimate friends of John and Charles Wesley. See C. Wesley's Journal, ii. 170, 379-83.] I hope you strengthen each other's hands.

To Howell Harris [2]


MY DEAR BROTHER, — I was glad to receive a letter from you, though sorry for some of the contents of it. I believed Brother Cownley would labor for peace and simply preach the gospel. I wrote pressingly to Brother Richards (who, I suppose, was at Plymouth since, in his return from Cornwall) to tread in the same steps. By degrees I trust these unkind affections will subside and brotherly love revive and increase.

My brother said (this I know) ‘he had no more design to have a Society at Plymouth than a palace’; and he had not neither then nor when he desired John Trembath to call there. Nor, indeed, does he now concern himself therewith. The burthen lies upon me, and I am in a strait between two. I am much solicited to suffer those who press for it to be under my care. But what to do I know not. May God make plain my way before my face.

From the day I saw him first, I never found the least shadow of double dealing in James Wheatley. I scarce know his fellow upon earth for simplicity and godly sincerity. His preaching in the street I cannot blame; but I should not have advised him to do it at that hour.

I will take particular care that those who may hereafter call at Plymouth be of a mild and peaceable spirit. Those who are warm I will desire to go into Cornwall and return another way.

I had fully determined to have gone or sent to Portsmouth; but on hearing Brother Jenkins had been there already, I gave up the design.

Remember me, my dear brother, in all your prayers, who am

Your affectionate brother and fellow laborer.

To Mr. Howell Harris, At Trevecca, Near Hay, Brecknockshire. Free-James Erskine.

To ‘John Smith’

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, March 25, 1747.

SIR, — I. In your last I do not find much reason to complain either of tartness or bitterness. But is it so serious as the cause requires If it be asked,

Ridentem dicere verum, Quis vetat' [Horace’s Satires, I, i. 24: ‘Yet may not truth in laughing guise be dressed’]

1. I think the nature of the things whereof we speak should forbid it. For surely it is a very serious concern whether we dwell in the eternal glory of God or in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

2. If those who subscribe the Eleventh and following Articles do subscribe in what they believe from their hearts to be the plain, unforced, grammatical meaning of the words, then they are clear before God. I trust you can answer for yourself herein; but you cannot for all our brethren.

3. I am glad that our dispute concerning commutations in religion proves to be ‘entirely verbal’: as we both agree (1) that abundance of those who bear the name of Christians put a part of religion for the whole — generally some outward work or form of worship; (2) that whatever is thus put for the whole of religion — in particular, where it is used to supersede or commute for the religion of the heart--it is no longer a part of it; it is gross irreligion, it is mere mockery of God.

4. When you warned me against ‘excess of zeal,’ I did not say this was not my weak side, that it was not one weakness to which I am exposed. My words were: ‘I am always in danger of this; and yet I daily experience a far greater danger of the other extreme.’ I do. I am to this day ashamed before God that I do so little to what I ought to do. But this you call ‘over-done humility,’ and suppose it to be inconsistent with what occurs in the ninety-third and ninety-fourth paragraphs of the Earnest Appeal. [See Works, viii. 38-9.] I believe it is not at all inconsistent therewith: only one expression there is too strong — ‘all his time and strength’; for this very cause ‘I am ashamed before God.’ I do not spend all my time so profitably as I might, nor all my strength; at least, not all I might have, if it were not for my own lukewarmness and remissness, if I wrestled with God in constant and fervent prayer.

You mention four other instances of self-contradiction: (1) ‘You claim and you disclaim miracles. You claim them, as having seen many miraculous attestations to your ministry; you disclaim them, desiring none to believe your words farther than they are confirmed by Scripture and reason: that is, you claim them in one sense, and disclaim 1 them in another.’ Perhaps so; but this is no contradiction. (2) ‘You are not at leisure yet either to permit or forbid to marry.’ Indeed I am. Although I commend those who are as ‘eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake,’ yet I know ‘all men cannot receive this saying,’ and that ‘it is better to marry than to burn.’ (3) ‘The newly justified has at once, in that hour, power over all sin, and finds from that hour the work of God in the soul slowly and gradually increasing. What, until he has power over more than all sin’ No: but until he has more power over all sin, the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit gradually decreasing; and till he has more peace, more joy in the Holy Ghost, more of the knowledge and love of God. (4) ‘But surely the tip-top of all inconsistencies is what follows, even as explained in your own way: many receive from the Holy Ghost an attestation of their acceptance as perceptible as the sun at noonday; and yet these same persons at other times doubt or deny that they ever had such attestation.’

The fact stands thus: (1) A man feels in himself the testimony of God's Spirit that he is a child of God; and he can then no more deny or doubt thereof than of the shining of the sun at noonday. (2) After a time this testimony is withdrawn. (3) He begins to reason within himself concerning it; next, to doubt whether that testimony was from God; and, perhaps, in the end to deny that it was. And yet he may be all this time in every other respect ‘of sound memory as well as understanding.’ Now, whether these propositions are true or false, they are not contradictory to each other. They cannot, unless it were affirmed that the same person has and has not the same testimony at the same time.

5. However, you think I assert a thing impossible. What is impossible That the Spirit of God should bear a clear, perceptible witness with our spirit that we are the children of God Surely no! Whether this be the fact or not, no man of reason will say it is impossible. Or that the Spirit of God should cease to bear this witness Neither can the possibility of this be denied. The thing, then, which is supposed impossible is this — that a man who once had it should ever doubt whether he had it or no; that is (as you subjoin), ‘if he continue sound in mind’ (or understanding) ‘and memory.’ Right! ‘If he continue’; but the very supposition is that in this respect he does not continue so. While he did so continue, he could not doubt. But his understanding is now darkened, and the very traces of that divine work wellnigh erased out of his memory. Nor can I think ‘it is vain to have recourse here to the energeia of the power of darkness.’ I verily believe, as it was the God of heaven who once shone in his heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, so it is the god of this world who hath now blinded his heart so that the glorious light cannot shine upon it.

6. If the Quakers hold the same perceptible inspiration with me, I am glad; and it is neither better nor worse for their holding it: although if I ‘distinguish it away,’ I do not hold it at all. But do I distinguish it away or any point which I believe to be the truth of God I am not conscious of this. But when men tack absurdities to the truth of God with which it hath nothing to do, I distinguish away those absurdities and let the truth remain in its native purity.

It was several months before my correspondence with you that I thus distinguished away perceptible inspiration; declaring to all men, ‘by “perceiving” or “feeling the operations of the Spirit,” I mean being inwardly conscious of them.’ ‘By “the operations of the Spirit” I do not mean the “manner” in which He operates in a Christian.’

This I mentioned in my last. But it is certain, over and above those other graces which the Holy Spirit inspires into or operates in a Christian, and over and above His imperceptible influences, I do intend all mankind should understand me to assert (what I therefore express in the clearest language I am master of) every Christian believer hath a perceptible testimony of the Spirit that he is a child of God. I use the phrase ‘testimony of the Spirit’ rather than ‘inspiration,’ because it has a more determinate meaning. And I desire men to know what I mean, and what I do not; that I may not fight as one that beateth the air.

7. Is there ‘not one word said of this, either in the Farther Appeal or in any one place in the Bible’ I think there is in the Bible, in the 16th verse of the 8th chapter to the Romans. And is not this very place proved to describe the ordinary privilege of every Christian believer in the Farther Appeal, from the forty-fifth to the forty-ninth and from the fifty-sixth to the fifty-ninth page [Part I. See Works, viii. 83-7, 93-5]

Give me leave to remind you of some of the words. In the forty-ninth page the argument concludes thus: ‘It will follow that this witness of the Spirit is the private testimony given to our own consciences, which consequently all sober Christians may claim, without any danger of enthusiasm.’ In the fifty-seventh page are these words: ‘Every one that is born of God, and doth not commit sin, by his very actions saith, “Our Father which art in heaven”; the Spirit itself bearing witness with their spirit that they are the children of God. According to Origen, therefore, this testimony of the Spirit is not any public testimony by miracles, but an inward testimony belonging in common to all that are born of God.’ Once more: in the fifty-eighth page are these words: ‘He brings yet another proof of the superiority of those who had this Spirit of adoption: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” “I prove this,” says he, “not only from the voice itself, but also from the cause whence that voice proceeds. For the Spirit suggests the words while we thus speak, which he hath elsewhere expressed more plainly, ‘God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father!’ But what is ‘The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit’” He means the Paraclete by the gift given unto us.’ (But that this was an extraordinary gift we have no intimation at all, neither before nor after.) ‘And when the Spirit beareth witness, what doubt is left If a man or an angel spake, some might doubt; but when the Most High beareth witness to us, who can doubt any longer’

I am mistaken if this does not come home to the point, to the question now before us: describing a perceptible testimony of the Holy Ghost, ‘directly felt to be worked by Himself.’

8. But I will waive all authorities, that of Origen and Chrysostom, as well as of Hannah Richardson (though not a weak woman, but eminently the reverse) and Averel Spenser [See letters of Dec. 30, 1745, sects. 4, 7, and March 22, 1748, sect. 14.](though not a wicked one), only observing that your argument proves too much. I am as fully assured to-day, as I am of the shining of the sun, that the Scriptures are of God. I cannot possibly deny or doubt of it now: yet I may doubt of it to-morrow; as I have done heretofore a thousand times, and that after the fullest assurance preceding. Now, if this be 'a demonstration that my former assurance was a mere fancy,' then farewell all revelation at once!

But to come closer yet, and weigh the point in debate in the balance of plain reason. You must allow there is a testimony of the Spirit with our spirit that we are the children of God. ‘But,’ you say, ‘it is not a perceptible one.’ How is this Let us examine it thoroughly. It is allowed (1) the Spirit of God (2) bears testimony to my spirit (3) that I am a child of God. But I am not to perceive it. Not to perceive what the first, second, or third particular Am I not to perceive what is testified — that I am a child of God Then it is not testified at all. This is saying and unlaying in the same breath. Or am I not to perceive that it is testified to my spirit Yea, but I must perceive what passes in my own soul! Or, lastly, am I to perceive that I am a child of God, and that this is testified to my spirit, but not to perceive who it is that testifies not to know it is the Spirit of God O sir, if there really be a man in the world who hath this testimony in himself, can it be supposed that he does not know who it is that testifies who it is that speaks to his heart that speaks in his inmost soul as never man spake If he does not, he is ignorant of the whole affair. If you are in this state, I pray God you may say from the heart, ‘Lord, what I know not, teach Thou me.’ How much better were this than to canonize your own ignorance as the only knowledge and wisdom, and to condemn all the generation of God's children of ‘idiotism and madness’!

9. Under your last head you do not confine yourself now within the bounds you at first proposed, when you said, ‘I am not making conjectures of what may happen, but relating mischiefs which actually have happened.’ Take care you do not grow warm when I reply to this; you will have need of all your patience to bear it.

You begin: ‘Will you ask what I mean by “order” Was it not manifest I meant to speak against lay-preaching’ It was; but not against that alone. Therefore, before I entered upon the question, I defined the term in a wider sense, so as to include both this and every irregularity you had objected. You go on: ‘How could you give so strange an answer, “I bring this order you contend for into places where it never was before”’ I reply: This is not my whole answer; it is but one, and that the most inconsiderable, part of it: but it is strictly true. ‘Do you, then, bring in the ministry of regularly ordained ministers, where, before, people were used to the preaching of lay brethren’ Yes; them who were before used to no preaching at all, or to that of those whom you would term lay brethren, I bring to attend on the ministry of those regular preachers who have the charge of their several parishes.

But very ‘ill consequences’ of our irregular preaching, you say, have ‘actually happened: a number of unsent persons going about the kingdom, and preaching the worst of heresies.’ ‘A number’! Where Within these nine years past, I have heard of two, and no more (besides that lunatic clergyman [See letter of June 25, 1746, sect. 10.]), who have gone about thus, though I doubt sent neither of God nor man. But I have heard of no heresy which they preached; only a little smooth, undigested nonsense. Nor can the ill done by these balance the thousandth part of the good already done by the preaching of other laymen — namely, the turning so many bold, barefaced servants of the devil into humble, holy servants of God.

However, evil ‘will happen if any State faction shall join the irregulars.’ If they shall! Yea, if they shall attempt it (which is far enough off), the irregulars will not join them. We bless God that the Government is at present very fully convinced of this.

‘But if unsent well-meaning laymen may preach, unsent ill-meaning laymen will, upon the first opportunity, spread sedition like wild-fire.’ Yea, and clergymen as well as laymen, sent as well as unsent. Thus it ever was, and I presume ever will be.

10. That ‘the irregularities of Mr. Cartwright [Thomas Cartwright was the Puritan Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge in 1569. He lectured and preached against the habits worn by the clergy; and criticized the Constitution of the Church of England, and argued for that of Geneva. He was removed from the professorship in 1570. See Walton's Hooker, p. 138.] did more harm in the course of a century than all the labors of his life did good' is by no means plain to me; and the less so, because I cannot learn from Mr. Stripe [John Strype (1643-1737) wrote a History of the Life and Actions of Edmund Grindal, who zealously opposed Cartwright.] or any other impartial writer (whatever his mistakes in judgement were) that he fell into any irregularities at all. I look upon him and the body of Puritans in that age (to whom the German Anabaptists bore small resemblance) to have been both the most learned and most pious men that were then in the English nation. Nor did they separate from the Church, but were driven out, whether they would or no. The vengeance of God which fell on the posterity of their persecutors, I think, is no imputation on Mr. Cartwright or them; but a wonderful scene of divine Providence, visiting the sins of the fathers upon their children (when they also had filled up the measure of their iniquities) unto the third and fourth generation.

I am not careful for what may be an hundred years hence. He who governed the world before I was born shall take care of it likewise when I am dead. My part is to improve the present moment. And whatever may be the fruits of laypreaching when you and I are gone to our long home, every serious man has cause to bless God for those he may now see with his eyes, for the saving so many souls from death and hiding a multitude of sins. The instances glare in the face of the sun. Many, indeed, God hath taken to Himself; but many more remain, both young and old, who now fear God and work righteousness.

11. Perhaps a parallel drawn from physic may hold more exactly than you was apprised of. For more than twenty years I have had numberless proofs that regular physicians do exceeding little good. From a deep conviction of this, I have believed it my duty, within these four months last past, to prescribe such medicines to six or seven hundred of the poor as I knew were proper for their several disorders. [See letter of Jan. 26.] Within six weeks nine in ten of them who had taken these medicines were remarkably altered for the better; and many were cured of diseases under which they had labored for ten, twenty, forty years. Now, ought I to have let one of these poor wretches perish because I was not a regular physician to have said, ‘I know what will cure you; but I am not of the College: you must send for Dr. Mead’ [For Dr. Richard Mead, see heading to letter of Sept. 28, 1745.] ‘Before Dr. Mead had come in his chariot, the man might have been in his coffin. And when the doctor was come, where was his fee What! he cannot live upon nothing! So, instead of an orderly cure, the patient dies; and God requires his blood at my hands!’ [See letter of May 4, 1748.]

12. But you think, ‘if one should look out of his grave in the middle of the next century, he would find the orderly preaching at St. Luke's and St. Church had done more good than the disorderly preaching at Kennington.’ I cannot learn, by all the inquiries I have made, that at present it does any good at all; that either Dr. Bulkeley [See letter of June 17, 1746, sect. III. 5.] or Dr. Gally [Henry Gally, Vicar of St. Giles’ in-the-Fields 1732-69.] has in all these years converted one sinner to God. And if a man saves no souls while he is alive, I fear he will save few after he is dead.

But ‘it does abundance less harm.’ Perhaps not so, neither. ‘He that gathereth not with Me scattereth,’ more especially if he be a preacher. He must scatter from Him, if he does not gather souls to God. Therefore a lifeless, unconverting minister is the murderer-general of his parish. He enters not into the kingdom of heaven himself, and those that would enter in he suffers not. He stands in the gap between them and true religion. Because he has it not, they are easy without it. Dead form contents him, and why not them ‘Sure it is enough if we go as far as our guide!’ And if he is not outwardly vicious, he the more effectually secures them from all inward, solid virtue. How choice a factor for hell is this! destroying more souls than any Deist in the kingdom! I could not have blamed St. Chrysostom if he had only said, ‘Hell is paved with the skulls of such Christian priests!’

13. I must be short on what remains. You suppose the impression made on men's minds by this irregular way of preaching is chiefly owing to ‘the force of novelty.’ I believe it was to obviate this very supposition that my preaching has so rarely made any impression at all till the novelty of it was over. When I had preached more than six score times at this town, I found scarce any effect; only that abundance of people heard, and gaped and stared, and went away much as they came. And it was one evening, while I was in doubt if I had not labored in vain, that such a blessing of God was given as has continued ever since, and I trust will be remembered unto many generations.

You ascribe it likewise in part to ‘a natural knack of persuasion.’ If either by a natural or an acquired power of persuasion I can prevail upon sinners to turn to God, am I to bury even that talent in the earth ‘No; but try if you cannot do more good in a college or in a parish.’ [See letter of March 20, 1739, to James Hervey.] I have tried both, and I could not do any substantial good, either to my pupils or my parishioners. Among my parishioners in Lincolnshire I tried for some years; but I am well assured I did far more good to them by preaching three days on my father's tomb than I did by preaching three years in his pulpit.

But you ‘know no call I have to preach up and down, to play the part of an itinerant evangelist.’ Perhaps you do not. But I do: I know God hath required this at my hands. To me, His blessing my work is an abundant proof; although such a proof as often makes me tremble. But ‘is there not pride or vanity in my heart’ There is; yet this is not my motive to preaching. I know and feel that the spring of this is a deep conviction that it is the will of God, and that, were I to refrain, I should never hear that word, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’ but, ‘Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness, where is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.’

To Ebenezer Blackwell

SHEFFIELD, May 14, 1747.

DEAR SIR, — Are you not getting weary and faint in your mind Do you continue to strive for the mastery It is a good though painful fight. I am sometimes afraid of your turning back before you conquer. Your enemies are many, and your strength is small. What an amazing thing it will be, if you should endure to the end!

I doubt you will sometimes be in danger by a snare you are not aware of: you will often meet with persons who labor till they are delivered of all they know, and who (perhaps ‘with very good intent, but little wit’) will tell you abundance of things, good or bad, of the Society, or any member of it. Now, all this is poison to your soul. You have only to give an account of yourself to God. Oh may you do it with joy, and not with grief! — I am, dear sir,

Your very affectionate servant.

To Dr. Gibson, Bishop of London [3]


Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person; neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my Maker would soon take me away.--Job xxxii. 21-2.

LONDON, June 11, 1747.

MY LORD, — 1. When abundance of persons have for several years laid to my charge things that I knew not, I have generally thought it my duty to pass it over in silence, to be 'as one that heard not.' But the case is different when a person of your Lordship's character calls me forth to answer for myself. Silence now might be interpreted contempt. It might appear like a sullen disregard, a withholding honor from him to whom honor is due, were it only on account of his high office in the Church, more especially when I apprehend so eminent a person as this to be under considerable mistakes concerning me. Were I now to be silent, were I not to do what was in my power for the removal of those mistakes, I could not ‘have a conscience void of offence,’ either ‘towards God or towards man.’

2. But I am sensible how difficult it is to speak in such a manner as I ought and as I desire to do. When your Lordship published those queries under the title of Observations, [Observations upon the Conduct and Behaviour of a Certain Sect, usually distinguished by the name of Methodist. 1744. See Green's Anti-Methodist Publications, No. 164.] I did not lie under the same difficulty; because, as your name was not inscribed, I had ‘the liberty to stand, as it were, on even ground.’ But I must now always remember to whom I speak. And may the God ‘whom I serve in the gospel of His Son’ enable me to do it with deep seriousness of spirit, with modesty and humility, and at the same time with the utmost plainness of speech, seeing we must ‘both stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.’

3. In this, then, I entreat your Lordship to bear with me, and in particular when I speak of myself (how tender a point!) just as freely as I would of another man. Let not this be termed boasting. Is there not a cause Can I refrain from speaking, and be guiltless And if I speak at all, ought I not to speak (what appears to me to be) the whole truth Does not your Lordship desire that I should do this I will, then, God being my helper. And you will bear with me in my folly (if such it is), with my speaking in the simplicity of my heart.

4. Your Lordship begins: ‘There is another species of enemies, who give shameful disturbance to the parochial clergy, and use very unwarrantable methods to prejudice their people against them, and to seduce their flocks from them — the Methodists and Moravians, who agree in annoying the Established ministry, and in drawing over to themselves the lowest and most ignorant of the people, by presences to greater sanctity’ (Charge, p. 4).

But have no endeavors been used to show them their error Yes; your Lordship remarks, ‘Endeavors have not been wanting. But though these endeavors have caused some abatement in the pomp and grandeur with which these people for some time acted’ (truly, one would not have expected it from them!), ‘yet they do not seem to have made any impression upon their leaders.’ (Page 6.)

Your Lordship adds: ‘Their innovations in points of discipline I do not intend to enter into at present; but to inquire what the doctrines are which they spread’ (page 7). ‘Doctrines big with pernicious influences upon practice’ (page 8).

Six of these your Lordship mentions, after having premised, ‘It is not at all needful, to the end of guarding against them, to charge the particular tenets upon the particular persons among them’ (page 7). Indeed, my Lord, it is needful in the highest degree. For if the minister who is to guard his people, either against Peter Bohler, Mr. Whitefield, or me, does not know what our particular tenets are, he must needs ‘run as uncertainly and fight as one that beateth the air.’

I will fairly own which of these belong to me. The indirect practices which your Lordship charges upon me may then be considered, together with the consequences of these doctrines and your Lordship's instructions to the clergy.

5. ‘The first that I shall take notice of,’ says your Lordship, ‘is the Antinomian doctrine’ (page 8). The second, ‘that Christ has done all, and left nothing for us to do but to believe’ (page 9). These belong not to me. I am unconcerned therein. I have earnestly opposed, but did never teach or embrace them.

‘There is another notion,’ your Lordship says, ‘which we find propagated throughout the writings of those people, and that is the making inward, secret, and sudden impulses the guides of their actions, resolutions, and designs’ (page 14). Mr. Church urged the same objection before: ‘Instead of making the Word of God the rule of his actions, he follows only his secret impulse.’ I beg leave to return the same answer: ‘In the whole compass of language there is not a proposition which less belongs to me than this. I have declared again and again that I make the Word of God “the rule” of all my actions, and that I no more follow any “secret impulse” instead thereof than I follow Mahomet or Confucius.’ [See letter of Feb. 2, 1745, sect. iii 5.]

6. Before I proceed, suffer me to observe, here are three grievous errors charged on the Moravians, Mr. Whitefield, and me conjointly, in none of which I am any more concerned than in the doctrine of the Metempsychosis! But it was ‘not needful to charge particular tenets on particular persons.’ Just as needful, my Lord, as it is not to put a stumbling-block in the way of our brethren; not to lay them under an almost insuperable temptation of condemning the innocent with the guilty. I beseech your Lordship to answer in your own conscience before God whether you did not foresee how many of your hearers would charge these tenets upon me — nay, whether you did not design they should. If so, my Lord, is this Christianity Is it humanity Let me speak plain. Is it honest heathenism

7. I am not one jot more concerned in instantaneous justification as your Lordship explains it — namely, ‘A sudden, instantaneous justification, by which the person receives from God a certain seal of His salvation or an absolute assurance of being saved at last’ (Charge, p. 11). ‘Such an instantaneous working of the Holy Spirit as finishes the business of salvation once for all’ (ibid.). I neither teach nor believe it, and am therefore clear of all the consequences that may arise therefrom. I believe ‘a gradual improvement in grace and goodness,’I mean in the knowledge and love of God, is a good ‘testimony of our present sincerity towards God’; although I dare not say it is ‘the only true ground of humble assurance,’ or the only foundation on which a Christian builds his ‘hopes of acceptance and salvation.’ For I think ‘other foundation’ of these ‘can no man lay than that which is laid, even Jesus Christ.’

8. To the charge of holding ‘sinless perfection,’ as your Lordship states it, I might likewise plead, Not guilty; seeing one ingredient thereof in your Lordship’s account is ‘freedom from temptation’ (page 17). Whereas I believe ‘there is no such perfection in this life as implies an entire deliverance from manifold temptations.’ But I will not decline the charge. I will repeat once more my coolest thoughts upon this head; and that in the very terms which I did several years ago, as I presume your Lordship cannot be ignorant: —

‘What, it may be asked, do you mean by “one that is perfect” or “one that is as his Master” We mean one in whom is “the mind which was in Christ,” and who so “walketh as He walked”; a man that “hath clean hands and a pure heart,” or that is “cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit”; one “in whom there is no occasion of stumbling,” and who accordingly “doth not commit sin.” To declare this a little more particularly: we understand by that scriptural expression, “a perfect man,” one in whom God hath fulfilled His faithful word — “From all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. I will also save you from all your uncleanness.” We understand hereby one whom God hath sanctified throughout, even in “body, soul, and spirit”; one who “walketh in the light, as He is in the light,” in whom “is no darkness at all; the blood of Jesus Christ His Son” having cleansed “him from all sin.”

‘This man can now testify to all mankind, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet I live not, but Christ liveth in me.” He “is holy, as God who called him is holy,” both in life and “in all manner of conversation.” He “loveth the Lord his God with all his heart, and serveth Him with all his strength.” He “loveth his neighbor” (every man) “as himself”; yea, “as Christ loved us” — them in particular that “despitefully use him and persecute him,” because “they know not the Son, neither the Father.” Indeed, his soul is all love, filled with “bowels of mercies, kindness, meekness, gentleness, longsuffering.” And his life agreeth thereto, full of “the work of faith, the patience of hope, the labor of love.” And “whatsoever he doeth, either in word or deed,” he doeth “it all in the name,” in the love and power, “of the Lord Jesus.” In a word, he doeth the will of God “on earth, as it is done in heaven.”

‘This is to be “a perfect man,” to be “sanctified throughout, created anew in Jesus Christ”; even “to have an heart so all-flaming with the love of God” (to use Archbishop’s Ussher’s words), “as continually to offer up every thought, word, and work as a spiritual sacrifice, acceptable unto God through Christ.” In every thought of our hearts, in every word of our tongues, in every work of our hands, “to show forth His praise who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Oh that both we and all who seek the Lord Jesus in sincerity may thus “be made perfect in one”!’

9. I conjure you, my Lord, by the mercies of God, if these are not the words of truth and soberness, point me out wherein I have erred from the truth; show me clearly wherein I have spoken either beyond or contrary to the Word of God. But might I not humbly entreat that your Lordship, in doing this, would abstain from such expressions as these, ‘If they will but put themselves under their direction and discipline . . . after their course of discipline is once over’ (page 15), as not suitable either to the weight of the subject or the dignity of your Lordship’s character. And might I not expect something more than these loose assertions, — that this is ‘a delusion altogether groundless, a notion contrary to the whole tenor both of the Old and New Testament'; that 'the Scriptures forbid all thought of it, as vain, arrogant, and presumptuous’; that they ‘represent all mankind, without distinction, as subject to sin and corruption’ (‘subject to sin and corruption’! strong words!) ‘during their continuance in this world; and require no more than an honest desire and endeavor to find ourselves less and less in a state of imperfection’ (pages 15-16).

Is it not from your Lordship's entirely mistaking the question, not at all apprehending what perfection I teach, that you go on to guard against the same imaginary consequences as your Lordship did in the Observations Surely, my Lord, you never gave yourself the trouble to read the answer given in the Farther Appeal, to every objection which you now urge afresh; seeing you do not now appear to know any more of my sentiments than if you had never proposed one question nor received one answer upon the subject!

10. If your Lordship designed to show my real sentiments concerning the last doctrine which you mention, as one would imagine by your adding ‘These are his own words’ (page 18), should you not have cited all my own words — at least, all the words of that paragraph, and not have mangled it as Mr. Church did before It runs thus:

‘Sat. 28. — I showed at large, in order to answer those who taught that none but they who are full of faith and the Holy Ghost ought ever to communicate: (1) That the Lord’s Supper was ordained by God to be a means of conveying to men either preventing, or justifying, or sanctifying grace, according to their several necessities. (2) That the persons for whom it was ordained are all those who know and feel that they want the grace of God, either to restrain them from sin, or to “show their sins forgiven,” or to “renew their souls” in the image of God. (3) That inasmuch as we come to His Table, not to give Him anything, but to receive whatsoever He sees best for us, there is no previous preparation indispensably necessary but a desire to receive whatsoever He pleases to give. And (4) That no fitness is required at the time of communicating but a sense of our state, of our utter sinfulness and helplessness; every one who knows he is fit for hell being just fit to come to Christ in this as well as all other ways of His appointment.’ (Journal, ii. 361-2.)

In the second letter to Mr. Church I explain myself farther on this head: ‘I am sorry to find you still affirm that, with regard to the Lord’s Supper also, I “advance many injudicious, false, and dangerous things. Such as: (1) That ‘a man ought to communicate without a sure trust in God's mercy through Christ.’” You mark these as my words; but I know them not. (2) “That there is no previous preparation indispensably necessary, but a desire to receive whatsoever God pleases to give.” But I include abundantly more in that desire than you seem to apprehend, even a willingness to know and do the whole will of God. (3) “That no fitness is required at the time of communicating” (I recite the whole sentence) “but a sense of our state, of our utter sinfulness and helplessness; every one who knows he is fit for hell being just fit to come to Christ in this as well as in all other ways of His appointment.” But neither can this sense of our utter sinfulness and helplessness subsist without earnest desires of universal holiness.’ [See letter of June 17, 1746, sect. II. 7.]

And now, what can I say Had your Lordship never seen this That is hardly to be imagined. But if you had, how was it possible your Lordship should thus explicitly and solemnly charge me, in the presence of God and all my brethren (only the person so charged was not present), with ‘meaning by those words to set aside self-examination, and repentance for sins past, and resolutions of living better for the time to come, as things no way necessary to make a worthy communicant’ (Charge, p. 18.)

If an evidence at the Bar should swerve from truth, an equitable judge may place the thing in a true light. But if the judge himself shall bear false witness, where then can we find a remedy

Actual preparation was here entirely out of the question. It might be absolutely and indispensably necessary, for anything I had either said or meant to the contrary; for it was not at all in my thoughts. And the habitual preparation which I had in terms declared to be indispensably necessary was ‘a willingness to know and to do the whole will of God’ and ‘earnest desires of universal holiness.’ Does your Lordship think this is ‘meant to set aside all repentance for sins past and resolutions of living better for the time to come’

11. Your Lordship next falls with all your might upon that strange assertion, as you term it, ‘We come to His Table, not to give Him anything, but to receive whatsoever He sees best for us.’ ‘Whereas,’ says your Lordship, ‘in the exhortation at the time of receiving, the people are told that they must give most humble and hearty thanks . . . and immediately after receiving, both minister and people join in offering and presenting themselves before God’ (pages 20-1). O God! in what manner are the most sacred things here treated! the most venerable mysteries of our religion! What quibbling, what playing upon words, is here! ‘Not to give Him anything.’ ‘Yes, to give Him thanks.’ O my Lord, are these the words of a Father of the Church

12. Your Lordship goes on: ‘To the foregoing account of these modern principles and doctrines it may not be improper to subjoin a few observations upon the indirect practices of the same people in gaining proselytes’ (pages 23-4).

I. ‘They persuade the people that the Established worship, with a regular attendance upon it, is not sufficient to answer the ends of devotion.’

Your Lordship mentioned this likewise in the Observations. In your fourth query it stood thus: ‘Whether a due and regular attendance on the public offices of religion, paid in a serious and composed way, does not answer the true ends of devotion.’ Suffer me to repeat part of the answer then given:

‘I suppose by “devotion” you mean public worship; by the “true ends” of it, the love of God and man; and by “a due and regular attendance on the public offices of religion, paid in a serious and composed way,: the going as often as we can to our parish church and to the sacrament there administered. If so, the question is, Whether this attendance on those offices does not produce the love of God and man. I answer, Sometimes it does, and sometimes it does not. I myself thus attended them for many years, and yet am conscious to myself that during that whole time I had no more of the love of God than a stone. And I know many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of serious persons who are ready to testify the same thing.’ [A Farther Appeal, Part 1. See Works, viii. 61.]

I subjoined: (1) ‘We continually exhort all who attend on our preaching to attend the offices of the Church. And they do pay a more regular attendance there than ever they did before. (2) Their attending the church did not, in fact, answer those ends at all till they attended this preaching also. (3) It is the preaching remission of sins through Jesus Christ which alone answers the true ends of devotion.’

II. 13. ‘They censure the clergy,’ says your Lordship, ‘as less zealous than themselves in the several branches of the ministerial function. For this they are undeservedly reproached by these noisy itinerant leaders.’ (Charge, pp. 24-5.)

My Lord, I am not conscious to myself of this. I do not willingly compare myself with any man; much less do I reproach my brethren of the clergy, whether they deserve it or not. But it is needless to add any more on this head than what was said above a year ago:

‘I must explain myself a little on that practice which you so often term “abusing the clergy.” I have many times great sorrow and heaviness in my heart on account of these my brethren. And this sometimes constrains me to speak to them in the only way which is now in my power; and sometimes, though rarely, to speak of them — of a few, not all in general. In either case, I take an especial care (1) to speak nothing but the truth; (2) to speak this with all plainness; and (3) with love and in the spirit of meekness. Now, if you will call this abusing, railing, or reviling, you must. But still I dare not refrain from it. I must thus rail, thus abuse sinners of all sorts and degrees, unless I will perish with them.’[See letter of June 17, 1746, sect. vi. II.]

III. 14. ‘They value themselves upon extraordinary strictnesses and severities in life, and such as are beyond what the rules of Christianity require. They captivate the people by such professions and appearances of uncommon sanctity. But that which can never fail of a general respect is a quiet and exemplary life, free from the many follies and indiscretions which those restless and vagrant teachers are apt to fall into.’ (Charge, p. 25.)

By ‘extraordinary strictnesses and severities,’ I presume your Lordship means the abstaining from wine and animal food; which, it is sure, Christianity does not require. But if you do, I fear your Lordship is not thoroughly informed of the matter of fact. I began to do this about twelve years ago, when I had no thought of ‘annoying parochial ministers,’ or of ‘captivating’ any ‘people’ thereby, unless it were the Chicasaw or Choctaw Indians. But I resumed the use of them both, about two years after, for the sake of some who thought I made it a point of conscience; telling them, ‘I will eat flesh while the world standeth’ rather than ‘make my brother to offend.’ Dr. Cheyne advised me to leave them off again, assuring me, ‘Till you do, you will never be free from fevers.’ And since I have taken his advice, I have been free (blessed be God) from all bodily disorders. [I continued this about two years (Wesley). See Tyerman’s Wesley, i.28-9; and letter of Nov. 1, 1724.] Would to God I knew any method of being equally free from all ‘follies and indiscretions’! But this I never expect to attain till my spirit returns to God.

15. But in how strange a manner does your Lordship represent this! What a construction do you put upon it! ‘Appearances of an uncommon sanctity, in order to captivate the people. Pretensions to more exalted degrees of strictness, to make their way into weak minds and fickle heads.’ (Page 25.) ‘Pretences to greater sanctity, whereby they draw over to themselves the most ignorant of the people’ (page 4). If these are ‘appearances of uncommon sanctity' (which, indeed, might bear a dispute), how does your Lordship know that they are only appearances that they do not spring from the heart Suppose these were 'exalted degrees of strictness,’ is your Lordship absolutely assured that we practice them only ‘to make our way into weak minds and fickle heads' Where is the proof that these 'presences to greater sanctity’ (as your Lordship is pleased to phrase them) are mere presences, and have nothing of reality or sincerity in them

My Lord, this is an accusation of the highest nature. If we are guilty, we are not so much as moral heathens. We are monsters, not only unworthy of the Christian name, but unfit for human society. It tears up all presences to the love of God and man, to justice, mercy, or truth. But how is it proved Or does your Lordship read the heart, and so pass sentence without any proof at all O my Lord, ought an accusation of the lowest kind to be thus received, even against the lowest of the people How much less can this be reconciled with the apostolical advice to the Bishop of Ephesus! — ‘Against a presbyter receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses’; and those face to face. When it is thus proved, ‘them that sin, rebuke before all.’ Your Lordship doubtless remembers the words that follow (how worthy to be written in your heart!): ‘I charge thee, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality’ (I Tim. v. 19-21).

IV. 16. ‘They mislead the people into an opinion of the high merit of punctual attendance on their performances, to the neglect of the business of their stations’ (page 26). My Lord, this is not so. You yourself in this very Charge have cleared us from one part of this accusation. You have borne us witness (page 10) that we disclaim all merit, even in (really) good works; how much more in such works as we continually declare are not good, but very evil! such as the attending sermons, or any public offices whatever, ‘to the neglect of the business of our station.’

When your Lordship urged this before in the Observations, I openly declared my belief ‘that true religion cannot lead into a disregard or disesteem of the common duties and offices of life; that, on the contrary, it leads men to discharge all those duties with the strictest and closest attention; that Christianity requires this attention and diligence in all stations and in all conditions; that the performance of the lowest offices of life, as unto God, is truly a serving of Christ; and that this is the doctrine I preach continually’ [A Farther Appeal, Part I. See Works, viii. 46.]; — a fact whereof any man may easily be informed. Now, if after all this your Lordship will repeat the charge as if I had not once opened my mouth concerning it, I cannot help it. I can say no more. I commend my cause to God.

17. Having considered what your Lordship has advanced concerning dangerous doctrines and indirect practices, I now come to the instructions your Lordship gives to the clergy of your diocese.

How awful a thing is this! The very occasion carries in it a solemnity not to be expressed. Here is an angel of the Church of Christ, one of the stars in God’s right hand, calling together all the subordinate pastors, for whom he is to give an account to God; and directing them (in the name and by the authority of ‘the great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus Christ, the First-begotten from the dead, the Prince of the kings of the earth’) how to ‘make full proof of their ministry,' that they may be 'pure from the blood of all men’; how to ‘take heed unto themselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers’; how to ‘feed the flock of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood’! To this end they are all assembled together. And what is the substance of all his instructions ‘Reverend brethren, I charge you all, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and warn and arm and fortify all mankind against a people called Methodists!’

True it is, your Lordship gives them several advices; but all in order to this end. You direct them to ‘inculcate the excellency of our Liturgy as a wise, grave, and serious service’; to ‘show their people that a diligent attendance on their business is a serving of God’; ‘punctually to perform both the public offices of the Church and all other pastoral duties’; and to ‘engage the esteem of their parishioners by a constant regularity of life.’ But all these your Lordship recommends eo nomine as means to that great end--the arming and fortifying their people against the Moravians or Methodists and their doctrines.

Is it possible Could your Lordship discern no other enemies of the gospel of Christ Are there no other heretics or schismatics on earth, or even within the four seas Are there no Papists, no Deists in the land Or are their errors of less importance Or are their numbers in England less considerable or less likely to increase Does it appear, then, that they have lost their zeal for making proselytes Or are all the people so guarded against them already that their labor is in vain Can your Lordship answer these few plain questions to the satisfaction of your own conscience

Have the Methodists (so called) already monopolized all the sins as well as errors in the nation Is Methodism the only sin, or the only fatal or spreading sin, to be found within the Bills of Mortality Have two thousand (or more) ‘ambassadors of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God’ no other business than to guard, warn, arm, and fortify their people against this O my Lord, if this engrosses their time and strength (as it must, if they follow your Lordship's instructions), they will not give an account with joy, either of themselves or of their flock, in that day!

18. Your Lordship seems in some measure sensible of this, when you very gently condemn their opinion who think the Methodists ‘might better be disregarded and despised than taken notice of and opposed, if it were not for the disturbance they give to the parochial ministers, and their unwarrantable endeavors to seduce the people from their lawful pastors’ (Charge, p. 22). The same complaint with which your Lordship opened your Charge: ‘They give shameful disturbances to the parochial clergy; they annoy the Established ministry, using very unwarrantable methods, first to prejudice their people against them, and then to seduce their flocks from them’ (page 4).

Whether we seduce them or no (which will be presently considered), I am sorry your Lordship should give any countenance to that low, senseless, and now generally exploded slander that we do it for a maintenance. This your Lordship insinuates by applying to us those words of Bishop Sanderson: [Robert Sanderson (1587-1663), Fellow of Lincoln College 1606; Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford, 1642; Bishop of Lincoln 1660. Izaak Walton in his Lives calls him ‘This pattern of meekness and primitive innocence.’] ‘And all this to serve their own belly, to make a prey of the poor deluded proselytes; for by this means the people fall unto them, and thereout suck they no small advantage’ (page 15). Your Lordship cannot but know that my Fellowship and my brother's Studentship afford us more than sufficient for life and godliness, especially for that manner of life which we choose, whether out of ostentation or in sincerity. [Charles Wesley’s Studentship yielded 4 a year paid quarterly, and 16s. 8d. annually for ‘livery,’ i.e. clothes. Had he been resident he would have had free rooms and ‘commons,’ or diet. Both Fellowship and Studentship were terminable on marriage. For Wesley's income, see Works, vii. 36.]

19. But do we willingly ‘annoy the Established ministry’ or ‘give disturbance to the parochial clergy’ My Lord, we do not. We trust herein to have a conscience void of offence. Nor do we designedly ‘prejudice their people against them.’ In this also our heart condemneth us not. But you ‘seduce their flocks from them.’ No, not even from those who feed themselves, not the flock. All who hear us attend the service of the Church, at least as much as they did before. And for this very thing are we reproached as bigots to the Church by those of most other denominations.

Give me leave, my Lord, to say you have mistook and misrepresented this whole affair from the top to the bottom. And I am the more concerned to take notice of this because so many have fallen into the same mistake. It is indeed, and has been from the beginning, the pts ed, ‘the capital blunder,’ of our bitterest adversaries; though how they can advance it I see not, without ‘loving,’ if not ‘making, a lie.’ It is not our care, endeavor, or desire to proselyte any from one man to another; or from one church (so called), from one congregation or society, to another, — we would not move a finger to do this, to make ten thousand such proselytes,--but from darkness to light, from Belial to Christ, from the power of Satan to God. Our one aim is to proselyte sinners to repentance, the servants of the devil to serve the living and true God. If this be not done in fact, we will stand condemned, not as well-meaning fools, but as devils incarnate. But if it be, if the instances glare in the face of the sun, if they increase daily, maugre all the power of earth and hell; then, my Lord, neither you nor any man beside (let me use great plainness of speech) can ‘oppose’ and 'fortify people against us,' without being found even ‘to fight against God.’

20. I would fain set this point in a clearer light. Here are in and near Moorfields ten thousand poor souls, for whom Christ died, rushing headlong into hell. Is Dr. Bulkeley, the parochial minister, both willing and able to stop them [See letter of June 17, 1746, sect. III. 5.] If so, let it be done, and I have no place in these parts: I go and call other sinners to repentance. But if, after all he has done and all he can do, they are still in the broad way to destruction, let me see if God will put a word even in my mouth. True, I am a poor worm that of myself can do nothing. But if God sends by whomsoever He will send, His word shall not return empty. All the messenger of God asks is, p st (no help of man!) a s. [Give me where to stand, and I will shake the earth' (Archimedes and his lever). See letter in Dec. 1751, sect. 3, to Bishop Lavington.] The arm of the Lord is revealed. The lion roars, having the prey plucked out of his teeth. And ‘there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over’ more than ‘one sinner that repenteth.’

21. Is this any annoyance to the parochial minister Then what manner of spirit is he of Does he look on this part of his flock as lost, because they are found of the great Shepherd My Lord, great is my boldness toward you. You speak of the consequences of our doctrines. You seem well pleased with the success of your endeavors against them, because, you say, they ‘have pernicious consequences, are big with pernicious influences upon practice, dangerous to religion and the souls of men’ (pages 8, 22). In answer to all this, I appeal to plain fact. I say once more: ‘What have been the consequences (I would not speak, but I dare not refrain) of the doctrines I have preached for nine years last past By the fruits shall ye know those of whom I speak; even the cloud of witnesses, who at this hour experience the gospel which I preach to be the power of God unto salvation. The habitual drunkard that was is now temperate in all things; the whoremonger now flees fornication; he that stole, steals no more, but works with his hands; he that cursed or swore, perhaps at every sentence, has now learned to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice unto Him with reverence; those formerly enslaved to various habits of sin are now brought to uniform habits of holiness. These are demonstrable facts: I can name the men, with their places of abode. One of them was an avowed Atheist for many years; some were Jews; a considerable number Papists; the greatest part of them as much strangers to the form as to the power of godliness.’

My Lord, can you deny these facts I will make whatever proof of them you shall require. But if the facts be allowed, who can deny the doctrines to be in substance the gospel of Christ ‘For is there any other name under heaven given to men whereby they may thus be saved’ or is there any other word that thus ‘commendeth itself to every man's conscience in the sight of God’

22. But I must draw to a conclusion. Your Lordship has without doubt had some success in opposing this doctrine. Very many have, by your Lordship's unwearied endeavors, been deterred from hearing at all; and have thereby probably escaped the being seduced into holiness, have lived and died in their sins. My Lord, the time is short. I am past the noon of life, and my remaining years flee away as a shadow. Your Lordship is old and full of days, having past the usual age of man. It cannot, therefore, be long before we shall both drop this house of earth and stand naked before God; no, nor before we shall see the great white throne coming down from heaven, and Him that sitteth thereon. On His left hand shall be those who are shortly to dwell in everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. In that number will be all who died in their sins, and, among the rest, those whom you preserved from repentance. Will you then rejoice in your success The Lord God grant it may not be said in that hour, 'These have perished in their iniquity; but their blood I require at thy hands’! – I am

Your Lordship's dutiful son and servant.

To ‘John Smith’

ST. IVES, July 10, 1747.

SIR, -- 1. You put me in mind of an eminent man who, preaching at St. James’s, said, ‘If you do not repent, you will go to a place which I shall not name before this audience.’ I cannot promise so much, either in preaching or writing, before any audience or to any person whatever. Yet I am not conscious of doing this very often — of ‘profusely flinging about everlasting fire’; though it is true I mentioned it in my last letter to you, as I have done now a second time; and perhaps I may mention it yet again. For, to say the truth, I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of life, between these two boundless oceans; and I verily think the daily consideration of both highly becomes all men of reason and religion.

2. I think likewise (or I would not spend five words upon the head) that these are nearly concerned in our present question. To touch only on one branch of it: if I live in willful sin, in a sinful ‘deviation from established order,’ am I not in the way to hell I cannot take it any otherwise. I cannot help ‘blending these two inquiries together.’ I must therefore speak seriously, or not at all; and yet, I trust, ‘without losing my temper.’ Do you complain of this first, that I may not complain It appears to me that you show more eagerness of spirit, more warmth and resentment, in your last than you ever have done from the beginning.

3. You spoke of ‘a number of unsent persons going about and preaching the worst of heresies.’ I answered, ‘Within these nine years I have heard of two, and no more, who have gone about thus, though I doubt neither sent of God nor man.’ Their names were Jonathan Wildboar, [At Bristol, on July 29, 1740 (see his Journal), Charles Wesley says: 'One, pestered with the Predestinarians, desired me to expound Rom. ix. I did, through Christ strengthening me, in an extraordinary manner. The poor creature Wildboar contradicted and blasphemed, and even called for damnation upon his own soul, if Christ died for all, and if God was willing that all men should be saved. The power of the Lord was present so much the more ‘I have not known a more triumphant night since I knew Bristol.’ John Wesley's Diary for Oct. 20, 1740, shows that he was at Mrs. ‘Wildbore’s’ house in London.] and Thomas Smith,[Wesley published an advertisement on Aug. 3, 1748, warning the public against this ‘cheat and impostor’ (Journal, iii. 365).] alias Moor, alias I know not what — for I fear he changed his name as often as his place. It is not unlikely that either of these might steal as well as lie, which they have done abundantly, particularly in claiming acquaintance with Mr. Whitefield or me wherever they judged it would recommend them to their hearers. I should not be surprised to hear of two more such; but I have not yet, in all the counties I have gone through between London and Berwick-upon-Tweed, or between Deal and the Land's End.

4. I would to God all the clergy throughout the land were ‘zealous for inward, solid virtue.’ But I dare not say one in ten of those I have known are so in any degree. The two clergymen of this place, on a late public occasion, were led home at one or two in the morning in such a condition as I care not to describe. One of them is rector of Lelant also (a parish east of St. Ives), of Twidnack, to the south, and Zennor, to the west. At Zennor he keeps another assistant, and one who is just as sober as himself, and near as zealous--not, indeed, for inward or outward virtue, but against these ‘scoundrels that pretend to preach in his parish.’

5. I never ‘attempted to deny’ that the novelty of our manner of preaching has induced thousands and ten thousands to hear us who would otherwise never have heard us at all, nor perhaps any other preacher. But I utterly deny that ‘the effects wrought on many of them that heard were owing to novelty, and that only.’ The particular effects wrought at Epworth [Where he preached with extraordinary effect on his father's tombstone on June 6, 1742 (Journal, iii. 19). His defence of field-preaching is given in Parts I and III of A Farther Appeal. See Works, viii.113-119, 229-31.] were these: many drunkards, many unjust and profane men, on whom both my father and I had for several years spent our strength in vain, from that time began to live, and continue so to do, a sober, righteous, and godly life. Now, I deny that this effect can be owing to novelty, or to any principle but the power of God.

If it be asked, But were there not ‘the same hearers, the same preachers, and the same God to influence in the church as on the tombstone’ I answer: (1) There were not all the same hearers in the church--not above one-third of them; (2) there was the same preacher in the church, but he did not then preach the same doctrine; and therefore, (3) though there was the same God, there was not the same influence or blessing from Him.

6. The sum of what I offered before concerning perceptible inspiration was this: ‘Every Christian believer has a perceptible testimony of God's Spirit that he is a child of God.’ You objected that there was not one word said of this, either in the Bible or in the Appeal, to which I referred. I replied: ‘I think there is in the Bible, in the 16th verse of the 8th chapter to the Romans. And in the Farther Appeal this place is proved to describe the ordinary privilege of every Christian believer.’

This is there shown, both by Scripture, by reason, and by authority, particularly that of Origen and Chrysostom, whom his Lordship of Lichfield had cited in his Charge [Richard Smallbroke, Bishop of Lichfield 1730-49, published treatises against Whiston and Woolaston. In a Charge, delivered in 1741 and published in 1744, he set himself ‘to obviate the Contagion of those Enthusiastical Pretensions that in several parts of the nation have lately, as well as formerly, betrayed whole Multitudes either into an unreasonable Presumption of their Salvation, or into melancholy if not desponding Opinions about it.’ He attempted to prove, with the aid of Origen and Chrysostom’s homily on I Cor. ii. 4, that the ‘demonstration of the Spirit and power’ referred to the miracles of the apostolic age (pp. 15, 26, 31-2), and that the Testimony of the Spirit, in the Sense of the Holy Scriptures, is abusively pretended to by a new sect of Enthusiastical Seducers among us.’ Whitefield wrote Some Remarks upon a late Charge against Enthusiasm, and Wesley answered the Bishop in A Farther Appeal.] as asserting just the contrary. But, waiving authorities, I reasoned thus: ‘You allow there is a testimony of the Spirit with our spirit that we are the children of God. But you say it is not a perceptible one. How is this Let us examine it thoroughly. It is allowed (1) the Spirit of God (2) bears testimony to my spirit (3) that I am a child of God. But I am not to perceive it. Not to perceive what the first, second, or third particular Am I not to perceive what is testified — that I am a child of God Then it is not testified at all. This is saying and unlaying in the same breath. Or am I not to perceive that it is testified to my spirit Yea, but I must perceive what passes in my own soul! Or, lastly, am I to perceive that I am a child of God, and that this is testified to my spirit, but not to perceive who it is that testifies not to know it is the Spirit of God O sir, if there be really a man in the world who hath this testimony in himself, can it be supposed that he does not know who it is that testifies who it is that speaks to his heart’

7. Instead of giving a direct answer to this, you have recourse to the same supposition with his Lordship of Lichfield and Coventry — namely, that there was once an inward, perceptible testimony of the Spirit, but that it was peculiar to the early ages of the Church.

‘There are three ways,’ say you, ‘in which the Holy Spirit may be said to bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: (1) By external, miraculous attestations. (2) By internal, plainly perceptible whispers.’ (I must add, ‘not in words, at least not always, but by some kind of impressions equivalent thereto.’) ‘(3) By His standing testimony in the Holy Scriptures. The Apostles had all these three; Origen and Chrysostom probably the two latter. But if St. Bernard, several hundred years after, pretended to any other than the third, his neighbors would naturally ask for proof, either that it should be so by Scripture or that it was so by facts.’

Well, then, let us suppose St. Bernard and one of his neighbors to be talking together on this subject. On St. Bernard's saying, ‘The Spirit of God bears witness with my spirit that I am a child of God,’ his neighbor replies, ‘I suppose He does, but not by an inward, plainly perceptible testimony.’ ‘Yes, by an inward, plainly perceptible testimony. I now have this testimony in myself; I plainly perceive that I am a child of God, and that it is His Spirit who testifies it to my spirit.’ ‘I fear you are somewhat enthusiastically given. I allow God’s standing testimony in the Scriptures; but I cannot allow that there is now any such thing as this inward testimony, unless you can either prove by Scripture that it should be so or by facts that it is so.’ ‘Are not these words Scripture: “The Spirit itself beareth testimony with our spirit that we are the children of God”’ ‘Yes; but the question is, how they are to be understood: for I deny that they speak of an inward testimony. They speak of the outward, standing testimony of God in the Holy Scriptures.’ ‘You put a manifest force upon the text. You cannot prove that it speaks of any outward testimony at all. But the words immediately preceding prove to a demonstration that it speaks of an inward testimony: “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage unto fear” (is not fear an inward thing); “but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, even the same Spirit which “God hath sent forth into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father I”’ ‘I do not deny that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit. But I deny your peculiar interpretation of this text. I deny that this text at all favors an inward, perceptible testimony.’ ‘The Spirit which God hath sent into my heart, and which now cries in my heart “Abba, Father,” now beareth testimony with my spirit that I am a child of God. How can these words be interpreted at all but of an inward, perceptible testimony’ ‘I tell you, of God's standing testimony in Scripture.’ ‘This is a palpable violence to the words. They no more speak of Scripture than of miracles. They manifestly speak of what passes in the heart, the spirit, the inmost soul of a believer, and that only.’

8. But you would say, ‘Suppose this scripture to prove that it should be so, can you show by facts that it is so’ Not if you take it for granted that every one who speaks of having this witness in himself is an enthusiast. You are then in no danger of proof from this quarter. You have a short answer to every fact which can be alleged.

But you turn the tables. You say it is I who allow that ‘many of God's children do not continue in sound mind and memory.’ I allowed: (1) A man feels the testimony of God's Spirit, and cannot then deny or doubt his being a child of God. (2) After a time this testimony is withdrawn: not from every child of God; many retain the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end. (3) Then he may doubt whether that testimony was of God, and perhaps at length deny that it was, especially if his heart be hardened by the deceitfulness of his sin. And yet he may be all this time in every other respect of ‘sound memory as well as understanding.’ In this respect I allowed he is not — that is, ‘his understanding is now darkened, and the very traces of that divine work wellnigh erased out of his memory.’ So I expressly determined the sense wherein I allowed ‘he does not continue in sound mind and memory.’ But did I allow that even then he was non compos mentis -- a madman in the common sense Nothing less: I allowed no more than, the divine light being withdrawn, his mind was again dark as to the things of God; and that he had forgotten t aTas t pa at ‘aat, [2 Pet. i. 9 ‘The purification from his former sins.’] wellnigh as if it had never been.

9. But you say, ‘If variable facts be produced, to-day asserted, to-morrow denied.’ Nay, the facts, whether asserted or denied, are still invariable. ‘But if they be ever doubted or denied, they never were plainly perceptible.’ I cannot discern any force in that consequence: however, if they are afterward ‘denied, they are not from Him “in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”’ Neither is this consequence good. Though God is ever the same, man may either assert or deny His works. ‘The spirit of man and his fancies or opinions may vary; but God and His facts cannot.’ Thus far they can and do: God does not now bear witness as He did before. And this variation of the fact makes way for a variation in the judgment of him who had that witness, but now hath it not. ‘You may be fully of opinion to-day that the Scriptures are of God, and doubt of this to-morrow. But what is this to the purpose’ Very much. I am as fully convinced to-day that the Scriptures are of God as that the sun shines. And this conviction (as every good gift) cometh from the Father of lights. Yet I may doubt of it to-morrow. – I may throw away the good gift of God. ‘But we were speaking not of man’s opinions, but of God's facts.’ We were speaking of both — of man's opinions, or judgment, concerning God's facts. ‘But could he to whom Christ said, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” ever doubt or deny that Christ said so’ I question not but in process of time he might, particularly if he drew back unto perdition. But, however that be, it is no ‘blasphemous supposition,’ but a plain, undeniable truth, that the god of this world can obliterate what the God of heaven has strongly imprinted upon the soul — yea, and that he surely will, unless we stir up the gift of God which is in us by earnestly and continually watching unto prayer.

I presume you do not deny that a believer, one who has the witness in himself, may make ‘shipwreck of the faith,’ and consequently lose the witness (however it be explained) which he once had of his being a child of God The darkness which then covers his soul again, I ascribe (in part) to the energy of Satan, who evergei, ‘worketh,’ according to the Apostle, in the children of unbelief, whether they did once believe or no. And has he not much power even on the children of God — to disturb, though not to destroy to throw fiery darts without number, especially against those who as yet are but weak in the faith to inject doubts and fears sometimes unbelieving, sometimes even blasphemous thoughts And how frequently will they be wounded thereby, if they have not put on the whole armor of God!

10. You add: ‘If we reply, There are enthusiasts in the world, you can keep your temper no longer; and the only answer is, If we perceive not that witness in ourselves, we are ignorant of the whole affair, and doomed to the “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”’ I said not so. I can keep my temper (blessed be God) if you call me an hundred enthusiasts, if you affirm I am ten times more of an enthusiast than that poor Quaker probably was. [‘Smith’ referred to a Quaker which he was fully persuaded was who had brought him a message received from God.] The sharpest word I said was, ‘If a man does not know who it is that testifies with his spirit he is a child of God, he is ignorant of the whole affair.’ But I felt no anger when I said this. Nor do I now. Though I still think (because you say it yourself) that you are ignorant of this whole affair, of the inward testimony for which I contend. Yet am I far from dooming you to everlasting fire. What you know not, I trust God will reveal unto you. Least of all was this my ‘only answer to your supposition 'that this perceptible testimony is only an imagination, unless I am altogether in a dream.’ I have given some other answer, and a pretty full one, to the objection — such an one, I think, as the nature of the thing admits, at least as my capacity would allow.

11. I have largely considered, both in the Third Part of the Appeal and in the latter part of the Second Letter to Mr. Church, the unreasonableness of the common demand to prove our doctrine by miracles. I cannot but refer you to those tracts, having neither time nor inclination actum agere. [‘To do the same thing repeatedly.’] Only I would weigh what you have now advanced in support of that demand. ‘If the enthusiast is as confident of his inspiration as one really inspired is of his, a third person has a right to call for other proof than confident assertions’ — that is, for miracles. So you explain yourself in the following sentence. Let us try how this consequence will hold in a particular instance: ‘The Spirit said unto Paul, Go not into Macedonia.’ When he related this to his companions, ought they to have replied, ‘We call for other proof of this than your confident assertion, seeing enthusiasts are as confident of theirs as you are of this revelation’ If you say, ‘They had seen his miracles at other times’; I know not that: perhaps they had, perhaps they had not. But to step a little forward: ‘If in the days of Origen and Chrysostom external miraculous powers were ceased, while internal inspiration still remained,’ what becomes of your demand here It is totally excluded; although there were, in those days also, pretenders to what they had not.

And yet there might have been other sufficient reasons for believing the assertion of Origen, Chrysostom, and St. Bernard too, that they had this internal testimony. Such was, besides the holiness of their lives, that great and standing miracle — their saving so many souls from death and hiding a multitude of sins.

12. There are at least as many pretenders to the love of God as there are to the witness of His Spirit. But does this give me a right, if a man asserts he loves God, to demand his proving that assertion by miracles Not so; but by their fruits I shall know a real and a pretended love of God. And in the same manner may I know him that has the witness of God's love from an enthusiastic pretender to it. But if a man disclaims it, he sets himself out of the question. It is beyond dispute that he has it not.

Neither do I want miracles in order to determine my judgment with regard to scriptures variously interpreted. I would not say in this case, ‘Show me a sign,’ but ‘Bring forth your strong reasons’; and according to these, weighed in an even, impartial scale, would I incline to one side or the other.

13. From the beginning of our correspondence I did not expect you to alter your judgment touching those points wherein we differed. But I was willing (and am so still) to hear and consider whatever you should advance concerning them: and so much the rather, because in the greatest points we do agree already; and in the smaller, we can bear with each other, and speak what we apprehend to be the truth in love. Let us bless God for this, and press on to the mark. It cannot be long before we shall be quite of one mind, before the veil of flesh shall drop off, and we shall both see pure light in the unclouded face of God.

To the Clergyman at Tredinny [4]

TREDINNY, July 14, 1747.

REVEREND SIR,--I was exceedingly surprised when I was informed yesterday of your affirming publicly in the church, in the face of a whole congregation, 'Now Wesley has sent down for an hundred pounds; and it must be raised directly. Nay, it is true.' O sir, is this possible Can it be that you should be so totally void, I will not say of conscience, of religion, but of good nature as to credit such a tale and of good manners and common sense as thus to repeat it

I must beg that you would either justify or retract this (for it is a point of no small concern), and that I may know what you propose to do, before I set out for London.--I am, reverend sir,

Your brother and servant for Christ's sake.

To the Clergyman at Tredinny, In Buryan Parish, Cornwall.

To Ebenezer Blackwell [5]

ST. IVES, July 18, 1747.

DEAR SIR,--Are you not yet weary and faint in your mind weary of striving to enter in at the strait gate I trust you are not, and that you never will till you enter into the kingdom. Many thoughts of that kind will probably rise in your heart; but you will have power to trample them under your feet. You have nothing to do with the things that are behind: the prize and the crown are before you. So run that you may obtain, desiring only to apprehend that for which you are apprehended of Christ Jesus.

A great door and effectual is opened now, almost in every corner of this country. Here is such a change within these two years as has hardly been seen in any other part of England. Wherever we went we used to carry our lives in our hands; and now there is not a dog to wag his tongue. Several ministers are clearly convinced of the truth; few are bitter; most seem to stand neuter. Some of the gentlemen (so called) are almost the only opposers now drinking, reveling, cursing, swearing gentlemen, who neither will enter into the kingdom of heaven themselves, nor suffer any others if they can prevent it. The most violent Jacobites among these are continually crying out that we are bringing the Pretender; and some of these worthy men bear His Majesty's commission as Justices of the Peace.

My best wishes attend Mrs. Blackwell, who, I hope, measures step for step with you in the way to the kingdom.--I am, dear sir,

Your affectionate servant.

I set out for Bristol on Thursday.

To his Brother Charles [6]

BEERCROCOMB. July 31, 1747.

DEAR BROTHER,--Yesterday I was thinking on a desideratum among us, a genesis problematica on Justifying Faith. A skeleton of it, which you may fill up, or any one that has leisure, I have roughly set down.

Is justifying faith a sense of pardon Negatur.

I. Every one is deeply concerned to understand this question well: but preachers most of all; lest they should either make them sad whom God hath not made sad, or encourage them to say peace where there is no peace.

Some years ago we heard nothing about either justifying faith or a sense of pardon: so that, when we did hear of them, the theme was quite new to us; and we might easily, especially in the heat and hurry of controversy, lean too much either to the one hand or to the other.

II. By justifying faith I mean that faith which whosoever hath not is under the wrath and curse of God. By a sense of pardon I mean a distinct, explicit assurance that my sins are forgiven.

I allow (1) that there is such an explicit assurance; (2) that it is the common privilege of real Christians; (3) that it is the proper Christian faith, which purifieth the heart and overcometh the world.

But I cannot allow that justifying faith is such an assurance, or necessarily connected therewith.

III. Because, if justifying faith necessarily implies such an explicit sense of pardon, then every one who has it not, and every one so long as he has it not, is under the wrath and under the curse of God. But this is a supposition contrary to Scripture as well as to experience. Contrary to Scripture (Isa. l.10; Acts x. 34). Contrary to experience: for Jonathan Reeves, &c. &c., had peace with God, no fear, no doubt, before they had that sense of pardon; and so have I frequently had.

Again, the assertion that justifying faith is a sense of pardon is contrary to reason; it is flatly absurd. For how can a sense of our having received pardon be the condition of our receiving it

IV. If you object, (1) ‘Job, Thomas, St. Paul, &c., had this sense,’ I grant they had; but they were justified before they had it. (2) ‘We know fifteen hundred persons who have this assurance.’ Perhaps so; but this does not prove that they were not justified till they received it. (3) 'We have been exceedingly blessed in preaching this doctrine.' We have been blessed in preaching the great truths of the gospel; although we tacked to them, in the simplicity of our hearts, a proposition which was not true. (4) ‘But does not our Church give this account of justifying faith’ I am sure she does of saving or Christian faith; I think she does of justifying faith too. But to the law and testimony. All men may err; but the word of the Lord shall stand for ever.

To Ebenezer Blackwell [7]

DUBLIN, August 13, 1747.

DEAR SIR, -- I have found a home in this strange land. I am at Mr. Lunell's just as at the Foundry; only that I have not such attendance here, for I meet the people at another part of the town. For natural sweetness of temper, for courtesy and hospitality, I have never seen any people like the Irish. Indeed, all I converse with are only English transplanted into another soil; and they are much mended by the removal, having left all their roughness and surliness behind them.

They receive the word of God with all gladness and readiness of mind. The danger is that it should not take deep root, that it should be as seed falling on stony ground. But is there not the same danger in England also Do not you find it in London You have received the word with joy, and it begins to spring up; but how soon may it wither away! It does not properly take root till we are convinced of inward sin, till we begin to feel the entire corruption of our nature. I believe sometimes you have found a little of this. But you are in the hands of a good Physician; who, if you give yourself up to His guidance, will not only wound, but also make whole.

Mr. Lunell and his family desire their best respects to Mrs. Blackwell and you. His daughter can rejoice in God her Saviour. They propose to spend the winter in England.--I am, dear sir,

Your affectionate servant.

I cannot forget Mrs. Dewal, whether I see her or not.

To a Preacher

[LONDON], November 1747.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--In public speaking speak not one word against opinions of any kind. We are not to fight against notions but sins. Least of all should I advise you once to open your lips against Predestination. It would do more mischief than you are aware of. [See heading to letter of March 3.] Keep to our one point --present inward salvation by faith, by the divine evidence of sins forgiven.

Your affectionate brother.

To Westley Hall [8]

LONDON, December 22, 1747.

DEAR BROTHER, — I. When you was at Oxford with me fourteen or fifteen years since, you was holy and unblameable in all manner of conversation. I greatly rejoiced in the grace of God which was given unto you, which was often a blessing to my own soul. Yet even then you had frequently starts of thought which were not of God, though they at first appeared to be. But you was humble and teachable, you was easily convinced, and those imaginations vanished away.

2. More than twelve years ago you told me God had revealed it to you that you should marry my youngest sister. I was much surprised, being well assured that you was able to receive our Lord’s saying (so you had continually testified) and to be an ‘eunuch for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.’ But you vehemently affirmed the thing was of God; you was certain it was His will. God had made it plain to you that you must marry, and that she was the very person. So you asked and gained her consent, and fixed the circumstances relating thereto.

3. Hence I date your fall. Here were several faults in one: (1) you cast away the precious gift of God; (2) you leaned altogether to your own understanding, not consulting either me, who was then the guide of your soul, or the parents of your intended wife, before you had settled the whole affair; and (3) while you followed the voice of nature, you said it was the voice of God.

4. In a few days you had a counter-revelation that you was not to marry her but her sister. This last error was far worse than the first. But you was now quite above conviction. So, in spite of her poor, astonished parent, of her brothers, of all your vows and promises, you shortly after jilted the younger and married the elder sister. The other, who had honored you as an angel from heaven, and still loved you much too well (for you had stole her heart from the God of her youth), refused to be comforted. From that time she fell into a lingering illness, which terminated in her death. And doth not her blood still cry unto God from the earth Surely it is upon your head.

5. Till this time you was a pattern of lowliness, meekness, seriousness, and continual advertence to the presence of God; and, above all, of self-denial in every kind, and of suffering all things with joyfulness.

But there was now a worm at the root of the gourd. Yet it did not presently wither away, but for two years or more after your marriage you behaved nearly the same as before.

Then anger and surliness began to appear, particularly towards your wife. But it was not long before you was sensible of this, and you seemed to have conquered it.

6. You went up to London ten years ago, and met Mr. Whitefield, come from Georgia. After this you began to speak on any head--not with your usual diffidence and self-abasement, but with a kind of confidence in your own judgment and an air of self-sufficiency. A natural consequence was, the treating with more sharpness and contempt those who opposed either your judgment or practice.

7. You came to live at London. You then for a season appeared to gain ground again. You acted in concert with my brother and me; heard our advice, and sometimes followed it. But this continued only till you contracted a fresh acquaintance with some of the Brethren of Fetter Lane. Thenceforward you was quite shut up to us; we had no manner of influence over you; you was more and more prejudiced against us, and would receive nothing which we said.

8. About six years ago you removed to Salisbury, and began a Society there. For a year or two you went with them to the church and sacrament, and simply preached faith working by love. God was with you, and they increased both in number and in the knowledge and love of God.

About four years since, you broke off all friendship with us; you would not so much as make use of our hymns, either in public or private, but laid them quite aside, and took the German hymn-book in their stead.

You would not willingly suffer any of your people to read anything which we wrote. You angrily caught one of my Sermons out of your servant's hand, saying you would have no such books read in your house. In much the same manner you spoke to Mrs. Whitemarsh, when you found her reading one of the Appeals. So that, as far as in you lay, you fixed a great gulf between us and you, which remains to this day, notwithstanding a few steps lately made towards a reunion.

About the same time you left off going to church as well as to the sacrament. Your followers very soon trod in your steps, and, not content with neglecting the ordinances of God, they began, after your example, to despise them and all that continued to use them, speaking with equal contempt of the public service, of private prayer, of baptism, and of the Lord’s supper.

From this time also you began to espouse and teach many uncommon opinions: as, that there is no resurrection of the body; that there is no general judgment to come; and that there is no hell, no worm that never dieth, no fire that never shall be quenched.

9. Your seriousness and advertence to the presence of God now declined daily. You could talk on anything or nothing, just as others did. You could break a jest, or laugh at it heartily; and as for fasting, abstinence, and self-denial, you, with the Moravians, trampled it under-foot.

You began also very frequently to kiss the women of the Society.

(In the following paragraphs I recited to him the things he had done with regard to more than one, or two, or three women, concluding thus :)

And now you know not that you have done anything amiss! You can eat and drink and be merry. You are every day engaged with variety of company and frequent the coffeehouses! Alas, my brother, what is this How are you above measure hardened by the deceitfulness of sin! Do you remember the story of Santon Barsisa [The history of Santon Barsisa, taken by Steele out of the Turkish Tales, forms No. 148 of the Guardian, Aug. 31, 1718.] I pray God your last end may not be like his! Oh how have you grieved the Spirit of God! Return to Him with weeping, fasting, and mourning. You are in the very belly of hell; only the pit hath not yet shut its mouth upon you. Arise, thou sleeper, and call upon thy God! Perhaps He may yet be found. Because He still bears with me, I cannot despair for you. But you have not a moment to lose. May God this instant strike you to the heart, that you may feel His wrath abiding on you, and have no rest in your bones, by reason of your sin, till all your iniquities are done away!

Editor's Introductory Notes

[1] Wesley had begun to give physic to the poor in London on December 5, 1746; and in three weeks about three hundred were helped. In six months six hundred came. Similar work was being done in Bristol, where Wesley had been since January 14, see Journal, iii. 273, 301, 329; W.H.S. xvi. 141-3; and letter in December 1748, sect. XII., to Vincent Perronet.

[2]Objections had been raised against Wesley's preachers in Plymouth. Charles Wesley says on June 16, 1746, ‘Some of Mr. Whitefield’s Society importuned me to go to Plymouth. I went, resolving to preach only in the streets or fields.’ Next day ‘the Society were now so exceeding urgent with me, that I could not refuse praying with them in their room.’ On August 14 he preached in the Tabernacle again.

Joseph Cownley (see letter of September 20, 1746) spent three months in Cornwall, and in March 1747 removed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Wesley thought him one of the best preachers in England (Wesley's Veterans, iv. 122-69). – Thomas Richards, whom Wesley describes as his second lay preacher, was one of the first masters at Kingswood School, and subsequently became a clergyman (Journal, iii. 48n). — John Trembath was a popular preacher who afterwards caused Wesley much sorrow (see letter of September 21, 1755). – James Wheatley traveled with Wesley in March I 744, and bravely faced the mob in Cornwall. On June 25, 1751 (see letter), the Wesleys had to suspend him for serious misconduct. – Herbert Jenkins, one of Wesley’s itinerants, joined Whitefield, and preached frequently for Mr. Kinsman at Plymouth, where the Wesleys met him (see Journal, v. 523n). The first Calvinistic Methodist Conference in 1743 appointed him a public exhorter. He was to assist Howell Harris in visiting the Societies in England and Wales. He became a Dissenting minister at Maidstone in 1750. (See Tyerman’s Whitefield, ii. 49; W.H.S. vi. 141.)

[3]Edmund Gibson (1669-1748) was Bishop of London from 1720 to 1748. Dr. Norman Sykes, in his Edmund Gibson (Oxford University Press, 1926), says that the Bishop's Visitation Charge of 1747, to which this letter is an answer, has not survived. He adds: ‘Although there is nothing to indicate the impression produced upon Gibson by this reply, it is to be wished that a spirit of greater charity had inspired his last public utterances against the Methodists. At the outset he had seemed predisposed to regard the new movement with a considerable degree of sympathy, but the course of events had driven him into a bitter antipathy’ (page 321). Dr. Gibson, who was ‘the outstanding and dominant personality of the episcopal bench,’ showed great kindness to the Wesleys on several occasions; and when John Wesley told him what he meant by 'perfection,' the Bishop replied, ‘Mr. Wesley, if this be all you mean, publish it to all the world’ (Works, xi. 374). Henry Moore says the letter ‘had, by every account, a great effect on that venerable prelate, so that a vulgar report got abroad that the Bishop of London was turned Methodist!’ (Life of Wesley, ii. 415).

[4]Wesley preached at Tredinny on Monday, July 13, to ‘a large and earnest congregation, notwithstanding the wonderful stories which they have frequently heard related in the pulpit for certain truths. In the morning I wrote as follows.’ He adds, ‘But he never favored me with an answer.’ See Journal, iii. 308.

[5]At St. Ives on June 30 Wesley wrote that they ‘walked to church without so much as one huzza. How strangely has one year changed the scene in Cornwall! This is now a peaceable, nay honorable station. They give us good words almost in every place. What have we done that the world should be so civil to us’ See Journal iii. 305.

[6]Dr. Whitehead thinks the closer examination of justifying faith was due to the controversy with ‘John Smith.’ Wesley had expressed his view in the words of the homily on Salvation, that it is ‘a sure trust and confidence which a man hath in God that his sins are forgiven and he reconciled to the favor of God.’ Myles, in his Chronological History, says the letter shows that ‘he had thought more deeply respecting the nature of Justifying Faith after the last Conference. He was afterwards more accurate on that head, and spoke of it agreeably to the sentiments expressed in this letter.’ At the Conference in June 1747 it was asked, ‘Is justifying faith a divine assurance that Christ loved me and gave Himself for me’ And the answer was, ‘We believe it is.’ Wesley now considered the question more carefully and saw that the above definition from the homily described the habitual faith of one who was justified rather than the act by which a sinner is first justified. See Tyerman's Wesley, i. 551-3; and for Wesley's first letter to ‘John Smith,’ September 28, 1745.

[7]In the spring of 1747 Thomas Williams arrived in Dublin, where he held services in an old Lutheran church in Marlborough Street and preached in the open air. At his invitation Wesley went over on August 9. He found a congenial home with William Lunell, a wealthy banker, who was one of Williams's converts. This was Wesley's first visit to Ireland. He crossed the Channel forty-two times, and devoted at least six years to work in the country, with results that not only abide there to this day, but had a large part in the introduction of Methodism to America. See Journal, iii. 312n ; and letter of February 6, 1748.

[8]Hall’s miserable story is fully told in Tyerman’s Oxford Methodists, pp. 386-411. He was first engaged to Martha Wesley, whom he met at her uncle's house in London. He saw Kezia, the youngest sister, at Epworth, and became engaged to her. When he returned to London, he renewed his addresses to Martha, whom he married in 1735. Kezia died on March 9, 1741. The effect of this disappointment on Kezia does not seem to have been so disastrous as the letter suggests. Hall became a polygamist; and when Wesley called to see him at Salisbury on January 26, 1748, he told him he had no business in his house. See Stevenson's Wesley Family, pp. 368-70; and letters of December 30, 1745 (to Hall), and May 9, 1755. In his Journal, iii. 325, Wesley says: ‘Being not convinced that I had yet delivered my own soul with regard to that unhappy man, on Tuesday the 22nd I wrote once more to Mr. Westley Hall as follows.’

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