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The Letters of John Wesley



To Thomas Church [1]

Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. 1 Kings xx. 11.

BRISTOL, February 2, 1745

REVEREND SIR, -- 1. My first desire and prayer to God is, that I may live peaceably with all men: My next, that if I must dispute at all, it may be with a man of understanding. Thus far, therefore, I rejoice on the present occasion. I rejoice also in that I have confidence of your sincerity, of your real desire to promote the glory of God, by peace and good-will among men. I am likewise thankful to God for your calm manner of writing; (a few paragraphs excepted;) and yet more for this, — that such an opponent should, by writing in such a manner, give me an opportunity of explaining myself on those very heads whereon I wanted an occasion so to do.

2. I do not want, indeed, (though perhaps you think I do), to widen the breach between us, or to represent the difference of the doctrines we severally teach as greater than it really is. So far from it, that I earnestly wish there were none at all; or, if there must be some, that it may be as small as possible; being fully persuaded, that, could we once agree in doctrines, other differences would soon fall to the ground.

3. In order to contribute, as I am able, to this, it will be my endeavor to acknowledge what I think you have spoken right, and to answer what I cannot think right as yet, with what brevity and clearness I can. I desire to do this in as inoffensive a manner as the nature of the thing will bear, and consistently with that brotherly love which I cannot deny you without wronging my own soul.

4. You sum up your charge thus: ‘You have now, Sir, my sentiments. — It is impossible for you to put an entire stop to the enormities of the Moravians, while you still, -- I. Too much commend these men; II. Hold principles in common with them, from which these enormities naturally follow; And III. Maintain other errors more than theirs, and are guilty of enthusiasm to the highest degree.’ (Remarks, pp. 73-4.)

I. 1. You, First, charge me with too much commending the Moravians. That the case may be fully understood, I will transcribe the passages which you cite from the Journal concerning them, and then give a general answer: —

‘She told me Mr. Molther had advised her, till she received faith, to be still, ceasing from outward works. In the evening, Mr. Bray also was highly commending the being still: He likewise spoke largely of the great danger that attended the doing of outward works, and of the folly of people that keep running about to church and sacrament.’ (Journal, ii. 312.)

‘Sunday, November 4. Our society met, and continued silent till eight.’ (ii.313.)

‘Sunday, June 22. I spoke thus: Eight or nine months ago, certain men arose, who affirmed that there is no such thing as any means of grace, and that we ought to leave off these works of the law.’ (ii. 354-5.)

‘You, Mr. Molther, believe that the way to attain faith, is, not to go to church, not to communicate, not to fast, not to use so much private prayer, not to read the Scripture, not to do temporal good, or attempt to do spiritual good.’ (ii. 329.)

‘You undervalue good works, especially works of outward mercy, never publicly insisting on the necessity of them.’ (ii. 495.)

‘Some of our brethren asserted, (1.) That till they had true faith, they ought to be still; that is, (as they explained themselves,) to abstain from the means of grace, as they are called, the Lord's supper in particular. (2.) That the ordinances are not means of grace, there being no other means than Christ.’ (ii. 313.)

‘I could not agree, either that none has any faith, so long as he is liable to any doubt or fear; or that, till we have it, we ought to abstain from the ordinances of God.’ (ii. 314.)

‘Mr. Br—d [In the Journal this name is printed B--n, and may be Richard Brampton, journeyman periwig-maker in Bucklersbury, born 1710, at Canon Frome, Hereforshire. In the Works, viii. 377, it is Br--d, which probably stands for Abraham Louis Brandt, painter, brother of Mrs. James Hutton, and a Moravian leader in London.] speaks so slightingly of the means of grace, that many are much grieved to hear him; but others are greatly delighted with him. Ten or fourteen of them meet at our brother Clarke's, with Mr. Molther, and make a mere jest of going to the church or to the sacrament.’ (ii. 327.)

‘You, Mr. Molther, believe it is impossible for a man to use these means, without trusting in them.’ (ii. 329.)

‘“Believers,” said Mr. Simpson, “are not subject to ordinances, and unbelievers have nothing to do with them.”’ (ii. 343.)

‘“Believers need not, and unbelievers may not, use them. These do not sin when they abstain from them; but those do sin when they do not abstain.”’ (ii. 356.)

‘“For one who is not born of God to read the Scriptures, or to pray, or to communicate, or to do any outward work, is deadly poison. If he does any of these things, he destroys himself.” Mr. Bell earnestly defended this.’ (ii. 365.)

‘At eight, the society at Nottingham met: I could not but observe that not one who came in used any prayer at all. I looked for one of our Hymn-books; but both that and the Bible were vanished away, and in the room thereof lay the Moravian Hymns and the Count's Sermons.’ (ii. 464-5.)

‘One of our English brethren, joined with you, said in his public expounding, “As many go to hell by praying as by thieving.” Another, “I knew one who, leaning over the back of a chair, received a great gift. But he must kneel down to give God thanks: So he lost it immediately; and I know not whether he will ever have it again.” And yet another: “You have lost your first joy. Therefore, you pray: That is the devil. You read the Bible: That is the devil. You communicate: That is the devil.”’ (ii. 493.)

‘They affirmed that there is no commandment in the New Testament but to believe; that no other duty lies upon us; and that, when a man does believe, he is not bound or obliged to do anything which is commanded there.’ (ii. 354-5.)

‘Mr. Stonehouse told me, “No one has any degree of faith till he is perfect as God is perfect.”’ (ii. 345.)

‘You believe there are no degrees in faith.’ (ii. 344.)

‘I have heard Mr. Molther affirm, that there is no justifying faith where there is ever any doubt.’ (ii. 492.)

‘The moment a man is justified, he is sanctified wholly. Thenceforth, till death, he is neither more nor less holy.’ (ii. 489.)

‘We are to grow in grace, but not in holiness.’ (ii. 490.)

2. I have frequently observed that I wholly disapprove of a these positions: ‘That there are no degrees in faith; that in order to attain faith we must abstain from all the ordinances of God; that a believer does not grow in holiness; and that he is not obliged to keep the commandments of God.’ But I must also observe, (1.) That you ought not to charge the Moravian Church with the first of these; since in the very page from which you quote those words, ‘There is no justifying faith where there is ever any doubt,’ that note occurs: ‘In the preface to the Second Journal, the Moravian Church is cleared from this mistake.’ [See the letter of Aug. 8, 1740, for this and other points referred to.] (2.) That with respect to the ordinances of God, their practice is better than their principle. They do use them themselves, I am a witness; and that with reverence and godly fear. Those expressions, however, of our own countrymen are utterly indefensible; as I think are Mr. Molther’s also; who was quickly after recalled into Germany. The great fault of the Moravian Church seems to lie in not openly disclaiming all he had said; which in all probability they would have done, had they not leaned to the same opinion. I must, (3.) Observe that I never knew one of the Moravian Church, but that single person, affirm that a believer does not grow in holiness. And perhaps he would not affirm it on reflection. But I am still afraid their whole Church is tainted with Quietism, Universal Salvation, and Antinomianism: I speak, as I said elsewhere, of Antinomian opinions, abstracted from practice, good or bad.

3. But I should rejoice if there lay no other objection against them, than that of erroneous opinions. I know in some measure how to have compassion on the ignorant: I know the incredible force of prepossession. And God only knows, what ignorance or error (all things considered) is invincible; and what allowance his mercy will make, in such cases, to those who desire to be led into all truth. But how far what follows may be imputed to invincible ignorance or prepossession, I cannot tell.

Many of ‘you greatly, yea, above measure, exalt yourselves, (as a Church,) and despise others. I have scarce heard one Moravian brother own his Church to be wrong in anything. Many of you I have heard speak of it, as if it were infallible. Some of you have set it up as the judge of all the earth, of all persons as well as doctrines. Some of you have said, that there is no true Church but yours; yea, that there are no true Christians out of it. And your own members you require to have implicit faith in her decisions, and to pay implicit obedience to her directions.’ (ii. 493-4.)

I can in no degree justify these things. And yet neither can I look upon them in the same light that you do, as ‘some of the very worst things which are objected to the Church of Rome.’ (Remarks, p. 7.) They are exceeding great mistakes: Yet in as great mistakes have holy men both lived and died; — Thomas Kempis, for instance, and Francis Sales. And yet I doubt not they are now in Abraham’s bosom.

4. I am more concerned for their ‘despising and decrying self-denial;’ for their ‘extending Christian liberty beyond all warrant of holy writ;’ for their ‘want of zeal for good works;’ and, above all, for their supposing, that ‘we may, on some accounts, use guile;’ in consequence of which they do ‘use guile or dissimulation in many cases.’ ‘Nay, in many of them I have found’ (not in all, nor in most) ‘much subtlety, much evasion and disguise; so “becoming all things to all men,” as to take the color and shape of any that were near them.’ (Journal, ii. 329-30, 448, 492, 496.)

I can neither defend nor excuse those among the Moravians whom I have found guilty of this. But neither can I condemn all for the sake of some. Every man shall give an account of himself to God.

But you say, ‘Your protesting against some of their opinions is not sufficient to discharge you. Have you not prepared the way for these Moravians, by countenancing and commending them; and by still speaking of them as if they were in the main the best Christians in the world, and only deluded or mistaken in a few points’ (Remarks, pp. 11, 12.)

I cannot speak of them otherwise than I think. And I still think (1) that God has some thousands in our own Church who have the faith and love which is among them, without those errors either of judgment or practice; (2) that, next to these, the body of the Moravian Church, however mistaken some of them are, are in the main, of all whom I have seen, the best Christians in the world.

5. Because I am continually charged with inconsistency herein, even by the Moravians themselves, it may be ‘needful to give a short account of what has occurred between us from the beginning.

‘My first acquaintance with the Moravian brethren began in my voyage to Georgia. Being then with many of them in the same ship, I narrowly observed their whole behavior. And I greatly approved of all I saw.’ (The particulars are related in the First Journal. [From Oct. 14, 1735, to Feb. 13, 1736. See Journal, i. 106-56; and also ii.495-7.])

‘From February 14, 1735, to December 2, 1737, being with them (except when I went to Frederica or Carolina) twice or thrice every day, I loved and esteemed them more and more. Yet a few things I could not approve of. These I mentioned to them from time to time, and then commended the cause to God.

‘In February following I met with Peter Bhler. My heart clave to him as soon as he spoke. And the more we conversed, so much the more did I esteem both him and the Moravian Church. So that I had no rest in my spirit till I executed the design which I had formed long before; till, after a short stay in Holland, I hastened forward, first to Marienborn, and then to Hernhut.’

It may be observed, that I had before seen a few things in the Moravians which I could not approve of. In this journey I saw a few more, in the midst of many excellent things; in consequence whereof, "in September, 1738, soon after my return to England, I began the following letter to the Moravian Church. But being fearful of trusting my own judgment, I determined to wait yet a little longer, and so laid it by unfinished: —

‘“MY DEAR BRETHREN, -- I CANNOT but rejoice in your steadfast faith, in your love to our blessed Redeemer, your deadness to the world, your meekness, temperance, chastity, and love of one another. I greatly approve of your conferences and bands [The band society in London began May 1, some time before I set out for Germany (Wesley).], of your method of instructing children; and, in general, of your great care of the souls committed to your charge.

‘“But of some other things I stand in doubt, which I will mention in love and meekness. And I wish that, in order to remove those doubts, you would, on each of those heads, First,plainly answer whether the fact be as I suppose; and if so, Secondly, consider whether it be right.

‘“Is not the Count all in all among you

‘“Do you not magnify your own Church too much

‘“Do you not use guile and dissimulation in many cases

‘“Are you not of a close, dark, reserved temper and behavior’ [See letter in Sept. 1738 to the Moravians, where this is given in fuller form.]

‘It may easily be seen, that my objections then were nearly thesame as now.’ Only with this difference, — I was not then assuredthat the facts were as I supposed. ‘Yet I cannot say my affectionwas lessened at all: (For I did not dare to determine anything:) Butfrom November 1, I could not but see more and more things whichI could not reconcile with the gospel.’

‘These I have set down with all simplicity. Yet do I this, because Ilove them not God knoweth: Yea, and in part, I esteem them still;because I verily believe they have a sincere desire to serve God;because many of the a have tasted of his love, and some retain it insimplicity; because they love one another; because they have somuch of the truth of the gospel, and so far abstain from outwardsin. And lastly, because their discipline is, in most respects, so truly excellent; notwithstanding that visible blemish, the paying toomuch regard to their great patron and benefactor, CountZinzendorf.’

6. I believe, if you coolly consider this account, you will not find,either that it is inconsistent with itself, or that it lays you under anynecessity of speaking in the following manner: "What charms theremay be in a demure look and a sour behavior, I know not. Butsure they must be in your eye very extraordinary, as they can besufficient to cover such a multitude of errors and crimes, and keepup the same regard and affection for the authors and abettors of them. I doubt your regard for them was not lessened, till theybegan to interfere with what you thought your province. You wasinfluenced, not by a just resentment to see the honor of religionand virtue so injuriously and scandalously trampled upon, but bya fear of losing your own authority.’ (Remarks, pp. 18-19.)

I doubt, there is scarce one line of all these which is consistenteither with truth or love. But I will transcribe a few more, before Ianswer: ‘How could you so long and so intimately converse with,so much commend, and give such countenance to, such desperately wicked people as the Moravians, according toyour own account, were known by you to be And you still speakof them, as if they were, in the main, the best Christians in theworld. In one place you say, ‘A few things I could not approve of;’but in God's name, Sir, is the contempt of almost the whole of ourduty, of every Christian ordinance, to be so gently touched Candetestation in such a case be too strongly expressed Either theyare some of the vilest wretches in the world, or you are the falsestaccuser in the world. Christian charity has scarce an allowance tomake for them as you have described them. If you have done thistruly, they ought to be discouraged by all means that can beimagined.’

7. Let us now weigh these assertions. ‘They’ (that is, ‘the charms oftheir sour behavior’) ‘must be in your eye veryextraordinary.’ — Do not you stumble at the threshold TheMoravians excel in sweetness of behavior. ‘As they can besufficient to cover such a multitude of errors and crimes.’ Such amultitude of errors and crimes! I believe, as to errors, they holduniversal salvation, and are partly Antinomians, (in opinion,) andpartly Quietists; and for this cause I cannot join with them. Butwhere is the multitude of errors Whosoever knows two or threehundred more, let him please to mention them. Such a multitude ofcrimes too! That some of them have used guile, and are of a closereserved behavior, I know. And I excuse them not. But to thismultitude of crimes I am an utter stranger. Let him prove thischarge upon them who can. For me, I declare I cannot.

‘To keep up the same regard and affection.’ — Not so. I say, myaffection was not lessened, till after September, 1739, till I hadproof of what I had feared before. But I had not the same degree ofregard for them when I saw the dark as well as the bright side oftheir character. ‘I doubt your regard for them was not lessened tillthey began to interfere with what you thought your province.’ Ifthis were only a doubt, it were not much amiss; but it presentlyshoots up into an assertion, equally groundless: For my regard forthem lessened, even while I was in Georgia; but it increased again after my return from thence, especially while I was at Hernhuth;and it gradually lessened again for some years, as I saw more and more which I approved not. How then does it appear that ‘I wasinfluenced herein by a fear of losing my own authority; not by ajust resentment to see the honor of religion and virtue so scandalously trampled upon’ — Trampled upon!By whom Not by the Moravians: I never sawany such thing among them.

But what do you mean by ‘a just resentment’ I hope you do notmean what is commonly called zeal; a flame which often ‘sets onfire the whole course of nature, and is itself set on fire of hell!" "Rivers of water run from my eyes, because men keep not thy law.’ This resentment on such an occasion I understand. From all other may God deliver me!

8. You go on: ‘How could you so long and so intimately conversewith — such desperately wicked people as the Moravians, accordingto your own account, were known by you to be’ O Sir, whatanother assertion is this! ‘The Moravians, according to your ownaccount, were known by you to be desperately wicked people,while you intimately conversed with them!’ Utterly false andinjurious. I never gave any such account. I conversed intimatelywith them, both at Savannah and Hernhuth. But neither then, norat any other time, did I know, or think, or say, they were ‘desperately wicked people.’ I think and say, nay, you blame me for saying, just the reverse, viz., that though I soon ‘found among them a few things which I could not approve;’ yet I believe they are ‘in the main some of the best Christians in the world.’

You surprise me yet more in going on thus: ‘In God’s name, Sir, isthe contempt of almost the whole of our duty, of every Christianordinance, to be so very gently touched’ Sir, this is not the case. This charge no more belongs to the Moravians, than that ofmurder. Some of our countrymen spoke very wicked things. TheMoravians did not sufficiently disavow them. These are thepremises. By what art can you extort so dreadful a conclusion fromthem

‘Can detestation, in such a case, be too strongly expressed’ Indeedit can; even were the case as you suppose. ‘Either they are some of the vilest wretches in the world, or you are the falsest accuser in the world.’ Neither one nor the other: Though I prove what I allege,yet they may be, in the main, good men. ‘Charity has scarce anallowance to make for them, as you have described them." I have described them as of a mixed character, with much evil amongthem, but more good. Is it not a strange kind of charity, whichcannot find an allowance to make in such a case ‘If you havedescribed them truly, they ought to be discouraged by all means that can beimagined.’ By all means! I hope not by fire and faggot; though thehouse of mercy imagines these to be, of all means, most effectual.

9. You proceed: ‘How can you justify the many good things yousay of the Moravians, notwithstanding this character You saythey love God: But how can this be, when they even plead againstkeeping most of his commandments You say, you believe theyhave a sincere desire to serve God. How, then, can they despise hisservice in so many instances You declare some of them muchholier than any people you had yet known. Strange! if they fail in so many prime points of Christian duty, and this not only habitually and presumptuously, but even to the denying their use and necessity. You praise them for trampling under foot “the lust ofthe flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life:” And yet youmake them a close, reserved, insincere, deceitful people.

‘How you will explain those things, I know not.’ (Remarks, pp. 20, 21.) By nakedly declaring each thing as it is. They are, I believe,the most self-inconsistent people now under the sun: And I describethem just as I find them; neither better nor worse, but leaving thegood and bad together. Upon this ground I can very easily justifythe saying many good things of them, as well as bad. For instance: I am still persuaded that they (many of them) love God; althoughmany others of them ignorantly ‘plead against the keeping,’ not ‘most,’ but some, ‘of his commandments.’ I believe ‘they have asincere desire to serve God:’ And yet, in several instances, some ofthem, I think, despise that manner of serving him which I knowGod hath ordained. I believe some of them are much holier thanany people I had known in August, 1740: Yet sure I am that othersamong them fail, not indeed in the ‘prime points of Christianduty,’ (for these are faith, and the love of God and man,) but in several points of no small importance. Not that they herein sinpresumptuously, neither; for they are fully, though erroneously,persuaded in their own minds. From the same persuasion they act,when they, in some sense, deny the use or necessity of those ordinances. How far that persuasion justify or excuse them, I leave to Him who knoweth their hearts. Lastly. I believe they trample under foot, in a good degree, ‘the lust of the flesh, the lust of theeye, and the pride of life:’ And yet many of them use reserve, yea, guile. Therefore, my soul mourns for them in secret places.

10. ‘But I must observe,’ you say, ‘that you fall not only into inconsistencies, but into direct contradictions. You commend them for “loving one another in a manner the world knoweth not of;” and yet you charge them with being “in the utmost confusion, biting and devouring one another.” You say, “They caution us against natural love of one another; and had well-nigh destroyed brotherly love from among us.”’

‘You praise them for “using no diversions, but such as become saints;” and for “not regarding outward adorning:” Yet you say they “conform to the world in wearing gold and costly apparel; and by joining in worldly diversions, in order to do good.”’

‘You call their discipline, “in most respects, truly excellent.” I wish you had more fully explained yourself. I am sure it is no sign of good discipline, to permit such abominations. And you tell themyourself, “I can show you such a subordination as answers all Christian purposes, and yet is as distant from that among you as the heavens are from the earth.”’

‘You mention it as a good effect of their discipline, that “every one knows and keeps his proper rank.” Soon after; as if it were with a design to confute yourself, you say, “Our brethren have neither wisdom enough to guide, nor prudence enough to let it alone.”’

‘And now, Sir, how can you reconcile these opposite descriptions’ (pages 21-3). Just as easily as those before, by simplydeclaring the thing as it is. ‘You commend them’(the Moravians) ‘for loving one another [See letter of June 24, 1744.]; and yet charge them with biting and devouring one another’ (Journal, ii. 310, 328) ‘Them’! Whom Not the Moravians; but the English brethren of Fetter-Lane, before their union with the Moravians. Here, then, is no shadow ofcontradiction. For the two sentences do not relate to the same persons.

‘You say, “They had well-nigh destroyed brotherly love fromamong us;” partly by “cautions against natural love.”’ (ii. 494)It is a melancholy truth; so they had. But we had then no connection with them. Neither, therefore, does this contradict their ‘loving one another in a manner the world knoweth not of.’

‘You praise them for using no diversions but such as become saints;’ (ii. 310) ‘and yet say,’ (I recite the whole sentence,) ‘I have heard some of you affirm, that “Christian salvationimplies liberty to conform to the world, by joining in worldly diversions in order to do good”’ (ii. 491). And both these aretrue. The Moravians, in general, ‘use no diversions but such as become saints;’ and yet I have heard some of them affirm, incontradiction to their own practice, that ‘one then mentioned did well, when he joined in playing at tennis in order to do good.’

11. ‘You praise them for not “regarding outward adorning”’ (ii. 310). So I do, the bulk of the congregation. ‘And yet you say,’ (I again recite the whole sentence,) ‘I have heard some of you affirm,that “Christian salvation implies liberty to conform to the world,by putting on of gold and costly apparel.”’ (ii. 491). I have so.And I blame them the more, because they are condemned by thegeneral practice of their own Church.

‘You call their discipline “in most respects truly excellent” (ii. 310). I could wish you had more fully explained yourself.’ I have,in the Second Journal (ii. 19-56.) ‘It is no sign of good discipline to permit such abominations;’ that is, error in opinion, and guile in practice. True, it is not; nor is it any demonstrationagainst it. For there may be good discipline even in a College ofJesuits. Another fault is, too great a deference to the Count. Andyet, ‘in most respects, their discipline is truly excellent.’

‘You mention it as a good effect of their discipline, that “every oneknows and keeps his proper rank” (ii. 310). Soon after, as itwere with a design to confute yourself, you say, “Our brethrenhave neither wisdom enough to guide, nor prudence enough to letit alone”’ (ii. 327). Pardon me, Sir. I have no design either toconfute or to contradict myself in these words. The former sentence is spoken of the Moravian brethren; the latter, of the Englishbrethren of Fetter-Lane.

12. You need not therefore ‘imagine, that either the strongpretences or warm professions of the Moravians,’ or their ‘agreeing with me on some favorite topics,’ (for my love to them was antecedent to any such agreement,) ‘induce me to overlook their iniquity, and to forgive their other crimes.’ (Remarks, p. 23.) No. Ilove them upon quite different grounds; even because I believe, notwithstanding all their faults, they ‘love the Lord Jesus insincerity,’ and have a measure of ‘the mind that was in him.’ AndI am in great earnest when I declare once more, that I have a deep, abiding conviction, by how many degrees thegood which is among them overbalances the evil; that I cannotspeak of them but with tender affection, were it only for thebenefits I have received from them; and that, at this hour, I desire union with them (were those stumbling-blocks once put away,which have hitherto made that desire ineffectual) above all things under heaven.

II. 1. Your second charge is, ‘That I hold, in common with them,principles from which their errors naturally follow.’ You meanjustification by faith alone. To set things in the clearest light I can, Iwill first observe what I hold, and what you object; and then inquire what the consequences have been.

First. As to what I hold. My latest thoughts upon justification are expressed in the following words: —

‘Justification sometimes means our acquittal at the last day. But this is out of the present question; that justification whereof ourArticles and Homilies speak, meaning present pardon andacceptance with God; who therein declares his righteousness and mercy, by or for the remission of the sins that are past.

‘I believe, the condition of this is faith: I mean, not only, thatwithout faith we cannot be justified; but also, that, as soon as anyone has true faith, in that moment he is justified.

‘Good works follow this faith, but cannot go before it. Much less can sanctification, which implies a continued course of good works,springing from holiness of heart. But — entire sanctification goesbefore our justification at the last day.

‘It is allowed, that repentance, and “fruits meet for repentance,” gobefore faith. Repentance absolutely must go before faith; fruits meetfor it, if there be opportunity. By repentance I mean, conviction ofsin, producing real desires and sincere resolutions of amendment;and by “fruits meet for repentance,” forgiving our brother, ceasing from evil, doing good, using the ordinances of God, and, in general, obeying him according to the measure of grace which we have received. But these I cannot, as yet, term good works, because they do not spring from faith and the love of God.’

2. ‘Faith, in general, is a divine, supernatural e (evidence or conviction) of things not seen, not discoverable by our bodily senses, as being either past, future, or spiritual. Justifyingfaith implies, not only a divine e that God “was in Christ,reconciling the world unto himself,” but a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that he loved me, and gave himself forme. And the moment a penitent sinner thus believes, God pardonsand absolves him’ [A Farther Appealto Men of Reason and Religion, Part I. See Works, viii. 46, 47].

Now, it being allowed, that both inward and outward holiness arethe stated conditions of final justification, what more can youdesire, who have hitherto opposed justification by faith alonemerely upon a principle of conscience, because you was zealous forholiness and good works Do I not effectually secure these fromcontempt, at the same time that I defend the doctrines of the Church I not only allow, but vehemently contend, that none shall everenter into glory, who is not holy on earth, as well in heart as ‘in all manner of conversation.’ I cry aloud, ‘Let all that have believed, be careful to maintain good works;’ and, ‘Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from all iniquity.’ I exhort even those who are conscious they do not believe, ‘Cease to do evil,learn to do well. The kingdom of heaven is at hand;’ therefore, ‘repent, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance.’ Are not thesedirections the very same, in substance, which you yourself wouldgive to persons so circumstanced

3. ‘Many of those who are perhaps as zealous of good works asyou, think I have allowed you too much. Nay, my brethren, buthow can we help allowing it, if we allow the Scriptures to be fromGod For is it not written, and do not you yourselves believe, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” And how then,without fighting about words, can we deny, that holiness is acondition of final acceptance And as to the first acceptance orpardon, does not all experience as well as Scripture prove, that noman ever yet truly believed the gospel who did not first repent Repentance therefore we cannot deny to be necessarily previous tofaith. Is it not equally undeniable, that the running back into willful,known sin (suppose it were drunkenness or uncleanness) stifles thatrepentance or conviction And can that repentance come to anygood issue in his soul, who resolves not to forgive his brother orwho obstinately refrains from what God convinces him is right, whether it be prayer or hearing his word Would you scrupleyourself to tell one of these, “Unto him that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not,” that is, uses it not, “shall be taken eventhat which he hath” Would you scruple to say this But in sayingthis, you allow all which I have said, viz., that previous tojustifying faith, there must be repentance, and, if opportunitypermit, “fruits meet for repentance.”

‘And yet I allow you this, that although both repentance and thefruits thereof are in some sense necessary before justification, yetneither the one nor the other is necessary in the same sense, or in the same degree, with faith. Not in the same degree. For in whatever moment a man believes, (in the Christian sense of theword,) he is justified, his sins are blotted out, “his faith is countedto him for righteousness.” But it is not so, at whatever moment herepents, or brings forth any or all the fruits of repentance. Faithalone therefore justifies; which repentance alone does not; muchless any outward work. And consequently, none of these arenecessary to justification, in the same degree with faith.

‘No in the same sense. For none of these has so direct, immediate arelation to justification as faith. This is proximately necessarythereto; repentance remotely, as it is necessary (to faith. And the fruits of repentance still more remotely, as they are necessary [These words (omitted through a printer’s error) are restored by Wesley in his second letter to Mr. Church. See page 255.]) to the increase or continuance of repentance. And even in this sense, these are only necessary on supposition — if there be time and opportunity for them; for in many instances there is not; but God cuts short his work, and faith prevents the fruits of repentance: So that the general proposition is not overthrown, but clearly established, by these concessions; and we conclude still, that faith alone is the proximate condition of justification.’

4. This is what I hold concerning justification. I am next briefly toobserve what you object. ‘If faith,’ say you, ‘is the sole condition of justification, then it is our sole duty.’ (Remarks, p. 25.) I deny theconsequence. Faith may be, in the sense above described, the sole condition of justification; and yet not only repentance be our dutybefore, but all obedience after, we believe.

You go on: ‘If good works are not conditions of ourjustification, they are not conditions of our (final) salvation’ (ibid.). I deny the consequence again. Good works, properly so called, cannot be the conditions of justification; because it is impossible to do any good work before we are justified. And yet, notwithstanding, good works may be, and are, conditions of finalsalvation. For who will say it is impossible to do any good workbefore we are finally saved

You proceed: ‘Can we be saved in the contemptuous neglect of repentance, prayer,’ &c. (Page 26.) No, nor justified neither; but while they are previous to faith, these are not allowed to be goodworks.

You afterwards argue from my own concessions, thus: ‘Yournotion of true stillness is, “a patient waiting upon God, by lowliness, meekness, and resignation, in all the ways of his holy law, and the works of his commandments.” But how is it possible toreconcile to this, the position, that these duties are not conditions ofour justification If we are justified without them, we may be savedwithout them. This consequence cannot be too often repeated.’ (Ibid.)

Let it be repeated ever so often, it is good for nothing. For, far otherqualifications are required in order to our standing before God inglory, than were required in order to his giving us faith andpardon. In order to this, nothing is indispensably required, butrepentance, or conviction of sin. But in order to the other it isindispensably required, that we be fully ‘cleansed from all sin;’ that the ‘very God of peace sanctify us wholly,’ even t , ‘our entire body, soul, and spirit.’ It is notnecessary, therefore, (nor indeed possible,) that we should, beforejustification, ‘patiently wait upon God, by lowliness, meekness, and resignation, in all the ways of his holy law.’ And yet it isnecessary, in the highest degree, that we should thus wait uponhim after justification: Otherwise, how shall we be "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light’

5. Soon after, you add: ‘In the passages last cited, you plead for thenecessity of a good life: But in others, the force of your principlesshows itself. An answer approved by you, is, “My heart is desperately wicked; but I have no doubt or fear; I know mySavior loves me, and I love him.” Both these particulars areimpossible, if the Scripture be true.’ (Page 29.)

You amaze me! Is it possible you should be ignorant that your ownheart is desperately wicked Yet I dare not say, either that God does not love you, or that you do not love him.

‘Again: You say, you described the state of those who haveforgiveness of sins, but not a clean heart;’ (page 30); not in the full, proper sense. Very true; but even then they had power over both inward and outward corruptions; far from being, as you suppose, ‘still wedded to their vices, and resolved to continue in them.’

‘In another place, after having observed that “sin does remain in one that is justified, though it has not dominion over him,” you go on: “But fear not, though you have an evil heart; yet a little while, and you shall be endued with power from on high, whereby ye may purify yourselves, even as he is pure.” Sinners, if they believe this, may be quite secure, and imagine they have nothing to fear, though they continue in their iniquities. For God's sake, Sir, speak out. If they that have an evil heart have not, who has reason to fear’ (Pages 30-1.) All who have not dominion over sin; all who continue in their iniquities. You, for one, if any sin has dominion over you. If so, I testify against you this day, (and you will not be quite secure, if you believe me,) ‘The wrath of God abideth on you!’

‘What do you mean by, “sin remains in one that is justified” that he is guilty of any known, willful, habitual sin’ (pages 31-2). Judge by what is gone before: — I mean the same as our Church means by, ‘sin remains in the regenerate.’

6. You proceed to another passage, which in the Journal stands thus:

‘After we had wandered many years in the new path of salvation by faith and works, about two years ago it pleased God to show us the old way of salvation by faith only. And many soon tasted of this salvation, being justified freely, having peace with God, “rejoicing in hope of the glory of God,” and having 'his love shed abroad in their hearts.”’ (ii. 354.) Thus I define what I mean by this salvation, viz., ‘righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’

But you object, ‘Here you deny the necessity of good works in order to salvation.’ (Remarks, p. 33.) I deny the necessity, nay, possibility, of good works, as previous to this salvation; as previous to faith or those fruits of faith, ‘righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’ This is my real sentiment, not a slip of my pen, neither any proof of my want of accuracy.

7. ‘I shall now,’ you say, ‘consider the account you give, in this Journal, of the doctrine of justification.’ (pages 36-7).

I will recite the whole, just as it stands, together with the occasion of it: —

‘In the afternoon I was informed how many who cannot, in terms, deny it, explain justification by faith. They say, (1.) Justification is two-fold; the first in this life, the second at the last day. (2.) Both these are by faith alone, that is, by objective faith, or by the merits of Christ, which are the object of our faith. And this, they say, is all that St. Paul and the Church mean by, “we are justified by faith only.” But they add, (3.) We are not justified by subjective faith alone, that is, by the faith which is in us. But good works also must be added to this faith, as a joint condition both of the first and second justification. . . .

‘In flat opposition to this, I cannot but maintain, (at least, till I have clearer light,) (1.) That the Justification which is spoken of by St. Paul to the Romans, and in our Articles, is not twofold. It is one, and no more. It is the present remission of our sins, or our first acceptance with God. (2.) It is true, that the merits of Christ are the sole cause of this our justification. But it is not true, that this is all which St. Paul and our Church mean by our being justified by faith only; neither is it true, that either St. Paul or the Church mean, by faith, the merits of Christ. But, (3.) By our being justified by faith only, both St. Paul and the Church mean that the condition of our justification is faith alone, and not good works; inasmuch as all works done before justification have in them the nature of sin. Lastly. That faith which is the sole condition of justification, is the faith which is wrought in us by the grace of God. It is a sure trust which a man hath, that Christ hath loved him and died for him." (Journal, ii. 326)

8. To the first of these propositions you object, ‘that justification is not only twofold, but manifold. For a man may possibly sin many times, and as many times be justified or forgiven.’ (Remarks, pp. 37-9.)

I grant it. I grant also, that justification sometimes means a state of acceptance with God. But all this does not in the least affect my assertion, that ‘that justification which is spoken of by St. Paul to the Romans, and by our Church in the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Articles, is not our acquittal at the last day, but the present remission of our sins.’

You add, ‘You write in other places so variously about this matter, that I despair to find any consistency. Once you held “a degree of justifying faith short of the full assurance of faith, theabiding witness of the Spirit, or the clear perception that Christ abideth in him;” and yet you afterwards “warned all not to think they were justified before they had a clear assurance, that God had forgiven their sins.” What difference there is between this clearassurance, and the former full assurance and clear perception, Iknow not.’ (Page 40.)

Let us go on step by step, and you will know. ‘Once you held “adegree of justifying faith, short of the full assurance of faith, theabiding witness of the Spirit, or the clear perception that Christabideth in him.”’ And so I hold still, and have done for some years. ‘And yet you afterwards warned all not to think they werejustified before they had a clear assurance that God had forgiventheir sins.’ I did so. ‘What difference there is between this clear assurance, and that full assurance and clear perception, I knownot.’ Sir, I will tell you. The one is an assurance that my sins areforgiven, clear at first, but soon clouded with doubt or fear. Theother is such a plerophory or full assurance that I am forgiven, andso clear a perception that Christ abideth in me, as utterly excludesall doubt and fear, and leaves them no place, no, not for an hour. So that the difference between them is as great as the differencebetween the light of the morning and that of the midday sun.

9. On the second proposition you remark (1) that I ‘ought to havesaid, the merits of Christ are (not the sole cause, but) the sole meritorious cause of this our justification.’ (page 41); (2) That ‘St. Paul and the Church, by justifying faith, mean, faith in the gospel and merits of Christ.’ The very thing; so I contend, in flatopposition to those who say they mean only the object of this faith.

Upon the third proposition, ‘By our being justified by faith only,both St. Paul and the Church mean, that the condition of ourjustification is faith alone, and not good works;’ you say, ‘Neither of them mean any such thing. You greatly wrong them, inascribing so mischievous a sentiment to them.’ (Ibid.) Let me begyou, Sir, to have patience, and calmly to consider, (1.) What I meanby this proposition. Why should you any longer run as uncertainly, and fight as one that beateth the air (2.) What is advancedtouching the sentiments of the Church, in the tract referred to above. Till you have done this, it would be mere loss of time todispute with you on this head.

I waive, therefore, for the present, the consideration of some of your following pages. Only I cannot quite pass over that (I believe, new) assertion, ‘that the Thirteenth Article, entitled, “Of Works done before Justification,” does not speak of works done before justification, but of works before grace, which is a very different thing!’ (page 45). I beseech you, Sir, to consider the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Articles, just as they lie, in one view: And you cannot but see that it is as absolutely impossible to maintain that proposition, as it is to prove that the Eleventh and Twelfth Articles speak not of justification, but of some very different thing.

10. Against that part of the fourth proposition, ‘Faith is a sure trust which a man hath, that Christ loved him and died for him,’ you object, ‘This definition is absurd; as it supposes that such a sure trust can be in one who does not repent of his sins.’ (page 48). I suppose quite the contrary, as I have declared over and over; nor, therefore, is there any such danger as you apprehend.

But you say, ‘There is nothing distinguishing enough in this to point out the true justifying faith.’ (ibid.) I grant it; supposing a man were to write a book, and say this of it, and no more. But did you ever see any treatise of mine, wherein I said this of faith, and no more nothing whereby to distinguish true faith from false Touching this Journal, your own quotations prove the contrary. Yea, and I everywhere insist, that we are to distinguish them by their fruits, by inward and outward righteousness, by the peace of God filling and ruling the heart, and by patient, active joy in the Holy Ghost.

You conclude this point: ‘I have now, Sir, examined at large your account of justification; and, I hope, fully refuted the several articles in which you have comprised it’ (page 49). We differ in our judgment. I do not apprehend you have refuted any one proposition of the four. You have, indeed, amended the second, by adding the word meritorious; for which I give you thanks.

11. You next give what you style, ‘the Christian scheme of justification;’ (page 50;) and afterwards point out the consequences which you apprehend to have attended the preaching justification by faith; the Third point into which I was to inquire.

You open the cause thus: ‘The denying the necessity of good works, as the condition of justification, directly draws after it, or rather includes in it, all manner of impiety and vice. It has often perplexed and disturbed the minds of men, and in the last century occasioned great confusions in this nation. These are points which are ever liable to misconstructions, and have ever yet been more or less attended with them. And it appears from what you have lately published, that since you have preached the doctrine, it has had its old consequences, or rather worse ones; it has been more misunderstood, more perverted and abused, than ever.’ (Remarks, pp. 1-2.)

‘The denying the necessity of good works, as the condition of justification, draws after it, or rather includes in it, all manner of impiety and vice.’ Here stands the proposition; but where is the proof Till that appears, I simply say, It does not.

‘It has often perplexed and disturbed the minds of men.’ And so have many other points in St. Paul’s Epistles.

‘But these are points which are ever liable to misconstructions; and have ever yet, more or less, been attended with them.’ And what points of revealed religion are those which are not ever liable to misconstructions Or of what material point can we say, that it has not ever yet, more or less, been attended with them

‘In the last century it occasioned great confusions in this nation.’ It occasioned! No; in no wise. It is demonstrable, the occasions of those confusions were quite of another kind.

‘And it appears, that since you have preached the doctrine, it has had its old consequences, or rather worse. It has been more misunderstood, more perverted and abused, than ever.’ What! worse consequences than regicide, (which, you say, was the old one,) and making our whole land a field of blood Or has it been more perverted and abused than when (in your account) it overturned the whole frame both of Church and State

12. You go on: ‘The terms of the gospel are, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. But when we undervalue either of these terms, we involve the consciences of the weak in fatal perplexities; we give a handle to others to justify their impieties; we confirm the enemies of religion in their prejudices.’ (Page 2.)

All this I grant. But it affects not me. For I do not undervalue either faith or repentance.

‘Was not irreligion and vice already prevailing enough in the nation, but we must — throw snares in people's way, and root out the remains of piety and devotion, in the weak and well-meaning That this has been the case, your own confessions put beyond all doubt. And you even now hold and teach the principles from which these dangerous consequences do plainly and directly follow.’ (Page 3.)

‘Was not irreligion and vice already prevailing enough,’ (whether I have increased them, we will consider by and by,) ‘but we must throw snares in people’s way’ God forbid! My whole life is employed in taking those snares out of people's way, which the world and the devil had thrown there. ‘And root out the remains of piety and devotion in the weak and well-meaning’ Of whom speaketh the Prophet this of himself, or of some other man ‘Your own confessions put this beyond all doubt.’ What! that ‘I root out the remains of piety and devotion’ Not so. The sum of them all recited above amounts to this and no more: ‘That while my brother and I were absent from London, many weak men were tainted with wrong opinions, most of whom we recovered at our return; but even those who continued therein did, notwithstanding, continue to live a holier life than ever they did before they heard us preach.’ ‘And you even now hold the principles from which these dangerous consequences do plainly and directly follow.’ But I know not where to find these consequences, unless it be in your title-page. There indeed I read of the very fatal tendency of justification by faith only: ‘The divisions and perplexities of the Methodists, and the many errors relating both to faith and practice, which,’ as you conceive, ‘have already arisen among these deluded people.’

However, you ‘charitably believe, I was not aware of these consequences at first.’ (page 4). No, nor am I yet; though it is strange I should not, if they so naturally succeed that doctrine. I will go a step farther. I do not know, neither believe, that they ever did succeed that doctrine, unless perhaps accidentally, as they might have succeeded any doctrine whatsoever. And till the contrary is proved, those consequences cannot show that these principles are not true.

13. Another consequence which you charge on my preaching justification by faith, is, the introducing the errors of the Moravians. ‘Had the people,’ say you, ‘gone on in a quiet and regular practice of their duty, as most of them did before you deluded them, it would have been impossible for the Moravian tenets to have prevailed among them. But when they had been long and often used to hear good works undervalued, I cannot wonder that they should plunge into new errors, and wax worse and worse.’ (Page 12.)

This is one string of mistakes. ‘Had the people gone on in a quiet and regular practice of their duty, as most of them did before you deluded them.’ Deluded them! Into what Into the love of God and all mankind, and a zealous care to keep his commandments. I would to God this delusion (if such it is accounted) may spread to the four corners of the earth! But how did most of them go on before they were thus deluded Four in five, by a moderate computation, even as other baptized Heathens, in the works of the devil, in all the ‘wretchlessness of most unclean living.’ ‘In a quiet and regular practice of their duty!’ What duty the duty of cursing and swearing; the duty of gluttony and drunkenness; the duty of whoredom and adultery; or of beating one another, and any that came in their way In this (not very ‘quiet or regular’) practice did most of those go on before they heard us, who have now ‘put off the old man with his deeds,’ and are ‘holy in all manner of conversation.’

Have these, think you, ‘been long and often used to hear good works undervalued’ Or are they prepared for receiving the Moravian errors, by the knowledge and love of God O Sir, the Moravians know, if you do not, that there is no such barrier under heaven against their tenets as those very people whom you suppose just prepared for receiving them.

But ‘complaints,’ you say, ‘of their errors, come very ill from you, because you have occasioned them.’ Nay, if it were so, for that very cause they ought to come from me. If I had occasioned an evil, surely I am the very person who ought to remove it as far as I can; to recover, if possible, those who are hurt already, and to caution others against it.

14. On some of those complaints, as you term them, you remark as follows: — ‘Many of those who once knew in whom they had believed’ (these are my words) ‘were thrown into idle reasonings, and thereby filled with doubts and fears’ (page 13). ‘This,’ you add, ‘it is to be feared, has been too much the case of the Methodists in general. — Accordingly we find, in this Journal, several instances, not barely of doubts and fears, but of the most desperate despair. This is the consequence of resting so much on sensible impressions. — Bad men may be led into presumption thereby; an instance of which you give,’ (Journal, ii. 415).

That instance will come in our way again: ‘Many of those who once knew in whom they had believed were thrown,’ by the Antinomians, ‘into idle reasonings, and thereby filled with doubts and fears. This,’ you fear, ‘has been the case with the Methodists in general.’ You must mean, (to make it a parallel case,) that the generality of the people now termed Methodists were true believers till they heard us preach, but were thereby thrown into idle reasonings, and filled with needless doubts and fears. Exactly contrary to truth in every particular. For, (1.) They lived in open sins till they heard us preach, and, consequently, were no better believers than their father the devil. (2.) They were not then thrown into idle reasonings, but into serious thought how to flee from the wrath to come. Nor, (3.) Were they filled with needless doubts and fears, but with such as were needful in the highest degree, such as actually issued in repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

‘Accordingly, we find in this Journal several instances of the most desperate despair’ (ii. 333, 347, 410).

Then I am greatly mistaken. But I will set down at length the several instances you refer to: —

‘I was a little surprised, in going out of the room, at one who catched hold of me, and said abruptly, “I must speak with you, and will. I have sinned against light and against love.” (N. B. She was soon after, if not at that very time, a common prostitute.) “I have sinned beyond forgiveness. I have been cursing you in my heart, and blaspheming God, ever since I came here. I am damned: I know it: I feel it: I am in hell: I have hell in my heart.” I desired two or three who had confidence in God, to join in crying to him on her behalf. Immediately that horrible dread was taken away, and she began to see some dawnings of hope.’ (ii. 333.)

‘The attention of all was soon fixed on poor Lucretia Smith. One so violently and variously torn of the evil one did I never see before. Sometimes she laughed till almost strangled; and then broke out into cursing and blaspheming; then stamped, and struggled with incredible strength, so that four or five could scarce hold her; then cried out, ‘O eternity, eternity! O that I had no soul! O that I had never been born!” At last she faintly called on Christ to help her; and the violence of her pangs ceased.’ (ii. 347.)

It should be remembered, that from that time to this, her conversation has been as becometh the gospel.

‘Thursday, December 25, I met with such a case as I do not remember either to have known or heard of before: Lucretia Smith (the same person), after many years’ mourning, (long before she heard of us,) was filled with peace and joy in believing. In the midst of this, without any discernible cause, such a cloud suddenly overwhelmed her, that she could not believe her sins were ever forgiven at all, nor that there was any such thing as forgiveness of sins. She could not believe that the Scriptures were true; that there was any heaven, or hell, or angel, or spirit, or any God. One more I have since found in the same state: But observe, neither of these continued therein; nor did I ever know one that did. So sure it is that all faith is the gift of God, which the moment he withdraws, the evil heart of unbelief will poison the whole soul.’ (ii. 410.)

Which of these is an ‘instance of the most desperate despair’ Surely the most desperate of any, yea, the only one which is properly said to be desperate at all, is that which produces instant self-murder; which causes a poor wretch, by a sin which he cannot repent of, to rush straight through death into hell. But that was not the case in any of these instances; in all which we have already seen the end of the Lord.

15. That I ‘raise separate societies against the Church’ (Remarks, p. 14) is a charge which I need not examine till the evidence is produced. You next cite a Moravian's words to me: (an Englishman joined with the Moravians:) ‘You have eyes full of adultery, and cannot cease from sin; you take upon you to guide unstable souls, and lead them in the way of damnation;’ and remark, ‘This is only returning some of your own treatment upon yourself. Here also you set the pattern.’ At what time and place, when and where, were ‘such abuses as these thrown out by me against our Universities, and against our regular Clergy, not the highest or the worthiest excepted’ I am altogether clear in this matter, as often as it has been objected: Neither do I desire to receive any other treatment from the Clergy, than they have received from me to this day.

You have a note at the bottom of this page which runs thus: ‘See pages 71, 77, and 73, [Journal, ii. 427, 431, and 433.] where some Methodists said they had heard both your brother and you many times preach Popery.’

I am afraid you advance here a willful untruth, purely ad movendam indiviam. For you cannot but know, (1.) That there is not one word of preaching Popery, either in page 71 or 77. And (2.) That when Mr. Cennick and two other Predestinarians (as is related page 73) affirmed they had heard both my brother and me many times preach Popery, they meant neither more nor less thereby than the doctrine of Universal Redemption.

16. You proceed: ‘Kingswood you call your own house: And whenone Mr. C. opposed you there, you reply to him, “You should nothave supplanted me in my own house, stealing the hearts of thepeople.” The parochial Clergy may call their several districts theirown houses, with much more propriety than you could call Kingswood yours. And yet how have you supplanted them therein,and labored to steal the hearts of the people! You have sufferedby the same ways you took to discharge your spleen and maliceagainst your brethren.

‘Your brother's words to Mr. Cennick are, — ‘Whether his doctrine is true or false, is not the question. But you ought first to have fairly toldhim, I preach contrary to you. Are you, willing, notwithstanding,that I should continue in your house, gainsaying you Shall I stayhere opposing you, or shall I depart ‘Think you hear this spokento you by us. What can you justly reply — Again, if Mr. Cennick hadsaid thus to you, and you had refused him leave to stay; I ask you,whether in such a case he would have had reason to resent such arefusal I think you cannot say he would. And yet how loudlyhave you objected our refusing our pulpits to you!’ (Remarks, pp. 15-16.)

So you judge these to be exactly parallel cases. It lies therefore uponme to show that they are not parallel at all; that there is, in manyrespects, an essential difference between them.

(1.) ‘Kingswood you call your own house.’ So I do, that is, theschool-house there. For I bought the ground where it stands, andpaid for the building it, partly from the contribution of my friends, (one of whom contributed fifty pounds,) partly from the income of my own Fellowship. No Clergyman therefore can call his parish his own house with more propriety than I can call this house mine.

(2.) ‘Mr. Cennick opposed you there.’ True; but who was Mr. Cennick One I had sent for to assist me there; a friend that was as my own soul; that, even while he opposed me, lay in my bosom. What resemblance then does Mr. Cennick, thus opposing me, bear to me opposing (if I really did) a parochial minister

(3.) ‘You said to Mr. Cennick, “You should not have supplanted me in my own house, stealing the hearts of the people.” Yet you have supplanted the Clergy in their own houses.’ What, in the same manner as Mr. C. did me Have I done to any of them as he has done to me You may as justly say I have cut their throats! Stealing the hearts of their people. Nor are these their people in the same sense wherein those were mine -- namely, servants of the devil brought, through my ministry, to be servants and children of God. ‘You have suffered by the same ways you took to discharge your spleen and malice against your brethren.’ To discharge your spleen and malice! Say, your muskets and blunderbusses: I have just as much to do with one as the other.

(4.) ‘Your brother said to Mr. Cennick, “You ought to have told my brother fairly, I preach contrary to you. Are you willing I should continue in your house, gainsaying you Shall I stay here opposing you, or shall I depart” Think you hear this spoken to you by us. What can you justly reply’ I can justly reply, Sir, Mr. Cennick’s case totally differs from yours. Therefore it makes absolutely nothing to your purpose.

17. A farther consequence (you think) of my preaching this doctrine, is, ‘the introducing that of absolute predestination. And whenever these errors,’ say you, ‘gain ground, there can be no wonder, that confusion, presumption, and despair, many very shocking instances of all which you give us among your followers, should be the consequences.’ (page 52.) You should by all means have specified a few of those instances, or, at least, the pages where they occur. Till this is done, I can look upon this assertion as no other than a flourish of your pen.

To conclude this head: You roundly affirm, once for all, ‘The grossest corruptions have ever followed the spreading of this tenet. The greatest heats and animosities have been raised thereby. The wildest errors have been thus occasioned. And in proportion to its getting ground, it has never failed to perplex the weak, to harden the wicked, and to please the profane. Your Journal is a proof that these terrible consequences have of late prevailed, perhaps more than ever.’ (Page 51.) Suppose that Journal gives a true account of facts, (which you seem not to deny,) could you find there no other fruits of my preaching, than these terrible ones you here mention

O who so blind, as he that will not see! [Matthew Henry on Jer. xx. See Swift's Polite Conversation, dial. 3.]

18. But that we may not still talk at large, let us bring this question into as narrow a compass as possible. Let us go no farther as to time, than seven years last past; as to place, than London and the parts adjoining; as to persons, than you and me, Thomas Church preaching one doctrine, John Wesley the other. Now then, let us consider with meekness and fear, what have been the consequences of each doctrine.

You have preached justification by faith and works, at Battersea, and St. Ann's, Westminster; while I preached justification by faith alone, near Moorfields, and at Short's Gardens. I beseech you then to consider, in the secret of your heart, how many sinners have you converted to God By their fruits we shall know them. This is a plain rule. By this test let them be tried. How many outwardly and habitually wicked men have you brought to uniform habits of outward holiness It is an awful thought! Can you instance in a hundred in fifty in twenty in ten If not, take heed unto yourself and to your doctrine. It cannot be that both are right before God.

Consider now (I would not speak, but I dare not refrain) what have been the consequences of even my preaching the other doctrine. By the fruits shall we know those of whom I speak; even the cloud of witnesses, who at this hour experience the gospel 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 several 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.

When you have weighed these things touching the consequences of my preaching, on the one hand, (somewhat different from those set down in your Remarks,) and of your preaching, on the other, I would earnestly recommend the following words to your deepest consideration: — ‘Beware of false prophets; ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles Even so every good tree’ (every true Prophet or Teacher) ‘bringeth forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire’ (Matt. vii. 15-19).

III. 1. Having spoken more largely than I designed on the principle I hold in common with the Moravians, I shall touch very briefly on those errors (so called) which you say I hold more than theirs. (Remarks, p. 55.)

You name, as the first, my holding that ‘a man may have a degree of justifying faith before he has, in the full, proper sense, a new, a clean heart.’ (ibid.)

I have so often explained this, that I cannot throw away time in adding any more now; only this, — that the moment a sinner is justified, his heart is cleansed in a low degree. But yet he has not a clean heart, in the full, proper sense, till he is made perfect in love.

2. Another error you mention is this doctrine of perfection. (page 60.) To save you from a continual ignoratio elenchi, I wave disputing on this point also, till you are better acquainted with my real sentiments. I have declared them on that head again and again; particularly in the sermon on Christian Perfection.

3. Into this fallacy you plunge from the beginning to the end of what you speak on my third error, (so you term it,) relating to the Lord’s supper; confuting, as mine, notions which I know not (pages 56-7.) I cannot think any farther answer is needful here, than the bare recital of my own words: —

‘Friday, June 27. I preached on, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

‘It has been diligently taught among us, that none but those who are converted, who “have received the Holy Ghost,” who are believers in the full sense, ought to communicate.

‘But experience shows the gross falsehood of that assertion, that the Lord’s supper is not a converting ordinance. Ye are witnesses: For many now present know, the very beginning of your conversion to God (perhaps in some the first deep conviction) was wrought at the Lord's supper. Now, one single instance of this kind overthrows that whole assertion.

‘The falsehood of the other assertion appears both from Scripture precept and example. Our Lord commanded those very men who were then unconverted, who had not yet “received the Holy Ghost,” who, in the full sense of the word, were not believers, to do this in remembrance of him. Here the precept is clear. And to these he delivered the elements with his own hands. Here is example equally indisputable.

‘Sat. 28. — I showed at large, (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. 360-2.)

4. ‘A stoical insensibility,’ you add, ‘is the next error I have to charge you with. You say, “The servants of God suffer nothing;” and suppose that we ought to be here so free as, in the strongest pain, not once to desire to have a moment's ease.

‘At the end of one of your hymns, you seem to carry this notion to the very height of extravagancy and presumption. You say, —

“Doom, if thou canst, to endless pains, And drive me from thy face.”’ [Poetical Works of J. and C. Wesley, i. 236.] (Remarks, p. 59.)

‘A stoical insensibility is the next error I have to charge you with.’ And how do you support the charge Why thus: ‘You say, “The servants of God suffer nothing”’ (Journal, ii. 393). And can you possibly misunderstand these words, if you read those that immediately follow — ‘His body was well-nigh torn asunder with pain: But God made all his bed in his sickness; so that he was continually giving thanks to God, and making his boast of his praise.’

‘You suppose we ought to be so free, as in the strongest pain not once to desire to have a moment’s ease.’ O Sir, with what eyes did you read those words —

‘I dined with one [He dined with Mr. Standex, when a woman told him this.] who told me, in all simplicity, “Sir, I thought last week, there could be no such rest as you describe; none in this world, wherein we should be so free as not to desire ease in pain. But God has taught me better; for on Friday and Saturday, when I was in the strongest pain, I never once had one moment's desire of ease, but only that the will of God might be done.”’ (ii. 373-4.) Do I say here, that ‘we ought not in the strongest pain once to desire to have a moment’s ease’ What a frightful distortion of my words is this! What I say is, ‘A serious person affirmed to me, that God kept her for two days in such a state.’ And why not Where is the absurdity

‘At the end of one of your hymns, you seem to carry this notion to the very height of extravagancy and presumption. You say, “Doom, if thou canst, to endless pains, And drive me from thy face.”’

‘If thou canst’ -- that is, if Thou canst deny thyself, if Thou canst forget to be gracious, if Thou canst cease to be truth and love. So the lines both preceding and following fix the sense. I see nothing of stoical insensibility, neither of extravagancy or presumption, in this.

5. Your last charge is, that I am guilty of enthusiasm to the highest degree. ‘Enthusiasm,’ you say, ‘is a false persuasion of an extraordinary divine assistance, which leads men on to such conduct as is only to be justified by the supposition of such assistance. An enthusiast is, then, sincere, but mistaken. His intentions are good, but his actions most abominable. Instead of making the word of God the rule of his actions, he follows only that secret impulse which is owing to a warm imagination. Instead of judging of his spiritual estate by the improvement of his heart, he rests only on ecstasies, &c. He is very liable to err, as not considering things coolly and carefully. He is very difficult to be convinced by reason and argument, as he acts upon a supposed principle superior to it, the directions of God’s Spirit. Whoever opposes him is charged with resisting the Spirit. His own dreams must be regarded as oracles. Whatever he does is to be accounted the work of God. Hence he talks in the style of inspired persons; and applies Scripture phrases to himself, without attending to their original meaning, or once considering the difference of times and circumstances.’ (Remarks, pp. 60-1.)

You have drawn, Sir, (in the main,) a true picture of an enthusiast. But it is no more like me, than I am like a centaur. Yet you say, ‘They are these very things which have been charged upon you, and which you could never yet disprove.’ I will try for once; and, to that end, will go over these articles one by one.

‘Enthusiasm is a false persuasion of an extraordinary divine assistance, which leads men on to such conduct as is only to be justified by the supposition of such assistance.’ Before this touches me, you are to prove, (which, I conceive, you have not done yet,) that my conduct is such as is only to be justified by the supposition of an extraordinary divine assistance. ‘An enthusiast is, then, sincere, but mistaken.’ That I am mistaken, remains also to be proved. ‘His intentions are good; but his actions most abominable.’ Sometimes they are; yet not always. For there may be innocent madmen. But, what actions of mine are most abominable I wait to learn. ‘Instead of making the word of God the rule of his actions, he follows only his secret impulse.’ 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. Not even a word or look Do I approve or own, But by the model of thy book, Thy sacred book alone. [Poetical Works of J. and C. Wesley, i. 70. Adapted from George Herbert's The Temple, "Discipline":

Not a word or look I affect to own,

But by book,

And Thy Book alone.]

‘Instead of judging of his spiritual estate by the improvement of his heart, he rests only on ecstasies.’ Neither is this my case. I rest not on them at all. Nor did I ever experience any. I do judge of my spiritual estate by the improvement of my heart and the tenor of my life conjointly. ‘He is very liable to err.’ So indeed I am. I find it every day more and more. But I do not yet find, that this is owing to my want of ‘considering things coolly and carefully.’ Perhaps you do not know many persons (excuse my simplicity in speaking it) who more carefully consider every step they take. Yet I know I am not cool or careful enough. May God supply this and all my wants! ‘He is very difficult to be convinced by reason and argument, as he acts upon a supposed principle superior to it, the direction of God's Spirit.’ I am very difficult to be convinced by dry blows or hard names, (both of which I have not wanted,) but not by reason and argument. At least that difficulty cannot spring from the cause you mention; for I claim no other direction of God's Spirit, than is common to all believers. ‘Whoever opposes him is charged with resisting or rejecting the Spirit.’ What! whoever opposes me, John Wesley Do I charge every such person with rejecting the Spirit No more than I charge him with robbing on the highway. I cite you yourself, to confute your own words. For, do I charge you with rejecting the Spirit ‘His own dreams must be regarded as oracles.’ Whose I desire neither my dreams nor my waking thoughts may be regarded at all, unless just so far as they agree with the oracles of God. ‘Whatever he does, is to be accounted the work of God.’ You strike quite wide of me still. I never said so of what I do. I never thought so. Yet I trust what I do is pleasing to God. ‘Hence he talks in the style of inspired persons.’ No otherwise inspired than you are, if you love God. ‘And applies Scripture phrases to himself, without attending to their original meaning, or once considering the difference of times and circumstances.’ I am not conscious of any thing like this. I apply no Scripture phrase either to myself or any other, without carefully considering both the original meaning, and the secondary sense, wherein (allowing for different times and circumstances) it may be applied to ordinary Christians.

6. So much for the bulk of your charge. But it concerns me, likewise, to gather up the fragments of it. You say, ‘We desire no more than to try your sentiments and proceedings by the written word.’ (Page 63.) Agreed. Begin when and where you please. ‘We find there good works as strongly insisted on as faith.’ I do as strongly insist on them as on faith. But each in its own order. ‘We find all railing, &c., condemned therein.’ True; and so you may in all I write or preach. ‘We are assured, that the doing what God commands is the sure way of knowing that we have received his Spirit.’ We have doubtless received it, if we love God (as he commands) with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. ‘And not by any sensible impulses or feelings whatsoever.’ Any sensible impulses whatsoever! Do you then exclude all sensible impulses Do you reject inward feelings toto genere Then you reject both the love of God and of our neighbor. For, if these cannot be inwardly felt, nothing can. You reject all joy in the Holy Ghost; for if we cannot be sensible of this, it is no joy at all. You reject the peace of God, which, if it be not felt in the inmost soul, is a dream, a notion, an empty name. You therefore reject the whole inward kingdom of God; that is, in effect, the whole gospel of Jesus Christ.

You have therefore yourself abundantly shown (what I do not insinuate, but proclaim on the house top) that I am charged with enthusiasm for asserting the power as well as the form of godliness.

7. You go on: ‘The character of the enthusiast above drawn will fit, I believe, all such of the Methodists as can be thought sincere.’ (page 63.) I believe not. I have tried it on one, and it fitted him just as Saul’s armor did David. However, a few instances of enthusiasm you undertake to show in this very Journal.

And first, ‘You give us one’ (these are your words) ‘of a private revelation, which you seem to pay great credit to.’ You partly relate this, and then remark, ‘What enthusiasm is here! To represent the conjectures of a woman, whose brain appears to have been too much heated, as if they had been owing to a particular and miraculous spirit of prophecy!’ Descant, Sir, as you please on this enthusiasm; on the credit I paid to this private revelation; and my representing the conjectures of this brain-sick woman as owing to the miraculous power of the Spirit of God: And when you have done, I will desire you to read that passage once more, where you will find my express words are, introducing this account: ‘Sunday, 11. I met with a surprising instance of the power of the devil.’ (Journal, ii. 415). Such was the credit I paid to this revelation! All which I ascribe to the Spirit of God is, the enabling her to strive against the power of the devil and at length restoring peace to her soul.

8. As a second instance of enthusiasm, you cite those words: ‘I expounded out of the fullness which was given me’ (ii. 412). The whole sentence is, ‘Out of the fulness that was given me, I expounded those words of St. Paul, (indeed of every true believer,) “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”’ I mean, I had then a fuller, deeper sense of that great truth, than I ordinarily have. And I still think it right to ascribe this, not to myself, but to the ‘Giver of every good and perfect gift.’

You relate what follows as a third ‘very extraordinary instance of enthusiasm:’ (Remarks, p. 65): ‘Tuesday, Feb. 17. I left London. In the afternoon, I reached Oxford; and leaving my horse there, (for he was tired, and the horse-road exceeding bad, and my business admitted of no delay,) set out on foot for Stanton-Harcourt. The night overtook me in about an hour, accompanied with heavy rain. Being wet and weary, and not well knowing my way, I could not help saying in my heart, (though ashamed of my want of resignation to God’s will,) “O that thou wouldest stay the bottles of heaven! or at least give me light, or an honest guide, or some help in the manner thou knowest.” Presently the rain ceased, the moon broke out, and a friendly man overtook me, who set me on his own horse, and walked by my side, till we came to Mr. Gambold’s door.’ (Journal, ii. 425-6.)

Here you remark, ‘If you would not have us look on this as miraculous, there is nothing in it worthy of being related.’ It may be so; let it pass then as a trifle not worth relating: But still it is no proof of enthusiasm. For I would not have you look on it as miraculous. I do not myself look upon it as such; but as a signal instance of God's particular providence over all those who call upon him.

9. ‘In the same spirit of enthusiasm,’ (you go on, citing this as a fourth instance,) ‘you describe Heaven as executing judgments, immediate punishments, on those who oppose you. You say, “Mr. Molther was taken ill this day. I believe it was the hand of God that was upon him.”’ (Remarks, p. 66.) I do; but I do not say, as a judgment from God for opposing me: That you say for me. ‘Again you tell us of “one who was exceeding angry at those who pretended to be in fits; and was just going to kick one of them out of the way, when she dropped down herself, and was in violent agonies for an hour.” And you say you “left her under a deep sense of the just judgment of God.”’ So she termed it; and so I believe it was. But observe, not for opposing me. ‘Again, you mention, “as an awful providence, the case of a poor wretch, who was last week cursing and blaspheming, and had boasted to many that he would come again on Sunday, and no man should stop his mouth then.”’ His mouth was stopped before, in the midst of the most horrid blasphemies, by asking him, if he was stronger than God. ‘‘But on Friday, God laid his hand upon him, and on Sunday he was buried.”’ I do look on this as a manifest judgment of God on a hardened sinner, for his complicated wickedness. ‘Again, “one being just going to beat his wife, (which he frequently did,) God smote him in a moment; so that his hand dropped and he fell down upon the ground, having no more strength than a new-born child.”’ (page 67.) And can you, Sir, consider this as one of the common dispensations of Providence Have you known a parallel one in your life But it was never cited by me, as it is by you, as an immediate punishment on a man for opposing me. You have no authority, from any sentence or word of mine, for putting such a construction upon it; no more than you have for that strange intimation, (how remote both from justice and charity!) that ‘I parallel these cases with those of Ananias and Sapphira, or of Elymas the sorcerer!’

10. You proceed to what you account a fifth instance of enthusiasm: ‘With regard to people's falling in fits, it is plain, you look upon both the disorders and removals of them to be supernatural.’ (ibid.). It is not quite plain. I look upon some of these cases as wholly natural; on the rest as mixed, both the disorder and the removal being partly natural and partly not. Six of these you pick out from, it may be, two hundred; and add, ‘From all which, you leave no room to doubt, that you would have these cases considered as those of the demoniacs in the New Testament; in order, I suppose, to parallel your supposed cures of them with the highest miracles of Christ and his disciples.’ I should once have wondered at your making such a supposition; but I now wonder at nothing of this kind. Only be pleased to remember, till this supposition is made good, it is no confirmation at all of my enthusiasm.

You then attempt to account for those fits by ‘obstructions or irregularities of the blood and spirits, hysterical disorder, watchings, fastings, closeness of rooms, great crowds, violent heat.’ And, lastly, by ‘terrors, perplexities, and doubts, in weak and well-meaning men;’ which, you think, in many of the cases before us, have ‘quite overset their understandings.’

As to each of the rest, let it go as far as it can go. But I require proof of the last way whereby you would account for these disorders. Why, ‘The instances," you say, "of religious madness have much increased since you began to disturb the world.’ (Remarks, pp. 68, 69.) I doubt the fact. Although, if these instances had increased lately, it is easy to account for them another way. ‘Most have heard of, or known, several of the Methodists thus driven to distraction.’ You may have heard of five hundred; but how many have you known Be pleased to name eight or ten of them. I cannot find them, no, not one of them to this day, either man, woman, or child. I find some indeed, whom you told, they would be distracted if they ‘continued to follow these men,’ and whom, at that time, you threw into much doubt, and terror, and perplexity. But though they did continue to hear them ever since, they are not distracted yet.

As for the ‘abilities, learning, and experience’ of Dr. Monro [John Monro (1715-91, Physician of Bethlehem Hospital 1751.] (page 70,) if you are personally acquainted with him, you do well to testify them. But if not, permit me to remind you of the old advice: —

Qualem commendes, etiam atque etiam aspice, ne mox Incutiant aliena tibi peccata pudorem. [Horace's Epistles, I. xviii.76: ‘Beware whom you commend, lest you should be blamed for the faults of another man.’]

In endeavoring to account for the people’s recovery from those disorders, you say, ‘I shall not dispute how far prayer may have naturally a good effect.’ Nay, I am persuaded you will not dispute but it may have supernatural good effects also. ‘However, there is no need of supposing these recoveries miraculous.’ (page 71.) Who affirms there is I have set down the facts just as they were, passing no judgment upon them myself; (consequently, here is no foundation for the charge of enthusiasm;) and leaving every man else to judge as he pleases.

11. The next passage you quote as a proof of my enthusiasm, taking the whole together, runs thus: ‘After communicating at St. James’s, our parish church, I visited several of the sick. Most of them were ill of the spotted fever, which, they informed me, had been extremely mortal, few persons recovering from it. But God had said, “Hitherto shalt thou come.” I believe there was not one with whom we were, but recovered.’ (Journal, ii. 401-2.) On which you comment thus: ‘Here is indeed no intimation of any thing miraculous.’ No! not so much as an intimation! Then why is this cited as an instance of my enthusiasm Why, ‘You seem to desire to have it believed, that an extraordinary blessing attended your prayers; whereas, I believe they would not have failed of an equal blessing and success, had they had the prayers of their own parish Ministers.’ I believe this argument will have extraordinary success, if it convince any one that I am an enthusiast.

12. You add, ‘I shall give but one account more, and this is what you give of yourself.’ (Remarks, p. 72.) The sum whereof is, ‘At two several times, being ill and in violent pain, I prayed to God, and found immediate ease.’ I did so. I assert the fact still. ‘Now, if these,’ you say, ‘are not miraculous cures, all this is rank enthusiasm.’

I will put your argument in form: —

He that believes those are miraculous cures which are not so is a rank enthusiast:

But you believe those to be miraculous cures which are not so:

Therefore, you are a rank enthusiast.

Before I answer, I must know what you mean by miraculous. If you term everything so, which is not strictly accountable for by the ordinary course of natural causes, then I deny the latter part of the minor proposition. And unless you can make this good, unless you can prove the effects in question are strictly accountable for by the ordinary course of natural causes, your argument is nothing worth.

You conclude this head with, ‘Can you work miracles All your present pretences to the Spirit, till they are proved by miracles, cannot be excused, or acquitted from enthusiasm.’ (Page 73.)

My short answer is this: I pretend to the Spirit just so far as is essential to a state of salvation. And cannot I be acquitted from enthusiasm till I prove by miracles that I am in a state of salvation

13. We now draw to a period: ‘The consequences of Methodism,’ you say, that is, of our preaching this doctrine, ‘which have hitherto appeared, are bad enough to induce you to leave it. It has, in fact, introduced many disorders; enthusiasm, Antinomianism, Calvinism, a neglect and contempt of God’s ordinances, and almost all other duties.’ (Page 75.)

That, whenever God revives his work upon earth, many tares will spring up with the wheat, both the word of God gives us ground to expect, and the experience of all ages. But where, Sir, have you been, that you have heard of the tares only; and that you rank among the consequences of my preaching, ‘a neglect and contempt of God's ordinances, and almost of all duties’ Does not the very reverse appear at London, at Bristol, at Kingswood, at Newcastle In every one of which places, multitudes of those (I am able to name the persons) who before lived in a thorough neglect and contempt of God’s ordinances and all duties, do now zealously discharge their duties to God and man, and walk in all his ordinances blameless.

And as to those drunkards, whoremongers, and other servants of the devil, as they were before, who heard us a while and then fell to the Calvinists or Moravians, are they not even now in a far better state than they were before they heard us Admit they are in error, yea, and die therein, yet, who dares affirm they will perish everlastingly But had they died in those sins, we are sure they had fallen into ‘the fire that never shall be quenched.’

I hope, sir, you will rejoice in considering, this, how much their gain still outweighs their loss; as well as in finding the sentiments you could not reconcile together clearly and consistently explained I am very willing to consider whatever farther you have to offer. May God give us both a right judgment in all things! I am persuaded you will readily join in this prayer with, reverend sir,

Your servant for Christ’s sake,

To Robert Dodsley, the Publisher [2]

LONDON, February 8, 1745.

Having inadvertently printed in a collection of poems, 3 vols. 12 mo, the Night Thoughts of Dr. Young, together with some pieces of Mrs. Rowe's, the property of Mr. Robert Dodsley, and having made satisfaction for the same by payment of a 20 pounds Bank Note, and a check for 30 pounds, payable in three months, I hereby promise not to print the same again in any form whatever.

Charles Wesley to Dr. Gibson, Bishop of London [3]

The Foundry, February 8, 1745.

MY LORD, -- Some time ago I was informed that your Lordship had received some allegation against me by one--[Name left blank in letter.] charging me with committing or offering to commit lewdness with her. I have also been lately informed that your Lordship had been pleased to say, if I solemnly declared my innocence, you would be satisfied. I therefore take this liberty, and do hereby solemnly declare that neither did I ever commit lewdness with that person, neither did I ever solicit her thereunto, but am innocent in deed and word as touching this thing.

As there are other such slanders cast on me, and no less than all manner of evil spoken of me, I must beg leave first to declare mine innocence as to all other women likewise. It is now near twenty years since I began working out my salvation; in all which time God, in whose presence I speak, has kept me from either committing any act of adultery or fornication or soliciting any person whatsoever thereto. I never did the action; I never spoke a word inducing any one to such evil; I never harbored any such design in my heart.

If your Lordship requires any farther purgation, I am ready to repeat this declaration viva voce, and to take the oaths in proof of it. -- I am, my Lord,

Your Lordship's dutiful son and servant, Ch. W.

To Robert Young [4]

March 4, 1745.

ROBERT YOUNG, -- I expect to see you, between this and Friday, and to hear from you that you are sensible of your fault. Otherwise, in pity to your soul, I shall be obliged to inform the Magistrates of your assaulting me yesterday in the street. -- I am

Your real friend.

To a Clerical Friend


I have been drawing up this morning a short state of the case between the clergy and us: I leave you to make any such use of it as you believe will be to the glory of God.

1. About seven years since, we began preaching inward, present salvation as attainable by faith alone.

2. For preaching this doctrine we were forbidden to preach in the churches.

3. We then preached in private houses as occasion offered; and, when the houses could not contain the people, in the open air.

4. For this many of the clergy preached or printed against us as both heretics and schismatics.

5. Persons who were convinced of sin begged us to advise them more particularly how to flee from the wrath to come. We replied, if they would all come at one time (for they were numerous), we would endeavor it.

6. For this we were represented, both from the pulpit and the press (we have heard it with our ears, and seen it with our eyes), as introducing Popery, raising sedition, practicing both against Church and State; and all manner of evil was publicly said both of us and those who were accustomed to meet with us.

7. Finding some truth herein, viz. that some of those who so met together walked disorderly, we immediately desired them not to come to us any more.

8. And the more steady were desired to overlook the rest, that we might know if they walked according to the gospel.

9. But now several of the bishops began to speak against us, either in conversation or in public.

10. On this encouragement, several of the clergy stirred up the people to treat us as outlaws or mad dogs.

11. The people did so, both in Staffordshire, Cornwall, and many other places.

12. And they do so still, wherever they are not restrained by their fear of the secular magistrate.

Thus the case stands at present. Now, what can we do, or what can you our brethren do, towards healing this breach which is highly desirable, that we may withstand with joint force the still increasing flood of Popery, Deism, and immorality.

Desire of us anything we can do with a safe conscience, and we will do it immediately. Will you meet us here Will you do what we desire of you, so far as you can with safe conscience

Let us come to particulars: --

Do you desire us (1) to preach another, or to desist from preaching this, doctrine We think you do not desire it, as knowing we cannot do this with a safe conscience.

Do you desire us (2) to desist from preaching in private houses or in the open air As things are now circumstanced, this would be the same as desiring us not to preach at all.

Do you desire us (3) to desist from advising those who now meet together for that purpose or, in other words, to dissolve our Societies We cannot do this with a safe conscience; for we apprehend many souls would be lost thereby, and that God would require their blood at our hands.

Do you desire us (4) to advise them only one by one This is impossible because of their number.

Do you desire us (5) to suffer those who walk disorderly still to mix with the rest Neither can we do this with a safe conscience, because 'evil communications corrupt good manners.'

Do you desire us (6) to discharge those leaders of bands or classes (as we term them) who overlook the rest This is in effect to suffer the disorderly walkers still to mix with the rest, which we dare not do.

Do you desire us (lastly) to behave with reverence toward those who are overseers of the Church of God and with tenderness both to the character and persons of our brethren the inferior clergy By the grace of God we can and will do this; yea, our conscience beareth us witness that we have already labored so to do, and that at all times and in all places.

If you ask what we desire of you to do, we answer: --

1. We do not desire any one of you to let us preach in your church, either if you believe us to preach false doctrine or if you have upon any other ground the least scruple of conscience concerning it. But we desire any who believes us to preach true doctrine, and has no scruple at all in this matter, may not be either publicly or privately discouraged from inviting us to preach in his church.

2. We do not desire that any one who thinks that we are heretics or schismatics, and that it is his duty to preach or print against us as such, should refrain therefrom, so long as he thinks it is his duty (although in this case the breach can never be healed). But we desire that none will pass such a sentence till he has calmly considered both sides of the question; that he would not condemn us unheard; but first read what we have written, and pray earnestly that God may direct him in the right way.

3. We do not desire any favor if either Popery, sedition, or immorality be proved against us. But we desire you will not credit without proof any of those senseless tales that pass current with the vulgar; that, if you do not credit them yourselves, you will not relate them to others (which we have known done); yea, that you will confute them, so far as ye have opportunity, and discountenance those who still retail them abroad.

4. We do not desire any preferment, favor, or recommendation from those that are in authority, either in Church or State. But we desire (1) that if anything material be laid to our charge, we may be permitted to answer for ourselves; (2) that you would hinder your dependents from stirring up the rabble against us, who are certainly not the proper judges of these matters; and (3) that you would effectually suppress and throughly discountenance all riots and popular insurrections, which evidently strike at the foundation of all government, whether of Church or State.

Now, these things you certainly can do, and that with a safe conscience. Therefore, till these things are done, the continuance of the breach is chargeable on you, and you only.[See Stamp's Orphan House, pp. 65-6. Wesley's letter had little effect.]

To Lord Grange (James Erskine) [5]

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, March 16, 1745.

DEAR SIR,--I sincerely thank you for the transcript you send me from Mr. Robe's letter. It shows a truly Christian spirit. I should be glad to have also the note you mention touching the proposal for prayer and praise. Might it not be practicable to have the concurrence of Mr. Edwards [Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) was now pastor at Northampton (Mass.). There were remarkable awakenings there in 1734 and 1735, and in 1740, when he became the bosom friend of Whitefield. In 1744 he offended many by stringent measures in regard to immoralities, and in 1750 was dismissed from his pastorate. He was elected President of Princeton in 1757, and died the following year.] in New England, if not of Mr. Tennent [Gilbert Tennent, born in Armagh 1703. His father emigrated to America in 1718, where he became a Presbyterian minister, and established Los College, the first Presbyterian literary and theological college in America, the parent of Princeton. Gilbert was ordained in 1726, and went with Whitefield on a preaching-tour in Boston. He had few equals as a preacher; Dr. H. B. Smith calls him ‘that soul of fire.’ He died in 1764.] also, herein It is evidently one work with what we have seen here. Why should we not all praise God with one heart

Whoever agrees with us in that account of practical religion given in The Character of a Methodist, [Published in 1742. See Works, viii. 339-47.] I regard not what his other opinions are, the same is my brother and sister and mother. I am more assured that love is of God than that any opinion whatsoever is so. Herein may we increase more and more.--I am, dear sir,

Your most affectionate servant.

To John Stephenson [6]


SIR,--I am surprised. You give it under your hand that you will put me in possession of a piece of ground, specified in an article between us, in fifteen days’ time. Three months are passed, and that article is not fulfilled. And now you say you can’t conceive what I mean by troubling you. I mean to have that article fulfilled. I think my meaning is very plain. -- I am, sir,

Your humble servant.

To his Brother Charles

LEEDS, April 23, 1745.

DEAR BROTHER, [Charles Wesley was in London from April 9 to June 17.]--It was time for me to give them the ground at Newcastle [See previous letter.] and to fly for my life. I grew more and more honorable every day; the rich and great flocking to us together, so that many times the room would not hold them. Iniquity for the present hath stopped her mouth; and it is almost fashionable to speak well of us. In all appearance, if I had stayed a month longer, the Mayor and Aldermen would have been with us too.

On Easter Monday we met at half-hour after four; and the room was full from end to end with high and low, rich and poor, plain and fine people. At nine I preached to almost as large a congregation in the street at Chesterle-Street. All were quiet and still; for the hand of our Lord was in the midst of them. About six I preached at Northallerton in the house: but it should have been (I afterwards found) at the Cross; for the people there are (most of them) a noble people, and receive the word with all readiness of mind. A gentleman of Osmotherley [Mr. Adams. See Journal, iii. 169; W.H.S. vii. 28-31.] (east from Northallerton) telling me he wished I could have come and preached there, I took him at his word, set out immediately, and about ten at night preached at Osmotherley, in a large chapel which belonged a few years since to a convent of Franciscan Friars. I found I was got into the very center of all the Papists in the North of England. Commessatorem haud satis commodum! [‘Terence’s Adelphi, v. ii. 8: ‘A by no means fitting boon companion.’] This also hath God wrought.

The classes call me away. I must (for several reasons) see London before Bristol. One is, I shall go from Bristol to Cornwall; so that, if I come to Bristol now, I shall not be at London these three months. What I propose, therefore, is to go from Birmingham, through Oxford (as I wrote before), straight to London. [He reached London on May 11.] You can send me word where you will meet me. All here salute you much. If you could come hither soon (think of it), Leeds would vie with Newcastle. I wish you could. O let us watch! Adieu.

To A. W. [7]

LONDON, May 28, 1745.

DEAR SISTER, -- So long as you are afraid of your own weakness and foolishness it will not prevail over you; and if God is on your side, it will be a little thing to be slighted by them that know not God. But, whatever they do, your way is plain, -- follow on to know the Lord; that whereunto you have attained hold fast; and watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation, but daily grow in grace and in knowledge of Him that bought us with His blood. -- I am

Your affectionate brother.

To M. W.

LONDON, May 28, 1745.

MY DEAR SISTER, -- If you find the beginning of the peace of God and the dawning of His love in your heart, what have you to do but quietly wait and pray for the fulfilling of all His promises Fear is good for nothing, unless it be a filial fear, such a fear of offending as springs from love. You are called to peace, and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace. Only walk circumspectly, redeeming the time, doing the will of God from the heart, and He will supply all your wants at the time and in the manner that pleaseth Him. -- I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Jones, of Fonmon Castle [8]

ST. GENNYS, June 18, 1745.

On Thursday, July 18 (if God permit), Mr. Thompson [George Thompson, Vicar of St. Gennys.] will come with me to Minehead. From whence, if your brother's sloop was ready, we could cross over to Fonmon. I sent word before, both that you may have time to let me know if the sloop cannot come, and that Mr. Hodges (with whom I hope to spend Sunday, July 21) may order his affairs so as to be able to go with me to Garth on Monday, and from thence to our yearly Conference at Bristol.

I have been much disappointed since I left London last, expecting to meet with nothing but difficulties, and finding none at all, or such as did but just appear and then vanish into nothing. So it shall always be, if our whole care be cast on Him who careth for us. The rough places shall in due time be all made smooth, and the mountain become a plain. What have we, then, to do but to stand still and see the salvation of God I commend you and yours to His ever-waking love; and am

Your affectionate friend and brother.

We are to set out toward St. Ives to-morrow.

To Mrs. Jones, At Fonmon Castle, Near Cardiff, South Wales. Free-James Erskine. [See Journal, iii. 181; and letter of March 16, 1745.]

To the Author of the ‘Craftsman’ [9]

[July] 1745.

SIR, -- In your late paper of June 22 I find (among many to the same effect) these words: --

‘Methodists place all merit in faith and grace, and none in good works. This unwarrantable strange sect of a religion, founded on madness and folly, hold that there is no justification by good works, but by faith and grace only. They hereby banish that divine part of our constitution, reason; and cut off the most essential recommendation to heaven, virtue.

‘Men who are far gone in their mad principles of religion suspend the hand of industry, become inactive, and leave all to Providence, without exercising either their heads or hands.

‘The doctrine of Regeneration is essential with political Methodists; who are now regenerated, place all merit in faith, and have thrown good works aside.’

I am pressed by those to whose judgment I pay great regard to take some notice of these assertions; and the rather because you sometimes seem as if you thought the Christian institution was of God.

Now, if you really think so, or if you desire that any man should believe you do, you must not talk so ludicrously of Regeneration; for it is an essential doctrine of Christianity. And you may probably have heard, or even read in former years, that it was the Author of this institution who said, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’

This He represents as the only possible entrance into the experimental knowledge of that religion, which is not founded (whatever you may suppose) on either madness or folly, but on the inmost nature of things, the nature of God and man, and the immutable relations between them.

By this religion we do not banish reason, but exalt it to its utmost perfection; this being in every point consistent therewith, and in every step guided thereby.

But you say, ‘They hereby cut off the most essential recommendation to heaven, virtue.’ What virtue That of self-murder; that of casting their own infants to be devoured by beasts or wolves; that of dragging at their chariot-wheels those whose only crimes were the love of their parents, or children, or country These Roman virtues our religion does cut off; it leaves no place for them. And a reasonable Deist will allow that these are not ‘the most essential recommendation to heaven.’ But it is far from cutting off any sort, degree, or instance of genuine virtue; all which is contained in the love of God and man, producing every divine and amiable temper.

And this love we suppose (according to the Christian scheme) to flow from a sense of God’s love to us; which sense and persuasion of God’s love to man in Christ Jesus, particularly applied, we term faith -- a thing you seem to be totally unacquainted with. For it is not the faith whereof we speak, unless it be a ‘faith working by love,’ a faith ‘zealous of good works,’ careful to maintain, nay, to excel in them. Nor do we acknowledge him to have one grain of faith who is not continually doing good, who is not willing ‘to spend and be spent in doing all good, as he has opportunity, to all men.’

Whoever, therefore, they are that ‘throw aside good works, that suspend’ (as you prettily phrase it) ‘the hand of industry, become inactive, and leave all to Providence, without exercising either their heads or hands,’ they are no more led into this by any doctrine of ours than by the writings of Paul of Tarsus.

And yet ‘this unaccountable strange sect’ (so I believe we appear to you) ‘place no merit at all in good works.’ Most true. No, nor in faith neither (which you may think more unaccountable still); but only in ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant.’ We do assuredly hold (which I beg to leave with you, and to recommend to your deepest consideration) that there is no justification in your sense either by faith or works, or both together -- that is, that we are not pardoned and accepted with God for the merit of either or both, but only by the grace or free love of God, for the alone merits of His Son Jesus Christ. -- I am, sir,

Your friend, though not admirer.

To Count Zinzendorf and the Moravian Brethren [10]

LONDON, September 6, 1745.


You declare, in the Daily Advertiser of August 2 (by your humble servant James Hutton), that Mr. John and Charles Wesley are both in the plain way of false teaching and deceiving souls; that you cannot but be suspicious, at the same time they preach perfection, they are willful servants of sin; and that you fear you shall see them running with their heads against the wall for a punishment of their high spirits.

You declare at the same time, if a controversy should arise from this declaration, you will not meddle with it in any way. That is, you strike a man on the head as hard as you can, and then declare you will not fight.

You are safe! No controversy will arise on my part from any declaration of this kind. Your unusual conduct does not hinder me from still embracing you with candor and love, and commending you to Him who is able to make you perfect in every good work; for whose sake I am, and trust ever to remain, Your brother and servant.

To the Mayor of Newcastle-upon-Tyne [11]

NEWCASTLE, September 21, 1745.


SIR, -- My not waiting upon you at the Town Hall was not owing to any want of respect. I reverence you for your office’ sake, and much more for your zeal in the execution of it. I would to God every magistrate in the land would copy after such an example! Much less was it owing to any disaffection to His Majesty King George. But I knew not how far it might be either necessary or proper for me to appear on such an occasion. I have no fortune at Newcastle: I have only the bread I eat, and the use of a little room for a few weeks in the year.

All I can do for His Majesty, whom I honor and love (I think not less than I did my own father) is this: I cry unto God day by day, in public and in private, to put all his enemies to confusion; and I exhort all that hear me to do the same, and in their several stations to exert themselves as loyal subjects, who, so long as they fear God, cannot but honor the King.

Permit me, sir, to add a few words more, out of the fullness of my heart. I am persuaded you fear God and have a deep sense that His kingdom ruleth over all. Unto whom, then (I may ask you), should we flee for succor but unto Him, whom by our sins we have justly displeased O sir, is it not possible to give any check to these overflowings of ungodliness to the open, flagrant wickedness, the drunkenness and profaneness, which so abound, even in our streets [See letters of July 12, 1743, and Oct. 26, 1745.] I just take leave to suggest this. May the God whom you serve direct you in this and all things! This is the daily prayer of, sir,

Your obedient servant for Christ's sake.

To his Brother Charles [12]

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, September 22, 1745.

MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I have only just time to inform you that, since the account is confirmed by an express to the Mayor that General Cope is fled and his forces defeated (all that did not run away), the consternation of the poor people is redoubled. The townsmen are put under arms, the walls planted with cannon, and those who live without the gates are removing their goods with all speed. We stand our ground as yet, glory be to God, to the no small astonishment of our neighbors. Brethren, pray for us, that, if need be, we may

True in the fiery trial prove, And pay Him back His dying love.


To ‘John Smith’ [13]

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, September 28, 1745.

SIR, -- 1. I was determined, from the time I received yours, [Dated May 1745. Wesley had spent much of the interval in Cornwall and elsewhere, and it was not till the middle of August that he had leisure to look over the letters he had received that summer (Journal, iii.197). ‘John Smith’ writes as ‘a candid adversary,’ making objections to matter of doctrine, phraseology, and fact.] to answer it as soon as I should have opportunity. But it was the longer delayed because I could not persuade myself to write at all till I had leisure to write fully. And this I hope to do now, though I know you not--no, not so much as your name. But I take for granted you are a person that fears God and that speaks the real sentiments of his heart. And on this supposition I shall speak without any suspicion or reserve.

2. I am exceedingly obliged by the pains you have taken to point out to me what you think to be mistakes. It is a truly Christian attempt, an act of brotherly love, which I pray God to repay sevenfold into your bosom. Methinks I can scarce look upon such a person, on one who is ‘a contender for truth and not for victory,’ whatever opinion he may entertain of me, as any adversary at all. For what is friendship, if I am to account him my enemy who endeavors to open my eyes or to amend my heart

I. 3. You will give me leave (writing as a friend rather than a disputant) to invert the order of your objections, and to begin with the third, because I conceive it may be answered in fewest words. The substance of it is this: ‘If in fact you can work such signs and wonders as were wrought by the Apostles, then you are entitled (notwithstanding what I might otherwise object) to the implicit faith due to one of that order.’ A few lines after, you cite a case related in the Third Journal, p. 88, [See Journal ii. 290-1, Oct. 12, 1739.] and add: ‘If you prove this to be the fact, to the satisfaction of wise and good men, then I believe no wise and good men will oppose you any longer. Let me therefore rest it upon your conscience, either to prove this matter of fact or to retract it. If upon mature examination it shall appear that designing people imposed upon you, or that hysterical women were imposed upon themselves, acknowledge your zeal outran your wisdom.’

4. Surely I would. But what if, on such examination, it shall appear that there was no imposition of either kind, to be satisfied of which I waited three years before I told the story What if it appear, by the only method which I can conceive, the deposition of three or four eye-and earwitnesses, that the matter of fact was just as it is there related, so far as men can judge from their eyes and ears Will it follow that I am entitled to demand the implicit faith which was due to an apostle By no means. Nay, I know not that implicit faith was due to any or all of the Apostles put together. They were to prove their assertions by the written Word. You and I are to do the same. Without such proof I ought no more to have believed St. Peter himself than St. Peter's (pretended) successor.

5. I conceive, therefore, this whole demand, common as it is, of proving our doctrine by miracles, proceeds from a double mistake: (1) A supposition that what we preach is not provable from Scripture; for if it be, what need we farther witnesses ‘To the law and to the testimony!' (2) An imagination that a doctrine not provable by Scripture might nevertheless be proved by miracles. I believe not. I receive the written Word as the whole and sole rule of my faith.

II. 6. Perhaps what you object to my phraseology may be likewise answered in few words. I thoroughly agree that it is best to ‘use the most common words, and that in the most obvious sense’; and have been diligently laboring after this very thing for little less than twenty years. I am not conscious of using any uncommon word or any word in an uncommon sense; but I cannot call those uncommon words which are the constant language of Holy Writ. These I purposely use, desiring always to express Scripture sense in Scripture phrase. And this I apprehend myself to do when I speak of salvation as a present thing. How often does our Lord Himself do thus! how often His Apostles, St. Paul particularly! Insomuch that I doubt whether we can find six texts in the New Testament, perhaps not three, where it is otherwise taken.

7. The term ‘faith’ I likewise use in the scriptural sense, meaning thereby ‘the evidence of things not seen.’ And that it is scriptural appears to me a sufficient defense of any way of speaking whatever. For, however the propriety of those expressions may vary which occur in the writings of men, I cannot but think those which are found in the Book of God will be equally proper in all ages. But let us look back, as you desire, to the age of the Apostles. And if it appear that the state of religion now is, according to your own representation of it, the same in substance as it was then, it will follow that the same expressions are just as proper now as they were in the apostolic age.

8. ‘At the time of the first preaching of the gospel’ (as you justly observe) ‘both Jews and Gentiles were very negligent of internal holiness, but laid great stress on external rites and certain actions, which, if they performed according to the due forms of their respective religions, they doubted not but those works would render them acceptable to God. The Apostles therefore thought they could not express themselves too warmly against so wicked a persuasion, and often declare that we cannot be made righteous by works (that is, not by such outward works as were intended to commute for inward holiness), but “by faith in Christ” (that is, by becoming Christians both in principle and practice).’

9. I have often thought the same thing; namely, that the Apostles used the expression ‘salvation by faith’ (importing inward holiness by the knowledge of God) in direct opposition to the then common persuasion of salvation by works -- that is, going to heaven by outward works, without any inward holiness at all.

10. And is not this persuasion as common now as it was in the time of the Apostles We must needs go out of the world, or we cannot doubt it. Does not every one of our Churches (to speak a sad truth) afford us abundant instances of those who are as negligent of internal holiness as either the Jews or ancient Gentiles were And do not these at this day lay so great a stress on certain external rites, that, if they perform them according to the due forms of their respective communities, they doubt not but those works will render them acceptable to God You and I therefore cannot express ourselves too warmly against so wicked a persuasion; nor can we express ourselves against it in more proper terms than those the Apostles used to that very end.

It cannot be denied that this apostolical language is also the language of our own Church. But I waive this. What is scriptural in any Church, I hold fast; for the rest, I let it go.

III. 11. But the main point remains: you think the doctrines I hold are not founded on Holy Writ. Before we inquire into this, I would just touch on some parts of that abstract of them which you have given.

‘Faith (instead of being a rational assent and moral virtue, for the attainment of which men ought to yield the utmost attention and industry) is altogether supernatural and the immediate gift of God.’ I believe (1) that a rational assent to the truth of the Bible is one ingredient of Christian faith; (2) that Christian faith is a moral virtue in that sense wherein hope and charity are; (3) that men ought to yield the utmost attention and industry for the attainment of it; and yet (4) that this, as every Christian grace, is properly supernatural, is an immediate gift of God, which He commonly gives in the use of such means as He hath ordained.

I believe it is generally given in an instant: but not arbitrarily, in your sense of the word; not without any regard to the fitness (I should say the previous qualifications) of the recipient.

12. ‘When a man is pardoned, it is immediately notified to him by the Holy Ghost, and that, not by His imperceptibly working a godly assurance, but by such attestation as is easily discernible from reason or fancy.’

I do not deny that God imperceptibly works in some a gradually increasing assurance of His love; but I am equally certain He works in others a full assurance thereof in one moment. And I suppose, however this godly assurance be wrought, it is easily discernible from bare reason or fancy.

‘Upon this infallible notification he is saved, is become perfect, so that he cannot commit sin.’

I do not say this notification is infallible in that sense, that none believe they have it who indeed have it not; neither do I say that a man is perfect in love the moment he is born of God by faith. But even then I believe, if he keepeth himself, he cloth not commit (outward) sin.

13. ‘This first sowing of the first seed of faith you cannot conceive to be other than instantaneous (ordinarily), whether you consider experience, or the Word of God, or the very nature of the thing. Whereas all these appear to me to be against you. To begin with experience: I believe myself to have as steady a faith in a pardoning God as you can have; and yet I do not remember the exact day when it was first given.’

Perhaps not. Yours may be another of those exempt cases which were allowed before.

But ‘the experience,’ you say, ‘of all the pious persons’ you ‘are acquainted with is the very same with’ yours. You will not be displeased with my speaking freely. How many truly pious persons are you so intimately acquainted with as to be able to interrogate them on the subject with twenty with ten If so, you are far happier than I was for many years at Oxford. You will naturally ask, with how many truly pious persons am I acquainted, on the other hand. I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not: I am acquainted with more than twelve or thirteen hundred persons, whom I believe to be truly pious, and not on slight grounds, and who have severally testified to me with their own mouths that they do know the day when the love of God was first shed abroad in their hearts and when His Spirit first witnessed with their spirits that they were the children of God. Now, if you are determined to think all these liars or fools, this is no evidence to you; but to me it is strong evidence, who have for some years known the men and their communication.

14. As to the Word of God, you well observe, ‘We are not to frame doctrines by the sound of particular texts, but the general tenor of Scripture, soberly studied and consistently interpreted.’ Touching the instances you give, I would just remark: (1) To have sin is one thing; to commit sin is another. (2) In one particular text it is said, ‘Ye are saved by hope’; perhaps in one more (though I remember it not), ‘Ye are saved by repentance or holiness.’ But the general tenor of Scripture, consistently interpreted, declares, ‘We are saved by faith.’ (3) Will either the general tenor of Scripture or your own conscience allow you to say that faith is the gift of God in no other or higher sense than riches are (4) I entirely agree with you that the children of light walk by the joint light of reason, Scripture, and the Holy Ghost.

15. ‘But the Word of God appears to' you 'to be manifestly against such an instantaneous giving of faith, because it speaks of growth in grace and faith as owing to the slow methods of instruction.’ So do I. But this is not the question. We are speaking, not of the progress, but of the first rise of faith. ‘It directs the gentle instilling of faith by long labor and pious industry.’ Not the first instilling; and we speak not now of the continuance or increase of it. ‘It compares even God's part of the work to the slow produce of vegetables, that, while one plants and another waters, it is God all the while who goes on giving the increase.’ Very true. But the seed must first be sown before it can increase at all. Therefore all the texts which relate to the subsequent increase are quite wide of the present question.

Perhaps your thinking the nature of the thing to be so clearly against me may arise from your not clearly apprehending it. That you do not, I gather from your own words: ‘It is the nature of faith to be a full and practical assent to truth.’ Surely no. This definition does in no wise express the nature of Christian faith. Christian, saving faith is a divine conviction of invisible things; a supernatural conviction of the things of God, with a filial confidence in His love. Now, a man may have a full assent to the truth of the Bible (probably attained by the slow steps you mention), yea, an assent which has some influence on his practice, and yet not have one grain of this faith.

16. I should be glad to know to which writings in particular of the last age you would refer me for a thorough discussion of the Calvinistical points. I want to have those points fully settled, having seen so little yet wrote on the most important of them with such clearness and strength as one would desire.

17. I think your following objections do not properly come under any of the preceding heads: ‘Your doctrine of Momentaneous Illapse, &c., is represented by your adversaries as singular and unscriptural; and that these singularities are your most beloved opinions and favorite tenets, more insisted upon by you than the general and uncontroverted truths of Christianity: this is their charge.’ And so, I doubt, it will be to the end of the world; for, in spite of all I can say, they will represent one circumstance of my doctrine (so called) as the main substance of it. It nothing avails that I declare again and again, ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ I believe this love is given in a moment. But about this I contend not. Have this love, and it is enough. For this I will contend till my spirit returns to God. Whether I am singular or no in thinking this love is instantaneously given, this is not my ‘most beloved opinion.’ You greatly wrong me when you advance that charge. Nay, I love, strictly speaking, no opinion at all. I trample upon opinion, be it right or wrong. I want, I value, I preach the love of God and man. These are my ‘favorite tenets’ (if you will have the word), 'more insisted on' by me ten times over, both in preaching and writing, than any or all other subjects that ever were in the world.

18. You will observe, I do not say (and who is there that can) that I have no singular opinion at all; but this I say -- that, in my general tenor of preaching, I teach nothing as the substance of religion more singular than the love of God and man; and it was for preaching this very doctrine (before I preached or knew salvation by faith) that several of the clergy forbade me their pulpits.

‘But if it be notorious that you are frequently insisting on controverted opinions.’ If it be, even this will not prove the charge--namely, ‘that those are my most beloved opinions, and more insisted upon by me than the uncontroverted truths of Christianity.’

‘No singularities’ is not my answer: but that no singularities are my most beloved opinions; that no singularities are more, or near so much, insisted on by me as the general, uncontroverted truths of Christianity.

19. ‘Another objection,’ you say, ‘I have to make to your manner of treating your antagonists. You seem to think you sufficiently answer your adversary if you put together a number of naked scriptures that sound in your favor. But remember, the question between you and them is, not whether such words are Scripture, but whether they are to be so interpreted.’

You surprise me! I take your word, else I should never have imagined you had read over the latter Appeal; so great a part of which is employed in this very thing, in fighting my ground inch by inch, in proving, not that such words are Scripture, but that they must be interpreted in the manner there set down.

20. One point more remains, which you express in these words: ‘When your adversaries tax you with differing from the Church, they cannot be supposed to charge you with differing from the Church as it was a little after the Reformation, but as it is at this day. And when you profess great deference and veneration for the Church of England, you cannot be supposed to profess it for the Church and its pastors in the year 1545, and not rather in the year 1745. If, then, by “the Church of England” be meant (as ought to be meant) the present Church, it will be no hard matter to show that your doctrines differ widely from the doctrines of the Church.’

Well, how blind was I! I always supposed, till the very hour I read these words, that when I was charged with differing from the Church I was charged with differing from the Articles or Homilies. And for the compilers of these I can sincerely profess great deference and veneration. But I cannot honestly profess any veneration at all for those pastors of the present age who solemnly subscribe to those Articles and Homilies which they do not believe in their hearts. Nay, I think, unless I differ from these men (be they bishops, priests, or deacons) just as widely as they do from those Articles and Homilies, I am no true Church of England man.

Agreeably to those ancient records, by ‘Christian’ or ‘justifying faith’ I always meant faith preceded by repentance and accompanied or followed by obedience. So I always preached; so I spoke and wrote. But my warm adversaries from the very beginning stopped their ears, cried out, ‘An heretic! An heretic!’ and so ran upon me at once.

21. But I let them alone: you are the person I want, and whom I have been seeking for many years. You have understanding to discern and mildness to repeat (what would otherwise be) unpleasing truths. Smite me friendly and reprove me: it shall be a precious balm; it shall not break my head. I am deeply convinced that I know nothing yet as I ought to know. Fourteen years ago I said (with Mr. Norris [Wesley read Norris on Faith and Practice in 1729 (Journal, i. 89n), and his Christian Prudence on the way to Georgia (ibid. i. 125, 126d). In the last paragraph of Reflections upon the Conduct of Human Life with reference to Learning and Knowledge. Extracted from Mr. Norris (1734), he speaks of reading books that ‘are rather persuasive than instructive; such as warm, kindle, and enlarge the affections, and awaken the divine sense in the soul; as being convinced, by every day's experience, that I have more need of heat than of light.’ See letter of March 14, 1756.]), ‘I want heat more than light’; but now I know not which I want most. Perhaps God will enlighten me by your words. O speak and spare not! At least, you will have the thanks and prayers of

Your obliged and affectionate servant.

To General Husk [14]

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, October 8, 1745.

A surly man came to me this evening, as he said, from you. He would not deign to come upstairs to me, nor so much as into the house; but stood still in the yard till I came, and then obliged me to go with him into the street, where he said, ‘You must pull down the battlements of your house, or to-morrow the General will pull them down for you.’

Sir, to me this is nothing. But I humbly conceive it would not be proper for this man, whoever he is, to behave in such a manner to any other of His Majesty's subjects at so critical a time as this.

I am ready, if it may be for His Majesty's service, to pull not only the battlements but the house down; or to give up any part of it or the whole into your Excellency's hands.

To the Mayor of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

NEWCASTLE, October 26, 1745.

SIR, -- The fear of God, the love of my country, and the regard I have for His Majesty King George constrain me to write a few plain words to one who is no stranger to these principles of action.[See letter of Sept. 21.]

My soul has been pained day by day, even in walking the streets of Newcastle, at the senseless, shameless wickedness, the ignorant profaneness, of the poor men to whom our lives are entrusted. [Fifteen thousand troops were encamped on Newcastle Moor] The continual cursing and swearing, the wanton blasphemy of the soldiers in general, must needs be a torture to the sober ear, whether of a Christian or an honest infidel. Can any that either fear God or love their neighbor hear this without concern especially if they consider the interest of our country, as well as of these unhappy men themselves. For can it be expected that God should be on their side who are daily affronting Him to His face And if God be not on their side, how little will either their number or courage or strength avail!

Is there no man that careth for these souls Doubtless there are some who ought so to do. But many of these, if I am rightly informed, receive large pay and do just nothing.

I would to God it were in my power in any degree to supply their lack of service. I am ready to do what in me lies to call these poor sinners to repentance, once or twice a day (while I remain in these parts), at any hour or at any place. And I desire no pay at all for doing this, unless what my Lord shall give at His appearing.

If it be objected (from our heathenish poet), ‘This conscience will make cowards of us all,’ [Hamlet, III. i. 83] I answer, Let us judge by matter of fact. Let either friends or enemies speak. Did those who feared God behave as cowards at Fontenoy Did John Haime the dragoon betray any cowardice before or after his horse sunk under him [See Wesley's Veterans, i. 34.] Or did William Clements when he received the first ball in his left and the second in his right arm Or John Evans, when the cannonball took off both his legs Did he not call all about him, as long as he could speak, to praise and fear God and honor the King as one who feared nothing but lest his last breath should be spent in vain.[When William Clements had his arm broken by a musket-ball on May 11, 1745 (see Journal,iii. 226), they would have carried him out of the battle; but he said, ‘No; I have an arm left to hold my sword: I will not go yet.’ When a second shot broke his other arm, he said, ‘I am as happy as I can be out of Paradise.’ John Evans had both his legs taken off by a cannonball. He ‘was laid across a cannon to die; where, as long as he could speak, he was praising God with joyful lips.’ See Wesley's Veterans, i. 33.]

If it were objected that I should only fill their heads with peculiar whims and notions, that might easily be known. Only let the officers hear with their own ears; and they may judge whether I do not preach the plain principles of manly, rational religion.

Having myself no knowledge of the General, I took the liberty to make this offer to you. I have no interest herein; but I should rejoice to serve as I am able my King and country. If it be judged that this will be of no real service, let the proposal die and be forgotten. But I beg you, sir, to believe that I have the same glorious cause, for which you have shown so becoming a zeal, earnestly at heart [The Mayor sent a message the following day saying that he would 'communicate my proposal to the General, and return me his answer as soon as possible.' Wesley preached near the camp several times. See Journal, iii. 218-19.]; and that therefore I am, with warm respect, sir,

Your most obedient servant.

To the Moravian Synod [15]

LONDON, December 8, 1745.


MY BRETHREN, -- Is it not the will of our great Shepherd to gather together in one all His sheep that are scattered abroad Our earnest desire is that this His will may be done. And we are ready to do anything in our power that may in any degree contribute thereto.

If you are willing any of your brethren should confer with us, we are ready, and should rejoice therein.Might we not, in a free and brotherly conference,--

1. See in what points we do already agree together;

2. Consider what points (wherein we do not yet agree) we might suffer to sleep on either side; and

3. Settle how far we might unite, what kind or degree of fellowship we might preserve with each other, even if there should be some points wherein we cannot avoid speaking contrary to each other

We desire your answer to this proposal, which is made in simplicity of heart by

Your affectionate brethren,


To Westley Hall [16]

LONDON, December, 30, 1745.

DEAR BROTHER, -- Now you act the part of a friend. It has been long our desire that you would speak freely. And we will do the same. What we know not yet, may God reveal to us!

You think, first, that we undertake to defend some things which are not defensible by the Word of God. You instance in three; on each of which we will explain ourselves as clearly as we can.

1. ‘That the validity of our ministry depends on a succession supposed to be from the Apostles, and a commission derived from the Pope of Rome and his successors or dependants.’

We believe it would not be right for us to administer either baptism or the Lord's supper unless we had a commission so to do from those bishops whom we apprehend to be in a succession from the Apostles. And yet we allow these bishops are the successors of those who were dependent on the Bishop of Rome.

But we would be glad to know on what reasons you believe this to be inconsistent with the Word of God.

2. ‘That there is an outward priesthood, and consequently an outward sacrifice, ordained and offered by the Bishop of Rome, and his successors or dependents, in the Church of England, as vicars and viceregents of Christ.’

We believe there is, and always was, in every Christian Church (whether dependent on the Bishop of Rome or not), an outward priesthood, ordained by Jesus Christ, and an outward sacrifice offered therein, by men authorized to act as ambassadors of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

On what grounds do you believe that Christ has abolished that priesthood or sacrifice

3. ‘That this Papal hierarchy and prelacy, which still continues in the Church of England, is of apostolical institution, and authorized thereby, though not by the written Word.’

We believe that the threefold order of ministers (which you seem to mean by Papal hierarchy and prelacy) is not only authorized by its apostolical institution, but also by the written Word.

Yet we are willing to hear and weigh whatever reasons induce you to believe to the contrary.

You think, secondly, ‘that we ourselves give up some things as indefensible, which are defended by the same law and authority that establishes the things above mentioned; such as are many of the laws, customs, and practices of the Ecclesiastical Courts.’

We allow (1) that those laws, customs, and practices are really indefensible; (2) that there are Acts of Parliament in defense of them, and also of the threefold order.

But will you show us how it follows, either (1) that those things and these stand or fall together or (2) that we cannot sincerely plead for the one, though we give up the other

Do you not here quite overlook one circumstance, which might be a key to our whole behavior -- namely, that we no more look upon these filthy abuses which adhere to our Church as part of the building than we look upon any filth which may adhere to the walls of Westminster Abbey as a part of that structure

You think, thirdly, ‘that there are other things which we defend and practice, in open contradiction to the orders of the Church of England.’ And this you judge to be a just exception against the sincerity of our professions to adhere to it.

Compare what we profess with what we practice, and you will possibly be of another judgment.

We profess (1) that we will obey all the laws of that Church (such we allow the Rubrics to be, but not the customs of the Ecclesiastical Courts) so far as we can with a safe conscience: (2) that we will obey, with the same restriction, the bishops as executors of those laws; but their bare will, distinct from those laws, we do not profess to obey at all.

Now point out what is there in our practice which is an open contradiction to these professions

Is field-preaching Not at all. It is contrary to no law which we profess to obey.

The allowing lay preachers We are not clear that this is contrary to any such law. But if it is, this is one of the exempt cases; one wherein we cannot obey with a safe conscience. Therefore, be it right or wrong on other accounts, it is, however, no just exception against our sincerity.

The rules and directions given to our Societies which, you say, is a discipline utterly forbidden by the bishops.

When and where did any bishop forbid this And if any did, by what law We know not either the man who ever did forbid or the law by which he could forbid it.

The ‘allowing persons (for we require none) to communicate at the chapel, in contradiction (you think) to all those Rubrics which require all to attend always on their own parish church and pastor, and to receive only at his table’

Which Rubrics are those We cannot find them, and, till these are produced, all that is so frequently said of parochial unity, &c., is merely gratis dictum Consequently neither is this any just exception against the sincerity of any of our professions.

To ‘John Smith’ LONDON, December 30, 1745.

SIR, -- I am obliged to you for your speedy and friendly answer [Wesley wrote on Sept. 28, and ‘John Smith’s’ reply was dated Nov. 27 (see Moore’s Wesley, ii. 494-505). A Farther Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion was published early in 1745.]; to which I will reply as clearly as I can.

1. If you have leisure to read the last Appeal, you will easily judge how much I insist on any opinions.

2. In writing practically, I seldom argue concerning the meaning of texts; in writing controversially, I do.

3. In saying, ‘I teach the doctrines of the Church of England,’ I do, and always did, mean (without concerning myself whether others taught them or no, either this year or before the Reformation) I teach the doctrines which are comprised in those Articles and Homilies to which all the clergy of the Church of England solemnly profess to assent, and that in their plain, unforced, grammatical meaning. As to the Seventeenth Article, Mr. Whitefield really believes that it asserts absolute predestination; therefore I can also subscribe to it with sincerity. But the case is quite different with regard to those who subscribe to the Eleventh and following Articles; which are not ambiguously worded, as the Seventeenth (I suppose on purpose) was.

4. When I say, ‘The Apostles themselves were to prove their assertions by the written Word,’ I mean the word written before their time, the Law and the Prophets; and so they did. I do not believe the case of Averel Spenser [See for this paragraph the letter of Sept. 28, sect. 4, where Wesley says the Apostles ‘were to prove their assertions by the written Word. You and I are to do the same.’ ‘John Smith’ refers to a teacher who ‘gives out that the Spirit of God gives visible attestations to his ministry by miraculous works (for surely the casting out of devils may be called so, if anything can)’ (see Journal, ii. 291). Charles Wesley says on Oct. 6, 1739 (Journal, i. 186), Averel Spenser of Bristol, ‘one that received faith last night, came to day and declared it.’] was natural; yet, when I kneeled down by her bedside, I had no thought at all of God's then giving any ‘attestation to my ministry.’ But I asked of God to deliver an afflicted soul; and He did deliver her. Nevertheless, I desire none to receive my words, unless they are confirmed by Scripture and reason. And if they are, they ought to be received, though Averel Spenser had never been born.

5. That we ought not to relate a purely natural case in the Scripture terms that express our Lord's miracles, that low and common things are generally improper to be told in Scripture phrase, that scriptural words which are obsolete or which have changed their signification are not to be used familiarly, as neither those technical terms which were peculiar to the controversies of those days, I can easily apprehend. But I cannot apprehend that 'salvation’ or ‘justification’ is a term of this sort; and much less that ‘faith’ and ‘works,’ or ‘spirit’ and ‘flesh,’ are synonymous terms with ‘Christianity’ and ‘Judaism.’ I know this has frequently been affirmed; but I do not know that it has been proved.

6. However, you think there is no occasion now for the expressions used in ancient times, since the persuasions which were common then are now scarcely to be found. For ‘does any Church of England man,’ you ask, ‘maintain anything like this -- that men may commute external works instead of internal holiness’ Most surely: I doubt whether every Church of England man in the nation, yea, every Protestant (as well as Papist) in Europe, who is not deeply sensible that he did so once, does not do so to this day.

I am one who for twenty years used outward works, not only as ‘acts of goodness,’ but as commutations (though I did not indeed profess this), instead of inward holiness. I knew I was not holy. But I quieted my conscience by doing such-and-such outward works; and therefore I hoped I should go to heaven, even without inward holiness. Nor did I ever speak close to one who had the form of godliness without the power but I found he had split on the same rock.

Abundance of people I have likewise known, and many I do know at this day, who ‘are so grossly superstitious as to think devotion may be put upon God instead of honesty’; as to fancy, going to church and sacrament will bring them to heaven, though they practice neither justice nor mercy. These are the men who make Christianity vile, who, above all others, ‘contribute to the growth of infidelity.’ On the contrary, the speaking of faith working by love, of uniform outward religion springing from inward, has already been the means of converting several Deists and one Atheist (if not more) into real Christians.

7. ‘Infallible testimony’ was your word, not mine: I never use it; I do not like it. But I did not object to your using that phrase, because I would not fight about words. If, then, the question be repeated, ‘In what sense is that attestation of the Spirit infallible’ any one has my free leave to answer, In no sense at all. And yet, though I allow that some may fancy they have it when in truth they have it not, I cannot allow that any fancy they have it not at the time when they really have. I know no instance of this. When they have this faith, they cannot possibly doubt of their having it; although it is very possible, when they have it not, they may doubt whether ever they had it or no. This [See A Short Account of the Death of Mrs. Hannah Richardson, by Charles Wesley, 1741; or Jackson's Charles Wesley, i. 275-6.] was Hannah Richardson's case; and it is more or less the case with many of the children of God.

8. That logical evidence that we are the children of God I do not either exclude or despise. But it is far different from the direct witness of the Spirit: of which, I believe, St. Paul speaks in his Epistle to the Romans; and which, I doubt not, is given to many thousand souls who never saw my face. But I spoke only of those I personally knew, concerning whom, indeed, I find my transcriber has made a violent mistake, writing 13,000 instead of 1,300: I might add, those whom I also have known by their writings. But I cannot lay so much stress on their evidence. I cannot have so full and certain a knowledge of a writer as of one I talk with face to face; and therefore I think the experiences of this kind are not to be compared with those of the other.

One, indeed, of this kind I was reading yesterday, which is exceeding clear and strong. You will easily pardon my transcribing part of his words. They are in St. Austin’s Confessions: ‘Intravi in intima mea, duce Te: et potui, quoniam factus es adjutor meus. Intravi et vidi qualicunque oculo animae meae, supra eundem oculum animae meae, supra mentem meam, lucem Domini incommutabilem: non hanc vulgarem, conspicuam omni carni; nec quasi ex eodem genere grandior erat, -- non hoc illa erat, sed aliud; aliud valde ab istis omnibus. Nec ita erat supra mentem meam, sicut -- coelum super terrain. Sed superior, quia ipsa fecit me. Qui novit veritatem, novit eam. Et qui novit eam, novit aeternitatem. Charitas novit eam.

‘O aeterna Veritas! Tu es Deus meus! Tibi suspiro die ac nocte. Et cum Te primum cognovi, Tu assumpsisti me, ut viderem esse, quod viderem. Et reverberasti infirmitatem aspectus mei, radians in me vehementer; et contremui amore et horrore: et inveni me longe esse a Te. Et dixi, Nunquid nihil est veritas Et clamasti de longinquo: Immo vero; Ego sum, qui sum. Et audivi, sicut auditur in corde, et non erat prorsus uncle dubitarem. Faciliusque dubitarem vivere me, quam non esse veritatem. (Lib. VII. cap. x.)

[Under Thy guidance I entered into my inward self: and this I could do, because Thou wast my Helper. I entered, and saw with the eye of my soul (such as it is) the unchangeable light of the Lord above this very eye of my soul, and above my mind. The light was not of this common kind, which is obvious to all flesh: neither was it as if it was a larger light of the same kind. It was not a light of this kind, but of another; a light that differed exceedingly from all these. Nor was it above my mind, as the heavens are above the earth: but it was superior, because it made me. He who knows the truth knows this light; and he who knows it knows eternity. Love knows it. ‘O eternal Truth! Thou art my God! Day and night I sigh after Thee. And when I first knew Thee, Thou didst take hold of me that I might see that there was something to be seen. Thou didst likewise beat back the weakness of my own sight, and didst Thyself powerfully shine into me. I trembled with love and with horror; and I found myself far from Thee. I said, “Is truth therefore nothing” And Thou didst reply from afar, “No, indeed! I AM THAT I AM I” I heard this, as we are accustomed to hear in the heart; and there was no ground whatever for doubting. Nay, I could more easily doubt of my existence itself than that it was not the Truth.’ See letter of June 25, 1746, sect. 6.]

9. From many such passages as these, which I have occasionally read, as well as from what I have myself seen and known, I am induced to believe that God’s ordinary way of converting sinners to Himself is by ‘suddenly inspiring them with an immediate testimony of His love, easily distinguishable from fancy.’ I am assured thus He hath wrought in all I have known (except, perhaps, three or four persons), of whom I have reasonable ground to believe that they are really turned from the power of Satan to God.

10. With regard to the definition of faith, if you allow that it is such 'an inward conviction of things invisible as is the gift of God in the same sense wherein hope and charity are,' I have little to object; or, that it is ‘such an assent to all Christian truths as is productive of all Christian practice.’ In terming either faith or hope or love supernatural, I only mean that they are not the effect of any or all of our natural faculties, but are wrought in us (be it swiftly or slowly) by the Spirit of God. But I would rather say, Faith is ‘productive of all Christian holiness’ than ‘of all Christian practice’: because men are so exceeding apt to rest in practice, so called -- I mean, in outside religion; whereas true religion is eminently seated in the heart, renewed in the image of Him that created us.

11. I have not found, in any of the writers you mention, a solution of many difficulties that occur on the head of Predestination. And, to speak without reserve, when I compare the writings of their most celebrated successors with those of Dr. Barrow [Isaac Barrow (1630-77), eminent both as divine and mathematician. His Theological Works, 1683, were Arminian in tone.] and his contemporaries, I am amazed: the latter seem to be mere children compared with the former writers; and to throw out such frothy, unconcocted trifles, such indigested crudities, as a man of learning fourscore or an hundred years ago would have been ashamed to set his name to.

12. Concerning the instantaneous and the gradual work, what I still affirm is this: that I know hundreds of persons whose hearts were one moment filled with fear and sorrow and pain, and the next with peace and joy in believing, yea joy unspeakable, full of glory; that the same moment they experienced such a love of God and so fervent a goodwill to all mankind (attended with power over all sin), as till then they were wholly unacquainted with; that, nevertheless, the peace and love thus sown in their hearts received afterward a gradual increase; and that to this subsequent increase the scriptures you mention do manifestly refer. Now, I cannot see that there is any quibbling at all in this. No; it is a plain, fair answer to the objection.

13. Neither can I apprehend that I have given an evasive answer to any adversary whatever. I am sure I do not desire to do it; for I want us to understand each other. The sooner the better: therefore let us, as you propose, return to the main point.

‘The charge is,’ your words are, ‘that the Methodists preach sundry singular and erroneous doctrines; in particular three -- Unconditional Predestination, Perceptible Inspiration, and Sinless Perfection. “They set up,” say their adversaries, “their own schemes and notions as the great standard of Christianity, so as to perplex, unhinge, terrify, and distract the minds of multitudes, by persuading them that they cannot be true Christians but by adhering to their doctrines.” This is the charge. Now you ask, “What do you mean by their own schemes, their own notions, their own doctrines” It is plain, we mean their unconditional predestination, their perceptible inspiration, and their sinless perfection.’

The charge, then, is that the Methodists preach unconditional predestination, perceptible inspiration, and sinless perfection. But what a charge! Shall John Wesley be indicted for murder because George Whitefield killed a man Or shall George Whitefield be charged with felony because John Wesley broke an house How monstrous is this! How dissonant from all the rules of common sense and common honesty! Let every man bear his own burthen. If George Whitefield killed a man or taught predestination, John Wesley did not: what has this charge to do with him And if John Wesley broke an house or preached sinless perfection, let him answer for himself. George Whitefield did neither: why, then, is his name put into this indictment

Hence appears the inexcusable injustice of what might otherwise appear a trifle. When I urge a man in this manner, he could have no plea at all, were he not to reply, ‘Why, they are both Methodists.’ So when he has linked them together by one nickname, he may hang either instead of the other.

But sure this will not be allowed by reasonable men. And if not, what have I to do with predestination Absolutely nothing: therefore set that aside. Yea, and sinless perfection too. ‘How so Do not you believe it’ Yes, I do; and in what sense I have shown in the sermon on Christian Perfection. [Published in 1741. See Green’s Bibliography, No. 29.] And if any man calls it an error, till he has answered that, I must say, ‘Sir, you beg the question.’ But I preach, perhaps, twenty times, and say no more of this than even a Calvinist would allow. Neither will I enter into any dispute about it any more than about the millennium.

Therefore the distinguishing doctrines on which I do insist in all my writings and in all my preaching will lie in a very narrow compass. You sum them all up in Perceptible Inspiration. For this I earnestly contend; and so do all who are called Methodist preachers. But be pleased to observe what we mean thereby. We mean that inspiration of God's Holy Spirit whereby He fills us with righteousness, peace, and joy, with love to Him and to all mankind. And we believe it cannot be, in the nature of things, that a man should be filled with this peace and joy and love by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit without perceiving it as clearly as he does the light of the sun.

This is (so far as I understand them) the main doctrine of the Methodists. This is the substance of what we all preach. And I will still believe none is a true Christian till he experiences it; and, consequently, ‘that people at all hazards must be convinced of this -- yea, though that conviction at first unhinge them ever so much, though it should in a manner distract them for a season. For it is better that they should be perplexed and terrified now than that they should sleep on and awake in hell.’

I do not, therefore, I will not, shift the question; though I know many who desire I should. I know the proposition I have to prove, and I will not move an hair’s breadth from it. It is this: ‘No man can be a true Christian without such an inspiration of the Holy Ghost as fills his heart with peace and joy and love, which he who perceives not has it not.’ This is the point for which alone I contend; and this I take to be the very foundation of Christianity.

14. The answer, therefore, which you think we ought to give, is that we do give to the charge of our adversaries: ‘Our singularities (if you will style them so) are fundamental and of the essence of Christianity’; therefore we must ‘preach them with such diligence and zeal as if the whole of Christianity depended upon them.’

15. It would doubtless be wrong to insist thus on these things if they were ‘not necessary to final salvation’; but we believe they are, unless in the case of invincible ignorance. In this case, undoubtedly many thousands are saved who never heard of these doctrines; and I am inclined to think this was our own case, both at Oxford and for some time after. Yet I doubt not but, had we been called hence, God would first, by this inspiration of His Spirit, have wrought in our hearts that holy love without which none can enter into glory.

16. I was aware of the seeming contradiction you mention at the very time when I wrote the sentence. But it is only a seeming one: for it is true that, from May 24, 1738, ‘wherever I was desired to preach, salvation by faith was my only theme’ -- that is, such a love of God and man as produces all inward and outward holiness, and springs from a conviction, wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, of the pardoning love of God; and that, when I was told, ‘You must preach no more in this church,’ it was commonly added, ‘because you preach such doctrine!’ And it is equally true that ‘it was for preaching the love of God and man that several of the clergy forbade me their pulpits’ before that time, before May 24, before I either preached or knew salvation by faith.

17. We are at length come to the real state of the question between the Methodists (so called) and their opponents. ‘Is there perceptible inspiration, or is there not Is there such a thing (if we divide the question into its parts) as faith producing peace, and joy, and love, and inward (as well as outward) holiness Is that faith which is productive of these fruits wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, or not And is he in whom they are wrought necessarily conscious of them, or is he not’ These are the points on which I am ready to join issue with any serious and candid man. Such I believe you to be. If, therefore, I knew on which of those you desired my thoughts, I would give you them freely, such as they are; or (if you desire it) on any collateral question. The best light I have I am ready to impart; and am ready to receive farther light from you. My time, indeed, is so short that I cannot answer your letters so particularly or so correctly as I would. But I am persuaded you will excuse many defects where you believe the design is good. I want to know what, as yet, I know not. May God teach it me by you, or by whom He pleaseth! ‘Search me, O Lord, and prove me! Try out my reins and my heart! Look well if there be error or wickedness in me; and lead me in the way everlasting!’

Editor’s Introductory Notes

[1] The Rev. Thomas Church, M.A., Vicar of Battersea and Prebendary of St. Paul's, published in 1744 Remarks on the Reverend Mr. John Wesley’s Last Journal, &c., 76 pages. Wesley describes Church as ‘a gentleman, a scholar, and a Christian; and as such he both spoke and wrote’ (Works, x. 450). ‘Upon men of an ingenuous temper,’ he says on page 376, ‘I have been able to fix an obligation. Bishop Gibson, Dr. Church, and even Dr. Taylor were obliged to me for not pushing my advantage.’ The following is Wesley’s Answer.

[2]Robert Dodsley (1703-64) published for Pope, Young, and Akenside. By an oversight Wesley infringed his copyright in A Collection of Moral and Sacred Poems which he issued in 1744. The volumes were never reprinted. See Journal, iii. 157, 162n; and letter in August to the Countess of Huntingdon.

[3]The Wesleys had to run a gauntlet of slander for many years, and this shows how Charles defended his character to Dr. Gibson, to whom he was no stranger, and who was perfectly prepared to accept his own denial of the charge. See page 33; and, for Wesley's Answer to Dr. Gibson's Visitation Charge of 1747, the letter of June II of that year. The initials to the shorthand copy are Ch. W.

[4]As Wesley was walking up Pilgrim Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on Sunday, March 3, a man called after him. Wesley stood still. The man came up, used much abusive language, and pushed Wesley twice or thrice. Wesley found that he had long been in the habit of abusing and throwing stones at any of the Orphan House ‘family who went that way.’ Within two or three hours after receiving this letter, he came to see Wesley, and promised a quite different behavior. ‘So did this gentle reproof, if not save a soul from death, yet prevent a multitude of sins.’ See Journal, iii. 166.

[5]Lord Grange was brother of the Earl of Mar, who headed the Jacobite rising of 1715. He took his title when raised to the Bench in October 1706, and in 1710 became Lord Justice-Clerk. He entered Parliament in 1734 as M.P. for Clackmannanshire and later for Stirling Burghs. He died in London on January 24, 1754, in his seventy fifth year. See Methodist Magazine, 1927, pp. 435-8.

James Erskine (as he was called by the Wesleys) lived in Westminster, and from there he replied to Wesley on April 3, 1745. His letter is condensed in the Journal iii. 178-80); but a complete copy is given in the Arminian Magazine for 1797 (Supplement, p. 37), and also another letter on page 40. He had a great zeal for union and Christian fellowship, and was in communication with the Rev. James Robe 1688-1753 who was minister at Kilsyth from 1713 to 1753, and author of various works, including A Narrative of the Revival of Religion and A Faithful Narrative of the Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God at Kilsyth. Robe wrote to his friend (see Moore's Wesley, ii. 92-3): ‘I was much pleased with what you wrote to me of the Messrs. Wesley.... I beg you to salute the two brothers for me, much in the Lord. I wrote to my correspondents formerly, upon yours to me from Newcastle, that there were hopes of their joining in our concert for prayer and praise, for the revival of real Christianity. Now I can write that they have acceded; and I hope we shall expressly remember one another before the throne of grace.’ In forwarding this extract to Wesley, Erskine refers to various points of difference between Christians, and makes some suggestions as to the way by which Wesley might conciliate religious opinion in Scotland.

Charles Wesley says in his Journal that when he preached in London on April 29, 1744, ‘the whole congregation was in tears under the word. Old Mr. Erskine, in particular, was quite broken down.’ On June 6 he notes that Erskine was called out of West Street Chapel to receive a soldier brought to redeem John Nelson. He took this man to Lord Stair, Commander-in-Chief in South Britain, and got a discharge for Nelson (see letter of May 1744). On November 28 Charles Wesley says, ‘Mr. Erskine called on me’; and two days later he writes, ‘Mr. Erskine left me, but not before he had much strengthened my hands in the Lord.’ On January 26, 1745, Erskine went to him at Short’s Gardens with a message which Dr. Gibson, the Bishop of London, had sent to Lady Huntingdon ‘that, if I would come to him, and declare my innocency touching the scandals, and take the sacrament upon it, he would desire no farther satisfaction, but himself clear me.’ Charles Wesley adds, ‘I immediately consented, and sent my brother advice of it’ (see letter of February 8). Erskine was present at the London Conference on June 5, 1748 (see Bennet’s Minutes, p. 54). On June 22, 1750, Charles Wesley writes in his Journal: ‘I met a daughter of my worthy old friend Mr. Erskine at the Foundry. She was deeply wounded by the sword of the Spirit, confessed she had turned many to Deism, and feared there could be no mercy for her.’ On July 18 he says: 'I had the satisfaction of bringing back to Mr. Erskine his formerly disobedient daughter. She fell at his feet. It was a moving interview. All wept. Our heavenly Father heard our prayers.

A letter from Wesley to Mrs. Jones of Fonmon Castle, June 18, 1745, is marked ‘Free-James Erskine’; and also the one to Howell Harris on March 3, 1747.

[6] John Stephenson, a merchant of Newcastle, hesitated about signing the deeds for the purchase of the land on which the Orphan House had been built in 1743. Wesley wrote him this letter, and the next day he executed it, after two years of delay. His descendants have long been among the most influential and honored Methodists of Newcastle. Stamp's Orphan House gives the history of this famous building. Here Methodism had its first preaching-place in the city, and here the preachers had their rooms. This was the chief Methodist center, until Brunswick Chapel was opened as its successor on February 23, 1821. See letter of October 8.

[7]This and the next letter were copied into a book of Scripture Phrases with eighty-three letters from various ministers.

[8] Mrs. Jones was the fifth daughter of Richard Forrest, of Minehead, Somersetshire, and widow of Robert Jones, of Fonmon Castle. Mr. Forrest's sloop took them over to Fonmon on July 19. John Hodges was Rector of Wenvoe, five miles from Fonmon Castle. On Sunday the 21st Wesley preached at Cardiff at five, at Wenvoe morning and afternoon, and again at Cardiff in the evening. The Second Conference met at Bristol on August 1, and Hodges was present. See Journal, ii. 504n, iii. 195-6; W.H.S. iv. 44-6; Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, 1900, p. 26-33.

[9]The Craftsman of June 22, 1745, had some strictures on ‘Ministerial Methodism, or Methodists in Politics.’ This was copied into the London Magazine and other periodicals. At the urgent request of friends, Wesley answered it in ‘A Letter to the Author of the Craftsman concerning Real Christianity, Disparaged under the name of Methodism.’

[10]Wesley was in London when an advertisement appeared in the Daily Advertiser that Count Zinzendorf and his people had no connection with John and Charles Wesley. James Hutton had inserted it by order of the Count; to whose prophecy ‘that we should soon run our heads against the wall,’ Wesley says, ‘We will not, if we can help it’ (Journal, iii. 206). The following is the Count's Declaration, and Wesley's reply, given in the paper on September 7.

I find myself at this time under an obligation of withholding no longer my Declaration, that in my opinion the Rev. Mr. John Wesley and Mr. Charles his brother, though very learned and gifted men, are both in the plain way of false teaching and deceiving souls.

As I have no other view by this my Declaration but to preserve the little flock of sinners who love their Savior from being confounded with pretenders to such perfection, of whom I cannot but be suspicious that, in the same time that they preach perfection, they are willful servants of sin, and who, I fear, I shall see sooner or later running with their heads against the wall for a punishment of their high spirits, which (for want of public and seasonable disavowing them) would involve all the servants of Christ in the same scandal:

So I declare at the same time that, if a controversy should arise from this Declaration, I will not meddle with it in any way.

If those gentlemen or any of their people become humbled in the principal point, the rest of their unusual conduct shall not hinder me from embracing them with candor and love.

[11] Prince Charles Stuart entered Edinburgh on September 17. Wesley heard of it the next morning, when he arrived at Newcastle. Mr. Ridley, the Mayor, summoned all the householders to meet him at the Town Hall on the 19th. On the day Wesley's letter was written Cope’s army sustained a crushing defeat at Prestonpans, of which news reached Newcastle the same day; and the town was in a ferment. See Journal, iii. 210-14; and letter of October 8.

[12] At Bristol, on September 25, Charles heard the news confirmed of Edinburgh being taken by the rebels, and next day ‘tidings came that General Cope was cut off with all his army.’ See previous letter.

[13]This important series of replies to six letters from ‘John Smith’ began in September 1745 and closed in March 1748. The correspondence is given in Moore’s Wesley, ii. 475-576. An error occurs in the numbers: ‘VII’ is used twice. The first letter has a ‘PS. -- As I live at a considerable distance from London, I have no convenience of a personal conference with you; but a letter will find me directed to “John Smith, at Mr. Richard Mead’s, at the Golden Cross, in Cheapside.”’ Dr. Richard Mead (1673-1754), physician to George I, George II, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Burnet, and Sir Robert Walpole, financially assisted various literary projects, He had a sumptuous mansion in Great Ormond Street. The writer says in his third letter, ‘I was confirmed about the age of fourteen,’ and, ‘for about forty years since, I have ever believed that “without holiness no one shall see the Lord.”’ It is believed that ‘John Smith’ was the nom de plume of Thomas Secker, who was born in 1693, was consecrated Bishop of Bristol in 1735, and in 1737 became Bishop of Oxford. He held the Rectory of St. James’s, Piccadilly, from 1733 to 1750. He was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1758, and died in 1768. The weak point of this identification is that Secker was brought up as a Dissenter, and only entered Exeter College, Oxford, in 1721. Still, he may have been confirmed while at school in Chesterfield. When at the Presbyterian Academy at Tewkesbury, Joseph Butler (afterwards Bishop of Bristol, and author of the Analogy) was his fellow pupil. Secker helped Butler in his anonymous correspondence with Dr. Samuel Clarke (Butler’s Works, edited by S. Halifax, ii. p. xlvi). It is remarkable to find Wesley engaged in such a correspondence amid the panic caused by the reported approach of the Young Pretender. Secker ‘thoroughly appreciated the work’ the Methodists ‘were doing, and in his charges frequently brought them before the clergy for example and instruction.’ See Simon’s John Wesley and the Methodist Societies, pp. 272-80; McKilliam's A Chronicle of the Archbishops of Canterbury, pp. 381-5; and letter of December 30 to ‘John Smith.’

[14]The Orphan House was outside the walls, and it was thought the Pretender would attack Newcastle after the victory at Prestonpans on September 21. The army, however, went through Carlisle, which surrendered to the Prince on November 15. Wesley had very impressive services in the Orphan House on September 29, where ‘we cried mightily to God to send His Majesty King George help from His holy place.’ John Husk, or Huske (1692-1761), had been made Major General for service at Dettingen in 1743, was second in command at Falkirk in January 1746, and in the following April led the second line at Culloden. See letters of April 5 and September 21.

[15]Wesley’s Journal, iii. 228, shows that on this day he bade farewell to Cennick, who was going to Germany. He ‘is at length fallen among those who will make him as passive a tool as ever moved upon wire.’ Benham’s Hutton pp.185-6, refers to Brethren from Marienborn who came to England on October 12. It was a time of much activity, and Whitefield had written expressing his great love to the Brethren.

[16]Wesley gives this letter in his Journal, iii. 229-31, with the note: ‘Having received a long letter from Mr. Hall, earnestly pressing my brother and me to renounce the Church of England (for not complying with which advice he soon renounced us), I wrote to him as follows.’ He had joined the Moravians. Charles Wesley on June 19, 1745, went to Salisbury. ‘I found my sister as a rock in the midst of the waves. Mr. Hall's Society had all left the Church, and mocked and persecuted her for not leaving it.’ Two years earlier (August 11, 1743) he makes a similar entry in his Journal Wesley still held his High Church views as to the Succession and the ‘outward sacrifice’ offered. Three weeks later Lord King’s Account of the Primitive Church led him to change his view Journal iii. 232). See letters of August 18, 1743, and December 22, 1747.

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