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The Letters of John Wesley




To George Merryweather BRENTFORD, January 24, 1760.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I received yours with the bill a day or two ago. I wish you would everywhere recommend two books in particular--The Christian Pattern and the Primitive Physick.[Wesley's An Extract of the Christian's Pattern had been published in 1741, and reprinted in 1744, 1746, and 1759. It was an abridgement of his translation of 1735. The eighth edition of his Primitive Physick was issued in 1759.] It is a great pity that any Methodist should be without them.

I wonder Brother Mather [Alexander Mather was stationed in the York Circuit, which included Yarm. He became one of the moat powerful preachers and judicious leaders of Methodism, and was President of the Conference in 1792.] does not write to me. He should not forget his friends. I hope the gentleman with whom I breakfasted at Yarm [Probably in July 1759. Mr. Waldy was a landed proprietor in Yarm. See letter of Dec. 28, 1767.] has not forsaken you. Even the rich may enter into the kingdom; for with God all things are possible.

See that you stir up the gift of God that is in you. What is our Lord's word to you--'Let the dead bury their dead; but follow thou Me!'--I am Your affectionate brother.

To the Editor of 'Lloyd's Evening Post' Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[1] WINDMILL HILL., February 18, 1760.

SIR,--On Sunday, December 16 last, I received a £20 Bank bill from an anonymous correspondent, who desired me to lay it out in the manner I judged best for the use of poor prisoners. I immediately employed some in whom I could confide to inquire into the circumstances of those confined in Whitechapel and New Prison. I knew the former to have very little allowance even of bread, and the latter none at all. Upon inquiry they found one poor woman in Whitechapel Prison very big with child and destitute of all things. At the same time I casually heard of a poor man who had been confined for nine months in the Poultry Compter, while his wife and three children (whom he before maintained by his labour) were almost perishing through want. Not long after, another poor woman, who had been diligent in helping others, was herself thrown into Whitechapel Prison. The expense of discharging these three and giving them a few necessaries amounted to £10 10s. One pound fourteen shillings I expended in stockings and other clothing, which was given to those prisoners who were in the most pressing want. The remainder, £7 16s., was laid out in bread, which was warily distributed thrice a week. I am therefore assured that the whole of this sum was laid out in real charity. And how much more noble a satisfaction must result from this to the generous benefactor (even supposing there were no other world, supposing man to die as a beast dieth) than he could receive from an embroidered suit of clothes or a piece of plate made in the newest fashion! Men of reason, judge!--I am, sir, Your humble servant.

To Samuel Furly Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[2] LONDON, February 25, 1700.

DEAR SAMMY,--At present I have but just time to tell you I hope to be at Leeds on Tuesday, March 11. Your manner of proposing your objection puts me in mind of your friend Mr. Dodd. You speak ex cathedra. But the matter is not so clear as it appears to you. It is, however, a point, though considered long ago, worth considering again and again. But you must stay your stomach till you either see or hear again from Your affectionate brother.

To Miss March Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[3] WEDNESBURY, March 4, 1760.

Certainly the more freedom you use the more advantage you will find. But at the same time it will be needful continually to remember from whom every good and perfect gift cometh. If He blesses our intercourse with each other, then we shall never repent of the labour.

It is a blessing indeed when God uncovers our hearts and clearly shows us what spirit we are of. But there is no manner of necessity that this self-knowledge should make us miserable. Certainly the highest degree of it is well consistent both with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Therefore how deeply soever you may be convinced of pride, self-will, peevishness, or any other inbred sin, see that you do not let go that confidence whereby you may still rejoice in God your Saviour. Some, indeed, have been quite unhappy, though they retained their faith, through desire on the one hand and conviction on the other. But that is nothing to you; you need never give up anything which you have already received: you will not, if you keep close to that,-- For this my vehement soul stands still; Restless, resigned, for this I wait. We have a fuller, clearer knowledge of our own members than of those belonging to other Societies; and may therefore, without any culpable partiality, have a better opinion of them.

It is a great thing to spend all our time to the glory of God. But you need not be scrupulous as to the precise time of reading and praying; I mean, as to the dividing it between one and the other. A few minutes one way or the other are of no great importance.

May He who loves you fill you with His pure love!--I am Your affectionate brother.

To Ebenezer Blackwell ()Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[4] MANCHESTER, March I 7, I 760.

SIR,--The humanity which you showed during the short time I had the pleasure of conversing with you at Lewisham emboldens me to trouble you with a line in behalf of a worthy man.

I apprehend the collector at Northwich in Cheshire has informed the Honourable Board that 'Mr. James Vine is a preacher at Northwich and makes disturbances in the town.' That he attends the preaching of the Methodists is true; but it is not true that he is a preacher. It is likewise true that the rabble of Northwich have sometimes disturbed our congregations; but herein Mr. Vine was only concerned as a sufferer, not an actor. I know him to be a careful, diligent officer, and a zealous lover of King George. Wishing you all temporal and spiritual blessings, I remain, sir, Your obedient servant.

To Lady Rawdon Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[5] LIVERPOOL., March 18, 1760.

MY LADY,--It was impossible to see the distress into which your Ladyship was thrown by the late unhappy affair without bearing a part of it, without sympathizing with you. But may we not see God therein May we not both hear and understand His voice We must allow it is generally 'small and still'; yet He speaks sometimes in the whirlwind. Permit me to speak to your Ladyship with all freedom; not as to a person of quality, but as to a creature whom the Almighty made for Himself, and one that is in a few days to appear before Him.

You were not only a nominal but a real Christian. You tasted of the powers of the world to come. You knew God the Father had accepted you through His eternal Son, and God the Spirit bore witness with your spirit that you were a child of God.

But you fell among thieves, and such as were peculiarly qualified to rob you of your God. Two of these in particular were sensible, learned, well-bred, well-natured, moral men. These did not assault you in a rough, abrupt, offensive manner. No; you would then have armed yourself against them, and have repelled all their attacks. But by soft, delicate, unobserved touches, by pleasing strokes of raillery, by insinuations rather than surly arguments, they by little and little sapped the foundation of your faith--perhaps not only of your living faith, your 'evidence of things not seen,' but even of your notional. It is well if they left you so much as an assent to the Bible or a belief that Christ is God over all I And what was the consequence of this Did not your love of God grow cold Did not you Measure back your steps to earth again Did not your love of the world revive even of those poor, low trifles, which in your very childhood you utterly despised

Where are you now full of faith looking into the holiest, and seeing Him that is invisible Does your heart now glow with love to Him who is daily pouring His benefits upon you Do you now even desire it Do you now say (as you did almost twenty years ago),-- Keep me dead to all below, Only Christ resolved to know; Firm, and disengaged, and free, Seeking all my bliss in Thee Is your taste now for heavenly things Are not you a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God And oh what pleasure! What is the pleasure of visiting of modern conversation Is there any more reason than religion in it I wonder what rational appetite does it gratify Setting religion quite out of the question, I cannot conceive how a woman of sense can --relish, should I say no, but suffer so insipid an entertainment.

Oh that the time past may suffice! Is it now not high time that you should awake out of sleep Now God calls aloud! My dear Lady, now hear the voice of the Son of God, and live! The trouble in which your tender parent is now involved may restore all that reverence for her which could not but be a little impaired while you supposed she was 'righteous over-much.' Oh how admirably does God lay hold of and 'strengthen the things that remain' in you!--your gratitude, your humane temper, your generosity, your filial tenderness! And why is this but to improve every right temper; to free you from all that is irrational or unholy; to make you all that you were--yea, all that you should be; to restore you to the whole image of God--I am, my Lady, Yours, &c.

To his Wife Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[6] LIVERPOOL, March 23, 1760.

Poor Molly! Could you not hold out a little longer! not one month not twenty days Have you found out a presence already for talking in the old strain A thin one indeed: but, such as it is, it may serve the turn for want of a better. 'You have taken a bed to pieces. And you want to put it in my study. And I do not tell you whether you may or no'! Truly I cannot look upon this whole affair as any other than a presence. For what need had you to take the bed in pieces at all and what need was there (if it was taken in pieces) that it should lie in the one little room which I have when you have four rooms to yourself

Alas, that to this hour you should neither know your duty nor be willing to learn it! Indeed, if you was a wise, whether a good woman or not, you would long since have given me a carte blanche: you would have said, 'Tell me what to do, and I will do it; tell me what to avoid, and I will avoid it. I promised to obey you, and I will keep my word. Bid me do anything, everything. In whatever is not sinful, I obey. You direct, I will follow the direction.'

This it had been your wisdom to have done long ago, instead of squabbling for almost these ten years. This it is both your wisdom and your duty to do now; and certainly better late than never. This must be your indispensable duty, till (1) I am an adulterer; (2) you can prove it. Till then I have the same right to claim obedience from you as you have to claim it from Noah Vazeille. [Her son.] Consequently every act of disobedience is an act of rebellion against God and the King, as well as against Your affectionate Husband.

To Miss March Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[7] LIVERPOOL, March 29, 1760.

Having a little longer reprieve, I snatch the opportunity of writing a few lines before we embark. Prayer is certainly the grand means of drawing near to God; and all others are helpful to us only so far as they are mixed with or prepare us for this. The comfort of it may be taken away by wandering thoughts, but not the benefit: violently to fight against these is not the best and speediest way to conquer them; ;but rather humbly and calmly to ask and wait for His help, who will bruise Satan under your feet. You may undoubtedly remain in peace and joy until you are perfected in love. You need neither enter into a dispute, when persons speak wrong, nor yet betray the truth; there is a middle way. You may simply say, 'I believe otherwise; but I think, and let think; I am not fond of contending on this or any other head, lest I receive more hurt than I can do good.' Remember your calling; be A simple follower of the Lamb, And harmless as a little child.

To Miss March DUBLIN, April 16, 1760. Eltham is a barren soil indeed. I fear scarce any are to be found there who know anything of the power of religion, and not many that have so much as the form. But God is there, and He can supply every want. Nothing contributes to seriousness more than humility, because it is a preparation for every fruit of the Holy Spirit; and the knowledge of our desperate state by sin has a particular tendency to keep us earnest after deliverance; and that earnestness can hardly consist with levity, either of temper or behaviour.

Those who have tasted of the goodness of God are frequently wanting in declaring it. They do not as they ought stir up the gift of God which is in every believer by exciting one another to continual thankfulness and provoking each other to love and good works. We should never be content to make a drawn battle, to part neither better nor worse than we met. Christian conversation is too precious a talent to be thus squandered away.

It does not require a large share of natural wisdom to see God in all things--in all His works of creation as well as of providence. This is rather a branch of spiritual wisdom, and is given to believers more and more as they advance in purity of heart.

Probably it would be of use to you to be as regular as you can: I mean, to allot such hours to such employments; only not to be troubled when Providence calls you from them. For the best rule of all is to follow the will of God.

To John Berridge Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[8] DUBLIN, April 18, 1760.

DEAR SIR,--Disce, docendus adhuc quae censet amiculus [Horace's Epistles, I. xvii. 3:'To the instruction of an humble friend, Who would himself be better taught, attend.']; and take in good part my mentioning some particulars which have been long on my mind, and yet I knew not how to speak them. I was afraid it might look like taking too much upon me or assuming some superiority over you. But love casts out, or at least overrules, that fear. So I will speak simply, and leave you to judge.

It seems to me that, of all the persons I ever knew save one, you are the hardest to be convinced. I have occasionally spoken to you on many heads; some of a speculative, others of a practical nature: but I do not know that you was ever convinced of one, whether of great importance or small. I believe you retained your own opinion in every one, and did not vary an hair's breadth. I have likewise doubted whether you was not full as hard to be persuaded as to be convinced'; whether your will do not adhere to its first bias, right or wrong, as strongly as your understanding. I mean with regard to any impression which another may make upon them. For perhaps you readily, too readily, change of your own mere motion; as I have frequently observed great fickleness and great stubbornness meet in the same mind. So that it is not easy to please you long, but exceeding easy to offend you. Does not this imply the thinking very highly of yourself particularly of your own understanding Does it not imply, what is always connected therewith, something of self sufficiency 'You can stand alone; you care for no man; you need no help from man.' It was not so with my brother and me when we were first employed in this great work. We were deeply conscious of our own insufficiency; and though in one sense we trusted in God alone, yet we sought His help from all His children, and were glad to be taught by any man. And this, although we were really alone in the work; for there were none that had gone before us therein, there were none then in England who had trod that path wherein God was leading us. Whereas you have the advantage which we had not: you tread in a beaten path; others have gone before you, and are going now in the same way, to the same point. Yet it seems you choose to stand alone; what was necessity with us is choice with you; you like to be unconnected with any, thereby tacitly condemning all.

But possibly you go farther yet; do not you explicitly condemn all your fellow labourers, blaming one in one instance, one in another, so as to be throughly pleased with the conduct of none Does not this argue a vehement proneness to condemn a very high degree of censoriousness Do you not censure even peritos in sua arte ['Those who are clever in their particular profession.' ] Permit me to relate a little circumstance to illustrate this. After we had been once singing an hymn at Everton, I was just going to say, 'I wish Mr. Whitefield would not try to mend my brother's hymns. He cannot do it. How vilely he has murdered that hymn, weakening the sense as well as marring the poetry!' But how was I afterwards surprised to hear it was not Mr. Whitefield, but Mr. B.! In very deed it is not easy to mend his hymns any more than to imitate them. Has not this aptness to find fault frequently shown itself in abundance of other instances sometimes with regard to Mr. Parker or Mr. Hicks, [William Parker, Mayor of Bedford, was excluded by the Moravians from their Society, and preached at the Foundery in 1758 (Journal, iv.86, 201, 248). For William Hicks, see ibid. 335, 344; and letter of June 14, 1780.] sometimes with regard to me And this may be one reason why you take one step which was scarce ever before taken in Christendom: I mean, the discouraging the new converts from reading--at least, from reading anything but the Bible. Nay, but get off the consequence who can: if they ought to read nothing but the Bible, they ought to hear nothing but the Bible; so away with sermons, whether spoken or written! I can hardly imagine that you discourage reading even our little tracts, out of jealousy lest we should undermine you or steal away the affections of the people. I think you cannot easily suspect this. I myself did not desire to come among them; but you desired me to come. I should not have obtruded myself either upon them or you: for I have really work enough, full as much as either my body or mind is able to go through; and I have, blessed be God, friends enough--I mean, as many as I have time to converse with. Nevertheless, I never repented of that I spent at Everton; and I trust it was not spent in vain.

I have not time to throw these thoughts into a smoother form; so I give you them just as they occur. May the God whom you serve give you to form a right judgement concerning them, and give a blessing to the rough sincerity of, dear sir, Your affectionate servant.

To Ebenezer Blackwell NEWRY, April 26, 1760,

DEAR SIR,--I hope your lameness is now at an end, but not the benefit you have reaped from it. May we not in every trial, great or small, observe the hand of God And does He send any sooner than we want it or longer than we want it I found the inflammation which I had in my eyes last month [The inflammation began at Warrington, and 'was much increased by riding forty miles with a strong and cold wind exactly in my face' to Chester. See Journal, iv. 373] came just in the right time. The danger is that anything of this kind should pass over before the design of it is answered.

Whether Miss Freeman [She went with him in Dublin to see the French prisoners sent from Carrickfergus. See Journal, iv. 377; and letter of May 28, 1757.] should make use of Lough Neagh, or Lough Leighs (forty miles nearer Dublin), I suppose she is not yet able to determine till I can send her some farther information. And that I cannot do to my own satisfaction till I am upon the spot; for though Lough Neagh is scarce fifteen miles from hence, yet I can hardly find any one here who knows any more of the circumstances of it than if it lay in the East Indies.

Hitherto I have had an extremely prosperous journey. And all the fields are white to the harvest. But that the labourers are few is not the only hindrance to the gathering it in effectually. Of those few, some are careless, some heavy and dull, scarce one of the spirit of Thomas Walsh. The nearest to it is Mr. Morgan [James Morgan. See letters of Sept. 2, 1758, and June 23, 1760.]; but his body too sinks under him, and probably will not last long.

In a few days I expect to be at Carrickfergus, [See next letter.] and to have from those on whose word I can depend a full account of that celebrated campaign. I believe it will be of use to the whole kingdom. Probably the Government will at last awake and be a little better prepared against the next encounter.

When you have half an hour to spare, I hope you will give it me under your own hand that Mrs. Blackwell and you are not only in good health, but labouring more than ever after an healthful mind, and trampling the world and the devil under your feet.--I am, dear sir Your ever affectionate servant. The week after next I shall spend mostly at Sligo.

To Ebenezer Blackwell Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[9] CARRICKFERGUS, May 7, 1760.

DEAR SIR,--I can now give you a clear and full account of the late proceedings of the French here; as I now lodge at Mr. Cobham's, under the same roof with Mons. Cavenac, the French Lieutenant-General. When the people here saw three large ships about ten in the morning anchor near the town, they took it for granted they were English, till about eleven the French began landing their men. The first party came to the north gate between twelve and one. Twelve soldiers planted on the wall (there were an hundred and sixty in the town) fired on them as they advanced, wounded the General, and killed several. But when they had fired four rounds, having no more ammunition, they were obliged to retire. The French then entered the town (at the same time that another party entered at the east end of it), keeping a steady fire up the street, till they came near the Castle. The English then fired hotly from the gate and walls, killed their second General (who had burst open the gate and gone in sword in hand), with upwards of fourscore men; but, having no more cartridges nor any man that knew how to make them, they thought it best to capitulate. They agreed to furnish such a quantity of provisions in six hours, on condition the French should not plunder. But they began immediately to serve themselves with meat and drink; having been in such pressing want that, before they landed, the men were glad to eat raw oats to sustain nature. And some hours after, no provisions being brought, they took all they could find, with a good deal of linen and wearing-apparel, chiefly from the houses whose inhabitants were run away. But they neither hurt nor affronted man, woman, or child, nor did any mischief for mischief's sake; though many of the inhabitants affronted them, cursed them to their face, and even took up pokers or other things to strike them.

I have had much conversation with Mons. Cavenac, who speaks Latin pretty readily. He is a Lieutenant-Colonel in the King's Guards and a Knight of the Order of St. Louis. (Indeed, all the soldiers were picked men drafted out of the Guards, and more like officers than common men.) I found him not only a very sensible man but throughly instructed even in heart religion. I asked him 'if it was true that they had a design to burn Carrick and Belfast.' (After one General was wounded and the other killed, the command had devolved upon him.) He cried out, 'Jesu, Maria! We never had such a thought! To burn, to destroy, cannot enter into the head or the heart of a good man.' One would think the French King sent these men on purpose to show what officers he has in his Army. I hope there are some such in the English Army. But I never found them yet.--I am, dear sir, Your affectionate servant.

To Lord Rawdon SLIGO, May 18, 1760.

MY LORD,--I have taken the liberty to speak to Lady Rawdon [See letter of March 18.] all that was in my heart, and doubt not that your Lordship will second it on every proper occasion. The late awful providence I trust will not pass over without a suitable improvement. God has spoken aloud, and happy are they that hear and understand His voice.

In one respect I have been under some apprehension on your Lordship's account also. I have been afraid lest you should exchange the simplicity of the gospel for a philosophical religion. O my Lord, why should we go one step farther than this, 'We love Him because He first loved us'--I am Your Lordship's most obedient servant. We go to Castlebar to-morrow, thence to Loughrea.

To Dorothy Furly ATHLONE, June 1, 1760.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I am persuaded it is not a little thing which will make me angry at you. I hope your thinking evil of me would not; for you may have many reasons so to do.

Try: perhaps by prayer and a little resolution you may avoid hearing those disputes about holiness. It implies no more than this: If John Jones or any other begins a discourse concerning the errors or sins of absent persons, tell him, 'I beg you would say no more on this head; I dare not, and I will not, hear, unless those persons were present.' If one begins any caution of that kind, stop him, only with mildness and good humour; say, 'I believe you speak out of kindness: but I must not hear; it both distresses and hurts my soul. Therefore, if you really wish my welfare, be silent, or let us call another cause.' Where you see good, you may add, 'I consulted Mr. Wesley on this head, and this was the advice he gave me.'

No one ever 'walked in the light as God is in the light' (I mean in the full sense of the expression) till 'the blood of Jesus Christ had cleansed him from all sin.' 'If we are perfectly saved, it is through His blood.' This is the plain meaning of the text; and it may be fulfilled in you before you sleep. God is Sovereign, in sanctifying as well as justifying. He will act when as well as how He pleases; and none can say unto him, What doest Thou

When the lungs are ulcerated, cold bathing not only does no hurt, but is the most probable cure. Sammy is a letter in my debt. I do not know but he is providentially called to this kingdom. I have now finished more than half my progress, having gone through two of the four provinces. Who knows whether I shall live to go through the other two It matters not how long we live, but how well.--I am, my dear sister, Your affectionate brother.

To Samuel Furly Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[10] MOUNTMELLICK, June, 19, 1760.

DEAR SAMMY,--Certainly you cannot remove without giving Mr. Crook a quarter's warning. If you do remove, you need be under no concern about repaying, nor about those you leave behind. Our preachers, when it is needful, must allow them a little more time. [He had been helping the Methodists in the neighbourhood of his curacy. See letters of Nov. 21, 1759, and June 23, 1760. ] How easy it is to puzzle a cause, and to make a thousand plausible objections to any proposition that can be advanced. This makes me quite out of conceit with human understanding and human language. So confused is the clearest apprehension! So ambiguous the most determinate expressions!

Lay aside the terms 'Adamic law, 'gospel law,' or any law. The thing is beyond dispute, and you may as well demand a scriptural proof that two and two make four. Adam in Paradise was able to apprehend all things distinctly, and to judge truly concerning them; therefore it was his duty so to do. But no man living is now able to do this; therefore neither is it the duty of any man now living. Neither is there any man now in the body who does or can walk in this instance by that rule which was bound upon Adam. Can anything be more plain than this--that Adam could, that I cannot avoid mistaking Can anything be plainer than this--If he could avoid it, he ought or than this--If I cannot, I ought not I mean it is not my duty: for the clear reason that no one can do the impossible. Nothing in the Sermon or the Law contradicts this. If anything does, it is wrong.

Oh what a work might be done in this kingdom if we had six zealous, active, punctual men in it! Be you one.--I am, dear Sammy, Your affectionate brother.

To his Brother Charles Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[11] COOLALOUGH, June 23, 1760.

DEAR BROTHER,--Where you are I know not, and how you are I know not; but I hope the best. Neither you nor John Jones [See letter of June 1.] has ever sent me your remarks upon that tract in the late volume of Sermons. [The fourth volume, which included six tracts. Thoughts on Christian Perfection is the fifth. The doctrine had been largely considered at the London Conference in Aug. 1759, and the tract was published soon after. The Preface to it is dated Bristol, Oct. 16, 1759. See letter of June 12, 1759.] You are not kind. Why will you not do all you can to make me wiser than I am Sam. Furly told me his objections at once; so we canvassed them without loss of time. [See previous letter.] Do you know what is done, anything or nothing, with regard to the small edition of the Notes [First edition, 4to, 1755. Third, corrected, Bristol; Grabham & Pine, 1760-2, 12mo, 3 vols, See letter of June 18, 1756.]

Mr. I'Anson writes me a long account of the Sussex affair. It is of more consequence than our people seem to apprehend. If we do not exert ourselves, it may drive us to that bad dilemma--Leave preaching, or leave the Church. We have reason to thank God it is not come to this yet. Perhaps it never may.

In this kingdom nothing is wanting but a few more zealous and active labourers. James Morgan, [See letter of April 26.] John Johnson, [John Johnson became an itinerant preacher in 1755, and after sixteen years settled at Lisburn. For some time he was General Superintendent in Ireland. He died on Dec. 29, 1803, at the age of seventy eight. See letter of Sept. 26, 1784, to him.] and two or three more do their best; the rest spare themselves.

I hope Sally and your little ones are well. Where and how is my wife I wrote to her on Saturday last. Adieu!

Where must the Conference be, at Leeds or Bristol If we could but chain or gag the blatant beast, there would be no difficulty. [12]

To Miss March SLIGO, June 27, 1760.

A day or two ago I was quite surprised to find among my papers a letter of yours, which I apprehend I have not answered.

Every one, though born of God in an instant, yea and sanctified in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees, both after the former and the latter change. But it does not follow from thence that there must be a considerable tract of time between the one and the other. A year or a month is the same with God as a thousand: if He wills, to do is present with Him. Much less is there any necessity for much suffering: God can do His work by pleasure as well as by pain. It is therefore undoubtedly our duty to pray and look for full salvation every day, every hour, every moment, without waiting till we have either done or suffered more. Why should not this be the accepted time

Certainly your friend will suffer loss if he does not allow himself time every day for private prayer. Nothing will supply the want of this. Praying with others is quite another thing. Besides, it may expose us to great danger; it may turn prayer into an abomination to God: for Guilty we speak, if subtle from within Blows on our words the self-admiring sin! O make the best of every hour!

To his Wife ENNIS, NEAR LIMERICK, July 12, 1760.

MY DEAR,--Though you have not answered my two last, I will not stand upon ceremony. I am now looking toward England again, having wellnigh gone through this kingdom. In a few days I purpose moving toward Cork, where I shall probably take ship for Bristol. There the Conference is to begin (if it please God to give me a prosperous voyage) on Wednesday, August 27. If there be no ship ready to sail from Cork on or about August 20, I design (God willing) to return straight to Dublin, and embark there. [He returned by Dublin. See letter of June 23.]

My desire is to live peaceably with all men; with you in particular. And (as I have told you again and again) everything which is in my power I do and will do to oblige you; everything you desire, unless I judge it would hurt my own soul, or yours, or the cause of God. And there is nothing which I should rejoice in more than the having you always with me; provided only that I could keep you in a good humour, and that you would not speak against me behind my back.

I still love you for your indefatigable industry, for your exact frugality, and for your uncommon neatness and cleanliness, both in your person, your clothes, and all things round you. I value you for your patience, skill, and tenderness in assisting the sick. And if you could submit to follow my advice, I could make you an hundred times more useful both to the sick and healthy in every place where God has been pleased to work by my ministry. O Molly, why should these opportunities be lost Why should you not Catch the golden moments as they fly, And by few fleeting hours ensure eternity [Adapted from his brother Samuel's poem on William Morgan. See Journal, i. 104.]

If you really are of the same mind with me, if you want to make the best of a few days, to improve the evening of life, let us begin to-day! And what we do let us do with our might. Yesterday is past, and not to be recalled: to-morrow is not ours. Now, Molly, let us set out: Let us walk hand in hand To Immanuel's land! If it please God we meet again, let us meet for good. Had you rather we should lodge at the room [When they were to be together at Bristol The Rev. George Stonehouse lived there for some time. See C. Wesley's Journal, ii. 215n, 223, &C.] or at Mr. Stonehouse's Peace be with your spirit!--I am, dear Molly, Your affectionate Husband.

To John Trembath CORK, August 17, 1760.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--The conversation I had with you yesterday in the afternoon gave me a good deal of satisfaction. As to some things which I had heard (with regard to your wasting your substance, drinking intemperately, and wronging the poor people of Siberton), I am persuaded they were mistakes; as I suppose it was that you converse much with careless, unawakened people. And I trust you will be more and more cautious in all these respects, abstaining from the very appearance of evil. [See letter of Sept. 21, 1755.]

That you had not always attended the preaching when you might have done it you allowed, but seemed determined to remove that objection, as well as the other of using such exercises or diversions as give offence to your brethren. I believe you will likewise endeavour to avoid light and trifling conversation, and to talk and behave in all company with that seriousness and usefulness which become a preacher of the gospel.

Certainly some years ago you was alive to God. You experienced the life and power of religion. And does not God intend that the trials you meet with should bring you back to this You cannot stand still; you know this is impossible. You must go forward or backward. Either you must recover that power and be a Christian altogether, or in a while you will have neither power nor form, inside nor outside.

Extremely opposite both to one and the other is that aptness to ridicule others, to make them contemptible, by exposing their real or supposed foibles. This I would earnestly advise you to avoid. It hurts yourself; it hurts the hearers; and it greatly hurts those who are so exposed, and tends to make them your irreconcilable enemies. It has also sometimes betrayed you into speaking what was not strictly true. O beware of this above all things! Never amplify, never exaggerate anything. Be rigorous in adhering to truth. Be exemplary therein. Whatever has been in time past, let all men now know that John Trembath abhors lying, that he never promises anything which he does not perform, that his word is equal to his bond. I pray be exact in this; be a pattern of truth, sincerity, and godly simplicity.

What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading. I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps by neglecting it you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety; there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it any more than a thorough Christian. O begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not; what is tedious at first will afterwards be pleasant. Whether you like it or no, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way: else you will be a trifler all your days, and a pretty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross, and be a Christian altogether. Then will all the children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you, and in particular Yours, &c.

To Samuel Furly LAUNCESTON, September 4, 1760.

DEAR SAMMY,--People in England, and in Ireland much more, are apt to veer from north to south.

In May last Mr. Archdeacon wanted to see me, of all people in the world, and was ready (as he sent me word), not only to receive me into his church and house, but to go with me wherever I went. In July he is quite of another mind, having found I take too much upon me. Either this is owing (as I much fear) to a false brother, who, after eating of my bread, privately lifts up his heel against me, or he was struck to the heart on reading the Appeals and some of our other writings, and has now, by the assistance of the neighbouring clergy, worn off the impression. That he was provided with a curate before he received yours, I do not believe. However, all is well. [Furly had evidently been applying to the Archdeacon for a curacy. See letter of June 19.]

Most of our preachers had very near left off preaching on practical religion. This was, therefore, earnestly recommended to them in the Conference at London. I am glad they followed the advice which was then given, which may be done without neglecting to speak on justification. This I choose to do on Sundays chiefly, and wherever there is the greatest number of unawakened hearers.

I thought I had sent to you the answer to those queries which I sent a copy of to the printer in Bristol. But whether you have it or no, do you preach according to your light, as I do according to mine.

I am now entering into Cornwall, which I have not visited these three years, and consequently all things in it are out of order. [The previous day at Launceston he had found 'the small remains of a dead, scattered Society; and no wonder, as they have had scarce any discipline and only one sermon in a fortnight.'Next day he had a similar experience at Camelford; but the state of other Societies cheered him. See Journal, iv. 406.] Several persons talk of sharing my burthen, but none does it; so I must wear out one first.--I am, dear Sammy, Your affectionate brother.

To the Editor of the 'London Chronicle' Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760


LONDON, September 17, 1760.

SIR,--As you sometimes insert things of a religious nature in your paper, I shall count it a favour if you will insert this.

Some years ago I published A Letter to Mr. Law, and about the same time An Address to the Clergy. Of the former Mr. Law gives the following account in his Collection of Letters lately published:

To answer Mr. Wesley's letter seems to be quite needless, because there is nothing substantial or properly argumentative in it. I was once a kind of oracle to Mr. Wesley. I judged him to be much under the power of his own spirit. To this was owing the false censure which he published against the Mystics as enemies to good works. (Pages 128, 130.) His letter is such a juvenile composition of emptiness and pertness as is below the character of any man who had been serious in religion for half a month. It was not ability but necessity that put his pen into his hand. He had preached much against my books, and forbid his people the use of them; and for a cover of all this he promised from time to time to write against them; therefore an answer was to be made at all adventures. He and the Pope conceive the same reasons for condemning the mystery revealed by Jacob Behmen. (Page 190.)

Of the latter he gives this account:

The pamphlet you sent is worse than no advice at all; but infinitely beyond Mr. Wesley's Babylonish Address to the Clergy, almost all of which is empty babble, fitter for an old grammarian that was grown blear-eyed in mending dictionaries than for one who had tasted of the powers of the world to come (page 198). I leave others to judge whether an answer to that letter be quite needless or no, and whether there be anything substantial in it; but certainly there is something argumentative. The very queries relating to Jacob's Philosophy are arguments, though not in form; and perhaps most of them will be thought conclusive arguments by impartial readers. Let these likewise judge if there are not arguments in it (whether conclusive or no) relating to that entirely new system of divinity which he has revealed to the world.

It is true that Mr. Law, whom I love and reverence now, was once 'a kind of oracle' to me. He thinks I am still 'under the power of' my 'own spirit,' as opposed to the Spirit of God. If I am, yet my censure of the Mystics is not at all owing to this, but to my reverence for the oracles of God, which, while I was fond of them, I regarded less and less; till at length, finding I could not follow both, I exchanged the Mystic writers for the scriptural.

It is sure, in exposing the Philosophy of Behmen, I use ridicule as well as argument; and yet I trust I have by the grace of God been in some measure 'serious in religion,' not 'half a month 'only, but ever since I was six years old, [His father admitted him to the Lord's Table when he was only eight. See Stevenson's Wesley Family, p. 330.] which is now about half a century. I do not know that the Pope has condemned him at all, or that he has any reason so to do. My reason is this, and no other: I think he contradicts Scripture, reason, and himself; and that he has seduced many unwary souls from the Bible way of salvation. A strong conviction of this, and a desire to guard others against that dangerous seduction, laid me under a necessity of writing that letter. I was under no other necessity; though I doubt not but Mr. Law heard I was, and very seriously believed it. I very rarely mention his books in public; nor are they in the way of one in an hundred of those whom he terms my people--meaning, I suppose, the people called Methodists. I had therefore no temptation, any more than power, to forbid the use of them to the Methodists in general. Whosoever informed Mr. Law of this wanted either sense or honesty.

He is so deeply displeased with the Address to the Clergy because it speaks strongly in favour of learning; but still, if this part of it is only 'fit for an old grammarian grown blear-eyed in mending dictionaries,' it will not follow that 'almost all of it is mere empty babble'; for a large part of it much more strongly insists on a single eye and a clean heart. Heathen philosophers may term this 'empty babble'; but let not Christians either account or call it so!--I am, sir, Your humble servant.

To his Brother Charles REDRUTH September 21, 1760.

DEAR BROTHER,--I do not apprehend that letter to be any proof of L. A.'s understanding. [Nehemiah Curnock thought this reference might be to Wesley's sister Anne. see Journal, iv. 413n.] I believe you had not time to consider it. Do you really think she was the inditer That she was the transcriber of it I allow; but is not the hand of Joab in this Did you not take knowledge not only of the sentiments but the very language of honest James Relly [See Tyerman's Wesley, ii. 400-1n. He was an Antinomian of bad repute. But see letter of July 7, 1761.]

Your message by John Jones seems to supersede the necessity of my writing; yet I think of sending a few civil lines, without entering into the merits of the cause. Is it not an excellent copy of our friend's countenance to 'beg leave to live apart' Quis enim negat ['For who forbids this'] If the unbeliever will depart, let her depart. But she will as soon leap into the sea. [Our friend is his wife. Charles wrote on the letter: 'She asks to part.']

I speak everywhere of bribery and run goods. I suppose John Jones has sent you the Minutes of the Conference. [Held at Bristol in August.] On Friday se'nnight I hope to preach at Shepton Mallet at noon and at Bristol in the evening. [On Oct. 3 he preached at both places at the time mentioned.] Vive hodie! ['Live to-day', the motto on his seal.] Adieu.

I should think if you was solus cum solo, ['Closeted only with him.'] the point to be insisted on with John Gambold would be, 'You went to the Moravians to find happiness. Have you found it What have you gained by the exchange' It is time enough, I suppose, for me to write; for you cannot go to London soon.

To his Brother Charles PLYMOUTH Dock, September 28, 1760.

DEAR BROTHER,--I have no objection to the bestowing another reading upon Mr. Law's Letters. But I think I have answered them quantum sufficit by the letter in Lloyd's Evening Post [And the London Chronicle. See letter of Sept. 17.]; only, if need be, it may be inserted in some of the monthly magazines. Since I wrote that letter I have procured (which I could not before) the Address to the Clergy. It is amazing! Nothing is more plain than that he never read it. I doubt whether he ever saw it. [This letter shows the importance the brothers attached to Law's strictures.]

I care not a rush for ordinary means; only that it is our duty to try them. All our lives and all God's dealings with us have been extraordinary from the beginning. We have all reason, therefore, to expect that what has been will be again. I have been preternaturally restored more than ten times. I suppose you will be thus restored for the journey, and that by the journey as a natural means your health will be re-established, provided you determine to spend all the strength which God shall give you in His work.

Cornwall has suffered miserably by my long absence and the unfaithfulness of the preachers. I left seventeen hundred in the Societies, and I find twelve hundred. If possible, you should see Mr. Walker. [Samuel Walker, Vicar of Truro. See letter of July 16, 1761.] He has been near a month at the Hot Wells. He is absolutely a Scot in his opinions, but of an excellent spirit. Mr. Stonehouse's horse performs to a miracle. He is considerably better than when I had him. On Friday evening (if nothing extraordinary occur) I hope to be at Bristol between five and six. Probably I shall leave Shepton Mallet at two. My love to Sally. Adieu.

If John Fisher [One of the preachers. See letter of Nov. 21.] is at Bristol, pray desire him to send what Thomas Seccomb left [Thomas Seccomb, a Cornishman, was one of Wesley's preachers. His father disinherited him, and he died of consumption in Ireland, where Lord Rawdon took him into his house and treated him as his son. Seccomb asked that the Methodists might come and receive his dying benediction. Lord Rawdon was present, and after Seccomb had addressed the people he lay down and passed away. Lord Rawdon sent an account of his death to a nobleman in London adding, 'Now, my Lord, find me if you can a man that will die like a Methodist!' See Atmore's Memorial, pp. 379-80; Crookshank's Methodism in Ireland, i. 139.] (with an account) to his poor mother.

To Miss March LONDON, November 11, 1760.

Conviction is not condemnation. You may be convinced, yet not condemned; convinced of useless thoughts or words, and yet not condemned for them. You are condemned for nothing, if you love God and continue to give Him your whole heart.

Certainly spiritual temptations will pass through your spirit, else you could not feel them. I believe I understand your state better than you do yourself. Do not perplex yourself at all about what you shall call it. You are a child of God, a member of Christ, an heir of the kingdom. What you have hold fast (whatever name is given to it), and you shall have all that God has prepared for them that love Him. Certainly you do need more faith; for you are a tender, sickly plant. But see,-- Faith while yet you ask is given; God comes down, the God and Lord That made both earth and heaven!

You cannot live on what He did yesterday. Therefore He comes to-day! He comes to destroy that tendency to levity, to severe judging, to anything that is not of God. Peace be with your spirit!

To the Editor of 'Lloyd's Evening Post' Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[14] LONDON, November 17, I 760.

SIR,--In your last paper we had a letter from a very angry gentleman (though he says he had put himself into as good humour as possible), who personates a clergyman, but is, I presume, in reality a retainer to the theatre. He is very warm against the people vulgarly called Methodists, 'ridiculous impostors,' 'religious buffoons,' as he styles them; 'saint-errants' (a pretty and quaint phrase), full of 'inconsiderateness, madness, melancholy, enthusiasm'; teaching a 'knotty and unintelligible system' of religion--yea, a 'contradictory or self-contradicting'; nay, a 'mere illusion,' a 'destructive scheme, and of pernicious consequence'; since 'an hypothesis is a very slippery foundation to hazard our all upon.'

Methinks the gentleman has a little mistaken his character: he seems to have exchanged the sock for the buskin. But, be this as it may, general charges prove nothing. Let us come to particulars. Here they are: 'The basis of Methodism is the grace of assurance' (excuse a little impropriety of expression), 'regeneration being only a preparative to it.' Truly this is somewhat 'knotty and unintelligible.' I will endeavour to help him out. The fundamental doctrine of the people called Methodists is, Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the true faith;--the faith which works by love; which, by means of the love of God and our neighbour, produces both inward and outward holiness. This faith is an evidence of things not seen; and he that thus believes is regenerate, or born of God; and he has the witness in himself (call it assurance or what you please): the Spirit itself witnesses with his spirit that he is a child of God. 'From what scripture' every one of these propositions 'is collected' any common Concordance will show. 'This is the true portraiture of Methodism,' so called. 'A religion superior to this' (the love of God and man) none can 'enjoy,' either in time or in eternity.

But the Methodists do not hold 'good works meritorious.' No; neither does ours, or any other Protestant Church. But meantime they hold it is their bounder duty, as they have time, to do good unto all men; and they know the day is coming wherein God will reward every man according to his works.

But they 'act with sullenness and sourness, and account innocent gaiety and cheerfulness a crime almost as heinous as sacrilege.' Who does Name the men. I know them not, and therefore doubt the fact; though it is very possible you account that kind of gaiety innocent which I account both foolish and sinful.

I know none who denies that true religion--that is, love, the love of God and our neighbour--'elevates our spirits, and renders our minds cheerful and serene.' It must, if it be accompanied (as we believe it always is) with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, and if it produces a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man.

But they 'preach up religion only to accomplish a lucrative design, to fleece their hearers, to accumulate wealth, to rob and plunder, which they esteem meritorious.' We deny the fact. Who is able to prove it Let the affirmer produce his witnesses, or retract.

This is the sum of your correspondent's charge, not one article of which can be proved; but whether it can or no, 'we have made them,' says he, 'a theatrical scoff and the common jest and scorn of every chorister in the street.' It may be so; but whether you have done well herein may still admit of a question. However, you cannot but wish 'we had some formal Court of Judicature erected' (happy Portugal and Spain!) 'to take cognizance of such matters.' Nay, cur optas quod habes [Horace's Satires, 1. iii. 126.] Why do you wish for that you have already The Court is erected: the holy, devout playhouse is become the House of Mercy; and does take cognizance hereof 'of all pretenders to sanctity, and happily furnishes us with a discerning spirit to distinguish betwixt right and wrong.' But I do not stand to their sentence; I appeal to Scripture and reason, and by these alone consent to be judged. --I am, sir, Your humble servant.

To Mrs. Abigail Brown LONDON, November 21, 1760.

DEAR ABBY,--I cannot advise. You must follow your own conscience. Act as you are fully persuaded in your own mind. Consider first what is best with regard to eternity, and then take your measures accordingly. Mr. Fisher [See letter of Sept. 28.] will assist you in whatever you would have done; and if you want money, I have desired him to help you to it. Speak freely to me, if you love me; and believe me to be, dear Abby. Your sincere friend and affectionate brother.

To the Editor of 'Lloyd's Evening Post' Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[15] London, November 22, 1760.

SIR,--Just as I had finished the letter published in your last Friday's paper four tracts came to my hands: one wrote, or procured to be wrote, by Mrs. Downes; one by a clergyman in the county of Durham; the third by a gentleman of Cambridge; and the fourth by a member (I suppose, dignitary) of the Church of Rome. How gladly would I leave all these to themselves, and let them say just what they please! as my day is far spent and my taste for controversy is utterly lost and gone. But this would not be doing justice to the world, who might take silence for a proof of guilt. I shall therefore say a word concerning each. I may, perhaps, some time say more to one or two of them.

The letter which goes under Mrs. Downes's name scarce deserves any notice at all, as there is nothing extraordinary in it but an extraordinary degree of virulence and scurrility. Two things only I remark concerning it, which I suppose the writer of it knew as well as me: (1) that my letter to Mr. Downes was both wrote and printed before Mr. Downes died; (2) that when I said, Tibi parvula res est [See letter of Nov. 17, 1759.] ('Your ability is small') I had no view to his fortune, which I knew nothing of, but (as I there expressly say) to his wit, sense, and talents as a writer.

The tract wrote by the gentleman in the North is far more bulky than this; but it is more considerable for its bulk than for its matter, being little more than a dull repetition of what was published some years ago in The Enthusiasm of the Methodists and Papists Compared. [See letter of Feb. 1, 1750.] I do not find the author adds anything new, unless we may bestow that epithet on a sermon annexed to his Address, which, I presume, will do neither good nor harm. So I leave the Durham gentleman, with Mrs. Downes, to himself and his admirers.

The author of the letter to Mr. Berridge is a more considerable writer. In many things I wholly agree with him, though not in admiring Dr. Taylor; but there is a bitterness even in him which I should not have expected in a gentleman and a scholar. So in the very first page I read, 'The Church, which most of your graceless fraternity have deserted.' Were the fact true (which it is not), yet is the expression to be commended Surely Dr. Green himself thinks it is not. I am sorry, too, for the unfairness of his quotations. For instance: he cites me (a page 53) as speaking of 'faith shed abroad in men's hearts like lightning.' Faith shed abroad in men's hearts! I never used such an expression in my life: I do not talk after this rate. Again, he quotes, as from me (b page 57), so, I presume, Mr. W. means, 'a behaviour does not pretend to add the least to what Christ has done.' But be these words whose they may, they are none of mine. I never spoke, wrote--no, nor read them before. Once more, is it well judged for any writer to show such an utter contempt of his opponents as you affect to do with regard to the whole body of people vulgarly termed Methodists 'You may keep up,' say you, 'a little bush-fighting in controversy; you may skirmish awhile with your feeble body of irregulars; but you must never trust to your skill in reasoning' page 77). Upon this I would ask: (1) If these are such poor, silly creatures, why does so wise a man set his wit to them 'Shall the King of Israel go out against a flea' (2) If it should happen that any one of these silly bush-fighters steps out into the plain, engages hand to hand, and foils this champion by mere dint of reason, will not his defeat be so much the more shameful as it was more unexpected But I say the less at present, not only because Mr. Berridge is able to answer for himself, but because the title--page bids me expect a letter more immediately addressed to myself.

The last tract, entitled A Caveat against the Methodists, is in reality a caveat against the Church of England, or rather against all the Churches in Europe who dissent from the Church of Rome. Nor do I apprehend the writer to be any more disgusted at the Methodists than at Protestants of every denomination; as he cannot but judge it equally unsafe to join to any society but that of Rome. Accordingly all his arguments are levelled at the Reformed Churches in general, and conclude just as well if you put the word 'Protestant' throughout in the place of the word 'Methodist.' Although, therefore, the author borrows my name to wound those who suspect nothing less, yet I am no more concerned to refute him than any other Protestant in England; and still the less, as those arguments are refuted over and over in books which are still common among us.

But is it possible any Protestants, nay Protestant clergymen, should buy these tracts to give away --Is, then, the introducing Popery the only way to overthrow Methodism If they know this, and choose Popery as the smaller evil of the two, they are consistent with themselves. But if they do not intend this, I wish them more seriously to consider what they do.--I am, sir, Your humble servant.

To the Editor of 'Lloyd's Evening Post' TO MR. SOMEBODY, alias PHILODEMUS, alias T. H.

LONDON, December 1, 1760. SIR,--I am very happy in having given you 'infinite pleasure by my animadversions upon your letter,' and therefore cannot but add a few more, hoping they may give you still farther satisfaction. It is, indeed, great condescension in you to bestow a thought upon me, since 'it is only losing time' (as you observe in your last), as you 'judge arguing with Methodists is like pounding fools in a mortar.' However, do not despair; perhaps, when you have pounded me a little more, my foolishness may depart from me.

I really was so foolish as to think that by saying' We Churchmen' you assumed the character of a clergyman. Whether you retain to the theatre or no is easily shown: tell your name, and the doubt is cleared up. [See letter of Nov. 17.] But who or what you are affects not me: I am only concerned with what you say.

But you complain, I have 'passed over the most interesting and material circumstances' in your letter. I apprehend just the contrary: I think nothing in it is passed over which is at all material. Nor will I knowingly pass over anything material in this; though I am not a dealer in many words.

You say: (1) 'You have impiously apostatized from those principles of religion which you undertook to defend.' I hope not. I still (as I am able) defend the Bible, with the Liturgy, Articles, and Homilies of our Church; and I do not defend or espouse any other principles, to the best of my knowledge, than those which are plainly contained in the Bible as well as in the Homilies and Book of Common Prayer.

You blame me (2) for teaching heterodox doctrine concerning faith and good works (I am obliged to put the meaning of many of your straggling sentences together as well as I can). As to the former, which you still awkwardly and unscripturally style the grace of assurance (a phrase I never use), you say: 'You have given it a true Methodistical gloss. But where are the proofs from Scripture Not one single text.' Sir, that is your ignorance. I perceive the Bible is a book you are not acquainted with. Every sentence in my account is a text of Scripture. I purposely refrained from quoting chapter and verse, because I expected you would bewray your ignorance, and show that you was got quite out of your depth. As your old friend Mr. Vellum says, 'You will pardon me for being jocular.' To one who seriously desired information on this point I would explain it a little farther. Faith is an evidence or conviction of things not seen, of God, and the things of God. This is faith in general. More particularly it is a divine evidence or conviction that Christ loved me and gave Himself for me. This directly leads us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; not with slavish, painful fear, but with the utmost diligence, which is the proper import of that expression. When this evidence is heightened to exclude all doubt, it is the plerophory or full assurance of faith. But any degree of true faith prompts the believer to be zealous of good works.

On this head you say: 'Your definition of good works' (truly I gave none at all) 'is still more extraordinary. You shall have it in your own words, where you quarrel with me for esteeming them meritorious,--No, neither does ours or any other Protestant Church; but meantime they hold it their bounder duty as they have time to do good unto all men. And they know the day is coming wherein God will render to every man according to his works. Admirable contradiction! Was you intoxicated, or jure diving mad Is man to be judged for his deeds done in this life, when it is immaterial whether he does any or not These are your own words, sir.' What That 'it is immaterial whether he does any good works or not' Hey-day! How is this O, I cry your mercy, sir, now I find where the shoe pinches. You have stumbled on an hard word which you do not understand. But give me leave, sir, to assure you (you may take my word for once) that meritorious and material are not all one. Accordingly not only the Church of England but all other Protestant Churches allow good works to be material, and yet (without any contradiction) deny them to be meritorious.

They all likewise allow that the genuine fruit of faith is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and consequently that cheerfulness or serenity of spirit (a mixture of that peace and joy) is so far from being a crime, that it is the undoubted privilege of every real Christian. I know no Methodist (so called) who is of another mind: if you do, tell me the man. I believe 'it is not your intention to do this.' But you must either do it or bear the blame.

You blame me (3) for allowing of lay preachers. This is too knotty a point to be settled at present. I can only desire those who want farther information therein to read calmly A Letter to a Clergyman [See letter of May 4, 1748, and Works, viii. 221-6 ] or the latter part of the third Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion.

You blame me (4) for acting from 'a lucrative principle,' though you 'deny you used the word robbing.' (True; for you only said, 'To rob and plunder.') In proof of this you refer to the houses I have built (in Bristol, Kingswood, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne). But don't you know, sir, those houses are none of mine I made them over to trustees long ago. I have food to eat and raiment to put on; and I will have no more till I turn Turk or Pagan.--I am, sir, in very good humour, Your well-wisher.

PS.--It is not very material whether T. H., Somebody, and Philodemus are the same individual or not. I have subjoined his Questions with my Answers; though they have all been answered fifty times before.

Q. 1. Whether a very considerable body of the Methodists do not declare that there can be no good hopes of salvation without Assurance A. Yes: if you mean by that term a divine evidence or conviction that Christ loved me and gave Himself for me.

Q. 2. Whether they do not put a greater confidence in what they call Regeneration than in the moral or social duties of life A. No. They hold the due discharge of all these duties to be absolutely necessary to salvation. The latter part of this query, 'of the mercy of the Divine Being,' seems to have lost its way.

Q. 3. Whether the Stage in later years has ever ridiculed anything really serious A. Yes; a thousand times. Who that reads Dryden's, Wycherley's, or Congreve's plays can doubt it

Q. 4. Whether anything can be religious that has not right reason to countenance it A. No. True religion is the highest reason. It is indeed wisdom, virtue, and happiness in one.

To Samuel Furly LONDON, December 9, 1760.

DEAR SAMMY,--I am determined to publish nothing against Mr. Hervey unless his answer to my letter is published. Indeed, it is not his; it is Mr. Cudworth's, [See letter of Nov. 29, 1758.] both as to matter and manner. So let it pass for the present.

Richard Tompson (who lives in Prince's Square, Ratcliff Highway) told me honestly, 'Sir, I want a little money, and I can have it by printing the letters which passed between you and me.' I answered, 'You know I never designed my letters for public view, but you may print them if you please. I am quite indifferent about it.'[See letter of Aug. 22, 1759, to Tompson.]

When I say 'I have no time to write largely in controversy,' I mean this; every hour I have is employed more to the glory of God. Therefore, if short answers to opponents will not suffice, I cannot help it; I will not, I cannot, I dare not spend any more time in that kind of writing than I do. 'Well, but many think you ought.' Undoubtedly they do; but I am to be guided by my own conscience.

I am laying another plot for you. Mr. Fletcher is rector of Madeley, in Shropshire. [Fletcher became vicar in 1760. See letter of Jan. 25, 1762, to Furly.] If he takes you to be his curate, probably you may be ordained priest. I will write to him about it.--I am, with love to Nancy, Your affectionate friend and brother.

To the Editor of the 'London Magazine' Editor's Introductory Notes: 1760

[16] TO MR. T. H., alias PHILODEMUS, alias SOMEBODY, alias STEPHEN CHURCH, alias R. W.

LONDON, December 12, 1760. Patience, dear sir, patience! or I am afraid your choler will hurt your constitution as well as your argument. Be composed, and I will answer your queries, 'speedily, clearly, and categorically.' Only you will give me leave to shorten them a little, and to lay those together which have some relation to each other.

Permit me likewise, before I enter on particulars, to lay a few circumstances before you which may add some light to the subject and give you a clearer knowledge of the people with whom you are so angry.

About thirty years since, I met with a book written in King William's time, called The Country Parson's Advice to his Parishioners. There I read these words: 'If good men of the Church will unite together in the several parts of the kingdom, disposing themselves into friendly societies, and engaging each other in their respective combinations to be helpful to each other in all good, Christian ways, it will be the most effectual means for restoring our decaying Christianity to its primitive life and vigour and the supporting of our tottering and sinking Church.' A few young gentlemen then at Oxford approved of and followed the advice. They were all zealous Churchmen, and both orthodox and regular to the highest degree. For their exact regularity they were soon nicknamed Methodists; but they were not then, or for some years after, charged with any other crime, real or pretended, than that of being righteous over-much. [See letter of June 11, 1731, to his mother.] Nine or ten years after, many others 'united together in the several parts of the kingdom, engaging in like manner to be helpful to each other in all good, Christian ways.' At first all these were of the Church; but several pious Dissenters soon desired to unite with them. Their one design was to forward each other in true, scriptural Christianity.

Presently the flood-gates were opened, and a deluge of reproach poured upon them from all quarters. All manner of evil was spoken of them, and they were used without either justice or mercy; and this chiefly (I am sorry to say it) by the members of our own Church. Some of them were startled at this, and proposed a question, when they were met together at Leeds, whether they ought not to separate from the Church; but after it had been fairly and largely considered, they were one and all satisfied that they ought not. The reasons of that determination were afterwards printed and lately reprinted and strongly enforced by my brother. Hinc illae lacrymae! ['Hence these tears,' Terence's Andria, 1. i. 99.] This, I presume, has occasioned your present queries. For though you talk of our 'Episcopal communion,' I doubt not that you are either a Papist or a Dissenter. If I mistake, you may easily set me right by telling your real name and place of abode.

But, in spite of all we could say or do, the cry still continued; 'You have left the Church; you are no ministers or members of it.' I answer, as I did fourteen years ago to one who warmly affirmed this: 'Use ever so many exaggerations, still the whole of the matter is, (1) I often use extemporary prayer; (2) wherever I can, I preach the gospel; (3) those who desire to live according to the gospel, I advise how to watch over each other and to put from them those who walk disorderly.' [See letter of June 17, 1746, sect. III. 9.] Now, whether these things are right or wrong, this single point I must still insist upon: all this does not prove either that I am no member or that I am no minister of the Church of England. Nay, nothing can prove that I am no member of the Church, till I am either excommunicated or renounce her communion, and no longer join in her doctrine and in the breaking of bread and in prayer. Nor can anything prove I am no minister of the Church, till I either am deposed from my ministry or voluntarily renounce her, and wholly cease to teach her doctrines, use her offices, and obey her rubrics.

Upon the same principle that I still preach and endeavour to assist those who desire to live according to the gospel, about twelve years ago I published proposals for printing 'A Christian Library: Consisting of Extracts from and Abridgements of the Choicest Pieces of Practical Divinity which have been published in the English Tongue.' And I have done what I proposed. Most of the tracts therein contained were written by members of our own Church; but some by writers of other denominations: for I mind not who speaks, but what is spoken.

On the same principle, that of doing good to all men, of the ability that God giveth, I published 'Primitive Physick; or an Easy and Natural Method of Curing most Diseases'; and, some years after, a little tract entitled Electricity made Plain and Useful. On the same principle I printed an English, a Latin, a French, and a short Hebrew Grammar, as well as some of the Classics, and a few other tracts, in usum juventutis Christianae. ['For the use of Christian youth.'] This premised, I now proceed to the queries:--

Q. 1. 'Why have you not cleared yourself of those reflections that you stand charged with by a learned author' I have throughly cleared myself in the three letters to that learned author which were published immediately after his tracts.

Q. 2. 'Can you constantly charge your people to attend the worship of our Church and not Dissenters' meetings 'I can: this is consistent with all I have written and all I have done for many years. 'But do you not call our Church a mere rope of sand' No: look again into the Plain Account, [See letter in Dec. 1748, Sect. l. II, to Vincent Perronet.] and you will see (if you care to see) that those words are not spoken of our Church.

Q. 6. 'But do you not hold doctrine contrary to hers' No. 'Do you not make a dust about words' No. 'Do you not bewilder the brains of weak people' No.

Q. 11. 'Do you not in print own Episcopacy to be jure divino' Not that I remember. Can you tell me where But this I own; I have no objection to it--nay, I approve it highly.

Q. 16. 'But are you not guilty of canonical disobedience to your Bishop' I think not. Show me wherein.

Q. 17. 'Did not you suffer your lay preachers at Leeds to debate whether they should separate from the Church' Yes, and encouraged them to say all that was in their hearts. 'Why did you do this' To confirm their adherence to it; and they were so confirmed that only two out of the whole number have since separated from it.

Q. 18. 'If most votes had carried the day, what had followed' If the sky should fall!

Q. 12. 'What did you propose by preaching up to the people a solemn covenant' To confirm them in fearing God and working righteousness. I shall probably do the same again shortly. And if you desire any farther information, you are welcome to hear every sermon which I preach concerning it.

Q. 13. 'Was not this intended to cut them off from ever communicating with any company of Christians but yourselves' No; nothing less. It was not intended to cut them off from anything but the devil and his works.

Q. 14. 'Do you not commend the Quakers' Yes, in some things. 'And the French prophets' No.

Q. 15. 'Do you not stint your lay preachers to three or four minutes only in public prayers' I advise them not usually to exceed four or five minutes either before or after sermon. [See A Preservative against Unsettled Notions in Religion, 1758, p. 244.]

Q. 3. 'Is not your Christian Library an odd collection of mutilated writings of Dissenters of all sorts' No. In the first ten volumes there is not a line from any Dissenter of any sort; and the greatest part of the other forty is extracted from Archbishop Leighton, Bishops Taylor, Patrick, Ken, Reynolds, Sanderson, and other ornaments of the Church of England.

Q. 4. 'Is not this declaring that you have a superior privilege beyond all men to print, correct, and direct as you please' I think not. I suppose every man in England has the same privilege.

Q. 5. 'Is it performed according to the first proposals and the expectation of the subscribers' It is performed according to the first proposals; nor could any subscriber reasonably expect more.

Q. 7. 'Why did you not in your New Testament distinguish those places with italics where you altered the old translation' Because it was quite needless; as any who choose it may easily compare the two translations together. 'But should you not have given the learned a reason for every alteration' Yes, if I had written for the learned; but I did not, as I expressly mentioned in the Preface.

Q. 8. 'Do you not assume too much in philosophy and physic as well as in theology' I hope not.

Q. 9. 'Why did you meddle with electricity' For the same reason as I published the Primitive Physick--to do as much good as I can.

Q. 19. 'Are you a clergyman at all' Yes. 'Are you not a Quaker in disguise' No. 'Did not you betray the Church, as Judas his Master, with a kiss' No. 'If you be in the wrong, God confound your devices!' I say the same thing. 'If in the right, may He display it to all people!' Amen! In His own time.

I take this opportunity to answer the queries also which occur on page 614:

1. 'If the operations of the Spirit overpower the natural faculties, must they not destroy free agency' I neither teach nor believe that the ordinary operations of the Spirit do overpower the natural faculties.

2. 'If every man be furnished with an inward light as a private guide and director, must it not supersede the necessity of revelation' This affects the Quakers, not the Methodists, who allow no inward light but what is subservient to the written Word, and to be judged thereby: they are therefore no 'enthusiasts'; neither is it yet proved that they are 'deluded' at all. They follow no ignis fatuus, but 'search the Scriptures freely and impartially.' And hence their 'doctrines are not the dogmas of particular men,' but are all warranted by Scripture and reason.--I am, sir, Your sincere well-wisher.

To Miss March LONDON, December 12, 1760.

You may blame yourself, but I will not blame you, for seeking to have your every temper, and thought, and word, and work suitable to the will of God. But I doubt not you seek this by faith, not without it; and you seek it in and through Christ, not without Him. Go on; you shall have all you seek, because God is love. He is showing you the littleness of your understanding and the foolishness of all natural wisdom. Certainly peace and joy in believing are the grand means of holiness; therefore love and value them as such.

'Why is the law of works superseded by the law of love' Because Christ died. 'Why are we not condemned for coming short even of this' Because He lives and intercedes for us. I believe it is impossible not to come short of it, through the unavoidable littleness of our understanding. Yet the blood of the covenant is upon us, and therefore there is no condemnation.

I think the extent of the law of love is exactly marked out in the 13th of the [First of] Corinthians. Let faith fill your heart with love to Him and all mankind; then follow this loving faith to the best of your understanding; meantime crying out continually, 'Jesus is all in all to me.'

To the Editor of 'Lloyd's Evening Post' TO MR. T. H., alias E. L., &c. &c.

December 20, 1760. What, my good friend again! Only a little disguised with a new name and a few scraps of Latin! I hoped, indeed, you had been pretty well satisfied before; but since you desire to hear a little farther from me, I will add a few words, and endeavour to set our little controversy in a still clearer light.

Last month you publicly attacked the people called Methodists without either fear or wit. You charged them with 'madness, enthusiasm, self-contradiction, imposture,' and what not! I considered each charge, and, I conceive, refuted it to the satisfaction of all indifferent persons. You renewed the attack, not by proving anything, but affirming the same things over and over. I replied; and, without taking notice of the dull, low scurrility, either of the first or second letter, confined myself to the merits of the cause, and cleared away the dirt you had thrown.

You now heap together ten paragraphs more, most of which require very little answer. In the first you say: 'Your foolishness is become the wonder and admiration of the public.' In the second: 'The public blushes for you, till you give a better solution to the articles demanded of you.' In the third you cite my words, I still maintain 'the Bible, with the Liturgy, and Homilies of our Church; and do not espouse any other principles but what are consonant to the Book of Common Prayer.' You keenly answer: 'Granted, Mr. Methodist; but whether or no you would not espouse other principles if you durst is evident enough from some innovations you have already introduced, which I shall attempt to prove in the subsequent part of my answer.' Indeed, you will not. You neither prove, nor attempt to prove, that I would espouse other principles if I durst. However, you give me a deadly thrust: 'You falsify the first Article of the Athanasian Creed.' But how so Why, I said: 'The fundamental doctrine of the people called Methodists is, Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the true faith.' Sir, shall I tell you a secret--It was for the readers of your class that I changed the hard word 'catholic' into an easier.

In the fourth paragraph you say: 'Did you never use that phrase the grace of assurance ' Never, that I remember, either in preaching or writing; both your ears and eyes have been very unhappy if they informed you I did: and, how many soever look either sorrowful or joyful, that will not prove the contrary. 'But produce your texts.' What, for a phrase I never use I pray you have me excused. But (as I said before) 'from what scripture every one of my propositions is collected any common Concordance will show.' To save you trouble, I will for once point out those scriptures: 'Whosoever will be saved must believe' (Mark xvi. 16; Acts xvi. 31); 'This faith works by love' (Gal. v. 6); it is 'an evidence of things not seen' (Heb. xi. 1); 'He that believes is born of God' (1 John v. 1); 'He has the witness in himself' (verse 10); 'The Spirit itself witnesses with his spirit that he is a child of God' (Rom. viii. 16).

In the fifth you say: 'You embrace any shift to twist words to your own meaning.' This is saying just nothing. Any one may say this of any one. To prove it is another point.

In the sixth you say: 'No Protestant divine ever taught your doctrine of Assurance.' I hope you know no better; but it is strange you should not. Did you never see Bishop Hall's Works Was not he a Protestant divine Was not Mr. Perkins, Bolton, Dr. Sibbs, Dr. Preston, Archbishop Leighton Inquire a little farther; and do not run thus hand over head, asserting you know not what. By assurance (if we must use the expression) I mean 'a confidence which a man hath in God that by the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven and he reconciled to the favour of God.' Stop! Do not run your head into a noose again. These are the words of the Homily.

In the seventh you grant 'that works are not meritorious unless accompanied with faith.' No, nor then neither. But pray do not talk of this any more till you know the difference between meritorious and rewardable; otherwise your ignorance will cause you to blunder on without shame and without end.

In your eighth you throw out an hard word, which somebody has helped you to, Thaumaturg --what is it --about lay preachers. When you have answered the arguments in the Farther Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion, I will say something more upon that head.

In the ninth you say something, no way material, about the houses at Bristol, Kingswood, and Newcastle; and in the last you give me a fair challenge to a 'personal dispute.' Not so; you have fallen upon me in public, and to the public I appeal. Let all men, not any single umpire, judge whether I have not refuted your charge, and cleared the people called Methodists from the foul aspersions which, without why or wherefore, you had thrown upon them. Let all my countrymen judge which of us have spoken the words of truth and soberness, which has reason on his side, and which has treated the other with a temper suitable to the gospel.

If the general voice of mankind gives it against you, I hope you will be henceforth less flippant with your pen. I assure you, as little as you think of it, the Methodists are not such fools as you suppose. But their desire is to live peaceably with all men; and none desires this more than JOHN WESLEY.

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