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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 youhave 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.' Such was the credit I paid to this revelation ! All that 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, t'i expounded out of the fulness which was given me.' 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.” Tues. 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 wouldst 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.'
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.'” 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 exceedingly angry, at those who pretended to be
* Vol. II. p. 335. p. 334. 1 Remarks, p. 65. § Vol. II. p. 337. || Remarks, p. 66. VOL. 8.-LI
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.” Só 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 bis hand dropped, and he fell down upon the ground, having no more strength than a new-born child.?” 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 paralleled 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.” It is not quite plain. I look upon some of these cases as wholly natural: on the rest, as mixt; 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 s obstructions of irregularities of the blood and spirits ; hysterical disorders; watchings, fastings, closeness of rooms, great crowds, violent heat.” And, lastly, by “terrors, perplexities, and doubts, in weak and well-mean. ing 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." I Remarka, p. 67,
1 p. 68, 69.
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
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. Mif 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 libi peccata pudorem. In endeavouring 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." 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 enthusia m, 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.' 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.” 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. * Remarks, p. 70.
I p. 71.
Before I answer, I must know, what you mean by miraculous ? If you term every thing so, which is not strictly to be accounted 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 may strictly be accounted 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."
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 Me. thodism,” (you say) i. e. 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."
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 awhile 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 would have 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,
Your servant for Christ's sake, BRISTOL, Feb. 2, 1744-5.
* Remarks, p. 73.
I p. 75.
THE PRINCIPLES OF A METHODIST,
OCCASIONED BY THE KEV. MR. CHURCH'S SECOND LETTER
TO MR. WESLEY.
IN A SECOND LETTER TO THAT GENTLEMAN.
REVEREND SIR, 1. AT the time that I was reading your former letter, I expected to hear from you again. And I was not displeased with the expectation; believing it would give me a fresh opportunity of weighing the sentiments I might have too lightly espoused, and the actions which, perhaps, I had not enough considered. Viewing things in this light, I cannot but esteem you, not an enemy, but a friend; and one, in some respects, better qualified to do me real service than those whom the world accounts so ; who may be hindered by their prejudice in my favour, either from observing what is reprovable, or from using that freedom and plainness of speech, which are requisite to convince me of it.
2. It is at least as much with a view to learn myself, as to show others (what I think) the truth, that I intend to set down a few reflections on some parts of the Tract you have lately published. I say, some parts; for it is not my design to answer every sentence in this, any more than in the former. Many things I pass over, because I think them true; many more, because I think them not material ; and some, because I am determined not to engage in a useless, if not hurtful controversy.
3. Fear indeed is one cause of my declining this : fear (as I said elsewhere*) not of my adversary, but of myself
. I fear my own spirit, lest “l'fall where many mightier have been slain.” I never knew one (or but one) man write controversy with what I thought a right spirit
. Every disputant seems to think (as every soldier) that he may hurt his opponent as much as he can; nay, that he ought to do his worst to him, or he cannot make the best of his own cause : that so he do not belie, or wilfully misrepresent him, he must expose bim as much as he is able. It is enough, we suppose, if we do not show heat or passion against our adversary. But, not to despise him, or endeavour to make others do so, is quite a work of supererogation.
4. But ought these things to be so? (I speak on the Christian
* In the Freface to the Answer to Mc. Tucker. .