« AnteriorContinuar »
A COPY OF THE CIRCULAR LETTER,
GAVE OCCASION TO THIS VINDICATION;
TO WHICH IS ANNEXED
A COPY OF THE REV. MR. WESLEY'S MINUTES.
“SIR,-Whereas Mr. Wesley's conference is to be held at Bristol, on Tuesday, the 6th of August next, it is proposed by Lady Huntingdon, and many other Christian friends, (real Protestants,) to have a meeting at Bristol, at the same time, of such principal persons, both clergy and laity, who disapprove of the under written Minutes : and as the same are thought injurious to the very fundamental principles of Christianity, it is farther proposed that they go in a body to the said conference, and insist upon a formal recantation of the said Minutes ; and in case of a refusal, that they sign and publish their protest against them. Your presence, sir, on this occasion, is particularly requested. . But if it should not suit your convenience to be there, it is desired that you will transmit your sentiments on the subject to such persons as you think proper to produce them. It is submitted to you, whether it would not be right, in the opposition to be made to such a dreadful heresy, to recommend it to as many of your Christian friends, as well of the dissenters as of the established Church, as you can prevail on, to be there, the cause being of so public a nature. “ I am, sir, your obedient servant,
6 WALTER SHIRLEY."
“P. S. Your answer is desired, directed to the countess of Huntingdon, or the Rev. Mr. Shirley, or John Lloyd, Esq. in Bath; or Mr. James Ireland, merchant, Bristol ; or to Thomas Powis, Esq. at Berwick, near Shrewsbury; or to Richard Hill, Esq. at Hawkstone, near Whitchurch, Shropshire. Lodgings will be provided. Inquire at Mr. Ireland's, Bristol."
EXTRACTS FROM THE MINUTES
OF SOME LATE CONVERSATIONS
BETWEEN THE REV, MR. WESLEY AND OTHER:
AT A PUBLIC CONFERENCE, HELD IN LONDON, AUGUSTI
AND PRINTED BY W. PINE, IN BRISTOL
" Take heed to
• We said in 1744, · We have leaned too much toward Calvinism.' Wherein ?
“1. With regard to man's faithfulness. Our Lord himself taught us to use the expression. And we ought never to be ashamed of it. We ought steadily to assert, on his authority, that if a man is not • faithful in the unrighteous mammon,' God will not give him the true riches.'
“2. With regard to working for life. This also our Lord has expressly commanded us. • Labour,' Epya2e0ds, literally, “work for the meat that endureth to everlasting life.' And in fact every
believer, till he comes to glory, works for, as well as from life.
“3. We have received it as a maxim, that “a man is to do nothing in order to justification. Nothing can be more false. Whoever desires to find favour with God, should cease from evil, and learn to do well.' Whoever repents, should do “works meet for repentance.' And if this is not in order to find favour, what does he do them for ?
• Review the whole affair.
“ He that feareth God, and worketh righteousness according to the light he has.
“ 3. Is this the same with • he that is sincere ?'
. 5. What have we then been disputing about for these thirty years? “I am afraid, about words.
“6. As to merit itself, of which we have been so dreadfully afraid : we are rewarded, according to our works, yea, because of our works. How does this differ from, for the sake of our works ? And how differs this from secundum merita operum, .as our works deserve ?? Can you split this hair? I doubt, I cannot.
“7. The grand objection to one of the preceding propositions is drawn from matter of fact. God does in fact justify those who, by their own confession, neither feared God nor wrought righteousness.' Is this an exception to the general rule?
" It is a doubt whether God makes any exception at all. But how are we sure that the person in question never did • fear God and work righteousness ?' His own saying so is not proof: for we know how all that are convinced of sin undervalue themselves in every respect.
“ 8. Does not talking of a justified or sanctified state tend to mislead men ? almost naturally leading them to trust in what was done in one moment? Whereas we are every hour and every moment pleasing or displeasing to God, according to our works : according to the whole of our inward tempers and our outward behaviour.”
FIRST CHECK TO ANTINOMIANISM.
HONOURED AND REVEREND SIR,—Before a judge passes sentence upon a person accused of theft, he hears what his neighbours have to say for his character. Mr. Wesley, I grant, is accused of what is worse than theft, , dreadful heresy; and I know that whosoever maintains a dreadful heresy is a dreadful heretic; and that the Church of Rome shows no mercy to such. But may not “real Protestants” indulge, with the privilege of a felon, one whom they so lately respected as a brother?"And may not I, an old friend and acquaintance of his, be permitted to speak a word in his favour, before he is branded in the forehead, as he has already been on the back.?
This step, I fear, will cost me my reputation, (if I have any,) and involve me in the same condemnation with him whose cause, together with that of truth, I design to plead. But when humanity prompts, when gratitude calls, when friendship excites, when reason invites, when justice demands, when truth requires, and conscience summons, De does not deserve the name of a Christian friend, who, for any consideration, hesitates to vindicate what he esteems truth, and to stand by an aggrieved friend, brother, and father. Were I not, sir, on such an occasion as this to step out of my beloved obscurity, you might deservedly reproach me as a dastardly wretch: nay, you have already done it in general terms, in your excellent sermon on the fear of man. 6. How often,” say you,
“ do men sneakingly forsake their friends, instead of gloriously supporting them against a powerful adversary, even when their cause is just, for reasons hastily prudential, for fear of giving umbrage to a superior party or interest ?"
These generous words of yours, Řev. sir, together with the leave you give both Churchmen and Dissenters to direct to you their answers to your circular letter, are my excuse for intruding upon you by this epistle," and my apology for begging your candid attention, while I attempt to convince you that my friend's principles and Minutes are not heretical. In order to this, I shall lay before you, and the principal persons, both clergy and laity, whom you have, from all parts of England and Wales, convened at Bristol, by printed letters,I. A general view of the Rev. Mr. Wesley's doctrine. II. An account of the commendable design of his Minutes.
III. A vindication of the propositions which they contain, by arguments taken from Scripture, reason, and experience; and by quotations from eminent Calvinist divines, who have said the same things n different words.
And suppose you yourself, sir, in particular, should 'appear to be a strony assertor of the doctrines which you call a dreadful heresy in Mr. Wesley, I hope you will not refuse 'me leave to conclude, by expostulating with you upon your conduct in this affair, and recommending to vou, and our other Christian friends, the forbearance