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Asbury was still striving to render. an attachment to the church yet more firm and permanent. For this end he had brought with him Mr. Wesley's twelve reasons against a separation from the church, which are as follow:
Against a separation from the Church of
" Whether it be lawful or no (which itself may be disputed, being not so clear a point as Some may imagine ) it is by no means expedient for us to separate from the established church : .
“1. Because it would be a contradiction to the folemn and repeated declarations, which we have made in all manner of ways, in preach. ing, in print, and in private conversation :
“ 2. Because (on this as well as many other accounts) it would give huge occasion of i offence to those who seek and difire occasion, i to all the enemies of God and his truth.
« 3. Because it would exceedingly prejudice j' against us many who fear, yea, who love God,
and thereby hinder their receiving so much, perhaps any, farther benefit from our preach
66 4. Because it would hinder multitudes of those who neither love nor fear God, from bearing us at all, and thereby leave them in the hands of the devil :
os 5. Because it would occafion many hundreds, if not some thousands of those who are now united with us, to separate from us; yea, and some of those who have a deep work of grace in their fouls :
“6. Because it would be throwing balls of wild-fire among them that are now quiet in the land. We are now sweetly united together in love. We mostly think and speak the same thing. But this would occasion inconceivable Atrife and contention, between those who left, and those who remained in the church, as well as between those who left us, and thosa! who remain with us : Nay, and between thore very persons who remained, as they were vas riously inclined one way or the other :
67. Because, whereas controversy is now asleep, and we in great measure live peaceably with all men, so that we are strangely at lei. sure to spend our whole time and strength, in enforcing plain, practical, vital religion, ro! what would many of our forefathers have given, to have enjoyed so blessed a calm ?) This would utterly banish peace from among
us, and that without hope of its return. It would engage me for one, in a thousand controversies, both in public and private ; (for I should be in conscience obliged to give the reasons of my conduct, and to defend those reasons against all opposers) and so take me off from those more useful labours, which might otherwise employ the short remainder of my life :
668. Because to form the plan of a Nesu Church would require infinite time and care, (which might be far more profitably bestow'd,) with much more wisdom and greater depth and extensiveness of thought, than any of us are masters of:
« 9. Because from some having barely entertained a distant thought of this, evil fruits have already followed, such as prejudice against the clergy in general; an aptness to believe ill of them; contempt (not without à degree of bitterness) of clergymen as such, and a sharpness of language toward the whole order, utterly unbecoming either gentlemen or christians :
“ 19. Because the experiment has been fo frequently tried already, and the success has never answered the expectation. God has; since the reformation raised up from time to time many witnesses of pure religion. If there liv'd and died (like John Arndt, Robert Bolton and many others) in the churches to which they belonged, notwithstanding the wickedness which overflow'd both the teachers and people therein; they spread the leaven of true religion far and wide, and were more and more useful, till they went to paradise. But if upon any provocation or confideration whatever, they separated and founded diftinct parties, their influence was more and more confined ; they grew less and less useful to others, and generally lost the Spirit of religion themselves in the Spirit of controversy :
"11. Because we have melancholy instances of this, even now before our eyes. Many have in our memory left the church, and formed themselves into distinct bodies. And certainly some of them, from a real persuasion, that they should do God more service. But have any separated themselves and prospered ? Have they been either more holy, or more useful than they were before ? . “ 12. Because by such a separation we yhould not only throw away the peculiar glorying which God has given us, That we do and will suffer all things for our brethren's fake, though the more we love them, the less we be
loved : 'but should act in direct contradiction to that very end, for which we believe God hath raised us up. The chief design of his Providence in sending us out, is undoubtedly, to quicken our brethren and the first message of all our preachers is, to the loft sheep of the church of England. Now would it not be a flat contradiction to this design, to separate from the church? These things being considered, we cannot apprehend, whether it be lawful in itself or no, that it is lawful for us : were it only on this ground, that it is by no means expedient.”
These, no doubt, he read, and commented on.-- And who would suppose, that, before the close of this same year, he and the whole body of Methodists broke off from the church, at a single stroke!- What mighty nagic was able to effect so great a change in one day! It was certainly the greatest change (apparently at least) that ever was known to take place, in so short a time, since the foundation of a christian church was laid. They embraced a new faith, and it shewed itself by their works, for from that memorable period, old things were done away--their old mother, to whom they had avowed so much duty and fidelity, was discarded, and violently opposed.
norable mother, i fidelity,