« 이전계속 »
of the many Çlamours I heard raised against them, was still held in sufpenie. I enquired of every body I met with, but their Accounts were lo different they afforded me no Satisfaction. I often wish'd for an opportunity of hearing one or other of them, and of acquainting myself more throughly with their Doctrine and Ways, that I might the better be enabled to judge for myself; but none offer'd till the other Day that my Business led me down to Bripol.
My Stay there was short ; however hearing that Mr. Charles Wesley would preach in the Afternoon, just out of the City, I got a Guide and went to hear him. I found him standing on a Table, in an erect Pofture, with his Hands and Eyes lifted up to Heaven in Prayer, surrounded with about a thousand People ; fome few of them Persons of Fashion, both Men and Women, but most of them of lower Rank. I know not how long he had been engag'd in the Duty before I came, but he contînued therein, after my coming, scarce a quarter of an Hour; during which time he prayed with uncommon fervency, fluency and variety of proper Expression. He then preach'd about an Hour on the five last Verses of the filth Chapter of 2 Cor. in such a manner as I scarce ever heard any Man preach, ż. e. though I have heard many a finer Sermon, according to the common Taste or Acceptation of Sermons, yet I never saw or heard any Man discover such evident Signs of a vehement Desire, or labour fo earnestly to convince his Hearers, that all Mankind are by Nature in a state of Enmity and Rebellion against God, and consequently in a damnable State; that God is willing to he reconciled to them, and in order thereto hath imputed their Sins to Chrilt, who hath fulfilled all Righteousness, hath Suffered and shed his precious Blood, in our Nature and Stead, that his Righteousness might be imputed to as many as believe in him for their Juftification in the fight of God, and final Salvation; and that none are excepted but such as refuse to come to him as lost, undone, yea as damned Sinners, and fruft in him alone, i.e, in his merîtorious Righteousness, and atoning Sacrifice, for Pardon and éternal Life. All which Points he backed, all along as he went on, with many pertinent Texts of Scripture, which he explained and illustrated. He then freely invited all, even the chief of Sinners, to come to Christ; and at the same time that he shewed there is no Doctrine, no Terms, to which the corrupt Heart of Man makes a greater Dificulty to comply and submit, than Salvation by Grace, or by Faith in the sole Righteousness of another, he laboured by a variety of the most forcible Motives, Arguments and Expoftulations, to persuade, allure, quicken, and, if possible, compel all and every of his Hearers to believe in Christ, in order to their Redemption and Salvation through him.
Nor did he fail to inform them Irow ineffeétual their Faith would be, unleis it wrought by Love, purified their Hearts, and were productive of good Works; for tho he cautioned them, with the utmost Care, not to attribute
any Merit to their own Performances, nor in the least degree reit on any Works of their own, yet he truly apprizid them, at the same time, that it is but a dead Faith which is not operative, which doth not produce an holy Life, and cause them to abound in the Fruits of Obedience, doing all the good in their Power.
Now let any Man shew me in what respect this Doctrine differs from that held forth in the Articles of the Church of England, or from that
containd in the New Testament. If the Articles' do not contain the fundamental Doctrines of the Gospel, why is every Christian Minister required to subscribe to them? But if they do, why is our Clergy fo generally, so notoriously departed from them? And why so loud an Outcry againit the Men who preach up these and no other Doétrines ?
If it be not their Doctrine that is objected to, but their new Method of preaching in the fields, &c. I answer, That is an old Method; and beg leave to demand, What Command or Precept of the Gospel is transgress'd thereby? Our blessed Saviour preached not only in Synagogues, but likewise on a Mountain, in a Ship by the Sea fide, or wheresoever the People were assembled to hear. St. Paul, with Silas and Timotheus, went out of the City Philippi on the Sabbath, by a River-side, where Prayer was wont to be made, and spake (i. e. preached) to the Women that reported thither. And are we not assured, that where two or three are met tegether in the Name of Christ, there he is in the midst of them?
Afterwards I went with them to a religious Society, and found the Place so thronged that it was with great difficulty we got to the center of it, where was a convenient Place provided for Mr. Wefley. When we came to them they were singing an Hymn, but ceased as soon as he had taken his Place. He first prayed, then expounded good part of the 12th Chapter of St. John's Golpel, then fung an Hymn, then proceeded å while in his Exposition, sang another Hymn, prayed over more than 20 Bills, which were put up to him by the Society, all except two respecting their spiritual Concerns, and concluded with the usual Benediction. But never did I hear such Praying! never did I see and hear such evident Signs of fervency of Spirit in serving the Lord! The People hung upon the Preacher's Lips : At the end of every single Petition a serious Amen run through the whole Assembly, with an air of such Solemnity and Fervour, as quite distinguished it from whatever of that kind I have heard attending
the Responses at Church. Their Singing was not only the most harmo: nious I ever heard, but seemed to be done with uncommon emotions of divine Joy. I never before so well understood that Expression which often occurs in Mr. Whitefield's Journals, where he speaks of " singing “ Psalms lustily and with a good Courage." It is impossible for one to try the Hearts of others, nor would I dare invade the divine Prerogative; but this I will venture to say, Such manifest Tokens of a lively, genuine Devotion, in every part of religious Worship, I never before, in any place, er on any Occasion, have been witness to. If there be such a thing as heavenly Musick on Earth, I heard it there ; If such an attainment as Heaven upon Earth, numbers in that Society seemed to possess it. As for my own part, I do not remember my Heart at any time to have been so elevated in Prayer and Praise, either in Collegiate, Parochial, or private Worship, as it was then and there.
I found also, upon Enquiry, that great numbers in and about Bristol, by attending on these religious Exercises, have been reform'd from a vitious to a virtuous course of Life, who, without neglecting their necelfary Employments (as has been fuggelted) now make Religion the principal business of their Lives. That this is remarkably the Case allo with a great number of the Colliers at Kingswood, whose Wickedness, not many Years since, was notorious : One Man in particular told me, that his Wife, wüh whom he had lived fome Years very unhappily, who usid
daily to curse him, by attending daily the Ministrations of the Wesleys, was now become the best of Wives, which was the first occasion of his joining himself to them. If therefore any, with Natbandėl, ask, “ Can
any good thing come out of Nazareth ?” Can any good come out of Methodism? I only answer, as Philip, Come and see.
Upon the Doctrine of the Methodists.
mote the welfare and growth of Christianity, upon national and scriptural Principles; and a scheme of Religion founded on such Principles cannot be too vigilantly defended against Novellists and Innovators; for doubt. less nothing can more prejudice che Enemies of Christ against his Gospel, than the want of Concord and Unanimity amongst its Professors
. Are then the Ministers of the establish'd Church to be condemnd of want of Love and Christian Charity, if they endeavour, by all lawful Means, and by sound Reasoning, to prevent the multiplication of Sects, and growth of Herefies? Nay, is it not incumbent on them most heartily to endeavour it, that they may appear watchful of the Charge entrusted to them? This Confideration, I think, fufficiently justifies the Opposition made to the new-fashioned pinions and Practices of the Methodists, a set of People that seem to be in a fair way to establih a Sect of as obstinate Diflenters as any in the Nation : It looks indeed as if it was the thing they aim'd at, else why do they affect to distinguish themselves by the particular denomination of Methodists ? Could they not have been contented with the Name of Christians, without taking to themselves an additional and peculiar Title ?
To oppose this Evil several worthy Ministers of the Gospel have set themselves, particularly Dr. Trapp and Dr. Stebbing, who have accordingly done it in some Discourses publish'd by them, entirely just and conclufive against the Errors they are pointed at. Mr. Seagrave, a Methodists has attempted an Anärer to Dr. Trapp, in which he discovers a good deal of Rancour and Hatred to the present Clergy, but little of Argumentation or sound Reasoning of efficacy enough to invalidate what the Doctor has said. But as for the Sermon of the Reverend Dr. Stebbing, 'tis a Discourse lo entirely founded on Truth and just Reasoning, that one might venture to affirm, an unprejudic'd Person could not read it without Conviction. But so it is, when Men have once taken it in their Heads, that they feel the Spirit at their Hearts, every whimsical Notion and idle Opinion they Tun into is then the Dictates of it, and all that can be said against thein, the suggestions of the Devil, or at best, vain Babblings, or the unhappy effects of a carnal Mind. For this reason I did not in the least expect that what Dr. Stebbing has said, or any other Man can say, would at all convince these People of their Error; but I believe it muf have so good an effect upon those who are not yet deluded, as to make them Proof against any future Attacks. But since, Sir, you have publish'd a Letter in your Lait Magazine, * in opposition to that excellent Discourse of Dr. Stilbing,
and Vol. IX p. 415
and vindicating the Conduct of the Metbodifs, be so good as to allow the same Favour to this Answer to that Letter.
Whenever a Company of overwise People set themselves up, in oppofition to confirm'd Doctrines and Practices, as the only true Standard of theological Opinions and Manners, their Declarations and Apologies in defence of themselves never fail to be Auff'd with loud Exclamations against the Doctrines and Practices of the Ministers of the Church: And indeed in this the Men are right, for without it their Undertakings would not appear at all plausible; they must first crush their opponents before they can establish their own Notions. This Gentleman, we see, sets out in the same manner, and the first Words in his Letter are these: “ That the generality of the Clergy of the Church of England have de“parted from the Doctrines of the Reformation, is a Truth too notorious “ to be denied ; and the great and sublime Doctrines of the Gospel are “not only disbeliev'd, but every where violently oppos'd, and loudly “ spoken against.” This is a heavy Charge indeed upon the whole Body of the Clergy; but the Misfortune is, that it has very little Truth in it, and less Modesty and good Nature, which are Virtues the Metbedifts seem to have no pretence to. Well, but how does he make this out? Why, by several Instances ; first, That they have entirely discarded the Doctrine of Three Persons in the Unity of the Godhead. For the truth of this we have nothing more than the Gentleman's Word ; and, begging his Pardon, the Aspersion is both false and scandalous. I have been often present at Sermons preachd by Minifters who were Strangers to me, buc never in my Life heard this Article decry'd by any of them, but often afirm'd in most positive Terms: And as for those with whom I am acquainted, I dare affirm, to a Min, they are zealous for it : Moft too of our eminent Divines (some Particulars only excepted) whose Works have been printed for the Benefit of the World,' are stedfait in the fame Doctrine. What Ground then does there appear for this scandalous Charge upon the Clergy? Scandalous I call it, for since all the Clergy have subscribd to this Article, to say they have all discarded it, is, in my opinion, saying, That they have no segard to what they Subscribe or what they Affirm. 'Tis true, there are some, tho' I believe not one in a hundred, who have fallen off from the Faith in this Article: A true Instance of human Frailty ! But even those, tho' guilty of Error, are not chargeable with that Nonsense and Self-contradiction which this Writer lays upon them. “ The true Deity of our blessed Saviour, says he, is openly decry'd, and the Notion of a Created God every where embrac'd.” A Created God is a Contradiction in Terms, and an Appellation which no Opposer of the Trinity ever was so filly as to apply to the Son of God, tho' your Core respondent roundly charges all the Clergy in the Nation as guilty of it.
Original Sin, which he farther tells us the Clergy have incer'd out of the Church," does not consist in the Imputation of Adam's Tranfgreflion to his Pofterity, as ne supposes; for 'cis as much imposible that the Ation by which Adam sinned should be mine, as that my Sins should be his: But Original Sin is this: Adam being the Stock from which all Men were 80 spring, and having corrupted himself by Sin, the Offspring of a Root thus vitiated must be corrupt, and like its Parent ; and therefore Men are born into the World subject to Death and Diseases, fillid too with evil Difpofitions and Affections, so that their Works, proceeding from imper
feet Principles, have not the nature of true Holiness, and confequently are not in themselves acceptable to God : And for this Reason a Sacrifice for Sin, and a Mediator, were necessary to make our weak Endeavours teceiv'd as Unfinning Obedience. This I take to be the Sum of Original Sin, and the true Sense of the Article on that Head; and this is a Doctrine which the Clergy conítantly maintain. The Election of particular Persons to Salvation, and the Passing by of others, which the Methodists condemn the Clergy of the Church for denying, is a Doctrine contrary to the Divine Attributes, destructive of all Religion, affirm'd in no part of Scripture, but denied in numberless; all which Particulars are easily prov'd. The Clergy do not deny that Salvation is freely by God's Grace, but they deny that this Grace is given unconditionately, and that it leaves nothing to be done by ourselves. Our own Good Works are indeed not meritorious in our Salvation, but yet they are absolutely necefsary Conditions of it, and without which we cannot be sav'd. Christ did not die to save Men the trouble of Repentance and Amendment, but to make them acceptable to Pardon; he that sees not this in Scripture, knows nothing of them as he ought. To his last Objection I answer, That there is nothing like irresistible Grace talk'd of in Scripture, Men there are always treated as free Agents ; God does not tell us he'll make us do right or wrong as to him feems good, but Counsels and Perswades us to do one rather than the other, always leaving it to our own Choice to follow or neglect his Advice. Was it not so, no Man need be troubled about his Sins, what he does he can't help: If every one's Will was not free, our Lord could have little reason for the following, and many other Expressions which he uses: O Jerusalem! Jerufalem! thou which killest the Prophets, and stonest them which are jent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy Children together, even as a Hen gatheretb ber Chicken under her Wings, but ye would not. If Deism does daily get ground, as this Writer supposes, I wish the occafion of it does not, in a great measure, lie upon such Men as Mr. Whitefield and his Followers, who deItroy the unanimity of the Church, and breed Schisms in it, by that means giving occasion to the Enemies of Christ to blaspheme.
I have now done with the Introduction to his Letter, which I have remaind the longer upon, to shew the falsity of those general Reflections contain d in it. Upon the Sequel, which relates to Dr. Stebbing, I shall be more concise, for there is no danger that any one's Efteem for the Doctor's Discourse can be lessend by what this Gentleman has said, there being nothing in the Letter, as far as I can perceive, that any way affects the general Doctrine of his Sermon. But let us a little observe how well he has vindicated Mír. Whitefield's Conduct from what he calls the falle Aspersions of Dr. Stebbing. Boaliingi, says he, Mr. Whitefield difclaims. But can he really be of that Opinion, when he reads that Preacher's Journals? In which he files the Ministers of the Church Felle Prophets, and himself the only true one; and tells us, there is no Gospel preach'd in England but by hiin and his Followers, who being fillid with the Holy Ghoit ettab'ith their Doctrines with demonstration of the Spirit. I don't say that these are Mr. Whitefield's very Words, but 'tis the direct Meaning of them; and if this be not the height of Boastings and spiritual Pride, I would desire to be told what it is. In order to vindicate Mr. Whitefield's want of Charity in his Centures, he tells us, that none Cen.