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was all that my charge against Mr Wesley imported. I am now about to prove it well grounded.
Mr Wesley's sermon, intituled Free grace, printed at Bristol 1739, is designed to expose the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, i.e. as Mr Wesley expresses it, p.7. “ The doctrine, that God did elect a certain number of men to falvation ; that all these will be saved, and none else ; that the rest of mankind God leaves to themselves, and so they follow the imaginations of their own hearts, and are at length justly punished with everlasting destruction." This doctrine he endeavours to show makes all preaching vain, and tends to destroy the comfort of religion, nay holiness too and zeal for good works, nay to overthrow the Christian revelation, by making it contradict itself.P. 22. « It is a doctrine full of blasphemy : it represents Jesus Christ the righteous as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity.”-p. 23. “ He calls those to come to him that cannot come, those whom he knows to be unable to come, those whom he can make able to come, but will not. How is it possible to describe greater insincerity? You represent him as mocking bis helpless creatures, by offering what he never intends to give."-p.24.“ It represents the most holy God as worse than the devil ; as both more false, more cruel, and more unjuft. More false; because the devil, liar as he is, hath never said, he willeth all men to be saved : more unjust; because the devil cannot, if he would, be guilty of such injustice as you ascribe to God, when you say, that God condemned millions of souls to everlasting fire for continuing in fin, which, for want of that grace he will not give them, they cannot avoid : and more cruel ; because that unhappy fpirit feeketh rest and findeth none, so that his own restless misery is a kind of temptation to him to tempt others; but God resteth in his high and holy place: so that to suppose him, of his pure will and pleasure, happy as he is, to doom his creatures, whether they will or not, to endless misery, is to impute such cruelty to him, as we cannot iinpute even to the great enemy of God and man. --p. 26. « Upon the supposition of this doctrine, one might say to our adversary the devil, Thou fool, why dost thou roar about any longer! Thy lying in wait for souls
is as needless and useless as our preaching. Hearest thou not that God hath taken thy work out of thy hands, and that he doth it much more effectually! Thou canst only intice, but his unchangeable decree, to leave thousands of souts in death, compels them to continue in fin, till they drop into everlasting burnings. Thou temptest; he forceth us to be damned. Hearest thou not that God is the devouring lion, the destroyer of souls, the murderer of
Never did I fee fuch bitter and unfair reflections on the Calvinists, unless in a piece of Castalio's, which I happened v to glance above twenty years ago, and which left on my mind an unusual impression of horror. I am not to enter into a doctrinal controversy with Mr Wesley. The preface and defence, like his letter to Mr Hervey, are intended for caution, not for confutation. Cole on God's fove. reignty, the Limestreet sermons, Cooper on predestination, and other books abundantly common, have shown, that such consequences do not indeed flow from the Calvinist doctrine. If a further defence be needful, I doubt not some who have leisure and ability will undertake it. All I shall say is, If doing a thing, or permitting it to be done in time, is consistent with God's moral perfections, the eternally decreeing thus to do or permit can never be contrary to them, unless the eternally resolving to do a just thing is unjust. God's decree compels no man to sin, and deprives him of no power to do good. You will say, there flows from the decree an infallible certainty of men's sinning, and perilhing in their sins. I allow it: but a certainty no more infallible than would flow from the divine foreknowledge, which Mr Wesley himself allows as a fcripture-truth. If the last does not infer the creature constrained, neither does the first. God hath indued the will of man (as is well observed Westminster confession, c.9.) with that natural liberty that is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined, to do good or evil. If man has loft ability to spiritual good, his inability flows not froin want of natural powers, but from the depraved byass of his heart: if that depraved byals were cured, duty would be easy. Now, an inability which'flows from depravity of heart, may well aggravate guilt, but
can never excuse it; unless when wickedness becomes obstinate and incurable it ceases to be criminal; and stubborn rebels against the sovereign Lord of the universe have found a device, by their stubbornness of heart, to free themselves from all obligation to loyalty and allegiance.
From the above extracts and observations, it will appear what force there is in the apology for Mr Welley, Appeal, p. Ico, 101, “ Neither does he fay, that predestination “ is naturally deadly poison ; only, that upon some it has so that deadly effect. Mr Wesley looks on it to be an " edged tool, (as the faculty speak of mercury), if not in « the hand of a wise man it may do much harm.” Wrong opinions must be the least enemy of religion, or no enemy at all, if a doctrine is not naturally deadly poison, that makes preaching vain, tends to destroy holiness, represents Christ as a deceiver, and the holy God as worse than the devil. Every person, according to Mr Wesley, who maintains, that God from eternity ordained whatsoever should come to pass, must either equivocate and prevaricate, or honestly avow that God is the author of all sin, and the destroyer of the greater part of mankind without mercy. Compare Dialogue between a predeflinarian and his friend, at the beginning, with the dedication, p. 4. Is there not deadly poison in a doctrine, which can justly be charged with such shocking blafphemy?
Mr Kershaw says, p. 76." If the editor imagines Mr “ Wesley lays our works at the bottom of all the fabric “ of redemption,” (I suppose he meant to have said predestination, of which the former sentence speaks), “ he does os not understand him.” Mr Wesley does not lay our work's as the foundation of the conditional decree of saving such who should believe, for of that he supposes God's love of pity the cause : but he does suppose them the cause of our actual election, and of Christ's becoming to us in particular the author of eternal salvation. See Scripture-doctrine concerning predestination, p. 6,8.
I had observed Mr Wesley's asserting, that to say Christ died for the elect as elect, is to say that he accomplished a folemn nothing : because the elect, as such, are not loft. Mr Kershaw tells us, p. 79. that a few weeks ago
ley himself answered this to the editor, together with all that is material in the preface.
Apprehending that this ill-grounded alledgeance might have more effect than all Mr Kershaw's arguments, I fent him Mr Wesley's letter, fignifying my willingnefs it should be published as an appendix to his Earneft Appeal. Mr Kershaw relurned me the following note.
“ As Mr Kershaw had, as he apprehends, fufficient rea. fons for taking notice of Mr Wesley's letter to the Editor, seeing many made an ill use of his filence in that respect, when he was here lately; and as he apprehends the letter implicitly justifies all he said of it as wrote to the Editor, he is by no means unwilling it should be published. Nevertheless, neither the Editor nor the Public can look up. on it as Mr Wesley's full answer to the Preface. Mr Kere shaw is sensible Mr Wesley never intended it as such ; for if he had, he would have precluded the necessity of his Reply. When the note from the Editor came to hand, near three hundred copies of the Reply were gone off, so that it was impossible to print it in the
desired.” How far Mr Welley's letter was an answer to any thing material in the preface, the reader will best judge by perusing it.
Edinburgh, April 24. 1765. REVEREND SIR, BEtween thirty and forty years I have had the world
upon me, speaking all manner of evil. And I expected no less, as God had called me to testify that its deeds were evil. But the children of God were not upon me: nor did I expect they would. I rather hoped they would take knowledge, that all my designs, and thought, and care, and labour, were directed to this òne point, To advance the kingdom of Christ upon earth. And fo many of them did, however differing from me, both in opinions and modes of worship. I have the pleasure to mention Dr Doddridge, Dr Watts, and Mr Wardrope, in particular. How then was I surprised, as well as concerned, that a child of the fame Father, a servant of the iame Lord, a member of the same family, and (as to the essence of it) a preacher of the fame gospel, should, without any provocation that I know of, declare open war against me! I was the more surprised, becaufe you had told me fome months since, that you would favour me with a letter. And had this been done, I make no doubt but you would have received full satisfaction. Instead of this, you ushered into this part of the world, one of the most bitter libels that was ever wrote against me: wrote by a dying man, (lo far as it was wrote by poor, well-meaning Mr Hervey), with a trembling hand, just as he was tottering on the margin of the grave: A great warrior resigned his crown, because “ there should be some interval, he said, between fighting and death." But Mr Hervey, who had been a man of peace all his life, began a war not fix months before he died. He drew his sword, when he was just putting off his body. He then fell on one to whom he had the deepest obligations, (as his own letters, which I have now in my hands, testify), on one who had never in. tentionally wronged him, who had never spoken an unkind word of him, or to him, and who loved him as his own child. O tell it not in Gath! The good Mr Hervey (if these letters were his) died cursing his spiritual father!
And these letters another good man, Mr , has introduced into Scotland, and warmly recommended. Why have you done this? “ Because you have concealed your principles, which is palpable dishonesty."
When I was first invited into Scotland, (about 14 years ago), Mr Whitefield told me,“ You have no business there: for your principles are so well known, that if you spoke Jike an angel, none will hear you. And if they did, you would have nothing to do but to dispute with one and another from morning to night.”
I answered, “ If God sends me, people will hear. And I will give them no provocation to dispute : for I will studiously avoid controverted points, and keep to the fundamental truths of Christianity. . And if any still begin to dispute, they may: but I will not dispute with them."
I came. Hundreds and thousands flocked to hear. But I was enabled to keep my word. I avoided whatever might engender strife, and insisted upon the grand points, the religion of the heart, and falvation by faith, at all times, and in all places. And by this means, I have cut off all occasion of dispute, from the first day to this very hour.