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Page 29. Your Lordfhip writes thus, "When they profefs to think and act under the immediate guidance of a divine Infpiration.'
And does not your Lordship think and act by the fame rule? Why, otherwife, does your Lordship pray when you adminifter the holy Communion," that GOD would cleanfe the thoughts of our hearts by the infpiration of his Holy Spirit?"
Page 31. Your Lordfhip fays, "when they speak of their preaching and expounding, and the effects of them, as the fole work of a divine Power."
And would your Lordship have me afcribe any, the leaft thing to myself? The good that is done upon earth, doth not GOD do it himself? Does not the Apoftle fay, "Not that we are fufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our fufficiency is of GOD?" And where then, my Lord, is the abfurdity of afcribing the effects of expounding and preaching to the fole work of a divine Power?'
Again, (page 33.) "When they boast of fudden and furprizing effects as wrought by the Holy Ghost, in confequence of their preaching."
Where, my Lord, is the enthusiasm of fuch a pretenfion? Has your Lordship been a preacher in the church of England, for fo many years, and have you never feen any fudden or furprizing effects, confequent upon your Lordship's preaching? Was this my cafe, fhould I not have reafon to doubt, my Lord, whether I had any more than a bare human commiffion? Or might I not take up the Prophet's lamentation, "O my leannefs, my leannefs!" My Lord, the gofpel, 'like its author, is the fame yesterday, to-day, and for ever; and, if preached as it ought to be, will prick numbers to the heart, and extort the cry of the trembling goaler, "What must I do to be faved!" as furely now, as it did feventeen hundred years ago.
Thefe then are the fudden and furprizing effects, my Lord, I always defire to have, and I heartily pray GoD, your Lordfhip and all your clergy may always fee fuch effects in confe quence of their preaching.
When they claim the spirit of prophecy.” What I have faid about my fuccefs, GoD has been pleafed fulfil already. What I have faid about fufferings, they who
without cause are my enemies are fulfilling daily. And as for the promises mentioned in my Journal, I freely own there are fome particular promifes, which God has so strongly impreffed, and does still imprefs on my heart, that I verily believe they will be fulfilled.
(Page 35.) When they fpeak of themselves in the language, and under the character of Apofiles of Christ, and even of CHRIST himself."
If I am not to speak in an apoftolical language, why did my Lord of Gloucefter give me an apoftolical commiffion, "whose fins thou doft forgive, they are forgiven; and whofe fins thou doft retain, they are retained?" And I hope, my Lord, using the words which JESUS CHRIST ufed, is not taking upon me the character of CHRIST.
(Page 36.) "When they profefs to plant and propagate a new Gospel, as unknown to the generality of minifters and people, in a chriftian country."
'Tis true, my Lord, in one sense, mine is a new gospel, and will be always unknown to the generality of ministers and people, even in a christian country, if your Lordship's clergy follow your Lordship's directions. For what fays your Lordfhip, (page 46.) "I hope, that when your minifters preach to you of juftification by faith alone, which is afferted in the ftrongest manner by our church, they explain it in such a manner, as to leave no doubt upon your minds, whether good works are a neceffary condition of your being justified in the fight of GOD."
But pray, my Lord, where has the fcripture made good works a neceffary condition of our being juftified in the fight of GOD? St. Paul fays, " by grace ye are faved, through faith, not of works, and that, leaft any man fhould boast. For eternal life is the gift of GOD through JESUS CHRIST our LORD." Your Lordship exhorts your clergy to preach juftification by faith alone, and quotes the 11th article of our church, which tells us, we are juftified by faith only, and not for our own works or defervings." At the fame time, your Lordship bids them "explain it in fuch a manner, as to leave no doubt upon their minds, whether good works are a neceffary condition of their being juftified in the fight of Gop." Your Lordship, in my opinion, could not well be
guilty of a greater inconfiftency. This, my Lord, is truly a new Gospel. I am fure it is not what the Apostles preached; and it is as contrary to the doctrine of the church of England, and the whole tenour of the gospel, as light is contrary to darkness. Had your Lordship infifted on your clergy's preaching up good works as a necessary fruit and confequence, instead of a neceffary condition of our being juftified, your Lordship would have used your authority aright. For we are commanded to fhew forth or declare to others, that we have a true faith by our works. And the 12th article of our church fays, that "good works follow after juftification;" and how then, my Lord, are they a neceffary condition of our juftification ? No, my Lord, falvation (if the gospel be true) is the free gift of GOD through JESUS CHRIST. Faith is the means whereby that falvation is applied to our hearts, and good works are the neceffary fruits and proof of that faith.
This, my Lord, is the doctrine of JESUS CHRIST, this is the doctrine of the church of England, and it is, because the generality of the clergy of the church of England do not preach this doctrine, that I am refolved, GOD being my helper, to continue instant in season and out of season, to declare it unto all men, let the confequences, as to my own private person, be what they will.
As for your Lordship's blaming me for rafhly cenfuring the clergy, for their practice, none are concerned, but my indolent, earthly-minded, pleasure-taking brethren, (page 39.) And furely, your Lordship will not ftand up in their defence. No, I hope your Lordship will not fail to rebuke them sharply. And as for your Lordship's fufpicions, page 50. (For your Lordship's fake I would not mention them) I hope my life and doctrine will always prove them to be groundless.
Would time permit, I could now proceed to fatisfy your Lordship more particularly about the cafe of Mr. Benjamin Seward: but as that is done in a letter fent to my Lord of Gloucefter, and as I am now to embark in a few hours, I hope your Lordship will excufe me, if I only add my hearty prayers for your Lordship's temporal and eternal welfare, and fubfcribe myfelf, my Lord,
Aug. 13, 1739.
Your Lordship's obedient, though
The letter above mentioned, as fent to the Bishop of Gloucefter, was occafioned by the Bishop's acquainting Mr. Whitefield, in a letter, "That he ought to preach only in that congregation to which he was lawfully appointed." This produced the following anfwer.
Thank your Lordship for your Lordship's kind letter.
My frequent removes from place to place prevented my answering it sooner. I am greatly obliged to your Lordship, in that you are pleased to watch over my foul, and to caution me against acting contrary to the commission given 'me at ordination. But if the commiffion we then receive, obliges us to preach no where but in that parish which is committed to our care, then all perfons act contrary to their commiffion when they preach occafionally in any ftrange place; and confequently your Lordship equally offends, when you preach out of your own diocefe. As for inveighing against the clergy, (without a cause) I deny the charge. What I fay, I am ready to make good whenever your Lordship pleases. Let those that bring reports to your Lordship about my preaching, be brought face to face, and I am ready to give them an anfwer. St. Paul exhorts Timothy, " Not to receive an accufation against an elder under two or three witnesses." And even Nicodemus could fay, " The law suffered no man to be condemned unheard." I shall only add, that I hope your Lordship will inspect into the lives of your other clergy, and cenfure them for being over-remifs, as much as you cenfure me for being over-righteous. It is their falling from their articles, and not preaching the truth as it is in JESUS, that has excited the present zeal of (thofe whom they in derifion call) the Metho dift preachers. Dr. Stebbing's sermon, (for which I thank your › Lordship) confirms me more and more in my opinion, that I ought to be inftant in season and out of season. For to me, he feems to know no more of the true nature of regeneration, than Nicodemus did, when he came to JESUS by night. Your Lordship may observe, that he does not speak a word of original fin, or the dreadful confequences of our fall in Adam, upon which the doctrine of the new birth is entirely founded. No: VOL. IV.
like other polite preachers, he feems to think in the very beginning of his discourse, that St. Paul's defcription of the wickedness of the heathen is only to be referred to them of paft ages whereas I affirm, we are all included as much under the guilt and confequences of fin, as they were; and if any man preach any other doctrine, he fhall bear his punishment, whofoever he be. Again, my Lord, the Doctor entirely mistakes us, when we talk of the fenfible operations of the Holy Ghoft. He understands us just as thofe carnal Jews understood JESUS CHRIST, who, when our LORD talked of giving them that bread which came down from heaven, faid, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Indeed I know not that we do use the word fenfible, when we are talking of the operations of the Spirit of Gop. But if we do, we do not mean, that God's Spirit does manifeft itself to our fenfes, but that it may be perceived by the foul, as really as is any fenfible impreffion made upon the body. But to dif prove this, the Doctor brings our LORD's allufion to the wind in the third of St. John, which is one of the best texts he could urge to prove it. For if the analogy of our LORD's difcourfe be carried on, we shall find it amounts to thus much: that although the operations of the Spirit of Gop can no more be accounted for, than how the wind cometh and whither it goeth; yet may they be as eafily felt by the foul as the wind may be felt by the body. My Lord, indeed we fpeak what we know. But, fays the Doctor, Thefe men have no proof to offer for their inward manifeftations." What proof, my Lord, does the Doctor require? Would he have us raise dead bodies? Have we not done greater things than thefe.? I fpeak with all humility; has not God by our ministry raised many dead fouls to a fpiritual life? Verily, if men will not believe the evidence GOD has given that he fent us, neither would they believe though one rose from the dead. Befides, my Lord, the Doctor charges us with things to which we are entire ftrangers, fuch as the denying men the ufe of God's creatures. Encouraging abftinence, prayer, &c. to the neglect of the duties of our ftations. LORD, lay not this fin to his charge! Again, he fays, "That I fuppofe Mr. Benjamin Seward to be a perfon believing in CHRIST, and blameless in his converfation, before what I call his conver