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1. First, I stand corrected as to my charging your singularities," as your most beloved opinions, and more insisted on,” &c; I retract this comparative and superlative, and hope you will not think I greatly wrong you, when I charge you no higher, than with their being your beloved opinions much insisted on.

2. By saying that " you seem to think you sufficiently answer your adversary, if you put together a number of naked scriptures that sound in your favour," I meant not to say that you do this always, but only sometimes; it was a fault in me to express this in such general terms, and without some such proper word of restriction.

3. In speaking of the ancient and modern Church of England, I was aware I should lay myself open to some such rebuke as thatHow blind was I! &c. I was to blame therefore not to explain myself a little. I know that the written creeds, articles, &c, of a church, are commonly spoken of as the whole doctrine of such church; and it would be so, were human language so univocal as to admit of some one written form, liable to one single sense only; but as this is not the case, the doctrine of any church is really its creeds, articles, &c, as generally understood and interpreted by its living pastors, e.g. " The body and blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's supper :” here is a written form of the Church of Eng. land, generally understood and interpreted in 1345, as teacbing transubstantiation ; the very same written words are retained in 1545, but then generally understood and interpreted in a sounder sense. Now should the duke of Norfolk, in 1745, insist that he differed not from the doctrine of the Church of England because he abided by that written form, might I not fairly be allowed to tell him, “My lord, if by the Church of England be meant, as ought to be meant, the present Church, it will be no hard matter to show that your doctrines differ widely from the doctrines of the Church.” The case will be just the same, though we go no farther back than 1545. If the written articles, &c, were then generally understood and interpreted in the Calvinistical sense ; and [in] 1745 are generally understood and interpreted in the Arminian sense; then if Mr. Whitefield will at this time of day expound the 17th article in the old justly exploded sense, you may fairly be allowed to show (as you do) the blasphemous consequence of the old exploded sense, and might justly be allowed to tell him, “Sir, if this be your interpretation, it will be no hard matter to show that your doctrine differs widely from the doctrine of the present Church."

Indeed should you, through either zeal, or anger, go so much farther, as to tax one another with solemnly subscribing to those articles, &c, which you do not believe in your hearts, this would be going much too far; for you do each of you believe the written articles in your hearts, though each of you in a sense very different from the other. These articles of peace admit of this latitude ; and the royal authority which enjoins them, forbids the cramping it, and speaks of both parties subscribing to the written words.—The disbelieving your sense, is not disbelieving the article ; and therefore, notwithstanding the blasphemous consequences of Mr. Whitefield's sense of the 17th article, you still acknowledge him as a child of God. I hope then the pastors of the present age, bishops, priests, and deacons, for differing from you in the sense of the 13th article, are not to be hinted at as unbelievers in their hearts and children of the devil.

4. Again, I agree with you, that the written word is (now) the whole and sole rule of faith, and that no such implicit faith is due to an apostle or other worker of miracles, as that we should admit any thing for truth contrary to the written word : this, I suppose, is all you mean, by putting the apostles upon proving their assertions from the written word :" what, from the written word before they had wrote it? No; but your intention must be, that the written word (i. e. the Old and New Testament, as we now have them complete) is such a perfect rule of faith, that though an apostle or an angel from heaven were to teach any thing contrary thereto, and work ever so many miracles in confirmation of his new doctrine, still we ought not to believe him: this is as true, as that God is true, and that he cannot contradict himself. But where there is no such contradiction, these miracles have their weight. Now I supposed you, not as teaching some doctrine manifestly contradicted by Scripture, but only as inferring something from thence, which, others think, cannot fairly be inferred. I am attending to the inferences of these various teachers, and am in some suspense which are the right ones. During this suspense, one of them gives out, that the Spirit of God gives visible attestations to bis ministry by miraculous works, (for surely the casting out of devils may be called so, if any thing can.) Now if this shall appear to be no exaggerated account, but a real fact, am I not justified in saying that I will, on account of this attestation, assent to his set of Scripture inferences ? In short, sir, you either did, or did not, cast out devils ; if you did, I am still ready to be your disciple and follower, all the world over; if you did not, you ought to say

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90, and to own your error, in having related a natural fact in such high terms as unavoidably convey to the reader the idea of a miraculous one.

-5. I agree too with you, that it is (generally) a sufficient defence of any way of speaking whatever, that it is Scriptural; but this admits of many restrictions and limitations: if, for instance, you relate a melancholy person's amendment in the Scripture terms of Christ's miraculous healing demoniacs, this, the more Scriptural the terms, the more will it be misguiding: if low and common things are told in Scripture phrase, it becomes either cant or burlesque: if obsolete words are used familiarly, (as earing for ploughing,) the discourse grows unintelligible. If words that have shifted and changed their signification are used, as (let, not for suffer, but for its contrary hinder,) then what is said must appear strange and paradoxical ; thus you would make your people start, should you say that all good souls but Christ's are left in hell till the day of judgment: if some of the apostles had a sort of technical terms peculiar to the controversies of those days, yet well understood by those to whom they wrote, it would be an odd kind of affectation to be familiarly using those terms, merely because they are Scriptural : St. Paul calls Christianity and Judaism faith and works, and sometimes spirit and flesh; yet if a man should say that flesh at present loses ground in Spain, and that spirit gains ground in America, he would but ill defend his singularity by urging that the terms are Scriptural; the case is the same with inany others; salvation, justification, reprobation, predestination, and election. It is not therefore merely being Scriptural that makes terms proper, but we must look back to the occasion of their use ; and if the circumstances then and now are alike, then, and not otherwise, we may pronounce their use alike proper.

6. Well: you are willing to look thus back to the times of the apostles and reformers; and having so done, you ask, Are not the same persuasions as common now as then ?" No, by no means. The persuasion then was, that they might commute expiations or penances, and such like external works, instead of internal holiness. But does any Church of England man maintain any thing like this ? Every wise Churchman uses external rites as the means of internal holiness; and the most ignorant and unwise among us, use them in no worse way than as acts of goodness : but as conto mutations in the stead of holiness, I never heard of one creature among us that professed to use them in so gross a way.

Pray, sir, do you know any people among us so grossly superstitious as to think that devotion might be put upon God instead of honesty ? That three frauds might be committed for six paternosters ? Or, that four sacraments might be taken in order to commit eight adulteries ? It is true, our churches (to speak a sad truth) afford us abundant instances of those who are negligent of internal holiness,-yes, of the external rites of holiness likewise ; our times therefore are times of profaneness, which differ widely from times of superstition, and consequently the phraseology which might be proper for the one, must needs be highly improper for the other : so improper, that possibly the misapplied anti-superstition phrases have contributed to spread not only Antinomianism, but infidelity too into the bargain.

7. And now that we are upon phraseology, give me leave to observe to you, that the insisting too strongly even on Scripture metaphors, has something in it misguiding to the reader ; at least it gives him a claim to your more ready pardon when he mistakes your sense. Thus the hanging so much on faith being the eye, the ear, the finger, the palate, &c, of the soul, inclines a reader to think that you mean something more than mere metaphor; and the vehemence of your style in general (a vehemence rather to be envied than condemned) has yet, as such, a tendency to run, if not the writer, at least the reader into mistakes! Thus when you asserted that faith is the gift of God, which he bestows—not on such as are fit to be crowned with his blessings, but on the ungodly and unholy, on those who are fit only for everlasting destruction ;-I understand (whether by the fault of the writer or the reader I do not say) that this implied arbitrærily: you will pardon me however, that from those warm words I understood you so, till you now explain yourself to mean, that it is not bestowed without any regard to the fitness or previous qualifications of the recipient. In like manner, when you teach that the pardon of sins in heaven, or justification, is certified to the sinner on earth by the Holy Ghost, and that this certificate or testimony is as easily discernible from the suggestions of reason or fancy, as light is discernible from darkness—I understood this to amount to the infallible testimony of the Holy Ghost. But, it seems, these phrases do not amount to infallible, in that sense that none (by the wrong deductions of reason, or false suggestions of fancy) believe they have it, who indeed have not. In what sense then is it thus plainly discernible and infallible? Is it in this sense, that none (by wrong reasoning or false fancy) who indeed have it, believe they have it not? No, nor in this sense neither (witness the case of Mrs. Hannah Richardson,

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who, for above a year after this attestation of justification, continued almost in despair, fancying she should be damned.) Now, sir, in what sense is that attestation infallible and plainly discernible from fancy, which they who have not may fancy they have? and they who really have may fancy they have it not ?

8. As to the experience of pious persons concerning the progressive or the instantaneous gift of faith, you ask me, (and I assure you without any offence,) how many truly pious persons I am so intimately acquainted with, as to be able to interrogate them on the subject? First, I must answer, that the sentiinents of many hundreds may be known from their preachings, writings, or conversations, without any interrogation at all. Next, if you lay an emphasis on the word truly, I must remind you that neither I nor they pretend to have inspected the justitication roil in heaven, or to have received any supernatural or miraculous attestation on that head on earth. If then by “ truly pious persons” you mean those who appear to be such to a reasonable Christian charity, I hope I may answer, that I have known thousands of such in the way I mention : if you have knowu your ten thousands in the other way, God forbid I should envy your numbers ! No : would to God all the Lord's people were known to be pious in some way or other ! Yet I cannot help suspecting that the experience of your tens of thousands, expressed in cool language, will amount to nothing supernatural or miraculous, indeed to no more than this, that they do remember the day, when hearing the love of God preached in a more impetuous and energetic manner than they ever heard before, they were more affected than they ever were before, so that this was the first time they ever so warmly felt the divine love shed abroad in their hearts, and the first time they so seriously attended to the witness of God's Spirit with their spirit that they are the children of God. Witness of God's Spirithow? by an audible voice from heaven, or any other supernatural or miraculous inspiration ? No; but by his attestation in the Holy Scriptures.—True believers are the children of God-There is the witness of His Spirit. We are now true believers -There is the witness of their spirit. — Ergo, we are now the children of God: a conclusion drawn from both the premises in a natural and logical, not a supernatural or miraculous way.

9. As I apprehend much depends on the terms natural and supernatural, and their proper use, give me leave to enlarge a little on this head. Natural, ordinary, and common, when spoken of God's actions, I take to be entirely synonymous terms. Supernatural, miraculous, and uncommon, are likewise synonymous. Thus, when God, by slow and imperceptible degrees, increases a field of wheat forty, fifty, or a hundred fold, this (though it be truly God's own work, as if he had poured new created seed down from heaven,) we call natural, ordinary, and common. But when the same almighty power does at once, in a visible and perceptible manner, increase five loaves to the satisfying above five thousand hungry people, this (though in reality not a whit more of a difficulty or miracle, if I may so speak, in itself) we call supernatural, miraculous, and uncommon; and the case is the same in spirituals as in temporals : if God calls a sinner to repentance, faith, and obedience, by the ministry of man, and by his Holy Spirit's imperceptibly disposing the sinner's faculties to receive the call; this is bis natural, ordinary, or common way of acting : but if he uses the ministry of a visible angel, or calls with an audible voice, “Saul, Saul,' outwardly ; or suddenly inspires him inwardly with any immediate testimony from heaven, perceptibly coming from thence, and as easily distinguishable from the suggestions of reason and fancy, as light is distinguishable from darkness; then this is his supernatural, miraculous, or uncommon way.

10. This distinction remembered, let us examine your definition of faith. You condemn mine as defective. But I meant there to speak of faith or belief, as a genus, of which Christian saving faith may be considered as a species : had I confined myself to that species, I might perhaps have defined it, -"a full practical assent to Christian truths, and an inward conviction of things invisible.” And this I apprehend would perfectly have coincided with St. Paul's ' evidence of things not seen,' though not with your "supernatural conviction of the things of God ;" where does the Scripture say any thing like this, or give the least hint of faith's being a supernatural or miraculous gift? What, then, is faith the gift of God, in no higher sense than riches are ? Yes, surely; but in no higher a sense than hope and charity are : nay, of these three, the greatest of these is charity. When I speak of a full and practical assent, you may be sure I mean such an assent as has (not barely some influence, but) its full and proper influence on practice: now, how a man can have such a full assent to all Christian truths, as is productive of all Christian practice, and yet not have one grain of falth, is, I own, to me quite incomprehensible.

I did not intend to refer you to the polemical or systematical writers of the last

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century, but to their immediate successors, who had well concocted and thoroughly digested the former crudities, and who give occasionally, in their writings, such solid and consistent expositions of the former controverted texts, as seem to bave been to the satisfaction of most men of learning and piety : insomuch, that I know no divines of the Church of England, from Barrow, Sharp, and Tillotson, down to Smallridge, Clark, and Waterland, and quite to this very day, who have gone back into the old and exploded expositions, except yourselves and Mr. Whitefield ; in which, however, you have not gone such unwarrantable lengths as he.

12. I think I have now touched upon all the points in your letter, except your defence of the instantaneous gift of faith, from its beginning, in some one first instant. I know not how to reply to this pertinenily, without appearing to speak harshly; the best way I know of doing this, is to follow St. Paul's example, and 'to transfer the things to myself in a figure.' Suppose, then, sir, I had asserted, that my friends and I had the instantaneous gift of tongues; and you, on the other hand, bad urged, that it was not so with you and your friends If to this I had replied, that there is always some one first instant when people begin to apply to the learning any language, that therefore it is instantaneous in its beginning, and, consequently, all you had said about the slow use of grammars, lexicons, &c, related not to its beginning, but to its progress and increase, and so was wide of the present question : would not this have started you, sir ? And should I not have expected to be told that this was mere quibbling? Not only faith and language, but every thing else in this sense is instantaneous, except God himself, who never had any first beginning at all.

13. But I have done with your letter, and begin now to repent that I have run out into so many particulars, and that too without any success as to the main point of my former letter ; which was the stating the case between you and your adversaries, to whom you appeared to have given but an evasive answer: to this main point, therefore, we must return again. The Christ-church people gave you the nich name of Methodists. Now the charge is, that the Methodists preach sundry singular and erroneous doctrines; how many, perhaps is not easy to say ; but for the greater distinctness, we will say three, viz. unconditional predestination, perceptible inspiration, and sinless perfection. Now, once more, sir, hear your adversaries in their own words:

-"A few young heads set up their own schemes (viz. of unconditional predestination, &c,) as the great standard of Christianity, and indulge their own notions (viz. those peculiar notions) to such a degree, as to perplex, unhinge, terrify, and distract the minds of multitudes--and all this, by persuading them, that they neither are, nor can be, true Christians but by adhering to their doctrines.” Now you ask-What do you mean by their own schemestheir own notions--their own doctrines ? It is plain, we mean their distinguishing singularities, their unconditional predestination, their perceptible inspiration, and their sinless perfection.—You go on—“Are they not yours too ?" No, we are sure they are not ! Are they not the schemesthe notionsthe doctrines of Jesus Christthe great fundamental truths of the gospel ? No, we think they are not. Can you deny one of them, without denying the Bible? Yes, Mr. Wesley denies one of them, and we deny the other two, and yet neither be nor we deny the Bible. “They persuade (so say your adversaries) multitudes of people, that they cannot be true Christians, but by adhering to their doctrines,” (viz. of predestination, inspiration, and perfection.) Why, who says they can ? Say you, Whosoever he be, I will prove him to be an infidel. Well then, Mr. Wesley says, men may be true Christians without adhering to the first doctrine; and Dr. Berriman says, they may be so without adhering to the second and third : and yet God forbid that either of those gentlemen should be proved to be infidels! You proceed- Do you say, that any man can be a true Christian without loving God and his neighbour ? Surely no ; but what is this question to the purpose ? or how does this uncontroverted truth tend to clear the Methodists from teaching controverted errors ? Certainly th's was ad populum, not ad clerum; for he must be a poor clerk indeed, who could not perceive this shifting the question. whether it was an oversight in you, or whether it was an instance of your having not arrived at a more sinless perfection than St. Peter or St. Paul, must be left to the decision of your own breast.

14. Forgive me that I speak thus freely. Whatever error or fault there was in that evasion, I am persuaded you still, in the main, approve of honest and upright dealing. To deal so with you, I must needs tell you that in iny opinion you have no other way of answering the charge of your adversaries, but either by showing that the singularites which they charge you with, are fundamental, and of the essence of Christianity; or else, by frankly owning that you have been guilty of an error in preaching them "with such diligence and zeal, as if the whole of Christianity depended upon them."

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15. This is the point between you and me. If we are to reap any benefit from this correspondence, (as God grant we may !) it must be by my convincing you that you insist upon things as necessary to final salvation which are not so; or by your convincing me that I neglect things which are: the former is such an error as affects not final happiness; but the latter excludes from heaven, and drives to hell. My part then may deserve the name of a friend, but yours alone that of a benefactor. To enable you to be this benefactor, is the primary end of this debate ; your conviction is but the secoudary only. I can think of but one way more of letting you into my wrong state in religion, (if such it be,) and that is, by reminding you of two former states of your own.—The first state is that which you mention in the 13th section of the sermon of "The Almost Christian.” Now, sir, let me ask you, if you had died suddenly in that state, is it your opinion that you should bave gone to hell ? --or to heaven? If you shall say “to hell,” this is running unwittingly into the grossest reprobation scheme : for what can be more so, than to suppose a “person using his utmost diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence --redeeming the time--buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all menconstantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace-endeavouring after a steady seriousness of behaviour at all times, and in all places, and this in all sincerity, having a real design to serve God--a hearty desire to do his will in all things-to please him by whom he was called to fight the good fight of faith, and to lay bold on eternal life," and yet consigned over to eternal death, by God's withholding from him that supernatural gift which he alone can give ? If, on the other hand, you are of opinion that you should have gone to heaven, then your singularities are not essentially necessary to final salvation. The second of your states, upon which I would interrogate you, is, wben you were earnestly employed in preaching the love of God and man, before you preached or knew salvation by faith. Here I ask again, If you had died in this state, is it your opinion you should have gone to hell, or to heaven? If you should say “to hell:" then how could Christ say, that on these doctrines hang all the law and the prophets ? If, on the other hand, you shall say, "to heaven :" then a man may be saved without knowing your doctrine of salvation by faith.

16. In the 78th page of the Second Appeal, you say, “Wherever I was desired to preach, salvation by faith was my only theme: things were in this posture, when I was told I must preach no more in this and this, and another church ; the reason was usually added without reserve, Because you preach such doctrine.” Yet in your letter to me you say—“It was for preaching this very doctrine, the love of God and man, before i preached or knew salvation by faith, that several of the clergy forbade me their pulpits.” This is no way material in our present debate, but I thought it most candid to note what I could not, without your help, tell how to reconcile.

17. I have now done. If I have convinced you of any error, I dare say you will have candour enough to own it. If I have not, then I am persuaded you will have charity enough to take some farther pains to convince me of such vital mistakes, as threaten my perdition, and put a bar to our ever meeting at the resurrection of the just.

November 27, 1745.

LETTER IV.

For Mr. John Smith.

December 30, 1745. Sir,-1 am obliged to you for your speedy and friendly answer ; to which I will reply as clearly as I can.

1. If you have leisure to read the last Appeal, you will easily judge how much I insist on any opinions.

2. In writing practically, I seldom argue concerning the meaning of texts : in wri. ting controversially, I do.

3. In saying, “I teach the doctrines of the Church of England," I do, and always did mean, (without concerning myself whether others taught them or no, either this year or before the reformation,) I teach the doctrines which are comprised in those articles and homilies, to which all the clergy of the Church of England solemnly professto assent, and that in their plain, unforced, grammatical meaning.

As to the 17th article, Mr. Whitefield really believes, that it asserts absolute predestination. Therefore I can also subscribe to it with sincerity. But the case is

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