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“ While the constable was gathering his posse, we got our things from Mr. Clark's, and prepared to go forth.
The whole multitude were without, expecting us, and saluted us with a general shout. Mr. Minton and I took horse in the face of our enemies, who began clamouring against us ; the gentlemen were dispersed among the mob, to bridle them. We rode a slow pace up the street, the whole multitude pouring along on both sides, and attending us with loud acclamations,
such fierceness and diabolical malice I have not before seen in human faces. They ran up to our horses, as if they would swallow us, but did not know which was Wesley. We felt great peace and acquiescence in the honour done us, while the whole town were spectators of our march. When out of sight, we mended our pace, and about seven o'clock came to Wrexall. The news of our danger was got thither before us; but we brought the welcome tidings of our deliverance. We joined in hearty prayer to our Deliverer, singing the hymn beginning with
Worship, and thanks, and blessing,
And strength, ascribe to Jesus, &c. 6 February 26.-I preached at Bath, and we rejoiced like men who take spoil. We continued our triumph at Bristol, and reaped the fruit of our labours and sufferings.” He had got among a people who had received the Gospel.not in word only, but in power.' He was now therefore in honour ; but he passed through it also, and was soon called to encounter the storms of dishonour and danger in Ireland.
Mr. J. Wesley knowing that much of this opposition and brutal treatment, was owing to the ignorance and prejudice of many of the clergy; and wishing to remove every ground of offence, he wrote a state of the
Friend, which he afterwards published : “ About seven years since, we began preaching inward present salvation, as attainable by faith alone. For preaching this doctrine, we were forbidden to preach in most churches. We then preached in private houses ; and when the houses could not contain the people, in the open air. For this, many of the clergy preached or printed against us, as both heretics and schismatics. Persons who were convinced of sin, begged us to advise them more particularly, how to flee from the wrath to come. We desired them, being many, to come at one time, and we would endeavour it. For this, we were represented, both from the pulpit and press, as introducing Popery, and raising sedition : Yea, all manner of evil was said, both of us, and of those who used to assemble with us. Finding that some of these did walk disorderly, we desired them not to come to us any more.
And some of the others we desired to overlook the rest, that we might know whether they walked worthy of the Gospel. Several of the clergy now stirred up the people, to treat us as outlaws or mad dogs. The people did so, both in Staffordshire, Cornwall, and many other places. And they do so still, wherever they are not restrained by fear of the magistrates.
“Now, what can we do, or what can you, or our brethren do, towards healing this breach? Desire of us any thing which we can do with a safe conscience, and we will do it immediately. Will you meet us here? Will you do what we desire of you, so far as you can with a safe conscience ?
“1. Do you desire us, To preach another, or to desist from preaching this doctrine? We cannot do this with a safe conscience.
“ 2. Do you desire us, To desist from preaching in private houses, or in the open air ? As things are now circumstanced, this would be the same as desiring us not to preach at all.
“ 3. Do you desire us, Not to advise those who meet together for that purpose ? To dissolve our societies? We cannot do this with a safe conscience; for, we apprehend, many souls would be lost thereby. “4. Do
you desire us, To advise them one by one? This is impossible, because of their number.
6 5. Do you desire us, To suffer those who walk disorderly, still to mix with the rest ? Neither can we do this with a safe conscience ; for evil communications corrupt good manners.'
“6. Do you desire us, To discharge those leaders, as we term them who overlook the rest ? This is, in effect, to suffer the disorderly walkers still to remain with the rest.
“ Do you desire us, lastly, to behave with tenderness, both to the characters and persons of our brethren the clergy? By the grace of God, we can and will do this ; as, indeed, we have done to this day.
“ If you ask, What we desire of you to do? we answer, 1. We do not desire any of you, to let us preach in your church, either if you believe us to preach false doctrine, or if you have the least scruple. But we desire any who believes us to preach true doctrine, and has no scruple in the matter, not to be either publicly or privately discouraged from inviting us to preach in his church.
“ 2. We do not desire, that any who thinks it his duty to preach or print against us, should refrain therefrom. But we desire, that none will do this, till he has calmly considered both sides of the question ; and that he would not condemn us unheard, but first read what we say in our own defence.
“ 3. We do not desire any favour, if either Popery, sedition, or immorality be proved against us. But we desire you would not credit, without proof, any of those senseless tales that pass current with the vulgar; that, if you do not credit them yourselves, you will not relate them to others; yea, that you will discountenance those who still retail them abroad.
“ 4. We do not desire any preferment, favour, or recommendation, from those that are in power, either in Church or State. But we desire, 1. That if any thing material be laid to our charge, we may be permitted to answer for ourselves.--2. That you would hinder your dependants from stirring up the rabble against us, who are certainly not the proper judges in these matters ; and 3. That you would effectually suppress and discountenance all riots and popular insurrections, which evidently strike at the foundation of all government, whether of Church or State.
“ Now these things you certainly can do, and that with a safe conscience. Therefore, till these things be done, the continuance of the breach, if there be any, is chargeable on you, and you only.”
Soon after the publication of this statement, Mr. Wesley was attacked by his brother-in-law, Mr. Hall, as being inconsistent; professing to continue in the Church, yet allowing some things therein to be indefensible. Mr. Wesley replied, “You say, 'that we give up some things as indefensible, which yet have the same law and authority, as those we approve ; such are many of the laws, customs, and practices of the ecclesiastical courts.'-I answer, 1. We allow that these laws, customs, and practices are indefensible. 2. That there are Acts of Parliament in defence of them, as well as of those we approve. But will you show us how it follows, 1. That those things, and these, stand or fall together? Or, 2. That we cannot sincerely plead for the one, while we give up the other?
“Do you not here quite overlook one circumstance, which might be a key to our whole behaviour ? Namely, that we no more look upon these filthy abuses which adhere to our Church, as part of the building; than we look upon any filth which may adhere to the walls of Westminster Abbey, as part of that structure.
“ You think, we practise other things in contradiction to the orders of the Church ;' and this you judge to be a just exception to our sincerity. I answer, 1. We will obey all the laws of the Church, so far as we can with a safe conscience. 2. We will obey, with the same restriction, the Bishops, as executors of those laws. But their bare will, we do not profess to obey at all.
“ Is field-preaching contrary to any of these laws ? We think not. Is the allowing lay-preachers ? We are not clear that this is contrary to any such law. This therefore (be it right or wrong on other accounts) is no just exception against our sincerity.
“The Rules of our Societies,' you say, “is a discipline utterly forbidden by the Bishops. When did any Bishop forbid this? Or, by what law? We know not any such law. You add, the allowing (for we do not require) any to communicate at our chapels, is contrary to the Rubricks. I answer, which rubricks require any to communicate only at the parish church? We cannot find them. Consequently, neither is this any just exception against our sincerity.”
At the close of this year, 1745, he makes the following reflections :6 All this year, the work of God gradually increased in the Southern counties, as well as in the North of England. Many were awakened in a very remarkable manner; many were converted to God. Many were enabled to testify, that the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin.' Mean time we were, in most places, tolerably quiet, as to popular tumults." Where any thing of the kind appeared, the magistrates usually interposed, as indeed it was their duty to do. And wherever the peaceofficers do their duty, no riot can long subsist. Feeling, however, for the people under his care, lest they should be discouraged, and turned out of the way; or be overcome of the evil, and repay their adversaries in the same spirit: He published a small Tract, intitled, “ ADVICE TO THE PEOPLE CALLED METHODISTS," from which I shall give a short extract.
“ By METHODISTS,” says Mr. Wesley, “ I mean a people who profess to pursue (in whatsoever measure they have attained) holiness of heart and life, inward and outward conformity in all things to the revealed will of God; who place religion in a uniform resemblance of the Great Object of it; more particularly, in justice, mercy, and truth, or universal love filling the heart, and governing the life. You, to whom I now speak, believe this love of human kind cannot spring but from the love of God; considered not only as your Father, but as the Father of the spirits of all flesh; yea, as the general Parent and Friend of all the families, both of heaven and earth.
“This filial love you suppose to flow only from faith ; and that this VALINE
faith implies an evidence that God is merciful to me a sinner ; that he is reconciled to me by the death of his Son, and now accepts me for his sake. You accordingly describe the faith of a real Christian, as, • A sure trust and confidence, (over and above his assent to the Sacred Writings,) which he hath in God, that his sins are forgiven ; and that he is, through the merits of Christ, reconciled to the favour of God.' And you believe, farther, that both this faith and love are wrought in us by the inspiration or influence of the Holy Ghost.
“ If you wali by this rule, continually endeavouring to know, and love, and resemble, and obey the great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the God of love, of pardoning mercy; and if, lastly, you unite together, to encourage and help each other, in thus working out your salvation, and for that end watch over one another in love, you are they whom I mean by Methodists.
“ The first general advice which one who loves your souls would earnestly recommend to every one of you, is, Consider, with deep and frequent attention, the peculiar circumstances wherein you stand.One of these is, That you are a new people. Your name is new, (at least, as used in a religious sense,) not heard of, till a few years ago, either in our own, or any other nation. Your principles are new, in this respect, that there is no other set of people among us, (and possibly, not in the Christian world,) who hold them all in the same degree and connexion ; who so strenuously and continually insist on the absolute necessity of universal boliness both in heart and life, -of a peaceful, joyous love of God,- of a supernatural evidence of things not seen, of an inward witness that we are the children of God, -and of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, in order to any good thought, or word, or work.
And perhaps there is no other set of people, (at least, not visibly united together,) who lay so much, and yet no more, stress than you do, on rectitude of opinions, on outward modes of worship, and the use of those ordinances which you acknowledge to be of God; and
yet do not condemn any man upon earth, merely for thinking otherwise than you do,-much less to imagine that God condemns him for this, if he be upright and sincere of heart. “ Your strictness of life, taking the whole of it together, may
likewise be accounted new.
I mean, your making it a rule to abstain from fashionable diversions ; your plainness of dress ; your manner of dealing in trade ; your exactness in observing the Lord's day ; your scrupulosity as to things that have not paid custom ; your total abstinence from spiritous liquors (unless in cases of extreme necessity ;) your rule, .not to mention the fault of an absent person, in particular of ministers, or of those in authority,' may justly be termed new.
For we do not find any body of people who insist on all these rules together.
“ Consider these peculiar circumstances wherein you stand, and you will see the propriety of a SECOND ADVICE I would recommend to you : Do not imagine you can avoid giving offence ; your very name renders this impossible. And as much offence as you give by your name, you will give still more by your principles. You will give offence to the bigots for opinions, modes of worship, and ordinances, by laying no more stress upon them; to the bigots against them, by laying so much ; to men of form, by insisting so frequently and strongly on the inward power of religion; to moral men, (so called,) by declaring the absolute neces
sity of faith, in order to acceptance with God; to men of reason you will give offence, by talking of inspiration and receiving the Holy Ghost; to drunkards, sabbath breakers, common swearers, and other open sinners, by refraining from their company, as well as by that disapprobation of their behaviour, which you will be often obliged to express. Either, therefore, you must consent to give up your principles, or your fond hope of pleasing men. What makes even your principles more offensive is, this uniting of yourselves together: Union renders you more conspicuous, placing you more in the eye of men; and more dreadful to those of a fearful temper; and more odious to men of zeal, if their zeal be any other than fervent love" to God and man. And the offence will sink the deeper, because you are gathered out of so many other congregations ; for the warm men in each will not easily be convinced, that you do not despise either them or their teachers ; nay, will probably imagine, that you utterly condemn them, as though they could not be saved.
“ You cannot but expect, that the offence continually arising from such a variety of provocations, will gradually ripen into hatred, malice, and all other unkind tempers. And as they who are thus affected, will not fail to represent you to others in the same light as you appear to them, sometimes as madmen and fools, sometimes as wicked men, fellows not fit to live upon the earth ; the consequence, humanly speaking, must be, that, together with your reputation, you will lose, i. The love of your friends, relations, and acquaintances, even those who once loved you the most tenderly ;–2. Your business, for many will employ you no longer, nor buy of such a one as you are ;'-and, 3. In due time, (unless He who governs the world interpose,) your health, liberty, and life.
“ What farther advice can be given to a person in such a situation? I cannot but advise you, THIRDLY, Consider deeply with yourself, · Is the God whom I serve, able to deliver me? I am not able to deliver
myself out of these difficulties ; much less am I able to bear them. I know not how to give up my reputation, my friends, my substance, my liberty, my life. Can God give me to rejoice in doing this ? And may I depend upon him, that he will ? Are the hairs of my head all numbered? And does he never fail them that trust in him ?- Weigh this thoroughly; and if you can trust God with your all, then go on, in the power of his might.
“I would earnestly advise you, FOURTHLY, Keep in the very path wherein you now tread. Let this be your manly, noble, generous religion, equally remote from the meanness of superstition, (which places religion in doing what God hath not enjoined, or abstaining from what he hath not forbidden,) and from the unkindness of bigotry, (which confines our affection to our own party, sect, or opinion.) Above all, stand fast in obedient faith, faith in the God of pardoning mercy, in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath loved you, and given himself for you.' Ascribe to Him all the good you find in yourself; all your peace, and joy, and love ; all your power to do and suffer his will, through the Spirit of the living God. Yet, in the mean time, carefully avoid enthusiasm ; impute not the dreams of men to the all-wise God; and expect neither light nor power from Him, but in the serious use of all the means he hath ordained.
“ Condemn no man for not thinking as you think. Let every one enjoy the full and free liberty of thinking for himself. Let every man