Sidor som bilder

see any such necessity yet, therefore we have at present no thoughts of separation.

“With regard to the steps we have hitherto taken, we have used all the caution which was possible. We have done nothing rashly, nothing without deep and long consideration (hearing and weighing all objections) and much prayer. Nor have we taken one deliberate step, of which we, as yet, see reason to repent. It is true, in some things we vary from the rules of our church; but no further than, we apprehend, is our bounden duty. It is from a full conviction of this, that we preach abroad, use extempore prayer, form those who appear to be awakened into societies, and permit laymen, whom we believe God has called, to preach.

"I say, permit, because we ourselves have hitherto viewed it in no other light. This we are clearly satisfied we may do; that we may do more, we are not satisfied. It is not clear to us, that presbyters, so circumstanced as we are, may appoint or ordain others; but it is, that we may direct, as well as suffer, them to do what we conceive they are moved to by the Holy Ghost. It is true, that in ordinary cases, both an outward and an inward call are requisite. But we apprehend there is something far from ordinary in the present case. And upon the calmest view of things, we think, they who are only called of God, and not of man, have more right to preach than they who are only called of man, and not of God. Now that many of the clergy, though called of man, are not called of God to preach his Gospel, is undeniable. Ist, Because they themselves utterly disclaim, nay, and ridicule the inward call. 2dly. Because they do not know what the gospel is; of consequence they do not and cannot preach it.

“Dear sir, coolly and impartially consider this, and you will see on which side the difficulty lies. I do assure you, this at present is my chief embarrassment. That I have not gone too far yet, I know; but whether I have gone far enough, I am extremely doubtful. I see those running whom God hath not sent; destroying their own souls, and those that hear them ; perverting the right ways of the Lord, and blaspheming the truth as it is in Jesus. I see the blind leading the blind, and both falling into the ditch. Unless I warn, in all ways I can, these perishing souls of their danger, am I clear of the blood of these men ? Soul-damning clergymen lay me under more difficulties, than soul-saving laymen! Those among ourselves who have been in doubt, whether they ought to beware of these false prophets, as not to hear them at all, are not men of

forward, uncharitable zeal,' but of a calm, loving, temperate spirit. They are perfectly easy as to their own call to preach ; but they are troubled for these poor, uncalled, blind guides; and they are sometimes afraid, that the countenancing these is a dead weight even on those clergymen who are really called of God.

Why else,' say they, does not God bless their labours.? Why do they still

stretch forth their hands in vain ? We know several regular clergymen who do preach the genuine gospel, but to no effect at all;. there is one exception in England—Mr. Walker of Truro. We do not know one more, who has converted one soul


in his own parish. If it be said, 'Has not Mr. Grimshaw and Mr. Baddiley?? no, not one, till they were irregular; till both the one and the other formed irregular societies, and took in laymen to assist them. Can there be a stronger proof that God is pleased with irregular, even more than with regular preaching?' 'But might not the Methodists, in general, serve the interests of Christ better, as witnesses and examples of a living faith, by returning to a closer union with the church, than by separating still farther ? We have no design at present of separating farther, (if we have yet separated at all ;) neither dare we return to a closer union, if that means either prohibiting lay-preachers, or ceasing to watch over each other in love, and regularly meeting for that purpose.

“ If there be any further advices, whether with regard to doctrines or practice, which you judge might be of service to us, they would be thankfully received and considered, by,

“ Rev. and dear Sir,
“ Your obliged and affectionate

“ Brother and Servant,


We lose sight of any intercourse between these two clergymen for thirteen years. They were, however, gradually separating from each other, both on questions of the discipline of the church, and also on the doctrines of the holy Scriptures. Two extracts from Mr. Wesley's works will show this to have been the case : they are here inserted out of their chronological order, to show, that in speaking of Mr. Adam as an Arminian, the Rev. Mr. Venn has not well defined the meaning which he would have others attach to the term; and also to show, that Mr. Adam was a firm, though liberal, church


“ Swinfleet, July 19th, 1768. “ Rev. and dear Sir, “One of Wintringham informed me yesterday, that you said, “No sensible and well-meaning man could hear, and much less join, the Methodists, because they all acted under a lie, professing themselves members of the Church of England, while they licensed themselves as dissenters.' You are a little misinformed ; the greater part of the Methodist preachers are not licensed at all; and several that are, are not licensed as dissenters. I instance particularly T. A. and T. B. When T, A. desired a licence, one of the justices said, • Mr. A., are not you of the Church of England ? Why then do you desire a licence ?' He answered, Sir, I am of the Church of England; yet I desire a license, that I may legally defend myself from the illegal violence of oppressive men.' T. B. being asked the same question in London, and the justice adding, We will not grant you a licence,' his lawyer replied, Gentlemen, you cannot refuse it ; the act is a mandatory act--you have no choice.' One asked the chairman, “Is this true?' He shook his head, and said, “He is in the right.' The objection, therefore, does not lie at all against the greater part of the Methodist preachers, because they are either licensed in this form, or not licensed


at all. When others applied for a licence, the clerk or justice said, “I will not licence you but as Protestant Dissenters. They replied,

replied, "We are of the church-we are not dissenters; but if you will call us so, we cannot help it.” They did call them so in their certificates, but this did not make them so — they still call themselves members of the Church of England, and they believe themselves so to be; therefore, neither do they act under a lie-they speak no more than they verily believe. Surely, then, unless there are stronger objections than this, both well-meaning and sensible men may, in perfect consistence with their sense and sincerity, not only hear, but join the Methodists.

“We are indeed so far from being enemies to the church, that we are rather bigots to it. I dare not, like Mr. Venn, leave the parish church where I am, to go to an Independent meeting—I dare not advise others to go thither, rather than go to church. I advise all, over whom I have any influence, steadily to keep to the church : meantime I advise them to see that the kingdom of God is within them that their hearts be full of love to God and man; and to look upon all, of whatever opinion, who are likeminded, as their brother, and sister, and mother. O sir, what art of men or devils is this, which makes you so studiously stand aloof from those who are thus minded? I cannot but say to you, as I did to Mr. Walker,-and I say it the more freely, because, quid mea refert ?—I am neither better nor worse, whether

you hear or forbear. The Methodists do not want you; but you want them.' You want the life, the spirit, the power, which they have, not of

« FöregåendeFortsätt »