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above all the spirit of the body. Great, and even as- 1 is genuine and divine, if it operates not in a pre tonishing, has been their success in that new and ri- scribed manner?-that the Holy Spirit shall not sing country, to the wide-spread settlements of which avail himself of the variety which exists in the their plan of itinerancy was admirably adapted. mental constitutions of men, to efíect his purposes The Methodists are become, as to numbers, the sead- of mercy by different methods ?—and that the opeing religious body of the union; and their annual rations of grace shall not present, as well as those increase is very great. In the last year it was thirty of nature, that beauteous variety which so much ilsix thousand, making a total in their communion of lustrates the glory of Him "who worketh all in all ?* one thousand nine hundred ministers, and four hun. And further, who shall say, that even the peculiaridred and seventy-six thousand members, having, as ties of men's natures shall not, in some instances, stated in a recent statistical account published in the be set aside in the course of a divine and secret ope United States, upwards of two millions five hundred ration, which touching the springs of action, and thousand or the population under their immediate opening the sources of feeling, gives an intensity of influence. In the number of their ministers, mem- energy to the one, and a flow to the other, more pers, and congregations, the Baptists nearly equal eminently indicative of the finger of God in a work the Methodists; and these two bodies, both itinerant which his own glory, and the humility proper 10 in their labors, have left all the other religious de- man, require should be known and acknowledged nominations far bebird. It is also satistactory to as His work alone ?-- Assuredly there is nothing in remark, that the leading preachers and members of the reason of the case to fix the manner of pruducthe Methodist church in the United States appearing such effects to one rule, and nothing in Scripto be looking forward with enlarged views, and with ture. Instances of sudden conversion occur in the prudent regard, to the future, and to aim at the cul- New Testament in sufficient number to warrant us iivation of learning in conjunction with piety. Se- to conclude, that this may be often the mode adoptveral colleges have been from time to time establish- ed by divine wisdom, and especially in a slumbered; and recently a university, for the education of ing age, to arouse attention to long despised and neg. the youth of the American connection, has been lected truths. The conversions at the day of Penfounded. The work in the United States has been tecost were sudden, and, for any thing that appears distinguished by frequent and extraordinary revivals to the contrary, they were real; for the persons so of religion, in which a signal effect has been pro- influenced were thought worthy to be " added to the duced upon the moral condition of large districts of church.” Nor was it by the miracle of longues that country, and great numbers of people have been ra- the effect was produced. If miracles could have pidly brought under a concern for their salvation converted them, they had witnessed greater than In the
contemplation of results so vast, and in so few even that glorious day exhibited. The dead had years, we may devoutly exclaim, "What hath God been raised up in their sight, the earth had quaked wrought!"
beneath their feet, the sun had hid himself and made The mention of what are called revivals of reli- an untimely night, and Christ himself had arisen gion in the United States may properly here lead from a tomb sealed and watched. It was not by the us to notice, that, in Great Britain also, almost every impression of the miracle of longues alone, but by Methodist society has at different times experienced that supervenient gracious influence which operated some sudden ard extraordinary increase of mem- with the demonstrative sermon of Peter, after the bers, the result of what has been believed to be, and miracle had excited the attention of his hearers, that that not without good reason, a special effusion of they were“ pricked in their hearts, and cried, men divine influence upon the minds of men. Some- and brethren, what shall we do ?” times these effects have attended the preaching of The only irue rule of judging of professed con eminently energetic preachers, but have often ap- version is its fruits. The modes of it may vary peared where those stationed in the circuits have from circumstances of which we are not the fit hot been remarkably distinguished for energy or judges, and never shall be, until we know more or pathos. Sometimes they have followed the continued the mystic powers of mind, and of that intercourse and earnest prayers of the people; at others they which Almighty God, in his goodness, condescends have come suddenly and unlooked for. The effects to hold with it. however have been, that the piety of the societies It is granted, however, that in such cases a spuhas been greatly qnickened, and rendered more deep rious feeling has been often mixed up with these and active, and ihat their number has increased; I genuine visitations; that some ardent minds, when and of the real conversion of many who have thus even sincere, have not sufficiently respected the been wrought upon, often very suddenly, the best rules of propriety in their acts of worship; that some evidence has been afforded. To sudden conver- religious deception has taken place: that some persions, as such, great objections have been indeed ta- sons have confounded susceptibility of feeling with ken. For these, however, there is but little reason; depth of grace; that censoriousness and spiritual for if we believe the testimony of Scripture, that the pride have displaced that humility and charity which Spirit is not only given to the disciples of Christ, must exist wherever the influence of the Spirit of after they assume that character, but in order to their God is really present; and that, in some cases, a becoming such, that, according to the words of our real fanaticism has sprung up, as in the case of Lord, this Spirit is sent “ to convince the world of George Bell and his followers in London, at an sin,” to the end that they may believe in Christ; and early period of Methodism. But these are accithat the gospel, faithfully and fully proclaimed by dents—tares sown in the field among the good seed, the ministers of Christ, is "the power of God unto which were never spared by Mr. Wesley or his salvation to every one that believeth," and is made most judicious successors. In the early stages of so by the accompanying influence of the Hcly Ghost; their growth indeed, and before they assumed a dewho shall prescribe a mode to divine operation ?cided character, they were careful lest, by plucking Who, if he believes in such an influence accompa- them up, they should root out the good seed also, nying the truth, shall presume to say that when that but both in Great Britain and in America, no extruth is proposed, the attention of the careless shall travagance has ever been encouraged by the authobe roused only by a gradual and slow process ?— rities of either society, and no importance is attachthat the heart shall not be brought into a state ofed to any thing but the genuine fruits of conversion. right feeling as to eternal concerns, but by a reite In the early part of 1770, we find Mr. Wesley, as ration of means which we think most adapted to usual, prosecuting his indefatigable labors in differproduce that effect ?--that no influence on thê mindent parts of the kingdom, and every where diffusing
the influence of spirituality and zeal, and the light means, Is this language for a nobleman or for a porof a “sound doctrine." His journals present a pic- ter ? But let the language be as it may, is the senture of unwearied exertion, such as was perhaps timent just? To say nothing of the Methodists, never before exhibited, and in themselves they form (although some of them too are not quite out of ample volumes, of great interest, not only as a re- their senses,) could his lordship show me in England cord of his astonishing and successful labors, but many more sensible men than Mr. Gambold and Mr. from their miscellaneous and almost uniformly in- Okeley? And yet both of these were called Morastructive character. Now he is seen braving the vians. Or could he point out many men of stronger storms and tempests in his journeys, fearless of the and deeper understanding than Dr. Horne and Mr. snows of winter, and the heats of summer; then, William Jones? (if he could pardon them for bewith a deep susceptibility of all that is beautiful and lieving the Trinity !) And yet both of these are grand in nature, recording the pleasures produced Hutchinsonians. What pity is it, that so ingenious hy a smiling landscape, or by mountain scenery :- a man, like many others gone before him, should Here turning aside to view some curious object of pass so peremptory a sentence, in a cause which he nature ; there some splendid mansion of the great; does not understand! Indeed, how could he undershowing at the same time in his pious and often ele- stand it? How much has he read upon the quesgant, though brief reflections, with what skill he tion? What sensible Methodist, Moravian, or made all things contribute to devotion and cheer- Hutchinsonian, did he ever calmly converse with ? fulness. Again, we trace him into his proper work, What does he know of them, but from the caricapreaching in crowded chapels, or to multiiudes col- tures drawn by Bishop Lavington, or Bishop Warlected in the most public resorts in towns, or in the burton ? And did he ever give himself 'he trouble most picturesque places of their vicinity. Now he of reading the answers to those warm, lively men ? is seen by the side of the sick and dying, and then, Why should a good-natured and a thinking man surrounded with his societies, uttering his pastoral thus condemn whole bodies of men by the lump? advices. An interesting and instructive letter fre- In this I can neither read the gentleman, the scholar, quently occurs; then a jet of playful and good hu- nor the Christian. mored wit upon his persecutors, or the stupidity of " I set out for London, and read over in the way his casual hearers; occasionally, in spite of the phi- that celebrated book, 'Martin Luther's Comment on losophers, an apparition story is given as he heard the Epistle to the Galatians. I was utterly ashamed. it, and of which his readers are left to judge; and How have I esteemed this book, only because I had often we meet with a grateful record of providen- heard it so commended by others!'or, at best, betial escapes, from the falls of his horses, or from cause I had read some excellent sentences, occathe violence of mobs. Notices of books also appear, sionally quoted from it! But what shall I say, now which are often exceedingly just and striking; al- I judge for myself? now I see with my own eyes ? ways short and characteristic; and as he read mueh Why, not only that the author makes nothing out, on his journeys, they are very frequent. A few of clears up not one considerable difficulty; that he is these notices, in his journal of this year, taken with quite shallow in his remarks on many passages, and out selection, may be given as a specimen : muddy and confused almost on all; but that he is
"I read, with all the attention I was master of, deeplý tinctured with mysticism throughout, and Mr. Hutchinson's Life, and Mr. Spearman's Index hence often dangerously wrong. To instance only to his Works. And I was more convinced than in one or two points. How does he (almost in the ever, 1. That he had not the least conception, much words of Tauler) decry reason, right or wrong, as less experience, of inward religion: 2. That an in- an irreconcilablé enemy to the gospel of Christ ? genious man may prove just what he pleases, by Whereas, what is reason (the faculty so called) but well-devised scriptural etymologies: especially if he the power of apprehending, judging, and discoursbe in the fashion, if he affect to read the Hebrew ing ?-which power is no more to be condemned in without vowels: and, 3. That his whole hypothesis, the gross, than seeing, hearing, or feeling. Again, philosophical and theological, is unsupported by any how blasphemously does he speak of good works solid proof.
and of the law of God; constantly coupling the law "I sat down to read and seriously consider some with sin, death, hell, or the devil; and teaching, of the writings of Baron Swedenborg. I began with that Christ delivers us from them all alike, Wherehuge prejudice in his favor, knowing him to be a as it can no more be proved by Scripture, that Christ pious man, one of a strong understanding, of much delivers us from the law of God, than that he delilearning, and one who thoroughly believed himself. vers us from holiness or from heaven. Here (I apBut I could not hold out long. Any one of his vi- prehend) is the real spring of the grand error of the sions puts his real character out of doubt. He is Moravians. They follow Luther, for better for one of the most ingenious, lively, entertaining mad- worse. Hence their ‘No works, no law, no commen that ever set pen to paper. But his waking mandment.' But who art thou that ‘speakest evil dreams are so wild, so far remote both from Scrip- of the law, and judgest the law?? ture and common sense, that one might as casily "I read over, and partly transcribed, Bishop Bull's swallow the stories of Tom Thumb, or Jack the Harmonia Apostolica.'' The position with which Giant-killer.
he sets out is this, that all good works, and not "I met with an ingenious book, the late Lord faith alone, are the necessarily previous condition Lyttleton's 'Dialogues of the Dead?' A great part of justification,' or the forgiveness of our sins. But of it I could heartily subscribe to, though not to every in the middle of the treatise he asserts, 'that faith word. I believe Madam Guion was in several mis- alone is the condition of justification; for faith,' says takes, speculative and practical too; yet I would no he,' referred to justification, means all inward and more dare to call her, than her friend Archbishop outward good works.' In the latter end he affirms, Fenelon, 'a distracted enthusiast.' She was un- ' that there are two justifications: and that only indoubtedly a woman of a very uncommon under- ward good works necessarily precede the former, standing, and of excellent piety. Nor was she any but both inward and outward the latter.'” more 'a lunatic,' than she was a 'heretic.'
Mr. Wesley meant this brief but just analysis to " Another of this lively writer's assertions is, be Bishop Bull's refutation, and it is sufficient. 'Martin has spawned a strange brood of fellows, “Looking for a book in our college library, I took called Methodists, Moravians, Hutchinsonians, who down, by mistake, the works of Episcopius; which are madder than Jack was in his worst days.' I opening on an account of the Synod of Dort
, I bewould ask any one who knows what good breeding lieved it might be useful to read it through. But
what a scene is here disclosed ! I wonder not at the conscience, the same phrases in expressing the heavy curse of God, which so soon after fell on the points on which they substantially agreed, and to church and nation. What a pity it is, that the holy avoid controversy. Such an agreement shows the Synod of Trent, and that of Dort, did not sit at the liberal feeling which existed among the parties; same time !-nearly allied as they were, not only as but it was not of a nature to be so rigidly kept as to to the purity of doctrine, which each of them esta- give entire satisfaction. On these articles of peace, blished, but also as to the spirit wherewith they we find therefore, endorsed, at a subsequent period, acted ;-if the latter did not exceed.
in the hand writing of Mr. Charles Wesley,“ vain Being in the Bodleian library, I lit on Mr. Cal agreement.” Mr. Wesley's anxiety to maintain vin's account of the case of Michael Servetus; se- unity of effort as well as affection with Mr. White veral of whose letters he occasionally inserts : field, led him also, in 1743, to concede to his Cal. wherein Servetus often declares in terms, 'I believe vinistic views, as far as possible; and he appears the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy not to have been disposed to deny, though he says Ghost is God.' Mr. Calvin, however, paints him he could not prove it
, that some persons might be such a monster as never was, an Arian, a blasphemer, unconditionally elected to eternal glory; but not to and what not; besides, strewing over him his flowers the necessary exclusion of any other from salvation. of dog, devil, swine, and so on, which are the usual And he was then "inclined to believe" that there is appellations he gives to his opponents. But still he a state attaiuable in this life, “from which a man utterly denies his being the cause of Servetus's cannot finally fall.”. But he was subsequently condeath. 'No,' says he: "I only advised our magis- vinced by the arguments of Mr. Thomas Walsh, trates, as having a right to restrain heretics by the that this was an error.* These considerations will sword, to seize upon and try that arch-heretic. But account for the existence of what Mr. Wesley callalter he was condemned, I said not one word about ed "a leaning to Calvinism,” both in himself, and his execution !
among some of the preachers, and rendered a reThe above may be taken as instances of his laco- view of the case necessary. Though the leaders nic reviews of books.
had approached so near "the very edge of CalvinMr. Wesley's defence of the power he exercised ism” on one side, and "of Antinomianism” also, in the government of the Methodist societies may with safety, it was not to be wondered at that others also here be given; observing, that it is easier, con- should overstep, the line. Besides, circumstances sidering the circumstances in which he was placed, had greatly changed. A strong tide of Antinomito carp at it, than to find a solid answer. Few men, anism had set in, and threatened great injury to it is true, have had so much power: but on the other practical godliness throughout the land. Dr. Southey hand, he could not have retained it in a perfectly attributes this to the natural tendency of Methodism; voluntary society, had he not used it mildly and but here he shows himself only partially acquainted wisely, and with a perfectly disinterested and pub- with the subject. The decline of religion among lic spirit.
many of the dissenting churches had scattered the "What is that power? It is the power of admit- seeds of this heresy all around them, though not ting into and excluding from the societies under my without calling forth a noble testimony against it care; of choosing and removing stewards; of re- from some of their ablest ministers; and when they ceiving or not receiving helpers; of appointing them began to feel the influence of the revival of piety in when, where, and how to help me, and of desiring the last century, the lares sprung up with the plants any of them to confer with me when I see good. of better quality. The Calvinism taught by Mr. And as it was merely in obedience to the Providence Howell Harris, and Mr. Whitefield, was also perof God, and for the good of the people, that I at first verted by many of their hearers to sanction the accepted this power, which I never sought; so it is same error.-Several of the evangelical clergy, on the same consideration, not for profit, honor, or likewise, who had no immediate connection with pleasure, that I use it at this day.
Mr. Wesley, were Calvinists of the highest grade; "But several gentlemen are offended at your and as their number increased, their incautious having so much power.' I did not seek any part of statements of the doctrines of grace and faith, carit. But when it was come unawares, not daring to ried beyond their own intentions, became more misbury that talent, I used it to the best of my judgment.chievous. To show, however, that Antinomianism Yet I never was fond of it. I always did, and do can graft itself upon other stocks besides that of the now, bear it as my burden, the burden which God Calvinistic decrees, it was found also among many lays upon me; and therefore I dare not lay it down.
"But if you can tell me any one, or any five men, * Mr. Walsh was received by Mr. Wesley as a preacher to whom I'may transfer this burden, who can and in 1750, and died in 1759. The following is Mr. Wesley's will do just what I do now, I will heartily thank character of him :-"That blessed man sometimes both them and you.”
preached in Irish, mostly in English ; and wherever he This year, 1770, is memorable in the history of preached, whether in English or Irish, the word was Methodism, for having given birth to a long and sharper than a two edged sword. So that I do not
revery ardent controversy on the doctrines of Calvin- few years as he remained upon earth, was an instrument ism. It took its rise from the publication of the of converting so many sinners from the error of their minutes of the conference in which it was deter- ways. By violent straining of his voice, he contracted mined, that, in some particulars then pointed out, a true pulmonary consumption, which carried him off
. the preachers had “leaned too much to Calvinism." o what a man to be snatched away in the strength of This is easily explained. Mr. Whitefield, and his years! Surely thy judgments are a great deed! Howell Harris, the early coadjutors of the Wesleys, that if he was questioned concerning any Hebrew word became Calvinists; but the affection which existed in the Old, or any Greek word in the New Testament, among this little band, was strong; and as they all he would tell
, after a little pause, not only how often agreed in preaching, what was at that time most one or the other occurred in the Bible, but also what it needed, the doctrine of salvation by faith, "an meant in every place. Such a master of biblical knowagreement” was made at a very early period, be- ledge I never knew before, and never expect to see tween the Wesleys and Howell Harris, to forget all
again.” peculiarities of opinion as much as possible in their an instance of his
anxiety to approach his Calvinistic
+ Mr. Wesley's sermon on imputed righteousness is sermons, to use as far as they could, with a good brethren, in his modes of expression, as far as possible;
and in this attempt he sometimes laid himself open to * Wesley's works.
be misunderstood on both sides.
of the Moravians; and the Methodists did not es with God should 'cease from evil, and learn to do cape. Wherever, indeed, the doctrine of justifica- well.' Whoever repents should do works meet for tion by faith is preached, there is a danger, as St. repentance.' And if this is not in order to find faPaul himself aniicipated in his epistle to the Ro- vor, what does he do them for? mans, lest perverse, vain, and evil minds should "Review the whole affair. pervert it to licentiousness; heavenly as it is in au "1. Who of us is now accepted of God? ihority, and pure in its influence, when rightly un “He that now believes in Christ, with a loving derstood. In fact, there is no such exclusive con- and obedient heart. neetion between the more sober Calvinistic theories " 2. But who among those that never heard of of predestination, and this great error, as some have Christ? supposed. It is too often met with, also, among those “ He that feareth God and workeih righteouswho hold the doctrine of general redemption; though Dess, according to the light he has. it must be acknowledged, that, for the most part, “3. Is this the same with he that is sincere ?' such persons, at length, go over to predestinarian “Nearly, if not quite. notions, as affording, at least, some collateral con “4. Is not this 'salvation by works ?' firmation of the solitidian theory. That Calvinistic "Not by the merit of works, but by works as a opinions, in their various forms, were at this time condition. greatly revived and diffused, is certain. · The reli “5. What have we then been disputing about for gious excitement produced gave activity to theolo- these thirty years? gical inquiries; and speculative minds, especially "I am afraid, about words. those who had some taste for metaphysical discus “6. The grand objection to one of the preceding sions, were soon entangled in questions of predesti- propositions is drawn from the matter of fact. Gud nation, prescience, necessity, and human freedom. does in fact justify those who, by their own contesThe views of Calvin on these subjects were also sion, neither feared God nor wrought righteousness. held by many, who, connecting them with vital and Is this an exception to the general rule? saving truths, were honored with great usefulness; “ It is a doubt, whether God makes any exception and as the Wesleyan societies were often involved at all. But how are we sure, that the person in in these discussions, and in danger of having their question never did fear God and work righteousness ? faith unsettled, and their practical piety injured by His own saying so is not proof: for we know how those in whom Calvinism had begun to luxuriate all that are convinced of sín undervalue themselves into the ease and carelessness of Antinomian li- in every respect. cense, no subject at that period more urgently re "7. Does not talking of a justified or a sanctified quired attention. For this reason, Mr. Wesley state tend to mislead men ? almost naturally leading brought it before his conference of preachers. The them to trust in what was done in one moment? withering effects of this delusion were also strongly Whereas we are every hour and every moment pointed out in his sermons, and were afterwards still pleasing or displeasing to God, 'according to our more powerfully depicted by the master pencil of works;'-according to the whole of our inward temMr. Fletcher, in those great works to which he now pers, and our outward behavior." began to apply himself, in order to stem the torrent, That these were passages calculated to awaken Dr. Southey has fallen into the error of imagining suspicion, and that they gave the appearance of inthat Mr. Fletcher's descriptions of the ravages of consistency to Mr. Wesley's opinions, and indicated Antinomianism were drawn from its effects upon a tendency to run to one extreme, in order to avoid the Wesleyan societies; but that mistake arose from another-an error which Mr. Wesley more generalhis not adverting to the circumstance, that neither ly avoided than most men-cannot be denied. They, Mr. Wesley nor Mr. Fletcher confined their cares however, when fairly examined, expressed nothing to these societies, but kept an equally watchful eye but what was found in substance in the doctrinal upon the state of religion in the land at large, and conversations at the conferences from 1744 to 1747; consequently in the church of which they were mi- but the sentiments were put in a stronger form, and nisters. The societies under Mr. Wesley's charge were made to bear directly against the Antinomian were indeed at no time more than very partially opinions of the day. To "man's faithfulness” noaffected by this form of error. Still, in some places thing surely could be reasonably objected; it is enthey had suffered, and in all were exposed to dan- joined upon believers in the whole gospel, and might ger; and as Mr. Wesley regarded them, not only as have been known by the objectors to have been ala à people given to him by God to preserve from er- ways held by Mr. Wesley, but so as necessarily to ror, but to engage to bear a zealous and steadfast imply a constant dependance upon the influence of testimony " against the evils of the time;" in every the Holy Spirit. That the rewards of eternity are place, he endeavored to prepare them for their also to be distributed in higher or lower degrees acwarfare, by instructing them fully in the questions cording to the obedient works of believers, yet still at issue.
on a principle of grace, is a doctrine held hy divines The minutes of 1770 contained, therefore, the fol- of almost every class, and is confirmed by many paslowing passages:
sages of Scripture. To the Antinomian notion, that "We said, in 1744, “We have leaned too much a man is to do nothing in order to justification, Mr. toward Calvanism.' Wherein ?
Wesley opposes the same sentiment which he held "1. With regard to man's faithfulness. Our Lord in 1744, that previously to justification, men must himself taught is to use the expression. And we repent, and, if there be opportunity, do works meet ought never to be ashamed of it. We ought steadily for repentance; and when he asks, if they do them to assert, on his authority, that if a man is not faith- not in order to justification, what do they do them ful in the unrighteous mammon,' God will not give for ?”—these words are far enough from intimating bim the true riches.'
that such works are meritorious, although they are “2. With regard to working for life.' This also capable of being misunderstood. Repentance is inour Lord has expressly commanded us. “Labor,' deed a condition of justification, as well as faith, but kpyáscob. literally, work for the meat that endureth indirectly and remotely—“ Repent ye, and believe to everlasting life.' And in fact, every believer, till the gospel;" and seeing that Mr. Wesley, so express he comes to glory, works for as well as from life. ly in the same page, shuts out the merit of works, no
"3. We have received it as a maxim, that'a man one could be justly offended with this statement (exis to do nothing in order to justification. Nothing cept as far as the phrase is concerned) who did not can be more false. Whoever desires to find favor embrace some obvious form of practical error,
The doctrine of the acceptance of such heathens fully afraid: we are rewarded according to ou as “fear God and work righteousness," might be works, yea, because of our works.' How does this offensive to those who shut out all heathens, as such differ from, 'for the sake of our works?' And how from the mercies of God a tenet, however, which differs this from secundum merita operum, 'as our is not necessarily connected with Calvinism; and works deserve ?? Can you split this hair I doubt it ought not to have been objected to by others, un- I cannot." less Mr. Wesley had stated, as some of his opponents "The outcry of "dreadful heresy' raised against understood him to do, that “a heathen might be him, particularly on this article, was the more upsaved without a Saviour.” No such thought was candid, because by explaining the phrase secundum ever entertained by him, as Mr. Fletcher observes merita operum, to mean, as out works deserve, it was in his defence; for he held that whenever a heathen clear, especially taking the passage in connection is accepted, it is merely through the merits of Christ, with what he had previously stated, that he underalthough it is in connection with “his fearing God, stood merit in that loose, and not perhaps always and working righteousness.” “But how comes he correct, sense in which it had often been used by to see that God is to be feared, and that righteous- several of the ancient fathers; and also that he was Dess is his delight ? Because a beam of our Sun not speaking of our present justification, but of ou of righteousness shines in his darkness. All is final reward. But here Mr. Fletcher shall again be therefore of grace'; the light, the works of righteous heard:ness done by that light, and acceptance in conse "If Mr. Wesley meant, that we are saved by the quence of them.”
merit of works, and not entirely by that of Christ, But when the minntes went on to state that this you might exclaim against his proposition as erroshows that salvation is by works as a "condition, neous; and I would echo back your exclamation. though not by the merit of works,” the highest point But as he flatly denies it in those words, ' Not by the of heresy was supposed to be reached. Yet from merit of works,' and has constantly asserted the conthis charge, though it derived some color from a trary for above thirty years, we cannot, without paradoxical mode of expression not to be commend- monstrous injustice, fix that sense upon the word ed, Mr. Fletcher brings off his friend unhurt: merit in this paragraph.
"Our church expresses herself more fully on this Divesting himself of bigotry and party spirit, he head in the Homily on Salvation, to which the ar- generously acknowledges truth'even when it is held ticle refers. 'St. Paul,' says she, 'declares nothing forth by his adversaries: an instance of candor (necessary) on the behalf of man concerning his jus- worthy of our imitation! He sees that God offers lification, but only a true and lively faith, and yet and gives his children, here on earth, particular re(N. B.) that faith does not shut out repentance, hope, wards for particular instances of obedience. He love, (of desire when we are coming, love of delight knows that when a man is saved meritoriously by when we are come,) dread, and the fear of God, to Christ, and conditionally by (or, if you please, upon be joined with it in every man that is justified; but the terms of) the work of faith, the patience of hope, it shutteth them out from the office of justifyings so and the labor of love, he shall particularly be re that they be all present together in him that is justi- warded in heaven for his works: and he observes, fied, yet they justify not all together. This is agreeable that the Scriptures steadily maintain, we are recomto St. Peter's doctrine, maintained by Mr. Wesley. pensed according to our works, yea, because of our Only faith in Christ for Christians, and faith in the works. light of their dispensation for heathens, is necessary “The former of these assertions is plain from the in order to acceptance. But though faith only justi- parable of the talents, and from these words of our fies, yet it is never alone; for repentance, hope, love of Lord, Matt. xvi. 27, The Son of man shall come in desire, and the fear of God, necessarily accompany the glory of his Father, and reward every man acthis faith, if it be living. Our church' therefore is cording to his works;' unbelievers according to the not at all against works proceeding from, or accom- various degrees of demerit belonging to their evil panying, faith in all its stages. She grants, that works; (for some of them shall comparatively "be whether faith seeks or finds its object, whether beaten with few stripes ;') and believers according it longs for or embraces it, it is still a lively, ac- to the various degrees of excellence found in their tive, and working grace. She is only against the good works; ' for as one star differeth from another vain conceit that works have any hand in meriting star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the “rightjustification or purchasing salvation, which is what eous' dead. Mr. Wesley likewise strongly opposes.
"If we detach from the word merit the idea of "If any still urge, 'I do not love the word condi- "obligation on God's part to bestow any thing upon tion,' I reply it is no wonder; since thousands so creatures, who have a thousand times forfeited their hate the thing, that they even choose to go to hell, comforts and existence'- if we take it in the sense rather than perform it. But let an old worthy di- we fix to it in a hundred cases; for instance this: vine, approved by all but Crisp's disciples, tell you A master may reward his scholars according to what we mean by condition : An antecedent condi- the merit of their exercises, or he may not: for the tion (says Mr. Flavel, in his Discourse of Errors) merit of the best exercise can never bind him to besignifies no more than an act of ours, which, though stow a premium for it, unless he has promised it of it be peither perfect in any degree, nor in the least his own accord'—if we take, I say, the word merit meritorious of the benefit conferred, nor performed in this simple sense, it may be joined to the word in our own natural strength, is yet, according to the good works, and bear an evangelical meaning. constitution of the covenant, required of us, in order “ To be convinced of it, candid reader, consider, to the blessings consequent thereupon, by virtue of with Mr. Wesley, that 'God accepts and rewards the promise; and consequently, benefits and mer- no work but so far as it proceeds from his own grace cies granted in this order are and must be suspended through the Beloved. Forget not that Christ's Spiby the donor, till it be performed. Such a condi- rit is the savor of each believer's salt, and that he tion we affirm faith to be, with all that saith neces- puts excellence into the good works of his people, or sarily implies.”+
else they could not be good. Remember, he is as The greatest stone of stumbling was, however, much concerned in the good tempers, words, and the remarks on merit:
actions, of his living members, as a tree is concer"Asto merit itself, of which we have been so dread- ed in the sap, leaves, and fruit of the branches it
bears, John xv. 5. Consider, I say, all this, and tell * Fletcher's Works.
+ Ibid. us whether it can reflect dishonor upon Christ and