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(that such there are you know,) or a tradesman, who has in fact, * from his childhood known the holy Scriptures," and has for five years (to say no more) faithfully “and diligently made use of all the helps which the English tongue has put into his hands; who has given attendance to reading, has meditated on these things, and given himself wholly to them? Can any reasonable man doubt one moment which is the safest guide ?
Certainly, “ those who want these qualifications,” who do not give attendance to reading, who do not meditate on those things, yea, and give themselves wholly to them, are ignorant and unstable men, in the very bad sense of the words. And let them understand philosophy ever so well, and be ever such critics in Greek and Hebrew, “they will pervert the Scriptures, when they pretend to interpret them, (p. 12,) and that not only to their own destruction.
8. But “many of these strolling preachers are so ignorant, as not to know, that the Scriptures were not written in their mother tongue," (p. 8.) Indeed they are not: whoever gave you that information, abused your credulity: most of the travelling preachers in connexion with me, are not ignorant men. As I observed before, they know all which they profess to know. The languages they do not profess to know : yet some of them understand them well. Philosophy they do not profess to know: yet some of them tolerably understand this also. They understand both one and the other better than great part of my pupils at the university did. And yet these were not inferior to their fellow collegians of the same standing : (which I could not but know, having daily intercourse with all the under-graduates, either as Greek-lecturer or moderator.) Nor were these inferior te the under graduates of other colleges.
9. You conclude this charge, For “ those whose minds are not stored with useful literature, the wisdom of the public has provided such guides as are both able and willing to show them the right way,” (p. 13.) Would to God it had ! But is it really so? Is there such a guide in every parish in England? Are then all the rectors, vicars, and curates, therein, “ both able and willing" to guide all their parishioners to heaven? Do not both you, and I, and all the world, know, that this is not the case ? Are there not many, who are utterly unable to guide others; having neither learning nor understanding to guide themselves ? Are there not more, who, if they are able, are not willing, taking no care, or thought about it? They eat, and drink, and rise up to play:
“And leave to tatter': crape the drujgery of prayer." Once more.
Are there not too many of those guides, “whom the wisdom of the public has provided,” who are neither able nor willing to guide others in the right way, being equally void of knowledge and piety? Is it then “ the duty of the people to continue in the things which they have learned" from these guides ? And “ te hold fast the faithful word as they have been taught ?” Why, what have they been taught ? Just nothing. From these guides they hare
learned nothing, nor could learn any thing, either from their precept or example. And are they “then only in danger when they do not follow these guides ?" If they do follow them, they must follow them to hell. O, Sir, why will you constrain me to show the nakedness of the land ? I would far rather spread a veil over it. And I heartily wish, I may never more be laid under a necessity of touching on this unpleasing subject.
10. Upon the whole, what I believe concerning learning, as I have again and again declared, is this : that it is highly expedient for a guide of souls, but not absolutely necessary : what I believe to be absolutely necessary is, a faith unfeigned, the love of God and our neighbour, a burning zeal for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, with a heart and life wholly devoted to God. These I judge to be necessary in the highest degree : and next to these, a competent knowledge of Scripture; a sound understanding, a tolerable utterance, and a willingness to be as “the filth and offscouring of the world.'
III. 1. You entitle your second charge, “ An examination of the doctrine of the Methodists, concerning inward feelings." I have explained myself so frequently and so largely upon this head already, that I flattered myself I should scarcely have occasion to do it any more. But as I am still totally misunderstood and misrepresented, í am under a necessity of doing it yet again.
You state the question thus, “ Have we any reason to believe, that the mind has an inward feeling, which will enable it to perceive the ordinary influences of God's Spirit, so as to discern from whence they come?" p. 15.
1 answer, i. The fruit of bis ordinary influences are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness. 2. Whoever has these, inwardly feels them. And if he understands his Bible, he discerns from whence they come. Observe, what he inwardly feels, is these fruits themselves : whence they come he learns from the Bible. This is my doctrine concerning inward feelings, and has been for above these forty years. And this is clear to any man of common sense : I appeal to all the world, if it is not. Only do not puzzle the cause by a cloud of words, and then lay the blame on me.
2. You state the question again, “What I mean to affirm is, that while the soul is united to such a body, the operations of external things,” (say, the operations of the Holy Spirit, for of these we are talking, and of these alone,) "upon some one or more of these organs, excite no inward feeling," (p. 17.) Nay, nor outward neither. He must be a bold man that will affirm the contrary. If this be all that you mean to affirm, we agree to a hair's breadth. 3. You afterwards open yourself farther. “The mind in its
present situation, has no inward sense, by which the influence of external causes,
(the influence of the Holy Spirit,) " or the causes themselves,” (this is quite another question,) may be felt or discerned. It then only perceives thein, when they affect the organs of the body, so as to raise a sensation in it by their means," p. 22.
Did ever the most illiterate Methodist talk in such a manner 2 this ? “ The mind then only perceives the influences of the Holy Spirit, when they affect the organs of the body!" If you say, “I do not mean the Holy Spirit by external causes," then you mean and say what is nothing to the purpose. For your very title confines you to the influences of the Holy Spirit: and you are, or should be, speaking of nothing else.
4. You go on, “ It is a fundamental principle in the Methodist school, that all who come into it must renounce their reason." Sir, are you awake? Unless you are talking in your sleep, how can you utter so gross an untruth? It is a fundamental principle with us, That to renounce reason is to renounce religion : that religion and reason go hand in hand, and that all irrational religion is false religion. I therefore speak quite “cousistently with my own doctrines,” when I caution my followers against judging of the Spirit by which any one speaks, by their own inward feelings;—because these being of a doubtful nature, may come from God, or may not. You add, “ What therefore shall we think of these inward feelings? They cannot be clear perceptions of the cause from which these affections or sentiments are derived.” Who says they are ? I never did. You cite the words wherein 1 say just the contrary. - Whom then doth your arguing reprove? Do you not fight as one that beateth the air ?'
5. Mr. W. indeed, “endeavours to explain away the doctrine of the Methodists concerning inward feelings.” (p. 25.) That is, I plainly tell what I mean by those expressions. My words run thus.
By feeling I mean, being inwardly conscious of; by the operations of the Spirit, I do not mean the manner in which he operates, but the graces which he operates in a Christian.' And again. We believe that love, joy, peace, are inwardly felt, or they have no being; and that men are satisfied they have grace, first by feeling these, and afterwards by their outward actions.'
One might imagine, the controversy was now at an end. No:1 am not a jot the nearer. For you go on. 6 If he and his brethren,” --(away with his brethren: the point lies between you and me,)
mean no more than this, why do they speak of this matter in such language, as makes their disciples pretend to have an inward sense, by which they feel, sometimes the power of God, sometimes the Holy Ghost, sometimes Jesus Christ, and by which they can as clearly discern each of these while he acts upon them, as they can discern outward objects by their bodily senses.” (p. 26.) So now the matter is out! But who are the men ? What are their names? And wbere do they live? If you know any who pretend to this, I do not: but I know, they are none of any disciples. They never learned it of me. I have three grains of common sense, whether you believe it or not.
6. But you will pin it upon me, whether I will or not; and that by three passages of my own writings. 1. * Lucy Godshall felt the love of God in an unusual manner.' She did. I mean, in an unusual
degree. And what will you make of this? 2. “When be examined some of his disciples, and they related their feeling the blood of Christ running upon their arms, or going down their throats, or poured like water upon their breast and heart:' did he tell them that these circumstances were all the dreams of a heated imagination ?” I did : I told them, that these three circumstances, and several others of the same kind, were mere dreams, though some of those which they then related, might be otherwise. I will tell you more: I was so disgusted at them for those dreams, that I expelled them out of the society,
The third passage is this. We do speak of grace, (meaning thereby the power of God, which worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure,) that it is as perceptible to the heart, (while it confirms, refreshes, purifies, and sheds the love of God abroad therein,) as sensible objects are to the senses.' (p. 27.) I do speak thus. And I mean thereby, that the comfort which God administers, not his power distinct from it, the love and purity which he works, not his act of working distinguished from it, are as clearly discernible by the soul, as outward objects by the senses. And I never so much as dreamed, that any one could find any other meaning in the words.
7. I cannot close this subject of inward feelings without recurring to the 20th page of your tract. Here you attempt to prove, that “ these preachers confine the influences of God's Holy Spirit to themselves and their followers, because,” say you, “no one else feels its workings:" “ None but they and their followers.” Observe: it is not I that affirm this, but you, that “none but Methodists feel the workings of the Spirit.” But how will you reconcile this assertion with the seventeenth article of our church, which teaches, that all godly persons feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things ? It is in this sense, and this only, that I did and do assert, all good men feel the working of the Holy Spirit. If any can prove they do not, I stand condemned: if not, none can condemn me concerning inward feelings.
8. You subjoin some reflections on another subject, bodily emotions of various kinds. Before we reason upon it, let us state the fact. These outward symptoms are not at all times, nor in all places : for two or three years they were, (not constant but) frequent in London, Bristol, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and in a few other places. They sometimes occur still, but not often. And we do not regard whether they occur or not: knowing that the essence of religion, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, is quite independent of them.
Upon this you ask, “ Are these the fruits of the Spirit ?” (p. 31,) I answer, No: Whoever thought they were? You ask, 2, these the marks whereby we may be assured, that they who are thus affected discern its workings ?" You answer for me, “ They themselves do not believe it. Nay Mr. W. declares, it is his opinion, Some of these agonies are from the Devil :' and makes no doubt, but it was “Satan tearing them, as they were coming to Christ.” (p. 33.) But if I myself declare thus, what room was there for the preceding questions? Now certainly you must be quite satisfied. No: you are as far from it as ever! You gravely ask, “What experienced physicians of the souls must these be, who are unable to distinguish the influence of the Holy Ghost, from the tearing of Satan ?" Why, Sir, you this instant repeated the very words wherein I do distinguish them. “But you ascribe the same symptoms sometimes to the one, and sometimes to the other.” Indeed I do not. I always ascribe these symptoms to Satan tearing them.
9. You add in a marginal note, “Mr. W. sometimes denies, that he considers these fits as signs of the new birth.” I always deny it, if you mean by signs any thing more than something which may accidentally attend it. Yet “in some of his writings, he calls these fallings and roarings, by the name of convictions. He says, Many were wounded deeply: but none' were delivered from that painful conviction.' Monday 30, Two more were in strong pain, both their souls and bodies being well nigh torn asunder.'” Very true : but in which of these passages do I call fallings and roarings by the name of convictions ?. Excuse me: if I cannot distinguish God from the Devil, I can, at least, distinguish the soul from the body. For do I ever confound bodily disorders with sorrow or pain of mind ?
10. However “Mr. W. speaks of these at least as outward signs, that the new birth is working in those that have them.'” (p. 23.) I speak of them as outward symptoms which have often accompanied the inward work of God.' A peculiar instance of this I relate in the first Journal, which you are at the pains to transcribe. And, as you observe, “there are many instances in the same Journal, in which I express myself in the same manner.” But what does all this prove? Just what I said before, and not one jot more : I speak of them as soutward symptoms which have often accompanied the inward work of God.' Often, I say, not always ; not necessarily; they may, or they may not. This work may be without those symptoms, and those symptoms may be without this work.
11. But you say, “ The following account which he writes to one of his correspondents, will make the matter clear. •I have seen very many persons changed in a moment, from the spirit of fear, horror, despair, to the spirit of love, joy, peace; and from sinful desires, till then reigning over them, to a pure desire of doing the Will of God. That such a change was then wrought, appears not from their shedding tears only, or falling into fits, or crying out (these are not the fruits or signs whereby I judge,) but from the whole tenor of their lives.”” (p. 33.)
Now'I should really imagine this passage proves just the contrary of what you intend. Yea, that it is full and decisive.
« But," say you, “though he denies these to be the fruits by which he judges, that this inward change is wrought, yet he looks upon them as signs that it is working."" Yes, in the sense above explained. While God was inwardly working, these outward signs often appeared :