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and illiterate, an exclusive predilection; why he should confine his inspirations to those who are, for the most part, * incapable of sound reasoning, and enlarged.comprehensions, is a question which defies the solution of human ingenuity. From this persuasion of divine illumination, they preach the doctrines of remission of sins, instantaneous in its operations, and complete in its effects; and of the certain knowledge of the day and hour, when they first received the Holy Spirit-when they ceased to be sons of Belial, and became children of lightt. I felt faith in Christ, says the founder of the sect, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even MINE I. Oh what sweet communion, says another distinguished preacher, “ who went out from.. us,” had I daily vouchsafed from God §. I am carried by our deur Saviour from day to day --- I lean on Jesu's bosom from morning to night, yea, all the day long Il. : “ On these extraordinary passages, allow me to make this single observation : if they are to be understood literally, they are not correspondent to the tenor of scripture; if figuratively, what could have been the intention of the writers, but by investing their system with dazzling pomp, and awful solemnity, to excite in their more
men read the history of the dispensations to the first propagators of our holy faith: they look with adıniration on the privileges and powers conferred on those chosen instruinents: their imaginations grow heated : they forget the difference between the present and the past æconomy of things: they seem to feel the impressions they read of; and they assume the airs, and mimic the authority of prophets and apostles.-See Bishop Warburton on Grace, 112th page.
* “ It was a celebrated maxim of the Jews, says Dr. Whitby on the 26th verse of the 1st chap. of the 1st." Epistle to the Corinthians, that 6 prophecy resides not but upon a wise, a strong, and a rich inan." The Methodists seem to have inverted this maxim in two instances, and to believe that peculiar illuminations are given to the ignorant and the poor.'
+ “ Every gift of the Spirit, as well as faith, cometh by hearing; and that not in the instant, but by degrees; for the Gospel does not illumi. nate and sanctify men at ONCE; but by successive improvements, according to the care with which we listen to its admonitions, and the iinpression they make upon us. One truth received prepares the mind to entertain a second; that, a third; and so on, 'till we become perfect in the knowledge of the faith. Our moral advances are made in the same manner: one good resolution begets another, which again produces succeeding onés, 'till, through several intervening states, we arrive, or almost arrive, at perfect obedience."--See Bishop Hurd's Sermons, vol. i. page 9. 1" Wesley's Journal.” “ Whitfield's Journal" 11 « Letters.'
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gnorant readers the expectation of personal communicaion with the Deity, immediately and sensibly present *?"
It is farther urged, that by the introduction of methodism, the Gospel is preached by many of the Clergy of our Church with greater purity. To this allegation Mř. C. replies, “ If by purity be meant the insisting perpetually on the doctrines of faith, graće, justification, the new-birth, the in-dwelling of the spirit, communion with God- reckon not these the sole excellences of public instruction. COULD IT INDEED BE PROVED, that instead of preaching mere morality, we have been induced by theni to expatiate on the genius of christianity, on the excellency of its precepts, on the sublimity of its doctrines, on the importance of its sanctions, we would Teadily acknowledge that some good to christianity has been indirectly produced by the propagation of Method. ism. But if the Methodists would be persuaded seriously to read, and impartially to consider, the explanations which some of our most * illustrious brethren have given of grace, justification, and the new birth, they would perhaps find that, where they reproach us with indifference, we have been anxious to explain the truth; and where they charge us with ervors, we have been fortunate enough to discover it.” • To the next plea of the Methodists, that they have not only been the means of evangelizing our Discourses, but of improving our morals--this is the answer," If .they have been the instruments of preserving us from the
commission of gross vices by their vigilant attention to our conduct, far be it from me to depreciate their claim to our gratitude. But why should they impute to the efficacy of their own example, a fact which may be equally accounted for by the sense which we feel of our duty, by
· * “ That the operations of the Holy Spirit can be distinguished from the workings of our own mind, no rational and enlightened christian will, I apprehend, take upon him to affirm. That such distinction, even in Mr. Whitfield's estimation, is not easy, appears froin his own words.* Alas! alas! in how many things have I judged and acted wrong! Bcing fond of scripture language, I have often used a style too aposto lical, and at the same time I have been too bitter in my zeal. Wild 'fire has been mixed with it; and I find I have frequently wrote and spoke tov much-in my own spirit, when I thought I was writing and speaking entirely by the assistance of the Spirit of God," 80.--What is this but an open acknowledgment that Methodism is a delusion? · † “ The Bishop of Lincoln's illustration of the Thirty-nine Articles contains the best illustrations of these intricate subjects."
the the obedience which we pay to the directions of our Church, and by the progress which we have made in our knowledge of the scriptures.”
We call the attention of our Readers to the next Extract, in which the subject is handled with great felicity. We have ourselves, ere now, conversed with Methodists; we have argued with them: and the result has been precisely as Mr. C. states. We have uniformly found them “ desirous to be” thought well instructed in Religion ; but they have ever shewn that they understand
neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."
“Another buasted advantage is, that men, who for- , merly were totally ignorant of the nature of the Christian covenant, are now, since they embraced Methodism, " mighty in the Scriptures.” That they apply theinselves with diligence to the reading of the holy Scriptures, we are ready to confess, to approve, and to encourage. And they are, in this respect, a reproach to too many of the members of our Church. But having had no farther education-I speak of the generality-than merely to enable them to read, how can they be supposed to under'stand with critical nicety, and explain with argumentative precision, those writings, which St. Peter asserts, " are hard to be understood ?” When you reason with · them upon any point of doctrine, they overpower you with quotations, which they call proofs, from the sacred oracles. But the misfortune is, that you are under the necessity of explaining all the passages they produce in support of their opinions; in doing which, the very sight of the original question is, in general, gradually lost. From their ignorance of the scope of the writers--the character of the people to whom those writings are ad.. dressed--the style and figures used by the inspired penmene. they apply passages, which, when attentively examined, and thoroughly understood, have no relation whatsoever to the doctrines they are defending. Here their supposed superiority triumphs : for the most learn. ed Divine, according to this mode of reasoning, cannot confute the most illiterate mechanic. If, instead of hav. ing their heads busied, and their passions heated by their contemplations on abstruse subjects, they would engrave on their hearts, the virtues of meekness, huinility, justice, forgiveness, their daily perusal of the Scriptures would be then truly laudable; and however we inight pity the
errors of their understandings—we should applaud the ainiableness of their manners, and the rectitude of their conduct.” • Hitherto Mr. C. has been enumerating some of the asserted, though not demonstrable, advantages of methodism. He candidly says, however, that it “ has been productive of some good to society, I could, were it necessary, produce many instances. If any one doubt the truth of what I say, let him inquire of men, on whose veracity he can depend, particularly in the great manufaciuring towns, and he will be informed of many, who, immersed in sensuality, and enslaved to vice, have been, by the preaching of Methodism, reclaimed from their evil courses. But Christianity requires active virtue. It is not sufficient that a “ man cease to do evil he is to learn to do well.” The menace of damnation so often brandished with terror, and levelled with indignation, may restrain men from the open violation of moral duty; but the Gospel requires, that all who embrace it be “rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.” Christianity is not considered by the Methodists as having a sufficiently intimate relation with this world*. For virtue they substitute holiness, which consists, not in acts of mercy and benevolence, but sometimes in tedious prayers, sometimes in sudden raptures, and sometimes in gloomy meditations."
Our Author now proceeds to consider the Disadvantages Methodism has produced, in doing of which, he says, “I wish not to excite any emotions of contempt towards the people, whose errors and frailties, whilst we record thein, we ought, as Christian Ministers, seriously .to lament.” “ They even ostentatiously profess to be real and true members of the Church of England. Now is the most wanton abuse, the most outrageous contempt of its teachers, consistent with such profession? We preach, it is said, only heathen morality; for God, have : ing withheld froin us the power of his grace, we do not know how to preach the gospel. In this indiscriminate
*“ If religion, says a learned and venerable prelate, is of a nature so entirely different froin our worldly concerns, has it therefore no connection with thein, and is it so pure as to avoid their intercourse? There. have been such tcnets, but they do not belong to Christianity. Religion has the world for the theatre of its action, and is as intimately connecter with it as the sonl is with the body."-See a Serinon published by his Gruce the Lord vrchbishop of York, in 1777.
censure, men of the highest talents, most extensive learning, and irreproachable morals, are comprehended. We are exposed to the most sarcastic ridicule, "the severest condemnation, because our understandings resist the absurdity of their opinions; and because we dare not, to conciliate their esteem, preach doctrines which our judgment forbids us to believe, and which our conscience commands us to condemn. " . · The parochial Clergy, being the guides of the vulgar, and of the ignorant, both in civilized manners, and useful attainments, can a greater outrage be done to society, than to represent us as not only useless, but pernicious to that society we are expected to enlighten by: our knowledge, and improve by our example? Is this consistent with Christian charity? Is this the suggestion of that amiable spirit " which thinketh no evil?” Is this one of the fruits of Christianity, whose tendency is to regulate the passions, and to meliorate the heart? How many unhappy wretches have been allienated from the public service of the Church, and have literally “lived without God in the world,” by their malicious misrepresentations ? When they declaim to the ignorant that they are born of God, and affirm that it is impossible for us, who are not so highly favoured, to preach the Gospel ;--whatever be their views, the consequences are most de· plorable. They, no doubt, mean to proselyte men to their own opinions; but if they fail in the attempt, they render them indifferent--so willing are too many to renounce all claim to “ the things which are not seen"-to that seasonable instruction with which it is the intention of our Church that all her children be supplied, and that rational worship, which, whilst it inspires with piety, preserves from enthusiasm, - “ They further allege that our people, by their attendance on divine worship, are not inade better. What is this but arrogating to themselves the property of Omniscience ? Admitting, however, the truth of the assertion
- let then consider before they so wantonly destroy the present and future happiness of men--how much worse a nation would become, if it universally adopted the desperate resolution of renouncing the public worship of Almighty God.
" But it is here to be remarked, that they are openly counteracting the effects of the Gospel, and the design of its Author. Jesus Christ expressly commands.that all