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shouting, cursing, swearing, and ready to swallow the ground with rage. (p. 120.) 4. June 27, 1747, I found only one person among them, who knew the love of God before my brother came. No wonder the Devil was so still : for his goods were in peace.' . 5. April 29, 1753, I preached at Durham, to a quiet, stupid congregation. (p. 121.) 6. May 9, 1740, I was a little surprised, at some who were buffeted of Satan in an unusual manner, by such a spirit of laughter as they could in nowise resist. I could scarcely have believed the account they gave me, had I not known the same thing ten or eleven years ago, when both my brother and I were seized in the same manner. (If any man call this hysterics, I am not concerned : I think and let think.) 7. May 21, 1740, In the evening, such a spirit of laughter was among us, that many were much offended. But the attention of all was soon fixed on poor L-s, whom we all knew to be no dissembler. One so violently and variously torn of the evil one, did I never see before. Sometimes she laughed till almost strangled; then broke out into cursing and blaspheming. At last she faintly called on Christ to help her. And the violence of her pangs ceased. (Let any one who please impute this likewise to hysterics. Only permit me to think otherwise.) 8. May 17, 1740, I found more and more undeniable proofs, that we have need to watch and pray every moment.
Outward trials indeed were now removed. But so much the more did inward trials abound; and 'if one member suffered, all the members suffered with it.' So strange a sympathy did I never observe before, whatever considerable temptation fell on any one, unaccountably spreading itself to the rest: so that exceedingly few were able to escape it.” p. 122, 123.
I know not what these eight quotations prove, but that I believe the Devil still variously tempts and troubles good men; while he "works with energy in the children of disobedience. Certainly they do not prove that I lay claim to any of the preceding gifts. Let us see whether any more is proved, by the ten next quotations. 1. “So many living witnesses hath God given, that his hand is still stretched out to beal,” (namely, the souls of sinners, as the whole paragraph fixes the sense,) "and that signs and wonders are even now wrought,” (p. 124,) namely, in the conversion of the greatest sinners. 2. 6. Among the poor colliers of Placey, Jo. Lane, then nine or ten years old, was one of the first that found peace with God. (ibid.) 3. Mrs. Nowers said, her little son appeared to have a continual fear of God, and an awful sense of his presence.-A few days since (she said) he broke out into prayers aloud, and said, I shall go to heaven soon.” This child (when he began to have the fear of God) was (as his parents said) just three years old. 4. I did receive that “ account of the young woman of Manchester from her own mouth.” But I pass no judgment on it, good or bad: nor, 5. On the trance,” (p. 126,) as her mother called it, of . T. neither denying nor affirming the truth of it. 6. “You deny that God does work those effects, at least that he works them in this manner: I affirm both. I have seen very many persons changed in a moment.
from the spirit of fear, horror, despair, to the spirit of love, joy, and praise. In several of them this change was wrought in a dream, or during a strong representation to their mind, of Christ either on the cross, or in glory." p. 127.
“But here the symptoms of grace and of perdition are interwoven and confounded with one another.” (p. 128.) No. Though light followed darkness, yet they were not interwoven, much less confounded with each other. 7. “But some imputed the work to the force of imagination, or even to the delusion of the Devil." (ibid.) They did so; which made me say, 8. I fear we have grieved the Spirit of the jealous God, by questioning his work.' (ibid.) 9. “Yet he says himself, these symptoms I can no more impute to any natural cause, than to the Spirit of God. I make no doubt, it was Satan tearing them as they were coming to Christ." (p. 129.) But these symptoms, and the work mentioned before, are wholly different things. The work spoken of is the conversion of sinners to God : these symptoms are cries and bodily pain. The very next instance makes this plain. 10. « I visited a poor old woman.
Her trials had been uncommon: inexpressible agonies of mind, joined with all sorts of bodily pain : not, it seemed, from any natural cause, but the direct operation of Satan." p. 130.
Neither do any of those quotations prove that I lay claim to any miraculous gift.
“Such was the evangelic state of things, when Mr. W. first entered on this ministry : who seeing himself surrounded with subjects, so harmoniously disposed, thus triumphantly exults.” To illustrate this, let us add the date. “Such was the evangelical state of things, Aug. 9, 1750.” (On that day, I preached that sermon :) “ when Mr. W. first entered on this ministry." Nay, that was in the year 1738. So I triumphed, because I saw what would be twelve
Let as see what the next ten quotations prove.
1. “In applying these words, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,' my soul was so enlarged, that methought I could have cried out, (in another sense than poor, vain Archimedes,) Give me where to stand, and I will shake the earth.” (p. 130.) s meant neither more nor less, (though I will not justify the use of so strong an expression,) than I was so deeply peneirated with a sense of the love of God to sinners, that it seemed, if I could have declared it to all the world, they could not but be moved thereby:
“Here then was a scene well prepared for a good actor, and excellently fitted up for the part he was to play.” But how came so good an actor to begin playing the part twelve years before the scene was fitted up?
“ He sets out with declaring his mission. 2. I cried aloud, · All things are ready: come ye to the marriage.' I then delivered my message.' And does not every minister do the same whenever he preaches ? But how is this? “ He sets out with declaring bis mission!" Nay, but this was ten years after my setting out !
3. “My heart was not wholly resigned. Yet I know he heard my voice. 4. The longer I spoke the more strength I had : till at twelve, I was as one refreshed with wine. 5. I explained the nature of inward religion, words flowing upon me faster than I could speak. 6. I intended to have given an exhortation to the society. But as soon as we met, the Spirit of supplication fell upon us, (on the congregation as well as me,) so that I could hardly do any thing but pray and give thanks.” (p. 132, 133.) I believe every true Christian may experience all that is contained in these three instances. 7. The spirit of prayer was so poured upon us all, that we could only speak to God. 8. Many were seated on a wall, which, in the middle of the sermon, fell down; but not one was hurt at all. Nor was there any interruption, either of my speaking, or of the attention of the hearers. 9. The mob had just broke open the doors, and while they burst in at one door, we walked out at the other. Nor did one man take any notice of us, though we were within five yards of each other.” (p. 133, 134, 135.) The fact was just so. I do not attempt to account for it; because I cannot. 10. “The next miracle was on bis friends." They were no friends of mine. I had seen few of them before in my life. Nei. ther do I say or think it was any miracle at all, that they were all “silent while I spoke ;" or that “the moment I had done, the chain fell off, and they all began talking at once.”
Do any or all of these quotations prove that I “lay claim to almost every miraculous gift ?”
Will the eight following quotations prove any more? 1. “Some heard perfectly well on the side of the opposite hill, which was seven-score yards from the place where I stood.” (p. 135.) I believe they did, as it was a calm day, and the hill rose gradually like a theatre. 2. “What I here aver is the naked fact. Let every one account for it as he sees good. My horse was exceedingly lame. And my head ached much. I thought, cannot God heal man or beast, by means, or without ? Immediately my weariness and headach ceased, and my horse's lameness in the same instant.” (p. 136.) It was so: and I believe thousands of serious Christians have found as plain answers to prayer as this. 3. William Kirkman's case proves only, that God does what pleases him; not that I make myself either “a great saint, or a great physician.” (p. 137.) 4. “Å. A. was freed at once, without any human means, from a distemper naturally incurable.” (p. 138.) He was : but it was before I knew him. So what is that to me?' 5. “ I found Mr. Lunell in a violent fever. He revived the moment he saw me, and began to recover from that time. Perhaps for this also was I sent.” (ibid.) I mean, perhaps this was one end for which the providence of God brought me thither at that time. 6. « In the evening, I called upon Ann Calcut. She had been speechless for some time. But almost as soon as we began to pray, God restored her speech. And from that hour the fever left her. 7. I visited several, ill of the spotted fever, which had been extremely mortal. , But God had said, · Hitherto
shalt thou come.' I believe there was not one with whom we were but he recovered. 8. Mr. Meyrick had been speechless and senseless for some time. A few of us joined in prayer. Before we had done, his sense and his speech returned. Others may account for this by natural causes. I believe this is the power of God.” (p. 139.)
But what does all this prove ? Not that I claim any gift above other men; but only that I believe God now hears and answers prayer, even beyond the ordinary course of nature. Otherwise the clerk was in the right, who in order to prevent the fanaticism of his rector) told him, “Sir, you should not pray for fair weather yet; for the moon does not change till Saturday.'
While the two accounts, (p. 143—146,) which are next recited, lay before me, a venerable old clergyman calling upon me, I asked him, Sir, would you advise me to publish these strange relations, or not ? He answered, 'Are you sure of the facts ? I replied, ' As sure as that I am alive.' Then,' said he, publish them in God's name, and be not careful about the event.'
The short of the case is this. Two young women were tormented of the Devil, in an uncommon manner. Several serious persons desired
We (with many others) did, and they were delivered. But where, mean time, were “the exorcisms in form, according to the Roman fashion ? ! never used them. I never saw them. I know nothing about them.
“Such were the blessings which Mr. W. distributed among his friends. For his enemies he had in store, the judgments of heaven." (p. 144.) Did I then ever distribute or profess to distribute these? Do I claim any such power ? This is the present question. Let us calmly consider the eight quotations brought to prove it.
.1. :| preached at Darlaston, late a den of lions. But the fiercest of them God has called away, by a train of surprising strokes.' (ibid.) But not by me. I was not there. 2. •I preached at R. late a place of furious riot and persecution : but quiet and calm, since the bitter rector is gone to give an account of himself to God. 3. Hence we rode to T-n, where the minister was slowly recovering from a violent fit of the palsy, with which he was struck immediately after he had been preaching a virulent sermon against the Methodists. 4. The case of Mr. W- n was dreadful indeed, and too notorious to be denied. 5. One of the chief of those who came to make the disturbance on the first instant, hanged himself. 6. I was quite surprised when I heard Mr. R. preach: that soft, smooth, tuneful voice, which he so often employed to blaspheme the work of God, was lost, without hope of recovery. 7. Mr. C. spoke so much in favour of the rioters, that they were all discharged. A few days after, walking over the same field, he dropped down, and spoke no more.' p. 145-147.
And what is the utmost that can be inferred from all these passages? That I believe these things to have been judgments. What if I did? To believe things are judgments is one thing; to claim a power
of inflicting judgments, is another. If indeed I believe things to be judgments which are not, I am to blame. But still this is not “claiming any miraculous gift.”
But "you cite one who forbid your speaking to some dying criminals, to answer for their souls at the judgment seat of Christ.” (p. 147.) I do; but be this right or wrong, it is not" claiming a power to inflict judgments.”
“Yes it is ; for these judgments are fulminated with the air of one who had the divine vengeance at his disposal.” (ibid.). I think not: and I believe all impartial men will be of the same mind.
“ These are some of the extraordinary gifts which Mr. W. claims." (p. 149.) I claim no extraordinary gift at all. Nor has any thing to the contrary been proved yet, so much as in a single instance.
“We come now to the application of this sovereign test, James iii. 17.” But let us see that we understand it first. I beg leave to consider the whole. Who is a wise and knowing man among you ? Let him show his wisdom, as well as his faith, by his works not by words only. But if ye have bitter zeal and strife in your heart, do not glory and lie against the truth : as if any such zeal, any thing contrary to love, could consist with true wisdom. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where bitter zeal and strife are, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom which is from above, (which every one that hath is a real Christian, and he only,) is first pure, free from all that is earthly, sensial, devilish ; then peaceable, benign, loving, making peace; gentle, soft, mild, yielding, not morose, or sour; easy to be entreated, to be persuaded or convinced, not stubborn, self-willed, or self-conceited; full of mercy, of tenderness and compassion; and good fruits, both in the heart and life. Two of these are immediately specified, without partiality, loving and doing good to all, without respect of persons, and without hypocrisy, sincere, frank, open.
I desire to be tried by this test. I try myself by it continually: not indeed whether I am a prophet, (for it has nothing to do with this,) but whether I am a Christian.
I. The present question then is, (not what is Mr. Law, or what are the Moravians, but) what is John Wesley? And, 1. Is he pure or not ? « Not pure : for he separates reason from grace.” (p. 156.) A wonderful proof! But I deny the fact. I never did separate reason from grace. “ Yes, you do. For your own words are, the points we chiefly insisted on were four. 1. That orthodoxy, or right opinion, is at best but a very slender part of religion; if it can be allowed to be any part of it at all.” p. 157.
After premising, that it is our bounden duty to labour after a right judgment in all things, as a wrong judgment naturally leads to wrong practice : I say again, right opinion
is at best but a very slender part of religion, (which properly and directly consists in right tempers, words, and actions) and frequently it is no part of religion. For it may be, where there is no religion at all : in men of the most abandoned Lives : yea in the Devil himself.