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words: "It is in obedience

be the call of God, that I, who e of death in my own soul, take write to you, of whom I have often Can the first elements of the Gospel of you are born of God you will approve though it may be but weakly executed; shall grieve for you, not for myself. For wek not the praise of men, so neither regard e contempt either of you or any other." With sexordium he introduced a severe lecture to Ms discarded master. For two years he said he had been preaching after the model of Mr. Law's two practical treatises, and all who heard had allowed that the law was great, wonderful, and holy; but when they attempted to fulfil it, they found that it was too high for man, and that by doing the works of the law should no flesh living be justified. He had then exhorted to pray earnestly for grace, and use all those other means of obtaining it which God hath appointed. Still he and his hearers were more and more convinced that by this law man cannot live; and under this heavy yoke he might have groaned till death, had not a holy man, to whom God had lately directed him, answered his complaining at once, by saying, Believe, and thou shalt be saved. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with all thy heart, and nothing shall be impossible to thee. Strip thyself naked of thy own

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works and thy own righteousness, and flee to him.” "Now, Sir," continued Wesley, "suffer me to ask, how will you answer it to our common Lord that you never gave me this advice? Why did I scarcely ever hear you name the name of Christ; never so as to ground any thing upon faith in his blood? If you say, you advised other things as preparatory to this, what is this but laying a foundation below the foundation? is not Christ then the First as well as the Last? If you say you advised them, because you knew that I had faith already, verily you knew nothing of me; you discerned not my spirit at all." Law had given good proof of his discernment when he said to the aspirant, "Sir, I perceive you would fain convert the world!"

"I know that I had not faith," he continues; "unless the faith of a devil, the faith of Judas, that speculative, notional, airy shadow, which lives in the head, not in the heart. But what is this to the living, justifying faith, the faith that cleanses from sin?—I beseech you, Sir, by the mercies of God, to consider deeply and impartially, whether the true reason of your never pressing this upon me, was not this, that you had it not yourself?" He then warned him, on the authority of Peter Boehler, whom he called a man of God, and whom he knew, he said, to have the Spirit of God, that his state was a very dangerous one; and asked him whether his extreme roughness, and morose and sour behaviour, could possibly be the fruit of a living faith in Christ?

To this extraordinary letter Law returned a temperate answer. "As you have written," said he, "in obedience to a divine call, and in conjunction with another extraordinary good young man, whom you know to have the Spirit of God, so I assure you, that considering your letter in that view, I neither desire, nor dare to make the smallest defence of myself. I have not the least inclination to question your mission, nor the smallest repugnance to own, receive, reverence, and submit myself to you both in the exalted character to which you lay claim. But upon supposition that you had here only acted by that ordinary light, which is common to good and sober minds, I should remark upon your letter as follows: How you may have been two years preaching the doctrine of the two Practical Discourses, or how you may have tired yourself and your hearers to no purpose, is what I cannot say much to. A holy man you say, taught you thus: Believe and thou shalt be saved. Believe in the Lord Jesus with all thy heart, and nothing shall be impossible to thee. Strip thyself naked of thy own works and thy own righteousness, and flee to him. I am to suppose that till you met with this holy man you had not been taught this doctrine. Did you not above two years ago, give a new translation of Thomas à Kempis ? Will you call Thomas to account, and to answer it to God, as you do me, for not teaching you that doctrine? Or will you say that you took upon you to restore the true sense of that divine writer, and to instruct others how they might best profit by

reading him, before you had so much as a literal knowledge of the most plain, open, and repeated doctrine in his book? You cannot but remember what value I always expressed for Kempis, and how much I recommended it to your meditations. You have had a great many conversations with me, and I dare say that you never was with me for half an hour, without my being large upon that very doctrine, which you make me totally silent and ignorant of. How far I may have discerned your spirit, or the spirit of others that have conversed with me, may, perhaps, be more a secret to you than you imagine. But granting you to be right in the account of your own faith, how am I chargeable with it?


I am to suppose that after you had been meditating upon an author that of all others, leads us the most directly to a real, living faith in Jesus' Christ, after you had judged yourself such a master of his sentiments and doctrines, as to be able to publish them to the world, with directions and instructions concerning such experimental divinity; that years after you had done this, you had only the faith of a devil or Judas, an empty notion only in your head; and that you was in this state through ignorance that there was any better to be sought after; and that you was in this ignorance, because I never directed or called you to this true faith. But Sir, as Kempis and I have both of us had your acquaintance and conversation, so pray let the fault be divided betwixt us; and I shall be content to have it said that I left you in as much ignorance

of this faith, as he did, or that you learnt no more of it by conversing with me than with him. If you had only this faith till some weeks ago, let me advise you not to be too hasty in believing, that because you have changed your language or expressions, you have changed your faith. The head can as easily amuse itself with a living and justifying faith in the blood of Jesus, as with any other notion; and the heart, which you suppose to be a place of security, as being the seat of self-love, is more deceitful than the head. Your last paragraph concerning my sour rough behaviour, I leave in its full force; whatever you can say of me of that kind, without hurting yourself, will be always well received by me."

Many years afterwards Wesley printed, and in so doing sanctioned, an observation of one of his Gorrespondents, which explains the difference that now appeared to him so frightful between his own doctrine and that of William Law. "Perhaps," said this writer, "what the best heathens called Reason, and Solomon Wisdom, St. Paul Grace in general, and St. John Righteousness or Love, Luther Faith, and Fenelon Virtue, may be only different expressions for one and the self same blessing, the light of Christ shining in different degrees under different dispensations. Why then so many words and so little charity exercised among Christians, about the particular term of a blessing experienced more or less by all righteous men!" There are sufficient indications that in the latter part of his life Wesley reposed

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