Title Page
 Sermons on several occasions
 Table of Contents
 The life of the Rev. John...
 Salvation by faith
 The almost Christian
 Awake, thou that sleepest
 Scriptural Christianity
 Justification by faith
 The righteousness of faith
 The way to the kingdom
 The first fruits of the spirit
 The spirit of bondage and...
 The witness of the spirit - discourse...
 The witness of the spirit - discourse...
 The witness of our own spirit
 On sin in believers
 The repentance of believers
 The great assize
 The means of grace
 The circumcision of the heart
 The marks of the new birth
 The great privilege of those that...
 The Lord our righteousness
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount,...
 The original, nature, property,...
 The law established through faith,...
 The law established through faith,...
 The nature of enthusiasm
 A caution against bigotry
 Catholic spirit

Group Title: The works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M. : sometime Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.
Title: The works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M.
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00076196/00005
 Material Information
Title: The works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M. sometime Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford
Physical Description: 14 v. : ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wesley, John, 1703-1791
Publisher: Wesleyan Conference Office
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1872
Subject: Theology -- Early works to 1800   ( lcsh )
Theology -- History -- 18th century   ( lcsh )
Methodism   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: With the last corrections of the author.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00076196
Volume ID: VID00005
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 03171266

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page A-1
        Page A-2
    Sermons on several occasions
        Page A-3
        Page A-4
    Table of Contents
        Page A-5
        Page A-6
        Page A-7
        Page A-8
    The life of the Rev. John Wesley
        Page B-1
        Page B-2
        Page B-3
        Page B-4
        Page B-5
        Page B-6
        Page B-7
        Page B-8
        Page B-9
        Page B-10
        Page B-11
        Page B-12
        Page B-13
        Page B-14
        Page B-15
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        Page B-27
        Page B-28
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        Page B-45
        Page B-46
        Page B-47
        Page C-1
        Page C-2
        Page C-3
        Page C-4
        Page C-5
        Page C-6
    Salvation by faith
        Page C-7
        Page C-8
        Page C-9
        Page C-10
        Page C-11
        Page C-12
        Page C-13
        Page C-14
        Page C-15
        Page C-16
    The almost Christian
        Page C-17
        Page C-18
        Page C-19
        Page C-20
        Page C-21
        Page C-22
        Page C-23
        Page C-24
    Awake, thou that sleepest
        Page C-25
        Page C-26
        Page C-27
        Page C-28
        Page C-29
        Page C-30
        Page C-31
        Page C-32
        Page C-33
        Page C-34
        Page C-35
        Page C-36
    Scriptural Christianity
        Page C-37
        Page C-38
        Page C-39
        Page C-40
        Page C-41
        Page C-42
        Page C-43
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        Page C-47
        Page C-48
        Page C-49
        Page C-50
        Page C-51
        Page C-52
    Justification by faith
        Page C-53
        Page C-54
        Page C-55
        Page C-56
        Page C-57
        Page C-58
        Page C-59
        Page C-60
        Page C-61
        Page C-62
        Page C-63
        Page C-64
    The righteousness of faith
        Page C-65
        Page C-66
        Page C-67
        Page C-68
        Page C-69
        Page C-70
        Page C-71
        Page C-72
        Page C-73
        Page C-74
        Page C-75
    The way to the kingdom
        Page C-76
        Page C-77
        Page C-78
        Page C-79
        Page C-80
        Page C-81
        Page C-82
        Page C-83
        Page C-84
        Page C-85
        Page C-86
    The first fruits of the spirit
        Page C-87
        Page C-88
        Page C-89
        Page C-90
        Page C-91
        Page C-92
        Page C-93
        Page C-94
        Page C-95
        Page C-96
        Page C-97
    The spirit of bondage and of adoption
        Page C-98
        Page C-99
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        Page C-101
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        Page C-103
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        Page C-105
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        Page C-108
        Page C-109
        Page C-110
    The witness of the spirit - discourse I
        Page C-111
        Page C-112
        Page C-113
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        Page C-115
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    The witness of the spirit - discourse II
        Page C-123
        Page C-124
        Page C-125
        Page C-126
        Page C-127
        Page C-128
        Page C-129
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        Page C-131
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        Page C-133
    The witness of our own spirit
        Page C-134
        Page C-135
        Page C-136
        Page C-137
        Page C-138
        Page C-139
        Page C-140
        Page C-141
        Page C-142
        Page C-143
    On sin in believers
        Page C-144
        Page C-145
        Page C-146
        Page C-147
        Page C-148
        Page C-149
        Page C-150
        Page C-151
        Page C-152
        Page C-153
        Page C-154
        Page C-155
    The repentance of believers
        Page C-156
        Page C-157
        Page C-158
        Page C-159
        Page C-160
        Page C-161
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        Page C-165
        Page C-166
        Page C-167
        Page C-168
        Page C-169
        Page C-170
    The great assize
        Page C-171
        Page C-172
        Page C-173
        Page C-174
        Page C-175
        Page C-176
        Page C-177
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        Page C-179
        Page C-180
        Page C-181
        Page C-182
        Page C-183
        Page C-184
    The means of grace
        Page C-185
        Page C-186
        Page C-187
        Page C-188
        Page C-189
        Page C-190
        Page C-191
        Page C-192
        Page C-193
        Page C-194
        Page C-195
        Page C-196
        Page C-197
        Page C-198
        Page C-199
        Page C-200
        Page C-201
    The circumcision of the heart
        Page C-202
        Page C-203
        Page C-204
        Page C-205
        Page C-206
        Page C-207
        Page C-208
        Page C-209
        Page C-210
        Page C-211
    The marks of the new birth
        Page C-212
        Page C-213
        Page C-214
        Page C-215
        Page C-216
        Page C-217
        Page C-218
        Page C-219
        Page C-220
        Page C-221
        Page C-222
    The great privilege of those that are born of God
        Page C-223
        Page C-224
        Page C-225
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        Page C-228
        Page C-229
        Page C-230
        Page C-231
        Page C-232
        Page C-233
    The Lord our righteousness
        Page C-234
        Page C-235
        Page C-236
        Page C-237
        Page C-238
        Page C-239
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        Page C-241
        Page C-242
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse I
        Page C-247
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse II
        Page C-262
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse III
        Page C-278
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse IV
        Page C-294
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse V
        Page C-310
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse VI
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse VII
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse VIII
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse IX
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse X
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse XI
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse XII
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    Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount, discourse XIII
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    The original, nature, property, and use of the law
        Page C-433
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    The law established through faith, discourse I
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    The law established through faith, discourse II
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    The nature of enthusiasm
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    A caution against bigotry
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    Catholic spirit
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Full Text








[Entitrb at itationtm' 3iall.i











f -'" -*..l.- r '"' S


SERMON I.-Salvation by Faith.
Ephesians ii. 8. By grace are ye saved through faith .. 7 L/
II.-The Almost Christian.
Acts xxvi. 28. Almost thou persuadest me to be a Chris-
tian ........................... 17
III.-Awake, thou that sleepest.
Ephesians v. 14. Awake, thou that steepest, and arise from
the dead, and Christ shall give thee light ...... .25
IV.-Scriptural Christianity.
Acts iv. 31. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost 37
V.-Justification by Faith.
Romans iv. 5. To him that worketh not, but believeth on
Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted fbr
righteousness ...................... 53
VI.-The Righteousness of Faith.
Romans x. 5-8. Moses descriheth the righteousness which is
of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall
live by them : Sc .... ................. 65
VII.-The Way to the Kingdom.
Mark i. 15. The kingdom of God is at hand: Repent ye,
and believe the Gospel .................. 76
VIII.-The First Fruits of the Spirit.
Romans viii. 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to
them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the
flesh, but after the Spiri . . . .. 87
IX.-The Spirit of Bondage and of Adoption.
Romans viii. 15. Ye have not received the spirit of bondage
again unto fear; but ye have received the Spirit of (/
optionio, whereby we cry, Abba, Father ...... 98


SERMON X.-The Witness of the Spirit
Romans viii. 16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our
spirit, that we are the children of God ........ 111
XI.-The Witness of the Spirit.
Romans viii. 16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our 1/
spirit, that we are the children of God . . 123
XII.-The Witness of our own Spirit.
2 Corinthianj i. 12. This is our rejoicing, the testimony of
our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity,
not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we
have had our conversation in the world . 134
XIII.-On Sin in Believers.
2 Corinthians v. 17. If any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature ........ .... ...... .. ........ 144
XIV.-The Repentance of Believers.
Mark i. 15. Repent ye, and believe the Gospel ....... 156
XV.-The Great Assize.
Romans xiv. 10. We shall all stand before the judgment-seal
of Christ ......................... 171
XVI.-The Means of Grace.
Malachi iii. 7. Ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and
have not kept them .................. 185
XVII.-The Circumcision of the Heart.
Romans ii. 29. Circumcision is that of the heart, in the
spirit, and not in the letter . .... 202
XVIII.-The Marks of the New Birth.
John iii. 8. So is every one that is born of the Spirit. 212
XIX.-The Great Privilege of those that are born of God.
1 John iii. 9. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit
sin .. . .. . .. . 223
XX.-The Lord our Righteousness.
Jeremiah xxiii. 6. This is his name whereby he shall be
called, The LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS .. .. .234


SERMON XXI.-Sermon on the Mount.
"Matthew v. 1-4. And seeing the multitudes, he went up
into a mountain: And when he was set, his disciples
came unto him c. ................... 247
XXII.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew v. 5-7. Blessed are the meek: 4c.. .... 262

XXIII.-Scrmon on the Mount.
Matthew v. 8-19. Blessed are the pure in heart: dfc. 278

XXIV.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew v. 13-16. Ye are the salt of the earth : 2c. 291
XXV.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew v. 17-20. Think not that I am come to destroy the
Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, 4-c. 310
XXVI.-Scrmon on the Mount.
Matthew vi. 1-15. Take heed that ye do not your alms
before men, to be seen of them : c. .. . .. 327
XXVII.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew vi. 16-18. Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the
hypocrites, of a sad countenance: (c ......... :. 44
XXVIII.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew vi. 19-23. Lay not up for yourselves treasures
upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, 8c. 361
XXIX.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew vi. 24-34. No man can serve two masters: For
either he will hate the one, and love the other ; 4yc. 378
XXX.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew vii. 1-12. Judge not, that ye be not judged: cdec.393


SERMON XXXI.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew vii. 13, 14. Enter ye in at the strait gate: d4c. 405
XXXII.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew vii. 15-20. Beware of false prophets, which come
to you in sheep's clothing, dc. ............. 413
XXXIII.-Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew vii. 21-27. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; dc. 423
XXXIV.-The Original, Nature, Property, and Use of
the Law.
Romans vii. 12. Wherefore the law is holy, and the command-
ment holy, and just, and good. . . .. 433
XXXV.-The Law established through Faith.
Romans iii. 31. Do we then make void the law through faith?
God forbid: Yea, we establish the law. . 447
XXXVI.-The Law established through Faith.
Romans iii. 31. Do we then make void the law through faith?
God forbid: Yea, we establish the law ........ 458
XXXVII.-The Nature of Enthusiasm.
Acts xxvi. 24. And Festus said with a loud voice, Paul,
thou art beside thyself. . . ... 467
XXXVIII.-A Caution against Bigotry.
Mark ix. 38, 39. And John answered him, saying, Master,
we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he fol-
loweth not us: .c. ................... 479
XXXIX.-Catholic Spirit.
Q Kings x. 15. And when he was departed thence, he lighted
on Jchonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him :
And he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart
right, 4&c. ..................... 492




THE ancestors of Mr. Wesley were Nonconformists. His father,
the Rev. Samuel Wesley, however, embraced early in life High
Church principles. Having written in defence of the Revolu-
tion of 1(i88, after he had refused flattering offers made by the
adherents of James II. to support the measures of the court, he
was presented with the rectory of Epworth in Lincolnshire; and
to this living was added, in a few years afterwards, that of
Wroote in the same county. Mrs. Susanna Wesley, the mother
of Mr. John Wesley, was the daughter of Dr. Samuel Annesley,
and was, as might he expected from the eminent character of her
father, educated with great care. Like her husband she also early
renounced Nonconformity, and became a member of the Estab-
lished Church. The serious habits impressed upon both by their
education did not forsake them;--they feared God and worked
righteousness : But there was an obscurity on several great points
of evangelical religion which hung over their minds till towards the
close of life. This probably resulted from the early change in
their religious connexions, and from the study of a class of Divines
of the Church of England whose writings exhibited either very
imperfect or erroneous views of the doctrine of justification by
faith, and of the offices of the Holy Spirit.
Mrs. Wesley instructed her own children in their early years.
She appears to have felt a peculiar interest in John, from the
circumstance of his providential escape when the parsonage-house
was destroyed by fire, regarding that event as imposing on her
an obligation "to be more particularly careful of the soul of a
child whom God had so mercifully provided for." The effect
of this special care on the part of the mother, under the divine
blessing, appeared in hii becoming early serious. In 1714, when
le was eleven years of age, he was placed at the Charter-House,
' where he was noticed for his diligence and progress in learning."
1) 1.


At the age of seventeen, he was elected to Christ Church, Oxford,
where he pursued his studies with distinguished success. At college
he appears to have fallen into a state of religious carelessness, from
which he was aroused when about to take Deacon's orders. The
advice of his excellent mother in her correspondence with him, at
this important period of his life, had a salutary effect on his mind.
lie was ordained Deacon in September, 1725; in the spring
of 1726, he was elected Fellow of Lincoln College; and such was
the high opinion which was entertained of his talents and literary
acquirements, that on the 7th of November in the same year he
was chosen Greek Lecturer and Moderator of the Classes, although
lie was then little more than twenty-three years of age. In
February, 1727, he took the degree of Master of Arts, and in the
following year obtained Priest's orders. In the month of August,
1727, he had become his father's Curate; but the Rector of his
college requiring his residence, he settled again at Oxford in
November, 1729.
From this time the religious character of Mr. Wesley became
prominent. During his absence from Oxford, as his father's
Curate, his younger brother Charles had become serious, and
persuading two or three students to accompany him, they attended
the weekly sacrament, and observed the method of study pre-
scribed by the University : This obtained for Charles the name
of" Methodist." To the little society thus formed by his brother,
Mr. John Wesley joined himself on his return to Oxford, and by
the force of his character soon became the head of it. He has
recorded the following account of its original members:-
SIn November, 1729, four young gentlemen of Oxford,-
Mr. John Wesley, Fellow of Lincoln College; Mr. Charles
Wesley, Student of Christ Church; Mr. Morgan, Commoner
if Christ Church; and Mr. Kirkham, of Merton College.-began
to spend some evenings in a week together, in reading chiefly the
Greek Testament. The next year, two or three of Mr. John
Wesley's pupils desired the liberty of meeting with them, and
afterwards one of Mr. Charles Wesley's pupils. It was in
1732 that Mr. Ingham, of Queen's College, and Mr. Broughton,
of Exeter, were added to their number. To these in April
was joined Mr. Clayton, of Brazen-Nose, with two or three of his
pupils. About the same time Mr. James Hervey was permitted
to meet with them, and in 1735 Mr. Whitefield." The life
of Mr. Wesley was now eminently strict and devout. He com-
municated every week; he watched against all sin. and began to
aim at, and pray for, inward holiness." And he and his companion"
were anxious to promote also the welfare of others. They visited


the prisoners in Oxford gaol, and spent two or three hours a week
in visiting the poor and sick, generally, where the parish Ministers
did not object to it. In this novel course they were exhorted to
persevere by his father, whom Mr. Wesley consulted on the subject;
and even his eldest brother Samuel, notwithstanding his High
Church principles, gave them similar advice. At this time, how
ever, it is evident, Mr. Wesley was seeking justification before
God by endeavouring after a perfect obedience to his law. Bishop
Taylor and Mr. Law were his religious guides; who, however
beautiful and exact might be the picture of practical piety which
they drew, exhibited very imperfect views of the method by which
a sinner is to obtain reconciliation with his offended God.
In April, 1735, the father of Mr. Wesley died. He had been
for some time evidently ripening for the change; clearer views
of faith had been obtained by him in his illness, and his last hours
were cheered by the abundant consolations of religion. The
decline of his father's health had proved the occasion of painful
exercise to Mr. Wesley. The venerable Rector, anxious to pro-
vide for the spiritual wants of his parishioners, and solicitous to
promote the future welfare of the family, for whom no competent
provision appears to have been made, urged his son to make
interest for the next presentation to the living. The other mem-
bers of the family joined in intreating him; but so strong was
his conviction that he should be better enabled to cultivate per-
sonal piety, and should have greater opportunities of usefulness,
by remaining at Oxford, that he sacrificed his feelings, and
declined his father's request. In a few months after his father's
death, however, an occurrence took place which produced a change
in his purpose of remaining at Oxford. The Trustees of the new
colony of Georgia, who wished to send out Clergymen to adminis-
ter to the spiritual wants of the colonists, and also to attempt tho
conversion of the Indians, directed their attention to Mr. Wesley
and some of his associates at Oxford. After due deliberation, and
consulting his friends, Mr. Wesley accepted the offer of the
Trustees; and in thus concluding to quit Oxford, he acted with
as perfect sincerity as in his previous determination to remain
there. He was persuaded that in Georgia he should have a yet
wider field of usefulness, and that there he should be called to
endure greater privations and hardships, which, according to his
then defective views of religion, he regarded as necessary to his
perfection. His brother Charles determined to accompany him,
and received holy orders; and Mr. Ingham and Mr. DelamottL
also embarked in the same undertaking. The most important
circumstance of the voyage was Mr. Wesly's obtaining the
b 2


acquaintance of several members of the Moravian Church who:
went out in the same ship, as settlers in the new province. On
commencing the voyage Mr. Wesley began the study of German,
in order that he might be able to converse with them; and in their
deep humility, their calmness in danger, and their deliverance
from the fear of death, he obtained such a view of the power
of religion as his own experience had never yet afforded.
They reached Georgia in February, 1736. Mr. Charles Wesley
took charge of Frederica, and Mr. John of Savannah, where, the
house not being ready, he resided with the Germans, with whose
spirit and conduct he became still more favourably impressed.
Mr. Charles Wesley, after having suffered great persecution at
Frederica, was sent in July, the same year, to England, with dis-
patches from the Governor, Mr. Oglethorpe, to the Trustees and
Board of Trade. Mr. John Wesley in his visits to Frederica met
with much opposition and abuse; but in Savannah he was rapidly
gaining influence, when a circumstance occurred which led to his
departure from Georgia. He had formed an attachment to an
accomplished oung lady, niece to the wife of Mr. Causton, chief
Magistrate of Savannah ; but in consequence of the remonstrances
of Mr. Delamotte, who suspected Miss Hopkey's professions
of piety, he consulted the elders of the Moravian Church.
By them he was dissuaded from making offers of marriage to her;
but it appears, that, in yielding to his sense of duty, he had a con-
siderable struggle with his own feelings. The lady was soon after
married to a Mr. Williamson ; her friends, however, cherished a
hostile feeling towards Mr. Wesley, which they shortly found
opportunity to manifest. Mr. Wesley rigidly adhered to the
rubric of the Church of England, and refused to admit those to
the Lord's supper whom he judged unworthy, without respect
of persons ; and some time after the marriage of Mrs. Williamson,
perceiving some things in her conduct of which he disapproved,
he, after ineffectually endeavouring to produce amendment in
her, repelled her from the communion. Immediately the storm
broke fbrth. A prosecution was commenced against him by Mr.
Williamson, for defamation of his wife's character; and such a
combination was formed among those in power to oppress him,
that he was led eventually to ask the advice of his friends as to
what he should do. They gave it as their opinion that he was
not called by Providence to remain longer in the colony : In this
opinion he coincided, and sailed shortly after for England.
On his voyage home, Mr. Wesley solemnly reviewed his reli-
gious state and experience; and the record which he made in his
Journal on that occasion affords an interesting view of a sincere


mind earnestly engaged in the search of truth. He was early
warned, he says, against laying too much stress on outward works,
as the Papists do." Afterwards he read some Lutheran and
Calvinist authors, who seemed to him, on the other hand, too much
to magnify faith. Then he resorted to such English writers
as Beveridge, Taylor, and Nelson, whose views he thought more
consonant with Scripture. His attention was next turned to the
Fathers. From them he went to the Mystic writers- but here he
found not what he sought. He soon saw the dangerous tendency
of their system, and renounced them as guides. And now," he
adds, "it is upwards of two years since I left my native country,
in order to teach the Georgian Indians the nature of Christianity ;
but what have I learned myself in tile meantime? Why, (what
I least of all suspected,) that I, who went to America to convert
others, was never converted myself." Such was his conclusion
respecting his state. At Oxford he was convinced that he did not
fully come up to the scriptural standard of a Christian; but in
Georgia, although the Germans had not beni made instrumental
in fully enlightening him as to the nature of faith, he had learned,
however, that he had to go down again to the very foundation,-
that he yet needed conversion.*
Mr. Wesley arrived in London, February 3, 1738; and in four
days after, he met with Peter Boihler, a Minister of the Moravian
Church. Under divine Providence, the 7th of February, 1738,
proved an important epoch in Mr. Wesley's life; for his conversa-
tion with Biihler that day was the means of bringing his mind
to correct views of the true nature of faith. It is evident from hi-
own account of himself that he had formerly regarded faith, gene-
rally, as a principle of belief in the Gospel, which, by quickening
his efforts to self-mertification and entire obedience, would raise
him, through a renewed state of heart, into acceptance and peace
with God. By this and subsequent conversations with Bohler, he
was led to see his error, and was fully "convinced that his faith
had been too much separated from an evangelical view of the promises
of a free justification, or pardon of sin through the atonement and
mediation of Christ alone, which was the reason why he had been
held in continual bondage and fear." An appeal to Scripture
silenced his principal objections to Bihler's statements respecting
instantaneous conversion. I had," he remarks, but one retreat
left on this subject: Thus I grant God wrought in the first ages
of Christianity; but the times are changed; what reason have I to
believe he works in the same manner now ?" From this retreat,
however, he was speedily driven; for on Sunday, April 23d, he
Wesley's Works, vol. i., p. 75.


heard the testimony of several living witnesses that God saves
now as in the ancient times. Here ended," says he, "my disput-
ing. I could now only cry out, Lord, help thou my unbelief!"*
Immediately'Mr. Wesley began to preach that doctrine of faith
which he had thus been taught; and he and a few others formed
themselves into a religious society, which met in Fetter-lane.
'he rules of this society were printed under the title of Orders
of a religious society, meeting in Fetter-lane; in obedience to the
command of God by St. James, and by the advice of Peter
Bihler. 1738." But although Mr. Wesley and his friends thus
assembled with the Moravians, they remained members of the
Church of England.
Mr. Wesley dates his conversion from May 24, 1738. His mind
had been particularly impressed during that day with certain pas-
sages of Scripture which had occurred to him; and in the even-
ing," lie says, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-
street, where one was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to
the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describe
ing the change which God works in the heart through faith in
Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in
Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that
he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the
law of sin and death." Mr. Charles Wesley also was made
partaker of the same grace. Peter Bihler had visited him in
his sickness at Oxford; but it was the reading of Halyburton's
Life, some time afterwards, which convinced him of the want
of that faith which brings "peace and joy in the Holy Ghost."
Luther on the Galatians deepened his convictions, and increased
his earnestness in seeking salvation, till at length, on WVhitsunday,
May 21st, three days before his brother John found peace, he
was enabled, while reading some encouraging portions of Scripture,
to view Christ as set forth to be a propitiation for his sins, through
faith in his blood; and he received that peace and rest in God
which he had so ardently sought.+
When Mr. Wesley was in Georgia he formed,the design of
visiting Germany on his return to Europe; and immediately
after his conversion he determined to carry this purpose into
effect, with a view to the confirmation of his faith. I hoped,"
he says, the conversing with those holy men who were themselves
living witnesses of the full power of faith, and yet able to bear
with those that are weak, would be a means,. under God, of so
establishing my .oul, that I might go on from faith to faith, and
'from strength to strength." On this journey he formed an
Wesley's Works, vol. i., p. 91. ,1 Ibid., vol. i., p. 96.


acquaintance with many pious Ministers in Holland and Germany.
At Marienborn he was much profited by the conversation of
Count Zinzendorf, and others of the brethren of the Moravian
establishment. He spent a fortnight at Hernhuth, conversing
with the elders, and observing the economy of that church; part
of which, with modifications, he afterwards introduced among his
own societies. Having accomplished the object of his visit, he
returned to England. He reached London on Saturday night,
September 16, 1738; and the following day, Sunday, he says,
" I began to declare again in my own country the glad tidings
of salvation, preaching three times, and afterwards expounding
the holy Scriptures to a large company in the Minories. On
Monday I rejoiced to meet with our little society, which now
consisted of thirty-two persons. The next day I went to the
condemned felons in Newgate, and offered them free salvation.
In the evening I went to a society* in Bear-yard, and preached
repentance and remission of sins. The next evening I spoke the
truth in love at a society in Aldersgate-street."t
Mr. Wesley's career of distinguished usefulness now fully com-
menced. Filled with sympathy for his fellow-men, who wandered
:n the darkness and wretchedness of sin, he preached to them the
way of salvation which he himself had found. And there existed
an awful need for the utmost efforts of himself and the little band
with which he was associated. The religious and moral state of
the nation at that time exhibited the most appalling aspect. The
civil wars had exerted a baneful effect on the cause of religion;
but the rapid decay of religious light and influence, from the
restoration of the Stuarts to the time of the Wesleys, is perhaps
without a parallel in the history of any Christian country. In
the Established Church, the doctrines generally preached verged
towards Pelagianism; in a great number of instances the Clergy
were ignorant and immoral, and the mass of the people were sunk
in profligacy. And the state of things among the Dissenters was
deplorable enough. The Presbyterians were urging their down-
ward course through Arianism to Socinianism; and the doctrines
of Calvin had, among those who still held to them, degenerated in
too many instances into Antinomianism. Such was the state of
religion and morals when Mr. Wesley began his course.
At this period Mr. Wesley had evidently formed no specific

The "Societies" which Mr. Wesley mentions in his Journals as visited by him
in London and Bristol, were the remains of Societies which, according to Dr. Wood-
ward, began about the year 1667 among a few young men in London who wer
awakened under the ministry of Dr. Horneck and others.
t Wesley's Works, vol. i., p. 158.


plan to guide his future proceedings; but embraced such oppor-
tunities for usefulness as were providentially afforded him.
Wherever he was invited, he preached the obsolete doctrine
of salvation by grace through faith. In London great crowds
followed him ; but the Clergy generally objected to his statement
of the doctrine, and it was not long before most of the churches in
London were shut against him. Great multitudes, however, had
heard the word, and the results of his ministry were seen in tile
numbers who were brought under religious concern. In writing
to the Church at Hernhuth under the date of October 13th, 1738,
Mr. Wesley states, that they had then eight bands of men, consist-
ing of fifty-six persons, all of whom were seeking salvation only
through the blood of Christ; that in addition to these there were
two small bands of women, amounting to eight persons; and that
there were many others who were waiting for instruction.
In December, the same year, Mr. WVhitefield returned from
America, and he and Mr. Wesley again took sweet counsel toge-
ther." In the spring of the next year Mr. Wesley went to Bristol.
He first expounded to a small society in Nicholas-street, and the
next day, overcoming his scruples, he followed Mr. Whitefield's
example, and preached in the open air, on an eminence near the
city, to about three thousand persons. On this practice, which had
been in the first instance so revolting to his sense of decency and
order, he observes in his Journal, I have since seen abundant
reason to adore the wise providence of God herein, making a
way for myriads of people who never troubled any church, or were
likely to do so, to hear that word which they soon found to be the
power of God unto salvation."
About this time some disputes took place in the Fetter-lane
society as to lay-preaching; and Mr. Charles Wesley, in the
absence of his brother, declared warmly against it. While his
brother was still at Bristol, he had also a painful interview with
the Archbishop of Canterbury, who objected to the irregularity
of his course, and hinted at proceeding to excommunication. This
conversation was to him the occasion of great perplexity of mind,
which being observed by Mr. Whitefield, he urged him to preach
in the fields the following Sunday, and thus commit himself almost
beyond the possibility of retreat. He followed this advice, and
preached, on June 24th, to nearly a thousand persons in Moor-
fields. At Oxford, the Dean dealt severely with him in regard of
field-preaching; but on his return to London, lie resumed the prac-
tice in Moorfields, and on Kennington-Common; and many were
aroused to a serious inquiry after religion. On one occasion it was
calculated that ten thousand persons were assembled to hear him.


SMr. John Wesley visited London in the summer of 1739, but
shortly returned to Bristol. The labours of the two brothers and
of Mr. Whitefield proved eminently successful in the neighbour-
hood of Kingswood. The colliers had been proverbial for wicked,
ness; but many of them became truly exemplary for their piety
So considerable was the number of those who were brought under
the saving influence of the Gospel, that the Bristol Clergy refused
to admit them to the sacrament of the Lord's supper, being
unwilling to have so much additional labour imposed upon them.
'lTh beneficial effect of the ministry of Mr. Wesley and his fellow-
labourers among the colliers of that neighbourhood was very appa-
rent the following year, when a riot took place. The great body
of the colliers had risen on account of the dearness of bread, and
marched to Bristol. They compelled many of the Methodist
colliers to go with them ; and such was the influence which these
exerted over the rest, that they were restrained from violence, and
all returned to their habitations without committing any outrage.
At this time Mr. Wesley visited Bath ; and was interrupted in
nis preaching there by the celebrated Beau Nash. He then
returned to London, and preached to very great multitudes in
Moorfields, on Kennington-Common, and at other places; and
many were awakened to a sense of sin. In the month of October
he accepted an invitation to visit Wales; where, although the
churches were shut against him, he preached in private houses,
and in the open air, often during sharp frosts, and was gladly
received by the people, who were generally, as Mr. Wesley
himself represented them, "indeed ripe for the Gospel."
About this period Mr. Wesley stated his doctrinal views it
perhaps as clear a manner as at any subsequent period. To
a pious Clergyman, who wished to know in what points he differed
from the Church of England, he answered, that, to the best of his
knowledge, he differed in none; the doctrines of the Church
of England being the doctrines which he preached. He then
explained his views on some of the principal doctrines ; and showed
that those of the Clergy who disagreed with him on those points,
differed from the Church of England also.
Disputes having arisen between the Methodists and Moravians,
who still formed one society in Fetter-lane, Mr. Wesley return d
to London. Over this society he professed to have no authority;
and various new doctrines of a mystical kind, which he thought
dangerous, having been introduced by several of the teachers, he
at length, after several unsuccessful attempts to adjust matters,
determined to withdraw. In July, 1740, after having read a paper
explanatory of his views, he separated from the society. Those


who continued to adhere to him then met at the Foundry, near
Moorfields, which he had previously taken; and the whole
number amounted to about twenty-two. Towards the Moravian
Church at large, Mr. Wesley continued to feel an unabated
affection: but as he was never a member of that Church, and
maintained only a kind of co-fraternity with those of them who
were in London, his declining further intercourse with them was
a step of prudence and of peace. The errors which had crept in
among the Moravians in London at that time, were a refined
species of Antinomianism, and mystic notions of ceasing from
ordinances and waiting for faith in stillness; and these errors
were afterwards carried by them into many of the Methodist
societies in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and other places.
The Methodist Society, as that name distinguishes the people
who to this day acknowledge Mr. Wesley as their Founder
under God, was, properly speaking, formed in the year 1739, in the
chapel at Moortields, where he regularly preached, and where, by
the blessing of God upon his and Mr. Charles Wesley's labours,
the society rapidly increased. For this, and the societies in Bristol,
Kingswood, and other parts, he, in 1743, drew up a set of Rules,
which continue in force to the present time, and the observance of
which was then, and continues to be, the condition of membership
Of these rules it may be sufficient to remark, that they relate
entirely to moral conduct, to charitable offices, and to the observ-
ance of the ordinances of God; and evangelical Churchmen or
Dissenters, walking by these Rules, might be members of the
society, provided they held their doctrinal views and disciplinary
prepossessions in peace and charity. The sole object of the union
was to assist the members "to make their calling and election
sure," by cultivating the religion of the heart, and a holy conformity
to the laws of Christ. These Rules bear the signature of John
and Charles Wesley.
The mother of Mr. Wesley now began to attend his ministry.
She had been somewhat prejudiced against her sons by reports
of their errors and extravagancies;" but was convinced, upon
hearing them, that they spoke ''according to the oracles of God."
The extraordinary manner in which some persons were frequently
affected under Mr. Wesley's preaching, as well as that of his coadju-
tors, now created much discussion, and to many gave great offence.
Some were seized with trembling, under a painful conviction of
sin; others sunk down and uttered loud and piercing cries; and-
others fell into a kind of agony. In some instances, while prayer
was offered for them, they rose up with a sudden change of
feeling, and testified that they had redemption through the


blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the
riches of his grace." Mr. Samuel Wesley, who denied the possi-
!)ility of attaining to a knowledge of the forgiveness of sins, treated
these things, in a correspondence with his brother, alternately with
sarcasm and serious severity, and particularly attacked the doctrine
of assurance. In this controversy, Mr. John Wesley attaches no
weight whatever to these outward agitations; but contends that
he is bound to believe the profession of an inward change made by
many, who had been so affected, because that had been confirmed
by their subsequent conduct and spirit. On the subject of assu-
rance, both the disputants put forth their logical acuteness; but the
result appears to have been, upon the whole, instructive to the elder
brother, whose letters soften considerably towards the close of the cor-
respondence. Mr. Samuel Wesley died in the following November.
About this time a disagreement of opinion took place between
Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield. Mr. Wesley, being impressed
with the strong tendency of the Calvinistic doctrines to produce
Antinomianism, published a sermon against Absolute Predestina-
tion, at which Mr. Whitefield, who had some time previously
embraced that notion, took offence. A controversy between them,
embracing some other points, ensued, which issued in a temporary
estrangement, and they laboured from this time independently
of each other; their societies in London, Kingswood, and other
places, being kept quite separate. A reconciliation, however, took
place between Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield some years after-
wards, so that they preached in each other's chapels; and Mr.
Wesley preached the funeral sermon on Mr Whiteficld's death, at
the chapel in Tottenham-court-road, and also at the 'Tabernacle
in Moorfields.
Several Preachers, not episcopally ordained, were now employed
by Mr. Wesley to assist in the growing work, which already had
swelled beyond even his and his brother's active powers suitably
to supply with the ministration of the word of God. Mr. Charles
Wesley had discouraged this from the beginning, and even he
himself hesitated; but, with John, the promotion of religion was
the first concern, and church-order the second, although inferior
in consideration to that only. With Charles these views were often
reversed. Mr. Wesley, in the year 1741, had to caution his brother
against joining the Moravians, after the example of Mr. Gambold,
to which he was at that time inclined ; and adds, I am not clear,
that brother Maxfield should not expound at Greyhound-lane;
nor can I as yet do without him. Our Clergymen have increased
full as much as the Preachers." Mr. Maxfield's preaching had
the strong sanction of the Countess of Huntingdon; but so little


of design, with reference to the forming of a sect, had Mr. Wesley,
in the employment of Mr. Maxfield, that, in his own absence from
London, he had only authorized him to pray with the society,
and to advise them as might be needful; and upon his beginning
to preach, he hastened back to silence him. On this his mother
addressed him: ,lohn, you know what my sentiments have been.
You cannot suspect me of favouring readily anything of this kind.
But take care what you do with respect to that young man; for
he is as surely called of God to preach, as you are. Examine what
have been the fruits of his preaching, and hear him also yourself."
He took advice, and could not venture to forbid him.
His defence of himself on this point may be pronounced
irrefutable, and turns upon the disappointment of the hope which
he had ever cherished that the parochial Clergy would take the
charge of those who in different places had been turned to God
by his ministry, and that of his fellow-labourers.
It pleased God," says Mr. Wesley, by two or three Minis-
ters of the Church of England, to call many sinners to repentance,
who, in several parts, were undeniably turned from a course of sin
to a course of holiness.
The Ministers of the places where this was done ought to
have received those Ministers with open arms; and to have taken
those persons who had just begun to serve God into their par-
ticular care ; watching over them in tender love, lest they should
fajl back into the snare of the devil.
Instead of this, the greater part spoke of those Ministers, as
if the devil, not God, had sent them. Some repelled them from
the Lord's table; others stirred up the people against them, repre-
senting them, even in their public discourses, as fellows not fit to
live; Papists, heretics, traitors; conspirators against their King
and country.
And how did they watch over the sinners lately reformed?
Even as a leopard watcheth over his prey. They drove some
of them from the Lord's table; to which, till now, they had no
desire to approach. They preached all manner of evil concerning
them, openly cursing them in the name of the Lord. They
turned many out of their work, persuaded others to do so too,
and harassed them in all manner of ways.
The event was, that some were wearied out, and so turned
back to the vomit again; and then these good Pastors gloried over
them, and endeavoured to shake others by their example.
When the Ministers, by whom God had helped them before,
came again to those places, great' part of their work was to begin
again, if it could be begun again; but the relapscrs were often


so hardened in sin, that no impression could be made upon
What could they do in a case of so extreme necessity, where
so many souls lay at stake?
"No Clergyman would assist at all. The expedient that
remained was, to find some one among themselves who was upright
of heart, and of sound judgment in the things of God; and to
desire him to meet the rest as often as he could, in order to
confirm them, as he was able, in the ways of God, either by
reading to them, or by prayer, or by exhortation."
This statement may indeed be considered as affording the key
to all that, with respect to church-order, may be called irregularity
in Mr. Wesley's future proceedings. God had given him large
fruits of his ministry in various places; when he was absent from
them, the people were "as sheep having no shepherd," or were
rather persecuted by their natural Pastors, the Clergy; he was
reduced, therefore, to the necessity of leaving them without reli-
gious care, or of providing it for them. He wisely chose the latter;
but, true to his own principles, and even prejudices, he carried this
no farther than the necessity of the case: The hours of service.
were in no instance to interfere with those of the Establishment,
and at the parish church the members were exhorted to commu-
nicate. Thus a religious society was raised up within the national
Church, and with this anomaly, that as to all its interior arrange-
ments, as a society, it was independent of its ecclesiastical authority.
The irregularity was, in principle, as great when the first step was
taken as at any future time It was a form of practical ant partial
separation, though not of theoretical dissent; but it arose out of a
moral necessity, and existed for some years in such a state, that,
had the Clergy been disposed to co-operate in this evident revival
and spread of true religion, and had the heads of the Church been
willing to sanction itinerant labours among its Ministers, and
private religious meetings among the serious part of the people for
mutual edification, the great body of Methodists might have been
retained in strict communion with the Church of England.
We have now to follow these apostolic men into still more extended
fields of labour, and to contests more formidable. They had
sustained many attacks from the press; and some frowns from the
authorities of the Church. By mobs they had occasionally been
insulted both in England and Wales. But in London, some
riotous proceedings, of a somewhat violent character, now
occurred at their places of worship. With respect to these, the
following anecdote is curious, as it shows that Mr. Wesley's zeal
was regarded with favour in a high quarter:-" On the last day


,f 1742, Sir John Ganson called upon Mr. Wesley, and said,,
Sir, you have no need to suffer these riotous mobs to molest you,
tis they have done long.. I and all the other Middlesex Magis-
trates have orders from above to do you justice whenever you.
apply to us.' Two or three weeks after, they did apply. Justice
was done, though not with rigour; and from that time the
Methodists had peace in London."*
In the discipline of Methodism, the division of the society into
classes is an important branch. Every class is placed under a
person of experience and piety, who meets the others once a
week, for prayer, and inquiry into the religious state of each, in
order to administer exhortation and counsel. The origin of these
classes was, however, purely accidental. The chapel at Bristol
was in debt; and it was agreed that each member of the society
should contribute one penny a week to reduce the burden. The
Bristol society was therefore divided into classes; and, for con-
venience, one person was appointed to collect the weekly subscrip-
tions from each class, and to pay the amount to the Stewards.
The advantage of this system, when turned to a higher purpose,
at once struck the methodical and practical mind of Mr. Wesley .
He therefore invited several "earnest and sensible men" to meet
him; and the society in London was divided into classes like that
of Bristol, and placed under the spiritual care of these tried and
experienced persons. At first they visited each person, at his own
residence, once a week; but the preferable mode of bringing
every class together weekly was at length adopted. These meetings
are not, as some have supposed, inquisitorial; but their business
is confined to statements of religious experience, and the adminis-
tration of friendly and pious counsel. Mutual acquaintance with
each other is thus formed; the Leader is the friend and adviser
of all; and among the members, by their praying so often with
and for. each other, the true fellowship of saints" is promoted
Opportunities are also thus afforded for ascertaining the wants
of the poorer members, and obtaining relief for them, and for
visiting the sick; the duty of a Leader being to see the members
once in the week, either at the meeting, or, if absent from that, at
home. In regard of this institution Mr. Wesley remarks, Upon
reflection I could not but observe, this is the very thing which was
from the beginning of Christianity. In the earliest times, those
whom God had sent forth 'preached the Gospel to every creature.'
The body of hearers were mostly either Jews or Heathens. But
as soon as any of these were so convinced of the truth as to forsake

* Wesley's Works.


sin, and seek the Gospel salvation, they immediately joined
them together, took an account of their names, advised them to
watch over each other, and met these xaTri4p.os, catechumens,
as they were then called, apart from the great congregation, that
they might instruct, rebuke, exhort, and pray with them, and for
them, according to their several necessities."*
Mr. Wesley now extended his labours northward. He first
accepted an invitation into Leicestershire; and thence proceeded to
Birstal in Yorkshire, where John Nelson, who had been brought
to the knowledge of God in London by the ministry of the
Methodists, had been instrumental on his return of doing great
good. After preaching to a large congregation on Birstal Hill,
and on the side of Dewsbury moor, and encouraging Mr. Nelson
in his endeavours to be useful, Mr. Wesley proceeded to New-
castle-upon-Tyne, hoping to have the same fruit of his labours
among the colliers of that neighbourhood as he had seen among
those of Kingswood. In returning southward, he preached in
various parts of Yorkshire; and visiting Epworth, where a small
society of Methodists had been collected, and finding the use
of the church denied him, he stood upon his father's tomb, and
preached to a numerous congregation, who, as well as himself,
appear to have been deeply impressed with the circumstance of the
son speaking to them, as front the ashes of his father, on those
solemn subjects on which that venerable parish Priest had faith-
fully addressed them for so many years. This was on Sunday,
June 6, 1742. The following Sunday he preached on the same
spot to a vast multitude from all parts, and with great visible
effect. He left Epworth the following morning, and, after visiting
Bristol, was recalled to London, to attend the last moments of his
mother; who died a decided witness of the assurance of faith,-a
doctrine which, in the later years of her life, she learned from her
sons more fully to understand. She was interred in the Bunhill-
field burial-ground.
The labours of Mr. Charles Wesley had been very extended and
successful during the early part of the year 1743. From the west
of England lie proceeded to Staffordshire, Birmingham, Notting-
ham, and Sheffield. At Sheffield, especially, he was exposed to
great danger from the fury of the mob. In his Journal he
observes, Those at Moorfields, Cardiff, and Walsal were lambs
to these." On leaving Sheffield, a number of persons waylaid him,
and pelted him with eggs and stones. David Taylor, who was
with him, was much hurt in the head by a stone; and as to him-
melf, he says, My clothes indeed abhorred me, and my arm pained
.. Wesley' W rks ..


me a little from a blow I received at Sheffield." Having leached
Leeds he preached to thousands before Mr. Shent's door, and
found the people prepared for the Lord. The Clergy of Leeds
treated him with respect and deference, and constrained him to
assist them at the sacrament. He then went to Newcastle; and
he remarks in his Journal, that never since he had preached the
Gospel had he had greater success than at this time at Newcastle.
Soon after this, his brother laid the foundation of a place for the
public worship of the society, the size of which startled many;
but he received such assistance, sometimes from very unexpected
quarters, that he was enabled to complete it. During this year
new societies were formed in the western, midland, and northern
counties, while those before collected continued greatly to increase.
In the latter end of the same year (1743) Mr. Wesley appointed
in London visitors of the sick, as a distinct office in his society.
The same year was remarkable in the life of Mr. Wesley for
his escape from one of the most dangerous of his encounters with
deluded and infuriated mobs. The persecution was first excited
by a sermon preached in Wednesbury church by the Clergyman.
'- I never," says Mr. Wesley, "' heard so wicked a sermon, and
delivered with such bitterness of voice and manner." The effect
was soon visible, and was increased by the conduct of many of the
neighboring Magistrates, full of what they called churchmanship
and loyalty. At Wednesbury, Darlaston, and West-Bromwich the
mobs were stimulated to abuse the Methodists in tie most outrage-
ous manner; even women and children were beaten, stoned, and
covered with mud; their houses were broken open, and their goods
spoiled and carried away. As soon as the intelligence reached him,
Mr. Wesley hastened from Bristol, whither he had gone, to com-
fort and advise this harassed people. On his arrival, he preached
at Wednesbury without molestation; but the mob soon after sur-
rounded the house; and he was exposed to their fury for a consider-
able time. Mr. Charles, who met him at Nottingham, has inserted
in his Journal a notice of their meeting, highly characteristic of the
spirit of martyrdom in which both of them lived:-" My brother
came,delivered out of the mouth of the lions His clothes were torn
to tatters; he looked like a soldier of Christ. The mob of Wed-
nesbury, Darlaston, and Walsal, were permitted to take and carry
him about for several hours, with a full intent to murder him;
illt his work is not yet finished, or he had been now with the souls
lnder the altar." Undaunted by the usage of his brother, Charles
immediately set out for Wednesbury to encourage the societies.
In this year, Mr. Wesley made his first journey into Cornwall,
whither his brother Charles had preceded him, and had urenahed


.to' mobs "as desperate as that at Sheffield." Mr. Wesley followed
in August, and came to St. Ives, where he found a society formed
on Dr. Woodward's plan. They gladly received him, and became
the nucleus of the Methodist societies in Cornwall, which from this
time rapidly increased. In no part of England has Methodism
obtained more influence than in the west of Cornwall. It has
become, in fact, the leading profession of the people; and its moral
effects upon society may be viewed with the highest satisfaction
and gratitude. A serious persecution was, however, experienced in
Cornwall, at the commencement; the riots in Staffordshire
and elsewhere continued ;, and cruel was the treatment which the
Methodists and several of the Preachers experienced
The first CONFERENCE was held in June, 1744. The societies
had spread through various parts of the kingdom; and a number
of Preachers, under the name of Assistants and Helpers, the
former being Superintendents of the latter, had been engaged by
Mr. Wesley in the work. Some Clergymen, also, more or less
co-operated to promote these attempts to spread the flame of true
religion, and were not yet afraid of the cross. These circumstances
led to the distribution of different parts of the kingdom into Cir-
cuits, to which certain Preachers were for a time appointed, and
were then removed to others. The superintendence of the whole
was with the two brothers, but particularly with Mr. John Wesley.
The annual Conferences afforded an admirable opportunity
of conversing on important points and distinctions of doc-
trine, that all might "speak the same thing" in their public
ministrations; and of agreeing upon such a discipline as the new
circumstances in which the societies were placed might require.
The labours of the Preachers for the ensuing year were also
arranged ; and consultation was held on all matters connected with
the promotion of the work of God, in which they were engaged.
Every thing went on, however, not on preconceived plan, but
step by step," as circumstances suggested, and led the way. To
the great principle of doing good to the souls of men, every thing
was subordinated; not excepting even their prejudices and fears,
as will appear from the minutes of the first Conference, which was
held in London, as just stated, in 1744. The ultimate separation
of the societies from the Church, after the death of the first agents
in the work, was at that early period contemplated as a possibility,
and made a subject of conversation ; and the resolution was, We
do and will do all we can to prevent those consequences which are
supposed to be likely to happen after our death; but we cannot, in
good conscience, neglect the present opportunity of saving souls
while we live, for fear of consequences whicJ mnay possibly, or pro.
c 1.


bably, happen after we are dead." To this principle Mr. Vesley
was "faithful unto death," and it is the true key to his public
conduct. His brother, after some years, less steadily adhered to
it; and most of the Clergymen, who attached themselves to Mr
Wesley in the earlier periods of Methodism, found it too bold a
position, and one which exposed them to too severe a fire, to be
maintained by them. It required a firmer courage than theirs to
hold out at such a post; but the Founder of Methodism never
betrayed the trust which providential circumstances had laid upon
In August following, Mr. Wesley preached for tne last time
before the University of Oxford. His sermon evidently produced
effect, and the Vice-Chancellor sent after him, and desired his
notes, which he sealed up and sent immediately.
The year 1745 was chiefly spent by Mr. Charles Wesley in
London, Bristol, and Wales. In the early part of the next year he
visited Cornwall where he preached with great success, though in
some places he suffered persecution. On his return to London,
lie visited the Rev. Vincent Perronet, the venerable Vicar of
Shoreham, in Kent, of whose wise counsels the Wesleys after-
wards frequently availed themselves, in matters of difficulty. He
then set off on a tour into the north, and in Staffordshire was
exposed to the violence of ungodly men. Having visited Dews-
bury, Newcastle, Hexham, and other places, he returned, through
Lincolnshire, preaching in several places. He did not remain long
in London before he set off for Bristol, and at Devizes had as
narrow an escape for his life. from a lawless mob, as his brother
had experienced at Wednesbury. Amidst such storms were the
foundations of that work laid, the happy results of which tens of
thousands now enjoy in peace. During the same period of two
years the labours of Mr. John Wesley had been as unintermitting.
lie visited many parts of England and on his return to London
he revived with vigour the plan which he had occasionally acted
on, of writing and causing to be distributed small religious tiacts,
by which the cause ofreligion was greatly promoted.
At this time the attention of Mr. Wesley was considerably
directed to the case between the Clergy and the Methodists," and
to the discipline of the societies, and the means of making provision
for their future welfare. He felt that a case of necessity had arisen,
calling upon him to provide a ministry and a government for the
people who had been raised up,-a necessity which rested upon the
obvious alternative that they must either be furnished with Pastors
of their own, or be left without sufficient aid in the affairs of their
souls. This led him closely to examine the whole matter; and


the subject of church discipline was seriously discussed at several
Conferences. At the Conference of 1745, a general view of
church-government was adopted. A Minister of Christ was con-
templated as commencing his labours in some given place. He
raises a society. Then he visits other places in the neighbourhood,
where also his ministry is crowned with success, and he forms more
societies, over every one of which he appoints some one to watch.
These are Deacons. As the work advances, they require other
subordinate Deacons to assist them, in regard of whom they are
Presbyters or Elders, while the first Minister upon whom they all
depend as their father in the Lord, and the common bond of union
to them all with their respective charges, may be called the Bishop
or Overseer of the whole. At a subsequent Conference it was con-
cluded, that although this plan of government generally prevailed
m the apostolic age, it was not absolutely binding in all its details
on Christians in every period; that, if the great principles which it
involves are duly secured, various modifications of the form, accord-
ing to time and circumstances, are allowable. And one of those
principles which Mr. Wesley held to be, if not absolutely essential,
yet strictly scriptural and highly beneficial, (as the unbroken tenor
of his subsequent life fully proved,) was the principle of a united
ministry, and of a connexion between the several societies founded
on the union of their ministry and on their subjection, in all mat-
ters of general bearing, to one common discipline. Having satisfied
himself on the subject of church-government, and regarding himself
as a scriptural Bishop, Mr. Wesley proceeded to call forth Preach-
ers and set them apart or ordain them to the sacred office, for the
purpose of establishing and extending that great work which he had
the honour of commencing. Still he did not go beyond the neces-
sity. He could make this scriptural appointment of Ministers and
ordinances without renouncing communion with the established
Church; and therefore he did not renounce it, nor did the Church
itself see fit to interfere so as to exclude him. In these views
Charles Wesley too, who was at every one of the early Conferences,
concurred with him ; and if he thought somewhat differently on
these points afterwards, it was not John, l.ut Charles, who
departed from first principles.
In the month of August, 1747, Mr. Wesley visited Ireland
for the first time; and found in Dublin a considerable society,
which had been formed by Mr. Williams, one of the Preachers.
Mr. Wesley, after remaining a short time, requested his brother
to succeed him, who found that a persecution had commenced
against the infant society, and that a Popish mob had committed
gross outiagte. Some of tne rioters were sent to prison, but the


Grand Jury at the following assizes ignored the Bill, and thus
gave up the Methodists to the fury of a licentious mob. Mr. Charles
Wesley continued in Ireland a considerable time, and societies
were formed in various parts of the country.
While these indefatigable Ministers of Christ were thus exerting
themselves to promote a general revival of pure religion, the
Preachers under their direction, though labouring in more limited
districts of country, were scarcely less laboriously employed. At
this period one of them writes from Lancashire to Mr. Wesley :-
" Many doors are opened for preaching in these parts, but cannot
be supplied for want of Preachers. I think some one should be
sent to assist me, otherwise we shall lose ground. My Circuit
requires me to travel one hundred and fifty miles in two weeks;
during which time I preach publicly thirty-four times, besides
meeting the societies, visiting the sick, and transacting other
Of the Preachers some were engaged in business, and preached
at their leisure in their own neighborhoods; but still, zealous for
the salvation of men, they often took considerable journeys. Others
gave themselves up, for a time, to more extended labours, and then
settled. But the third class, who had become the regular "Assist-
ants" and "Helpers" of Mr. Wesley, were devoted wholly to the
work of the ministry; and, after a period of probation, and a
scrutiny into their character, doctrinal views, and talents at the annual
Conferences, were admitted by solemn prayer, into what was called
" full connexion," which was, in fact, their ordination. No provi-
sion was, however, made at this early period for their maintenance.
They took neither "purse nor scrip;" they cast themselves upon
the providence of God, and the hospitality and kindness of the
societies; and were by them, like the primitive Preachers, "helped
forward after a godly sort," on their journeys, to open new places,
and to instruct those for whose souls "no man cared." It might
be as truly said of them as of the first propagators of Christianity,
they had "no certain dwelling-place." Under the severity of la-
bour, and the wretched accommodations to which they cheerfully
submitted, many a fine constitution was broken, and premature
death was often induced.
At the early annual Conferences, the doctrines which should be
taught were one of the principal subjects of conversation. It is,
however, proper to observe that the Clergymen and others who
thus assembled did not meet to draw up formal articles of
The want of a provision for their wives and families, in the early periods of Me.
thodisn, caused the loss of many eminent Preachers, who were obliged to settle in
Independent congregations.


faith. They admitted those of the Church of England; and their
principal object was to ascertain how several of the doctrines rela-
tive to experimental Christianity, which they found stated in sub-
stance in those Articles, and further illustrated in the Homilies,
were to be understood and explained. This light they sought
from mutual discussion, in which every thing was brought to the
standard of the word of inspired truth.
The Minutes of the early Conferences contain not only the
record of these conversat' ,s, but also the frame of the discipline
of the body, growing up from year to year, and embodied in many
copious directions and arrangements. The most important of these
remain in force to this day, although some, in a maturer state of
the society, have gone into disuse. It is worthy of remark, because
it goes to show the importance which Mr. Wesley attached to an
academical preparation for the ministry, that the "establishment
of a seminary for Labourers" was a subject of conversation at the
very first Conference which was held. in the year 1744, and was
resumed the following year. In the manuscript copy of the min-
utes of 1744, it is asked, Can we have a seminary for Labour-
ers?" And the answer is, If God spare us till another Confer-
ence." The year after it was inquired, Can we have a seminary
for Labourers yet?" Answer, Not till God gives us a proper Tu-
tor." The institution was thus actually resolved upon, and delayed
only by circumstances. The reasons why the project was not after-
wards carried into effect appear to have been the rapid spread of
the work, and the consequent demand for additional Preachers:
Mr. Wesley also looked to Kingswood school as subsidiary to this
design. In the mean time he enjoined on the Preachers the study
of the original Scriptures, and a large course of theological and
general reading. The doctrines and principal branches of the disci-
pline of the body being generally settled, Mr. Wesley desisted
from publishing extracts from the minutes of the annual Confer-
ences for several years.
Mr. Charles Wesley married in 1749, yet still continued his la-
bours with but little abatement. About this time some difference arose
between the two brothers. The very success which had been vouch-
safed to their labours seems to have operated on the prejudices of
Charles in favour of the Church; and he sought to obtain a share in
the government of the societies with his brother, and to adopt those
plans which, by limiting the number of the Preachers, would have
greatly prevented the extension of the work. Mr. Wesley, disco-
vering what were his views, felt little disposed to assent to his
having co-authority with himself in the management of the Connex-
ion; and Charles afterwards withdrawing more from public life, the


government remained with John more exclusively than before.' In
this difference, there was no unworthy jealousy between the two
brothers, but they continued to cherish the most tender affection
for each other.
Previously to this time, Mr. Wesley had formed an attachment
to Mrs. Grace Murray, a pious and respectable woman; but his
union with her was prevented by the interference of his brother.
Still, however, believing that his entering the marriage state would
promote his usefulness, he, in the year 1751, was united to Mrs.
Vizelle, a widow lady of independent fortune; but the union did
not prove productive of the comfort and advantages which Mr.
Wesley anticipated.
A school at Kingswood, near Bristol, for the children of the
poor, had been long built; but that neighbourhood was also fixed
upon by Mr. Wesley for an institution, in which the sons of the
Preachers, and those of the richer Methodists, should receive at
once the best education, and the most efficient religious training.
It was opened in June, 1748, and he published soon after a
" Short Account" of the institution, with the plan of education
adopted, particularly for those who were to remain so long in it as
to go through a course of academical learning; and adds, Who-
ever carefully goes through this course will be a better scholar than
nine in ten of the graduates at Oxford and Cambridge." In this
great and good design he grasped at too much; and the school
came in time to be confined to the sons of the Preachers, and
teased, as at first, to receive other boarders. Indeed, from the
increase of the Preachers' families, the school was rapidly filled, and
required enlargement at different times; and finally, it was neces-
sary to establish a second school at Woodhouse-Grove, in York-
shire. The circumstance of the Preachers being so much from
home, and removing every one or two years from their Circuits,
rendered an institution of this kind imperative; and, as it neces-
sarily grew out of the system of itinerancy, it was cheerfully ar.d
liberally, though often inadequately, supported by private sub-
scriptions, and a public annual collection throughout all the con-
gregations. The most gratifying moral results have followed;
and a useful and religious education has been secured to the sons
of the Preachers, many of whom, engaged in professional or
commercial pursuits, are now found filling, honourably to them-
selves, important situations in general society, and some, having
afforded undeniable proofs of genuine conversion, and of a divine
call to .public labours in the church of Christ, have been admitted
into the ministry, and are among its highest ornaments, or its
brightest hopes. While it is cause of gratulation that an instittu


ioni for the education of the junior Preachers is now determined
on, it is, however, to be regretted, that the original plan of Mr
Wesley, to found an institution for the Connexion at large, which
should unite the advantages of a school and a college, has not yet
ocen resumed with a view to its being carried into effect. Various
circumstances, at that early period, militated against the success or
this excellent project, which have gradually disappeared ; and if
in that infant state of the cause, Mr. Wesley wisely thought that
Methodism should provide for all its wants, religious and educa-
tional, within itself, much more incumbent is it to do so now.
Many of the sons of our friends, for want of such a provision,
have been placed in schools where their religious principles have
been neglected or perverted; and too often have been taught to
ridicule, or to be ashamed of, the religious profession of their fathers.
In the autumn of 1753 Mr. Wesley was threatened with con-
sumption, brought on, in the midst of his great and continuous
labour, by repeated attacks of cold. By the advice of Dr. Fother-
gill he retired to Lewisham ; and here, not knowing how it might
please God to dispose of him, and wishing to prevent vile pane-
gyric" in case of death, he wrote his epitaph as follows:-
V.ere lietlj
God be merciful to me an unprofitable servant!

He ordered that this, if any, inscription should be placed on his

During Mr. Wesley's illness, Mr. Whitefield wrote to him in a
strain which shows the fulness of affection which existed between
those great and good men, notwithstanding their differences of
opinion. The letter is dated Bristol, Dec. 3d, 1753.
IF seeing you so weak when leaving London dis-
tressed me, the news and prospect of your approaching disso.
lution hath quite weighed me down. I pity myself and the
church, but not you. A radiant throne awaits you, and ere long
you will enter into your Master's joy. Yonder he stands with a


massy crown, ready to put it on your head, amidst an admiring
throng of saints and angels. But I, poor I, that have been wait-
ing for my dissolution these nineteen years, must be left behind to
grovel here below Well! this is my comfort: It cannot be long
ere the chariots will be sent even for worthless me. If prayers
can detain them, even you, Rev. and very dear Sir, shall not.
leave us yet; but if the decree is gone forth, that you must now
fill asleep in Jesus, may he kiss your soul away, and give you to
die in the embraces of triumphant love! If in the land of the
dying, I hope to pay my last respects to you next week. If not,
Rev. and very dear Sir, F-a-r-e-w-e-ll. Ego sequar,
etsi non passibus cequis.* My heart is too big, tears trickle down
too fast, and you are, I fear, too weak, for me to enlarge. Under-
neath you. may there be Christ's everlasting arms I commend
you to his never-failing mercy, and am,
Rev. and very dear Sir,
"Your most affectionate, sympathizing, and afflicted
younger brother in the Gospel of our common Lord,
From Lewisham Mr. Wesley removed to the hot wells, near
Bristol ; and, ever intent upon improving time, began his Notes on
the New Testament. For some time after this, he appears to
have remained in an invalid state. During his illness, Mr. Charles
Wesley went forth to visit the societies, and to supply his bro-
ther's place.
In 1755, at the Conference held in Leeds, the question was for-
mally discussed whether the Methodists ought to separate from the
Church ; and it was decided that, whether lawful or not, it was not
expedient. Mr. Charles Perronet and some others, for whom Mr.
Wesley had great respect, were at this time urging him to make
full provision for the spiritual wants of his people, as being in fact
in a state of real and hopeless separation from the Church; and
he did some years afterwards so far relax, as to allow of preaching
in Church-hours under certain circumstances, as, 1. When the
Minister was wicked, or held pernicious doctrine; 2. When the
churches would not contain the population of a town, or where
the church was distant. In that case he prescribed reading the
Psalms and Lessons and part of the Liturgy. And for this pur-
pose, as well as for the use of the American societies, he published
his abridgment of the Common Prayer under the title of the
" Sunday Service of the Methodists."
In 1756 he printed an Address to the Clergy, plain, affectionate

* I shall follow, though not with equal steps."


*nd powerful; breathing at once the spirit of an Apostle, and the
feeling of a brother. Happy if that call had been heard He
might perhaps be influenced in this by a still lingering hope of a
revival of the spirit of zeal and piety among the Ministers of tile
established Church; in which case that separation of his people
from the Church, which he began to foresee as otherwise inevitable,
he thought might be prevented; and this he had undoubtedly
much at heart. Under the same view it probably was that in
1764 he addressed a circular to all the serious Clergy whom he
knew, inviting them to a closer co-operation in promoting the
influence of religion in the land, without any sacrifice of opinion,
and being still at liberty, as to outward order, to remain quite
regular, or quite irregular, or partly regular and partly irregular."
Of the thirty-four Clergymen addressed, only three returned any
answer. From this time he gave up all hope of a formal con-
nexion with even the pious Clergy. They are," he observes, a
rope of sand, and such they will continue;" and he therefore set
himself with deep seriousness to perpetuate the union of his
Preachers. At the Conference of 1769 he read a paper, the
object of which was to bind the Preachers together by a closer tie,
and to provide for the continuance of their union after his death.
They were to engage solemnly to devote themselves to God, to
preach the old Methodist doctrines, and to maintain the whole
Methodist discipline; after Mr. Wesley's death they were to
repair to London, and those who chose to act in concert were to
draw up articles of agreement; whilst such as did not so agree were
to be dismissed "in the most friendly way possible." They were
then to choose a Committee by vote, each of the members of which
was to be Moderator in his turn, and this Committee was to enjoy
Mr. Wesley's power of proposing Preachers to be admitted or
excluded, of appointing their stations for the ensuing year, and of
fixing the time of the next Conference. This appears to have
been the first sketch of an ecclesiastical constitution for the body,
and it mainly consisted in the entire delegation of the power which
Mr. Wesley had always exercised, to a Committee of Preachers to
be chosen by the rest when assembled in Conference. The form
of government he thus proposed was therefore a species of Episco-
pacy to be exercised by a Committee of three, five, or seven, as
the case might be. Another and a more eligible provision was
subsequently made; but this sufficiently shows that Mr. Wesley
had given up all hope of strict union with the Church; and his efbfrts
were henceforth directed merely to prevent any thing like formal
separation, and the open renunciation of her communion: hence
he would not allow his Preachers to administer the sacraments.


About this time much prejudice was excited against Mr. Wes-
ley in Scotland by the republication of Hervey's Eleven Letters.
He had three times visited this country ; and, preaching only upon
the fundamental truths of Christianity, had been received with
great affection. The societies had increased, and several of his
Preachers were stationed in different towns. Lady Frances
Gardiner, the widow of Colonel Gardiner, and other persons emi-
nent for piety and rank, attended the Methodist ministry; but
the publication of this wretched work caused a temporary odium
Hervey, who had been one of the little band at Oxford, became
a Calvinist ; and as his notions grew more rigid with age, so his
former feelings of gratitude and friendship to Mr. Wesley were
blunted. He had also fallen into the hands of Cudworth, a decided
Antinomian, who put in and out" of the Letters what he plea-
sed." They were not, however, published until Hervey's death,
and against his dying injunction. It is just to so excellent a man
to record this fact; but the work was published in England, and
re-published, with a violent preface by Dr. Erskine, in Scotland;
and among some of the Calvinists it had the effect of producing
very unfavourable views of Mr. Wesley.
Methodism having begun to make some progress in America,
in consequence of the emigration of some of the members of the
society from England and Ireland, Mr. Wesley inquired of the
Preachers at the Conference of 1769, whether any of them would
embark in that service. Messrs. Boardman and Pilmoor, two ex-
cellent men, of good gifts, volunteered their services, and were
sent to take the charge of the societies. From this time the work
spread with great rapidity; more than twenty Preachers had
devoted themselves to it previously to the war of independence;
and societies were raised up in Maryland, Virginia, New-York,
and Pennsylvania. During the war they still prosecuted their
labours; though, as several of them took the side of the mother-
country, they were exposed to danger. Others, with more dis-
cretion, held on their way in silence, speaking only of the things
of God. After the war had terminated, political views were
laid aside, and Mr. Wesley made a provision for the govern-
ment of his American societies, which will be subsequently
adverted to. They became, of course, independent of British
Methodism, but have honourably preserved, in general, the doc-
trines, the discipline, and, above all, the spirit of the body. Great,
and even astonishing, has been their success in that new and rising
country, to the wide-spread settlements of which their plan of
itinerancy was admirably adapted. The Methodists are become,
as to numbers, the leading religious body of the Union; and their


annual increase is very great. It is also satisfactory to remarK,
that the leading Preahlers and members of the Methodist Church
in the United States appear to be looking forward with enlarged
views, and with prudent regard, to the future, and to aim at the
cultivation of learning in conjunction with piety. Several Colleges
have been from time to time established ; and recently a Univer-
sity, for the education of the youth of the American Connexion,
has been founded. The work in the United States has been dis-
tinguished by freauent and extraordinary revivals of religion, in
which a signal effect has been produced upon the moral condition
of large districts of country, and great numbers of people have
been rapidly brought under a concern for their salvation. In the
contemplation of results so vast, and in so few years, we may
devoutly exclaim, What hath God wrought !"
The year 1770 is memorable in the history of Methodism, for
having given birth to a long and very ardent controversy on the
doctrines of Calvinism. It took its rise from the publication of
the Minutes of the Conference, in which it was determined, that,
in some particulars then pointed out, the Preachers had "leaned
too much to Calvinism." This is easily explained. Mr. White-
field and Howell Harris, the early coadjutors of the Wesleys,
became Calvinists; but the affection which existed among this
little band was strong ; and as they all agreed in preaching, what
was at that time most needed, the doctrine of salvation by faith,
"an agreement" was made at a very early period, between the
Wesleys and Howell Harris, to forget all peculiarities of opinion
as much as possible in their sermons, to use as far as they could,
with a good conscience, the same phrases in expressing the points
on which they substantially agreed, and to avoid controversy
Such an agreement shows the liberal feeling which existed among
the parties ; but it was not of a nature to be so rigidly kept as to
give entire satisfaction. On these articles of peace, we find there-
fore, endorsed, at a subsequent period, in the hand-writing of Mr.
Charles Wesley, Vain agreement." Mr. Wesley's anxiety to
maintain unity of effort as well as affection with Mr. Whitefield,
led him also, in 1743, to concede to his Calvinistic vi.ws, as far as
possible ; and he appears not to have been disposed to deny,
though he says he could not prove it, that some persons might be
unconditionally elected to eternal glory, but not to the necessary
exclusion of any other from salvation. And he was then inclined
to believe" that there is a state attainable in this life, "from
which a man cannot finally fall." But he was subsequently con-
vinced by the arguments of Mr. Thomas Walsh, that this was an
error. These considerations will account for the existence of what


Mr. Wesley called a leaning to Calvinism," both in hinielf, and
among some of the Preachers, and rendered'a review of the cas,
necessary. Though the leaders had approached so near the
very edge of Calvinism" on one side, and of Antinomianism"
also, with safety, it was not to be wondered at that others should
overstep the line. Besides, circumstances had greatly changed.
A strong tide of Antinomianism had set in, and threatened great
injury to practical godliness throughout the land. Dr. Southey
attributes this to the natural tendency of Methodism ; but here
he shows himself only partially acquainted with the subject. The
decline of religion among many of the Dissenting churches had
scattered the seeds of this heresy all around then., though not
without calling forth a noble testimony against it f,..r, some of
their ablest Ministers ; and when they began to feel the influence
of the revival of piety in the last century, the tares sprung up
with the plants of better quality. The Calvinism taught by Mr.
Howell Harris, and Mr. Whitefield, was also perverted by many
of their hearers to sanction the same errors. Several of the evan-
gelical Clergy, likewise, who had no immediate connexion with
Mr. Wesley, were Calvinists of the highest grade; and as their
number increased, their incautious statements of the doctrines of
grace and faith, carried beyond their own intentions, became more
mischievous. To show, however, that Antinomianism can graft
itself upon other stocks besides that of the Calvinistic decrees, it
was found also among many of the Moravians; and the Method-
ists did not escape. Wherever, indeed, the doctrine of justifica-
tion by faith is preached, there is a danger, as St. Paul himself
anticipated in his Epistle to the Romans, lest perverse, vain, and
evil minds should pervert it to licentiousness ; heavenly as it is in
authority, and pure in its influence, when rightly understood. In
fact, there is no such exclusive connexion between the more sober
Calvinistic theories of predestination, and this great error, as some
have supposed. It is too often met with, also, among those who
hold the doctrine of general redemption; though it must be
acknowledged, that for the most part, such persons, at length, go
over to predestinarian notions, as affording, at least, some collateral
confirmation of the solifidian theory. That high Calvinistic opinions,
in their various forms, were at this time greatly revived and dif-
fused, is certain. The religious excitement produced gave activity
to theological inquiries; and speculative minds, especially those
which had some taste for metaphysical discussions, were soon
entangled in questions of predestination, prescience, necessity, and
human freedom. The views of Calvin on these subjects were also
held by many, who, connecting them with vital and saving truths,


were honoured with great usefulness; and as the Wesleyan socie-
ties were often involved in these discussions, and in danger of
having their faith unsettled, and their practical piety injured, by
those in whom Calvinism had begun to luxuriate into the ease and
carelessness of Antinomian license, no subject at that period more
urgently required attention. For this reason, Mr. Wesley
brought it before the Conference. The withering effects of
this delusion were also strongly pointed out in his Sermons, and
were afterwards still more powerfully depicted by the master-
pencil of Mr. Fletcher, in those great works to which he now
began to apply himself, in order to stem the torrent. Dr. Southey
has fallen into the error of imagining that Mr. Fletcher's descrip-
tions of the ravages of Antinomianism were drawn from its effects
upon the Wesleyan societies ; but that mistake arose from his not
adverting to the circumstance, that neither Mr. Wesley nor Mr.
Fletcher confined their cares to these societies, but kept an equally
watchful eye upon the state of religion in the land at large, and
consequently in the Church of which they were Ministers. The
societies under Mr. Wesley's charge were indeed at no time more
than very partially affected by this form of error. Still, in some
places they had suffered, and in all were exposed to danger; and
as Mr. Wesley regarded them as a people given to him by God,
that he might not only preserve them from error, but might also
engage to bear a zealous and steadfast testimony against the evils
of the time;" in every place, he endeavoured to prepare them for
tleir warfare, by instructing them fully in the questions at issue
Mr. Fletcher came forward to defend his venerable friend, on
account of the great uproar which the Calvinistic party had raised
against him upon the publication of these Minutes. The Countee's
of Huntingdon had taken serious alarm and offence; and the Rev.
Walter Shirley, her brother and Chaplain, had written a Circular
Letter to all the serious Clergy, and several others, inviting them tc
go in a body to the ensuing Conference, and insist upon a form!
recantation of the said Minutes, and, in case of a refusal, to sigr
and publish their protest against them." Mr. Shirley and a few
ethers accordingly attended the Bristol Conference, where, says
Mr. Wesley, we had more Preachers than usual, in consequence
of Mr. Shirley's Circular Letter. At ten on Thursday morning
he came, with nine or ten of his friends: We conversed freely for
about two hours; and, I believe, they were satisfied, that we were
not such dreadful heretics' as they imagined, but were tolerably
sound in the faith."
The meeting was creditable to each party. Mr. Wesley acknow.
ledged that the Minutes were not sufficiently guarded." And


to prevent all future misconstruction, he and the Conference issued
the following Declaration," to which was appended a Note from
Mr. Shirley, acknowledging his mistake as to the meaning of the

BiisTOL, August 9, 1771.
VWHREAs the doctrinal points in the Minutes of a Confer-
ence held in London, August 7, 1770, have been understood to
favour 'justification by works:' Now the Rev. John Wesley and
others, assembled in Conference, do declare, that we had no such
meaning; and that we abhor the doctrine of 'justification by works,'
as a most perilous and abominable doctrine. And as the said Mi-
nutes are not sufficiently guarded in the way they are expressed, we
hereby solemnly declare in the sight of God, that we have no trust
or confidence but in the alone merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ for justification or salvation, either in life, death, or the day
of judgment. And though no one is a real Christian Ieliever (and
consequently cannot be saved) who doeth not good works, where
there is time and opportunity; yet our works have no part in
meriting or purchasing our justification, from first to last, either in
whole or in part.
Signed by the Rev. Mr. Wesley and fifty-three Preachers."
"Mr. Shirley's Christian respects wait on Mr. Wesley. The
Declaration agreed to in Conference the 8th of August, 1771, has
convinced Mr. Shirley he had mistaken the meaning of the doc-
trinal points in the Minutes of the Conference held in London,
Augnst 7, 1770; and he hereby wishes to testify the full satisfac-
tion he has in the said Declaration, and his hearty concurrence
and agreement with the same.
Mr. Wesley is at full liberty to make what use he pleases
of this.
"August 10, 1771."
Mr. Fletcher had entitled his Defence of Mr. Wesley, The
First Check to Antinomianism ;" but he did not content himself
with evangelizing the apparently legal Minutes, and defending
the doctrinal consistency and orthodoxy of Mr. Wesley. lHe
incidentally discussed various other points of the quinquarticular
controversy ; and he, as well as Mr. Wesley, was quickly assailed
by a number of replies not couched in the most courteous style.
Mr Fletcher's skill and admirable temper so fully 'Itted him to
conduct the dispute which had arisen, that Mr. Wesley left the
contest chiefly to him, and calmly pursued his labours; and the


whole issued in a series of publications, from the pen of the Vicar
of Madeley, which, as a whole, can scarcely be too highly praised
or valued. While the language endures, they will effectually
operate as checks to Antinomianism in every subtle form which it
may assume; and present the pure and beautiful system of evan-
gelical truth, as well guarded on the other hand against Pelagian
self-sufficiency. The Rev. Augustus Toplady, Mr. (afterwards
Sir Richard) Hill, and his brother, the Rev. Rowland Hill, with
the Rev. John Berridge, were his principal antagonists; but his
learning, his acuteness, his brilliant talent at illustrating an argu-
ment, and above all, the hallowed spirit in which he conducted the
controversy, gave him a mighty superiority over his opponents;
and although there will be a difference of opinion, according to the
systems which different readers have adopted, as to the side on
which the victory of argument remains, there can be none as to
which bore away the prize of temper.
The Calvinian controversy, painful as it was in manyrepects, and
ti.e cause of much unhallowed joy to the profane wits of the day,
who were not a little gratified at this exhibition of what they termed
'spiritual gladiatorship," has been productive of important conse-
quences in this country. It showed to the pious and moderate Cal-
vinists how well the richest views of evangelical truth could be united
with what is properly Arminianism; and it effected, by its bold and
fearless exhibition of the logical consequences of the doctrines of the
Decrees, much greater moderation in those 'who still admitted
them, and gave birth to some softened modifications of Calvinism
in the age that followed,-an effect which has remained to this
(lay. The disputes on these subjects have, since that time, been
less frequent, and more temperate; nor have good men so much
laboured to depart to the greatest distance from each other, as to
find a ground on which they could make the nearest approaches.
In the midst of all these controversies and cares, the societies
continued to spread and flourish under the influence of the zeal
and piety of the Preachers, animated by the ceaseless activity a'nd
regular visits of Mr. Wesley, who, though now upwards of seventy
years 'of age, seemed to possess his natural strength unabated.
His thoughts were, however, frequently turning with anxiety to
some arrangement for the government of the Connexion after his
death ; and, not being satisfied that the plan he had sketched out
a few years before would provide for a case of so much consequence,
he directed his attention to Mr. Fletcher, and warmly invited him
to come forth into the work, and to allow himself to be introduced
by him to the societies and Preachers as their future head. Ear-
nestly as this was pressed, Mr. Fletcher could not be induced to


undertake a task to which, in his humility, he thought himself
inadequate. This seems to have been his only objection; but had
he accepted the offer, the plan would have failed, as Mr. Fletcher
was a few years afterwards called into another world. From Mr.
Charles Wesley, who had become a family man, and had nearly
given up travelling, he had no hope as a successor; and even then
a further settlement would have been necessary, because he could
not be expected long to survive his brother. Still therefore this
important matter remained undetermined. At the time the over-
ture was made to Mr. Fletcher, the Preachers who were fully
engaged in the work amounted to one hundred and fifty; and the
societies, in Great Britain and Ireland, to upwards of thirty-five
thousand, exclusive of the regular hearers. This rapid and con-
stant enlargement of the Connexion heightened the urgency of the
question of its future settlement; and it is pleasing to remark, that
Mr. Charles Wesley at length entered into this feeling, and offered
his suggestions. In spite of the little misunderstandings which
had arisen, he maintained a strong interest in a work, of which he
had been so eminent an instrument; and this grew upon him in
his latter years.
In 1775 Mr. Wesley, during a tour in the north of Ireland,
had a dangerous sickness occasioned by sleeping on the ground, in
an orchard, in the hot weather, which he says he had been accus-
tomed to do for forty years without ever being injured by it." He
was slow to admit that old age had arrived, or he trusted to tri-
umph long over its infirmities. The consequence in this case,
however, was that, after manfully struggling with the incipient
symptoms of the complaint, and attempting to throw them off by
reading, journeying, and preaching, he sunk into a severe fever,
from which, after lying insensible for some days, he recovered with
extraordinary rapidity ; and resumed a service which, extended as
it had been through so many years, was not yet to be terminated.
The Foundry having become too small for the comfortable accom-
modation of the congregation in that part of London, and being
also gloomy and dilapidated, a new chapel was erected in the year
1778. November 1 st," says Mr. Wesley, was the day appointed
for opening the New Chapel in the City-road. It is perfectly neat,
but not fine, and contains far more than the Foundry; I believe,
together with the morning chapel, as many as the Tabernacle.
Many were afraid that the multitudes, crowding from all parts,
would have occasioned much disturbance; but they were happily
disappointed; there was none at all: All was quietness, decency,
and order. I preached on part of Solomon's prayer at the dedica-
tion of' the temple; and both in the morning and afternoon God


was eminently present in the midst of the congregationn" Here
the brothers agreed to officiate as often as possible till the congre-
gation should be settled. Two resident Clergymen were also
employed at this chapel as curates, for reading the full Church
Service, administering the sacraments, and burying the dead.
In 1778 Mr. Wesley began to publish a periodical work, which
he entitled, The Arminian Magazine; consisting of Extracts
and Original Treatises on Universal Redemption." He needed
a medium through which he could reply to the numerous attacks
made upon him; and he made use of it further to introduce into
general circulation several choice treatises on Universal Redemp-
tion, and to publish selections from his valuable correspondence
with pious persons. He conducted this work while he lived; and
it is still continued by the Conference, under the title of the
Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine," on the same general principles
as to its theology, though on a more enlarged plan.
In 1783 Mr. Wesley paid a visit to Holland, having been
pressed to undertake this journey by a Mr. Ferguson, formerly
a member of the London society, who had made acquaintance with
some pious people, who, having read Mr. Wesley's Sermons, were
desirous of seeing him. The record which he has made in him
Journal of this journey exhibits his activity at so advanced an
age, and presents an interesting picture of his intercourse with a
pious remnant in several parts of that morally deteriorated
That provision for the stability and the government of the
Connexion after his death which had been to Mr. Wesley a matter
of serious concern for several years, was accomplished in 1784, and
gave him, whenever he subsequently adverted to the subject, the
greatest satisfaction. From this time he felt that he had nothing
more to do, than to spend his remaining life in the same spiritual
labours in which he had been so long engaged; and that he had
done all that a true prudence required, to provide for the continu-
ance and extension of a work which had so strangely enlarged
under his superintendence.
This settlement was effected by a legal instrument, enrolled in
Chancery, called A Deed of Declaration," in which one hundred
Preachers, mentioned by name, were declared to be the Confer-
ence of the people called Methodists." By means of this Deed, a
legal description was given to the term Conference, and the settle-
ment of the chapels upon Trustees was provided for; so that the
appointment of Preachers to officiate in them should be vested in
the Conference, as it had heretofore been-in Mr. Wesley. As the
whole of the Preachers were not included in the Deed, and -a few


who thought themselves equally entitled to be of the hundred
Preachers who thus formed the legal Conference, were excepted,
some dissatisfaction arose ; but as all the Preachers were eligible
to he introduced into that body, as vacancies occurred, this
feeling was but partial, and soon subsided. All the Preach-
ers in full connexion were also allowed to vote in the Confer-
ence; and subsequently, those who were not of the hundred,
but had been in connexion a certain number of years, were permit-
ted, by their votes, to put the President into nomination for the
election of the legal Conference. Thus all reasonable ground
for mistrust and jealousy was removed from the body of the
Preachers at large ; and with respect to the hundred Preachers
themselves, the President being chosen annually, and each being
eligible to that honour, efficiency of administration was wisely con-
nected with equality. The consequence has been, that the
Preachers have generally remained most firmly united by affection
and mutual confidence, and that few serious disputes have ever
arisen among them, or have extended beyond a very few individu-
als. Ecclesiastical history does not, perhaps, present an instance
of an equal number of Ministers brought into contact so close, and
called so frequently together, for the discussion of various subjects,
among whom so much general unanimity, both as to doctrines and
points of discipline, has prevailed, joined with so much real good-
will and friendship towards each other, for so great a number of
years. This is the more remarkable, as by their frequent charges
from station to station, opposite interests and feelings are very
often brought into conflict. The final decisions of the Conference
on their appointment to these stations, generally the most perplex-
ing part of its annual business, are, however, cheerfully or
patiently submitted to, from the knowledge that each has of the
public spirit with which that body is actuated, and the frank and
brotherly manner in which all its proceedings are conducted. The
order of proceeding in the business of the Conference is the same
as in the days of Mr. Wesley. It admits candidates for the min-
istry, on proper recommendation from the Superintendents and
District-Meetings; examines those who have completed their
probation of four years, and receives the approved into full con-
nexion, which is its ordination ; investigates, without any exception,
the character and talents of those who are already in connexion
year by year; appoints the stations of the year ensuing ; sends
additional Preachers to new places; receives the reports of the
Committees appointed to manage and distribute various Funds;
reviews the state of the societies; and issues an Annual Pastoral
Address. At the time of the meeting of the Conferences, beside


the Sunday services, public worship is held early in the morning,
and in the evening of every day, except Saturday, which is usually
attended by great multitudes. The business of each Conference,
exclusive of that done in Committees wnich meet previously, occu-
pies, on the average, about a fortnight in every year. Were it not
for the District-Meetings, composed of the Preachers, and the
Stewards of a number of Circuits, or stations, in different parts of
the kingdom, (an arrangement which was adopted after Mr. Wes-
ley's death,) the business of the Conference would require a much
longer time to transact; but in these meetings much is prepared
for its final decision.
The state in which the separation of the United States from the
mother country left the Methodist American societies had become
a matter of serious concern to Mr. Wesley, and presented to him a
new case, for which it was imperative to make some provision.
This, however, could not be done but by a proceeding which he
foresaw would lay him open to much remark, and some censure,
from the rigid English Episcopalians. But with him, the principle
of making every thing indifferent give place to the necessity of
doing' good or preventing evil, was paramount; and when that
necessity was clearly made out, he was not a man to hesitate. The
mission of Messrs. Boardman and Pilmoor to America has been
already mentioned. Two years afterward, in 1771, Mr. Wesley
sent out Messrs. Asbury and Wright; and in 1773, Messrs.
Rarkin and Shadford. In 1777, the Preachers in the different
Circuits in America had amounted to forty, and the societies had
also greatly increased. These were scattered in towns and settle-
ments so distant that it required constant and extensive travelling
from the Preachers to supply them with the word of God. The
two last-mentioned Preachers returned, after employing themselves
on the mission for about five years; and Mr. Asbury, a true
Itinerant, who in this respect followed in America the unwearied
example of Mr. Wesley, gradually acquired a great and deserve;
influence, which, supported as it was by his excellent sense, modera-
ting temper, and entire devotedness to the service of God, increased
rather than diminished to the end of a protracted life. The
American Preachers, like those in England, were at first restrained
by Mr. Wesley from administering either of the sacraments; but
when, through the war, and the acquisition of independence by the
States, most of the Clergy of the Church of England had left the
country, neither the children of the members of the Methodist socie-
ties could be baptized, nor the Lord's supper administered among
them. without a change of the original plan. Mr. Asbury's predi-
lections for the former order of things prevented him from listening


to the request of the American societies to be formed into a regu.
lar Church, and furnished with all its spiritual privileges; and a
division had already taken place among them. This breach, how-
ever, Mr. Asbury had the address to heal; and at the peace he
laid the whole case before Mr. Wesley. The result will be seen by
the following extract from his letter to Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, and
the brethren in America, dated Bristol, September 10th, 1784:-
By a very uncommon train of providence, many of the pro-
vinces of North America are totally disjoined from their mother
country, and erected into independent States. The English
Government has no authority over them, either civil or ecc!esiasti-
cal, any more than over the States of Holland. A civil authority
is exercised over them, partly by the Congress, partly by the Pro-
vincial Assemblies. But no one either exercises or claims any eccle-
siastical authority at all. In this peculiar situation, some thousands
of the inhabitants of these States desire my advice; and, in com.
pliance with their desire, I have drawn up a little sketch.
Lord King's account of the primitive church convinced me,
many years ago, that Bishops and Presbyters are the same order,
and consequently have the same right to ordain. For many years
I have been importuned, from time to time, to exercise this right,
by ordaining part of our Travelling Preachers; but I have still
refused, not only for peace' sake, but because I was determined,
as little as possible, to violate the established order of the national
Church to which I belonged.
But the case is widely different between England and North
America. Here there are Bishops who have a legal jurisdiction.
In America there are none, neither any parish Ministers. So that,
for some hundred miles together, there is none either to baptize or
to administer the Lord's supper. Here, therefore, my scruples
are at an end ; and I conceive myself at full liberty, as I violate
no order, and invade no man's right, by appointing and sending
labourers into the harvest.
I have accordingly appointed Dr. Coke and Mr. Francis
Asbury to be joint Superintendents over our brethren in North
America. as also Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey to act as
Elders among them, by baptizing and administering the Lord's
supper. And I have prepared a Liturgy, little differing from
that of the Church of England, (I think the best-constituted
national Church in the world,) which I advise all the Travelling
Preachers to use on the Lord's day. in all the congregations, reading
the Litany only on Wednesdays and Fridays, and praying exten-
pore on all other days. I also advise the Elders to administer the
supper of the Lord on every Lord's day."


Two persons were thus appointed as Superintendents or Bishops,
and two as Elders, with power to administer the sacraments; and
the American Methodists were formed into a Church, because they
could no longer remain a society attached to a colonial Establish-
ment which then had ceased to exist.
Some time after this, Mr. Wesley appointed several of the
English Preachers, by imposition of hands, to administer the
sacraments to the societies in Scotland. There the English
Establishment did not extend, and a necessity of a somewhat
similar kind existed, though not of so pressing a nature as in
America. He, however, steadily objected to give this liberty,
generally, to his Preachers in England; and those who adminis-
tered the sacraments in Scotland were not permitted to perform the
same office in England upon their return. The reason why he
refused to appoint in the same manner, and for the same purpose,
for England, is stated in the letter above quoted. He was satisfied
of his power, as a Presbyter, to ordain for such an administration ;
but, he says, I have still refused, not only for peace' sake, but
because I was determined as little as possible to violate the estab-
lished order of the national Church to which I belonged." This
was a prudent principle most sincerely held by him; and it
explains his conduct in those particulars for which he has been
censured by opposite parties. When it could not be avoided, with-
out sacrificing some real good, he did violate the established
order," thinking that this order was in itself merely prudential.
When that necessity did not exist, his own predilections, and
those of many members of his societies, enforced upon him this
abstinence from innovation.
In the year 1786, at the Bristol Conference, the old subject of
separating from the Church was again discussed, and without
one dissenting voice," it was determined to continue therein;
whici determination," he remarks, will, I doubt not, stand, at
least till I am removed into a better world." After the Confer-
ence was concluded, he paid a second visit to Holland, in company
with Mr. Brackenbury and Mr. Broadbent, preached in various
places, expounded to private companies, and engaged in conversa-
tion with many learned and pious individuals.
On his return to England, his Journal presents the usual record of
constant preaching and travelling, interspersed with useful remark
and incident. The labours and journeys of almost every day are
noticed, exhibiting at once a singular instance of natural strength,
sustained, doubtless, by the special blessing of God, and of an
entire consecration of time to the service of mankind, of which no
similar example is probably on record; and which is rendered still


.ore wonderful by the consideration that it had been continued
for more than half a century, on the same scale of exertion, and
almost without intermission. The vigour of his mind at this age
is also as remarkable; the same power of acute observation as
formerly is manifested; the same taste for reading and criticism;
the same facility in literary composition. Nor is the buoyant
cheerfulness of his spirit a less striking feature. Nothing of the
old man of unrenewed nature appears ; no forebodings of evil ; no
querulous comparisons of the present with the past:-there is the
same delight in the beautiful scenes of nature ; the same enjoy-
ment of conversation, provided it had the two qualities of useful-
ness and brevity ; the same joy in hopeful appearances of good;
and the same tact at turning the edge of little discomforts and
disappointments by the power of an undisturbed equanimity.
Above all we see the man of one business, living only to serve God
and his generation, instant in season and out of season," seriously
intent, not upon doing so much duty, but upon saving souls; and
preaching, conversing, and writing for this end alone.
This period of his life must have been to him one of rich reflec-
tion. In his Journal of 1785, March 24, lie observes,--" I
was now considering how strangely the grain of mustard-seed,
planted about fifty years ago, had grown up. It has spread
through all Great Britain, and Ireland. the Isle of Wight, and the
Isle of Man ; then to America, through the whole continent, into
Canada, the Leeward Islands, and Newfoundland. And the
societies, in all these parts, walk by one rule, knowing that religion
is in holy tempers, and striving to worship God, not in form only,
but likewise in spirit and in truth."
He must, indeed, have been insensible to the emotions of a
generous nature, had he not felt an honest satisfaction, that he
had lived down calumnies; and that where mobs formerly awaited
him, he met with the kind and cheering attentions of the most
respectable persons of all religious persuasions, in every part of the
country. But, more than this, he could compare the dearth and
barrenness of one age with the living verdure and fertility of
another. Long-forgotten truths had been made familiar;-a
neglected population had been brought within the range of Chris-
tian instruction, and the constant preaching of the word of life by
faithful men ;-religious societies had been raised up through the
land, generally distinguished by piety and zeal;-by the blessing
of God upon the labours of Mr. Whitefield, and others of his first
associates, the old Dissenting churches had been quickened into
life, and new ones multiplied; the Established Church had been
awakened from her lethargy; the number of faithful Ministers ic


her parishes greatly multiplied; the influence of religion spread
into the colonies, and the United States of America; and above
all, a vast multitude, the fruit of his own ministerial zeal and
faithfulness, had, since the time in which he commenced his
lbiours, departed into a better world. These thoughts must often
have passed through his mind, and inspired his heart with devout
thanksgivings, although no allusion is ever made to them in a
boastful manner. For the past, he knew to whom the praise
belonged; and the future he left to God, certain at least of meet-
ing in heaven a greater number of glorified spirits of whose salva-
tion he had been, under God, the instrument, than any Minister
of modern ages. That "joyful hope" may explain an incident,
which occurred at Oxford towards the close of life. The Rev.
Henry Moore, who was with him at the time, observes, that one
Sunday morning, Mr. Wesley, on entering the pulpit, instead of
announcing the hymn immediately, to the great surprise of the
congregation, stood silent, with his eyes closed, for the space of
at least ten minutes, rapt in thought; and then, with a feeling
which at once conveyed to all present the subject which had so
absorbed his attention, gave out the hymn commencing with the
Come, let us join our friends above,
Who have obtained the prize."

It was also his constant practice to preach on All Saints' Day,
which was with him a favourite festival, on communion with the
saints in heaven; a practice probably arising out of the same
delightful association of remembrances and hope.
On his attaining his eighty-fifth year, he makes the following
I this day enter on my eighty-fifth year. And what cause
have I to praise God, as for a thousand spiritual blessings, so for
bodily blessings also! How little have I suffered yet, by' the
rush of numerous years !' It is true, I am not so agile as I was
in times past: I do not run or walk so fast as I did. My sight is
a little decayed. My left eye is grown dim, and hardly serves me
to read. I have daily some pain in the ball of my right eye, as
also in my right temple, (occasioned by a blow received same time
since,) and in my right shoulder and arm, which I impute partly
to a sprain, and partly to the rheumatism. I find likewise some
decay in my memory, with regard to names and things lately past;
but not at all with regard to what I have reader heard twenty, forty,
or sixty years ago. Neither do I find any decay in my hearing, smell,
taste, ol appetite, (though I want hut a third part of the food I


once did,) nor do I feel any such thing as wtitriness, either in travel-
ling or preaching. And I am not conscious of any decay in writing
sermons, which I do as readily, and I believe as correctly, as ever.
To what cause can I impute this, that I am as I am ? First,
doubtless, to the power of God, fitting me for the work to which I
am called, as long as he pleases to continue me therein ; and next,
subordinately to this, to the prayers of his children.-May we not
impute it, as inferior means: 1. To my constant exercise and
change of air? 2. To my never having lost a night's sleep, sick
or well, at land or sea, since I was born ? 3. To my having sleep
at command, so that, whenever I feel myself almost worn out, I
call it, and it comes, day or night? 4. To my having constantly,
for above sixty years, risen at four in the morning ? 5. To my
constant preaching at five in the morning, for above fifty years ?
6. To my having had so little pain in my life, and so little sor-
row or anxious care ?-Even now, though I find pain daily in
my eye, temple, or arm, yet it is never violent, and seldom lasts
many minutes at a time.
Whether or not this is sent to give me warning that I am
shortly to quit this tabernacle, I do not know; but, be it one way,
or the other, I have only to say,-
My remnant of days
I spend to His praise,
Who died the whole world to redeem:
Be they many or few,
My days are his due,
And they all are devoted to Him.'"
And, referring to some persons in the nation who thought
themselves endowed with the gift of prophecy, he adds, "If this
is to be the last year of my life, according to some of these prophets,
I hope it will be the best. I am not careful about it, but heartily
receive the advice of the angel in Milton,-
flw well is thine; how long permit to heaven."'
The two brothers, whose affection no differences of opinion
could diminish, were now to be separated by death. Dr. White-
head, who visited Mr, Charles Wesley frequently during his last
sickness, observes :-
He possessed that state of mind which he had been always plea-
sed to see in others,-.unaffected humility, and holy resignation to the
'will of God. He had no transports of joy, but solid hope and
unshaken confidence in Christ, which kept his mind in perfect
peace. A few days before his death he composed the following
lines. Having been silent and quiet for some time, he called
Mrs. Wesley to him, and bade her write as he dictated:-


In age and feebleness extreme,
Who shall a sinful worm redeem ?
Jesus, my only hope thou art,
Strength of my failing flesh and heart;
O could I catch a smile from thee,
And drop into eternity !'
"IIe died, March 29th, 1788, aged seventy-nine years and
three months; and was buried, April 5th, in Marybone church-
yard at his own desire. The pall was supported by eight Clergy-
men of the Church of England.
On his tomb-stone are the following lines, written by himself on
the death of one of his friends: They could not be more aptly ap-
plied to any person than to Mr. Charles Wesley:-
SWith poverty of spirit bless'd,
Rest, happy saint, in Jesus rest;
A sinner saved, through grace forgiven,
Redeem'd from earth to reign in heaven !
Thy labours of unwearied love,
By thee forgot, are crown'd above
Crown'd, through the mercy of thy Lord,
With a free, full, immense reward !'

The Methodists are greatly indebted to Charles Wesley for
his unwearied labours and great usefulness at the first formation
of the societies, when every step was attended with difficulty and
danger. And being dead he yet speaketh by his numerous and
excellent hymns, written for the use of the societies, which still
continue to be the means of daily edification and comfort to
Mr. Wesley was on his regular pastoral visit to Ireland when
he entered his 87th year. After holding the Irish Conference in
Dublin, and the English Conference at Leeds, in August, he
returned to London ; from thence he set out to Bristol, and pro-
ceeded on his usual tour through the West of England, and
Cornwall. From thence he returned by way of Bristol and Bath
to London. In the early part of next year, he was again at
Bristol, whence he proceeded, preaching at several intermediate
towns, to Birmingham. From this place he proceeded through
Staffordshire to Madeley. He then visited, for the last time, the
societies in Cheshire, Lancashire, and the north of England. On
his return southward, he passed through the East Riding of
Yorkshire, to Hull; preaching in every place as on the brink of
eternity. He also visited Epworth, and various parts of Lincoln-
shire; and, upon entering his eighty-eighth year, has the follow-
ing reflections:-
This day I enter into my eighty-eighth year. For above


eighty-six years, I found none of the infirmities of old age; m
eyes did not wax dim, neither was my natural strength abated,
but last August, I found almost a sudden change: My eyes were
so dim that no glasses would help me; my strength likewise now
quite forsook me, and probably will not return in this world : But
I feel no pain from head to foot; only, it seems, nature is
exhausted, and, humanly speaking, will sink more and more, till

The weary springs of life stand still at last.' "

"This," says Dr. Whitehead, at length was literally the case;
the death of Mr. Wesley, like that of his brother Charles, being
one of those rare instances in which nature, drooping under the
load of years, sinks by a gentle decay. For several years preced-
ing his death, this decay was, perhaps, more visible to others than
to himself, particularly by a more frequent disposition to sleep
during the day, by a growing defect in memory, a faculty he once
possessed in a high degree of perfection, and by a general diminu-
tion of the vigour and agility he had so long enjoyed. His
labours, however, suffered little interruption; and when the
summons came, it found him, as he always wished it should, in the
harness, still occupied in his Master's work !"
That interesting record of unparalleled labours in the Gospel,"
the Journal of Mr. Wesley, closes on Sunday, October 24th,
1790, when he states that he preached twice at Spitalfields church
le continued, however, to visit various places till February, con-
tinually praying, Lord, let me not live to be useless."
On Thursday, February 17, 1791, he preached at Lambeth,
but on his return seemed much indisposed, and said he had taken
cold. On the following Sunday he was so unwell as to be unable
to engage in his usual public exercises; but on Monday he was so
much better, that he went to Twickenham to dine with Lady
Fitzgerald. He preached on Tuesday evening at City-road; and
on Wednesday he went to Leatherhead, and preached to a small
company what proved to be his last sermon, from, Seek ye the
Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near."
On Friday he became so alarmingly ill, that Dr. Whitehead was
sent for; but his skill proved unavailing. Mr. Wesley got rapidly
worse, and felt that his end was drawing nigh. In this solemn
crisis this eminent servant of God experienced the supporting influ-
ence of that religion which he had been the honoured instrument
of reviving in this land, and in America, to so great an extent.
Great as had been his laboura in the cause of Christ, they were
no more the foundation of his hope in death, than they jad


been in life. Eight years before, when at Bristol, he had an
alarming attack; and then, while contemplating his critical situa-
tion, he said to Mr. Bradford, I have been reflecting on my past
life; I have been wandering up and down between fifty and sixty
years, endeavouring in my poor way to do a little good to my
fellow-creatures ; and now it is probable, that there are but a few
steps between me and death ; and what have I done to trust to fbr
salvation ? I can see nothing which I have done or suffered that
will bear looking at. I have no other plea than this,
'I the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.' "
This was his language to the last. On Sunday, the 27th, he
alluded to his views and feelings in that illness. He had been silent
for some time, examining, as it appeared, the ground of his confi-
dence, when he said, "There is no need of more ; when at Bristol
my words were,
I the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.' "
And on one asking, Is this the present language of your heart,
and do you feel now as you did then ?" he answered, "Yes; and
afterwards added, in reference to Christ, He is all He is all !'"
The day following, he reverted to the same subject, and said,
" How necessary it is for every one to be on the right foundation !"
and then quoted again his favourite stanza, expressive of the entire
dependence of his soul on the sacrificial death of Christ. And
he strikingly proved how available is that plea. The most cheer-
ing manifestations of the divine presence were vouchsafed to him.
On another occasion, he had called for pen and ink, but when they
were brought, being unable to write, one said to him, Let me
write for you, Sir ; tell me what you would say." He replied,
" Nothing, but that God is with us;" and not long after he broke
out in a manner which, considering his weakness, astonished all
present, in singing,
I '11 praise my Maker while I 've breath;
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne'er be past,
While life and thought and being last,
Or immortality endures."

Shortly after he had sung this verse, he became evidently worse
and his voice failed in endeavouring to sing part of another hymn.
Having rested awhile, he desired those who were with him to "pray
and praise." They kneeled down, and the room seemed to be filled
-with the divine presence. Having given directions respecting his


funeral, he again begged they would pray and praise. Several
friends who were in the house being called up, they all kneeled
down again, and he joined with them in great fervour of spirit; but
in particular parts of the prayer, his whole soul seemed to be engaged
in a manner which evidently showed how ardently he longed for
the full accomplishment of their united desires. And when one of
the Preachers prayed, that if God were about to take away their
father to his eternal rest, He would be pleased to continue and
increase his blessing upon the doctrine and discipline which He had
long made his servant the means of propagating and establishing
in the world; Mr. Wesley responded, "Amen," with such a fervour
and strength of voice as indicated how intense was his desire that
the petition should be answered. In the course of the same day,
he attempted to speak to one who came into his room ; but, perceiv-
ing that he did not make himself understood, he paused a little,
and then, with all the remaining strength he had, cried out, The
best of all is, God is with us; and soon after, lifting up his dying
arm in token of victory, and raising his feeble voice with a holy
triumph not to be described, he again repeated the heart-reviving
words, The best of all is, God is with us. During the night follow-
ing, he frequently attempted to repeat the psalm, part of which he
had before sung; but such was his weakness he could only utter,

"I'll praise-I '1 praise."

On Wednesday morning, March 2d, it was evident that the clos-
ing scene drew near ; and Mr. Bradford having prayed with him,
he was heard to articulate, Farewell!" This was the last
word he uttered; and while several of his friends were kneeling
around his bed, he passed without a groan or struggle into the
joyful presence of his Lord.
At the desire of many of his friends his corpse was placed in the
New Chapel, and remained there the day before his interment; and
so great were the crowds that came to see the body, that it was deter-
mined the funeral should be private, in order to prevent tumult.
He was accordingly buried between five and six o'clock in the
morning of March the 9th; notice having been given to his friends
only the evening before. The Rev. Mr. Richardson read the
funeral service; and when he came to that part, Forasmuch as
it hath pleased Almighty God to take unto himself the soul of our
dear brother,"&c.,he substituted with the most tender emphasis
the epithet father for brother, which had so touching an effect
that Eimost all present broke out into loud weeping. The funeral
sermon was pleached in the forenoon, to a very crowded and at.


tentive congregation; among whom were many Clergymen and
Dissenting Ministers.
The following is the inscription on the marble tablet afterwards
placed in the chapel, City-road:-

Satrrt to tfet flremorn
A Man in Learning and sincere Piety
Scarcely inferior to any;
In Zeal, Ministerial Labours, and extensive Usefulness,
Superior, perhaps, to all Men,
Since the days of ST. PAUL.

Regardless of Fatigue, personal Danger, and Disgrace,
He went out into the highways and hedges
Calling Sinners to Repentance,
And publishing the GOSPEL of Peace.
IIe was the Founder of the Methodist Societies,
And the chief Promoter and Patron
Of the Plan of Itinerant preaching,
Which lHe extended through GREAT BRITAIN and IRELANDr
With unexampled Success.
He was born the 17th of June, 1703;
And died the 2d of March, 1791,
In sure and certain hope of Eternal Life,
Through the Atonement and Mediation of a Crucified

He was sixty-five Years in the Ministry,
And fifty-two an Itinerant Preacher:
He lived to see, in these KINGDOMs only,
About three hundred Itinerant,
And one thousand Local Preachers,
Raised up from the midst of his own People;
and eighty thousand Persons in the Societies under his -at,

His Name will be ever had in grateful Remembrance
By all who rejoice in the universal Spread '
Of the Gospel of CHRISr.
Soli Deo Gloria..


This Inscription shows the number of Preachers and members
of society at the time of Mr. Wesley's death. The number of
Circuits at home was 115, and the Mission Stations were cight
in the West Indies, and eight in British America. The Minutes
uf the last Conference (1831) mark the vast increase of the work
since the venerable Founder of Methodism was taken home to
his reward. The number of Circuits in Great Britain and Ire-
land was then 411.; and of Mission Stations in the four quarters
of the globe 177. The number of regular Preachers stationed at
home was 1070, and on the Missions abroad 236; while the socie-
ties amounted in Great Britain to 291,939; in Ireland to 25,614,
and on the Foreign Stations to 48,304. The Conference in
Upper Canada had under its care 14,930 members, and sixty-four
regular Preachers; and in the United States the number of
regular Preachers and Missionaries was 2,400, and the societies
amounted to 619,771 members. The total number of members
in the Wesleyan-Methodist societies throughout the world, exclu-
sive of regular Travelling Preachers, who are statedly employed
in the ministry, was, 1,000,558.
To say nothing of the advantages which other religious bodies
have derived indirectly from Methodism, such are some of its
direct effects. Such is the success which has rewarded the
Methodists for keeping their original object steadily in view, and
striving to promote the work of true religion independently of
party considerations. The spirit of Methodism has never been
the spirit of party. There is not indeed so much of formal union
between the Methodists and the Church as in Mr. Weslev's
day. The general introduction of the sacrament of the Lord's
supper, a measure which Mr. Wesley strenuously opposed
to the last, has certainly made the separation between his fol-
lowers and the Church more visible ; but this was not the result
of hostility to the Church, nor for the reasons usually urged by
the Dissenters. The separation which subsists between the
Methodists and the national Church was rather the result of cir-
cumstances, and it took place so as to leave unimpaired the
general feeling of affection on the part of the Methodists for all
that is excellent in the Establishment. That feeling has strength-
ened as the number of evangelical laborious Ministers has in-
creased in the Church, and her services have thus improved in
spirituality and efficiency. Recognising in her the mother of us
all," and contemplating with deepest admiration her noble army
of Confessors and Martyrs, and the illustrious train of her Divines,
whose writings have been, and continue to be, the light of Christen-
dom, the followers of Mr. Wesley wish the national Church prospe-


rity and perpetuity. At the same time they cherish true Chris-
tian affection for all other evangelical denominations, and rejoice
in their success in spreading our common Christianity. Thus
have the Methodists ever been the friends of all, and enemies of
none and if, maintaining their purity and enrr'yv, they proceed
in their providential course, practically "remembering one funda-
mental principle of Wcsleyan Methodism is AN'T-sE:cTAILIANISM
AN) A AT'rHOLIc sPiiI'ir," they must, under the divine bless-
ing, prosper to a far greater extent. If, continuing to overlook all
mere party-objects, they unwaveringly pursue their high, their
hallowed aim, simply to promote the spread of pure Christianity
throughout the land and the world at large, they will not fail to
answer the end for which their great Founder ever regarded the
Methodists as raised up by the Head of the Church ; and the
blessings of their system will be diffused still more widely, and
will descend to ages yet unborn.


1. THE following Sermons contain the substance
of what I have been preaching for between eight and
nine years last past.* During that time I have fre-
quently spoken in public, on every subject in the
ensuing collection; and I am not conscious, that
there is any one point of doctrine, on which I am
accustomed to speak in public, which is not here,
incidentally, if not professedly, laid before every
Christian reader. Every serious man who peruses
these, will therefore see, in the clearest manner,
what these doctrines are which I embrace and teach
as the essentials of true religion.
2. But I am throughly sensible, these are not
proposed in such a manner as some may expect.
Nothing here appears in an elaborate, elegant, or
oratorical dress. If it had been my desire or design
to write thus, my leisure would not permit. But,
in truth, I, at present, designed nothing less; for I
now write, as I generally speak, ad populum,-to
the bulk of mankind, to those who neither relish
nor understand the art of speaking; but who, not-
withstanding, are competent judges of those truths
which are necessary to present and future happi-
ness. I mention this, that curious readers may

In the year 1747.


spare themselves the labour of seeking for what
they will not find.
3. I design plain truth for plain people: There-
fore, of set purpose, I abstain from all nice and
philosophical speculations; from all perplexed and
intricate reasoning; and, as far as possible, from
even the show of learning, unless in sometimes
citing the original Scripture. I labour to avoid all
words which are not easy to be understood, all
which are not used in common life; and, in par-
ticular, those kinds of technical terms that so fre-
quently occur in Bodies of Divinity; those modes
of speaking which men of reading are intimately
acquainted with, but which to common people are
an unknown tongue. Yet 1 am not assured, that I
do not sometimes slide into them unawares: It is
so extremely natural to imagine, that a word which
is familiar to ourselves is so to all the world.
4. Nay, my design is, in some sense, to forget
all that ever I have read in my life. I mean to
speak, in the general, as if I had never read one
author, ancient or modern (always excepting the
inspired). I am persuaded, that, on the one hand,
this may be a means of enabling me more clearly to
express the sentiments of my heart, while I simply
follow the chain of my own thoughts, without
entangling myself with those of other men; and
that, on the other, I shall come with fewer weights
upon my mind, with less of prejudice and prepos-
session, either to search for myself, or to deliver to
others, the naked truths of the gospel.
6. To candid, reasonable men, I am not afraid to


lay open what have been the inmost thoughts of
my heart. I have thought, I am a creature of a
day, passing through life as an arrow through the
air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning
to God: Just hovering over the great gulf; till,
a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop
into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know
one thing,-the way to heaven; how to land safe
on that happy shore. God himself has conde-
scended to teach the way: For this very end he
came from heaven. He hath written it down in a
book. 0 give me that book At any price, give
me the book of God! I have it: Here is know-
ledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri.*
Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men.
I sit down alone: Only God is here. In his pre-
sence I open, I read his book; for this end, to find
the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning
the meaning of what I read? Does anything
appear dark or intricate ? I lift up my heart to
the Father of Lights: -" Lord, is it not thy word,
' If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God ?'
Thou 'givest liberally, and upbraidest not.' Thou
hast said,' If any be willing to do thy will, he shall
know.' I am willing to do, let me know, thy
will." I then search after and consider parallel
passages of Scripture, comparing spiritual things
with spiritual." I meditate thereon with all tle
attention and earnestness of which my mind is
capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those
who are experienced in the things of God; and
A man of one book.


then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet
speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.
6. I have accordingly set down in the following
sermons what I find in the Bible concerning the
way to heaven; with a.view to distinguish this way
of God from all those which are the inventions of
men. I have endeavoured to describe the true, the
scriptural, experimental religion, so as to omit
nothing which is a real part thereof, and to add
nothing thereto which is not. And herein it is
more especially my desire, First, to guard those who
are just setting their faces toward heaven, (and who,
having little acquaintance with the things of God,
are the more liable to be turned out of the way,)
from formality, from mere outside religion, which
has almost driven heart-religion out of the world;
and, Secondly, to warn those who know the religion
of the heart, the faith which worketh by love, lest
at any time they make void the law through faith,
and so fall back into the snare of the devil.
7. By the advice and at the request of some of
my friends, I have prefixed to the other sermons
contained in this volume, three sermons of my own,
and one of my Brother's, preached before the Uni-
versity of Oxford. My design required some dis-
courses on those heads; and I preferred these
before any others, as being a stronger answer than
any which can be drawn up now, to those who have
frequently asserted that we have changed our doe-
trine of late, and do not preach now what we did
some years ago. Any man of understanding may
now judge for himself, when he has compared the
latter with the former sermons.


8. But some may say, I have mistaken the way
myself, although I take upon me to teach it to
others. It is probable many will think this, and
it is very possible that I have. But I trust, where-
insoever I have mistaken, my mind is open to con-
viction. I sincerely desire to be better informed.
I say to God and man, What I know not, teach
thou me!"
9. Are you persuaded you see more clearly than
me ? It is not unlikely that you may. Then treat
me as you would desire to be treated yourself upon
a change of circumstances. Point me out a better
way than I have yet known. Show me it is so, by
plain proof of Scripture. And if I linger in the
path I have been accustomed to tread, and am there-
fore unwilling to leave it, labour with me a little;
take me by the hand, and lead me as I am able to
bear. But be not displeased if I entreat you not to
beat me down in order to quicken my pace: I can
go but feebly and slowly at best; then, I should not
be able to go at all. May I not request of you,
further, not to give me hard names in order to bring
me into the right way. Suppose I were ever so
much in the wrong, I doubt this would not set me
right. Rather, it would make me run so much the
farther from you, and so get more and more out of
the way.
10. Nay, perhaps, if you are angry, so shall I be
too; and then there will be small hopes of finding
the truth. If once anger arise, VurE xrvo5Y, (as Homer
somewhere expresses it,) this smoke will so dim the
eyes of my soul, that I shall be able to see nothing


clearly. For God's sake, if it be possible to avoid
it, let us not provoke one another to wrath. Let
us not kindle in each other this fire of hell; much
less blow it up into a flame. If we could discern
truth by that dreadful light, would it not be loss,
rather than gain ? For, how far is love, even with
many wrong opinions, to be preferred before truth
itself without love We may die without the know-
ledge of many truths, and yet be carried into Abra-
ham's bosom. But, if we die without love, what
will knowledge avail? Just as much as it avails the
devil and his angels!
The God of love forbid we should ever make the
trial! May he prepare us for the knowledge of all
truth, by filling our hearts with all his love, and
with all iov and neace in believing!





ON JUNE 18, 1738.

By grace are ye saved through faith." IEph. ii. 8.

1. ALL the blessings which God hath bestowed upon man,
are of his mere grace, bounty, or favour; his free, undeserved
favour; favour altogether undeserved; man having no claim
to the least of his mercies. It was free grace that formed
man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into him a living
soul," and stamped on that soul the image of God, and "put
all things under his feet." The same free grace continues to
us, at this day, life, and breath, and all things. For there is
nothing we are, or have, or do, which can deserve the least
thing at God's hand. "All our works, thou, O God! hast
wrought in us." These, therefore, are so many more instances
of free mercy: And whatever righteousness may be found in
man, this is also the gift of God.
2. Wherewithal then shall a sinful man atone for any the
least of his sins? with his own works ? No. Were they ever
so many, or holy, they are not his own, but God's. But indeed
they are all unholy and sinful themselves, so that every one of
them needs a fresh atonement. Only corrupt fruit grows on a
corrupt tree. And his heart is altogether corrupt and abomin-
able; being "come short of the glory of God," the glorious
righteousness at first impressed on his soul, after the image of


his great Creator. Therefore, having nothing, neither righte-
ousness nor works, to plead, his mouth is utterly stopped before
3. If then sinful men find favour with God, it is grace upon
grace!" If God vouchsafe still to pour fresh blessings upon
us, yea, the greatest of all blessings, salvation; what can we say
to these things, but, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable
gift !" And thus it is. Herein God commendcth his love
toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died" to
save us. By grace," then, are ye saved through faith." Grace
is thesource, faith the condition, of salvation..
Now, that we fall not short of the grace of God, it concerns
us carefully to inquire,
I. What faith it is through which we are saved.
II. What is the salvation which is through faith.
III. How we may answer some objections.
I. What faith it is through which we are saved.
1. And, First, it is not barely the faith of a Heathen.
Now, God requireth of a Heathen to believe, that God is;
that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him ;" and
that he is to be sought by glorifying him as God, by giving him
thanks for all things, and by a careful practice of moral virtue,
of justice, mercy, and truth, toward their fellow-creatures. A
Greek or Roman, therefore, yea, a Scythian or Indian, was
without excuse if he did not believe thus much: The being
and attributes of God, a future state of reward and punish-
ment, and the obligatory nature of moral virtue. For this is
barely the faith of a Heathen.
2. Nor, Secondly, is it the faith of a devil, though this goes
much farther than that of a Heathen. For the devil believes,
not only that there is a wise and powerful God, gracious to
reward, and just to punish ; but also, that Jesus is the Son of
God, the Christ, the Saviour of the world. So we find him
declaring, in express terms, (Luke iv. 34,) I know thee who
thou art; the Holy One of God." Nor can we doubt but that
unhappy spirit believes all those words which came out of the
mouth of the Holy One; yea, and whatsoever else was written
by those holy men of old, of two of whom he was compelled to
give that glorious testimony, These men are the servants of
the Most High God, who show unto you the way of salvation."
Thus much, then, the great enemy of God and man believes


and trembles in believing,-that God was made manifest in the
flesh ; that he will tread all enemies under his feet;" and that
" all Scripture was given by inspiration of God." Thus far
goeth the faith of a devil.
3. Thirdly. The faith through which we are saved, in that
sense of the word which will hereafter be explained, is not
barely that which the Apostles themselves had while Christ was
yet upon earth; though they so believed on him as to leave
all and follow him;" although they had then power to work
miracles, to "heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of
disease;" yea, they, had then "power and authority over all
devils;" and, which is beyond all this, were sent by their Master
to preach the kingdom of God."
4. What faith is it then through which we are saved ? It may
be answered, First, in general, it is a faith in Christ: Christ,
and God through Christ, are the proper objects of it. Herein,
therefore, it is sufficiently, absolutely distinguished from the faith
either of ancient or modern Heathens. And from the faith of a
devil it is fully distinguished by this,-it is not barely a specula.
tive, rational thing, a cold, lifeless assent, a train of ideas in the
head; but also a disposition of the heart. For thus saith the
Scripture, With the heart man believeth unto righteousness;"
and, If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe with thy heart, that God hath raised him from
the dead, thou shalt be saved."
5. And herein does it differ from that faith which the Apos-
tles themselves had while our Lord was on earth, that it acknow-
ledges the necessity and merit of his death, and the power of his
resurrection. It acknowledges his death as the only sufficient
means of redeeming man from death eternal, and his resurrection
as the restoration of us all to life and immortality; inasmuch as
he was delivered for our sins, and rose again for our justifica-
tion." Christian faith is then, not only an assent to the whole
gospel of Christ, but also a full reliance on the blood of Christ;
a trust in the merits of his life, death, and resurrection; a
recumbency upon him as our atonement and our life, as given
for us, and living in us ; and, in consequence hereof, a closing
with him, and cleaving to him, as our "wisdom, righteousness,
sanctification, and redemption," or, in one word, our salvation.
II. What salvation it is, which is through this faith, is the
Second thing to be considered


1. And, First, whatsoever else it imply, it is a present salva.
tion. It is something attainable, yea, actually attained, on earth,
by those who are partakers of this faith. For thus saith the
Apostle to the believers at Ephesus, and in them to the believers
of all ages, not, Ye shall be, (though that also is true,) but, Ye
are saved through faith."
2. Ye are saved (to comprise all in one word) from sin.
This is the salvation which is through faith. This is that great
salvation foretold by the angel, before God brought his First-
begotten into the world: Thou shalt call his name JESUS.
For he shall save his people from their sins." And neither here,
nor in other parts of holy writ, is there any limitation or
restriction. All his people, or, as it is elsewhere expressed, "all
that believe in him," he will save from all their sins; from
original and actual, past and present sin, "of the flesh and of
the spirit." Through faith that is in him, they are saved both
from the guilt and from the power of it.
3. First. From the guilt of all past sin: For, whereas all the
world is guilty before God, insomuch that should he be
extreme to mark what is done amiss, there is none that could
abide it;" and whereas, "by the law is" only the knowledge
of sin," but no deliverance from it, so that, by fulfilling the
deeds of the law, no flesh can be justified in his sight;" now
" the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ,
is manifested unto all that believe." Now they are justified
freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus
Christ." Him God hath set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for (or by) the
remission of the sins that are past." Now hath Christ taken
away "the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." He
hath "blotted out the handwriting that was against us, taking
it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." There is, there-
fore, no condemnation now, to them which" believe "in Christ
4. And being saved from guilt, they are saved from fear.
Not indeed from a filial fear of offending; but from all servile
fear; from that fear which hath torment; from fear of punish-
ment; from fear of the wrath of God, whom they now no longer
regard as a severe Master, but as an indulgent Father. They
have not received again the spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of
adoption, whereby they cry, Abba, Father: The Spirit itself


also bearing witness with their spirits, that they are the children
of God." They are also saved from the fear, though not from
the possibility, of falling away from the grace of God, and com-
ing short of the great and precious promises. Thus have they
" peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. They rejoice
in hope of the glory of God. And the love of God is shed
abroad in their hearts, through the Holy Ghost which is given
unto them." And hereby they are persuaded, (though perhaps
not at all times, nor with the same fulness of persuasion,) that
"' neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate them from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus
our Lord."
5. Again, through this faith they are saved from the power
of sin, as well as from the guilt of it. So the Apostle declares,
Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and
in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not."
(1 John iii. 5, &c.) Again, "little children, let no man deceive
you. He that committeth sin is of the devil. Whosoever believ-
eth, is born of God. And whosoever is born of God doth not
commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him: And he cannot sin,
because he is born of God." Once more, We know, that who-
soever is born of God sinneth not: But he that is begotten of
God, keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."
(1 John v. 18.)
6. He that is, by faith, born of God, sinneth not (1.) By any
habitual sin; for all habitual sin is sin reigning: But sin cannot
reign in any that believeth. Nor (2.) By any wilful sin; for his
will, while he abideth in the faith, is utterly set against all sin,
and abhorreth it as deadly poison. Nor (3.) By any sinful
desire; for he continually desireth the holy and perfect will of
God; and any tendency to an unholy desire, he, by the grace of
God, stifleth in the birth. Nor (4.) Doth he sin by infirmities,
whether in act, word, or thought; for his infirmities have no
concurrence of his will; and without this they are not properly
sins. Thus, "he that is born of God doth not commit sin:"
And though he cannot say, he hath not sinned, yet now "he
sinneth not."
7. This then is the salvation which is through faith, even in
the present world: A salvation from sin, and the consequences
of sin, both often expressed in the word justification; which,


taken in the largest sense, implies a deliverance from guilt and
punishment, by the atonement of Christ actually applied to the
soul of the sinner now believing on him, and a deliverance from
the power of sin, through Christ formed in his heart. So that
he who is thus justified, or saved by faith, is indeed born again.
He is born again of the Spirit unto a new life, which is hid
with Christ in God." And as a new-born babe he gladly receives
the a~xov, "sincere milk of the word, and grows thereby;"
going on in the might of the Lord his God, from faith to
faith, from grace to grace, until, at length, he come unto a
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of
III. The First usual objection to this is,
1. That to preach salvation, or justification, by faith only, is
to preach against holiness and good works." To which a short
answer might be given: It would be so, if we spake, as some
do, of a faith which was separate from these: But we speak of
a faith which is not so, but productive of all good works, and all
2. But it may be of use to consider it more at large; especi-
ally since it is no new objection, but as old as St. Paul's time.
For even then it was asked, Do we not make void the law
through faith ?" We answer, First, all who preach not faith,
do manifestly make void the law; either directly and grossly, by
limitations and comments that eat out all the spirit of the text;
or, indirectly, by not pointing out the only means whereby it is
possible to perform it. Whereas, Secondly, v1e establish the
law," both by showing its full extent and spiritual meaning; and
by calling all to that living way, whereby the righteousness of
the law may be fulfilled in them." These, while they trus. is
the blood of Christ alone, use all the ordinances which he hath
appointed, do all the good works which he had before prepared
that they should walk therein," and enjoy and manifest all holy
and heavenly tempers, even the same mind that was in Christ
3. But does not preaching this faith lead men into pride?"
We answer, Accidentally it may : Therefore ought every believer
to be earnestly cautioned, in the words of the great Apostle,
" Because of unbelief" the first branches were broke off; and
thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. If God
snared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not


thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God!
On them which fell severity; but towards thee goodness, if thou
continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off"
And while he continues therein, he will remember those words
of St. Paul, foreseeing and answering this very objection, (Rom
iii. 27,) Where is boasting then ? It is excluded. By what
law? of works? Nay: But by the law of faith." If a man
were justified by his works, he would have whereof to glory
But there is no glorying for him that worketh not, but believ-
eth on him that justifieth the ungodly." (Rom. iv. 5.) To the
same effect are the words both preceding and following the text.
(Eph. ii. 4, &c.:) God, who is rich in mercy, even when we
were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by
grace ye are saved,) that he might show the exceeding riches of
his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For,
by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves."
Of yourselves cometh neither your faith nor your salvation.
" It is the gift of God;" the free, undeserved gift; the faith
through which ye are saved, as well as the salvation, which he
of his own good pleasure, his mere favour, annexes thereto.
That ye believe, is one instance of his grace; that, believing, ye
are saved, another. Not of works, lest any man should boast."
For all our works, all our righteousness, which were before our
believing, merited nothing of God but condemnation: So far
were they from deserving faith, which therefore, whenever given,
is not of works. Neither is salvation of the works we do when
we believe: For it is then God that worketh in us: And,
therefore, that he giveth us a reward for what he himself work-
eth, only commendeth the riches of his mercy, but leaveth us
nothing whereof to glory.
4. However, may not the speaking thus of the mercy of God,
as saving or justifying freely by faith only, encourage men in
sin ?" Indeed it may and will: Many will" continue in sin that
grace may abound:" But their blood is upon their own head.
The goodness of God ought to lead them to repentance; and
so it will those who are sincere of heart. When. they know
there is yet forgiveness with him, they will cry aloud that he
would blot out their sins also, through faith which is in Jesus.
And if they earnestly cry, and faint not; if they seek him in all
the means he hath appointed; if they refuse to be comforted
till he come; he will come, and will not tarry." And he can


do much work in a short time. Many are the examples, in the
Acts of the Apostles, of God's working this faith in men's
hearts, even like lightning falling from heaven. So in the same
hour that Paul and Silas began to preach, the jailor repented,
believed, and was baptized; as were three thousand, by St. Peter,
on the day of Pentecost, who all repented and believed at his first
preaching. And, blessed be God, there are now many living
proofs that he is still mighty to save."
5. Yet to the same truth, placed in another view, a quite con-
trary objection is made: If a man cannot be saved by all that
he can do, this will drive men to despair." True, to despair of
being saved by their own works, their own merits, or righteous-
ness. And so it ought; for none can trust in the merits of
Christ, till he has utterly renounced his own. He that goeth
about to establish his own righteousness," cannot receive the
righteousness of God. The righteousness which is of faith can-
not be given him while he trusteth in that which is of the law.
6. But this," it is said, "is an uncomfortable doctrine." The
devil spoke like himself, that is, without either truth or shame,
when he dared to suggest to men that it is such. It is the
only comfortable one, it is "very full of comfort," to all self-
destroyed, self-condemned sinners. That whosoever believeth
on him shall not be ashamed That the same Lord over all is
rich unto all that call upon him:" Here is comfort, high as
heaven, stronger than death! What Mercy for all ? for Zac-
cheus, a public robber? for Mary Magdalene, a common har-
lot ? Methinks I hear one say, Then I, even I, may hope for
mercy!" And so thou mayest, thou afflicted one, whom none
hath comforted! God will not cast out thy prayer. Nay, per-
haps, he may say the next hour, Be of good cheer, thy sins
are forgiven thee;" so forgiven, that they shall reign over thee
no more; yea, and that the Holy Spirit shall bear witness
with thy spirit that thou art a child of God." 0 glad tidings!
Tidings of great joy, which are sent unto all people! Ho,
every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters: Come ye, and
buy, without money and without price." Whatsoever your sins
be, though red, like crimson," though more than the hairs of
your head. "return ye unto the Lord, and he will have mercy
upon you; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
7. When no more objections occur, then we are simply told,
hat "salvation by faith only ought not to be preached as the


inrst doctrine, or, at least, not to be preached to all." But what
saith the Holy Ghost ? Other foundation can no man lay
than that which is laid, even Jesus Christ." So then, that
" whosoever believeth on him shall be saved," is, and must be,
the foundation of all our preaching; that is, must be preached
first. Well, but not to all." To whom, then, are we not to
preach it? Whom shall we except? the poor? Nay; they
have a peculiar right to have the gospel preached unto them.
The unlearned ? No. God hath revealed these things unto
unlearned and ignorant men from the beginning. The young ?
By no means. Suffer these," in anywise, to come unto Christ,
" and forbid them not." The sinners ? Least of all. He came
not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Why
then, if any, we are to except the rich, the learned, the reput-
able, the moral men. And, it is true, they too often except
themselves from hearing; yet we must speak the words of our
Lord. For thus the tenor of our commission runs, Go and
preach the gospel to every creature." If any man wrest it, or
any part of it, to his destruction, he must bear his own burden.
But still, as the Lord liveth, whatsoever the Lord saith unto
us, that we will speak."
8. At this time, more especially, will we speak, that "by
grace are ye saved through faith:" Because, never was the
maintaining this doctrine more seasonable than it is at this day
Nothing but this can effectually prevent the increase of the
Romish delusion among us. It is endless to attack, one by
one, all the errors of that Church. But salvation by faith
strikes at the root, and all fall at once where this is established
It was this doctrine, which our Church justly calls the strong
rock and foundation of the Christian religion, that first
drove Popery out of these kingdoms; and it is this alone can
keep it out. Nothing but this can give a check to that immo-
rality which hath overspread the land as a flood." Can you
empty the great deep, drop by drop? Then you may reform us
by dissuasives from particular vices. But let the righteous
ness which is of God by faith" be brought in, and so shall its
proud waves be stayed. Nothing but this can stop the mouths
of those who glory in their shame, and openly deny the Lord
that bought them." They can talk as sublimely of the law,
as he that hath it written, by God in his heart. To hear
them speak on this head might incline one to think they were


not far from the kingdom of God: But take them out of the
law into the gospel; begin with the righteousness of faith; with
Christ,"the end of the law to every one that believeth;" and
those who but now appeared almost, if not altogether Christians,
stand confessed the sons of perdition; as far from life and salva-
tion (God be merciful unto them!) as the depth of hell from the
height of heaven.
9. For this reason the adversary so rages whenever salva-
tion by faith" is declared to the world: For this reason did he
stir up earth and hell, to destroy those who first preached it.
And for the same reason, knowing that faith alone could over-
turn the foundations of his kingdom, did he call forth all his
forces, and employ all his arts of lies and calumny, to affright
Martin Luther from reviving it. Nor can we wonder threat;
for, as that man of God observes, How would it enrage a
proud strong man armed, to be stopped and set at nought by
a little child coming against him with a reed in his hand!"
especially, when he knew that little child would surely over-
throw him, and tread him under foot. Even so, Lord Jesus!
Thus hath thy strength been ever "made perfect in weakness !"
Go forth, then, thou little child that believes in him, and his
"right hand shall teach thee terrible things!" Though thou
be as helpless and weak as an infant of days, the strong man
shall not be able to stand before thee. Thou shalt prevail over
him, and subdue him, and overthrow him, and trample him
under thy feet. Thou sl Tlt march on, under the great Captain
of thy salvation, conquiin'g an: to conquer," until all thine
enemies are destroyed, and "death is swallowed up in victory."
Now, thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ;" to whom, with the Father and the Holy
Ghost, be blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving,
and honour, ind power and might, for ever and ever. Amen.





ON JVLY 25, 1741.

Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Acts xxvi. 28.

AND many there are who go thus far: Ever since the Chris.
tian religion was in the world, there have been many, in every
age and nation, who were almost persuaded to be Christians.
But seeing it avails nothing before God to go only thus far, it
highly imports us to consider,
First. What is implied in being almost,
Secondly. What in being altogether, a Christian.
I. (I.) 1. Now in the being almost a Christian is implied,
First, heathen honesty. No one, I suppose, will make any ques-
tion of this; especially, since by heathen honesty here, I mean
not that which is recommended in the writings of their philo-
sophers only, but such as the common Heathens expected one
of another, and many of them actually practised. By the rules
of this they were taught, that they ought not to be unjust; not
to take away their neighbour's goods, either by robbery or theft;
not to oppress the poor, pither to use extortion toward any;
not to cheat, or over-reach either the poor or rich, in whatsoever
commerce they had with them; to defraud no man of his right;
and, if it were possible, to owe no man anything.
2. Again: The common Heathens allowed, that some regard
was to be paid to truth, as well as to justice. And accordingly,
they not only held him in abomination who was forsworn, who
called God to witness to a lie; but him also who was known to
be a slanderer of his neighbour, who falsely accused any man.
And, indeed, little better did they esteem wilful liare 4f any
C 1.


sort; accounting them the disgrace of human kind, and the
pests of society.
3. Yet again: There was a sort of love and assistance which
they expected one from another. They expected whatever assist-
ance any one could give another, without prejudice to himself.
And this they extended not only to those little offices of human-
ity which are performed without any expense or labour, but
likewise to the feeding the hungry, if they had food to spare;
the clothing the naked with their own superfluous raiment; and,
in general, the giving, to any that needed, such things as they
needed not themselves. Thus far, in the lowest account of it,
heathen honesty went; the first thing implied in the being
almost a Christian.
(II.) 4. A Second thing implied in the being almost a
Christian, is, the having a form of godliness, of that godliness
which is prescribed in the gospel of Christ; the having the out-
side of a real Christian. Accordingly, the Almost Christian
does nothing which the gospel forbids. He taketh not the name
of God in vain; he blesseth and curseth not; he sweareth not
at all, but his communication is, Yea, yea; Nay, nay. He pro-
fanes not the day of the Lord, nor suffers it to be profaned,
even by the stranger that is within his gates. He not only
avoids all actual adultery, fornication, and uncleanness, but
every word, or look, that either directly or indirectly tends
thereto; nay, and all idle words, abstaining both from detraction,
backbiting, tale-bearing, evil speaking, and from "all foolish
talking and jesting,"---Uspacr-Xa, a kind of virtue in the heathen
moralist's account;-briefly, from all conversation that is not
"good to the use of edifying," and that, consequently, "grieves
the Holy Spirit of God, whereby we are sealed to the day of
5. He abstains from wine wherein is excess ;" from revellings
and gluttony. He avoids, as much as in him lies, all strife and
contention, continually endeavouring to live peaceably with all
men. And, if he suffer wrong, he avengeth not himself, neither
returns evil for evil. He is no railer, no brawler, no scoffer,
either at the faults or infirmities of his neighbour. He does not
willingly wrong, hurt, or grieve any man; but in all things acts
and speaks by that plain rule, Whatsoever thou wouldest not
he should do unto thee, that do not thou to another."
6. And in doing good, he does not confine himself to cheap


and easy offices of kindness, but labours and suffers for the profit
o. many, that by all means he may help some. In spite of toil
or pain, whatsoever his hand findeth to do, he doeth it with
his might ;" whether it be for his friends or for his enemies,
for the evil or for the good. For, being not slothful" in this
or in any "business," as he hath opportunity" he doeth
"good," all manner of good, "to all men;" and to their souls
as well as their bodies. He reproves the wicked, instructs the
ignorant, confirms the wavering, quickens the good, and comforts
the afflicted. He labours to awaken those that sleep; to lead
those whom God hath already awakened to the fountain opened
for sin and for uncleanness," that they may wash therein and be
clean; and to stir up those who are saved, through faith, to adorn
the gospel of Christ in all things.
7. He that hath the form of godliness, uses also the means of
grace; yea, all of them, and at all opportunities. He constantly
frequents the house of God; and that, not as the manner of
some is, who come into the presence of the Most High, either
loaded with gold and costly apparel, or in all the gaudy vanity
of dress, and either by their unseasonable civilities to each other,
or the impertinent gaiety of their behaviour, disclaim all preten-
sions to the form as well as to the power of godliness. Would
to God there were none even among ourselves who fall under
the same condemnation who come into this house, it may be,
gazing about, or with all the signs of the most listless, careless
indifference, though sometimes they may seem to use a prayer
to God for his blessing on what they are entering upon; who,
during that awful service, are either asleep, or reclined in the
most convenient posture for it; or, as though they supposed
God was asleep, talking with one another, or looking round, as
utterly void of employment: Neither let these be accused of
the form of godliness. No; he who has even this behaves with
seriousness and attention in every part of that solemn service.
More especially when he approaches the table of the Lord, it is
not with a light or careless behaviour, but with an air, gesture,
and deportment, which speaks nothing else but, God be mer-
ciful to me, a sinner! "'
8. To this, if we add the constant use of family prayer, by
those who are masters of families, and the setting times apart for
private addresses to God, with a daily seriousness of behaviour;
he who uniformly practises this outward religion, has the form


of godliness. There needs but one thing more in order to his
being almost a Christian, and that is, sincerity.
(III.) 9. By sincerity I mean, a real, inward principle of reli-
gion, from whence these outward actions flow. And, indeed, if
we have not this, we have not heathen honesty; no, not so much
of it as will answer the demand of a heathen Epicurean poet.
Even this poor wretch, in his sober intervals, is able to testify,
Oderunt peceare boni, virlut.s amorc;
Oderunt peccare mall, formidine pwene.
So that, if a man only abstains from doing evil in order to avoid
punishment, Non passes in cruce coreos,t saith the Pagan;
there, thou hast thy reward." But even he will not allow such
a harmless man as this to be so much as a good Heathen. If,
then, any man, from the same motive, viz., to avoid punishment,
to avoid the loss of his friends, or his gain, or his reputation,
should not only abstain from doing evil, but also do ever so
much good; yea, and use all the means of grace; yet we could
not, with any propriety, say, this man is even almost a Chris-
tian. If he has no better principle in his heart, he is only a
hypocrite altogether.
10. Sincerity, therefore, is necessarily implied in the being
almost a Christian; a real design to serve God, a hearty desire
to do his will. It is necessarily implied, that a man have a
sincere view of pleasing God in all things; in all his conversa-
tion; in all his actions; in all he does, or leaves undone. This
design, if any man be almost a Christian, runs through the
whole tenor of his life. This is the moving principle, both in his
doing good, his abstaining from evil, and his using the ordi-
nances of God.
11. But here it will probably be inquired, Is it possible that
any man living should go so far as this, and, nevertheless, be
only almost a Christian ? What more than this can be implied
in the being a Christian altogether ?" I answer, First, that it
is possible to'go thus far, and yet be but almost a Christian, 1
learn, not only from the oracles of God, but also from the sure
testimony of experience.
12. Brethren, great is my boldness towards you in this

SGood men avoid sin from the love of virtue;
Wicked men avoid sin from a fear of punishment*
t Thou shalt not be hanged.


behalf." And forgive me this wrong," if I declare my own
folly upon the house-top, for yours and the gospel's sake.-
Suffer me, then, to speak freely of myself, even as of another
man. I am content to be abased, so ye may be exalted, and to
be yet more vile for the glory of my Lord.
13. I did go thus far for many years, as many of this place
can testify; using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a
conscience void of offence; redeeming the time; buying up
every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and
carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace;
endeavouring after a steady seriousness of behaviour, at all times,
and in all places; and, God is my record, before whom I stand,
doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God;
a hearty desire to do his will in all things; to please him who
had called me to fight the good fight," and to lay hold of
eternal life." Yet my own conscience beareth me witness in the
Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian.
II. If it be inquired, What more than this is implied in the
being altogether a Christian ?" I answer,
(I.) 1. First. The love of God. For thus saith his word,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy
strength." Such a love is this, as engrosses the whole heart,
as takes up all the affections, as fills the entire capacity of
the soul, and employs the utmost extent of all its faculties.
He that thus loves the Lord his God, his spirit continually
"rejoiceth in God his Saviour." His delight is in the Lord,
his Lord and his All, to whom "in everything he giveth thanks.
All his desire is unto God, and to the remembrance of his
name." His heart is ever crying out, Whom have I in heaven
but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee."
Indeed, wnat can he desire beside God ? Not the world, or the
things of the world: For he is crucified to the world, and the
world crucified to him." He is crucified to "the desire of the
flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life." Yea, he is
dead to pride of every kind: For "love is not puffed up ;" but
he that dwelling in love dwelleth in God, and God in him,"
is less than nothing in his own eyes.
(II.) 2. The Second thing implied in the being altogether a
Christian, is, the love of our neighbour. For thus said our
Lord, in the following words, Thou shalt love thy neighbour


as thyself." If any man ask, Who is my neighbour ?" we
reply, Every man in the world; every child of His who is the
Father of the spirits of all flesh. Nor may we in anywise except
our enemies, or the enemies of God and their own souls. But
every Christian loveth these also as himself, yea, "as Christ
loved us." He that would more fully understand what manner
of love this is, may consider St. Paul's description of it. It is
"long-suffering and kind." It envieth not." It is not rash
or hasty in judging. It "is not puffed up ;" but maketh him
that loves, the least, the servant of all. Love doth not behave
itself .unseemly;" but becometh "all things to all men." She
" seeketh not her own ;" but only the good of others, that they
may be saved. "Love is not provoked." It casteth out wrath,
which he who hath is wanting in love. It thinketh no evil.
It rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. It cover-
eth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth
all things."
(III.) 3. There is yet one thing more that may be separately
considered, though it cannot actually be separate from the pre-
ceding, which is implied in the being altogether a Christian;
and that is the ground of all, even faith. Very excellent things
are spoken of this throughout the oracles of God. Every
one," saith the beloved disciple, that believeth, is born of
God." To as many as received him, gave he power to become
the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." And,
this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
Yea, our Lord himself declares, He that believeth in the Son
hath everlasting life;, and cometh not into condemnation, but is
passed from death unto life."
4. But here let no man deceive his own soul. It is dili-
gently to be noted, the faith which bringeth not forth repent-
ance, and love, and all good works, is not that right living faith,
but a dead and devilish one. For, even the devils believe that
Christ was born of a virgin; that he wrought all kinds of mira-
cles, declaring himself very God; that, for our sakes, he suffered
a most painful death, to redeem us from death everlasting; that
he rose again the third day; that he ascended into heaven; and
sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and at the end of the
world shall come again to judge both the quick and dead. These
articles of our faith the devils believe, and so they believe all that
is written in the Old and New Testament. And yet for all this


faith, they be but devils. They remain still in their damnable
estate, lacking the very true Christian faith."*
5. The right and true Christian faith is," (to go on in the
words of our own Church,) not only to believe that holy Scrip-
ture and the articles of our faith are true, but also to have a
sure trust and confidence to be saved from everlasting damna-
tion by Christ. It is a sure trust and confidence which a man
hath in God, that, by the merits of Christ, his sins are forgiven,
and he reconciled to the favour of God; whereof doth follow a
loving heart, to obey his commandments."
6. Now, whosoever has this faith, which "purifies the heart"
(by the power of God, who dwelleth therein) from pride, anger,
desire, from all unrighteousness," from all filthiness of flesh
and spirit;" which fills it with love stronger than death, both to
God and to all mankind; love that doeth the works of God, glo-
rying to spend and to be spent for all men, and that endureth with
joy, not only the reproach of Christ, the being mocked, despised,
and hated of all men, but whatsoever the wisdom of God permits
the malice of men or devils to inflict; whosoever has this faith,
thus working by love, is not almost only, but altogether, a
7. But who are the living witnesses of these things ? I beseech
you, brethren, as in the presence of that God before whom
"hell and destruction are without a covering,-how much more
the hearts of the children of men!"-that each of you would ask
his own heart, Am. I of that number? Do I so far practise
justice, mercy, and truth, as even the rules of heathen honesty
require ? If so, have I the very outside of a Christian ? the
form of godliness ? Do I abstain from evil,-from whatsoever
is forbidden in the written word of God ? Do I, whatever good
my hand findeth to do, do it with my might ? Do I seriously
use all the ordinances of God at all opportunities ? And, is all
this done with a sincere design and desire to please God in all
things ?"
8. Are not many of you conscious, that you never came thus
far; that you have not been even almost a Christian; that
you have not come up to the standard of heathen honesty ; at
least, not to the form of Christian godliness ?-Much less hath
God seen sincerity in you, a real design of pleasing him in all

* Homily on the Salvation of Man.


things. You never so much as intended to devote all your
words and works, your business, studies, diversions, to his glory
You never even designed or desired, that whatsoever you did
should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus," and as such
should be a spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God through
9. But, supposing you had, do good designs and good desires
make a Christian ? By no means, unless they are brought to
good effect. Hell is paved," saith one, with good intentions."
The great question of all, then, still remains. Is the love of
God shed abroad in your heart ? Can you cry out, My God,
and my All?" Do you desire nothing but him ? Are you happy
in God ? Is he your glory, your delight, your crown of rejoic-
ing ? And is this commandment written in your heart, That he
who loveth God love his brother also ?" Do you then love your
neighbour as yourself? Do you love every man, even your ene-
mies, even the enemies of God, as your own soul? as Christ
loved you ? Yea, dost thou believe that Christ loved thee, and
gave himself for thee ? Hast thou faith in his blood ? Believest
thou the Lamb of God hath taken away thy sins, and cast them
as a stone into the depth of the sea ? that he hath blotted out
the handwriting that was against thee, taking it out of the way,
nailing it to his cross ? Hast thou indeed redemption through
his blood, even the remission of thy sins? And doth his Spirit
bear witness with thy spirit, that thou art a child of God ?
10. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who new
standeth in the midst of us, knoweth, that if any man die with-
out this faith and this love, good it were for him that he had
never been born. Awake, then, thou that sleepest, and call
upon thy God: Call in the day when he may be found. Let
him not rest, till he make "his goodness to pass before thee,"
till he proclaim unto thee the name of the Lord: The Lord,
the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abun-
dant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiv-
.ng iniquity, and transgression, and sin." Let no man persuade
chee, by vain words, to rest short of this prize of thy high calling.
But cry unto Him day and night, who, while we were without
strength, died for the ungodly," until thou knowest in whom
dhou hast believed, and canst say, My Lord, and my God!"
Remember, always to pray, and not to faint," till thou also
canst lift up thy hand unto heaven, and declare to Him that


liveth for ever and ever, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou
knowest that I love thee."
11. May we all thus experience what it is to be, not almost
only, but altogether Christians; being justified freely by his
grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus; knowing we
have peace with God through Jesus Christ; rejoicing in hope
of the glory of God; and having the love of God shed abroad
in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost given unto us!





"Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and
Christ shall give thee light." Ephesians v. 14.

IN discoursing on these words, I shall, with the help of God,
First. Describe the sleepers, to whom they are spoken:
Secondly. Enforce the exhortation, "Awake, thou that sleep-
est, and arise from the dead:" And,
Thirdly. Explain the promise made to such as do awake and
arise: Christ shall give thee light."
I. 1. And, First, as to the sleepers here spoken to. By sleep
is signified the natural state of man; that deep sleep of the
soul, into which the sin of Adam hath cast all who spring from
his loins; that supineness, indolence, and stupidity, that insen-
sibility of his real condition, wherein every man comes into the
world, and continues till the voice of God awakes him.
2. Now, "they that sleep, sleep in the night." The state
of nature is a state of utter darkness; a state wherein darkness
covers the earth, and gross darkness the people." The poor


unawakened sinner, how much knowledge soever he may have
as to other things, has no knowledge of himself: In this respect
"he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." He knows
not that he is a fallen spirit, whose only business in the present
world is, to recover from his fall, to regain that image of God
wherein he was created. He sees no necessity for the one thing
needful, even that inward universal change, that birth from
above," figured out by baptism, which is the beginning of that
total renovation, that sanctification of spirit, soul, and body,
"without which no man shall see the Lord."
3. Full of all diseases as he is, he fancies himself in per-
fect health. Fast bound in misery and iron, he dreams that
he is at liberty. He says, "Peace! Peace !" while the devil,
as a strong man armed," is in full possession of his soul.
He sleeps on still, and takes his rest, though hell is moved from
beneath to meet him; though the pit, from whence there is no
return, hath opened its mouth to swallow him up. A fire is
kindled around him, yet he knoweth it not; yea, it burns him,
yet he lays it not to heart.
4. By one who sleeps, we are, therefore, to understand (and
would to God we might all understand it!) a sinner satisfied in
his sins; contented to remain in his fallen state, to live and die
without the image of God; one who is ignorant both of his dis-
ease, and of the only remedy for it; one who never was warned,
or never regarded the warning voice of God, to flee from the
wrath to come;" one that never yet saw he was in danger of
hell-fire, or cried out in the earnestness of his soul, What
must I do to be saved ?"
5. If this sleeper be not outwardly vicious, his sleep is usually
the deepest of all: Whether he be of the Laodicean spirit,
"neither cold nor hot," but a quiet, rational, inoffensive, good-
natured professor of the religion of his fathers; or whether he be
zealous and orthodox, and, after the roost straitest sect of our
religion," live a Pharisee;" that is, according to the scriptural
account, one that justifies himself; one that labours to establish
his own righteousness, as the ground of his acceptance with God.
6. This is he, who, "having a form of godliness, denies the
power thereof;" yea, and probably reviles it, wheresoever it is
found, as mere extravagance and delusion. Meanwhile, the
wretched self-deceiver thanks God, that he is "not as other men
are; adulterers, unjust, extortioners:" No, he doeth ho wrong


to any man. He fasts twice in a week," uses all the means of
grace, is constant at church and sacrament; yea, and "gives tithes
of all that he has;" does all the good that he can: Touching
the righteousness of the law," he is "blameless:" He wants
nothing of godliness, but the power; nothing of religion, but
the spirit; nothing of Christianity, but the truth and the life.
7. But know ye not, that, however highly esteemed among
men such a Christian as this may be, he is an abomination in
the sight of God, and an heir of every woe which the Son of
God, yesterday, to-day, and for ever, denounces against Scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites?" He hath "made clean the outside
of the cup and the platter," but within is full of all filthiness.
"An evil disease cleaveth still unto him, so that his inward
parts are very wickedness." Our Lord fitly compares him to a
"painted sepulchre," which "appears beautiful without;" but,
nevertheless, is "full of dead men's bones, and of all unclean-
ness." The bones, indeed, are no longer dry; the sinews and
flesh are come upon them, and the skin covers them above.
But there is no breath in them, no Spirit of the living God.
And, "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
his." Ye are Christ's, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell
in you:" But, if not, God knoweth that ye abide in death, even
until now.
8. This is another character of the sleeper here spoken to.
He abides in death, though he knows it not. He is dead unto
God, dead in trespasses and sins." For, to be carnally
minded is death." Even as it is written, By one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed
upon all men," not only temporal death, but likewise spiritual
and eternal. "In that day that thou latest," said God to
Adam, thou shalt surely die:" Not bodily, (unless as he then
became mortal,) but spiritually : Thou shalt lose the life of thy
soul; thou shalt die to God; shalt be separated from him, thy
essential life and happiness.
9. Thus first was dissolved the vital union of our soul with God;
insomuch that "in the midst of" natural "life, we are" now in
spiritual death." And herein we remain till the Second Adam
becomes a quickening Spirit to us, till he raises the dead, the
dead in sin, in pleasure, riches, or honours. But, before any
dead soul can live, he hears (hearkens to) the voice of the Son
of God He is made sensible of his lost estate, and receives


the sentence of death in himself. He knows himself to be
"dead while he liveth;" dead to God, and all the things of
God; having no more power to perform the actions of a living
Christian, than a dead body to perform the functions of a living
10. And most certain it is, that one dead in sin has not
"senses exercised to discern spiritual good and evil." Having
eyes, he sees not; he hath ears, and hears not." He doth not
' taste and see that the Lord is gracious." He hath not seen
God at any time," nor "heard his voice," nor "handled the
word of life." In vain is the name of Jesus "like ointment
poured forth, and all his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and
cassia." The soul that sleepeth in death, hath no perception of
any objects of this kind. His heart is past feeling," and under-
standeth none of these things.
11. And hence, having no spiritual senses, no inlets of spiritual
knowledge, the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God; nay, he is so far from receiving them, that whatsoever
is spiritually discerned is mere foolishness unto him. He is not
content with being utterly ignorant of spiritual things, but he
denies the very existence of them. And spiritual sensation itself
is to him the foolishness of folly. How," saith he, can these
things be? How can any man know that he is alive to God?"
Even as you know that your body is now alive. Faith is the life
of the soul; and if ye have this life abiding in you, ye want no
marks to evidence it to yourself, but s.x'Xo; IIvup.rATOS, that
divine consciousness, that witness of God, which is more and
greater than ten thousand human witnesses.
12. If he doth not now bear witness with thy spirit, that
thou art a child of God, O that he might convince thee, thou
poor unawakened sinner, by his demonstration and power, that
thou art a child of the devil! O that, as I prophesy, there
might now be "a noise and a shaking;" and may the bones
come together, bone to his bone !" Then, come from the
four winds, 0 Breath and breathe on these slain, that they
may live !" And do not ye harden your hearts, and resist the
Holy Ghost, who even now is come to convince you of sin,
because you believe not on the name of the only begotten Son
of God."
II. 1. Wherefore, "awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from
the dead." God calleth thee now by my mouth; and bids thee


know thyself, thou fallen spirit, thy true state and only concern
below. "What meanest thou, 0 sleeper? Arise Call upon
thy God, if so be thy God will think upon thee, that thou
perish not." A mighty tempest is stirred up round about thee,
and thou art sinking into the depths of perdition, the gulf of
God's judgments. If thou wouldest escape them, cast thyself
into them. Judge thyself, and thou shalt not be judged of the
2. Awake, awake! Stand up this moment, lest thou drink
at the Lord's hand the cup of his fury." Stir up thyself to lay
hold on the Lord, the Lord thy Righteousness, mighty to save !
" Shake thyself from the dust." At least, let the earthquake
of God's threatening shake thee. Awake, and cry out with
the trembling jailor, "What must I do to be saved?" And
never rest till thou believes on the Lord Jesus, with a faith
which is his gift, by the operation of his Spirit.
3. If I speak to any one of you, more than to another, it is to
thee who thinkest thyself unconcerned in this exhortation. I
have a message from God unto thee." In his name, I warn
thee to flee from the wrath to come." Thou unholy soul, see
thy picture in condemned Peter, lying in the dark dungeon,
between the soldiers, bound with two chains, the keepers before
the door keeping the prison. The night is far spent, the morn-
ing is at hand, when thou art to be brought forth to execution.
And in these dreadful circumstances, thou art fast asleep; thou
art fast aleep in the devil's arms, on the brink of the pit, in the
jaws of everlasting destruction !
4. O may the Angel of the Lord come upon thee, and the
light shine into thy prison! And mayest thou feel the stroke
of an Almighty Hand, raising thee, with, Arise up quickly,
gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals, cast thy garments about
thee, and follow me."
5. Awake, thou everlasting spirit, out of thy dream of worldly
happiness Did not God create thee for himself? Then thou
canst not rest till thou restest in him. Return, thou wanderer !
Fly back to thy ark. This is not thy home. Think not of
building tabernacles here. Thou art but a stranger, a sojourner
upon earth; a creature of a day, but just launching out into an
unchangeable state. Make haste. Eternity is at hand. Eter-
nity depends on this moment; an eternity of happiness or an
eternity of misery !


6. In what state is thy soul? Was God, while I am yet
speaking, to require it of thee, art thou ready to meet death and
judgment ? Canst thou stand in his sight, who is of "purer
eyes than to behold iniquity ?" Art thou "meet to be partaker
of the inheritance of the saints in light ?" Hast thou fought
a good fight, and kept the faith ?" Hast thou secured the one
thing needful? Hast thou recovered the image of God, even
righteousness and true holiness ? Hast thou put off the old man,
and put on the new ? Art thou clothed upon with Christ ?
7. Hast thou oil in thy lamp ? grace in thy heart ? Dost thou
"love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy
mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength ?" Is that
mind in thee which was also in Christ Jesus ? Art thou a
Christian indeed; that is, a new creature ? Are old things passed
away, and all things become new ?
8. Art thou a partaker of the divine nature ?" Knowest
thou not, that Christ is in thee, except thou be reprobate ?"
Knowest thou, that God dwelleth in thee, and thou in God,
by his Spirit, which he hath given thee ?" Knowest thou not
that "thy body is a temple of the Holy Ghost, which thou hast
of God ?" Hast thou the witness in thyself? the earnest of
thine inheritance ? Hast thou "received the Holy Ghost?" Or,
dost thou start at the question, not knowing whether there be
any Holy Ghost ?"
9. If it offends thee, be thou assured, that thou neither art a
Christian, nor desirest to be one. Nay, thy very prayer is turned
into sin ; and thou hast solemnly mocked God this very day, by
praying for the inspiration of his Holy Spirit, when thou didst
not believe there was any such thing to be received.
10. Yet, on the authority of God's word, and our own Church,
I must repeat the question, Hast thou received the Holy
Ghost?" If thou hast not, thou art not yet a Christian. For
a Christian is a man that is anointed with the Holy Ghost and
with power." Thou art not yet made a partaker of pure religion
and undefiled. Dost thou know what religion is? that it is a
participation of the divine nature; the life of God in the soul of
man; Christ formed in the heart; Christ in thee, the hope of
glory?" happiness and holiness; heaven begun upon earth ?
a kingdom of God within thee; not meat and drink," no out-
ward thing; "but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the
Holy Ghost?" an everlasting kingdom brought into thy soul;


a peace of God, that passeth all understanding;" a "joy
unspeakable, and full of glory ? "
11. Knowest thou, that, "in Jesus Christ, neither circumcision
availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith that worketh
by love;" but a new creation ? Seest thou the necessity of that
inward change, that spiritual birth, that life from the dead, that
holiness ? And art thou throughly convinced, that without it
no man shall see the Lord? Art thou labouring after it ?
"giving all diligence to make thy calling and election sure?"
"working out thy salvation with fear and trembling ? agonizing
to enter in at the strait gate ?" Art thou in earnest about thy
soul ? And canst thou tell the Searcher of hearts, Thou, 0
God, art the thing that I long for? Lord, thou knowest all
things Thou knowest that I would love thee !"
12. Thou hopest to be saved; but what reason hast thou to'
give of the hope that is in thee ? Is it because thou hast done
no harm ? or, because thou hast done much good ? or, because
thou art not like other men; but wise, or learned, or honest, and
morally good; esteemed of men, and of a fair reputation? Alas!
all this will never bring thee to God. It is in his account lighter
than vanity. Dost thou know Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent ?
Hath he taught thee, that "by grace we are saved through
faith; and that not of ourselves: It is the gift of God: Not of
works, lest any man should boast?" Hast thou received the
faithful saying, as the whole foundation of thy hope, that
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners ?" Hast thou
learned what that meaneth, I came not to call the righteous,
but sinners to repentance. I am not sent, but unto the lost
sheep ?" Art thou (he that heareth, let him understand !) lost.
dead, damned already ? Dost thou know thy deserts ? Dost
thou feel thy wants ? Art thou "poor in spirit?" mourning for
God, and refusing to be comforted ? Is the prodigal come to
himself," and well content to be therefore thought beside him-
self,"by those who are still feeding upon the husks which he hath
left ? Art thou willing to live godly in Christ Jesus ? And
dost thou therefore suffer persecution ? Do men say all manner
of evil against thee falsely, for the Son of Man's sake ?
13. 0 that in all these questions ye may hear the voice that
wakes the dead; and feel that hammer of the word, whicl
breaketh the rocks in pieces! "If ye will hear his voice to-day
while it is called to-day, harden not your hearts." Now, awake,


thou that sleepest" in spiritual death, that thou sleep not in
death eternal! Feel thy lost estate, and arise from the dead."
Leave thine old companions in sin and death. Follow thou Jesus,
and let the dead bury their dead. Save thyself from this
untoward generation." Come out from among them, and be
thou separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and the Lord
shall receive thee." Christ shall give thee light."
III. 1. This promise, I come, lastly, to explain. And how
encouraging a consideration is this, that whosoever thou art, who
obeyest his call, thou canst not seek his face in vain If thou
even now "awakest, and arisest from the dead," he hath bound
himself to "give thee light." The Lord shall give thee grace
and glory;" the light of his grace here, and the light of his
glory when thou receives the crown that fadeth not away. Thy
'light shall break forth as the morning, and thy darkness be as
the noon-day." God, who commanded the light to shine out
of darkness, shall shine in thy heart; to give the knowledge of
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." On them that
fear the Lord shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing
in his wings." And in that day it shall be said unto thee,
" Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord
is risen upon thee." For Christ shall reveal himself in thee:
And he is the true Light.
2. God is light, and will give himself to every awakened sin-
ner that waiteth for him : And thou shalt then be a temple of
the living God, and Christ shall dwell in thy heart by faith:"
And, being rooted and grounded in love, thou shalt be able to
comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and
depth, and height of that love of Christ which passeth know-
3. Ye see your calling, brethren. We are called to be an
habitation of God through his Spirit;" and through his Spirit
dwelling in us, to be saints here, and partakers of the inheritance
of the saints in light. So exceeding great are the promises which
are given unto us, actually given unto us who believe For by
faith "we receive, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit
which is of God,"-the sum of all the promises,-" that we may
know the things that are freely given to us of God."
4. The Spirit of Christ is that great gift of God, which, at
sundry times, and in divers manners, he hath promised to man,
and hath fully bestowed since the time that Christ was glorified.


Those promises, before made to the fathers, he hath thus ful-
filled: I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk
in my statutes." (Ezek. xxxvi. 27.) I will pour water upon
him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour
my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring."
(Isaiah xliv. 3.)
5. Ye may all be living witnesses of these things; of remis-
sion of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If thou canst
believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." "Who
among you is there that feareth the Lord; and" yet walketh on
" in darkness, and hath no light ?". I ask thee, in the name of
Jesus, believes thou that his arm is not shortened at all? that
he is still mighty to save ? that he is the same yesterday, to-day,
and for ever ? that he hath now power on earth to forgive sins ?
" Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven." God, for
Christ's sake, hath forgiven thee. Receive this, "not as the
word of man; but as it is indeed the word of God;" and thou
art justified freely through faith. Thou shalt be sanctified also
through faith which is in Jesus, and shalt set to thy seal, even
thine, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is
in his Son."
6. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you; and suffer
ye the word of exhortation, even from one the least esteemed in
the Church. Your conscience beareth you witness in the Holy
Ghost, that these things are so, if so be ye have tasted that the
Lord is gracious. "This is eternal life, to know the only true
God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent." This experimental
knowledge, and this alone, is true Christianity. He is a Chris-
tian who hath received the Spirit of Christ. He is not a Chris-
tian who hath not received him. Neither is it possible to have
received him, and not know it. "For, at that day," (when he
cometh, saith our Lord,) ye shall know that I am in my Father,
and you in me, and I in you." This is that Spirit of Truth,
whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither
knoweth him: But ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and
shall be in you." (John xiv. 17.)
7. The world cannot receive him, but utterly reject the Pro-
mise of the Father, contradicting and blaspheming. But every
spirit which confesseth not this is not of God. Yea, "this is
that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should
come into the world; and even now it is in the world." He is
D 1.


Antichrist whosoever denies the inspiration of the Holy Ghost,
or that the indwelling Spirit of God is the common privilege of
all believers, the blessing of the gospel, the unspeakable gift, the
universal promise, the criterion of a real Christian.
8. It nothing helps them to say, "We do not deny the
assistance of God's Spirit; but only this inspiration, this receiv-
ing the Holy Ghost, and being sensible of it. It is only this
feeling of the Spirit, this being moved by the Spirit, or filled
with it, which we deny to have any place in sound religion."
But, in only denying this, you deny the whole Scriptures; the
whole truth, and promise, and testimony of God.
9. Our own excellent Church knows nothing of this devilish
distinction; but speaks plainly of" feeling the Spirit of Christ;"*
of being "moved by the Holy Ghost,"t and knowing and feel-
ing there is no other name than that of Jesus,"+ whereby we can
receive life and salvation. She teaches us all to pray for the
"inspiration of the Holy Spirit ;"11 yea, that we may be filled
with the Holy Ghost." Nay, and every Presbyter of hers
professes to receive the Holy Ghost by the imposition of hands.
Therefore, to deny any of these is, in effect, to renounce the
Church of England, as well as the whole Christian Revelation.
10. But "the wisdom of God" was always "foolishness with
men." No marvel, then, that the great mystery of the gospel
shoihld be now also "hid from the wise and prudent," as well as
in the days of old; that it should be almost universally denied,
ridiculed, and exploded, as mere frenzy; and that all who dare
avow it still are branded with the names of madmen and enthu-
siasts This is that falling away" which was to come; that
general apostasy, of all orders and degrees of men, which we even
now find to have overspread the earth. Run to and fro in the
streets of Jerusalem, and see if ye can find a man," a man that
loveth the Lord his God with all his heart, and serveth him with
all his strength. How does our own land mourn (that we look
no farther) under the overflowing of ungodliness! What vil-
lanies of every kind are committed day by day; yea, too often
with impunity, by those who sin with a high hand, and glory in
their shame! Who can reckon up the oaths, curses, profaneness,
blasphemies; the lying, slandering, evil-speaking; the sabbath-
breaking, gluttony, drunkenness, revenge; the whoredoms, adui-
Art. 17. t Office of consecrating Priests. Visitation of the Sick.'
II Collect before the Holy Communion. 8 Order of Confirmation.


series, and various uncleanness; the frauds, injustice, oppression,
extortion, which overspread our land as a flood ?
11. And even among those who have kept themselves pure
from those grosser abominations, how much anger and pride,
how much sloth and idleness, how much softness and effeminacy,
how much luxury and self-indulgence, how much covetousness
and ambition, how much thirst of praise, how much love of the
world, how much fear of man, is to be found Meanwhile, how
little of true religion For, where is he that loveth either God
or his neighbour, as he hath given us commandment ? On the
one hand, are those who have not so much as the form of godli-
ness; on the other, those who have the form only: There stands
the open, there the painted, sepulchre. So that in very deed,
whosoever were earnestly to behold any public gathering toge-
ther of the people, (I fear those in our churches are not to be
excepted,) might easily perceive, "that the one part were Sad-
ducees, and the other Pharisees:" The one having almost as
little concern about religion, as if there were no resurrection,
neither angel nor spirit;" and the other, making it a mere life-
less form, a dull round of external performances, without either
true faith, or the love of God, or joy in the Holy Ghost !
12. Would to God I could except us of this place! "Brethren,
my heart's desire, and prayer to God, for you is, that ye may be
saved" from this overflowing of ungodliness; and that here may
its proud waves be stayed! But is it so indeed? God knoweth,
yea, and our own consciences, it is not. Ye have not kept your-
selves pure. Corrupt are we also and abominable; and few are
there that understand any more; few that worship God in spirit
and in truth. We, too, are a generation that set not our
hearts aright, and whose spirit cleaveth not steadfastly unto
God:" He hath appointed us indeed to be "the salt of the
earth; but if the salt hath lost its savour, it is thenceforth good
for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot of
13. And shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord ?
Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this ?" Yea,
we know not how soon he may say to the sword, Sword, go
through this land!" He hath given us long space to repent.
He lets us alone this year also: But he warns and awakens us
by thunder. His judgments are abroad in the earth; and we
have all reason to expect the heaviest of all, even that he


"should come unto us quickly, and remove our candlestick out
of its place, except we repent and do the first works;" unless
we return to the principles of the Reformation, the truth and
simplicity of the gospel. Perhaps we are now resisting the last
effort of divine grace to save us. Perhaps we have well nigh
" filled up the measure of our iniquities," by rejecting the coun-
sel of God against ourselves, and casting out his messengers.
14. 0 God, "in the midst of wrath, remember mercy!" Be
glorified in our reformation, not in our destruction Let us
"hear the rod, and him that appointed it!" Now, that thy
"judgments are abroad in the earth," let the inhabitants of the
world "learn righteousness !"
15. My brethren, it is high time for us to awake out of sleep;
before the great trumpet of the Lord be blown," and our land
become a field of blood. 0 may we speedily see the things that
make for our peace, before they are hid from our eyes Turn
thou us, 0 good Lord, and let thine anger cease from us. 0
Lord, look down from heaven, behold and visit this vine;" and
cause us to know the time of our visitation." Help us, 0
God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name 0 deliver us,
and be merciful to our sins, for thy name's sake And so we
will not go back from thee. 0 let us live, and we shall call upon
thy name. Turn us, again, 0 Lord God of Hosts! Show the
light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole."
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that
worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the Church, by Christ
Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end.-Amen!"




AUGUST 24, 1744.
Whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the
sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
Ezekiel xxxiii. 4.

"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." Acts iv. 31.

1. THE same expression occurs in the second chapter, where
we read, When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they
were all," (the Apostles, with the women, and the mother of
Jesus, and his brethren,) with one accord, in one place. And
suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing
mighty wind. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues,
like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all
filled with the Holy Ghost:." One immediate effect whereof was,
"they began to speak with other tongues;" insomuch, that
both the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and the other strangers
who "came together, when this was noised abroad, heard them
speak, in their several tongues, the wonderful works of God."
(Acts ii. 1-6.)
2. In this chapter we read, that when the Apostles and
brethren had been praying, and praising God, the place was
shaken where they were assembled together, and they were alJ
filled with the Holy Ghost." Not that we find any visible
appearance here, such as had been in the former instance: No0
are we informed that the extraordinarygifts of the Holy Ghost

This Sermon was originally published in a separate pamphlet, accompanied
by the following address "to the reader," to which was affixed the author's signa-
ture:-" It was not my design, when I wrote, ever to print the latter part of the
following Sermon: But the false and scurrilous accounts of it which have been
published, almost in every corner of the nation, constrain me to publish the whole,
uust as it -'as preached; that men of reason may judge for themselves."-EDIT,


were then given to all or any of them; such as the gifts of heal-
ing, of working" other "miracles, of prophecy, of discerning
spirits, the speaking with divers kinds of tongues, and the inter-
pretation of tongues." (1 Cor. xii. 9, 10.)
3. Whether these gifts of the Holy Ghost were designed to
remain in the Church throughout all ages, and whether or no
they will be restored at the nearer approach of the restitution
of all things," are questions which it is not needful to decide.
But it is needful to observe this, that, even in the infancy of
the Church, God divided them with a sparing hand. Were all
even then Prophets? Were all workers of miracles? Had all
the gifts of healing ? Did all speak with tongues ? No, in no
wise. Perhaps not one in a. thousand. Probably none but the
Teachers in the Church, and only some of them. (1 Cor. xii.
28-30.) It was. therefore, for a more excellent purpose than
this, that "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."
4. It was, to give them (what none can deny to be essential
to all Christians in all ages) the mind which was in Christ, those
holy fruits of the Spirit which whosoever hath not, is none of
his; to fill them with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentle-
ness, goodness ;" (Gal. v. 22-24;) to endue them with faith,
(perhaps it might be rendered, fidelity,) with meekness and tem-
perance; to enable them to crucify the flesh, with its affections
and lusts, its passions and desires; and, in consequence of that
inward change, to fulfil all outward righteousness; to walk as
Christ also walked," in the work of faith, in the patience of
hope, the labour of love." (1 Thess. i. 3.)
5. Without busying ourselves, then, m curious, needless
inquiries, touching those extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, let
us take a nearer view of these his ordinary fruits, which we are
assured will remain throughout all ages;-of that great world
of God among the children of men, which we are used to express
by one word, Christianity; not as it implies a set of opinions, *
system of doctrines, but as it refers to men's hearts and lives
And this Christianity it may be useful to consider under thrc.
distinct views:
I. As beginning to exist in individuals.
II. As spreading from one to another:
III. As covering the earth.
I design to close these considerations with a plain practical


I. 1. And, First, let us consider Christianity in its rise, as
beginning to exist in individuals.
Suppose, then, one of those who heard the Apostle Peter
preaching repentance and remission of sins was pricked to the
heart, was convinced of sin, repented, and then believed in
Jesus. By this faith of the operation of God, which was the
very substance, or subsistence, of things hoped for, (Heb. xi. 1,)
the demonstrative evidence of invisible things, he instantly
received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby he now cried, Abba,
Father." (Rom. viii. 15.) Now first it was that he could call
Jesus Lord, by the Holy Ghost, (1 Cor. xii. 3,) the Spirit itself
bearing witness with his spirit that he was a child of God.
(Rom. viii. 16.) Now it was that he could truly say," I live
not, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in
the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave himself for me." (Gal. ii. 20.)
2. This, then, was the very essence of his faith, a divine
E syoY (evidence or conviction) of the love of God the Father,
through the Son of his love, to him a sinner, now accepted
in the Beloved. And, "being justified by faith, he had peace
with God," (Rom. v. 1,) yea, the peace of God ruling in his
heart ;" a peace, which, passing all understanding, (vcavra vv,
all barely rational conception,) kept his heart and mind from all
doubt and fear, through the knowledge of him in whom he had
believed. He could not, therefore, be afraid of any evil
tidings;" for his heart stood fast, believing in the Lord."
He feared not what man could do unto him, knowing the very
hairs of his head were all numbered. He feared not all the
powers of darkness, whom God was daily bruising under his feet.
Least of all was he afraid to die; nay, he desired to depart,
and to be with Christ;" (Phil. i. 23;) who, through death,
had destroyed him that had the power of death, even the devil;
and delivered them who, through fear of death, were all their
lifetime," till then, "subject to bondage." (Heb. ii. 15.)
3. His soul, therefore, magnified the Lord, and his spirit
rejoiced in God his Saviour. He rejoiced in Him with joy
unspeakable," who had reconciled him to God, even the Father;
in whom he had redemption through his blood, the forgiveness
of sins." He rejoiced in that witness of God's Spirit with his
spirit, that he was a child of God; and more abundantly, in
hope of the glory of God:" in lhone of the glorious image of


God, and fhll renewal of his soul in righteousness and true holi-
ness; and in hope of that crown of glory, that inheritance,
incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away."
4. The love of God was also shed abroad in his heart, by the
Holy Ghost, which was given unto him." (Rom. v. 5.) Because
he was a son, God had sent forth the Spirit of his Son into his
heart, crying, Abba, Father!" (Gal. iv. 6.) And that filial love
of God was continually increased by the witness he had in him-
self (1 John v. 10) of God's pardoning love to him;. by behold-
ing what manner of love it was which the Father had bestowed
upon him, that he should be called a child of God." (1 John
iii. 1.) So that God was the desire of his eyes, and the joy of
his heart; his portion in time and in eternity.
5. He that thus loved God, could not but love his brother
also; and "not in word only, but in deed and in truth." If
God," said he, "so loved us, we ought also to love one another;"
(1 John iv. 1 I;) yea, every soul of man, as the mercy of God
is over all his works." (Psalm cxlv. 9.) Agreeably hereto, the
affection of this lover of God embraced all mankind for his sake;
not excepting those whom he had never seen in the flesh, or
those of whom he knew nothing more than that they were the
offspring of God," for whose souls his Son had died; not except-
ing the "evil" and "unthankful," and least of all his enemies,,
those who hated, or persecuted, or despitefully used him for his,
Master's sake. These had a peculiar place, both in his heart
and in his prayers. He loved them even as Christ loved us."
6. And love is not puffed up." (1 Cor. xiii. 4.) It abases
to the dust every soul wherein it dwells. Accordingly, he was
lowly of heart, little, mean, and vile in his own eyes. He neither
sought nor received the praise of men, but that which cometh of
God only. He was meek and longsuffering, gentle to all, and
easy to be entreated. Faithfulness and truth never forsook him;
they were bound about his neck, and wrote on the table of his
heart." By the same Spirit he was enabled to be temperate in
all things, refraining his soul even as a weaned child. He was
" crucified to the world, and the world crucified to him;" supe-
rior to the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the
pride of life." By the same almighty love was he saved, both
from passion and pride; from lust and vanity; from ambition
and covetousness; and from every temper which was not in


7. It may be easily believed, he who had this love in his
heart would work no evil to his neighbour. It was impossible
for him, knowingly and designedly, to do harm to any man.
He was at the greatest distance from cruelty and wrong, from
any unjust or unkind action. With the same care did he set
a watch before his mouth, and keep the door of his lips," lest he
should offend in tongue, either against justice, or against mercy
or truth. He put away all lying, falsehood, and fraud; neither
was guile found in his mouth. He spake evil of no man; nor
did an unkind word ever come out of his lips.
8. And as he was deeply sensible of the truth of that word,
"Without me ye can do nothing," and, consequently, of the
need he had to be watered of God every moment; so he con-
tinued daily in all the ordinances of God, the stated channels of
his grace to man: In the Apostles' doctrine," or teaching,
receiving that food of the soul with all readiness of heart; in
" the breaking of bread," which he found to be the communion
of the body of Christ; and "in the prayers" and praises offered
up by the great congregation. And, thus, he daily grew in
grace," increasing in strength, in the knowledge and love of God.
9. But it did not satisfy him, barely to abstain from doing
evil. His soul was athirst to do good. The language of his
heart continually was, "' My Father worketh hitherto, and I
work.' My Lord went about doing good; and shall not I
tread in his steps ?" As he had opportunity, therefore, if he
could do no good of a higher kind, he fed the hungry, clothed
the naked, helped the fatherless or stranger, visited and assisted
them that were sick or in prison. He gave all his goods to feed
the poor. He rejoiced to labour or to suffer for them; and
whereinsoever he might profit another, there especially to "deny
himself." He counted nothing too dear to part with for them,
as well remembering the word of his Lord, Inasmuch as ye
have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have
done it unto me." (Matt. xxv. 40.)
10. Such was Christianity in its rise. Such was a Christian
in ancient days. Such was every one of those who, when they
heard the threatening of the Chief Priests and Elders, "lifted
up their voice to God with one accord, and were all filled with
the Holy Ghost. The multitude of them that believed were of
one heart and of one soul:" So did the love of him in whom
they had believed, constrain them to love one another! Neither


wvas his own; but they had all things common :" So fully were
they crucified to the world, and the world crucified to them !
' And they continued steadfastly with one accord in the Apos
ties' doctrine, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayer."
(Acts ii. 42.) And great grace was upon them all; neither
was there any among them that lacked: For as many as were
possessors of lands or houses, sold them, and brought the prices
of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the Apostles
feet: And distribution was made unto every man, according as
he had need." (Acts iv. 31-35.)
II. 1. Let us take a view, in the Second place, of this Christi-
anity, as spreading from one to another, and so gradually making
its way into the w"brld: For such was the will of God concerning
it, who did not light a candle to put it under a bushel, but that
it might give light to all that were in the house." And this our
Lord had declared to his first disciples, Ye are the salt of the
earth," the light of the world;" at the same time that he gave
that general command, "Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father
which is in heaven." (Matt. v. 13-16.)
2. And, indeed, supposing a few of these lovers of mankind
to see "the whole world lying in wickedness," can we believe
they would be unconcerned at the sight, at the misery of those
for whom their Lord died ? Would not their bowels yearn over
them, and their hearts melt away for very trouble? Could they
then stand idle all the day long, even were there no command
from Him whom they loved ? Rather would they not labour,
by all possible means, to pluck some of these brands out of the
burning? Undoubtedly they would: They would spare no pains
to bring back whomsoever they could of those poor sheep that
had gone astray, to the Great Shepherd and Bishop of their
souls." (1 Pet. ii. 25.)
3. So the Christians of old did. They laboured, having oppor-
tunity, "to do good unto all men," (Gal. vi. 10,) warning them
to flee from the wrath to come; now, now to escape the damna-
tion of hell. They declared, The times of ignorance God
winked at; but now he calleth all men everywhere to repent."
(Acts xvii. 30.) They cried aloud, Turn ye, turn ye, from your
evil ways; so iniquity shall not be your ruin." (Ezek. xviii.
30 Thev reasoned" with them of temperance, and righte-

ousness," or justice,-of the virtues opposite to their reigning
sins; and of judgment to come,"-of the wrath of God which
would surely be executed on evil-doers in that day when he
should judge the world. (Acts xxiv. 25.)
4. They endeavoured herein to speak to every man severally
as he had need. To the careless, to those who lay uncon-
cerned in darkness and in the shadow of death, they thundered,
" Awake, thou that sleepest; arise from the dead, and Christ
shall give thee light:" But to those who were already awakened
out of sleep, and groaning under a sense of the wrath of God,
their language was, We have an Advbcate with the Father;
he is the Propitiation for our sins." Meantime, those who had
believed, they provoked to love and to good works; to patient
continuance in well-doing; and to abound more and more in
that holiness without which no man can see the Lord. (Heb.
xii. 14.)
5. And their labour was not in vain in the Lord. His word
ran and was glorified. It grew mightily and prevailed. But
so much the more did offences prevail also. The world in
general were offended, "because they testified of it, that the
works thereof were evil." (John vii. 7.) The men of pleasure
were offended, not only because these men were made, as it
were, to reprove their thoughts; (" He professeth," said they,
to have the knowledge of God; he calleth himself the child
of the Lord; his life is not like other men's; his ways are of
another fashion; he abstaineth from our ways, as from filthi-
ness; he maketh his boast, that God is his Father," Wis. ii.
13-16;) but much more, because so many of their compa-
nions were taken away, and would no more run with them to
the same excess of riot." (1 Pet. iv. 4.) The men of reputation
were offended, because, as the gospel spread, they declined in
the esteem of the people; and because many no longer dared
to give them flattering titles, or to pay man the homage due to
God only. The men of trade called one another together, and
said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth:
But ye see and hear that these men have persuaded and turned
away much people; so that this our craft is in danger to be set
at nought." (Acts xix. 25, &c.) Above all, the men of religion,
so called, the men of outside religion, the saints of the world,"
were offended, and ready at every opportunity to cry out, Men
of Israel, help! We have found these men pestilent fellows,



movers of sedition throughout the world." (Acts xxiv. 5.)
These are the men that teach all men everywhere against
the people, and against this place." (Acts xxi. 28.)
6. Thus it was that the heavens grew black with clouds, and
the storm gathered amain. For the more Christianity spread,
the more hurt was done, in the account of those who received it
not; and the number increased of those who were more and
more enraged at these "men who thus turned the world upside
down;" (Acts xvii. 6;) insomuch that more and more cried out,
Away with such fellows from the earth; it is not fit that they
should live;" yea, and sincerely believed, that whosoever should
kill them would do God service.
7. Meanwhile they did not fail to cast out their name as
evil; (Luke vi. 22;) so that this sect was everywhere spoken
against." (Acts xfxviii. 22.) Men said all manner of evil of
them, even as had been done of the Prophets that were before
them. (Matt. v. 12.) And whatsoever any would affirm, others
would believe; so that offences grew as the stars of heaven for
multitude. And hence arose, at the time fore-ordained of the
Father, persecution in all its forms. Some, for a season, suffered
only shame and reproach; some, "the spoiling of their goods;"
some had trial of mocking and scourging; some, of bonds and
imprisonment;" and others resisted unto blood." (Heb. x. 34;
xi. 36, &c.)
8. Now it was that the pillars of hell were shaken, and the
kingdom of God spread more and more. Sinners were every-
where "turned from darkness to light, and from the power of
Satan unto God." He gave his children such a mouth, and
such wisdom, as all their adversaries could not resist;" and their
lives were of equal force with their words. But above all, their
sufferings spake to all the world. They '" approved themselves
the servants of God, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in
stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours; in perils in the
sea, in perils in the wilderness, in weariness and painfulness, in
hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness." (2 Cor. vi. 4, &c.)
And when, having fought the good fight, they were led as sheep
to the slaughter, and offered up on the sacrifice and service of
their faith, then the blood of each found a voice, and the Hea-
then owned, He, being dead, yet speaketh."
9. Thus did Christianity spread itself in the earth. But how
soon did the tares appear with the wheat, and the mystery of


iniquity work as well as the mystery of godliness! How soon
did Satan find a seat, even in the temple of God, till the
woman fled into the wilderness," and the faithful were again
finished from the children of men !" Here we tread a beaten
path: The still increasing corruptions of the succeeding gene-
rations have been largely described, from time to time, by those
witnesses God raised up, to show that he had built his Church
upon a rock, and the gates of hell should not" wholly "prevail
against her." (Matt. xvi. 18.)
III. 1. But shall we not see greater things than these? Yea,
greater than have been yet from the beginning of the world.
Can Satan cause the truth of God to fail, or his promises to be
of none effect ? If not, the time will come when Christianity
will prevail over all, and cover the earth. Let us stand a little,
and survey (the Third thing which was proposed) this strange
sight, a Christian World. Of this the Prophets of old inquired
and searched diligently: (1 Pet. i. 10, 11, &c.:) Of this the
Spirit which was in them testified: It shall come to pass in
the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be
established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted
above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And they
shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into
pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation;
neither shall they learn war any more." (Isai. ii. 1-4.) In
that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, which shall stand for
an Ensign of the people. To it shall the Gentiles seek, and his
rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day,
that the Lord shall set his hand again to recover the remnant
of his people; and he shall set up an Ensign for the nations,
and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together
the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth."
(Isai xi. 10-12.) The wolf shall then dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and
the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall
lead them. They shall not hurt nor destroy, saith the Lord, in
all my holy mountain. For the earth shall be full of the know-
ledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Isai. xi. 6-9.)
2. To the same effect are the words of the great Apostle,
which it is evident have never yet been fulfilled. Hath God
cast away his people ? God forbid." But through their fall
salvation is come to the Gentiles." "And if the diminishing

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