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  • A LETTER TO THE REVEREND MR. DOWNES, RECTOR OF ST. MICHAEL’S, WOOD-STREET


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    OCCASIONED BY HIS LATE TRACT, ENTITLED, “METHODISM EXAMINED AND EXPOSED.”

    Reverend Sir, 1. IN the Tract which you have just published concerning the people called Methodists, you very properly say, “Our first care should be, candidly and fairly to examine their doctrines. For, as to censure them unexamined would be unjust; so to do the same without a fair and impartial examination would be ungenerous.” And again: “We should, in the first place, carefully and candidly examine their doctrines.” (Page 68.)

    This is undoubtedly true. But have you done it? Have you ever examined their doctrines yet? Have you examined them fairly? fairly and candidly? candidly and carefully? Have you read over so much as the Sermons they have published, or the “Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion?” I hope you have not; for I would fain make some little excuse for your uttering so many senseless, shameless falsehoods. I hope you know nothing about the Methodists, no more than I do about the Cham of Tartary; that you are ignorant of the whole affair, and are so bold, only because you are blind. Bold enough! Throughout your whole Tract, you speak satis pro imperio, — as authoritatively as if you was, not an Archbishop only, but Apostolic Vicar also; as if you had the full papal power in your hands, and fire and faggot at your beck! And blind enough; so that you blunder on, through thick and thin, bespattering all that come in your way, according to the old, laudable maxim, “Throw dirt enough, and some will stick.” 2. I hope, I say, that this is the case, and that you do not knowingly assert so many palpable falsehoods. You say, “If I am mistaken, I shall always be ready and desirous to retract my error.” (Page 56.) A little candor and care might have prevented those mistakes; this is the first thing one would have desired. The next is, that they may be removed; that you may see wherein you have been mistaken, and be more wary for the time to come. 3. You undertake to give an account, First, of the rise and principles, Then, of the practices, of the Methodists.

    On the former head you say, “Our Church has long been infested with these grievous wolves, who, though no more than two when they entered in, and they so young they might rather be called wolflings,” (that is lively and pretty!) “have yet spread their ravenous kind through every part of this kingdom. Where, what havoc they have made, how many of the sheep they have torn, I need not say.” (Pages 4, 5.) “About twenty-five years ago, these two bold though beardless Divines,” (pity, Sir, that you had not taught me, twenty-five years ago sapientem pascere barbam, and thereby to avoid some part of your displeasure,) “being lifted with spiritual pride, were presumptuous enough to become founders of the sect called Methodists.” (Page 6.) “A couple of young, raw, aspiring twigs of the ministry dreamed of a special and supernatural call to this.” (Page 25.)

    No, Sir; it was you dreamed of this, not we. We dreamed of nothing twenty-five years ago, but instructing our pupils in religion and learning, and a few prisoners in the common principles of Christianity. You go on: “They were ambitious of being accounted Missionaries, immediately delegated by Heaven to correct the errors of Bishops and Archbishops, and reform their abuses; to instruct the Clergy in the true nature of Christianity, and to caution the laity not to venture their souls in any such unhallowed hands as refused to be initiated in all the mysteries of Methodism.” (Pages 20, 21.) Well asserted indeed; but where is the proof of any one of these propositions? I must insist upon this; clear, cogent proof: Else they must be set down for so many glaring falsehoods. 4. “The Church of Rome (to which on so many accounts they were much obliged, and as gratefully returned the obligation) taught them to set up for infallible interpreters of Scripture.” (Page 54.) Pray on what accounts are we “obliged to the Church of Rome?” And how have we “returned the obligation?” I beg you would please,

         (1.) To explain this; and,

         (2.) To prove that we ever yet (whoever taught us) “set up for infallible interpreters of Scripture.” So far from it, that we have over and over declared, in print as well as in public preaching, “We are no more to expect any living man to be infallible than to be omniscient.” (Vol. VI. p. 4.) 5. “As to other extraordinary gifts, influences, and operations of the Holy Ghost, no man who has but once dipped into their Journals, and other ostentatious trash of the same kind, can doubt their looking upon themselves as not coming one whit behind the greatest of the Apostles.” (Methodism Examined p. 21.)

    I acquit you, Sir, of ever having “once dipped into that ostentatious trash.”

    I do not accuse you of having read so much as the titles of my Journals. I say, my Journals; for (as little as you seem to know it) my brother has published none. I therefore look upon this as simple ignorance. You talk thus, because you know no better. You do not know, that in these very Journals I utterly disclaim the “extraordinary gifts of the Spirit,” and all other “influences and operations of the Holy Ghost” than those that are common to all real Christians.

    And yet I will not say, this ignorance is blameless. For ought you not to have known better? Ought you not to have taken the pains of procuring better information, when it might so easily have been had? Ought you to have publicly advanced so heavy charges as these, without knowing whether they were true or no? 6. You proceed to give as punctual an account of us, tanquam intus et in cute nosses: “They outstripped, if possible, even Montanus, for external sanctity and severity of discipline.” (Page 22.) “They condemned all regard for temporal concerns. They encouraged their devotees to take no thought for any one thing upon earth; the consequence of which was, a total neglect of their affairs, and an impoverishment of their families.” (Page 23.) Blunder all over! We had no room for any discipline, severe or not, five-and-twenty years ago, unless college discipline; my brother then residing at Christ Church, and I at Lincoln College. And as to our “sanctity,” (were it more or less,) how do you know it was only external?

    Was you intimately acquainted with us? I do not remember where I had the honor of conversing with you. Or could you (as the legend says of St. Pabomius) “smell an heretic ten miles” off? And how came you to dream, again, that we “condemned all regard for temporal concerns, and encouraged men to take no thought for any one thing upon earth?” Vain dream! We, on the contrary, severely condemn all who neglect their temporal concerns, and who do not take care of everything on earth wherewith God hath entrusted them. The consequence of this is, that the Methodists, so called, do not “neglect their affairs, and impoverish their families;” but, by diligence in business, “provide things honest in the sight of all men.” Insomuch, that multitudes of them, who, in time past, had scarce food to eat or raiment to put on, have now “all things needful for life and godliness;” and that for their families, as well as themselves. 7. Hitherto you have been giving an account of two wolflings only; but now they are grown into perfect wolves. Let us see what a picture you draw of them in this state, both as to their principles and practice.

    You begin with a home stroke: “In the Montanist you may behold the bold lineaments and bloated countenance of the Methodist.” (Page 17.) I wish you do not squint at the honest countenance of Mr. Venn, who is indeed as far from fear as he is from guile. But if it is somewhat “bloated,” that is not his fault; sickness may have the same effect on yours or mine.

    But to come closer to the point: “They have darkened religion with many ridiculous fancies, tending to confound the head, and to corrupt the heart.” (Page 13.) “A thorough knowledge of them would work, in every rightly-disposed mind, an abhorrence of those doctrines which directly tend to distract the head, and to debauch the heart, by turning faith into frenzy, and the grace of God into wantonness.” (Pages 101, 102.) “These doctrines are unreasonable and ridiculous, clashing with our natural ideas of the divine perfections, with the end of religion, with the honor of God, and man’s both present and future happiness. Therefore we pronounce them ‘filthy dreamers,’ turning faith into fancy, the gospel into farce; thus adding blasphemy to enthusiasm.” (Pages 66, 68.)

    Take breath, Sir; there is a long paragraph behind. “The abettors of these wild and whimsical notions are,

         (1.) Close friends to the Church of Rome, agreeing with her in almost everything but the doctrine of merit:

         (2.) They are no less kind to infidelity, by making the Christian religion a mere creature of the imagination:

         (3.) They cut up Christianity by the roots, frustrating the very end for which Christ died, which was, that by holiness we might be ‘made meet for the inheritance of the saints:’

         (4.) They are enemies not only to Christianity, but to ‘every religion whatsoever,’ by laboring to subvert or overturn the whole system of morality:

         (5.) Consequently, they must be enemies of society, dissolving the band by which it is united and knit together.” In a word: “All ancient heresies have in a manner concenterd in the Methodists; particularly those of the Simonians, Gnostics, Antinomies,” (as widely distant from each other as Predestinarians from Calvinists!) “Valentinians, Donatists, and Montanists.” (Pages 101, 102.) While your hand was in, you might as well have added, Carpocratians, Eutychians, Nestorians, Sabellians. If you say, “I never heard of them;” no matter for that; you may find them, as well as the rest, in Bishop Pearson’s index.

    Well, all this is mere flourish; raising a dust, to blind the eyes of the spectators. Generals, you know, prove nothing. So, leaving this as it is, let us come to particulars.

    But, first, give me leave to transcribe a few words from a tract published some years ago. “Your Lordship premises, ‘It is not at all needful to charge the particular tenets upon the particular persons among them.’

    Indeed, it is needful in the highest degree. Just as needful as it is not to put a stumbling block in the way of our brethren; not to lay them under an almost insuperable temptation of condemning the innocent with the guilty.” (Letter to the Bishop of London. Vol. VIII. pp. 483, 484.)

    And it is now far more needful than it was then; as that title of reproach, Methodist, is now affixed to many people who are not under my care, nor ever had any connection with me. And what have I to do with these? If you give me a nick-name, and then give it to others whom I know not, does this make me accountable for them? either for their principles or practice? In nowise. I am to answer for myself, and for those that are in connection with me. This is all that a man of common sense can undertake, or a man of common humanity require.

    Let us begin then upon even ground; and if you can prove upon me, John Wesley, any one of the charges which you have advanced, call me not only a wolf, but an otter, if you please. 8. Your First particular charge (which, indeed, runs through your book, and is repeated in twenty different places) is, that we make the way to heaven too broad, teaching, men may be saved by faith without works.

    Some of your words are, “They set out with forming a fair and tempting model of religion, so flattering the follies of degenerate man, that it could not fail to gain the hearts of multitudes, especially of the loose and vicious, the lazy and indolent. They want to get to heaven the shortest way, and with the least trouble: Now, a reliance on Christ, and a disclaiming of good works, are terms as easy as the merest libertine can ask. They persuade their people that they may be saved by the righteousness of Christ, without any holiness of their own; nay, that good works are not only unnecessary, but also dangerous; that we may be saved by faith, without any other requisite, such as gospel obedience, and an holy life. Lastly: The Valentinians pretended, that if good works were necessary to salvation, it was only to animal men, that is, to all who were not of their clan; and that, although sin might damn others, it could not hurt them. In consequence of which, they lived in all lust and impurity, and wallowed in the most unheard-of bestialities. The Methodists distinguish much after the same manner.” (Methodism Examined , pp. 52, 31, 38, 14.)

    Sir, you are not awake yet. You are dreaming still, and fighting with shadows of your own raising. The “model of religion with which the Methodists set out” is perfectly well known; if not to you, yet to many thousand in England who are no Methodists. I laid it before the University of Oxford, at St. Mary’s, on January 1, 1733. You may read it when you are at leisure; for it is in print, entitled, “The Circumcision of the Heart.”

    And whoever reads only that one discourse, with any tolerable share of attention, will easily judge, whether that “model of religion flatters the follies of degenerate man,” or is likely to “gain the hearts of multitudes, especially of the loose and vicious, the lazy and indolent!” Will a man choose this, as “the shortest way to heaven, and with the least trouble?”

    Are these “as easy terms as any libertine” or infidel “can desire?” The truth is, we have been these thirty years continually reproached for just the contrary to what you dream of; with making the way to heaven too strait; with being ourselves “righteous overmuch,” and teaching others, they could not be saved without so many works as it was impossible for them to perform. And to this day, instead of teaching men that they may be saved by a faith which is without good works, without “gospel-obedience and holiness of life,” we teach exactly the reverse, continually insisting on all outward as well as all inward holiness. For the notorious truth of this we appeal to the whole tenor of our sermons, printed and unprinted; in particular to those upon “Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount,” wherein every branch of gospel obedience is both asserted and proved to be indispensably necessary to eternal salvation.

    Therefore, as to the rest of the “Antinomian trash” which you have so carefully gathered up, as, “that the regenerate are as pure as Christ himself; that it would be criminal for them to pray for pardon; that the greatest crimes are no crimes in the saints,” etc., etc, (page 17,) I have no concern therewith at all, no more than with any that teach it. Indeed I have confuted it over and over, in tracts published many years ago. 9. A Second charge which you advance is, that “we suppose every man’s final doom to depend on God’s sovereign will and pleasure;” (I presume you mean, on his absolute, unconditional decree;) that we “consider man as a mere machine;” that we suppose believers “cannot fall from grace.” (Page 31.) Nay, I suppose none of these things. Let those who do, answer for themselves. I suppose just the contrary in “Predestination Calmly Considered,” a tract published ten years ago. 10. A Third charge is, “They represent faith as a supernatural principle, altogether precluding the judgment and understanding, and discerned by some internal signs; not as a firm persuasion founded on the evidence of reason, and discernible only by a conformity of life and manners to such a persuasion.” (Page 11.)

    We do not represent faith “as altogether precluding,” or at all “precluding, the judgment and understanding;” rather as enlightening and strengthening the understanding, as clearing and improving, the judgment. But we do represent it as the gift of God, yea, and a “supernatural gift;” yet it does not preclude “the evidence of reason;” though neither is this its whole foundation. “A conformity of life and manners” to that persuasion, “Christ loved me, and gave himself for me,” is doubtless one mark by which it is discerned; but not the only one. It is likewise discerned by internal signs, — both by the witness of the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit; namely, “love, peace, joy, meekness, gentleness;” by all “the mind which was in Christ Jesus.” 11. You assert, Fourthly, “They speak of grace, that it is as perceptible to the heart as sensible objects are to the senses; whereas the Scriptures speak of grace, that it is conveyed imperceptibly; and that the only way to be satisfied whether we have it or no, is to appeal, not to our inward feelings, but our outward actions.” (Page 32.)

    We do speak of grace, (meaning thereby, that power of God which worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure,) that it is “as perceptible to the heart” (while it comforts, refreshes, purifies, and sheds the love of God abroad therein) “as sensible objects are to the senses.”

    And yet we do not doubt, but it may frequently be “conveyed to us imperceptibly.” But we know no scripture which speaks of it as always conveyed, and always working, in an imperceptible manner. We likewise allow, that outward actions are one way of satisfying us that we have grace in our hearts. But we cannot possibly allow, that “the only way to be satisfied of this is to appeal to our outward actions, and not our inward feelings.” On the contrary, we believe that love, joy, peace, are inwardly felt, or they have no being; and that men are satisfied they have grace, first by feeling these, and afterward by their outward actions. 12. You assert, Fifthly, “They talk of regeneration in every Christian, as if it was as sudden and miraculous a conversion as that of St. Paul and the first converts to Christianity, and as if the signs of it were frightful tremors of body, and convulsive agonies of mind; not as a work graciously begun and gradually carried on by the blessed Spirit, in conjunction with our rational powers and faculties; the signs of which are sincere and universal obedience.” (Page 33.)

    This is part true, part false. We do believe regeneration, or, in plain English, the new birth, to be as miraculous or supernatural a work now as it was seventeen hundred years ago. We likewise believe, that the spiritual life, which commences when we are born again, must, in the nature of the thing, have a first moment, as well as the natural. But we say again and again, we are concerned for the substance of the work, not the circumstance. Let it be wrought at all, and we will not contend whether it be wrought gradually or instantaneously. “But what are the signs that it is wrought?” We never said or thought, that they were either “frightful tremors of body,” or “convulsive agonies of mind;” (I presume you mean agonies of mind attended with bodily convulsions;) although we know many persons who, before this change was wrought, felt much fear and sorrow of mind, which in some of these had such an effect on the body as to make all their bones to shake. Neither did we ever deny, that it is “a work graciously begun by the Holy Spirit,” enlightening our understanding, (which, I suppose, you call “our rational powers and faculties,”) as well as influencing our affections. And it is certain, he “gradually carries on this work,” by continuing, to influence all the powers of the soul; and that the outward sign of this inward work is, “sincere and universal obedience.” 13. A Sixth charge is: “They treat Christianity as a wild, enthusiastic scheme, which will bear no examination.” (Page 30.) Where or when? In what sermon? In what tract, practical or polemical? I wholly deny the charge. I have myself close]y and carefully examined every part of it, every verse of the New Testament, in the original, as well as in our own and other translations. 14. Nearly allied to this is the threadbare charge of enthusiasm, with which you frequently and largely compliment us. But as this also is asserted only, and not proved, it falls to the ground of itself. Meantime, your asserting it, is a plain proof that you know nothing of the men you talk of.

    Because you know them not, you so boldly say, “One advantage we have over them, and that is reason.” Nay, that is the very question. I appeal to all mankind, whether you have it, or no. However, you are sure we have it not, and are never likely to have. For “reason,” you say “cannot do much with an enthusiast, whose first principle is, to have nothing to do with reason, but resolve all his religious opinions and notions into immediate inspiration.” Then, by your own account, I am no enthusiast; for I resolve none of my notions into immediate inspiration. I have something to do with reason; perhaps as much as many of those who make no account of my labors. And I am ready to give up every opinion which I cannot by calm, clear reason defend. Whenever, therefore, you will try what you can do by argument, which you have not done yet, I wait your leisure, and will follow you step by step, which way soever you lead. 15. “But is not this plain proof of the enthusiasm of the Methodists, that they despise human learning, and make a loud and terrible outcry against it?” Pray, Sir, when and where was this done? Be so good as to point out the time and place; for I am quite a stranger to it. I believe, indeed, and so do you, that many men make an ill use of their learning. But so they do of their Bibles: Therefore, this is no reason for despising or crying out against it. I would use it just as far as it will go; how far I apprehend it may be of use, how far I judge it to be expedient at least, if not necessary, for a Clergyman, you might have seen in the “Earnest Address to the Clergy.”

    But, in the meantime, I bless God that there is a more excellent gift than either the knowledge of languages or philosophy. For tongues, and knowledge, and learning, will vanish away; but love never faileth. 16. I think this is all you have said which is any way material concerning the doctrines of the Methodists. The charges you bring concerning their spirit or practice may be dispatched in fewer words.

    And, First, you charge them with pride and uncharitableness: “They talk as proudly as the Donatists, of their being, the only true Preachers of the gospel, and esteem themselves, in contra-distinction to others, as the regenerate, the children of God, and as having arrived at sinless perfection.” (Page 15.)

    All of a piece. We neither talk nor think so. We doubt not but there are many true Preachers of the gospel, both in England and elsewhere, who have no connection with, no knowledge of, us. Neither can we doubt but that there are many thousand children of God who never heard our voice or saw our face. And this may suffice for an answer to all the assertions of the same kind which are scattered up and down your work. Of sinless perfection, here brought in by head and shoulders, I have nothing to say at present. 17. You charge them, Secondly, “with boldness and blasphemy, who, triumphing in their train of credulous and crazy followers, the spurious” (should it not be rather the genuine? ) “offspring of their insidious craft, ascribe the glorious event to divine grace, and, in almost every page of their paltry harangues, invoke the blessed Spirit to go along with them in their soul-awakening work; that is, to continue to assist them in seducing the simple and unwary.” (Page 41.)

    What we ascribe to divine grace is this: The convincing sinners of the errors of their ways, and the “turning them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God.” Do not you yourself ascribe this to grace?

    And do not you too invoke the blessed Spirit, to go along with you in every part of your work? If you do not, you lose all your labor. Whether we “seduce men into sin,” or by his grace save them from it, is another question. 18. You charge us, Thirdly, with “requiring a blind and implicit trust from our disciples;” (p. 10;) who, accordingly, “trust as implicitly in their Preachers, as the Papists in their Pope, Councils, or Church.” (Page 51.)

    Far from it: Neither do we require it; nor do they that hear us place any such trust in any creature. They “search the Scriptures,” and hereby try every doctrine whether it be of God: And what is agreeable to Scripture, they embrace, what is contrary to it, they reject. 19. You charge us, Fourthly, with injuring the Clergy in various ways: “They are very industrious to dissolve or break off that spiritual intercourse which the relation wherein we stand requires should be preserved betwixt us and our people.” But can that spiritual intercourse be either preserved or broke off, which never existed? What spiritual intercourse exists between you, the Rector of St. Michael, and the people of your parish? I suppose you preach to them once a week, and now and then read Prayers. Perhaps you visit one in ten of the sick. And is this all the spiritual intercourse which you have with those over whom the Holy Ghost hath made you an overseer? In how poor a sense then do you watch over the souls for whom you are to give an account to God! Sir, I wish to God there were a truly spiritual intercourse between you and all your people! I wish you “knew all your flock by name, not excepting the men-servants and women-servants!” Then you might cherish each, “as a nurse her own children,” and “train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Then might you “warn every one, and exhort every one,” till you should “present every one perfect in Christ Jesus.” “But they say our sermons contradict the Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy of our own Church; yea, that we contradict ourselves, saying one thing in the desk, and another in the pulpit.” And is there not cause to say so? I myself have heard several sermons preached in churches, which flatly contradicted both the Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy; particularly on the head of justification. I have likewise heard more than one or two persons, who said one thing in the desk, and another in the pulpit. In the desk, they prayed God to “cleanse the thoughts of their hearts by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit.” In the pulpit, they said there was “no such thing as inspiration since the time of the Apostles.” “But this is not all. You poison the people by the most peevish and spiteful invectives against the Clergy, the most rude and rancorous revilings, and the most invidious calumnies.” (Page 51.) No more than I poison them with arsenic. I make no peevish or spiteful invectives against any man. Rude and rancorous revilings (such as your present tract abounds with) are also far from me. I dare not “return railing for railing,” because (whether you know it or no) I fear God. Invidious calumnies, likewise, I never dealt in; all such weapons I leave to you. 20. One charge remains, which you repeat over and over, and lay a peculiar stress upon. (As to what you talk about perverting Scripture, I pass it by, as mere unmeaning common-place declamation.) It is the poor old worn-out tale of “getting money by preaching.” This you only intimate at first. “Some of their followers had an inward call to sell all that they had, and lay it at their feet.” (Page 22.) Pray, Sir, favor us with the name of one, and we will excuse you as to all the rest. In the next page you grow bolder, and roundly affirm, “With all their heavenly-mindedness, they could not help casting a sheep’s eye at the unrighteous mammon. Nor did they pay their court to it with less cunning and success than Montanus. Under the specious appearance of gifts and offerings, they raised contributions from every quarter. Besides the weekly pensions squeezed out of the poorer and lower part of their community, they were favored with very large oblations from persons of better figure and fortune; and especially from many believing wives, who had learned to practice pious frauds on their unbelieving husbands.”

    I am almost ashamed (having done it twenty times before) to answer this stale calumny again. But the bold, frontless manner wherein you advance it, obliges me so to do. Know then, Sir, that you have no authority, either from Scripture or reason, to judge of other men by yourself. If your own conscience convicts you of loving money, of “casting a sheep’s eye at the unrighteous mammon,” humble yourself before God, if haply the thoughts and desires of your heart may be forgiven you. But, blessed be God, my conscience is clear. My heart does not condemn me in this matter. I know, and God knoweth, that I have no desire to load myself with thick clay; that I love money no more than I love the mire in the streets; that I seek it not. And I have it not, any more than suffices for food and raiment, for the plain conveniences of life. I pay no court to it at all, or to those that have it, either with cunning or without. For myself, for my own use, I raise no contributions, either great or small. The weekly contributions of our community, (which are freely given, not squeezed out of any,) as well as the gifts and offerings at the Lord’s table, never come into my hands. I have no concern with them, not so much as the beholding them with my eyes. They are received every week by the Stewards of the society, men of well-known character in the world; and by them constantly distributed, within the week, to those whom they know to be in real necessity. As to the “very large oblations wherewith I am favored by persons of better figure and fortune,” I know nothing of them. Be so kind as to refresh my memory by mentioning a few of their names. I have the happiness of knowing some of great figure and fortune; some right honorable persons.

    But if I were to say that all of them together had given me seven pounds in seven years, I should say more than I could make good. And yet I doubt not, but they would freely give me anything I wanted; but, by the blessing of God, I want nothing that they can give. I want only more of the Spirit of love and power, and of an healthful mind. As to those “many believing wives who practice pious frauds on their unbelieving husbands,” I know them not, no, not one of that kind; therefore I doubt the fact. If you know any such, be pleased to give us their names and places of abode. Otherwise you must bear the blame of being the lover, if not the maker, of a lie.

    Perhaps you will say, “Why, a great man said the same thing but a few years ago.” What, if he did? Let the frog swell as long as he can, he will not equal the ox. He might say many things, all circumstances considered, which will not come well from you, as you have neither his wit, nor sense, nor learning, nor age, nor dignity. Tibi parvula res est:

    Metiri se quemque suo modulo ac pede verum est. f23 If you fall upon people that meddle not with you, without either fear or wit, you may possibly find they have a little more to say for themselves than you was aware of. I “follow peace with all men;” but if a man set upon me without either rhyme or reason, I think it my duty to defend myself, so far as truth and justice permit. Yet still I am, (if a poor enthusiast may not be so bold as to style himself your brother,) Reverend Sir, Your servant for Christ’s sake,

    JOHN WESLEY. LONDON, November 17, 1759.

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