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a charge, the operation of which thus appears
e confined to those, against whom it is directly levelled, but comprehends a very great majority of the whole Christian world.
II. Whilst the charge is thus shown to be prefumptuous, it is also (as is the nature of all general charges against large bodies of men) accompanied with much misrepresentation, and in consequence uncharitable and unjust.' The clergy of the Church of England consists of several thousands of individuals; with whose sentiments and style of preaching, otherwise than as they are to be inferred from our affent to the authorized declarations of the Church, it is impossible, that they, who advance the charge, can be acquainted, but upon some very disputable authority. Yet often on such authority as this; and often (it is not to be questioned) on no authority at all, is the sentence of condemnation pronounced upon us ; and we have reason to complain in the words of the primitive Christians, which an historian of the reformed churches has applied to a persecuted body in his own days, “ Our denomi“ nation carries a condemnation with it, with*« out any conviction of our guilt"."
Condemnati fumus quia nominamur, non quia convincimur. See Heylyn's Hift. Quinquart. part i, chap. v. feet. 12.
But this unjust and uncharita' le spirit] is evinced still more clearly, where the ch irge
is confidently propagated in spite of pou i timony to its falsehood. It me instance in one favourite form, under which it has been frequently repeated; namely, that in our national Church “ mere heathenish morality has “ generally superseded the preaching of the
Gospels.” Now whatever may be the issue of the question, as to the terms of our justification; and whether we err, or not, in afcribing the importance, which we do, to holiness of life; is it to be broadly afferted, that the holiness, which we enforce, is a mere heathenish morality? Ought it to be admitted by others ? Is it, can it be, believed by the affertors themselves ?-Let us suppose, for the argument's fake, that there may have been, that there may be, fome amongst us, who, in their zeal to promote the moral virtues, have not been sufficiently cautious in discriminating between Christian, and heathen, morality; in distinguishing between “ works done before the
grace of Christ, and the inspiration of his “ Spirit "," and those “good works, which “ spring out ' neceffarily of a true and lively « faith':” in excluding our works, however
& Apology for Sunday Schools, by the Rev. Rowland Hill, p. 27. h Art. 13.
I Art. 12.
and whenever wroughit, from all pretensions to contribute a tittle towards the purchase of our justification ; and in afcribing our being
accounted righteous before God only to the 66 merit of our Lord and Saviour Jefus Chrift*:"
-Let this case, I say, be supposed ; and let us concur in the justice of whatever severity of animadversion the accuser
inflict as a dereliction of the Gospel of Christ for the morality of heathens; is the fame fentence therefore to be pronounced on those, who, maintaining unequivocally with the Church the doctrine of “ justification only for the * merits of Chrift by faith, and not for our “ own works or deservings," and pronouncing with her, that no works of ours can put
away our fins, and endure the severity of “ God's judgment;" with her also affert, that “ goods works, which are the fruits of faith,
are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ," and. “ are the right trade and pathway unto “ heaven'?” From the metropolitan chair of this kingdom, amid the studious retreats of this University, and in one of the most obfcure and retired corners of our land, the judicious Secker, the excellent and amiable Horne, the venerable Wilson were proclaiming the glory
& Article 1l.
of the Redeemer, and labouring to lead their 6 flocks beside the waters of comfort, and in the “ paths of righteousness, for his name's sake," whilft Methodism was planted and propagated under the fanction of the specious plea, that " the people were utterly ignorant of the Gof
pel," and that “ for the moralizing iniquity “ of the priest the land mourned m." Being dead, they still speak in their furviving works; and plainly enough, to expose the uncharitableness and injustice of our accusers. Many, we doubt not, of their contemporaries deferve to participate in their praise ; and many, many, we trust, still remain; inheritors of the purity of their faith, if not of their talents for enforcing it; and fearless of the assaults of the enemy, as long as they shall have grace to hold fast the found apoftolical method of instruction, practised by these faithful Ministers of Chrift.
III. The temper, with which the charge is urged, is agreeable to the preceding particular in the charge itself: a temper, which appears to partake little of that charity, which is the distinguishing badge of a disciple of Christ; of that “ meekness in instructing those who op“ pole themselves,” which is the indispensar ble duty of a fervant of the Lord. " A whole
• Whitefield's Works, vol. v. p. 155.
body of lukewarm, prejudiced, envious, ma“ lignant clergy; oppofers of true vital relia
gion; blind leaders of the blind; heretics ; « traitors; perjured apoftates; lateful hypo66 crites ; murderers of fouls; our Saviour's u most bitter enemies ";"—such are the terms, which the patrons of Methodism have scrupled not to employ in their descriptions of the regular clergy, under the pretence of “ doing 66 Göd service.” “ Reproachful language,” said an heathen prince to one who had accosted him with infolence, “ is wont to irritate the « mind of him, against whom it is uttered: “ but although thy address hath been in
jurious, thou hast not provoked me to be
unseemly in my reply'." The resolution is worthy of a Christian. , Let us adopt it; and « being reviled, let us revile not again.” Yet there is one observation, which I cannot withhold, with respect to the temper of our accusers; that the language of bitterness, which it prompts, betrays that persecuting fort of fpirit, which would hardly be contented with invective, if other we
weapons were in its power.
• Whitefield's Works, vol. i. p. 389, 390. vol. v. p. 271. vol. vi. p. 95. Pietas Oxon. &c. See also Outram's Extracts, p. 194—139.
• Ω ξεινε Σπαρτιητα, ονειδεα κατιοντα ανθρωπω φιλεει επαναγειν τον θυμον συ μεντοι αποδεξαμενος υβρισματα εν τω λογω ου με επεισας ασχημονα εν τη αμοιβη γενεσθαι. Herod. lib. vii.