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spirit of the Papists ! Ye fools and blind! What are ye better than they? Why, Edmund Bonnor would have starved the beretics in prison : whereas ye starve them in their own houses. And all this time you talk of liberty of conscience ; yes, liberty for such a conscience as your own; a conscience past feeling ; (for sure it had some once;) a conscience, seared with a hot iron. Liberty to serve the Devil, according to your poor, hardened conscience, you allow; but not liberty to serve God. Nay, and what marvel ? Whosoever thou art that readest this, and feelest in thy heart a real desire to serve God, I warn thee, expect no liberty for thy conscience, from him that hath no conscience at all. All ungodly, unthankful, unholy men; all villains of whatever denomination, will have liberty indeed all the world over, as long as their master is god of this world. But expect not liberty to worship God in spirit and in truth, to practise pure and undefiled religion (unless the Lord should work a new thing in the earth) from any but those who themselves love and serve God.

9. “ However, it is plain, you make men idle. And this tends to beggar their families.” This objection having been continually urged for some years, I will trace it from the foundation.

Two or three years after my return from America, one Captain Robert Williams of Bristol, made affidavit before the (then) Mayor of the city, that "it was a common report in Georgia, Mr. Wesley took people off from their work, and made them idle by preaching so much. The fact stood thus : at my first coming to Savannah, the generality of the people rose at seven or eight in the morning. And that part of them who were accustomed to work, usually worked till six in the evening. A few of them sometimes worked till seven; which is the time of sun-set there at Midsummer. I immediately began reading prayers and expounding the second lesson, both in the morning and evening. The morning service began at five, and ended at or before six : the evening service began at seven. Now supposing all the grown persons in the town, had been present every morning and evening, would this have made them idle? 'Would they hereby have had less, or considerably more time for working ?

10. The same rule I follow now, both at London, Bristol, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne : concluding the service at every place, winter and summer, before six in the morning : and not ordinarily beginning to preach, till near seven in the evening. Now do you, who make this objection, work longer through the year, than from six to six ? Do you desire that the generality of people should ! Or can you count them idle, that work so long? Some few are indeed accustomed to work longer. These I advise not to come on weekdays. And it is apparent, that they take this advice, unless on some fare and extraordinary occasion. But I hope, none of you who turn them out of their employments, have the confidence to talk of my making them idle! Do you (as the homely phrase is) cry whfirst? I admire your cunning, but not your modesty. So far am I from either causing or encouraging idleness, that an idle person

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known to be such, is not suffered to remain in any of our societies : we drive him out as we would a thief or a murderer. “To show all possible diligence,” (as well as frugality) is one of our standing rules : and one, concerning the observance of which, we continually make the strictest inquiry.

11. “But you drive them out of their senses. You make them mad.” Nay, then they are idle with a vengeance. This objection therefore being of the utmost importance, deserves our deepest consideration. And first, I grant, it is my earnest desire to drive all the world, into what you probably call madness ; (I mean, inward religion) to make them just as mad as Paul was when he was so accounted by Festus. The counting all things on earth but dung and dross, so we may win Christ; the trampling under foot all the pleasures of the world, the seeking no treasure but in heaven; the having no desire of the praise of men, a good character, à fair reputation ; the being exceedingly glad when men revile us and persecute us, and say all manner of evil against us falsely; the giving God thanks when our father or mother forsakes us, when we have neither food to eat, nor raiment to put on, nor a friend but what shoots out bitter words, nor a place where to lay our head : this is utter distraction in your account: but in God's it is sober, rational religion: the genuine fruit, not of a distempered brain, not of a sickly imagination, but of the power of God in the heart, of victorious love, and of a sound mind.

12. I grant, secondly, it is my endeavour to drive all I can, into what you term another species of madness, which is usually preparatory to this, and which I term repentance or conviction. I cannot describe this better than a writer of our own has done. I will therefore transcribe his words. “When men feel in themselves the heavy burden of sin, see damnation to be the reward of it, and bebold with the eye of their mind the horror of hell; they tremble, they quake, and are inwardly touched with sorrowfulness of heart, and cannot but accuse themselves, and open their grief unto Almighty God, and call unto him for mercy. This being done seriously, their mind is su occupied, partly with sorrow and heaviness, partly with an earnest desire to be delivered from this danger of hell and damnation, that all desire of meat and drink is laid apart, and loathsomeness (or loathing) of all worldly things and pleasure, cometh in place. So that nothing then liketh them, more than to weep, to lament, to mourn, and both with words and behaviour of body to show themselves weary of life."

Now, what if your wife, or daughter, or acquaintance, after hearing one of these field-preachers, should come and tell you, that they saw damnation before them, and beheld with the eye of their mind the horror of hell? What if they should tremble and quake, and be so taken up, partly with sorrow and heaviness, partly with an earnest desire to be delivered from this danger of hell and damnation, as to weep, to lament, to mourn, and both

with words and behaviour to show themselves weary of life : would you scruple to say, that they were stark mad ? that these fellows had driven them out of their senses ? and that whatever writer it was, that talked at this rate, he was fitter for Bedlam than any other place ?

You have overshot yourself now to some purpose. These are the very words of our own Church. You may read them, if you are so inclined, in the first part of the Homily on Fasting. And, consequently, what you have peremptorily determined to be mere lunacy and distraction, is that repentance unto life, which in the judgment both of the Church and of St. Paul, is never to be repented of.”

13. I grant, thirdly, that extraordinary circumstances have attended this conviction in some instances. A particular account of these I have frequently given. While the word of God was preached, some persons have dropt down as dead; some have been, as it were, in strong convulsions; some have roared aloud, though not with an articulate voice; and others spoke the anguish of their souls. This, I suppose, you believe to be perfect madness. But it is easily accounted for, either on principles of Reason or Scripture.

First, on principles of Reason. For how easy is it to suppose, that a strong, lively and sudden apprehension of the heinousness of sin, the wrath of God, and the bitter pains of eternal death, should affect the body as well as the soul, during the present laws of vital union : should interrupt or disturb the ordinary circulations, and put nature out of its course ? Yea, we may question, whether while: this union subsists, it be possible for the mind to be affected, in so violent a degree, without some or other of those bodily symptoms following ? It is likewise easy to account for these things, on principles of Scripture. For when we take a view of them in this light, we are to add to the consideration of natural causes, the agency of those spirits who still excel in strength, and as far as they have leave from God, will not fail to torment whom they cannot destroy; to tear those that are coming to Christ. It is also remarkable, that there is plain Scripture-precedent of every symptom which has lately appeared. So that we cannot allow even the conviction attended with these to be madness, without giving up both Reason and Scripture.

14. I grant, fourthly, That touches of extravagance, bordering on madness, may sometimes attend severe conviction. And this also is easy to be accounted for, by the present laws of the anima, economy. For we know, fear or grief, from a temporal cause, may occasion a fever, and thereby a delirium. It is not strange then that some, while under strong impressions of grief or fear, from a sense of the wrath of God, should for a season forget almost all things else, and scarce be able to answer a common question : that some should fancy they see the flames of hell, or the Devil and his angels around them: or that others, for a space, should be afraid, like Cain, whosoever meeteth me will slay me. All these, and whatever less common effects may sometimes accompany this conviction, are easily known from the natural distemper of madness, were it only by this one circumstance, that whenever the person convinced tastes the pardoning love of God, they all vanish away in a moment.

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Lastly, I have seen one instance, (I pray God I may see no more such!) of real, lasting madness. Two or three years since, I took one with me to Bristol, who was under deep convictions; but of as sound an understanding in all respects, as ever he had been in his life. I went a short journey, and when I came to Bristol again, found him really distracted. I inquired particularly, at what time and place and in what manner this disorder began? And I believe there are, at least, threescore witnesses, alive and ready to testify what follows, When I went from Bristol, he contracted an acquaintance with some persons, who were not of the same judgment with me. soon prejudiced against me: quickly after, when our society were met together in Kingswood-house, he began a vehement invective both against my person and doctrines. In the midst of this, he was struck raving mad. And so he continued till his friends put him into bedlam: and probably laid his madness too to my charge.

15. I fear there may also be some instances of real madness, proceeding from a different cause. Suppose, for instance, a person hearing me, is strongly convinced, that a liar cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. He comes home, and relates this to his parents or friends, and appears to be very uneasy. These good Christians are disturbed at this, and afraid he is running mad too. They are resolved he shall never hear any of those fellows more ; and keep to it in spite of all his entreaties. They will not suffer him when at home, to be alone, for fear he should read or pray. And perhaps in awhile they will constrain him, at least, by repeated importunities, to do again the very thing, for which he was convinced the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience. What is the event of this? Sometimes the Spirit of God is quenched and departs from him. Now you have carried the point. The man is easy as ever, and sins on without any remorse. But in other instances, where . those convictions sink deep, and the arrows of the Almighty stick fast in the soul, you will drive that person into real, settled madness, before you can quench the Spirit of God. I am afraid, there have been several instances of this. You have forced the man's conscience, till he is stark mad. But then, pray do not impute that madness to me. Had you left him to my direction, or rather to the direction of the Spirit of God, he would have been filled with love and a sound mind. But you have taken the matter out of God's hand. And now you have brought it to a fair conclusion !

16. How frequent this case may be, I know not. But doubtless most of those who make this objection, of our driving men mad, have never met with such an instance in their lives. The common cry is occasioned, either by those who are convinced of sin, or those who are inwardly converted to God: mere madness both (as was observed before) to those who are without God in the world. Yet I do not deny, but you may have seen one in bedlam, who said he had followed me. But observe, a madman's saying this, is no proof of the fact : nay, and if he really had, it should be farther consider

ed, that his being in bedlam, is no sure proof of his being mad. Witness the well-known case of Mr. Periam; and I doubt more such: are to be found. Yea, it is well if some have not been sent thither, for no other reason, but because they followed me; their kind relations either concluding, that they must be distracted before they could do this: or, perhaps hoping, that bedlam would make them mad, ii it did not find them so.

17. And it must be owned, a confinement of such a sort, is as fit to cause as to cure distraction. For what scene of distress is to be compared to it? To be separated at once from all who are near and dear to you: to be cut off from all reasonable conversation, to be secluded from all business, from all reading, from every innocent entertainment of the mind, which is left to prey wholly upon itself, and day and night to pore over your misfortunes: to be shut up day by day in a gloomy cell, with only the walls to employ your heavy eyes, in the midst either of melancholy silence, or horrid cries, groans and laughter intermixed: to be forced by the main strength of those

“Who laugh at human nature and compassion," to take drenches of nauseous, perhaps torturing medicines, which you know you have no need of now, but know not how soon you may, possibly by the operations of these very drugs on a weak or tender constitution: here is distress! It is an astonishing thing, a signal proof of the power of God, if any creature who has his senses when that confinement begins, does not lose them, before it is at ani end !

How must it heighten the distress, if such a poor wretch, being deeply convinced of sin, and growing worse and worse (as he probably will, seeing there is no medicine here for his sickness, no such physician as his case requires) be soon placed among the incurables ! Can imagination itself paint such a hell upon earth? Where even “ Hope never comes, that comes to all !";—For what remedy? If a man of sense and humanity, should happen to visit that house of wo, would he give the hearing to a madman's tale? Or if he did, would he credit it? “Do we not know, might he say, how well any of these will talk in their lucid intervals ?” So that a thousand to one he would concern himself no more about it, but leave the weary to wait for rest in the grave!

18. I have now answered most of the current objections, particularly such as have appeared of weight to religious or reasonable men. I have endeavoured to show, First, That the doctrines I teach are no other than the great truths of the gospel. Secondly, That though I teach them, not as I would, but as I can, yet it is in a manner not contrary to law: and, Thirdly, That the effects of thus preaching the gospel, have not been such as was weakly or wickedly reported: those reports being mere artifices of the Devil, to hinder the work of God. Whosoever therefore ye are, who look for God to “revive his work in the midst of the years," cry aloud that he may finish it nevertheless, may “cut it short in righteousness.” Cry to Messiah the Prince, that he may soon end the transgression, that

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