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think, it would be the direct way to cause it. While we are with them, our advice has weight, and keeps them to the Church. But were we totally to withdraw, it would be of little or no weight. Nay, perhaps Resentment of our Unkindness (as it would appear to them) would prompt them to act in flat Opposition to it. “And will it not be the same at your death? I believe not: for I believe there will be no Resentment in this case. And the last advice of a dying Friend, is not likely to be so soon forgotten.
3. But " was there no inconsistency in your vifiting Mr. V. as a Minister of the Gospel, when you do not give up your People to him?” My visiting him as a gospel Minister, did not imply any Obligation so to do.
4. “ If that was not the design of the Visit, you should not have visited him at all.” Does that follow, I visited him as a Brother and a Fellow-labourer, because he desired it.
5. “Does not this Conduct on the whole, favour of a party. Spirit? And shew a desire to please the Methodists, as Methodists?”
I am not conscious of any such Spirit, or of any desire but that of pleasing all men, for their good, to Edification. And I have as great a desire, thus to please you, as any Methodist under Heaven.
You add one thing more, which is of deep Importance, and deserves a particular Confideration. “ You spake to Mr. Vowler of your being as one Man. Nothing is so desirable. But really before it can be effected, foinething must be done on your part, more than paying us Visits, which as far as I can see, can serve no o her purpose in the present Circumstances, than to bring us under needless Difficulties.”
I did indeed speak to Mr. V. of our being as one man. And not to him only, but to several others; for it lay much upon my heart. Accordingly I proposed that question to all who met at our late Conference, “What can be done, inorder to a close union with the Clergy, who preach the Truth?” We all G2
- agreed, that nothing could be more desirable. I in particular have long desired it; not from any view to my own Ease or Honour, or temporal Convenience in any kind: but because I was deeply convinced, it might be a blessing to my own Soul, and a means of increasing the general work of God.
But you say, “ Really before it can be effe&ted, fomething must be done on your part." Tell me what, and I will do it without delay; however contrary it may be to my ease, or natural inclination: provided only, that it confifts with my keeping a Conscience void of offence toward God and toward Man. It would not consist with this, to give up the Flock under my care, to any other Minister, till I and they were convinced, they would have the same advantages for holiness under him, which they now enjoy. But “ paying us Visits, can serve no other purpose, than to bring us under needless Difficulties.” I will speak very freely on this head. Can our conversing together serve no other purpose? You seem then not to have the least cɔncern of your own wanting any such thing! But whether you do or not, I feel I do: I am not in memet totus teres atq; totundus. I want more light, more strength, for my personal walking with God. And I know not, but He may give it me through you. And whe. ther you do or no, I want more light and strength, for guiding the Flock committed to my charge. May not the Lord send this also, by whom he will send? And by you as probably as by any other. It is not improbable that he may by you give me clearer light, either as to Doctrine or Disci. pline. And even hereby, how much comfort and profit might redound to thousands of those for whom Christ hath died ? Which I apprehend would abundantly compensate any Difficulties that might arise from such Conversation.
But what Difficulties are those ? All that are the necessary Consequence of sharing our Reproach. And what Reproach is it which we bear? Is it the Reproach of Chrift, or not? It arose first, while my Brother and I were at Oxford, from our endeavouring to be real Christians. It was increased abundantly when we began to preach Repentance and Remillion of Sins; and insisting, that we are justified by Faith. For this cause were we excluded from preaching in the Churches: (I say, for this: as yet there was no Field preaching.) And this Exclusion occasioned our preaching elsewhere, with the other Irregularities that followed. Therefore all the Reproach consequent thereon, is no other than the Re. proach of Christ. '
And what are we worse for this ? It is not pleasing to flesh and blood: but is it any hindrance to the work of God? Did he work more by us when we were honourable men ? By no means. God never used us to any purpose, till we were a proverb of reproach. Nor have we now a jot more of difonour, of evil Report, than we know is necessary both for us and for the people, to ballance that honour and good Report, which otherwise could not be borne.
You need not therefore be so much afraid of, or so care. ful to avoid this. It is a precious balm: it will not break your head, neither lessen your usefulness. And indeed, you can. not avoid it, any otherwise than by departing from the work. You do not avoid it by standing aloof from us; which you call christian, I worldly Prudence.
I speak as a fool: bear with me. I am clearly satisfied, that you have far more faith, more love, and more of the mind wliich was in Christ than I have. But have you more gifts for the work of God? Or more fruit of your labour ? Has God owned you more? I would he had, a thousand fold! I pray God, that he may! Have you at present more experience of the Wisdom of the World and the Devices of Satan? Or of the manner and method wherein it pleases God to counter-work them in this period of his Providence? Are you sure, God would add nothing to you by me, (beside what He might add to me by you?) Perhaps when the time is flipt out of your hands, when I am no more seen, you may wish you had not rejected the Assistance of, even Your affectionate Brother,
L E T T E R XCVII. [Mr. Toplady's Remarks on Imputed Righteousness, in a Letter to the Rev. Mr. Wesley.]
Dublin, Sept. 13, 1758. Rev. Sir, TTHANK you for your fatisfactory Letter; particularly I for your kind Caution against trifling Company. I do not visit three persons in the whole College, except one or two of the Fellows. It is indeed Sodom cpitomized: for I do not believe there is one that fears God in it, from top to bottom.
Your Remarks on Mr. Hervey's style are too just: and I think a Writer would be much to blame for imitating it; or, indeed, the style of any other ; for if he has abilities of his own, he ought to use them; if he has not, he would be inexcusable for writing at all. I believe Mr. Hervey's mentioning the active, exclusive from the passive Obedience of Christ, is rather a casual than intentional omission: but an Author cannot be careful enough how he expresses himself on a point of so much importance. I have long been convinced, that Self-righteousness and Antinomianism are equally pernicious; and that to insist on the imputation of Christ's Righteousness, as alone requisite to Salvation, is only firewing the way to Hell with Flowers. I have myself known some make thipwreck of faith, and love, and a good conscience, on this specious Quicksand. The Doctrine seems to set the Crown so entirely on Christ's head, and is, at the same time, so very agreeable to corrupt nature, that it would make universal havock in the Church, if the almighty power of God did not preserve his children from the infection; and keep many from ever thinking about it. My heart's desire, and prayer is, that Christ would grant me to keep close to Him, with meek, simple, steady love: and though I have not at all times an equal feeling of his presence, he has, nevertheless, hitherto, enabled me always, even in the darkest hour, (of which I have had many) to retain my Hope and Reliance on Him.
I think, of late, the studies I am unavoidably engaged in, have done me some harm; I mean, have abated that fervency with which I used to approach the Throne of Grace; and this by insensible degrees. My chariot wheels have drove heavily for a month past, but I have reason to hope that I am recovering my usual joy. I can attribute its declension to nothing else but affiduous application to my college business; which prevents my attending the preaching so often as I would. I depend on your candour to excuse this trouble given you, by
Rey. Sir;..; ii
humble Servant, AUGUSTUS TOPLADY.
ON THE CHURCH of England. JESUS our true and faithful Lord,
May we not on thy word depend, Thy sure, irrevocable word, “ Lo, I am with' you to the end !--: . celotenía