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A LETTER From the Reverend Mr. George Whitefield, To the Reverend Mr. John Wesley, IN ANSWER To His [...]ERMON, Entituled Free Grace.

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the Face, because he was to be blamed, Gal. ii. 11.

BOSTON, Printed by G. ROGERS, for S. KNEELAND and T. GREEN in Queen-street, J. EDWARDS and S. ELIOT in Cornhill, 1740.

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PREFACE.

I Am very well aware what different Effects the publishing this Letter against dear Mr. Wesley's Sermon, will produce. Many of my Friends who are strenuous Advocates for Universal Redemp­tion, will be immediately offended. Many that are zealous on the other Side, will much rejoice. Those that are lukewarm on both Sides, and are carried away with carnal Reasoning, will wish this Matter had ne­ver been brought under Debate. The Reasons I have given at the beginning of the Letter, I think, are sufficient to satisfy all. I desire therefore that those who h [...]ld Election, wou'd not triumph or make a Party on the one Hand: (For I detest any such Thing) And that those who are prejudiced against that Doc­trine, would not be too much concerned or offended on the other. Known unto GOD are all his Ways from the beginning of the World. The great Day will discover why the LORD permits dear Mr. Wesley and me, to be of a different Way of Think­ing. And I cannot express my self better in respect to this, than in the Words of a Letter which I lately received from his own dear Hands.

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My dear Brother!

I Thank you for yours, May 24. The Case is quite plain—There are Biggots both for PREDESTINATION and against it. GOD is sending a Message to those on either Side: But neither will receive it, unless from one who is of their own Opinion—Therefore for a Time you are suffered to be of one Opinion, and I of ano­ther—But when his Time is come, GOD will do what Man cannot, namely, make us both of one Mind. Then Persecution will flame out; and it will be seen whether we count our Lives dear unto our selves, so that we may finish our Course with Joy.

I am, my dearest Brother, Ever Yours, J. Wesley.

Thus, (my honoured Friend!) I heartily pray GOD to hasten the Time of our Union in Principle as well as in Heart! And then I care not if I go with him to Prison or to Death. With Paul and Silas, I hope we shall sing Praises to GOD, and count it our highest Honour to suffer for CHRIST's Sake, and lay down our Live [...] for the Brethren.

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Rev. and very dear Brother!

GOD only knows what unspeakable Sor­row of Heart I have felt on your Account ever since I left England last.—Whither it be my Infirmity or not, I frankly confess that never did Jonah go with more Reluctance against Ninevah, than I now take Pen in Hand to write against you.—Was Nature to speak, I had rather die than do it: and yet if I am faithful to GOD, and to my own and others Souls. I must not stand Neuter any longer.—I am well aware how our Adversaries will rejoyce to see us differing among our selves.—But what can I say? The Children of GOD are in Danger of falling in­to Error, Nay, Numbers have been misled, whom [Page 6] GOD was pleased to work upon by my Ministry; and a greater Number still are calling aloud upon me also to shew my Opinion. I must then shew that I know no Man after the Flesh, and that I have no Respect of Persons any farther then is consistent with my Duty to my Lord and Master JESUS CHRIST.

This Letter also will undoubtedly lose me many Friends. But for this Cause among others, perhaps GOD stirs me up to write it, viz. to see whether I will forsake all for him or not. I think I have Truth and Scripture on my Side. I think it my Du­ty to be simple and consistent, and leave the Conse­quences of all to GOD.

I fear I have been sinfully silent too long. For some Time before, and especially since my last De­parture from England, both in publick and private, by preaching and printing, you have been propagating the Doctrine of UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION; and therefore, if Paul reproved Peter for his Dissimulati­on, (dear and honoured Sir!) O be not angry with me, if I deliver my Soul in telling you that I think in this you greatly CIT.

'Tis not my Design to enter into a long Debate on GOD's Decrees. I refer you to Dr. Edwards's his Veritas Redux; who I think is unanswerable, ex­cept in a certain Point, concerning a middle Sort be­tween Elect and Reprobate, which he himself in Effect afterwards condemns. I must first inform you, that I think you had no Call to be so explicit in the Doctrine of universal Redemption.

[Page 7] If I mistake not when at Bristol, you received a Letter from a private Hand, charging you with not preaching the Gospel, because you did not preach up Election.—Upon this you drew a Lot.—The Answer was, "Preach and print."—I have often questioned as I do now, whether in so doing you did not tempt the LORD?—Common Prudence without a Lot would have directed you in that Matter.

Besides, I never heard that you inquired of GOD, whether or not Election was a Gospel Doctrine? But I fear taking it for granted it was not—you only inquired, Whether you should be silent, or preach and print against it.—However this be, the Lot came out, Preach and print. Accordingly, You preached and printed against Election. At my De­sire you suppressed the publishing the Sermon 'till I left England; but soon sent it into the World after my Departure. Oh that you had kept it in! If that Sermon was printed in Answer to a Lot, I can give no other Reason why GOD should so suffer you to be deceived, unless that hereby a Door might be opened hereafter for preaching up Election; and that GOD might give me another Opportunity, as he once did, by giving you such another Lot at* Deal, [Page 8] of seeing what was in my Heart, and whither I wou'd be faithful to his Cause or not. Oh that it may be also for the Conviction of dear Mr. Wesley; that we may both think and speak the same Things, and consequently be better qualified to build up those Souls [Page 9] that have been lately awaken'd, in their most holy Faith!

This I think may serve as an Answer to the first Part of the Preface to your printed Sermon, wherein you say, ‘Nothing but the strongest Con­viction, not only that what is here advanced is the Truth as it is in JESUS, but also that I am in­dispensably obliged to declare this Truth to all the World, &c.’

That you believe what you have wrote is Truth, and that you honestly aim at GOD's Glory in wri­ting, I do not in the least doubt. But then, ho­noured Sir, if by tempting GOD, in casting a Lot, as before mentioned, you have thought yourself in­dispensably [Page 10] obliged to publish your Sermon against Predestination, I think, in this you have been much mistaken.

But farther; As you have been unhappy in printing at all, so you have been unhappy also in the Choice of your Text.—Honoured Sir! How could it enter into your Heart to chuse a Text to disprove the Doctrine of Election, out of the Eighth of the Ro­mans?—Where the Doctrine is so plainly asserted, that once talking with a Quaker, upon this Subject, he had no other Way of evading the Force of the Apostle's Assertion, than by saying, I believe Paul was in the Wrong. And another Friend [...], who was once highly prejudiced against Election, ingenuously confess'd, that he used to think, St. Paul himself was mistaken, or that he was not truly translated.

Indeed, honoured Sir, it is plain beyond all Con­tradiction, that St. Paul, thro' the whole Eighth Chap­ter of the Romans, is speaking of the Privileges of those only who are really in CHRIST. And let any unprejudiced Person, read what goes before, and what follows your Text, and he must confess the Word ALL only signifies, those that are in Christ; and the latter Part of the Text, plainly proves what I find dear Mr. Wesley will by no Means grant, I mean, the final Perseverance of the Children of GOD. He that spared not his own Son, but de­livered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all Things? Viz. Grace to perse­vere, and every Thing necessary to bring us safely Home to our heavenly Father's Kingdom.

[Page 11] Had I a Mind to prove Election and final Perseve­rance, I know not that I could chuse a better Text than you have chosen to disprove it. One that does not know you, would suspect you. You yourself were sensible of this. For after the first Paragraph, I scarce know whether you have mentioned it, so much as once, through your whole Discourse.

But your Discourse, in my Opinion, is as little to the Purpose as your Text; and instead of warp­ing, does but more and more confirm me in the Be­lief of the Doctrine of GOD's eternal Election.

I shall not mention how illogically you have pro­ceeded. Had you wrote clearly, you should first, honoured Sir, have proved your Proposition, That GOD's Grace is free to all; and then, by Way of Inference, exclaimed against what you call the Hor­rible Decree. But you knew People (because Armi­nianism of late, has so much abounded among us) were generally prejudiced against the Doctrine of Re­probation, and therefore thought, if you kept up their Dislike of that, you would overthrow the Doctrine of Election entirely. For, without Doubt, the Doctrine of Election and Reprobation must stand or fall together.

But passing by this, as also your equivocal Defini­tion of the Word Grace, & your false Definition of the Word FREE▪ that I may be as short as possible, I frankly acknowledge▪ I believe the Doctrine of Reprobation; and that GOD intends only to give a certain Number saving Grace, thro' JESUS CHRIST; and that the rest of Mankind are lest to perish under the Imputation of Adam's G [...]ilt, and will be damned [Page 12] for that and their actual Sins. This is the established Doctrine of Scripture, and of the XVIIth Article of the Church of England; as Bishop Burnet himself confesses. Dear Mr. Wesley absolutely denies them both. And why?

For if this be so, (says he, Page the 10th, Pa­ragraph the 9th) then is all preaching vain. It is needless to them that are elected: For they, whether with preaching or without, will infalli­bly be saved. Therefore the End of preaching, to save Souls, is void with Regard to them. And it is useless to them that are not elected: For they cannot possibly be saved. They, whether with preaching or without, will infallibly be damned. The End of preaching is therefore void with Re­gard to them likewise. So that in either Case, our preaching is vain, as your hearing is also vain.

O dear Sir! What kind of Reasoning, or rather Sophistry, is this? Hath not GOD, who hath ap­pointed Salvation for a certain Number, appointed also the preaching of the Word as a Means to bring them to Salvation? Does any one hold Election in any other Sense? And if so, How is preaching needless to them that are elected, when it is designed by GOD, to be the Power of GOD unto their eternal Salvation? And, since we know not who are elect and who reprobate, we are to preach pro­miscuously to all. If it be useless to the Reprobate, it is no more than what GOD designed to permit. It's enough that all are brought home by it that he intended.

[Page 13] Secondly, You say, Page the 11th, ‘That it, viz. the Doctrine of Election and Reprobation, directly tends to destroy that Holiness which is the End of all the Ordinances of GOD.’—For, (says the dear mistaken Mr. Wesley) ‘it wholly takes away those first Motives to follow after it, so frequently proposed in Scripture. The Hope of future Rewards, and Fear of Punishments, the Hopes of Heaven, and the Fear of Hell, &c.

I thought one that carrys Perfection to such an exlated pitch as dear Mr. Wesley does, would know a true Lover of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, would strive to be holy for the sake of being holy, and work for CHRIST out of Love and Gratitude, without any Regard to the Reward of Heaven or Fear of Hell. You remember, dear Sir, what Scougal says,—Love's a more powerful Motive that does them move.

But passing by this, and granting that Rewards and Punishments (as they certainly are) may be Mo­tives, from which a Christian may be honestly stirred up to act for GOD; How does the Doctrine of E­lection destroy these Motives? Do not the Elect know that the more good Works they do, the greater will be their Reward? And is not that En­couragement enough to set them upon, and cause them to persevere in working for JESUS CHRIST?—And how does the Doctrine of Election destroy Ho­liness? Whoever preached any other Election than what the Apostle preached, when he said, Chosen through Sanctification of the Spirit? Nay, is not Ho­liness made a Mark of our Election by all that preach it? And how then can Election destroy Holiness!

[Page 14] The Instance which you bring, Page 11, to illu­strate your Assertion, indeed, dear Sir, is quite imper­tinent; for, you say, ‘If a sick Man knows, that he must unavoidably die, or unavoidably recover; though he knows not which, it is not reasonable to take any Physick at all:’ Dear Sir! What ab­surd Reasoning is here? Was you ever sick in your Life? If so, did not the bare Probability or Possibility of your recovering, though you knew it was unalterably fixed that you must live or die, en­courage you to take Physick? For how did you know but that very Physick might be the Means God in­tended to recover you by? Just thus it is in the Doctrine of Election—I know that it is unaltera­bly fixed that I must be damned, or saved. But since I know not which, for a Certainty, Why should I not strive, though in a State of Nature, since I know not but this striving may be the Means God has in­tended to bless in order to bring me into a State of Grace? Dear Sir! Consider these Things,—Make an impartial Application, and then judge what little Reason you had to conclude the 10th Paragraph, Page the 12th, in these Words,—‘So directly does this Doctrine tend to shut the very Gate of Holiness in general, to hinder unholy Men, from ever ap­proaching thereto or striving to enter in thereat.’ As directly, (say you, Paragraph 11th) ‘does this Doctrine tend to destroy several particular Branches of Holiness,—such as Meekness, Love &c.’—I shall say little in answer to this Paragraph.—Dear Mr. Wesley, perhaps has been disputing with some warm narrow-spirited Men, that held Election, and [Page 15] then infers that their Warmth and Narrowness of Spirit are owing to their Principles. Does not Mr. Wesley know many dear Children of GOD who are Predestinarians, and yet are meek, lowly, pitiful, courteous, tender-hearted, of a catholick Spirit, and kind, and have Hope even of the most vile?—And why? Because they know GOD saved them by an Act of his electing Love, and they know not but he may have elected those who are now even the most abandoned. But, dear Sir, we must not judge of the Truth of Principles in general, nor of this of Elec­tion in particular, entirely from People's Practice:—If so, I am sure more might be said against you. For I appeal to your own Heart, whether you do not feel a Narrow-spiritedness towards, and some Disunion of Soul from those that hold particular Redemption. If so, then according to your own Rule, Universal Re­demption is wrong, because it destroys several Bran­ches of Holiness;—such as Meekness, Love &c.

The Apostle St. Paul was not of your Opinion,—For, Col. iii. 12. 13.—He says, ‘Putting on therefore (as the Elect of GOD, Holy and belo­ved) Bowels of Mercy, Kindness, Humbleness of Mind, Meekness, Long-suffering; forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any Man have a Quarrel against any; even as CHRIST for­gave you, so also do ye.’ Here we see that the Apostle exhorts them to put on Bowels of Mercy, Kindness, Humbleness of Mind, Meekness, Long-suffering &c. Upon this Consideration, namely, be­cause they were the Elect of GOD. And all who have experimentally felt this Doctrine in their Heart, [Page 16] will feel that these Graces are the genuine Effects of their being elected of GOD.

But perhaps dear Mr. Wesley may be mistaken in this Point, and call that Passion, which is only Zeal for GOD's Truths. You know, dear Sir, the Apo­stle exhorts us to contend earnestly for the Faith once delivered to the Saints; and therefore you must not condemn all who appear warm for the Doctrine of Election, as narrow-spirited, or Persecutors, because they think it their Duty to oppose you. I am sure I love you in the Bowels of JESUS CHRIST. I think I could lay down my Life for your Sake; but yet, dear Sir, I cannot avoid opposing you strenuous­ly in this Point, because I think you warmly, tho' I really believe not designedly, oppose the Truth as it is in JESUS.—May the LORD remove the Scales of Prejudice from off the Eyes of your Mind, and give you a Zeal according to true Christian Know­ledge!

Thirdly, Says your Sermon, Page 13, Paragraph the 12th; ‘This Doctrine tends to destroy the Com­forts of Religion, the Happiness of Christianity.’

But how does Mr. Wesley know this, who never believed Election? I believe they who have experi­enced it will agree with our XVIIth Article, That ‘the godly Consideration of Predestination and our Election in CHRIST, is full of sweet Pleasures, and unspeakable Comfort to godly Persons, and such as feel in themselves the Working of the Spirit of CHRIST, mortifying the Works of the Flesh, and their earthly Members, and drawing their Minds to high and heavenly Things; as well be­cause [Page 17] it does greatly establish and confirm their Faith of eternal Salvation, to be enjoyed through CHRIST; as because it doth firmly kindle their Love towards GOD:’ Which plainly shews that our godly Reformers did not think Election destroyed Holiness or the Comforts of Religion.—As for my own Part, this Doctrine is my daily Support,—I should utterly sink under a Sense of my impending Tryals, was I not firmly persuaded CHRIST had chosen me from before the Foundation of the World, and there­fore will suffer nothing to pluck me finally out of his almighty Hands.

You proceed thus, ‘This is evident to all those that believe themselves to be Reprobate; or only suspect or fear it. All the great and precious Promises are lost to them;—They afford them no Ray of Comfort.’

And would dear Mr. Wesley give Comfort, or dare to apply the precious Promises of the Gospel, (that Children's Bread) to Men in a natural State? GOD forbid! What if the Doctrine of Election and Reprobation does put some upon doubting? Is not this a good Means to put them upon striving; and that striving a good Means to make their Cal­ling, and thereby their Election sure?—This is one Reason among many others, why I admire the Doc­trine of Election.—It has a natural Tendency to rouse the Soul out of its carnal Security:—And therefore so many carnal Men cry out against it. Universal Redemption has a natural Tendency to keep the Soul in its carnal Security; and therefore so ma­ny natural Men admire and applaud it.

[Page 18] Your three following Paragraphs, 13, 14, 15, come▪ next to be considered. ‘The Witness of the Spirit, (you say, Paragraph 14, Page 14.) Experience shews to be much obstructed by this Doctrine.’ But, dear Sir, whose Experience? Not your own: For in your last Journal, you seem to acknowlege you have it not; and therefore you are no proper Judge in this Matter. You must mean the Experi­ence of others; for you say, in the same Paragraph, ‘Even in those that have tasted of that good Gift, who yet have soon lost it again (I suppose you mean lost the Sense of it again) and fallen back into Doubts, and Fears, and Darkness, even hor­rible Darkness that might be felt, &c.’—And was not this the Case of JESUS CHRIST himself, after that he had received the HOLY GHOST? Was he not led by the Spirit into the Wilderness to be temp­ted of the Devil? Was not his Soul exceeding Sor­rowful, even unto Death, in the Garden? And was he not surrounded with an horrible Darkness, even "a Darkness that might be felt,"—when on the Cross, he cryed out, My GOD! my GOD! why hast thou forsaken me? And that his Followers must expect the same, is it not evident from Scripture? For, says the Apostle, he was tempted in all Things like unto his Brethren, that he might be able to suc­cour those that are tempted.—And why then should Persons falling into Darkness, after they have receiv'd the Witness of the Spirit, be any Argument, against the Doctrine of Election? ‘Yes, you say, many very many of those that hold it not in all Parts of the Earth, have enjoyed the uninterrupted Wit­ness [Page 19] of the Spirit, the continual Light of GOD's Countenance, from the Moment wherein they first believed, for many Months and Years to this very Day.’—But how does dear Mr. Wesley know this? Has he consulted the Experience of many, very many in all Parts of the Earth? Or, supposing he had, does it follow that their being kept in this Light, is owing to their not believing the Doctrine of Election? No, this, according to the Sentiments of our Church, ‘greatly confirms and establishes a true Christian's Faith of eternal Salva­tion through CHRIST,’ and is an Anchor of Hope both sure and stedfast when he walks in Darkness and sees no Light; as a true Christian certainly may do, after he has received the Witness of the Spirit, whatever you or others may unadvisedly assert to the contrary. Then to have Respect to GOD's ever­lasting Covenant, and to throw himself upon the free distinguishing Love of that GOD who chang­eth not; This, I say, makes him to lift up the Hands that hang down, and strengthens his feeble Knees. Without believing the Doctrine of Election I cannot see how we can arrive at a full Assurance of Faith: An Assurance that ‘all my past Sins are forgiven, and that I am now a Child of GOD;’ but may hereafter, for all that I know, become a Child of the Devil, and be cast into Hell at last; is no Assurance at all, at least not a full As­surance. No, a full Assurance of Faith makes the Soul give Men and Devils the Challenge, not only for the present, but for the future. Who shall lay any Thing to the Charge of GOD's Elect? It is [Page 20] CHRIST that justifies me, who is he that condemns me? It is CHRIST that died; yea rather that is ri­sen again, who is even at the right-Hand of GOD, who also maketh Intercession for me. Who shall sepe­rate me from the Love of CHRIST? Shall Tribula­tion, or Distress, or Persecution, or Famine, or Naked­ness, or Peril, or Sword: Nay, in all these Things I am more than Conqueror through him that loved me. For I am persuaded that neither Death, nor Life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor Things pre­sent, nor Things to come, nor Heigth, nor Depth, nor any other Creature, shall be able to seperate me from the Love of GOD which is in CHRIST JESUS my LORD.

This, dear Sir, is the triumphant Language of every Soul that has attained a full Assurance of Faith.—And this Assurance can only arise from a Belief of GOD's electing everlasting Love. That many have an Assurance that they are in CHRIST to Day, but take no Thought for, or are not assured that they shall be in him to-morrow, nay, to all Eter­nity, is rather their Imperfection and Unhappiness, than their Privilege.—I pray GOD bring all such to a Sense of his eternal Love, that they may no longer build upon their own Faithfulness, but on the Unchangeableness of that GOD whose Gifts and Calling are without Repentance;—For those whom GOD has once justified he also will glorify.

I observed before, dear Sir, it is not always a safe [...] judge of the Truth of Principles from Peo­ple [...].—And therefore, suppose all that held [...] [...]demption, in your Way of explaining it, [Page 21] after they receiv'd Faith, enjoy the continual unin­terrupted Light of GOD's Countenance, it does not follow that this is a Fruit of their Principle:—For that I am sure has a natural Tendency to keep the Soul in Darkness forever—because the Creature is thereby taught, that his being kept in a State of Salvation, is owing to his own Free-Will: And what a sandy Foundation is that for a poor Creature to build his Hopes of Perseverance upon? Every Relapse into Sin, every Surprize by Temptation, must throw him ‘into Doubts and Fears, into horrible Darkness, even Darkness that might be felt.’ Hence it is that the Letters which have been lately sent me by those who hold Universal Redemption, are dead, lifeless, dry and inconsistant, in comparison of those I receive from Persons on the contrary Side.—Those on the one Side, tho' they might begin in the Spirit (what­ever they may say to the contrary) are ending in the Flesh, and building up a Righteousness founded on their own Free-Will. Whilst the others triumph in Hopes of the Glory of GOD; and built upon GOD's never-fading Promise, and unchangeable Love, even when his sensible Presence is withdrawn from them.—But I would not judge of the Truth of Election by the Experience of any particular Per­sons: If I did (Oh bear with me in this Foolishness of Boasting) I think I my self might Glory in Elec­tion. For these five or six Years I have received the Witness of GOD's Spirit; and since that I have not doubted a Quarter of an Hour, of my having a saving Interest in JESUS CHRIST. But I have fallen into Sin since that; and tho' I lay the Blame wholly on [Page 22] my own wicked Heart, yet, perhaps, it was permit­ted that I might confute those who hold a Man can­not commit Sin after he is born again. I have been also in Heaviness through manifold Temptations, and expect to be often so again before I die. Thus was St. Paul himself.—Thus was Luther, that Man of GOD, who did not hold Election; and the great John Arndt, was in the utmost Perplexity a Quarter of an Hour before he died, and yet he was no Pre­stestinarian; and if I must speak freely I believe your writing so strenuously against the Doctrine of Election, and pleading up a sinless Perfection, is one great Cause why you are kept out of the Liberties of the Gospel, and that full Assurance of Faith which those enjoy who have experimently tasted, and daily feed upon GOD's electing everlasting Love.

But perhaps you may say, That Luther, & Arndt, were no Christians. I know you think meanly of Abraham and David; and have wrote me Word, ‘That no Baptist or Presbyterian Writer whom you have read, knew any Thing of the Liberties of CHRIST.’ See, dear Sir, what Narrow-spiritedness and want of Charity arises from your Principles; and then do not cry out against Election any more on Account of its being "destructive of Meekness and Love.

To proceed. Again, says the dear Mr. Wesley, Page 15, Paragraph the 16th, ‘How uncomfor­table a Thought is this, That Thousands and Millions of Men, without any preceeding Offence or Fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting Burnings?’

[Page 23] But whoever asserted, That Thousands and Mil­lions of Men, without any preceeding Offence or Fault of theirs, were unchangeably doom'd to everlasting Burnings? Do not those who plead up for GOD's dooming Men to everlasting Burnings, suppose GOD looks upon them as Men fallen in Adam? How then are they doomed without any preceeding Fault? Surely Mr. Wesley will own GOD's Justice in imputing Adam's Sin to his Posterity: And also that after Adam fell, and his Posterity in him, GOD might justly have passed them all by without sending any one of them a Saviour. Unless you own both these Things, you do not believe Original Sin aright. If you do own them, you must acknowledge the Doctrine of Election and Reprobation to be reasonable. For if GOD might justly have imputed Adam's Sin to all, and afterwards have passed by all, he might justly pass by some. Turn either on the right Hand or on the left, you are reduced to an inextricable Dilemma.

Your 17th Paragraph, Page 16, I pass over. What has been said on Paragraph the 9th and 10th, with little Alteration, will answer it. I shall only say, 'tis the Doctrine of Election that mostly presses me to abound in good Works: I am made willing to suffer all Things for the Elects Sake. This makes me preach with Comfort because I know Salvation does not depend on Mens Free-Will, but the Lord makes a willing People in the Day of his Power, and may make use of me to bring some of his Elect Home.

But Fifthly, You say, Paragraph the 18. Page 17. ‘This Doctrine has a direct and manifest Tenden­cy to overthrow the whole Christian Religion.— [Page 24] For, say you, supposing that eternal unchangeable Decree, one part of Mankind must be saved, though the Christian Revelation were not in Being.’

But, dear Sir, how does that follow, since it is only by the Christian Revelation, that we are ac­quainted with GOD's Design in Respect to Man­kind? And how then has the Doctrine of Election a direct Tendency to overthrow the whole Christian Revelation? For, has not GOD intended this Re­velation as a Means to bring his Elect home? And how then in holding this Doctrine, do we join with modern Unbelievers, in making the Christian Reve­lation unnecessary? No, dear Sir; you mistake—Infidels of all Kinds are on your Side the Question. Deists, Arians, Socinians, arraign GOD's Sovereignty and stand up for Universal Redemption.—I pray GOD dear Mr. Wesley's Sermon, as it has grieved the Hearts of many of GOD's dear Children, it may not [...] strengthen the Hands of many of GOD's profess'd Enemies! Here I could almost sit down and weep. O tell it not in Gath! Publish it not in the Streets of Askalon; lest the Daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice, lest the Sons of Unbelief triumph!

Further, you say, Page 18, Paragraph 19, ‘This Doctrine makes Revelation contradict itself.’ For Instance; say you, the Asserters of this Doctrine interpret that Text of Scripture, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," as implying that GOD "in a litteral Sense, hated Esau and all the Reprobate from Eternity." And when considered as fallen in Adam, were they not Objects of his [Page 25] Hatred? And might not GOD, of his own good Pleasure, love or shew Mercy to Jacob, and the Elect, and yet, at the same Time, do the Reprobate no Wrong? But you say, "GOD is Love." And cannot GOD be Love, unless he shews the same Mercy to all?

Again, says dear Mr. Wesley, "They infer from that Text, I will have Mercy on whom I will have Mercy, that GOD is Love only to some Men, viz. the Elect; and that he hath Mercy for those only: Flatly contrary to which is the whole Tenour of the Scripture, as is that express Declara­tion in particular; The Lord is loving to every Man, and his Mercies are over all his Works."—And so they are; but not his saving Mercy. GOD is loving to every Man; he sends his Rain up­on the Evil, and upon the Good.—But you say, "GOD is no Respecter of Persons." No. For every one, whether Jew or Gentile, that believeth on JESUS, and worketh Righteousness, is accepted of him. Notwithstanding these Texts in the strict­est Sense, GOD will have Mercy on whom he will have Mercy; nay, I will add, and whom he will he hardneth.

You go on, Page 20.—"Again, from that Text, The Children being not yet born, neither ha­ving done Good or Evil, that the Purpose of GOD, according to Election might stand, not of Works, but of him that calleth, it was said unto her (unto Rebecca) the Elder shall serve the Younger; they, (i. e. the Predesti­narians) infer that our Predestination, or Election, no Way depends on the Fore-knowledge of GOD". But who infers this, dear Sir? For, if by Fore-know­ledge, [Page 26] you mean Fore-knowledge as it signi­fies Approbation, (as it does in several Parts of Scripture,) then we confess that Predestination and Election do depend on GOD's Fore-know­ledge. But if by GOD's Fore-knowledge, you un­derstand GOD's foreseeing some good Works done by his Creatures, and therefore electing them, then we say, that in this Sense, Predestination does not any Way depend on GOD's Fore-knowledge.—But I referred you at the Beginning of this Letter to Dr. EDWARDS. Read his Veritas Redux, which I re­commended to you in a late Letter, with ELISHA COLE on GOD's Sovereignty. Be pleased to read those; and also Mr. COOPER's Sermons of Boston, which I likewise sent you, & I doubt not but you will see all your Objections answered. Though I would observe that after all our Reading on both Sides the Question, we shall never in this Life be able to search out GOD's Decrees to Perfection: No; we must humbly adore, what we cannot comprehend; and with the great Apostle, at the End of our Inquiries, cry out, O the Depth! &c. Or with our LORD, when he was admiring GOD's Sovereignty, Even so Father, for so it seemeth Good in thy Sight.

However it may not be amiss to take Notice that if those Texts ‘GOD willeth that none should perish.’ ‘I have no Pleasure in him that dieth,’ and such like, be taken in the strictest Sense, then no one will be damned. For GOD may prevent every ones Damnation if he pleases, and cannot but in one Sense be said to will it, because he might have prevented it if he would.

[Page 27] But here's the Distinction,—GOD taketh no Plea­sure in the Death of Sinners, so as to delight simply in their Death; tho' he delights to magnify his Justice in their Death. As a Judge may take no Pleasure in condemning a Criminal, and yet justly permit him to be executed (though in his Power to procure him a Reprieve) in Order that he may satisfy the Justice of the Law.

I could hint farther, that you unjustly charge the Doctrine of Reprobation with Blasphemy.—But the Doctrine of Universal Redemption, in your Sense, is really blasphemous.—For judge, whether it be not Blasphemy to say, as you do, Page 20. ‘Christ not only died for those that are saved, but also for those that perish.’ The Text you have misap­plied, to gloss over this, see it explained by RIDG­LEY, EDWARDS and HENRY. I purposely omit answering this and some other Texts my self, that you may be brought to read such Treatises, which un­der GOD, would show you your Error. You can­not, indeed Sir, you cannot make good this Asserti­on, "That CHRIST died for them that perish," without holding (as* Peter Bochler, in order to make out Universal Redemption, lately frankly con­fessed in a Letter) that all the damned Souls would hereafter be brought out of Hell. I cannot think Mr. Wesley thus minded. And yet without this can be proved, Universal Redemption, taken in a literal Sense, falls intirely to the Ground. For how can all be universally redeemed, if all are not finally saved?

[Page 28] Dear Sir! For JESUS CHRIST's Sake, consider how you dishonour GOD. By denying Election you plainly make Man's Salvation depend not on GOD's FREE GRACE, but Man's FREE WILL. And if so, JESUS CHRIST died at a Venture, and perhaps would not have had one Soul as the Purchase of his Blood. Our Preaching would then be vain, and our Invitations to People to believe would be in vain also.

But, blessed be GOD!—Our LORD knew for whom he died.—There was an eternal Compact between the Father, and the Son.—A certain Number was then given him, as the Purchase of his Obedience and Death. For these he prayed, John xvii.—and not for the World.—For these, and these only, he is now interceeding; and with their Salvation, he will be fully satisfied.

I purposely omit making any farther Remarks on the several last Pages of your Sermon. Indeed, had not your Name, dear Sir, been prefixed to the Ser­mon, I could not have been so uncharitable as to think you were the Author of such Sophistry. You beg the Question, in saying, "That GOD has de­clared (notwithstanding you own, I suppose, some will be damned) that he will save all, i. e. every individual Person." You take it for granted, (for solid proof you have none) That he is unjust if he passes by any; and then you exclaim against the hor­rible Decre [...].

Dear, dear Sir! O be not offended! for CHRIST's Sake be not rash! Give yourself to Reading;—study the Covenant of Grace; down with your carnal Rea­soning, [Page 29] be a little Child! And then instead of pawning your Salvation, as you have down in a late Hymn-Book, if the Doctrine of Universal Redempti­on be not true; instead of talking of sinless Perfection as you have done in the Preface of that Book, and making Man's Salvation depend on his own Free-Will, as you have in this Sermon; you will compose a Hymn in Praise of sovereign distinguishing Love.—You will caution Believers against working a Perfec­tion out of their own Hearts, and print another Ser­mon, the reverse of this, and entitle it, Free Grace indeed. Free, not because free to all; but free, be­cause GOD may with-hold or give it to whom and when he pleases.

Till you do this, I must doubt whether you know yourself. In the mean while I cannot but blame you for censuring the Clergy of our Church for not keeping to their Articles, when you yourself by your Principles, positively deny the IXth, Xth, & XVIIth. Dear Sir! these Things ought not so to be. GOD knows my Heart! As I told you before, so I declare again, nothing but a single Regard to the Honour of CHRIST has forced this Letter from me. I love and honour you for his Sake; and when I come to Judg­ment, I may thank you before Men and Angels, for what you have, under GOD, done for my Soul.

There, I am persuaded, I shall see dear Mr. Wesley convinced of Election and everlasting Love. And it often fills me with Pleasure, to think how I shall behold you casting your Crown down at the Feet of the Lamb, and as it were filled with a holy Blushing, for opposing the divine Sovereignty in the Manner you have done.

[Page 30] But I hope the LORD will shew you this before you go hence: O how do I long for that Day! If the Lord should be pleased to make Use of this Let­ter for that Purpose, it would abundantly rejoice the Heart of,

Dear and honoured Sir,
your affectionate, though unworthy Brother and Servant in CHRIST, George Whitefield.
Romans ix. 21, 22, 23, 24.
BEhold the Potter and the Clay,
He forms his Vessels as he please:
Such is our GOD, and such are we,
The Subjects of his high Decrees!
II.
Doth not the Workman's Power extend
O'er all the Mass: Which Part to chuse,
And mould it for a nobler End,
And which to leave for viler Use?
III.
May not the sov'reign LORD on High
Dispense his Favours as he will?
Chuse some to Life, while others die,
And yet be just and gracious still?
[Page 31]
IV.
What if to make his Terror known,
He lets his Patience long endure,
Suff'ring vile Rebels to go on,
And seal their own Destruction sure?
V.
What if he means to show his Grace,
And his Electing Love imploys,
To mark out some of mortal Race,
And form them fit for heavenly Jews
VI.
Shall Man reply against the LORD,
And call his Maker's Ways unjust?
The Thunder of whose dreadful Word
Can crush a thousand Worlds to Dust.
VII.
But, O my Soul! if Truth so bright
Should dazzle and confound thy Sight;
Yet still his written Will obey,
And wait the great decisive Day.
VIII.
Then shall he make his Justice known,
And the whole World before his Throne,
With Joy and Terror shall confess
The Glory of his Righteousness.
FINIS.
[Page]

N. B. Th [...]e▪ are two Mistakes in printing off the above Sheets, which something trouble the Sense.

IN the Preface, after Mr. Wesley's Letter, the Words

My honoured Friend, should not stand in a Paren­thesis, with a Note of Exclamation; but after this Manner, Thus writes my honoured Friend

In the Letter, Page 11th, Line 4th, it should run thus, One that does not know you, would suspect you your self were sensible of this.

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