AN Expostulatory Letter From the Rev. Mr. Edwards of Northampton, TO THE Rev. Mr. Clap, Rector of Yale College in New-Haven, In Reply to his late printed Letter to him, relat­ing to what he reported concerning the Rev. Mr. WHITEFIELD, at Boston and Cambridge and elsewhere, as from Mr. Edwards; making the Falsity of that Report yet much more manifest.

Job. 34.4.

Let us chuse to ourselves Judgment; let us know among ourselves what is good.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by Kneeland and Green in Queenstreet. 1745.

[Page 3]

A Letter, &c.

Rev. Sir,

I Have seen the Pamphlet you lately publish­ed, in Form of a Letter to me, relating to the Controversy that has been between us, about what you have reported that I told you, concerning Mr. Whitefield, viz. that ‘He told me he designed to turn the generality of Mi­nisters in the Country out of their Places, and bring over Ministers from England, Scotland, and Ireland, and place them in their Room.’

And concerning this Letter of yours, which is your pretended Answer to what I have published about that Matter, in Answer to your printed Letter to a Friend in Boston, wherein you asserted, that I had in two private Letters to you, in Effect, in very full and strong Terms own'd the whole Matter to you that you had reported; I say, concerning this Letter of yours, I would observe, that you don't deny the Genuineness of the Copies of my Letters that I have publish'd; nor do you produce any Attestations of what you have reported of me, which you say was in a Journey to Boston, in May 1743: Altho' there were many Persons in Company with us in that Journey, at the Time you speak of, viz. the Rev. Mr. Breck of Springfield, and the Rev. Mr. Gay of Suffield and his Wife, and Mrs. Clap your own Lady, (who, I am [Page 4] confident, was not wont to be at so great a Distance from you as to be out of hearing of Conversation) and your Son in Law that waited on you, and one with me on the same Horse, viz. my eldest Daughter, at the very Time when you say I told you this remarkable Story, who has liv'd at New-Haven all the Time of this Controversy be­tween us, and most of the Time at Mr. Noyes's House, where you are very conversant, and she was often in your Way; and not only so, but she was very conversant at your own House, with your Daughters; and if you had seen Cause to have enquired of her, would have inform­ed you, that she well remember'd other Conversation that we had in that Journey, particularly the long Dis­pute we had about some Things you found Fault with in my Book, concerning the late Revival of Religion; but that she remember'd not a Word said about Mr. Whitefield in that Journey. Nor did you in your Let­ter produce one Person that you have found any where, who ever heard me say any such Thing as you have re­ported, or any Thing like it at any Time; tho' I have publickly declared that I was willing all my Acquain­tance, and those that I have been most conversant with, Ministers or others, in this Town and elsewhere, should be enquired of; and have openly challeng'd the whole World, besides you, to declare if they ever heard me report any such Thing. But all the World besides you are wholly silent: Tho' there are many Hundreds to whom it is every Way more likely I should reveal such a Secret, than to you, if I had it to reveal.

Nor is any Body produced in your Letter that says he heard you speak of my saying this to you, soon after the Time you say I said it; tho' in your first Letter you say, you took good Notice of my Words, and laid them up in your Mind, and soon related them to others ▪ so that by [Page 5] your own Account, you was under no Restraint or Dif­ficulty as to speaking of this grand Secret I revealed to you. But however, it is something remarkable, that you was then in a Journey to Boston and Cambridge, at that Time when you say I told you this, and was in those Parts at the Time of the Election, and Convention of Ministers; and yet it seems you was wholly silent about it then, no­thing was said or heard about it in Boston or Cambridge; tho' one would think, if I had indeed declared so extraor­dinary a Thing to you, it would upon every Account have been most likely that you should speak of it then, when we must suppose your Mind was most affected with it, and your Heart fullest of it, having but just received it from my Mouth; and then the Country was fuller of Talk about Mr. Whitefield, his Coming, and the remark­able Consequences of it were more recent and fresh in Memory: Yet not a Word is heard of it in those Parts that Year. But when you go to Boston, the Year fol­lowing, even the last Summer, more than a Twelve­month after, then you are prepared to tell the Story, and tell it abundantly, in Cambridge and Boston, and surprize Ministers and others with the remarkable Report; and those Parts, and the Country in general, are quickly fill'd with it. — The Title-Page of your first printed Letter, dated last December, speaks of the Report, as what you declared when in Boston last, which was the last Summer; tho' the Time when we were going to Boston together, when you say I told you the Story, was the Year before. And it is publick, and apparent, that the Report was new in those Parts then; every one spake of it, as well as you yourself, as coming from you when you was in Boston last Summer.

And tho' it be true, that I had a Suspicion of Mr. Whitefield's aiming at People's forsaking unconverted Mi­nisters; [Page 6] and so it was not wholly impossible that I should mention it to you, going to Boston; and therefore I can't absolutely deny that, and have hitherto strain'd my Cha­rity towards you to the utmost, with Respect to that Matter (tho' as I often said before, I had no Remem­brance of it) yet the more I think of it, the more impro­bable it appears to me that I should; my Daughter, that was with me at the particular Time you fix upon, re­members nothing of it; and besides there is that in par­ticular, that makes it very unlikely that I should say any Thing to you at that Time, of so much as that Suspici­on, viz. That presently after Mr. Whitefield went from these Parts, being in Conversation with the Rev. Mr. Hop­kins of Springfield, even the next Day after we parted with Mr. Whitefield at Windsor, Mr. Hopkins being my Brother-in-Law, and then appearing friendly to Mr. Whitefield, I mention'd that Suspicion to him (which is the only Time that I know of that I ever mention'd it to any Body, any otherwise than on its being reported from him, I might give an Account what I said to him) I gave him several Reasons of my Suspicion: (But that Mr. Whitefield had told me any such Thing, was not among these Reasons.) After this, before our foremention'd Journey to Boston, I heard that Mr. Hopkins had report­ed it to others, and that the Report was carried to New-Haven to you and others there, and much taken Notice of by you; which gave me no small Uneasiness: I was not a little concerned, that what I had thus said private­ly to my Brother Hopkins, should be thus carried abroad, and especially that it should be handed to you. Now after this, it is not very likely that I should go, and more fully declare the same Thing to you myself; and especi­ally that I should tell you much more than that; and that, which if it was true, I closely concealed from my [Page 7] Brother Hopkins. Some of the Ministers of this Coun­ty, that have lately signed a Testimony against Mr. White­field, had before heard Mr. Hopkins relate what I told him of my Suspicion, with the Reasons I gave him; and since this Controversy between you and me, have declared freely that it is a convincing Argument with them, that I never told you, that Mr. Whitefield inform'd me that he had any such Design as you mention, because it is to them inconceivable, that I should signify my Sus­picion to Mr. Hopkins, and gather up these and those Arguments to confirm it, without saying any Thing to him, as if Mr. Whitefield had told me, that it was his Design, when it was so indeed, and tho' I afterwards freely declar'd it to you.

And now I have mention'd this, I would pray you, Sir, seriously to consider, whether that Report you had as coming from Mr. Hopkins, of what I told him of my Suspicion, was not the sole Foundation, on which you in Length of Time gradually framed in your Imagina­tion the whole Story, which you afterwards reported, as being told immediately by me to you, in our Journey to Boston.

But you, Sir, have said it, in your first printed Letter, and you will stand to it still, that I have in Effect own'd the very same Thing that you have reported, in a Vari­ety of Terms that are equally full and strong; yea, that you may be sure not to be wanting to yourself, you go fur­ther now than before, and say that my Terms are fuller and stronger than yours; and are abundant in affirming it, that what I have said of MY OPINION of Mr. White­field's aiming at People's forsaking unconverted Minis­ters, and at converted ones being introduced, is most plainly, and manifestly, and fully the same Thing as saying, that Mr. Whitefield TOLD ME that he designed to [Page 8] turn the generality of Ministers in the Country out of their Places, and bring over Ministers from England, Scotland and Ireland, and place them in their Room; so that for me to own the Former, and deny the Latter, is a most plain, flat, amazing self-Contradiction; and represent it (p. 7.) as an absurd Thing to make any Distinction between expressing what I supposed of Mr. Whitefield, as my Opinion, and expressing it as a declared Design of Mr. Whitefield; and cry out, What can you mean by this Distinction? If I had only heard this of you from others, I should hardly have believed it: But if I may believe my own Eyes, I have seen a Gentleman of your Understanding, not in Jest or only to make Sport, but gravely and seriously and in great earnest, go about to shew that these two Things are ex­actly the same, and to make it plain, even to a Demon­stration, by rehearsing over Words on both Sides, and e­laborately finding out, and cutting off Evasions, and placing the Words one against another in parallel Co­lumns, that the World might see the exact Identity; and the astonishing Contradiction there is in owning one and denying the other.

This cannot be accounted for, any other Way, than that you was driven to great Straits. You had before reported to the World, in Print, that I, in two private Letters that I had written to you, had in Effect own'd the whole Matter that you had said concerning me: But now those entire Letters were published to the World, wherein the contrary, to the highest Degree, appears to be true; that altho' therein I own it had been my Opini­on, that Mr. Whitefield would endeavour to promote the forsaking unconverted Ministers, and the introducing of converted ones, yet say expresly, that I never mention­ed this as a declared Design of Mr. Whitefield, but only my Opinion; and do in many Ways, over and over, and [Page 9] in a great Variety of Expressions, strenuously and so­lemnly deny the whole Fact that you had reported of me. You therefore doubtless easily saw that there was nothing that you could do to justify yourself, no other Way in the World that you could take to maintain the Credit of your Uprightness and Veracity in what you had re­ported of those private Letters, but only stiffly to stand to it (however ridiculously) that for me to say that it was my Opinion that Mr. Whitefield intended what I spake of, was to all Intents and Purposes telling you, that Mr. Whitefield told me that he intended that which you have reported.

But dear Sir, tho' your Circumstances are difficult, and your Temptations great, yet let me intreat you once to look back on what you have laid down; and after all your Positiveness and high Charges, to suffer in yourself a little Reflection and Exercise of Reason.

If I had told you that it was my Opinion that Mr. Whitefield intended to do all that which you speak of, would this have been for me to tell you that Mr. White­field TOLD ME that he intended it, so that you might truly from thence, in Terms, report and affirm that I said the Latter, and so that it is a flat contradicting my self for me to deny such a Report? Is it exactly the same Thing for a Man to say he has such an Opinion of another's Designs, as to say that that other Person told him they were his Designs? And is it indeed a senseless Thing to make a Distinction between these two, as you signify? (p. 7.) I have been of Opinion that the Gover­nour of Canada intended to send an Army to Annapolis this Year, which I may possibly have told to others; may they therefore go and report in Terms, without Hesitation, that I told them, that the Governour of Canada told me, that he did intend this? And if I hear [Page 10] of it afterwards, and deny that I told 'em so, withal declaring what I did say, making the Distinction, am I therefore guilty of the plainest and most astonishing self-Contradiction, even in the very Relation I give myself, and of the greatest Absurdity in making the Distinction?

Supposing me to be of Opinion that Rector Clap has had a Design to do his utmost to ruin my Reputation, by artfully misleading the Minds of his unwary cursory Readers, into a Belief that I have evidently perjured my self, by flatly contradicting myself upon Oath, when he himself knew in his Heart that there was no real Con­tradiction at all; I say, supposing this to be my Opini­on, I can declare it to be my Opinion with Truth: But can I therefore truly declare to others, that Mr. Clap told me that this very Thing was his Design? And if I should declare so, would not you resent it, as an injuri­ous Falshood and Slander? And if I should excuse my self, and say, No, I had that Opinion of you, and that was the same Thing as for me to hear you say so; would you then think there was no Distinction, and that it was a senseless Thing to pretend any?

And then besides, I not only don't say in my Letters, that Mr. Whitefield told me that he intended to do those Things that you reported, but am far from saying so much as that it was my Opinion that he intended those Things. My saying, it was my Opinion that Mr. Whitefield did aim at People's forsaking unconverted Ministers, and at the introducing of converted ones, is surely not the same Thing as to say, it was my Opinion that Mr. Whitefield intended to turn the bigger Part of the Ministers of the Country out of their Places, and bring over Ministers from England, Scotland, and Ireland, and place them in their Room. It is my Opinion of many Persons in the World, that I know of, that they are in the Opinion and Scheme [Page 11] that Popish Ministers ought not to preach, and that they would do their Endeavour, what in them lies, to have it otherwise, that Protestant Ministers should be intro­duced. But is this the same Thing as to say, that 'tis my Opinion that they intend to turn out all the Popish Ministers in the World, and introduce Protestant Mini­sters into their Places, mentioning the particular Coun­tries whence they intend to bring them? My saying that Mr. Whitefield told me, he intended to bring over a Number of young Scholars into the Jerseys, to be or­dained by the Tennents, don't imply that it was my Opinion that he intended to bring Ministers from those three Countries you mention, or any Country or Countries, to supply any Pulpits in New-England, or any where else, made vacant by others being turned out: Nor ever was it my Opinion: Nor did ever a Thought enter into my Heart, of Mr. Whitefield's meaning to bring over one tenth Part enough to supply the greater Part of the Pulpits in New-England; but only a few young Men, of the People called Methodists, that were Scholars, to get Ordination.

But you say (p. 8 and 9.) It is an immaterial Circum­stance what Countries the Ministers were to be brought from, and that it matters not whether I said one Word of Foreigners supplying the Pulpits of other Ministers, or no: And therefore insist upon it, that for me to say, that it was my Opinion, that Mr. Whitefield aim'd at People's forsaking unconverted Ministers, and introdu­cing converted Ministers, was for me to say, that it was my Opinion Mr. Whitefield intended all that you have represented; and not only this, but to say that Mr. White­field told me so; insomuch that to say otherwise is a flat Contradiction; and you represent that to make any Distinction is absurd.

[Page 12]Now Sir, if it be really so, I would ask, Why, instead of reporting that you heard me say that Mr. Whitefield told me that he intended to turn out the bigger Part of the Ministers in the Country &c. you did not rather declare plainly and positively, at Boston and Cambridge and else­where, that Mr. Whitefield told you this Story of his In­tentions? For you signify over and over in your two printed Letters, that it was your Opinion that he in­tended to turn out unconverted Ministers and introduce others, before you talked with me. And therefore by your own Account it is really true, that Mr. Whitefield told you all that you reported as from me (at least every Thing that was material, or worthy of any Notice in it) and you can't deny it with Truth, and without making absurd Distinctions, and strange Quibbling and Equivo­cation, yea, plain and flat Self-Contradiction. Surely it would have been more to your Purpose to have declared this Thing, as one that was an Ear-Witness; without having Recourse to a Report you had heard from ano­ther. Yea, and not only so, but you might have pro­duced a great many Witnesses to vouch the Truth of the same, and might have said that you heard a great many Persons say that Mr. Whitefield told them so too. For you speak of the generality of others that were ex­actly of the same Opinion with you and me in this Point. (Letter 1st. p. 6. Letter 2d. p. 5.)

And there is another Difficulty that needs to be clear'd up, with Respect to your Conduct in this Matter. — When you first appear'd in this Controversy in Print you represent the Matter as tho' you and I were well agreed in our private Letters, and said the same Thing; and signify as much as that it appear'd so to you on the Receipt of my Letters, and that therefore it appear'd unaccountable to you that any Contradiction should be [Page 13] insisted on between you and me (Letter 2d. at the Be­ginning) And this is almost the only Argument you have insisted on in both your printed Letters, that your Report is true. And yet in the Controversy, as it was managed between us in private Letters, a considerable Time before you appear'd in publick, this was never so much as once mention'd, or pretended. There is no Appearance in your private Letters to me, as tho' you supposed that you and I agreed in the least Measure, not a Lisp of my unaccountably insisting on a Contradiction where there was none, no Intimation of any Difficulty you found in my Letters of that Nature. Which is something strange, if it was so, that you did really then think that there was such an Agreement, and that I in Effect own'd all, & you was then astonished at a Pretence of a Contradiction between you and me where there was none, but saw so great & manifest a Contradiction between the various Parts of my Letters, as you speak of. You represent as tho' you wrote to me in a friendly and pa­cific Manner; but then it was strange you did not men­tion that which you took so much Notice of, that you must think would tend above all Things to my Con­viction. But there is not a Hint of any such Thing in your private pacific Letters (as you call 'em) either for my Conviction, or your Vindication; but when you come to appear in publick, then you are full of it, for my Re­proach, and insist on scarce any Thing else.

If you deny this that I have said concerning your pri­vate Letters, I am willing you should produce them to the World, for your Vindication: And if you han't kept Copies, I promise to lend you the Originals, on your Promise that you will publish them.

Now Sir, I desire you to take a View of your Con­duct in this Affair, in the whole Series of it from the [Page 14] Beginning. You did publickly and abundantly report that I told you, that Mr. Whitefield told me, that he in­tended to make that fore-mention'd general Change, and great Revolution in the Country, and accomplish it in that particular Manner: A Report, in a peculiar Man­ner tending to render Mr. Whitefield the Object of gene­ral Detestation and Abhorrence thro' the Country; (and indeed you could have no other End in it) which Report had no Foundation, because Mr. Whitefield never told me any Thing of that Nature, nor did I ever tell you any such Thing: And therefore both of us were greatly injured by it.—If I had really handed this Report to you, yet for you to make such an Use of it, so to ruin the Re­putation of a Minister of the Gospel, and make him the Object of general Odium, would have been directly in the Face of that Rule, 1 Tim. 5.19. Against an Elder receive not an Accusation, but before two or three Witnesses. When I understood that you had thus reported, I wrote to you in a friendly Manner, expostulating with you about it, declaring to you your Mistake, and by all Means possible endeavouring to convince you of it, men­tioning many Things that shewed the Unreasonableness of supposing it to be true. And when still you did not seem to be convinced, I wrote to you again more largely, mentioning all the Ways I could devise that the Mistake could possibly arise, hoping some Way or other to lead you to a Sense of your Mistake. But you still immove­ably persisted in it; and not only so, but instead of re­tracting, as Justice greatly required, and I much insisted in my Letters, you on the contrary, against the most ear­nest Remonstrances, go on to declare it more openly than ever, even in the midst of our private Correspon­dence about it, and in a positive and peremptory Manner assert it and publish it to the World from the Press; [Page 15] and not only so, but tell the World that I had in Effect own'd the whole Matter to you in those very private Letters, in which I had been repeatedly & most solemnly denying it, and reasoning and expostulating with you for so greatly injuring Mr. Whitefield and me in the Report, and insisting that you should retract it; and which Let­ters were written for that very End, and of which it was the whole Drift, as you was very sensible, as appears by your Answers written to me, never once pretending to me in those Letters, that I own'd it, or agreed with you (as you tell the World) or said any Thing looking that Way, but all along going wholly upon the Supposition that I denied it only. When it came to this, I had no other Way left for me to take, tho' it was very contrary to my Inclination, but to go into the Press too, and from thence declare the Matter as it was, and publish those very Let­ters of mine, and endeavour to convince the World that you had greatly abused Mr. Whitefield and me. Upon this you go on still, and resolutely persist in what you said before; and because I say that I once was of Opinion that Mr. Whitefield endeavour'd to promote People's forsaking unconverted Ministers, and the introducing of others, but deny that ever he told me what you have re­ported, or that he ever hinted to me any Thing like it, You charge me before the World with the most plain, flat, amazing, astonishing, unaccountable Self-Contra­diction, and strange and solemn Quibbling and Equivo­cating to amuse and deceive the World; and intimate that I have been guilty of Jesuitical Management in a solemn Oath (p. 6.) And then when you have done all this, you finish with complaining that I have treated you with very unhandsome and unchristian Reflections; yet say you won't render Evil for Evil, or Railing for Rail­ing; [Page 16] but that you are so far from it, that you will forgive me without my asking it.

Here I forbear to add any Reflections; I trust that your own Conscience will be full of those that are pro­per when you have read this: And if you don't suitably reflect just now, yet I hope the Time will come when you will be sedate, and will with Solemnity of Spirit think of these Things, and be enabled to look on your own Conduct with real Seriousness, as in the Sight of God. That you may obtain this Mercy is the Desire of,

Rev. Sir, your Brother and Servant, Jonathan Edwards.

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