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humble inquirer after truth ought to have an opportunity of hearing the difficulties in the way of both systems.
Besides, in my opinion, I have seen much evil done by the Methodist doctrine. Very many, who at one time have bid fair to be brought to a saving knowledge of the truth, as it is in Christ, have been led astray by this doctrine, and have walked awhile with the Methodist until their serious impressions were worn off, and then they turned again to their folly, more wicked and secure than ever. Likewise, my personal acquaintance with some of the order, leads me to fear for many of those that remain in their communion. I trust and believe that there are some among them, who are real Christians. But, on the other hand, I am greatly led to fear, that when we shall all be weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, many of them will be found wanting. This I fear, not only from some of their views concerning the nature of true godliness, but also from the word of God which every where connects a belief of the truth with regeneration. Jesus says, ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Secondly, my own experience teaches me to fear for them. I was a member of the Presbyterian church for some time, and instructed in the doctrines of it, and thought I believed them; but in truth, the distinguishing doctrines of grace only floated upon my brain. I was a
Methodist in heart, and knew it not. And if my lot had been so cast in the world, that I had been shrewdly dealt with by some of their teachers, I might have been led to join them to my everlasting cost; for let my standing before God at this time be what it may, I now know, that then I was far from being a true believer in Christ, although I tried to persuade myself that I was. A right understanding and thorough belief of these doctrines, for which I now contend, was one principal mean in the hand of God, of humbling me to a sense of my lost condition, and bringing me unreservedly to submit myself into the hands of God, through a redeemer. Previous to this, I thought I loved God, and so I did; but I loved him only as a servant would love one who had done, and would do good to him; but I now see, that if I then could have been persuaded that he would refuse this service, my love to him would have vanished. This kind of love I find is continually taught, both by the Methodists and Roman Catholics, to be true Christian love. But, says Jesus, "if ye love them which love you, what thanks have ye ?" for sinners also love those that love them.*
Thirdly, I believe that it is a common prac tice among the Methodists (at least, I know it is in some places,) to receive almost any person into their society who is willing to put his name on the class-paper, when the person himself does not even pretend to have any change of
*Luke vi. 32.
heart. In this way, the greater part are rea ceived into their communion: they are taken on trial for six months; and at the end of that time, if they are not found to be too outrageous in their morals, by a certain form, they become members in full communion. They are now considered as Christians; they flatter themselves, and are flattered by others, that they are such.
We ask the reader, with the Bible in his hands, whether it is God the Holy Ghost who must regenerate the soul, or whether he has given this power unto man? If it be said that it is God, but that he may do it in answer to the prayers of his people, we reply, it is true; but let us remember at the same time, that it is only the prayer of faith, faith in excise, or the effectual, fervent prayer of a righte ous man that availeth much. This is a peculiar kind of prayer, which God alone can give he hath not bound himself to answer every kind of prayer. Besides, even this prayer, God in his word hath no where bound himself to answer in six months, or in six years; he will take his own time for that': but, according to this practice, God is bound to answer their prayer in six months, or else these poor souls are fatally deluded with a persuasion that they are Christians, because they are in the habit of praying and doing some external good works, and can tell an experience about a law work on * James v. 16,
their souls; which, perhaps, very few in the world are entirely without. If this procedure be right, why should we blame the Roman Catholic priests for pretending to pardon the sins of their people by the same rule? Why may not their prayers be as prevalent with God, as the prayers of others? In view of these facts I am induced to write and publish this book to the world.
We know that union is the general cry of the day, because we are all united in circulating the Bible. I trust there are few who are more for union than myself. I am willing to yield, in all matters of minor importance, and not contend about them; but yet I am not willing to annul all distinction between truth and error, because we have Universalists, Socinians, and almost every thing else that can be named, bound together in one common and valuable institution. Friendship is very desirable, as brethren of one common stock, all inder the same condemnation by nature; and if we do differ in opinion, I hope it will not be broken. But that is a false friendship which is exercised in such a manner, as to flatter men, they are in the way to heaven, when we believe they are not. This may be done by a silent assent, as well as in any other way. Many persons, seeing this silent approbation to the Methodist doctrine, if they should afterwards become awakened, when they feel the enmity of their hearts rising against a sovereign God,
from a recollection of this former silent approbation by their ministers or other pious men, they may be induced to take this by-path to heaven, and perish by the way. Then, we ask, who will be to blame for their damnation ? I make this remark, because, although we act differently, yet there are but few protestant ministers, with whom I am acquainted, who have a much better opinion of the Methodist doctrine than I have myself.
It may be said, silence in the matter is the best policy; opposition only builds them up. But if we read the New Testament, we shall find that Christ and his Apostles were strangers both to this time-serving policy, and this affected friendship. They acted as though they thought, that true friendship to dying men, and good policy in saving them from ruin, consisted in contending earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints, and in openly opposing and withstanding every error that appeared in their days, and that, in the plainest
In the millennium, we are taught that there will be a general harmony; but let us remember, that that harmony will be affected by the watchmen seeing eye to eye, when the children shall all be taught of God.
But further, we have prayed for the downfall of popery; we have rejoiced to see it, and have admired the courage, zeal, and acti* Jude iii.