« PreviousContinue »
Christ might be given to them that believe.* It truly appears 'strange to us, how a good man, who was so sensible of the blindness of carnal men in spiritual things, could undertake to impose on them with such sophistry, in matters of eternal moment. But such is the effect of casting a lot to determine truth, instead of determining it by the Bible.t
We are aware, that to touch Wesley, may offend some of our readers. But, dear reader, we hope you will bear with us; because, if Mr. Wesley has been a good man, and is now in heaven, and could speak to me while I write; I presume that he would say,
spare not.” And if, peradventure, he should be in hell, his language would be the same
The objector may say, “Mr. Wesley must have been a good man, and his doctrine true, or else it could not have stood so long.” We answer, that if this be an argument, or any test of truth, the Mahometans must be right; because their religion has stood near twelve hundred years, and they have more followers than any
Fourthly. We have not time, neither do we consider it necessary, to follow Mr. Wesley through all his windings; we only notice a few of them, for a general specimen of the whole. But yet we will notice another kind of sophistry, which is common both with him in his Dis: cipline, and with the General Conference in their book of Doctrinal Tracts, viz. : when they are about to advance au erroneous idea, they will twist and turn the subject around, as though they meant to confuse the mind of the reader, and then bring forward the sentiment by way of question ; and in that question mix truth and error together, so that the unwary reader may see the truth, and not readily perceive the error with which it is mingled. We will give one or two examples of this kind, and then the reader, who values his soul, may
* Gal. iji. 22. † See Whitfield's Letter, sec. 5.
know how to look for others.
In the latter part of the third section of the Discipline, when Mr. Wesley was about more fully to advance his freewill scheme, he asks a question, " What, then, may all men be saved, if they will ? Before I answer this question directly,” &c. Then he goes on with a long story, and then says, “Now we come directly to the question, whether all men may be saved, if they will ?” And even then he does not give a direct answer to it, but goes on again raising some queries, from which the reader may
learn his meaning, and yet not understand the whole truth ; because he asks, if they may not be saved if they will ? We answer, the will is the butt of the question. not come unto me, that ye may have life. Mankind by nature are all disposed with one consent to make excuse, and not one soul will
ye will * Psalm cx. 3.
ever be willing to come to Christ, until God first convicts, converts, and so makes him wil. ling. “ Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.
The General Conference proceed in this same manner, although not with so much artful cunning. In tract 5th, page 149, they are engaged in representing the Lord as striving with all his might to save all sinners.
But it would appear from them that the devil will keep his prey, in defiance of the Almighty; and that sinners are still willing to follow Satan to destruction, in spite of all the Lord could do for their relief. “At length they represent the Lord as saying to them, “ What could I have done for you (consistent with my eternal purpose not to force you) which I have not done ???
If this sentence had stood without what is contained in the parenthesis, it would have been complete Atheism, and every reader would have seen it-yet it would have been perfectly compatible with the general tenor of what they had been writing before. But here they perceived that they were going too farthey were making the devil and wicked men masters of the Almighty ; and, in order to cover this Atheism, they threw in a parenthesis (“ consistent with my
purpose not to force you.") Why did they not speak out, and say at once,
.consistent with my eternal
purpose never to work in you to will and to do of my good pleasure ; although I have the king's heart in my hand, as the rivers of water I turn it whithersoever I will; yet I have done all for you that I can, consistently with my eternal purpose not to turn your heartsas I have done, and will do to the hearts of others ?" If they had spoken in this plain manner, they would have spoken truth, and all their readers would have understood them. And to their people, they might have added, “ consistent with my eternal purpose not to cut you down at camp-meetings, and convert you, as 1 do others; or not to work in you irresistibly, as they say he sometimes does.
5thly. Wesley, and all the Methodists, lay much stress on the doctrine of general atonement, and endeavour to persuade their hearers, that if it be true that Christ died for all men, it will confute the doctrine of election.
This inference is wrong, and is as sophistical as many of the rest of their arguments.--Many of our Protestant, or Calvinistic brethren, hold to the doctrine of general atonement. They maintain it something in this way, viz. that Christ died for sin, as a public manifestation of God's displeasure against it--and thereby provided a way in which God could show favour to as many of the children of men as he pleased, consistent with his justice. If this should be an error, it is one that is not
dangerous : therefore we do not feel the least disposition at present to contend against it.
Any man can perceive, that if there were a profitable highway opened to go from here to Boston—that if it were open for all, free for all, and all were invited to travel it and reap the advantage--yet if all with one consent were disposed to make excuse and not be willing to travel it (as Christ teaches in the parable) until they were influenced by the special power of God-in such a case, we think, any man could perceive that the will to use this road must come from God; therefore he would give the will to whom he pleased, notwithstanding the road was open for all.
But, however, both Wesley and the General Conference, in their zeal to establish this doctrine, bave made gross blunders, in which they have betrayed some ignorance of the Bible. In the discipline,* when Wesley was arguing for general atonement, he says,
Go there is not one scripture, from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, that denies it, either negatively, by saying that he (Christ) did not die for all-or affirmatively, by saying that he died but for some.” The General Conference say the same.t
The Lord says, by the prophet, “For the transgression of my people was be stricken. I
* Section 3, par. 27.
† Page 19.
| Isa. liii. 8.