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1763 The most furious attack on Wesley, in 1763, was by WarAge 60 burton, bishop of Gloucester, in an octavo volume of 259 pages,
first published in 1762, and entitled, “The Doctrine of Grace: or, The Office and Operations of the Holy Spirit vindicated from the Insults of Infidelity, and the Abuses of Fanaticism." Warburton allows, that Wesley is “an extraordinary man"; but finds fault with him for having "laid claim to almost every apostolic gift and grace in as full a measure as they were possessed of old.” In earnest raillery, and trenchant language, the Gloucester prelate professes to establish this, by citations from Wesley's Journals. To attempt a summary of his episcopal scoldings is impracticable; indeed, it would be of little use.
It is a curious fact, that Warburton sent the manuscript to Wesley before the work was printed, with a request to notice its errors. Wesley says:
Wesley says: “the manuscript abounded with quotations from poets, philosophers, etc., both in Greek and Latin. After correcting the false readings, improper glosses, and other errors, I returned it."1 This incident helps to explain a sentence in one of Wesley's letters to his brother, dated “ January 5, 1762": “I was a little surprised to find Bishop Warburton so entirely unacquainted with the New Testament; and, notwithstanding all his parade of learning, I believe he is no critic in Greek."?
Wesley lost no time in replying to Warburton's attack. This he did, in "A Letter to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Gloucester. Occasioned by his tract on the office and operations of the Holy Spirit. London: 1763.” 12mo, 144 pages. The character and substance of Wesley's answer may be inferred from its concluding paragraphs.
“I have now finished what I had to say, either concerning myself, or on the operations of the Holy Spirit. In doing this, I have used great plainness of speech, and yet, I hope, without rudeness. If anything of that kind has slipped from me, I am ready to retract it. I desire, on the one hand, to accept no man's person; and yet, on the other, to give honour to whom honour is due.
“ If your lordship should think it worth your while to spend any more words upon me, may I presume to request one thing of your lordship,—to be more serious ? It cannot injure your lordship's character, or your cause."
1 Everett's Life of Dr. A. Clarke, vol. i., p. 244.
2 Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 114.
Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester.
Warburton's book was principally an attack on Wesley and Conyers Middleton ; but as the title page, at least, referred to the “ office and operations of the Holy Spirit,” others, beside Wesley, deemed it their duty to call the jaunty bishop to account for his errors and omissions. Whitefield, though scarcely alluded to by Warburton, sent forth a pamphlet of twenty-four pages, in which he charges the bishop with having, “in effect, robbed the church of its promised Comforter ; and, thereby, left us without any supernatural influence or Divine operations whatsoever." The Rev. John Andrews, LL.B., of St. Mary hall, Oxford, published a book of 224 pages to correct his lordship's notions; for which his lordship dismissed him from a small Church benefice that he had previously bestowed upon him, John Payne also, once a bookseller, but afterwards accountant of the Bank of England, issued a volume of five hundred pages, accusing the bishop of unfairness to Mr. Law. Dr. Thomas Leland, a fellow of Trinity college, Dublin, the most admired preacher of that city, and whose classical learning Dr. Johnson considered to be unrivalled, gave to the world his “Dissertation on the Principles of Human Eloquence,” in which he refuted the arguments used by Warburton in reference to the style and composition of the New Testament. Thus the irate bishop got into a nest of hornets. Wesley considered, that he himself had so “untwisted the bishop's arguments," that to put them together again was a thing impossible. Andrews so stung his lordship, that his lordship dismissed him from his sée. And Leland so vanquished his antagonist, that, instead of the bishop defending his own, Dr. Hurd, in a tone of sarcasm and contempt, thought proper to answer on behalf of his episcopal master, and, three years afterwards, was made archdeacon of his master's diocese. Samuel Charndler, also, of Newington, appeared as the bishop's champion, in "An Answer to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley's Letter to William, Lord Bishop of Gloucester.” 8vo, 22 pages. With no slight degree of egotism, he tells his readers, that his "remarks are not the fruits of idle conceit, or mere conjecture, not party suggestions, or newfangled notions, but a plain series of well
Wesley's Works, vol. X., p. 340.
1763 considered thoughts." He informs Wesley, that Methodist
“doctrine has filled Bedlam and the several madhouses in England with shoals of patients"; that he had “occasioned many and great violations of the peace"; and that he is “ well skilled in the rudiments of deceit.” Poor Samuel Charndler, by the side of Bishop Warburton, was a Lilliputian playing antics in the presence of a Patagonian giant.
The other publications of Wesley, in 1763, were as follows.
1. “Letters wrote by Jane Cooper, to which is prefixed some account of her Life and Death.” 12mo, 41 pages. Jane Cooper was born in Norfolk, in 1738 ; and, in the twentieth year of her age, came to London as a domestic servant; was converted ; and joined the Methodists. Four years afterwards she died of smallpox, and Wesley buried her. She was evidently one of Wesley's pattern saints, and professed to live in the enjoyment of Christian holiness. Indeed, her experience forms a part of Wesley's “Plain Account of Christian Perfection.” Considering her social position, her letters are remarkable productions. “All here," says Wesley, " is strong, sterling sense, strictly agreeable to sound reason. Here are no extravagant flights, no mystic reveries, no unscriptural enthusiasm. The sentiments are all just and noble; the result of a fine natural understanding, cultivated by conversation, thinking, reading, and true Christian experience." The last words of this servant maid were: “My Jesus is all in all to me; glory be to Him through time and eternity." Wesley calls her “a pattern of all holiness, and of the wisdom which is from above."
2. “Farther Thoughts upon Christian Perfection.” 39 pages. This has been already noticed.
3. As also the following : “A Sermon preached before the Society for the Reformation of Manners; on Sunday, January 30, 1763. At the chapel in West Street, Seven Dials.” 8vo, 31 pages. At the end of it, the names of five gentlemen are given, who would receive subscriptions to the funds of the society, on behalf of which it was delivered.
4. The substance also of another pamphlet has been already given : "Minutes of several Conversations between the Rev. Mr. John and Charles Wesley, and others.” 12mo, 30 pages.
5. The “ Sermon on Sin in Believers” was written March 28, 1763. Its object is to refute the doctrine of Zinzendorf, that all true believers are entirely sanctified. The sermon is one of Wesley's ablest homilies; and, doubtless, had its origin in the excitement arising out of the subject of Christian perfection. “I wrote it,” says he, "in order to remove a mistake which some were labouring to propagate,—that there is no sin in any that are justified.”
6. "An Extract from Milton's 'Paradise Lost,' with Notes." 18mo, 320 pages. Wesley's object, in this publication, may be gathered from his preface. “This inimitable work, amidst all its beauties, is unintelligible to abundance of readers : the immense learning, which Milton has everywhere crowded together, making it quite obscure to persons of a common education. This difficulty I have endeavoured to remove in the following extract : first, by omitting those lines which I despaired of explaining to the unlearned; and secondly, by adding short and easy notes. To those passages, which I apprehend to be peculiarly excellent, either with regard to sentiment or expression, I have prefixed a star; and these, I believe, it would be worth while to read over and over, or even to commit to memory.”ı
7. "A Survey of the Wisdom of God in Creation; or, a Compendium of Natural Philosophy.” 2 vols., 12mo. This work was begun as early as the year 1758;' and was published by subscription. In a circular to his assistants, Wesley
The following are the first lines of the paragraphs, in Book I., which Wesley distinguishes as “peculiarly excellent." They will serve as specimens of all the others.
Say first, for heaven hides nothing from thy view.”
“He spake; and to confirm his words, out flew." ? Wesley's Works, vol. ii., p. 441.
1763 said : "Spare no pains to procure subscriptions for the PhiloAge 60 sophy. It will be the most complete thing of its kind in the
English tongue."1 A second edition, in three volumes, was
Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 435.
2 London Magazine, 1765, p. 26.