Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume X

Author: John Wesley

Extracted from Mr. John Goodwin.


1. Perhaps I should not have submitted, at least not so soon, to the importunity of my friends, who have long been soliciting me to abridge and publish the ensuing treatise, had not some warm people published a tract, entitled, "The Scripture Doctrine of Imputed Righteousness Defended." I then judged it absolutely incumbent upon me to publish the real Scripture doctrine. And this I believed I could not either draw up or defend better than I found it done to my hands by one who, at the time he wrote this book, was a firm and zealous Calvinist. This enabled him to confirm what he advanced by such authorities, as well from Calvin himself, as from his most eminent followers, as I could not have done, nor any who had not been long and critically versed in their writings.

2. A greater difficulty was, to know what notice I ought to take of Mr. Hervey’s treatise, wrote, as the Leeds publisher says, with a "becoming and well-tempered tartness." The case was peculiar. My acquaintance with Mr. Hervey commenced about thirty years ago, when I was a Fellow, and he was a Commoner, of Lincoln College in Oxford. At my request he was permitted, as was Mr. Whitefield some time after, to make one of a little company who used to spend the evenings together, in reading the Holy Scriptures. And I rejoiced in having many opportunities of assisting him both in his studies and in his Christian warfare; which he acknowledged in very strong terms, by a letter now in my hands, wrote not long after the publication of his "Meditations among the Tombs." In my answer to this, I told him frankly, there were one or two passages in that book, which, if I had seen before it was printed, I should have advised him not to insert. He replied, if he printed anything more, he would beg of me to correct it first. Accordingly, he sent me, not long after, the manuscript of his three first Dialogues. I sent them back after some days, with a few inconsiderable corrections; but upon his complaining, "You are not my friend, if you do not take more liberty with me," I promised I would; so he sent them again, and I made some more important alterations. I was not surprised at seeing no more of the copy, till I saw it in print. When I had read it, I wrote him my thoughts freely, but received no answer. On October 15, 1756, I sent him a second letter, which I here insert, that every impartial person may understand the real merits of the cause. I need only premise, that, at the time I wrote, I had not the least thought of making it public. I only spoke my private thoughts in a free, open manner, to a friend dear as a brother, — I had almost said to a pupil, — to a son; for so near I still accounted him. It is no wonder therefore, that "several of my objections," as Mr. Hervey himself observes, "appear more like notes and memorandums, than a just plea to the public." (Page 80.) It is true. They appear like what they are, like what they were originally intended for. I had no thought of a plea to the public when I wrote, but of "notes and memorandums to a private man."

Dear Sir,October 15, 1756.

A Considerable time since, I sent you a few hasty thoughts which occurred to me on reading the "Dialogues between Theron and Aspasio." I have not been favored with any answer. Yet upon another and a more careful perusal of them, I could not but set down some obvious reflections, which I would rather have communicated before these Dialogues were published.

In the First Dialogue there are several just and strong observations, which way be of use to every serious reader. In the Second, is not the description often too labored? the language too stiff and afflicted? Yet the reflections on the creation, in the thirty-first and following pages, make abundant amends for this. (I cite the pages according to the Dublin edition, having wrote the rough draught of what follows in Ireland.)

Is justification more or less than God’s pardoning and accepting a sinner through the merits of Christ? That God herein "reckons the righteousness and obedience which Christ performed as our own," (page 39,) I allow; if by that ambiguous expression you mean only, as you here explain it yourself, "They are as effectual for obtaining our salvation, as if they were our own personal qualifications." (Page 41.)

"We are not solicitous as to any particular set of phrases. Only let men be humbled, as repenting criminals at Christ’s feet, let them rely as devoted pensioners on his merits, and they are undoubtedly in the way to a blissful immortality." (Page 43.) Then, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of the immortal souls which he has purchased with his blood, do not dispute for that particular phrase, "the imputed righteousness of Christ." It is not scriptural; it is not necessary. Men who scruple to use, men who never heard, the expression, may yet "be humbled, as repenting criminals at his feet, and rely as devoted pensioners on his merits." But it has done immense hurt. I have had abundant proof, that the frequent use of this unnecessary phrase, instead of "furthering men’s progress in vital holiness," has made them satisfied without any holiness at all; yea, and encouraged them to work all uncleanness with greediness.

"To ascribe pardon to Christ’s passive, eternal life to his active, righteousness, is fanciful rather than judicious. His universal obedience from his birth to his death is the one foundation of my hope." (Page 45.)

This is unquestionably right. But if it be, there is no manner of need to make the imputation of his active righteousness a separate and labored head of discourse. O that you had been content with this plain scriptural account, and spared some of the dialogues and letters that follow!

The Third and Fourth Dialogues contain an admirable illustration and confirmation of the great doctrine of Christ’s satisfaction. Yet even here I observe a few passages which are liable to some exception: —

"Satisfaction was made to the divine law." (Page 54.) I do not remember any such expression in Scripture. This way of speaking of the law, as a person injured and to be satisfied, seems hardly defensible.

"The death of Christ procured the pardon and acceptance of believers, even before he came in the flesh." (Page 74.) Yea, and ever since. In this we all agree. And why should we contend for anything more?

"All the benefits of the new covenant are the purchase of his blood." (Page 120.) Surely they are. And after this has been fully proved, where is the need, where is the use, of contending so strenuously for the imputation of his righteousness, as is done in the Fifth and Sixth Dialogues?

"If he was our substitute as to penal sufferings, why not as to justifying obedience?" (Page 135.)

The former is expressly asserted in Scripture. The latter is not expressly asserted there.

"As sin and misery have abounded through the first Adam, mercy and grace have much more abounded through the Second. So that none can have any reason to complain." (Page 145.) No, not if the second Adam died for all. Otherwise, all for whom he did not die have great reason to complain. For they inevitably fall by the first Adam, without any help from the Second.

"The whole world of believers" (page 148) is an expression which never occurs in Scripture, nor has it any countenance there: The world, in the inspired writings, being constantly taken either in the universal or in a bad sense; either for the whole of mankind, or for that part of them who know not God.

"’In the Lord shall all the house of Israel be justified.’" (Page 149.) It ought unquestionably to be rendered, "By or through the Lord:" This argument therefore proves nothing. "Ye are complete in him." The words literally rendered are, "Ye are filled with him." And the whole passage, as any unprejudiced reader may observe, relates to sanctification, not justification.

"They are accepted for Christ’s sake; this is justification through imputed righteousness." (Page 150.) That remains to be proved. Many allow the former, who cannot allow the latter.

"The righteousness which justifies us is already wrought out." (Page 151.) — A crude, unscriptural expression! "It was set on foot, carried on, completed." — O vain philosophy! The plain truth is, Christ lived and "tasted death for every man." And through the merits of his life and death, every believer is justified.

"Whoever perverts so glorious a doctrine shows he never believed." (Page 152.) Not so. They who "turn back as a dog to the vomit" had once "escaped the pollutions of the world by the knowledge of Christ."

"The goodness of God leadeth to repentance." (Page 153.) This is unquestionably true. But the nice, metaphysical doctrine of imputed righteousness leads not to repentance, but to licentiousness.

"The believer cannot but add to his faith works of righteousness." (Page 154.) During his first love, this is often true. But it is not true afterwards, as we know and feel by melancholy experience.

"We no longer obey in order to lay the foundation of our final acceptance." (Page 155.) No: That foundation is already laid in the merits of Christ. Yet we obey in order to our final acceptance through his merits. And in this sense, by obeying, we "lay a good foundation, that we may attain eternal life."

"’We establish the law:’ We provide for its honor, by the perfect obedience of Christ." (Page 156.) Can you possibly think St. Paul meant this? that such a thought ever entered in to his mind? The plain meaning is, We establish both the true sense and the effectual practice of it: We provide for its being both understood and practiced in its full extent.

"On those who reject the atonement, just severity." (Page 157.) Was it ever possible for them not to reject it? If not, how is it just to cast them into a lake of fire for not doing what it was impossible they should do? Would it be just (make it your own case) to cast you into hell for not touching heaven with your hand?

"Justification is complete the first moment we believe, and is incapable of augmentation." (Page 159.) Not so: There may be as many degrees in the favor as in the image of God.

"St. Paul often mentions a righteousness imputed:" Not a righteousness, never once; but simply, righteousness. "What can this be, but the righteousness of Christ?" (Page 190.) He tells you himself, "To him that believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, faith is imputed for righteousness." (Romans 4:5.) "Why is Christ styled Jehovah our Righteousness?" Because we are both justified and sanctified through Him.

"My death, the cause of their forgiveness; my righteousness, the ground of their acceptance." (Page 191.)

How does this agree with page 45? — "To ascribe pardon to Christ’s passive, eternal life to his active, righteousness, is fanciful rather than judicious."

"He commends such kinds of beneficence only, as were exercised to a disciple as such." (Page 195.) Is not this a slip of the pen? Will not our Lord then commend, and reward eternally, all kinds of beneficence, provided they flowed from a principle of loving faith? yea, that which was exercised to a Samaritan, a Jew, a Turk, or a Heathen? Even these I would not term "transient bubbles," though they do not procure our justification.

"How must our righteousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees? Not only in being sincere, but in possessing a complete righteousness, even that of Christ." (Page 197.) Did our Lord mean this? Nothing less. He specifies, in the following parts of his Sermon, the very instances wherein the righteousness of a Christian exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees.

"He brings this specious hypocrite to the test." (Page 198) How does it appear that he was an hypocrite? Our Lord gives not the least intimation of it. Surely he "loved him," not for his hypocrisy, but his sincerity!

Yet he loved the world, and therefore could not keep any of the commandments in their spiritual meaning. And the keeping of these is undoubtedly the way to, though not the cause of, eternal life.

"’By works his faith was made perfect:’ Appeared to be true." (Page 200.) No: The natural sense of the words is, "By" the grace superadded while he wrought those "works, his faith was" literally "made perfect."

"’He that doeth righteousness is righteous:’ Manifests the truth of his conversion." (Ibid.) Nay, the plain meaning is, He alone is truly righteous, whose faith worketh by love.

"St. James speaks of the justification of our faith." (Page 201.) Not unless you mean, by that odd expression, our faith being made perfect; for so the Apostle explains his own meaning. Perhaps the word justified is once used by St. Paul for manifested. But that does not prove it is to be so understood here.

"’Whoso doeth these things shall never fall’ into total apostasy." (Page 202.) How pleasing is this to flesh and blood! But David says no such thing. His meaning is, "Who so doeth these things" to the end "shall never fall" into hell.

The Seventh Dialogue is full of important truths. Yet some expressions in it I cannot commend.

"’One thing thou lackest,’ — the imputed righteousness of Christ." (Page 216.) You cannot think this is the meaning of the text. Certainly the "one thing" our Lord meant was, the love of God. This was the thing he lacked.

"Is the obedience of Christ insufficient to accomplish our justification?" (Page 222.) Rather I would ask, Is the death of Christ insufficient to purchase it?

"The saints in glory ascribe the whole of their salvation to the blood of the Lamb." (Page 226.) So do I; and yet I believe "he obtained for all a possibility of salvation."

"The terms of acceptance for fallen man were a full satisfaction to the divine justice, and a complete conformity to the divine law." (Page 227.) This you take for granted; but I cannot allow it.

The terms of acceptance for fallen man are, repentance and faith. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel."

"There are but two methods whereby any can be justified, either by a perfect obedience to the law, or because Christ hath kept the law in our stead." (Ibid.) You should say, "Or by faith in Christ." I then answer, This is true; and fallen man is justified, not by perfect obedience, but by faith. What Christ has done is the foundation of our justification, not the term or condition of it.

In the Eighth Dialogue likewise there are many great truths, and yet some things liable to exception.

David "God himself dignifies with the most exalted of all characters." (Page 253.) Far, very far from it. We have more exalted characters than David’s, both in the Old Testament and the New. Such are those of Samuel, Daniel, yea, and Job, in the former; of St. Paul and St. John, in the latter.

"But God styles him ’a man after his own heart.’" This is the text which has caused many to mistake, for want of considering, First, that this is said of David in a particular respect, not with regard to his whole character: Secondly, the time at which it was spoken. When was David "a man after God’s own heart?" When God found him "following the ewes great with young," when he "took him from the sheep-folds." (Psalm 78:70, 71.) It was in the second or third year of Saul’s reign, that Samuel said to him, "The Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and hath commanded him to be captain over his people." (1 Samuel 13:14.) But was he "a man after God’s own heart" all his life? or in all particulars? So far from it, that we have few more exceptionable characters among all the men of God recorded in Scripture.

"There is not a just man upon earth that sinneth not." Solomon might truly say so, before Christ came. And St. John might, after he came, say as truly, "Whosoever is born of God sinneth not." (Page 261.) But "in many things we offend all." That St. James does not speak this of himself, or of real Christians, will clearly appear to all who impartially consider the context.

The Ninth Dialogue proves excellently well, that we cannot be justified by our works.

But have you thoroughly considered the words which occur in the 270th page?

"O children of Adam, you are no longer obliged to love God with all your strength, nor your neighbor as yourselves. Once indeed I insisted on absolute purity of heart; now, I can dispense with some degrees of evil desire. Since Christ has fulfilled the law for you, you need not fulfil it. I will connive at, yea, accommodate my demands to, your weakness."

I agree with you, that "this doctrine makes the Holy One of God a minister of sin." And is it not your own? Is not this the very doctrine which you espouse throughout your book?

I cannot but except to several passages also in the Tenth Dialogue. I ask, first,

"Does the righteousness of God ever mean," as you affirm, "the merits of Christ?" (Page 291.) I believe, not once in all the Scripture. It often means, and particularly in the Epistle to the Romans, God’s method of justifying sinners. When, therefore, you say,

"The righteousness of God means, such a righteousness as may justly challenge his acceptance," (page 225,) I cannot allow it at all; and this capital mistake must needs lead you into many others. But I follow you step by step.

"In order to entitle us to a reward, there must be an imputation of righteousness." (Ibid.) There must be an interest in Christ; and then "every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor."

"A rebel may be forgiven, without being restored to the dignity of a son." (Page 293.) A rebel against an earthly King may; but not a rebel against God. In the very same moment that God forgives, we are the sons of God. Therefore this is an idle dispute. For pardon and acceptance, though they may be distinguished, cannot be divided. The words of Job which you cite are wide of the question. Those of Solomon prove no more than this, (and who denies it?) that justification implies both pardon and acceptance.

"Grace reigneth through righteousness unto eternal life;" (page 295;) that is, the free love of God brings us through justification and sanctification to glory. "That they may receive forgiveness, and a lot among the sanctified;" (ibid.;) that is, that they may receive pardon, holiness, heaven.

"Is not the satisfaction made by the death of Christ sufficient to obtain both our full pardon and final happiness?" (Ibid.) Unquestionably it is, and neither of the texts you cite proves the contrary.

"If it was requisite for Christ to be baptized, much more to fulfil the moral law." (Page 296.)

I cannot prove that either one or the other was requisite in order to his purchasing redemption for us.

"By Christ’s sufferings alone, the law was not satisfied." (Page 297.) Yes, it was; for it required only the alternative, Obey or die. It required no man to obey and die too. If any man had perfectly obeyed, he would not have died. "Where the Scripture ascribes the whole of our salvation to the death of Christ, a part of his humiliation is put for the whole." (Ibid.) I cannot allow this without some proof. "He was obedient unto, death," is no proof at all; as it does not necessarily imply my more, than that he died in obedience to the Father. In some texts there is a necessity of taking a part for the whole. But in these there is no such necessity.

"Christ undertook to do everything necessary for our redemption;" (page 300;) namely, in a covenant made with the Father. It is sure he did everything necessary; but how does it appear that he undertook this before the foundation of the world, and that by a positive covenant between him and the Father?

You think this appears from four texts:

1. From that, "Thou gavest them to me." Nay, when any believe, "the Father gives them to Christ." But this proves no such previous contract.

2. "God hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all." Neither does this prove any such thing.

3. That expression, "The counsel of peace shall be between them," does not necessarily imply any more, than that both the Father and the Son would concur in the redemption of man.

4. "According to the counsel of his will;" that is, in the way or method he had chosen. Therefore, neither any of these texts, nor all of them, prove what they were brought to prove. ’They do by no means prove, that there ever was any such covenant made between the Father and the Son.

"The conditions of the covenant are recorded: ’Lo, I come to do thy will.’" (Page 301.) Nay, here is no mention of any covenant, nor anything from which it can be inferred. "The recompense stipulated in this glorious treaty." But I see not one word of the treaty itself. Nor can I possibly allow the existence of it, without far other proof than this. "Another copy of this grand treaty is recorded, Isaiah 49, from the first to the sixth verse." (Ibid.) I have read them, but cannot find a word about it in all those verses. They contain neither more nor less than a prediction of the salvation of the Gentiles.

"By the covenant of works man was bound to obey in his own person." (Page 302.) And so he is under the covenant of grace; though not in order to his justification. "The obedience of our surety is accepted instead of our own." This is neither a safe nor a scriptural way of speaking. I would simply say, "We are accepted through the Beloved. We have redemption through his blood."

"The second covenant was not made with Adam, or any of his posterity, but with Christ, in those words: ’The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.’" (Page 303.) For any authority you have from these words, you might as well have said, it was made with the Holy Ghost. These words were not spoken to Christ, but of him; and give not the least intimation of any such covenant as you plead for. They manifestly contain, if not a covenant made with, a promise made to, Adam and all his posterity.

"Christ, we see, undertook to execute the conditions." (Ibid.) We see no such thing in this text. We see here only a promise of a Savior made by God to man.

"It is true, I cannot fulfill the conditions." (Ibid.) It is not true. The conditions of the new covenant are, "Repent and believe." And these you can fulfil, through Christ strengthening you. "It is equally true, this is not required at my hands." It is equally true; that is, absolutely false: And most dangerously false. If we allow this, Antinomianism comes in with a full tide. "Christ has performed all that was conditionary for me." Has He repented and believed for you? You endeavor to evade this by saying, "He performed all that was conditionary in the covenant of works." This is nothing to the purpose; for we are not talking of that, but of the covenant of grace. Now, he did not perform all that was conditionary in this covenant, unless he repented and believed. "But he did unspeakably more." It may be so. But he did not do this.

"But if Christ’s perfect obedience be ours, we have no more need of pardon than Christ himself." (Page 308.) The consequence is good. You have started an objection which you cannot answer. You say indeed, "Yes, we do need pardon; for in many things we offend all." What then? If his obedience be ours, we still perfectly obey in him.

"Both the branches of the law, the perceptive and the penal, in the case of guilt contracted, must be satisfied." (Page 309.) Not so. "Christ by his death alone" (so our Church teaches) "fully satisfied for the sins of the whole world." The same great truth is manifestly taught in the Thirty-first Article. Is it therefore fair, is it honest, for any one to plead the Articles of our Church in defense of absolute predestination; seeing the Seventeenth Article barely defines the term, without either affirming or denying the thing; whereas the Thirty-first totally overthrows and raises it from the foundation?

"Believers, who are notorious transgressors in themselves, have a sinless obedience in Christ." (Ibid.) O siren song! Pleasing sound to James Wheatley, Thomas Williams, James Relly!

I know not one sentence in the Eleventh Dialogue which is liable to exception; but that grand doctrine of Christianity, original sin, is therein proved by irrefragable arguments.

The Twelfth, likewise, is unexceptionable; and contains such an illustration of the wisdom of God in the structure of the human body, as I believe cannot be paralleled in either ancient or modern writers.

The former part of the Thirteenth Dialogue is admirable: To the latter I have some objection.

"Elijah failed in his resignation, and even Moses spake unadvisedly with his lips." (Vol. II., page 44.) It is true; but if you could likewise fix some blot upon venerable Samuel and beloved Daniel it would prove nothing. For no scripture teaches, that the holiness of Christians is to be measured by that of any Jew.

"Do not the best of men frequently feel disorder in their affections? Do not they often complain, ’When I would do good, evil is present with me?’" (Page 46.) I believe not. You and I are only able to answer for ourselves. "Do not they say, ’We groan, being burdened with the workings of inbred corruption?’" You know, this is not the meaning of the text. The whole context shows, the cause of that groaning was their longing "to be with Christ."

"The cure" of sin "will be perfected in heaven." (Page 47.) Nay, surely in paradise, if no sooner. "This is a noble prerogative of the beatific vision." No; it will then come too late. If sin remains in us till the day of judgment, it will remain forever. "Our present blessedness does not consist in being free from sin." I really think it does. But whether it does or no, if we are not free from sin, we are not Christian believers. For to all these the Apostle declares, "Being made free from sin, ye are become the servants of righteousness." (Romans 6:18.)

"If we were perfect in piety," (St. John’s word is, "perfect in love,") "Christ’s priestly office would be superseded." No; we should still need his Spirit, and consequently his intercession, for the continuance of that love from moment to moment. Beside, we should still be encompassed with infirmities, and liable to mistakes, from which words or actions might follow, even though the heart was all love, which were not exactly right. Therefore, in all these respects, we should still have need of Christ’s priestly office; and therefore, as long as he remains in the body, the greatest saint may say,

"Every moment, Lord, I need
The merit of thy death"

The test cited from Exodus asserts nothing less than, that iniquity "cleaves to all our holy things till death."

"Sin remains, that the righteousness of faith may have its due honor." (Page 48.) And will the righteousness of faith have its due honor no longer than sin remains in us? Then it must remain not only on earth and in paradise, but in heaven also. "And the sanctification of the Spirit its proper esteem." Would it not have more esteem, if it were a perfect work?

"It" (sin) "will make us lowly in our own eyes." (Ibid.) What! will pride make us lowly? Surely the utter destruction of pride would do this more effectually. "It will make us compassionate." Would not an entire renewal in the image of God make us much more so? "It will teach us to admire the riches of grace." Yea, but a fuller experience of it, by a thorough sanctification of spirit, soul, and body, will make us admire it more. "It will reconcile us to death." Indeed it will not; nor will anything do this like perfect love.

"It will endear the blood and intercession of Christ." (Page 49.) Nay, these can never be so dear to any as to those who experience their full virtue, who are "filled with the fulness" of God. Nor can any "feel their continual need" of Christ, or "rely on him," in the manner which these do.

"The claims of the law are all answered." (Dialogue 14, page 57.) If so, Count Zinzendorf is absolutely in the right: Neither God nor man can claim my obedience to it. Is not this Antinomianism without a mask?

"Your sins are expiated through the death of Christ, and a righteousness given you by which you have free access to God." (Page 69.) This is not scriptural language. I would simply say, "By him we have access to the Father."

There are many other expressions in this Dialogue to which I have the same objection; namely,

1. That they are unscriptural;

2. That they directly lead to Antinomianism.

The First Letter contains some very useful heads of self-examination. In the Second, I read, "There is a righteousness which supplies all that the creature needs. To prove this momentous point is the design of the following sheets."

I have seen such terrible effects of this unscriptural way of speaking, even on those "who had once clean escaped from the pollutions of the world," that I cannot but earnestly wish you would speak no otherwise than do the oracles of God. Certainly this mode of expression is not momentous. It is always dangerous, often fatal.

"There sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin had reigned unto death, so might grace," the free love of God, "reign through righteousness," through our justification and sanctification, "unto eternal life." (Romans 5:20, 21.) This is the plain, natural meaning of the words. It does not appear that one word is spoken here about imputed righteousness; neither in the passages cited in the next page from the Common Prayer and the Articles. In the Homily likewise that phrase is not found at all, and the main stress is laid on Christ’s shedding his blood. Nor is the phrase (concerning the thing there is no question) found in any part of the Homilies. (Letter 3, page 93.)

"If the Fathers are not explicit with regard to the imputation of active righteousness, they abound in passages which evince the substitution of Christ in our stead; passages which disclaim all dependence on any duties of our own, and fix our hopes wholly on the merits of our Savior. When this is the case, I am very little solicitous about any particular forms of expression." (Page 101.) O lay aside then those questionable, dangerous forms, and keep closely to the scriptural!

"The authority of our Church, and of those eminent Divines," (Letter 4, p. 105,) does not touch those "particular forms of expression;" neither do any of the texts which you afterwards cite. As to the doctrine, we are agreed.

"The righteousness of God signifies the righteousness which God-Man wrought out." (Ibid.) No; it signifies God’s method of justifying sinners.

"The victims figured the expiation by Christ’s death; the clothing with skins, the imputation of his righteousness." (Page 107.) That does not appear. Did not the one rather figure our justification; the other, our sanctification?

Almost every text quoted in this and the following letter in support of that particular form of expression is distorted above measure from the plain, obvious meaning which is pointed out by the context. I shall instance in a few, and just set down their true meaning without any farther remarks. (Page 109.)

To "show unto man his uprightness;" to convince him of God’s justice in so publishing him.

"He shall receive the blessing," pardon, "from the Lord, and righteousness," holiness, "from the God of his salvation;" the God who saveth him both from the guilt and from the power of sin. (Page 110.)

I will "make mention of thy righteousness only:" Of thy mercy; so the word frequently means in the Old Testament. So it unquestionably means in that text, "In" or by "thy righteousness shall they be exalted." (Page 111.)

"Sion shall be redeemed with judgment," after severe punishment, "and her converts with righteousness," with the tender mercy of God following that punishment. (Page 112.)

"In," or through, "the Lord I have righteousness and strength," justification and sanctification; "he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation," saved me from the guilt and power of sin; both of which are again expressed by, "He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." (Page 113.)

"My righteousness," my mercy, "shall not be abolished." (Page 114.)

"To make reconciliation for iniquity," to atone for all our sins, "and to bring in everlasting righteousness," spotless holiness into our souls. And this righteousness is not human, but divine. It is the gift and the work of God. (Page 116.)

"The Lord our Righteousness;" the author both of our justification and sanctification. (Page 117.)

"What righteousness shall give us peace at the last day, inherent or imputed?" (Page 127.) Both. Christ died for us and lives in us, "that we may have boldness in the day of judgment."

"That have obtained like precious faith through the righteousness," the mercy, "of our Lord." "Seek we the kingdom of God and his righteousness," the holiness which springs from God reigning in you. (Letter 5, p. 131.)

"Therein is revealed the righteousness of God," God’s method of justifying sinners. (Page 132.)

"We establish the law, as we expect no salvation without a perfect conformity to it, namely, by Christ." (Page 135.) Is not this a mere quibble? and a quibble which, after all the labored evasions of Witsius and a thousand more, does totally "make void the law?" But not so does St. Paul teach. According to him, "without holiness," personal holiness, "no man shall see the Lord;" none who is not himself conformed to the law of God here, "shall see the Lord" in glory.

This is the grand, palpable objection to that whole scheme. It directly "makes void the law." It makes thousands content to live and die "transgressors of the law," because Christ fulfilled it "for them." Therefore, though I believe he hath lived and died for me, yet I would speak very tenderly and sparingly of the former, (and never separately from the latter,) even as sparingly as do the Scriptures, for fear of this dreadful consequence.

"’The gift of righteousness’ must signify a righteousness not their own." (Page 138.) Yes, it signifies the righteousness or holiness which God gives to, and works in, them.

"’The obedience of one’ is Christ’s actual performance of the whole law." (Page 139.) So here his passion is fairly left out! Whereas his "becoming obedient unto death," that is dying for man, is certainly the chief part, if not the whole, which is meant by that expression.

"’That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled’ in us; that is, by our representative in our nature." (Ibid.) Amazing! But this, you say, "agrees with the tenor of the Apostle’s arguing. For he is demonstrating, we cannot be Justified by our own conformity to the law." No; not here. He is not speaking here of the cause of our justification, but the fruits of it. Therefore, that unnatural sense of his words does not at all "agree with the tenor of his arguing."

I totally deny the criticism on dikaisunh and dikaiwma, and cannot conceive on what authority it is founded. O how deep an aversion to inward holiness does this scheme naturally create! (Page 140.)

"The righteousness they attained could not be any personal righteousness." (Page 142.) Certainly it was: It was implanted as well as imputed.

"For ’instruction in righteousness,’ in the righteousness of Christ." (Page 145.) Was there ever such a comment before? The plain meaning is, "for training up in holiness" of heart and of life.

"He shall convince the world of righteousness;" that I am not a sinner, but innocent and holy. (Page 146.)

"’That we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’ Not intrinsically, but imputatively." (Page 148.) Both the one and the other. God, through him, first accounts and then makes us righteous. Accordingly,

"’The righteousness which is of God by faith,’ is both imputed and inherent." (Page 152.)

"By faith fixes on both the meritorious life and atoning death of Christ." (Page 153.) Here we clearly agree. Hold then to this, and never talk of the former without the latter. If you do, you cannot say, "Here we are exposed to no hazard." Yes, you are to an exceeding great one; even the hazard of living and dying without holiness. And then we are lost forever.

The Sixth Letter contains an admirable account of the earth and atmosphere, and comprises abundance of sense in a narrow compass, expressed in beautiful language.

Gems have "a seat on the virtuous fair one’s breast." (Page 177.) I cannot reconcile this with St. Paul. He says, "Not with pearls;" by a parity of reason, Not with diamonds. But in all things I perceive you are too favorable, both to "the desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eye." You are a gentle casuist as to every self-indulgence which a plentiful fortune can furnish.

"Our Savior’s obedience." (Page 182.) O say, with the good old Puritans, "Our Savior’s death or merits!" We swarm with Antinomians on every side. Why are you at such pains to increase their number?

"My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation;" thy mercy which brings my salvation. (Page 194.)

The Eighth Letter is an excellent description of the supreme greatness of Christ. I do not observe one sentence in it, which I cannot cheerfully subscribe to.

The Ninth Letter, containing a description of the sea, with various inferences deduced therefrom, is likewise a masterpiece, for justness of sentiment, as well as beauty of language. But I doubt whether "mere shrimps " (page 291) be not too low an expression; and whether you might not as well have said nothing of "cod, the standing repast of lent;" or concerning "the exquisite relish of turbot, or the deliciousness of sturgeon." Are not such observations beneath the dignity of a Minister of Christ? I have the same doubt concerning what is said of "delicately flavored tea, finely scented coffee, the friendly bowl, the pyramid of Italian figs, and the pastacia-nut of Aleppo." (Page 264.) Beside that the mentioning these in such a manner is a strong encouragement of luxury and sensuality. And does the world need this? The English in particular! Si non insaniunt satis sua sponte, instiga. 37

"Those treasures which spring from the imputation of Christ’s righteousness." (Letter 10, p. 271.) Not a word of his atoning blood! Why do so many men love to speak of his righteousness, rather than his atonement? I fear, because it affords a fairer excuse for their own unrighteousness. To cut off this, is it not better to mention both together? at least, never to name the former without the latter?

"Faith is a persuasion that Christ has shed his blood for me, and fulfilled all righteousness in my stead." (Page 285.) I can by no means subscribe to this definition. There are hundreds, yea, thousands of true believers, who never once thought one way or the other of Christ’s fulfilling all righteousness in their stead. I personally know many who, to this very hour, have no idea of it; and yet have each of them a divine evidence and conviction, "Christ loved me, and gave himself for me." This is St. Paul’s account of faith; and it is sufficient. He that thus believes is justified.

"It is a sure means of purifying the heart, and never fails to work by love." (Page 287.) It surely purifies the heart, — if we abide in it; but not if we "draw back to perdition." It never fails to work by love while it continues; but if itself fail, farewell both love and good works.

"Faith is the hand which receives all that is laid up in Christ." Consequently, if we make "shipwreck of the faith," how much so ever is laid up in Christ, from that hour we receive nothing.

"Faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ is a fundamental principle in the gospel." (Letter 11, p. 288.) If so, what becomes of all those who think nothing about imputed righteousness? How many who are full of faith and love, if this be true, must perish everlastingly!

"Thy hands must urge the way of the deadly weapon through the shivering flesh, till it be plunged in the throbbing heart." (Page 297.) Are not these descriptions far too strong? May they not occasion unprofitable reasonings in many readers?

Ne pueros coram populo Medea trucidet. 38

"How can he justify it to the world?" (Page 298.) Not at all. Call this then justify his faith to the world?

"You take the certain way to obtain comfort, — the righteousness of Jesus Christ." (Page 304.) What, without the atonement? Strange fondness for an unscriptural, dangerous mode of expression!

"So the merits of Christ are derived to all the faithful." (Page 306.) Rather, the fruits of the Spirit; which are likewise plainly typified by the oil in Zechariah’s vision.

"Has the law any demand? It must go to him for satisfaction." (Page 310.) Suppose, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;" then I am not obliged to love my neighbor: Christ has satisfied the demand of the law for me Is not this the very quintessence of Antinomianism?

"The righteousness wrought out by Jesus Christ is wrought out for all his people, to be the cause of their justification, and the purchase of their salvation. The righteousness is the cause, and the purchase." (Page 311.) So the death of Christ is not so much as named! "For all his people." But what becomes of all other people? They must inevitably perish forever. The die was cast or ever they were in being. The doctrine to pass them by has

Consign’d their unborn souls to hell,
And damn’d them from their mother’s womb!

I could sooner be a Turk, a Deist, yea, an Atheist, than I could believe this. It is less absurd to deny the very being of God, than to make him an almighty tyrant.

"The whole world and all its seasons are rich with our Creator’s goodness. His tender mercies are over all his works." (Page 318.) Are they over the bulk of mankind? Where is his goodness to the non-elect? How are his tender mercies over them? "His temporal blessings are given to them." But are they to them blessings at all? Are they not all curses? Does not God know they are? that they will only increase their damnation? Does not he design they should? And this you call goodness: This is tender mercy!

’"May we not discern pregnant proofs of goodness in each individual object?" (Page 321.) No; on your scheme, not a spark of it, in this world or the next, to the far greater part of the world of his own hands.

"Is God a generous benefactor to the meanest animals, to the lowest reptile? And will he deny my friend what is necessary to his present comfort, and his final acceptance?" (Page 334.) Yea, will he deny it to any soul that he has made? Would you deny it to any, if it were in your power?

But if you loved whom God abhorr’d,
The servant were above his Lord.

"The ’wedding garment’ here means holiness." (Page 337.)

"This is his tender complaint, ’They will not come unto me!’" (Page 340.) Nay, that is not the case; they cannot. He himself has decreed, not to give them that grace without which their coming is impossible.

"The grand end which God proposes in all his favorable dispensations to fallen man is, to demonstrate the sovereignty of his grace." Not so: To impart happiness to his creatures is his grand end herein. Barely to demonstrate his sovereignty is a principle of action fit for the great Turk, not the most high God.

"God hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servants. He is a boundless ocean of good." (Page 341.) Nay, that ocean is far from boundless, if it wholly passes by nine tenths of mankind.

"You cannot suppose God would enter into a fresh covenant with a rebel." (Page 342.) I both suppose and know he did. "God made the new covenant with Christ, and charged him with the performance of the conditions." I deny both these assertions, which are the central point wherein Calvinism and Antinomianism meet. "’I have made a covenant with my chosen;’" namely, with "David my servant." So God himself explains it.

"He will wash you in the blood which atones, and invest you with the righteousness which justifies." (Page 362.) Why should you thus continually put asunder what God has joined?

"God himself at the last day pronounces them righteous, because they are interested in the obedience of the Redeemer." (Page 440.) Rather, because they are washed in his blood, and renewed by his Spirit.

Upon the whole, I cannot but wish that the plan of these Dialogues had been executed in a different manner. Most of the grand truths of Christianity are herein both explained and proved with great strength and clearness. Why was anything intermixed which could prevent any serious Christian’s recommending them to all mankind? anything which must necessarily render them exceptionable to so many thousands of the children of God? In practical writings, I studiously abstain from the very shadow of controversy. Nay, even in controversial, I do not knowingly write one line, to which any but my opponent would object. For opinions, shall I destroy the work of God? Then am I a bigot indeed. Much more, if I would not drop any mode of expression, rather than offend either Jew, or Gentile, or the Church of God.

I am, with great sincerity,

Dear Sir,

Your affectionate brother and servant,

John Wesley.

3. After waiting near two years, and receiving no answer to the second any more than the first Letter, in 1758 I printed "A Preservative against Unsettled Notions in Religion." I designed this at first only for the Preachers who were in connection with me. But I was afterwards induced to think it might be of use to others that were under my care. I designed it for these, and these alone, though I could not help its falling into other hands. Accordingly, I said, "My design in publishing the following Tracts, is not to reclaim, but to preserve." To preserve those to whom I had frequently and strongly recommended Mr. Hervey’s Dialogues, from what I disapproved of therein, I inserted the above Letter; and that without any addition, as intending it only "for those who already knew the truth," whom I wished to preserve from everything wrong, while they profited by what was admirably right, in his Dialogues. No wonder therefore that those notes (as Mr. Hervey remarks in the same page) "have rather the air of a caveat than a confutation." I never intended them for a confutation; and even when I sent them to the press I designed them merely as a caveat to my friends against imbibing truth and error together.

4. A considerable time after, I was much surprised by an information, that Mr. Hervey "was going to publish against me." I immediately wrote a short letter to him, which his friends may easily find among his papers. It was to this effect, and, so far as I can recollect, nearly in these words: —

"After waiting above a year for an answer to my last letter, I printed it in the close of a larger treatise. If you have anything to object to me, I expect that, as a gentleman and a Christian, you will behave to me as I did to you. Send me the letter first. And if I do not give you a satisfactory answer in a year, then publish it to all the world."

I am inclined to believe, this prevented the publication of these papers during his life. And with his dying breath, (I have it under his brother’s hand,) he desired they might not be published at all. How comes it then to be done now? I suppose, through the zeal of those who are so vehemently attached to their own opinions, that they would sacrifice all things to them; and who may sincerely believe, that the bringing any reproach upon me would be "doing God service."

5. In this prefatory discourse, I do not intend to "answer Mr. Hervey’s book." Shall my hand be upon that saint of God? No; let him rest in Abraham’s bosom. When my warfare is accomplished, may I rest with him till the resurrection of the just! Nor do I intend to say anything on those questions, whether Christ was the Mediator of the new covenant, or one of the contracting parties, or both the Mediator and a contracting party; neither indeed on any point of Calvinism: Herein I think and let think. I do not design to contend about the phrase, imputed righteousness; nor yet about the sense of it. I cannot explain this more fully or clearly than it is done in the ensuing Tract. I purpose only to speak a little on the personal accusations which are brought against me; and I doubt not but I shall convince all impartial men that I am clear of the things laid to my charge.

6. The chief of these are twelve. I might reckon many more; but they are all reducible to one or other of these. Each of these accusations is frequently repeated, and in great variety of language. But I shall be easily excused for citing only a few out of numerous passages to the same effect.

The First is, that I "assert things without proof." This is undoubtedly true. In the Letter before us, I touch upon many things, without once attempting to prove them. For I designed only,

(1.)To warn a friend, and give him matter for farther consideration.

(2.)To guard others from slipping into mistakes. Therefore Mr. Hervey need not have said, "Never did I meet with a person who seemed so totally ignorant, that there is a wide difference between saying and proving." (Page 236.) I am not ignorant of this; and so my friend would have found, had he favored me with a private answer. It would then have lain upon me to prove what I had barely said before.

7. I am accused, Secondly, of being self-sufficient, positive, magisterial. "Mr. Wesley, cased in his own self-sufficiency, esteems all these evidences as mere nothings. Reason, grammar, precedents are eclipsed by his bare negative." (Page 246.)

I know not which way this can be inferred from anything I have spoken to Mr. Hervey.

"Mr. Wesley replies, with the solemnity of a censor, and the authority of a dictator, ’ No.’" (Page 90.)

I am not conscious, that, in making that reply, I assumed any authority at all.

"Here I see nothing but the usual argument, the master’s ipse dixit." (Page 139.)

Love might have seen the friend, not the master, taking the liberty which he had been entreated to take.

"Strange! That a man of ordinary discernment should offer to obtrude upon the public such a multitude of naked, unsupported, magisterial assertions! should ever be able to persuade himself; that a positive air would pass for demonstration!" (Page 240.)

I thought nothing of the public when I wrote this Letter, but; spoke freely and artlessly to a friend; and I spoke as a friend, (so far as I can judge,) not a censor or dictator.

8. I am accused, Thirdly, of reasoning loosely and wildly. "Is not this the loose way of arguing you blame in Mr. Wesley" (Page 233.)

"What wild reasoning is here! Such premises and such an inference" (but they are none of mine) "will probably incline the reader to think of a sunbeam and a clod, connected with bands of smoke." (Page 103.)

When I write for the public, especially in controversy, I seek for connected arguments. Sed nunc non erat his locus. 39 The compass of a letter would hardly admit of them.

9. I am accused, in the Fourth place, of self-contradiction. "See how you are entangled in your own net; how, without being chased by an enemy, you run yourself aground. You avouch palpable inconsistencies." (Page 195.)

"Will Mr. Wesley never have done with self-contradiction? Why will he give me such repeated cause to complain, Quo teneamvultum mutantem Protea nodo?" 40

(Page 142.) "See, my friend, how thy own mouth condemneth thee, and not I; yea, thy own lips testify against thee! If you persist in such palpable inconsistencies, who can forbear taking up that taunting proverb, ’A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways?’" (Page 223.)

"Contradiction, didst thou ever know so trusty a friend, or so faithful a devotee? Many people are ready enough to contradict others. But it seems all one to this gentleman, whether it be another or himself, so he may but contradict." (Page 227.)

Could one imagine, that Mr. Hervey had added to this very page, a note wherein are these words, "The contemptuous and the reproachful, even when really deserved, can have no tendency to confirm our argument, but to provoke resentment. They are not the most promising means of joining us together in one mind and judgment; but rather the sure way to widen the breach and increase animosity."

These I acknowledge as Mr. Hervey’s words; for they breathe Mr. Hervey’s spirit. But if so, the former came from another heart, though perhaps they were transcribed by his hand.

But whence arises this whole charge of inconsistency and self-contradiction? Merely from straining, winding to and fro, and distorting a few innocent words. For wherein have I contradicted myself, taking words in their unforced, natural construction, or even changed my judgment in any one respect, with regard to justification, (nay, Mr. Hervey, in one of his Letters, formerly published, blames me for "never changing my judgment at all!") since I printed the sermon on "Salvation by Faith," in the year 1738? From that day I have steadily believed and uniformly asserted, as all my writings testify,

(1.)That the only cause of our present and eternal salvation is what Christ has done and suffered for us.

(2.)That we are justified and sanctified by faith alone, faith in him who lived and died for us. Let my words be twisted and wire-drawn ever so long, they will not fairly bear any other meaning, nor, without apparent violence, contradict either of these propositions. It is true,

(3.)That I have, during this whole time, occasionally used those expressions, imputed righteousness, the righteousness of Christ, and others of the same kind, — although the verses cited in several of Mr. Hervey’s Letters are not mine, but my brother’s. But it is equally true,

(4.)That I never used them at all, in any other meaning than that sound, scriptural one, wherein they are used by many eminent men, Calvin in particular. I choose not to speak farther on this head, lest I should be under a disagreeable necessity of saying anything that might even seem disrespectful to my ever-loved and honored friend.

10. I am accused, Fifthly, of not understanding criticism and divinity. "What a piddling criticism is this!" (Page 220.)

"I can no more admire your taste as a critic, than your doctrine as a Divine." (Page 145.)

"In this interpretation I can neither discern the true critic, nor the sound Divine." (Page 214.)

I am not a judge in my own cause. What I am ignorant of, I desire to learn.

I do not know whether the following charge may not fall under this head: —

"In another person, this would look like profane levity: In Mr. Wesley, the softest appellation we can give it is idle pomp." (Page 7.)

What! The using the expression, "for Christ’s sake?" The whole paragraph runs thus: —

"’We are not solicitous as to any particular set of phrases.’ (Page 212.) Then for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of the souls which he has purchased with his blood, do not dispute for that particular phrase, the imputed righteousness of Christ. It is not scriptural; it is not necessary. Men who scruple to use, men who never heard, the expression, may yet ’be humbled as repenting criminals at his feet, and rely as devoted pensioners on his merits.’ But it has done immense hurt. I have had abundant proof, that the frequent use of this unnecessary phrase, instead of furthering men’s progress in vital holiness, has made them satisfied without any holiness at all." Is the speaking earnestly on such a subject "idle pomp?" Are not the souls of men at stake? And most certainly the whole sentence is at as great a distance from levity as from profaneness.

11. I am accused, Sixthly, of acting in a manner unworthy a gentleman, a Christian, or a man of sense.

"I am quite ashamed of your meanness," (strong words!) "and grieved at your uncharitable rashness;" in naming three men, the fellows of whom, I hope, are not to be found in England." How unworthy is such a proceeding either of the gentleman, the Christian, or the man of sense! " (Page 186.)

I am not conscious of either meanness, rashness, or uncharitableness in this matter. But I am willing to refer it to the judgment of any who know the men and their communication.

12. I am accused, Seventhly, of impudence.

"Harmless enough, I must own; but what follows is not quite so modest." (Page 201.)

"Your last daring innovation." Affirming that the word usually rendered righteousness does sometimes mean mercy. I dare not say otherwise. I must affirm this still, both of the Hebrew and Greek word.

"Everybody knows that the particle beth signifies in, and everybody but Mr. Wesley would blush to assert the contrary." (Page 220.)

I never asserted the contrary, nor did I ever deny, that the particle en likewise signifies in. Yet I affirm that both the former and the latter have several other significations.

13. I am accused, Eighthly, of denying justification by faith, and of being an enemy to the righteousness of Christ.

"We have liberty to look upon ourselves as justified without any works of our own." (True; but not without faith.) "This you would supersede and abolish." (Page 261.)

The whole tenor of my writing, preaching, and conversation clears me of this charge.

"Why should you be so averse to the righteousness of God our Savior?" (Page 227.)

Far, very far from it. I admire, love, and embrace it, as the ground of all my hope, as the only foundation of every blessing, in time and in eternity.

"Why should you ransack all the stores of your learning and knowledge, to exclude this glorious truth from the Bible?"

I do just the contrary. I use whatever knowledge God has given me, to defend that glorious truth, "Jesus Christ is made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."

14. The Ninth accusation is short: You are an heretic, and your doctrine poisonous.

"You scarce distinguish yourself by this language from an heretic. You may rank with the Arian and Socinian." (Page 140.)

What is this language? The saying, "The free love of God brings us through justification and sanctification to glory." True; neither do I distinguish myself from a Jew, by saying, "There is one God." Does it follow, that I may rank with Jews? that I am a Jew too?

"Such errors are extremely pernicious. They are like poison mixed with food." (Page 120.)

Let those errors be pointed out and proved. I shall then willingly retract them.

15. I am accused, Tenthly, with being an Antinomian. "’Do you then establish the law?’ Are not you the Antinomian?" (Page 143.)

I should not imagine Mr. Hervey was in earnest here, but that I read in another place, —

"It is one of your leading errors, that you form low, scanty apprehensions of God’s law." (Page 69.)

What apprehensions I form of God’s law, any one may see in the second and third volumes of my Sermons; wherein, after explaining all the particular branches of it contained in our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, I say of it in general, Vol. V., p. 438: —

"This law is an incorruptible picture of the High and Holy One that inhabiteth eternity. It is He whom in his essence no man hath seen or can see, made visible to men and angels. It is the face of God unveiled; God manifested to his creatures, as they are able to bear it. It is the heart of God disclosed to man; yea, in some sense, we may apply to his law what the Apostle says of his Son, it is ’the streaming forth or outbeaming of his glory, the express image of his person.’

"What is the law but divine virtue and wisdom, assuming a visible form? What is it but the original ideas of truth and good, which were lodged in the uncreated mind from eternity, now drawn forth and clothed with such a vehicle, as to appear even to human understanding?

"The law of God is a copy of the eternal mind, a transcript of the divine nature; yea, it is the fairest offspring of the everlasting Father, the brightest efflux of his essential wisdom, the visible beauty of the Most High." Are these low and scanty apprehensions of God’s law? Or are any such found in the preceding sermons? Can any one form higher apprehensions of it? If not, let this accusation sink forever.

16. I am accused, in the Eleventh place, for teaching Popish doctrine: —

"Mr. Wesley, setting aside pardon and reconciliations together with the one perfect righteousness that procures them," (I set aside neither the one or the other,) "ascribes all to the love of God. This notion may pass current at Rome, but not among the Protestant Churches." (Page 101.)

"This was the doctrine established by the Council of Trent." (But it is not mine.) "This is still maintained in the conclave of Rome." (Page 117.) But it is not maintained by me, nor any of my friends. We teach quite the contrary.

"I acquit you from the charge of being a Jesuit or a Papist;" (so far, so good;) "but nobody, I apprehend, can acquit your principles from halting between Protestantism and Popery:" (No more than the principles of all who believe that "Christ tasted death for every man:") "You have stolen the unhallowed fire, and are infected with the leaven of Antichrist. You have adopted papistial tenets," (I know not which, and should be glad anyone would inform me,) "and are listening to ’the mother of abominations’ more than you are aware." (Page 118.) But let it be observed, the holding universal redemption is no proof of this. For thousands of Papists, yea, all the Dominican Friars, hold particular redemption.

"The moment in which saints depart from the body, they are in the highest heavens. Here is no hint of any intermediate state. This is the Popish notion." And the Protestant too: It is the notion of many very eminent Divines of our own Church. Bishop Smalridge, in particular, has published a celebrated sermon upon it. "I am very sorry your opinions are so much like the man of sin." (Ibid.)

In this article they are not like at all; they are directly opposite. For the Papists believe, even good men undergo a painful purgatory after death. I believe there is no pain after death, unless to those who perish forever.

17. The grand charge remains: I am accused, Lastly, and that over and over, in great variety of expressions, of being a knave, a dishonest man, one of no truth, justice, or integrity.

(1.)The First proof of it is this: "We have Aspasio’s words; but in a patched and disfigured condition." (Page 20.)

The words I quoted are: "As sin and misery have abounded through the First Adam, mercy and grace have much more abounded through the Second; so that now none have reason to complain."

That Aspasio’s words are here abridged, is true; that these are patched or disfigured, is not true, as every man of common sense must see. So this is no proof of dishonesty.

(2.)See another: "Turn inward, and you will probably discern more than a little disingenuity in your own procedure." (Page 83.)

Mr. Hervey said, "On Christ’s death sinners are to rely as the cause of their forgiveness; on Christ’s obedience, as the ground of their acceptance." I asked, "How does this agree with page 58, where we read these words? ’However I may express myself, I would always have the obedience and the death of Christ understood as a glorious aggregate, looking upon all this as the foundation of my hope.’" I ask again, How does the former sentence agree with this? And if a man think it agrees perfectly well, yet he has no ground to charge me with disingenuity for thinking otherwise.

(3.)A Third proof is brought, page 37: "Theron calls the terms inherent and imputed, nice distinctions, and metaphysical subtleties. Mr. Wesley makes Aspasio apply this to the active and passive righteousness of Christ, whereas he is treating of a subject totally different."

Upon recurring to the "Dialogues," I find this is true. Here therefore is a breach of literary justice. But it was not a designed one; as may appear from hence, that this was originally sent to Mr. Hervey himself, and him only. Now, had I been ever so dishonest, I should not have been so foolish, had I been conscious of any dishonest dealing, as to appeal to him, who of all others could not fail immediately to detect it.

(4.)A Fourth runs thus: "’Barely to demonstrate his sovereignty, is a principle of action fit for the great Turk, not the most high God.’ Such a fraudulent quotation I have not seen, no, not in the Critical Reviewers. To mark the first sentence with commas, and thereby assign it to me, is really a masterpiece, especially when you have thrust in the word barely, and lopped off the word grace." (Page 284.)

In my Letter the whole paragraph is: "’The grand end which God proposes in all his favorable dispensations to fallen man is, to demonstrate the sovereignty of his grace.’" (Is the word barely thrust in here, or the word grace lopped off? And could anyone, who had eyes to read this, be deceived by my citing afterward part of this sentence?) "Not so; to impart happiness to his creatures is his grand end herein. Barely ’to demonstrate his sovereignty’ is a principle of action fit for the great Turk, not the most high God."

You see, there needs only to correct the mistake of the printer, who sets the commas on the wrong word, and this "specimen too of my want of integrity" vanishes into nothing.

Suffer me to observe once more, (and let it be once for all,) that the sending false quotations of a man’s book to himself, and that while there was not the least design or thought of publishing what was so sent, could never be a proof of want of integrity, but of attention, or at most, of understanding.

(5.)But this will not avail in the following case: "Review a passage of your book on Original Sin. Here you scruple not to overleap the bounds of sincerity and truth. Aspasio had said, ’As Adam was a public person, and acted in the stead of all mankind; so Christ was a public person, and acted in behalf of all his people. As Adam was the first general representative of this kind, Christ was the second and the last.’ Here you substitute the word mankind instead of this kind. I at first thought, it might be an inadvertency, or an error of the press, till I looked to the bottom of the page, where I found the following words inclosed within the marks of the same quotation:" (That is, the commas, which ought to have been set five lines sooner, are set at the end of the paragraph:) "’All these expressions demonstrate, that Adam (as well as Christ) was a representative of all mankind; and that what he did in this capacity did not terminate in himself, but affected all whom he represented.’ (Original Sin, page 268; Dialogues, page 137.) Then I could no longer forbear crying out, ’There is treachery, O Ahaziah!’" (Page 278.)

Treachery! Cui bono? "For what end?" Can any guess? What was I to gain thereby? Of what possible advantage could it be, either to me or to the cause I was defending? What possible view could I have therein? And would I cheat for cheating sake? I was not here talking either of general or particular redemption. I purposely declined entering into the question throughout that whole treatise. Every candid man will therefore naturally suppose, that both the misplacing the commas, and the putting mankind for this kind, were the printer’s fault, not mine; a part of those numerous errors of the press, which were occasioned by my absence from it, and the inaccuracy of the corrector.

18. I will not tire either my reader or myself, by citing any more passages of this kind; although the circumstances are so plausibly related, and so strongly amplified, that, upon the first reading of each, I was myself ready to cry out, "Surely this must be true!" I hope the preceding specimen may suffice, and prevent impartial men from judging rashly. I shall add but one passage more; but it is a very extraordinary one; such as none can deny to be a home thrust, a blow under the fifth rib: —

"My dear Sir, let me give you a word of friendly advice. Before you turn Turk, Deist, or Atheist, see that you first become an honest man. They will all disown you, if you go over to their party destitute of common honesty." (Page 277.)

Upon what is this wonderful advice grounded? and this peremptory declaration, that, as I am now, even Turks and Deists, yea, Atheists, would disown me? Why, upon the printer’s blunder, — putting mankind: for this kind, and setting the commas in the wrong place!

"And is this thy voice, my son David?" Is this thy tender, loving, grateful spirit? No, "the hand of Joab is in all this!" I acknowledge the hand, the heart, of William Cudworth. I perceive, it was not an empty boast, (as I was at first inclined to think,) which he uttered to Mr. Pearse, at Bury, before my friend went to paradise, — "Mr. Hervey has given me full power to put out and put in what I please."

But he too is gone hence; and he knows now whether I am an honest man or no. It cannot be long, even in the course of nature, before I shall follow them.

My race of glory’s run, and race of shame;
And I shall shortly be with them that rest.

I could wish till then to be at peace with all men; but the will of the Lord be done! Peace or war, ease or pain, life or death, is good, so I may but "finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of the grace of God."


Nov. 16, 1764.


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Chicago: John Wesley, "Extracted from Mr. John Goodwin.," Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume X, ed. Thomas Jackson in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume X (London: Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, 1872), Original Sources, accessed November 30, 2023,

MLA: Wesley, John. "Extracted from Mr. John Goodwin." Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume X, edited by Thomas Jackson, in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume X, London, Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, 1872, Original Sources. 30 Nov. 2023.

Harvard: Wesley, J, 'Extracted from Mr. John Goodwin.' in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume X, ed. . cited in 1872, Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume X, Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, London. Original Sources, retrieved 30 November 2023, from