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“An Earnest and Affectionate Address to
the People called Methodists :"
SIX LETTERS TO A FRIEND.
“ His words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords."
PRINTED FOR AND SOLD BY THE AUTHOR.
As requested, I proceed to make a few observations on a small tract, entitled, “ An Earnest and Affectionate Address to the People called Methodists." The Address" seems to have been published under the patronage of “The Som ciety for promoting Christian Knowledge.” The author, to me, is unknown. But as it was industriously circulated among the Methodists by the Rev. Edmund Paley, Curate of Cawthorne, at a time when the Methodists were fitting up a place for Public Worship in the village, it evidently receives his sanction, and, from its contents, was intended to prevent the spread of Methodism.
The“ Address," I am sorry to say, abounds with bold assertions but without proofs to support them. The reader is saved from the trouble of turning over a large collection of old dusty folios, by way of reference. But though he may estimate on a saving of time, he has no right to expect an exemption from doubt; nor does a want of proof, either by way of reference or argument, free the writer from the charge of precipitancy.
Socinianism, Sir, is so glaring a heresy, that, even to a common capacity, it seems to carry with: it its own condemnation. The case differs, how
ever, as it respects Arianism. There is something in the Arian heresý so specious, from its nearer approach to truth, that people are in greater danger of being imposed upon by it. The same remark will hold good in the present case. Had the writer of the “Address" come forward with all the ensigns of an antagonist, the Methodists would have been upon their guard. But he approaches them in the character of a friend; of one " who has been long grieved, to see so much honesty and well-meaning, SO greatly imposed upon;": of one who mourns to find the Methodists “ignorantly going on in serving the designs of enthusiasm, and in giving credit to the most extravagant and groundless pretences;" and of one who “ has noʻother motive but a real regard to the honour of our most holy religion, and a desire to promote the peace and welfare of society.?* That the author's motives in writing were pure that he sincerely believes the Methodists to be a deluded people-and that he has been long grieved to see them imposed upon, is not my design to controvert. But we all know, that there may be pure motives without the application of proper means ma belief that others are deluded while we ourselves are labouring under the same disorder and a poignant grief without any just cause. The first is exemplified in a Physician administering improper medicine; the second in a Jew supposing Christianity to be a mere cheat; and the third in a person who is troubled with a scrupulous conscience. Our motives, however, it should be remembered, will not, in every instance, prove us innocent. Let us, to illustrate this point, only advert to what has just been observed in the case of a
+ « Address," p. 3.
Physician. Here, we will suppose, a person who acts in a professional capacity. He visits a sick person-his motives are good-he intends the restoration of the patient--but, unfortunately, he administers improper medicine: the consequence is, the patient dies. Now the Physician's intentions being good, he cannot, with any kind of justice, be condemned on the ground of motive. He can only be censured on the ground of ignorance, from whence originated the application of improper means. But it is easy to perceive, that purity of motive will not atone for the injury done to the patient's body. Should this professional gentleman, after seeing the baneful effects of his medicine, still continue in the practice of physic--persist in administering, for the same disorder, the same potion-and totally neglect to examine the constitution to which he intends to apply his intended restorative, it will either argue interested motives, obstinacy of temper, or inability to examine. In short, it will argue that he takes up the profession, , more for the sake of a living, than for any regard to the health of the patient. Though no improper motives
be attributed to the writer of the “Address," yet he would do well, before he comes forward again, to cultivate an acquaintance with the doctrines, the discipline, the worship, and the practices of the Methodists. From the nature of the medicine be offers, it is to be feared, that he considers the disorder far more alarming than it really is.
The author, jealous lest his “ Address" should not have its desired effect, says to the members of the Methodist Society, “Let not your teachers hinder you from reading these papers impartially.