religious truth was totally changed. This I most firmly believe to have been by the promised teaching of the Spirit of truth, powerfully enlightening my mind, opening the scriptures, and by dispelling the clouds of error and prejudice, enabling me to receive the truth in faith and love. I am conscious that I have no intention, in speaking thus publicly on such a subject, but to advance the glory of God in the salvation of souls. But, as in his presence, I must declare that I have prayed over many of the most interesting passages of scriptures, chapter by chapter, and often verse by verse, with the most anxious dread of rejecting or mistaking the truth, or embracing a falsehood : and with the most earnest desire of knowing what that doctrine was, which Jesus and his apostles taught.--In the sight of God, I am sensible, I have abundant cause to be humbled, and ashamed of my frequent remissness, and the continual defilements of my prayers : but, as surely as I believe his promises to be faithful, as surely as I believe him to be a God “that heareth

prayer;" so surely do I believe, that “flesh and “ blood hath not revealed” to me the doctrines I now preach, but God himself by his Holy Spirit.

Reader, whoever thou art, if thy conscience testifies that thou hast hitherto lived in the neglect of this important duty, or in the formal, lifeless, unmeaning performance of it with thy lips, while thy heart hath been disengaged, and thy thoughts allowedly wandering to the ends of the earth : if thou hast not been accustomed, by fervent prayer, to seek wisdom from God by his teaching Spirit : if thou knowest not what it is to exercise faith upon the promises pointed out to thee, nor to plead them

in prayer to a promise-keeping God: if all thy knowledge of divine things hath been acquired by “ leaning to thy own understanding :”, if in reading the scriptures thou hast looked more to learned critics, commentators and expositors, than to the illuminating Spirit of God: then be as sure, as the word of God is true, and as we are concerned in it, that“ the light which is in thee is darkness,” and that thou “knowest nothing yet as thou ought“est to know.” May the Lord effectually incline thine heart to take a contrary course, and to seek wisdom where alone it can be found, even from the Lord, “ the Father of lights,” and “the giver of

every good and perfect gift," who hath invited and commanded thee to ask, that it may be given thee!

VI. I would observe, that there is nothing in this Narrative, which can reasonably be condemned as enthusiasm.

It is allowed that enthusiasm, properly so called, is a frequent attendant on religious zeal ; that in some of its operations it is a grievous evil, and in all attended with many inconveniences; and that it ought very carefully to be guarded against by every religious professor and zealous preacher. It would also be in vain to pretend, that the late revivals of religion, which have been indiscriminately stigmatized with the name of Methodism, have been in opinion and practice, entirely free from this enthusiasm. For what revivals of religion ever were free from scandals Where the Lord sows his good seed, there the enemy will be sure to scatter his tares. It must be confessed, that some of the most eminent instruments in this work, whose

names, when prejudice shall vanish, will be handed down with honour, as." burning and shining “ lights,” to the latest periods of the church ; have, by the greatness of their zeal, through human frailty, been betrayed into sentiments, expressions, and deportment, in some instances, justly to be censured as enthusiastical ; of which their enemies have not failed sufficiently to avail themselves. But, whatever indiscretions and mistakes particular persons, who have preached these doctrines, may have fallen into, this does not, in the judgment of candid and impartial persons, in the least affect the general cause, or prove the doctrines erroneous. We would not contend for the credit of individuals, or the interests of a party, but for the doctrines of God's word, and of the established church of England. These will continue true and important, though many of those, who have zealously and successfully preached them, may have justly incurred the charge of enthusiasm : and I would confidently insist on it, that a man may be led to the belief of these doctrines, in a way of sober 'rational enquiry, and zealously preach them without being an enthusiast.

It would be very well, if some of those, who so readily accuse whole bodies, of apparently religious persons, of enthusiasm, would favour us with their determinate definition of an enthusiast. In its original meaning the word has a very favourable sense, and implies, that, by a divine influence upon the soul, a man is filled with an ardour and warmth of zeal in the cause in which he is engaged. Now, “it is good to be zealously affected always in a

good thing :" and, if our ardour of soul be from


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the Spirit of God, according to the revealed will of God, and for the glory of God, it is the noblest, most desirable, most heavenly, and most beneficial exertion of the human mind.-In every thing, but religion, an ardour described by the term enthusiasm, is allowed and commended : a poetical, a military, patriotic enthusiasm, even when it carries men beyond the strict bounds of cold reasonings and exact prudence, fails not to meet with admirers. Our zeal may be fervent in every thing without censure, unless we be zealous for the glory of God, and the salvation of immortal souls. But, there is an enthusiasm of this sort, which forms the highest elevation, and the noblest effort of the human mind. Such an enthusiasm animated the Apostle Paul in all his self-denying labours and sufferings, and filled his writings (under the guidance of the Holy Ghost,) with the most ardent zeal for the honour of his beloved Saviour, and affection for the souls of men. Such an enthusiasm he expresses when he says

" Whe“ther we be beside ourselves it is to God, or whe“ther we be sober, it is for your cause ; for the “ love of Christ constraineth us.” (2 Cor. v. 13, 14.) Of this enthusiasm I wish I were far more guilty.—But, on the other hand, there is danger of a counterfeit, pernicious enthusiasm ; and about that we are at present enquiring. Now, I apprehend, that in order to constitute this culpable enthusiasm, some one or more of the following things must appear: either, the ardour of soul excited proceeds from a heated imagination, or from a delusion of Satan, instead of being produced by a divine influence; or, the cause in which this ar

dour is employed is the cause of error and wickedness, instead of the cause of God and truth; or, it exerts itself in unjustifiable measures and practices. For, if our ardour be warranted by the word of God, if it do not tend to the dishonour of God, and if it be confined in its exercise to the rules and precepts of the word of God: how intense soever it

may be, I can see no cause to censure it; unless men can be too zealous for the glory of God, and the salvation of souls.

But, whatever be the distinguishing criterion of enthusiasm, I suppose it will be difficult to fix a charge of it upon any thing, for which I plead in this narrative. I never was taught by impulses, impressions, visions, dreams, or revelations; except so far as the work of the Spirit, in enlightening the understanding, for the reception of the truths contained in the holy Scriptures, is sometimes stiled revelation. (See Eph. i. 17.) Other · revelation I never expected. Not but that the

Lord is sovereign, and may do what he will with his own; and, if he pleases, may, and I suppose sometimes does, go out of the ordinary course, for the conversion of a sinner, or the guidance of a perplexed, or the comfort of a distressed, soul ; but I never took one step in dependence on any such extraordinary interpositions, nor ever encou raged any person to do so. And surely it will not be called enthusiasm by any but avowed infidels, to believe God's word to be the standard of truth, and his promises to be faithful ; and in this belief, to seek for the knowledge of the doctrines of the gospel, in the manner above related. In this way I have been taught no new truths ; but, as I be

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