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SECTION XXIV.




ON HEARING MINISTERS WHO OPPOSE THE TRUTH.



"1. LAST summer I received a letter from Yorkshire, signed by several serious men, who proposed a difficulty they were under, wherein they knew not how to act. And, indeed, I did not well know how to advise them. So I delayed giving them a determinate answer, till I could lay the matter before our brethren at the ensuing conference.

"2. Their difficulty was this: 'You advise all the members of our societies constantly to attend the service of the Church. We have done so for a considerable time. But very frequently Mr. R.; our minister, preaches not only what we believe to be false, but dangerously false, doctrine. He asserts, and endeavors to prove, that we cannot be saved from our sins in this life. and that we must not hope to be perfected in love on this side eternity. Our nature is very willing to receive this; therefore, it is very liable to hurt us. Hence we have a doubt, whether it is our duty to hear this preaching, which experience shows to weaken our souls.'

"3. This letter I laid before the conference, and we easily perceived the difficulty therein proposed concerned not only the society at Baildon, but many others in various parts of the kingdom. It was therefore considered at large, and all our brethren were desired to speak their sentiments freely. In the conclusion, they unanimously agreed, First, that it was highly expedient, all the Methodists (so called) who had been bred therein should attend the service of the Church as often as possible; but that, Secondly, if the minister began either to preach the absolute decrees, or to rail at and ridicule Christian perfection, they should quietly and silently go out of the church; yet attend it again the next opportunity.

"4. I have since that time revolved this matter over and over in my mind; and the more I consider it, the more I am convinced, this was the best answer that could be given. I still advise all our friends, when this case occurs, quietly and silently to go out. Only I must earnestly caution them not to be critical; not to make a man an offender for a word; no, nor for a few sentences, which any who believe the decrees may drop without design. But if such a minister should at any time deliberately, and of set purpose, endeavor to establish absolute predestination, or to confute Scriptural perfection, then I advise all the Methodists in the congregation quietly to go away."

LEWISHAM JAN. 9, 1782.