Such was the rise, and such has been the progress, of Methodism, from the beginning to the present time. But you will naturally ask, “What is Methodism? What does this new word mean? Is it not a new religion?” This is a very common, nay, almost an universal, supposition; but nothing can be more remote from the truth. It is a mistake all over. Methodism, so called, is the old religion, the religion of the Bible, the religion of the primitive Church, the religion of the Church of England.
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So then, that “whosoever believeth on him shall be saved,” is, and must be, the foundation of all our preaching; that is, must be preached first. “Well, but not to all.” To whom, then are we not to preach it? Whom shall we except? The poor? Nay; they have a peculiar right to have the gospel preached unto them. The unlearned? No. God hath revealed these things unto unlearned and ignorant men from the beginning. The young? By no means. “Suffer these,” in any wise, “to come unto Christ, and forbid them not.” The sinners? Least of all. “He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Why then, if any, we are to except the rich, the learned, the reputable, the moral men. And, it is true, they too often except themselves from hearing; yet we must speak the words of our Lord. For thus the tenor of our commission runs, “Go and preach the gospel to every creature.”
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Proclaim the glad tidings of salvation ready to be revealed, not only to those of your own household, not only to your relations, friends, and acquaintance, but to all whom God providentially delivers into your hands! “Ye,” who already know in whom you have believed, “are the salt of the earth.” Labour to season, with the knowledge and love of God, all that you have any intercourse with! “Ye are as a city set upon a hill;” ye cannot, ye ought not to be hid. “Ye are the light of the world: men do not light a candle, and put it under a bushel;” how much less the all wise God! No; let it shine to all that are in the house; all that are witnesses of your life and conversation. Above all, continue instant in prayer, both for yourselves, for all the Church of God, and for all the children of men, that they may remember themselves, and be turned unto our God, that they likewise may enjoy the gospel blessing on earth, and the glory of God in heaven!
14 min read
Constantly and carefully use all those means which He has appointed to be the ordinary channels of His grace. Use every means which either reason or Scripture recommends, as conducive (through the free love of God in Christ) either to the obtaining or increasing any of the gifts of God. Thus expect a daily growth in that pure and holy religion which the world always did, and always will, call “enthusiasm;” but which, to all who are saved from real enthusiasm, from merely nominal Christianity, is “the wisdom of God, and the power of God;” the glorious image of the Most High; “righteousness and peace;” a “fountain of living water, springing up into everlasting life!”
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My first design was, to offer a few plain thoughts to the Clergy of our own Church only. But upon farther reflection, I see no cause for being so “straitened in my own bowels.” I am a debtor to all; and therefore, though I primarily speak to them with whom I am more immediately connected, yet I would not be understood to exclude any, of whatsoever denomination, whom God has called to “watch over the souls of others, as they that must give account.”
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