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love is free in its fountain, free in its channel, free in the administration of it, and free in its operation. “I will love them freely,” irrespective of works, worth, or worthiness, God's love is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost freely given to us; which ever-blessed Spirit is the Spirit of promise; a free gift to us; whose first fruit is love, and real love is perfect liberty, and a perfect deliverance from the yoke of bondage, from the law of works, from the fear of its curse, and from the torment that it threatens. Now, if father Joss has ever received the love of God, he must have received it in this channel, and in no other; and, if he has received it, why does he boast as if he had not? The law does not exclude boasting. Why does he palm his love to God upon the helpless commandment, which commandment is weak through the flesh, and can afford no help to us in this matter? And shall I stand up before an audience, and preach up and plead for the law, and talk of my love to God, and call it my obedience to the law, and so degrade the sovereign bounty of heaven, and Jesus Christ, the grand medium of all conveyance? If a man loves God, it is because God first loved him; and, if the righteousness of Christ is on the sinner, and the love of God in his heart, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in him. This I allow, but it is not fulfilled by him; for both righteousness and love are freely bestowed upon righteous persons, who are avowed enemies to God, and to all godliness.
Let us be honest, father Joss, and not cry up our obedience to the law, but the unmerited mercy of God in Christ to such poor, cursed, hell-bred sinners as we were, who were by sin the slaves of Satan, and by nature the children of wrath. When I met you in the Tabernacle vestry at Bristol, I gave you an opportunity to dispute this point with me. I brought it upon the carpet on purpose, but you declined, and fell in with all I said, without contradicting a word.' You blessed me for my faithful testimony, delivered before you and three thousand more, and begged God's blessing on it, and gave me the right hand of fellowship, and wished me success in the work. I am the same man now that I was then. At Stroud, in Gloucestershire, you told an inquirer that you did not like me at all. Be it so. I always liked you. But at Greenwich, when in company with a friend of mine, you liked me much, and my doctrine too. Let us lay by this walking in craftiness; but, above all, lay by handling the word of God deceitfully. You have been so long used to say a confederacy to all the Tabernacle connection, and to conform to all that venerable society, by conniving at some reproof-worthy, countenancing others who ought to be shunned, and cutting at others out of complaisance to the rest, that I much fear you have lost a good deal of that tenderness, feeling, conscientiousness, honesty, uprightness, and faithfulness, that is required in a steward of God. It is not shaping a profession, a conversation, and a ministry, to every person's humour,
temper, principles, and empty profession, nor fawning over a parcel of old women, that can be called doing the work of an evangelist. Crying up old Wesley, that enemy of all divine righteousness, in one pulpit, and preaching eternal election in another, is preaching to please men with a witness: but this is not the characteristic of a good minister of Jesus Christ. God has instructed me with too strong a hand to suffer me to walk in this way. Sending persons to heaven who were never converted, and in whom or by whom the Spirit never spoke, and who sought and preached themselves, not the Lord Jesus, and who have left nothing behind them but a testimony against their own souls, is assuming an authority which God has not granted; and to charge persons with horrid principles, which you cannot disprove, is no better. If you choose to dispute this point with me, undertake it; if not, don't fight against God, nor his grace, leșt he serve you as he did Evans at Bristol. You are not equal at present to this task. Your conformity has dried up a good deal of the moisture and power of your right arm, and your right eye is not a little darkened; you are not so bright as you were. Be a little more faithful; separate the vile from the precious; don't aim to please all, lest your profiting appear to none. Congregations that are like a parish pudding, made of all manner of ingredients, are not true churches of Christ. Arminians, Moravians,
Socinians, Arians, Pharisees, and Calvinists, all huddled together, and a ministry shaped to please such a convocation, must veil the wise, and varnish the fool; starve the saint, and feed the hypocrite. This is Tabernacle and Tottenham work. And sure I am that God will purge his floor; and, if it is not done by the faithful preaching of his word, he will do it by the sword of war, by the wind-fan of damnable errors, by more faithful labourers raised up, or by persecution unto blood. And the present or rising generation of the righteous will have to thank the linsey-woolsey preachers of the present day for it; and, among the rest, the dissimulating captain Joss. .
My good friend knows that many have laboured long and hard in reproaching me; but what have they gained by it? Poor old father Woodgate toiled at it till he lost the favour of many of his friends, which so filled him with jealousy that he became delirious and useless. Mr. Morton pursued the same till his charge dismissed him; Mr. Meyer went on till he got into prison; Mr. Watts laboured at it till he called preaching free grace rocking the devil's cradle, who has since been laid aside as a dry tree; Mr. Barnet, at Lewes in Sussex, till the congregation turned him out, and he got another place built in expectation that many would follow him, but not four did; Mr. Garrett, at Basingstoke, went on with the same till the people despised him, and he left the place at midnight; Mr. Evans went on till God struck him first dumb, and then mad, and at last sent him to his grave; and Mr. Gwynnep has toiled, till he is so shut up that he cannot come forth, either with a mouthful of truth, or a grain of common sense, as a sermon of his now in my possession shews; and, as for Maria and John Ryland, they are no more: and I believe the cap tain will get no more honour from God than these did. My testimony for Christ is the same that it was when you so much applauded it. If this shooting is intended to thin my followers, it has all been hitherto in vain. I have above three thousand even in London to this day. If it is intended to stop my usefulness, it is in vain also; for God still gives testimony to the word of his grace. If it is intended to blacken my character, it has had no effect. I can still shew my faith by my works; or, if it is intended to deter or frighten the people, it has not succeeded; they are bombproof, and I stand manifested in their own consciences; yea, they see eye to eye with me, and a consistency and a certainty in my doctrine. It is neither beating the air, blowingan uncertain sound, nor running at an uncertainty. Grace and works, service in the oldness of the letter and in the newness of the Spirit, can never stand together. You may at this work bring a deal of -sin to your door, which some future trial may awaken your conscience to let in; which will never be removed by looking to the law, but by doing as I do--looking to Jesus, and trusting in him as the sinner's all in