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: After I had received this letter, I was sufficiently confirmed in my judgment respecting the man and his doctrine. It is now about ten years since Mr. Vessey first imbibed the doctrine of Sabellianism; for, about that time, he joined with Mr. Butler in attempting to make a proselyte of a certain lady, who is at this time in my house; Mr. Stephens consenting to the doctrine, though Vessey and Butler were the chief speakers. After the reception of this letter from Woolwich, I made diligent inquiry to know if there ever was one soul converted to God by Mr. Vessey's ministry; for it hath long been an established point with me, that no man, let his gifts be what they may, unless he was born again of the Holy Ghost, can be a minister of the Spirit to another. And upon inquiry, I found that there was not one soul at Woolwich converted to God by him. He converted several to his notions; but they are never the better for that. There is one at Streatham also that I have known for several years, whom Mr. Vessey called his firstborn son, his might, and the beginning of his strength; but there is nothing in him; he is neither all glorious within, nor all glorious without. That he was called by Mr, Vessey I do not deny; but he was never called of God, nor does he know any thing of him, Nor do I believe that there is one soul that was ever converted to the faith of Christ by Mr Vessey at Chatham, nor any where else; if there is, let them send me an account of it, and refute me. I have heard lately of two persons at Maidstone, that were his offspring, and began to preach in the high town, till a mob drove them from their high station; which was nothing else but a being buffeted for their faults.
It was my intention to have published the letter from Woolwich soon after the reception of it; but a deal of labour, and being twice in the country, prevented it. And when I heard of his death, I intended it should have been for ever buried in silence, till the letter from Chatham, which had been circulated among my friends, fell into my hands, in which I am so highly reprehended; and, as I am certain the publication of this cannot alter the state of the deceased, but may open the eyes of some who are in his damnable delusion, and undeceive others who may be led to cleave to his heresy by the report of his end, I think myself justifiable in publishing the same. If he made a joyful and triumphant end, he died as he lived. He was joyful and triumphing all the ten years that I knew him : I never once saw him in any other frame. And, as he himself owned that he never had experienced any change of heart, it is not likely that any changes should appear in his frames. But to have no changes is not the criterion of a saint, but of a sinner; and to have no bands in death is not called the end of the just, but of the hypocrite; and to escape the path of tribulation is not following them that are in glory, but those that were at ease in Zion. We
know that a delusion is strong, and it is a damnable delusion that he was in. And, if the strong man armed keep the palace, his goods are in peace, whether in life or death; unless the eye of Justice awaken the conscience. Some are awakened in this world, and others lift up their eyes in the next. I knew Mr. Vessey upwards of ten years : but the real ballast of a vessel of mercy, which is the forgiveness of sins, access to God, union with Christ, a broken heart, and a daily cross, never appeared in him, nor the least symptom of them; and, without which, popular applause and pride are sure to fill the sails, and make shipwreck of the brightest profession, either in this world, or in the next.
I confess that Mr. Butler greatly staggered and perplexed my mind for many months, and sent me with many petitions to God, who one day sent me this promise, “ Call upon me in the time of trouble, and I will show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not;' in fulfilling which, he gave me a vision on Riply Common, in the day-time, which established my soul; for I was not fighting against the glorious doctrine of the Trinity, but the hand of my faith was beaten off, and my mind perpetually staggered by this man's damnable sophistry; therefore this vision was sent to settle and establish me. And it was a vision of the Trinity that Butler saw, which drowned him in despair; and no wonder, for he was fighting against it. Thus God's hand was
known toward his servant, and his indignation toward his enemy.
John saw the right-hand of the Father holding forth a book, and at the same time, saw the Lamb take the book, Rev. v. 1. 6.7. And he had a vision of the seven spirits which are before his throne, Rev. i. 4.; denoting, by the number seven, that the Holy Ghost is perfect God, who communicates to the churches his perfect, or sevenfold gifts, “ dividing to every man severally as he will."
Vessey's damnable delusion is this ; That there is but one person in the Godhead, which is Christ, who acts in three different characters. So that, when the Prince of Life offered himself in sacrifice, it was not to God the Father as another distinct person, but to himself in another office-character. What wretched confusion does this make where there is the greatest harmony! However, this I know, that those who have got the Anointing in them, who leads them into all truth, know what Paul means by the fellowship of the Spirit; and what John means by our having fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Christ Jesus. Such souls have got the love of God the Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the testimony of the Holy Ghost, in their own hearts. The ever-blessed Trinity dwell in such humble and contrite souls, agreeable to the promise; “ And Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my father will
love him, and we (which means no less than a plurality of persons] will come unto him, and make our abode with him," John xiv. 23. But Mr. Vessey knew nothing of these things, he had no experience; he owned his heart was never changed; he was a real antinomian in spirit, a Sabellian in principle, and a libertine in practice. This is confirmed by the testimony of eleven men; nor did I ever see any thing to contradict it in all the ten years that I knew him, but rather to confirm it. And if such sensual, uninspired men, so involved in damnable delusions, who can preach against the divine revelation that God has given of himself, and boast of the full assurance of faith, while they deny the personality of God, the giver of faith, and the personality of Christ, the author and finisher of faith, and the personality of the Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit of faith: I say, if such men as these are in the way to heaven, we may say that the Bible has deceived us all. But the scriptures of truth cannot be broken; as it is written, “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” Nor do I believe that Mr. Vessey ever had what is called, in the strictest sense, a spiritual gift; for, if the Spirit bestows a gift of knowledge and a gift of utterance on a graceless man, I believe that such a knowledge is tolerably sound in the letter, and the speech is often seen to be such as cannot easily be condemned, whatever it may degenerate to afterwards, when God puts a bridle in their jaws, causing them to err, Isaiah xxx. 28. But Mr.