A Message From John Wesley

The following, written by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, to the Public Advertiser in 1780, is worthy of careful consideration by us all:

Professor Arthur Noble
"Sir, - Some time ago a pamphlet was sent to me, entitled 'An Appeal from the Protestant Association to the People of Great Britain'. A day or two since a kind of answer to this was put into my hand, which pronounces 'its style contemptible, its reasoning futile, and its object malicious'. On the contrary, I think the style of it clear, easy, and natural; the reasoning in general strong and conclusive; the object or design kind and benevolent. And in pursuance of this kind and benevolent design - namely, to preserve our happy Constitution - I shall endeavour to confirm the substance of that tract by a few plain arguments). With persecution I have nothing to do. I persecute no man for his religious principles. Let there be as 'boundless a freedom in religion' as any man can conceive. But this does not touch the point.

"That No Roman Catholic does or can give security for his allegiance or peaceable behaviour, I prove thus: It is a Roman Catholic maxim, established, not by private men, but by a public Council, that 'No faith is to be kept with heretics'. This has been openly avowed by the Council of Constance; but was never openly disclaimed. Whether private persons avow or disavow it, it is a fixed maxim of the Church of Rome. But, as long as it is so, it is plain that the members of that Church can give no reasonable security to any Government of their allegiance or peaceable behaviour. Therefore they ought not to be tolerated by any Government - Protestant, Mohammedan, or Pagan. You may say, 'Nay, but they will take an oath of allegiance'. True, five hundred oaths; but the maxim, 'No faith is to be kept with heretics' sweeps them all away as a spider's web. So that still no governors that are not Roman Catholics can have any security of their allegiance. Again, those who acknowledge the spiritual power of the Pope can give no security for their allegiance to any Government; but all Roman Catholics acknowledge this; therefore they can give no security for their allegiance. "John Wesley "City Road, Jan. 21st, 1780." We are determined not to yield to the Papacy. but to maintain the Protestant Religion and the Reformed Faith. It is our purpose to make crystal clear, what the Protestantism is which we are dedicated to maintain. We are not, let it be said at the outset, contending for a political Protestantism, although we are grateful for every political liberty which the Reformation has bequeathed us.

The Christian Counter
The Christian Counter