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THE REV. MR. WESLEY'S
" Calm Address to our American Colonies:"
IN THREE LETTERS
TO MR. CALEB EVANS:
VICAR OF MADELEY, SALOP.
It will probably seem strange, that Clergymen should meddle with a controversy, which has hitherto been considered as altogether political. But the reader's surprise, in this respect, will probably cease, if he give himself the trouble to read these Letters. He will then see, that the American controversy is closely connected with Christianity in general, and with Protestantism in particular ; and that, of consequence, it is of a religious, as well as of a civil nature.
Is it not granted on all sides, that the gos. pel leads to the practice of strict morality? Is it not an important branch of such morality “ to honour and obey the king ;"—to extend that honour and obedience, in a scriptural and constitutional manner, to “ all that are put in authority under him :-to submit ourselves to all our governors ;-to order ourselves lowly and reverently to all our betters; -to hurt no body by word or deed ;-and to be true and just in all our dealings;" give every one his due, “ tribute to whom tribute is due, and custom to whom custom?' Do we not teach this doctrine to our children, when we instruct them in the first principles of Christianity? If Divinity, therefore, can Cast light upon the question, which divides Great Britain and her Colonies ; is it impertinent in Divines to hold out the light of their science, and peaceably to use what the Apos. tle calls the sword of the Spirit; that the material sword, unjustly drawn by those who are in the wrong, may be sheathed; and that a speedy end may be put to the effusion of Christian blood ? Another reason influences the Author to
write upon the question which is now warmly agitated in England, --so dreadfully debated in America. Many of the Colonists are as pious as they are brave; and whilst their undaunted fortitude makes them scorn to bow under an hostile arm, which shoots the deadly lightning of war; their humble piety may dispose them (or some of them) to regard a friendly hand, which holds out an Olive Branch, a Bible, and the Articles of Religion drawn by their favourite Reformer. Had more care been taken to inform their judgment, and to work upon their consciences, by addressing them, not only as
subjects, but as free men, brethren, and Protestants, it is probable that numbers of them would never have so strongly embraced the unscriptural principles, which now influence their conduct.
Should it be said, that it is too late now, to use spiritual weapons with the Colonists : I reply, that this objection bears too hard upon their candour; it can never be too late to hold out plain scripture, and solid arguiments, to judicious Protestants. It is only to Papists strongly prejudiced, or to those who relapse into Popish obstinacy, that the light of God's word, and of sound reason, can come too late. Besides, the mistakes which have armed the provincials against Great Britain begin to work in the breasts of many good men among us; witness the principles of Americanus. Now, therefore, is the time to keep these well-meaning men from going to the same extremes, to which the Colonists are gone: Now is the time to prevent others, whose judgment is yet cool and sober, from drinking in errors, by which such numbers are intoxicated.
The Doctrine of Taxation, maintained by the Author of the Calm Address, is rational, scriptural, and constitutional.
THANKFUL for the religious and civil liberty which I enjoy as a subject of Great Britain ;-persuaded, that many warm, well-meaning men mistake an unreasonable opposition to the King, and the Minister, for true patriotism ;_sensible of the sad consequences of national misunderstandings; ardently wishing that all things may be so ordered and settled upon the best and surest foundation, (which, if I mistake not, are Reason, Scripture, and our excellent Constitution,) that peace and harmony may, for all generations, be established between Great Britain and her flourishing Colonies ;-and desirous to inspire you, Sir, and my dissatisfied, dissenting brethren, with the same loyal sentiments, I take the pen to expostulate with you about the system of politics, which you recommend to the public in your " Letter to the Rev. Mr Wesley, occasioned by his Calm Address to the American Colonies."
It is at this time peculiarly needful to throw light