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hardened against the truths he maintained, and so ably vindicated; and even his friends staggered by the shocking accounts forged and propagated : I say, when I saw this to be the case, I determined (to adopt an expression of your own) to “write and print.” I said, let God be true, and every man a liar. If
you make no reply, I cannot avoid construing your silence into an acquiescence of your being guilty of the matter brought against you. If you do “ write and print” in answer, let me beg you, for once, to avoid quibbles and evasions.
I am, Rev. Sir,
“ We whose names are underwritten are willing to testify upon oath, if required, that all the particulars published to the world in the late, Memoirs, relative to the illness and death of the late Rev. Augustus Montague Toplady, are strictly true; we ourselves having been eye and ear witnesses of the
And therefore we all heartily join the author of the foregoing letters, in calling upon Mr. John Wesley, to produce his authority for what he told to Mr. Thomas Robinson of Hilderthorp, the Rev. Mr. Greaves, and others, as specified in the letter.
Andrew Gifford, D. D. British Museum.
+ Mr. Evans attended Mr. Toplady the whole time of his last illness until his death.
Thomas Hough, Surgeon, No. 3, Coventry-street.
It would be an unpardonable omission, not to take notice of the nervous reprehension Mr. Wesley received on his unjust assertions, by a pious dissenting minister, who expostulated with him, in a pamphlet, in the following words t : “ Mr. Wesley, and his confederates, to whom this letter is addressed, did not only persecute the late Mr. Toplady, during his life, but even sprinkled his deathbed with abominable falsehood. It was given out, in most of Mr. Wesley's societies, both far and near, that the worthy man had recanted and disowned the doctrines of sovereign grace, which obliged him, though struggling with death, to appear in the pulpit emaciated as he was, and openly avowed the doctrines he had preached, as the sole support of his departing spirit. Wretched must that cause be, which has need to be supported by such unmanly shifts, and seek for shelter under such disingenuous subterfuges. O! Mr. Wesley, answer for this conduct at the bar of the supreme. Judge yourself, and you shall not be judged. Dare you also to persuade your followers, that Mr. Toplady actually died in despair! Fie upon sanctified slander! Fie! Fie!"
* Mrs. Elizabeth Sterling was the only nurse who attended Mr. Toplady until his death, and of course must be the person falsely charged by Mr. Wesley, to bave joined his societies in consequence of his (Mr. Toplady's) awful departure. A charge equally false with all Mr. Wesley's other assertions.
+ See a tract entitled, “ The Foundery Budget Opened," printed for Johnston, 1780, by the reverend Mr. M‘Gowan, author of the Shaver, Death a Vision, &c. &c.
Those who have read the preceding letters, astonished as they must have been at their contents, will be yet more astonished to hear, that, to the loud and repeated calls, thus given him to speak for himself, Mr. Wesley answered not a word. Nor is it too much to say, that, by maintaining a pertinacious silence, in such circumstances, the very vitals of his character were stabbed by himself. He thus consented to a blot remaining on his name, among the foulest that ever stained the reputation of a professed servant of Jesus Christ. The truth or falsehood of those principles, however, which it was the object of his long and laborious life to propagate and defend, cannot be considered as at all affected by bis unhappy, and unmanly, and ungodly conduct, in reference to this matter. The account that has just been given of his conduct, together with the reprehension it so well merits, must not, therefore, be considered as designed to repudiate his peculiar principles. By their own merits, or demerits, they must be justified, or condemned. Still less, is it our object to reflect on Mr. Wesley's followers. By the better part of them, the conduct which we have reprobated, will not be approved. Differing from them, as we do, in a few other points of far greater importance, we yet know, and are happy to acknowledge, that some of them are eminent for great talents, and extensive learning; and that more of them are distinguished, for what is still better, -for piety towards God, for faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and for an ardent and enviable zeal to pro. mote the present and everlasting happiness of their fellow men.
We must now return once more to Mr. Toplady. And before taking our final leave of him, we shall present our readers with a copy of his last Will and Testament; a document, too characteristic to be omitted in any account of its author. It is as follows:
IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I Augustus Montague Toplady, Clerk, Bachelor of Arts, and Vicar of the Parish and Parish church of BroadHembury, in the county of Devon, and diocese of Exeter; being mindful of my mortality, (though, at present, in a competent state of bodily health, and of perfect mind and memory) do make and declare this my last will and testament (all written with my own hand, and consisting of three folio pages), this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, in manner and form following: That is to say, First: I most humbly commit my soul to the hands of almighty God; whom I know, and have long experienced, to be my ever-gracious and infinitely merciful Father. Nor have I the least doubt of my election, justification, and eternal happiness, through the riches of his everlasting and unchangeable kindness to me in Christ Jesus his coequal Son; my only, my assured, and my all-sufficient Saviour: washed in whose propitiatory blood, and clothed with whose imputed righteousness, I trust to stand perfect and sinless and complete, and do verily believe that I most certainly shall so stand, in the hour of death, and in the kingdom of heaven, and at the last judgment, and in the ultimate state of endless glory. Neither can I write this my last will without rendering the deepest, the most solemn, and the most ardent thanks, to the adorable Trinity in Unity, for their eternal, unmerited, ir
reversible, and inexhaustible love to me a sinner. I bless God the Father, for having written, from everlasting, my unworthy name in the Book of Life; even for appointing me to obtain salvation, through Jesus Christ my Lord. I adore God the Son, for his having vouchsafed to redeem me by his own most precious death; and for having obeyed the whole law, for my justification. I admire and revere the gracious benignity of God the Holy Ghost, who converted me, to the saving knowledge of Christ, more than two and twenty years ago, and whose enlightening, supporting, comforting, and sanctifying agency is, and (I doubt not) will be, my strength and my song, in the house of ny earthly pilgrimage. Secondly: As to my body, I will and desire it may be interred in my chancel, within the parish church of Broad-Hembury, aforesaid, if I should be in Devonshire, or near to that county at the time of my death. But, in case I die at, or in the neighbourhood of, London; or at any other considerable distance from Devonshire ; let the place of my interment be, wheresoever my executor (herein after named) shall choose and appoint; unless, in writing or by word of mouth, I should hereafter signify any particular spot for my place of burial. Thirdly: Let me be buried where I may, my express will and desire is, that my grave be dug to the depth of nine feet, at the very least, from the surface of the ground; or (which would be still more agreeable to my will and desire) to the depth of twelve feet, if the nature of the soil should admit of it. I earnestly request my executor to see to the performance of this article, with particular care and exactness. Fourthly: My express will is, that my funeral expences may not, if possible, exceed the sum of twenty pounds sterling. Let no company be invited to my burial. Let no rings, scarfs, hatbands, or mourning of any kind, be distributed. Let no fu