To John Robson [3]

September 30, 1735.

DEAR SIR, -- The dining in the hall on Friday seems to me utterly unjustifiable. It is giving offense in the worst sense, giving men occasion to think that innocent which is grossly sinful. The plausible pretenses for throwing off the very form of godliness that must be esteemed if we will do good; that we must keep those things private wherein we differ from the world, and so on, you will find fully examined in Nicodemus. [Wesley read Nicodemus; or, A Treatise on the Fear of Man, by August H. Francke, on his voyage to Georgia. He abridged it for Methodist readers in 1739. See Diary in Journal, i. 121, 300-1; Green's Wesley Bibliography, No. 12.] The Bishops can no more dispense with the law (the reason of which still subsists) than you or I can. Fasting is not a means of chastity only, but of deadness to pleasure, and heavenly-mindedness, and consequently necessary (in such measure as agrees with health) to all persons in all times of life. Had I been less strict, as 'tis called, I should have not only not done more good than I have (that is, God by me), but I never should have done any at all, nor indeed desired to do any. Till a man gives offense he will do no good; and the more offense he gives by adhering to the gospel of Christ the more good he will do, and the more good he does the more offense he will give. As to lukewarm company, I can only advise you (1) to keep out of it -- as much as you can; (2) when you cannot, to pray before, after, and during your stay in it fervently and without ceasing: but this you can't do---I know it; but God can make you able to do it, and in Him you must put your trust.

I am not satisfied (as I have told the Rector for this twelvemonth past) that the Wednesday fast [See letter of June 13, 1733.] is strictly obligatory; though I believe it very ancient, if not apostolical. He never saw what I writ upon it.

Dr. Tilly's sermons [William Tilly's Sixteen Sermons preached before the University of Oxford at St. Mary's (Phil. ii. 12-13). 'The grace of God shown to be not only consistent with the liberty of man's will, but the strongest obligation to our own endeavors' (2 Sermons. 1712).] on Free Will are the best I ever saw. His text is, 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.' May you all assist one another so to do, and be not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. ?a?a?a?e? te ????????, &c. Bear ye one another's burdens. I charge Mr. Robson in the name of the Lord Jesus that he no longer halt between two opinions. If the Lord be God, serve Him, love Him with all your heart, serve Him with all your strength; and pray for us that faith and utterance may be given us, that we may speak boldly as we ought to speak.

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