As Toplady lay dying runours were spread that Toplady had renounced his Calvinism and that he wished to make peace with Wesley, on June 14th Toplady rose from his deathbed and preached a final sermon, following which he asked the dissenting ministers present in the congregation to join him in celebrating Holy Communion. This sermon formed the basis of this short pamphlet published a few days later, and shortly before his death on August 11th, 1778.
WHEREAS, some Time since, a wick ed, scandalous, and false Report was diffused, in various parts of this Kingdom, by the Followers of Mr JOHN WESLEY ; purporting, that I have changed some of my religious Sentiments, especially such of them as relate more immediately to the Doctrines of Grace, I thought it my indispensable Duty, on the Sunday after I received this Information, which was the .13th of June last, publicly to declare myself, from the Pulpit in Orange-Street Chapel, to the following Effect :
" It having been industriously circulated, by some malicious and unprincipled Persons, that, during my present long and severe Illness, I expressed a strong desire of seeing Mr John Wesley before I die, and of revoking some Particulars relative to him, which occur in my Writings : Now, I do publicly and most solemnly aver, that I have not, nor ever had, any such Intention or Desire; and that I most s incerely hope, my last Hours will be much better employed, than in con versing with such a Man.”
To which I added:
“So certain and so satisfied am I, of the Truth of all that I have ever written ; that, was I now sitting up in my dying Bed, with a Pen and Ink in my Hand, and all the religious and contro versial Writings I ever published (more especially those relating to Mr John Wesley, and the Arminian Controversy) whether respecting Facts or Doctrines, could at once be displayed to my View, I should not strike out a single Line relative to him or them."
Matters read thus, when I received a Letter, dated July 17, 1778, from a Friend who lives near an hundred Miles from Town, in which Letter is the following Passage:
"I cannot help feeling an uncommon Emotion and Surprise, at the Report, that you have recanted all that you have written and said against John Wesley, and many like Things ; and that you declared as much to your Congregation, a few Weeks ago. I was told this, by two Persons, who said, they were there present at the Time. How am I amazed at such Falshoods! The Party, and Name, and Character, that are established by Lies, have no good Foundation, and therefore can never stand long."
This determined me to publish the present Address to the Religious World. I pray God to give the perfect Liars, Grace and Repentance to the Acknowledgment of the Truth. And may every Blessing, of the upper and of the nether Springs, be the Portion of those who maintain, who experience, and adorn the glorious Gospel of the Grace of GOD.
Should any hostile Notice be taken of this Paper, I do not intend to make any Kind of Reply. I am every Day in View of Dissolution. And, in the fullest Assurance of my eternal Salvation, (an Assurance which has not been clouded by a single Doubt, for near an Year and an half last past) am waiting, looking, and longing for the Coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST.
I once intended subjoining to this Paper, the specific Outlines of my religious Sentiments ; but, on farther Reflection, I believe it may be more expedient, to refer the Reader to the several ( If the Reader wishes to see a doctrinal Compendium of these, he will find it, in a Sermon of mine intitled, A Caveat against unsound Doctrines : every Part of which I hereby avow to be declarative of my fixed and ultimate Judgment, ) Writings I have published : every one of which I do hereby, as a dying Man, ratify and declare to be expressive of my real religious Principles, from any one of which Principles I have never varied, in the least Degree, since God enlightened me into the clear Knowledge of his Truth ; which is now within a few Weeks of twenty Years ago I was awakened in the Month of August , 1755, but not, as has been falsly reported, under Mr John Wesley , or any preacher connected with him.
Though awakened in 1755, I was not led into a full and clear View of all the Doctrines of Grace, till the Year 1758, when, through the great Goodness of GOD, my Arminian Prejudices received an effectual Shock, in reading Dr MANTON'S Sermons on the xvii th of St John.
I shall remember the Years 1755, and 1758, with Gratitude and Joy, in the Heaven of Heavens, to all Eternity.
AUGUSTUS MONTAGUE TOPLADY.
Knightsbridge, July 22, 1778.