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restless desire of political change on every pinching | church, tur it has disposed the great body of reliof the times, and its constant concomitant, an aver- gious pecple, not of the church, to admire and resion to the national establishment, partly as the respect those numerous members of the establishment, sult of ill-digested theories, and partly because this both clergymen and laics, whose eminent piety. feeling was encouraged by the negligent habits of talents, and asefulness, have done more to abaie u many of the clergy, and the absence of that influ- prejudices arising from different views of chur ence which they might have acquired in their pa- government, than a thousand treatises could wave rishes by careful pastoral attentions. To all this is effected, however eloquently written, or abiy ar10 be added the diffusion of infidel principles, both gued. of foreign and home growth, which, from the studies It
also be asked, Who are the persons whom of the learned, descended into the shop of the me- the Methodists have alienated from the church? In chanic, and, embodied in cheap and popular works, this too, the church writers have labored under found their way into every part of the empire. To great mistakes. They have " alienated” those, for counteract agencies and principles so active and so the most part, who never were, in any substantial pernicious, it is granted that no means have yet sense, and never would have been of the church. been applied of complete adequacy. This is the rea- Very few of her pious members have at any time son why their effects are so rife in the present day, been separated from her communion by a conand that we are now in the midst of a state of things nection with us; and many who became serious which no considerate man can contemplate without through the Methodist ministry, continued attend. some anxiety: These circumstances, so devastating ants on her services, and observers of her sacrato morals and good principles, could only have been ments. This was the case during the life of Mr. fully neutralized by the ardent exertions of every Wesley, and in many instances is so still; and when clergyman in his parish, of every dissenting minister an actual separation of a few persons has occurred, in his congregation, of every Methodist preacher in it has been much more than compensated by a re his circuit, of every private Christian in his own turn of others from us to the church, especially of circle, or in the place which useful and pious insti- opulent persons, or their children, in consequence tutions of various kinds would have assigned him; of that superior influence which an established and even then the special blessing of God would church must always exert upon people of that class. have been nesessary to give effect to the whole. But For the rest, they have been brought chiefly from had no correctives been applied what had been the the ranks of the ignorant and the careless; persons present state of the nation and of the church? The la- who had little knowledge, and no experience of the bors of the founders of Methodism were, from the power of religion; negligent of religious worship beginning, directly counteractive of the evils just of every kind, and many of whom, but for the agenmentioned; and those have little reason to stigia- cy of Methodism, would have swelled the ranks of tize them who deplore such evils most, and yet have those who are equally disaffected to church and done least for their correction and restraint. Wher state. If such persons are not now churchmen, they ever these men went, they planted the principles of are influenced by no feelings hostile to the institureligion in the minds of the multitudes who heard tions of their country. them; they acted on the offensive against immorality, Such considerations may tend to convey more soinfidelity, and error; the societies they raised were ber views on a subject often taken up in heat:employed in doing good to all; the persons they as that they will quite disarm the feeling against sociated with them in the work of national reforma- which they are levelled is more than can be hoped tion were always engaged in diffusing piety; and for, considering the effects of party spirit
, and the though great multitudes were beyond their reach, many forms of virtue which it simulates. Howthey spread themselves into every part of the land, ever, it is nothing new for the Methodists to endure turning the attention of men to religious concerns, reproach, and to be subject to misrepresentations. calming their passions, guarding them against Perhaps something of an exclusive spirit may have the strifes of the world, enjoining the scriptural prin- grown up amongst us in consequence; but, if so, it ciples of " obedience to magistrates,” and a sober, has this palliation, that we are quite as expansive temperate, peaceable, and benevolent conduct. The as the circumstances in which we have ever been direct effect of their exertions was great; and it placed could lead any reasonable man to anticipate. increased in energy and extent as the demoralizing It might almost be said of us, “Lo, the people shall causes before-mentioned acquired also greater acti- dwell alone.” The high churchman has persecuted vity; and when their indirect influence began to us because we are separatists; the high Dissenter appear more fully in the national church, and in has often looked upon us with hostility, because we other religious bodies, remedies more commensu- would not see that an establishment necessarily, and rate with the evils existing in the country began to in se, involved a sin against the supremacy of be applied. I shall not affect to say what would have Christ; the rigid Calvinist has disliked us, because been the state of the church of England under the we hold the redemption of all men; the Pelagianized uncontrolled operation of all the causes of moral | Arminian, because we contend for salvation by deterioration, and civil strife, to which I have ad- grace; the Antinomian, because we insist upon the yerted; or what hold that church would have had perpetual obligation of the moral law; the moralist, upon the people at this day, if the spirit of religion because we exalt faith; the disaffected, because we had not been revived in the country, and if, when hold that loyalty and religion are inseparable; the ancient prejudices were destroyed or weakened by political tory, because he cannot think that separathe general spread of information among men, no tists from the church can be loyal to the throne; new bond between it and the nation at large had the philosopher, because he deems us fanatics; been created. But if, as I am happy to believe, the whilst semi-infidel liberals generally exclude us national church has much more influence and much from all share in their liberality, except it be more respect now than formerly; and if its influ- in their liberality of abuse. In the mean time, ence and the respect due to it are increasing with we have occasionally been favored with a smile, the increase of its evangelical clergy, all this is own though somewhat of a condescending one, from the ing to the existence of a stronger spirit of piety: lofty churchman; and often with a fraternal emand in producing that, the first great instruments brace from pious and liberal Dissenters : and if we were the men whose labors have been mentioned in act upon the principles left us by our great founder, the preceding pages. Not only has the spirit which we shall make a meek and lowly temper an essenThey excited improved the religious state of the tial part of our religion: and, after his example
AND A CATHOLIC SPIRIT.
move onward in the path of doing good, through concerning it.” He met with those relations in "honor and dishonor, through evil report and good reading, or received them from persons deemed by report,” remembering that one fundamental princi- him credible, and he put them on record as facts ple of Wesleyan Methodism is ANTI-SECTARIANISM reported to have happened. Now, as to an unbe
liever, one sees not what sound objection he can To return, however, to Mr. Wesley: Among make to that being recorded which has commanded the censures which have been frequently directed the faith of others; for as a part of the history of against him, are his alleged love of power, and his human opinions, such accounts are curious, and credulity. The first is a vice; the second but a have their use. It neither followed, that the editor weakness; and they stand therefore upon different of the work believed every account, nor that his grounds.
readers should consider it true because it was As to the love of power, it may be granted that, printed. It was for them to judge of the evidence like many minds who seem born to direct, he de-on which the relation stood. Many of these acsired to acquire influence; and, when he attained counts, however, Mr. Wesley did credit, because it, he employed his one talent so as to make it gain he thought that they stood on credible testimony; and more talents. If he had loved power for its own he published them for that very purpose, for which sake, or to minister to selfish purposes, or to injure he believed they were permitted to occur—to conothers, this would have been a great blemish; but firm the faith of men in an invisible state, and in he sacrificed no principle of his own, and no inte- the immortality of the soul. These were his morest or right of others, for its gratification. He tives for inserting such articles in his magazine; gained power as all great and good men gain it, by and to the censure which has been passed upon him the very greatness and goodness with which they on this account, may be opposed the words of the are endowed, and of which others are always more learned Dr. Henry More, in his letter to Glanville, sensible than themselves. It devolved upon him the author of Sadducismus Triumphatus : "Wherewithout any contrivance; and when he knew fore let the small philosophic Sir Toplings of this he possessed it, no instance is on record of present age deride as much as they will, those that his having abused it
. This is surely virtue, not lay out their pains in committing to writing certain vice, and virtue of the highest order. The only well-attested stories of apparitions, do real service proof attempted to be given that he loved power, is, to true religion and sound philosophy; and they that he never devolved his authority over the socie- most effectually contribute to the confounding of in. ties upon others: but this is capable of an easy ex-fidelity and Atheism, even in the judgment of the planation. He could not have shared his power Atheists themselves, who are as much afraid of the among many, without drawing up a formal constitu- truth of these stories as an ape is of a whip, and tion of church-government for his societies, which therefore force themselves with might and main to would have amounted to a formal separation from disbelieve them, by reason of the dreadful consethe church; and it would have been an insane ac- quence of them, as to themselves.” It is sensibly tion had he devolved it upon one, and placed him bserved by Jortin, in his remarks on the diabolica) self, and the work he had effecied, under the ma- possessions in the age of our Lord, that" one reason nagement of any individual to whom his societies for which Divine Providence should suffer evil could not stand in the same filial relation as to him- spirits to exert their malignant powers at that time, self. He, however, exercised his influence by aid of might be to save a check to Sadducism among the the counsel of others; and allowed the free discussion Jews, and Atheism among the Gentiles, and to reof all prudential matters in the conference. Had move in some measure these two great impediments he been armed with legal power to inflict pains and to the reception of the gospel." For moral uses, penalties, he ought to have distrusted himself, as supernatural visitations may have been allowed in every wise and good man would do, and to have subsequent ages; and he who believes in them, only voluntarily put himself beyond the reach of temp- spreads their
moral the farther by giving them pubtation to abuse what mere man, without check, can licity. Before such a person can be fairly censured, seldom use aright. This I grant; but the control the ground of his faith ought to be disproved, for he to which he was subject was, that the union of his only acts consistently with that faith. This task societies with him was perfectly voluntary, so that would, however, prove somewhat difficult. over them he could have no influence at all but Mr. Wesley was a voluminous writer; and as he what was founded upon character, and public spirit, was one of the great instruments in reviving the and fatherly affection. The power which he exer- spirit of religion in these lands, so he led the way cised has descended to the conference of preachers; in those praiseworthy attempts which have been and, as in this case, his has been often very absurd- | made to diffuse useful information of every kind, ly complained of, as though it were parallel to the and to smooth the path of knowledge to the middle power of civil government, or to that of an esta- and lower ranks of society. Besides books on reliblished church, supported by statutes and the civil gious subjects, he published many small and cheap arm. But this power, like his, is moral influence treatises on various branches of science; plain and only, founded upon the pastoral character, and can excellent grammars of the dead languages; expur. exist only upon the basis of the confidence inspired gated editions of the classic authors; histories, civil by the fact of its generally just and salutary exer- and ecclesiastical; and numerous abridgments of cise among a people who neither are nor can be un- important works.* der any compulsion. On the charge of credulity, it may be observed,
* Mr. Wesley's principal writings are, his translations that Mr. Wesley lived in an age in which he thought of the New Testament, with Explanatory Notes, quarmen in danger of believing too little, rather than too lumes duodecimo ; his Appeal to Men of Reason and
his Journals, 6 vols. duodecimo; his Sermons, 9 vomuch, and his belief in apparitions is at least no Religion; his Defence of the Doctrine of Original Sin, proof of a credulousness peculiar to himself. With in Answer to Dr. Taylor ; his answers to Mr. Church, respect to the "strange accounts” which he inserted and Bishops Lavington and Warburton; and his Prein his magazine, and strange indeed some of them destination calmly considered, besides many smaller were, it has been falsely assumed that he himself tracts on various important subjects. His works were believed them entire. This is not true. He fre- published by himself in thirty-two volumes, duodecimo, quently remarks, that he gives no opinion, or that in the year 1771. An edition of them in fourteen large
octavo volumes has just been completed; with his work " he knows not what to make of the account," or on the New Testament in two volumes of the same that "he leaves every one to form his own judgment size. In addition to his original compositions, Mr
It is his especial praise, that he took an early part great and good man. Whether they are still to in denouncing the iniquities of the African slave diffuse a hallowing influence through the country, trade, and in arousing the conscience of the nation and convey the blessings of Christianity to heathen on the subject. In Bristol, at that time a dark den lands with the same rapidity and with the same of slave-traders, he courageously preached openly vigor, will, under the Divine blessing, depend upon against it, defying the rage of the slave-merchants those who have received from him the trust of a and the mob; and his spirited and ably reasoned system of religious agency, to be employed with the tract on slavery continues to be admired and quoted same singleness of heart, the same benevolent zeal to the present time. It may be added, that one of for the spiritual benefit of mankind, and the same the last letters he ever wrote was to Mr. Wilber- dependance upon the Holy Spirit. I know not that force, exhorting him to perseverance in a work, of it bears upon it any marks of decay, although it which he was one of the leading instruments-the may require to be accommodated in a few particueffecting the abolition of the traffic in the nerves lars to the new circumstances with which it is surand blood of man.
rounded. The doctrinal views which Mr. Wesley At the time of Mr. Wesley's death, the number | held were probably never better understood or more of members in connection with him in Europe, accurately stated in the discourses of the preachers; America, and the West India Islands, was 80,000. and the moral discipline of the body, in all its essenAt the last conference, 1830, the numbers returned tial parts, was never more cordially approved by were, in Great Britain, 249,278; in Ireland, 22,897; the people generally, or enforced with greater faithin foreign missions 41,186; total 313,360, exclusive fulness by their pastors. Very numerous are the of near half a million of persons in the societies in converts who are every year won from the world, the states of America. As to the field of labor at brought under religious influence, and placed in the home, the number of circuits in the United King- / enjoyment of means and ordinances favorable to dom, was, at the time of his death, 115. At present their growth in religious knowledge, and holy hathey are 399. The number of mission stations was bits; and many are constantly passing into eternity, 8 in the West Indies, and 8 in British America : at of whose "good hope through grace," the testimony present there are 150. The number of preachers is in the highest degree satisfactory. If Methodism left by him was 312. It is now 993, in the United continue in vigor and purity to future ages, it will Kingdom; and 193 in the foreign missions. In the still be associated with the name of its founder, and United States of America the number of preachers encircle his memory with increasing lustre; and if is about 2,000.
it should fall into the formality and decays which Such have been the results of the labors of this have proved the lot of many other religious bodies,
he will not lose his reward. Still a glorious harvest Wesley published upwards of a hundred and twenty dif- of saved souls is laid up in the heavenly garner, ferent works, mostly abridged from other authors; wbich will be his " rejoicing in the day of the Lord;" among which are Grammars in five different languages; whilst the indirect influence of his labors upon the the Christian Library, in fifty duodecimo volumes; other religious bodies and institutions of the country thirteen volumes of the Arminian Magazine ; a History will justly entitle him to be considered as one of the four volumes each; a Compendium of Natural Philoso- most honored instruments of reviving and extending phy, in five volumes; and an Exposition of the old the influence of religion, that, since the time of the Testament, in three quarto volumes.
apostles have been raised up by the providence of God.
CONTENTS OF THE LIFE OF WESLEY.
-Preaches it-Mr. Charles Wesley's religious Mr. Wesley's Parentage-Mrs. Susanna Wesley Experience-Remarks.. Pages 15-19.
Samuel Wesley, jun.-Mr. Wesley at School and
V. Ordination - College Honors-Charles Wesley's State of Religion in the Nation-Mr. Wesley's Viearly Life-Methodists at Oxford-Origin of the sit to Germany-Return to England-His Labors name Methodist.
Pages 3—6. in London-Meets with Mr. Whitefield-Dr.
Woodward's Societies-Mr. Charles Wesley's II.
Labors-Field Preaching-Remarks. The Wesleys at Oxford— Their efforts to do good
Pages 19–23. Opposition-Correspondence with Mr. Wesley,
:-Mr. Samuel Wesley, and Mrs. WesleyMr. John Wesley refuses to settle at Epworth Effect of the Labors of the Messrs. Wesley, and Mr. Remarks-Death of Mr. Wesley, sen.—The
Whitefield at Kingswood-Mr. Wesley at Bath
-Statement of his doctrinal views–Separates Wesleys engage to go out to Georgia-Letter of Mr. Gambold.
from the Moravians in London-Formation of
the Methodist Society-Mr. Wesley's MotherIII.
Correspondence between Mr. John and Mr.
Samuel Wesley on Extraordinary Emotions, and The Wesleys on their voyage-Intercourse with the the doctrine of Assurance-Remarks-Enthu
Moravians Conduct, Troubles, and Sufferings siasm-Divine Influence Difference between in Georgia-Affair of Miss Hopkey-Mr. Wes Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield-Their Reconley returns to England. :: Pages 11–15. ciliation-Mr. Maxfield-Mr. Wesley's defence
of his calling out Preachers to assist him in his IV. work-Remarks.
Pages 23—30. Mr. Wesley's review of his religious Experience Trouble of mind-Interview with Peter Bohler
VII. Receives the doctrine of justification by Faith Persecution in London-Institution of Classes-Mr.
shire and Yorkshire-Increase of the Societies, Methodism in America—Revivals of Religion-
Remasks---Mr. Wesley's Labors--Notices of
Books from his Journals-Minutes of the Confer-
ence of 1770—Remarks-Mr. Shirley's Circular
-Mr. Wesley's “ Declaration"-Controversy Re-
specting the Minutes-Remarks-Increase of the
Societies--Projects for the management of the con-
Church Government-Extracts from the Minutes
Superintendents and Elders for the American So-
cieries—Remarks–Dr. Coke-Mr. Asbury-Mr.
C. Wesley's Remonstrances-Ordinations for
Scotland-Remarks-Mr. Wesley's second Visit
- Remarks-Spirit in which Mr. Wesley sought Death of Mr. Charles Wesley-His Character-His
Pages 46–57. -Mr. Wesley's continued Labors-Reflections
on entering his eighty-eighth Year-Last Sick-
marks-Respective views of the Brothers-Mr. Mr. Wesley and the Church-Modern Methodism
Perronet-Kingswood and the Church-Charges refuted—Mr. Wesley's