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his grace, to affirm, that as his personal merit--the and therefore to employ new modes of speaking, merit of his holy life and painful death-opens the though for a temporary purpose, was not without kingdom of heaven to all believers;' so the merit of danger, although they were capable of an innocentexthose works which he enables his members to do, planation. Even Mr. Fletcher confesses that the miwill determine the peculiar degrees of glory gracious- nutes wore "a new aspect;" and that at first they ly allotted to each of them."*
appeared to him" unguarded, if not erroneous.” Mř. Mr. Fletcher came forward to defend his vene-Wesley showed his candor in admitting the forrable friend, on-account of the great uproar which mer; and to prevent all futurc misconstruction, he the Calvinistic party had raised against him upon and the conference issued the following “Declarathe publication of these minutes. The countess of tion,” to which was appended a note from Mr. ShirHuntingdon had taken serious alarm and offence; ley, acknowledging his mistake as to the meaning and the Rev. Walter Shirley, her brother and chap- of the minutes: lain, had written a circular letter to all the serious
Bristol, August 9, 1771. clergy, and several others, inviting them to go in a " WHEREAS the doctrinal points in the minutes of body to the ensuing conference, and “insist upon a a conference held in London, August 7, 1770, have formal recantation of the said minutes, and, in case been understood to favor justification by works :' of refusal, to sign and publish their protest against now the Rev. John Wesley and others, assembled in them.” Mr. Shirley and a few others accordingly conference, do declare, that we had no such meanattended the Bristol conference, where, says Mr. ing; and that we abhor the doctrine of justification Wesley, “We had more preachers than usual in by works,' as a most perilous and abominable docconsequence of Mr. Shirley's circular letter. At ten trine. And as the said minutes are not sufficiently on Thursday morning he came, with nine or ten guarded in the way they are expressed, we hereby of his friends: we conversed freely for about two solemnly declare, in the sight of God, that we have hours; and I believe they were satisfied, that we no trust or confidence but in the alone merits of our were not such dreadful heretics' as they ima- Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for justification or gined, but were tolerably. sound in the faith." salvation, either in life, death, or the day of judg
The meeting was creditable to each party. Mr. ment. And though no one is a real Christian beWesley acknowledged that the minutes were “not liever (and consequently cannot he saved) who dosufficiently guarded.” This must be felt by all; they eth not good works, where there is time and opporwere out of his usual manner of expressing himself, tunity; yet our works have no part in meriting or and he had said the same truths often in a clearer, purchasing our justification, from first to last, either and safer, and even stronger manner. He certainly in whole or in part. did not mean to alter his previous opinions, or for "Signed by the Rev. Mr. Wesley, and fifty-three mally to adopt other terms in which to express them; preachers."1"
whether Lady Huntingdon's letter and mine to Mr. + This affair is capable of more illustration than it has Wesley had been read to the conference. Being answerreceived from Mr. Wesley's biographers hitherto. Mr.ed in the negative, I begged leave to read the copies of Shirley's circular letter was naturally resented by Mr. them, which was granted. I then said that I hoped the Wesley, as being published before any explanations re- submission made was satisfactory to the gentlemen of specting the minutes had been asked from him their au- the conference. This was admitted ; but then it was thor; and also from its assuming that Mr. S. and the urged, that as the offence given by the circular letter had clergy who might obey his summons, had the right to been very public, so oughi the letter of submission. I come into the conference, and to demand a recantation, therefore readily consented to the publication of it, and Mr. Shirley, therefore, soon fourid, that he must ap- have now fulfilled my promise. Mr. Wesley then stood proach in a more brotherly manner, or that Mr. Wesley up; the purport of his speech was a sketch of his minisand the conference would have no intercourse with try from his first setting out to the present time; with a him. This led Lady, Huntingdon and Mr. Shirley to view (as I understood) to prove that he had ever mainaddress explanatory letters to Mr. Wesley As the rained justification by faith, and that there was nothing method of proceeding, as well as the terms in which we in the minutes contrary thereunto. He complained of ill nad delivered ourselves," says Mr. Shirley, "was ob- treatment from many persons, that he apprehended had jected to by many as by no means proper, and in sub- been under obligations to him; and said that the premission to the precept, Give no offence to Jew or Gen- sent opposition was not to the minutes, but to himself tile, or to the church of God,', Lady Huntingdon and I personally.-In answer I assured them in the most sowrote the following letters, which were delivered to Mr. lemn manner, that, with respect to myself, my opposi. Wesley the evening before the conference met.”, Lady tion was not to Mr. Wesley, or any particular person, Huntingdon says, As you and your friends, and many but to the doctrines themselves. And they were pleased others, have objected to the mode of the application to thus far to give me credit.-I then proceeded to speak you in conference, as an arbitrary way of proceeding, to the point ; informed them of the great and general we wish to retract what a more deliberate consideration offence the minutes had given; that I had numerous might have prevented,”. &c. Mr. Shirley's letter ac- protests and testimonies against them sent me from knowledges that the circular was too hastily drawn Scotland, and from various parts of these kingdoms; up and improperly expressed; and therefore, for the of that it must seem very extraordinary indeed, if so many fensive expressions in it we desire we may be hereby men of sense and learning should be mistaken, and that understood to make every suitable submission to you. there was nothing really offensive in the plain natuor this explanation, Mr. Shirley and his friends were ral import of the minutes; that I believed ihey them. invita hv Mr. Wesley, to come to the conference on selves (whatever meaning they might have intended) the third day of its sitting Mr. Shirley's published nar- would allow that the more obvious meaning was reprerative thus proceeds—"To say the truth, I was pleased hensible; and, therefore, I recommended to them, nay, that the invitation came from Mr. Wesley, without any i begged, and entreated for the Lord's sake, that they application made on our parts, that there might not be would go as far as they could with a good conscience, left the least room for censuring our proceedings as vio- in giving the world satisfaction. I said I hoped they lent. On that day, therefore, I went thither, accompa- would not take offence, (for I did not mean to give it) nied with the Rev. Mr. Glascot, the Rev. Mr. Owen, at my proposing to them a declaration which had (iwo ministers officiating in Lady Huntingdon's cha- drawn up, wishing that something at least analogous pels.), John Lloyd, Esq. of Bath; Mr. James Ireland, to it might be agreed to. I then took the liberty to read merchant of Bristol; Mr. Winter, and two students be it; and Mr. Wesley, after he had made some (not very longing to Lady Huntingdon's college.
material) alterations in it, readily consented to sign it; "I shall only give you a brief detail of what passed, in which he was followed by fifty-three of the preachers and rather the substance of what was spoken, than the in connection with him; there being only one or two exact words; omitting likewise many ngs of no great that were against it. waight or consequence.
* Thus was this most important matter settled. But "After Mr. Wesley had prayed, I desired to know one of the preachers (namely, Mr. Thomas Olivers)
MR. SHIRLEY'S NOTE.
Augustus Toplady, Mr. (afterward Sir Richard) “Mr. Shirley's Christian respects wait on Mr. Hill, and his brother, the Rev. Rowland Hill, with Wesley. The declaration agreed to in conference the Rev. John Berridge, were his principal antaga the 8th of August, 1771, has convinced Mr. Shirley nists; but his learning, his aculeness, his brilliant he had mistaken the meaning of the doctrinal points talent at illustrating an argument, and, above all, in the minutes of the conference held in London, the hallowed spirit in which he conducied the conAugust 7, 1770; and hereby wishes to testify the troversy, gave him a mighty superiority over his full satisfaction he has in the said declaration, and opponents; and although there will be a difference his hearty concurrence and agreement with the of opinion, according to the systems which different
readers have adopted, as to the side on which the “Mr. Wesley is at full liberty to make what use victory of argument remains, there can be none as he pleases of this.
to which bore away the prize of temper. Amidst August 10, 1771."
the scurrilities and vulgar abuse of Mr. Toplady, Mr. Fletcher had entitled his defence of Mr. otherwise an able writer, and a man of learning, Wesley, “ The first check to Antinomianism :" but and the coarse virulence or buffoonery of the Hills he did not content himself with evangelizing the and Berridge,t it is refreshing to remark, in the apparently legal minutes, and defending the doctri- writings of the saintly Fletcher," so fine a union nal consistency and orthodoxy of Mr. Wesley. He of strength and meekness; an edge so keen, and vet incidentally discussed various other points of quin- so smooth, and a heart kept in such perfect charity quarticular controversy; and he, as well as Mr. with his assailants, and so intent upon establishing Wesley, was quickly assailed by a number of re- truth, not for victory, but for salvation. plies not couched in the most courteous style. Mr. In this dispute, Mr. Wesley wrote but little, and Fletcher's skill and admirable temper so fully fitted that chiefly in defence of his own consistency, in him to conduct the dispute which had arisen, that reply to Mr. Hi!). His pamphlets also are models Mr. Wesley left the contest chiefly to him, and of temper, logical and calm, but occasionally powercalmly pursued his labors ; and the whole issued in fully reproving; not so much as feeling that he had a series of publications, from the pen of the Vicar received abuse and insult, as holding it his duty to of Madeley, which, as a whole, can scarcely be too bring the aggressor to a due sense of his own mishighly praised or valued.* While the language en doings. The conclusion of his first reply to Mr. dures, they will effectually operate as checks to An- Hill is a strong illustration :tinomianism in every subtle form which it may as “Having now answered the queries you propossume; and present the pure and beautiful system of ed, suffer me, sir, to propose one to you; the same evangelical truth, as well guarded on the other which a gentleman of your own opinion proposed to hand against Pelagian self-sufficiency. The Rev. me some years since:-“Sir, how is it that as soon kept us a long time in debate; strenuously opposed the with prayer, and with the warmest indications of mutual declaration; and to the last would not consent to sign peace and love. For my own part, believe me I was it. He maintained that our second justification (that is, perfectly sincere; and thought this one of the happiest at the day of judgment) is by works; and he saw very and most honorable days of my life." clearly that for one that holds that tenet solemnly.to The whole conduct of Mr. Shirley, in this affair, afdeclare in the sight of God that he has no trust or con- fords a pleasing contrast to that'of ihe Hills, Toplady, fidence but in the alone merits of our Lord and Saviour and others, who soon rushed hot and reckless into the Jesus Christ, for justification or salvation, either in life, controversy. Mr. Shirley, it is true, complains, that death, or the day of judginent,' would be acting neither after this adjustment, Mr. Fletcher should have so se a consistent, nor an upright part; for all the subtilties verely attacked him in his five letters; but he appears of metaphysical distinction can never reconcile tenets so never 10 have departed from the meekness of a Chrisdiametrically opposite as these. But, blessed be God, tian, and the manners of a gentleman. Mr. Wesley, and fifty-three of his preachers, do noi agree with Mr. Olivers in this material article; for it ap
* It ought to be observed, that Mr. Fletcher's writings pears from their subscribing the declaration, that they ing the views of Mr. Wesley, and the body of Metho
are not to be considered, in every particular, as expressAfter the declaration had been agreed to, it was re- dists; and that, though greatly admired among us, they quired of me, on my part, that I would make some pub are not reckoned among the standards of our doctrines lic acknowledgment that I had mistaken the meaning + The titles of several of the pieces written by Toplady of the minutes. Here I hesitated a little; for though I and others, such as "An old Fox tarred and feathered : was desirous to do every thing (consistently with truth “The Serpent and the Fox;" "Pope John," &c.; are and a good conscience) for the establishment of peace sufficient evidences of the temper and manner of this and Christian fellowship ; yet I was very unwilling to band of controversialists. In what the Rev. Rowland give any thing under my hand that might seem to coun. Hill calls “Some Gentle Strictures on a sermon by tenance the minutes in their obvious sense. But then, Mr. Wesley, preached on laying the foundation-stone of when I was asked by one of the preachers whether I the city road chapel, Mr. Wesley is subjected to certain did not believe Mr. Wesley to be an honest man; I was not very gentle objurgations, which it would be too distressed on the other hand, lest, by refusing what was sickening a task to copy or to read. The Gospel Magazine, desired, I should seem to infer a doubt to Mr. Wesley's so called, was equally unmeasured in its abuse, and as disadvantage. Having confidence, therefore, in Mr. vulgar; but to do justice to all parties, the Calvinists even Wesley's integrity, who had declared he had no such of that day disapproved of this publication, and it was meaning in the minutes, as was favorable to justifica- given up. Even Mr. Rowland Hill appears to have intion by works; and, considering that every man is the curred ihe displeasure of some of his brethren; for in a best judge of his own meaning, and has a right, so far, second edition of his "Gentle Strictures," he explains to our credit, and that, though nothing else could, yet himself--awkwardly, enough, certainly--that when he the declaration did convince me, they had some other called Mr. Wesley "wretch," and "miscreant," they meaning than what appeared :-) say, (these things con must remember that." wretch" means "an unhappy persidered,) I promised them satisfaction in this particular; son;" and "miscreant,' one whose belief is wrong!" and, a few days afterwards, sent Mr. Wesley the fol- We have happily no recent instances of equally unbrolowing message, with which he was very well pleased : therly and unchristian femper in connection with this (Then follows Mr. Shirley's noie, as given above.] controversy, except in the bitter and unsanctified spirit
Thus far all was well. --The foundation was secu- of Bogue and Bennett's History of the Dissenters. The red. -And, with respect to lesser matiers of difference, iwo doctors, however, were in the habit of declining the we might well bear with one another; and if either party merit of the passages on Methodism, in favor of each should see occasion to oppose the other's peculiar other; and to which of them the honor of the author opinion, it might be done without vehemence, and with ship is due, has never yet, I believe, been ascertained. out using any reproachful terms. The whole was con "Where there is shame," says Dr. Johnson, "there ducted with great decency on all sides. We concluded | may in time be virtue."
as a man comes to the knowledge of THE TRUTH, it Methodist preachers and societies have been in no spoils his temper?' That it does so I had observed danger; so powerful and complete was its effect upover and over, as well as Mr. J. had. But how on them. At no conference, since that of 1770, has can we account for it? Has the truth (so Mr. J. it been necessary again to ask, “wherein have we termed what many love to term the doctrine of free leaned too much to Calvinism?" There has been grace) a natural tendency to spoil the temper? To indeed, not in the body, but in some of its ministers inspire pride, haughtiness, superciliousness? To occasionally, a leaning to what is worse than Calmake a man wiser in his own eyes than seven men vinism-to a sapless, legal, and philosophizing thethat can render a reason ?? Does it naturally turn blogy. The induence of the opinions of the majoa man into a cynic, a bear, a Toplady? Does it at rity of the preachers has always, however, counteronce set him free from all the restraints of good acied this; and the true balance between the exnature, decency, and good manners ? Cannot a tremes of each system, as set up in the doctrinal man hold distinguishing grace, as it is called, but writings of Mr. Wesley, has been of late years bethe must distinguish himself for passion, sourness, ter preserved than formerly. Those writings are, bitterness? Must a man, as soon as he looks upon indeed, more read and better appreciated in the himself to be an absolute favorite of heaven, look connection, than at some former periods; and perupon all that oppose him as Diabolonians, as pre- haps at the present time they exert a more powerful destinated dogs of hell ? Truly, the melancholy in- influence than they ever did over the theological stance now before us would almost induce us to views of both preachers and people. To this the think so. For who was of a more amiable temper admirably complete, correct, and elegant edition of than Mr. Hill, a few years ago ? When I first con- Mr. Wesley's works, lately put forth by the labor versed with him in London, I thought I had seldom and judgment of the Rev. Thomas Jackson, will seen a man of fortune who appeared to be of a more still further contribute. Numerous valuable pieces humble, modest, gentle, friendly disposition. And on different subjects, which had been quite lost to yet this same Mr. H., when he has once been the public, have been recovered; and others, but grounded in the knowledge of THE TRUTH, is of a very partially known, have been collected. temper as totally different from this, as light is from In the midst of all these controversies and cares, darkness! He is now haughty, supercilious, dis- the societies continued to spread and flourish under daining his opponents as unworthy to be set with the influence of the zeal and piety of the preachers, the dogs of his flock! He is violent, impetuous, animated by the ceaseless activity and regular visits bitter of spirit! In a word, the author of the re- of Mr. Wesley, who, though now upwards of seview!
venty years of age, seemed to possess his natural “O, sir, what a commendation is this of your strength unabated. His thoughts were, however, doctrine ?' Look at Mr. Hill the Arminian! The frequently turning with anxiety to some arrangeloving, amiable, generous, friendly man. Look at ment for the government of the connection after his Mr. Hill the Calvinist! Is it the same person ? this death; and not being satisfied that the plan he had spiteful, morose, touchy man? Alas! what has the sketched out a few years before would provide for knowledge of THE TRUTH done? What a deplora- a case of so much consequence, he directed his atble change has it made? Sir, I love you still, though tention to Mr. Fletcher, and warmly invited him to I cannot esteem you, as I did once. Let me entreat come forth into the work, and to allow himself to be you, if not for the honor of God, yet for the honor introduced by him to the societies and preachers as of your cause, avoid, for the time to come, all an- their future head. Earnestly as this was pressed, ger, all spite, all sourness and bitterness, all con- Mr. Fletcher could not be induced to undertake a temptuous usage of your opponents, not inferior to task to which, in his humility, he thought himself you, unless in fortune. 0, put on again bowels of inadequate. This seems to have been his only obmercies, kindness, gentleness, long suffering; en-jection; but had he accepted the offer, the plan deavoring to hold, even with them that differ from would have failed, as Mr. Fletcher was a few years you in opinion, the unity of the Spirit in the bond afterwards called into another world. From Mr. of peace!"
Charles Wesley, who had become a family man, This controversy, painful as it was in many re- and had nearly given up travelling, he had no hope spects, and the cause of much unhallowed joy to the as a successor; and even then a farther settlement profane wits of the day, who were not a little gra- would have been necessary, because he could not tified at this exhibition of what they termed " spi- be expected long to survive his brother. Still thereritual gladiatorship,” has been productive of impor-fore this important matter remained undetermined. tant consequences in this country. It showed to the At the time the overture was made to Mr. Fletcher, pious and moderate Calvinists how well the richest the preachers who were fully engaged in the work views of evangelical truth could be united with Ar- amounted to one hundred and fifty; and the socieminianism; and it effected, by its bold and fearless ties, in Great Britain and Ireland, to upwards of exhibition of the logical consequences of the doc- thirty-five thousand, exclusive of the regular hearers. trines of the decrees, much greater moderation in This rapid and constant enlargement of the conthose who still admitted them, and gave birth to nection heightened the urgency of the question of some softened modifications of Calvinism in the its ture settlement; and it is pleasing to remark, age that followed ;—an effect which has remained that Mr. Charles Wesley at length entered into this to this day. The disputes on these subjects have, feeling, and offered his suggestions. In spite of the since that time, been less frequent, and more temperate; nor have good men so much labored to de * In his seventy-second year he thus speaks of himpart to the greatest distance from each other, as to sell "This being my birth day, the first day of my sefind a ground on which they could make the nearest find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago ?
I was considering, how is this that I approaches. This has been especially the case be that my sight is considerably better now, and my nerves tween the Methodists and the evangelical dissent- firmer than they were then ? that I have none of the
Of late a Calvinism of a higher and sterner infirmities of old age, and have lost several I had in my form has sprung up among a certain sect of the youth? The grand cause is the good pleasure of God, clergy of the church of England; though some of who doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.-The chief means them, whatever their private theory may be, feel are 1. My constantly rising at four for about
fifty years: that these points are not fit subjects for the edifica of the most healthy exercises in the world; 3. My never tion of their congregations in public discourses. Of travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five Calvinism since the period of this controversy the l hundred miles in a year."
little misunderstandings which had arisen, he main No doubt the commissioners of his majesty's extained a strong interest in a work of which he had cise thought that the head of so numerous a people been so eminent an instrument; and this grew upon had not forgotten his own interests, and that the inhim in his latter years. Thus we have seen him terior of his episcopal residence in London was not springing into activity upon the sickness of his bro without superfluities and splendor. ther, before mentioned, and performing for him the The bishop of Sodor and Man having written a full “work of an evangelist," by travelling in his pastoral letter to all the clergy within his diocese, to place; and, upon Mr. Wesley's recovery, his labors warn their flocks against Methodism, and exhorting were afforded locally to the chapels in London and them to present all who attended its meetings, in Bristol, to the great edification of the congregations. the spiritual courts, and to repel every Methodist In one of his latest letters to his brother, entering preacher from the sacrament, Mr. Wesley hastened into the question of a provision for the settlement to the island, and in May, 1777, landed at Douglas. of the future government of the connection, he says, In every place he appears to have been cordially "I served West-street chapel on Friday and Sunday received by all ranks; and his prompt visit probably Stand to your own proposal: 'Let us agree to dif- put a stop to this threatened ecclesiastical violence, fer.' I leave America and Scotland to your latest for no farther mention is made of it. The societies thoughts and recognitions; only observing now, that in the island continued to flourish; and, on Mr. you are exactly right-keep your authority while Wesley's second visit, he found a new bishop of a you live; and, after your death, detur digniori, or more liberal character. rather, dignioribus. You cannot settle the succes The Foundry having become too small for the sion. You cannot divine how God will settle it." comfortable accommodation of the congregation in
Thus Charles gave up as hopeless the return to that part of London, and being also gloomy and the church, and suggested the plan which his bro- dilapidated, a new chapel had been erected. ""No ther adopted, to devolve the government, not in- vember 1st,” says Mr. Wesley, "was the day apdeed upon one, but upon many whom he esteemed pointed for opening the new chapel in the city-road. "the worthiest,” for age, experience, talent, and it is perfectly neat, but not fine, and contains far moderation.
more than the Foundry; I believe, together with
the morning chapel, as many as the tabernacle. CHAPTER XII.
Many were afraid that the multitudes, crowding IN 1775, Mr. Wesley, during a tour in the north from all parts, would have occasioned much disturof Ireland, had a dangerous sickness occasioned by
but they were happily disappointed; there sleeping on the ground, in an orchard, in the hot
was none at all: all was quietness, decency, and weather, which he says he had been "accustomed order. I preached on part of Solomon's prayer at 10, do for forty years without ever being
injured by the dedication of the temple ; and both in the mornit.” He was slow to admit that old age had arrived, ing and afternoon God was eminently present in the or he trusted to triumph long over its infirmities.
midst of the congregation."*
Here the brothers agreed to officiate as often as The consequence in this case, however, was that, possible till the congregation should be settled. Two after manfully struggling with the incipient symp- resident clergymen were also employed at this chatoms of the complaint, and attempting to throw them off by reading, journeying, and preaching, he pelas curates, for reading the full church service, sunk into a severe fever, from which, after lying But Mr. Charles Wesley took some little offence at
administering the sacraments, and burying the dead insensible for some days, he recovered with extra- the liberty given to the preachers to officiate in his ordinary rapidity: and resumed a service which, brother's absence, and when he himself could not not yet to be terminated. Whilst' in London the supply. His letter of complaint produced, however,
no change in his brother's appointments, nor was it next year, the following incident occurred:An order had been made by the house of lords, ing at the new chapel, and the ministrations of the
likely. Mr. Wesley knew well that his own preach“That the commissioners of his majesty's excise do other clergymen, during the hours of service
in the write circular letters to all persons whom they have reason to suspect to have plate, as also to those who parish church, without a license from the bishop, or have not paid regularly the duty on the same," &c. was just as irregular an affair, considered ecclesias
the acknowledgment of his spiritual jurisdiciion, In consequence of this order, the accountant-general for household plate sent Mr. Wesley a copy of tically, as the other. The city-road chapel, with its the order, with the following letter :
establishment of clergy, service in canonical hours, " REVEREND SIR,
and sacraments, was in the eye of the law, as much "As the commissioners cannot doubt but you conventicle; though, when tried by a better rule, it
as any dissenting place of worship in London, a have plate for which you have hitherto neglected was eminently, in those days of power and simplito make an entry, they have directed me to send city, "none other than the house of God, and the you the above copy of the lords' order, and to in- gate of heaven," to devout worshippers. An influform you, they expect that you forthwith make due ence of a very extraordinary kind often rested upon entry of all your plate, such entry to bear date from the vast congregations assembled there; thousands the commencement of the plate duty, or from such were trained up in it for the kingdom of God; and time as you have owned, used, had, or kept any the society exhibited a greater number of members, quantity of silver plate, chargeable by the act of perhaps, than any other, except that in Bristol, who, parliament; as in default hereof, the board will be for intelligence, 'deep experience in the things of obliged to signify your refusal to their lordships.
God, stability, meekness of spirit, and holiness of "N. B. An immediate answer is desired."
life, were at once the ornaments of Methodism, and Mr. Wesley replied as follows:
an influential example to the other societies of the
metropolis. "I have two silver tea-spoons at London, and two In 1778, Mr. Wesley began to publish a periodical at Bristol. This is all the plate which I have at work, which he entiiled, “ The Arminian Magapresent; and I shall not buy any more while so zine; consisting of extracts and original treatises many around me want brcad.
on universal redemption." He needed a medium “I am, sir,
through which he could reply to the numerous at"Your most humble servant, 'JOHN WESLEY."
tacks made upon him; and he made use of it far. I wise, and I submit." The fact has been, that no ther to introduce into general circulation several such separation as he feared, that is, separation on choice treatises on universal redemption, and to such principles, and under such feelings of hostility publish selections from his valuable correspondence to the established church, has yet taken place. with pious persons. He conducted this work while The following letter written by Mr. Wesley in he lived; and it is still continued by the conference, 1782, to a nobleman high in office, shows how much under the title of the "Wesleyan Methodist Maga- his mind was alive to every thing which concerned zine," on the same general principles as to its theo- the morals and religion of the country, and is an inlogy, though on a more enlarged plan.
stance of the happy manner in which he could unite A dispute of a somewhat serious aspect arose in courtesy with reproof, without destroying its point. the following year out of the appointment of a clergy- A report prevailed that the ministry designed to em.. man by Mr. Wesley to preach every Sunday even- body the militia, and exercise them on a Sunday. ing in the chapel at Bath. It was not probable that the preachers of the circuit should pay the same "If I wrong your lordship I am sorry for it; deference to a strange clergyman, recently intro but I really believe, your lordshíp fears God; and I duced, as to Mr. Wesley; but when this exclusive hope your lordship has no unfavorable opinion of occupation of the pulpit on Sunday evenings was the Christian revelation. This encourages me to objected to by them and part of the society, Mr. trouble your lordship with a few lines which otherWesley, supported by his brother, who had accom- wise I should not take upon me to do. panied him to Bath, stood firmly upon his right to "Above thirty years ago, a motion was made in appoint when and where the preachers should offi- parliament, for raising and embodying the militia, ciate, as a fundamental part of the compact between and for exercising them, to save time, on Sunday. them; and the assistant preacher, Mr. M'Nab, was When the motion was like to pass, an old gentleman suspended until " he came to another mind." As stood up and said, 'Mr. Speaker, I have one objecMr. M'Nab, who had thus fallen under Mr. Wes- tion to this: I believe an old book, called the Bible.' ley's displeasure, was supported by many of the The members locked at one another, and the motion other preachers, a stormy conference was antici- was dropped. pated.
To this meeting Mr. Wesley, therefore, “Must not all others, who believe the Bible, have foreseeing that his authority would be put to the the very same objection? And from what I have trial, strongly invited his brother, in order that he seen, I cannot but think, these are still three fourths might assist hin with his advice. At first Mr. of the nation. Now, setting religion out of the quesCharles Wesley declined, on the ground that he tion, is it expedient to give such a shock to so many could not trust to his brother's vigor and resolution. millions of people at once? And certainly it would He, however, attended; but when he saw that Mr. shock them extremely : it would wound them in a Wesley was determined to heal the breach by con- very tender part. For would not they, would not all cession, he kept entire silence. The offending England, would not all Europe, consider this as a preacher was received back without censure; and, virtual repeal of the Bible? And would not all sefrom this time, Dr. Whitehead thinks that Mr. rious persons say, 'we have little religion in the Wesley's authority in the conference declined. land now; but by this step we shall have less still. This is not correct; but that authority was exer- For wherever this pretty show is to be seen, the cised in a different manner. Many of the preachers people will flock together: and will lounge away so had become old in the work; and were men of much time before and after it, that the churches will great talents, tried fidelity, and influence with the be emptier than they are already! societies. These qualities were duly appreciated “My lord, I am concerned for this on a double by Mr. Wesley, who now regarded them more than account. First, because I have personal obligations formerly, when they were young and inexperienced, to your lordship, and would fain, even for this reaas his counsellors and coadjutors. It was an emi- son, recommend your lordship to the love and esDent proof of Mr. Wesley's practical wisdom, that teem of all over whom I have any influence. Sehe never attempted to contend with circumstances condly, because I now reverence your lordship for not to be controlled ; and from this time he placed your office sake; and believe it to be my bounden his supremacy no lo nger upon authority, but upon duty to do all that is in my little power, to advance the influence of wisdom, character, and age, and your lordship's influence and reputation. thus confirmed rallirr than diminished it. Had Mr.
“Will your lordship permit me to add a word in Charles Wesley fi'll sure of being supported by his my old fashioned way?' I pray Him that has all brother with what he called "vigor," it is plain power in heaven and earth to prosper all your enfrom his letter on the occasion, that he would have deavors for the public good, and am, stood upon the alternative of the unconditional sub
“My lord, mission of all the preachers, or a separation. His brother chose a more excellent way, and no doubt
" Your lordship's willing servant, foresaw, not only that if a separation had been
“JOHN WESLEY." driven on by violence, it would have been an ex In 1783, Mr. Wesley paid a visit to Holland, havtensive one; but that among the societies which ing been pressed to undertake this journey by a remained the same process would naturally, and Mr. Ferguson, formerly a member of the London necessarily, at some future time, take place, and so society, who had made acquaintance with some pothing be ultimately gained, to counterbalance the pious people, who, having read Mr. Wesley's serimmediate mischief. The silence maintained by mons, were desirous of seeing him. Mr. Charles Wesley in this conference did him also The following are extracts from his journal: and great honor. He suspected “the warmth of his they will be read with pleasure, both as exhibiting temper;" he saw that, as his brother was bent upon his activity at so advanced an age, and as they preconciliation, any thing he could say would only en- sent an interesting picture of his intercourse wiih a danger the mutual confidence between him and his pious remnant in several parts of that morally depreachers, and he held his peace. He himself be- teriorated country :lieved that a formal separation of the body of “Wednesday, June 11, I took coach with Mr. preachers and people from the church would inevi- Brackenbury, Broadbent, and Whilefield; and in tably take place after his brother's death, and the evening we reached Harwich. I went immedithought it best to bring on the crisis before that ately to Dr. Jones, who received me in the most afevent. “You,” says he, to his brother, “think other- fectionale manner : about nine in the morning we