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He ordered, that this inscription, if any, should be placed on his tombstone.
From Lewisham he removed to the Hotwells near Bristol, where it pleased God, in answer to the prayers of thousands, to renew his strength, and to enable him again to declare his truth. This he did at first to a few persons at his apartments in the evenings; the Lord thus preparing him for his usual labours, to which he soon after returned. He was confined
the whole about four months. Part of this time he employed in writing Notes on the New Testament, a work which he had long purposed to undertake, but for which he never could find time before. “I now," says he, “ can neither travel nor preach ; but, blessed be God, I can still read, write, and think : 0 that it may be to his glory!”
While Mr. Wesley was confined, he received the following letter from Mr. Whitefield, which is so expressive of the high opinion which that great and good man entertained of him, and so honourable to his own piety and feelings, that I make no apology for inserting it :
Bristol, Dec. 3, 1753. “REVEREND AND VERY DEAR SIR,—If seeing you so weak when leaving London distressed me, the news and prospect of your approaching dissolution hath quite weighed me down. I pity myself and the church, but not you. A radiant throne awaits you, and ere long you will enter into your Master's joy.
Yonder he stands with a massy crown, ready to put it on your head, amidst an admiring throng of saints and angels. But I, poor I, that have been waiting for my dissolution these nineteen years, must be left behind to grovel here below! Well ! this is my comfort : It cannot be long ere the chariots will be sent even for worthless me. If prayers can detain them, even you, reverend and very dear Sir, shall not leave us yet: But if the decree is gone forth, that you must now fall asleep in Jesus, may he kiss your
and give you to die in the embraces of triumphant love! If in the land of the dying, I hope to pay my last respects to you next week. If not, reverend and
dear Sir, F-a-r- e-w-e-l! Ego sequar, etsi non passibus æquis.* My heart is too big, tears trickle down too fast, and you are, I fear, too weak for me to enlarge. Underneath you may there be Christ's everlasting arms ! I commend you to his never failing mercy,
06 Reverend and
dear Sir, “ Your most affectionaté, sympathizing, ** And afflicted younger brother, “In the Gospel of our common Lord,
Mr. C. Wesley was roused by his brother's illness, and exerted himself to supply his place. Sunday, July 14, he came to Norwich, and at seven o'clock in the morning took the field. He preached on Hoghill to about two thousand hearers, his brother standing by him, then, in some degree, amended in his health. A drunkard or two were troublesome, but more out of mirth than malice. They afterwards went to church ; and the people, both in the streets and at the cathedral, were remarkably civil. He adds, "The Lessons, Psalms, Epistles, and Gospel, were * I shall follow, though not with equal steps
very encouraging. The Anthem made our hearts rejoice: 0 pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces! For my brethren and companions' sake will I now say, Peace be within thee! Because of the house of the Lord our God, will I seek thy good.'—We received the Sacrament at the hands of the Bishop. In the afternoon I went to St. Peter's, and at five o'clock to Hoghill, where it was computed, that ten thousand persons were present. Again I preached repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. They listened with great seriousness—their hearts were plainly touched, as some showed by their tears. Who could have thought the people of Norwich would ever more have borne a Field Preacher? It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. To him be all the glory, who saith, “I will work, and who shali hinder ?? »
July 19.—Mr. John Wesley left them, and Mr. Charles continued his labours. “ At night,” he says, “I had multitudes of the great vulgar and the small to hear me, with three Justices and nine Clergymen. Many, I am persuaded, felt the sharp two-edged sword.--Sunday, July 21. My audience at seven in the morning was greatly increased. I dwelt chiefly on those words, . He hath sent me to preach glad tidings to the meek,' or poor; and laboured, as all last week, to bring them to a sense of their wants; and for this end, I have preached the law, which is extremely wanted here. It is a cause for wonder and thanksgiving, that they can endure sound and even severe doctrine. I received the Sacrament again from his Lordship, among a score of communicants. If the Gospel prevail in this place, they will, by and by, find the difference.-July 22. God is providing us a place; an old large brew-house, which the owner, a Justice of the Peace, has reserved for us. He has refused several, always declaring he would let it to none but Mr. John Wesley. Last Saturday Mr. Edwards agreed in my brother's name, to take a lease for seven years ; and this morning Mr. S. has sent his workmen to begin to put it into repair. The people are much pleased at our having it : So are not Satan and his Antinomian Apostles.”
July 27.-He was informed of the death of a person whom be considered and loved as a son in the Gospel, but whose unsteadiness had given him great pain. His observations on the occasion show, that he had a mind susceptible of the finest sentiments of friendship. “Just now,” says, he, “ I hear from Leeds, that my poor rebellious son has taken his flight. But God healed his backslidings first, and he is at rest! My poor J. H-n is at rest in the bosom of his heavenly Father. O what a turn has it given my heart ! What a mixture of passions do I feel here ! But joy and thankfulness are uppermost. I opened the book of consolation, and cast my eye upon a word which shall wipe away all tears : * I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.'—Sunday, July 28, I met our little Society, or rather candidates for a Society, at five in the morning. At seven, I preached Christ Jesus, the Saviour of all men, to a numerous quiet congregation, and afterwards heard the Bishop preach, and received the Sacrament from him. At five in the evening, after prayer for an open door, I went forth to such a multitude as we have not seen before in Norwich. During the hymn, a pale trembling opposer laboured to interrupt the work of God, and draw off the people's attention : But as soon as I
began to read the history of the Prodigal Son, his commission ended, and he left me to a quiet audience. Now the door was opened indeed. For an hour and a half I showed their sins and wanderings from God, and invited them back to their Father's house. And surely he had compassion on them, inclining many hearts to retum. God, I plainly found, had delivered them into my hand. He filled my mouth with persuasive words, and my heart with strong desires for their salvation. I concluded, and began again, testifying my good-will towards them, which was the sole end of my coming. But if I henceforth see them no more, yet is my labour with my God. They have heard words whereby they may be saved ; and many of them, I cannot doubt, will be our crown of rejoicing in the great day. Several serious persons followed me to Mr. Edwards's, desiring to be admitted into our Society. I told them, as others before, to come among us first, for some time, and see how they liked it. We spent some time together in conference, praise, and prayer.
I am in no haste for a Society : First, let us see how the candidates live.”—But, I would ask, are we not to help them to live? Mr. John Wesley, speaking on this subject, says, “What am I to wait for ? To see if the man repents ? That, perhaps, is evident. If so, am I not to help him in every way that I can, lest he turn backto perdition ?” Mr. C. Wesley goes on:
July 30. I preached at five, and found the people's hearts opened for the word. The more Satan rages, the more our Lord will own and bless us. A poor rebel, at the conclusion, lifted his voice ; for whom I first prayed, and then, turning full upon him, preached repentance and Christ to his heart. I desired him to turn his face towards me, but he could not. However, he felt the invisible chain, which held him to hear the offers of grace and salvation. I have great hope that Satan has lost his slave : Some assured me they saw him depart in tears.-July 31. I expounded Isaiah xxxii, 1, to my constant hearers, who seem more and more to know their wants. At night I laid the axe to the root, and showed their actual and original corruption, from Rev. iii, 17 : Thou sayest, I ain rich, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. The strong man was disturbed in his palace, and roared on every side. My strength increased with the opposition. A gentleman on horseback, with others, was ready to gnash upon me with his teeth ; but my voice prevailed, and they retreated to their strong hold, the alehouse. There, with difficulty, they procured some butchers to appear in their quarrel ; but they had no commission to approach till I had done. Then, in the last hymn, they made up to the table with great fury. The foremost often lifted up his stick to strike me, being within his reach; but he was not permit
I staid to pray for them, and walked quietly to my lodgings. Poor Rabshakeh nuttered something about the Bishop of Exeter ; but did not accept of my
invitation to Mr. Edwards's. The concern and love of the people were much increased, by my supposed danger. We joined together in prayer and thanksgiving, as usual, and I slept in peace.”
After a considerable tiine, in which we have no account of his labours, we find Mr. C. Wesley at York. He observes, “ October 2, 1756. The whole day was spent in singing, conference,
I attended,” says he, " the Quire Service. The people there were marvellously civil, and obliged me with the anthem I desired, (Hab. iii,) a feast for
a king! as Queen Anne called it. The Rev. Mr. Williamson walked with me to his house, in the face of the sun. I would have spared him, but he was quite above fear. A pious sensible Dissenter cleaved to us all day, and accompanied us to the preaching. I discoursed on my favourite subject, . I will bring the third part through the fire. We glorified God in the fire, and rejoiced in hope of coming forth as gold.
Sunday, October 3. From five till near eight in the morning, I talked closely with each of the Society : Then, at Mr. Williamson's request, I preached on the Ordinances from Isaiah Ixiv, 5, • In those is continuance, and we shall be saved. I dwelt longest on what had been most neglected, Family Prayer, Public Prayer, and the Sacrament. The Lord set to his seal, and confirmed the word with a double blessing.--I received the Sacrament at the Minster. They were obliged to consecrate twice, the congregation being doubled and trebled through my exhortation and example. Glory be to God alone !—I went to Mr. Williamson's church, who read prayers as one who felt them, and then beckoned me. I stepped up into the pulpit, when no one expected it, and cried to a full audience, • The kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the Gospel.' They were all attention. The word did not return void, but accomplished that for which it was sent. Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither is he that watereth.'”
October 11.-Mr. Whitefield and Mr. Grimshaw were present at a watch-night at Leeds. Mr. C. Wesley preached first, and Mr. Whitefield after him. It was a time of great solemnity, and of great rejoicing in hope of the glorious appearing of the great God. - He now left Leeds, but continued preaching in the neighbouring places a few days. Al Birstal, he makes the following observation : “ The word was clothed with power, both to awaken and to confirm. My principal concern is for the disciples, that their houses may be built on the rock, before the rains descend. I hear, in most places, the effect of the word; but I hearken after it less than formerly, and take little notice of those who say they receive comfort, or faith, or forgiveness. Let their fruits show it.”- But why should we take little notice of them? Ought we not to rejoice in hope, that fruit will follow? And this, I know, he did do. He was far from the apathy into which some have been led by the Mystic Theology, though some of his short sentences may look like it.
October 17.-He talked largely with Mr. Grimshaw, how to remedy the evil which threatened them. “We agreed,” says he, “1. That nothing can save the Methodists from falling a prey to every seducer, but close walking with God, in all the commandments and ordinances ; especially reading the word, and prayer, private, family, and public.2. That the Preachers should be allowed more time in every place, to visit from house to house, after Mr. Baxter's manner.-3. That a small treatise should be written, to ground them in their calling, and preserve them against seducers, and be lodged in every family."--These remedies were certainly very
obvious. Mr. C. Wesley wrote, from Manchester, to the Society at Leeds, as follows: “ To my beloved Brethren at Leeds, &c.
“GRACE and PEACE be multiplied ! I thank my God on your behalf, for the grace which is given unto you, by which ye stand fast in
one mind and in one spirit. My Master, I am persuaded, sent me to you at this time, to confirm your souls in the present truth-in your calling, in the old paths of Gospel ordinances. O that ye may be a pattern to the flock for your unanimity and love! O that ye may continue steadfast in the word, and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers, (private, family, and public,) till we all meet around the
eat white throne ! I knew beforehand, that the Sanballats and Tobiahs would be grieved when they heard, there was a man come to seek the good of the Church of England. I expected they would pervert my words, as if I should say, The Church could save you. So, indeed, you and they thought, till I and my brethren taught you better; and sent you, in and through all the means,
to Jesus Christ. But let not their slanders move you. Continue in the Old Ship. Jesus hath a favour for our Church, and is wonderfully visiting and reviving his work in her. It shall be shortly said, • Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: Rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her.' Blessed be God, you see your calling. Let nothing hinder you from going constantly to Church and Sacrament.* Read the Seriptures daily in your families, and let there be a church in every house. The word is able to build you up; and if ye watch and pray always, ye shall be counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man. Watch
ye, therefore, stand fast in the faith, quit yourselves like men, be strong : Let all your things be done in love. I rejoice in hope of presenting you all in that day. Look
" CHARLES Wesley." “I examined more of the Society. Most of them have known the grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ. “ October 30.—I dined with my candid friend and censor, Dr. Byrom. I stood close to Mr. Clayton, (one of the first Methodists at Oxford,) in the church, as all the week past; but not a look would he cast towards me, so stiff was his parochial pride,' and so faithfully did he keep his covenant with his eyes, not to look upon an old friend, when called a Methodist!
“ October 31.--I spake with the rest of the classes. I refused tickets to J. and E. R. All the rest were willing to follow my advice, and go to church and Sacrament. The Dissenters I sent to their respective meetings.”t-Dr. Whitehead observes, “ These extracts from Mr. Charles Wesley's Journal for the present year, show, in the clearest light, that
* And they continued to do so, till no church there could admit one-third of them. Any that choose continue to go to church: the original terms of Christian fellowship remain to this day:
+ Dr. Whitehead puts these words in Italics, and then eulogizes them. The words are easily spoken; but where was the authority? Not in any of the rules of Methodism. No such coercive power is there assumed! And, certainly, there is no such authority given to man in the Holy Scripture. Have even the angels of God authority to constrain the sheep of Christ to follow the voice of a stranger.?' No; their Master says, they will not follows it: They know not the voice of strangers.' And how many of these were strangers to the Gospel, and to the whole power of godliness ?—and not a few denied the God that bought them.' Meantime, if any chose to attend the ministry which they were used to, they had liberty so to do, as they have at this day. Such a power would soon wear itself out. The fact is, it was not attended to. Mr. C. Wesley staid but a short time in each place; and, when he departed, every thing went on as usual; and the religious Societies, freed from this compulsive dictation, continued to build each other up in their most holy faith, to which his lively and powerful preaching inightily contributed. I have given the surmises of Dr. Whitehead to show, how he could vary from his own well known sentiments when writing
for a party.