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mining them !' in what respects? Why whether they understand a little Latin and Greek, and can answer a few trite questions in the science of Divinity! Alas, how little does this avail ! Does your Lordship examine, whether they serve Christ or Belial ? Whether they love God or the world ? Whether they ever had any serious thoughts about heaven or hell ? Whether they have any real desire to save their own souls, or the souls of others ? If not, what have they to do with holy orders ? and what will become of the souls committed to their care?
“ My Lord, I do by no means despise learning ; I know the value of it too well. But what is this, particularly in a Christian Minister, compared to piety? What is it in a man that has no religion ? " As a jewel in a swine's snout.'
“ Some time since, I recommended to your Lordship a plain man, whom I had known above twenty years ; as a person of deep genuine piety, and of unblameable conversation. But he neither understood Greek nor Latin ; and he affirmed, in so many words, that. He believed it was his duty to preach, whether he was ordained or no. I believe so too. What became of him since, I know not. But I
he received Presbyterian ordination, and I cannot blame him, if he did. He might think any ordination better than none.
“ I do not know, that Mr. Hoskins had any favour to ask of the Society. He asked the favour of your Lordship to ordain him, that he might minister to a little flock in America. But your Lordship did not see good to ordain him : But your Lordship did see good to ordain, and send into America, other persons, who knew something of Greek and Latin ; but who knew no more of saving souls, than of catching whales.
“ In this respect also, I mourn for poor America : for the sheep scattered up and down therein. Part of them have no Shepherds at all, particularly in the Northern colonies ; and the case of the rest is little better, for their own Shepherds pity them not. They cannot, for they have no pity on themselves. They take no thought or care about their own souls.
“ Wishing your Lordship every blessing from the Great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,
“I remain, my Lord,
“ JOHN WESLEY."
In the midst of the multiplicity of affairs in which Mr. Wesley was concerned, he constantly paid attention to the spiritual welfare, not only of the members of his own society, but of those persons with whom he occasionally corresponded. The following is an instance of this kind attention and brotherly care. Sir Harry Trelawney,* celebrated for his zeal and eccentricities, had been a Calvinist, and, during that period, had been shy of Mr. Wesley's acquaintance. At length being convinced, that the narrow and limited views of John Calvin, concerning the atonement of Christ, were not agreeable to the general tenour of the invitations, promises, and threatenings of the New Testament, he quitted
* He was the Hero of a witty book, entitled the Spiritual Quixote, or the History of Geoffry Wildgoose, Esq. It was written by a Minister of the Church of England, for the
want of better work.
the Calvinists. On this occasion, Mr. Wesley wrote to him, congratulating him on his escape; but, at the same time warning him of the danger of running into the opposite extreme. This is so natural to the human mind, that it is difficult to be avoided : And by yielding to this impulse in some doctrines of importance, it is to be feared that many have made shipwreck of the faith. Mr. Wesley kindly cautioned his friend, against the danger which lay before him. “For a long time,” says he, “I
have had a desire to see you, but could not find an opportunity; and, indeed, I had reason to believe, my company would not be agreeable ; as you were intimate with those who think they do God service by painting me in the most frightful colours. It gives me much satisfaction to find, that you have escaped out of the hands of those
It is not at all surprising, that they should speak a little unkindly of you too, in their turn. It gave me no small satisfaction to learn from your own lips, the falsehood of their allegation. I believed it false before, but could not affirm it so positively as I can now.
“ Indeed, it would not have been without precedent, if, from one extreme, you had run into another. This was the case with that great man, Dr. Taylor, of Norwich. For some years, he was an earnest Calvinist ; but afterwards, judging he could not get far enough from that melancholy system, he ran, not only into Arianism, but into the very dregs of Socinianism. I have reason, indeed, to believe, he was convinced of his mistake, some years before he died. But to acknowledge this publicly, was too hard a task for one who had lived above eighty years.
“ You have need to be thankful on another account likewise ; that is, that your prejudices against the Church of England are removing. Having had an opportunity of seeing several of the churches abroad, and having deeply considered the several sorts of Dissenters at home, I am fully convinced, that our own church, with all her blemishes, is nearer the Scriptural plan, than any other in Europe.
“ I sincerely wish you may retain your former zeal for God; only, that it may be a "zeal according to knowledge. But there certainly will be a danger of your sinking into a careless, lukewarm state, without any zeal or spirit at all. As you were surfeited with an irrational, unscriptural religion, you may easily slide into no religion at all; or, into a dead form,* that will never make you happy either in this world, or in that which is to come. Wishing every Scriptural blessing, both to Lady Trelawneyt and you,
“I am, Dear Sir,
16 J. WESLEY."
Notwithstanding Mr. Wesley's itinerancy, his daily labour of preaching, visiting the societies, and extensive correspondence; yet he still found time to read many books. And, what is rather singular, he often met with books that are very scarce, which many men of literature, with good libraries, have never seen. He read, not only books of divinity, of natural history, and moral philosophy, which came more immediately within the province of his profession, but books which treated of the most remote antiquity. Here investigation is difficult ; and the highest degree of evidence to be attained, a bare probability. Yet even these books Mr. Wesley read, with uncommon diligence and care, often collecting the substance of them into a small compass, and directing it to the one point which he had ever at heart. The following is an instance of this kind :
* This fear was unhappily realized.
# Lady Trelawney was the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Brown, an intimate friend of Mr. Wesley, of whom I shall have to speak hereafter.
Sept. 1, 1781, he says, “ I made an end of reading that curious book, Dr. Parson's Remains of Japhet. The very ingenious author has struck much light into some of the darkest parts of ancient history. And although I cannot subscribe to every proposition which he advances, yet I apprehend, he has sufficiently proved the main of his hypothesis ; namely,–1. That after the flood, Shem and his descendants peopled the greatest part of Asia.--2. That Ham and his children peopled Africa.—3. That Europe was peopled by the two sons of Japhet, Gomer, and Magog; the Southern and Southwestern, by Gomer and his children; and the North and Northwestern, by the children of Magog.
4. That the former were called Gomerians, Cimmerians, and Cimbrians ; and afterwards, Celtæ, Galatæ, and Gauls ; the latter were called by the general name of Scythians, Scuti, and Scots.-5. T'hat the Gomerians spread swiftly through the North of Europe, as far as the Cimbrian Chersonesus, including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and divers other countries, and then into Ireland, where they multiplied very early into a considerable nation.—6. That some ages after, another part of them, who had first settled in Spain, sailed to Ireland under Milea, or Milesius, and, conquering the first inhabitants, took possession of the land.-7. That, about the same time the Gomerians came to Ireland, the Magogians, or Scythians, came to Britain ; so early, that both spake the same language, and well understood each other. 8. That the Irish spoken by the Gomerians, and the Welsh spoken by the Magogians, are one and the same language, expressed by the same seventeen letters, which were long after brought, by a Gomerian Prince, into Greece.-9. That all the languages of Europe, Greek and Latin* in particular, are derived from this.-10. That the Antediluvian language, spoken by all till after the flood, and then continued in the family of Shem, was Hebrew; and from this (the Hebrew) tongue, many the Eastern languages are derived. The foregoing particulars, this fine writer has made highly probable. And these
may be admitted, though we do not agree to his vehement panegyric on the Irish language ; much less receive all the stories told by the Irish poets, or chroniclers, as genuine authentic history."
Dr. Whitehead observes, “ Candour will readily acknowledge, and envy itself must confess, that a man in the seventy-ninth year of his
age, who, in the midst of daily avocations which he deemed of the highest importance to himself and others, could go through a work of this kind with so much attention, and collect the substance of it into a few general heads, must have possessed great strength of mind, and an uncommon degree of the spirit of inquiry.”
In February, 1782, a person unknown proposed a few questions to * How amazingly, in that case, must these languages have been improved! Of the Latin in particular, I do not wonder that Cowper should say, “ What a people they must have been, who spoke such a language !"
Mr. Wesley in writing, and begged the favour of unequivocal answers. The questions and answers were as follow :
“ Is it your wish, that the people called Methodists should be, or become, a body entirely separate from the Church ?”
Answer. No. [And it is not so now.]
“ If not, where, that is, how often, and where, -I mean, upon what description of Teachers of the Establishment, are they to attend ?"
Answer. I advise them to go to church. [In what churches could half of them now find room?]
“ More particularly, if the fall, the corruption, and natural impotence of man ; his free and full redemption in Christ Jesus, through faith working by love, should be taught and inculcated, and offered to the attention of all, at the church of the parish where they reside, are they then, in your opinion, bound in conscience to hear, or may they, at their own option, forbear ?”
Answer. I do not think, they are bound in conscience to attend any particular church.
“ Or if they are at liberty to absent themselves, are they at liberty, that is, have they a Christian privilege to censure this doctrine in the gross, to condemn such Teachers, and boldly to pronounce them, “blind leaders of the blind ?""
Answer. No; by no means.
" Whenever this happens, is it through prejudice, or rational piety? Is it through bigotry, or a Catholic spirit? Is it consistent with Christian charity? Is it compatible with a state of justification? Or, is it even allowable in the high habit of evangelical perfection ?”
Answer. I think it is a sin. [So this curious, and, I am afraid, artful inquirer, took nothing for his motion!]
About the latter end of this year, 1782, a report prevailed, and gained credit, that Administration had an intention to bring in a Bill into the House, for embodying the Militia, and for exercising them on a Sunday. On this occasion, Mr. Wesley wrote the following letter to a Nobleman, then high in office :
6 My LORD,—If I wrong your Lordship, I am sorry for it; but I really believe your Lordship fears God: And I hope your Lordship has no unfavourable opinion of the Christian Revelation. This encourages me to trouble your Lordship with a few lines, which otherwise I should not take upon me to do.
“ Above thirty years ago, a motion was made in Parliament, for. raising and embodying the Militia, and for exercising them, to save time, on Sunday. When the motion was like to pass, an old gentleman stood up and said, “ Mr. Speaker, I have one objection to this : I believe an old book, called the Bible.' The Members looked at one another, and the motion was dropped.
• Must not all others, who believe the Bible, have the very same objection ? And from what I have seen, I cannot but think, these are still three fourths of the nation. Now, setting religion out of the question, is it expedient to give such a shock to so many millions of people at once? And certainly it would shock them extremely : It would wound them in a very tender part. For would not they, would not all England, would not all Europe, consider this as a virtual repeal of the Bible ?
And would not all serious persons say, We have little religion in the land now; but by this step, we shall have less still. For wherever this pretty show is to be seen, the people will flock together; and will lounge away so much time before and after it, that the churches will be emptier than they are already!
My Lord, I am concerned for this on a double account.--FIRST. Because I bave personal obligations to your Lordship, and would fain, even for this reason, recommend your Lordship to the love and esteem of all over whom I have any influence.--Secondly. Because I now reverence your Lordship for your office sake, and believe it to be my bounden duty to do all that is in my little power, to advance your
Lordship's influence and reputation. 6 Will your Lordship permit me to add a word in my
old-fashioned way? I pray Him that has all power in heaven and earth, to prosper all your endeavours for the public good, and am,
" John WESLEY."
In the beginning of this year, 1782, Mr. Wesley received from one of those good kind of people, whom he used to call Croakers, (and who appears to have been displeased with him for having written concerning the war with America,) a dolorous letter, full of his own apprehensions. A fragment of it only has been preserved.
“ And first,” says the writer, " I would advise you to speak comfortably to the people, who are irritated to a high degree against you.
The die is not yet cast : You are not yet in as bad a situation as England is, with regard to America. A few comfortable words might yet make them your own for ever.
Let not your sun go down under a cloud. Stain not with blood every action of your
whole life. Leave the event to Providence. - You cannot prevent a separation of your Preachers [the common notion at that time,] after you are gone to rest ; why should you see it in your life-time? A door is open for you at Bristol, and a comfortable door too : Why should you leave the word of God to serve tables ? at the instigation of those who would be glad to see your head laid in the dust, if they might sit in your chair! One would think you might, with almost half an eye, see what some of them are aiming at. May the God of peace open your eyes, and direct you to act in such a manner, as will disappoint our grand adversary of his unlawful prey.
“I am, Reverend Sir,
" J. M."
Thus the Croakers of his day used to pester the great Lord Burleigh, the Minister of Queen Elizabeth, with their information and advice; but they always found, that he knew more of the matter than they did. The prophecies of the separation of the Preachers and of the work dwindling into little sects and parties, have all come to an end ; like those which were spoken, foretelling the ruin of England and America, by that violent collision. But the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord! and THE GOVERNMENT is upon His shoulders,' to that very end. How often, therefore, may it be said,