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cimens from his translations of the most admired Classics, and fear not
--Fuit ante Helenam mulier teterrima belli
-Irrupit vence pejoris in ævum
The classical reader will perceive, in all these examples, how exactly the sense is given, while the translation has all the freedom of original thought.
God can debase the highest genius, and render groveling the most exquisite. Perhaps, those writers whom the world have most admired, were never truly turned to God, and, consequently, could not turn from God to court the applause of men ; it was their original element, from
which they departed not. A poetic censure, pronounced by old Mr. Samuel Wesley upon the great, but unhappy, John Dryden, (as related to me by Mr. John Wesley,) is strikingly appropriate. Supposing the great poet and critic to stand before the Judgment-seat, (even if he should find mercy,) he exclaims
“ How will he wish that cach high-polish'd line,
That makes vice pleasing and damnation shine,
Had been as dull as honest Quarles' or mine !" Mr. Charles Wesley was soon delivered from this bewitching danger. He rendered to God the things that were God's,' and glorified him with all his ransomed powers. The world will not, cannot, appreciate the beauties of sacred poetry. Mr. Pope's “ Universal Prayer” has been admired : I will put one stanza of it before one of Charles Wesley's, on a subject nearly similar :
Pore.— The blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away ;
T' enjoy is to obey.
Thy healing influence give;
And bid us EAT AND Live!
Sense shall point out the road;
And all we taste be God! It has been said, “that one born a poet, is a poet in every thing." I have often thought of this sentiment when contemplating the character I am striving o portray. He had great eccentricity, even from a child. Divine grace toon corrected this constitutional exuberance ; but something of it inpcently remained throughout his whole life. When at the University, in arly youth, his brother, as he informed me,) was alarmed whenever he ntered his study. Aut insanit homo, aut versus facit. *Full of the ruse, and being short-sighted, he would sometimes walk right against his brother's table, and, perhaps, overthrow it. If the “ fine phrenzı" was not quite so high, he would discompose the books and papers i the study, -ask some questions without always waiting for a reply, -repeat some poetry that just then struck him--and at length leave his broher to his regularity ; but all this was soon corrected by • the wisdom rom above.'
His complee knowledge of the classic writers, and his high relish for their beauties,when it could be drawn from him, (for he was dead even to that kind of applause,) has often excited my surprise how he could bring himself nto the bondage of regular study, which he must have done to attain uch excellence. But his brother Samuel was his tutor, and kept him, pro imperio, to his books till the drudgery was over, and then the stores of Greek and Roman poetry were a sufficient stimulus. One day, after saving talked on religious subjects for some time, he broke out,-“ Cɔme, I'll give you two hundred lines of Virgil." He began, and it was Virgil indeed. I question if the great poet was ever more honoured. The prosody was as truly Roman as the language.
*« The man is mad, or making verses."
When he was nearly fourscore, he retained something of this eccentricity. He rode every day (clothed for winter even in summer) a little horse, gray
When he mounted, if a subject struck him, he proceeded to expand and put it in order. He would write a hymn thus given him, on a card (kept for the purpose) with bis pencil in shorthand. Not unfrequently he has come to our house in the City-road, and, having left the pony in the garden in front, he would enter, crying out, “ Pen and ink! pen and ink!" These being supplied, he wrote the hymn he had been composing. When this was done, he would look round on those present, and salute them with much kindness, ask after their health, give out a short hymn, and thus put all in mind of eternity. He was fond of that stanza upon those occasions :
There all the ship's company meet,
Who sailed with the Saviour beneath;
And triumph o'er sorrow and death.
The mortal affliction is past;
For ever and ever shall last! It seemed to me that he could never study regularly after he was delivered from tutors and governors. His Hymns and Sacred Poems, which will be admired beyond any thing on that subject when the age shall have a truly religious taste, perhaps owed much of heir strength and excellence to that circumstance. His feelings wee strong, his affections warm, and his imagination ardent ; and, as he was a master of language, the subject flowed from him in an order that 10 study could supply. But he seldom, if ever, wrote a line upon any subject that was given to him. He admired Mr. Fletcher beyond all inen but he never, I believe, wrote a line upon his death. His brother requested him to write an elegy upon that occasion, " which," said he, “ I will print with my funeral sermon.” He made no reply, but seemed nod assent. Some time after, I asked Mr. J. Wesley if he had recei'ed the elegy. He replied, “No: my brother I suppose is waiting for a tiought. Poets you know are magotty.” The thought I believe never came : yet he wrote something upon almost every thing that occurred. He wrote a whole set of hymns (which were published) on the riots in London in the year 1780. There was a beauty as well as a feeling inthose hymns which evidenced the piety, strong affection, and high taste of the mind that gave them birth. One circumstance is remarkable in hose compositions : the measure varies according to the progress of tie threatening ruin, and concludes with that kind (the ten-lines
measure which is only proper for joy and thanksgiving. On almost every thing that affected his most compassionate heart he wrote something. The avful end of the celebrated Miss Ray, who was shot coming out of Covent-Garden Theatre, produced from his feeling mind some most noving elegiac stanzas.
Numberless examples might be given of his genius and taste ; but, however unfashionable it may appear, I cannot but give the palm to his "Family Hymnbook.” Such accumulated strength and beauty of expression, in presenting the daily wants, pains, trials, and embarrassments of a family, to the God of the families of the whole earth, surely never before was presented to the suffering children of men. It seems as if he had, after he became a domestic man, noted every want that flesh is heir to within that circle, and that his one desire was to elevate and direct the subjects of the curse to that only remedy that turns all into blessing! We expect a man of real genius to be great where the subject is inspiring; but to be great in the privacies of common life, to be a true poet (while the man of God equally appears) in those littlenesses, so called, of daily occurrence, shows an elevation and spirituality of mind that has been rarely, if ever, equalled. A shrewd judge of human nature has said, that no man ever appeared great in the eyes of his valet-de-chambre. Charles Wesley was as great in the eyes of the retired partners of his domestic joys and sorrows as in the schools of philosophy and the arts, or the dangers and toils of the field in which he entreated sinners to be reconciled unto God !
In this last mentioned glory his brother alone was his superior, and that chiefly by continuance. Men of God alone can conduct a work of God. Those only who have passed through the conflict that awaits those who come to God, can truly direct those who encounter the same perils, nor can any other safely superintend those who walk with God. The excellent Scott, lately gone to his reward, has recorded those trials which he had to endure with those who were the children of his faith and prayer, and has noted the same fears and perplexities which his pious friend Newton confided to his friendly heart. Those who beget children in the Lord, should never cease to superintend them, knowing the wiles of the devil, and the deceitfulness of the human heart; nor should
any clerical forms hinder that superintendence. Mr. John Wesley felt this ; and, according to the excellent form of his ordination, he
forsook all other cares and studies” that would hinder or cramp this one great and divine obligation, and persevered in that sacred work to the end of his life. He lamented that his devoted brother ever left his side. Much may be said, and with truth, of the great tenderness of that brother's spirit, the weakness of his body, and the degree of constitutional depression to which he was subject, and which was increased by the care of a family. For several years he rose above all these weights, and the Lord was with him of a truth ; nor did he forsake him in his retirements. But his gifts were extraordinary, and the call to exercise them in defiance of all that nature pleads for, seemed imperative. Yet, though he comparatively departed from the great public work, I have abundantly showed he never departed from the Lord.
I have now before me the strongest testimony that can be given at this day, that he refused a living of five hundred pounds a year, choosing to remain among the people that he loved. He also refused a large fortune, left to him by a lady whose relatives had quarrelled with her ; telling her, in his usual short way, “ it was unjust.” The lady, after trying in vain to bend his spirit, informed him that she “ had struck his name out of her will; but that, nevertheless, her family should not possess the fortune." Being advised to accept the fortune, and give it to the relatives—“ That is a trick of the devil,” said he,“ but it won't do. I know what I am now; but I do not know what I should be if I were thus made rich."
As a Preacher, he was mighty in the Scriptures,' and possessed a remarkable talent of uttering the most striking truths with simplicity, force, and brevity. His ministerial gift was in one respect truly extra ordinary: it came the nearest of any thing I ever witnessed to that which we have reason to believe was the original way of preaching the Gospel. It is well known that the Greek word which we render to preach, signifies to proclaim as a herald. The herald is to bring forward nothing of his own, but to deliver the proclamation of the king his master. Hence the astonishing effects which accompanied the word in the primitive days. I rejoice,' says St. Paul, that ye received the word, not as the word of man, but as it is, indeed, the word of God, which effectually worketh in you
who believe. Our word came not unto you in word only, but in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. Our Lord, declaring his commission, says, “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach (proclaim] the Gospel to the poor : he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to publish the acceptable year of the Lord.' Man is the same at this day; God is the same ; and these effects now follow, when men, who have themselves been thus healed and set at liberty, proclaim, by the same Spirit, the Gospel of God; and when • it is mixed with faith in those who hear it.' Where the man who is not himself a subject of this work, takes some notes out of the king's proclamations, and thus forms a proclamation of his own, we need not wonder that no such effects follow—that no sinners are converted to God. Much of this power of truth rested on Mr. J. Wesley, Mr. Fletcher, and others ; but on none more conspicuously than on Mr. Charles Wesley, while he gave himself up entirely to the work. His Sermon before the University of Oxford, in the year 1742, in his course as a student of Christ Church, on Ephesians v, 14, is an example of this way of proclaiming the Gospel, in which he so greatly excelled ; but it falls short of many discourses which he delivered in the highways and to large auditories in his own chapels. The scholar was under some restraint while preaching at St. Mary's, knowing the state of many in his learned congregation, and the need of preserving order in his discourse ; but where only God and conscious sinners were before him, it seemed as if nothing could withstand the wisdom and power with which he spoke : to use the expression of a pious man, “ It was all thunder and lightning.” Even when he retired from the itinerant work, I have known him thus favoured and thus great, so that I should not have wondered at beholding the whole congregation on their knees, or prostrate on their faces before God, crying for mercy! But though these times were not of frequent recurrence, he was always the savour of life to those who waited upon God; but those of the congregation who looked for a regular discourse, concerning which they might give their judgment, were seldom satisfied : He was either an ambassador for God, or he was nothing. He would not preach himself, in any sense of that expression.
In the three or four last years of his life, he visited the prisoners under sentence of death in Newgate. Having become acquainted with the Rev. Mr. Villette, the Ordinary, he had full liberty for this work, and frequently preached what is called “ the condemned sermon.” I attended him upon one of those occasions, and witnessed, with feelings which I cannot describe, the gracious tenderness of his heart. the advantage of proclaiming the Gospel to those who knew they were