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“SIR,- The fear of God, the love of my country, and the regard I have for his Majesty King George, constrain me to write a few plain words to one, who is no stranger to these principles of action.
“My soul has been pained day by day, even in walking the streets of Newcastle, at the senseless, shameless wickedness, the ignorant profaneness of the poor men, to whom our lives are entrusted. The continual cursing and swearing, the wanton blasphemy of the soldiers in general, must needs be a torture to the sober ear, whether of a Christian or an honest infidel. Can any that either fear God or love their neighbour, hear this without concern? Especially, if they consider the interest of our country, as well as of these unhappy men themselves ? For can it be expected, that God should be on their side, who are daily affronting him to his face? And if God be not on their side, how little will either their number, or courage, or strength avail ?
“ Is there no man that careth for these souls? Doubtless there are some who ought so to do. But many of these, if I am rightly informed, receive large pay, and do just nothing.
" I would to God it were in my power, in any degree, to supply their lack of service. I am ready to do what in me lies, to call these poor sinners to repentance, once or twice a day, (while I remain in these parts,) at any hour, or at any place. And I desire no pay at all for doing this, unless what my Lord shall give at his appearing. “If it be objected, from our heathenish poet,
This conscience will make cowards of us all :' I answer, let us judge by matter of fact. Let either friends or enemies speak. Did those who feared God, behave as cowards at Fontenoy? Did John Haime the dragoon betray any cowardice, before or after his horse sunk under him? Or did William Clements, when he received the first ball in his left, and the second in his right arm? Or John Evans, when the cannon ball took off both his legs? Did he not call all about him, as long as he could speak, to praise and fear God, and honour the king? As one who feared nothing, but lest his breath should be spent in vain ?
“ If it were objected, that I should only fill their heads with peculiar whims and notions! That might easily be known. Only let the officers hear with their own ears; and they may judge, whether I do not preach the plain principles of manly, rational religion.
“Having myself no knowledge of the General, I took the liberty to make this offer to you. I have no interest herein; but I should rejoice to serve, as I am able, my king and country. If it be judged, that this will be of no real service, let the proposal die and be forgotten. But I beg you, Sir, to believe, that I have the same glorious cause, for which you have shown so becoming a zeal, earnestly at heart : And that therefore I am, with warm respect,
" Your most obedient servant,
** JOHN WESLEY."
A polite answer was returned by the Magistrate ; and the General, being informed of it, gave his consent; in consequence of which, Mr. Wesley preached to the soldiers as long as he continued in those parts.
In the year 1745, Mr. C. Wesley confined his labours chiefly to Lon. don, Bristol, (including the neighbouring places,) and Wales.-He observes, August 1, “We began our conference, with Mr. Hodges, four of our assistants, Herbert Jenkins, and Mr. Gwynne. We continued it five days, and parted in great harmony and love."-On the 25th, he was in Wales, and Mr. Gwynne sent his servant, to show him the way to Garth ; but having some time before sprained his leg, and having taken too much exercise after the accident, he was unable to go; and at length left Wales, without visiting that family. The following is a remarkable instance of his zeal in doing good to the vilest and most wretched of human beings. “ October 9.–After preaching at Bath, a woman desired to speak with me. She had been in our Society, but left it through offence, and fell by little and little into the depth of vice and misery. I called Mrs. Naylor to hear her mournful account. She had lived some time in a wicked house, in Avon-street; confessed it was hell to her to see our people pass by to the preaching ; but knew not what to do, nor how to escape. We bid her fly for her life, and not once look behind her. Mrs. Naylor kept her with herself till the morning, and then I carried her with us in the coach to London, and delivered her to the care of our sister Davey. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire ?"
February 3, 1746, Mr. C. Wesley opened the new Chapel in Wapping, and preached from 1 Cor. xv, 1 : Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.' The next day he wrote to a friend, expressing his apprehensions that God was about to pour out heavy judgments on the nation. He
to his friend, “You allow us one hundred years to fill up the measure of our iniquity; you cannot more laugh at my vain fear, than I at your vain confidence.”—This and the preceding year were times of danger and great national alarm ; and religious people are more apprehensive of divine judgments, at such seasons, than other persons. This has been falsely attributed to superstition ; but religious persons have a more clear knowledge than others, of the enormity and guilt of national sins; they see more clearly the mercies enjoyed, and know more perfectly the holiness and just anger of God against sin. What might have been the visitation of God, if this revival of true religion had not taken place, may be easily imagined by those who believe his word.
Mr. C. Wesley being at Bristol when he first heard the news of the victory at Culloden, over the rebel army, he observes, “ I spoke at night on · He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.' We rejoiced unto him with reverence, and thankfully observed the remarkable answer of that petition,
All their strength o'erturn, o'erthrow,
Snap their spears and break their swords:
The battle is the Lord's !* “Oh! that in this reprieve, before the tide is turned, we may know the time of our visitation.”
* This is one stanza of his noble hymn, written at that awful time.
PROGRESS OF RELIGION, WITH ITS ATTENDANT SUFFERINGS-MR.
WESLEY'S EXPOSTULATION WITH THE OPPOSING CLERGY-HIS AD-
The Rebellion being now crushed, Mr. C. Wesley proceeded, in 1746, to Cornwall, and was cheered by the steadiness of the flock there in those troublous times. The laymen were found useful on this occasion. He observes, “ Monday, June 30.—Both sheep and shepherds had been scattered in the late cloudy day of persecution ; but the Lord gathered them again, and kept them together by their own brethren ; who began to exhort their companions, one or more in every Society. No less than four have sprung up in Gwennup. I talked closely with each, and found no reason to doubt tbat God had used them thus far. I advised and charged them, not to stretch themselves beyond their line, by speaking out of the Society, or fancying themselves public teachers. If they keep within their bounds, as they promise, they may be useful in the church : And I would to God, that all the Lord's people were prophets like these.”—It is highly probable, England would have tasted before this time the horrors of the French Revolution, if it were not for this teaching. The common people were then ripe for any mischief. They are now taught better.
“July 3.–At Lidgeon, I preached Christ crucified, and spake with th classes, who seem much in earnest. Showed above a thousand sinners, at Sithney, the love and compassion of Jesus towards them. Many who came from Helstone, a town of rebels and persecutors, were struck and confessed their sins, and declared they would never more be found fighting against God.-July 6. At Gwennup, near two thousand persons listened to those gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth,
Come unto me, all ye that travel and are heavy laden,' &c. Half of them were from Redruth, which seems on the point of surrendering to the Prince of Peace. The whole country finds the benefit of the Gospel. Hundreds, who follow not with us, have broken off their sins, and are outwardly reformed ; and the persecutors in time past will not now suffer a word to be spoken against this way. Some of those who fell off in the late persecution, desired to be present at the Society.
" At St. Ives, no one offered to make the least disturbance : Indeed, the whole place is outwardly changed in this respect. I walk the streets with astonishment, scarcely believing it is St. Ives. All opposition falls before us, or rather is fallen, and not yet suffered to lift up its head again. This also hath the Lord wrought.”
July 19.-Rode to Sithney, where the word begins to take root. The rebels of Helstone threatened hard—they say all manner of evil of us. Papists we are, that is certain ; and are for bringing in the Pretender. Nay, the vulgar are persuaded, that I have brought him with me; and James Waller is the man! But law is to come from London to-night to put us all down, and set a price upon my head.”—This was an awful opinion to prevail among the fierce tinners of Cornwall. But
he trusted in God and was protected. He observes, “We had, notwithstanding, a numerous congregation, and several of the persecutors. I declared my commission to open their eyes, to turn thein from darkness to light,' &c. Many appeared convinced, and caught in the Gos
The next day, being Sunday, Mr. C. Wesley preached again, and near one hundred of the fiercest rioters were present. A short time before, these men had cruelly beaten many, not sparing the women and children. But now, the very men, expecting a disturbance, came to protect Mr. C. Wesley, and said they would lose their lives in his defence. The whole congregation was attentive and quiet.
Thus, under the protection of a particular Providence, of which he had no doubt, Mr. C. Wesley pursued his labours with great diligence, confidence, and success. He had been informed that the people of St. Just, being scattered by persecution, had wandered into the paths of error and sin, and had been confirmed therein by their exhorter. He visited them, and spake with each member of the Society; and adds, “I was amazed to find them just the reverse of what they had been represented. Most of them had kept their first love, even while men were riding over their heads, and while they were passing through fire and water. Their exhorter appears a solid humble Christian, raised up to stand in the gap, and keep the trembling sheep together.” The next day he again talked with some of the Society, and says, “I adored the miracle of grace, which has kept these sheep in the midst of wolves. Well
may the despisers behold and wonder. Here is a bush burning in the fire, yet not consumed! What have they not done to crush this rising sect ; but lo! they prevail nothing! Neither persecutions nor threatening, flattery nor violence, dungeons nor sufferings of various kinds, can conquer them. Many waters cannot quench this little spark which the Lord hath kindled, neither shall the floods of persecution drown it.”
The congregations had been large in most places, during his stay in the West of Cornwall; but it being generally known that he was now preparing to leave it, they were greatly increased.-Sunday, August 10, being at Gwennup, he observes, " Nine or ten thousand, by computation, listened with all eagerness, while I commended them to God and to the word of his grace. For near two hours I was enabled to preach
repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I broke out, again and again, into prayer and exhortation; believing, not one word would return empty. Seventy years' sufferings would be overpaid, by one such opportunity. Never had we so large an effusion of the Spirit, as in the Society ; I could not doubt, at that time, either of their perseverance or my own: And still I am humbly confident, that we shall stand together among the multitude which no man can number.'”
The next day, August 11, being filled with thankfulness to God, for the mercies shown to himself and the people, he wrote a thanksgiving hymn, which begins thus,
All thanks be to God,
Throughout every place,
Who the victory gave,
For the work he hath done,
He now travelled forward to St. Endys, and preached on, · Repent and believe the Gospel.' His friends, the Rev. Messrs. Bennet and Tomson, were present. “ As I was concluding," says he, a gentleman rode up to me very fiercely, and bid me come down. We exchanged a few words, and talked together more largely in the house. The poor drunken lawyer went away in as good a humour as he was then capable of. I had more difficulty to get
clear of a different antagonist, one Adams, an old enthusiast, who travels through the land, as overseer of all the Ministers.”—Happy and wise, no doubt, in his own conceit.
Having received many letters from Mr. Kinsman's fainily, Mr. Jenkins, and others at Plymouth, importuning him to favour them with another visit on his return, he complied with their request, on the 14th of August ; and on the 18th, he took boat at the Dock, accompanied by several friends, to meet a congregation at some distance. He observes, “ The rough stormy sea tried our faith. None stirred, or we must have been overset. In two hours, our invisible Pilot brought us safe to land, thankful for our deliverance, humbled for our littleness of faith, and more endeared to each other by our common danger. We found thousands waiting for the word of life. The Lord made it a channel of
I spoke and prayed alternately for two hours. The moonlight added to the solemnity. Our eyes overflowed with tears, and our hearts with love! Scarce a soul but was affected with grief or joy. We drank into one spirit, and were persuaded, that neither life nor death, things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'”
Mr. C. Wesley continued his labours daily, visiting various places in his way to Bristol, where he arrived on the 28th of August, and came safe to London on the 2d of September. He staid here a fortnight, during which he became acquainted with Mr. Edward Perronet, a sensible, pious, and amiable young man. Sept. 16, they set out, accompanied by several friends, to pay a visit to his father, the Rev. Mr. Perronet, Vicar of Shoreham in Kent; a man of a most artless, childlike spirit, and zealous for the doctrines of the Gospel. But his preaching and godly conversation had, as yet, but little influence on the minds of his people, who opposed the truth with great violence. It is probable, potice had been given, that Mr. C. Wesley would preach in the church. “As soon,” says he, “as I began preaching, the wild beasts began roaring, stamping, blaspheming, ringing the bells, and turning the church into a bear-garden. I spoke on for half an hour, though only the nearest could hear. The rioters followed us to Mr. Perronet's house, raging, threatening, and throwing stones. Charles Perronet hung over me, to intercept the blows. They continued their uproar after we got into the house.”—Mr. C. Wesley retired for the present from the beasts of the people, and returned to London with Mr. E. Perronet.
October the 9th, being appointed as a day of public thanksgiving for national mercies, the Foundery was filled at four in the morning. Mr. C. Wesley preached from those words, How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?' He adds, “Our hearts were melted by the long-suffering love of God; whose power we found disposing us to the true thanks. giving. It was a day of solemn rejoicing. O that from this moment, all our rebellions against God might cease !"
The winter was now approaching, yet Mr. C. Wesley, although in a VOL. II.