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" 1. You are to be men full of the Holy Ghost and of wisdom : that you may do all things in a manner acceptable to God.-2. You are to be present every Tuesday and Thursday morning, in order to transact the temporal affairs of the society.-3. You are to begin and end every meeting with earnest prayer to God, for a blessing on all your undertakings.-4. You are to produce your accounts the first Tuesday in every month, that they may be transcribed into the ledger.-5. You are to take it in turn, month by month, to be chairman. The chairman is to see that all the rules be punctually observed, and immediately to check him who breaks any of them.-6. You are to do nothing without the consent of the minister, either actually had, or reasonably presumed. 7. You are to consider whenever you meet, . God is here. Therefore, be serious. Utter no trifling word. Speak as in his presence, and to the glory of his great name.-8. When any thing is debated, let one at once stand up and speak, the rest giving attention. And let him speak just loud enough to be heard, in love and in the spirit of meekness. 9. You are continually to pray and endeavour, that a holy harmony of soul
may in all things subsist among you : that, in every step, you may keep the unity of the spirit, in the bond of peace.-10. In all debates, you are to watch over your spirits, avoiding, as fire, all clamour and contention : being swift to hear, slow to speak;' in honour every man preferring another before himself.—-11. If you cannot relieve, do not grieve
Give them soft words, if nothing else. Abstain from either sour looks or harsh words. Let them be glad to come, even though they should go empty away. Put yourselves in the place of every poor man; and deal with him as you would God should deal with you.
“ These instructions, we whose names are underwritten, (being the present stewards of the Society in London,) do heartily receive and earnestly desire to conform to. În witness whereof we have set our hands.
"N. B. If any steward shall break any of the preceding rules, after Having been thrice admonished by the chairman, (whereof notice is to be immediately given to the minister,) he is no longer steward."*
I have already stated that the controversy with John Smith, so called, had some influence on Mr. Wesley's mind especially in one particular. Hitherto he had expressed his notion of justifying faith, in the words of the Church of England, in her Homily on Salvation: That it is, “ A sure trust and confidence which a man hath in God, that his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favour of God.” He seems now to have examined the subject more closely, and wrote to his brother Charles, as follows :
“ DEAR BROTHER,—Yesterday I was thinking on a desideratum among us, a Genesis Problematica on justifying faith. A skeleton of it, (which you may fill up, or any one that has leisure,) I have roughly set down.
“Is justifying faith a sense of pardon ? Negatur.
“1. Every one is deeply concerned to understand this question well : but preachers most of all : lest they either make them sad whom
* All the class money in London, which amounted to several hundred pounds a year, was at that time, and for more than 40 years after, given to the poor, through the hands of these stewards.
It is denied.
God hath not made sad ; or encourage them to say Peace where there is no peace.
“Some years ago we heard nothing of justifying faith, or a sense of pardon; so that when we did hear of them, the theme was quite new to us ; and we might easily, especially in the heat and hurry of controversy, lean too much either to the one hand or to the other.
“2. By justifying faith I mean, that faith, which whosoever hath not, is under the wrath and the curse of God. By a sense of pardon, I mean a distinct explicit assurance that my sins are forgiven.
“ I allow, 1. That there is such an explicit assurance. 2. That it is the common privilege of real Christians.
3. That it is the proper Christian faith, which purifieth the heart' and overcometh the world."
“ But I cannot allow, that justifying faith is such an assurance, or necessarily connected therewith.
“3. Because, if justifying faith necessarily implies such an explicit assurance of pardon, then every one who has it not, and every one, so long as he has it not,
the wrath and under the curse of God. But this is a supposition contrary to Scripture, as well as to experience.
Contrary to Scripture; to Isaiah I, io. • Who is among you that feareth the Lord, thai obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.'
“Contrary to Acts x, 34. Of a truth I perceive, that God is no respecter of persons ; but in every nation he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted wiih him.'
Contrary to experience : for J. R. &c, &c, had peace with God, no fear, no doubt, before they had that sense of pardon. And so have I frequently had.*
Again. The assertion, that justifying faith is a sense of pardon,' is contrary to reason: it is flatly absurd. For how can a sense of our having received pardon, be the condition of our receiving it ?
6.4. If you object, 1. J. T. St. Paul, &c, had this sense: I grant they had : but they were justified (or rather had justifying faith] before they had it.—2. We know fifteen hundred persons who have this assurance. Perhaps so: but this does not prove, they had not justifying faith till they received it.-3. We have been exceedingly blessed in preaching this doctrine.' We have been blessed in preaching the great truths of the gospel ; although we tacked to them, in the simplicity of our hearts, a proposition which was not true. 4. • But does not our church give this account of justifying faith? I am sure she does of saving or Christian faith : I think she does of justifying faith too. But to the law and to the testimony. All men may err : but the word of the Lord shall stand for ever."
Undoubtedly there are many in the same state in which Cornelius was, in Christian lands, who never heard the proper Christian faith declared ; and they are not under the curse. But they will be, if they reject that faith, when it is preached to them. If they embrace it, the Holy Ghost, according to the promise, will assuredly bear witness to their believing and pleading spirits, as he did to the Ethiopian, Acts ix, and to Cornelius, Acts x.
* He'means, before he heard of the proper Christian Faith,” which he did not hear bur from the Moravians.
On the 24th of June, 1748, Mr. Wesley opened his large school at Kingswood. He had long before built a small one for the children of the colliers, which still exists. The last was intended for the children of our principal friends, that they might receive a complete education in the languages and sciences, without endangering their morals in the great schools, where vice is so prevalent. In time, many of the preachers married and had families. Their little pittance was not sufficient to enable them to support their children at school. The uninterrupted duties of the itinerant life would not permit the father to give his son the necessary education he required ; and it is well known how impossible it is, in general, for a mother to instruct, or even to govern, a son after a given age, especially during the absence of the father. On these considerations, after a few years, the school was appropriated to the education of a considerable number of the preachers' sons, as well as of the children of private independent members.
These were instructed, boarded, and clothed; and the charity is supported by an annual collection made in all the chapels belonging to the societies in these kingdoms. The collection is now so increased, that small sums are allowed out of it towards the education of preachers' daughters. Mr. Wesley drew up a set of rules for this school, which have been highly admired by most that have seen them.
But this pious design, like all human institutions, often fell below the expectations of the benevolent founder. Yet, notwithstanding this, it has been productive of much good. Many useful preachers have been thereby preserved for the general work, and have been enabled to devote their whole life to the immediate service of God, who must otherwise have sunk under the weight of their families, and settled in some trade for their support. The school is now wholly appropriated to the sons of the itinerant preachers. The great increase of the work rendered this absolutely necessary. Another school has been opened in Yorkshire, on the same plan, since the death of Mr. Wesley. The Lord has greatly blessed and prospered both these institutions.
A circumstance respecting the erection of this edifice, deserves to be remembered. Mr. Wesley was mentioning to a lady, with whom he was in company in the neighbourhood of Bristol, his desire and design of erecting a Christian School, such as would not disgrace the apostolic age. The lady was so pleased with his views, that she immediately went to her scrutoire, and brought him five hundred pounds in bank notes, desiring him to accept of them, and to enter upon his plan immediately. He did so. Afterwards being in company with the same lady, she inquired how the building went on; and whether he stood in need of farther assistance. He informed her, that he had laid out all the
money he had received, and that he was three hundred pounds in debt; at the same time apologizing, and entreating her not to consider it as a concern of hers. But she immediately retired, and brought him the sum he wanted.
THE REV. JOHN WESLEY, A. M.
BOOK THE SIXTH.
OF THE LABOURS OF MR. WESLEY AND OF HIS BROTHER, MR. CHARLES
WESLEY, AND OF THE PREACHERS IN CONNEXION WITH THEM IN IRELAND, WITH THE PERSECUTIONS THAT FOLLOWED-MR. C. WESLey'S MARRIAGE.
Mr. Wesley evidently seems to have had but one design from the commencement of his ministry, and which he invariably pursued till his spirit returned to God, viz. To be as useful as possible to his fellow creatures, especially with regard to the salvation of their souls. He, therefore, never said, upon any success which he met with, “ It is enough.” In this respect, also, he forgot the things behind, and reached forth to those before. The same he continually inculcated upon those who laboured with him. Accordingly, one of the charges which he gave them at their admission, as I have already noted, was, 66 Observe! It is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that Society, but to save as many souls as you can; to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance, and with all your power to build them up in that "holiness, without which they cannot see the Lord.'»
Agreeably to this, they have from the beginning gone from place to place; and having formed Societies of those who turned to God, (for they take charge of none else,) they immediately visited new places, beginning to preach generally in the open air, on a horse-block, or on whatever offered. At length one of the preachers, a Mr. Williams, then zealous for God, crossed the channel, and began to preach in Dublin. Multitudes flocked to hear; and for some time there was much disturbance, chiefly, though not wholly, from the lower class, who are mostly Romanists. He soon formed a small Society, several of whom were happy witnesses of the truth which they had heard, viz. That God does now also give the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins,' to those who repent and believe the Gospel.
Mr. Williams wrote an account of his success to Mr. Wesley, who determined to visit Ireland immediately. Accordingly, on Tuesday, August the 4th, 1747, he set out from Bristol, and passing through Wales, arrived in Dublin on Sunday, the 9th, about ten o'clock in the forenoon. A circumstance almost instantly occurred, which he considered as a token for good. I shall relate it in his own words : Voli II.
“Soon after we landed, hearing the bells ringing for church, I went thither directly. Mr. Lunell, the chief member of the Society, came to the quay just after I was gone, and left word at the house where our things were, “He would call again at one. He did so, and took us to his house. About three, I wrote a line to the Curate of St. Mary's ; who sent me word, . He should be glad of my assistance.' So I preached there, (another gentleman reading prayers,) to as gay and senseless a congregation as I ever saw. After sermon, Mr. R. thanked me very affectionately, and desired I would savour him with my company in the morning.
“ Monday, the 10th.— I met the Society at five, and at six preached on, · Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.' The room, large as it was, would not contain the people, who all seemed to taste the good word.
“ Between eight and nine, I went to Mr. R. the Curate of St. Mary's. He professed abundance of good will, commended my sermon in strong terms, and begged he might see me again the next morning. But at the same time, he expressed the most rooted prejudice against laypreachers, or preaching out of a church ; and said, the Archbishop of Dublin was resolved to suffer no such irregularities in his diocess.
“ I went to our brethren, that we might pour out our souls before God. I then went straight to wait upon the Archbishop myself; but he was gone out of town.
“In the afternoon a gentleman desired to speak with me. troubled, that it was not with him as in times past. At the age
of fourteen, the power of God came mightily upon him, constraining him to rise out of bed, to pour out his prayers and tears, from a heart overflowed with love and joy in the Holy Ghost. For some months, he scarce knew whether he was in the body, continually walking and talking with God. He has now an abiding peace; but cannot rest, till the love of God again fills his heart."
The house, then used for preaching, was situate in Marlboroughstreet, and was originally designed for a Lutheran Church. It contained about four hundred people; but four or five times the number might stand in the yard, which was very spacious. An immense multitude assembled there to hear him, on Monday evening ; among whom
many of the rich, and ministers of all denominations. He spoke strongly and closely on, · The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe ;' and observes, that no person seemed offended. All, for the present at least, seemed convinced, that he spake as the oracles of God.'
The next day he waited on the Archbishop. They conversed for two or three hours, in which time he answered an abundance of objections. He continued to preach morning and evening to large congregations, and had more and more reason to hope, they would not all be unfruitful hearers.
Having examined the Society, which then consisted of about two hundred and eighty members, and explained at large the Rules, (already mentioned,) he sailed for England, leaving Mr. Williams and Mr. Trembath to take care of this little flock. Many of these, he observes, were strong in faith, and of an exceeding teachable spirit; and therefore, on this account, should be watched over with the more care, as being almost equally susceptible of good or ill impressions. Soon after this,