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REVEREND JOHN WESLEY, A. M.
BOMETIME FELLOW OF LINCOLN COLLEGE, OXFORD.
FIRST COMPLETE AND STANDARD AMERICAN EDITION,
FROM THE LATEST LONDON EDITION
WITH THE LAST CORRECTIONS OF THE AUTHOR:
NUMEROUS TRANSLATIONS AND NOTES:
BY JOHN EMORY.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
New - York:
PREFACE TO VOLUME III.
1. It was in pursuance of an advice given by Bishop Taylor, in his • Rules for Holy Living and Dying," that, about fifteen years ago, I began to take a more exact account than I had done before, of the manner wherein I spent my time, writing down how I had employed every hour. This I continued to do, wherever I was, till the time of my leaving England. The variety of scenes which I then passed through, induced me to transcribe, from time to time, the more material parts of my diary, adding here and there such little reflections as occurred to my mind. Of this journal thus occasionally compiled, the following is a short extract: It not being my design to relate all those particulars, which I wrote for my own use only; and which would answer no valuable end to others, however important they were to me.
2. Indeed I had no design or desire to trouble the world with any of my little affairs : As cannot but appear to every impartial mind, from my having been so long “as one that heareth not ;” notwithstanding the loud and frequent calls I have had to answer for myself. Neither should I have done it now, had not Captain Williams's affidavit. published as soon as he had left England, laid an obligation upon me, to do what in me lies, in obedience to that command of God, “ Let not the good which is in you be evil spoken of.” With this view I do at length “ give an answer to every man that asketh me a reason of the hope which is in me," that in all these things “I have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men."
3. I have prefixed hereto a letter, wrote several years since, containing a plain account of the rise of that little society in Oxford, which has been so variously represented. Part of this was published in 1733; but without my consent or knowledge. It now stands as it was wrote ; without any addition, diminution, or amendment; it being my only concern herein nakedly to “ declare the thing as it is.”
4. Perhaps my employments of another kind may not allow me to give any farther answer to them who “say all manner of evil of me falsely," and seem to “think that they do God service.” Suffice it, that both they and I shall shortly “give an account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."
Oxon, October 18, 1730. SIR,—The occasion of my giving you this trouble is of a very extraordinary nature. On Sunday last I was informed (as no doubt you will be ere long, that my brother and I had killed your son: that the rigorous fasting which he had imposed upon himself, by our advice, had increased his illness and hastened his death. Now though, considering it in itself, “ it is a very small thing with me to be judged by man's judgment;" yet as the being thought guilty of so mischievous an imprudence might make me the less able to do the work I came into the world for, I am obliged to clear myself of it, by observing to you, as I have done to others, that your son left off fasting about a year and a half since; and that it is not yet half a year since I began to practise it.
I must not let this opportunity slip of doing my part toward giving you a juster notion of some other particulars, relating both to him and myself, which have been industriously misrepresented to you.
In March last he received a letter from you, which, not being able to read, he desired me to read to him ; several of the expressions whereof I perfectly remember, and shall do, till I too am called hence. I then determined, that if God was pleased to take away your son before me, I would justify him and myself, which I now do with all plainness and simplicity, as both my character and cause required.
In one practice for which you blamed your son, I am only concerned as a friend, not as a partner. That, therefore, I shall consider first. Your own account of it was in effect this :—" He frequently went into poor people's houses, in the villages about Holt, called their children together, and instructed them in their duty to God, their neighbour, and themselves." He likewise explained to them the necessity of private as well as public prayer, and provided them with such forms as were best suited to their several capacities : and being well apprized how much the success of his endeavours depended on their good will toward him, to win upon their affections, he sometimes distributed among them a little of that money which he had saved from gaming, and the other fashionable expenses of the place.” This is the first charge against him; upon which all that I shall observe is, that I will refer it to your own judgment, whether it be fitter to have a place in the catalogue of his faults, or of those virtues for which he is now “numbered among the sons of God.”
If all the persons concerned in “that ridiculous society, whose follies yo'ı have so often heard repeated,” could but give such a proof of their deserving the glorious title* which was once bestowed upon them, they would be contented that their “ lives” too should be a counted madness, and their end” thought to be " without honour.” But the truth is their title to holiness stands upon much less stable founda
• The Holy Club.