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more dangerous to themselves, when they have magnified into persecution every little grievance to which, in their journey through life, the saint and the sinner are alike exposed; or when they have placed to the account of religion, those affronts which they have brought on themselves, and fancied that they were bearing the cross, when they merely suffered the consequences of their personal folly or vanity. And it has on the other hand, occasioned much severe and groundless disquietude to men of humble tempers and inoffensive deportment, who have been alarmed and surprised at finding themselves treated with respect and esteem, where they expected nothing but obloquy and injury. When we are cautioned to let our light shine before men that they may see our good works,' and to provide all things honest and of good report in the sight of all men,' it might be reasonably inferred that the prospects which are here held out of conciliating the good opinion of the world, were not altogether illusory, even if we were not elsewhere informed that, generally speaking, no one is likely to harm us, if we be followers of that which is good.' But as persecutions and obloquy, for the sake of religion, are really borne by many, and may possibly come to all, it is fit that all should be disciplined to expect and to endure them; and this, as we conceive, is the true and the only intelligible purport of the cautions of our Saviour. It is wise in him who prepares a young mariner for the duties of his profession, to describe to him before hand those storms which he must look to encounter; but it is neither wise nor grateful in him whose voyage has been calm and prosperous, to magnify every ruffling air into St. Paul's Euroclydon, or to impute to the severity of the weather and the frowns of Providence those accidents which have arisen from nothing but his own bad seamanship,
As Wesley had made the whole affair a matter of religious casuistry, he appears to have paid no attention whatever to that which was uppermost in his father's mind, the interest of his mother and sisters. Yet when, sometime after, he was offered by Dr. Burton, the head of Corpus Christi College, the situation of chaplain and missionary in the new colony founded in Georgia by General Oglethorpe, he declined the offer, not only on those general grounds which had determined him to prefer Oxford to Epworth, but from an unwillingness to leave England during his mother's lifetime, alleging that he was the staff of her old age.' That high minded woman, however, herself put an end to his scruples, declaring that, if she had twenty sons, she should rejoice that they were all so employed, though she should never see them more.' His father was already dead, having enjoyed in a degree hardly to be surpassed, that calm and rational hope, which is the true euthanasia of a Christian.
In Wesley's voyage to Georgia he was accompanied by his brother Charles, whom he had himself persuaded to enter into orders, and, contrary to the advice of Samuel (who seems to have feared that they would, by their mutual encouragement and example, foment that spirit of fanaticism which was the besetting danger of both,) to embark with him in his plan of converting the Indians. Charles, however, had no regular appointment as chaplain or missionary, and went out as private secretary to the Governor. John Wesley was, at this time, a confirmed ascetic to a degree which he never afterwards was. He had only,' (say his official biographers Dr. Coke and Mr. Moore,) attained to the spirit of bondage unto fear, and he found that all his senses were ready to betray him into sin, upon every exercise of them.' He, accordingly, left off the use of flesh and wine, relinquished one meal in the day, and slept on the floor instead of the bed of his cabin. He wrote in a spirit of similar austerity to his brother Samuel, exhorting him to banish the classic authors from his school and substitute the Christian works. He did not, however, himself neglect the help and guidance of learning in his scriptural studies, since every morning, from five to seven, he read the sacred volume, carefully comparing it with the writings of the earliest ages, that he might not lean to his own understanding.' Well had it been, had he always attended to such guides with equal diligence!
When Wesley accepted the situation of chaplain to the colony, he seems to have supposed that his labours would be more among the Indians than the settlers. The duties and difficulties of a missionary were then but very imperfectly known among Protestants; and he pleased himself with the idea that he should preach to a people not yet beguiled by philosophy and vain deceit; and enforce to them the plain truth of God, without its being softened and rendered useless by the comments of men.' In his first interview with Tomo-Chichi, the chief of the Creek nation, he seems to have well understood how to address them in their own figurative and impressive manner. But to employ this talent to any general good effect, it was necessary to learn their language, and, strange as it may seem, Wesley never attempted this. He found, indeed, abundant occupation among the Christians of Georgia, and was easily induced, by successive trifling obstacles, to abandon all thoughts of that conversion of the heathen, which had been his main object in leaving England.
His reception on commencing his public labours as chaplain was extremely encouraging. The inhabitants of Savannah attended church with laudable exactness, even on week days, and to the neglect of those amusements which were previously most fashionable in the place. Wesley obtained some signal triumphs over the pride
of rank and the love of dress both in his charity school and in his adult congregation; and though a clergyman who does his duty faithfully, may always lay his account to meet with occasional opposition and disappointment amid the motley crowd of a new colony, it is probable that he might have done abundant good, had he been content to attempt it in an usual manner, and had he borne in mind the wise counsel of Dr. Burton, to consider his parishioners as babes in their progress, and therefore to feed them with milk instead of strong meat.
But Wesley was now a high churchman of the most intolerant character. In his zeal for the letter of the rubric he insisted on baptizing children by immersion instead of sprinkling. He refused to read the burial service over a dissenter, and repelled from the communion one of the most pious men in the colony, because he had been brought up a nonconformist, and would not submit to be rebaptized by an episcopally ordained minister. Following the original appointment of the church rather than its modern practice, he separated the morning service from the communion, performing them at different hours; but what gave most offence, was his making his sermons so many satires on particular persons. All the quarrels of the town were, at length, imputed to his intermeddling conduct, and his scruples and peculiarities so perplexed the people, that they said (as a plain speaker told Wesley) that they could not tell whether he were Protestant or Papist, having never heard of such a religion before.
The strangest, however, of all his actions, either in Georgia or during the whole course of his life, was his behaviour respecting a certain Miss Causton, the niece of the chief magistrate of the colony, to whom, after a long religious flirtation originally promoted by Oglethorpe, Wesley proposed marriage against the advice of most of his religious friends in the colony. Unexpectedly the lady rejected him, and was, shortly after, married to a Mr. Williamson. Wesley, however, still seems to have watched over her spiritual welfare with a peculiar and jealous anxiety, till, after some little quarrels, the result of advice obtruded on the one hand, and rejected, perhaps indignantly, on the other, he thought fit to repel her from the communion, till she should openly declare herself to have repented of certain faults which, without publicly stating them, he professed to have observed in her conduct. This unusual procedure set the whole colony in a flame. The lady miscarried; and though she had the justice or the generosity to impute the accident to another cause, her friends were anxious to have it believed the consequence of the chaplain's bigotry. She was induced, however, to make an affidavit that Wesley had repeatedly offered her marriage, which was couched in language well calculated to produce a suspicion beyond what it absolutely
VOL. XXIV. NO. XLVII.
asserted. Her uncle, the recorder, till now the firm friend of Wesley, resorted to all means, fair or unfair, to blacken and destroy his character. Parts of the letters which had passed between him and Mrs. Williamson, during the long course of their affection and intimacy, were publicly read in different companies, with such comments as were most likely to produce an effect unfavourable to the writer; and a grand jury was induced by Causton's influence, to find a bill of indictment against him, containing ten counts, of which the first was for speaking and writing to Mrs. Williamson without her husband's consent, the others related to his repelling her from the communion, his division of the service, and his conduct respecting baptisms and burials. Wesley met these hostilities with spirit and dignity. Such parts of the charge as referred to his ecclesiastical conduct he refused to give an account of before any tribunal but that of his ecclesiastical superiors. That which related to his correspondence with Mrs. Williamson he desired might be tried as soon as possible. Nor was it till after four months had elapsed without any progress being made, that he finally determined, with the general concurrence of his friends in the colony, to leave a place where he had no longer any hope of rendering service to religion.
But whatever credit may be given to Wesley's firmness and disinterested zeal, it will hardly be denied that his conduct in Georgia was marked by a want of sound judgment, which would have argued, if we had not known his subsequent history, a person actually frantic. We will not lay any particular stress on his bigotry towards dissenters. There have always been some few of the high church party (though the great majority of learning and authority has been uniformly on the other side) who have denied the validity of baptism when administered by persons not episcopally ordained. But, in repelling Mrs. Williamson from the communion for an offence not specified, the rubric by which he professed to be guided, no less than the reason of the case, and the general practice of the Christian church, was decidedly against him. The power of repelling open and notorious evil livers' from the sacrament is given to the priest, lest the congregation be offended.' It is only for faults which may be made public, that spiritual censures of any kind may be pronounced. The priest has no right, for he has no opportunity or occasion, to interfere between man and his Maker, except where the openness of the offence makes the church a party aggrieved, or where the criminals, as in the case of auricular confession, submit themselves to his judgment and correction. But Mrs. Williamson does not appear to have stood in either of these predicaments; and, whatever Wesley might have individually known or believed to her disadvantage, though it might
be his duty, in point of charity, to exhort her, in private to repent her of her sins, or else come not to that holy sacrament,' yet if she still chose to attend, as the risque was hers alone, so she was answerable to no other master than Him by whom Judas himself was not openly repelled from that mystery. That it was not Wesley's piety alone which rendered him obnoxious in Georgia, is, indeed, apparent from the fact that Whitefield, immediately after him, enjoyed more peace and popularity here than in any other scene of his labours. And it is strange and revolting to see Wesley, on leaving a place which he had himself, by his own want of judgment, made too hot to hold him, assuming the air of an apostle persecuted for the sake of the gospel, and going through that ceremony of shaking the dust from his feet,' which even an apostle dared not have done without a divine commission, and which, if he meant any thing by it at all, was to devote the inhabitants of Savannah to everlasting destruction!
As yet Wesley has been seen in the character of an over-zealous high churchman only. But, during his stay in the Western Continent, the beginning had been laid of an influence foreign to the church of England, which for several years continued to produce very remarkable effects on his conduct and opinions. In the vessel which conveyed himself and his associates to America were several families of the Moravians, or (as they call themselves) the United Brethren, who, under the patronage of government, were proceeding to join some of their society already established in Georgia. During the voyage, which was tedious and stormy, Wesley had been greatly impressed and affected by their humility, meekness, and patience.
Those servile offices, which none of the English would perform for the other passengers, they offered themselves to undertake, and would receive no recompense; saying, it was good for their proud hearts, and their Saviour had done more for them. No injury could move their meekness; if they were struck or thrown down, they made no complaint, nor suffered the slightest indication of resentment to appear. Wesley was curious to see whether they were equally delivered from the spirit of fear, and this he had an opportunity of ascertaining. In the midst of the psalm with which they began their service, the sea broke over, split the main-sail, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if, he says, the great deep had already swallowed us up. A dreadful screaming was heard among the English colonists: the Moravians calmly sung on. Wesley afterwards asked one of them, if he was not afraid at that time. He replied, "I thank God, no." He was then asked if the women and children were not afraid. His answer was, No; our women and children are not afraid to die."'—vol. i. p. 81. This good opinion was confirmed by all which he observed in their conduct and manners after his arrival in the new world. The B 2