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forward Wesley's views, with such fruits before their eyes as those which Lavington has collected.
Against these extravagancies and the conduct which encouraged them, Wesley's elder brother Samuel bore an earnest and unavailing testimony, conveyed, however, in terms of perfect brotherly love, and doing justice not only to the good intentions of those whom he reproved, but to the real good which his brothers were doing at Kingswood. He was now, however, in a declining state of health, and soon after sunk to the grave lamenting to the last the delusion which possessed the persons dearest to him, and the schism to which their measures were now perceptibly conducting them. This Samuel Wesley is bitterly reviled by Messrs. Bogue and Bennet in their History of the Dissenters. The readers of Mr. Southey's work will judge somewhat differently of him, and will know what to think of his bigotted and most uncharitable accusers.
Methodism had now become a regular system; places of worship were erected in many parts of the country and metropolis, which the violence of mobs soon compelled their supporters to shelter under the toleration act: and, notwithstanding the allegiance which they continued to profess to the church, under the name of 'Protestant Dissenters,' the system which still prevails among them, of band-meetings, &c. with all their exceptionable machinery of watch-nights and mutual confession,* was introduced, laymen were by degrees admitted to read and expound the scripture in their societies, and, at length, though with much reluctance, and with that sort of wisdom which seeks to regulate and direct a feeling which it cannot suppress, Wesley sanctioned the labours of laypreachers, though many years elapsed before he himself, (at the
*For the polity of Arminian methodism and the ill effects which arise from some parts of it, see Quarterly Review, vol. iv. p. 497. Joseph Nightingale, in his Portraiture of Methodism, pp. 197, 198, denies that these accusations are borne out by fact. Το this denial we may oppose the admissions of Wesley himself. "I searched to the bottom," says he," a story I had heard in part, and found in it another tale of real woe. Two of our society had lived together in uncommon harmony, when one, who met in band with E. F. to whom she had mentioned that she had found a temptation toward Dr. F. went and told her husband she was in love with him, and that she had it from her own mouth. The spirit of jealousy seized him in a moment, and utterly took away his reason. And some one telling him his wife was at Dr. F.'s, on whom she had called that afternoon, he took a great stick, and ran away, and meeting her in the street, called out strumpet! strumpet! and struck her twice or thrice. He is now thoroughly convinced of her innocence; but the water cannot be gathered up again. He sticks there "I do thoroughly forgive you, but I can never love you more.' "After such an example, Wesley ought to have abolished this part of his institutions.'
Again, in one of his letters he tells us, "I believe Miss F. thought she felt evil before she did, and, by that very thought, gave occasion to its re-entrance." And yet he did not perceive the danger of leading his people into temptation, by making them recur to every latent thought of evil; and compelling them to utter, with their lips, imaginations which might otherwise have been suppressed within their hearts for ever!'-pp. 213, 214, notes.
earnest persuasion of one of his clerical adherents, Dr. Coke, and in order to provide for the permanence of his system in America,) usurped the apostolic authority of ordaining bishops and presbyters. But, while the Wesleys were thus establishing their influence and extending their number of converts, they received a painful wound in an unexpected quarter, from the pertinacity with which Whitefield and a considerable proportion of their disciples adhered to the peculiar doctrines of Calvin, and opposed (what, indeed, was worthy of all opposition,) Wesley's extravagant notion of the possibility of sinless perfection being attained in the present life. At first Whitefield earnestly and affectionately exhorted the Wesleys to refrain from the discussion of topics on which they could not agree; but neither of the brothers was inclined, nor, in fact, was Whitefield himself, to suppress truths which they considered as of so much importance to Christianity. Harsh things were written and spoken on both sides. A sturdy predestinarian of the name of Cennick, who was schoolmaster at Kingswood, was expelled, by Wesley in person, from the society at that place, for having censured his preaching. Whitefield in his turn, reproved Wesley sharply for his presumption in casting lots, accusing him at the same time very unjustly and from hearsay, of having misapplied the funds of the society. They were, however, soon personally reconciled, but the difference remained as to doctrine; their respective followers were, according to custom, less charitable than themselves; and never was man more bitterly reviled, insulted and misrepresented than Wesley was through the remainder of his life by the Calvinistic methodists.
The cause of this bitterness is chiefly to be found in a sermon which he preached at the Foundery and afterwards published under the title of Free Grace,' which is indeed the most able and eloquent of his discourses, a triumphant specimen of impassioned argument, which it is strange to think that any one could read and still continue a predestinarian.
"Call it by whatever name you please," said he, attacking the Calvinistic doctrine," Election, Preterition, Predestination, or Reprobation, it comes to the same thing. The sense is plainly this: by virtue of an eternal, unchangeable, irresistible decree of God, one part of mankind are infallibly saved, and the rest infallibly damned; it being impossible that any of the former should be damned, or that any of the latter should be saved." He proceeded to show, that it made all preaching vain, as needless to the elect, and useless to the reprobate; and, therefore, that it could not be a doctrine of God, because it makes void his ordinance: that it tended to produce spiritual pride in some, absolute despair in others, and to destroy our zeal for good works: that it made revelation contradictory, and useless; and that it was full of blasphemy," of such blasphemy," said he, " as I should dread to
mention, but that the honour of our gracious God, and the cause of truth, will not suffer me to be silent. In the cause of God," he pursues, "and from a sincere concern for the glory of his great name, I will mention a few of the horrible blasphemies contained in this horrible doctrine."
These, however, are too long to be given here, and we shall therefore content ourselves with placing before our readers the eloquent and animated passage which succeeds them.
"Yes! the decree is past; and so it was before the foundation of the world. But what decree? Even this: I will set before the sons of men life and death, blessing and cursing;' and 'the soul that chooseth life shall live, as the soul that chooseth death shall die.' This decree, whereby whom God did foreknow, he did predestinate,' was indeed from everlasting: this, whereby all who suffer Christ to make them alive are elect according to the foreknowledge of God,' now standeth fast, even as the moon, and the faithful witness in heaven; and when heaven and earth shall pass away, yet this shall not pass away, for it is as unchangeable and eternal as the being of God that gave it. This decree yields the strongest encouragement to abound in all good works and in all holiness; and it is a well-spring of joy, of happiness also, to our great and endless comfort. This is worthy of God. It is every way consistent with the perfection of his nature. It gives us the noblest view both of his justice, mercy, and truth. To this agrees the whole scope of the Christian Revelation, as well as all the parts thereof. To this Moses and all the prophets bear witness; and our blessed Lord and all his apostles. Thus Moses, in the name of his Lord, 'I call heaven and earth to record against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life, that thou and thy seed may live.' Thus Ezekiel (to cite one prophet for all), The soul that sinneth, it shall die; the son shall not bear (eternally) the iniquity of the father. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.' Thus our blessed Lord, 'If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink!' Thus his great apostle St. Paul, God commandeth all men, every where, to repent.' All men, every where; every man, in every place, without any exception, either of place or person. Thus St. James, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.' Thus St. Peter, The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. And thus St. John, if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father; and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.'
"O hear ye this, ye that forget God! ye cannot charge your death upon him. "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith
the Lord God. Wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.'-' As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?'"'-vol. ii. pp. 384–391.
In consequence of these disputes, and under the patronage of the Dowager Lady Huntington, who was, in will at least, as munificent a friend to the followers of Whitefield, as the Countess Matilda was to the Papacy, the Calvinists entirely seceded from all connexion with Wesley. Yet, notwithstanding these divisions, the cause of Methodism grew every day, not only in England, but in Wales, Ireland, and America: indeed Wesley's Arminianism was not likely to be well received in Scotland; but Whitefield produced a considerable effect there. Of the annals of itinerancy, and of the characters and conduct of Wesley's principal instruments or coadjutors, Mr. Southey has given some very interesting, though, perhaps, too minute and copious details: nor can any age of Christianity present more beautiful instances of sincerity, piety, ardent zeal, and disinterested self-devotion to a cause which they regarded as the cause of heaven, than are to be found in the memoirs of many of those honest and simple missionaries, whom his eloquence first awakened to a sense or knowledge of religion, and who went forth from their looms, their ploughs, and their families, to carry the word of God to those who were still in that ignorance from which they had been themselves so lately delivered. Of his more educated associates, besides his brother Charles, Dr. Coke, his successor in authority, and Mr. Fletcher, or Flechiêre, a Swiss by birth, but many years Vicar of Madely, in Shropshire, were the principal. The latter was a man of heavenly temper-a saint in the ancient and highest sense of the term, whose enthusiasm was entirely unmixed with bitterness, and whose life and death were alike edifying, but who, as a zealous Arminian, was pursued with a rancour almost incredible by those who (to use the language of one of their own party, Augustus Toplady,)' considered themselves as kings incog. travelling, disguised like pilgrims, to their dominions above. Nor can it be read without something more than disgust, that when, on leaving England for the benefit of his health, this excellent man desired an interview of reconciliation and mutual forgiveness with those persons with whom he had been engaged in controversy, some deep-dyed Calvinists were found who had not the grace to accept the invitation.
Yet, among the Calvinists also, many excellent men might be enumerated, ardent labourers in the cause of piety, and animated with a sincere affection for those over whose fancied heresies they mourned. Such Whitefield himself lived and died, and as such, it
is pleasing to know that he was honoured, both in life and death, by his great opponent Wesley.
It may well be supposed, that exertions of a nature so novel as those which we have been describing, were not likely to be carried on in England without great and violent opposition. Nor was this opposition confined to the bloodless weapons of argument or verbal censure. Furious mobs arose against them in many places both of England and Ireland; and the magistrates, in some instances, shewed a scandalous neglect of their duty, and even encouraged whatever excesses had the suppression of methodism for their object. Whitefield, while preaching in Moorfields, was not only assailed with all the usual missiles of a brutal rabble, but was attacked with a drawn sword by a person with the appearance of a gentleman; and Wesley was twice in very serious danger, once at Walsall, in Staffordshire, where some of the mob cried out Crucify him!' once in Cornwall, where a crowd, headed by the crews of some privateers, broke into the house where he was visiting a sick lady, with avowed intentions of killing him, which were only prevented by his firm and quiet manner of addressing them.
In Ireland some of his helpers were exposed, if possible, to still greater danger; a mob paraded the streets of Dublin armed with swords, staves, and pistols, wounding many persons, and offering five pounds for the head of a methodist; and a Grand Jury, instead of affording justice to the injured party, preferred bills against Charles Wesley and nine of his friends, as persons of ill fame, vagabonds, and common disturbers of his Majesty's peace, praying that they might be transported.
Nor was the life of an itinerant without trials of another kind. Wesley's long journeys on horseback, at a time when turnpikes were unknown, and accommodation of all kinds execrable, were often wearisome, and sometimes even dangerous, when they led him through the fens of his own county when the waters were out, and over the hills of Northumberland when they were covered with snow. In other instances, and more particularly in the early part of his career, the head of the connexion himself occasionally, and more frequently his poor helpers, had to contend with an inhospitality and coldness on the part of their friends, more discouraging to a spirit like his than either the inclemency of the seasons or the fury of his enemies.
'He and John Nelson rode from common to common, in Cornwall, preaching to a people who heard willingly, but seldom or never proffered them the slightest act of hospitality. Returning one day in autumn from one of these hungry excursions, Wesley stopt his horse at some brambles, to pick the fruit. "Brother Nelson," said he, 66 we