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Religious Movement of the Eighteenthy Century,
CONSIDERED IN ITS DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONAL FORMS,
BY ABEL STEVENS, LL.D.
From the Origir of Methodism to the Death of Whitefield.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by
CARLTON & PORTER,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of
As a great religious development of the last century, affecting largely our common Protestantism, and, unquestionably, destined to affect it still more profoundly, Methodism does not belong exclusively to the denominations which have appropriated its name.
I have therefore attempted to write its history in a liberal spirit, and to consider it, not as a sectarian, but as a general religious movement, ostensibly within the Church of England, at least during the lives of the chief Methodist founders, but reaching beyond it to most of the Protestantism of England and America. I have endeavored steadily to keep this point of view till the movement was reduced into sectarian organizations.
I am not aware that this plan has been followed by any of the numerous writers on Methodism, Calvinistic or Arminian. It is not only historically just, but it affords special advantage to the variety and interest of the narrative: for whereas the Calvinistic writers, on the one side, have had as their chief characters, Whitefield, the Countess of Huntingdon, Howell Harris, Rowlands, Jones, Berridge, Venn, Romaine, Madan; and the Arminian authors, on the other, the Wesleys, Grimshaw, Fletcher, Nelson, Coke, Benson, Clarke, I claim them all as "workers together with God;" and the marvelous “itinerancy” of Whitefield runs parallel with the equally marvelous 'travels and labors of Wesley. Marking distinctly the contrasts of the Calvinistic and Arminian sections of Methodism, I have nevertheless been able to show that much more harmony existed between