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ralleled labours for the good of mankind, and of those especially who most needed his labours,--and that he persevered in them for threescore years, with a success which astonishes and excites the admiration of the narrator ;—the man who can believe all this, must himself, it should seem, have a mental disease, (alas, too common!) which even men of plain apprehension, but who read their bibles, may pronounce pitiable, and may even fear lest it should be incurable. My. Southey, whatever he may have intended, has written to pull down the faith, though he exalts the man. I write to maintain the faith; the man, with all competent judges, will be his own eulogist.

I will also acknowledge, I am not wholly without fear, that the very people raised up by Mr. Wesley's labours, and by those of his coadjutors, who are distinguished by his honoured name, may be in some danger of stopping short of his faith, or of departing from it. If this fear should unhappily be realized, and a spurious race should in time succeed, it may be well to have a corrective of this kind at hand, without the trouble of a voluminous reference. We know what advantage the Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies of the Church of England gave to Mr. Wesley in maintaining the cause of truth. That the Pulpit and the Reading Desk should be at variance, is not a mere supposition ; and it is not impossible, (such is our opinion of human nature,) that Methodist pulpits may, in time, wander from the faith once delivered to the people: yea, that the people themselves may

16 wish to have it so." It

may, therefore, serve the cause of truth to have it known, (when the hand that now writes shall be mouldering in the dust,) in this way also, what were the real views, doctrines, and practice of those who now rest from their labours ; that all who are in truth “ way-faring men” in the path that leads to God, “ may not err therein," either through the wisdom or the ignorance of men who “know not God.

My wish and aim, in publishing these Memoirs, is to “ do good to all men : though especially to the household of faith.But I am sensible, I shall need the candour of the Reader in detailing many particulars respecting these eminent men. It has been observed by a late writer, that “the language of egotism cannot well be avoided where the Biographer speaks from his own knowledge, and aims to delineate the features of an original character from more immediate intimacy and observation;" and I may add, from personal and direct information.

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Accounts of Mr. Wesley's ancestors are sufficiently numerous. For a hundred years past, and to the present day, honourable mention has been made of them, and their worth is acknowledged to be of no common kind. I must, however, again present an account of them, but in a compressed form, to the readers of these Memoirs ; that they may know the estimable root from which such a distinguished character as Mr. Wesley sprung, and may see that the work of God, which it is the design of these volumes to illustrate, did not originate with those ancestors. His own family, as well as the greater part of the nation, at the time when Mr. Wesley entered on his vast labours, were, to use the words of the great Apostle, shut up to the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Mr. Wesley's ancestors were eminent for learning and piety. BARTHOLOMEW WESLEY, his great-grandfather, was educated in one of our Universities, and afterward held the living of Allington in Dorsetshire. When the Act of Uniformity passed in 1662, he was ejected from his living, choosing rather to suffer the loss of all things than violate his conscience. While in the University, he had applied himself to the study of Physic as well as Divinity,—a practice not then fallen into disuse. He was often consulted as a physician while he held his living ; and, after his ejectment, devoted himself chiefly to the profession of medicine, though he still preached occasionally. It is said that he used a peculiar plainness of speech, which hindered him from becoming a popular preacher. He lived several years after he was silenced ; but the death of his son, John Wesley, of whom I shall next speak, affected him so much, that he afterward declined apace, and did not long survive him.*

John Wesley, M. A., of New-Inn Hall, Oxford, was son of Bartholomew, and grandfather of the late Rev. John Wesley. He remem. bered his Creator in the days of his youth; and, when a schoolboy, had a very humbling sense of sin, and a serious concern for his salvation. He soon after began to keep a diary, in which he recorded the remarkable instances of providential care over him, and of the Lord's dealings with his soul. This method he continued, with very little intermission, to the end of his life.

* See Nonconformists' Memorial, Vol. I, p. 442.

During his stay at Oxford he was noticed for his seriousness and diligence. He applied himself particularly to the study of the Oriental languages in which he made much progress. Dr. John Owen, who was at that time Vice-Chancellor, had a great regard for him ; which affords strong evidence both of his abilities and piety, at this early period of lífe. He began to preach at the age of twenty-two; and in May 1658, was sent to officiate at Whitchurch in Dorsetshire. Soon after the Restoration, some of his neighbours gave him a great deal of trouble, because he would not read the Common Prayer. They complained of him to the Bishop of Bristol, and laid many heavy things to his charge. Mr. Wesley, on being informed that the Bishop desired to speak with him, waited on his Lordship, and has recorded in his diary the conversation which arose on that occasion. As it displays the character of the man in a much clearer view than I can place it by any thing I am able to say, and as it reflects much honour upon the Bishop, considering the darkness of the times, I give it at large :

Bishop. What is your name?
WESLEY. John Wesley.
B. There are many great matters charged upon you.

W. May it please your Lordship, Mr. Horlock was at my house on Tuesday last, and acquainted me that it was your Lordship’s desire I should come to you: and on that account I am here to wait on you.

B. By whom were you ordained ? or, are you ordained?
W. I am sent to preach the Gospel.
B. By whom were you sent?
W. By a Church of Jesus Christ.
B. What Church is that?
W. The Church of Christ at Melcomb.
B. That factious and heretical Church !

W. May it please you, Sir, I know no faction or heresy that Church is guilty of.

B. No! Did not you preach such things as tend to faction and heresy? W. I am not conscious to myself of any such preaching.

B. I am informed by sufficient men, gentlemen of honour of this county, namely, Sir Gerard Napper, Mr. Freak, and Mr. Tregonnel, of your doings. What say you?

W. Those honoured gentlemen I have been with ; who being by others misinformed, proceeded with some heat against me.

B. There are oaths of several honest men; and shall we take your word for it, that all is but misinformation?

W. There was no oath given or taken. Besides, if it be enough to accuse, who shall be innocent ?-I can appeal to the determination of the great Day of Judgment, that the large catalogue of matters laid to me,

are either things invented or mistaken. B. Did not you ride with your sword, in the time of the Committee of Safety, and engage with them?

W. Whatever imprudences in civil matters you may be informed I am guilty of, I shall crave leave to acquaint your Lordship, that his Majesty having pardoned them fully, I shall waive any other answer.

B. In what manner did the church you spake of, send you to preach? At this rate every body might preach.

W. Not every one. Every body has not preaching gifts and preaching graces. Besides, that is not all I have to offer to your Lordship, to justify my preaching.

B. If you preach, it must be according to order, the order of the Church of England, upon ordination.

W. What does your Lordship mean by ordination ? B. Do not you know what I mean? W. If you mean that sending, spoken of Romans x, I had it. B. I mean that: What mission had you? W. I had a mission from God and man. B. You must have it according to law, and the order of the Church of England.

W. I am not satisfied in my spirit therein.

B. Not satisfied in your spirit! You have more new-coined phrases than ever were heard of! You mean your conscience, do you

not? W. Spirit is no new phrase. We read of being sanctified in soul, body, and spirit.

B. By spirit there, we are to understand the upper region of the soul.

W. Some think we are to take it for the conscience : but if your Lordship like it not so, then I say I am not satisfied in conscience as touching the ordination you speak of.

B. Conscience argues science, science supposes judgment, and judgment reason. What reason have you that you will not be thus ordained?

W. I came not this day to dispute with your Lordship; my own inability would forbid me so to do.

B. No, no ; but give me your reason. W. I am not called to that office, and therefore cannot be ordained. B. Why have you then preached all this while ? W. I was called to the work of the ministry, though not to the office. There is, as we believe, vocatio ad opus, et ad munus.*

B. Why may you not have the office of the ministry? .W. May it please your Lordship, because they are not a people who are fit subjects for me to exercise office-work among them.

B. You mean a gathered church : but we must have no gathered churches in England ; and you will see it so. For there must be unity without divisions among us : and there can be no unity without uniformity.—Well then, we must send you to your church, that they may dispose of you, if you were ordained by them.

W. I have been informed by my cousin Pitfield and others concerning your Lordship, that you have a disposition inclined against morosity. However you may be prepossessed by some bitter enemies to my person, yet there are others who can and will give you another character of me. Mr. Glisson hath done it. And Sir Francis Tulford desired me to present his service to you, and being my hearer, is ready to acquaint you concerning me.

* A call to the work; and a call to the office.

and graces.


B. I asked Sir Francis Tulford whether the presentation to Whitchurch was his : Whose is it? He told me it was not his.

W. There was none presented to it these sixty years. Mr. Walton lived there. At his departure the people desired me to preach to them; and when there was a way of settlement appointed, I was by the Trustees appointed, and by the Triers approved.

B. They would approve any, who would come to them, and close with them. I know they approved those who could not read twelve lines of English.

W. All that they did I know not; but I was examined touching gifts

B. I question not your gifts, Mr. Wesley; I will do you any good I can: But you will not long be suffered to preach, unless you will do . it according to order.

W. I shall submit to any trial you shall please to make. I shall present your Lordship with a confession of my faith, or take what other way you please to insist on.

B. No, we are not come to that yet.

W. I shall desire those severals to be laid together, which I look on as justifying my preaching.

1. I was devoted to the service from my infancy.

2. I was educated in order thereto at school, and in the University of Oxford.

B. What age are you?
W. Twenty-five.
B. No sure, you are not!

W. 3. As a son of the prophets, after I had taken my degree, I preached in the country ; being approved of by judicious able Christians, ministers and others.

4. It pleased God to seal my labours with success, in the apparent conversion of many souls.

B. Yea, that is, it may be, to your way.

W. Yea, to the power of godliness from ignorance and profaneness. If it please your Lordship to lay down any evidences of godliness, agreeing with Scripture, and that are not found in those persons intended, I am content to be discharged the ministry. I will stand or fall on the issue thereof.

B. You talk of the power of godliness; such as you fancy.

W. Yea, to the reality of religion. Let us appeal to any commonplace-book for evidences of graces, and they are found in and upon them.

B. How many are there of them?
W. I number not the people.
B. Where are they?

W. Wherever I have been called to preach. At Radpole, Melcomb, Turnwood, Whitchurch, and at sea. I shall add another ingredient of my

mission :5. When the church saw the presence of God going along with me, they did, by fasting and prayer, on a day set apart for that end, seek an abundant blessing on my endeavours.

B. A particular church?
W. Yes, my Lord, I am not ashamed to own myself a member of one.

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