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THIRDLY, By attending on all the ordinances of God :-such are,

The public worship of God: The ministry of the word, either read or expounded :

The Supper of the Lord; family and private prayer ; searching the Scriptures; and fasting or abstinence.

These are the general rules of our Societies; all which we are taught of God to observe, even in his written word, the only rule, and the sufficient rule both of our faith and practice. And all these, we know, his Spirit writes on every truly awakened heart. If there be any among us who observe them not, who habitually break any of them, let it be made known unto them who watch over that soul, as they that must give an account. We will admonish him of the error of his ways ; we will bear with him for a season. But then, if he repent not, he hath no more place among us. We have delivered our own souls.

John Wesley.
CHARLES WESLEY.

CHAPTER III.

DISPUTE RESPECTING ABSOLUTE PREDESTINATION-PARTIAL SEPARA

TION OF MR. WHITEFIELD-RECEIVING LAY-HELPERS-PROGRESS OF ITINERANCY-THE POWER OF RELIGION MANIFESTED IN THE HAPPY DEATH OF SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY.

MR. Wesley Now went on with his labours, and with the same success. Multitudes, as before, attended his ministry, and many renouncing ungodliness, were brought into the liberty of the Gospel. Many also were the witnesses, who, after patiently suffering the afflictions which the Lord was pleased to lay upon them, resigned their souls into the hands of God, with triumphant praise and joy.

For a considerable time Mr. Whitefield continued to labour in union with him ; and sometimes they appeared in the pulpit together. Mr. Whitefield, on his second visit to America, was well received by many pious ministers in the northern states. Almost all these were of Mr. Calvin's sentiments, and asserted absolute Predestination. Mr. Whitefield, being edified by their piety, began in a little time to relish their creed. They strongly recommended to him the writings of the Puritan divines, which he from that time read with much pleasure, approving all he found therein, as he informs Mr. Wesley in a letter which he wrote to him on the subject. The consequence was, that on his return to England, he could not join his old friend in the work of the ministry, with the same cordiality as before.

As Mr. Wesley fully believed, and firmly asserted, that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved,” he had now another error to oppose. The Calvinistic sentiments had been long held by a great part of the dissenting congregations, but did not appear for some time among those who were converted in the present revival of religion. This however was not of long continuance.

“ One evening,” says Mr. Wesley, “Mr. Acourt complained, that Mr. Nowers had hindered his going into the Society. Mr. Nowers answered, it was by Mr. C. Wesley's order. What," says Mr. A

do you refuse admitting a person into your Society, only because he differs from you in opinion ?-_I answered, No. But what opinion do you mean?—He said, “That of election. I hold a certain number is elected from eternity. And these must and shall be saved. And the rest of mankind must and shall be damned. And

And many of your Society hold the same.'- I replied, I never asked whether they held it or no. Only let them not trouble others by disputing about it. He said, “Nay, but I will dispute about it.'- What, wherever you come ?— Yes, whereever I come.'—Why then would you come among us, who you

know are of another mind ? — Because you are all wrong, and I am resolved to set you all right.'—I fear your coming, with this view, would neither profit you nor us.--He concluded, Then I will go and tell all the world, that you and

your brother are false prophets. And I tell you, in one fortnight you will all be in confusion."

Soon after this, the copy of a letter, written by Mr. Whitefield to Mr. Wesley, was printed without the permission of either, and great numbers of copies were given to the people, both at the door of the Foundery and in the house itself. Mr. Wesley having procured one of them, related (after preaching) the naked fact to the congregation, and told them, “I will do just what I believe Mr. Whitefield would, were he here himself.” Upon which, he tore it in pieces before them all. Every one who had received it, did the same : So that, in two minutes there was not a whole copy left. “Ah, poor Ahithophel!" added Mr. Wesley,

“ Ibi, omnis effusus labor !!* The disturbance, however, which this opinion occasioned at Bristol, and the parts adjacent, was not so soon or so easily quieted. Mr. Wesley had permitted an excellent young man, Mr. Cennick, afterwards a Minister of the Moravian church, to pray with and exhort the Society at Kingswood, as well as to superintend the school during his absence. Mr. Cennick now embraced the doctrine of the Decrees; and, soon after, seems to have lost all love and respect for his former friend, speaking against him and his doctrine with much contempt and bitterness. The consequence was, that, after some fruitless efforts to heal the breach, Mr. Cennick departed, and carried off with him about fifty of the Society, whom he formed into a separate connexion. Mr. Wesley mourned over this young man in such a manner, as evinced that he held him in high esteem. There is reason to believe, that Mr. Cennick was afterwards convinced of his mistake, and lived many years an active and successful Minister of the Gospel.

The contention which had arisen still continuing, Mr. Wesley printed a sermon against the Calvinistic notion of Predestination, and sent a copy to Commissary Garden, at Charlestown, where Mr. Whitefield met with it. He had already embraced that opinion; and though the subject was treated in that sermon in a general way, without naming or pointing at any individual, yet he found himself hurt that Mr. Wesley should bring forward the controversy, and publicly oppose an opinion which he believed to be agreeable to the word of God. On his passage to England he wrote to Mr. Charles Wesley, February 1, 1741, expostulating with him and his brother on the subject. He

My dear, dear brethren, why did you throw out the bone of contention? Why did you print that sermon against predestination? Why did you, in particular, my dear brother Charles, affix your hymn, and join in putting out your late hymnbook ? How can you say, you will not dispute with me about election, and yet print such hymns, and your brother send his sermon over against election,* to Mr. Garden, and others in America ? Do not you think, my dear brethren, I must be as much concerned for truth, or what I think truth, as you? God is my judge, I always was, and hope I always shall be, desirous that you may be preferred before me.

says,

* There, all your labour's lost!

But I must preach the gospel of Christ; and that I cannot now do, without speaking of election."--He then tells Mr. Charles, that, in Christmas week, he had written an answer to his brother's sermon,

os which,” says he," is now printing at Charlestown; another copy I have sent to Boston; and another I now bring with me, to print in London. If it occasion a strangeness between us, it shall not be my fault. There is nothing in my answer exciting to it, that I know of. O my dear brethren, my heart almost bleeds within me! Methinks I could be willing to tarry here on the waters for ever, rather than come to England to oppose you."

Dr. Whitehead has observed upon this dispute, that “controversy between good men is commonly on some speculative opinion, while they are perfectly at unison on the essential points of religion, and the duties of morality: And the controversy almost always injures the Christian temper much more than it promotes the interests of speculative truth.” This is not, however, a necessary consequence.

Our Lord was a controversialist. Without controversy, we had been all Heathens or Papists at this day. On this occasion, however, a separation took place between Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield, so far as to have different places of worship ; and some warm expressions dropped from each. But their good opinion of each other's integrity and usefulness, founded on long and intimate acquaintance, could not be injured by such a difference of sentiment : and their mutual affection was only obscured by a cloud for

Mr. Whitefield was the first who visited the colliers of Kingswood : He formed the design of building the school there, and began to make collections for the purpose. But his calls to America would not permit him to prosecute the design, which he therefore transferred to Mr. Wesley. Being now less friendly than before, Mr. Whitefield was more disposed to find fault with little things, and to misconstrue the bare appearances of others. He wrote a list of things which he thought improperly managed. In April Mr. Wesley returned him a long answer, part of which is as follows :

6. Would you have me deal plainly with you, my brother? I believe you would : Then, by the grace of God, I will.

“Of many things I find you are not rightly informed ; of others you speak what you have not well weighed.

“ The Society-room at Bristol, you say, is adorned. How? Why, with a piece of green cloth nailed to the desk; two sconces for eight candles each, in the middle; and—nay, I know no more. Now, which of these can be spared I know not; nor would I desire either more adorning or less.

a season.

* All this was consistent. It was not disputing with him, but maintaining the truth. Mr. Wesley never opposed the Scriptural doctrine of the election of believers to eternal life. He only opposed Mr. Calvin's notion of it, which he believed to be unscriptural and dangeroas.

“ But, • lodgings are made for me or my brother. That is, in plain English, there is a little room by the school, where I speak to the persons who come to me; and a garret, in which a bed is placed for me. And do you grudge me this? Is this the voice of my brother, my son Whitefield?

“ You say farther, that the children at Bristol are clothed as well as taught.' I am sorry for it; for the cloth is not paid for yet, and was bought without my consent or knowledge. But those of Kingswood have been neglected. This is not so, notwithstanding the heavy debt which lay upon it.

One master and one mistress have been in the house, ever since it was capable of receiving them. A second master has been placed there some months since : and I have long been seeking for two proper mistresses ; so that as much has been done as matters stand, if not more, than I can answer to God or man.

“ Hitherto, then, there is no ground, for the heavy charge of perverting your design for the poor colliers. Two years since, your design was to build them a school, that their children also might be taught to fear the Lord. To this end, you collected some money more than once ; how much I cannot say till I have my papers. But this I know, it was not near one half of what has been expended on the work. This design you then recommended to me, and I pursued it with all my might, through such a train of difficulties as, I will be bold to say, you have not yet met with in your life. For many months, I collected money wherever I was, and began building, though I had not then a quarter of the money requisite to finish. However, taking all the debt upon myself, the creditors were willing to stay; and then it was that I took possession of it in my own name ; that is, when the foundation was laid; and I immediately made my will, fixing my brother and you to succeed me therein. “ But it is a poor case, that you and I should be talking thus.

Indeed, these things ought not to be. It lay in your power to have prevented all, and yet to have borne testimony to what you call the truth.' If you had disliked my sermon, you might have printed another on the same text, and have answered my proofs, without mentioning my name ; This had been fair and friendly.

“ You rank all the maintainers of Universal Redemption with Socinians themselves. Alas! my brother, do you not know even this, that the Socinians allow no redemption at all ? That Socinus himself speaks thus, Tota Redemptio nostra per Christum metaphora ?* And says expressly, Christ did not die as a ransom for any, but only as an example for all mankind?' How easy were it for me to hit many other paipable blots, in that which you call an answer to my sermon!' And how above measure contemptible would you then appear to all impartial men, either of sense or learning ? But I spare you; mine hand shall not be upon you: The Lord be judge between me and thee! The general tenour both of my public and private exhortations, when I touch thereon at all, as even my enemies know if they would testify, is Spare the young man, even Absalom, for my sake." is

Dr. Whitehead remarks upon this letter also: “Perhaps, Mr. Wesley, in consequence of his age and learning, assumed, in this letter, a greater superiority over Mr. Whitefield than was prudent or becoming."

* The whole of our Redemption by Christ is a metaphor.

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No, not between fellow labourers and intimate friends, in a private letter: And perhaps Dr. W., holding this opinion, ought not to have published it. It was not possible, however, that the controversy could long abate the ardent affection which each had for the other. In the latter end of the following year, Mr. Whitefield wrote to him as follows : “I long to hear from you, and write this, hoping to have an answer. I rejoice to hear the Lord blesses your labours. May you be blessed in bringing souls to Chri-t more and more! I believe we shall go on best when we only preach the simple Gospel, and do not interfere with each other's plan. Our Lord exceedingly blesses us at the Tabernacle. I doubt not but he deals in the same bountiful manner with you. I was at your letter-day* on Monday. Brother Charles has been pleased to come and see me twice. Behold what a happy thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! That the whole Christian world may all become of one heart and one mind; and that we, in particular, though differing in judgment, may be examples of mutual, fervent, undissembled affection, is the hearty prayer of, Reverend and dear Sir, your most affectionate, though most unworthy younger brother in the kingdom and patience of Jesus.”- We see here the true Christian spirit between those who differ only in opinion.

Mr. Wesley's answer to this letter, I believe, is lost; but it appears from one Mr. Whitefield wrote to him about a fortnight after, that he had answered it in the same spirit of peace and brotherly love. thank you,” says Mr. Whitefield, “ for your kind answer to my last. Had it come a few hours sooner, I should have read some part of it among our other letters. Dear Sir, who would be troubled with a party spirit ? May our Lord make all his children free from it indeed !”

From this time, their mutual regard and friendly intercourse suffered no interruption till Mr. Whitefield's death ; who says, in his last will, written with his own hand about six inonths before he died, “ I leave a mourning ring to my honoured and dear friends, and disinterested fellow labourers, the Rev. Messrs. John and Charles Wesley, in token of my indissoluble union with them, in heart and Christian affection, notwithstanding our difference in judgment about some particular points of doctrine.”+-When the news of Mr. Whitefield's death reached London, Mr. Keen, one of his executors, recollecting he had often said to him, “ If you should die abroad, whom shall we get to preach your funeral sermon? Must it be your old friend, the Rev. Mr. John Wesley?”– And having constantly received for answer, “He is the man,” Mr. Keen accordingly waited on Mr. Wesley, and engaged him to preach it; which he did, and bore ample testimony to the undissembled piety, the ardent zeal, and the extensive usefulness, of his much-loved and honoured friend. I

I cannot give so complete an idea of the earnest desire of Mr. Wesley to continue his Christian union with Mr. Whitefield as by inserting in his own words the concessions which he made for the accomplishment of so desirable an end.

“ Having found for some time,” says he, “a strong desire to unite with Mr. Whitefield as far as possible, to cut off needless dispute, I wrote down my sentiments, as plain as I could, in the following terms :

* An evening set apart for reading letters concerning the work of God in various parts. + See Robert's Life of Whitefield, p. 256. [Ibid. p. 230. Mr. Whitefield died in Sept. 1770.

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