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OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
BOOK THE FIRST.
Of his Great Grand-Father, and Grand-Father Wesley.
So far as we can trace back any account of the Family;
Mr. Wesley's ancestors appear respectable for learning; conspicuous for piety; and firmly attached to those views of Christianity which they had formed from the sacred scriptures. Bartholomew Wesley, liis great grand-father, was educated in one of our Universities, and afterwards held the living of Allington in Dorsetshire. When the act of uniformity took place in 1662, he was ejected from his living, and enrolled on the list of fame with those illustrious names, who chose rather to suffer the loss of all things than violate conscience. If we judge from the circumstances of the nation, and the temper of the people at this time, we shall be led to conclude, that the act of uniformity originated with a party; that it was founded
in revenge, and had cruelty and oppression for its object, It was however, the means under God, of raising up a cloud of witnesses, who testified to the world by their sufferings, that religion is not a mere engine of the state, but something real, in comparison of which those who feel its influence count all other things but dung and dross. While in the university, Mr. Wesley had applied himself to the study of Physic as well as Divinity ; a practice which had been frequent, and not then fallen wholy into disuse. He was often consulted as a physician while he held his living, and after his ejectment applied himself chiefly to the practice of physic, though he still preached occasionally. It is said that he used a peculiar plainness of speech, which hindered him from beconing a popular préacher. 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 afterwards declined apace, and did not long survive him. *
John Wesley, M. A. of New-Inn Hall O.xford, son of the above mentioned gentleman, was grand-father of the late Rev. John Wesley. We have no certain account of the time of his birth, nor of the year when he died. It pleased God to incline him to remember his Creator in the days of his youth, a circumstance which always affords comfort in the future part of life. He had a very humbling sense of sin, and a serious concern for his salvation when a school-boy; and soon after began to keep a diary, in which he recorded the remarkable instances of providential care over him, the method of God's dealings with his soul, and how he found his heart affected under the means of grace, and the occurences of providence, whether prosperous and pleasing, or afflictive.
mit See Nonconformist's Memorial, Vol. 1, p. 441.
This method he continued, with very little intermission, to the end of his life.t
During his stay at Oxford, he was taken notice of for his seriousness and diligence. He applied himself particularly to the study of the oriental languages, in which he made great 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 life. He began to preach occasionally at the age of twenty-two, and in May 1658, was sent to preach 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 being informed that the Bishop desired to speak with him, he waited on his Lordship, and has recorded in his diary the conversation that took place on this occasion.
Mr. Wesley's defence of himself turns chiefly on two points, His allegiance to the King; and, His right to preach the Gospel without being ordained according to the rites of the established church. With respect to the first, he solemnly assures the Bishop, that the things alledged against him were either invented or mistaken: that, whatever his bitter enemies might say against him, there were others who would give a different character of him ; that Mr. Glisson had done it; and that Sir Francis Fulford, being his hearer, would acquaint his Lordship concerning him: that he did not think the old Nonconformnists were his Majesty's enemies; and that he had conscientiously taken the oath of allegiance, and had faithfully kept it.
With t1 have taken (Says Doctor Whitehead) some pains to discover whether this manuscript be any where preserved; but I have not obtained any satisfacʻory information concerning it. The extracts from it have beçu preierved by Calamy,