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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 ex- 
clusively 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 endeavoured 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, except 
Isaac Taylor, and Dr. James Porter in his excellent " Compen- 
dium," our best practical manual of Methodism. If Southey's 
life of "Wesley should be considered another exception, yet its 
questionable purpose, and its total misapprehension of the pro- 
vidential desi^ of Methodism, have deprived it, among religious 
readers, of any importance, aside from the romantic interests of 
its facts. 

This comprehensive plan is not only historically just, but it 
affords special advantage to the variety and interest of the narra- 
tive : for whereas the Calvinistic writers, on the one side, have 
had as their chief characters, Whitefield, the Countess of Hun- 
tingdon, Howell Harris, Berridge, Venn, Eomaine, Madan ; and 
the Arminian authors, on the other, the Wesleys, Grimshaw, 


Fletcher, Nelson, I claim them all as " workers together with 
God ;" and the marvellous " itinerancy'* of Whitefield runs paral- 
lel with the equally marvellous travels and labours 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 them, through most of 
their history, than has usually been supposed ; that in fact the 
essential unity of the movement was maintained, with but inci- 
dental and salutary variations, down to tljie death of "Whitefield. In 
this respect, at least, I trust my pages will teach a lesson of Chris- 
tian charity and catholicity which shall be grateful to all good men 
who may read them ; and as it is more the office of history to 
narrate than polemically to discuss opinions, I have endeavoured 
not to impair the much-needed lesson in my accounts of par- 
ties. It has been as impossible as inexpedient to dissemble my 
own theological opinions, but it is hoped that they will not be 
found unnecessarily obtruded. As the Wesleyan section of the 
movement was the most ostensible, and took finally an organized 
And permanent form, it necessarily takes the lead in the earlier 
part of the narrative, and will almost exclusively occupy the latter 
part of it. I have endeavoured, however, to give the fullest 
attention, required by the plan of the work, to other Methodist 

The present volume brings the narrative down to the death of 
Whitefield,' a period after which Calvinistic Methodism, though it 
will continue to receive due notice, loses its prominence, and the 
history of the movement becomes distilictly Wesleyan. Two more 
volumes will complete the history of British Methodism. The 
history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, only 
alluded to in the preceding volumes so far as was necessary to the 
integrity of the narrative, will be given in two additional volumes. 
While this arrangement is legitimate to the real history of Me- 
thodism, and will afford some special conveniences to the writer, 
it will also have the important advantage of presenting to the 
xeader the English history, including the fullest ** Life and Times 


of Wesley*' yet published, and the history of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church in the United States, each in so distinct a form as be dependent one on the other. 

I have endeavoured to do justice to the Lay Preachers of 
"Wesley, many of whom, though overshadowded by the leaders of 
Methodism, were its noblest heroes. Southey is the only writer 
who has said much respecting them ; but he has referred to them 
in almost every instance for the purpose of citing proofs of hi& 
charges of fanaticism and insanity, though he could not disguise 
his admiration of their extraordinary characters, and they afford 
the chief romance of his volumes. He has given sketches of eight 
of them ; I have given more than that number in the present 
volume ; many, however, of historical importance, who were active 
during my present period, do not appear within it. The reader 
will hereafter find that I have not ignored their claims, but post- 
poned them to more suitable points of the narrative. 

The Ecclesiastical Economy, the Doctrines, Psalmody, Lite- 
rature, etc., of Methodism are noticed as the narrative proceeds^ 
their historical development being distinctly traced ; but they 
will be more fully discussed in a book of the second volume. 

I have authenticated the most important facts of the narrative 
by marginal references ; in order, however, not to encumber the 
volume unnecessarily with notes, I have in most instances, given 
my authority in the beginning of each chapter, without repeating 
it except when some intervening reference has made it necessary. 
The number of publications relating to early Methodism would be 
incredible to ordinary readers. Whether from a curious or a 
hostile motive, a " Catalogue of Works that have been published 
in Eefutatiou of Methodism from its origin in 1729 to 1846,. 
compiled by H. C. Decanver," was printed in Philadelphia by 
John Pennington in 1846.^ It is not complete, but comprises the 
titles of no less than three hundred and eighty-four publications^ 
The compiler was a Protestant Episcopalian; "Decanver"is his 
nomme deplume ; he has given his real name in the original manu- 
script, which, with the printed catalogue and one hundred and 


forty-tliree of the most curious of these works, he has deposited in 
the Library of the Theological Seminary of the Protestant Epis- 
copal Church in New York city. "Whatever may have been. his 
design, he has done a valuable service to Methodism, and enriched 
the library of that institution with the best collection of such 
documents in the United States, perhaps the best in the world. 
If we add to these the works in &vour of Methodism, and others 
bearing directly or indirectly on its history, the list can hardly be 
short of fifteen hundred. - Of course I have not examined all these ; 
but I know of none necessary to my purpose which have not been 

I am under many obligations to Eev. Drs. Whedon (of the 
Methodist Quarterly Eeview), Hibbard (of the Northern Chris- 
tian Advocate), Holdich (of the American Bible Society), Prof. 
Strong, of Troy, Pranklin Band, Esq., of Boston, S. B. "Wickens, 
Esq., New York, and most especially to B. A. West, Esq. (of the 
New York Commercial Advertiser), for the revision of the proofs, 
and important suggestions. 

My task will terminate at the centenary celebration of Me- 
thodism in 1839 — a period prior to the sectional disputes which 
Have divided the Methodist Episcopal Church, and which are yet 
too recent for a satisfactory judgment from history. 




Chapteb I. 


Ohiistianit J is Spiritual Life 1 

The Church, its Organic Form ... 2 

Standpomt of Methodism 2 

Corruption of the Church 2 

'The Keformation incomplete 4 

Literary and Moral Aspects of Eng- 
land prior to Methodism 6 

Condition of the English Church . 10 

Popular Demoralization II 

Characteristics of Methodism 13 

Chapteb II. 


Providential Preparations 15 

Susanna Wesley, the FoundreM of 

Methodism 16 

Her Father, Dr. Annesley 17 

HerMarriage — Beauty-^hiuraoter 18 

Bartholomew Westley 20 

John Westley 21 

Samuel Wesley — ^Remarkable lUus*. 

trations of his Character 23 

life in the Epworth Beotory 30 

John Wesley's Escape from Fire. . . 86 

Ohaptbb in. 


John Wesley 37 

Bztiaordiiuury *' Noises" at Ep- 
worth..... 38 

The Wesleys at School 40 

The Duke of Wellington 41 


The Wesleys at Oxford 41 

Religious Inquiries 41 

Kempis — ^Taylor — ^Law 42 

"Witness of the Spirit" 43 

" Reprobation"—" Perfection" ... 44 

The " Holy Chib" 46 

"Methodists" 46 

George Whitefield 47 

Dispersion of the Epworth Family 50 

The Moravians 51 

The Wesleys in Gheorgia 53 

Return of the Wesleys 54 

Chapteb IV. 


Whitefield's Mental Conflicts 57 

His Conversion 58 

Effects of his Preaching 59 

H[is Eloquence 60 

He Embarks for Gheorgia.... 62 

Returns to England 62 

Chapteb Y. 
wesijiy am> the mobayiaitb. 

Wesley arriyes in England 63 

His Religious Disquiet 68 

Obligations of Methodism to ihid 

Martyrs of Constance ^ 64 

Zisca and his Peasant Heroes 66 

Hermhut— Zinzendorf 67 

Peter BShler 68 

Conversion of the Wesleys 69 

Wesley at Mairienbom 78 

Theological Views 73 

Soenes at Hermhut , 78 

Methodism aadMomyiaiusm ...... 75 





Ghapteb I. 



Wesley returns from Germany ... 76 

Charles Wesley 76 

London "Societies" 77 

The Wesleys Preaching 78 

Expelled from the Pulpits 79 

Arrival of Whitefield 79 

He preaches in the Open Air 80 

Wesley follows his Example 82 

Scenes at Eingswood 82 

Methodism in Wales 83 

Griffith Jones — Howell Harris ... 83 

WhiteBeld in Moorfields 86 

Extraordinary results of hisPreach- 

ing 86 

Wesley and Beau Nash 87 

The First Methodist Chapel 88 

The Wesleys in Moorfields 89 

Physical Effects of ReUgious Ex- 
citement 90 

Separation from the Moravians ... 92 

The Foundry Opened 94 

Epoch of Methodism 94 

Chaptee II. 


Susanna Wesley 96 

Commencement of the Lay Mi- 
nistry 97 

David Taylor— Mobs 98 

Charles Wesley Mobbed in Wales 100 

Whitefield in America 101 

Philadelphia — ^Prindeton College — 

Boston 102 

His Triumphant Passage through 
the Colonies 103 

Chapteb m. 


The Calvinistic Controversy 105 

Character of Wesley's Mind 105 


Arminianism as Defined atDort... 107 

IntellectualCharacterofWhitefield 108 
Historical Importance of their Dis' 

agreement 109 

John Cennick 110 

Wesley's Sermon on " Free Grace" 111 

Attempts at Reconciliation 112 

Methodism still a Unit 113 

Chapteb IV. 


Whitefield's Tabernacle Opened... 114 

He employs Lay Preachers 114 

Reconciled with Wesley 114 

Goes to Scotland 114 

Marvellous Scenes at Cambuslang 116 

Methodism in Scotland 117 

Whitefield again in Moorfields ... 117 

His greatest " Field-day" 118 

Countess of Huntingdon 120 

Whitefield preaching in her Man- 
sion 121 

Chesterfield, Bolingbroke, Wal- 

pole, Hume 122 

Lady Huntingdon's Usefulness ... 123 

Her College at Trevecca 123 

Its First Student 123 

Calvinistic Methodist Societies ... 124 

Chapteb V. 

LEYS PBOH 1741 TO 1744. 

Susanna Wesley 127 

Thomas Maxfield 127 

Wesley itinerating 128 

Introduction of Class Meetings ... 128 

Sketch of John Nelson 128 

Wesley at Newcastle 132 

Preaches on his Father's Tomb ... 134 

The General Rules 135 

Their Catholicity 137 

Physical Phenomena of Religious 

Excitement at Newcastle 187 

Wesley examines them 137 

Pronounces them Demoniacal 138 

Charles Wesley 139 




Is mobbed at Walsall, Sheffield, 

andSt. iFes 139 

Weslej and Nelson in Cornwall ... 142 

Terrible Mobs 143 

Progress of Methodism 146 

Chaptib "VI. 

sysnts op 1744 — the pibst wes- 
lbyan conpebbnos. 

Beports against Wesley 147 

Mobs in Staffordshire 148 

Charles Weslej among the Bioters 148 

John Weslej in Cornwall 150 

Nelson's Power orer Mobs 152 

He is Impressed as a Soldier 153 

The Proto-martjr of Methodism . . . 156 

The First Conference 156 

Its Proceedings 157 

Ladj Huntingdon 159 

Ministerial Education Approred... 159 
Weslej's " Appeal to Men of Bea- 
son and Beligion'* 161 




Chapteb I. 


Charles Weslej in Cornwall 163 

Triumphs of Methodism 164 

Weslej's last Appeal to Oxford ... 165 

Winter Itinerancj 166 

Preachers Impressed and Impri- 
soned 167 

Weslej Arrested — Mobbed 168 

Nelson Itinerating 169 

Methodism in the Armj 171 

Eyans, Haime, liond, Staniforth. . . 171 

The Battle of Fontenoj 175 

Scenes on the Battle-field 176 

Chapteb II. 


The Scotch Bebellion 181 

Weslej abroad amid the Public 

Alarm 182 

Second Part of his ** Appeal" 182 

Extensiye Besults of Methodism . . . 183 

Its Doctrinal Liberalitj 183 

The Weslejs Itinerating 184 

Tliompson of St. Gennis 185 

Nelson's Perils from the Mob 187 

Vincent Perronet 193 

Orimshaw*8 eitraordinarj Historj 193 

He is Mobbed with Weslej at 

Boughlee 196 

Biot at Devizes 199 

The Weslejs in Middle Life 200 

Charles Weslej's Marriage 203 

John Weslej and Grace Murraj... 203 

Chapteb III. 


Beligious Problem of Irish Historj 204 

Weslej comprehends it 204 

Bishop Berkelej 204 

Weslej arrives in Dublin 206 

His Views of Irish Character 207 

Charles Weslej ii^Irehttid 207 

Mobs and Murders in Dublin 207 

"Swaddlers" 207 

Power of Methodist Music 208 

Biots at Cork 212 

Charles Weslej indicted as a Vaga- 
bond 213 

Success of Methodism 214 

Singular Conversions 214 

John Smith at Glenarm 215 

A Militaiy Veteran defending the 

Methodists , 216 

John MtBumej Mobbed 216 

He is martjred 216 

Hard Fare of the Preachers 216 

Bobert Swindells 217 



Slsetch of ^numuB Wakh 218 

His Learning 218 

His Labours 221 

He is Mobbed and ImpriBoned ... 222 
Illustrationfl of his Usefulness ... 223 

Chaptee IV. 

DI8TS 7BOM 1744 TO 1750. 

Whitefidd's Third American Visit 225 

" Testimonies" against him 225 

The Cape Breton Expedition 226 

His Beception in Philadelphia 227 

Singular Interest in Virginia 227 

He goes to Bermuda 228 

Howell Harris in Wales 229 

Lady Himtingdon in Wales 229 

John Newton and Whitefield 230 

WhitefieldinEngland and Scotland 231 

Eemarkable Conversions 231 

Bishop Lavington's Attacks 231 

Charles Wesley and Whitefield 
preltching amid the Alarms of 
Earthquakes in London 233 

Chafteb V. 

PBOM 1744 TO 1750. 

The Conference of 1745 234 

Theological Discussions 235 


Witness of the Spirit 235 

Sanctification 235 

TerriblePreaohing 235 

Church Q-oTem?nent 236 

Wesley's High-Church Views 237 

He designed not to Form a Sect... 238 

Session of 1746 238 

Laymen present 238 

Progress of Opinion 239 

I^ecessity of the Lay Ministry de- 
clared 239 

Its Diyine Eight acknowledged ... 239 

Ordination anticipated 240 

Exhorters recognized 240 

Importance of Local Preachers . . . 241 

First List of Circuits 241 

Session of 1747 241 

Free Discussion 241 

Eolation of Faith to Assurance 242 

Cautions respecting Sanctification 243 

What is a Church ? 244 

Divine Eight of Episcopacy denied 244 

Session of 1748 245 

Formation of Societies renewed ... 245 

Session of 1749 246 

Scheme of Union , 247 

"Assistants"— "Helpers" ».... 247 

Quarterly Meetings 247 

Book Circulation 247 

Extraordinary Results of the first 
Decade of Methodism 248 




Chapteb I. 


Wesley again in Ireland 250 

Death of John Jane 250 

Progress of Methodism 251 

Eemarkable German Colony 252 

It gives Birth to American Metho- 
dism 253 

Methodism in the Army 253 

Duncan Wright, aMilitaryPreacher 254 
A Military Execution 254 

A Converted Surgeon 256 

Thomas Walsh .., 256 

His Labours 257 

His Extraordinary Piety 257 

His Sickness 259 

His Mental Trouble in Death 259 

lletcherofMadeley 260 

Chaptee II. 

LAND PEOM 1750 TO 1760. 

Success in Cornwall 261 



Wesley in SiBotlaiid 268 

His slight Suooesfr there 264 

Btete of the English Societies 264. 

NftthanieUQ-ilbert and Mettiodism 

in the West Indies 267 

The first African Methodist 267 

Happy Deaths of Methodists 268 

Wheatley's Defection 268 

Bennett's Secession 268 

Baptist Proselytism 269 

Grace Murray 269 

Wesley and the CalTinists ; . . . 270 

He administers the Lord's Supper 
to their Leaders at Lady Hunt- 
ingdon's House 270 

The Trials of Thomas Lee 271 

Christopher Hopper 276 

His Labours and Trials 276 

Cownley Mobbed 277 

The Parson and the Qu^er 277 

Charles Wesley ceases to itinerate 278 

Death of Meriton 278 

Fletcher joins the Methodists 279 

Review of Success 280 

Wesley's Deshre for Kest -281 

His unfortunate Marriage 282 

His Sickness and Epitaph 284 

His Notes on the New Testament 284 

James Hervey 284 

Wesley's Address to the Clergy ... 285 
His Views of Ministerial QuaMoa- 
tions 286 

Chiptbb m. 

DISM PEOM 1750 TO 1760. 

Whitefield "ranging" 286 

His G-ood-Humour— His Health. . . 287 

His Relations with Wesley 289 

Whitefield again in America 289 

His Visit to Ireland 291 

Is mobbed at Dublin 291 

Eminent Methodist Churchmen... 292 

Sketch of Berridge 292 

Great Excitement at Everton 292 

Remarkable Conversion 293 

Sketch of Romaine 294 

Madan's singular Conversion ...... 296 

Venn 297 

Moravian Methodism 298 

Sandemanianism 299 


Ingham's Saoceat and Failure 300 

Death of Lady IngfaMn 801 

Ingham's Death i^ Charaeter ... 801 

Chapteb IV. 

VBOU 1760 TO 1760. 

Failure of Records 301 

Salary of Preachers S02 

Prominent Preac^iers Seeede 302 

Tendency to Dissent 80^ 

The Perronets 303 

Charles Wesley's High- Church Pre- 
judices 303 

Critical Importance of the Session 

ofl755 804 

Question of Separation from the 

Church 304 

Concession of the Preachers 305 

Was Dissent expedient ? 305 

Wesley's Twelve Reasons against it 806 

Wesley as a Reformer 80^ 

His Opini6n of John Knox 30G 

Wesley not an Anarchist 306 

Historical Importance of his Con- 
servatism 307 

His Opinions at this Time ., 307 

Subsequent Sessions 307 

Conference !l$xamination of Charac- 
ters introduced 307 

Chapteb V. 


Great Revivals 308 

Sanctification 309 

Writers upon it 310 

George BeU's Delusions 312 

Maxfield's Separation from Wesley 312 

The End of the World 313 

George Story 313 

Fate of Bell and Maxfield 314 

Wesley's large Congregations 314 

Christopher Hopper 315 

Cud worth's Letters of Hervey 315 

Sketch of Thomas Taylor 315 

His Adventures at Glasgow 317 

Wright among the Highlanders . . . 321 
Dissent among Wesley's Societies 321 

Death of Grimshaw 321 

Death of John Manners »,.,,. x»».»x ^*i^ 




Death of the oldest Lay Preacher. . . 323 

Wesley and Warbnrton 823 

Fletcher's Trials at Madel^ 824 

His great Piety and Success 325 

Condition of Methodism in 1770. . . 328 

Its Introduction into America 328 

Barbara Heck—Philip Embury... 828 
Wesley's regard for Military Men 328 
Becommencb Methodists to learn 

the Military Exercise 328 

Offers to raise Troops for the Go- 

yemment 328 

Captain Webb 329 

Chaptbb VI. 

PEOM 1760 TO 1770. 

Minutes of Conference 330 

The Greek Bishop, Erasmus 330 

CTnion of Eyangeli(»l Clergy 331 

They decline Wesley's Terms 332. 

First Census of Methodism 334 

First Temperance Societies 334 

Debt of the Connection 334 

Wesley's View of his Authority ... 334 
Preachers required to Study ...... 335 

Conference of 1767 335 

Oalyinists and Laymen present ... 335 

Circulation of Books .^ 336 

Term of Circuit Appointments 336 

Secular Business of Preachers 337 

John Nelson— -William Shent 337 

Field Preaching— Early Eising ... 338 

Simctification •. 338 

Preachers sent to America .*. 339 

Provisions for Preachers' Wiyes . . . 339 


Perpetuation of the Lay Ministry 340 

Conference of 1770 341 

Statistics 341 

Preachers' Families 341 

Minute on Calvinism 342 

Its Historical Importance 342 

Chaptee VIL 
oaltinistic methodism peom 1760 

TO 1770. 

The Calyinistic Societies 343 

Lady Huntingdon in Yorkshire ... 344 

Attends Wesley's Conference 344 

Venn, Grimshaw, Fletcher 344 

Sketch of Captain Scott 345 

Adventures of Captain Joss 347 

Scenes at Cheltenham 349 

Lord Dartmouth — Dartmouth Col- 
lege 350 

Alliance of the Arminian and Cal- 

yinistic Leaders 352 

Trevecca College 352 

Expulsion of Oxford Students 352 

Eitraordinary Scenes at Trevecca 358 

Whitefield's declining Health 354 

He again visits America 355 

Returns to England 355 

Personal Habits 356 

Last Interviews with Wesley 357 

Last Voyage to America 358 

His Orphan House 358 

Happy religious Frame 358 

Excursion up the Hudson 359 

Last Sermon and Death 360 

His Eloquence and Character 862 

Besults of his Labours 367 

Calvinistic Methodists 368 





CHRISTIANITr. ,^-, ^- ^ 

Christianity is Spiritual Life — ^The Church an Organic Fonn of th&rljf|?t- 
The Philosophical Standpoint of the History of Methodism — F^gop^eee of 
Ccrruption in the Early Church — ^The Beformation incomplete — Ocm(£tion 
of the English Church prior to Methodism — ^Literary and Moral Aspects 
of England— Popular Degradation — Characteristics of Methodism. 

Had a studious heathen sought to ascertain the nature of the 
Christian religion, immediately after the completion of its 
canonical records, and solely from those records, ne would haV6 
been surprised by its contrast with nearly all prior religious «ys- 
i:ems, in its suggestion rather than prescription of ecclesiastical 
arrangements, its general abstinence from ritual forms, and itl^ 
total abstinence from dogmatic definitions. He would have dis- 
covered what modem Protestantism, emancipated from traditional 
influence, has found, that the piudfication of the individual man, 
pursued iu his individual freedom, and on the responsibility of 
his individual conscience, is the characteristic design of Christi- 
anity — rites and creeds, as aids to faith, being left discretionary, 
however necessary. 

Christianity is spiritual life. " The words that I speak unto 
you," said its Eounder, "they are spirit, and they are life ;'** and 

* John Ti. 63. 


he declared the distinctive character of the new dispensation, when 
at the well of Sjchar he said, " Believe me, the hour cometh, when 
ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship 
the Pather. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true wor- 
shippers shall worship the Pather in spirit and in truth ; for the 
Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit ; and they 
that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."* 

A development of Judaism, which was characterized above all 
other religions of antiquity by ritual forms and penal morals, 
Christianity, nevertheless, quickly distinguished itself by the 
simplicity of its ceremonies and the mild purity of its ethics, 
subordinating both to the interior moral life which it taught, 
as "the regeneration,"t the "life of God "J in the soul of 

A true Christian Church is a collective or organic form of this 
spiritual life ; its external institutions, whether in doctrinal sym- 
bols, or modes of worship or government, are valuable only so far 
as they can be means to this end. And therefore any new prac- 
tical measures which may be rendered expedient, by the ever- 
varying conditions of human history, for the effectiveness of the 
Church in the moral regeneration of individual men, are admissible, 
being in harmony with the original purpose and simplicity of the 
Gospel, however they may contravene ecclesiastical precedents or 

Such is the standpoint which Methodism takes in the history 
of the Church; and such the only standpoint from which its own 
history can be interpreted. Throughout the extraordinary series 
of events which we are about to narrate from its annals, we shall 
tind continually this j'ecurrence to the first principles of Chris- 
tianity. This is the philosophy of its history. 

Ecclesiastical history records how Christianity came to lose its 
original spiritual simplicity, and to grow into a gigantic system of 
ecclesiasticism and ritualism, which was more symbolic than Juda- 
ism itself, and under the shadow of which, personal spiritual life, 
and even the popular morals, withered, and seemed really, if not 
avowedly, superseded by Church rites. 

The apostles, while yet observing some of the Judaic rites for 
the sake of expediency, wrote against them, nevertheless, as void 
under the new dispensation. § 

In planting Christianity they adopted such forms as were 
found most convenient to their hands in the religious customs of 

* John iv 21, 23, 24. f Matt. xix. 28. J Eph. iv. 18. 

§ Compare Acts xv. 7—31, xvi. 3, xxi. 20—26 ; Col. ii. 20—23. 


their countrymen ; but it is remarkable that scarcely one feature 
of their ecclesiastical system, if such it can be called, was 
borrowed from the divinely prescribed forms of the Levitical 

Per generations, the primitive Christians had no temples, but 
worshipped, with familiar simplicity, in private houses, or in the 
synagogues of converted Jews which were scattered over the 
!Roman empire. The synagogue, unmentioned, not to say unen- 
joined, in the writings of Moses, afforded them also most of those 
simple rites and offices which afterwards became technicalized and 
>digni£led into essential and even sacramental importance. When 
the distribution of the charities of the Church became too 
laborious for the Apostles, they copied jfrom the synagogue the 
office of Deacon. The older servants of the Church, having over- 
sight of its Deacons and general interests, were called Elders 
^Presbyters), a title borrowed from the head of the Jewish 
" tribe," and the members of the Sanhedrim. The designation of 
these men to their offices was made by imposition ot hands, a 
decency, but not a sacrament, derived also from the Jews, who 
used it in the inauguration of their municipal and provincial 
officers, but never in the consecration of their priests. But how 
«oon these simple offices became essential orders, awful with 
divine authority, and mysterious with divine virtue ! How, for 
more than fifteen hundred years, have controversies respecting 
their distinctions and prerogatives agitated Christendom ! How 
iias the simple form oi the imposition of hands become the divine 
rite of Ordmation, a sacramental mystery, with its fabulous but 
disastrous consequence of the Apostolic Succession, leading to the 
exclusion of the purest bodies of Christian men, who could not 
verify their claims to it, from the charities of the Church, and to 
the general perversion of Christianity by priestly and prelatical 
pretensions ! The offices of Deacon and Elder became fundamental 
-and unchangeable ; the Elder presiding in the assembly of his 
peers as the ruler of the synagogue presided in the college ' of 
elders,* became Bishop, but very different from the Scriptural 
"superintendent;" the Bishop became Archbishop, the Arch- 
bishop, Pope or Patriarch ; the two Sacraments became seven ; — 
the confessional and penance; the monastic life, asceticism, 
celibacy, and virginity ; the idolatry of the host, and the worship 
of saints ; extreme unction, purgatory, infallibility, and dogmatic 
symbols ; the supererogative merit of works, canonization, perse- 

* As pr4mus inter pwres* — Yitringa^ De Vet. Syn., lib. iii. cap. 16. 


cution, and the Inquisition ; — ^these, with the priestly assumption 
of civil authority, the loss of ancient civilization, and the general 
degradation of the masses, make up most of the subsequent 
history of the Church down to the period in which the Eeforma- 
tion uttered its appeal back to the apostolic age.* 

During all these ages of corruption, however, the spiritual 
Church existed, represented in the persons of devout men, who 
walked with God amid the night of error, sufferers from the evils 
of their times, unable to explain or to break away from them, but 
seeking, in their monastic cells, or in the walks of ordinary life, 
that purification and peace which are received only by faith ; and 
the ecclesiastical historian finds grateful relief, as he gropes 
through the dark ages, in being able continually to point to these 
scattered lights, which, like the lamps in Eoman tombs, gleamed 
faintly but perennially amid the moral death of the visible Church. 
Obscure communities, also, as the Cathari of the Novatians, 
the Paulicians, the Albigenses, and the Waldenses, maintained 
the ancient faith in comparative purity, from the beginning of the 
fourth century down to the Beformation. 

In the year 1510 an Augustinian monk walked, with desolate 
heart, the streets of Rome, and turning away from the pomp of 
her churches and the corruptions of the Vatican, sought relief to 
his awakened soul by ascending, on his knees, with peasants and 
beggars, the staircase of Pilate, which was supposed to have been 
trodden by Christ at his trial, and is now enclosed near the 
Lateran palace. While pausing on the successive steps to weep 
and pray, a voice from heaven seemed to cry within him, " The 
just shall live by faith." It was the voice of apostolic Christianity, 
and the announcement of the Reformation. He fled from the 
superstitious scene. Seven years later, the s^me monk nailed on 
the gate of the church at Wittenberg the Theses which introduced 
the Reformation. They were as trumpet blasts echoing from the 
Hebrides to the Calabrias, and summoning Europe to a moral 

But though the doctrine of " Justification by Faith" was thus 
the dogmatic germ of the Reformation, that great revolution took 
chiefly an ecclesiastical direction, and became more an attempt to 
overthrow the organic system of Popery, by the reassertion of 
certain apostolic doctrines, than an evangelical revival of the 

* On the origin and changes of Church goTemment, I have followed Arch- 
bishop Stillingfleet*s Irenicum; Lord King's Frimitive Church; Neander's 
History of the Christian Religion; Archbishop Whately's Kingdom of Christ; 
and especially Yitringa's De Synagoga Vetere, 


spiritual life of the Church ; hence its early loss of moral power. 
All Western Europe felt its first motions ; but hardly forty years 
had passed when it reached its furthest conquests, and began its 
retreats. During most of the eighteenth century it could have 
propagated its doctrines with but little restraint in the greater 
part of Europe, but it had not internal energy enough to do so. 
Dealing ostensibly with the historical pretensions of the Church, 
it introduced at last the "Historical Criticism," which, notwith- 
standing its inestimable advantages to Biblical exegesis, degene- 
rated, under the English deistical writings that entered Germany 
about the epoch of Methodism, into Rationalism, and subverted 
both the spiritual life and the doctrinal orthodoxy of the con- 
tinental Protestant churches, and, to a great extent, substituted 
infidelity for the displaced Popery. Besides this tendency, the 
Xutheran [Reformation retained many Papal errors in its doctrines 
of the sacraments and of the priestly offices, and erred, above all, 
in leaving the Church subject to the State. It did not sufficiently 
restore the spirituality and simplicity of the apostolic Church, 
and our own age witnesses the spectacle of a High- Church re- 
action in G-ermany, in which some of her most distinguished 
Christian scholars attempt to correct the excesses of Rationalism 
by an appeal, not so much to the apostolic Church as to the anti- 
Nicene traditions. A Puseyism as thorough as that which 
flourishes under the Papal attributes of the Anglican Establish- 
ment, prevails in the strongholds of the German Reformation.* 

In like maimer was the English Reformation incomplete. 
Not only did it retain many Papal errors in doctrine, especially 
respecting the sacraments, the priestly offices, the hierarchal con- 
stitution of the Church, and its relation to the State, but by these 
very errors it failed to restore adequately the primitive idea of 
Christianity, as "the kingdom of God within you." Hence its 
frequent lapses towards Popery. Hardly had it been established 
imder Henry VIII., and nourished under the brief reign of 
Edward VI., than it fell away under Mary, and its noblest cham- 
pions, Cranmer, Latimer, Hooper, and Ridley, perished at the 
stake. Elizabeth restored it, but Charles I. again favoured its 
Papal tendencies. His queen was a Papist. Archbishop Laud 
restored pjptures to the churches, and embroiled the kingdom 
with controversies respecting copes, genuflections, and the position 
of the altar. The Court of High Commission displaced devout 

* The evangelical world had been scandalized to find so eminent an oppo- 
nent of Kationalism as Hengstenberg leading the High-Church reaction. 
With him are associated such men as Stahl, Leo, and Q-erlach. 


clergymen for not observing petty ceremonies. After the great 
Bebellion, Charles II. did what he could to favour the Papists, 
and died one himself.* His brother, James II., devoted his 
whole reign to the restoration of Popery. The Eevolution, with 
the accession of the Prince of Orange to the throne, alone put an 
end to these Papal efforts of the acknowledged "head" of the 
British Church, and even then many of its most influential incum- 
bents refused to recognize the title of the new Protestant king ; 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, with several bishops, and four 
hundred clergymen, sacrificed their o£B.ces rather than take the 
oath of allegiance to him. So far was the divine right of prelacy 
still kindred with the divine right of royalty. 

During aU. these Papal struggles primitive ideas of Christianity 
and the Church were more or less active among the people. 
Even before the reign of Elizabeth much popular discontent pre- 
vailed with the but partial purification of the Church from Papal 
errors. Her Act of Uniformity threw multitudes out of its pale, 
and Puritanism began its work of reformation and honest rebel- 
lion. But Puritanism, with all its virtues, had profound and 
inexorable vices. It early created a High-Churchism of its own, 
and claimed a higher Scriptural authority for Presbyterianismi 
than the English reformers, or its great Episcopal antagonists, 
Jewell, Whitgift, Hooker, and others, asserted for prelacy itself f' 
The vigour of its Commonwealth has made the name of England 
illustrious in the history of the world ; but the reaction under the 
Eestoration spread over the country as great, if not greater, de- 
moralization, than had preceded it under the Papal reigns. The 
court became a royal brothel.. The play-house became the temple 
of England. The drama of the day could not now be exhibited, 
nor even privately read without blushes. Many of the most 
learned and devoted clergymen, whose writings are imperishable in 
our religious literature, were either silenced or displaced. The 
ministrations of the Church grew formal and ineffective ; the 
Nonconformist Churches themselves at last feU. into general decay, 
while the masses of the people sank into incredible vice and 
brutality. A living English writer has declared that England had 
lapsed into virtual heathenism, when Wesley appeared J 

The literature of the eighteenth century, partic\jlarly of its 
earlier part, is an important index to the moral character of that 
period. It presents^^ a brilliant catalogue of names, among which 

* Macaulaj's History, of England, vol. i. chap. 4. 
t See Art. on Hooker, North British Review, 1857. 
J Isaac Taylor :, Wesley and Methodism. 


are Addison, Steele, Berkeley, Swift, Pope, Congreve, Gray, 
Parnell, Young, Thomson, Rowe, Goldsmith, and Johnson, besides 
a splendid array in the more profound departments of knowledge. 
The reader may easily conceive what must have been the moral 
aspects of English society, when the loose wit of Congreve was 
the attraction of the British theatre, and, as Dryden declared, 
" the only prop of the declining stage ;" or what the respect of 
the people for the Church when, among the clergy, could be found 
men like. Swift and Sterne, to regale the gross taste of the age 
with ribald burlesque and licentious humour. And what were 
the popular fictions of the day ? B»ichardson gave way before 
Smollett and Pielding. The latter obtained a renown which ren- 
ders them still familiar ; while B»ichardson, whom Johnson deemed 
" as superior to them in talents as in virtue," is barely remem- 
bered. The works of these and similar authors were the parlouiv 
table books of the age ; while on the same table lay also the erotic 
poets of antiquity, translated by the wits of the period, with 
jDryden at their head, dedicated to the first ladies of the court, 
and teeming with the pruriency which pervades the polite writings 
of that and the preceding age. Dryden died at the beginning of 
the century, and his works, as f uU of vice as of genius, were in 
general vogue. 

The infidel works of Hobbes, Tindal, CoUins, Shaftesbury, and 
Chubb, were in full circulation, and were reinforced by the 
appearance of the three greatest giants in the cause of sceptical 
error which modem times have produced — Bolingbroke, Hume, 
and Gibbon. The first was influential by his political eminence, 
and by the adornments which the harmonious verse of Pope gave 
to his opinions ; the second by all the arts of insinuation, and by 
a style which, says Sir J. Mackintosh, " was more lively, more 
easy, more ingratiating, and, if the word may be so applied, more 
amusing than that of any other metaphysical writer;'' and the 
last by weaving his infidel sentiments into one of the greatest 
works of the human intellect, a production as corrupt in its religious 
tendency as it is magnificent in its execution. The intelligent 
reader need not be reminded that the same class of writers had 
triumphed, and were at this time in full prevalence across the 
channel. The Encyclopedists had attempted the design of eradi- 
cating froin the circle of the sciences every trace of Christian 
truth ; and the polite writers of Erance, headed by Voltaire and 
Bousseau, had decked the corrupt doctrines of the day with the. 
attractions of eloquence and poetry, humour and satire, until they 
swept over the nation like a sirocco, withering not only the senti- 


inents of religion, but the instincts of humanity, and subverting^ 
at last, in common ruin, the altar, the throne, and the moral pro- 
tections of domestic life. Notwithstanding the inveterate antipa- 
thies which existed between the two nations, the conta^on of 
French opinions, both in religion and politics, infected England, 
seriously during most of the eighteenth century. The continental 
infidelity had, in fact, sprung from the English deism, and naturally 
reacted upon it. 

It is worthy of remark, that one of the. most interesting de- 
partments of the English literature of the last century owes its 
birth to the alarm which the better-disposed literary men of the 
age took at the general declension of manners and morals, and 
their attempt to check it. The British Essayists are technically 
distinguished in our literature. They form a department which 
has become classical. They have been reprinted more extensively 
than any other books in our language, except the Scriptures and 
a few of our most popular fictions. Some of the brightest names 
in the catalogue of English writers owe much of their fame to 
these works ; among them may be mentioned Steele, Addison, 
Berkeley, and Johnson. They were conducted as ephemeral 
sheets, and issued twice or thrice a-week, with brief articles, 
which discussed the follies and vices of the times. Their character 
was generally humorous or sarcastic ; occasionally they contained 
a sober rebuke of the irreligion of the day. 

The first in the list is the " Tatler," projected by Steele, and 
to which Addison was a frequent contributor. It was almost ex- 
clusively confined to the superficial defects of society, and is the 
best picture extant of the domestic, moral, and literary condition 
of the early part of that century. The "Spectator," conducted 
jointly by Addison and Steele, followed the " Tatler," and is still 
one of the most popular works of our language. Next appeared 
the " Guardian," projected by Steele, and aided by Addison, Pope, 
and Berkeley. A long list of miscellaneous writers of the same 
class followed, who have been placed, by public opinion, in the 
rank of the classical essayists. Dr. Johnson, in his " Rambler," 
restored the periodical essay to its first dignity, and gave it a still 
higher moral tone. 

Though these writers aimed, at first, more at the correction of 
the follies than the sins of the times, they grew serious as they 
grew important. It is curious to observe their increasing severity 
, as they obtained authority by time and popularity. Steele, from 
a long and various study of the world, painted, with minute accu- 
racy, its absurdities. Addison, with a style the most pure, and a 


humour mild and elegant, attempted to correct the literary taste' 
of the day, and to shed the radiance of genius on the despised 
virtues of Christianity. He rescued Milton from the neglect 
which the sublime religious character of his great epic had incurred 
for him from the degenerate age. Pope satirized, in some ad- 
mirable critiques, the literary follies of the times. Berkeley 
attacked, with his clear logic and finished style, the sceptical 
opinions which were then prevalent ; most of his articles are on 
*' Free-thinking." Johnson, " the great moralist," stood up a 
giant to battle, with both hands against all error and irreligion, 
whether in high places or low places. 

These writings exerted an influence upon the tastes and morals 
of the age ; but it was comparatively superficial. G-ay, who was 
contemporary with Addison and Steele, says it was incredible to 
conceive the effect they had on the town ; how many thousand 
follies they had either quite banished or given a very great check 
to ; how much countenance they had added to virtue and religion. 
Hannah More has devoted a chapter in her JEdiication of a Princess 
to this interesting portion of our literature. She speaks in the 
highest terms of Addison's influence, and confirms these state* 
mei^ts respecting the moral condition of the age : " At a period 
when religion," she says, " was held in more than usual contempt, 
from its having been recently abused to the worst purposes, and 
when the higher walks of life exhibited that dissoluteness which 
the profligate reign of the second Charles made so deplorably 
fashionable, Addison seems to have been raised up by Providence 
for the double purpose of improving the public taste and correct-^ 
ing the public morals. As the powers of imagination had, in the 
preceding age, been peculiarly abused to the purposes of vice, it 
was Addison's great object to show that vice and impurity have 
no necessary connection with genius. He not only evinced this 
by his reasonings, but he so exemplified it by his own composi- 
tions as to become, in a short time, more generally useful, by 
becoming more popular, than any writer who had yet appeared^ 
This well-eamed celebrity he endeavoured to turn to the best of 
all purposes ; and his success was such as to pro^ that genius is 
never so advantageously employed as in the service of virtue ;. 
no influence so well directed as in rendering piety fashionable." 

But while these writers were commendable for the elevated 
purpose which they proposed — a purpose noble as it was novel 
among what are called polite authors — their influence was com- 
paratively ineffective ; it was infinitely short of what was neces- 
sary; it was moral, but not religious. It was on the side of 


Christianity, but had nothing to do with those great evangelical 
truths which are the vital elements of Christianity, and in which 
exists its renovating energy. It is the diffusion of these truths 
among the popular mass that alone can effect any general moral 
elevation of men. It was reserved for the agency of Methodism 
to revive and spread them, with a transforming eflficacy, through 
the British empire and much of the civilized world. Reference 
has been made to these authors, therefore, only as instances of the 
conviction felt by the better-disposed literary leaders of the day, 
that some new check was necessary to stop the overwhelming 
progress of corruption. The pictures of vice which they exhibited, 
and the manner in which they attempted the necessary reform,, 
show that society was not only deplorably wicked, but that ade- 
quate means for its recovery were not understood by those who 
lamented its evils. 

Natural religion was the favourite study of the clprgy, and of 
the learned generaUy, and included most of their theology. Collins 
and Tindal had denounced Christianity as priestcraft ; Whiston 
pronounced the miracles to be Jewish impositions ; Woolston de- 
clared them to be allegories ; and the next year after the recog- 
nized date of Methodism, Edelmann* and fieimarus introduced 
the English deism into Germany, and thus founded the Rational- 
ism which, as developed by her " Historical " or " Negative 
" Criticism,*' has nearly extinguished her religious life. The de- 
cayed state of the English Church, in which Methodism was 
about to have its birth, was, in fine, the cause, direct or indirect, 
of most of the infidelity of the age, both at home and abroad, 
Arianism and Socinianism, taught by such men as Clarke, Priest- 
ley, and "Whiston, had become fashionable among the best Eng- 
lish thinkers. Some of the brightest names of the time can be 
quoted as exceptions to these remarks ; but such was the general 
condition of religion in England. The higher classes laughed at 
piety, and prided themselves on being above what they called its 
lanaticism ; the lower classes were grossly ignorant, and abandoned 
to vice, while, the Church, enervated by a universal decline, was un- 
able longer to give countenance to the downfallen cause of 'truth. 

This general decline had reached its extremity when Wesley 
and his coadjutors appeared. " It was," to use his own words, 
"just at the time when we wanted little of filling up the measure 
of our iniquities, that two or three clergymen of the Church of 

* Edelmann*8 " Moses mit Aiefgedeektem Angesicht," was published in^ 
1740. Art. Criticismf Herzog*s Encjclopsedia, translated by Bomberger.. 
PhUadelpliia, 1858. 


England began vehemently to call sinners to repentance,*** His 
own testimony to the irreligion of the times is emphatic. " What/ ' 
he asks, " is the present characteristic of the English nation ? It 
is ungodliness. Ungodliness is our universal, our constant, our 
peculiar character.'* 

Erom the Eestoration down to the origin of Methodism, 
Churchmen and Nonconformists bear concurrent, and in some 
instances startling testimony respecting the decayed condition of 
religion and morals. The pathetic lamentation of Bishop Burnet, 
on the state of the Church, has often been quoted: " I am now,'* 
he says, "in the seventieth year of my age ; and as I cannot speak 
long in the world in any sort, so I cannot hope for a more solemn 
occasion than this of speaking with all due freedom, both to the 
present and to the succeeding ages. Therefore I lay hold on it, 
to give a free vent to those sad thoughts that lie on my mind both 
day and night, and are the subject of many secret mournings." 
He proceeds to say : " I cannot look on without the deepest 
concern, when I see the imminent ruin hanging over this Church, 
and, by consequence, over the whole Reformation. The outward 
state of things is black enough, God knows ; but that which 
heightens my fears rises chiefly from the inward state into which 
we are unhappily fallen." Eeferring to the condition of the 
clergy, he says : " Our Ember-weeks are the burden and grief of 
my life. The much greater part of those who come to be 
ordained are ignorant to a degree not to be apprehended by those 
who are not obliged to know it. The easiest part of knowledge 
is that to which they are the greatest strangers. . . . Those who 
have read some few books, yet never seem to have read the 
Scriptures. Many cannot give a tolerable, account even of the 
Catechism itself, how short and plain soever. . . . This does often 
tear my heart. The case is not much better in many who, having 
got into orders, come for institution, and cannot make it appear 
that they have read the Scriptures, or any one good book, since 
they were ordained; so that the small measure of knowledge 
upon which they got into holy orders not being improved, is in a 
way to be quite lost ; and then they think it a great hardship if 
they are told they must know the Scriptures and the body of 
diviijity better before they can be trusted with the care of 
souls." t 

Watts declares that there was " a general decay of vital re- 

* Appeal to Men of Beason and Beligion, Part III. Works, vol. viii. p. 196.. 
t Pastoral Care ; Preface to the 3rd Edition, 1713. 


ligion in the hearts and lives of men ;" that " this declension of 
piety and virtue " was common among Dissenters and Church- 
men; that it was "a general matter of mournful observation 
among all who lay the cause of God to heart ;" and he called 
upon "every one to use all just and proper efforts for the recovery 
of dying religion in the loorld.^^* Another writer asserts that 
the Spirit of God has so far departed from the nation, that 
"hereby almost all vital religion is lost out of the world.^t^ 
Another says : " The present modish turn of religion looks as if we 
began to think that we have no need of a Mediator, but that all? 
our concerns were managed with God as an absolute God. The 
religion of nature makes up the darling topics of our age ; and 
the religion of Jesus is valued only for the sake of that, and only 
80 far as it carries on the light of nature, and is a bare improve- 
ment of that kind of light. All that is restrictively Christian, or 
that is peculiar to Christ — everything concerning Him that has not 
its apparent foundation in natural Hght, or that goes beyond its- 
principles — is waved, banished, and despised." J 

Archbishop Seeker says : " In this we cannot be mistaken, that 
an open and professed disregard to religion is become, through a 
variety of unhappy causes, the distinguishing character of the pre- 
sent age." " Such," he declares, " are the dissoluteness and con- 
tempt of principle in the higher part of the world, and the profli- 
gate intemperance and fearlessness of committing crimes, in the 
lower, as must, if this torrent of impiety stop not, become abso- 
lutely fatal." He further asserts that " Christianity is ridiculed 
and railed at with very little reserve, and the teachers of it 
without any at all ;"§ and this testimony was made but one year 
before that which is commemorated as the epoch of Methodism. 
About the same time Butler published his great work on the 
Analogy between Religion and the Constitution and Course of 
!N'ature, as a check to the infidelity of the age. In his preface he 
gives a deplorable description of the religious world. He concurs 
with the preceding authorities in representing it as in the very 
extremity of decline. "It is come," he says, " to be taken for 
granted by many persons that Christianity is no longer a subject 
of inquiry ; but that it is now at length discovered to be fictitious. 
And accordingly they treat it as if, in the present age, this were 

* Preface to An Humble Attempt toward the Reviyal of Practical Religion.- 
Ed. 1735. 

t Hurrion's Sermons on the Holy Spirit, p. 21, Ed. 1734. 
X Dr. Guyse's Twelve Sermons at Coward's Lecture, 1729. 
§ Eight Charges, 1738. 


an agreed point among all people of discernment, and nothing 
remained but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and 

Southey says: "The clergy had lost that authority which 
may always command at least the appearance of respect ; and 
they had lost that respect also by which the place of authority 
may sometimes so much more worthily be supplied. In the 
great majority of the clergy, zeal was wanting. The excellent 
licighton spoke of the Church as a fair carcase without a spirit. 
Burnet observes that, in his time, our clergy had less authority, 
and were under more contempt, than those of any other Church 
in Europe ; for they were much the most remiss in their labours, 
and the least severe in their lives. It was not that their lives 
were scandalous ; he entirely acquitted them of any such imputa- 
tion ; but they were not exemplary, as it became them to be ; 
and in the sincerity and grief of a pious and reflecting mind, he 
pronounced that they would never regain the influence which 
they had lost, till they lived better and laboured more." * 

A scarcely less prejudiced writer on Methodism admits that 
when Wesley appeared the Anglican Church was " an ecclesias- 
tical system under which the people of England had lapsed into 
heathenism, or a state scarcely to be distinguished from it ;" and 
that Methodism " preserved from extinction and reanimated the 
languishing Nonconformity of the last century, which, just at the 
time of the Methodistic revival, was rapidly in course to be found 
nowhere but in books."t 

Such was the moral condition of England when Methodism 
came forth from the gates of Oxford, not to revive the ecclesias- 
tical questions over which Churchmen and Puritans had fought 
and exhausted each other, nor even to appeal to the Eeformation, 
with its incomplete corrections of Popery, but to recall the masses 
to their Bibles, which said so little about those questions, but 
which declared that " the kingdom of God cometh not with ob- 
servation ;" that it " is not meat and drink, but righteousness, 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Acknowledging the im- 
portance of sound doctrine, it nevertheless dealt mostly in the 
theology which relates to the spiritual life — Paith, Justification, 
B.egeneration, Sanctiflcation, and the Witness of the Spirit ; 
these were its great ideas, and never, since the apostolic age, 
were they brought out more clearly. Wesley formed no creed 
for the Baglish Methodists, and though some of his own writings 

* Life of Wesley, ch. 9. t Taylor's Wesley and Methodism, pp. 61, 54. 


;are recognized in his chapel deeds, and by the civil courts, as the 
standard of Methodist doctrine, yet from their number and the 
great variety of subjects treated in them, a rigorous system 
•of interpretation has become impossible. In providing an or- 
ganization for Methodism in the New World, where it was 
destined to have its chief range, he so abridged the Articles of 
the Church of England as to exclude the most formidable 
•of modern theological controversies, and make it possible for 
Calvinists, alike with Arminians, to enter its communion; he 
prescribed no mode of baptism, but virtually recognized all 
modes ; and it has been doubted, incautiously perhaps, whether 
even a Eestorationist or TJniversalist, if exemplary in Hfe, could 
be adjudged a heretic by its creed. 

Methodism reversed, in fine, the usual policy of religious sects, 
who seek to sustain their spiritual life by their orthodoxy ; it has 
sustained its orthodoxy by devoting its chief care to its spiritual 
life, and for more than a century has had no serious outbreaks of 
heresy, notwithstanding the masses of untrained minds gathered 
within its pale, and the general lack of preparatory education 
among its clergy. No other modern religious body affords a 
/parallel to it in this respect. 

Admitting the absolute necessity of Church economics, it would 
not admit that they were in any particular form fundamental, but 
that the kind and degree of moral life possessed by any body of 
men claiming to be a Church, constituted the proof or reiutation 
of that claim. It admitted the Scriptural example, but not the 
Scriptural obligation of two orders in the ministry. It adopted 
but one as expedient in its English Conference, while it provided 
both for America. It admitted the Scriptural example of ordina- 
tion by the imposition of hands, but waved it in England for the 
sake of peace with the National Church, and ordained its ministry 
;<8imply with prayer and exhortation, until within a few years, when 
it was adopted, not as necessary, but as appropriate. It pretended 
to no Episcopal form of organization in England, but provided one 
for America — a Pres^byterian Episcopacy — Wesley, a Presbyter, 
ordaining a bishop, and thus practically denying High Churchism. 
It founded a lay ministry of Travelling Preachers, Local Preach- 
ers, and Exhortors. It adopted the Band-meeting, the Class- 
meeting, the ancient Agape or Love-feast. It was, in fine, a 
system of vital doctrines and practical expedients — a breaking 
•away from all old dend-weights which had encumbered the march 
of the E<eformation — a revival Church in its spirit, a missionary 
'Church in its organization. 


Such is the atandpoiDt of Methodism in the history of the 
Church ; and, thus considered, its historians do not, perhaps, 
claim too much when, with the suggestive writer who has at- 
tempted to give us its rationale, they insist that " the Methodism 
of the last century, even when considered apart from its conse- 
quences, must always be thought worthy of the most serious regard; 
that, in fact, that great religious movement has, immediately or 
remotely, so given an impulse to Christian feeling and profession, 
on all sides, that it has come to present itself as the starting-point 
of our modem religious history ; that the field-preaching of Wes- 
ley and Whitefield, in 1739, was the event whence the religious 
-epochs now current^ must date its commencement; that back to the 
events of that time must we look, necessarily, as often as we seek 
to trace to its source what is most characteristic of the present 
time ; and that yet this is not all, for the Methodism of the past 
age points forward to the next-coming development of the powers 
of the Gospel."* 



Providential Preparations — ^The Epworth Rectory — Susanna Wesley, the 
Foundress of Methodism — Her Father, Dr. Annesley — Her Independence 
of Opinion — Her Marriage — Her Beauty — Her Intellectual Character — 
Her Religious Character — Her Husband, Samuel Wesley — His Ancestors 
— ^Bartholomew Weatley and John Westley — ^Their Sufferings for Con- 
science Sake — The Rector of Epworth — His Good Humour — Remarkable 
Anecdotes— Life at the Rectory — Characteristics of the Children — The 
Household Education — Mrs. Wesley Conducts Religious Worship in the 
Rectory — Domestic Sorrows — Destruction of the Rectory by Fire — John 
Wesley's Providential Escape. 

Mjln's extremity, says Augustine, is God's opportunity. While 
Seeker was deploring the demoralization of England, as threaten- 
ing to " become absolutely fatal," and the aged Burnet saw " im- 
minent ruin hanging over the Church," and " over the whole 
Beformation;" while Watts was writing that "religion was dying 
in the world," and Butler that "it had come to be taken for 
granted that Christianity was no longer a subject of inquiry, but 
at length was discovered to be fictitious;" when, in fine, the 
Anglican Church had become "an ecclesiasticjil system, under 

* Isaao Taylor's Wesley and Methodism, Preface. 


which the people of England had lapsed into heathenism," and 
" Nonconformity was rapidly in course to be found nowhere but 
in books,"* and, meanwhile, across the Channel, rationalistic infi- 
delity was invading the strongholds of the Beformation, and the 
French philosophers were spreading moral contagion through 
Europe, God was preparing the means, apparently disconnected, 
but providentially coincident, which were to resuscitate the 
" dying" faith, and introduce the era of modem evangelism in 
the Protestant world. A young man, bred in an inn at Glouces- 
ter, and struggling for his education, as a servitor at Oxford, was 
seeking, in agony of spirit, for a purer faith than he could find 
around him, and, as he tells us, "lying prostrate on the ground, 
for whole days, in silent or vocal prayer." In a few years his elo- 
quence, never, perhaps, surpassed in the pulpit, was to startle and 
illuminate all England, and the American Colonies from Maine to 
Georgia.t From the mountains of Wales a youth of fortune 
entered, later, the same university as a gentleman commoner ; J he 
was to become the foreign adnunistrator of Methodism, its first 
bishop in America, the founder of its missions in both Indies, and 
of that whole missionary scheme which, in our day, enrols a larger 
number of converts from heathenism than all other Protestant 
missions combined. Prom the mountains of Switzerland came 
into England, meanwhile, a young man who was to become the 
champion of the Arminian theology of the new movement, and 
the intimate counsellor of its leader, and whose saintly life 
was to leave with it a greater blessing than the works of his 

But its chief agents were in obscure preparation in the village 
of Epworth, a rural community of Lincolnshire, with a popula- 
tion, at the time, of about two thousand souls, occupied in the 
cultivation and manufacture of hemp and flax. In the household 
of the Epworth Rectory can be traced its real origin, amid one of 
those pictures of English rural life which have so often given 
a charm to our literature, and which form, perhaps, the best ex- 
ample of the domestic virtues of religion that Christian civilization 
has afforded. An "elect lady" there trained the founder and 
legislator of Methodism, and in no inconsiderable degree, by im- 
pressing on him the traits of her own extraordinary character ; 
and, under the same nurture, grew up by his side its psalmist, 
whose lyrics were to be heard, in less than a century, wherever 
the English language was spoken, and to be more devoutly com- 

* Isaac Taylor's Wesley and Methodism. J Drew's Life of Coke. 

t Gillies' Life of Whitefield, § Benson's Life of Fletcher. 


mitted to memory, and ofbener repeated upon a death-bed, than 
any other poems.* 

* The mother of the Wesleys was the mother of Methodism, 
says a writer who has given us the philosophy of its hi8tory,t 
and she properly belongs to the foreground of our narrative. 
She was " nobly related," being the daughter of Dr. Sanyiel 
Annesley, who was the son of a brother of the Earl of Anglesea. J 
She inherited from her father those energetic traits of character 
which she transmitted to her most distinguished child. 

Dr. Annesley was one of the leading Nonconformist divines 
of his day. Like his grandson, he was noted at Oxford for his 
piety and diligence; he served the IS'ational Church as chaplain 
at sea, and as parish priest at Cliff, in Kent, at St. John the 
Apostle's, and at St. Giles's, two of the largest congregations 
in London. Under the Act of Uniformity, the inherent energy 
of the family showed itself with him, as afterwards with his 
daughter and grandson, in a calm but determined independence. 
He refused to conform, and endured a series of severe persecu- 
tions, which were attended by many of those remarkable inter- 
positions that distinguish the later history of the family. One 
of his persecutors fell dead while signing a warrant for his 
apprehension. He became a leader of the Puritans during the 
troubles of the times, preaching almost daily, providing pastors 
for destitute congregations, and relief for his ejected and im- 
poverished brethren. " Oh how many places," exclaims one of 
his contemporaries, « had sat ia darkness, how many ministers 
had been starved, if Dr. Annesley had died thirty years since."§ 
After a ministry of more than half a century, and of sore trials, 
under which he never once faltered, he died December 31st, 1696, 
exclaiming, " I shall be satisfied with thy likeness : satisfied, 
satisfied.'* De Foe, who sat imder his preaching, has drawn his 
character as perfect, in an elegy. The Nonconformists considered 
him a second St. FaulJ| Bichard Baxter pronounced him totally 
devoted to Qod.lf He was endeared to all who knew him inti- 

* Southey's Life of Wesley, chap. 21. 

t Taylor : Wesley and Methodism, p. 19. 

X Adam Clarke's Wesley Family, vol. i. p. 362. 

§ Dr. Daniel Williams, in Annesley's Funeral Sermon, republished by 
Wesley in the Arminian Magazine, vol. xv. 

II Dnnton's ** Life and Errors," p. 95. This noted publisher, who ranks by 
the side of Dodsley in the English typography of the last century, was Annesley s 

% Adam Clarke's Wesley Family, toI. i. p. 376. 


matelvy amd his noble relative, the Countess of Anglesea, desired^ 
on her death-bed, to be buried in his grave.* He had a manly 
countenance and ^gnified person ; a rich estate, which he devoted 
to charity ; robust health, which was capable of any &tigue ; and 
" a large soul," says Clarke, " flaming with zeal." " He was 
an Israelite, indeed," exclaims Calamy, "sanctified from the 
womb."t Cromwell esteemed him, and appointed him Lecturer 
at St. Paul's. 

He accorded to his daughter the independence of opinion 
which he claimed for himself, arfd while yet under his roof, and 
not thirteen years old, she showed her hereditary spirit by 
examining the whole controversy between Churchmen and Dis- 
senters, and by renouncing, in favour of the Established Church,, 
the opinions to which her father had devoted a life of labour and 
suffering. The fact is characteristic ; and, judging from the evi- 
dence of her later history, she possessed, even at this early age, 
an unusual fitness for such an investigation. Devout, thoughtful, 
amiable, and beautiful, she was the favourite child of her father, 
and the change of her opinions produced no interruption of tho 
affectionate ties which had bound them together. 

She was married to Rev. Samuel Wesley, about 1689, when 
nineteen or twenty years of age. She had been thoroughly 
educated, and was acquainted with the G-reek, Latin, and French 
languages. She showed a discriminative judgment of books and 
men, and, without any unique trait of genius, presents, perhaps,, 
one of the completest characters, moral and intellectual, to be 
found in the history of her sex. She has left us no proof of poeti- 
cal talent, and the genius of her children in this respect seems to 
have been inherited from their father, whose passionate love of 
the art, and unwearied attempts at rhythm, if not poetry, may also 
account for the hereditary talent of the family in music. 

A portrait of Susanna "Wesley, taken at a later date than her 
marriage, but evidently while she was still young, affords us a 
picture of the refined and even elegant lady of the times. The 
features are slight, but almost classical in their regularity. They 
are thoroughly Wesleyan, affording proof that John Wesley 
inherited from his mother not only his best moral and intellectual 
traits, but those also of his physiognomy. Her dress and coiffure 
are in the simplest style of her day, and the entire picture i» 
marked by chaste graceMness. It lacks not, also, an air of that 

* Dunton's"Life and Errora," p, 280. 

t Nonconforinists' Memorial, vol. i. Anthony k Wood's sketch of him 
(Athen» Oxoniensis) is eridentlj a Jacobite uaricature. 


liigli-bred aristocracy from which she was descended.* Adam 
Clarke, whose uxorious fondness shows him to have been no 
inapt judge, says she was not only graceful but beautiful. Sir 
Peter Lely, the painter of the " beauties" of his age, has left a 
portrait of one of her sisters, who was pronounced a woman of 
rare charms. " One," says Clarke, " who well knew them both, 
said, beautiful as Miss Annesley appears, she was fer from being 
as beautiful as Mrs. Wesley." The learned commentator lingers 
with heartiest admiration before her image. He assiires us that 
he could not repress his tears while contemplating her Christian 
and womanly virtues, and her more than manly struggles with 
adversity. " Such a woman," he says, " take her for all in all, 
I have not heard of, I have not read of, nor with her equal 
have I been acquainted. Such an one Solomon has described in 
the last chapter of his Proverbs ; and to her I can apply the 
summed up character of his accomplished housewife. Many 
daughters have done virtuously, but Susanna Wesley has excelled 
them all." In his comment on Solomon's sketch of the Jewish 
matron, he again refers to the lady of Epworth rectory as the 
best exemplification he knew of the Scriptural portrait. 

An exact balance of faculties was the chief characteristic of 
her intellect. With this she combined a profound piety. Her 
early interest in the Nonconformist controversy shows that from 
her childhood, religion, even in some of its intricate questions, 
had engaged her thoughts. Her healthful common-sense is mani- 
fest in all her allusions to the subject. Her womanly but prac- 
tical mind never fell into mysticism ; and when her sons were 
wavering under its influence at Oxford, her . letters continually 
recalled them to wholesome and Scriptural sentiments. '^ I take 
Kempis," she writes to John, when he was poring over the pages 
of the Imitation — '' I take Kempis to have been an honest, weak 
man, who had more zeal than knowledge, by his condemning all 
mirth or pleasure as sinful or useless, in opposition to so many 
direct and plain texts of Scripture." And again she wrote : ** Let 
every one enjoy the present hour. Age and successive troubles 
are sufficient to convince any man that it is a much wiser and 
safer. way to deprecate great amictions than to pray for them, and 
that our Lord knew what was in man when ne directed us to 
pray : ' Lead us not into temptation.' I think heretic Clarke,t 

* Clarke (Wesley Family), with his usual learned detail, traces the 
Anglesea £Eimily back beyond the Conquest. He adds : '* I find that 
Mri . Wesley signed some of her letters with the Annesley arms." 

t Dr. Samuel Clarke. 


in his exposition on the Lord's Prayer, is more in the right than 
Castaniza concerning temptations." 

With unusual sobriety on reKgious subjects, she united a 
cheerful confidence in her own religious hopes. She consecrated 
an hour every morning and evening to entire seclusion for medi- 
tation and prayer ; her reflections at these times were often re- 
corded, and present the happiest blending of good sense and 
religious fervour, " If," she exclaims, in one of her evening 
meditations, " if comparatively to despise and undervalue all the 
world contains, which is esteemed great, fair, or good ; if earnestly 
and constantly to desire Thee — Thy favour, Thy acceptance, Thy- 
self — rather than any or all things Thou hast created, be to love 
Thee— I do love Thee."* 

Her independent habit of thinking led her early to Socinian 
opinions, but they were abandoned after matured investigations. 
Her letters are marked not only by just but often by profound 
thought. She projected several literary works, and a fragment 
which remains on the " Apostles' Creed," would not have been 
discreditable to the theological literature of her day. She had 
begun a work on Natural and Eevealed Eeligion, comprising her 
reasons for renouncing Dissent, and a discourse on the Eucharist, 
but both were destroyed by a fire which consumed the rectory .t 

Her husband, the Rev. Samuel Wesley, was bom at Whit- 
church, in 1662, and was her senior by seven years. J His cha- 
racter was contrasted in important respects with her own ; but he 
shared fully her conscientious independence of opinion on religi- 
ous questions. With him as with her, this seems to have been 
an hereditary tyait, and was transmitted by them both to 
their children. The characteristics of the founder of Methodism 
were indeed continually revealing themselves in the ancestral his- 
tory of the family. Samuel Wesley's grandfather, Bartholomew 
Westley,§ after serving the Established Church in several parishes, 

* Moore's Life of Wesley, i. 3. Clarke is very justly scandalized at the 
epitaph which Charles Wesley wrote for her tomb, and which represents her as 
in " a legal night" till her seventieth year — a period at which she attained, as we 
shall hereafter see, a clearer sense of her acceptance with Gl-od, while receiving 
the Lord's Supper from her son-in-law, Mr. Hall. 

t Letter to her son, Rev. S. Wesley. Whitehead's Life of Wesley, i. 4. 

t Clarke, in his Wesley Family, vol. i. p. 88, and vol. ii. p. 2, contradicts 
liimself respecting his age. Methodist writers speak with uncertainty of the 
year of Mrs. Wesley's burth. Clarke (vol. ii. p. 1) gives it as 1669 or 1670. 
Her epitaph, inBunhill Fields, says she was aged seventy-three at her deat]i 
in 1742. This determines the year of her birth as 1669. 

§ Such was the original orthography of the name. Clarke thinks it may 
be of Arabic origin, and that the family came from Spain. Beal (" Wesley 


under Charles I., joined tlie Puritan party. He was ejected at 
the Eestoration, and obstinately refusing to conform, lived by the 
practice of medicine, a persecuted outcast, not allowed by the 
Pive Mile Act to approach within five miles of any of his former 
parishes, or any borough town, but preaching, meanwhile, as he 
had opportunity, till the treatment and premature death of his 
son, occasioned by a like conscientious independence of opinion, 
** brought his gray hairs with sorrow to the grave."* We know 
little else of him than these brief characteristic facts of his suffer- 
ings. Calamy says he was, when an old man, and the vigourlof 
life had gone, ^' as tender-hearted and affectionate as he had been 
pious and prudent." 

His son, John Westley, under whose afflictions the veteran 
dissenter sunk into the grave, was true to the independent and 
vigorous character of his father. He was educated at Oxford, 
where he excelled in oriental studies. He seems not to have 
sought ordination, but during Cromwell's power, preached at 
various places, at one time to seamen, at others in rural 
churches. He was remarkable for his religious zeal, and, like 
several others of his family, kept strict notes of his interior life 
in a diary.! At the Bestoration he had scruples against the 
use of the Common Prayer. He was cited before the Bishop of 
Bristol for his irregularities, and told by the prelate that if he 
continued to preach, it must be ** according to order, the order of 
the Church of England, upon ordination." " What," he replied, 

Fathers") gives it a good Saxon origin. There are traces of the name in Dor- 
setshire, as early as the fourteenth century, a period hefore which, Camden 
tells us, surnames were not common in England, families being designated by 
localities. Smith (History of Wesleyan Methodism, book i. chap. 2) says 
there were in Dorsetshire certain portions of land formerly called hides, ails 
^fields), and manor s, distinguished by the names Wantesleigh, Wynesleigh, 
Wansley, and WesUy. Hutchins, thel historian of Dorsetshire, says there 
is a htunlet in Broadwindsor called Wansley, Wantsley, Wantsleigh, and 
Wanslew, and further observes that there are twenty acres of land in Hook 
eaUed West Leas. ** This latter statement," remarks Smith, '* probably affords 
a key to the whole case. Lea, in Saxon, signifies a place, and in English an 
enclosed piece of cultivated or pastured land. Such a place, designated by its 
bearing, would be called Westlea, and might have given the original of the 
family name." John de Wyntereslegh, vicar of Frampton, in 1363; George 
"Westley, treasurer of Sarum, 1403 ; John Westley, rector of Langton Ma- 
travers, 14<81; John Wannesleigh, rector of Bettiscomb, 1497; and John 
Wennesley, chaplain of Fillesdon, 1508, were all, both persons and places, in 
the same county and same neighbourhood where the great-grandfather of John 
Wesley resided ; there can be little doubt that they were ancestors of Samuel 
Westley, as the father of the founder of Methodism wrote his name at Oxford. 
* Soathey's Wesley, chap, i. 


" does your lordship mean by an ordination ? If you mean that 
sending spoken of in Eomans x. 2, 1 had it." " I mean that," 
rejoined the bishop. " What mission had you ? You must have 
it according to law and the order of the Church of England." 
" I am not satisfied in my spirit of that," was the truly Wesleyan 
reply ; " I am not satisfied in conscience touching the ordination 
you speak of." He proceeded to vindicate his preaching by its 
good resxdts, the approval of good men, and his entire devotion to 
it. " I am glad I heard this from your own mouth," replied the 
prelate. " You will stand to your principles, you say ?" "I in- 
tend it, through the grace of God, and to be faithful to the king's 
majesty, however you deal with me." " I will not meddle with 
you," said the bishop, perceiving, doubtless, what kind of man he 
was dealing with. " Farewell to you, sir," was Mr.Westley's only 
reply. " Farewell, good Mr. Westley," responded his lordship.* 

Here was the germ of the ministerial system which afterwards 
flourished under his grandson ; a kind of epitome of Methodism, 
says Clarke. He was a " lay preacher, and he was an itinerant 
evangelist." "It cannot," continues Clarke, " escape the reflec- 
tion of the reader, that Methodism, in its grand principles of 
economy, and the means by which they have been brought into 
action, had its specific, healthy, though slowly vegetating seeds, in 
the original members of the "Wesley family. "f 

The good impression which he left upon the mind of the 
Bishop of Bristol, could not save him from imprisonment shortly 
after. He was released by an order of the. King's Council, in 
1661, but was seized while leaving his church, in the next year, 
and again thrust into prison. A leading magistrate of the county, 
however, bailed him out. Soon afterwards the Act of Uniformity 
came into effect ; Westley would not yield to it ; he stood up amid 
his weeping people, and preaching a fai'ewell discourse, left them, to 
become an outcast and a wanderer. The remainder of his history 
is a series of affecting sufferings ; but they were borne with in- 
trepid stedfastness. On leaving his congregation at Whitchurch, 
he took his family to Melcombe, but the local authorities hunted 
him there, imposing upon him a fine, and upon his landlady the 
forfeiture of twenty pounds. He took refuge in Ilminster, 

* Calamy (Nonconformists* Memorial, vol. ii. pp. 166 — 171) has preserved 
the interesting dialogue at length. Moore quotes it, Life of Wesley. 

t Clarke infers from the " escalop shell" on the family arms, that some of 
its ancestors had been in the Crusades ; whether this is the fact or not, the 
erusading spirit seemed hereditary and ineradicable in the Wesleyan consti- 


Bridgewater, and Taunton, living on the charity of their dissent- 
ing churches. His sufferings at last touched the sympathies of a 
wealthy gentleman, who gave him a house free of rent, in the village 
of Preston, near Weymouth. There he found a retreat for almost 
two years, when the Pive Mile Act drove him out of his comfort- 
able refuge. He sheltered his funily at Poole, preaching there as 
he found opportunity, but living in the country to escape the new 
law. Eour times was he imprisoned, once for half a year, and in 
another instance for three months. He thought of seeking 
shelter in America, but about the year 1670* found it in heaven. 
He sank into the grave, under his manv trials, at the early age 
of thirty-four, bearing with him the broken heart of his father, 
whose admiration of his independence and zeal could not sustain 
his own spirit in its painful sympathy with his tried and faithful 
son. His sufferings, says Southey, have given him a place among 
the confessors of the I^onconformists. Calamy has left us evi- 
dence that John "Westley was alike devout and firm, and an able 
theologian.t He lies in the churchyard of Preston ; such was the 
spirit of the times that the vicar would not allow him to be 
buried in the church, j: 

Weak character is indicated as often, perhaps, by strong as by 
feeble opinions, for opinions are mostly prejudices ; and on theo- 
logical subjects, and especially on ecclesiastical questions, where 
so much must always be doubtful, liberality must always be more 
wise as well as more generous than dogmatism. It should be 
borne in mind, however, that if the Westleys were tenacious of 
their later sentiments, this very fact proves that they were not so 
of their earlier opinions. They conquered, at least, the prejudices 
of education. Opinions on the questions for which they suffered 
were deemed, in their day, to be more fundamental than they have 
been considered since the epoch .of Methodism. They were still 

* Clarke says 1678, at the ageof 42. 

t Nonconformists' Memorial, vol. ii. pp. 164 — 175. 

t Southey' s Life of Wesley, chap. i. One of Wesley's circuit preachers 

makes an affecting reference to this good and hrave man's grave.: *'In the 

.•churchyard no stone tells where his ashes lie, nor is there a monument to 

record his worth. The writer would not seem to affect anything; yet to this 

village (which he visits regularly, as a small Wesleyan chapel is there) he does 

not go without remembering, the vicar of Whitchurch. In this and that house, 

lonely dell, and retired spot, he seems to see the man whose spirit was orushed, 

-the (^uistian hunted to obscurity, and the minister whose lamp, though lighted 

in the skies, was wickedly quenched by the triumphant spirit of persecution ; 

4uid he is no stranger to the hallowed spot where his mortal part. is deposited." 

— Seal's Wesley Fathers, p. 109. 


matters of conscience, and strong souls are always strongest in 
matters of conscience. The opposition of Bartholomew and John 
Westley to the Common Prayer, and other ecclesiastical requisi- 
tions of the times, was more a protest against bigotry than bigotry 
itself; and by the progress of such dissent has the Anglo-Saxon 
mind reached its later and more forbearing liberality. 

Such were the immediate ancestors of Samuel Wesley, the 
rector of Epworth, and father of the founder of Methodism. The 
rector himself had a robust soul, and early proved that he in- 
herited the ancestral spirit of his family. Designed for the 
ministry of the Nonconformists, and trained by so many domestic 
examples and sufferings to sympathize with their cause, he was 
appointed to prepare a reply to some severe invectives which had 
been published against them. In attempting the task, " he con- 
ceived that he saw reason to change his opinions."* Bising 
one morning very early, and without acquainting any person with 
his design, he set out on foot for Oxford, and entered himself as a 
" poor scholar " at Exeter College. He had but two pounds five 
shillings in his pocket when he arrived there, and received during 
his collegiate life but one crown as assistance from his friends. 
Strong in the characteristic energy and methodical habits of his 
family, he successfully prosecuted his studies, supporting himself 
by his pen and by instructing others as a tutor. We have but 
few glimpses of his Oxford life ; they show, however, the genuine 
Wesleyan character. He was laborious, devout, and not forgetful 
of those whom the Church of the day seemed most inclined to 
forget — ^prisoners and the wretched poor. He visited the former 
in the castle, relieving their necessities and ministering to their 
souls ; and when his sons afterwards became notorious at Oxford 
for similar labours, he was able to write to them : " G-o on, in 
Good's name, in the path into which your Saviour has directed you, 
and that wherein your father has gone before you." 

Wesleyan in his economy as in his liberality, he was able at 
last to leave coUege for London with more than ten pounds in his 
pocket. Dunton, his London publisher, had married a daughter 
of Dr. Annesley, and introduced his young friend to the family. 
The acquaintance ripened at last into his maxriage with Susanna 
Annesley. After beginning his clerical life as a curate, with 
twenty-eight pounds a-year, and receiving a chaplaincy aboard the 
fleet, at seventy pounds, he took charge of a curacy in London at 
thirly pounds, which, however, he doubled by tjlae tureless industry 

* Samuel Wesley : Adam Clarke's Wesley Family, vol. i. p. 97. 


-of his pen. While in the city he gave a remarkable instance of 
his hereditary spirit. The " Declaration " of James II. was 
ordered to be read in the churches ; and the court party, deeming 
"Wesley a talented partisan, promised him preferment, as a motive 
for his support of the measure. He was poor, and living in lodg- 
ings with his wife and one child ; But he spumed the overture, 
and believing the Declaration to be a Papal design, he not only 
refused to read it, but ascended the pulpit and denounced it in a 
sermon from the text, " If it be so, our G-od whom we serve is 
able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will 
deliver us out of thy hand, O king. But if not, be it known 
unto thee, king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship 
the golden image which thou hast set up." 

We • next find him in the curacy of South Ormsby, near 
Epworth, with fifty pounds a-year. Here his family increased to 
4rix children ; but, with true English paternity, he welcomed each 
Edition as a gift from God, and struggled manfully to provide 
bread for every new comer. He says, in a letter to the Arch- 
i>ishop of York, that he had but fifty pounds a-year for six or 
seven years together, and one child at least per annum. The 
parish had been obtained for him by the Marquis of Normanby ; 
a characteristic instance of conduct led to its resignation. This 
nobleman, says John Wesley, had a house in the parish, where a 
woman who uved with him usually resided ; she insisted on being 
intimate with Mrs. Wesley, but to such an intercourse the rector 
would not submit. Coming in one day, and finding the intrusive 
visitant sitting with his wife, he went up to her, took her by the 
hand, and unceremoniously led her out. The nobleman resented 
*he affront, and made it necessary, for Wesley to retire from the 
living. The dedication of one of his works to Queen Mary pro- 
cured him the rectory of Epworth, where, on two hundred 
pounds a-year, and the proceeds of his literary labours, he sus- 
tained and educated his numerous family, amounting at last to 
nineteen children. 

His poetical mania kept him busily at work " beating rhyme," 
as he caued it. Poem after poem came forth to the public from 
the rectory study. Besides his elaborate works detailing in 
Terse which was more rhythmical than poetical, " The Life of 
Christ," and "The History of the Old and New Testaments," 
less pretentious, but really better productions, were continually 
•emanating from his pen. His most valuable publication was a 
Latin dissertation on the book of Job. He had the rare fortune 
<& dedicating volumes to three successive queens of EngLaxLds 


but as popular, not royal sovereignty, wields the sceptre of fate 
in the world of letters, the royal sanction has not been able to 
save thein from oblivion. Their few worm-eaten remnants have 
no other interest than that which arises from the later historical 
importance of the family name. The Latin dissertation on Job 
evinces profound learning ; and he was doubtless competent to have 
prosecuted successfully, under more favourable circumstances, a 
grand scheme which he had projected fqr a new edition of the 
original Scriptures, on a plan very similar to that more lately ac- 
complished by Bagster. Pope was intimate with the rector, and in 
a letter to Swift, says, " I call him what he is, a learned man, and 
I engage you will approve his prose more than you formerly 
did his poetry." Dunton says he used to write two hundred 
couplets a-day. The current of his verse was so rapid as to carry 
with it all the lighter rubbish off its banks, and to sink what- 
ever of weighty value was cast upon it. 

He plied »faithfully, meanwhile, his parish labours. He knew 
all his parishioners, and visited them worn house to house, keep- 
ing a record of his visits. His preaching was pointed, and he 
quailed not when it gave offence. Bad livers in the parish 
resented it, as they did also his party politics, by wounding his 
cattle at night, cutting off the legs of his house-dog, breaking his 
doors, and by twice setting fire to his house. His conduct 
towards them was sometimes as prompt as in the case which 
occasioned his resignation at Ormsby. Many of them vexed him 
not a little about the tithes, and at one time they would pay 
•only in kind. Going into a field where the tithe com was laid 
he discovered a person cutting the ears with a pair of shears, and 
filling with them a bag brought for the purpose. Without saying 
a word, he seized the astonished parishioner by the arm, and led 
him into the market-place of the town, where he opened the bag, 
turned it inside out before the multitude, and declaring what 
the pilferer had done, walked quietly away, leaving him con- 
founded before his neighbours. 

He did not disguise his High Church and Stato principles, and 
his imprudent political zeal involved him in serious persecutions. 
Besides the injuring of his cattle and the burning of his house, 
the rabble drummed, shouted, and fired arms under his windows 
at night. Under the pretext of a small debt, which he could not 
at the moment discharge, he was arrested while leaving his church, 
and imprisoned in Lincoln Castle, where he continued about three 
months. But his native spirit nev^r failed him. "Now I am at 
rest," he wrote from the prison to the Archbishop of York, " for 


I am come to the haven where I have long expected to be ; and," 
he characteristically adds, " I don't despair of doing good here, 
and, it may be, more in this new parish than in my old one." 
Like G-oldsmith's good vicar, he immediately became a volunteer 
chaplain to his fellow-prisoners. He read prayers daily, and 
preached on Sundays to them. He was consoled by the fortitude 
of his noble wife : " 'Tis not every one," he wrote again to the 
Archbishop, " who could bear these things ; but I bless God, my 
wife is less concerned with suffering them than I am in writing, 
or than I believe your G-race will be in reading them." " AVhen 
I came here," he said in another letter, " my stock was but little 
above ten shillings, and my wife's at home scarce so much. She 
soon sent me her rings, because she had nothing else to relieve me 
with, but I returned them." When advised to remove from Bp- 
worth, on account of his persecutions, he replied in to answer 
which reminds us of his son, when hooted by mobs in his itinerant 
preaching, " 'Tis like a coward to desert my post because the 
enemy fires thick upon me. They have only wounded me yet, and 
I believe cannot kill me." 

The energy of his character and the tenacity of his opinions 
were, doubtless, faulty virtues. They led him into not a few un- 
necessary sufferings, and bordered sometimes on insanity. A fact 
is told of him which would be incredible if related on less authority 
than that of John Wesley himself. He informs us that his father, 
observing one evening, at the close of family prayers, that his vrife 
did not respond " Amen" to the prayer for the king, asked her 
the reason. She replied that she did not believe in the title of 
the Prince of Orange to the throne. '* If that be the case," re- 
joined the rector, " we must part, for if we have two kings, we 
must have two beds." " My mother," says Wesley, "was inflex- 
ible." Her husband went to his study, and soon after took his 
departure, and returned not until about a year had elapsed, when 
the death of the king, and the accession of Queen Anne, whose 
title neither questioned, allowed him to go back without violating 
his word. Their conjugal harmony was restored, and John Wes- 
ley himself was the first child bom after their reconciliation. 
This very singular incident seems not to have been attended with 
.any severe recriminations; it was as cool as it was determined 
and foolish ; it was made a matter of conscience by both parties, 
and both were immovably but calmly resolute in all conscientious 
prejudices. As an illustration of character, it indicates worse for 
the good sense than the good heart of the rector, for through the 
<robaBl nature of this man of sturdy opinions flowed a current of 


habitual good-humour, and humour, more than apparent con- 
scientiousness itself, reveals truthfully the heart, as it is an affec- 
tion, if not a virtue, which has the rare peculiarity of being neces- 
sarily genuine, and when even associated with satire, is so, more 
jfrom a genial and instinctive disposition to relieve, than to add 
to its sting. Southey says of Samuel Wesley's early poems, that 
his imagination seems to have been playful, and had he written 
during his son's celebrity, some of his pieces might perhaps have 
been condemned by the godly as profane.* Clarke assures us that 
he had a large share of vivacity ; that in private conversation he 
was very entertaining and instructive, having a rich fund of 
anecdote, and a profusion of witty and wise sayings. He shows 
that the hearty rector relished practical jokes so well, as to be led 
sometimes to trench with them on sacred ground, where even a 
useful lesson could hardly redeem them.t 

* Southey's Early Sn^lish Poets. Adam Clarke demurs to the latter 
point. The veteran commentator was, however, himself not very squeamish. 

t The Epworth parish clerk was a well-meaning and honest, but an ob- 
trusively vain man. His master, the rector, he esteemed the greatest character 
in the parish, or even in the county, and himself, being second to him in church 
services, as only second to him, also, in importance and title to general respect. 
" He had the privilege of wearing Mr. Wesley's cast-off clothes and wigs, for 
the latter of which his head was by far too small, and the figure he presented 
was ludicrously grotesque. The rector, finding him particularly vain of one of 
the canonical substitutes for hair, which he had lately received, formed the 
design to mortify him in the presence of that congregation before which John 
wished to appear in every respect what he thought himself in his near approach 
to his master. One morning before church-time Mr. W. said : ' John, I shall 
preach on a particular subject to-day, and shall choose my own psalm, of which 
I shall give out the first line, and you shall proceed as usual.* John was 
pleased, and the service went forward as usual till they came to the singing, 
when Mr. Wesley gave out the following line — 

* Like to an owl in an ivy bush.' 

This was sung ; and the following line, John, peeping out of the large canonical 
wig in which his head was half lost, gave out with an audible voice, and appro- 
priate connecting twang — 

' That rueful thing am I.' 

The whole congregation, struck with John's appearance, saw and felt the simi- 
litude, and could not refrain from laughter. The rector was pleased, for John 
was mortified, and his self-conceit lowered." — Clarke's Wesley Family, vol. i. 
p. 357. This anecdote was questioned in the Wesleyan Magazine, for 1824. 
Clarke repUes, that he had it from John Wesley liimself, and, as near as he can 
possibly recollect, in the very words given." He adds, what may be as relevant 
to our pages as to his own, that it is characteristic of the man, and it is from 
facts of this nature that the author forms a proper estimate of the character 
he describefi. The harmless weakness of the aged clerk seems to have made 


Adam Clarke, to whom we are indebted for our most interest- 
ing, if not most important information respecting Samuel Wesley, 
and who evidently found in him a kindred nature, took pains to 
inquire on the spot respecting his character and labours, and dis- 
covered aged parishioners to whom the memory of the man and 
pastor was still dear. They bore grateful testimony to his pas- 
toral fidelity and his devoted piety, as well as his eccentricities. 
He had the zealous energy of his Methodist sons, and had it not 
expended itself in incessant literary labours, it would probably 
have led him into extraordinary evangelical schemes, like those 
which resulted in Methodism. He did, indeed, conceive a plan of 
gigantic missionary eflforts, which, it cannot be doubted, he would 
have heroically prosecuted, had it not been defeated by the neglect 
of the G-overnment. It comprehended St. Helena, India, and 
China, and reached even to Abyssinia, taking in the foreign 
British territories as posts from which to extend the gospel to 
the heathen. The written sketch of the scheme, signed by the 
Archbishop of York, still remains. Wesley offered to attempt it 
in person, if the Government would sanction it, and provide a 
humble subsistence for his family. Clarke contends that it was 
entirely practicable to the English Church and Government. It 
was an anticipation of the missionary enterprise of Methodism ; 
but the time for it had not yet come. His wife was unconsciously 
preparing for it in the nursery at Epworth, while her husband 
was discussing it with prelates and statesmen. 

A prophetic anticipation of the approaching revival of the 
Protestant faith seemed to linger in this good man's mind down 
to his last hour. When dying he laid his hand repeatedly on the 
head of his son Charles, saying : " Be steady ; the Christian faith 
will surely revive in this kingdom ; you will see it, though I shall 
not." And to another of his children he said : "Do not be con- 
cerned at my death, G-od will then begin to manifest Himself to 
my family."* He died attesting the doctrine of the Witness of 

him quite a *' character" in the Epworth circle, and the humour of the hard- 
working rector was doubtless often refreshed by his comicalities. Clarke says, 
** This is the same man who, when Xing William returned to London, after 
some of his expeditions, gave out in Epworth church, * Let us sing, to the 
praise and glory of Gk)d, a hymn of my own composing : 

* King William is come home, come home, 

King William home is come ; 

Therefore let us together sing 

The hymn that's called Te D'um.' " 

* Letter of Charles Wesley : Wesley Family, vol L p. 346. 


the Spirit, afterwards so emphatically preached by the founders' 
of Methodism. '' He had a clear sense of his acceptance with 
Q-od," says John Wesley. " The inward witness,'* he said, " the 
inward witness, that is the proof, the strongest proof of Chris- 
tianity."* The family gathered around his bed to take the Lord's 
Supper with him for the last time ; but he was hardly able to 
receive it. " God chastens me with strong pain," he exclaimed 
before departing ; " but I praise Him for it, I thank Him for it, I 
love Him for it." At the moment when one of his sons jQnished 
the Communion prayer he expired. 

His character, sufficiently delineated in our narrative, is not 
without marked defects ; but it is admirable for its genuine 
English manhood, its healthful piety, its brave independence of 
opinion, and the endurance of life-long struggles with poverty,, 
besides other and complicated trials. 

Such were the parents and ancestors of the Wesley family. 

The glimpses which we get from contemporary records of the 
interior life at the rectoiy of Epworth, give us the image of an 
almost perfect Christian household. If some of its aspects appear 
at times too grave, or even seyere, they are relieved by frequent 
evidence of those home affections and gaieties with which the 
beneficent instincts of human nature are sure to resist, in a nu- 
merous circle of children, the religious austerities of riper years. 
The Epworth rectory presents, in fine, the picture of a domestic 
church, a family school, and a genuine old English households 
Before the first fire the building was a humble structure of wood 
and plaster, roofed with thatch, and venerable with a hundred 
years. It boasted one parlour, an ample hall, a buttery, three 
large upper chambers, besides some smaller apartments, and a 
study, where the studious rector spent most of his time in " beat- 
ing rhymes," and preparing his sermons, leaving the rest of the 
house and almost all in-door affairs, as well as the management of 
the temporalities of the glebe and tithes, to his more capable wife, 
and fondly comforting himself against the pinching embarrass- 
ments of poverty with the consolation, as he expresses it in a 
letter to the Archbishop of York, " that he who is bom a poet, 
must, I am afraid, live and die so, that is, poor." John Wesley 
expresses admiration at the serenity with which his mother trans- 
acted business, wrote letters, and conversed, surrounded by her 
thirteen children. All the children bore ''nicknames" in the 
home circle, and the familiar pseudonyms play fondly through tho 

• Letter of John We»ley : Wesley Family, vol. i. p. 344 


abundant family correspondence which' remains.. Clarke assures 
us that "thej had the common £ of being the most loving 
family in the county of Lincoln." The mother especially was the- 
centre of the household affections. John, after leaving home,, 
writes to her at a time when her health was precarious, with 
pathetic endearment, and expresses the hope that he may die- 
before her, in order not to have the anguish of witnessing her 
end. " You did well," she afterwards writes him, " to correct that 
fond desire of dying before me, since you do not know what work. 
God may have for you to do before you leave the world. It is 
what I have often desired of the children, that they would not 
weep at my parting, and so make death more uncomfortable than 
it would otherwise be to me." The home where such sentimenta 
prevailed could not have been an austere one.. 

The children all shared this filial tenderness for the mother.. 
Martha (afterward Mrs. Hall) clung to her with a sort of idolatry. 
She would never willingly be from her side, says Clarke ; and the 
only fault alleged against the parent was her fond partiality for 
this affectionate child.* Several of the nineteen cnildren died 
young, but, according to the allusion of John "Wesley, already 
quoted, thirteen were living at one time. Some of them were 
remarkable for beauty, others for wit and intelligence. Samuel, 
the eldest son, was poetic from his childhood, and has left some- 
of the finest hymns of the Methodist psalmody, f Susanna (aft;er- 
wards Mrs. Ellison) is described as '' very facetious and a little 
romantic;" Mary, though somewhat deformed, as "haviug an 
exquisitely beautiful face — a legible index to a mind almost 
angelic," and " one of the most exalted of human characters, full 
of humility and goodness ;" Mehetabel (Mrs. Wright) as able, 
in her eighth year, to read the Greek language, and as "gay,. 
sprightly, full of mirth, good-humour, and wit, and attracting 

* Mp8. Hall's beautiful character and sad history form the most romantic 
and touching story in the "Wesley Family." Her affection for John was 
stronger than the love of woman, and she resembled him in person to a re- 
markable degree. Her domestic life was blighted by the deepest sorrows, 
which were sustained, however, with unmurmuring patience. Clarke gives 
their affecting details. She dined often with Dr. Johnson at Bolt Court ;. 
he ardently admired her, and even wished her to reside in his house with 
Mrs. Williams and Mrs. du Moulin. Boswell mentions his unusual deference 
towards her, and her striking resemblance to John Wesley, "both in figure and . 
manner." See Boswell's Johnson. 

t Among them are those beginning : " The morning flowers display their 
sweets ;" "The Lord of Sabbath let us praise ;" "Hail, Father, whose creating , 
call;" "Hail, God the Son, in glory crown'd j" "Hail, Holy Ghost, Jehovah, , 
third," etc. 


many suitors," and later in life an elegant woman, " with great 
refinement of manners, and the traces of beauty in her counte- 
nance.'' She had also an uncommon poetic talent. GKie few 
letters of Keziah that remain show vivacity and vigorous sense. 
Charles and John gave distinct promise, even in the nursery, of 
their coming greatness. The natural temper of the latter, in 
youth, is described as " gay, with a turn for wit and humour."* 
The former was '* exceedingly sprightly and active, and remark- 
able for courage and skill in juvenile encounters with his 
school-fellows when at Westminster. Later, he laments that 
he lost his first year at Oxford in diversions.f Martha, who 
lived to be the last survivor of the original "Wesley family, though 
habitually sober, if not sad, amid the pastimes of the household 
circle, had an innate horror of melancholy subjects. Her memory 
was remarkable, and was abundantly stored with the results of 
her studies, especially in history and poetrjr. Her good sense 
and intelligence delighted Johnson in discussions of theology and 
moral philosophy. Of wit, she used to say that she was the only 
one of the family who did not possess it. 

Though method prevailed throughout the household, its almost 
mechanical rigour was relaxed at suitable intervals, in which the 
nursery, with its large juvenile community, became an arena of 
hilarious recreations, of " high glee and frolic." J G^ames of skill 
and of chance even, were among the family pastimes, such as 
John Wesley afterward prohibited among the Methodists. AVTiile 
the rectory was rattling with the " mysterious noises," so famous 
in the family history, we find the courageous daughters " playiug 
at the game of cards." § 

The educational system at the rectory has been the admiration 
of all who have written respecting the Wesley family. It had 
some extraordinary points. It was conducted solely by Mrs. 
Wesley, wha thus combined the labours of a school with the 

* Moore's Life of Wesley, ii., 1. *'He appeared," says the Westminster 
Magazine, " tlie very sensible and acute collegian ; a young fellow of the finest 
classical taste, 'of the most liberal and manly sentiments." 

t Smith's tostory of Wesleyan Methodism, L, chap. 3. 

X Clarke — 'whose monograph sketched of the family are the best, because 
the most "gossiping" history we have of it. My unreferred quotations are 
all from him. He seems to take pleasure in correcting the common impression 
that Wesley'* early education was unduly severe. The reader will excuse 
me if he thii^s my pages show an excess of sympathy with this design ; for 
Epworth, not Oxford, was the cradle of Methodism. 

§ Original letters of Rev. John Wesley and his friends, by Dr. Priestley. 
Birmingham, 1791. See App. to Southey's Wesley. 


other and numerous cares of her household. She has left a long^ 
letter addressed to John Wesley, in which it is fully detailed* 
**The children,'* she says, "were always put into a regular method 
of living, in such things as they were capable of, from their birth ; 
as in dressing and undressing, changing their linen, etc. The 
first quarter commonly passes in sleep ; after that they were, if 
possible, laid in their cradle awake, and rocked to sleep ; and so 
they were kept rocking till it was time for them to awake. This 
was done to bring them to a regular course of sleeping, which at 
first was three hours in the morning, and three in the afternoon ; 
afterwards two hours, till they needed none at all." When one 
year old, and in some cases earlier, they were taught to "cry 
softly," by which means they escaped abundance of correction, 
and that " most odious noise " of the crying of children was 
rarely heard in the house ; but the family usually lived in as much 
quietness as if there had not been a child among them. Drinking 
and eating between meals was never allowed, unless in cases of 
sickness, which "seldom happened." They retired at eight in 
the evening, and were ''left in their several rooms awake, for 
there was no such thing allowed in the house as sitting by a child 
till it fell asleep." To subdue the will of the child was one of the 
earliest tasks, " because," she continues, " this is the only strong 
and rational foundation of a religious education, without which 
both precept and example will be ineffectual. But when this is 
thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by the 
reason and piety of its parents, till its own understanding comes 
to maturity, and the principles of religion have taken root in the 
mind." Her children were taught to be quiet at family prayer, 
and to ask a blessing immediately after, by signs, before they could 
kneel or speak. 

The family school was opened and closed with singing; at 
five o'clock in the afternoon all had a season of retirement, when 
the oldest took the youngest that could speak, and the second the 
next, to whom they read the Psalm for the day, and a chapter in 
the New Testament. She herself also conversed each evening 
with one of her children on religious subjects, and on some 
evenings with two, so as to comprehend the whole circle every 
week.* Cowardice and fear of punishment, she remarks, often 
lead children to contract a habit of lying, from which it is difficult 
for them to break away in later life. To prevent this, a law was 

* This fact is mentioned in the letter to her husband, February 6, 1712, 
in which she defends the public worship that she conducted at the rectory. — 
Moore'd « Life of Wesley," i. 3. 



»«de tllad whoever wa» cbavged with a fiiult, of whidi he 
gjOilb;^, akouild nofc be chastiBed if he would imgenuoBaly eonfew>ity. 
aoa^ pvom^ise to amend. No child was ever pnniahed twice lot thtf 
dome fadUt ; and if he reformed, he waa never aflberwarda upbraided 
with the ofienee. Promises were to be strictly observed. No givl 
W»s taught to work till she read correctly ; she was then^ kept ta: 
hssa work witibi the same application, and lor the same time, that she 
)ttd spent in reading. ''This rule," wisely remarks the mother^ 
'* k much to be observed ; for the putting children to learn sewings 
before they can read perfectly, is the very reason why so few 
women can read in a manner fit to be heard." None of themt 
were taught to read till they were five years old, except oae 
dBxtghter, and she was more years in learning than any of the^ 
rest had been months. The day before a child began to study the* 
house was set in order, every one's work appointed, and a charge^ 
given that none should come into ^e room from nine till twelve^ 
or from two till five, which were the school-hours. One day was- 
aBowed the pupil to learn its letters, and each of them did- in 
that time know them all, except two, who were a day and arhalf at 
tie task, " for which," she saysj " I then thought them very 
duU." Samuel, who was the first child thus tau^t, leaamed th& 
alphabet in a few hours. The day after he was five years old he< 
began to study, and, as soon as he knew the letters, he proceeded 
tc^ spell out toe first chapter of Genesis. The same method was 
observed by them aU. As soon as they acquired the knowledge 
ci the alphabet, they were put to spelling and reading one line^ 
then a verse, never leaving it till perfect in the appointed lesson^ 
were it shorter or longer. 

Such was the fsmily school at Epworth. Wha can doubt? 
that the practical Methodism of the rectory, more than any other 
human cause, produced the ecclesiastical Methodism which to-day 
is spreading the Wesleyan name around the world ? It received 
there^ also, much of its thoroughly spiritual tone. Eeligion 
knpressed the habitual life of the family. Susanna Wesley was its 
pnestess, and, more than the rector himself, mioistered to the 
spiritual necessities of the household. During his absence she 
even opened its doors for a sort of public worship, which was» 
cendncted by herself. She read sermons, prayed, and eonv^sed 
directly with the rustic assembly. Her husband, learning the 
imk by her letters, revolted, as a Churchman^ at its novelty. 
Her, s(5lf-defence is characteristically earnest, but submissive to 
hjb ai|^hority . *' X chose^" she says, '^ the best and most awakeningi 
sermons we had. Last Sunday, I beHeve* we had aboi^ iw^ 

liuxidbre4 Keiurars, and jet many went away for want, of room. 
We baush all temporal concerns from our society ; none is suffered 
to min^e any disoourse about them with our reading and singinft. 
We keep close to the business of the day, and as soou as it if 
•ver they all go home. And where is the harm of this P As for 
your proposal of letting some other person read; alas ! you do 
Bot consider what a people these are. I do not think one man 
among th^a eould read a sermon without spelling a good part of 
it 'y and how would that edify the rest P Nor has any of o«r 
fiuooily a voice strong enough to be heard by such a number of 
peojue." Her husband eq^imlly hesitated to u)proye or disapprove 
the extraordinary proceeding. Yery soon she assembled round 
h&t a larger audience than had usually met at the church itsel£ 
Some of the leadiiig parishioners, and Wesley's curate, wrote to 
him against the assembly as a ^' conventicle." Her reply is fiill 
of go^ sense and womanly feeling. She states that the measure 
was reclaiming muiy of the common people &om immorality ; 
that it was fiSing up the parish church ; that some who had not 
attended the latter for years were now seen there. She pravs 
him to relieve her from the responsibility oi ending these usem 
services by assuming it himself, as her husband and pastor. A 
writer on Methodism justly remarks, that when, in this charac** 
teristic letter, she said, ^ ' Do not advise, but command me to 
desist,' she was bringing to its place a corner-stone of the future 
Methodism. In this emphatic expression of a deep, compound 
feeling, a powerful conscientious impulse, and a fixed principle of 
submission to rightful authority, there was condensed the very 
law of her son's course, as the founder and legislator of a sect. 
This equipoise of forces, which, if they act apart, and when not 
thus balanced, have brought to nothing so many h(^ful move* 
m^itt^ gave that Qoiu»istency to Methodism to which it owes its 

Thus did this truly English and Christian household pursue its 
oourse of successful self-culture. For more than fortyyears it 
iwndered Epworth Sectary a sanctuary of domestic and Christian 
lirtiies. Gl^n of th& children attained adult years.f All these 
teeaiBe devoted Christians, and every one of them '^ died in the 
I«vd." " How powerful," remarks their biographer, in ending 
hia a^ost romantic record, ^* is a religious education ; and how 
truer the s^^ing,^ ' Train up a child in the way he should go, and 
whm i^ ia^ old he will not depart from it !' " " Such a family," 

• iMse Tayloi'to •*^W«ley and Metlwdknii" p. 19. 
t Sovibe; 8i^0tfix» Moor* and GiadEe lay ten. 


lie adds, " I have never read of, heard of, or known ; not, since 
the days of Abraham and Sarah, and Joseph and Mary of Naza- 
reth, has there ever been a family to which the human race has 
been more indebted."* 

Let US not suppose, however, that in this rare picture of 
Christian household life there were no shadows contrasted with 
its tranquil lights. It would have been less perfect without 
them. Samuel "Wesley lived in continual conflict with poverty. 
He was imprisoned for debt, and died in debt. His Epworth 
living, though nominally valued at £200, afforded but about 
£130, and his small adjacent parish of Wroote scarcely more 
than met its own expenses. The economy by which so large a 
family was so well sustained and educated, is one of the most 
remarkable facts in its history. Pressed on every side by want, 
suffering sometimes from severe destitution, as she has recorded 
in a letter to the Archbishop of York, the admirable matron of 
the rectory could nevertheless say, when more than fifty years 
old, that from the best observation she had been able to make, 
she had learned it was much easier to be contented without riches 
than with them. Keener sorrows -were often added to their 

Eoverty. Death followed death until nine children had been 
ome away from the circle; the marriages of several of the 
daughters were unfortunate, and the noble mother, in a letter to 
her brother, writes with the anguish which only a mother can 
know, for the saddest sorrow of a child : " O sir ! O brother ! 
happy, thrice happy are you ; happy is my sister that buried your 
children in infancy, secure from temptation, secure from guilt, 
secure from want or shame, secure from the loss of friends. 
Believe me, it is better to mourn ten children dead than one 
living, and I have buried many." 

Twice was the rectory fired at night by the rabble of the 
parish. In the first instance it was partly consumed ; in the 
second it was totally destroyed, together with its furniture, and 
the books and manuscripts of the rector. The family barely 
escaped with their night garments upon them. Mrs. "Wesley 
was in feeble health ; unable to climb with the rest through the 
windows, she was thrice beaten back from the front door by the 
flames. Committing herself to God, she at last waded through 
the fire to the street, scorching her face and hands. It was 
found that one child was missing. The father attempted several 
times to pass up the stairs to rescue him, but the consuming steps 
could not bear his weight. He returned in despair, and kneeling 

* Clarke's « Wesley Family," vol. ii. p. 886. 


down upon the earth, resigned to God the soul of lus child. 
Meanwhile the latter, waking from his sleep, and finding his 
chamber and bed on fire, flew to the window, beneath which two 
peasants placed themselves, one on the shoulders of the other, 
and saved him at the moment the roof fell in and crushed the 
chamber to the ground.* " Come, neighbours," exclaimed the 
father, as he received his son, " let us kneel down ; let us give 
thanks unto Grod ; He has given me all my eight children ; let the 
house go, I am rich enough." Hundreds of thousands of devout 
hearts have since repeated that thanksgiving. A few minutes 
more and the founder of Methodism woidd have been lost to the 
world. In about a quarter of a century the rescued boy went 
forth from the cloisters of Oxford to Moorfields, to call the 
neglected masses to repentance, and to begin the great work 
which has rendered his family historical, not only in his own 
country, but in all Protestant Christendom. t 



John Wesley — " Mysterious Noises " at the Eectory— Wesley at the Charter- 
house — Charles Wesley — The Duke of Wellington — John Wesley at Ox- 
ford — E-eligious Inquiries — His Mother's Q-uidance — Thomas h Kempis — 
Jeremy Taylor — The Witness of the Spirit — Reprobation — William Law — 
Religious Habits — Scholarship — Religious Anxieties of Charles Wesley — 
Mysticism— The Holy Club— The Methodists— George Whitefield— Death 
of the Father of the Wesleys, and Dispersion of the Epworth Eamily — 
The Wesleys Embark for Q-eorgia — The Moravians — Failure of the Plans 
of the Wesleys — Their Errors — Their Return to England. 


John Wesley was bom at Epworth, on the 17th of June, 1703, 
old style. The domestic training which has been described doubt- 
less gave him those habits of method, punctuality, diligence, and 
piety, which afterwards developed into the system of |iethodism 
itself. His providential escape at the destruction of the Epworth 
Rectory by fire, in his sixth year, impressed him early with the 
sense of a special mission in the world ; his mother shared the 
impression, and felt herself called by that event to specially con-, 

* Letter of Mrs. Wesley : Whitehead's " Life of Wesley," ii. 1. 

t Wesley gratefully remembered his escape through life, and had an emblem 
-of a house in flames engrayed on one of his portrsdts, with the motto, " Is not 
this a brand plucked out of the burning ? " 

38 * HIBTOET id7 1CBT1I03>ISM. 

secrate l&m to Chxl. 7wo yesrs after it we ftnd lier mi&ing it 
I9id sulnecfi ell one of her recorded evening meditatdon^. ^ 1 4o 
intend, sbe writes, ^to be more particularly carefal of tlie 4MMd 
of tU« child, that Thou hast so mercifully provided for, than vmn 
I hare been, that I may do my endeayour to instil into his mind 
the principles of thy true religion and virtue. Lord, give me 
grace to & it sincerely and prudently, and bless my attempts 
withgood success.*'* 

Writers on Methodism have been interested in tracing tiie 
infitience of Wesley's domestic education on the habits of his 
manhood and the ecclesiastical system which he founded. Sren 
the extraordinary " noises " for which the rectory became noted, 
and which still remain unexplained, are supposed to have had a 
providential influence upon his character. 'Biese phenomena 
were strikingly similar to marvels whidi, in our times, have sud- 
denly spread over most of the civilized world, perplexing the 
learned, deluding the ignorant, producing a " spiritualistic " 
literature of hundreds of volumes and periodicals, and resulting 
in extensive Church organizations.t The learned Priestley ob- 
tained the family letters and journals relating to these curious 
&cts, and gave them to the world as the best authenticated and 
best told story of the kind that was anywhere extant. J John 
Wesley himseli has left us a summary of these mysterious events. 
'Diey began usually with a loud whittling of the wind around the 
house. Before it came into any room the latches were frequently 
lifted up, the windows clattered, and whatever iron or brass was 
about the chamber rung and jarred exceedingly. When it was in 
any room, let i^e inmates make what noises they -could, as they 
sometimes did on purpose, its dead hollow note would be clearly 
heard above them all. The sound very often seemed in the air, 
in the middle of a room ; nor could they exactly imitate it by any 
contrivance. It seemed to rattle down the pewter, to clap the 
doors, draw the curtains, and throw the man-servant's shoes up 
and down. Once it threw open the nursery-door. The mastiff 
barked violently at it the first day, yet whenever it came after- 

» Moore's "Life of Wesley," u. 1. 

t The best account, and perhaps the best solution, of these modem won- 
• ders, have been given by Count Gasparin, of Q-eneva — " Science versus Spiri- 
tualism," 2 vols., translated from the French. New York. See also Kogers's 
" Philosophy erf Mysterious Agents." BostoB. 

X " Original Letters of the Kev. John Wesley and his Friends, illustrative 
of his Early History^ with other Curious Papers," etc. By Bev. Joseph 
Priestley, LL.D., F.B.S. Birmingham. 1791. 

tFiards, he ran wlujiiDg, (h* qmte «i)eiit, to ehettier himself bdbimd 
•ome of the compaaf . Soaroely eny of the faiiily could go &6m 
#Be rooiKL into anotaer but the lateh of the door they i^pf>roached 
wm lifted up he&ve thef touched it. It was evidentlj, saja 
Se^^ey, a Jacobite eoblin, and Beldom sufGeared Mr. Weslej to 
^tty for the king wiraout ^sto4)iiig the family. John aajit it 
gave " thia»d«ring knocks'' at the '* Amen;" and the loyal rec^iov, 
WAxing angry at the ineult, sometimes repeated the prayw with 
defiasiiee. He was thrice " pushed by it " with no Uttle violence ; 
it sever (Ksturbed him, however, till after he had rudely denounced 
it as a dumb and deaf devil, and challenged it to cease annoying 
his mnocent children, and meet him in his study if it had any- 
thing to say. It replied with a ** knock, as if it would shiver the 
boards in pieces," and resented the affront hy accepting tbe chal- 
lenge. At one time Hxe trendber danced upon the table without 
anybody's touching either. At another, when several of the 
daughters w^^e amusing themselves at a gsme of cards upon oiie 
of &e beds, the wall seemed to tremble with the noise; th^ 
leaped from the bed, and it was raised in the air, as described by 
Cotton Matiber, in the witchcraft of New England. Sometimes 
moans were heard, as from a perscm dying ; at others, it swept 
through the haUs and along the stairs, with the sound of a person 
trailing a loose gown on the floor, and the chamber walls, mean- 
while, shook with vibrations. It would respond to Itfrs. Wesley 
if she stamped on the floor and bade it answer ; and it was more 
loud And fierce whenever it was attributed to rats or any natural 

These noises continued about two months, and occurred the 
latter part of the time every day. The family soon came to con- 
aider them amusing freaks, as they were never attended with any 
serious harm ; they aU, nevertheless, deemed them preternatural. 
Adam Clarke assures us that though they subsided at Epworth, 
they continued to molest some members of the family for manjr 
years. Clarke believed .them to be demoniacal ; Southey is ambi- 
guous respecting their resd character ;* Priestley supposed them 
a trick of the servants or neighbours, but without any other rea- 
son than that they seemed not to answer any adequate purpose of 
a " miracle," to which Southey justly replies, that with regard to 
the good design which they may be supposed to answer, it would 
be end sufficient if sometimes one of those unhappy persons who^ 

* Though Southey avoicU any explicit explanation of them in his " Life of 
•Wesley," in a letter to Wilberforce he avows his helief in their pr©t«Hialmifl 
character. See Wilb^force's Correepoadence, 2 toIs. London. 


looking through the dim glass of infidelity, see nothing beyond 
this life, and t^e narrow sphere of mortal existence, should, from 
the well-established truth of one such story, trifling and objectless 
as it might otherwise appear, be led to a conclusion that there are 
more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in their 
philosophy. Isaac Taylor considers them neither " celestial" nor 
"infernal," but extra-terrestrial, intruding upon our sphere occa- 
sionally, as the Arabian locust is sometimes found in Hyde Park.* 
Of the influence of these facts on "Wesley's character, this author 
remarks that they took effect upon him in such a decisive manner 
as to lay open his faculty of belief, and create a "right of way' *^ 
for the supernatural through his mind, so that to the end of his 
life there was nothing so marvellous that it could not freely pass 
where these mysteries had passed before it. Whatever may be 
thought of this very hypothetical suggestion, and of its incompati- 
bility with the disposition of this writer, and, indeed, of most of 
Wesley's critics, to impute to him a natural and perilous credulity, 
it cannot be denied that in an age which was characterized by 
scepticism, a strong susceptibility of faith was a necessary qualifi- 
cation for the work which devolved upon him, and less dangerous 
by far than the opposite disposition ; for though the former might 
mar that work, the latter must have been fatal to it. 

When but thirteen years old, John Wesley left the paternal 
home for the Charterhouse School, in London. There could 
hardly be a misgiving of his moral safety in passing out into the 
world from the thorough and consecrating discipline of the rec- 
tory. His scholarship and life at the Charterhouse showed a 
character already determinate and exalted. He suffered the usual 
tyranny of the elder students at the Charterhouse, being deprived 
by them, most of the time, of his daily portion of animal food ; but 
he preserved his health by a wise prescription of his father, that 
he should run round the garden three times every day. The insti- 
tution became endeared to him, and on his yearly visits to London 
he failed not to walk through its cloisters and recall the memories 
of his studious boyhood — memories which were always sunny to 
his healthful mind. In 1720 he entered Christchurch College, 
Oxford, at the age of sixteen. 

Meanwhile his brother, and chief coadjutor in founding 
Methodism, Charles Wesley, had also left Epworth, for West- 
minster School. Born December 18, 1708, he was the junior of 
John by more than five years. At Westminster he was under the 
tuition of his brother, Samuel Wesley, who was usher in the school. 

* Wesley and Methodism, pp. 21, 22. 


WMe there an incident occurred which might have changed con- 
siderably the history not only of Methodism, but of the British 
empire. Garret Wesley, of Ireland, who seems not to have been 
related to the family, proposed to adopt him and settle upon him 
his estate. The rector of Epworth must have favoured the offer, 
for money was forwarded yearly from Ireland to London for the 
expenses of the son. The latter, however, finally declined the pro- 
position of his benefactor, and thus, as his brother John remarked, 
made "a fair escape" from fortune. Richard Colley, afterwards 
known as Eichard Colley Wesley, was adopted in his stead. This 
gentleman passed through several public offices, and by the time 
that the Wesleys were abroad founding Methodism, had entered 
Parliament. Under G-eorge II. he became Baron Mornington. 
He was the grandfather of the Marquis Wellesley, Governor- 
General of India, and of the Duke of Wellington, the conqueror 
of Napoleon.* Had the wish of Garret Wesley been accomplished, 
the name of the Duke of Wellington, and the hymns of Charles 
"Wesley, might not to-day be known wherever the English lan- 
guage is spoken. 

When about eighteen years old, Charles was elected to 
Christchurch College, Oxford. John had previously left it to 
become a fellow at Lincoln ; the religious seriousness which had 
grown with his youth, now deepened into a profound anxiety to 
solve, by his own experience, the questions of personal religion. 
Healthftd in his temperament, and not knowing, as he records in 
later years, " fifteen minutes of low spirits*' during his life, he 
nevertheless bore, from day to day, the consciousness of a want of 
harmony with God. Such a harmony, " peace with God," was 
his ideal of personal religion. Could it not be attained ? If 
attained, could it fail to be a matter of consciousness ? Did not 
the Scriptures teach that " the Spirit itself beareth witness with 
our spirits that we are the children of God ?" Was there not 
also a " Christian perfection " taught in the Scriptures ; a " per- 
fect love which casteth out fear?'* Not, of course, a perfection 
according to the absolute moral law of God, but accordmg to the 
accommodated relation to that law in which our fallen race exists, 
under the mediatorial economy, and in which unavoidable imper- 
fections are provided for by the atonement, as in the case of im- 
regenerate infancy, without the remorseful sense of guilt. K 

* This fact has been questioned hj Maxwell, in his Life of the Duke of 
Wellington. Jackson, however, demonstrates its correctness ; Life of Charles 
Wesley, i. 1. The Duke's name, in the "Army List'* of 1800, is the Hon. 
Artbur Wesley, Lieutenant-Colonel of 33rd Begiment. 


these eoiUectures weape eorreet, what a de^dorable eoaditiooL :<iNl 
Ckxistenoom |>resent ! Sow few exemplified easeoftaai Okristiai^^ 
How generally had dogmatism, eccLesiastieism. or, at best, mase 
ethical principles, c^e^adowed the spiritual life, and freedaoi, 
^d beauty of guanine religion ! How necessary was it that thA 
Chri«tiaa world should be recalled £rom the ^' tithe of 1^ mioit 
and. anise aaad cummin," to the spiritual life and simplicity of thie 
001^1, ajgid that he, first settling these questions for hisiaeM^ 
should proclaim them, as on the house-tops, to his generation f 
Zbese were the essential questions of ^' Methodism,^ that is to 
say, of primitive Christianity ; and thus, while meditating in the 
eloisters of Oxf(»*d, was he being prepared, by the habitual pses« 
3ure of such interrogations upon his own conscience, for the great 
mission which was before him. His vigilant mother, who seema 
to have been providentially guided, not only to form his character 
for the origination of Methodism, but to direct him, during hOT 
long life, in many of its distinct and most important stages, 
strengthened, by her letters, the t^okdencies of his miad at this 
time. " And now," said she, " in good earnest, resolve to make 
rdHgion the business of your life ; for, after aU, that is the one 
thing that, strictly speaking, is necessary ; aU things besides sute 
oomparatively little to the purposes of life. I heartily wish yom 
would now ^nter upon a strict examination of yoursdtf, that 
you may know whether you have a reasonable hope of salva- 
tion by Jesus Christ. If you have, the satisfaction of know- 
ing it will abundantly reward your pains; if you have not, 
you will find a more reasonable occasion for tears than can be 
met with in any tragedy."* 

As usual in the moral discipline of good men, he was to reach 
the aolutioa of the problems which now absorbed his attention, 
by inward struggles, the "fiery trial" which purifies. He did 
not yet apprehend the Scriptural simplicity of faith as the condi- 
tion of justification, and also of sanctification. He pored over the 
pages <y£ that marvellous book, De Imitatione Ckristi, which has 
lent the fragr^ice of its sanctity to every language of the civi- 
lized world, and which, by its peculiar appositeness to almost 
every aspiration, misgiving, or consolation of devout minds, has 
seemed more a production of Divine inspiration than any oth^ 
work in Christian literature, except the Scriptures. It had be^i 
a favourite with his father, his " great and old companion." 
Almost perfect for its design as a monastic manual, its very 
adaptedness, in this respect, staggered the youthful Wesley, bul 

* Southey's Wesley, chap. 2. Smith's Histoiy of Methodism, i. 3. 


k faikd aot to infect him irith its fafleinating mysticuini. Its 
isBijgresrioa wms deepened hw Jeremy Tajl<H*'8 *^ Holy lamig amd 
"DyrngJ" The i»re poetic beautieB of this work could net ^al to 
chant hii young imagination ; bat its piety was still more grate- 
fid to his present inquiring temper. Taylor's views of simi)licity 
and parity of motiire eommended themselyes to his conseienpe. 
Instaatly, he says, he resolved to dedicate all his life to God, aU 
his liioo^ts, and words, and actions — being thoroughly convinced 
there is no medium ; that not only a part, but the whole rniMit 
e^er be a sacrifice to G-od or himself^ '* that is, in effect, to. die 
devil ;" a sentiment that characterized his entire remaining life. 
The more genial light of the " Holy Living" illuminated, though 
it did not fuUy explain, the pages of the '' Imitation," and bot^ 
books beeame his daily companions. His letters show their effect, 
and his &ther, perceiving it, endeavoured to confirm it. '^ God 
fit j&a for your great work," he wrote to him ; " fast, watch, and 
pray, beiieve, love, endure, and be happy, towards which you shall 
never want the ardent prayers of your most affectionate &1^er." 
Some of Tayior^s opinions provoked the dissent of the devout 
gi^dent, and led him more definitively to doctrines which were 
to be vital in the theology of Methodism. The bishop, in com- 
kion with most theologians of his day, denied that the Christian 
could usually know his acceptance witii God. Wesley replied : 
** If we dwell in Christ and Christ in us, which He will not do 
unless we are regenerate, certainly we must be sensible of it. If 
we can never have any certainty of our being in a state of saliva- 
tion, good reason it is that every moment should be spent, not in 
joy, but in ^r and trembling ; and then, undoubtedly, in iAm 
life we are of all mwa most miserable. God deliver us irom such 
a fearful expectation! Humility is, undoubtedly, necessary to 
salvation ; iind if all these things are essential to humility, who 
can be humble, who can be saved ? That we can never be so 
certain of the pardon of our sins as to be assured they wiQ never 
rise up against us, I firmly believe. We know that they will in- 
fallibly do so, if we apostatize ; and I am not satisfied what evi- 
dence there can be of our final perseverance, till we have finished 
our course. But I am persuaded we may know if we are now in a 
state of salvation, since tiiat is expressly promised in the Holy 
Scriptures to our sincere endeavours, and we are surely able to 
judge of our own sincerity.* 

Here was not only his later doctrine of the " Witness of the 
4Bfpirit," but a clear dissent from the Calvinistic tenet of *^ final 

• Moore's Wesley, ii., 1, 2. 


perseverance." His proclivity to Arminianism became quite de- 
cided about this time. " As I understand faith," he wrote, " to 
be an assent to any truth upon rational grounds, I do not think 
it possible, without perjury, to swear I believe anything unless I 
have reasonable grounas for my persuasion. Now that which 
contradicts reason cannot be said to stand upon reasonable 
grounds ; and such, undoubtedly, is every proposition which is 
incompatible with the Divine justice or mercy. What, then, 
shall I say of predestination ? If it was inevitably decreed from 
eternity that a determinate part of mankind should be saved, and 
none besides, then a vast majority of the world were only bom 
to eternal death, without so much as a possibility of avoiding it. 
How is this consistent with either the Divine justice or mercy ? 
Is it merciful to ordain a creature to everlasting misery ? Is it 
just to punish a man for crimes which he could not but commit ? 
That God should be the author of sin and injustice, which must, 
I think, be the consequence of maintaining this opinion, is a con- 
tradiction to the clearest ideas we have of the Divine nature and 
perfections." His mother confirmed him in these views, and 
expressed her abhorrence of the Calvinistic theology. G-od's pre- 
science, she argued, is no more the effective cause of the loss of 
the wicked than our foreknowledge of the rising of to-morrow's 
sun is the cause of its rising. She prudently advised, however, 
abstinence from these speculations, as "studies which tended 
more to confound than to inform the understanding." 

The writings of the celebrated "William Law had much in- 
fluence upon him at this stage of his progress. They deepened 
his mysticism and confirmed his asceticism, leading him to depend 
upon his own works as the means of purification and comfort, 
but failing to give him just ideas of the faith " which worketh by 
love." And precisely here was the critical period of his history, 
one which must determine whether he should be the ascetic 
recluse at Oxford, with the " Imitation" ever before him, or the 
evangelist of his age, on Moorfields, and the Gwennap hills, with 
the Bible in his hands, homo tmius libri, a " man of one book." 
With an earnestness bordering on agony, he writes to his mother, 
deploring the repugnance toward holiness, which he felt to be 
natural to him ; he sought for humility, but complains that it 
seemed impossible to him ; humility with him, however, meant 
at this time the ascetic self-abnegation of the " Imitation," a 
temper which, though it infected him temporarily afterwards, was 
incompatible with his healthful temperament and with the 
destined work of his life. He implored his mother's counsels 


and prayers, entreating her especially to grant him the Thursday 
evening, which, according to her method of domestic training, she 
used to spend in devotional retirement with liim. 

His removal from Christchurch College to that of Lincoln, en- 
abled him to change his ordinary society. He resolved to make but 
few acquaintances in his new residence, and none that could not aid 
his religious progress ; and now he began that marvellous diary 
whicb so much illustrates his character, his literary opinions, and 
his unparalleled energy. He received the communion every week ; 
he gave alms to the poor, and his whole life was consecrated to 
tbe attainment of the personal " holiness without which no man 
shall see the Lord.'* Meanwhile he had been admitted to orders, 
and preached occasionally. He had already attained a high re- 
putation at the university, and was esteemed an excellent critic 
in the classic languages ; his skill in logic was extraordinary ; he 
was elected G-reek lecturer and moderator of the classes in a few 
months after obtaining his fellowship, and when but little more 
than twenty-three years old. These successes were a part of his 
providential preparation for the career before him. Six times a 
week disputations were held at Lincoln College. " I could not," he 
writes, " avoid acquiring some degree of expertness in arguing, 
and especially in discerning and pointing out well-covered and 
plausible fallacies. I have since found abundant reason to praise 
Gtod for giving me this honest art. By this, when men have 
hedged me in by what they call demonstrations, I have [been 
many times able to dash them in pieces ; in spite of all its covers, 
to touch the very point where the fallacy lay, and it flew open in 
a moment." He was called away much of the time to assist his 
father, who was sinking under years, at Epworth. On one of his 
occasional visits to Oxford, he found that his brother was passing 
through the same religious crisis as himself. Charles wrote to 
him, urging his return to Oxford ; he describes himself as myste- 
riously awakened from the moral lethargy in which he had spent 
his youth ; and attributes the Divine illumination which had been 
given him to the prayers of his mother. Both seemed to turn 
instinctively to her, rather than to their father, whenever their 
hearts were deeply moved by any religious anxiety or difficulty. 

John, during his rural retirement at Epworth, had yielded 
still more to his mystical tendencies under the influence of k 
Kempis and Law. The turning point which was to fit or unfit 
him for the task of his life, had not yet been passed. He had 
desired at one time to try the tranquil life of the Catholic re- 
doaes ; *4t was the decided temper ot his soul/' he said. Seclu- 

46 ]CE8!rOB3^ tm MSl^SODItM. 

mm from the world for at leaat some months might, he hoped» 

settle his thoughts and habits. A school in one ^ the ^'Yixtki 

shire dales" was proposed. Ui» wiser mother agam stepped hi to 

sare him. for his iq)pointed career^ propheticallT intimating that 

6od had better work for him to do. fie tella ns himsdf, that 

before his return to the nniversity he tray^ed some miles to see a 

"^ serioits man." ^ Sir," said this person^ as if inspired at the right 

moment^ with the right word, for the maa of Proyidence standing 

before lum, *^ sir, jon wish to serve Qod and go to heaven ; re* 

member jon cannot serve him alone ; jou miist» therefore, Jind 

companions, or make them ; the Bible kaowa nothing of solitarj 

feligion." Wesley never forgot these words. They,, perhaps^ 

forecast the history of his life. On reaching Oxford he fonnd 

'^companions" already prepared for him by his brother's agency. 

The " Holy Club" was now known there, and the epithet of " Me» 

thodist " had already been committed to ecclesiastical history. He 

arrived at Oxford in November, 1729; Charles and his reU* 

gious associates gathered immediately around him, recognising 

at once that capacity for guidance and authority which aJl who 

approached him afterwards, seemed spontaneously to acknowledg«s> 

Charlea was now twenty-one years of age, a Bachelor oi A^% 

and a college tutor. The "Holy Club„" of which he was coo* 

flodered the founder, at first consisted of but four membeifs.^ 

l^ieir names are reverently preserved by Methodist vnriters ; they 

were, " Mr. John "Wesley, who was fellow of Lincoln College ; 

hm brother Charles, student of Ghrktchurch ; Mx, Morgan, 

commoner of Christchureh, the son of an Irish gentl^nan ; and 

Mr. Kirkham, of Merton College." They were closely bound 

together, not on]y in their religious sympathies, but in tk^ 

studies, spending three or four evenings each week in readine 

together the Greek Testament and the anci^it classics^ »4 

Bimday evening in the study of divinity. They received tk# 

L(»rd's Supper weekly, and fasted twice a-week. A rigid ujfs^em 

of self->examination was drawn up for th^n by Wesley, which, il 

has been observed, might have been appended to the spiritual 

coLercises of Loyola, had it not mentioned the laws of the A^nglicail 

Chnreh. The almost momistic habits of life they were iotam^ 

in which, as Wesley's biographers. Coke and Moore, ren^k^ 

** the darkness of their minds as to Gbospel truths is evident," waa 

eounteracted by the benevolent and active sympathies of Moi^^us. 

He had visited the pnson, and brought back reports wbkh 

induced the little company systematically to instruct the priaoiMBI 

enee or twice a^weck*^ Morgan also came to Itoa bcm the Mp 


mi» of ft nek pemon of the tows, asd the^ were led to adopt « 
j^aoBt for the regular yisitatioxi of the sick. Meanwhile tneir 
mmbers inexeased. In 1730 several pupils of John, and one of 
Qiarlesiy joined them; in 1732, Ingham, of Queen's College, and 
Biro«ghton, oi Sxeter, and about the same time Cls^toii, of 
Smoennose, with some of his pupils, and Hervej, the author of 
**Tlheroa and Aspasia" and the ^'Meditations," were reeeired. 
Whitefield joined them in 1735. Before the return of John from 
Bpw€»rth, the term Methodist had been applied to them in jest, 
by a &llow*student, and Charles was the first of the family who 
receiTed the now honoured title. It was suggested, doubtless, 
by thek* methodieal lives ; but it had been previously used among 
jreligious parties. A hundred years prior to this date, we hear of 
^ the Anabaptists and plain pack-staff Methodists." * A elaaa 
of l^oxiconibrmists, in the days of Annesley, were designated by 
fte epthet, for their views respecting the method of man's 
jjBstification before Ood ; and a controversial pamphlet of thoee 
times discusses the ;principles of the " New Methodi8ts."t A 
eloBB of high Calvinistic divines in England, about the time of tbe 
Wesleys, also bore the title. 

Mosgan, whose influence on his companions was so salutary, 
WFaa of &&Qa,te constitution, but of tireless beneficence. He not 
only visited the sick and prisoners, but collected together the * 
peasanfl children of the vicinity for religious instruction, and the 
#»tribiLtion of good books. His health failed, and he retired to 
his home in Ireland, where, after a period of mental depression, 
{foduced by disease, he died in '^ great peace and resignation." 

Whdtefield has left us a characteristic account of his connec^ 
tieiL with the " Holy Club." He was bom in 1714, at Glouces- 
H&f. He describes his cMldhood as exceedingly vicious. " If I 
ia»ee myself," he says, "from my cradle to my manhood, I can 
gee xiething in me but a fitness to be damned ; and if the Al*> 
wa^^ had not prevenl^d me, by his grace, I. had now either 
bees letting in darkness, and in the shadow of death, or con* 
denuded, as the due reward of my crimes, to be for ever lifting up 
Vf eyes m ton»ent»."J Yet he alludes to intervals of deep 

^ ^hkkfKm's €ba»leB Wesley, chap. 2. 

f Xko eontrovenj and the part; seem to have been extensive. Dr. Williaaa, 
who preached Annesley's faoeral sermon, was one of their writers. The quetticnB 
jz» dispii]^ were referred to the arbitration of Bishop Stiltingfleet. The title 
of ibe pamphlet alluded to is, " A War Among the Angels of the Churches, 
tplkeiraiB is shcywR the Principles of the Kew Methodists in the great Point of 
Jfeifeiitstkm ; dbo » "Sorm of Prayer according to those Priacfi^s," «t«.'»>IW» 

X Befem^ P)iil%^B.Lil»aod Times of Whxitefield, eha^^. I. 


religious sensibility in his early life. "When about fifteen years 
old he " put on his blue apron and his snuffers," washed mops, 
cleaned rooms, and became a " common drawer" in the Bell Inn, 
which was kept by his mother at Bristol. Thomas a Kempis, so 
important with the "Wesleys at Oxford, had fallen into his hands, 
and could not fail to impress a heart like his, which retained 
through life the freshness of childhood, and attained with ad- 
vanced piety the vivid but steady ardour of a seraph. He had 
already given evidence of his natural powers of eloquence in 
school declamations, and while in the Bristol Inn composed two 
or three sermons. Hearing of the possibility of obtaining an 
education at Oxford, as a servitor or "poor student,'* he pre- 
pared himself and went thither, and afterwards provided for his 
expenses chiefly by serving his fellow-collegians. His mind had 
taken a deeply religious turn while yet at Bristol, but a Kempis 
had not helped him to comprehend the doctrine of Justification 
by Eaith. He says that when he was sixteen years of age, he 
began to fast twice a-week for thirty-six hours together, prayed 
many times a-day, received the sacrament every ten days, fasted 
himself almost to death all the forty days of Lent, during which 
time he made it a point of duty never to go less than three times 
a-day to public worship, besides seven times a-day to his private 
* devotions ; yet, he adds, " I knew no more that I was to be born 
again in God, bom a new creature in Christ Jesus, than if I was 
never bom at all." He obtained Law's " Serious Call " at Oxford, 
and that powerful book affected him as it had the "Wesleys. He 
says, that he now began to pray and sing psalms twice every 
day, besides morning and evening, and to fast every Friday, and 
to receive the sacrament at a parish church near his college, and 
at the castle, where the " despised Methodists used to receive it 
once a-month." The Methodists were not only the common butt 
of Oxford ridicule, but their fame had spread as far as Bristol 
before Whitefield left his home. He had "loved them," he tells 
us, before he entered the university, and now defended them 
against the sarcasms of his fellow-students. Por a year he 
longed to meet them, but an opportunity seemed not to offer, 
though he often gazed at them with deep emotions as they 
passed through a satirical crowd, to receive the Eucharist at St. 

He procured, at last, an introduction to Charles Wesley, who 
received him at once to his heart, for they were congenial spirits, 
being both ardent with vivid natural sympathies ; the one a natural 
poet, the other a natural orator. He was soon introduced to the 


Holy Club. " They built me up daily," he says, " in the kiiow-> 
ledge and fear of God, and taught me to endure hardness as a 
good soldier of Jesus Christ." Like them he now began to live 
by rule, to economize the very moments of his time ; and whether 
* he ate or drank, or whatsoever he did, to do all to the glory of 
God* Like them, he received the sacrament every Sunday, at 
Christchurch, and he joined them in fasting Wednesdays and 
Fridays. Eegular retirement, morning and evening, for meditation 
and prayer, he says he found at first difficult, if not irksome 5 but 
it grew profitable and delightful. He was soon abroad visiting 
the sick and prisoners, and reading to poor families, for it haa 
become a custom of the Methodist band to spend an hour every 
day in such acts of usefulness. 

The morals of the university were low at this time. Infidelity 
prevailed, and called forth public remonstrances from the colle- 
giate authorities. "What regard was paid to religion was formal 
and lifeless, and the little company of earnest inquirers looked 
beyond their circle, in vain, for sympathy and guidance. It is 
not a matter of wonder, then, that some of them fell into errors. 
Whitefield, for a time, became a Quietist, and sought repose for 
his troubled spirit in seclusion fipom the usual meetings of the 
club, in walks in the fields, and in praying silently by himself. 
The Wesleys rescued him, and gave him directions as his " various 
and pitiable state required." *' God gave me," he writes, with 
his characteristic tenderness of feeling — " God gave me, blessed be 
His holy name, a teachable temper, and I was delivered from those 
wiles of Satan." 

The scene presented by these young men, thus struggling for 
self-purification at the greatest seat of English learning, and 
unconsciously preparing a new development of Protestantism, at 
a time of general infidelity and demoralization, cannot fail to 
strike any devout mind as a most impressive spectacle. It was 
one of those examples of Divine Providence by which the Church, 
in some of its darkest and most hopeless exigencies, has been 
endowed with " power from on high," and led forth, as from the 
wildemess, for renewed triumphs, by means which none had 
anticipated, and which, notwithstanding their apparent insig- 
nificance, have surpassed the wisdom of the wise and the resources 
of thiB mighty. Voltaire predicted, about this time, that in the 
next generation Christianity would be overthrown throughout the 
civilized world ; these young men defeated the prophecy, and 
rendered the next generation the most effective in Christian 
history since the days of Martin Luther. 


Bul their preliminary training was not over. The leading 
agents of the coming revolution were to be cast out upon the 
world, to prepare themselves, in a larger arena, for the work 
before them. The father of the Weslejs, approaching his end, 
and exhorting his sons, meanwhile, to struggle on, had entreated 
John to become his successor at Epworth, and protect his family 
from dispersion at his death. The appeal was an affecting one, 
and the son has been reproached for not heeding it ; bat he was 
stedfast in his conviction that a different course of life devolved 
upon him ; and his thoughtful mother seems not to have joined 
her husband in the attempt to divert lum from it. The rector 
died, the family was scattered, and the Epworth rectory fades 
from the history of Methodism, to reappear again only when, in 
later years, its founder, hastening over the realm to call the 
neglected multitudes to repentance^ and denied the pulpit of his 
fitther, stood upon his tombstone in the churchyard, and proclaimed 
his message to the villagers. The disinterestedness of his motives 
in declining the Epworth living was soon tested. G^eneral Ogle- 
thorpe, the friend and correspondent of his fether, was about to 
conduct a reinforcement to the colony of Georgia, and the young 
divine, who had refused a quiet rectory, and the comforts of the 
parental home, consented to go, accompanied by his brother 
Charles, as a missionary to the American aborigines. He was to 
be disappointed in his main design, but was to learn, by the expe- 
dition, important lessons for the future. The charm of the mystic 
writers stiU hung about him ; it was to be dispelled in the remote 
wilds of America, where it could do little harm, but where his 
failure to find religious peace contrasted with the practical piety 
and spiritual enjoyment of a few simple Moravians was to 
prep*e him to return better qualified for the predestined work of 
his life. 

It was still a question whether he ought to desert his widowed 
mother, who was now dependent upon her children. " I can be," 
he replied to the invitation, " the staff of her age, her chief 
support and comfort." His consent depended upon hers ; and her 
reply was whai might have been expected from such a woman : 
" If I had twenty sons, I should rejoice that they were all so 
employed, though I should never see them again." 

On the 14th of October, 1736, the party, consisting of the 
two Wesl^s, and Messrs. Ingham and Belamotte, lefb London to 
embark. They luund on board the ship one hundred and twenty- 
four persons, including twenty-six German Moravians^ with Uieir 
bishop; David Nitschman. John Wesley seema immediaiMy, 

l^dtigh informaUjri to have been recognized as the religions head 
of the floating communiiy, and his methodical habits prevailed 
over all around him. The ship became at once a Bethel chnrch 
and a seminary. The daily course of life among the Methodist 
party was directed by Wesley : from four till five o'icloek in the 
morning each of them used private prayer ; from five till seven 
liiey read the Bible together, carefiilly comparing it with tibe 
writings of the earliest Christian ages ; at seven thfey breakfasted ; 
at eight, were the public prayers. From nine to twelve Wesley 
ufiually studied German, and Delamotte Greek, while Charles 
Wesley wrote sermons, and Ingham instructed the children. At 
twelve they met to give an account of what each had done since 
their last meeting, and of what they designed to do before the 
next. About one they dined ; the time from dinner to four was' 
spent in reading to persons on board, a number of whom each of 
them had taken in charge. At four were the evening prayers, 
when either the second lesson of the day Was explained — as the 
first always was in the morning — or the children were catechized 
and instructed before the congregation. From five to six they 
again retired for private prayer. From six to seven Wesley read 
in his state-room to two or three of the passengers, and each of 
his brethren to a few more in theirs ; at seven he joined the 
G-ermans in their public service, while Ingham was reading 
between decks to as many as desired to hear. At eight they met 
Again to exhort and instruct one another. Between niue and ten 
they went to bed, where, says Wesley, neither the roaring of the 
sea, nor the motion of the ship, could take away the refreshing 
sleep which God gave them.* 

Here was practical " Methodism" still struggling in its formiug 
process ; it was Epworth Rectory and Susanna Wesley's discipline 
afloat on the Atlantic. 

The great event of the voyage, as affecting the history of 
Methodism, was the illustration of genuine religion which the 
little band of Moravian passengers gave during a perilous storm. 
Wesley had observed with deep interest their humble piety in 
offices of mutual kindness and service, and in patience under 
occasional maltreatment ; but when the storm arose there was an 
opportunity, he says, of seeing whether they were delivered from 
the spirit of fear as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge. 
In the midst of the psalm with which their service began, the sea' 
broke over the ship, split the mainsail into pieces, and poured in 
betwe^i the decks as if the great deep had already swallowed 

• Wesley's Journal, anno 1735. 


them up. A terrible alarm and outcry arose among the English, 
but the Germans calmly sung on. Wesley asked one of them : 
" Were you not afraid ?" " He answered : " I thank God, no*" 
" But were not your women and children ?" " No ; our women 
and children are not afraid to die." 

Wesley felt that he had not yet so learned Christ, and retired 
to lay the lesson to heart, and to urge it on the attention of their 
;' crying, trembling EngHsh neighbours." On arriving in America, 
it was again to be pressed upon his awakened mind hj a repre- 
sentative of these devoted people. He met Spangenberg, one oi 
their pastors, and consulted him respecting the best plans of 
ministerial labour. 

" My brother," said the Moravian, " I must first ask you one 
or two questions. Have you the witness within yourself? Does 
the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that vou are a 
child of God?" 

Wesley was surprised, and knew not what to answer. Span- 
genberg observed his embarrassment, and asked, " Do you know 
Jesus Christ ? " "I know He is the Saviour of the world," 
replied Wesley. " True," rejoined the Moravian ; " but do you 
know that He has saved i/ou .?" " I hope He has died to save 
me." Spangenberg only added, " Do you know yourself?" " I 
do," responded Wesley ; " but,'* he writes, " I fear they were 
mere words." 

He was impressed by the simple beauty of the religious life 
of these Moravians. Delamotte and Tie lodged with them, and 
had opportunities, day by day, of observing their whole demean- 
our ; for they were present in one room with them from morning 
till night, unless for the little time spent in walking for exercise. 
He describes them as always employed, always cheerful, always 
cordial to one another ; " they had put away all anger, and strife, 
and wrath, and bitterness, and clamour, and evil-speaking ; they 
walked worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called, and 
adorned the Gospel of our Lord in all things." His Churchly 
prejudices were rebuked by the apostolic purity of their ecclesias- 
tical forms. They met, he says, to consult concerning the affairs 
of their Church ; Spangenberg being about to go to Pennsylvania, 
and Bishop Nitschman to return to Gormany. After several 
hours spent in conference and prayer, they proceeded to the elec- 
tion and ordination of a bishop. The great simplicity as well as 
solemnity of the proceeding almost made him forget the seventeen 
hundred years between him and the apostles, and imagine himself 
in one of those assemblies where form and state were unknown ; 


but Paul, the tent-maker, or Peter, the fisherman, presided, with 
the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.* 

It early became manifest that he could not prosecute his 
designs respecting the Indians, and he continued m Savannah ; 
but his ascetic habits and severe formalism were unsuccessful in 
reclaiming the demoralized colonists. A similar failure attended 
his brother at Erederica. They laboured indefatigably, but had 
y^t very imperfect ideas of the " way of salvation by faith." The 
forms of the Church were enforced with a repetition and rigour 
which soon tired out the people, and provoked resentments and 
persecutions. Charles performed four public services every day, 
enlarging them by an explanation of the morning and evening 
lessons. John, assisted by Delamotte, formed what serious per- 
sons they could find at Savannah into a society, to meet once or 
twice a- week, in order to reprove, instruct, and exhort one another, 
and from them selected a smaller number, for a more intimate 
communion. He read the prayers according to the primitive 
order of his Church, beginning with the morning service at five 
o'clock, giving a sermon and the communion service at eleven, 
and the evening service at three. Between eleven and three, 
• when the people were compelled by the heat to remain at home, 
he visited them from house to house. Following the primitive, 
but obsolete rubric, he would baptize children only by immer- 
sion, and no person was admitted as a sponsor who was not a com- 
municant. He refused to recognize any baptism which was per- 
formed by a clergyman who had not received episcopal ordination, 
and insisted upon rebaptizing such children as had otherwise re- 
ceived that sacrament. His rigour extended even so far as to 
refuse the Lord's Supper to one of the most devout men of the 
settlement, who had not been baptized by an episcopally-ordained 
minister ;t and the burial service itself was denied to such as 
died with what he deemed unorthodox baptism. 

Asceticism is usually associated with formalism, for the misled 
but anxious mind, failing to find comfort in the one, would add 
ether expedients for its relief. Both the brothers denied them- 

• Wesley*8 Journal, anno 1^36. 

t When he escaped these " ortiiOdpx " follies, he referred to them with 
astonishment. In his journal for September 25, 1749, he gives a letter from 
John Martin Bolzius, and adds : " What a truly Christian piety and simpUcity 
breathe in these lines ! And yet this very man, when I was at Sa^^Ji^^* ^^ 
I refuse to admit to the Lord's table, because he was not baptized; that is, uGt 
baptized by a minister who had been episcopally-ordained. Can any one carry 
High Church zeal higher than this ? And how well haye I been since beaten 
with mine own staff !^ 

54( UUTQMY 01 iaapH<>]>XSM. 

B^Hes wt.. prfy the liwniwa, but mmj of tho ordinaify c<Mpbr: 
veniences of liie. They slept on the ground rather than on beda. j 
they refusied all food but bread and water; and John went 
Imrefooted) that he might encourage the poor boys of his school— n 
a condeacenaipn, better in ita motive than in its exam{)le. In fine^ 
these Obrford students, misapprehending the simplicity of the 
Gospel, and the liberty wherewith Christ maketh free, were 
groping their way, in the New World, through nearly the samje 
Qeplorable, errors which a class of earnest men of the same 
university have promulgated in our day, with as little success^ 
both as it respects their own spiritual life and the reformation of 
the Church. They were Puaeyites. 

Not ooly their rigorous practices, but their theological 
opinions defeated them. Eaith, not works, as the condition c^ 
justification — fEuth producing works as its necessary fruits ; ordi- 
nances and sacrame:|;xts as only aids to faith; the conscious 
forgiveness of sins; peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; the 
sanctification, not the abnegation, of the natural affections and 
appetites, with cheerful thankfulness to Him "who giveth ua. 
richly all things to enjoy;" these were conceptions as yet obscure, 
if not foreign to their minds. How, with the Holy Scriptures in. • 
their hands, they could thus err might, indeed, be a mystery to. 
ua, were it not that the history of the human mind^ shows so uni- 
versally the power of traditional influences, and of even appsr- 
parently accidental states of opinion, to distort the interpretas-^ 
tion of the plainest truth ; so that the declaration of a profoundi 
and evangelical writer * of our own age may yet prove true,, that 
ideas now admitted by the Christian world to be correct, may yet. 
come to be repelled as intolerable and abominable. 

The colonists recoiled from the earnest but erring mission- 
aries. Gk)ssip, backbiting, and scandal, the prevalent vices, of 
small and isolated settlements, beset them at all points;; am 
unfortunate "courtship" which Wesley found it prudent to 
abandon, occasioned the disaffection of a large family circle. ;. 
open persecution followed, and an attempt was made to assastn^ 
nate Charles Wesley. In about a year he retum^^ ' ^ ^^ 
Boston, where he preax^hed repeatp-^- '^ King's*^ ChapeL In 

iT?^.-^^^ """"k^^" "^""""^ ^onn followed him. They had failed 
mth^ designs. >--^^ ^, -^^ j^^^^^ important lessons. On the 

.^ley wrote that he had bent the bow too far, by making 
antiquity a co-ordinate rather than a subordinate rule with 
Seripture ; by admitting several doubtful writings ; by extending 

* Vinet. 


ftatiqaiiy too fur; bj believing more practices to have been imi- 
Tersal in tiie ancient Ckurch than ever were so; by not eonsider- 
iog that the decrees of synods or councils were of but hnman 
authority. These considerations insensibly stole upon him, he 
says, as he grew acquainted with the mystic writers, whose de- 
scriptions of union with God and internal religion made eyeiy- 
thing else appear mean and insipid. *' But, in tmth," he adds. 
" tbey made good works appear so too ; yea, and faith itself, «nd 
what not P They gave me an entire new view of religion, nothing 
like any I had before. But, alas! it was nothing like that 
religion which Christ and his apostles taught. I had a plenary 
dispensation from all the commands of God ; the form was thus : 
Love is all ; all the commands besides are only means of love ; 
you must choose those which you feel are means to you, and use 
them as long as they are so. Thus were all the bands burst at 
once ; and l£ough I could never fully come into this, nor con- 
tentedly omit what God enjoined, yet, I know not how, I fluctu- 
ated between obedience and disobedience. I had no heart, no 
vigour, no zeal in obeying ; continually doubting whether I was 
right or wrong, and never out of perplexities and entanglements. 
Nor can I at this hour give a distinct account how or when I 
came a little back toward the right way ; only my present sense 
is this — all the other enemies of Christianity are triflers ; the 
mystics are the most dangerous ; tbey stab it in the vitals, and 
its most serious professors are most likely to fall by them." 

Thus was he breaking away from the mists which had encom- 
passed him ; but he had not yet reached those higher acclivities 
of the religious life, where the problems which had agonized his 
spirit shine out in clear, serene illumination to the vision of faith. 
There is an earnestness which is touching in its pathos in an 
entry of his journal, written as the ship approached the Land's 
End of England : " I went to America," he says, " to convert 
the Indians, but oh ! who shall convert me ? Who, what is he 
that win deliver me from this evil heart of unbelief? I have a 
fair summer religion ; I can talk well, nay, and believe myself, 
while no danger is near ; but let death look me in the face, and 
my spirit is troubled, nor can I say to die is gain. I tiiink 
VCTily, if the Gospel be true, I am safe ; for I not only have given 
and da give all my goods to feed the poor — I not only give my 
body to be burned, drowned, or whatever else God shall appoint 
for me, but I foUow after charity — though not as I ought, yet 2is 
I cazi — ^if haply I may attain it, I now believe the Gospel is 
tme. I show my &ith by my works, by staking my all upon it. 


I would do SO again and again a thousand times, if the choice 
were still to make. Whoever sees me, sees I would be a 
Christian. Therefore are my ways not like other men's ways ; 
therefore I have been, I am, I am content to be, a by-word, a 
proverb of reproach. But in a storm I think. What if the 
G-ospel be not true ? Then thou art of all men most foolish. 
Por what hast thou given thy goods, thy ease, thy friends, thy 
reputation, thy country, thy life r Eor what art thou wandering 
over the face of the earth ? a dream ? a cunniugly-devised fable ? 
Oh ! who will deliver me from this fear of death ? What shall I 
do ? Where shall I fly from it ? Should I fight against it by 
thinking, or by not thinking of it ? A wise man advised me 
some time since, * Be stiU, and go on.' Perhaps this is best ; to 
look upon it as my cross ; when it comes to let it humble me, and 
quicken all my good resolutions, especially that of praying with- 
out ceasing ; and at other times to take no thought about it, but 
quietly to go on in the work of the Lord." 

On the 1st of February, 1738, he was again in England, and 
writing ia his diary : " This, then, have I learned in the ends of 
the earfch — ^that I ' am fallen short of the glory of G-od;' that my 
whole heart is * altogether corrupt and abomin^ible,' and, conse- 
quently, my whole life — seeing it cannot be that an ' evil tree' 
should * bring forth good fruit ; ' that * alienated' as I am from 
* the life of G-od,' I am a ^ child of wrath,' an heir of heU ; that 
my own works, my own sufferings, my own righteousness, are so 
far from reconciling me to an offended G-od, so far from making 
any atonement for the least of those sins which *are more in 
number than the hairs of my head,' that the most specious of 
them need an atonement of themselves, or they cannot abide his 
righteous judgment: that 'having the sentence of death' in my 
heart, and having nothing in or of myself to plead, I have no 
hope but that of being justified freely, * through the redemption 
that is in Jesus ;' I have no hope, but that if I seek, I shall find 
Christ, and * be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, 
but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness 
which is of God by faith.' " Astonishing and affecting dis- 
closures of the mysterious heart of man ! Admonitory lesson to 
all who would successfully seek the truth, and by it be made free ! 
Here was a man of healthful temperament, of rare intelligence, of 
logical astuteness, who had read every line of Holy Scripture in 
the very language in which prophet or apostle had penned it, and 

E\ with the Bible in his hand, and an anguish of earnestness in 
heart, he stumbles before the most important and most simple 


truths of revelation. What is the solution of this mystery? 
Can we suppose that had he read the Scriptures only, and in- 
terpreted them as an earnest, unsophisticated peasant would have 
done, he could so long have failed of their simple faith and inex- 
pressible comfort ? These were all he needed ; he had reached 
all other conditions of the Christian life ; the faith to appropriate 
to himself the promises and consolations of the Gospel was still 
lacking ; but could he have failed to discern this fact if he had 
looked into the Scriptures without the sophistications of other 
books and the prejudice of traditional errors? His previous 
references to councils, and Church decrees, and mysticism — ^his 
asceticism and ecclesiasticism in Georgia — these explain the 
mystery. They complicated and rendered nugatory nis more 
direct and simple views of truth. Neither the personal history 
of Wesley nor the history of Methodism itself, can be compre- 
hended without these revelations of his inward struggles. But 
the light was dawning, and the morning was at hand. The 
Moravians were again to meet him in London. 



Whitefield's Mental Conflicts — His Ascetic Errors — His Conversion — ^He be- 
gins to preach — He preaches in the Metropolis — Bemarkable Effects of his 
Sermons — His Powers as an Orator — ^He embarks for America — His 
Eetum to England. 

Dtjeing the absence of the "Wesleys in America, George White- 
field was the presiding spirit of the "Holy Club" at Oxford. 
He preceded the Wesleys in obtaining the peace of mind, and 
" assurance of faith," which they had sought together so ardu- 
ously before they parted. But, like them, he passed through an 
ordeal of agonizing self- conflicts, in which his sensitive mind 
became deeply melancholy, and was betrayed into ascetic follies. 
He was overwhelmed with morbid horrors, and describes himself 
as losing at times even the power of thinking. His memory 
failed ; his feelings were cramped, he says, as a man bound in 
iron armour; he selected the poorest food, and the meanest 
apparel, and by dirty shoes, patched raiment, and coarse gloves, 
endeavoured to mortify his burdened spirit. He was insulted by 
his fellow-students, and those who employed his services dis- 
charged him, because of his self-negligence. He daily underwent 


9cme conteanpt at college. Students threw dirt at him in the 
streets. Whenever he knelt down to pray he felt great pressure 
both in soul and bodj, and often prayed under the weight of it 
till the sweat dripped from his face. " God only knows," he 
writes, " how many nights I have lain upon my bed groaning 
under what I felt. Whole days and weeks have I spent in lying 
prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer." * During 
the forty days of Lent he ate nothing but ** coarse bread and sage 
tea," except on Saturdays and Sundays. He prayed under the 
trees at night, trembling with the cold, till the bell of the college 
called him to his dormitory, where he often spent in tears and 
supplications the hours which should have brought him the relief 
of sleep. His health sunk under these rigours; but he writes 
that, notwithstanding his sickness continued six or seven weeks, 
he trusted he should have reason to bless God for it through the 
ages of eternity. For about the end of the seventh week, after 
having undergone inexpressible trials by night and day, under 
the spirit of bondage, God was pleased at length to remove the 
heavy load, to enable him to lay hold on the cross by a living 
faith, and by giving him the spirit of adoption to seal him, as he 
humbly hoped, even to the day of everlasting redemption. " But 
oh!" he continued, "with what joy, joy unspeakable, even joy 
that was full of glory, was my soul filled, when the weight of sin 
went off, and an abiding sense of the pardoniog love of God, and 
a full assurance of faith, broke in upon my disconsolate soul I 
Surely it was the day of my espousals, a day to be had in ever- 
lasting remembrance. At first my joys were like a spring-tide, 
and, as it were, overflowed the banks ; go where I would I could 
not avoid the singing of psalms almost aloud ; afterwards th^ 
became more settled, and, blessed be God, saving a few casual 
intervals, have abode and increased in my soul ever since." 

Healed in soul and convalescent in body, he visited Bristol 
for a change of air. He met there the Bishop of Gloucester, 
who perceived his talents and earnest spirit, and proffered him 
cffdination. He prepared himself for the ceremony by festing 
and prayer, and spent two hours the previous evening on hia 
knees in the neighbouring fields. At the ordination he conse* 
crated himself to an apostoHc life. "I trust," he writes, "I 
answered to every question from the bottom of my heart, and 
heartily prayed that God might say. Amen. And when the 
bishop laid his hands upon my head, if my vile heart doth not 
deceive me, I offered up my whole spirit, soul, and body to the 

* Philip's Life and Times of WMtefield, chap. i. 

aer^ce of Qoi^^ saxictu^. Jjet come wliat will, life or deakh, 
d^pth or height, I shall hanqeforward live like one who, this day^ 
in th^ preaence of men and angels, took the holy sacraicent, up<m 
the profession of being inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to 
take upon me that ministration in the Church. I can call heaye& 
and earth to witi^ess, that when the bishop laid his hand upon 
ilie, I gave myself up to be a martyr for Him who hung upon th& 
crooB for me. Known unto Him are all future events and oouk 
tingencies. I have thrown myself blindfold and, 1 trust, without 
rieserve, into His almighty hands." His remaining life was an 
exemplification of these vows. He had a soul of fire, and hence- 
forth it glovfed brighter and brighter even unto the perfect day. 

Pitted by every attribute of his large but simple mind to be 
an QYaug^listj but not an ecclesiastical legislator, he now went 
forth aa the Baptist af Methodism, to prepare the way in both 
hemispheres foir the Wesleys md their coadjutors. The good 
Bishop of G-loucester, who seems to Lave felt a genial sympathy 
Vfrith his ardent soul, gave him five guineas, " a great supply, ' 
wrote Whitefield, " for one who had not a guinea in tjie world." 
His first sermon was preached in the church where he had been 
l^ptized, and had received his first communion. He revealed at 
' Qi^cer his extraordinary powers. It was reported to the bishop, 
t^t fifteeipL of his hearers had gone mad. The prelate only 
vidshed; that the madness might not pass away before another 

BetuModng to Oxford he forthwith resumed his " Methodist"' 
labour comforting his brethren, visiting the sick and prisoners^ 
aand encouraging several charity schools which the '* Holy Club'*' 
hudi established. He was called to London to preach temporarily 
at the Tower. There was some scoffing at his first appearance 
in the pulpit, but his natural eloquence and vivid zeal burst with* 
surprise upon the people, and he passed out amid their bless-^ 
ings, while the query flew from one to another, " Who is he P'*' 
!For two months he continued to labour in the metropolis, visit- 
ing the soldiera in the barracks and hospitals, catechizing children^ 
reading prayers every evening in one chapel, preaching in others^ 
and delivering one sermon a-week at least at Ludgate prison. 
The people crowded to hear him. 

Returning to Oxford he had the pleasure to see the Methodist 
btt&d increasing, but he was soon away again preaching at Dum- 
ineir, in Hampshire, where he spent eight hours a-day in reading 
prayers, catechizing children, and visiting the parishioners. He 
W; received sever^ letters &om the Wesleys, in Georgia, calling 


him thither. "Do you ask me what you shall have?" wrote 
John Wesley. " Food to eat, raiment to put on, a house to lay 
your head in, such as your Lord had not ; and a crown of glory 
that fadeth not away." His heart, he says, leaped within him, and 
echoed to the call. Hervey, of the Oxford Club, took his place 
in Hampshire, and he resolved to go again to London to embark. 
He went first to Bristol to take leave of his friends. "While there 
he preached indefatigably. People of all classes, and all denomi- 
nations, from Quakers to High Churchmen, flocked to hear him. 
" The whole city," he wrote, " seemed to be alarmed." The 
churches were crowded, " the word was sharper than a two-edged 
sword, and the doctrine of the new birth made its way like light- 
ning into the hearers' consciences." After a short absence he 
returned to Bristol, and found the excited people, some on foot 
and some in coaches, coming a mile out of the city to welcome 
him. They blessed him as he passed along the streets. Though 
preaching five times a-week, he could not appease the eager 
<5rowd8. It was difficult for him to make his way through them to 
the pulpit.^ Some climbed upon the roof of the church, others 
hung upon the rails of the organ-loft, and the mass within made 
the air so hot with their breath, that the steam fell from the 
pillars like drops of rain. When he preached his farewell sermon, 
the irrepressible feelings of his hearers broke out into sobs and 
tears all over the house. They followed him weeping into the 
street. They kept him busy the next day, from early morning 
till midnight, in comforting or counselling them, and he had to 
escape from their importunities, secretly, during the night, for 
London. While delayed there by his preparations for the voyage, 
his unexampled eloquence produced a general sensation through 
the metropolitan churches. When he assisted at the Eucharist, 
the consecration of the elements had to be twice or thrice re- 
peated. Charitable institutions claimed his services, and larger 
collections were made than had ever been received by them on 
similar occasions. Constables were stationed at the doors to 
restrain the multitude of hearers. Churches were crowded on 
week-days, and on the autumnal Sunday mornings the streets 
were thronged before dawn with people, lighting their way by 
lanterns to hear him. 

This transcendent power arose from a combination of quali- 
ties, with which he was providentially endowed for the crisis that 
was approaching in the history of English, and, ib is not too much 
to say, the history of general Protestantism. A great movement 
was at hand, wluch needed, among other agencies, powers like 


these to usher it in on both sides of the Atlantic, and to awaken 
the popular sympathies to welcome it — a movement which, it has 
been said, has immediately, or remotely, so given an impulse to 
Christian feeling and profession, on all sides, that it has come to 
present itself as the starting point of our modem religious his- 
tory.* Wesley was approaching the coast of Englsoid while 
Whitefield was preparing for his embarkation ; " and now," says 
an author who was not over credulous respecting the providential 
facts of Methodism — " and now, when Whitefield, having excited 
this powerful sensation in London, had departed for G-eorgia, to 
the joy of those who dreaded the excesses of his zeal, no sooner 
had he left the metropolis than Wesley arrived there, to deepen 
and widen the impression which Whitefield had made. Had their 
measures been concerted they could not more entirely have 
accorded. "t In a few days Wesley was proclaiming, in the pul- 
pits of London, " If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." 
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to define the eloquence 
of Whitefield. It was the utterance of the whole man — heart, 
head, and person. It was more ; it was the " demonstration of 
the Spirit and of power," the utterance of a living, exulting 
piety. Just before these scenes in London, while in his native 
county, he says his spirit would make such sallies that he thought 
it would escape from the body. At other times he was so over- 
whelmed with a sense of G-od's infinite majesty, that he was con- 
strained to throw himself prostrate on the ground, and offer his 
soul as a blank for the Divine hand to write on it what should 
please G-od. One night he describes as a time never to be for- 
gotten. It happened to lighten exceedingly; he had been ex- 
pounding to many people, and some being afraid to go home, he 
thought it his duty to accompany them, and improve the occasion 
to stir them up for the coming of the Son of man. He preached 
to them warnings and consolations on the highway, while the 
thunders broke above his head, and the lightnings sped along his 
path. On his retiurn to the parsonage, while the neighbours were 
rising from their beds, and terrified to see the lightning run upon 
the' ground, and shine from one part of the heavens unto the otner, 
he and a poor but pious countryman continued in the field, pray- 
ing, praising, and exulting in Q-od, and longing for the time when 
Christ shall be revealed from heaven in a flame of fire ! " Oh, that 
my soul," he wrote, " may be in a like flame when he shall actually 
come to call me !" 

* Isaac Taylor's "Wesley and Methodism, Preface, 
t Southcy*s Wesley, chap. iy. 

62 HISTO&T Of S[«¥fiOBI6M. 

How could such a man be otlnsr thai.n eloquent ? An utitutdted 
hearer, returning from one of his sermons, significantly saidj " He 
Reached like a lion." But mth this motal power he combined mo«t, 
if not all, other qualifications of a popular orator. He is ^id to 
hate had a perfect natural grace of manner out of the pulpit^ and 
«tf gesture in it. Marvels are told about the compass and music 
of his voice. He was tall iti person ; his features were regular, 
4md expressive of a generous and buoyant heart ; his eyes weire 
blue and luminous, though small, and a slight squint in one of 
them, caused by the measles, is said not to have " lessened the un- 
common sweetness" of his countenance. His humble origin, and 
occupation in the Bristol Inn, enabled him to understand and 
address the common people, who, while admiring that natural 
grace which afterwards rendered him at home in ariedbocratic circlei, 
felt that he was one from among themselves. He had also ait alti- 
tude for illustrations drawn from common life, and a tendency to 
popular humour, which, without degenerating into vulgiirity, drew 
irresistibly towards him the popular interest ; so that Wesley, who 
was scrupulously, though simply correct, said : " Even the little 
improprieties, both of his language and manner, were the means of 
profiting many, who would not have been touched by a more correct 
discourse, or a more calm and regtdar manner of proceeding." 

His passage to America was long. The ship's company, in- 
cluding, besides the crew, soldiers and emigrants, were mostly an 
immoral class ; but he preached, read prayers, catechized the chil- 
dren, and ministered to the sick, with such zeal, that before they 
reached Georgia the whole moral aspect of his floating congrega- 
tion was changed. He remained in the colony only about font 
laonths, but during that time travelled and laboured incessantly 
among its settlements. A brief residence among the Indians, and 
an unsuccessful attempt to frame a grammar of their language^ 
#eem to have satisfied him that his call was not unto thpm. He 
found many orphan children among the colonists, and projected an 
asylum for them, a design which led to his early return to England; 
He embarked from Charleston, South Carolina, September, 1738. 
in tune, as we shall see, for important events in the incipieiit 
history of Methodism. 




tf ^ley's 'Bx^txtA from Georgia— His Beligious Disquiet— Stetcli of the Mora^ 
Tians — Obligations of Methodism to the Martyrs of Const ance—Ziska and 
his Peasant Heroes — Commencement of Herrnhut — Connt Zinzendorf — The 
MoraTians in London— Peter Bdhler — Conversion of Oiarles Wesley — Oon- 
Tersion of John Wesley — Wesley's visit to Herrnhut — His Description of it 
— Theological Views — Obligations of Methodism to the Moravians. 

The ship which bore Whitefield from England, passed in sight 
of that which bore Wesley back, only a few hours hetote hid 
arrival at the Downs ; but neither of them knew the fact. White- 
jReld, liberated in spirit, and winged with zeal as with pinions of 
flame, was ^flying exultingly on his mission ;* but Wesley, who 
was to be last, and yet, in an important sense, first in the new 
career they had been forecasting, entered the metropolis, which 
was still stirred by the evangelical triumphs of his friend, bowed 
and broken in spirit. In placing his foot again oti English soil, 
he repeats, with profound contrition, the record of his inward 
struggles : " It is now," he writes, " two years and almost four 
liionths since I left my native country, in order to teach the 
Georgian Indians the nature of Christianity. But what have I 
learned myself, meantime? Why, what* I the least of all sus- 
pected, that I, who went to America to convert others. Was never 
myself converted to God. I am not mad, though I thus speak, 
but I speak the words of truth and soberness, if haply, some of 
those who still dream may awake, and see that as 1 am so are * 
they." Were they read in philosophy ? he continues, with elo- 
quent earnestness, and iii language which would cover boastful- 
nesB itself with shame ; were they read in philosophy P so was he. 
In ancient or modem tongues ? he was also. Were they versed 
in the science of divinity ? he too had studied it many years. 
Could they talk fluently upon spiritual things? the very same 
could he do. Were they plenteous in alms ? behold, he gave all 
his goods to feed the podr. Did they give of their labour as well 
as their substance ? ne had laboured more abundantly. Were 
they wilHng to suffer for their brethreil ? he had thrown away hid 
fnendSy reputation, ease, country ; he had put his Hfe in his hands, 

* l^he deriee upon Whitefield's seal was a winged heart, soaring above the 
globe, and the motto, Astra petamus. Southey's Wesley, vol. ii., note 24. 


wandering into strange lands ; he had given his body to be de- 
voured by the deep, parched up with heat, consumed by toil and 
weariness, or whatsoever G-od should please to bring upon him. But, 
he continues, does aU this, be it more or less, it matters not, make 
him acceptable to Grod ? Does all he ever did, or can, know, say, 
give, do, or suffer, justify him in His sight ? If the Oracles of God 
are true, if we are stiU to abide by the law and testimony, all these 
things, though, when ennobled by faith in Christ, they are holy, 
and just, and good, yet without it are dung and dross. He re- 
fuses to be comforted by ambiguous hopes. " If," he adds, " it 
be said that I have faith, for many such things have I heard from 
many miserable comforters, I answer, so have the devils a sort of 
faith ; but still they are strangers to the covenant of promise. 
The faith I want is a sure trust and confidence in G-od, that,, 
through the merits of Christ, my sins are forgiven, and I recon- 
ciled to the favour of G-od."* 

But the time of his deliverance was at hand. He had learned 
in anguish its preparatory lessons ; his good works, his ascetism^ 
his ritualism had failed him. It had been necessary, perhaps, that 
he should try them, in order to be a competent guide for the 
millions who were yet to be affected by his influence. Susanna 
Wesley had educated him for his great work, and in this respect 
was the real founder of Methodism, for with a different character 
he would have had a different history ; the germinal principle of 
Methodism had sprung up at Oxford ; but the vital element which 
was to give it growth and enable it to branch out over the world, 
was still wanting. It was to be supplied in a manner which forma 
one of the most extraordinary illustrations of Divine Providence 
afforded by the annals of the Church. 

More than three hundred years had passed since the Council 
of Constance had sacrificed, at the stake, the two noblest men of 
Bohemian history, Jerome and Huss. "With Wickliffe, they had 
initiated Protestantism a century before Luther. Though Wickliffe 
died without the honours of martyrdom, his work was apparently 
yet not really defeated; and his bones, dug up from the grave 
and reduced to ashes, were cast on the Severn, and borne by the 
ocean to the wide world, an emblem, says a Church historian, of 
the future fate of his opinions. The Papal persecutors repre- 
senting Europe at Constance, deemed that in destroying Jierome 
and Huss they had extinguished the new movement on the Con- 
tinent at least ; but " G-od's thoughts are not as man's thoughts." 
A spark from the stake of Constance lit up at last the flame of 

* Journal, Anno 1738. 


Methodism in England, and is extending over the world in our 
daj like fire in stubble. 

The princes and prelates had hardly retired from Constance 
when the people, always truer than the great of the earth in their 
instinctive appreciation of great truths, rose throughout Bohemia 
to defend the opinions and avenge the death of their martyred 
teachers. Armed with flails, they marched victoriously against 
trained armies, for they were fightmg for the right of themselves 
and of their children to the Word of Gtod and its sacraments. A 
nobleman of the court. Count Zisca, placed himself at their head, 
and organizing them into a formidable army, fought against the 
Emperor Sigismund for the independence of Bohemia. He had 
lost one eye ; the remaining one was destroyed by an arrow in 
battle about a year after the war began ; but, when no longer 
able to see, he still led his triumphant peasants from victory to 
victory. Mounting a cask in the camp, the sightless hero pre- 
pared them for battle by his eloquent appeals. The emperor 
invaded Bohemia, but Zisca totally defeated him. The blind 
commander invaded Austria and Hungary. His victory at Arssig 
placed the Austrian dominions at his mercy. He founded among 
ids peasant heroes the modem science of fortification ; he held at 
bay the arms of aU Germany ; he restored the independence of 
Bohemia, extinguished factions, and achieved eleven victories in 
pitched battles. Apparently immortal in war, he fell at last by 
the plague ; but ordered,. it is said, that his skin should be con- 
verted into drum-heads, to be beat in the marches of his soldiers. 
Eleven years after his death did they maintain the desperate 
struggle. After memorable scenes of fanaticism and terror on 
both sides, it was concluded at last by the treaty of Prague, 
nearly twenty years subsequent to the martyrdom of Jerome and 
Huss. That treaty conceded the most important religious de- 
mands of the Bohemians ; but the Papal party afterwards denied 
them. The Hussites were depressed, persecuted and exiled ; and 
it seemed at times that the movement had been defeated, and 
that " the blood of the martyrs " could not, in this instance at 
least, be said to be "the seed of the Church." It is not necessary, 
in order to vindicate a maxim which has so often been the boast 
of Christian virtue and suffering, to trace the influence of the 
WicklifBlte and Hussite agitations on the " Great Reformation" a 
century later. The Bohemian Reformation, though repressed, 
was not extinguished. It had its own peculiar effect on the 
world, and has to this day. Many families lingered in Bohemia 
and Moravia from generation to generation, retaining, in humble 


obflcurityy ^ truth lor which the Conatanoe marfyrs hsd banted. 
A half centiuy after their mart^dom the poisoiiB of B«he]iii& 
|;roaBied with the sufferings of their faiiMii foUowers. Five jrears 
ktar they were tu^OR ruthlessly himted down bj persecutioiis. 
They were declar^ outlaws ; were expatiiated and despoiled oi 
their property. The side and aged were dnven oat of their 
homes^ and many perished oi cold and hunger. Some expired in 
dungeoxi9» others were tortured and huro^, and the remnant 
took refuge in the thickest forests^ where, fearing discovery 
during the day, ikey kindled their fires only by night, and arauna 
them firaent the hours in watchings, in reading the Scriptures, in 
mutual exhortations, and in prayer.* 

It is a noteworthy fact that these persecuted Sohemians gave 
the first printed edition of the Bible to the world, and the oldest 
version in any modem language. They established presses at 
three different places for the purpose of printing it, and had 
issued three editions before Luth»r appeami. Th^ hailed the 
Beformation under Luther ; the terrible " Thirty xears* War " 
ensued, but fsuled to secure them liberty of conscience ; and they 
wand^ed away to other lands to find it. One of them — Chrisiaan 
David, an earnest-minded carpenter — led ten persons of like mind 
from Schlen, Moravia, to Bertholdsdorf^ in Lusatia, a domain of 
which Count Zinzendorf, a devout young nobleman, was then 
lord He was absent, but welcomed them by Heitz, his major- 
domo ; Heitz led the little band to a piece of land, near a mound, 
the Hutberg or W^Jch-hiU, where Christian David, lifting his 
axe, cleaved a tree, exclaiming, " Here hath the sparrow found a 
house, and the swallow a nest for herself, even thine altars, O 
Lord of hosts." On the 17th of June, 1722, the first tree was 
cut down : on the 17th of October the exiles entered their new 
home. The count was still absent, but his pious major-domo 
wrote him a report of their progress. A phrase in his letter has 
since given name to the locality, and become a household word, 
if not a watchword throughout the Protestant world. " May God 
bless the work according to his loving-kindness," wrote Heitz, 
" and grant that your excellency may build a city on the "Watch- 
hill [ITutherffl, which may not only stand under the Lord's 
guardianship, but where all the inhabitants may stand upon the 
Watch of the Lord!" [JECerrnhut.'] At the dedication of the 
building, the gcod major-domo discoursed to the little company 

* " Memorial Days of the Ancient Brethren's Church." The chief source 
of my data respecting the Bohemian Reformation is Bonnechose's "Reformers 
before the Reformation," See also Southey's Wesley, chap. 6. 


<m the words of latkh : '^ I will set wateluiieii upoa thy walls, O 
Jerusidem I which shall never hold their peace daj nor night : je 
that make mention of the Lord keep not silence, and glye him no 
rest till he establish, uid till he make Jerusalem a praise in the 

Thus arose HermhiU — Watch of the Lord — and the Moravian 
Brotherhood, a religious community whose name is as " ointment 
poured forth/' whose missions have been the admiration of all 
good men, and who, in our day, have the extraordinary distinction 
of enrolling tibe majority of their communicants on their lists of 
reclaimed pagans. 

Zinzendorf, accompanied by his young wife, visited the domain 
some few months later, and seeing from the highway the new 
home of the exiles in the forest, descended irom his carriage, and 
hastily entering it, fell upon his knees amid the group of grateful 
inmates, and '' blessed the place with a warm heart." He had 
secured ]EU>th, a diligent pastor, for his tenants at Bertholdsdorf, 
and his friend, the pastor Schaefer, had said at the introducti(m 
of Both : '^ God will place a light upon these hills which will 
illuminate the whole country ; of this I am assured by a living 
&ith.'' The count shared this faith, and sacrificing the honours 
and prospects of his rank, devoted himself thenceforth to Christian 
labours. His friend, the Baron de Watteville, joined him ; the 
lady Joanna de Zetzschwitz subsequently took thither a number 
of young women for education, and founded the famous Economy 
of Girls at Herrnhut, and the forest sanctuary now became the 
kome of hundreds, not only of the remnants of the old Bohemian 
Protestants, but of devout men from many parts of Europe. 

The government grew jealous of the new establishment, and 
the count was exiled, and saved his estates only by securing them 
to his wife. Disguised by the name of De IVeydek, one of his . 
real but least known titles, he travelled in Germany, and became 
a private tutor in the family of a merchant till he could prepare 
himself for an examination for ordination. He succeeded, and 
began to preach, and journeyed as an evangelist in ISweden, 
Holland, Switzerland, and England. Meanwhile, under his patron- 
age, missionaries were passing out from Herrnhut to various 
parts of the world. He visited in their behalf the "West Indies, 
^ew York, and Pennsylvania. Returning to revisit his Herrnhut 
people, he was imprisoned, was rebanished, and resumed his 
religious travels in various parts of Europe. Finally he found 
shelter again among his devoted Herrnhuters, and died at tha ^"^<i 
of sixty, amid the tears and prayers of "nearly a \i\vxidGC^dL\)T^>tt^Kt%\^ 


and sisters who were assembled in the room where he lay and the 
adjoining apartments."* A few hours before his departure he 
said to uiose around him : ^' We are together like angels ; and as 
if we were in heaven." " Did you suppose," he asked, " in the 
beginning, that the Saviour would do as much as we now really 
see, in the various Moravian settlements, among the children ot 
God of other denominations, and among the heathen ? I only 
entreated of Him a few first-firuits of the latter, but there are now 
thousands of them." 

The "Eeformers before the Eeformation" had not then 
laboured in vain. The Bohemian sufferers at Constance had 
verified the maxim so often consecrated by the tears and thanks- 
givings of the faithful, that " the blood of the martyrs is the seed 
of the Church." There gleam to-day on the darkest skies of the 
Pagan world reflections of 'light from the martyr fires of Con- 
stance ; and Hermhut, " the Watch of the Lord," has become a 
watch-light to the world. Prom this people — so remarkable and 
fruitful in their history — ^was Methodism not only to copy much 
of its internal discipline, but to receive the impulse which was yefc 
necessary to start it on its appointed route. Wesley had already 
learned much from them. In their resignation amid the storms 
of the Atlantic, he had seen a piety which he possessed not him- 
self. On his landing in Georgia, the doctrine of the " Witness of 
the Spirit," which had dawned upon his mind from the Scriptures, 
while reading Jeremy Taylor at Oxford, was brought home to his 
conscience by the appeal of Spangenberg. His unavailing ascetic- 
ism had been rebuked there by their more cheerful practical piety; 
his unsuccessful, because defective, preaching, by their more evan- 
gelical and more useful labours ; and his rigid ecclesiasticism by 
the apostolic simplicity of their Church councils. And now, 
hardly had he landed m England from Q-eorgia when witnesses 
for the truth, from Hermhut, met him again with the appeal: 
" This is the way, walk ye in it." 

They had established or revived several small assemblies in Lon- 
don and elsewhere. One of their preachers, Peter Bohler, a name 
which will ever be memorable to Methodists, had just arrived in 
the city. Wesley first met him on February 7, 1738, about a 
week aSter his own arrival — " a day much to be remembered," he 
writes. " From this time," he adds, " I did not willingly lose an 
opportunity of conversing with him."t He again records that 

* Spangenberg's " Life of Zinzendorf," translated by Samuel Jackson, 
London. 1838, 

f Wesleys Journal, anno 1738. 


" by Bohler, in tlie liand of the great God, I was conyinced of un- 
belief, of the want of that faith whereby alone we are saved." At 
a later date he says that he was amazed more and more by the 
accounts which BOhler gave of the fruits of living faith — ^the holi- 
ness and happiness which he affirmed to attend it. Wesley began 
the Greek Testament anew, resolving to abide by the law and the 
testimony, and being confident that it would show him whether 
this doctrine was of Gtoi. On the first day of the following April, 
we read in his journal, " being at Mr. Fox's society my heart 
was so full that I coidd not confine myself to the forms of prayer 
which we were accustomed to use there. If either do I propose to 
he confined to them any more, but to pray indifierently, with a 
form or without, as may be suitable to particular occasions." He 
began to see "the promise," he says, "but it was afar off." Again 
he records that he met Peter BOhler once more, and had now 
no objection to what the Moravian said on the nature of faith ; 
namely, that it is — to use the words of the Anglican Church — " a 
sure trust and confidence which a man hath in God, that through 
the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the 
favour of God." Neither could he deny the happiness nor holi- 
ness which Bohler described as fruits of this living faith. " The 
Spirit itself beareth vritness with our spirit, that we are the chQ- 
dren of God," and, "He that believeth hath the witness in himself," 
were texts which fully convinced him of the former, as "Whosoever 
is bom of God doth not commit sin," and, " Whosoever believeth 
is bom of God," did of the latter. He was staggered, however, 
for a time, at the Moravian doctrine of an instantaneous change 
of heart. Desponding under a sense of guilt, he subsequently 
adds : " Tet I hear a voice — and is it not the voice of God ? — 
saying, * Believe, and thou shalt be saved. He that believeth is 
passed from death unto life. God so loved the world that He gave 
His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life.' Oh, let no one deceive us by vain 
words, as. if we had already attained this faith — that is, the proper 
Christian faith. By its fruits we shall know. Do we already 
feel * peace with God,' and * joy in the Holy Ghost ?' Does * His 
Spirit bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of 
Ood ?' Alas, vdth mine He does not ! Oh then, Saviour of men, 
save us from trusting in anything but Thee ! Draw us after Thee ! 
Let us be emptied of ourselves, and then fill us vsdth peace, and 
joy in believing, and let nothing separate us from Thy love, in 
time or in eternity." 

The indefatigable BOhler and his huxnblQ ^*i^oc^ato& ^^^ 


already been guiding Charles Wesl^ into " the way of salvation 
by faith ;*' and as Charles was the nrst of the brothers who re- 
ceived the name of Methodist, so was lie the first to learn by 
erperience the saving truth which Methodism was destined to 
witness to the world. He had conversed with Zinzendorf, and 
had been in one of the small Moravian assemblies, where, 
he says, "I thought myself in a choir of angels."* He was 
entertained during a period of sickness at the house of a pious 
mechanic, by i;he name of Bray, who was an attendant ot tlie 
London "^(jjieties," and who, he says, is "now to supply Peter 
Bohler's plaJce," as the latter had left England. This devoted 
artizan read the Scriptures to him, and was able, from his own 
experimental knowledge of them, to direct his troubled mind. 
" God sent," he says, ** Mr. Bray, a poor ignorant mechanic, who 
knows nothing but Christ ; yet, by knowing Him, knows and 
discerns all things." A Christian woman of the family conversed 
with him on the nature of faith. " Has Grod bestowed faith 
on you?" he asked. "Yes, He has." "Why, have you 
peace with Q-od ? " " Yes, perfect peace." " And do you love 
Christ above all things ?" " I do, above all things incom- 
parably." " Then, are you willing to die ? " "I am, and would 
be glad to die this moment ; for I know all my sins are blotted 
out ; the handwriting that was against me is taken out of the 
way, and nailed to the cross. He has saved me by His death. 
He has washed me by His blood. He has hid me in His wounds. 
I have peace in Him, and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of 
glory." Her answers, to the most searching questions he could 
ask were so full, that he had no doubt of her having received the 
atonement, and waited for it himself with a more assured hope. 

On May 21, 1738, he inserts a remarkable passage in hi» 
journal: "I waked in hope and expectation of his coming. At 
night my brother and some friends came and sang a hymn to the 
Holy Q-host. My comfort and hope were hereby increased. In 
about half an hour they went. I betook myself to prayer, the 
substance as follows : O Jesus, thou hast said, I will come 
unto you. Thou hast said, I will send the Comforter unto 
you. Thou hast said, My Father and I will come unto you^ 
and make our abode with you. Thou art G-od, who canst 

^ Jackson's ** Life of Charles Wesley,'* chap. iv. I cannot too strongly 

commend this work. It has been our b^t history of Methodism. It is to be 

regretted that the American edition omits many of ita best specimens of 

Cbjtrlea Weald's poetry. The English edition is a mosaic s«t with the gema 

of Jus genius. 


not He. I whoUy rely icpon thj most true promiaeu Aeeomplish 
it in tky time and manner." Having thus prayed he was com- 
posing himself to sleep in quietness and peace, when he heard 
Bome one say, " In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise^ and 
belisTe, and thou shalt be healed of all thy infirmities.'' The 
words were so appropriate to his state of mind that they '* sfcruck 
him to the heart." He said within himself^ " Oh that Christ 
would but speak thus to me !" and lay " musing and trembling 
for some time." Then ringing the bell for an attendant, he sent 
to ascertain who had uttered the words, feeling in the meantime 
"a strange palpitation of heart," and saying, yet fearing to say, 
I believe ! I belieye ! The devout woman who had before given 
him so positive a testimony respecting the knowledge of the for- 
giveness of sins, came to him, and said, '^ It was I, a weak, sinful 
creature, that spoke; but the words were Christ's. He com- 
manded me to say them, and so constrained me that I could 
not forbear." He sent for his pious host, and asked him whether 
it would be right for him to dare to presume that he now had 
Paith P Bray answered, tiliat he ought not to doubt of it ; it was 
Christ that spoke to him ; he knew it, and wished them to pray 
togeidier. " But first," said he, " I will read what I have 
casually opened upon : ^ Blessed is the man whose transgression 
is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom 
the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no 
guile.' " " Btill," says Wesley, " I felt a violent opposition and 
reluctance to believe ; yet still the Spirit of Qod strove with my 
own and the evil spirit, till, by degrees, he chased away the dark- 
ness of my unbelief. I found myself convinced, I knew not how 
nor when, and immediately fell to intercession. I now found 
myself at peace with God, and rejoiced in hope of loving Christ. 
My temper was for the rest of the day mistrust of my own great 
but unknown weakness. I saw that by faith I stood, and the 
continual support of faith kept me from falling, though of myself 
I am ever sinking into sin. I went to bed still sensible of my 
own weakness ; I humbly hope to be more and more so, yet con- 
fident of Christ's protection." 

Three days after Charles had thus attained '^ rest to his soul," 
John also found it. He records that he continued to seek it, 
though with strange indifierence, dulness, and coldness, and 
unusually firequent relapses into sin, till Wednesday, May 24. 
About five o'clock on the morning of that day he opened his Testa- 
ment on these words : " Whereby are given unto us exceeding 
great and precious promises, that by these ye inig\x\,^i^^^as\ai&«'K^^^ 


the divine nature" (2 Peter i. 4). Just as he went out he 
opened it again on the passage, '' Thou art not far from the 
kingdom of God." In the evening he went very unwiUinglj to 
a society in Aldersgate Street, where a^ layman was reading 
Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Bomans ; about a quarter 
before nine, while listening to Luther'« description of the change 
which the Spirit works in the heart through faith in Christ, ** I 
felt," writes Wesley, " my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did 
trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation, and an assurance was 
given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved 
me from the law of sin and death. But it was not long before 
the enemy suggested, * This cannot be faith, for where is thy 
joy ? ' Then was I taught that peace and victory over sin are 
essential to faith in the Captain of our salvation; but that, as to 
the transports of joy which usually attend the beginning of it, 
especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes 
giveth, sometimes withholdeth them, according to the counsels 
of His own wiU. After my return home I was much buffeted with 
temptations, but cried out and they fled away. They returned 
again and again ; I as often lifted up my eyes, and He sent me 
help from His holy place. And herein I found the difference 
between this and my former state chiefly consisted. I was 
striving, yea, fighting, with all my might under the law as weU 
as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if not often, con- 
quered ; now I was always conqueror." Thus had the feet of 
both the brothers been directed into the path of life by the in- 
strumentality of the London Moravians. 

Wesley's mother, who was residing in London, was still his 
guide and counsellor. He read to her a paper recording his late 
religious experience. She strongly approved it, and said " she 
heartily blessed God, who had brought him to so just a way of 
thinking."* Thus, in the thirty-fifth year of his age, after 
twenty-five years, as he elsewhere informs us,t of religious soli- 
citude and struggles, did he, by a clearer apprehension of the 
doctrine of justification by faith, find rest to his soul, and feel 
himself at last authorized to preach that blessing to aU contrite 
men, from his own experimental proof of its reality. But had 
he not faith before ? Doubtless he had ; at another time he 
declared that he had, but that it was " the faith of a servant" 
rather than " of a child." The animadversions of Southey and 

* Compare his Journal, June 8, 1738, with June 13, 1739. These references 
effeotutHly correct Southej's misrepresentations of her opinion on the subject. 
/ Smith's "History of Methodism," ii. 1. 


Coleridge on liis present experience are conclusively met bj the 
direct question whether that experience was in accordance with 
the Scriptures or not. "Was his previous state of inward struggle 
and desolation, or his present one of settled trust and peace, most 
in harmony with the Scriptural description of a regenerated soul, 
which has " peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," 
having " not received the spirit of bondage unto fear, but the 
spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Pather ?'* Any further 
question than this on the subject is not one of Christian expe- 
rience, but of Christianity itseff. 

The interest which these and previous events had given him 
for the Moravians, induced him to visit Hermhut. In about a 
fortnight he set out on the journey, accompanied by his friend 
Ingham, and six others. At Marienborn they melt Zinzendorf, 
who had organized there a brotherhood of about fifty disciples 
from various countries. " I continually met," says Wesley, 
" with what I sought for, living proofs of the power of faith ; 
persons saved from inward as well as outward sin, by the love of 
G-od shed abroad in their hearts ; and from aU doubt and fear, by 
the abiding witness of the Holy Chost given unto them." H!e 
sums up the views which Zinzendorf gave him concerning justi- 
fication, as follows : 1. Justification is the forgiveness of sins. 
2. The moment a man flies to Christ he is justified. 3. And has 
peace with God, but not always joy. 4. Nor, perhaps, may he 
know he is justified till long after. 5. For the assurance of it is 
distinct from justification. 6. But others may know he is jus- 
tified by his power over sin, by his seriousness, by his love of the 
brethren, ana his "hunger and thirst after righteousness," which 
alone prove the spiritual life to be begun. 7. To be justified is 
the same thing as to be bom of God. (" Not so," interpolates 
Wesley.) 8. When a man is awakened he is begotten of God, 
and his fear and sorrow, and sense of the wrath of God, are the 
pangs of the new birth. 

He passed to Hermhut, which he reached August 1, 1738. 
He describes "it as lying in Upper Lusatia, on the border of 
Bohemia, and containing about a hundred houses, built on a 
rising ground, with evergreen woods on two sides, gardens and 
cornfields on the others, and high hills in the background. It 
had one long street, through which the great road from Zittau to 
Lobau extended. Fronting the nfiddle of this street was the 
orphan-house, in the lower part of which was the apothecaries' 
shop ; in the upper the chapel, capable of containing six or ^e^^vi. 
hundred people. Another row of houses ran, at a «kT[ia!ii ^\>'dic\s^> 


from the orpbaa-house, which accordingly diyided the rest of the 
town, besides the long street, into two squares. At the east ^id 
of it was tbe Count's house, a small, plain building like the rest, 
haying a large garden behind it, which was well laid out, not for 
show but for the use of the community. "Wesley spent there 
about a fortnight. He found at Hermhut defeots, doubtless, but 
his best expectations were surpassed. " G-od," he says, " has 
given me at length the desire of my heart. I am with a Church 
whose conversation is in heaven, in whom is the mind that was in 
Christ, and who walk as He walked. As they have all one 
Lord and one futh, so they are all partakers of one spirit, the 
spirit of meekness and love, which uniformly and continually 
animates all their conversation. Oh how high and holy a thing 
Christianity is, and how widely distant from that which is so called, 
though it neither purifies the heart nor renews the Hfe, after the 
image of our blessed Eedeemer." He heard there with admiration, 
Chnstian David, who had cleaved with his axe the first tree for the 
mansion of the colony. Of justification this Christian mechanic 
said : " The right foundation is not your contrition — though that 
is not your own, not your righteousness, nothing of your own, 
nothing that is wrought in you by the Holy Ghost ; but it is 
something without you, the righteousness and the blood of Christ. 
Eor this is the word : * To him that believeth on God, that jus- 
tifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.' This, 
then, do if you would lay a right foundation. Go straight to 
Christ with all your ungodliness ; tell him, * Thou whose eyes are 
as a flame of fire, searching my heart, seest that I am ungodly : 
I plead nothing else. I do not say I am humble or contrite, but 
I am ungodly ; therefore bring me to Him that justifieth the 
ungodly. Let Thy blood be the propitiation for me.' Here is a 
mystery, here the wise men of the world are lost ; it is foolishness 
unto them." 

He was struck by the peculiarity of almost everything about 
this Christian community. Some of its customs were question- 
able, but most appeared to him peculiar only in the sense of being 
thoroughly Christian. Even what might be called their recreations 
were religious. He saw, with agreeable surprise, all the young 
men march round the town in the evening, " as is their custom,'* 
singing praise with instruments of music, and gathering into a 
circle on a neighbouring hill to join in prayer. Betuming with 
resounding songs, they concluded the evening, and made their 
mutual adieus by commending one another to God in the great 
Bguare, He wbb affected by their simple burial rites. Their grave- 


yard was " God's Acre." They bore thither the dead with hymns. 
Little children led the procession, and carried the bier of a 
deceased child. He saw a bereaved father, a humble mechanic, 
looking upon the grave of his infant, and wishing to console him, 
found it unnecessary, for he had a high Comforter. Wesley inquired 
respecting his affliction. " Praised be the Lord,'* was the parent's 
reply ; "praised be the Lord, he has taken the soul of my child to 
himself ; I know iiiat when his body is raised again, both he and 
I shall be ever with the Lord." 

" I would gladly," says Wesley, " have spent my life here, but 
my Master calling me to labour in other parts of His vineyard, I 
was constrained to take my leave of this happy place." He returned 
as he came, on foot, bearing with him le^o^ which were to be 
available in all his subsequent career. 

Methodism owes to Moravianism special obligations. First, it 
introduced Wesley into that regenerated spiritual life, the supre- 
macy of which over all ecclesiasticism and dogmatism, it was the 
appointed mission of Methodism to reassert and promote in the 
Protestant world. Second, Wesley derived from it some of his 
clearest conceptions of the theological ideas which he was to pro- 
pagate as essentially related to this spiritual life ; and he now 
iretumed from Hermhut not only confirmed in his new religious 
experience, but in these most important doctrinal views. Third, 
Zinxendorrs comtmunities were based upon Spener's plan of 
reforming the EatabKshed Churches by forming " little Churches 
within them,"* in despair of maintaining spiritual life among 
them otherwise ; Wesley thus organized Methodism within the 
Anglican Church. And, fourth, not only in this general analogy, 
but in many details of his discipline can we trace the influence of 

He reached England in September, 1738. After these pro- 
vidential preparations, he was ready to begin his great career, 
though as yet without a distinct anticipation of its historical 

• Spai)genberg*s " Life of Zinzendorf." 






Wesley returns from Q-ermany — Charles Wesley — ^Religious "Societies" in Lon- 
don — ^Wesley takes Kefuge in them when Expelled from the Churches — 
He Preaches to the Prisoners at Newgate — ^His Tenacity for Church Order 
— ^Whitefield arrives — He is denied the City Pulpits — He goes to Bristol — 
Is excluded from the Pulpits there — ^Preaches in the Open Air at Kings- 
wood — Wesley at Bristol — ^He begins to preach in the Open Air — Vast 
Congregations — Whitefield's Departure — Scenes at Eongswood — Method- 
ism in Wales — Griffith Jones — Howell Harris — ^WhitefieldinMoorfields — 
Extraordinary EflEects of his Preaching — Wesley's Labours — He encounters 
Beau Nash at Bath — The First Methodist Chapel — ^Wesley in Moorfields — 
Marvellous Effects on his Hearers — Examples — Charles Wesley threatened 
with Excommunication — He preaches in Moorfields — The Foundry opened 
for Worship — Separation from the Moravians — ^Epoch of Methodism. 

While Wesley was returning to England on the G-erman Ocean, 
Whitefield was also returning on the Atlantic. They were about 
to meet, to lay permanently, though unconsciously, the founda- 
tions of Methodism. 

Charles Wesley had been preaching with increased zeal during 
his brother's absencs. Several clergymen had embraced his im- 
proved views, and converts were multiplied daily by his labours. 
When he preached, the houses were generally crowded with eager 
hearers, but church after church was closed against him. - He 
had taken charge of the curacy of Islington, but was ejected from 
it, not so much because of his doctrine, as for the earnestness 
with which he uttered it. He frequented Newgate, and ministered 
to the convicts ; and his fervid spirit rejoiced in the simple but 
lively devotions of the small assemblies which the Moravians had 
revived in London. These societies were formed in 1667, under the 


labours of two London clerg3nnen, Horneck and Smithies, and the 
auspices of Bishop Hopkins, during a period of extraordinary 
religious interest. More than thirty years later. Dr. Woodward 

Sublished an account of them. He reports that there were, in his 
ay, forty in London and its neighbourhood, besides several in 
the country, and nine in Lreland. They seem to have had no 
other afi^al^on than a common purpose and the ties of a more 
intimate religious sympathy than the formal means of grace in 
the Established Church afforded. They became active in Chris- 
tian philanthropy, and originated, it is said, no less than twenty 
associations for the suppression of vice and the relief of suffer- 
ing, some of which grew into sufficient importance to command 
the interest of several bishops, and of the queen of William III.* 
They had latterly much decHned, but the visits of the Moravians 
to London renewed a few of them. They seemed a providential 
preparation for the approaching development of Methodism ; for 
when the Wesleys were expelled from the pulpits of the Esta- 
blishment, they found refuge and audiences in these humble as- 
semblies, and they afforded at last the nucleus and form of the 
more thoroughly organized Methodist " Societies" in several parts 
of the kingdom. 

When Wesley reached the metropolis, on returning from 
GTermany, he flew to them as to an asylum. He arrived on Satur- 
day night. The next day " I began," he says, " to declare in my 
own country the glad tidings of salvation, preaching three times, 
and afterward expounding to a large company in the Minories. 
On Monday I rejoiced to meet our little society, which now con- 
sisted of thirty-two persons. The next day I went to the ccm- 
denmed felons in Newgate, and offered them a free salvation. In 
the evening I went to a society in Bear Yard, and preached re- 
pentance and remission of sins. The next evening I spoke the 
truth in love at a society in Aldersgate Street ; some contradicted 
at first, but not long ; so that nothing but love appeared at our 
parting. Thursday, 21st, I went to a society in Gutter Lanp, 
but I could not declare the mighty works of G-od there, as I did 
afterwards at the Savoy, with all simplicity, and the word did not 
l-etum empty. On Saturday, 23rd, I was enabled to speak strong 
words both at Newgate and at Mr. E.'s society, and the next day 
at St. Anne's, and twice at St. John's, ClerkenweU, so that I fear 
they vdll bear with me there no longer.f 

* Mary, not Anne, as Smith says, Historif of Methodism^ book ii.. chap. 2. 
Philip's JUfe of Whitefield, chap. 4. 
t Journal, September 17, 1738. 


Thus lie eaoterod upon ihe great career ci Im life, fin^ tiioM 
ineessant labours were no consequence of a febrile or iem^^oatmj 
zeal ; they are an example of what was thereafter to be aloEMst iJat 
dailj habit till he fell, in his eightj-eighth jesar, at the head of 
more than a hundred and fifty thousand foUowera, and five hus^ 
dred and fifty itinerant {M*eadiers, who were stimulated by his 
unabated zeal to similar labours in both hemispheres. And now 
those marvellous '^ Journals," which haye afforded so mxuh. VBmjpi" 
ration to the devout, so much matter of criticism to the learned, 
and of ast<mishment and scorn to the sceptical, open bef<»e us a 
new book of wonders, calm themselves, but hurrying us aliong^ 
year after year, with an almost fev^^h exeitement. He began 
by "expounding," nearly every day, in the London "Societies." 
On Sundays he preached in the churches, but at the end of almoet 
every sermon he records it to be the last time ; not that his man- 
ner was clamorous, or in any way eccentric ; nor that his doctrine 
was heretical, for it was clearly that of the Homilies and other 
standards of the Church ; but it was brought out too forcibly, 
and presented too vividly, for the state of religious life around 
him,- He went from the closed pulpits not only to the " Societies," 
but to the prisons and the hospitals, where his message was re- 
ceived with gratitude and tears, and was attended with the de- 
monstration of the Spirit and of power. " Friday, November 3, 
1738," he writes, " I preached at St. Antholin's ; Sunday, five in 
the morning, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate ; in the afternoon at 
Islington ; and in the evening to such a congregation as I never 
saw "before, at St. Clement's in the Strand. As this was the first 
time of my preaching here, I suppose it is to be the last. On 
"Wednesday my brother and I went, at their earnest desire, to do 
the last goiod office to the condemned malefactors." He describes 
the scene at their execution as the most affecting instance he ever 
saw of faith triumphing over sin and death. Observing the tears 
running down the cheeks of one of the criminals, whfle his eyes 
were steadily fixed upward, a few moments before he died, Wes- 
ley asked, " How do you feel now ?" He calmly replied : " I 
feel a peace which I could not have believed to be possible ; and 
I know it is the peace of God which passeth all understanding." 
His brother made use of the occasion to declare the Gk)spel of 
peace to a large assembly of publicans and sinners. " O Lord 
Ood of my fathers," exclaimed Wesley, " accept even me among 
them, and cast me not out from among Thy children." In the 
evening he was preaching at Basingshaw church, and the next 
morning at St. Antholin's. 

im^sia CNP lOTHOsiBic. 79 

The WeBle3rB wore «tffl tenacious of ^^ Ohurck order;** ihej 
hmdi donenotfau^, nor did thej jet intend to do anjfihing, which 
wa» contifirj to that order. They had consultatioas with ihe 
Bishop of liondon and ^e Archbishop of Ganterburj, and were 
£mnd hf these ps^^ates to be even too rigid in some of their 
aedesiaBtical opmiiHis. The former approyed their doctrine of 
MBorance as explained in his presence, but had to reprove them 
tar their readiness to rebaptize Dissenters. The latter gave them 
sensible advice. " Keep," he said, " to the doctrines oi tibe 
Church; avo^ all exceptionable phrases; preach and expound 
onl J the essentials of religion ; other things, time and the prori* 
dence of Gk>d onij ean cure." 

I>enied the city pulpits^ the brothers went not onlj to the 
^ Soeieties '* and prisims, but to and fro in the country, preaching 
afanost daily. Whitefield was needed to lead them into more 
thorough and more necessary '^ irregularities.*' He arrived in 
London, December 8, 1738. Wesley hastened to greet him, and 
sn. the 12th, '' G-od gave us,'* he writes, ** once more to take 
aweet counsel together." The mighty preacher who had stirred 
the whole metropolis a year before, now met the same treatment 
as his Oxford friends. In three days five churches were denied 
him, Gk>od, however, was to come out of this evil. He also had 
recourse now to the ** Societies," and his ardent soul caught new 
aedi from their simple devotions as from his new trials. Wesley 
describes a scene at one of these assemblies, which reminds us 
of the preparatory Pentecost^ baptism of fire, by which the 
Apostles were '' endued with power from on high," for their 
mission. He says, January 1, 1739, that Messrs. Hall, Kinchin, 
Ingham, Whitefield, and his brother Charles were present with 
him at a love-feast in Fetter Lane, with about sixty of their 
brethren. About three in the morning, as they were continuing 
instant in prayer, the vower of Q-od came mightily upon them, 
insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to 
the ground. As soon as they had recovered a little from the awe 
and amazement which the presence of the Divine Majesty had 
inspired, they broke out with one voice, " We praise thee, O Ghod ; 
we acknowledge thee to be the Lord." Whitefield exclaims, " It 
was a Pentecostal season, indeed." And he adds, respecting 
these *^ Society meetings," that " sometimes whole nights were 
i^nt in prayer. Often have we been filled as with new wine, and 
often have I seen them overwhelmed with the Divine Presence, 
and cry out, * Will G-od, indeed, dwell with men upon earth. ? 
How dreadful is this place ! This is no other tkan. t\i^ \io\x^^ o1 


God, and the gate of heaven !' "* In this manner did th6 three 
evangelists begin together the memorable year which was after- 
wards to be recognized as the epoch of Methodism. On the 6th, 
Whitefield records an occasion which foreshadowed the future. A 
"conference " was held at Islington with seven ministers, "de- 
spised Methodists," concerning many things of importance. They 
continued in fasting and prayer till three o'clock, and then parted 
" with a full conviction that God was about to do great things 
among ««."t 

"Whitefield wished^to take collections for his prmected orphan- 
house, but the churches were soon generally closed against him ; 
only two or three still remained at his command for a few days. 
Preaching in one of them with " great freedom of heart and 
clearness of voice," while nearly a thousand people stood outside 
the edifice, and hundreds had gone away for want of room, he was 
struck with the thought of proclaiming the word, as Christ did, 
in the open air. He mentioned it to some friends, who looked 
upon it as a fanatical notion. " However," he writes, " we 
knelt down and prayed that nothing may be done rashly. Hear 
and answer, O Lord, for Thy name's sake." 

He went to Bristol, his native city, which had formerly re- 
ceived him with enthusiasm. The churches were open to hun at 
his arrival, but in a fortnight every door was shut, except that of 
Newgate prison ; and this, also, was soon after closed against him 
by the authority of the Mayor. Not far from Bristol lies Kings- 
wood, a place which has since become noted in the history of 
Methodism. It was formerly a royal chase, but its forests had 
mostly fallen, and it was now a region of coal mines, and inhabited 
by a population which is described as lawless and brutal, worse 
than neathens, and differing as much from the people of the sur- 
rounding country in dialect as . in appearance.f There was no 
church among them, and none nearer than the suburbs of Bristol, 
three or four miles distant. Whitefield found here an unques- 
tionable justification of field preaching, and on Saturday, February 
17, 1739, he crossed the Eubicon, and virtually led the incipient 
Methodism across it, by the extraordinary irregularity of preach- 
ing in the open air. Standing upon a mount, he proclaimed the 
truth to about two hundred degraded and astonished colliers. 
He took courage from the reflection that he was imitating the 
example of Christ, who had a mountain for his pulpit, and the 

* Gillies's Life of Whitefield, chap. 4, note. 

t Philip's Life and Times of Whitefield, chap. 4. 

t SouthefB Wesley, chap. 6. 


heavens for a sounding-board ; and who, when his Gospel was 
rei^ised by the Jews, sent his servants into the highways and 
hedges. " Blessed be God," he writes, " that the ice is now 
broke, and I have now taken the field. Some may censure me, 
but is there not a cause ? Pulpits are denied, and the poor 
colliers are ready to perish for lack of knowledge." 

He repeated his labours at Kingswood with continually in- 
creasing hearers ; two thousand were present at his second ser- 
mon ; from four to five thousand at his third ; and they rapidly 
grew to ten, fourteen, and twenty thousand. His marvellous 
powers found their ftdl play in this new arena, and his poetic 
spirit felt the grandeur of the scene and its surroundings. He 
speaks of the sun shining very brightly, and the people standing 
in such " an awful manner around the mount," and m such pro- 
found silence, as to fill him with a " holy admiration." The trees 
and hedges were full. All was hushed when he began ; and he 
preached for an hour with great power, and so distinctly that aU 

could hear him. "Blessed be God," he writes, " Mr. spoke 

rightly ; the fire is kindled in the country." To behold such 
crowds standing together in solemn silence, and to hear the echo 
of their singing resounding over the mighty mass, suggested to 
him the scene of the general assembly of the spirits of just men 
made perfect, when they shall join in singing the song of Moses 
and the Lamb in heaven ! ' The moral efiect of these occasions 
still more deeply impressed him. Having no righteousness of 
their own to renounce, the poor colliers were glad to hear that 
Christ was a friend to publicans, and came not to call the 
righteous, but sinners to repentance. He could see the effect of 
his words by the white gutters made by the tears which trickled 
down their blackened cheeks, for they came unwashed out of the 
coal-pits to hear him. Hundreds after hundreds of them were 
brought under deep religious impressions, which, as the event 
proved, happily ended in sound and thorough conversions. The 
change was soon visible to all observers. As the scene was quite 
new, and "Whitefield had just begun to preach extempore, it 
often, he says, occasioned him inward conflicts. Sometimes, 
when twenty thousand people were before him, he had not, in 
his own apprehension, a word to say either to God or to them. 
**But," he continues,"! was never totally deserted, and fre- 
quently (for to deny it would be lying against God) so assisted 
that I knew by happy experience what our Lord meant by say- 
ing, * Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' " The 
open firmament above him, the prospect of t\ie «LdL^?^eti\> ^^^^ 

liome on ^nHsel^k, and somd in* flie istee», amd at tin^^ *^M 
Affected aikd <Jifen6hed in tears together/* p1i*feBe!!i*^ K^ scene w&tek 
was snftiiDiie rfnd J(* tiines ovetpoWering to Ms H^ it]iagiBttti<MV 
esp^ciftllj when tlife grand picto^e was ittipi*esi9ed Witll Une Boleitt*' 
nity of the appi^o^hing evenmg. " It was tMe*,** lief Wi^lesv 
*^ imiost too much for*, aild quite overcame mev*** 

He soon began to preach boldly oil a largfe bOWlii^-gl?«fti ifl 
Bristol, aiict a» thousands flocked to the ncJTel seerie, be Wrote to 
Wesley to come to his aad. Wesley arrived on Satui^lajr eteisdi^, 
ApirtI 31, 1739. He coidd hardly iteconcile himself at ^Sf^^ he 
li^s, **^to this strangfe way of preaching in the fielda, of Which he 
^t me ah example oh! Sunday, havihg been all fay life, tiU l^ei^ 
Iftteiy, so tenacious of every point relatinig to de'6ency and ord^, 
that I should have thot^ht the saving of souJs ahnost a sin, if ^ 
had not been done in a chhrch." The next evening, WtitefieM 
being gone, he began expounding to a small ** Society " the Sei*- 
moxi on the Mount; "one pretty remarkable precedeht,*' he 
Writes, " of field-preaching, though I suppose thei*e wef& chtt^ebea 
at that time also." Monday, 2hd of May, ait four in the afte:?-' 
noon, he " submitted to be more vile,"^ he saya, and proclaimed m 
the optii air the glad tidings of salvation, from a little eminenee 
in a ground adjoining the city, to about three thoHfifa^d people. 
His teit befitted the occasion : " The Spirit of the Lof d is upoh* 
hie, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the= 
poot. He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted ; to preaeb 
deKverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind ; to 
set at liberty them that are bi^uised ; to proclaim the acceptable 
year of the Lord." Ih a few days more he was standing on the° 
top of Hannam Mount, in Kingswood, p:^oelaiming, **Ho, every 
one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, . . yea, come bfty 
wine and milk without money and without ptiCe j" and i& thJe 
afternoon he again stood lip amid five thohsand, and etied, " If 
any man thirst let him come unto me and drmk.'* He too had- 
now ci'ossed the Rubicon, and all who khew him knew that with 
him there could be no retreat. 

Driven out of the churches, the new evangelists bad evi- 
dently taken possession of the people. Whitefield committed hiit 
out-door congregations to Wesley, and left for other fields, ^e 
multitude sobbed aloud at his farewells ; crowds gathered at his 
door when he departed, and twenty accompanied him out of the 
chjr on horseback. His exit was hardly less triumphant than at 

* Gillies's Whitefield, chap. 4. 

OBl&Iff OV 1CETH0DISX. 83 

hknf lomer imky notwitlistajtt&xg^ Bis diSevent trafltBcnt' firom 1^ 
eld^jand authOTitM, As he passed tlirouig>li Kiagwrood tike 
gnrteM etoDiers stopped Mm ; ik»j had prepaorecl an* '^ emtertom- 
menf ^ jfor 1dm, and oiesed subsenption& for a dkmnt^ sdiooL io 
be establiflbed among them. He was surprised^ at tbeur krah 
lilieKalitj ; amd bvfmg, sfc their upgent request, » eoinerHertoDe lir 
the lyuilc^gv Imelt down; on> the grou&d among' iAuNB, and prayed 
tdtLttt the giiteS' o£ hell migiit isot pveyaiUi agamst it, to wJ^eb. 
theie roughs -vinces responded a ^£UPt j '^ Amen.** Breaiking ttway 
irom t^m at last, he passed krdo Wales. 

BeMgiou and morab had snnk as low in t^ Fnneipalitj, 
during this eentmrj, as in other pspts of the eountry. A eo&- 
t0i^>oracy witness* represents that s^piritual durimess hung- ever 
the land. The morals of both high and low weve general]^ em- 
mpt ; drunkenness, gluttony, and licentiousness being e^erjw&ere 
pwrnlent. Saturday night was spent, usuaUy to the daw» of 
the 8abbath, m the Noaweithian Camt, or song^^inging to* the 
harp, aecompanied with dancings and Sunday afternoon at 
the Achwaren-Oamp, athletic spc^ amd rustic dianees, whi^ 
drew together' the popu&tion o« towns and villages*; while the 
JBohi ^erdded, or walking people, a vagabond elasti, infested the 
country, living by beggary; The church, meaorwhile, is repre- 
sented as almost totally inert, and ^ nothing would appear more 
improbable than that Methodism could find proselytes'^ among a 
people so thoughtless, reckless, and profligate. Many F»)al 
supevstiticms still lingered among the peasantry, and Wesley, at his 
first visiit, sad^ " they were as ^tle versed in the principles of 
CbristiKDaty as a Creek or Cherokee Indian," a condition which 
Methodism* was destined totally to revolutionize. 

The moral desolation of the country induced Griffith J<mes, 
who*, tkongh he lived and died a clergyman of the Establishment, 
became'^noted as a Methodist, to attempt some exferaordinary 
meaa^ fear its improvement. He establbhed the Welsh ** cireu<- 
lating sdkK^" an itinerant system of religious edueatic^f, con- 
ducted by an organized corps of instructors, who were distributed 
over tiie coimtry to teach the common people to read the Scrip- 
tures m Welsh) and to instruct them in the catechism aaid m 
psalmody. They passed from one district to another, pausing 
sufficiently in each to teach such persons as they found willing to 

* Sae *^ Ajk. Aecount of Beligion in Walee about the MiddliB of the 
fiighteeiit& Century." Pbilip*8 WhiteaeM, chap. &. It w«b ta^n^ from the 
mouth ol » veirjF oM Welfih Methodist, and published in 1^99) la ^hft IVj^soreo.) 
MUttdbgpBiyvafltomasChajrlai^ol Balik 


receive them, and revisiting them for the same purpose at inter- 
vals. This novel scheme was soon extended over the whole 
country. Jones was meanwhile the most indefatigable preacher 
in "Wales ; and while the "Wesleys and "Whitefield were beginning 
their extraordinary labours in England, he was making preaching 
tours, and extending his itinerant schools, through a large portion 
of the Principality. He sometimes preached from tombstones, 
and on the green award, for the churches could not accommodate 
the people. About the time of Whitefield's visit, one hundred 
and twenty-eight of his schools were in operation ; and they had 
been established in almost every parish when their venerable 
founder died, in 1761. Though a faithful Churchman, the im- 
pulse which he gave to religion in "Wales resuscitated and greatly 
promoted evangelical Dissent. His teachers became the earliest 
native Methodist preachers ; and their travels as instructors, as 
also his own preaching tours, opened the way for the Methodist 
itinerancy. He co-operated .afterwards with Wesley and White- 
field, met in their Conferences in London, and is entitled to be 
considered one of the Methodist founders. 

The name of HoweU Harris is as dear to evangelical Welsh- 
men as that of Griffith Jones. He was bom at Trevecca, in 
1714. In 1735 he went to Oxford to study for the Church, but 
disgust at the infidelity and immorality which prevailed there, 
drove him away. Eetuming to Wales, he began to exhort the 
neglected poor in their cottages, and was so successful that in a 
few months he formed several societies among them, thus afford- 
ing another of those providential coincidences which mark the 
religious history of the times. Thirty of these organizations 
were sustained by him at the time of Whitefield' s amval, and in 
three years more they numbered three hundred. He lived and 
died a Churchman, but received little sym pathy from the Esta- 
blished clergy, and, until the visits of Whitefield and the Wes- 
leys, pursued his evangelical labours almost alone, apparently 
vdthout anticipating that they would result in a wide-spread Dis- 
sent. In 1715 there were only thirty Dissenting chapels in the 
Principality, and in 1736 only six in all North Wales ; * in 1810 
they numbered nearly a thousand ; they have since increased to 
more than two thousand.f 

* Philip's Life and Times of Whitefield, chap. vi. 

t According to the official statistics of the British Gt>vemment for 1857, 
they were about 2300. Over one million, or nearly the whole Welsh popula- 
tion, now attend public worship some part of the day every Sabbath. There 
is now a church; l^ational or Dissenting, to nearly every three square miles 

OBiarer of msthodisii. 85 

Hams was a lay preacher ; he applied repeatedly for ordina- 
tion, but was denied it by the bishops on account of his irregular 
modes of labour. Whitefield passed from Kingswood to Cardiff, 
and there saw him for the first time. Their souls met and 
blended like two flames, and " set the whole Principality in a 
blaze." * For three years had the laborious lajrman travelled, 
and preached twice nearly every day. Seven counties had he gone 
over, calling the people to repentance, addressing them in fields, 
from tables, walls, or hillocks. " He is ftdl of the Holy Ghost," 
wrote Whitefield; "blessed be God, there seems a noble spirit 
gone out into Wales." And he expresses himself as not doubt- 
ing that Satan envied the happiness of their first meeting, and as 
believing that they should make his kingdom shake throughout 
the Principality. They held public meetings immediately in 
Cardiff, preacmng amid weeping crowds within and a scoffbig 
rabble without. 

The next day they were at Newport, where Whitefield ad- 
dressed a large assembly. He found, he said, Wales well pre- 
pared for the Gospel ; new schools were opening every day, on 
the plan of Griffith Jones, and the people readily came twenty 
miles to hear a sermon. Husk, Pontypool, Abergavenny, Car- 
lean, and Treleck were rapidly visited. In some instances the 
churches were opened to him, and when they could not accommo- 
date the crowd he preached a second sermon in the open air. All 
the way, he says, he could think of nothing so much as of Joshua, 
going from city to city and subduing the devoted nations. Mobs 
threatened him, but he hesitated not. At Treleck, being denied 
the church, he stood upon a horseblock before the inn and de- 
livered his message. At Carlean, Harris had been assailed by 
the rabble, who beat a drum and huzzaed around him. White- 
field considered it to be a challenge which he himself ought 
to accept. He stood up amid " many thousands," but " God 
suffered them not to move a tongue." He preached with un- 
usual power, and " was carried out beyond himself." Harris 
followed the English discourses of Whitefield with exhortations 
in Welsh. They were congenial spirits, and their co-operation 
gave an impulse to the religious spirit of Wales which has not 
only been felt down to our day, but promises to be perpetual. 

of Wales. (Article by Rev. J. Gt, Evans, in New York Observer, May 1, 
1858.) Methodism, which, as we shall hereafter see, made but slight im- 
pression on Scotland, has elevated the popular religious condition of Wales 
above that of Scotland. 

* PhiUp's Whitefield, chap. vi. 

86 HiiSBOsr &t missnocNmu. 

JMsarttbg %& SogJanA, WMtefield ianmeasaei a ki^ poeidasi of 
tke c««uDdbrj« |>iiQaofaiDg At ibcmiling-^vemis, anacket-cvoiMB, mid cm 
tbe J^gbwfvys. iAiitor ;tihufi i^reparuBtg the !iv!&j for the W^Adym, bj 
aEonsiog the fpepular attention c£ the rural distzrictsi, he went to 
Loadon, whene, while opening the sexrioes at latingtan (flmccby 
he ^as .dleneed hj a ohurehwarden, but «tood upon a temh in 
the 'diurdl^ascl, and proclaimed /the tristh to the willicg people^ 

l&scluded £rom f^ l^e ohnrehea, he resokred to pi^eaeh at 
Moospfields^on the aiext ;Srnndaj. His ifriends adxaonished tiiin of 
dflOQ^^ frcan the drabble which &equeDted 'that noted z^soet ; two 
of tkem, fhoid^Yor, had eourage eneugh^o accompany him. Arm 
in asm, they puabad their wa^ through the nmltitude:; but he 
wai :eeparated irom his companions fbj the !pressure,.and borne 
aksjxg ^mpim^fB, lane wlsdi the mob formed for him to the centre 
of dftie 'fields. A ii^le placed <there for ^his pulpit ^fas broken to 
pieces ; he was then pressed to a wall, mounting which he preached 
to the swarming dihousands with such effect that they were soon 
tamed dawn ito *the qmet and decorum of a church. '^ The wc^ 
of the.L(Mrd,"hewrEiiefl, "runs and is glorified; people's heai»t8 
seem quite tbrok^i; «God strengthens meesoBedingly.; I preadb 
till I sweat <through and through.^ 

He went the iiame evening to Eienmngton <^ommon, and 
addressed a YSiat multitude. These ^labours he .contmued with 
increasing onterest. Scores of carriages, hundreds of horsemen, 
and thirty or forty thousand on foot, thronged around him.* 
GQbeir singing ^ould be heard twx> mUes ofi^ and his own yoice a 
mile. Waggons land scaffolds were hired to the (throng that they 
might the better hear and -see tthe wonderful -preacher, who, con- 
secrated and gowned as -a ^dlergyman of the national hierarchy, 
had Ibroken ;away from its drigid decorum, .and, ;Hke his Biviive 
Master, had come out into the highways and hedges to save their 
neglected ;souls. The .genuine popular heart recognized him as a 
true apostle ; and in the coUeotions, made .after these field ser- 
mons, for 'his ^Oi^phan Asylum, the poor people gave their half- 
pence so .liberally that the was wearied down in receiving them, 
and a; single man i could not. carry the amount home for him. He 
records a contribution, of which nearly one-half consistedvof (but 
little short of ten thousand pieces of copper. After the collec- 
tion had been taken, the crowd gathered around his carriage 
throwing their mites into the windows. Such are -the people at 
heai^, whatever their voices and fists may declare in the mob. 

* He gives one estimate of nearly sixty thousand in Moof^ldi. .Bhilip'fl 
Life, etc., chap. iy. 

W^^fi i^e£^i)tii^e, w^ ^ceatl/ suc<;e88{ful i^ Bristol, where 
he ihfd/onae^ ''!$^^48j" .aii4 ft^ Kmgswopd, w.bere the J^c^ool^ 
b^^ by SiThitefield, wji^ rismg u^d^ his care. He pa^4e e^^^Cr 
siim3, also, to othear tpwps, ^nd Jiis journals f^ord, on aln^p^t 
^YQ^y page^ exfimples of incredible labours. Astpoishing effects 
bega^ to i^ttend his word. While preaching at Newgate, Bmtol, 
on :the words, " ^e that beli,ey;eth hath eyerl^ting life," he was 
J^, witbov^t f^j previous design, to declare strongly and ,e2;pli- 
•citij tbat iQpd wiUeth " all mpn to be thys saved," and to pray 
that if this WjQre ,the tenth of God, he would " bear witness to Hi 
w<^rd." Jmioedi^^tely one, and another, and another, sai^c to the 
-^rth; " they 4j?pppcd on every side as thunderstruck." And the 
n^t day he records '^ tbat all Kewgate rang with the cries of 
^hose whom the "WordfCjf God cut to the heart."* His own ^pic^ 
grew nvigl^y in the consciousness pf the moral power he was now 
wielding by (the "Word of God. On one occasion, he says, his soul 
"was so enlarged he thought he could h^ve cried out, in another 
sense th^ Archimedes, ^* Give me where to stand and I will shake 
1;he earth." The same day he stood amid hundreds of people o^ 
Sose Greep, and taking for his tezt, " The .God of glory thunder- 
•^th," etc., preached to them in a storm of lightning and r^, 
which could not disperse .tbem &om his magical presence. 

In one pf his excursions to £ath, abonjb this time, he encoun- 
^f^ved the noted Beau Nash, the pi^esiding genius of its gaieties. 
'lEhe incident is interesting, as being the $rst of those public 
interruptions pf his ministry which were soon to degenerate into 
3p[iobs, and agitate most of England and Ireland. The fashionable 
peetendpr hoped to confound the jH^eacher and amuse the town, 
iut w^ (Confounded himself. Wesley says there was great public 
^xpectiktipn of what was to be done, ^.nd he was entreated not to 
preach, for serious consequences might happen. Tbe re^port 
gained him a large audience, among whom were many pf the rich 
lind fashioufikble. He addressed himself pointedly to high and 
low, rich wd poor. Many of them seemed to be surprised, and 
Ticere sinking ^ast injbo seriousness, when their champion appeared, 
^nd, coming close to the preacher, asked bj what authority be 
did these things ? " By the authority of Jesus Christ, conveyed to 
me hj the now Archbishop of Canterbury, when he laid hands 
upon me and said> Take thou authority to preach the Gospel," was 
4be reply. " Thi^ is contrary to act of parliament ; this is a cpn- 
y#nticle," rejoined Nash. " Sir," said Wesley, " the conventicles 
l»en*ioned in thftt.a^st, as the preamble 8hows,are seditious meetings; 

* Journal, Anno 1789. 


but this is not such ; here is no shadow of sedition ; therefore it is 
not contrary to that act." " I say it is," replied Nash ; " and, be- 
sides, your preaching frightens people out of their wits." " Sir, 
asked Wesley, ** did you ever hear me preach ?" " No." " How, 
then, can you judge of what you never heard ?"• " Sir, by common 
report." " Common report is not enough ; give me leave, sir, to 
ask, is not your name Nash ?" " My name is Nash." " Sir," con- 
tinued "Wesley, " I dare not judge oiyov, by common report." The 
irony was too pertinent to fail of effect. Nash paused awhile, but, 
having recovered himself, said, " I desire to know what these people 
come here for?" One of " the people" replied, " Sir, leave him 
to me ; let an old woman answer him : you, Mr. Nash, take care of 
your body; we take care of our souls, and for the food of our souls 
we come here." His courage quailed before the sense and wit of 
the common people, and, without another word, he retreated in 
haste. As "Wesley returned the street was full of people hurrying 
to and fro, and speaking emphatic words. But when any of them 
asked, " Which is he ?" and he replied, " I am he," they were 
awed into silent respect. 

He had already undesignedly become an " Itinerant." His 
ordinary employment in public, he says, was now as follows : 
every morning he read prayers and preached at Newgate ; every 
evening expounded a portion of Scripture to one or more of the 
societies. On Monday, in the afternoon, he preached abroad, 
near Bristol ; on Tuesday at Bath and Two-mile Hill, alternately ; 
on Wednesday, at Baptist Mills; every other Thursday, near 
Peneford ; every other Friday, in another part of Kingswood ; on 
Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, in the Bowling Green 
(which lies near the middle of Bristol); on Sunday, at eleven, 
near Hannam Mount ; at two, at Clifton ; and at five, on Bose 
Green ; and " hitherto," he adds, ** as my days, so my strength 
hath been." 

His societies in Bristol grew so rapidly that he was compelled 
to erect a place of worship for their accommodation ; and thus 
was another step taken forward in the independent career upon 
which he was being unconsciously led by the providence of God. 
On the 12th of May, 1739, the comer-stone " was laid with the 
voice of praise and thanksgiving." This was the first Methodist 
chapel in the world. He had not the least design of being per- 
sonally engaged either in the expense or the direction of the work, 
having appointed " eleven feoffees," on whom he supposed the 
burden woidd fall ; but, becoming involved in its entire financial 
responsibility, he was constrained to change this arrangement* 


And as to the direction of the undertaking, he says he presently 
received letters from his friends in London, Whitefield in parti- 
cular (backed with a message by a person just from the metro- 
polis), that neither he nor they would have anything to do with 
the building, nor contribute anything towards it, unless he woidd 
instantly discharge all feoffees and do everything in his own name. 
Many reasons they gave for this course ; but one was decisive 
with him — ^namely, that such feoffees always would have it in 
their power to control him, and, if he preached not as they liked, 
to turn him out of the house he had bmlt. He accordingly 
yielded to their advice, and, calling all the feoffees together, can- 
celled, without opposition, the instrument made before, and took 
the whole management into his own hands. Money, he says, it 
is true, he had not, nor any human prospect of procuring it ; but 
he knew " the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof," and 
in His name set out, nothing doubting. In this manner was it 
that the property of all his chapels became vested solely in him- 
self during the early part of his career, a responsibility which was 
necessary in his peculiar circumstances, which he never abused, 
and which he transferred, in prospect of his death, by a " deed of 
declaration," to his Legal Conference. Decisions in the Court 
of Chancery, made under this document, have given security to 
the property, and stability to the whole economy of "Wesleyan 
Methodism down to our day. 

Charles "Wesley was labouring, meantime, incessantly in many 
parts of London, and Ingham in Yorkshire. "Whitefield lingered 
in London, as if detained to thrust out "Wesley before the multi- 
tudes there. "Wesley arrived from Bristol, and the next day 
a<;companied him to Blackheath, to hear him preach. Between 
twelve and fourteen thousand people were present. "Whitefield 
urged him to address them ; he recoiled, but at last consented, 
and thus became known as a field-preacher in the metropolis. 
Whitefield felt that he himself had done a good work that day. 
He says : " I went to bed rejoicing that another fresh inroad was 
made into Satan's territories, by Mr. "Wesley following me in 
field-preaching in London as well as in Bristol." 

After accompanjdng "Wesley to Bristol, Kingswood, and 
Gloucester, and visiting other places as a field-preacher, "WTiite- 
field embarked again for America August 14, 1739. He had a 
work of preparation to do there also, for, in a few years, 
"Wesley's itinerants were to follow on his track. 

Most English religious writers of our day, who have treated 
of these events, have come to acknowledge the utility, if not the 

tbfsff *iawi, for ibe fee^ielieiai rosutts ;%i?^ io^ribei spn ^ :tit^ jliii^ 
^d (m. m^ cf jfehe ?roiil4; buifc fttey taye oapffc beeji^ e^mily 

9€^QttB ay^ngeliats, and wMch etwrpxiised ;tIi<^£(L iifi ajip^i^b ^ i^^ 
^ewieij. Jt WW «»poariWe tlw* su^Si ,ex^aQ?diq(W:!7 .^eiitiftc^ 
djo\tld ivot fee ,^<5C05a|watted by ei^t^ftopdinary esQirt^^eiilt, i^-nd M? 
TOifl., peijtope., .f^^i^tHy impoQftible tjh^/fc #Le «xtij8<Qrdin»ry ,€3:4te- 
mc^Bt shoiMJld ^PiQt oQQa^on cpriiespQndent pbyBic^J. effi^ts. S^iste 
<rf*h^ae effeaia i^ji^e ;^««dy bee?i jBaembipned. Th^ ftVQsj} .siDgyJ^ 
fyteja ^put itb^n iis, ibftt JE«r a eoneideKtbie tiijoue tb^ ,#upQpi<» 
^dPW B3xd ^oqwence .of Wfettefield did not produce cth^m, ::s^^j 
under tbe iQiiIjbp^ and iwwe logical preacbing of W^eley, p^^ple 
dropped pn every .ride as tf tbmiderstruck. It is alsp jiotpwprftby 
tbat, fipoin ftfae idate .©f bjs rpttujn from Germany dp^^ tP ifcbw 
time, iUot Pine pf bis ^ts, as a?ec€a*ded in bis joumf^ls, w^ pf .§, 
seveveor te^pnficQbaracter, bnt tbey'w<ere,.as in most of bjp yfe, 
selected frp^i tbe ■ * great and precipus promises," or related 4;o 
tbe ojftture and oneans ctf personal relogion. Yet nnden^ suqb 
preaciiing did (bfkrdeoaed, as well as senaitiye bearers, fiftll ^i>wid 
bim Jike meiXiSbpt in battle. Wibile preacbing on tbe Common, 
at Bristol, from !the words, ** Wben tbey bad notbip^ ito pfiiy, ^e 
frankly forgaye tbem botb," a young woman sank do^ipi in 
violent agony, as did five or si?: persons at another meeting juii tbe 
evening. Many iwere greatly offended by tb^ir cries. Tbe &em^ 
offence was given during tbe day by one at "^Jbeaner's Hftll," 
a»d by eigbt or jnineoifcbers at "Gloucester liane." One offjibese 
was. a young lady, wbose mother was irritated at tbeiscandftl, a^ 
she cftUed it, /ftf rber daughter's conduct; but "the mother wa? 
the next who idropped down and lost her ^e^ises in a .moment, yet 
went home with her daughter full of joy, as did most ,pf those 
who bad been in jpain." Such "phenomena" increased con- 
tinually. Bold bliispbemers were instantly seized with agony, 
and cried aloud fpr the divine merpy, and scores were .sometimes 
strewed on the ground at once, insensible as dead men. A trp.- 
veller at one-time was passing, but on pausing a moment to hear 
tbe preacher wi^ ,directly smitten to tbe earth, and lay tbca^ 
apparently without life. A Quaker, who was admonishing (tbe 
by^standers against these sia^ange scenes as affect^tipn and hypo- 
crisy, was himself struck down, as by an unseeai b^nd, wbil© ^b© 
irords of reproach were yet upon his lips. A »?^wr, 9 great 
diBlJier of JPmenkefB, iearing thai tbe new >ex^lifHa*ent jwpuld 

diiexwto Jus .a:ieiglxbo\u:9 froia the ChurQb, went ^bavt liefljauslj 
taoxag ii^mi io prc^ee ithat it was the work of Satan, ajid wquJ4 
enjdEii;gfir.th0ir^oul€i. A iiew convert lent him one of IWeslej'a 
senoons.; while reading it at home he suddenly turned j)aie^ fell 
to the Aoodc:, .and roiuied j^ mightily that the people ;r^ into the 
hox^ie &Qm the alirc^ts, ajxd fowid him sweating, weepii^, md 
acBeaOTPg in aii^ish. Se recovered lus -self-possession., and 
morose rejoicing in ^God. On one occasion great numbeirs fell 
around the pisedchctr, while he wiks inviting them to '^ enter into 
tbe Holiest by a new and living way." A woman opposed them 
aa .giving way to ^an .agitation which they might control, and en- 
deavoured to escape from the assembly. Scarcely had .she got 
tlwee or four yi^ds when ^e feU down in as violegat agony as the 

IsTot jintil July, 1738!, when Whitefield was <igain with 
5Kealey, did mlj .such phenomena attend iis ,own preachic^. 
** Saturday, *|9th,*^ says Lesley, " I had an opportunity to talk 
wdth.lum of those outward signs which had so c#en accompanied 
the inward iwonk of (Jod. I found his objections were chiefly 
grounded on gross misrepresentations of matter of fact, i^nt the 
iM^sday he had an opportunity of informing himself better, for 
ixo sooner had he begun to invite all. sinners to believe in Christ 
than four pers(u^ sAnk down dose to him, almost at the same 
moment. Qne of .them lay without either sense or .motion. 
The third had.s^rong : convulsions all over his body, but made no 
uoise .unless by ^groajcis. 3?he fourth, ;equaUy convulsed, called 
upon God with strong cries and tears. f!rom this time I trust 
we shall all suffer Ood to carry on his own work in the way that 
pleaseth Him.*' 

These marvels were not peculiar to Methodism ; they had 
occurred in " BeHgious Keviv^ " fixjm the Reformation dowji to 
this 'time. Edwards recorded them as common under his minis- 
try jin New Jlftgland.* .Gillies shows them to have been frequent 
in .Scotland and other sections of ,the Church.t They have 
. occunjed in our day, with even an epidemic prevalence, in many 
partSiof America. Charles Wesley discountenanced them. John 
isonsidared them at .first with favour, as proofe of the power of 
*.the tteuth, but afterward discouraged them. Most Methodists 

* 3ee his Treatise on the Boligious Affections, and his Narrative Qf the 
i^ew'En^ktnd BeViyill. 

•^ ■ €)-iuied'« HistortoAl Collections ; see also Watson's Obserrations on 
Soathsyi^s Life of Weaker. Isaac Tajlor's solution of these affectuxcka.S&v'Qia^ 
Ifolo^ticyrbutrp^haps eqaally &ntastio : Wesley and MftlYio^m. 


agree with Watson, " that in no such cases does the occasional 
occurrence of noise and disorder prove that an extraordinary 
work in the hearts of men was not then carrying on hy the Spirit 
of God, that by the exercise of a firm discipline, then most of all 
to be exerted, they are to be as far as possible repressed, for the 
power of the work does not lie in them ; and that yet discipline, 
though firm, ought to be discriminating, for the sake of the real 
blessing with which, at such seasons, God is crowning the adminis- 
tration of His truth." They will come under our consideration 
more fully hereafter. 

The new movement had now advanced too far for a retreat, 
and had acquired too much energy to stand still ; it must go 
forward with increasing " irregularities" and isolation from the 
Church. Charles "Wesley was cited to Lambeth, and threatened 
by the Archbishop with excommunication ; for while his brother 
was preaching in the open air at Bristol, and Whitefield in Moor- 
fields, he had followed their example in Essex, at Thaxted, and 
other places. He was somewhat mtimidated by the menace ; 
but Whitefield, whose agency seems to have been always oppor- 
tune throughout this stage of Methodism, was at hand for his 
rescue, and exhorted him to take his stand openly in Moorfields 
the following Sunday. He did so, preaching there to ten thou- 
sand hearers. He preached elsewhere in the afternoon, and still 
later on the same day, "to multitudes upon multitudes,'* at 
Kennington Common. At night he sought consolation at the 
Moravian Society, in Petter Lane. He, too, was now fully com- 
mitted to the "irregularities " of the new movement. 

Apparently adverse events hastened its development. Peter 
Bohler had formed the constitution of the Fetter Lane Society. 
Wpsley, though virtually recognized as its guide, had not inter- 
fered with its regulations. But dangerous errors were creeping 
into it : some of its members denounced the institution of the 
Christian ministry, and some all religious ordinances; others 
became Antinomians, and Quietism prevailed among them. Some 
of the customs and hymns introduced by the Moravians were > 
exceptionable. Molther, a Moravian recently from Germany, 
promoted these errors with unwearied enthusiasm, and incul- 
cated "True stillness" as a substitute for external means of 
grace. Wesley hastened to London, and found, he says, "every 
day the dreadful effects of our brethren's reasoning and disputing 
with each other. Scarcely one in ten retained his first love, and 
most of the rest were in the utmost confusion, biting and de- 
voming one another." He entreated them to stand in the old 


patbsy and no longer to subvert one another by idle controversies 
and strife of words. He left tbem apparently reconciled, and 
Molther acceded to his counsels ; but scarcely had he returned 
to Eristol before information reached him of new troubles. 
Again he visited and admonished them, but was not successfuL 
On Sunday, July 20, 1740, he read to the society his objections, 
and being resisted, took final leave of it. He was followed by 
about a score of its members, to whom nearly fifty were soon 
after added, comprising most of the female ** Bands." "We 
gathered up," says Charles Wesley, " our wreck rari nantes in 
giirgite vasto, floatuig here and there on the vast abyss, for nine out 
of ten were swallowed up in the dead sea of stillness. Oh, why 
was not this done six months ago ? How fatal was our delay and 
false moderation !" 

Attempts were made by the Moravians for a reunion. 
Peter Boluer arrived soon after the separation ; "Wesley revered 
him more, perhaps, than he did any other man then living, but, 
as his objections applied not so much to the Moravians in general 
as to local evils among them in England, and these could not be 
remedied, he could not follow the counsels of his old friend. " I 
marvel," he says, " how I refrain from joining these men ; I scarce 
ever see any of them but my heart bums within me ; I long to 
be with them, and yet I am kept from them." Spangenberg,* 
his friend in Georgia, and finally Zinzendorf himself, came to 
London to repair the division ; but it was irreparable, and it is 
well, perhaps, that it was so. Time allayed the irritations of 
both parties. Each had its peculiar mission in the world ; each 
has since cordially recognized the other ; but had it not been for 
this temporary disturbance, Wesley and his associates might 
Bave been merged in the Moravian body,t and assuredly not 
with the advantages which have resulted to the world from the 
distinct organization of Methodism. 

* Latrobe, in a note to Spangenberg's Life of Zinzendorf, examines the 
Moravian difficulties in London yery candidly, in reply to Whitefield's 
charges. They seem to haye been temporary errors, and not chargeable to 
the Church elsewhere. Wesley, however, believed, with Whitefield, that they 
were inherent in the Moravian system, and he attacked them often afterwards. 
Ziuzendorf was certainly inclined to defend them. I take, however, with 
pleasure, Latrobe's explanations. 

t At a later period Charles Wesley was deterred from joining the Mora- 
vians, and adopting their English Quietism, only by the strenuous remon- 
strances of fiis brother and Lady Huntingdon. Jackson attempts to disprove 
the fact, but Smith successfully corrects him. Jackson's Charles Wesley, 
ohap. 8 : Smith's Hist, of Methodism, book ii. chap. 2. 


Ifesiey had previously securedf tlie FounAy in Moorfieltb; a 
building which t&e Goveimment had used for the casting of cannon, 
but which was deserted and dilapidated. At the invitatiott of two 
strangers he preached in it, and at their instance, and hy their 
assistance, opened it for regular public worship- on the- lltb day 
of November, 1739, some eight months before his separa^nm^ from 
I3[ie Fetter Lane Society. This date has been considered the epoch 
of Methodism, for thenceforward the Foundry was its head- 
quarters in London. In his " Church History,*' "Wesley assigns 
it other dates, as the formation of the **Holy Glub," at Oxford, 
in 1729 ; and the meeting of himself and others, by the advice of 
Peter Bohler, in Fetter Lane, May 1, 1738 ; but in Ms introduc- 
tion to the "General Eules of the Society,'^ he says: **In the 
latter end of the year 1739, eight or ten persons came to me in 
London and desired that I would spend some time with them in 
prayer, and advise them how to flee from the wrath to comej this 
was the rise of the United Socibty." "This,*^ he tells us, "was 
soon after the consecration of the Foundry." Twelve came the 
first night, forty the next, and soon after a hundred.* Th<mA 
he continued in fraternal relations with the Moravmns till the 
separation of July 20, 1740; the society formed the preceding 
year was organized and controlled by himself, and has continued 
m unbroken succession down to our day. The date of its origm 
was celebrated with centenary solemnities by all the MethocBst 
communities of the world in 1839.t It was signalized not onljr 
by the organization of the Society, and by the opening of the 
Foundry for worship, but by the erection at Bristol of the first 
Methodist chapel, by the organization of ** Bands ** in that city, 
and by the publication by the Wesleys of their " Hymns and 
Sacred Poems," the beginning of that Methodistic psalmody 
which has since been of inestimable service to the denomination 
wherever it has extended.^ 

* Jackson's life of Charles Wesley, chap. 7. 

t Dr. Smith (History of Wesley an MethodisniyBook u.ychaOk.2) argues in 
fiEiTOur of the date of the separation &om the Moravians in 1740. His reasons 
do not, howevec, justify such a deviation from the acknowledigied opinion of all 
Methodist bodies throughout the world. ODhere can hardly be a ^spute 
respectiDg the real epoch of Methodism. The same affirmation cannot be 
made, however, respecting the locality of its origin. " Bands " were formed 
by Wesley, and the "New Room," or chapel, was commenced at Bristol, some 
months before the opening of the Foundry and the formation of the "S^ociety " 
in London. Myles (Chronological History of the Methodists, diap. 1) says : 
** The first preaching-house was buHt in Bristol ; the first which was opmed 
was in London." The italics are his own. 

J At their return from (Georgia they published a similar wort, but ft was 

M»«» cor BSTitoDisir^ dS 

The purely accidental, or, rather, providential maimer in which 
Methodism had reached this stage of its progress, is too obyious 
to need much remark. Dxehided from the churches, and with 
" Bands " of converted men in London, Bristol, and Kingswood 
ufivBe^ Mfr tBifer, "Wesley wa# compeDed ta provide places for their 
assemblies, and rej^iiibfliidicui for their government. He did so 
only as the necessity was thrust upon him, not knowing what 
resti^-^ould fbSow. Neither at this period, nor indeed tst any 
sul^eoEt^Q^ time, did he think of deviating from the National 
Chiffdei. It was the practical and summary philoBopIij of his 
life to do the duty nearest to him, assuired tlmt aE others would 
come in their due order. His least partial biographer has justly 
said, thftt whither his phais at this time were tc^ lead het ki»erw not, 
iidf irh«t consistence the societies he was collecting would take, 
nor wfiere h& was to iSnd labourers as he enlarged hts operations, 
ndr how the scheme was to derive its financial support. But these 
coitSiderattoiKS troubled him not. God, he believea, had appointed 
it, and Goid would always provide means for accomplishing His own 
ends.* Biglish Methomst writers have dJeemea it desirable* to 
defend him against f mptrtations of disregard for the authority and 
"ordegr'" df the I^Tational Church. The task is not difficult, as vnll 
be seen in the course of our narrati-ve ; but it may hereafter be a 
more difficult oiie to defend him, before At rest of the Christian 
irorld, for having been so deferential to a hierarchy whose moral 
eondi^oti at the time he so much denounced, and whose studied 
policy tbtoughout the rest of his life was to disown, if not to de- 
feat hntt. 

hsts adafteti^ 16 pnMc use. The two rotumea issttedf kt 17S9 sprecMi taptAVf 
among: did nd# ** Societies.'* Two* edffcionv were isstrad dtanng the iknt year ; 
f faey kitf^iKMd thAt f opufiar okur«k- leiusie which ht9 ey^ unce be^ ^tarftc- 
ieanjstie of MethodisiB) and one of the moet poteixt means of its success. 
♦ douthe/s Life of Wesley, chap. 9. 

96 mSTOBY or M£THODIi»M. 




Susanna Wesley — ^Her Counsels and Encouragements to her Son — ^Beginning 
of the Lay Ministry — ^David Taylor — >Mob8 — Charles Wesley itinerating — 
Is Mobbed in Wales — ^Whitefield itinerating in America — EfEects of his 
Preaching in Philadelphia — Princeton College — ^His Reception in Boston — 
His Triumphant Passage through the Colonies. 

DuEura these important events Susanna "Wedey was provi- 
dentially still at Hand, though in extreme age, to counsel and 
encourage her son. She had approved his field-preaching, and 
accompanied him ^ to Kennington Common, where she stood by 
his side amid twenty thousand people.* Her son Samuel "Wesley, 
with whom she had resided at "Westminster since the dispersion 
of the family from Epworth, remonstrated against her sanction of 
the irregular labours of his brothers ; but she saw the overruling 
hand of G-od in the inevitable circumstances which compelled 
them to their extraordinary course. A consultation was held in 
her presence respecting their separation from the Fetter Lane 
Society, and she approved that necessary measure. She had been 
led, about this time, by a clearer faith, to sympathize more fully 
than ever with their new views of the spiritual life. John Wesley- 
records a conversation with her on the subject, in which she 
remarked that till lately she had rarely heard of the present 
conscious forgiveness of sins, or the witness of the Spirit, much 
less that it was the common privilege of all true believers. 
"Therefore," she said, " I never durst ask for it myself. But two 
or three weeks ago, while my son Hall, in delivering the cup to 
me, was pronouncing these words : * The blood of our Lord Jesus 
Christ which was given for thee,' they struck through my heart, 
and I knew that God, for Christ's sake, had forgiven me all mi/ 
sins." Wesley asked whether her father (Dr. Annesley) had not 
the same faith, and if she had not heard him preach it to others. 
She answered, he had it himself, and declared, a little before his 
death, that for more than forty years he had no darkness, no fear, 
no doubt at all of his being " accepted in the Beloved ;" but that, 
nevertheless, she did not remember to have heard him preach 
even once explicitly upon it ; whence she supposed he also looked 

* Wesley's Journal, Anno 1739. 


upon it as fhe peculiar blessing of a few, and not as promised to 
all the people of God.* 

Doubtless she had enjoyed before this time a genuine Christiaii 
experience ; her writings incontestably prove this ; her misgivings 
related to the degree of confidence which attends a true flEdth. 
The doctrine of assurance, or the witness of the Spirit, as "Wes- 
ley called it, had always been admitted by the Puritan divines of 
both Old and New England; but, as she remarked, it had not been 
considered the privilege of all true believers. It was a logical 
consequence of the Cfdvinistic theology, that it should be assur- 
ance of eternal as well as of present salvation, and the perilous 
liabilities of such an inference rendered it a rare and almost 
esoteric opinion in Calvinistic Churches. Arminianism alone 
could, therefore, safely restore this precious truth as a common 
privilege to the Church. And herein is seen the providential 
necessity of Arminianism as the theological basis of the Methodist 
movement; for what would Methodism have been without its 
most familiar doctrine, the " witness of the Spirit" as the com- 
mon right and test of Christian experience ? 

Under the stirring events of these times the aged mother of 
Wesley was, after a long and faithful pilgrimage, enabled, "with 
humble boldness," to claim the consolation of that "assurance" 
which she had so long hesitated to accept. Such is the only pos- 
sible explanation of the case. 

In changing the Foimdry into a chapel, he had prepared an 
adjacent house as a residence for himself and his assistants in 
London. Hither his mother now removed, and here she spent 
her remaining days, sustained by his filial care, and counselling 
him in his new responsibilities. . 

After his separation from the Moravians, Wesley resumed his 
itinerant ministoations with unabated zeal. He had appointed 
John Cennick, a layman, to take charge of the Kingswood society, 
and to pray, and expound the Scriptures, though not to preach, 
during nis absence. Thomas Maxfield, one of his converts at 
Bristol, was appointed to the same duties at the Foundry in Lon- 
don, and about the same time John Nelson (a memorable name 
in the annals of Methodism) began to exhort in public, working 
as a mason for his bread by day, and holding meetings at night ; 
and thus, as will hereafter be seen, originated, without design on 
the part of Wesley, that "lay ministry" which has spread and 
perpetuated Methodism in both hemispheres. 

During the years 1740 and 1741 Wesley traversed many part 

* Journal, Sept. 3, 1739. 


oi t&e kingdom, preaching almost daalj, and sometimes four ser- 
mons on the Sabbath. Ingham, his companion ia America^ was 
abroad also, itinerating in Torksbirey wiuere he foanned many 
soeietieBv How.^ Harris pursued his labours successfully in 
Wales, and J^ohn Bennett preached extensively in Perbyshire and 
itsi surrounding countiesv David Taylor, a man of signal useful- 
ness^ also began to travel and preach about this time. He was a 
servant to Lord Huntingdon. Converted through the instrumen- 
tality of the MethodistSy with whom Lady Huntingdon was now 
openly identified, he was encouraged by her to pursue his labours 
in the hamlets around her residence at Bonnington Park. He had 
some eduxsataon, sound sense, and good ability as a preacher. He 
went, under the direction of the Countess, to Glenfield and Eatby, 
in Leicestershire, where his discourses in the open air excited ex- 
traordinary interest, and attracted great assemblies of the rustic 
population. Samu^ Deacon threw down his scythe in the field, 
and wended his way with the multitude to the preaching place ; 
he returned to his home deeply impressed with the truth, and 
eventually became a distinguisned preacher at Earton-fabis, in 
Leicestershire ; his labours and church extended out into Hug- 
glescote, Melbourne, Lo\:^hborough, Derby, Leicester (where a 
decayed church was resuscitated), Nottingham, and other places. 
AU the iweighbouring regions^ in fine, were pervaded by the 
Methodistic influence thus introduced, and the salutary results 
continue to our day.* 

Mobs began to assail the travelling evangelists, but they often 
"melted away like water, and were as men that had no strength,*' 
before Wesley's appeals. The rabble met him in throngs as he 
descended from the coach at the door of the Foundry, preventing 

* The churches thus formed, together with others in Cambridge and 
Yorkshire, were united, in 1770, into a " connection," with Baptist principles. 
In 1840 it comprised one hundred and thirteen churches, eleven thousand 
three hundred and fifty-eight members, five district home missionary societies, 
a foreign missionary society, and two academies. The author of the " Life and 
Times of Lady Huntingdon" (vol. i. p. 44) says : "The principal strength of 
the New Connection of General Baptists is in the Midland Counties, and 
Barton- fabis is considered the 'mother of them all.* In 1802, the Midland 
Conference included twenty-one churches. In 1816, the Warwickshire churches, 
six in number, formed themselves into a separate conference; as also in 1825, 
four or five churches in the north of Nottinghamshire were formed into what 
was called the North Midland Conference. The Midland Conference, in 1832, 
included forty-two chu/ches. Ihesefori^-two churches in the Midland Coun- 
ties probably contain seven thousand members ; many of the chapels are large 
and well attended ; the Sunday schools attached have many hundr^ children 
in them. As the little one has become a thousand, may the small one at home 


bis entrance ; but, on taking^ his stand in the street and preaebing 
to tkem of '^ righteousness and judgment to come," thej became 
A quiet and attentive congregation, and dismissed him with many^ 
Messings. Manj more, he says, who came into the Poundry as 
lions in a short time became as lambs, the tears< trickling apace 
dawn the cheeks of those who at first most loudly contradicted 
and bla^hemed. A few days later a riotous multitude entered 
th« building, and attempted to drown his voice by their outcries. 
But soon " the hammer of the Word brake the rocks in pieces ; 
all quietly heard the glad tidings of salvation." On the following 
Suiibday when he came home he found an innumerable mob around 
the door, who raised a simultaneous shout the moment they saw 
him. He sent his friends into the house, and then, walking into 
the midst of the crowd, proclaimed " the name of the Lord, gra- 
cious and merciful, and repenting him of the evil." They stood 
staring one at another. " I told them^" he says, " they could not 
ilee from the face of this great God, and therefore besought them 
that we might aU join together in crying to Him for mercy." To 
this they really agreed. His peculiar power was irresistible ; he 
prayed amid the awe-struck multitude, and then went undisturbed 
to the little company within. 

While he was passing and repassing between London and 
Bristol, with continual deviations to Windsor^ Southampton, 
Leicester, Ogbrook, Nottingham, Bath, and Wales, Charles 
Wesley was 'scarcely less active. He also was assailed by perse- 
cutors. In March, 1740, he was beset by a mob at Bengeworth ; 
he says "their tongues were set on fire of hell." One in the 
crowd proposed to take him away and duck him. He broke out 
into singing with Thomas Maxfield, and allowed them to carry 
him whither they would. At the bridge end of the street they 
relented and left him. But, instead of retreating, he took his 
stand there, and, singing 

" Angel of God, whafce'er betide, 
Thy summons I obey," 

and abroad become a strong nation ! These details, when viewed in connection 
with the itinerant labours of a servant belonging to the Countess of Hunting- 
don, sent forth under her patronage, are peculiarly interesting. But for those 
labours, and the benediction of the Spirit resting upon them, giving maturity 
and reproduction to the seed sown, what would have been the state of thousands 
in. those villages and towns? Coventry is a home missionary station of this 
district, as are also Northampton, Mansfield, Ashbourne, Macclesfield, Man- 
chester, etc." Such is an example of that evangelical influence of Methodism, 
beyond its denominational limits, which has been asserted in our narrative as a 
part of its providential miflsion. 


preached to some hundreds who gathered respectfully around 
him, from the text, " If God be for us, who can be against us ?" 
He had fairly won the field. " Never," he says, " did I feel so 
much what I spoke. The "Word did not return empty, as the 
tears on all sides testified." 

He passed to Evesham, "Westcot, Oxford, and other places, 
preaching, and notwithstanding the clamours of the people, till 
he arrived again in London, where the Foundry, Moorfields, and 
Kennington Common were his arenas. While in the City he was 
tireless also in pastoral labours, devoting three hours daily to 
" conferences" and to the " bands." In June, 1740, he was again 
abroad among the rural towns, accompanied by his faithful assis- 
tant, Thomas Maxfield. He preached in Bexley, Blendon, Bris- 
tol, and Kingswood. At the latter place he was especially re- 
freshed by the good results of the Methodist labours. Methodism 
had already commenced those demonstrations of its efficacy 
among the demoralized masses which have since commanded for 
it the respect of men who have questioned its merits in all other 
respects. " Oh, what simplicity," he exclaims, " is in tjjiis childlike 
people ! A spirit of contrition and love ran through them. Here 
the seed has fallen upon good ground." And again, on the next 
Sabbath, he writes : " I went to learn Christ among our colliers, 
and drank into their spirit. Oh, that our London brethren would 
come to school to Kingswood ! Grod knows their poverty ; but 
they are rich, and daily entering into rest, without* first being 
brought into confusion. Their souls truly wait stiU upon God, 
in the way of his ordinances. Te many masters, come, learn 
Christ of these outcasts, for know, * except ye be converted, and 
become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of 
heaven.' " He questions whether Hermhut could afford a better 
example of Christian simplicity and purity ; and yet these re- 
claimed colliers were repelled from the Lord's Supper by most of 
the regular clergy of the churches of Bristol, because their re- 
formation had been effected by the " irregular " labours of the 

From Kingswood he made a preaching excursion into Wales, 
where he spent three weeks, co-operating with Howell Harris, 
who, though differing from him on the " Five Points " of the Cal- 
vinistic controversy, welcomed him cordially. His last night in 
the Principality was one of stormy riot. He was at Cardiff, ex- 
pecting to depart by water the next day ; Howell Harris and a 
company of devout people had assembled with him there for some 
days, and the interest of their meetings had diverted the public 


attention from the players of the theatre. The latter, joined by 
the populace, and led on by a physician who had taken offence at 
one of Wesley's sermons, assailed the assembly. Many, it is 
said, had bound themselves by an oath to prevent his ftirther 
preaching. At night the mob attacked the house ; the physician 
struck Wesley with his cane, but was tripped down in the con- 
fusion, and after iDJuring several persons, and raving like a de- 
moniac, was carried out ; but the house was quickly again broken 
open by two magistrates, who, however, found it desirable to retire 
after some inquiries. The players then besieged it. " We sang 
on unconcerned," he writes, " though they were armed, and 
threatened to bum the house. The ground of their quarrel is, 
that the Gospel has starved them." After midnight one of the 
actors got into the house, sword in hand : the weapon was 
wrested from him, and he thrust out. "When the sword was 
brought in," says Wesley, " the spirit of faith was kindled at the 
sight of the danger. Great was our rejoicing within, and the 
uproar of the players without, who strove to force their way 
after their companion." The hour had arrived for him to go on 
board the vessel; against the remonstrances of many of his 
friends, he resolutely walked out through the midst of the rab- 
ble ; he was unmolested, and 'passed calmly to the waterside, 
where many of his friends, standing on the shore, joined him in 
hearty thanksgiving. The vessel being delayed, he returned on 
shore after some hours, and found Howell Harris and others 
still assembled. He preached to them again while some of 
his fiercest opposers stood weeping around him. He after- 
wards waited on a magistrate, and presented to him, as a 
trophy, the sword taken from the player the preceding night. 
iSuch is an illustration of the trials and the spirit of the founders 
of Methodism. 

Eetuming to Bristol and Kingswood, be resumed his labours 
there, and visited the neighbouring towns, preaching indefati- 
gably. He records even five sermons a-day. During the sum- 
mer of 1741 he made three more excursions into Wales. His 
travels were rapid, his discourses incessant and powerful, his trials 
from persecutors not a few, but his success was immediate. He 
formed many societies, and opened broadly the way for the later 
progress of Methodism. 

While the Wesleys were thus definitively founding Methodism 
in England, Whitefield was traversing the colonies of North 
America, promoting that more general but salutary influence 
among existing churches which was so important a part of its 


xnismoii on 'botli sides of tbe Atlantic, and -wiMch forms an essen- 
tial feature in its early history.* 

He left England, as we nave seen, on his second Toyage to 
America, in Angust, 1739, and landed at Philadelpiiia in tke 
beginning of November. His eloqnence set the city astii* imme- 
diately ; its effects are described as " truly astonishing." People 
of all denominations, Quakers, Presbyterians, Baptists, as well 
as Churchmen, thronged the churches, and after he had departed, 
public service was held twice every day, and three and four 
times on Suiwiays, for about a year, and the city, though then 
comparatively small, kept up twenty-six societies for social 
prayer. t Though the churches were at his command, he preached 
often in the open air, for the eager multitudes could not find 
room in any building. The favourite place for his out-door 
preaching was the balcony of the old court-house (since Market- 
house), in Market Street. His powerful voice was heard on the 
opposite shore of New Jersey, and the crews of vessels on the 
Delaware could distinguish his words.J 

He passed to New Tork, and on his route through New Jersey 
proclaimed his message in the principal towns to thousands, who 
gathered from all the surrounding regions. A general religious 
interest had been previously excited among them by the labours 
of Prelinghuysen, the Tennents, Blair, and B.owland.§ He re- 
cords that Tennent and his brethren had begun an institution for 
the education of pastors. The building in which the young men 
were then studying was a log-house, about twenty feet long and 
nearly as many broad. From this "despised place" seven or 
eight worthy ministers of Christ had been sent forth, and a foun- 
dation was being laid for the instruction of many others. The 
work, he was persuaded, was of God, and " therefore would not 
come to naught." Thus arose the theological fame of Princeton. 
Nassau Hall received a Methodistic baptism at its birth. White- 
field inspirited its founders, and was honoured by it with the title 
of A.M. ; the Methodists in England gave it funds ; and one of 

* See Isaac Taylor's Methodism. Much of this able but unsatisfactory 
work discusses "Methodism" as distinguished from " Wesleyanism." 

t Memoirs of Mrs. Hannah Hodge. Philadelphia, 1806. 

t Note to American edition of Q^iUies's Life of Whiteifield. Philadelphia, 

§ Physical effects like those which had attended the Methodist preaching 
in England had already occurred in New Jersey under the ministration of 
Kowland; the hearers "fainted away," and numbers were 'carried out of the 
church in a state of insensibility. Gillies's Whitefield, chap. v. 


its noblest presidents was the correspondent of Wesley, and 
honoured Mm as a *' restorer" of the true faith.* 

He spent a week in New York, preaching thrice a-dayin 
churches, and in the open air.f Eeturning on land to 'Georgia, 
he preached throughout his route sometimes ^to ten thousand 
people. Many enthusiastic Philadelphians accompanied him as a 
cavalcade sixty miles jfrom the city. About the middle of January 
he was with lus family at the Orphan House, where forty children 
were soon gathered under his protection. In a short time he 
found it necessary to resume his travels, in order to collect funds 
for their support. Taking passage for Newcastle, Delaware, he 
was before long again addressing thousands in Philadelphia. 
" Societies for praying and singing" were multiplied "in ^every 
part of the town ;" and a hundred and forty of his converts were 
organized into a church in one day by G-ilbert Tennent. His 
Toute through New Jersey was attended, as before, by vast con- 
gregations. Since his previous visit, a general outward reforma- 
tion had become visible. Many ministers had been quickened in 

* When Davies and Grilbert Tennent were in England soliciting aid for the 
.college, fifteen years later, Tennent called on Wesley in London. The latter 
alludes to the Tisit with an expression of his characteristic catholicity. " He 
informed me," he writes, " of his design, now ready to be executed, of founding 
an American college for Protestants of every denomination ; an admirable de- 
sign if it will bring Proiesiants of every denomination to bear with one another J*^ 
—Journal, anno 1^754. Princeton has verified Wesley's doubt rather than his 
liope — and from necessity as much, perhaps, as from choice. American sects 
have derived but questionable advantages from such combinations. President 
Bavies corresponded with Wesley, and addressed him in language which Me- 
thodists have not usually had the pleasure to receive from their Calvinistic 
brethren. "Though you and I," he said, "may differ in some little things, 
I have long loved you and your brother, and wished and prayed for your suc- 
cess, as zetdous revivers of experimental Christianity. If I differ from you in 
temper and design, or in the essentials of reHgion, I am sure the error must be 
on my side. Blessed be God for hearts to love one another ! How great is the 
honour Gtod has conferred upon you in making you a restorer of declining 
religion!** See his letter in Wesley's Journal, anno 1757. 

t The English Church was denied him. He preached usually in Dr. Pem- 
berton's Presbyterian meeting-house in Wall Street, the only one of that de- 
nomination in New York, and in front of the old Exchange in Broad Street, near 
Water Street; and still later at the "Brick Meeting,'* which was then "in 
the fields.*' The effect of his labours was such that Pemberton's church had to 
be repeatedly enlarged. In this city occurred the well-known illustration of 
his dramatic power, when, preaching to a large number of sailors, he intro- 
duced a description of a storm and shipwreck, carrying away their imaginations 
60 irresistibly that in the climax of the catastrophe they sprang to their feet, 
acclaiming : " Take to the long boat !**— ^Conant's Narratives of B>emarkable 
'Conversions and Revival Incidents, etc. New York, 1858. 


their zeal to preacli the Word in season and out of season, and 
their congregations were greatly enlarged. Several preachers, 
prompted by his example, went forth travelling and labouring 
among the towns. After visiting New York with unabated success, 
he again returned to Savannah. But his fame had spread to New 
England, and Rev. Drs. Colman and Cooper, of Boston, sent 
letters to Georgia, urging him to visit them. Again he took 
passage for the north, and arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, 
September 14, 1740. He began immediately his usual course of 
incessant preaching. His sermons on his way to Boston spread 
his reputation, and when within ten miles' distance he was met 
by the governor's son, and a train of the clergy and chief citizens, 
who escorted him into the city. Belcher, the governor, received 
him heartily, and became his warm firiend. He was denied 
"King's Chapel," the English church; but Webb, Foxcroft, 
Prince, Sewell, and all the other Puritan divines, welcomed him. 
His preaching had its usual effect. " It was Puritanism revived," 
said old Mr. Walter, the successor of Eliot, the apostle to the 
Indians. "It was the happiest day I ever saw in my life," ex- 
claimed Colman, after his hrst sermon. He " itinerated" north- 
ward from Boston, travelling one hundred and seventy miles, and 
jpreaching sixteen times in about a week. On his return the 
whole city seemed moved. High and low, clergymen and muni- 
cipal officers, professors and students from the neighbouring 
college of Cambridge, and people from the country towns thronged 
to hear him, and appeared ready to "pluck out their eyes for 
him." Twenty thousand hearers crowded around him when he 
delivered his farewell discourse under the trees of the Common, 
where Lee, the founder of Methodism in New England, was after- 
wards to preach his first sermon in Boston. " Such a power and 
presence of God with a preacher," wrote one who heard him, " I 
.never saw before. Our governor has carried him from place to 
place in his coach, and could not help following him fifty miles 
out of town." 

He directed his course westward to Northampton, where he 
met a congenial spirit in Jonathan Edwards. Pulpits were open 
to him on all the route, and a " divine unction" attended his 
preaching. From Northampton he passed down to New Haven, 
addressing as he journeyed vast and deeply affected congregations. 
He arrived there October 23, when the Colonial Legislature was 
in session, and on the Sabbath preached before them and an 
immense throng, some of whom had come twenty miles to hear 
him. The aged governor was so deeply affected that he could 


speak but few words ; with tears trickling down his cheeks like 
drops of rain, he exclaimed : '^ Thanks be to G-od for such refresh- 
ings on our way to heaven!" 

By November 8th he was again in Philadelphia, preaching in a 
house which had been erected for him during his absence, and 
which afterward became the Union Methodist Episcopal Church. 
On the 14th of December he reached the Orphan House, near 
Savannah. In seventy-five days he had preached a hundred and 
seventy-five sermons, and received upwards of seven hundred 
pounds sterling for his orphans. " Never," he writes, " did I see 
such a continuance of the Divine presence in the congregations 
to which I have preached." Never had preacher or any other 
orator led the masses more triumphantly. He had stirred the 
consciences of tens of thousands from Maine to Georgia, and 
doubtless, by these and his subsequent travels, did much to pre- 
pare the soil for that harvest of Methodism which in our day has 
** shaken like Lebanon" along aU his course. 

On the 16th of January, 1741, he again embarked at Charleston 
for England. 



The Calyinistic ControTersy — Character of "Wesley's Mind — The Difficulties 
of Calvinism to such a Mind — Arminianism, as defined at the Synod of 
Dort — Intellectual Character of Whitefield — His Adoption of CfiJvinistic 
Opinions — Historical Importance of the Dispute between Wesley and 
Whitefield — ^Wesley excludes it from his Societies — It disturbs them in 
London — Difficulties at Kingswood — John Cennick — ^Wesley *8 Sermon on 
" Free Grace" — ^Whitefield's Return to England — His Separation from 
Wesley — ^Unsuccessful Attempts at Reconciliation. 

While these good and great men were thus abroad, labouring 
exclusively for the moral recovery of souls, and confining them- 
selves to those vital truths which alone were essential to this end, 
a serious occasion of discord occurred between them, but the 
painful record of their partial alienation, which the fidelity of 
history requires, is relieved by the fact, ackuowledged by both 
Wesley and Whitefield, that the important movement in which 
they were engaged took a wider sway from their differences of 
opinion. These differences related to the problem of Predesti- 
nation — ^the insoluble difficulties which for so many ages have 


been fruitful causee of contention amd bigotry among good men, 
and must continue to be so till they are transferred frcon JBiog- 
matic Theology to their more legitimate place in the sphere of 

"Wesley, as we have seen, early and definitively took the 
Arminian view of these questions, and was con&med in that 
view of them by the correspondence of his mother wOiile he w-as 
yet at Oxford. If, as some of his critics say, his intellect was 
more logical than philosophical, this was, perhaps, one of his 
chief qualifications for his appointed work. What was needed in 
the theological development of Methodism was dear, pointed 
definitions, rather than philosophic generalizations, of those ele- 
mentary evangelical truths which are most essential to the per- 
sonal salvation of men ; for, in its positive bearing, Methodism 
was to be a spiritual, rather than a dogmatic or ecclesiastical 
reform, its effects on the dogmatic and ecclesiastical errors of the 
times being chiefly negative, and the more effective for being 
such. No thinker in the modem Church has excelled Wesley in 
the direct logic, the precision, the transparent clearness, and 
popular suitableness with which he presented the experimental 
truths of Christianity. Eaith, Justification, Eegeneration, Sane- 
tification, the Witness of the Spirit, these were his themes, and 
never were they better defined and discriminated by an English 
theologian : and the keen faculty and practical directness with 
which he thus treated theological ideas was, perhaps, equally 
important in guiding him to those effective expedients of church 
government which have won for him, from the greatest historian 
of his country, the eulogy of having had "a genius for govern- 
ment not inferior to that of Eichelieu." * 

It was impossible that a mind thus addicted to precise con- 
ceptions and (firect conclusions, rather than generalizations, should 
hesitate which side to take in the Calvinistic controversy. Even 
the modern qualifications of Calvinism, stated in the pious, com- 
promising spirit of Baxter, could not satisfy him. It were vain 
to say to such a thinker that in predestinating the elect to be 
saved, Grod had only passed by the reprobates, leaving them to 
their own natural wicKcdness and fate. His prompt reply would 
be that, according to his opponents, the foreknowing God created 
the reprobate in his wickedness, and under his inevitable doom, 
and he would devolve upon them the formidable task of showing 
how then the unassisted offcast could be held responsible for his 

* Macaulay'B Review of Southey's Colloquies, E^sibargli Keviewr, 1850, 
See also Mb Cntioa} and Historical Eseays, voLi^ p.. 210. 


fate. He would require them, also, to reconcile with such ft 
condition of, perhaps, nine-tenths of the human race, the Divine 
beneficence ; the Scriptural warnings and invitations addressed to 
them ; the nniversal redemption made for them, or, if that were 
denied, the explicit Scriptural offers of it ; their responsibility for 
their moral conduct, which, if alleged to be voluntary, is so, never- 
theless, because their volitions are bound by an eternal decree, 
or, at least, by the absence of that Divine grace by which alone 
the will can be corrected. The inevitable salvation of the elect, 
according to the dogma of Final Perseverance, he would also 
insist to be logically dangerous to good morals. The philosophical 
predestinarian would not admit the logical pertinency of these 
difficulties ; it is not the province of the historian to discuss them 
polemically ; it is sufficient to say that such was the character of 
Wesley's mind, and such the consequences which he drew from 
the Calvinistic theology. And yet, as we shall presently see, 
he was already too conscious of the peculiar mission of Methodism 
as a spiritual development of the Beformation, to attach funda- 
mental importance to the question, or to make it a condition of 
membership in his societies. 

In avowing Arminian opinions, and in giving that title to the 
magazine which he subsequently established,* he did not adopt 
the perversions which many of the disciples of Arminius have 
taught in Europe, and which have too often since been con- 
founded with Arminianism by its opponents. He found in the 
writings of that great and devout theologian an evangelical system 
of opinions, as he thought, and Arminianism, as stated by the 
Eemonstrants at the Synod of Dort, he did heartily receive, 
namely: 1. That God did decree to confer salvation on those 
who, he foresaw, would maintain their faith in Christ Jesus in- 
violate until death ; and, on the other hand, to consign over to 
eternal punishment the unbelieving who resist his invitations to 
the end of their lives. 2. That Jesus Christ, by his death, made 
expiation for the sins of all and every one of mankind ; yet that 
none ' but believers can become partakers of its divine benefit, 
3. That no one can of himself, or by the powers of his free will, 
produce or generate faith in his own mind ; but that man being 
by nature evil, and incompetent (ineptu^) both to think and to 
do good, it is necessary he should be born again and renewed by 
God, for Christ's sake, through the Holy Spirit. 4. That th:» 
divine grace or energy, which heals the soul of man, perfects all 
that can be called truly good in him, yet that this grace compels 

* -He eomrrjienced the Arminian M.agaii\t\e m Yl*!^. 


no man against his will, though he may be repelled by his will. 
6. That those who are united to Christ by faith are furnished 
with sufficient strength to overcome sin ; but that it is possible 
for a man to lose his faith and fall from a state of grace.* 

While Wesley's mind was severely dialectic, and in some 
<3ases, doubtless, too much so, Whitefield's was quite the reverse. 
He seldom or never attempts a logical statement of his opinions ; 
his logic was in his heart rather than in his head ; and his feel- 
ings, happily of the purest temper, and guided by the conscience 
rather than the reason, usually determined his opinions. But the 
logic of the feelings, though the most important in ordinary life, 
that upon which the most responsible relations and duties are 
devolved by nature herself, is baffled in the presence of these 
speculative mysteries. An accidental bias may make a man like 
Whitefield a bigot through life, for or against them. Had White- 
field thought of the controversy, for the first time, while preaching 
with tears before twenty thousand neglected and depraved hearers 
in Moorfields ; had the question whether the atonemeut compre- 
hended them all, and whether all could " turn and live," come up 
then for an answer, he would have shouted the affirmative to the 
wretched midtitude, and been an unwavering Arminian ever 
affcer.f But he saw the controversy from a different standpoint. 
He felt himself to have been so vile a sinner that he could not 
but ascribe his salvation to infinite and sovereign grace. Wesley 
would have granted this, but would also have asked the question. 
Why not exalt this sovereign grace still more by allowing that it 
has provided for all men ? Whitefield saw thousands not more 
depraved than he had been, yet unreclaimed ; his grateftd heart, 
therefore, assumed, not with egotism, but with contrition, that a 
special grace had mysteriously plucked him out from the lost 
multitude. " Free grace," he exclaimed in a letter to Wesley, 
*' free, indeed, because not to all ; but free, because God may 
withhold or give it to whom and when He pleases." And his 
ebullient spirit found so much delight in the hope of his final 
salvation, that the doctrine of " Final Perseverance" was eagerly 
seized by him, with apparently no hesitancy at its possible bad 
■consequences to men of less conscientious fervour. In all his 

* The last proposition was left undecided at the time of the Synod, but 
adopted by the Arminians afterwards. See Murdock's Mosheim^s Seventeenth 

t He seems, indeed, not to have liked the public preaching of Predestina- 
iion down to the time of his breach with Wesley. Before the crisis of the 
dispute he proposed silence to Wesley, and assured him that whatever had 
been his own opinions on the question he had never preached them. 


letters to Wesley, during the dispute that now occurred between 
them, we find but one allusion to ^^ Keprobation ;" that was an aspect 
of the subject which he seemed inclined not to think of; it was 
"Electing Grace" which absorbed his thoughts — *' Final Perse- 
verance" — the inestimable mercy of God in rescuing even elect 
souls from perdition, without a reference to his severity in crea- 
ting and then abandoning for ever the lost masses of reprobates. 
He had not read, he says, a single work of Calvin : he was " taught 
the doctrine of God;" he even had "the "Witness of the Spirit'* 
respecting it, and pronounces Wesley no proper " judge of its 
truth," as he had not received that witness on the question.* 
" God himself," he says, in another letter, " God himself, I find, 
teaches my friends the doctrine of election. Sister M. has lately 
been convinced of it ; and, if I mistake not, dear and honoured 
Mr. "Wesley will be hereafter convinced also." Wesley was 
affected by the tender spirit of the correspondence. He replied : 
" The case is quite plain ; there are bigots both for predestination 
and against it; God is sending a message to eitner side, but 
neither will receive it unless from one who is of their own opinion. 
Therefore for a time you are suffered to be of one opinion and I 
of another. But when His time is come, God will do what men 
cannot — ^namely, make us both of one mind." The prediction 
was fulfilled in its best sense, for, though never one in opinion, 
they became one in heart, and their separate courses in public 
life verified Wesley's opinion of the providential design of their 
theological divergence. 

The dispute between them at this time is not without histori- 
cal importance, as it doubtless led to the later controversy between 
Pletcher and his opponents, which has influenced Methodist 
opinions throughout the world, and which, it can be wished, more 
perhaps than hoped, may be the last great struggle on the ques- 
tion, before it shall be finally consigned by theologians over to 
the unavailing studies of metaphysicians, a suggestion which dog- 
matists will be slow to receive, but which, nevertheless, the 
popular good sense of Christendom is irresistibly forcing upon 

Tenacious as Wesley was of his personal opinions, we have 
said that he did not insist on the Arminian doctrines as a condi- 
tion of membership in his societies. All he required was, that 
disputes respecting them should not be obtruded into devotional 
xneetings by either party. His first trouble on the subject was 

* See the oorrespondence^ quite impartially given, by Southej, Life of 
Wesley, chap. xi» 

110 HZfla?0B3? OF MBTHOBISM. 

ffom a member of one of the Loiidon societies^ bj the name of 
Aeourt, who would debate it in the meetings of his brethren. 
Charles Wesliey forbade his admission^ He presented himself 
at a subsequent meeting, when John was present, and inquired if 
he had been excluded' for his opinions? ".Which opinions?*' 
ag^ed Wesley. " That of election," he replied. " I hold that a 
certain number are elected from eteriiit}r,^and thej must and shall 
be saved, and the rest of mankind m-ust and shall be damned l" 
He asserted that others of the society so believed. Wesley re- 
plied that he never questioned their opinions ; all he demanded 
was that they should " only not trouble others by disputing about 
them." "*Nay, but I will dispute about them," responded the 
hearty Calvinist ; " you are all wrong, and I am determined to 
set you right." " I fear, said Wesley, " that Jyour coming with 
this view will neither profit you nor us." "I will go then," 
replied Acourt, " and tell all the world that you and your brother 
are Mse prophets, and I tell you that in a fortnight you will all 
be in confusion."* Wesley was not a man to be subdued by 
such logic. 

What induced him to take at last a decisive course respecting 
this controversy was the discovery that John Cennick, his "helper" 
at Kingswood, had attacked his Arminianism publicly. The 
school at Kingswood was entirely distinct from the seminary 
which afterwards became noted there as Wesley's school for 
" preachers' sons." Whitefield had performed the ceremony of 
laying its foundation-stone, but left the institution immediately 
in the bands of Wesley. " I bought the ground where it stands," 
says Wesley, "and paid for building it, partly from the contribu- 
tions of my friends, partly from the income of my fellowship.'' 
John Cennick was employed by him as teacher, and though a 
layman, was authorized by him to expound the Scriptures to the 
society which Wesley himself had gathered in the vicinity, and 
which met in the seminary. Cennick was an earnest, pious young 
man. He first met the Wesleys in London, in 1739, and being 
poor, and without employment, was sent to Kingswood at the 
instance of Charles Wesley. He did well there for some time. 
In 1740 he dissented from the preaching of " Universal E^edemp- 
tion," which, however, he had publicly approved before, on a visit 
of Charles Wesley. He raised a party against the doctrine and 
his patrons. He vn'ote letters to Whitefield, in America, urging 
his immediate return to suppress the heresy. Wesley was justly 
indignant at this treatment, from a ipnan whom he himself employed, 

* Wesley's Journal, June 19th, 1740. 


and wiio atten^tted t& '^aappknt Iiim in his own houae." The* 
harmony of the society was disturbed : many efforta were made to 
restore it ;. hat Cennusk was obstinate,, and insisted that himself 
and his adherents,, while retaining their membership, should also 
" meet apart." Afiber unavailing delays and overtures of peace, 
Wesley read pBblixsly a paper dedaring, ^by the consent and 
approbation or the Baaid Sodety of Elingawoodv ' that Cennic^ 
and his followers " were no longer members thereof." One of 
the accused asserted that it was not for any strife or disorder that 
they were expelled, but only for holding the doctrine of election. 
"Wesley replied that they knew in their own consciences this, 
wae not the ease; that there were several predestinariana 
in the societies, both in London and Bristol,, nor did he ^' ever 
yet put any one out of either because he held that opinion." 
About Bfby persons adhered to Cennick, and upwards of ninety to 

Gennick afterwards united with the "Whitefield Methodists, 
bat did not continue long with them. He became at last a 
Moravian. He was a good, though weak man, and his< subsequent 
earnest and laborious life shows tha/t he deserves more lenience 
than has uauaQy been accorded to him by Methodist writers.* 

These events convinced Wesley that it was time to protest 
against the Calvinistic doctrines publicly. He immediately 
pleached in Bristol the most impassioned of his sermons, con- 
taining passages as eloquent as the pulpit literature of our lan- 
guage aifordfi.t It was printed, and was the third of his published 
discouxaes j the first was issued on his embarkation for Georgia, a 
farewell message to his friends on " The Trouble and Rest of 
G-ood Men ;." the second was on " Salvation by Faith," preached 
^00.6. printed soon after his own conversion ; the present oiseourse 
was on " Free Grace." It was sent by his opponents to White- 
£eM, who was then in America. Whitefield wrote frequent 
letters to him, remonstrating against his opinions, but still sin- 
cerely proposing mutual peace. His intercourse with the New 
England clergy had, however, deepened his interest for the Cal- 
vmistie opinions. Assisted by his American friends, he composed 

* Jackson treats him impartially : " Life of Charles Wesley," chap. viii. The 
eccentrie Matthew Wilks published his sermons, with a "Life" prefixed, and 
says : "He possessed a sweet simpHcity of spirit, with an ardent zeal in the 
causa of his divine Disaster." 

t When the late Earl of Liverpool read its peroration in Southey, he de- 
clared that in his judgment it was the most eloquent passage he had ever met 
with m any iwriter, ancient or modem. Jackson's " Life of Charles Wesley,** 
chap. viiL 


an answer to Wesley, and had it printed at Boston, and also in 
Charleston, South Carolina. 

On the 11th of March, 1741, Whitefield again reached England, 
and the next Sahhath was preaching in the open air at Kenning- 
ton Common. But his reception was disheartening. His Cal- 
vinistic sentiments had become known by his correspondence. A 
letter from him against Wesley's opinions had been surreptitiously 
printed before his arrival, and circulated at the door of the Foun- 
dry. Wesley stood up in the desk with a copy of it in his hand, 
and, referring to its disingenuous publication, said he would do 
what he believed his friend, the writer, would, were he present, 
and tore it into pieces. The congregation spontaneously did so 
with the copies which had been given them at the door. 

A violent prejudice now spread against Whitefield, and the 
people refused to hear him. He still wished for peace with the 
Wesley 8. He hastened to Charles Wesley, who was in London, 
and says it would have melted any heart to have seen them weep- 
ing, "after prayer that the breach might be prevented." He soon 
began to believe, however, that he was sacrificing the truth by 
not preaching election, and when John Wesley returned to the 
city, Whitefield declared that they preached two different Gos- 
pels, that he could no longer give the Wesleys the right hajid of 
fellowship, but must preach against them. When reminded that 
he had just before promised and prayed for peace, he pronounced 
his promise an error, a weakness, and retracted it.* 

Whitefield's strength was also his weakness. The ardour 
which made him powerful when right, rendered him impetuous 
when wrong, and he now committed some grave but temporary 
errors. He preached against the Wesleys by name in Moorfields, 
not far from the Poundry, where his old friends were preaching at 
the same time. He addressed them a letter, finding fault with 
petty details in the chapel furniture at Kingswood ; but when 
approached by them, his better feelings revived. They invited 
him to preach at the Foundry ; yet there, before thousands of 
hearers, and with Charles Wesley by his side, he proclaimed the 
absolute decrees in a most peremptory and offensive manner.f 
Wesley had repeated interviews witn him, and sought for a recon- 
ciliation; but the attempt was useless. Wesley protests, at a 
later period, that the breach was not necessary ; that those who 
believed Universal Redemption had no desire to separate, but 

* Wesley's Journal, March 1741. 

t John Wesley's Letter to Bev. Thomas Maxfield. London, 1778. Jack- 
son's "Life of Charles Wesley," chap. viii. 


those who held Particular Eedemption would not hear of any 
accommodation. ** So," he adds, " there were now two sorts of 
Methodists, those for particular and those for general redemp* 
tion."* He insists, at another time, that had it not been for the 
" manner" in which the Calvinistic party maintained their doc- 
trine, the division might have been avoided ; that difference of 
doctrine need not have created any difference of affection, but 
Whitefield " might have lovingly held particular redemption, and 
we general to our lives' end."t 

Thus did Methodism divide into two currents, but thereby 
watered a wider range of the moral wilderness. Both flowed from 
the same source and in the same general direction. Both parties 
«till adhered to the Church of England, availing themselves of the 
historical if not literal ambiguity of its seventeenth Article. 
IS'either yet thought of forming a distinct ecclesiastical organiza- 
tion, and both soon after entered into cordial relations, though 
pursuing their common work in separate courses. Methodism, in 
fine, stiU continued to be a general evangelical movement, osten- 
sibly within the English Church, though not hesitating to reach 
into any opening beyond it. Its history, therefore, if properly 
written, must still be a unit.} 



Whiiefidd'B Tabernacle opened — ^He employs Lay Preachers — Is reconciled 
with Wesley — G-oes to Scotland — ^Wonderful Effects of his Preaching — 
■Scenes at Cambuslang — Slight Success of Methodism in Scotland — ^Be- 
jnarkable Scene at Moorfields — ^The Countess of Huntingdon — ^Whitefield 
Preaching at her Mansion — Noble Hearers : Chesterfield, Bolingbroke, 
Walpole, Hume — The Countess erects Chapels — Her Liberality — The 
School of the Prophets at Trevecca — Her Followers become Dissenters. 

The loss of Whitefield's popularity ia London could be but 
temporary. His zeal and eloquence could not fail to triumph 
over popular disaffection. Evangelical Calvinists gathered about 

* Wesley's Short History of Methodism. Works. 

t Letter to Maxfield. Jackson's " Charles Wesley," chap. viii. 

J The anonymous author of "The Life and Times of the Countess of 
Huntingdon," has abused the Wesleys by many false details in his sketch of 
this dispute. I have not deemed it necessary to encumber ray pages with 
them. The reader will find them fully answered in Jackson's " Life of Charles 
Wesley," chap. viii. 



him, and some of them proposed to ei*eet for him » place of 
worship. A tt)t of OTound was secured near Wesley's Foundry, 
and the celebrated Tabernfwjle qnickly rose upon it. The new 
bnildmg was immediately crowded, and, following Wesley's ex- 
ample, which he had before disapproved, WhitefteM secured the 
assistance of lay preachers. Cennick and Humphries, both of 
whoiin had been Wesley's " helpers," joined him, and socm after 
Howell Harris came to his aid from Wales. 

Though operating thus at separate batteries, and in near 
proximity, Wesley and Whitefield did not long maintain opposrag 
fires, but turned them against the common enemy. "All,** says^ 
Whitefield, "was wonderfally overruled for good, and fcff the 
furtherance of the G-ospel."* They were soon personally recon- 
ciled ; cordial letters passed between them ; brotherly meetings 
took place, and they preached in each other's pulpit. " May you 
be blessed in bringtag souls ta Christ more and more," wrote 
Whitefield to Charles Wesley. " Our Lord exceedingly blesses 
us at the Tabernacle. Behold what a happy thing it is for 
brethren to dwell together in unity." The poet of Methodism 
responded in one of his noblest lyrics.f " Bigolry," said John 
Wesley, writing of Whitefield at a later date, when distinguished 
Calvinists were patronizing him, "bigotry cannot stand before 
him, but hides its head wherever he comes. My brother and I 
conferred with him every day ; and let the honourable men do 
what they please, we resolved, by the grace of G-od, to go on 
hand in hand through honour and dishonour," 

It would be impossible to detail, within our appropriate limits, 
the marvellous labours and successes of Whitefield during the 
three years of his present sojourn in England. Though separated 
from Wesley, he desired not to establish a sect ; he Imew that he 
was not competent to do so ; he lacked the requisite legislative 
capacity ; but as he represented Calvinistic Methodism, Cal- 
vinistic clergymen and churches encouraged his labours. The 
Erskines of Scotland, distinguished as leaders of the Scotch 
Secession, invited him thither, and he made two excursions 
beyond the Tw^eed before his next return to America. The 
Erskines and their brethren of the Associate Presbytery were 
staunch zealots for the Solemn League and Covenant, which forms 
so interesting a feature in not only the ecclesiastical, but the civil 

* Gillies' 8 Whitefield, chap. viii. 

t Hymn for the Rev. Mr. Whitefield and Messrs. Wesley. See Jackson's 
" Life of Charles Wesley," chap. viii. This spirited poem is unfortunately 
omitted in the American edition. 


historj, and even the romautie literature of the coumtry. Thejr 
could make no compromise with English Churchmen, or any 
others who differed from themselves. Soon after his arriyal at 
Dunfermline, where Balph Erskine resided, Whitefield was sur- 
prised by a grave but ludicrous scene ; ludicrous by ita very 
gravity. He found himself introduced into the presence tt 
several venerable members of the Associate Presbytery, who 
proposed to proceed to business in formal session. He iaquii*ed 
for what purpose. They gravely replied, to consult and set. him 
right about Church order and the Solemn League and Covenant. 
He assured them they might save themselves that trouble; that 
he had no difiiculties about either subject, and to intermeddle 
with either was not within " his plan." Yielding to his de;«^ut 
feelings, he proceeded to relate his Christian experience, and how 
Providence had led him into his present catholic course of action. 
Some of them were deeply affected by the singular narrative. 
Ebenezer Erskine entreated their forbearance with him as a good 
man who had unfortunately been bom and bred in England, and 
had never studied the Solemn League and Covenant. One of the 
Associate divines replied, that he was the less excusable on this 
account, for England had revolted most in regard to Chureh 
govemmeift, and he should be acquainted with the important 
matters in debate. Whitefield insisted that he had never made 
them a subject of study, being too busy with more important 
interests. Several of the sturdy Scotchmen repelled the hint. 
" Every pin in the tabernacle," they said, was uuportant. He 
begged them to do good in their own way, and to allow him to 
proceed in his. They dissented ; he then entreated them to aa^ 
what they would have him do. They demanded that if he could 
not forthwith sign the Solemn League and Covenant, he should 
at least preach only for them till he was better enlightened, for 
they were the people of the Lord. It was even suggested that 
two of their brethren should be deputed with him to England to 
settle a Presbytery there, and two more to accompany him to 
America for a similar purpose. 

He declined to take sides with either of the Scotch parties, 
but was determined to preach, as he had opportunity, for both. 
" If the pope himself," he said to the astonished Ealph Erskine — 
" if the pope himself would lend me his pulpit, I would gladly 
declare the righteousness of Jesus Christ therein." The Seceders, 
absorbed by local controversies and the Solemn League and Cove- 
nant, could not comprehend him, and left him to himself. One 
of them mounted the pulpit, and preached against the English 


Church, declaring that any one who held communion with it, or 
with "the backslidden Church of Scotland could not be an instru- 
ment of reformation." They afterwards appointed a day of fasting 
and prayer against him.* He preached, however, with great 
success in the kirks of some thirty towns and cities, delivering 
from two to seven sermons a-day, and left them in a general 
religious revival. 

On his second visit, in the spring of 1742, he was received 
with enthusiasm. Multitudes met him at the landing at Leith, 
weeping for joy, and welcoming him with blessings. They fol- 
lowed his coach to Edinburgh, and crowded around him when he 
alighted, pressing him in their arms. His preaching stirred the 
whole eity. The churches could not contain the people, and an 
amphitheatre, under awnings, had to be constructed in the Park 
for their accommodation. He was called to the westj and made 
a tour of several weeks through its principal towns, preaching 
daily, and leaving a profound sensation wherever he went. 

At Cambuslang the popular interest reached a height which 
was never equalled elsewhere under his labours. He preached 
three times on the day of his arrival to many thousands. The 
third discourse was at nine o'clock at night, and continued till 
eleven, "amid such a commotion," he says, "as scarcely ever 
was heard of." A fellow-clergyman relieved him at eleven, and 
preached on till one in the morning. All night the voice of 
prayer and praise could be heard in the fields. This remarkable 
introduction soon brought all the surrounding population to hear 
him. A "brae," or hill, near the manse, was occupied instead of 
the church. "The people," he writes, "seem to be slain by scores. 
They are carried off, and come into the house like soldiers 
wounded in and carried off a field of battle. Their cries and 
agonies are exceedingly affecting." At another time a great 

* GHllies's Whitefield, chaps, viii. x. A violent pamphlet, characteristic of 
the times, was issued against him, entitled, "A "Warning against countenancing 
the Ministrations of Mr. G-eorge Whitefield. Together with an Appendix upon 
the same Subject, ^herein are shown that Mr. Whitefield is no Minister of 
Jesus Christ ; that his Call and Coming to Scotland are scandalous ; that his 
Practice is disorderly and fertile of Disorder ; that his whole Doctrine is, and 
his Success must be Diabolical ; so that people ought to avoid him from Duty 
to G-od, to the Church, to Themselves, to FeUow-Men, to Posterity, to Him. 
By Adam Gib, Minister of the Gospel at Edinburgh. Edinburgh, 1742." 
Thisjcurious publication is noticed in Philip's Whitefield. A copy of it (the 
only one perhaps in America) is in the Library of the G-eneral Theological 
Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, JSTew York. 


sacramental occasion was held, in imitation of Hezekiah's Pass- 
over. More than twenty thousand people were present. Three 
tents were set up for the administration of the Supper, and 
twenty clergymen assisted in the service. There was preaching 
all day to such as could not get access to the administrators, and 
at nightfall Whitefield preached to the whole mass. Though 
usually occupying but about half an hour in his sermons, he now 
stood up for an hour and a-half, speaking with irresistible power. 
The next morning, he says, " I preached again to near as many, 
but such a universal stir I never saw before. The motion fled as 
swift as lightning from one end of the auditory to the other. You 
might have seen thousands4)athed in tears, some at the same time 
wringing their hands, others almost swooning, and others crying 
out and mourning over a pierced Saviour." 

By these and subsequent labours in Scotland did Whitefield 
promote the mission of Methodism to that land. In no part of 
Europe had the Reformation more thoroughly wrought its work 
among the common people. An intelligent, frugal, and religious 
population, they needed less than any other the provocations of 
zeal which are usually furnished bj new sects. Wesley marvelled 
at their insusceptibility to Methodism ; but Methodism at this 
time was more important as a general moral movement, pervading 
the old churches and the whole public mind, than as a sectarian 
development more or less organized. In the former sense it did 
a good work in Scotland. The revivals under Whitefield's preach- 
ing spread new energy through much of the Kirk, and since the 
era of Methodism, Scotland has shared that mighty influence of 
the movement which has been manifest in the religious progress 
of the whole United Kingdom. Her increased spiritual life, her 
foreign missions, her scarcely paralleled fidelity to the inde- 
pendence and integrity of the Church in the organization of her 
grand "Free Kirk," show that she has felt profoundly the 
religious spirit of our times. Arminian Methodists may con- 
demn her tenacious Calvinism, but they should remember that 
Methodism itself proposes to ignore the Calvinistic controversy 
as a condition of Church communion. If Methodism regrets its 
little progress in Scotland, it may at least console itself that there 
is less reason for this regret there than in any other coimtry in 
the world. 

At London, Whitefield could not long be content with his 
spacious Tabernacle, but took again the open field. The most 
notous scenes at Moorfields were usually during the Whitsun 
holidays. The devils then held their rendezvous there^ he said^ 


and lie resolved " to meet them in pitched battle.*' Ha began 
early in order to seenre the field before the greatest msh of the 
crowd. At six o'clock in the morning he found ten thousand 
people waitiag impatiently for the sports of the day. Mounting 
his field pulptt, and assured that he " had for once got the start 
of I3ie devil," he soon drew the whole multitude around him. At 
noon he again took the field. Between twenty and thirty thou- 
sand swarmed upon it. He described it as in complete possession 
of Beelzebub, whose agents were in full motion. Drummers, 
trumpeters, merry-andrews, masters of puppet-shows, exhibitors 
of wild beasts, players, were all busy in entertaiuing their respec- 
tive groups. He shouted his text, " G-reat is Diana of the Ephe- 
sians,"" and boldly charged home upon the vice and peril of their 
dissipations. The craftsmen were alarmed, and the battle he 
had anticipated and challenged now fairly began. Stones, dirt, 
rotten eggs, and dead cats were thrown at him. " My soul," he 
says, " was among lions ;" but before long he prevailed, and the 
imTttense multitude were turned into lambs." At six in the even- 
ing he was again in his field pulpit. ^ I came," he says, " and I 
saw; but what? Thousands and thousands more than before." 
He rightly judged that Satan could not brook such repeated 
assaults in such circumstances, and never, perhaps, had they been 
pushed more bravely home against the very citadel of his power. 
A harlequin was exhibiting and truimeting on a stage, but was 
desedjed as soon as the people saw "Whitefield, in his black robes, 
ascend his pulpit. He *^ lifted up his voice like a trumpet, and 
many heard the joyful sound." At length they approached 
nearer, and 'ttie laoterry-andrew, attended by others, who complained 
that they had tiken many pounds less that day on account of the 
preaching, got upon a man's shoulders, and advancing towards the 
pulpit, attempted several times to strike the preacher with a long, 
heavy whip, but always tumbled down by the violence of his 
motion. The mob next secured the aid of a recruiting sergeant, 
who, with music and straggling followers, marched directly 
through the crowd before the pulpit. Whitefield knew instinc- 
tively how to manage the passions and whims of the people. He 
called out to them to make way for the king's officer. The 
sergeant, with assumed official dignity, and his drum and fife, 
passed through the opened ranks, which closed immediately after 
him, and left the soHd mass still in possession of the preacher. 
A third onslaught was attempted. Roaring like wild beasts on 
the outskirts of the assembly, a large number combined for the 
purpose *of sweeping through it in solid column. They bore a 


long pole for tbeir Btaudard, and came on with the souBd of drum 
and menacing shouts, but soon quarrelled among themselves, 
threw down their pole and dispersed, leaving many of their 
nimiber behind, '' who were brought 'Over to join the besieged 
party." * At times, however, the tumult rose like the noiM 
*Qf many waters, drowning th6 preacher's voice ; he would then 
^cslL upon his ixrethren near him to unite with him in singing, 
nsctil the clamorous host were again charmed into silence. JSe 
was determined not to retreat defeated; preaching, praying, 
^ging, he kept his ground until night closed the strange scene. 
It was one of the greatest of his field-days. He had won the 
victory, and moved off with his religious friends to celebrate 
it at night in the Tabernacle ; and great were the spoils there 
^exhibsted. JSTo less than a thousand notes were afterwards handed 
up to him for prayers, from persons who had been brought " und^ 
conviction" that day ; and, soon after, upward of three hundred 
w^ere received into the society at one time. Many of them were 
" the devil's castaways," as he called them. Some he had to 
marry, for they had been living together without marriage ; and 
•** numbers that seemed to have been bred up for Tyburn were at 
that time plucked as brands from the burning." It may be 
doubted whether the history of Christianity affords a more en- 
•couraging example of the power of the GiJspel over the rudest 
minds, and in the most hopeless circuma^Hlnces. The moral 
flex^e will respond to Divine truth from the depths of the most 
^graded soul, and amid the wildest tumults of mobs. The 
response may not be heard ; it may be stifled ; but it is felt. The 
Apostles knew the fact, and ancient heathenism fell before the 
-confidence with which it inspired their ministrations. The charge 
of enithiisiaBm applies doubtless to these labours of Whitefield ; 
but it is a compliment rather than a detraction. In less urgent 
<nrcumstsnees such enthusiasm might appear to be fanaticism, 
but here it was legitimate. How were these heathen masses to 
be otherwise reached by the Gospel ? Thousands of them never 
entered the churches of London. Clothed in rags, their very 
persons labelled with the marks of vice and wretchedness, they 
would have hardly found admission into them had they sought it. 
Moorfields must be invaded if it were to be conquered, and no 
less energetic invasions than those which Whitefield and Wesley 
made there, could be successful. They were successful ; and the 
•suppression, at last, of the enormous scenes of that and similar 
vesorts in England, is attributable greatly to the moral triumphs 

* aillies's Whitefield, chap. ix. 


of MethodijBm among the degraded classes of the common 

Besides his labours in London and Scotland, Whitefield tra- 
velled extensively in England before his next embarkation for 
Georgia, in 1744. His popularity had fully returned. At Bris- 
tol assemblies more numerous thaii ever attended his preaching. 
Even in the minor towns ten or twelve thousand were his fre- 
• quent estimates of his hearers, for the population of all neigh- 
bouring villages usually thronged to the places of his out-door 
sermons. He made repeated tours through Wales, and each time 
with increased success. In one of these visits, employing three 
weeks, he travelled four hundred English miles, preached forty 
sermons, and spent three days in attending associations of the 
new societies. " At seven in the morning," he writes, " have I 
seen perhaps ten thousand from different parts, in the midst of a 
sermon, crying Gogonniant hendigedig {Qi\.ovj\ Blessed!), ready 
to leap for joy." " The work;began by Mr. Jones spreads far and 
near in North and South Wales." 

Though Whitefield designed not to establish a Methodist sect, 
circumstances compelled him, after his separation from Wesley, 
to give a somewhat organized form to the results of his labours 
among the Calvinistic adherents who gathered about him. Lady 
Betty Hastings had patronized the little band of Methodists at 
Oxford ; Lady Margaret Hastings, her sister, had adopted, 
through her influence, the Methodist sentiments, and afterwards 
married Ingham, who was one of the Oxford Methodists, and the 
companion of Wesley in Q-eorgia. Her influence over her sister- 
in-law Selina, the Countess of Huntingdon, led the Countess, 
during a serious sickness, to a religious iSe, and to a strong sym- 
pathy with the Methodists. Bishop Benson, who had ordained 
Whitefield, and had 'been tutor to her husband, the Earl of Hun- 
tingdon, was called by the latter to restore his wife to a " saner" 
mind. The good bishop failed in the attempt, and expressed re- 
gret that he had ever laid his hand on Whitefield. " Mark my 
words, my lord," replied the Countess, " when upon your dying 
bed, that will be one of the ordinations upon which you will 
refiect with pleasure." The prediction was fulfilled. The bishop, 
when he came to die, sent Whitefield a present of ten guineas, 
and asked an interest in his prayers. Lady Huntingdon, though 
remotely related to the royal family, and moving in the highest 
circles of aristocratic life, frequented the Moravian societies in 
London, and, at the separation of Wesley from them, co-operated 
with the Methodist party. She invited him to her residence at 


Donnington Park, where lie often preached. She adopted heartily 
his doctrine of Christian Perfection. " The doctrine," she wrote 
him, " I hope to live and die hy ; it is absolutely the most com- 
plete thing I know."* She encouraged him in nis extraordinary 
labours, and especially in the promotion of a lay ministry as the 
great necessity of the times. Her Calvinistic opinions led her to 
patronize Whitefield when he separated from Wesley, and her 
talents, wealth, and influence placed her at the head of Calvinistic 
Methodism ; but she endeavoured to secure a good understanding 
between the great evangelists. She wrote to each, recommending 
their closer co-operation, and not without effect. "Whitefield 
preached in "Wesley's chapel, Wesley reading the prayers ; the 
next Sunday Wesley ofl&ciated at tne Tabernacle, assisted by 
Whitefield, and twelve hundred persons received the Lord's Sup- 
per at the conclusion of the sermon. The reconciliation was fur- 
ther strengthened by a powerful sermon to an ov^flowing assem- 
bly at Wesley's chapel the next day, by Howell Harris, the Welsh 
colabourer of both the great leaders. f Their personal friendship 
remained uninterrupted during the rest of their lives. " Thanks 
be to God," wrote the Countess, '* for the love and unanimityi 
which have been displayed on this occasion. May the God of 
peace and harmony, unite us all in the bond of affection." 

It is not irrelevant to notice here, though with the anticipa- 
tion of some dates, the early development of this part of the 
Methodistic movement. At the death of her husband. Lady 
Huntingdon devoted her life actively to religious labours, and in 
1748 invited Whitefield to preach in her mansion at Chelsea, 
near London, hitherto a resort for the highest classes of the 
fashionable and aristocratic world, and she soon after appointed 
him one of her chaplains. Paul preached privately to those that 
were of reputation, thought Whitefield ; he therefore concurred 
in her ladyship's proposal to combine with his public labours 
among the crowds at the Tabernacle, and the ten thousands at 
Moorfields, private sermons at the Chelsea mansion. Notable 
men heard there the truth from his eloquent lips. Chesterfield 
listened to him with delight, and gave him one of his courtly 
compliments : " Sir, I will not tell you what I shall tell others, 
how I approve you." He opened for the evangelist his chapel at 
Bretby Hall, and several of his noble relatives were claimed by 
Whitefield as his spiritual trophies ; his wife and her sister, the 
Countess Delitz, died in the faith. Horace Walpole heard him 
with admiration, though his rampant wit trifled with him behind 

* Lady Huntingdon Portrayed, chap. iii. New York, 1857. 

t liife and Times of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, vol. i. cbap. 8. 


bis back. Hume Ustened with wander, and 'sazd be woiaM go 
twenty miles to bear bim. Bolmgbroke ecMB^liimented bim, 
aprproved bis dalvinifian, and. receii^d bis sermons and bis visits ; 
luB brother, Lord St. John, becanae a convert, imd died in the 
bc^e of the Q-ospel.* Many ladies of the bigbesfc aristocratic 
rank became ^' devout women," and ornaments to the Cbristian 
Church. The Marchioness of Lothian arrived in London in a 
dying condition about this time, and joined with the Conntess of 
Leven, Lady Balgonie, Lady Prances Q-ardiner, Lady Jaaie 
Kimmo, and Lady Mary Hamilton, in establishing a meeting for 
prayer and the reading of the Scriptures, to be held alternately 
at each other's houses, which continued to be well attended and 
singularly useful for many years. It was confined to a select 
circle of women of high station, many of whom adorned the doc- 
trine which they professed by a life of holiness and self-denial 
amid their distinguished associates. Still later, the Countess of 
Nortbesk and Hopetown, daughters of Lord Leven, the Coun- 
tess of. Buchan, Lady Maxwell, Lady Glenorchy, Wilbelmina, 
Countess of Leven (formerly Lady Balgonie), with her sisters. 
Lady Etuthven and Lady Banff, Lady Henrietta Hope, and 
Sophia, Countess of Haddington, were devoted members of this 
select band.f Thus, while Methodism was gathering its societies 

* Life and Times of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, vol. i. chap. 7. 

t " These have all long since joined the general assembly and church of the 
redeemed from among men, and are now uniting in ascriptions of praise to Blim 
who hath redeemed them to God by His blood." (Life and Times of Selina, 
Countess of Huntingdon, vol. i. chap. 7.) Many flocked from the court 
circle to the Park Street mansion to hear Whitefield ; and, as might be expected, 
|bund the truth too novel and keen to be endured. This author (himself " a 
member of the House of Shirley and Hastings ") gives an example which had 
its parallel almost daily under the Methodist preaching among the lowest 
classes. " Mr. Whitefield*s lectures to the * brilliant circle' at I^dy Hunting- 
don's were evidently as faithful as they were eloquent. The well-known 
Countess of Suffolk found them so. Lady Rockingham prevailed on Lady 
Huntingdon to admit this beauty to hear her chaplain ; he, however, knew no- 
thing of her presence ; he drew his bow at a venture, but every arrow seemed 
aimed at her. She just managed to sit out the service in silence, and when 
Mr. Whitefield retired she flew into a violent passion, abused Lady Hunting- 
don to her face, and denounced the sermon as a deliberate attack on herself. 
In vain her sister-in-law, Lady Betty Germain, tried to appease the beautifiil 
fury, or to explain her mistake ; in vain old Lady Meanor Bertie and the 
Duchess Dowager of Ancaster, both relatives of Lady Suffolk, commanded her 
eilence : she maintained thatishe had been insulted. She was compelled, how- 
ever, by her relatives who were present, to apologize to Lady Huntingdon. 
Having done this with a bad grace, the mortified beauty left the place to re- 
turn no more.*' She was the female favourite of the court of George 11., and 
Pope's celebrated " Mrs, Howard.'* 


from tiie iiamUeat classes, at the Tabernacle and the Foundrj, it 
bound together, in similar assemblies, a few of the '^ noMe" ia the 
aaaorfxxxafcic quarter of the metropolis. 

Meanwhile Whitefield's success opened the way for the utmost 
z&^ and liberality of the Countess. She gave away, for religious 
purposes, more man one hundred thousand pounds.*' She sold aE 
hat jewels, and by the proceeds erected chapels for the poor. She 
relinquished her aristocratic equipage, her expensive residences 
sod liveried servants, that her means of usefulness might be more 
ample. She purchased theatres, halls, and dilapidated chapels 
in London, Pistol, and Dublin, and fitted them up for public 
worship. New chapels were also erected bj her aid in many 
places in England, "Wales, and Ireland. Distmguished Calvinistic 
clergymen, Churchmen as well as Dissenters, co-operated with her 
plans, and were more or less under her direction. Eomain€i, 
Yerm, Madan, Berridge, Toplady, Shirley, Fletcher, Benson, and 
a host of others, shared her beneficent labours. She met them in 
d&?equent conferences, attended sometimes by the Wesleys. She 
made tours through parts of England and Wales, accompanied by 
bfce-minded noble ladies and by eminent evangelists, who preached 
wherever they went, in the churches and in the open air. She 
mapped all England into six districts or circuits, and sent out six 
^^ canvassers" from among her most successful adherents, to travel 
them, and to preach in every community, large or small, which 
was not pre-occupied by similar labourers ; and at the time of 
her death, her influence had extended over the four sections of 
the United Kingdom. 

Her zeal and mimificence provided places of worship faster 
than they could be supplied by her preachers, especially in Wales. 
A college for the preparation of clergymen was therefore opened, 
in a romantic and dilapidated castle of the twelfth . century, at 
Trevecca, the birth-place of Howell Harris, the Welsh evange- 
list. Its preparation for the purpose exhausted all the available 
meaats of the Countess ; but Ladies G-lenorchy and Chesterfield, 
with other aristocratic but devout friends, gave her large contri- 
butions. Wesley heartily approved her plan. She submitted it 
also to Eletcher of Madeley ; at the close of the day on which he 
received her letter he retired to his rest in prayerful meditation 
respecting it. In the dreams of the night the scheme was 
revolving through his thoughts, and a young man, " James 
{Jlazebrook, collier and getter-out of iron-stone in the woods of 

* Life and Times of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, vol. i. chap. 7- 


Madeley," appeared as in a vision before him — a suitable student 
with whom to begin " the school of the prophets." " To my 
great surprise," wrote Eletcher to the Countess, " he came into 
Madeley the next morning. I found, upon inquiry, that he was 
as much drawn to come as I to speak of him." He had been 
seven years converted, had " no mean gifb in singing and prayer," 
and his " judgment and sense were superior to his station." Such 
was the first pupil of Trevecca,* 

Fletcher himself became its president; and at a later date 
Joseph Benson, the Wesleyan commentator, was appointed its 
head master. Students soon flocked to the school. Religious 
opinions were not made a test for admission ; but candidates who 
professed to have been truly converted to Grod, and were resolved 
to devote themselves to the ministry, in either the Established 
Church or any denomination of Dissenters, were welcomed, and 
provided, at the Countess's expense, with board, tuition, and a 
yearly suit of clothes. 

Lady Huntingdon's " Connection" holds an important place 
in the history of these times. It spread the Methomst movement 
effectively among British Calvinists, whether within or without 
the Church, and thus contributed inestimably to that general but 
potent influence which impartial Churchmen and Dissenters 
acknowledge to have been exerted by Methodism on the whole 
later progress of religion in Great Britain.f Like Wesley, Lady 
Huntingdon, with Whitefield, Howell Harris, and most of her 
preachers, was strongly attached to the Church of England. 
They wished not to be classed with Dissenters ; but in order to 

* " Lady Huntingdon Portrayed," chap. yiii. G-lazebrook became one 
of Lady Huntingdon's preachers, .and subsequently, by the aid of Fletcher and 
the Countess, obtained ordination in the Established Church. He died Ticar 
of Belton, licicester shire. He was distinguished for his piety and usefulness, 
and also for his satirical humour. Works from his pen on extemporary 
preaching, infant baptism, and other subjects, as also a posthumous yolume of 
sermons, were published. A memoir of liim appeared in the " Evangelical 
Register*' in 1836. 

t It is significant, however, that Doddridge, Watts, and other great Dis- 
senters in the early times of Methodism, showed publicly but little sympathy 
with Whitefield, though they acknowledged much privately. They forfeited 
their right to an honourable place in the history of the new movement. The 
reason of the fact may be seen in Philip's " Life and Times of Whitefield," 
chap. X, They were endeavouring to repeat the scheme of "comprehensioi^" 
which Bates, Manton, and Baxter had attempted in vain with Bishop StU- 
lingfleet. Sympathy towards Methodism might have compromised them with 
the Establishment, whose favour they were seeking. The facts, as given by 
Philip, though unfortunate for these great and good men, are irrefutable. 

PBOGBESS : 174JL-1744. 125 

protect her chapels from suppression, or appropriation by the 
Established Church, she had to avail hersen, in 1779, of the 
"Toleration Act,*' a law by which all reli^ous societies that 
would not be subject to the established ecclesiastical power, could 
control their own chapels by an avowal, direct or virtual, of 
Dissent. Her " Connection" thus took its place among the 
Dissenting Churches, and Bomaine, Townsend, Venn, and many 
others of her most influential colabourers belonging to the Esta- 
blishment, ceased to preach in her chapels. 

At the extreme age of eighty-four this remarkable woman 
died, uttering with her last breath, " My work is done. I have 
notlung to do but to go to my Father." She left five thou- 
sand pounds for charities, and the residue of her fortune for the 
support of sixty-four chapels, which she had helped to build, in 
various parts of the kingdom. No one of her sex, perhaps, in the 
history of the Church, certainly none of modem times, has done 
more by direct labours and liberality for the promotion of genuine 



Lay Preaching — ^Thomas Maxfield — Susanna Wesley — ^Her Death — Wesley 
Itinerating — Introduction of Glass-Meetings— John Nelson — ^His His- 
tory—Wesley Tisits him in Yorkshire — Wesley in the North of England-* 
Newcastle — Its degraded Poor — ^Wesley Preaching on the Tombstone of 
his Father — General Rules of the United Societies — Their Catholicity — 
Physical Phenomena of the Excitement at Newcastle — ^Wesley considers 
them Demoniacal — Charles Wesley mobbed at Sheffield — He goes to 
Cornwall — ^Is mobbed at St. Ives — John Wesley and John Nelson in 
Cornwall— Their Privations — Wesley mobbed at Wednesbury — Charles 
Wesley at Wednesbury — Progress of Methodism. 

We have followed Whitefield in his ministerial travels fipom the 
date of liis separation from Wesley in 1741, to his embarkation 
for America in 1744. This interval was filled with extraordinary 
itinerant labours by the Wesleys and their coadjutors, and was 
followed by a memorable eveiit, the first session of the Wesleyan 
Methodist Conference. 

Notwithstanding the disturbances occasioned by the Cal- 
viiustic dispute, and the separation of Whitefield, the year 1742 


was attended with, increased success. It was, however^ a period 
of seyerer trials than tlie Methodiat evangddsts had MthieFto 
esusoimtered. Methodism had achieved moral miradea amotog 
the degraded colliers of Ejngswood. It could poiat for i<te 
noblest demonstration to sudi abysses of popular degradatioii^ 
imto which it had borne the cross, as almost into the gates of heiL 
Its satiirists were compelled to acknowledge its marvellous and 
salutary power over classes which had been considered hopelessly 
beyond the reach of any moral influence that either the Church or 
the Dissenters could then exert. But the lower classes of Eng- 
land generally were simk in scarcely less degcadation, and there 
were especially other mining regions of the kingdom, as> New- 
castle and Cornwall, whose demoralization was notoriously ex- 
treme. Wesley and his colabourers resolved to invade them at 
any risk. They knew that in the condition of these districts, at 
the time, violent opposition must be expected. The magistrates 
would probably be hostile ; the clergy, incapable in their stately 
churches and formalism of reaching the wretched multitudes^ would 
probably denounce the intruders, a probability which was found 
to be too true ; but what were all such consequences, compared 
with the results of the continued moral neglect of these perishing 
masses ? The evangelical itinerants directed their course, there- 
fore, towards the mining papulations of the north and west, pre- 
pared for mobs, and, if need be, for martyrdom. We shaU see 
that they recoiled not from either, but steadily pushed forward 
their conquests, amid scenes which sometimes resembled the 
tumults of battle-fields. 

Hitherto Wesley's lay "helpers'^ had been but "exhorters," 
and readers, and "expounders" of the Scriptures; but "lay 
preaching" was now formally begun. Thomas Maxfield, occupy- 
mg the desk of the Foundry in Wesley^s absence, had been led to 
deviate from these restrictions. Wesley received a letter at 
Bristol informing him of the fact. His prejudicea for " church 
order" were still strong, and he hastened to London, with no little 
alarm, to check the new irregularity. His mother was still at 
hand, however, to guide him. Eetired in the parsonage of the 
Foundry, lingering at the verge of the grave, and watching unto 
prayer over the marvellous developments which were occurring in 
the reli^ous world around her, through the instrumentality of 
her family, she read the indications of the times with a wiiser 
sagacity than her son, and was now to accomplish her last con- 
trolling agency in the Methodist movement, and to introduce an 
innovation by which, more than by any other fact in its ministerial 

PBOGBBflS: 1741 — 1744. 127 

econoiaj^, it lia» be^i sasiained amd extended in the world. She 
perceired on his arriyal tbat his countenance expressed dissatiflh 
faction and anxdety, and iciqidred the cause. '^ Thomas Maxfieid^" 
he replied, with unusuai abruptness, ^ has turned preacher, I 
find." She renmidied him* of her own sentiments against lay 
preaching, and that he could not suspect her of fK^ourmg any- 
thing of the kind. But take care, she added, what you do 
respecting that young man ; he is as surely called of Q-od to preach 
as you are. She counselled him to examine what had been the 
fruits of Maxfield's preaching, and to hear him also himself. He 
heard him : " It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth to Him 
good," was all he could further say, and Thomas Maxfield became 
the first of that host of itinerant lay preachers which has sinee 
carried the standard of the Gospel more triumphantly over the 
world than any other class of the modem Christwai ministry. 

Maxfield was not the first of Wesley's lay assistants, but the 
first of his lay preachers. John Cennick and others probably pre- 
ceded him- in the former capacity. Wesley, in his last journal, 
mentions Joseph Humphries as being the first lay preacher that 
assisted him " in England, in the year 1738," but doubtless refers 
to him as an exhorter and expounder, for his scruples in. the case 
of Maxfield prove that he would not have tolerated formal preach- 
ing by Humphries at that earlier date ; and in the Conference 
Minutes of 1766 he names Maxfield as the first layman who 
desired to help him **as a son in the Gospel." " Soon after," he 
adds, " there came a second, Thomas Eichards, and a third, Tho- 
mas Westall." 

La^ Huntingdon, also, had the good sense to encourage this 
impcartant innovation. She heard Maxfield, and wrote to Wesley 
in the warmest terms respeetiag him. " He is," she said, " one of 
the greatest instances of God^s peculiar favour that I know. He 
has raised from the stones one to sit among the princes of his 
people ; he is my astonishment ; how is God's power shown in 

Havifi^ Uttered till her seventy-third year, counselling and 
eii£Ouraging her sons, and having at last aided in securing the 
prospects ot Methodism indefinitely, if not for all time, by the 
introduction of a lay ministry, Susanna Wesley died this year on 
the promises of the Foundry, within sound of the voices of prayer 
and peaiee which were ascending almost daily from that memor- 

* Moore's Life of Wesley, iv. 3. Life and Times of Lady Huntingdon, 
▼ol i. dtap. 3. Tias writer intimates that she induced Maxfield to take this 
new step. 


able edifice — ^the first Methodist chapel opened in the world, the 
scene of the organization of the first of the " United Societies," 
and of the first session of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference. 
It was a befitting place for the departure of the mother of the 
Wesleys fipom the church on earth to the church in heaven. She 
had, says Wesley, no doubt or fear or any desire but to depart 
and be with Christ.* He and five of her daughters stood around 
her bed when she expired, on the 23rd of July, 1742. When no 
longer able to speak, but apparently still conscious, her look, calm 
and serene, was fixed upward, while they commended her to G-od 
in prayer. She died without pain, and at the moment of her 
departure her children, gathering close around her, sung as she 
had requested with her last words, " a psalm of praise to God." 
Followed by an innumerable concourse of people, Wesley com- 
mitted her remains to the grave, among the many illustrious dead 
of BunhiU Fields. 

Wesley's lay ministry comprised during the year no less than 
twenty-tlupee itinerants, besides several local preachers.f They 
were distributed among his increasing societies, and travelled and 
preached continually in the adjacent towns and villages, he him- 
self afibrding them in his incessant labours an example which none 
of them could exceed. He made a rapid tour in Wales during the 
early part of the year, preaching often in the open air, and assailed 
by mobs, but was successful in building up and multiplying the 
societies. He visited Bristol repeatedly, and formed there the 
first " Methodist class-meeting," and, on returning to London, 
introduced the same improvement into the metropolitan societies. 
" This," he says, " was the origin of our classes in London, for 
which I can never sufficiently praise God. The unspeakable use- 
fulness of the institution has ever since been more and more 
manifest." The Watch-night was also held this year for the first 
time in the London congregations. 

Under Wesley's first sermon in Moorfields, John Nelson, an 
honest Yorkshire mason, of extraordinary character and powers 
of mind, had received the truth, and having returned to his home 
in Birstal, was now producing no little sensation by his exhor- 
tations and prayers among his rustic neighbours. Wesley set out 
in May for Yorkshire, to visit and direct him. 

Nelson had led an upright life from his youth, being trained 
in steady habits of morality, if not piety, by religious parents. 

♦ Journal, July, 1742. 

t Smith's History of Methodism, book ii. chap. 2. Mjles's Chronological 
History of the Methodists, chap. xi. 

PBOGBESS: 1741 — 1744. 129 

His faculties were strong, and marked not only by good common 
sense, but an aptitude to grapple with those agonizing problems 
respecting the soul and its destiny, evil and good, which, the 

Greatest minds can neither solve nor evade. He had a humble 
ut a happ^ home, a good wife, good wages, good health, and a 
stout English heart ; but though addicted to no immoralities, he 
was distressed by the sense of moral wants, which his life failed 
to meet. " Surely," he said, " God never made man to be such a 
riddle to himself, and to leave him so."* Something he believed 
there must be in true religion to meet these wants of the soul, 
otherwise man is more unfortunate than the brute that perishes. 
Absorbed in such meditations, this untutored mechanic wandered 
in the fields after the work of the day, discussing to himself ques- 
tions which had employed and ennobled the thoughts of Plato in 
the groves of the Cephissus, and agitated by the anxieties that 
had stirred the souls of Wesley and his studious associates at 
Oxford. His conduct was a mystery to his less thoughtful fellow- 
workmen. He refused to share in their gross indulgences ; they 
cursed him because he would not drink as they did. He bore 
their insults with a calm philosophy ; but having as '' brave a 
heart as ever ^Englishman was blessed with,"t he would not allow 
them to infringe on his rights ; and when .they took away his 
tools, determined that if he would not drink with them he should 
not work while they were carousing, he fought with several of them 
imtil they were content to let him alone in his inexplicable gravity 
and coiu*age. He went also from church to church, for he was 
still a faithful Churchman, but met no answer to his profound 
questions. He visited the chapels of all classes of Dissenters, 
but the quiet of the Quaker worship could not quiet the voice 
that spoke through his conscience, and the splendour of the 
Itoman ritual soon became but irksome pomp to him. He tried, 
he teUs us, all but the Jews, and hoping for nothing from 
them, resolved to adhere steadily to the Church, regulating his 
life with strictness, spending his leisure in reading and prayer, 
xmd leaving his final fate unsolved. "Whitefield's eloquence at 
Moorfields, however, attracted him thither, but it did not meet 

* Nelson's Journal. 

t Eobert Southey, Life of Wesley, chap. xiv. John Nelson's whole life 
proTed that such a eulogy was not undeserved from the biographer of Lord 
Nelson. The naval conqueror would have admired the evangelical hero, and 
have acknowledged him his equal in both English courage and English good 
sense. Southeydilates on the history of John Nelson with much particularity 
and interest. He was evidently the poet's favourite among the many heroes 
of early Methodism. 



Mn irticits ; Be Ibved tli^ great ofnibcnr, be ieTkn ttt, mid WMi wilfing 
1^ fighf for him dgain^ the mob, but hisr mind 6tilf mmk deepet 
ifiio peirplenty. He became iiioi*bidly despondentt; he ^ept 
HUhy and often awoke from horrible dreams, dtijming with 
8w^, sad shiyering with terror. Wesley came to MoorfieMs ; 
Nelatotf gazed upon him with inexpressible interest as he ascended 
the platform, stroked back his hair, and east his eye directly 
tLtfon him. " My heart," he says, " beat like the pendulum of a 
clock, and when he spoke I thought his whole discourse was 
aimed at me." " This man," said he, " can tell the Secrets of 
my breast ; he has shown me the remedy for my wretchedness, 
eteii the blood of Christ." He new became more than ever 
devoted to religious duties, and soon found the peace of mind he 
had so long been seeking. He records, with dramatic interest, 
the discussions and efforts of his acquaintances to prevent him 
from going too far in religion. They seem to have been mostly 
an honest, simple class Hke himself; they thought he would 
become unfit for business, and that poverty and distress would 
fall upon his family. They vrished he had never heard Wesley, 
who, they predicted, would " be the ruin of him." He told 
them that he had reason to bless G-od that Wesley was ever bom, 
for by hearing him he had become sensible that his business in 
this world was to get well out of it. The family with whom he 
lodged were disposed to expel hitn from the house, for they were 
afraid some mischief would come on either themselves or him, 
from " so much prajring and fusS as he made about religion." He 
procured money and went to pay them what he owed them, and 
take his leave ; but they would not let him escape. ** What if 
Jdhn is right and we vrrong ?" was a natural question which they 
asked among themselves. " If G-od has done for you anything 
more than for us, show us how we may find the same mercy," 
asked one of them. He was soon leading them to hear Wesley 
on Moorfields. One of them was made partaker of the same 
grace, and he expresses the hope of meeting both in heaven. 

With much simplicity, but true English determination, he 
adhered to his religious principles at any risk. His employer 
required work to be done during the Sabbath on the Exchequer 
building, declaring that the king's business required haste, and 
that it was usual, in such cases, to work on Sunday for his 
majesty. Nelson replied that he would not work on the Sabbath 
for any man in England, except to quench fire, or something that 
required the same immediate help. His employer threatened him 
with the loss of his business. He replied that he WoMd lather 

PEoeBiias: 1741 — 1744». 131 

Bttaewe iiiaat effend God. ^ What bast thou done that thou 
makeii guch aa ado about religion?" asked the employer; 'M 
always took thee for an honest man, and could trust tnee with 
five Imndred pounds.'*' "So you might," replied the sturdy 
Methodist, "and not have lost one penny by me.'^ ''But I 
hare a worse opinion of thee now than eyer," resumed the 
employer. " Master," replied Kelson, " I have the odds of you 
there, for I have a much worse opinion of myself than you can 
lutve." The honest man was not dismissed nor again asked to 
work on Sunday, nor were any of his fellow-workmen. 

He now wrote to his wife, who was in the country, and to all 
hia kindred, explaining his new method of Hfe, and ezhortinia^ 
them to adopt it. He fasted once a- week, and gave the fooid 
tiitts saved to the poor. He even hired a fellow-workman to 
hear "Wesley ; and his liberality was effectual, for the mechanic 
afterward assured him that it was the beat deed, hoih for himself 
and his wife, that any one had ever done for them. He read the 
Scriptures with increased ardour, and was soon abundantly fur- 
nished with apt texts for his opponents, and consoling promises 
for his own inward trials. He had formerly had frightful dreams 
of contests with Satan, and was usually worsted in the combat ; 
but he now became the victor in these imaginary conflicts. He 
dreamed that he saw the great* adversary rampant among the 
people, in the form of a red bull ; he seized his noma, with good 
courage, threw him upon his back, and trod triumphantly upon 
his neck. 

Such was John JNTelson, a man from the lowest rank of English 
life, but whose brave heart and immoveable integrity fitted him 
to have taken a place among the noblest martyrs, had he been 
called to it ; and whose fervent piety, steadfast zeal, and Saxon 
energy, made him one of the apostles of early Methodism. His 
natural magnanimity, good sense, clear apprehension of Sciapture, 
apt style, and simple manners, rendered him a favourite and suc- 
cessful preacher among a class which few educated clergymen 
could have, reached. A Torkshireman by birth, ho became the 
chief founder of Methodism in that county, a portion of England 
ill which it has had signal success down to our day. 

As his family resided in Birstal, he started, after his conver- 
sion,, to visit them and his neighbours, that he might recommend 
t6 them his new views of religion in person, as he had done in 
letters. They met him with no little opposition ; they could not 
w;ell consider him a maniac, he had too much good English sense 
and sobriety for such a suspicion; but he might be under a 


strange delusion of the deyil ! After no little hesitancj, and a 
yast amount of rustic polemics, his two brothers, an aunt, and 
two cousins yielded, and became his disciples. He sat in his own 
house reading, exhorting, and praying with such of his neighbours 
as came to hear. The number increased so much that he had 
soon to stand at the door and address them without and within. 
Six or seven were converted weekly; the ale-houses were de- 
serted, and the moral aspect of the whole town was changed.* 
His exhortations became more topical as the inquiries of his 
hearers became more specific, and soon, without anticipating it, 
he was addressing them in formal discourses. He had, in &ct, 
become a preacher, and his sermons, from being quite private, 
had become public, and were attended with such extensive results 
that Wesley started from London, as we have seen, to visit and 
direct him. 

On arriving at Birstal, Wesley was surprised to find a society 
and a preacher awaiting him. He addressed them and hundrecfe 
of others on the top of Birstal Hill. He recognized Nelson as 
one of his " helpers," and his band of rustic followers as one of 
his IJnited Societies. Methodism thus took root in Birstal, and 
has since spread into every village of Yorkshire. 

The Moravians, with their London errors, thronged about the 
sturdy mason, and perverted many of his converts ; but he him- 
self was more than a match for them, with his apt quotations of 
Scripture. His sound though untutored mind could not be 
seduced by their sophistries. 

Wesley had not hitherto visited the North of England. Leav- 
ing Nelson, with full confidence in his steadfast discretion and 
finrther success, he haste ued to Newcastle, one of those degraded 
mining regions which Methodism proposed to invade the present 
year. He walked into the town, and never, he says, had he wit- 
nessed so much drunkenness, cursing, and swearing, from the 
mouths of little children as well as adults, in so short a time. 
" Surely," he exclaimed, " this place is ripe for Him who * came 
not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.' " t 

* Wesley says (Short History of the People called Methodists, sect. 20) : 
" Many of the greatest profligates in all the country were soon changed ; their 
hlasphemies were tamed to praise. Many of the most abandoned drunkards 
were now sober ; many Sabbath-breakers remembered the Sabbath to keep 
it holy ; the whole town wore a new fiice. Such a change did O-od work by 
the artless testimony of one plain man ! And from thence his word sounded 
forth to Leeds, Wakefield, Halifax, and all the West Bidine of Yorkshire." 

t For our citations from John Wesley throughout this chapter,- see his 
Journals, 1742-3-4. 

FBOGKES&: 1741 — 1744*. 133 

At seven o'clock on Sunday morning he walked down to 
Sandgate, the most degraded part of the town, and standing at 
the end of the street with a religious friend, began to sing the 
Hundredth Psalm. Three or four persons came out to see what 
was the matter; they soon increased to four or five hundred; 
before he had closed twelve or fifteen hundred stood around him. 
He discoursed to them, as usual when he addressed the vicious 
poor, on one of the most consolatory texts : " He was wounded 
for our transgressions ; He was bruised for our iniquities ; the 
chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we 
are healed." When he had concluded, the vrretched multitude, 
who had never before had the offers of the Divine compassion 
thus brought to them in their very streets, stood, he writes, 
"gaping and staring" upon him with astonishment. "If you 
desire to know who I am," he cried, " my name is John "Wesley ; 
at five in the evening, with God's help, I will preach here again." 
At five o'clock the hiU upon which he designed to preach was 
covered from top to bottom. He says he never saw such a mul- 
titude, either in Moorfields or at Kennington Common. He 
knew that one-half could not hear him, though he had them all in 
range of his view, as he stood at the apex of the living pyramid. 
It was an occasion to inspire such a man. The " south had not 
kept back ;" it seemed now that " the north was about to give 
up" to the little band which had so lately commenced its march 
from the gates of Oxford, and had already spread its evangelical 
triumphs in England, Wales, and America. His text was again 
a proclamation of mercy, for these poor multitudes, he believed, 
were not the worst of sinners ; he knew that under their rude and 
boisterous vices were hidden crushed but living consciences; 
longings for better things; generous sensibilities that would 
respond to the voice of Glod or man whenever they could hear it 
speaking to their wants and sorrows. " I will heal tjieir back- 
slidings ; I wiU love them freely," were the gracious words which 
he shouted to them. The effect justified his wisdom. After 
hearing his message of mercy, the " poor people," he says, " were 
ready to tread me under foot out of pure love and kindness." 
It was some time before he could make his way out of the eager 
throng. He had to escape by another street than that by which 
he came, but, on reaching his inn, he found that several of his 
hearers had got there before him. They vehemently entreated 
him to stay with them at least a few days, or, if that could not 
be, yet only one day more ; but he could not ; he had promised 
to be with Nelson again immediately, and was compelled to leave 

194' HiSTOBT Of mamBEomim:. 

them dttmouting around him for the bread of life. His 4>ro1i.her 
came vmon^ them in a short time, and before the year dosed 
Wesley again Tiaited them ; he saw their degradation more tho- 
roughly than before ; he found, he writes, that he had got into 
the vefy Kingswood of the north. Twenty or thirty ** wild 
children" ran aronnd him as soon as he Altered the Common to 
preach. He describes them as neither clothed nor naked. ^ One 
of the largest (a girl about fifteen} had a piece of a ragged, dirty 
blanket some way hung about her, and a kind of cap on her head, 
of the tuime cloth and colour." He was deeply a^ected hj the 
sight of his miserable audience, and they looKed, be says, as if 
they wx>tdd have " swallowed him up," especially while he was 
applying to them the words : ^' Be it known unto you, men and 
brethren, that through this man is preached unto you fbrgiyeness 
of sins." He immediately began the erection of a chapel among 
them. One of those "Societies" which he had ppoyidentialfy 
found ready for him in London, Bristol, and oth^ towns, had 
maintained a lingering existence in Newcastle. It now became 
the nucleus of Methodism there, and a profound but remarkaUy 
tranqiiil religious interest spread through the surrounding regio^mei. 
" I nerer saw,** he writes, ** a work of God in any oth^ place so 
eyenly and gradually carried on; it continually rises, step by 
step." Instances, however, of excitement, and its physical effects, 
afterward appeared at Newcastle, as at other places, and required 
the exercise of hts best prudence. 

On his return he passed rapidly through many towns, preach- 
ing daily. He stopped at an inn in Epworth, the parish of his 
father and his own birthplace. The curate, who was a drunkard, 
refused him the pulpit. David Taylor, Lady Himtingdon's 
servant, was with him, and announced, as the congregation retired 
from the dhurch, that We^ey would preach in fiie graveyard in 
l^e afternoon. He accordingly stood upon his father's tomostone, 
and preaclied to such a congregation as Epworth had never seen 
before. For one week he daily took his stand above ihe ashes of 
his father, and " cried aloud to the earnestly attentive congrega- 
tions." He must have deeply felt the impressive associations of 
the place, but paused not to record his emotions. His one great 
work of preacning, preaching day and night, seemed wholly to 
absorb him. His hearers, however, felt rae power ^f his word 
and of the scene. God bowed their hearts, he says» and on every 
side, as with one accord^ they lifted up their voices and w^t ; 
several dropped down as deaa. A g^itleman came to kear him 
who boasted that he was ci no reli^on, and had iiot^ boen in « 

i*9Q0«i9«i ; 1 741—1744. lU 

eknxiskS^ thirty years, Tbe staking »i^w of tke ohuricbjAi^ 
«ou)d pK^thftbly alone bava brought him to hoar We^lej. £[6 wa9 
«iDitt^ u&d^ tbe sennoQ, ax^d whmi it «as eBdi^ .^ood jike » 
e^tue, looking up to the heavens. Wesle;^ a^ked : ''Are you 4^ 
fiinn^f " " Sinner e»owgb," he replied, wiii a brok^ Yoice, jsmi 
remained gazing )»pward till his friends pressed bim ijxio his £ir- 
liage and took him home. Ten years later Wesley saw bim, mi 
WB» agreeably surprised to find him strou^ in faath, though fast 
failing in boay* For some years, he said, h^ had beeu r^oicing 
in God vitbo^ either doubt or fear,aaxd was now waiting £otr the 
welcome hour when he should depart and be with Christ. 

Wesley found in Epwortb an old servant of bis father, md 
jSeveral ^oor people, who had adopted tbe Methodistic views, mi 
were Hvu^g hy wik, and he organised societies throughout a wide 
^eircuit of neagbbouring towns, in which he preached daily hrf<«e 
the hour of his evening sermons at his fath^'s tomb* Thesp 
societies were mostly eomjpoAsd of the lowost people ; but sui^ 
aaliut^y e&di had Methodism on their daily lives as to commend 
it ^ften to the respect of the higher dassesj and almost every- 
where a few of '^ the noble " shared its blessings.* 

Tbe foundations of Methodism bad now been laid in much of 
tiie land. Societies were springing up in ail directions ; Classes 
w^ere generally introduced among them; itineremt lay preachei^ 
were multiplying; chapels bad already been built inBrisJbol, Li^n- 
^ion^ Kingswood, and Newcastle. It became obvious that h^ter 
^defined t^msof membership were necessary for the growing socie- 
^ties. Wesley, therefore, in consultation with bis brother, formed 
tbe memorable '' Gegaeral Bules of tbe United Societies," a doi@u- 
ment which has become a part of the constitutional law of tibe 
Methodist Episcopal Church of America. It defines th^ " JJnited 

* Wfa^ 4m. biB present yisit to Epworth, he says he rode over to ft neii^- 
bourmg town to vait upon & justice of the peaee, ft man of candour and 
undfrstpnding, bei^re whom their angry neigbhoiupp had ca^ied a wh»le 
^waggon-load of these new heretics. But when tbe magistrate asked wha^ they 
h&d done there was a deep silence, for that was a point their conductors had 
forgot. At length one said : ** Why, tbey pretend to be better than other 
peofde ; and, besides, they pray from morning till night." 

The justice aaked : "But have they done nothing besides f" 

*'¥«», ^«ir," «aid an old man ; "an it please your worahip, th^y luvse ctm- 
sHxrted my wife. Till she went among them she had such a l>angttet, and now 
.jshe is as quiet as a Iamb." 

^ G«rry them ba(^1 carry them baf^!*' replied the magistrate, ** and let 
iSamo. oonpart aU jtibe scolds in Idie town.*' 

Wimdef!9 Jivwaml abpundf with jimlar &ct8. 


Society" to be "no other than a company of men having the 
form and seeking the power of godliness ; united in order to pray 
together, to receive the word of exhortation, and to watch over 
one another in love, that they may help each other to work out 
their salvation.'* Members are required to be distributed into 
classes, about twelve to each class, one of whom is styled the 
leader. He is to meet them once a-week for religious inquiry 
and conversation, and for the collection of their contributions 
toward the expenses of the Society, reporting the result to the 
preacher and stewards regularlv. But one condition is previously 
required of such as wish admission to the classes — " a desire to 
flee the wrath to come, and to be saved from their sins ;" but this 
desire is to be shown, first, hy doing no harm ; by avoiding evil in 
every kind, especially that which is most generally practised ; such 
as taking the name of God in vain ; profaning the Sabbath, either 
by doing ordinary work thereon, or by buying or selling ; drunken- 
ness, buying or selling spirituous liquors, or drinking them, unless 
in cases of extreme necessity; fighting, quarrelling, brawling, 
brother going to law with brother ; returning evil for evil, or rail- 
ing for railing ; using many words iu buying or selling ; buying 
or selling uncustomed goods ; giving or taking things on usury ; 
uncharitable or unprofitable conversation, particularly speaking 
evil of magistrates or of ministers ; doing to others as they would 
not have others do unto them, and doing what they know is not 
for the glory of G-od ; as the putting on of gold, or costly apparel ; 
the taking such diversions as cannot be used in the name of the 
Lord Jesus ; the singing those songs, or reading those books that 
do not tend to the knowledge or love of God ; softness, and need- 
less self-indulgence ; laying up treasure on earth ; borrowing 
without a probability of paying, or taking up goods without a 
probability of paying for them. Secondly, the sincerity of their 
profession was to be shown hy doing good^ by being in every kind 
merciful after their power, as they had opportunity ; doing good 
of every possible sort, and as far as possible to all men ; to their 
bodies, of the ability that God giveth, by giving food to the 
hungry, by clothing the naked, by visiting or helping the sick, 
and prisoners ; to their souls, by instructing, reproving, or ex- 
horting all they had any intercourse with ; trampling underfoot that 
enthusiastic doctrine of devils, that we are not to do good unless our 
hearts he free to it ; by doing good, especially to them that are 
of the household of faith, or groaning so to be ; employing them 
preferably to others ; buying one of another ; helping each other 
in business, and so much the more, because the world will love it& 

PB0GBES8: 1741 — 1744. 137 

own, and them only ; by all possible diligence and frugality, that 
the Q-ospel may not be blamed ; by running with patience the 
race that was set before them, denying themselves, and taking 
up their cross daily ; submitting to bear the reproach of Christ ; 
to be as the filth and offscouring of the world, and expecting that 
men should say all manner of evil of them falsely for the Lord's 
sake. Tliirdly, by attending on all the ordinances of God, such 
as public worship, the ministry of the Word, either read or ex- 
pounded, the Lord's Supper, family and private prayer, searching 
the Scriptures, and fasting or abstinence. " These," add the two 
brothers, " are the general rules of our societies ;• all which we 
are taught of G-od to observe, even in His written Word, the only 
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 observes them not, who habitually breaks any of 
them, let it be made known unto them who watch over that soul, 
as they 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." 

Such was the original platform of Methodism. It comprises 
not one dogmatic statement, nor hardly what could be called an 
ecclesiastical requisition. All earnest inquirers after religious 
truth and spiritual purification throughout the world could ap- 
prove it with scarcely a qualification. It was a purely catholic 
and apostolic expression of Christianity. At a later date Wesley 
exclaims in his Journal : " Oh that we may never make anything 
more or less the term of union with us, but the having the mind 
that was in Christ, and the walking as He walked."* 

During the year 1743 Wesley repeated his excursions to 
Wales, and also to the north of England. He visited Epworth, 
and again preached on the tomb of his father. He was now not 
only denied the pulpit but even the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper. He was again with Nelson at Birstal, and returned 
thence to London, proclaiming his message at Sheffield, Wednes- 
bury, Stratford-on-Avon, Evesham, and Bristol. On the 14th of 
February he directed his course toward the north, and in five 
days was preaching at Newcastle, where he found that his pre- 
vious visit had left a wide-spread sensation. He perceived, in 
visiting the adjoining towns, the necessity of reducing his 
"itinerancy" to a more methodical arrangement, and "resolved 
not to strike one stroke in any place where he could not follow 

* Journal, September 29, 1745. 

laS HIAXOfiX 07 K£XH0AI8H. 

the blow;" thence spnmg up his regular '^ circuit ^y^tem^Vwlikh 
was Bubsequentij extended to the labours of all his assistai^ts. 

While at Kewcafitle he made a itpeeial investigation of ihe 
remarkable physical effects which now occurred there, as ^else- 
where, under his preaching. He found, first, that all persons 
who had been thus afifected were in perfect health, and had iheA 
before been subject to convulsions of anj kind. SecKmd, that 
these new affections had come upon them in a joion^ent, without 
any previous notice, while they were either heariug the preacUng, 
or thinking of what they had heard. Third, that tJhey aaually 
dropped down, lost their strength, and were seized with violeis^ 
pain. Their feelings they described differently. Some said they 
ielt as if a sword was running through them ; others thought a 
great weight lay upon th^n, as if it would press them into the 
earth. Some said they were quite choked^ and found it diffijeult 
to breathe, that their hearts swelled ready to hurst ; ethers that 
the whole body seemed rending to pieces. These symptoms he 
still attributed to a preternatural &emcj» " I can no more impute 
them," he writes, '' to any natural cause than to the Spirit of 
God." But they were not divine; they were demoniacaJ.j ^'it 
was Satan tearing them as they ware coming to •Christ."'* His 
journal abounds in candid records of such phenomena ; and the 
curious who would study these extraordinary effects (r^epeated so 
often in our own day) for the purpose of ducovering a f^jmoh- 
gical or any other solution of luiem^ can find no better <£i4ia tbaa 
he records. 

Charles Wesley, who attached less import^)ce to these mar* 
vels, subsequently found, at Newcastle, that the pmpensity to 
morbid imitation, which played so many and even epidemic follies 
in the ecclesiastical history of the Middle Ages, had not a little 
to do with them. He also detected among them some deliberajte 
counterfeits. One, who came drunk from an ale-hause, was 
pleased, he writes, to fall into a fit for his entertainment, and 
neat himself heartily. Wesley thought it a pity to hinder him, 
and, instead of singing over him, as had often been done, left him 
to recover at his leisure. A young woman began to <5ry aloud ; 
he ordered her to be carried away; her convulsions were so 
violent as to deprive her of the use of her Umhs, till they laid and 

* As kte, however, as 1781, when he pabHsked his Short Hktoiy of tiie 
People called Methoduti, he ^rres asi impertaQt quatidiisfttioii t» ihis «plnaoa. 
** Satan," he aays, '* mimicked this paart of 4he work <£ Qo6^ in Qrd«r to ducwadtt 
the whole, »nd yet it is not wise to give up this port aaj more thmi^jig^^^ up 
the whole.** Wesley seemed always to be puzzled by these problems ; his opinions 
respecting them were thronghoot his life Tague it not contradiotory. 

PBOoasat : 1741—1744. 189 

left lier vitfaout the door. I^be there immediatel3r fisnticl her 
strengtii and Yndked off. Some rerj imquiet women, who alwaji 
took oaie to stand near him, and try which should cry loaded 
became as '' quiet as lambs" when removed out of his sight. 
lihe first night he preached in the town half his words were lost 
tibrough their outmei. Before he began on another evening, he 
gave public notice that whoever cried so as to drown his voioe 
should, without any man's hurting or judging them, be gentlf 
carried to the &rthest comer of the room. His porten had no 
emplo5rment during the meeting ; '' yet," he writes, ^ the Lord 
was with us, mightily convincing of sin and righteousness."* 

John Wesley returned to his lay fellow-labourer, Nelsou, at 
Birstal, and gqmg with him to Leeds, preached his first sermon 
in that great centre of northern Methodism. f A society had 
already been formed there, probably by John Nelson himself. 

On Wesley^s return to Bristol, his Inrother set out for the north, 
jpreaching in almost every town on his route, and was repeatedly 
beset by ^rodous mobs. At Wednesbury he found that Methodism 
was acc(»nplishing its salutary work among the colliers. More than 
tluree hundred had been reformed and gathered into the society^ 
while others raged against the itinerants, like untamed beasts of 
the forest. He walked with his Wednesbury brethren to Walsall, 
singing as they went ; but as they passed through the streets of 
the latter place, they were hailed by the shouts of the rabble. 
He took his stand on the steps of the market-house, where a host 
of excited men rallied against him, and bore down like a flood to 
sweep him away. Stones flew fast and thick. Many strode 
without hurting him. He kept his ground till he was about to 
close his discourse, when the raging stream bore him fjtom the 
steps. He regained them, and was pronouncing the benediction, 
when he was again swept down ; but a third time he took his 
position, and returned thanks to Ood, after which he passed 
through the nndst of the rioters, menaced on every hand, but 

He went to Sheffield, where worse scenes awaited him. He 
says: ^ Hell from beneath was moved to oppose us." As soon 
as he was in the desk, '' the floods began to lift up their voice." 
A military officer contradicted and blasphemed, but the preacher 
took no notice of him, and sang on. Stones were thrown, hitting 
the desk and people. To save them and the house, he gave no doe 
tiiat he shoidd preach out of doors, and look the enemy in tlie 

* Jackson's Life of Charles Wesley, chap. x. 

t SmitJi^B History of Methodism, book ii. chap. 2. 


face. The "whole anny of aliens followed me,'* he says; their 
leader laid hold of him and reviled him ; he gave the enraged 
soldier " A Word in Season, or Advice to a Soldier," one of the 
tracts o£ his brother ; he then prayed particularly for the king, 
and preached on amid the contention, though often struck in the 
face by stones. After the sermon he prayed for sinners as servants 
of their master, the devil, upon which the officer ran at him with, 
great fury, threatening revenge for his abuse, as he caUed it, 
of the king, his master. He forced his way through the crowd, 
drew his sword, and presented it to the preacher's breast. Wesley 
threw open his vest, and fixing his eye on his assaUaiit, calmly 
said, " I fear God, and honour the king." The captain's coun- 
tenance fell in a moment; he put up his sword and quickly 
retreated from the scene. Wesley returned to the house of a 
friend ; but the rioters followed, and exceeded in their outrage 
anything he had seen before. Those of Moorfields, Cardiff, and 
Walsall, were lambs, he says, compared to these. They resolved 
to pull down the preaching-house, " and they set to their work," 
he writes, " while we were praying and praising God. It was a 
glorious time with us. Every word of exhortation sunk deep, 
every prayer was sealed, and many found the Spirit of glory resting 
on them." The mob pressed hard to break open the door. 
Wesley would have gone out to them, but his brethren would 
not suffer him. The rabble raged all night, and by morning had 
pulled down one end of the house. " Their outcries often waked 
me in the night," he writes ; " yet I believe I got more sleep 
than any of my neighbours." This disgraceful tumult he ascribes 
to sermons preached against the Methodists by the clergy of 

The next morning he was expounding at five o'clock, and later 
the same day he preached in the heart of the town. The mob 
shouted from afar, but troubled him not. On returning to his 
lodging, he passed the ruins of the chapel ; not one stone remainjed 
upon another. The rioters again rallied, and following him, 
smashed in the windows of his lodging, and threatened to tear 
down the dwelling, but the preacher, fatigued and courageous, 
fell asleep " in five minutes in the dismantled room." " I feared 
no cold," he writes, " but dropped asleep with that word, * Scatter 
thou the people that delight in war.' " Charles Wesley often 
acknowledged himself to have been constitutionally a timid man, 
but his religious feelings made him heroic whenever danger 
menaced him in the path of duty. 

The next morning at five o'clock he counselled and comforted 

FBOOBESS: 1741 — 1744. 141 

the little company of his brethren, and went on his waj to other 
labours and perils. He saluted John Nelson at Birstal, and pro- 
claimed his message in that and neighbouring towns to many 
thousands. He preached in the streets at Leeds, and found 
there a society of fifty members. At Newcastle, Sunderland, 
Shields, and other places, his labours were successful, and he 
returned to London, nothing daunted by the stormy tri^ he had 

Though bold as a lion in perils, Charles Wesley was not only 
naturally timid, but subject, like most men of poetic sensibility, 
to attacks of melancholy. He found a relief in activity, and in a 
short time was again on his route from London to Cornwall. 
Pausing to preach at Bristol, Exeter, and Bodmin, he arrived by 
the middle of July at St. Ives, which had become the centre of 
Methodism in the west. One of those societies which had been 
formed in London before the date of Methodism, had been kept 
up in the town, and opened the way for the Methodist evangelists. 
A lay " helper" was at hand to receive him. The mob was also 
waiting for him here, and in several neighbouring places. At 
St. Ives the chapel was attacked, its windows smasued in, its 
seats torn up, and the fragments borne away, with the shutters, 
poor-box, and all but the stone walls. "Wesley stood silently 
looking on. They swore bitterly that he should not preach there 
again, an assertion which he immediately disproved by proclaiming 
that Christ had died for them all. Several times they lifted their 
hands and clubs to strike him, but an unseen arm restrained 
them. They beat and dragged about the women, particularly one 
of a great age, and trampled on them without mercy. Wesley 
bade the people stand stiU, and see the salvation of God, resolving 
to continue with them until the end of the strife. After raging 
about an hour, the ruffians fell to quarrelling among themselves ; 
broke the head of the town-clerk, who was their captain, and 
drove one another out of the room. " Having kept the field, the 
society gave thanks for the victory." 

The converted miners were a courageous class, and were 
unappalled by these trials. The next day Wesley writes : "I 
cannot find one of this people who fears those that can kill the 
bod.y only." Some of their bitterest persecutors were won by 
their meek endurance, and became standard-bearers of the Cross 
among them. 

Similar assaults were niade in other places. At Pool a 
drunken hearer attempted to drag the preacher from his stand, 
and a churchwarden, heading the rabble, drove him and hi^ eon- 

gregatibs ev^ of the parish. The diitreh record bears to this 
daj ait entiy of expei^es at the Tillage iim for drink to the mob 
and it* leader^ for driving out the Methodists.* Several weeks, 
however, did Charles Wesley pursue hiA labours sucoesefully in 
ahnost every part of West Cornwall. Thousands heaid the Word 
amid the din of riots ; hundreds from the most degraded classes 
were converted into devout Christians and exemplary citissens, 
and Cornwall has since become the most successful arena of 
Hethodism in England. Nowhere, perhaps, in the world has it 
more strikingly demonstrated its beneficent power over the com- 
mon people. 

Soon after the return of Charles Wesley from Cornwall, John 
Wesley arrived there, accompanied by Nelson. They found about 
a hundred and twenl^ members in the society at St. Ives. Nelson 
worked during the day at his trade, and at night aided Wesley 
and Shepherd, another lay assistant, in preadiing among the 
population of the peninsula of West Cornwall. Methodism 
had not yet penetrated into many of the villages, and the itine- 
rants sometimes suffered for want of the common comforts of Hfe. 
Nelson relates, in characteristic style, examples of these hard- 
ships. " All this time," he says, " Mr. Wesley and I lay on the 
floor ; he had my greatcoat for his pillow, and I had Burkitt's 
Notes on the New Testament for mine. After being here nearly 
three weeks, one morning, about three o'clock, Mr. Wesley 
turned over, and finding me awake, clapped me on ike side, 
saying, 'Brother Nelson, let us be of good cheer; I have one 
whole side yet, for the skin is off but one side.* We usually 
preached on the commons, going from one common to another, 
and it was but seldom any one asked us to eat or drink. One day 
we had been at St. Hilary Downs, where Mr. Wesley preached 
from Ezekiel's vision of dry bones, and there was a shaking among 
the people while he preached. As we returned, Mr. Wesley 
stopped his horse to pick the blackberries, saying, 'Brother Nelson, 
we ought to be thankful that there are plenty of blackberries, 
for this is the best country I ever saw for getting a stomach, but 
the worst that ever I saw for getting food. Do the people think 
we can live by preaching ?* I said : * I know not what they may 
think ; but one asked me to eat something as I came from St. 
Just, when I ate heartily of barley bread and honey.' He said : 
* You are well off ; I had a thought of begging a crust of bread 
of the woman where I met the people at Morvah, but forgot it 
tin I had got some distance from the house.' "f 

• bmith'B History, book ii. chap. 2. f Nelson's Journal. 

TtLOBBXM: 1741 — 1744. 143 

Bisri^ were not uncoTninott prival^ozia among tbd^ primitiye 
M^lhecferi itinerants of both hemkipheres. No clergymen, how- 
en^y f9fb better than haye Methodist preachers in Cornwall since 
t6at day ; and even then, wherever the common people were 
Ipsf hered into the new societies, they were ready to snore all they 
pdStfessed with the devoted men who brought to their mines and 
tiovels the bread of life. They received the <j^ospel with a hearti- 
nestr and devotion which have never been surpassed. Wesley 
rieeords that on the morning which was to close nis present visit, 
lie was wake^ between three and four o'clock by a group of 
miners, who, eager for the five o'clock sermon, were waiting and 
singing hymns beneath his windows. 

Leaving Nelson to supply the societies, Wesley made rapid 
visits to Bristol and Wales, and returned again to the north. At 
Wednesbary he was attacked by an overwhelming mob of colliers 
snd others. He was pushed along in their midst from one magis- 
trate to another within, and two miles beyond, the town, during 
several hours of the night, and under a pelting storm of rain. 
These guardians of the peace were in bed, and refused either to 
bear or to disperse the mob. A second crowd from Walsall 
came down upon the fir^t, and, dispersing it, bore him off. A 
stent woman, who had headed the first mob, now tried to rally 
them for his defence, and swearing that none should touch him, 
ran in among the new assailants, and knocked down three or four 
men one after another, but was soon herself overpowered. The 
Walsall rabble pressed him from one end of the town to the 
other. In descending a steep and slippery part of the road an 
attempt was made to throw him down ; had it been successful, 
he would probably have been trodden to death. One of the 
female members of the society was thrown into the river. A 
strong man behind Wesley aimed several blows with an oak 
bludgeon at the back of his head. One of them would probably 
harre been fatal, but they were all turned aside, Wesley says, he 
'knows not how. He was struck by a powerful blow on the chest, 
and by another on the mouth, making the blood gush out ; but 
'felt no more pain, he affirms, from either than if they had touched 
him with a straw ; not certainly because he was over-excited or 
• al^ormed, for he assures us that from the beginning to the end he 
'was enabled to maintain as much presence of mind as if he had 
h^n sitting in his study, but his thoughts were entirely absorbed 
"^in-watohing the movements of the rioters. The noise on every 
'tR€l%*)le says, was like. the roaring of the sea. Many cried: 
" £jiock his brains out ! down with him ! kill him at once ! 


crucify him !" " No, let us hear him first," shouted others. He 
at last broke out aloud into prayer. The ruffian who had headed 
the mob, a bear-garden prizefighter, was struck with awe, and 
turning to him, said : " Sir, I mil spend my life for you ; follow 
me, and not one soul here shall touch a hair of your head." Several 
others now rallied for his protection. An honest butcher cried 
out for him, and laying hold bravely on four or five of the most 
violent of the rioters, thrust them away. The people fell back, 
as if by common consent, and, led on through their opened ranks 
by their champion, he safely escaped to his lodgings. 

Notwithstanding the manifest usefulness of Methodism to the 
lower classes of the English population, proved in the reformation 
of hundreds of them at "Wednesbury, as elsewhere, the clergy and 
magistrates favoured the mob. The former had instigated it, and 
the latter refused to suppress it. The Methodists of the town had 
endured intolerable wrongs before the riot reached this frightful 
crisis. Women and children had been knocked down and dragged 
in the gutters of the streets ; their houses had been attacked, their 
windows broken, their furniture demolished.* Such was the 
condition of English society in that day, that the rioters were 
assembled by the blowing of a horn, and virtually usurped the 
control of the laws for nearly half a year. They drew up a form 
of recantation, which they declared all MethocQsts should sign ; 
and those who refused to do so were beaten, and placed in peril 
of their lives. Wesley, with his usual courage and sagacity, had 
gone to Wednesbury to confront this formidable opposition. He 
knew that if Methodism were of G-od, it had a mission to perform 
towards these colliers, and their long-neglected and brut^ized class 
throughout the land ; that in approaching them it woula unavoid- 
ably provoke such hostilities, and that its only policy was to 
meet and conquer them till it should open a clear field for itself 
among the lower classes generally. No man could have less 
natural disposition for what some might deem the ministerial 
heroism or romance of such adventures than he. The scholar, 
the accomplished divine, the well-bred gentleman, fastidiously 
nice, even, in matters of apparel and personal manners, these 
scenes of popular derision and ruffianism must have been most 
repugnant to him. He certainly never had the fanatical foUy to 
court them, but he never feared them. Calm in temper, keen in 
sagacity, and apposite in remark, he knew how to meet them. 

* Many Methodist families in Wednesbury still preserre fragments of 
furniture as precious memorials of the sufferings of their Others. Watson's 
Life of Wesley, chap. vii. 

PfioeBXBB: 1741—1744. 145 

He bad cmne to Wednesbury expressly to do so in tbis instance, 
and be succeeded. Tbe mob bad yielded, and its very leaders 
bad become bis defenders. A less sagacious man would bave 
supposed it well to remain on tbe field now tbat be bad won it ; 
but "Wesley left tbe next morning. He knew that tbougb tbe 
mass bad been conquered, tbe fermentation in some minds bad 
not yet entirely subsided, and migbt easily again break out ; but 
tbat a few days of delay and town-talk over tbe sufferings of tbe 
Metbodists, and tbe cool bearing of tbeir leader, could not fail to 
promote tbe favourable turn wbicb tbe popular feeling bad taken 
towards tbem. He therefore rode away the next day, but passed 
through the town, and says tbat, " every one I met expressed 
such cordial approbation that I could scarce believe what I saw 
and beard." 

He went to Nottingham, where Charles Wesley was preach- 
ing. " He looked,*' says the latter, " like a soldier of Christ. 
His clothes were torn to tatters." Charles soon after visited 
Wednesbury to comfort the persecuted society. He found its 
members assembled, nothing terrified by their adversaries, and 
preached to them from, " Watch ye, stand fast in the faith ; quit 
yomreielves like men ; be strong." " Jesus," be says, *' was in 
the midst, and covered us with a covering of bis Spirit. Never 
was I before in so primitive an assembly. We sang praises 
lustily, and with a good courage, and could all set our seal to tbe 
truth of our Lord's saying : * Blessed are they that are perse- 
cuted for righteousness' sake.' We laid us down and slept, and 
rose up again. We assembled before day to sing hymns to 
Christ, as Grod." As soon as it was light be walked down into 
the town and preached boldly on, " Fear none of those things 
which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil shall cast some of 
you into prison that ye may be tried ; and ye shall have tribula- 
tion ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee 
a crown of life." " It was," he says, " a most glorious time ; 
we longed for our Lord's coming to confess us before His Father 
and His holy angels. We now understood what it was to 
receive tbe Word in much affliction, and yet with joy in the 
Holy ahost." 

He received several new members into the society, and among 
them was tbe late captain of the mob- This depraved man was 
not without generous feelings ; he bad been constantly in deep 
religious contrition since the night on which be had attacked and 
rescued Wesley. Charles asked him what he thought of his 
brother. " Think of him," said be ; " that be is a mon of Glod ; 



tmd Ood was on bis sdde when «o many of us conld not InSi one 
mcmJ* ■* Thxra did Methodism pluck " brands fiom the burning,*' 
and lift tiiem up before tiie astonished mobs and magistrates as 
its best trophies. 

John Wesley was soon again in Newcastle, and the re- 
mainder of Ihe year was spent in undiminished labours. lOie 
persecutions which broke out in many places increased the 
popular interest in the new movement and aroused the energy of 
its labourers, ^he jear dosed with forty-five itinerants in the 
field, besides many local preachers. Societies had sprung up in 
many of the principal towns ; their membership cannot be ascer- 
tained, but it must have included many thousands. There were 
more than two thousand in London alone, t Wesley saw that a 
great work had begun ; that it could not Ml to affect the whole 
kingdom if it went on, and that it was now no time to succumb 
before mobs or any other difficulties. Mobs, he knew,. could not 
last long ; the laws, if nothing else, must sooner or later suppress 
them, and they could only result in greater impetus to the new 
movement. They afforded the most conclusive proof of the 
moral degradation of the common people, and therefore the best 
justification of the extraordinary efforts, by which Methodism 
attempted to awaken the inert conscience of the land. Stedfast 
perseverance in these efforts was what the times required ; with 
Wesley that could never be wanting, and it could never fail among 
his subordinate labourers while their leader bore their standard 
courageously forward. The next year was to open with new 
" fights of affliction," but wdth still greater victories. 

• Weriey's Jaarad, tmno 1Y43. Jackson's CSiarles Wesley, chap. x. 
t JaoksMifs Chaii»B We^j, dhap. zi. 

Fx«37 inmxTj^ oaar9ii«KC£. 147 



Reports against Wssbj — TemlxLe Mobs in Staffbrdahira — Charles Wmihj 
am(mg the Bioters— John Wesley in OomwaU — ^oenes at St. Ives — W^ihj 
preaching at Gwennap — John Nelson — ^His Power over the Mob — H^ is 
unpresfied for the Army — Characteristic Incidents — ^Thomas Beavd, l^e 
Protomartyr of Methodism — ^The First Wesleyan Conference — ^Its Pro- 
oeedingB — ^Its Policy — ^Lady Huntingdon — ^Ministerial Education approrsd 
-^Wedey's Earnest Appeal to Men of Season and Beligion. 

Tss year 1744 was k> be signalized in the history of Methodiam 
not onlj by the first session of the Wesleyan Conference, but by 
formidable trials. Before the Conference Wesley made rapid ex- 
cursions into various parts of England and Wales. The country 
was in general commotion, occasioned by threatened invasioms 
&oin Prance and Spain, and by the movements of the Scotch Pre- 
tender. Beports were rife that the Methodist preachers were in 
collusion with the Papal Stuart. All sorts of cidumnies against 
Wesley flew over the land. He had been seen with the Pretender 
in Prance ; had been taken up for high treason, and was at la^t 
safe in prison awaiting his merited doom. He was a Jesuit, and 
kept Homan priests in his house at London. He was an a^nt of 
Spain, whence he had received large remittances, in order to raise 
a body of twenty thousand men to aid the expected Spanish in- 
vaeion. He wa« an Anabaptist ; a Quaker ; bad been prosecuted 
for unlawfully selling gin ; had hanged himself; and, at any rate, 
was not the genuine John Wesley, for it was well known that the 
latter was dead and buried. That he was a disguised Papist, aad 
an agent for the Pretender, was the favourite slander ; and when 
a proclamation was made requiring all Eoman Catholics to leave 
London, he stayed a week in the city to refute the report. He 
was summoned by the justices of Surrey, to appear before their 
court, and required to take the oath of allegiance to the king, 
and to sign the Declaration against Popery. Charles Wesley 
was actually indited before the magistrates in Yorkshire, because 
in a public prayer he had besought God to "call home his 
banished ones." This, it was insisted, meant the House of the 
Stuarts ; and he had to explain, at the tribunal, the purely spiritual 
meaning of the phrase, before he was acquitted. 

Mobs raged, meanwhile, in many places. In Staffordshire the 


Methodists were assailed not only in their assemblies, but in the 
streets, and in their homes. At "Walsall the rioters planted a flag 
in public and kept it flying during several days. In Darlaston 
women were knocked down, and abused in a manner, says Wesley, 
iK)o horrible to be related.* Their little children, meanwhile, 
wandered up and down, no neighbour daring to take them in lest 
he should hazard his own life. Houses were broken into, and 
furniture destroyed and thrown out into the street. One of the 
Methodists says that he was denied shelter in his own father's 
dwelling, the latter fearing it would be torn down. Charles Wes- 
ley, as we shall hereafter see, could, at a later date, distinguish 
the houses of Methodists by their " marks of violence," as he 
rode through the town. In Wednesbiuy the disorders were again 
frightful; and for nearly a week the mob reigned triumphant. 
They were gathering aU Monday night, and on Tuesday began 
their riotous work, sanctioned, if not led on, by gentlemen of the 
town. They assaulted, one after another, all the houses of those 
who were called Methodists. They first broke the windows, 
suffering neither glass, lead, nor frames to remain. Then they 
made their way in, and all the tables, chairs, chests of drawers, 
with whatever was not easily moveable, they dashed in pieces^ 
particularly shop goods and furniture of every kind. What they 
could not well break, as feather beds, they cut in pieces, and 
strewed about the room. The wife of a M!ethodist was lying-in, 
but that was nothing ; they pulled away her bed and cut it in 
pieces. Wearing apparel and things* which were of value or 
saleable were carried away, every man loading himself with as 
much as he could well bear of whatever he liked best. All this 
time none offered to resist him. Men and women fled for their 
lives ; only the children remained, not knowing whither to go. 
Some of the gentlemen who had instigated these dreadful scenes, 
or threatened to turn away collier or miner from their service if 
he did not take part in them, now drew up a paper for the mem- 
bers of the society to sign, importing that they would never invite 
nor receive any Methodist preacher again. On this condition it 
wAs promised that the mob should be checked at once, otherwise 
the victims must take what might follow. The pledge was 
offered to several ; but the faithful sufferers declared, one and all, 
" We have already lost all our goods, and nothing more can follow 
but the loss of our lives, which we will lose too, rather than 
wrong our consciences." 

The mob divided into several companies, and marched from 

* Journal, anno 1744. 


village to village within a range of four or five miles, and the 
whole region was in a state Uttie short of civil war. 

Wesley was justly indignant to find these outrages described 
the next week, in the London newspapers, as perpetrated by the 
Methodists themselves, who, " upon some pretended insults from^ 
the Church party," had risen in "insurrection" against the 
Government. He hastened from London to sustain the persecuted 
societies in the riotous districts, for it was his rule, he wrote, 
" always to face the mob." At Dudley he learned that the lay 
preacher had been cruelly abused at the instigation of the parish 
minister; the peaceable itinerant would probably have been 
murdered, had not an honest Quaker enabled him to escape dis- 
guised in his broad-brimmed hat and plain coat.* At Wednes- 
bury he found none of the magistrates willing to protect the 
Methodists. One of these functionaries declared that their treat- 
ment was just, and offered ^Ye pounds to have them driven out of 
the town. The spirit of the converted colliers was rising, and 
Wesley had dif&culty in restraining them from self-defence. One 
of the magistrates refused to hear a Methodist who came to take 
oath that his life was in danger. Another delivered a member of 
the society up to the mob, and waving his hand over his head, 
shouted, " Huzza, boys ! well done ! stand up for the Church !" 
The sound of family worship in the evening was the signal for 
breaking into the Methodist houses. At Walsall Charles Wesley 
found " the enemy's head-quarters ;" the flag of the rioters waved 
in the market-place. He passed to Nottingham, and there also 
the war had begun. The Methodists were driven from the chapel, 
and pelted in the streets. They would have avenged their wrongs 
had it not been for the restraining efforts of another good Quaker. 
The mayor passed by laughing, while Charles Wesley was preach- 
ing at the town-cross amid flying missiles from the mob. At 
Lichfield " all the rabble of the county was gathered together, 
and laid waste all before them ;" not one, however, of the 
Methodists ** had resisted evil ; they took the spoiling of their 
goods joyfully." At Sheffield and Thorpe he found the mob had 
relented, and the societies enjoyed rest. At the latter place a 
persecutor had died in despair, and the rabble had been appalled 
into quiet. Some of them had even joined the society. At 
Wakefield and Leeds he learned that the. Methodists had been 
excluded from the Lord's Supper at the parish churches. At 
Birstal he found John Nelson's hill quite covered with hearers ; 
in the midst of his discourse a gentleman ^* came riding up, and 

* Jackson's Life of Charles Wesley, chap. xi. 


dbkiost over tbe people." Speaking of tempertoce and judgment 
to come, Wesley turned and said, " * Tliou lurt the mati/ His 
cumntenance fell, and he fled before the sword of the Spirit. The 
pomer of God burst forth, and a cry was heard throi^out the 

He pursued his way to Newcastle, where disturbuiees were 
also breaking out. Taking his stand in the public square, he 
proclaimed, " Ye shall be hated of all men for My name s sake.'* 
He afterwards found a " great mob'* at the chapel j and "spend- 
ing an hour in taming them,'* exhorted them for two hours more* 
"The rocks," he says, " were melted on every side, and the very 
ringleaders of the rebels declared they would make a disturbance- 
no more." The next day, however, the storm raged again among 
another class. The people had given themselves up to drunken- 
ness, in honour of a supposed victory of the British over the 
French.* They thronged about the chapel, struck several of the 
bwthren, and threatened to pull down the pulpit. He afterwards 
learned that at the same hour the chapel at St. Ives was pulled 
down. At Bp worth he met on the common a lay preacher, 
Thomas Westall, who was driven away from Nottingham by " the 
mob and mayor." Wesley immediately preached to the panic- 
struck society and the noisy crowd on the text, " Enter into the 
rock, and hide yourselves as it were for a little moment, until the 
indignation be overpast." As he passed through Birstal again 
the mob was tearing down John Nelson's house, but fled away as 
Wesley and his companions approached with singing. He re- 
turned to London, and collected funds for the relief of the per- 
secuted societies. Some of his finest lyrics were composed during 
his travels amid these tumults. He often recited and sometimes 
sung them among the raging crowds. Four of them were written 
" to be sung in a tumult," and one was a ** prayer for the first 
martyr ;" it was soon to be found appropriate. 

The storm meanwhile swept over Cornwall also. The chapel 
at St. Ives was entirely destroyed. John Wesley went thither ; 
and on arriving at the home of one of the Methodists, where the 
society was waiting for him, he was received, he writes, " with a 
loud though not bitter cry ; but they soon recovered, and we 
poured out our souls together in praises and thasAsgivings." As 

* Such was the state o^ English morals at this period, that dmnkennesa 
was a fashionable yice. Nearly thirty years later Johnson said to Boswell : *' I 
feinember when all the decent people in Lichfield [Johnson's natiye town3 
got drank every night, and were not thought the worse for it,** BosweU*? 


sooxL 9& thej went out they were saluted wilih huzzas, stones, and 
durL He wa« agreeably surprised at the Christian meekness and 
pa&nce with wfosch the converted miners^ once degraded and vio- 
lent men tiiem selves, now endured persecution for ri^teou-sness' 
sake. Some of those who had been the worst of the rabble, had 
become the most exemplary sufferers. He records that '^the 
Methodists of St. Just had been the chief of the whole country 
for hurling, fighting, drinking, and all manner of wickedness ; 
butt mstixj of the lions had become lambs, and were continuaUy 
praising God, and calling their old companions in sin to come and 
magnify the Lord together." Such had been the general state of 
region in the country, that many intelligent men could not com- 
prehend these changes. They were anomalies and madness to 
them. One of the dergy in Cornwall, a person, says .Wesley, of 
unquestioned sense and learning,, and a doctor of divinily, some of 
whose most abandoned parishioners had been reclaimed, asked a 
devout Methodist " who had been made the better by this preach- 
ing ?" " The man before you," was the reply ; " one who never 
before knew any work of God in his soul/' " Get along," cried 
the learned divine ; '' you are all mad, crazy-headed fellows," and 
seizing him by the shoulders thrust him out the door. 

On the public fast-day, appcnnted for the safety of the nation 
against the menaced invasion, Wesley listened to a sermon in the 
Church of St. Ives, in which the Methodists were denounced as 
enemies of the Church and State, Jacobites, and Papists. But 
the sun of the same day went down upon him, as he stood con- 
trolling the troubled elements at Gwennap. " I stood," he says, 
'* on the wall, in the calm still evening, with the setting sun be- 
hind me, and almost an innumerable multitude before, behind, 
and cm either hand. Many likewise sat on the little hills, at 
some distance from the bulk of the congregation. £ut they could 
aU hear distinctly while I read ; ' The disciple is not above his 
Master/ and the rest of those comfortable words which are day 
by day fulfilled in out ears."* 

Thus did he maintain his ground : to retreat, was to abandon 

* The Gwennap amphitheatre must have presented a grand spectacle on such 
oeoaaions ; an engraTing representing Weslej preaching tliereis extant; in the 
latter part of hia life, aged, and Tenerated by the people, he still occupied it for 
preaching at his annual visits. " I think,*' he wrote, " thia ia one of the most 
magnificent spectacles which is to be seen on this side heaven." The Metho- 
&t singing there especiaBy was sublime to him. *' No music,** he said, *' is to 
Int heard on earth covuparabie to the sonnd of many thousand voiees," as he 
Ibcre heard them, " all harmomooai^ jomed in sitng^ng: praisea lo God and tha 


tliis demoralized populace to its moral wretchedness ; to persevere, 
lie knew would conquer its turbulence in spite of the influence of 
the clergy. He did persevere, and at last won the well-deserved 
victory. Methodism prevailed through all Cornwall, and in his old 
age his journeys through its towns and villages were like " royal 
progresses," or triumphal marches. The descendants of those 
who mobbed him crowded his routes, and fiUed the steps, balconies, 
and windows, to see and bless him as he passed ;* and in our 
day Cornwall witnesses in all its towns and hamlets, to the 
power of the G-ospel as preached by Wesley and his persecuted 

After spending three weeks in the west he went to Epworth, 
where he found that one of his preachers, John Downes, had been 
impressed as a soldier, and placed in Lincoln jail. An " inexpres- 
sible panic," he says, prevailed in all places. He passed to Bir- 
stal, the home of John Nelson, but there learned that this heroic 
man had also been seized for the army, and carried off to prison. 
Soon after he heard that Thomas Ei&ard, another assistant, had 
shared the same fate. 

John Nelson had been travelling about the land, working by 
day and preaching at night. His good sense, cool courage, sound 
piety, and apt speech, secured hun success wherever he went. 
He had spread out Methodism extensively in Yorkshire, Corn- 
wall, Lincolnshire, Lancashire, and other* counties. He was a 
man of such genuine spirit and popular tact that his worst oppo- 
sers usually became his best friends, and the rudest men delighted 
to hear him. He passed through Wednesbury soon after the 
terrible riots there, and preached in the open air. The mob came, 
but would not molest him. At Nottingham several persons tried 
to throw squibs into his face and at his feet while he was preach- 
ing, but others threw them back; and a sergeant in the army 
came to him with tears, and said : " In the presence of God and 
all this people I beg your pardon, for I came, on purpose to mob 
you ; but when I could get no one to assist me I stood to hear 
you, and am convinced of the deplorable state of my soul ; I 
believe you are a servant of the living God." " He then kissed 
me," says Nelson, "and went away weeping."t No evidence 
could better prove the power of the artizan preacher. He jour- 
neyed on to Grimsby, where the parish clergyman hired a man to 
beat the town drum, and went before it, gathering together thei 
rabble, and giving them liquor to go with him and " fight for the 
Church." When they came to Nelson's lodgings, they set up 

* Watsoa's Life of Wesley, chap. tjL f Nelson's Journal. 


three huzzas, and tlieir clerical leader cried out to them to pull 
down the house ; but no one offered to touch it till Nelson had 
done preaching ; they then broke the windows, leaving not one 
whole square of glass in the building. The people were assailed 
as they went out, but the mob began to fight one another, and 
thus allowed the preacher and his hearers to escape. Not long 
after the minister gathered the rioters together again, and gave 
them more drink. They then came and broke the stanchions of 
the windows, pulled up the paving in the streets, threw the stones 
into the house, and demolished its furniture ; but they again 
quarrelled among themselves, and dispersed after five hours of 
tumult. The clergyman, who was a representative of a large class 
of his profession at that day, hired the town drummer to disturb 
the evangelist again the next morning ; but after beating his drum 
around the congregation for three-quarters of an hour, he yielded 
under Nelson's eloquence, threw away the drum, and stood listen- 
ing with the tears running down his cheeks. Such was the power 
of this extraordinary man over his rudest hearers. 

He went to Epworth ; both the clerk and clergyman of that 
parish were drunkards ; the former ran, as Nelson was preaching 
in the open air, and cried to the congregation to make way that 
he might reach the itinerant and carry him before his master, who 
was at the village ale-house. The people stood up, however, for 
the eloquent mason, and bade the clerk hold his peace and go 
about his business. He chose to become still ruder, when a 
sturdy yeoman took him up and threw him on a dung-hill. 

At Pudsey the people were afraid to admit him to their houses, 
as they had heard that constables were searching for him. Nelson 
sat upon his horse in the street and exhorted them. " The Lord," 
he assured them, " would build the walls of Jerusalem in these 
troublesome times." He passed on to Leeds, where he " kept 
hewing stone day by day and preaching every night." The 
Methodists of Leeds may justly boast of him as their founder and 
apostle. On reaching his home at Birstal, he was met with warn- 
ings that he should be impressed for the army if he did not im- 
mediately escape. The ale-house keepers complained of the loss 
of their customers by his preaching, and the parish clergyman 
wished not such a rival near him. "I cannot fear," said the 
brave Torkshireman — " I cannot fear, for God is on my side and 
his Word hath added strength to my soul this day." He was 
seized the next day while preaching at Adwalton. He was much 
esteemed among his fellow-townsmen, and one of them offered 
fiye hundred pounds bail for him, but it was refused, and he was 


Kkarclied off to Halifax, where the Birstal vicar waa on the bench 
as one of the commission. Nelson's neighbours came to bear 
witness for him, but the commissioners declined to hear any other 
than their clerical associate, who reported him to be a vagrant^ 
without visible means of hviog. Nelson, who had always been 
an industrious workman, repelled the charge manfully. '* I am 
» able to get my living by my hands,^ he said, '' as any man of 
■ay trade in England is, and you know it." He was ordered to 
Bradford. On leaving Halifax many of the common people wept 
and pr^ed for him as he passed through the streets. *' Fear not," 
he cried to them ; ^' Grod hath His way in the whirlwind, and He 
will plead my cause ; only pray for me that my faith fail not." 
At Bradford he was plunged into a dungeon, into which flowed 
blood and filth from a slaoghter-house above it, so that it smelt, 
he says, " like a pig-sty ; but my soul," he adds, " was so fiUed 
with the love of Glod that it was a paradise to me." There was 
nothing in it to sit on, and his only bed was a heap of decayed 
straw. But even there his manly spirit won him friends ; a poor 
soldier wished to become responsible for him ; and an opposer of 
the Methodists offered security for him that he might be allowed 
to sleep in a bed. The people off(^red him food, water, and candles 
through a hole in the door, and stood outside joining him in 
hymns most of the night. He shared th^ charities with a mise- 
rable fellow-prisoner, who might have starved h^ it not been for 
his kindness. 

Nelson's excellent wife came to him early the next morning, 
and showed that she was worthy of him. She had two young 
children to provide f<:»r, and expect^ soon another, but addressing 
him through the hole in the door, said : " Fear not ; the cause is 
God^s for which you are here, and He will plead it Himself, 
l^ierefore be not concerned about me and the children, for He 
that feeds the young rav^is will be mindful of ua. He will give 
you strength for your day; and after we have suffered awhile 
He will perfect what is lacking in our souls, and bring us where 
the wicked cease from troubling, and wheare tiie weary are at 

" I cannot fear," responded the brave man ; " I cannot fear 
either man or devil so long as I find tibe love of God as I now 

The next day he was sent to Leeds. !liultitudea flocked to 
see him, and he thought, he says, oH the ^ Pilgrim's Progress," 
for hundreds of people in the street stood and looked at him 
tiuroi^ theiixngate, audwevereactytofii^aboiiithkii. Sev^al 


would hme balled him out. A stranger <^4»«d a huxidied pounds 
seeari^^ but it was refused. At night a hundred persons met in 
the jm, and joined him in worship. In a short time he waa 
marched off to York, where violent hostility prevailed against the 
Methodists. While he was guarded through the streets bj armed 
tieoops, it was, he says, as if hell waa moved from beneath to meet 
him at his coming. The streets and windows were fiUed with 
people, who shouted and huzzaed as if he had been one who had 
laid waste ihe nation. ''But," he adds sublimely, ''the Lord 
made>my brow like brass, so that I could look upon them as grasa^ 
hoppers, and pass through the city as if there had been none in. 
it but God and me." Here he was again sent to prison, but 
ceased not to admonish the officers and others about him when- 
ever they swore, and they often shrank before his word and his 
glance. He was ordered to parade. The corporal who was 
commanded to give him a musket, and gird him with his military 
ianppings, trembled as if he had the palsy. Nelson said he would 
wear them '^ as a cross," but would not fight as it was not agree* 
able to his conscience, azid he would not harm bis conscience f<^ 
any man on earth. He reproved and exhorted all who approached 
him. Atone time *'a great company" gathered to see him, and 
wished to hear his opinions. He preached to them, and they 
retired, dedaring " this is the doctrine which ought to be preached^ 
let men say what they will against it." Before Icmg he was preadi* 
ii^ in the fields and the streets, and no remonstrances of his 
officeni eofuld stop him. He replied to them always with respect- 
fynesS) but witii an invincible though quiet firmness. 

He was subjected to maltreatment, which his brave spirit 
would have resented had it not been for his Christian principles. 
A stripling ensign, especially, took pleasure in tormenting him. 
This cm0» had him put in prison for reproving his profeuiity and 
for preaching, and when he was let out threa4:ened to chastise 
him. Nehrcm reccH*ds that " it caused a sore temptation to arise 
in me, to think that a wicked, ignorant man should thus) torment 
me, and I able to tie his head and heels together. 1 found an old 
man's bone in me ; but the Lord lifted up a standard, when anger 
was coming on like a flood, else I should have wrung his neck to 
the ground and set my foot upon him." 

He was at last released by the influence of Lady Huntingdon 
with the Government, after having been marched about the country 
with his regiment for nearly three months. He immediately 
resumed his labours as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus. On the 
night of his discharge he was preaching at Newcastle i several of 


his military comrades came to hear him, and parted from him with 
tears. "We shall meet him again amid severer scenes, but always 
sublime in the calmness, simplicity, and courage of his noble 

Thomas Beard, his fellow-evangelist, had also been his fellow- 
sufferer in the regiment, and met a sadder fate. He maintained 
a brave spirit under his sufferings, but his health failed. He was 
sent to the hospital at Newcastle, " where," says "Wesley, " he 
still praised Grod continually.** His fever became worse and he 
was bled, but his arm festered, mortified, and had to be amputated. 
A few days later he died, the protomartyr of Methodism.* 

It is not surprising that the scholarly mind of "Wesley some- 
times revolted from such scenes. " I found," he writes, " a natural 
wish, O for ease and a resting-place ! Not yet, but eternity is 
at hand." Amid these very agitations he was planning for a still 
more energetic prosecution of the great work which was manifestly 
henceforth to occupy his life. He wrote letters to several clergy- 
men, and to his lay assistants, inviting them to meet him in Lon- 
don, and to give him their " advice respecting the best method of 
carrying on the work of G-od."t And thus was called together the 
first Methodist Conference on Monday, the 25th of June, 1744. 
It was held in the Foundry, London. On the preceding day, the 
regular clergymen and lay preachers who had responded to the 
call took the Lord's Supper together. On the morning of the first 
session Charles Wesley preached before them.J Besides the 
"Wesleys there were present four ordained ministers of the Church 
of England : John Hodges, rector of "Wenvo, "Wales, a friend and 
co-labourer of the "Wesleys in the principality, who not only 
opened his own pulpit to them, but accompanied them in their 
different routes and out-door preaching ; Henry Piers, the vicar 
of Bexley, a convert of Charles Wesley, and whose pulpit and 
home were ever open to him and his brother ; Samuel Taylor, 
vicar of Quinton, whose church the Wesleys always occupied 
when passing through that parish, and who himself was known as 
an itinerant evangelist ; and John Meriton, a clergyman from the 

* Wesley refers to him in his Journal, 1744, with mucli feeling, and quotes 
the lines : 

" Servant of God, well done ! well hast thou fought 
The better fight ; who singly hast maintained 
Against revolted multitudes, the cause 
Of God, in word mightier than they in arms." 

Charles Wesley wrote two of his best hymns on the death of Seard. 

t ^e Large Minutes. See also Wesley's Works. 
X JaokjKm^B Charles Wesley, chap, xi 


Isle of Man, who itmerated extensively in both England and 
Ireland."* It has usnallj been supposed that these six regular 
clergymen composed the first "Wesleyan Conference.f There were 
present, however, from among the lay preachers, Thomas Maxfield, 
Thomas Bichards, John Bennett, and John Downes.:|: 

The Conference being opened, regulations were immediately 
adopted for its own government. They were marked by the 
simplicity and purely evangelical character with which the 
Methodistic movement had thus far beer, characterized, and 
also by that charitable freedom of opinion which it has ever 
since been at least an indirect tendency of Methodism to pro- 
mote. " It is desired," said these good men, ** that everything 
be considered as in the immediate presence of God, that we may 
meet with a single eye, and as little children who have everything 
to learn ; that every point may be examined from the founda- 
tion ; that every person may speak freely what is in his heart, 
and that every question proposed may be fully debated and 
' bolted to the bran.' " It was a question formally proposed, 
How far does each agree to submit to the unanimous judgment 
of the rest ? The answer is worthy of perpetual remembrance. 
" In speculative things each can only submit so far as his judg- 
ment shall be convinced ; in every practical point, so far as we 
can, without wounding our several consciences." Should they be 
fearful, it was asked, of thoroughly debating every question 
which might arise ? " What are we afraid of? Of overturning 
our first principles ? K they are false, the sooner they are over- 
turned the better. If they are true, they will bear the strictest 

* Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. xi. 

t Jackson commits this mistake. (Life of Charles Wesley, chap, xi.) The 
error arises from the fact that the names of the lay preachers present were 
not given in the current Minutes. Wesley's first edition of the Minutes of his 
Conferences was issued in Dublin, about five years after this session. He 
published them in two pamphlets, one containing the deliberations of the se8> 
■ions on doctrinal subjects, the other, discussions of matters of discipline. The 
first was afterward comprised in the current Minutes, and was supposed to 
contain the only remaining record of the early conferences. The second was 
entitled the " Disciplinary Minutes." Its existence was forgotten until both 
tracts were found, bound with a copy of the early hymn-book, at a London 
book-stall, by Rev. Joseph Hargreaves, from whom they came into the hands 
of Dr. 0eorge Smith, who has made important use of them in his History of 
Methodism (book ii. chap. 3). There can be no doubt of the genuineness of 
this interesting document. Its internal evidence is conclusive. Its value to 
the, Methodist historian is inestimable, as it gives information of Conferences 
respecting which we have no other account whatever. 

X " Disciplinary Minutes.'* Smith's History of Methodism, book ii. chap. 3. 

158 HDROST 09 li9SS«>S8H. 

. examinatioo. Let us aH praj for % viUingneis to receive ligkt 
to know everj docirme whetiiar it be of Gkfd." * 

HaTing seized its own regulations, the eopfemaee cntspooded 
its buaineM fer an interval of prayer, after wlii^ it proceeded to 
consider, first, What to teach ; aeoond, What to do, or 1h)w to 
regulate the doctrine, discipline, aad practice of the ministrj and 
the Sooietj. l%ese propositions oomprehended the scope of its 
farther deliberations. The first two days were spent in dis- 
cisssions of the theology neoessary to be maintained in their 
preaching; and the whole record of the debate vindicates the 
representation already madet of the disposition of the Metho- 
Z founder, to a^i «nnece«^ DogS», by confining their 
instructions to those vital truths which partem to ^personal reli- 
gion. Sepentanoe, Faith, Justification, Sanctification, the Witness 
of the Spirit were defined with precision. No other tenets were 
discussed except as thej were directly related to these. 

On the third, fourth, and fifth days, qciestioiffl of discipline 
and methods of preaching were examined. The relations of the 
Methodist Societies to tl^ Church of England were considered. 
Secession from the Establishment was discountenanced, but 
evidence was given that Wesley's opinions of ^* church order" 
had already undergone a liberal improvement. To the question, 
How far \& it our duty to obey the bishops ? the answer is, " In 
all things indifferent; and on this ground of obeying them, we 
should observe the Canons as fiu* as we can with a safe con- 
science." Intimations are given in the ^' Disciplinary Minutes" 
of a classification of the Methodists of that day, which was 
doubtless very speedily changed, for, besides the United Societies 
and Bands, there were " Select Sodeties" and " Penitents," 
phrases which seldom or nevi^ afterwards appear in Methodist 
records. The rules of the United Societies and also of the Bands 
were approved. The suggestions of the Conference on the " best 
general method of preaching" were excellent for the lay preachers, 
l^ey were : 1. To invite ; 2. To convince ; 3. To offer Christ ; 
lastly, To build up ; and to do this in some measure in every 
sermon. Very precise rules were prescribed for lay assistants. 

* Minutes of the Methodist Conferences, firom the first held in London, 
by the late Rer. John Wesley, A.M., in the year 1774 j voL L London : 1812. 
As the Minutes of the first Conference were not published till 1749, they 
include some proceedings which took place at other sessions prior to thfv date. 
When it is important that their chronological order should be observed, I refer 
them to their real dates, as shown in the " Disciplinary Minutes," according 
to Dr. Smith's quotations, 
f See book j. chap. i. 


Wesley was still, howerer, reluctant to encourage a laj minsriay. 
To the qtiestioii whether lay aasiflta&ts axe allowable ? the Mimites 
reply, ** ^^J ^ cases of necessity." He was yet hopeful that 
the clergy of the National Church would be so genaraliy reached 
by the extending revival as to supersede that necessity. " "We 
beHere/' say these Minutes, ^ that the Methodists will eitiier be 
thrust out or will leav^i the whole Church." The assistants 
were instructed to preach against Formality. The questions, 
" Is it lawful to bear arms ?" and ** Is it lawful to use the law ?" 
were decidedly affirmatively. 

It is a fact of peculiar interest to the advocates of ministerial 
education among Metliodists, that as early as this, the first Con- 
ference of the ^nomination, their views were asserted by their 
great founder, and appaa^ntly without a dissent from his asso- 
ciates. It was fonnally asked, "Can we have a seminary for 
labourers ?" Methodism was not yet sufficiently mature, espe- 
ally in its finances, for the important design ; the answer was, 
therefore, ** If God spare ujs till another Conference." Accord- 
ingly, at the next session it was asked, '* Can we have a seminuy 
for labourers yet?" "Not till God gives us a proper tutor," 
was the reply.* The inquiry was made at subsequent Confe- 
rences, and never abandoned till it was effectively answered by 
the establishment of the present two well endowed " Theological 
Institutions" in England, and the two ** Biblical Institutes" in 
America. Methodism, like the " Great Eeformation," com- 
menced its work within a university, and has always, in its public 
capacity, zealously promoted useful knowledge and educational 
institutions. Objections to even theological education have been 
comparatively modem and mostly personal. 

During the session all the Conference were received at Lady 
Huntingdon's mansion in London, for the Countess still con- 
sidered Methodism a common cause. Wesley preached there 
fe)m a befitting text : ** What hath God wrought ?" Piers, of 
Bexley, imd Hodges, of Wenvo, took part in the service ; while 
Maxfieid, Eichards, Bennett, and Downes, sat around them, 
recognized as genuine, though unordained ambassadors of Christ. 
This was the first of those household sermons which afterwards, 
under Whitefield, gave to her ladyship's residence in London the 
character of a chapel. 

On Eriday the little band dispersed, to proclaim again their 

* Watson's "Wesley, chap. ix. "Wesley looked to Kingswood school,'* 
says Watson, **as subsidiary to this design," ..." so that the in.stito^'^L'^^^jBk 
actually lesolv^d upon, and delayed only by ciT(mm?.t«iv<iesr' 


.message through the country. They made no provision for 
future sessious ; they apparently had no definite conceptions of 
the great work in which they found themselves involved, except 
the suggestion of their spiritual faith, that God would not allow 
it to come to naught without first morally renovating the churches 
of the land. Any organic preparations for its future course 
would probably have interfered with the freedom and efficiency 
of its development. History teaches that men raised up for great 
events are usually endowed with wisdom and energy for their 
actual circumstances, and seldom effect momentous changes on 
hypothetical schemes ; and that even the constitutions of states 
are best when they arise from gradual growths. Great men are 
God's special agents, and they are not only good, but great, in 
proportion as they are co-workers together vdth Him, using to 
the utmost their present resources, and trusting the result to His 
foreseeing wisdom. Such an anticipation of the result as might 
fit them intellectually to forecast it, might unfit them morally to 
achieve it. We behold with admiration the prodigious agency of 
Luther in the modern progress of the world, but we can hardly 
conceive that he could have anticipated it without being thereby 
morally disqualified for it. Most of the practical peculiarities of 
Methodism would have been pronounced impracticable if sug- 
gested before the exigencies which originated them. To have 
supposed that hundreds of thousands of the common people 
could be gathered, and kept from year to year, in weekly class- 
meetings, for direct conversation and inquisition respecting their 
personal religious experience, and that such a fact should become 
the basis of one of the most extended forms of English Pro- 
testantism ; that a ministry for these multitudes could be raised 
up among themselves, a ministry without education, many of its 
members, according to their critics, eccentric, and predisposed to 
enthusiasm, if not fanaticism, and vet kept from doctrinal heresies ; 
that they could be trained to habits of ministerial prudence and 
dignity, and to the most systematic methods of evangelical labour 
known in the modem church ; that with uncertain salaries, and 
generally vdth severe want, they should devotedly adhere to their 
work ; that generation after generation they should consent to 
the extraordinary inconveniences of their ministerial itinerancy, 
to be torn up with their families every two or three years from 
their homes and churches, and despatched they knew not whither 
— such unparalleled measures, proposed beforehand, would have 
seemed, to thoughtful men, preposterous dreams. Yet more than 
a hundred yeavB have shovni them to be not only practicable, but 


effective beyond any other contemporary means of religious pro- 
gress. That Wesley did not seek to anticipate the wants of 
Methodism, except in the most obvious instances, was both a 
reason and a proof of his practical ability to meet them when 
they came. 

In this year he published his " Earnest Appeal to Men of 
Eeason and Eeligion." It is mostly a defence of the opinions 
and practice of the Methodists. It is eloquently written, and 
appeals, with justifiable confidence, to the striking results which 
had already attended the Methodistic movement. " Behold," he 
writes, " the day of the Lord has come ! He is again visiting 
and redeeming his people. Having eyes, see ye not ? Having 
ears do ye not hear, neither imderstand with your hearts ? At 
this hour the Lord is rolling away our reproach. Already His 
standard is set up. His Spint is poured forth on the outcasts ot 
men, and His love shed aoroad in their hearts. Love of all 
jnankind, meekness, gentleness, humbleness of mind, holy and 
heavenly affections do take the place of hate, anger, pride, revenge, 
and vile or vain affections. Hence, wherever the power of the 
Lord spreads, springs outward rel^on in all its forms. The 
liouses of God are filled ; the table of the Lord is thronged on 
every side ; and those who thus show their love of God, show 
they love their neighbour also, by being careful to maintain good 
works, by doing all manner of good, as they have time, to all 
men. They are likewise careful to abstain from all evil. Cursing, 
Sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, with all the (however fashionable) 
works of the devil, are not once named among them. All this is 
plain, demonstrable fact. I insist upon the fact ; Christ is 
preached, and sinners are converted to God. This none but a 
madman can deny. "We are ready to prove it by a cloud of wit- 
nesses. Neither, therefore, can the inference be denied that God 
is now visiting his people." 

Of the objections to the Methodists he says : " This only we 
confess, that we preach inward salvation, now attainable by faith. 
And for preaching this (for no other crime was then so much as 
pretended) we were forbid to preach any more in those churches 
where, till then, we were gladly received. This is a notorious 
fact. Being thus hindered from preaching in the places we 
should first have chosen, we now declare the 'grace of God 
which bringeth salvation in all places of His dominion ;' as well 
knowing that God dwelleth not only in temples made with hands. 
This is the real, and it is the omy real ground of com^laixife 
against us. And this we avow before all m^txKiivSL, ^^ ^'Ji ^^s^^a^ 


this salvation by faith. And not being suffered to preach it in 
the usual places, we declare it wherever a door is opened, either 
on a mountain, or a plain, or by a riverside (for all which we 
conceive we have sufficient precedent), or in prison, or, as it were, 
in the house of Justus, or the school of one Tyrannus. Nov 
dare we refrain. ' A dispensation of the Grospel is committed to 
me ; and woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.' " 

Of the conduct of the National clergy, as contrasted with 
that of the Methodists, he says : " Which of you convinceth us 
of sin ? Which of you (I here more especially appeal to my 
brethren, the clergy) can personally convict us of any ungodliness 
or unholiness of conversation ? Te know in your own hearts 
(aU that are candid men, all that are not utterly blinded with 

Erejudice) that we ' labour to have a conscience void of offenco 
oth towards God and towards man.' Brethren, I would to God 
that in this ye were even as we. But indeed (with grief I speak 
it) ye are not. There are among yourselves ungodly and unholy 
men ; openly, undeniably such ; drunkards, gluttons, returners of 
evil for evil, liars, swearers, profaners of the day of the Lord. 
Proof hereof is not wanting, if ye require it. Where then is 
your zeal against these ? A clergyman, so drunk he can scarce 
stand or speak, may, in the presence of a thousand people (at 
Epworth, in Lincolnshire), seb upon another clergyman of the 
same Church, both with abusive words and open violence. And 
what follows ? Why, the one is still allowed to dispense the 
sacred signs of the body and blood of Christ ; but the other is 
not allowed to receive them, because he is a field-preacher. O ye 
pillars and fathers of the Church, are these things well-pleasing 
to Him who hath made you overseers over that flock which He 
hath purchased with His own blood ? O that ye would suffer me 
to boast myself a little ! Is there not a cause ? Have ye not 
compelled me ? Which of your clergy are more unspotted in 
their lives, which more unwearied in their labours, than those 
whose * names ye cast out as an evil,' whom ye count * as the 
filth and offscouring of the world ?' Which of them is more 
zealous to spend and be spent for the lost sheep t)f the house of 
Israel ? Or who among them is more ready to be offered up for 
their flock ' upon the sacrifice and service of their fiuth ?' " 





OF 1746. 

Charles "Wesley in Cornwall — ^Triumphs of Methodism — John Wesley preaches 
for the last time before the University of Oxford — Winter itinerancnr — 
Impressment and Imprisonment of Preachers — Meriton — Bennet — ^Maxneld 
— Wesley arrested — ^He is mobbed at Ealmouth — Success in Cornwall and 
Wales — John Nelson itinerating — ^Ho conquers his Persecutors — Method-* 
ism in the British Army in Flanders — John Evans — John Haime — Samson 
Staniforth — Mark Bond — ^Eemarkable Scenes in the Battle of Fontenoy — 
Triumphant Deaths of Methodist Soldiers — Deaths of Haime and Staniforth. 

The Conference of 1744 had no sooner adjourned than Charles 
"Wesley, accompanied by another of its members, the Eev. John 
Meriton, from the Isle of Man, set out for Cornwall. The storm 
of persecution which had broken upon that region rendered it 
necessary that one of the Wesleys should be frequently present 
to comfort and advise the societies. On the arrival of tne travel- 
lers at Middlesey they met John Slocomb, a young lay preacher 
who had just escaped from the fate of Nelson, Beard, and Downes, 
having been imprisoned as a vagrant and impressed for the army. 
After being detained some time he was brought before the Com- 
missionerSy wbo not only found no just charge against him, but 
discovered also that he was of too small a stature, too nearly "a 
Zaccheus," for the military rules, and allowed him to resume his 
Christian labours. He became a useful itinerant preacher, and, 
many years later, John Wesley mentions him as falling in the 
work at Clones, Ireland, ^^ an old labourer worn out in the service 
of his Master."* 

* Jackson's Ch«rlc&Yretley,o\iaiig.:D3u 


As they entered Cornwall they found that the field in the 
"West had yielded a rich harvest. On arriving at Grwennap, 
Wesley writes : " Here a little one has become a thousand ; what 
an amazing work has God done in one year ! The whole country 
is alarmed, and gone forth after the sound of the G-ospel ; in vain 
do the pulpits ring of Popery, and madness, and enthusiasm. Our 
preachers are daily pressed to new places, and enabled to preach 
five or six times a-day. Persecution is kept off till the seed takes 
root. Societies are springing up everywhere, and still the cry 
from an sides is, * Come and help us.' " Methodism had produced 
in all parts of Cornwall a manifest improvement in the moral 
condition of the people. Many who had not joined the societies 
had, nevertheless, abandoned their gross vices. "The whole 
country," continues Wesley, " is sensible of the change." At the 
preceding assizes there was a "jail delivery," but not one felon 
was to be found in the prisons, a fact which he informs us was 
unknown before in the memory of man. At their last public 
revel enough men could not be rallied to make a wrestling match, 
" an the Grwennap men being struck off the devil's list, and found 
wrestling against him, not for him." When he took his leave of 
the reclaimed populace of this town, they came forth by thou- 
sands to the field-preaching, covering all the green plain and hills 
of the natural amphitheati*e ; " they hiuig," he says, " upon the 
Word of life." He spake for three hours, yet knew not how to 
stop. " Such sorrow and love as they there expressed the world 
will not believe, though a man declared it unto them." With 
much dificulty he was able at last to make his way through them, 
and pass on his journey ; and several of his hearers, women as 
well as men, kept pace with the horses for two or three miles of 
the road, then "parted in body, not in mind."* The miners came 
out unwashed from their subterranean dens, some still to oppose, 
but most by this time to welcome and hear him. At Crowan he 
preached to between one and two thousand, who "seemed started 
out of the earth ; several hid their faces and mourned inwardly, 
being too deeply affected to cry out." "The poor people," he 
added, " were ready to eat us up, and sent us away with many a 
hearty blessing." The storm of persecution had lulled every- 
where. Even at St. Ives, where the chapel lay in ruins, the 
societies had rest, and welcomed him with grateful tears. At St. 
Just he found more than two hundred converts gathered into the 
classes. " Our Lord," he wrote, "rides on triumphant through 

* His beautiful and affecting Ijrio, "Naomi and Butb, adapted to the 
Mmbtry and People^" WM snggested by this scene. 

coNFEBEircE OF 1744 TO 1745. 165 

this place." The parish church itself had become crowded with 
Methodist hearers. At Morvah he found a hundred and fifty in 
the society, and a chapel commenced. The Gospel had broken 
the ranks of the mob, hosts of rioters had become Methodists ; 
and at Gulval he received into the society one who had been the 
greatest persecutor in all Cornwall. 

Still accompanied by Meriton, he left Cornwall for "Wales, 
where they travelled and preached several days. Returning by 
way of Bristol and Kingswood, and proclaiming the "Word daily 
as they journeyed, they reached Oxford, where they met John 
Wesley and Henry Piers, another clerical member of the late 
Conference. An interesting event drew them to this celebrated 
seat of learning, the scene of the early studies and first labours of 
the Methodist founders, and where they had received the derisive 
name which they were to render honourable throughout the 
religious world. According to usage it was John Wesley's turn, 
as a Pellow of Lincoln College, to preach before the University, 
and as it would probably be the last opportunity of the kind 
allowed him, his mends gathered there to witness the occasion. 
It was the season of the races. Oxford was crowded with 
strangers, and Wesley's notoriety as a field preacher excited a 
general interest to hear him. Such was the state of morals at the 
time, that clergymen, gownsmen, and learned professors shared, 
with sportsmen and the rabble, the dissipations of the turf. 
Charles Wesley went in the morning to the prayers at Christ- 
church, and found men in surplices talking, laughing, and point- 
ing, as in a playhouse, during the whole service. The inn where 
he lodged was filled with gownsmen and gentry from the races. 
He could not restrain his zeal, but preached to a crowd of them 
in the inn court-yard. They were stoick with astonishment, but 
did not molest him. Thence he went to St. Mary's Church, with 
Meriton and Piers, to support his brother in his last appeal to 
their Alma Mater. Wesley's discourse was heard with profound 
attention. The assembly was large, being much increased by the 
races. "Never," says Charles Wesley, "have I seen a more 
attentive congregation. They did not let a word slip them. 
Some of the headS of colleges stood up the whole time, and fixed 
their eyes on him. K they can endure sound doctrine like his he 
will surely leave a blessing behind him. The vice-chancellor sent 
after him and desired his notes, which he sealed up and sent im- 
mediately. . We walked back in form, the little band of us four, 
for of the rest durst none join us." Wesley's sermon <m. ifcak 
occasion has been published. It ia eTi\i&\<edk^^^^SK\j\Ka»^^^^ 


aniiy/' and is a calm and able discussion of the subject, and of 
. the means of diffusing genuine religion over the land. It con- 
cludes with a close, and powerful, but dignified application to the 
university dignitaries, to the fellows, tutors, and under-graduates, 
referring distinctly, but not invidiously, to the prevalence of 
formality and worldliness among them, and to the decay of 
Scriptural piety throughout the Church. In his journal of that 
day he says : " I preached, I suppose, the last time at St. Mary's ! 
Be it so. I am now clear of the blood of these men. I have 
ftdly delivered my own soul." It was St. Bartholomew's day, 
and failed not of suggestive memories. He was well pleased, he 
says, that it should be the very day on which, in the preceding 
century, near two thousand burning and shining Hghts were put 
out at one stroke ; " yet what a difference is there between their 
case and mine," he adds ; "they were turned out of house and 
home, and all that they had, whereas I am only hindered from 
preaching, without any other loss, and that in a kind of honour- 
able manner, it being determiued that when my next turn to 
preach comes they would pay another person to preach for me."* 
This they did twice or thrice, till, in fine, he resigned his Eellow- 
ship. Such was the treatment he received from the university, to 
which he has given more historical importance than any other 
graduate of his own or subsequent times, and more perhaps than 
any other one ever will give it.f 

The same day he left the venerable town, the scene of so 
many of his early reminiscences ; left it with his final testimony, 
to pursue his apostolic career among the ignorant and neglected 
populace, and before the day closed was preaching again at 

Methodism had extended over England from Rand's End to 
Newcastle, and Wesley was now continually traversing; the 
country, establishing order and discipline among the new societies, 
and preaching two, and often three sermons daily, beginning 
almost invariably at five o'clock in the morning. The latter part 
of the year he spent in the north, amid the severities of an un- 
usual winter. Turnpikes were then unknown in that section of 
England, and the snows were deep. He and his itinerant com- 

* Short History of the People called Methodistg, section 30. 

t The legisktors of Enghuid have ordered a itatue of Wesley to adorn 
the waUs of the new Parliament House; Oxford stiU dechnes him any 
honourable recognition. Such is the difference of progress between Chxaek 
Mod Bute in^ j^land. Parliament has had in our day its Peel, Oxford its 

covrEBEKCB OE 1744 TO 1745. 167 

panions were often compelled to walk, leading their horses. 
** Many a rough journey," he says, " have I had before, but one 
like tins I never had, between wind, and hail, and rain, and ice, 
and snow, and driving sleet, and piercing cold ; but it is past ; 
those days will return no more, and are therefore as though they 
had never been." His brother passed through similar trials 
during this inclement season ; unable to ride on the obstructed 
roads, and sometimes too chilled and enfeebled to walk. They 
relaxed not their energy, however ; every city, town, and village 
they considered their parish, and wherever they were delayed their 
work went on. 

They had also to brave severer trials. In most of the localities 
where riotous persecutions had prevailed, the societies were now 
enjoying comparative rest ; but mobs broke out in other places, 
and several of the lay preachers were driven from their fields, and 
some imprisoned. Meriton, accompanied by a youthful itinerant, 
was interrupted while preaching at Shrewsbury, by a constable, 
who seized the young man to impress him for the king's service. 
Meriton himself was imprisoned, and his companion escaped only 
by running from street to street, and finally taking refuge at a 
private house, where he was compassionately locked up in a closet 
till midnight, when, disguised in female dress, he made his way 
out of the town, passing sentinels who were appointed to watch 
for him on the bridge. 

John Bennet, another itinerant, was " impressed " with three 
of his lay brethren in Cheshire. His good courage and prudence 
disheartened his persecutors, and they released him, but his com« 
panions had to stand a legal trial. Thomas Maxfield and seven 
or eight members of the Society at Crowan were seized for the 
army. He was sent in a boat to Penzance, thrust into a dungeon, 
and offered to the commander of a ship of war then in Mount Bay, 
but the oflB.cer was shrewd enough to know that such a recruit would 
be of questionable service on shipboard. " I have no authority," 
he said, " to take such men as these, unless you would have me 
.give them so much a week to preach and pray." A hiunble 
Cornish preacher was pulled down by a constable while preaching 
at Corlam, and borne off to the House of Correction at Bodmin. 
A warrant was got out for John "Wesley himself in Cornwall. He 
was taken into custody, but his persecutors were surprised to find 
him a gowned clergyman and a well-bred gentleman. Instead of 
^conducting him to the magistrate, they escorted him with awk- 
ward politeness to his inn, with a promise to call for him the b&t& 
-day. They took good care, however, to tto\i^Aft\M£LiiciTs^^x^ "^^fi* 


took his stand the same eyening in the open air at Gwennap, and: 
while preaching to a great assembly, three gentlemen, so called, 
rode furiously into the crowd shouting, " Seize him ! seize him for 
His Majesty's service !" The people would not obey them, but 
sang a hymn. Many of them were struck meanwhile by the 
infuriated riders. One of the horsemen seized Wesley by the- 
cassock, and dismounting dragged him away by the arm. In a 
short time he perceived that he was dealing with no fanatic, but 
a gentleman and scholar, and insisting that he meant no harm, 
requested Wesley's company at his own house. Wesley declined 
the dubious politeness. His persecutor then ordered a horse for 
each of them, and drove bade with the preacher to the place 
whence he had taken him.''*' 

The next day a more serious scene awaited him at Palmouth. 
An innumerable multitude assailed the dwelling where he waa 
staying. A louder or more confused noise, he says, could hardly 
occur at the taking of a city. The terrified family escaped, leav- 
ing only Wesley and a servant-maid in the house. The rabble 
forced open the door, and filled the passage. Only a wainscot 
partition remained between them and their victim. Wesley, 
supposing the wall would soon fall, showed his coolness at the 
moment by taking down a large looking-glass which hung against 
it. The mob, with terrible imprecations, began to attack the- 
partition. ** Our lives," he pays, " seemed hardly worth an hour's- 
purchase." The servant entreated him to hide himself in a closet. 
" It is best," he replied, " for me to stand just where I am." The 
crews of some privateers, which had lately arrived in the harbour, 
were in the street, and being impatient at the slow progress of 
the rioters within, drove them out, and undertook the assault 
themselves. Putting their shoulders against the door, and shout- 
ing, "Avast, lads! avast!" they prostrated it upon the floor of 
the room. Wesley stepped forward inunediately into their midst, 
bareheaded, and said : " Here I am. Which of you has anything 
to say to me ? To which of you have I done any wrong ? To 
you ? or you ? or you ?" He continued speaking till he reached, 
the middle of the street ; there he took his stand, and addressed 
them as his "neighbours and countrymen." He had his usual- 
success. Several of the crowd cried out : ** He shall speak. Yes 
yes!" Others swore that no man should touch him. He was 
conducted in safety to a house, and soon after left the town in a. 

Passing along from town to town, he describes the societieB as 

* Journal, anno 1746. 

COITFEHENCE OF 1744 TO 1745. 169 

in " great conBtemation." All kinds of reports and alarms were 
spread. G[?he news of former mol)s created general apprehensions 
of continual riots ; but the courageous perseverance and patient 
endurance with which they had been met were fast subduing 
them. St. Ives was now " the most still and honourable post," 
so greatly had the times changed. At Trewint he heard that 
Erancis "Walker had been driven thence, but had since been an 
instrument of great good wherever he had gone. " Indeed," he 
adds, "I never remember so great an awakening in Cornwall 
wrought in so short a time, among young and old, rich and poor, 
from Trewint quite to the seaside." He passed into "Wales. The 
truth hath spread with mighty effect through most of the Princi- 
pality. " We are here," he wrote, " in a new world, as it were, 
in peace, and honour, and abundance ; how soon should I melt 
away in this sunshine ; but the goodness of G-od suffers it not." 

"While the "Wesleys were thus traversing the country, preach- 
ing the word through evil report and good report, their lay coad- 
jutors were stimulated by their example to scarcely less inde- 
fatigable labours. Several of them, as we have seen, were mobbed, 
impressed, or imprisoned ; but their numbers continually multi- 
plied, and their itinerant preaching began to awaken the whole 
country with interest for or against the Methodistic movement. 

John Nelson had been released from his impressment about the 
middle of the preceding year. He forthwith resumed his evan- 
gelical travels, preaching with great power, mastering extraordi- 
nary rencounters, sometimes with rustic polemics, sometimes with 
the mob ; and almost always subduing his opponents by his robust 
sense, his calm, pious courage, and a natural adroitness, which 
seldom failed to excite the admiration of the rabble, and convert 
them into clamorous friends. The very day of his release from 
his regiment, he preached, as we have seen, at Newcastle. He 
returned thence to his home at Birstal, where he found that his 
former converts had been seriously perverted by Antinomian 
teachers during his absence. He went out, and mounting a table 
in the midst of a great assembly, recalled them to their former 
faith. He was esteemed as an apostle by the simple multitude,, 
and an extraordinary effect was produced by his exhortation. " A 
trembling," he says, "spread among them; many fell to the 
ground, and cried out, * Lord, save, or I perish.' "* Many came 
to him with tears, acknowledging that they had been deluded in 
his absence, and begging him to pray for them. Nelson was a 
thorough student of the Bible, and, in the best senae^ «% ^^^ 

* Nelfloiv's JoxonoaV. 


theologian, though not much of a polemic. His sound judgment 
and wholesome sentiments soon prevailed, and restored the society 
at Birstal. BLaving achieved this salutary work, he went to York, 
in the streets of which he had been hooted, while led to prison by 
soldiers, six months before. He had spoken some words of ex- 
hortation, and scattered some small books there at that time, and 
now he was welcomed by almost a score of persons, who had found 
peace with Grod, and thrice as many who were seeking it, the 
result of those casual efforts, for no one had been there to instruct 
them since. He received a letter from Simderland, inviting him 
thither. Two men had conversed with him as his regiment passed 
through that town ; his exhortations had taken effect upon their 
hearts also, and they now opened the way for Methodism among 
their neighbours. On his return from Sunderland, he preached 
at Nottingham Cross. His eloquence subdued the crowd, but a 
few individuals attempted to bum his face with squibs. They 
failed, however, and burning themselves, left him to finish his 
discourse in quiet. When he had concluded, a military man came 
to him, and, kneeling on the earth, besought him with tears to 
pray that God would have mercy upon his soul, for he had come 
there to pull him down ; ** but your words," he continued, " have 
come as a sword to my heart, and I am convinced you are God's 
servant. I hope I shall begin to lead a new life from this hour." 
Nelson's peculiar power was continually producing such effects, 
and none seemed to feel it more readily than soldiers and rude, 
hard-hearted men. At another visit to Nottingham about this 
time, a^mob rushed into the house where he was preaching, and 
drowned his voice with outcries. He endeavoured to speak on, 
but one of the rioters came behind him, and filled his mouth with 
dirt. " I think," he says, " I never felt myself so near being 
choked in my life ; but when I had got the dirt out, I spoke on." 
He had not proceeded long before the ringleader turned about, 
and said : " Let him alone, for he is right, and we are wrong ; 
and if any of you touch him, I will knock you down." He guarded 
Nelson to his lodgings, and bore many blows for him, and desired 
the faithful preacher to pray for him, that he might not rest till 
he had found peace with God, for he was sure he had fought 
against the truth, but would do so no more. 

Nelson returned again to Sunderland, and, standing in deep 

enow, preached to the greater part of the town, who remained 

patiently in the cold to hear him. At "Wednesbury he found that 

several of the fiercest persecutors were now content to bear them- 

selrea the reproach of the Gospel, In Birstal, in Somersetshire 

COBTEBEKGS OF 1744 TO 1745. 171 

juid Wiltshire, and in many other places, did this good and cou- 
rageous man thus pursue his incessant labours, subduing the rudest 
nunds by his homely sense and natural eloquence. 

Meanwhile Wesley was surprised by extraordinary news from 
the Continent. Methodism had broken out in the British army 
in Planders, and was achieving in camps and on battle-fields the 
moral miracles which it had effected among the miners of Corn- 
wall, Kingswood, and Newcastle.* Some six or seven soldiers 
had begun to preach, places of worship had been established in 
different camps, and congregations of a thousand hearers at a 
time gathered in them ; several hundreds of converts had been 
formed into societies, and many of them died triumphing in the 
faith amid the carnage of battle. 

John Evans had heard Wesley on Kennington Common. His 
religious convictions, which had been strong from his childhood, 
could not be dissipated in the camp. At the battle of Dettingen 
the balls flew thick about him ; his comrades fell on either hand ; 
but he was spared, and felt that his remaining life must be con- 
secrated to God. He found an old Bible in one of the baggage- 
waggons, and began to study it; the pains of hell, he wrote 
Wesley, got hold upon him, and he dared no longer commit any 
outward sin. He met John Haime, a Methodist soldier, who 
instructed him, and led him into the path of life. He and his 
religious comrades opened two places of worship in Ghent, and 
services were held by them there every day. " He continued," 
flays Wesley, "to preach and live the Gospel till the battle of 
Pontenoy." He fought bravely on that field, and died there, as 
we shall presently see, a death full of religious heroism. 

John Haime, the chief, if not the first agent in these extraor- 
dinary scenes, was afterwards noted among Wesley's lay preachers. 
He was one of those remarkable men who, like Nelson, Bradbum, 
and Bramwell, were raised up by Methodism from humble life to 
eminent usefulness, and who characterized its early lay ministry 
by their own strongly-marked traits. 

He had not Nelson's robust healthfulness of mind ; his moral 
flensibilities were often rendered morbid by constitutional nervous 
disease, and unquestionably took at times the aspect of partial 
insanity; but this fact only renders more admirable the religious 

* Letters from Jokn Evans and John Haime, in Wesley's Journal, 1744 — 
1745. Haimd*8 four letters are given with only his initials, as he was living 
when Wesley published them ; but their contents, compared with his auto- 
biography (Livea of Early Methodist Preachers, vol. L) prove be^owd^ ^ss«!&n^» 
that they were his. 


courage vdth which he combated his own infirmities, and perse- 
vered through a long and afflicted life, with fidelity to his con- 
science and his duty. In his childhood he was inclined to religious 
meditation, and, like Nelson, " wandered about on the riversides, 
and through woods and solitary places, looking up to heaven 
many times with a heart ready to break."* The morbid tendency 
of his mind led him to despondence, which he at last endeavoured 
to dissipate by plunging into gross immoralities. Suicide itself 
was an alternative of which he often thought in these accesses of 
diseased feeling. He believed that he had passed beyond the 
reach of the Divine compassion, and represents himself as tempted 
to blaspheme God and die. At one time, having a stick in his 
hand, " I threw it," he says, " towards heaven against Grod with 
the utmost enmity." He sought relief to his troubled spirit in 
the army, and enlisted as a dragoon ; but serious thoughts and 
gross excesses alternated in his life from day to day. Bunyan's 
" Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners" fell into his hands. 
G[?he Bedford pilgrim had passed through similar morbid trials, 
and his book was prized by the perplexed and desponding soldier 
as "the best he had ever seen," for it comforted him " with some 
hopes of mercy." But his despondence was not past ; his feelings 
took the iQtensity of terror ; the " hand of the Lord," he says, 
" came upon me with such weight as made me roar for very 
anguish of spirit." He now read and fasted, and went to church, 
and prayed seven times daily. One day, as he walked by the 
Tweed-side, he cried aloud, " being all athirst for God, * Oh that 
thou wouldst hear my prayer, and let my cry come up before 
thee!" "The Lord," he writes, "heard; he sent a gracious 
answer ; he lifted me up out of the dungeon. He took away my 
sorrow and fear, and filled my soul with peace and joy in the Holy 
Ghost. The stream glided sweetly along, and all nature seemed 
to rejoice with me. I was truly free ; and had I had any one to 
guide me, I need never more have come into bondage." 

Such a guide he needed above all things; an intelligent, 
devoted, healthful mind, sympathizing with and counselHng his 
broken and lacerated spint, would have saved him from years of 
anguish; but the only religious comrade he found in his barrack 
met his grateful acknowledgments of the grace of Grod, with the 
admonitory lesson, " Take care, for Satan can transform himself 

* Lives of Early Methodist Preachers, written by themselyes, toI. i. p. 150. 
London, 1837. These autobiographical sketches were first published by Wesley 
is his ArmiDian Magazine. Many of them possess extraordinary interest, both 
as ilInBtrationa ofcbanoter and of early MeSfhodimu 

COKfSBBKOE OF 1744 TO 1745. 173 

Into an angel of light ;" and his sensitive mind, always prompt 
with self-suspicions, sank again into darkness. He met in the 
street at Deptford John Cennick, who as we have seen had left 
Wesley to join Whitefield in the Calvinistic controversy. Haime 
told him the distress of his soul. " The work of the devil is upon 
you," said Cennick, and rode away. " It was," writes the heart- 
broken soldier, "it was of the tender mercies of God that I did not 
put an end to my life. I cried, * O Lord, my punishment is 
greater than I can bear.' " Before many days, however, he was 
again comforted with peace in believing. He passed over to the 
Continent with his regiment. Alternating between despondence 
and joy, he was, meanwhile, strict in his religious habits ; he 
reproved vice among his fellow-soldiers, and became practically an 
evangelist in the camp. He went into the battle of Dettingen 
exclsSming, " In Thee have I trusted ; let me never be con- 
founded." " My heart," he adds, " was filled with love, peace, 
and joy more than tongue can express. I was in a new world. I 
could truly say, ' Unto you who believe He is precious.' " Seven 
hours he stood amid the perils of the field, while his comrades fell 
around him ; the one at his left hand was struck dead, but Haime 
came out of the battle safe, and triumphant in his faith. 

Soon after this combat Sampson Staniforth, another memorable 
nane in the catalogue of Wesley's lay preachers, arrived with his 
regiment in the camp. Unlike Haime, his youth had been spent 
with scarcely a religious impression. He had heard the Bible 
read in the family of his employer, but says that he knew not what 
it meant, nor why it was called the Word of God, nor why people 
went to church. He records tliat, during his early life, he never 
once thought, What was I bom into the world for ? What is my 
business in it ? Or where shall I go when I leave it ? He plunged 
into the worst excesses, and felt not the least remorse for any of 
his sins, '* beino; as perfectly without God in the world as the 
beasts that perish." * He enlisted as a soldier, and in one of his 
marches heard WTiitefield preach, but with little effect upon his 
conscience ; down, indeed, to his arrival in the camp in Flanders, 
when he was twenty-five years old, he had never uttered a prayer. 
His vices in the camp were excessive, and several times periled 
his life. He was the last man in the army whom his Methodist 
comrades could have hoped to reclaim, much less to send back into 
England as a worthy and heroic recruit for the host of lay evan- 
gelists which was then gathering around thefounders of Methodism. 

^ Lires of Early llethodiat ?t«fiA\iS3t%« 


In camps, however, are found those contrasts of character which 
we detect in all disguises, and in all scenes of this our inexplicable 
life ; and while many men pluQge into the excitements of a military 
career, like Staniforfch, from sheer recklessness, others, like Haime, 
seek in them relief from the restlessness of their moral sensi- 
bilities. Methodism has never made better converts than among 
soldiers. In the regiment of Staniforth was Mark Bond, his con- 
trast in all respects. Bond had feared God from his third year ; 
in his seventh year he thought he was tempted to curse Him, and 
went under a hedge and uttered the supposed blasphemy. From 
that time till he met the Methodists in the army he lived in daily 
despair of the Divine mercy. Afraid to commit suicide, he enlisted, 
with the hope of being kiUed in battle. " His ways," says Stani- 
forth, "were not like those of other men;" he would not take 
drams ; he was always sorrowful ; he read much, prayed often in 
private, and sent his money home to his friends. This afflicted 
man, bound down so many years under a terrible delusion, was to 
reclaim the reprobate Staniforth. Bond went to hear Haime, 
Evans, Clement, and other Methodists of the camp. ""With 
them he found," writes Staniforth, " what he wanted. God soon 
spoke peace to his soul, and he rejoiced with joy unspeakable." 
By some mysterious sympathy he could not keep away from 
Staniforth, but followed him continually with exhortations and 
wamiags, till he brought him to the meetings of the Methodist 

There Staniforth was surprised, the first time in his life, with 
religious thoughts ; the tears flowed down his cheeks, the rock 
was rent. " I was knocked down," he says, "like an ox. I had 
nothing to plead, having never had either the power or the form 
of godliness. No works, no righteousness was mine. I could 
only say, * God be merciful to me a sinner!' " He immediately 
broke away from all his vices. His " dear companion," as he now 
always called Bond, asked him if he had a Bible, or any good 
book. He replied that he had none, and had never read any in 
his life. Bond had but a piece of an old Bible, and gave it to 
him ; it was doubtless the dearest gift he could make, short of his 
own life, but " I can do better without it than you," was his just 
remark. Bond took him as his comrade, put his own pay with his, 
to help him out of debt, and treated him with the tenderness and 
care of a parent towards a child. Staniforth, \however, saw the 
enormous vices of his life in such a light as appalled him ; he 
thought he must have committed the unpardonable sin ; but Bond 
was prepared for him on that point, having vanquished the same 

CONTEBENCB OF 1744 TO 1745. 175- 

delusion after years of despair. At last, in secret prayer, he was 
enabled to believe his sins forgiven. His intense thoughts por- 
trayed Christ on the cross, amid the opening clouds, as in a vision. 
"All guilt," he says, "was gone, and my soul was filled with 
unutterable peace." 

The change in Staniforth's life wrought " quite an alarm " 
throughout his regiment ; he had been their leader in vice, and no- 
one could gainsay his conversion ; at least ten of his immediate 
comrades were converted through his example, and "the flame 
spread through all the camp, so that we had," he writes, " many 
hearers, and more and more were continually added to the- 
society." The army was divided, but the new military evangeKsts 
were also providentially distributed ; Haime and Evans went to 
Bruges, and Clements and others to Ghent. The number of 
converts increased daily ; there were some in almost every regi- 
ment. At least three hundred were united in societies, and seven 
preachers were almost daily proclaiming the Word among them. 
Haime preached usually five times a day at different places,, 
walking frequently between twenty and thirty miles. He hired 
others to do his camp duties, that he might have more time for 
these religious services. Tabernacles containing several rooms, for 
various meetings, were erected in the camps. " I had now," ho 
says, " three armies against me : the French army, the wicked 
English army, and an army of devils." The latter beset him yet 
with religious perplexity and dejection, but could not subdue him. 

At Bruges the English general gave him permission to preach 
every day in the English church ; the Methodist soldiers marched 
on Sundays in procession to the service, and their good singing 
charmed thither the officers and their families. 

A severe test awaited these devoted men, but they met it as 
became " good soldiers of the Lord Jesus." They had become 
marked men throughout the army, by their abstinence from the 
immoralities of the camp, and their earnest recommendation of 
religion as a fitness for life and a preparation for death. On the 
1st of May, 1745, the battle of Eontenoy required them to face 
death in the ranks with their forty-six thousand comrades, and 
there was no little interest felt among officers and men to see 
how their religion would bear the trial. The day before, Stani- 
forth, who was now firm in his faith, was in the ranks, ready to be 
led on. " I stepped out of the line," he says, " and threw myself on 
the ground, and prayed that God would deliver me from all fear, 
and enable me to benave as a Christian and good soldier. Glory 
be to God, he heard my cry, and took awoj tSV xk^ i<5«K, A. ^awaa 


into the ranks again, and had both peace and joy in the Holy 

Ghost." They hiy on their arms all night. Bond, his " dear 

companion," was by his side, for their friendship had become like 

that of Jonathan and David. " We had," says Staniforth, " sweet 

communion together, having constant and strong confidence in 

<Jod." At dawn they were- advancing towards Pontenoy, and 

already the terrors of battle confronted them ; the dead were 

atrewn along their march ; they charged the trenches of the Pr^nch 

and many of the Methodists fell ; but the two friends survived the 

day, though Bond received two musket-balls, one striking him on 

the right thigh, and hitting two pieces of coin which were in his 

pocket, the other striking a clasp knife, and bending the blade, 

but doing no other harm. "I neither desired life nor death," 

says Stamforth, " but was entirely happy in God." 

Meanwhile Haime and his companions were in similar perils 
on other parts of the field. One of his brethren, beheving his 
death at hand, went into battle, exclaiming, '' I am going to rest 
in the bosom of Jesus !" and was in heaven before night. " In- 
deed," writes Haime, " this day God was pleased to prove our 
little flock, and to show them His mighty power. They showed 
such courage and boldness in the fight as made the officers, as 
well as soldiers, amazed. "When wounded, some cried out : I am 
going to my Beloved ! Others, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly ! 
And many that were not wounded earnestly desired to be dis- 
solved and to be with Christ." When Clements, one of the 
preachers, had his arm broken by a musket-ball, they would have 
<5arried him out of the battle, but he said, " No ; I have an arm 
left to hold my sword ; I will not go yet." When a second shot 
broke his other arm, he said, '^ I am as happy as I can be out of 
paradise." John Evans, now a preacher also, having both his 
legs taken off by a chain-shot, was laid across a cannon to die ; 
where, as long as he could speak, he was praising Gtod, and 
exhorting all around him. Haime stood the hottest fire of the 
enemy for several hours. He believed he should not die that day.- 
After about seven hours a cannon-ball killed his horse under him. 
An officer cried out, " Haime, where is your God now ?" He 
answered, " Sir, He is here with me, and He will bring me out of 
this battle ;" presently a cannon-ball took off the officer *s head. 
Haime's horse fell upon him, and one cried out, ''Haime is 
gone!" But he replied, "He is not gone yet." He soon dis- 
engaged himself^ and walked on, praising Gtod, " I was exposed," 
he says, " both to the enemy and to our own horse ; but that did 
J2o^ discourage me at all, for I knew the Gtod of Jacob was with 

coTrrEBETTCE OP 1744 to 1745. 177 

me. I had a long way to go, through all our horse, the balls 
flying on every side ; and all the way lay multitudes bleeding, 
groaning, or just dead. Surely I was as in the fiery furnace, but 
it did not singe a hair of my head. The hotter the battle grew, 
the more strength was given me ; I was as full of joy as I could 
contain." As he was quitting the field he met one of his brethren, 
seeking water, and covered with blood, so that he could not at 
first recognize him. The wounded Methodist smiled, and said : 
" Brother Haime, I have got a sore wound." " Have you got 
Christ in your heart ?" asked Haime. " I have," was the reply ; 
" and I have had Him all this day. I have seen many good and 
glorious days, with much of God ; but I never saw more of it than 
this day. G-lory be to G-od for all His mercies !" 

Four preachers, and many members of the Societies fell on the 
field. In a later battle, nearer Maestricht, Staniforth lost Bond, 
his companion and guide. He was shot through the leg by a 
musket-Ball. As his friend carried him away, the dying man 
exhorted "him to stand fast in the Lord." Staniforth had to 
leave him and resume his place in the ranks, but on a retreat 
found him where he had laid him. By this time he had received 
another ball through his thigh. They were obliged to part, for 
the enemy was pressing on ; but, writes Staniforth, " his heart 
was full of love, and his eyes fiill of heaven." " There fell," he 
adds, " a great Christian, a good soldier, and a faithful friend." 

Staniforth returned to England, and became a devoted Me- 
thodist preacher. 

Haime continued his labours in the army for some time ; but 
having gone to Antwerp for forage, he made some small purchases 
there for his comrades on Sunday, a custom almost universal 
among both Papists and Protestants on the Continent. He was 
suddenly seized with the thought that he had apostatized by this 
act. His morbid sensibilities were so affected by the impression, 
that for twenty years he suffered despair itself, not daring even to 
pray much of that time. He maintained, however, the strictness 
of his external life, and he ceased not to preach, though bending 
under despondency. " Frequently," he says, " as I was going to 
preach, the devil has set upon me as a lion, telling me he would 
have me just then, so that it has thrown me into a cold sweaty In 
this agonv I have caught hold of the Bible, and read, ' If any man 
sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the 
righteous!* I have said to the enemy, ' This is the Word of God, 
and thou canst not deny it !' Thereat he would be like a man 
that shrunk back from the thrust of a a^ot^i. "&\55;» V'ei ^'ssS^'^jr^ 


at me again. I again met him in the same way ; till at last, 
blessed be Qod, he fled from me. And even in the midst of his 
sharpest assaults G-od gave me just strength enough to bear them. 
When he has strongly suggested, just as I was going to jpreach, 
* I will have thee at last !' I have answered (sometimes with too 
much anger), ' I will have another out of thy hand first I' And 
mauy, while I was myself in the deep, were truly convinced and 
converted to God." On returning to England he entered the 
Methodist ministry; Wesley endeavoured to meet the peculiar 
necessities of his case ; and, in advanced age, the suffering soldier, 
who had shown his good courage on the field and in the itinerant 
ministry, conquered his constitutional dejection, the terrible foe 
before which his brave spirit had so often recoiled, but never 
succumbed. During nearly twenty years more of life he presented 
an example of Christian enjoyment which should be an encourag- 
ing lesson to all similar sufferers. The comfort which Methodism 
brought to Bond and Haime, it has afforded to thousands of such 
despondent minds ; its generous theology disowns the delusion 
which depressed them ; and its vivid spurit, inspiring the heart 
with confidence in the Divine lo7e, and exalting the sensibilities 
with devotional and joyful emotion, affords the best moral support 
against the influence of mental disease. 

Many of these Methodist soldiers, awaiting the morning of the 
resurrection, sleep in Christ on the battle-fieldis of the Continent ; 
many returned home when the war ended, some to strengthen the 
growing Methodist societies, some the itinerant ministry. Six 
months after the battle of Fontenoy, Charles "Wesley, then in 
London, wrote in his journal : " We had twenty of our brethren 
from Flanders to dine with us at the Foundry."* Still later he 
Wt a number of them at the camp at Deptford, on their way to 
BUgpress the Northern Eebellion. They assembled in the society 
t^ere. " We solemnly commended them," he says, "to the grace 
of God before they set out to meet the rebels. They were with- 
out fear or disturbance, knowing the hairs of their head are all 
numbered." Several others, on arriving in London, were pre- 
sented by Colonel Gumley (one of Whitefield's converts) to Lady 
Hnntinffiion. " I was truly amazed," says the Countess, " with 
the devotional spirit of these poor men, many of whom are rich in 
fiuth and heirs of the kingdom."t Whitefield met some of them 
in Edinburgh more than three years after the battle of Fontenoy, 

* Joumal of Bev. Charles Wedey, voL i., page 407. London, 1849. 
/ Life ADd Xime^ of &e]ina> Countess of Huntingdon, chap, yii 

CONTSBEKCE OF 1744 TO 1745. 179 

aad formed them into a societj. On leaving that city he addressed 
them an affectionate pastoral letter. 

Thomas Bankin, one of Wesley's earliest missionaries to 
America, formed in his youth a societjr of them at Dunbar, his 
native town in Scotland. They had hired a room and met for 
worship every morning and evening. A great religious interest 
extended through the town from these meetings, and many of 
the inhabitants were converted and gathered into their little 
company.* They were dragoons of John Haime's regiment. At 
Musselborough also they had formed a society, and were instru- 
mental in the spread of vital religion among the townsmen. 
Wesley's preachers visited them and formed them into regular 
** appointments." The first Methodist Societies of Scotland were 
the two at Dunbar and Musselborough.f Wesley found them 
prospering twelve years later, and the invitation which led to his 
first visit to that country came from a military officer who was in 
quarters at Musselborough. Some who were in the same regi- 
ment with Haime, but resisted if they did not resent his exhorta- 
tions, joined the Methodists after they returned to England. 
Eight years later Wesley found seventeen of Haime's fellow- 
dragoons in the society at Manchester, where they were "patterns 
of seriousness, zeal, and all holy conversation." J Nearly ten years 
later he met at Trowbridge one who found peace with God while 
a soldier in Elanders, and naving been much prospered in business 
since his discharge, had built a preaching house at his own expense. 
He was ambitious that Wesley should preach the first sermon in 
it, but it was so excessively crowded before the introductory hymn 
was finished, that he had to disappoint the generous soldier, by 
going out and preaching at the door to a ** multitude of hearers, 
rich and poor." 

A quarter of a cent ury after the battle of Eontenoy, an aged 
preacher wrote to John w esley that "all the promises of Scriptare 
were full of comfort to him, ^^particularly this: * I have chosen 
thee in the fwrnace of affliction ;' " that " the Scriptures were all 
precious to his soul as the rain to the thirsty land;" that he 
" could now truly say, ^The Lord is my shepherd^ therefore shall 1 
T'Och nothing ; he maJceth me to lie down in green pastures ; he 
leadeth me ieside the still waters ; lie restoreth my soul ; he leadeth 
me in the paths of righteousness for his name's saJce,' " It was the 

* Life of Thomas Bankm, in laves of Early Methodist Preachers, written 
hj themselves. 

t Coke and Moore's liifb of Wesley, chap. ii. sec. 2. 
t Wesley's Joomal, anno 1753. 


despondent but brave Jolin Haime who thus wrote. By the grace 
of God he had conquered both himself g,nd the devil, and was now 
ready to conquer " the last enemy." 

In the Araiinian Magazine for 1784 we read : " On the 18th 
of August, 1784, died, at Whitechurch, in Hampshire, that faith- 
ful soldier of Christ, John Haime, in the seventy-eighth year of 
his age. He preached as long as he was able to speak, and longer 
than he could stand without support." When his sight and 
speech had nearly failed, he exclaimed, " When my soul departs 
from this body, a convoy of angels will conduct me to the paradise 
of God." 

More than forty years after the battle of Pontenoy, another 
veteran preacher wrote to Wesley : " I am now in the sixty-third 
year of my age, and, glory be to God, I am not weary of well- 
doing! I find my desires after God stronger than ever, my 
understanding is more clear in the things of God, and my heart 
is united more than ever both to Him and His people. I know 
their religion and mine is the gift of God, through Christ, and the 
work of God by his Spirit." It was Sampson Staniforth ; and in 
the Arminian Magazine for 1799 we read : " Thus died Sampson 
Staniforth, who had steadily walked with God for nearly sixty 
years. He preached the Gospel for almost fifty years, and 
finished his course in the seventy-ninth year of his age. He 
possessed his soul in patience, and looked to the hour of his dis- 
solution with joyful expectation of being for ever with the Lord. 
He was neither molested with gloomy doubts nor painfiil fears, 
nor was the enemy of souls permitted to distress him ; but as his 
heart stood fast, believing in the Lord, so his evidence for heaven 
continued unclouded to the last moment of life." 

Such is one of the most extraordinary passages in the history 
of not only Methodism, but of Christianity in any age ; one of the 
most striking proofs of the inherent and inextinguishable power 
of the religious instinct in the most degraded natures and in the 
most adverse circumstances ; one of those demonstrations of it 
which confirm the hope of good men who labour for the final and 
universal triumph of Christianity. It seemed indeed a part of the 

Srovidential design of Methodism that it should multiply these 
emonstrations, as preparatory for that deepened faith, and those 
great enterprises of Christian propagandism which have arisen 
from the impulse that it gave to British and American Protes- 
tantism. It had wrought out such demonstrations among tho 
colliers of Kingswood and Newcastle, the miners of Cornwall, the 
peasants of Yorkshire; and the drunken multitudes of Moorfields 

feom: the coNFEBBisrcB OF 1745 TO 1750. 181 

and Kennington Common ; it now presented another amid tlie 
vices of the camp and the carnage of battle, rescuing scores and 
hmidreds of ignorant and corrupt men, whom it was to record as 
triumphing in death amid the horrors of war, or as life-long 
examples of Christian purity and usefulness. If its history- 
teaches any one lesson as paramount to all its other suggestions, 
it is that good men, labouring and suffering for the salvation of 
their race, should " have faith in God " by having it in humanity. 



OF 1750. 

The Rebellion under Charles Stuart — ^Wesley abroad amid the Public Alarm — 
His Preaching at Newcastle — He publishes the concluding part of his 
Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion — ^Extensive Results of Methodism 
— ^Its Exemption from Heresy — Its Doctrinal Liberality — Charles Wesley — 
John Wesley in Cornwall — In the North — John Nelson — He encounters 
terrible Mobs — Wesley itinerating — Mobs subdued — Success of Methodism 
— ^Vincent Perronet — William G-rimshaw — His Eccentricities — His extra- 
ordioary Labours — He is Mobbed with Wesley at Roughlee — Charles 
Wesley itinerating— Extraordinary Riot at Devizes — The Wesleys in 
Middle Life — Marriage of Charles Wesley— John Wesley and 6b*ace 

TThe second Conference met in Bristol on the first day of August, 
1745. Methodism advanced rapidly during the ensuing ecclesi- 
astical year, notwithstanding the general agitation of the public 
mind, occasioned by the attempt oi Charles Stuart to regain for 
his femily the British throne. He had taken Edinburgh, and 
threatened England with invasion. The plans of Cope, com- 
mander of the Government troops, were feebly conceived, and as 
feebly executed. The possession of Edinburgh and the victory 
of Preston Pans inspired the rebels with confidence, and spread 
alarm through the whole country. As the Pretender was a 
Papist, and a pensioner of Prance, the liberties of England and 
her Protestant faith would be endangered by his success, not- 
withstanding his specious promises. Christian Englishmen could 
not, therefore, but consider his movements as imminently perilous 
to the country, and an alarming retribution from God for its sins. 
The Wesleys went through the land distributing admonitory 
tracts and hymns, and calnng the people to repentance in dail^ 
sermons. Newcastle, situated far m ^'b tvqtov^ ^^a ^^s^^a^^Ss?^ 


exposed to the enemy, and was in great commotion. John Weslej 
went thither immediately after the Conference, that he might be 
with its Methodist society amid the agitation.* When he arrired 
he found that all householders were summoned to meet the mayor 
to devise means of protection. As he was not a townsman he did 
not go, but sent a loyal letter. The people were placed under 
arms ; the walls were fortified, and the gates filled up. " Many,'* 
he says, " began to be much concerned lor us because our society 
house was without the walls. But the Lord is a wall of fire to all 
that trust in Him." 

Day by day the news from the north became more alarming. 
Citizens who had the necessary means, and especially the gentiy,. 
were constantly removing their goods and hastening to the south. 
"Wesley meanwhile preached day and night in the streets and in 
neighbouring villages, encouraging the loyalty of the people, and 
calling upon them to repent of their sins, and put their trust in 
God. News came that the enemy was in full march, and would 
reach the city the next day. Instead of fleeing away for safety 
with the many who were leaving, Wesley stayed in the tjity. "At 
eight o'clock," he says, " I called on a mmtitude of sinners in 
Ghateshead to seek the Lord while He might be found. Mr. Ellison 
preached another earnest sermon, and all the people seemed to 
bend before the Lord. In the afternoon I expounded part of the 
lesson for the day — Jacob wrestling with the angel. The congre- 

fation was so moved that I began again and again, and knew not 
ow to conclude. And we cried mightily to God to send his 
majesty King George help from His holy place, and to spaxe a 
siiuul land yet a little longer, if haply they might know the day 
of their visitation." A person from the north was apprehended 
and put in prison ; Jie attempted to cut his throat, but was saved 
from death by the physicians, and disclosed plans of the rebels 
which, if successful, must have been fisital to the city. To their 
detection Weslev ascribes its escape. Believing the danger over 
for the present, he directed his course elsewhere. 

Until the next Conference his time was spent in unremitted 
travels and preaching. He prepared, also, during this iQterval 
the concluding part of his "Appeal to Men of Eeason and Eeli- 
gion." It is eloquent in its earnestness. After describing the 
extreme demoralization which had prevailed through the nation, 
he writes : " The grace of God which bringeth salvation, present 
salvation, from inward and outward sin, hath abounded of late 
years in such a degree as neither we nor our fathers had ^own. 

* Journal, ftUko 'V74j5» 

FBOM 1745 TO 1750. 188 

How extensive is the change which has been wrought on the 
minds and lives of the people ! Ejiow ye not that the sound is 
gpne forth into all the land ; that there is scarce a city or con- 
siderable town to be found where some have not been roused out 
of the sleep of death, and constrained to cry out in the bitterness 
of their soul, * What must I do to be saved ?' that this religious 
concern has spread to every age and sex; to most orders and 
degrees of men ; to abundance of those in particular who in time 
past were accounted monsters of wickedness, drinking in iniquity 
like water, and committing all uncleanliness with greediness."* 

He contends that this remarkable reformation was attended 
by no important outbreaks of heretical opinions or popular super- 
stition. •* In former times," he remarks, " wherever an unusual 
concern for the things of God hath appeared, on the one hand 
strange and erroneous opinions continually sprung up with it ; 
on the other, a zeal for things which were no part of religion, as 
though they had been essential branches of it. But it has not 
been so in the present. !N'o stress has been laid on anything, as 
though it were necessary to salvation, but what is undeniably 
contained in the Word of God. And of the things contained 
therein, the stress laid on each has been in proportion to the 
nearness of its relation to what is there laid down as the sum of 
all — ^the love of God and our neighbour. So free from supersti- 
tion, so thoroughly Scriptural, is that religion which has lately 
spread in this nation." He further asserts that the new movement 
was singularly exempt from bigotiy. "The Methodists are in 
nowise bigoted to opinions. They do indeed hold rigid opinions, 
but they are peculiarly cautious not to rest the weight of Chris- 
tianity there. They have no such overgrown fondness for any 
opinions as to think those alone will make them Christians, or to 
confine their affection or esteem to those who agree with them 
therein. There is nothing they are more fearful of than this, lest 
it should steal upon them unawares. They contend for nothinjg 
trijQying, as if it were important ; for nothing indifferent, as if it 
were necessary ; but for everything in its own order." 

Such was the very genius of Methodism. In an eloquent 
concluding passage, Wesley asserts its liberality with still greater 


true or false, I will not quairel with you about any opinion. 
Only see that your heart be right towards God, that you know 


and love the Lord Jesus Christ ; that you love your neighbouTi 
and walk as your Master walked, and I desire no more. I am 
sick of opinions, I am weary to hear them. My soul loathes this 
frothy food. Give me solid and substantial religion ; give me an 
humble, gentle lover of God and man, a man mil of mercy and 
good firuits, without partiality and without hypocrisy; a man lay- 
mg himself out in the work of faith, the patience of hope, the 
labour of love. Let my soul be with these Christians, wheresoever 
they are, and whatsoever opinion they are of. ' "Whosoever' thus 
* doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my 
brother, and sister, and mother.' Laexcusably infatuated muist 
you be, if you can ever doubt whether the propagation of this 
religion be of God. Only more inexcusable are those unhappy 
men who oppose, contradict, and blaspheme it." 

Casting forth this noble appeal before the nation, he went 
forward prosecuting his evangelical labours among the common 
people in almost every city, town, and village on his course, from 
the Tweed to Land's End. Charles Wesley spent the year in 
equal labours. A great religious interest prevailed at Shepton- 
Mallet ; he hastened from the Conference at Bristol to promote 
it ; but in going to the place of preaching he slipped, and injured 
one of his legs so severely, that he was unable to walk for some 
time. He was carried about, however, from place to place, preach- 
ing daily on his knees. At Cardiff, a man who had been the most 
violent persecutor of the Methodists of that town, sent his Bath- 
chair to bear the disabled evangelist to his next appointment. 
" Indeed," he writes, " the whole place seems at present turned 
toward us."* During several weeks he could walk only by the 
aid of crutches, but preached twice a-day with great effect. " The 
word of God," he wrote, " is not bound if I am, but runs very 
swi ftly . I have been carried to preach morning and evening." 
In Wales and Cornwall, in London, Bristol, Kingswood, and 
many other places, did he pursue his labours with continually 
increasing success, till the session of the next Conference. 

The third Conference was held on the 12th of May,t 1746. 
It detained the itinerant labourers but two days from their fields. 
Wesley did not allude to it in his Journal, but hastened forth on 
his ministerial routes, which now extended over the whole of 
England and Wales. In August he traversed a large part of the 
Principality, preaching in churches, on tombstones, and^ on the 

• Jackson's Life of Charles Wesley, chap. 12. 

t Not the thirteenth, as the bound Minutes state. See Smith's Hiitaryt 
bookii.^ chaj). 3. 

TEOM 1745 TO 1750. 185 

highways, to greater coDgregations than he had erer addressed in 
that part of me kingdom. He was mobbed but once during this 
excursion. In September he was again itinerating in Cornwall, 
where the miners still crowded to hear him. The amphitheatre 
at Gwennap presented greater hosts than ever, and peace pre- 
vailed everywhere. He was not disturbed in a single instance 
during this visit, and the worst persecutors had now become the 
most devoted converts. The societies were not only enjoying rest 
from their late terrible trials, but were gathering strength daily, 
and extending to all the towns and villages. Methodism was, in 
fine, taking universal and ineradicable root among the Cornish 
population. The clergy, however, very generally stood aloof. 
There was one notable exception. Thompson, the tolerant and 
zealous rector of St. Gennis, was known as thoroughly Methodistic, 
and as the friend of Wesley, Whitefield, and Lady Huntingdon. 
He was a man of genius, and had been a favourite among the 
gentry and clergy, though debauched in morals while in the 
ministry. A terrible dream, twice repeated, led him to reflection. 
He reformed his life, and began to preach in earnest, and his 
parishioners were generally awakened and reformed. He be- 
iriended Wesley amid the Cornish persecutions, and was soon 
himself honoured as a " Methodist." AU the neighbouring clergy 
closed their pulpits against him, and he was cited at last before 
Lavington, his diocesan, the noted opponent of Methodism, to 
give an account of his conduct. Lavington threatened to " strip 
the gown firom him'* for his Methodistic practices. Thompson 
stripped it off himself, and casting it at the prelate's feet, said, 
" I can preach the Gospel without a gown," and left him asto- 
nished at his independence. On recovering from his amazement, 
Lavington recalled him, and soothed him with explanatory remarks. 
The zealous rector remained faithful to his Methodist friends till 
death, and did much for the moral improvement of Cornwall.* 

During the winter Wesley directed his course towards the 
north, through severe storms. He instituted a thorough pastoral 
examination of the societies on his route ; a small one at Tetney 

* He died in 1782. Wesley says (Jonmal, 1782), " I preached in the 
street at Ounelford. Being informed here that my old friend Mr. Thompson, 
rector of St. Gennis, was near death, and had expressed a particular desire to 
see me, I judged no time was to be lost ; so, borrowing the best horse I could 
find, I set out, and rode as fast as I could." He found the rector just alive, 
and troubled, like Bunyan*s pilgrim, with inward conflicts. Wesley proved a 
comforter to him ; they took the Lord's' Supper together for the last time ; 
^* and 1 left him," writes he, *< much happier tnan I round him^ calmit^ -^!ra!&^<^ 
till his change should come.*' 


he pronounced the best in the country. Its class-paper showed 
an extraordinarjr liberality for so poor a people. " Are you the 
richest society m England ?" he mquired. " All of us," replied 
the class-leader, '^ who are single persons, have agreed together 
to give both ourselves and all we have to God; and we do it 
gladly, whereby we are able, from time to time, to entertain all 
the strangers that come to Tetney, who often have no food to eat, 
nor any friend to give them a lodging." At Osmotherly, a large 
congregation gathered around him, and " those," he wrote, " who 
had been the most bitter gainsayers seemed now to be melted into 
love." At Newcastle he was encouraged to find the society alive 
with zeal, and in perfect harmony. " They are," he writes, " of 
one heart and of one mind. I found all in the house of the same 
spirit, pouring out their souls to God many times in a day toge- 
ther, and breathing nothing but love and brotherly kindness." 
Many from the higher classes assembled at the society's place of 
worship. " Surely," he wrote, " God is working a new thing in 
the earth. Even to the rich is the Gospel preached ; and there 
are, of these also, who have ears to ear, and hearts to receive the 
truth as it is in Jesus." At Blanchlan he preached in the church- 
yard to a great crowd, gathered from the lead-mines of all the 
neighbouring country as far as Allendale, six miles distant. They 
drank in his words as if athirst for the truth. At Sunderland, 
where John Nelson had founded Methodism, as we have seen, by 
a passing word of exhortation, while led through the place in his 
regiment, Wesley now preached in the streets to a multitude 
which reminded him of the living seas at Kennington Common. 
He sought out the neglected and degraded towns and hamlets, 
and penetrated especially into the mining villages. At Hexham, 
he says, " a multitude of people soon ran together, the greater 
part mad as colts untamed. Many had promised to do mighty 
things. But the bridle was in their teeth. I cried aloud : * Let 
the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.' 
They felt the sharpness of the two-edged sword, and sank into 
seriousness on every side, insomuch that I heard not one unkind 
or uncivil word, till we left them standing and staring one at 
another." Happily he was now able, by means of the lay ministry, 
to send labourers into the fields wherever he thus broke up the 
fedlow ground ; men who had been plucked by Methodism from 
the midst of these same heathen crowds, and knew how to ap- 
proach them. 

John Nelson was unquestionably at the head of this growing 
carps of lay evangelists. Wesley unexpectedly met him about 

TEOM 1746 TO 1750. 187 

this time at Osmotherly, whither the good stonemason had just 
escaped from perils such as he had never before encountered, and 
which could not have failed to crown him with the honours of 
martyrdom, had it not been for the Herculean vigour of his frame.. 
Since we last parted from him, he had been pursuing his itinerant 
labours with unfaltering energy and success at Eirstal, and in 
Somersetshire and "Wiltshire. He spent four months in these 
localities, and gathered numerous converts into societies at Poulton, 
Coleford, Oakley, Shepton-Mallet, Eood, and Beai^eld. "So 
God doth work," wrote the brave man, amid these successes — " so 
Q-od doth work, and none can hinder, though the instruments be 
ever so weak ; if He bids, a worm shall shake the earth."* In 
his own town of Birstal, contrary to the usual fate of prophets^ 
he was held in high honour, and saw Methodism spread out on 
the right and left. 'No bishop of the realm could have wielded a 
stronger influence among his himible fellow-townsmen. He was^ 
called about this time to witness there an affecting instance of the 
power of religion. An " old gentleman" who had been among his^ 
opposers, and had aided in his impressment, was prostrated by 
mortal sickness, and now sent, with contrition, for his prayer* 
and instructions. Nelson says, " he trembled and wept bitterly, 
and I found him under as great convictions as I ever saw a man." 
After his third visit, the aged sufferer was comforted with peace 
in believing, and for five weeks that he remained on earth he was 
not a day without some divine consolation, and continued to utter 
praises to God, and exhortations to his family and visitors till he- 
expired. *'He seemed," says Nelson, "to be sanctified body, 
soul, and spirit." He requested Nelson to preach over his corpsc 
The scene exhibited by the humble itinerant, as he stood at the 
grave of the old but reclaimed persecutor, must have been sublime.. 
He had gathered many similar trophies from the ranks of his 
enemies while they were in the fulness of life and health, but here 
was one plucked from the very grasp of death. The discourse 
was attended with extraordinary effect. Many of his former 
enemies were smitten under it with remorse; and a "great 
awakening," he writes to "Wesley, "followed throughout the 


In the former strongholds of the mob quiet now prevailed, for 
the itinerants had won the field. But Nelson was a pioneer, 

* Nelson's JoumaL 

t This incident is not related in his Journal, but in a letter to Wesley, 
published by the latter in the first Tolume of the Arnuniaxi Mai^gka^^ Q!IW^^ 
p. 259. 


continually penetrating into new regions, and almost everywhere 
riotous outrages were enacted at his coming. No man, not even 
"Wesley himself, had more success in mastering such hostilities ; 
but sometimes they were uncontrollable, and his escape from 
• death seemed miraculous. As he advanced about this time towards 
the comrse of Wesley, he was assailed ^t Harborough by almost 
the " whole town, men, women, and children." The young men 
and apprentices had previously combined with the determination 
to seize the first Methodist preacher who should come among 
them, and drag him, with a h^ter round his neck, to the river to 
drown him, thereby deterring any others, as they hoped, from 
troubling the town. A son of the parish clergyman was leader 
•of the mob. A partially insane man had been appointed to put 
the halter on the preacher's neck, and now assailed Nelson with 
•one in his hand. A butcher stood with a rope to aid in dragging 
him to the stream. But Nelson's power over his hearers was 
invincible; while his voice was heard, the leaders of the mob 
could do nothing. They procured six large hand-bells as the best 
means of breaking the spell of his eloquence. They succeeded in 
drowning his voice, when the madman rushed in and put the 
halter to his throat. Nelson pushed it back, and the maniac fell 
to the ground as if " knocked down by an axe." The butcher stood 
trembling with awe, and dared not touch him. A constable who 
was disposed to favour the rioters came, but on approaching the 
preacher "turned pale," took him by the hand, led him through 
the mob, and helping him to mount his horse, bade him " go on 
in the name of the Lord." " O my God !" exclaimed the delivered 
evangelist, "hitherto thou hast helped me!" 

Nelson was to encounter, however, worse perils immediately 
after at Hepworth Moor. He was assailed there with a shower 
of stones, while preaching on a table in the open air. All who 
were around him fled, leaving him as a mark for the flying mis- 
siles, but none touched him. When he descended and was de- 
parting, he was struck on the back of his head with a brick, and 
fell bleeding to the earth. He was unable to rise for some time, 
but, being lifted up, staggered away, the blood running down his 
back, and filling his shoes, and the mob following him with shouts 
and menaces that they would kill him as soon as he passed the 
limits of the town. " Lord," cried the periled Methodist, as he 
tottered along, " Thou wast slain without the gate, and canst de- 
liver me from the hands of these bloodthirsty men." An honest 
man opened Ida door and took him in; a surgeon dressed his 
wound, and the same day he was onTaia "vjoj \.o ^T^^idiafe Acomb. 

JBOM 1745 TO 1750. 189^ 

There his trials were to culminate. A coach drove up, crowded 
within and without by young men, who sang bacchanalian songs, 
and threw rotten eggs at the women of the assembly. Two of 
the strongest of the rioters approached him, one of them swearing 
that he would kill him on the spot. Handing his coat and wig to 
his associate, he rushed at the preacher, crying, " K I do not kill 
him, I will be damned." Nelson stepped aside, and the assailant 
pitched on his head ; on rising he repeated the attempt, and rent 
away Nelson's shirt-collar, but again fell. In a third assault, he 
prostrated the preacher, and leaping with his knees upon him, 
beat him until he was senseless, opening meanwhile the wound 
on his head, which bled freely. The ruffian supposed he was dead,, 
and returned to his associates, seizing as he passed one of Nelson's 
friends, whom he threw against a wall with such violence as to 
break two of his ribs. The rest of the mob doubted whether 
Nelson had been completely despatched, and twenty of them ap- 
proached him. They found him bleeding profusely, and lifted 
him up. The brother of the parish clergyman was among them, 
and denouncing him, said: '* According to your preaching, you 
would prove our ministers to be blind guides and false prophets ; 
but we wiU kill you as fast as you come." Another said : " If 
Wesley comes on Tuesday, he shaU not live another day in this 
world. When they had got him into the street, they set up a 
huzza, and a person caught hold of his right hand, " and gave him^ 
a hasly pluck ; at the same time, another struck him on the side 
of his head> and knocked him down. As he arose, they again- 
prostrated him. No less than eight times did they fell him to 
the earth. His robust frame alone saved him from death. When 
he lay on the ground unable to rise again, they took him by the 
hair of his head, and dragged him upon the stones for nearly 
twentv yards, some kicking him, meanwhile, with merciless rage. 
Six of them stood upon him, to " tread the Holy Ghost out of 
him," as they said. "Then they let me alone a little while," he 
writes, "and said one to another, 'We cannot kiQ him.' One 
said, * I have heard that a cat hath nine Hves, but I think that he 
hath nine score.' Another said, *If he has, he shall die this day.* 
A third s^id, * Where is his horse ? for he shall quit the town 
immediately.' And they said to me, 'Order your horse to be 
brought to you, for you shaU go before we leave you.' I said, * I 
wiU not, for you intend to kill me in private, that you may escape 
justice ; but if you do murder me, it shall be in public ; and it 
may be that the gallows will bring you to repentance, and your 
soids may be saved from the wrath to come." They attempted 


then to drag him to a well, and thrust him into it ; but a cou- 
rageous woman, who was standing near it, defended him, knocking 
several of his persecutors down. These ruffians passed in the 
<3ommunity for gentlemen, and while still harassing Nelson at the 
weU, they were recognized by two ladies in a carriage from the 
•city, whom they knew ; they slunk away confounded, and their 
victim escaped. 

Such was John Nelson's most perilous itinerant adventure. 
He certainly deserved for it the honours, though he escaped the 
fate of marWrdom. His powerful constitution rallied immediately 
fifom the effect of this terrible treatment, and the very next day 
the heroic man rode forty miles, and stood, with unbroken spirit, 
at evening, resting himself against a tombstone in Osmotherly 
churchyard, listening to Wesley as he proclaimed from it the word 
of life to the assembled population oi the town. " I found," he 
writes, " his word to come with power to my soul, and was con- 
strained to cry out, * O Lord, I will praise Thee for Thy goodness 
to me, for Thou has been with me in all my trials ; Thou hast 
brought me out of the jaws of death ; and though Thou didst per- 
mit men to ride over my head, and laid affliction on my loins, yet 
Thou has brought me through fire and water into a wealtny place.' " 
He assures us that in all these perils his soul was kept in peace, 
so that he felt neither fear nor anger, and adds with grateful em- 
phasis : " So far. Lord, I am Thy witness ; for Thou dost give 
strength for our day according to Thy word, and j;race to help in 
time of need. O my dear Eedeemer, how shall I praise Thee as 
Thou oughtest to be praised ? Oh let my life be a Kving sacrifice 
to Thee, for it is by Thee alone that I have escaped both temporal 
and eternal death." His meekness was equal to his courage, and 
both were surpassed only by his charity. 

The good seed scattered by this noble evangelist amid the mobs 
of Yorkshire, sprang up, however, under the very storm, in rich 
harvests. His fiercest persecutors became often the most zealous 
Methodists ; they were sometimes smitten by their consciences in 
the act of assailing or burlesquing him and his fellow-labourers. 
John Thorpe was a frequenter of an ale-house in Yorkshire, where 
such burlesques were the entertainment of a bacchanalian com- 
pany. One after another mounted a table, and, with the Bible in 
hand, recited a text, and mimicked the itinerant preachers. Three 
had done so when Thorpe took his stand, declaring he would excel 
them all by an imitation of "Whitefield. He opened the book by 
hazard for his text, and read Luke xiii. 3 : " Except ye repent, ye 
sliall all likewise perish." The paaaage struck his conscience 

FEOM 1745 TO 1750. 191 

like a bolt from heaven. He was terrified at his own guilt, but 
proceeded with his discourse to the astonishment of his drunken 
associates, who were spell-bound with awe, and dared not interrupt 
him. Some of his sentences, he says, made his own hair stand 
erect. " K ever I preached in my life," he added, " by the assist- 
ance of the Spirit of G-od, it was at that time." Finishing his 
discourse, he dismounted from the table, and returned home without 
another word to his companions ; he forsook them for ever and 
immediately joined the Methodist Society. During two years he 
suffered under deep anguish, but at last found peace in believing, 
and became one of Wesley's preachers.* 

"Wesley and Nelson took counsel and comfort together at 
Osmotherly over their afflictions and successes, and separated 
immediatehr for other trials and triumphs. At Leeds, where 
Nelson haa successfully established Methodism, "Wesley found an 
extraordinary interest, and preached to an immense assembly, 
hundreds of whom went away unable to hear his voice. At 
Birstal, Nelson's home, the multitude was scarcely less numerous. 
At Keighley, where, during a previous visit, he had formed a 
society of ten members, he now met more than a hundred. At 
Manchester, where Nelson had preached the first Methodist lay 
sermon in 1743, he again met that noble lay labourer. Nelson 
had announced his coming through the city, and gathered a vast 
multitude to hear him. Wesley passed on to Plymouth, where he 
was again mobbed. A lieutenant, with drummers, and a retinue 
of soldiers and rabble, greeted him with huzzas. He rode into 
the midst of them and conquered, as usual. He took the lieu- 
tenant by the hand, and subdued him by a few gentle words. 
" Sir," exclaimed the soldier, " no man shall touch you ; I will see 
you safe home. Stand off ! Give back. I will knock the first man 
down that touches him !" and led him safely to his lodgings. " We 
then parted," says Wesley, " in much love." After the officer 
had left him he still kept his ground, and for half an hour addressed 
the astonished people, who, he says, "had forgotten their anger, 
and went away in high good humour." The next day he preached 
on the common to a " well-behaved and earnest congregation." 

He went again into Cornwall. There the field had been 
severely contested, but, as we have seen, was won at last. At 
JSt. Ives, he says, " we walked to church without so much as one 

* " He was successful wherever he went," says a writer in the Arminian 
Magazine. He afterward ministered to an Independent church, and died in 
1776. A brother clergyman says : ** He was a very holy xxum, much reaijeatft^i. 
during his life, and made a glorious end." 


huzza. How strangely has one year changed the scene in Corn- 
wall ! This is now a peaceable, nay, honourable station. They 
give us good words almost in every place. "What have we done 
that the world should be so civil to us r '' His favourite preaching 
place, the natural amphitheatre at Gwennap, was fillecf with an 
immense audience. At Bray, he says, '* neither the house nor the- 
yard could contain the congregation , and all were serious ; the scoffer* 
are vanished away; I scarce saw one in the county. I preached 
in the evening at Camborne to an equally serious congregation ; 
I looked about for the champion who had so often sworn I should 
never more preach in that parish ; but it seems he had given up 
the cause, saying, one may as well blow against the wind." There 
were eighteen exhorters in the county, some of whom had good 
talents, and did valuable service for the Societies. At a few new 
points he met with mobs, but they succumbed quickly before him. 
lEtetuming to Bristol, he found the largest congregation he had 
ever seen there. "What," he writes, " has God wrought in this 
city ! And yet, perhaps, the hundredth part of His work does 
not now appear." Prom Bristol he passed into Wales, and thence 
over to Ireland, where he spent more than a month. 

During the remainder of our present period, down to the 
Conference of 1750, he travelled and preached with augmented 
activity. He made several visits to Ireland. In England and 
Wales he found Methodism everywhere advancing, and proving 
its evangelical power by its salutary results. At Colefordj he 
writes, " the colliers of this place were ' darkness,' indeed, but 
now they are light." At Wednesbury, formerly the scene of the 
worst riots, he preached to vast congregations, "every man, 
woman, and child," he says, " behaving in a manner becoming the 
Gospel." Even in London a favourable change appeared. St. 
Bartholomew's Church was again opened to him, and Bateman, 
the rector, had become known as a " Methodist." " How strangely 
is the scene changed!" he writes; "what laughter and tumult 
was there among the best of the parish when we preached in a 
London church ten years ago ! And now all are calm and quietly 
attentive, from the least even to the greatest." The congregation 
in Moorficlds, he adds the next day, was greatly enlarged, and 
their seriousness increased with their numbers, so " that it was 
comfortable even to see them." At his native town of Epworth, 
he was once more allowed to receive the Lord's Supper. He 
preached in the open air at the Cross, for the church could not 
contain the people, had it been open to him. Almost the whole 
town were present. " God has wrought," he says, " upon the 

TEOM 1745 TO 1750. 198 

whole place. Sabbath-breaking and drunkenness are no more 
seen in these streets; cursing and swearing are rarely heard; 
"wickedness hides its head already. Who knows but, by and by, 
God may utterly take it away ?^' At Grimsby, where the mob 
had repeatedly triumphed, his hearers crowded not only the large 
society-room, but adjacent apai'tments, the stairs, and the street, 
for " the fear of God had spread in an uncommon manner among 
this people also." At Newcastle, where he again spent consider- 
able time, he found not only a great increase of members in the 
society, but also more spiritual life and zeal than he had ever 
witnessed there ; and the same, he records, was true in all the 
neighbouring country societies. At Bolton tranquillity prevailed 
after a violent storm of several weeks, during which many were 
beaten and wounded, but none turned from their stedfastness. 
At Bristol the society had increased to more than seven hundred 
members. At Leeds and Birstal his congregations were so im- 
mense, that two-thirds of them could not hear his voice. " "Who," 
he asks, "would have expected such an inconvenience as this, 
after we had been twelve years employed in the work. Surely 
none will now ascribe the number of the hearers to the novelty 
of field-preaching." 

Wesley received important assistance during these times from 
Eev. Vincent Perronet, vicar of Shoreham, a man of saintly piety, 
who became his confidential counsellor, and gave two sons to the 
itinerant ministry. Perronet's house was often the resort of both 
the Wesleys for consultation. He adopted their strongest views 
of personal religion, and wrote several pamphlets in defence of 
Methodism. Wesley dedicated to him the " Plain Account of the 
People called Methodists." During a long life, this venerable 
man maintained unbroken friendship with the Methodist founders, 
and co-operated with them in their extraordinary plans of evan- 
gelization, though they were condemned by most of the regular 
clergy as dangerously eccentric, if not insanely fanatical. So 
important were his counsels in the early stages of Methodism, 
that Charles Wesley used to call him its Archbishop.* 

A still more active coadjutor of the Wesleys among the regular 
clergy, at this time, was Kev. William Grimshaw, curate of 
Haworth, in Yorkshire. He had studied at Cambridge, and went 
from the imiversity to his clerical duties corrupt in his morals 
and unsound in his opinions. Content with the perfunctory 
attendance on his parish duties, he considered himself a fair 
example of the clerical manners of the times ; especially as it is 
* Jackson's Centenary of Methodism, chap. 5. 



said that he refrained, as much as possible, from gross swearing, 
unless "in suitable company," and when he got drunk, would 
take care to sleep it off before he went home.* In the twenty- 
sixth year of his age, he was arrested in this negligent and &- 
praved course of life by powerful religious impressions. After 
ten years spent in orders, and a protracted period of mental 
anguish, which sometimes seemed to verge on insanity, he found 
consolation and purification in those vital doctrines which were 
distinctive of the theology of Methodism, though he had not yet 
heard a Methodist preacher, or read a Methodist publication. In 
1742 he took charge of the curacy of Haworth, and three years 
afterwards gave in his adhesion to "Wesley as one of his " Assist- 
ants."t He retained his parish at Haworth, but superintended 
two Methodist circuits which included it and extended over many 
towns in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cheshire. So thorough 
were his labours on these districts, that they usually bore the 
name of " G^rimshaw's circuits," and the lay itinerants the title 
of " Grimshaw's preachers.'' He regulated the Classes, renewed 
the Tickets, conducted the Love-feasts, and did all the other duties 
of a Methodist preacher. He took part in the proceedings ot 
Wesley's Conference once iu three years when it was held at 
Leeds. When it sat in Bristol or London, his incessant itinerant 
preachuig would not admit of his attendance. J 

He was an origiual character, but his eccentricities generally 
took a useful direction, and were combined with much humility, 
and with unusual charity. His Haworth parishioners are said to 
have been as ignorant and brutal as their country is wild and 
rugged, but he thoroughly reformed them. His congregations 
increased so much, that they could not get into the church, but 
crowded the doorways, windows, and adjacent fields. They often 
melted under his preaching, and many of his hearers fell to the 
earth as dead men. Pour hamlets were comprised in his parish ; 
besides his regular church services, he preached in these villages 
four times monthly, in order to reach the aged and infirm, and 
such as were not disposed to attend the regular service. Fre- 
quently he would preach before the doors of such as neglected 
the parish worship. " K you will not come to hear me at the 
church," he would say on these occasions, " you shall hear me at 
home; if you perish, you shall perish with the sound of the 

* Grimshaw's Life, by Myles. 
t Smith's History of Methodism, book ii., chap. 2.' 

Jf Bj- WesJey^a regulations, the Conference sessions were held for some 
jeaiv onJjr at London^ JSristol, and Leeds. 

moM 1745 TO 1750. 195 


G-oepel in your ears." He travelled over his two circuits every 
two weeks, often preaching thirty times a-week, and whenever 
he was at Hawortli, he held a meeting in the parsonage at dawn 
or before it. If idlers loitered in the churchyard during worship, 
when the building was not crowded, he would go out while the 
congregation were singing, and compel them to go in. Sometimes 
he would escape from the church to the streets or alehouses, and 
hunting out the delinquents, would drive them before him to the 
service. He held a Sunday evening meeting expressly for such 
parishioners as excused themselves from the day worship on ac- 
count of their poor clothes. He sometimes disguised himself, 
that he might go out among his parishioners and detect and 
reprove their \dces. To a family who were noted for their sup- 
posed liberality to the poor, he went in the character of an aged 
beggar, and asked a night's lodging, but was turned away with 
harshness : he knew how to address them afterwards. He was 
devoted to Wesley's itinerants ; his house was their home ; he 
performed even menial services for them, and when the parsonage 
was crowded, as it often was by them and their religious followers, 
he would give up his bed and sleep in the bam. He cleaned 
their shoes; he opened his kitchen for their preaching; and as 
the rules of the Church would not allow them to be introduced 
into his pulpit, he built a chapel and preaching-house for them in 
his parish. When one of them had preached with great effect, he 
fell down at his feet, declaring that he was not worthy to stand 
in the presence of the unordained evangelist. Another he took 
in his arms with grateful admiration, exclaiming: "The Lord 
bless thee ! this is worth a hundred of my sermons." He was 
almost recklessly liberal, denying himself of everything but the 
sheerest necessaries of life that he might aid the poor. It was 
his frequent boast, " If I should die to-day, I have not a penny 
to leave behind me." He was as honest as liberal, however, and, 
contrary to the expectation of his friends, died free from debt. He 
usually rose at five o'clock in the momiug, and the hour was 
made known through the parsonage by his voice singing the 
Doxology of Ken : — 

" Praise G od from whom all blessings flow." 

He lived constantly as at the gate of heaven, and about to 
enter it ; standing in the midst of his household at the close of 
the morning devotions, he took formal leave of them as for the 
last time, with the benediction, " May God ble^-a* ^^^5^ Ss^ ^^s«2t 
souls, and in your bodies, and in aU ^ou ^^ ^wx:t VasAsi X.*^ *^^- 


day. Whether you live or die, may the Lord grant that you may 
live to Him, and for Him, and with Him for eyer." He was a 
natural orator, and often sublimely eloquent, though always in- 
telligible to the rude population around him. He was, says one 
who knew him well, " the most humble walker with Christ I ever 
met."* There was a sort of reckless and boundless generosity 
about his eccentric nature, and it infected and won all who ap- 
proached him. Wesley and Whitefield often visited him; and 
on these occasions he rallied the population ot all the neighbour- 
ing country. The prayers were read in the church, but as only 
a small portion of the assemblies could get within it, a platform 
was erected without for the preaching. The Lord's Supper was 
usually administered afterwards at tlie altar, the congregation 
filling the house repeatedly to receive it. 

While Wesley was prosecuting his travels during the present 
period, Grimshaw encountered with him a pevere assault irom a 
mob. They rode to Roughlt e ; again and again were they stopped 
on the way by their friends, who entreated them not to proceed, 
for the rioters were rising at Colne to meet them. They pressed 
forward, liowever, and arrived at Eoughlee before the mob ap- 
peared. Wesley says he was afraid for Grimshaw ; but his ap- 
prehensions were unfounded, for the heroic curate was " ready 
to go to prison or death for Christ's sake." Wesley took liia 
stand, and began to preach. Before he ended his sermon the 
mob reached the town, and came pouring down tlie hill-side like 
a torrent. He consulted with their leader, by whom he was 
borne off with Grimshaw to Barrowford, two miles dis^tant, where 
" the whole army, led on with music, drew up in battle array " 
before the house in which they had been placed. On the way one 
of the rioters struck Wesley a severe blow in the fiiee, another 
threw a stick at him, and another brandished a club over liis head 
with threatening oaths. While the mob raged around the house 
the magistrate met Wesley and Grimshaw within, and endea- 
voured to extort from them a pledge that they would no more 
visit the neighbourhood. AVesley replied that he would sooner 
cut off his right hand than give the required promise. He and 
the magistrate went out at one doer, Grimshaw and a friend at 
another; but the mob immediately crowded upon the latter, 
" tossed them to and fro with the utmost violence," and covered 
them with dirt and mire. Grimshaw was knocked down, but 
rose again and joined Wesley. At their request the leader of the 
mob undertook to conduct them back to lloutchlee. Thev were 

* Arminian ^I'\gr.zh\o .iT^o. 

FEOM 1745 TO 1750. 197 

followed by the rioters and pelted with stones and dirt. Wesley 
■was once felled to the ground. Some quiet people, who were his 
friends, attempted to follow at a distance, in order to render him 
any aid that might be in their power,, but they were driven away 
by a shower ot' stones. Some were trampled in the mire and 
dragged by tlie hair, others were struck with clubs. One was 
forced from a rock, ten or twelve feet high, into the river. Wesley 
and his companions reached Roughlee at last, and the next morning 
rode away; but one of their number was knocked from his horse 
while they were escapiuiif. The news of their sufferings excited 
sympathy for them in the neighbouring towns. " At Widdop," 
says Wesley, "it made us all friends;" and the same day he ad- 
dressed at Heptoustall-bank a vast congregation, " serious and 
earnest," " I lifted up my hands," he says, " and preached as I 
never did in my life !"* 

Charles Wesley travelled and preached during this period as 
diligently as John, making several excursions to the north of 
England, to Wales, and to Ireland. In Cornwall he was sur- 
prised, as had been his brother, at the salutary effects of Metho- 
dism among the mining population. They crowded the Grwennap 
amphitheatre to hear him. He examined the members of the 
society there separately, and found it in confirmed prosperity. 
" Their sufferings," he writes, " have been for the furtherance of 
the gospel. The opposers behold and wonder at their stedfast- 
ness and godly conversation, "t I^our exhorters had been raised 
up among them. " Both sheep and shepherds," he adds, " had 
been scattered in the late cloudy day of persecution, but the Lord 
gathered them again, and kept them together by their own bre- 
thren, who began to exhort their companions, one or more in every 
society." At a still later date he says of Cornwall : — '* The whole 
county finds the benefit of the gospel. Hundreds who follow not 
with us have broken off their sins, and are outwardly reformed ; 
and though persecutors ouce, will not suffer a word to be spoken 
against this way." At St. Ives he writes that " the whole pjlace 
is outwardly changed. I walk the streets scarce believing it is 
St. Ives. It is the same throughout all the country. All oppo- 
sition falls before us, or rather is fallen, and not suffered to lift 
up its head again." At Sithney fierce persecution had prevailed 
against the society, and women and children had been struck 
down and beaten in the streets ; now one hundred of the former 
rioters gathered about him to fight for him against a threatened 
mob from a neighbouring town. At St. Just tha «k^^^s^ \sa^ 
» Journal, anno 1748. \ JaokAonoLS CStww\sa'^«S^^'3MB^*^3»- 


been overwhelmed by repeated riots. A clergyman, who was also 
a magistrate, was the instigator and his brother the captain of the 
mob. During eighteen months the rabble had raged and ap- 
parently conquered all before them. Methodist preaching had 
been entirely suppressed in the town, but Charles Wesley now 
began it again by "crying in the street to about a thousand 
hearers, * K Grod be for us, who can be against us ?' " No voice 
was raised against him. "The little flock," he writes, "were 
comforted and refreshed abundantly. I spake with each of the 
society, and was amazed to find them just the reverse of what they 
had been represented. Most of them had kept their first love, 
even while men were riding over their heads, and they passed 
through fire and water. Their exhorter appeared a solid, humble 
Christian, raised up to stand in the gap and keep the trembling 
sheep together. Here is a bush in the fire, burning, and yet not 
consumed ! What have they not done to crush this rising sect ? 
but, lo, they prevail nothing! For one preacher they cut off 
twenty spring up. JN^either persecutions nor threateuings, flat- 
tery nor violence, dungeons nor sufterings of various kinds, can 
conquer them. Many waters cannot quench tliis little spark 
which the Lord hath kindled ; neither shall the floods of persecu- 
tion drown it." 

Leaving Cornwall, he went with Edward Perronet, a son of 
the vicar of Shoreham, to the north of England. Young Perro- 
net, who afterwards entered the Methodist ministry, was initiated, 
during this excursion, into the persecutions and other trials of an 
itinerant preacher's life. Though mobs had subsided at their 
former centres, they still broke out occasionally with fierceness in 
other places. Perronet, however, showed good courage, and some- 
times intercepted blows and missiles aimed at Wesley by receiving 
them himself On their route they saluted Grimshaw, who was 
sick ; " his soul," writes Wesley, " was full of triumphant love. 
I wished mine were in its place. We prayed believingly that the 
Lord would raise him up again for the service of His Church." 
They visited Newcastle and most neighbouring towns, preaching 
in the new chapels, in cockpits, in the streets, and in the fields, 
and witnessing almost everywhere the prosperity of their cause. 
!From Newcastle they passed into Lincolnshire. At Grimsby 
they were attacked by a mob of " wild creatures, who ran about 
the room striking down all they met." The uproar lasted nearly 
an hour. Several caught at Wesley to drag him down. He put 
Mb hand on the leader of the riot, " who sat down like a lamb at 
£is feet, " and the rest soon fell upon eac\i otlaer and fought them- 

FBOM 1745 TO 1750. 199 

selves out of the bouse, leaving the preacher to proceed with his 
discourse. At Darlaston, the scene of former and terrible riots, 
he preached before a house vjrhich had been pulled down by the 
mob. " The persecutors in this place,'* he wntes, " were some of 
the fiercest in Staffordshire. I saw the marks of their violence, 
and thereby knew our people's houses as I rode through the 
town. Their windows were all stopped up. The "Word was a 
two-edged sword. The ringleader of the mob was struck down 
and convinced of his lost estate. I preached again with double 

Joined by Eev. Mr. Meriton, they set out for Bristol. At 
Devizes they were assailed by a terrific mob, in the midst of 
which the parish clergyman was conspicuous as a chief actor. It 
was a day, writes "Wesley, never to be forgotten. The rioters 
broke open and ransacked a dwelling, searchmg for him and his 
companions. They were in another house, where, however, the 
mob soon gathered ; during four or five hours the storm raged. 
The mayor rode out of the town in sight of the rioters, thereby 
indirectly encouraging them. His ^^Tte, however, sent her maid 
to Wesley, entreating him to escape disguised as a woman. Her 
heart had been touched by the conversion of her dissipated son, 
who had intended to desert his home for the seas, but had been 
reclaimed by the Methodists of the town, and was now a member 
of their society. Wesley declined the doubtful mode of escape 
which she proposed ; and meanwhile the mob brought an engine, 
and, breaking in the windows, flooded the rooms, and spoiled the 
goods of the house. They demanded that Wesley should be 
delivered up to them, to be thrown into the horse-pond. A lead- 
.ing member of the society was dragged away and cast into it, and 
was saved from death only by the courage of one of his brethren, 
who ran through the mob into the water and rescued him. The 
tumult raged more and more aroimd the house ; the rioters got 
upon the roof and were tearing up the tiles ; " we saw not," says 
Wesley, "any possible way of escape;" but when the rabble 
seemed on the point of breaking into the dwelling, their most 
" respectable " leaders became alarmed for the consequences and 
deterred them. After a cessation of an hour or two the tumult 
was renewed, and more than a thousand men joined in the assault. 
The horses of the preachers were driven into the pond, and left 
up to their necks in the water. The house was again attacked 
front and rear. " Such threatenings, curses, and blasphemies," 
writes Wesley, " I had never heard." He recalled the Eoman 
senate, sitting in the forum, wben. ^eiiifei. \i^ \Jwbi ^«?si^.>\rQ^i* \f3^ 


his companions there was a fitter posture for Christians. They 
should be taken on their knees. They knelt down and waited in 
prayer, believing they should " see the salvation of Grod." ** They 
were now," he writes, " close to us on every side, and over our 
heads untiling the roof. We expected their appearance, and 
retired to the furthermost comer of the room, and I said, * This 
is the crisis.' In that moment Jesus rebuked the winds and the 
seas, and there was a great calm." It lasted three-quarters of an 
hour before any person came to inform them of the reason of the 
sudden change. A constable then appeared, demanding a pledge 
that they would visit the place no more. It was manfully re- 
fused; but they were conducted through the mob out of the 
town, and went on their way rejoicing to other fields of conflict 
and conquest. 

In a few months Charles "Wesley was traversing Ireland, and, 
before the Conference of 1750, he repeated his visit. He met 
there, as will hereafter be shown, outrages similar to those he had 
BO successfully braved in England, but succeeded in planting 
Methodism in many parts of the island. 

Amid these scenes of labour and strife, the Wesleys enjoyed 
not a few reliefs and consolations. They had established their 
cause throughout the land, and it had already visibly changed the 
moral aspect of much of the nation, elevating the most degraded 
classes ol its population. Tens of thousands, rescued from virtual 
heathenism, blessed them as they passed along their extended 
ministerial routes. They had, connected with their principal 
chapels at London, Bristol, Kingswood, Newcastle, and other 
places, preachers' houses or parsonages for themselves and their 
assistants, which, if destitute of every luxury, were, nevertheless, 
comfortably furnished, and supplied with books. They cultivated 
the tastes of scholars. Charles was habitually indulging his lov& 
of lyric poetry ; he composed immortal odes as he rode along the 
highways from town to town, and mob to mob, and published 
several volumes during the present period. John, though preach- 
ing twice or thrice a-day, beginning at five o'clock in the morning 
in winter as in summer, and travelling, mostly on horseback, at a 
rate more than equal to the circumference of the globe every five 
years,* remarked that few men enjoyed more solitude than him- 
self. He read continually as he journeyed, not only in theology, 
but still more in his favourite studies of history, antiquities, and 
the classic poets. Both the brothers had hitherto, with brief ex- 
ceptions, enjoyed good health. Charles found relief to his con- 

* He travelled five thousand miles a-year. 

FEOM 1745 TO 1750. 201 

stitutional sadness in habitual travel. John, after one or two 
attacks of illness, was confirmed by the same salutary means in 
almost unvarying bodily vigour* and mental serenity. He assures 
us, about this time, that ten thousand cares were of no more in- 
convenience to him than so many hairs on his head, and his con- 
tinuaUy changing intercourse with families on his routes had 
become to them a welcome occasion, not only of religious instruc- 
tion but of refreshing cheerfulness. A contemporary, who was 
both an eloquent scholar and a good man, and knew Wesley for 
more than twenty years, says that his countenance as well as con- 
versation expressed an habitual gaiety of heart, which nothing 
but conscious virtue and innocence could have bestowed — that he 
was, in truth, the most perfect specimen of moral happiness he 
had ever seen, and that his acquaintance with him taught him 
better than anything else he had " seen, or heard, or read, except 
in the sacred volume, what a heaven upon earth is implied in the 
maturity of Christian piety. "f Extremely economical, the limited 
means of the brothers met all their wants. A bookseller valued 
their publications at this early period at £2500. Perronet, of 
Shoreham, says this was not half their value. J The growth of 
Methodism had unexpectedly opened an indefinite market for 
their literary works. Such, however, was Wesley's charitable 
use of this source of income, that it is estimated he gave away 
in the course of his life more than thirty thousand pounds; 
and such, meantime, was his Christian, not to say philosophic 
simplicity and frugality, that when, by order of Parliament, the 
Commissioners of Excise sent out circulars, demanding from 
families an account of their taxable plate, and addressed him a 
letter, saying, " We cannot doubt that you have plate for which 
you have hitherto neglected to make an entry," his laconic reply 
was, " I have two silver teaspoons at London, and two at Bristol ; 
this is all the plate which I have at present, and I shall not buy 
any more while so many around me want bread. "§ In his Appeal 
to Men of Eeason and Religion, he had said : " Hear ye this, all 
you who have discovered the treasures which I am to leave behind 
me ; if I leave behind me ten pounds (above my debts and my 

* His seyerest sickness was during the next year. 

t Alexander Knox, Esq. See his " Eemarks," addressed to Southey, on 
Wesley's Life and Character : Appendix to Southey's Wesley. See also Knox's 
allusions to Wesley in his " Thirty Years* Correspondence with Bishop Jebb." 
Knox says Wesley was always the presiding mind at dinner parties, as well by 
the good humour as the good sense of his conyersation. 

f Letter to Madam Qwynne. Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 16. 

§ Moore's Life of Wesley, chap. vii. sec. 3. 


books, or what may happen to be due on account of them), you 
and all mankind bear witness against me that I lived and died a 
thief and a robber." The state of his affairs at his d^th, nearly 
half a century after, fully verified this pledge.* 

The Wesleys found domestic shelter not only at their 
"Preachers' Houses," but in many comfortable homes among 
their people ; and at Shoreham with Perronet ; at Bexley with 
Piers, its Methodist vicar, under whose roof they wrote many 
publications ; at Haworth with Grrimshaw, and occasionally with 
Lady Huntingdon at Donnington Park. In Wales they were 
entertained at the opident mansion of Marmaduke Gwynne, a 
magistrate of Garth. His priacely establishment usually com- 
prised, besides his nine children and twenty servants, a chaplain, 
and from ten to fifteen guests. The inmates of the household 
formed a good congregation in the domestic worship, and the 
Wesleys preached to them daily while seeking repose amid their 
liberal hospitality. Mr. G-wynne zealously promoted their pecu- 
liar views. He was one of the first infiuential citizens of W ales 
who had befriended HoweU Harris in his evangelical labours. 
"When Harris was first expected to preach near Garth, Mr. Gwynne 
was determined to arrest him, not doubting from the current re- 
ports that he was a madman, or "an incendiary in Church and 
State." He went out with the Riot Act in his pocket, but said 
to his lady as he left her, " I will hear him for myself before I 
commit him." The sermon, however, was so orthodox and power- 
ful that the magistrate was deeply afiected, and " thou^t the 
preacher resembled one of the apostles." At its conclusion he 
stepped up to Harris, took him by the hand, and, expressing his 
favourable disappointment, asked his pardon, bade him God-speed 
among the people, and, to the surprise of the assembly, iniited 
him to accompany him back to Garth to supper. The princi- 
pality owes to his munificent zeal much of the evangelical im- 
provement which Methodism, Calvinistic and Arminian,has effected 

* Wesley was a good example of " systematic beneficence." He remarked, 
in early life, tliat he had known but four men who had not decUned in religion 
by becoming wealthy : later in hfe he corrected the remark, and made no ex- 
ception. He himself, therefore, guarded scrupulously against the danger. 
When his own income was but £30 a-year he gave away £2 ; when it was £60 
be still confined his expenses to £28, and gave away £32 ; when it reached 
£120 he kept himself to his old allowance, and gave away £92. The last in- 
sertion in his private journal, written with a trembling hand, reads thus : " Foot 
upward of eighty-siz years I have kept my accounts exactly. I will not attempt 
it any longer, being satisfied with the continual conviction that I save aU I 
can and give all I can ; that is, all I have. J. Wesley, July 16, 1790." 

moM 1745 TO 1730. 203 

among its population.* He travelled with and protected the 
evangelists, and his name is printed in Wesley's early Minutes as 
a lay member of one of his Conferences. 

On the 8th of April, 1749, Charles "Wesley married Sarah 
Gwynne, a daughter of this excellent family. The good vicar of 
Shoreham had advised the marriage, and promoted it by letters to 
her parents. John Wesley approved it, and consecrated the cere- 
mony. He describes the scene in his Journal as one "which 
became the dignity of a Christian marriage." Charles said his 
brother " seemed the happiest person among us." Their union 
was in all respects a fortunate one ; neither of the parties ever 
had any reason to regret it. They established a comfortable, but 
simple home at Bristol, where jVIrs. Wesley hospitably enter- 
tained the lay preachei-s on their journeys ; and, notwithstanding 
her cultivated tastes, learned to admire as among the noblest of 
men. Nelson, DoAMies, Shent, and their heroic fellow-labourers.f 
To the end of her life, it is said, she spoke with emotion of these 
humble, but, in many respects, genuinely great and apostolic 
evangelists. Her religious temper was in harmony with that of 
her husband. She often accompanied him in his ministerial 
travels. She was not only admired, but beloved, by her humbler 
sisters of the societies, and throughout her husband's life rendered 
his home a sanctuary of repose from his labours, and of sympathy 
for his affections. 

John Wesley himself found it not impossible, at this stage of 
Methodism, to hope for the blessed consolations of conjugal life. 
He had designed to marry, in. 1749, Mrs. Grace Murray, his 
housekeeper at Newcastle, a lady eyery way fitted for him. She 
was, however, previously engag'ed to John Bennett, one of his lay 
preachers, and, by the counsels of Charles Wesley, Whitefield, 
and others, adhered to her first engagement. Wesley felt pro- 
foundly his disappointmentjj and afterwards contracted a mar- 
riage which was the severest misfortune of his life. 

* " The authority and countenance of Mr. Grwynne and his &mily now 
became highly important to the cause of reh'gion." — Life and Times of Selina, 
Countess of Huntingdon, etc., chap. 7. 

t Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 16. 

t The anonymous author of "Idfe and Times of Lady Huntingdon" 
(vol. i. chap. 3) says of Grace Murray that " she possessed superior personal 
accomplishments, with a mind cultiyated by education, and an imagination 
brilliant and lively in the highest degree. She was employed by Mr. Wesley 
to organize his female societies, and for this purpose she travelled through 
various parts of both England and Ireland. Mr. Wesley used to call her his 
right hand." 




Religious Problem of Irish History — ^Wesley comprehended it— Bishop Berkeley 
on Irish Evangelization — Wesley arrives at Dublin — His views of the Irish 
Character — Charles Wesley in Ireland — Mobs and Murders in Dublin — 
" Swaddlers " — Power of Methodist Music — Second Visit of John Wesley — 
He itinerates in the country— Second Yisit of Charles Wesley — Riotous 
Persecutions at Cork — Presentment by the G^rand Jury against Charles 
Wesley — Triumphs of Methodism — Singular Conversions — John Smith at 
01enarm — Persecution and Death of John M'Burney — ^Hard Fare of the 
Preachers— Robert Swindells — Thomas Walsh — Sketch of his Life — His 
Conversion from Popery — His Biblical Learning — Instances of the Power 
of his Preaching — He is mobbed and imprisoned. 

The religious condition of Ireland has been the most singular 
anomaly of European history since the Reformation. That great 
revolution had a more positive effect on Scotland than on England 
itself; on Ireland it had scarcely any other than a disastrous 
influence. Ireland refused the Reformation, and has ever since 
been blighted under the retributive consequences of its pertina- 
cious adherence to the Church of Rome. It is the only country, 
it has been said, in which the Reformation produced nothing but 
evil.* Its obstinate tenacity for Popery prevented its assimilation 
with the rest of the empire, and thence nave chiefly arisen those 
abuses in its political administration which have filled its history 
with oppression, tumult, and wretchedness. These have again 
exasperated and confirmed its Papal proclivities, and have thus 
acted and reacted in its continual degradation. 

Wesley on his first visit to Ireland comprehended the problem 
of its religious history ; he observed that at least ninety-nine in a 
hundred of the native Irish remained in the religion of their fore- 
fathers. The Protestants, whether in Dublin or elsewhere, had 
almost all been transplanted from England. "Nor is it any 
wonder," he adds, "that those who are bom Papists generally live 
and die such, when the Protestants can find no better ways to 
convert them than penal laws and acts of Parliament." t 

Twelve years before "Wesley's arrival, an Irish Protestant 
prelate published a work J in which he suggested, as the best 

* Southey's Life of Wesley, chap. 23. 

f Journal, August 15,1747. 

t Berkeley'B Querist. Soathey'fi ^Q«\ey, cVv^. %%. 


means for the conversion of the country, substantially the same 
measures which Methodism provided — Lay instructors taken from 
the common people, and thereby better able to reach them. The 
clerical gradations of the Church of Rome, from cardinals down 
to mendicants, suited, he remarked, her ministrations to all ranks 
of men; her poor clergy were very useful in missions, and of 
*' especial influence with the people ;" and he asked the questions 
whether, in default of abler missionaries, persons conversant with 
low life, and speaking the Irish tongue, if well instructed in the 
first principles of religion and in the Popish controversy, though 
for the rest on a level witli the parish clerks or the schoolmasters 
of charity schools, might not be fit to mix with the poor illiterate 
natives, and bring them over to the Established Church ; whether 
it were not to be wished that some parts of the Liturgy and 
Homilies should be publicly read in the Irish language, and 
whether with these views it might not be desirable to train up 
some of the better sort of children in the charity schools to be 
missionaries, catechists, and readers.* 

If the progress of Methodism has not been as rapid in Ireland 
as elsewhere, notwithstanding its adaptation in these respects, the 
fact is owing mostly to temporary and political causes, which have 
perpetuated to our day the resentments and Papal prejudices of 
the people. It is claimed, however, by Methodist writers, that it 
is doubtful whether even the forms of Protestantism would at this 
day be extant in most of the country, had it not been for the 
energy which was infused into the Irish Protestant Churches by 
Wesley and his associates,t so universally enfeebled and tottering 
was the Establishment in Irelaud at that time. With the political 
reliefs and social ameliorations of tlie island, Methodism has been 
obtaining ampler sway, and its history is important for at least its 
prospective results. 

* Southey admits " that wliat Berkeley desired to see, Mctliodism would 
exactly have supplied, could it have beeu taken into the serrico of the Church; 
and this might have been done in Ireland, had it not been for the follies and 
extrayagances by which it had rendered itself obnoxious in England at its 
commencement." The latter remark is altogether gratuitous. It was not the 
" follies," or rather what Southey considers the " follies of Methodism," that 
repelled it from the Church in England. The Wesleys and Whitefield were 
excluded from the pulpits of the Establishment before they adopted out-door 
preaching, or any other novelty which Southey would call a "folly." The 
zealous and home-directed stylo with which they preached the doctrines of the 
English Articles and Homilies arrayed the clergy and churchwardens against 
them, and this opposition compelled them to their " follies and extravagances," 
so called. 

t Jackson's Life of Charles Wesley, cVa^A^. 


"Wesley arrived in Dublin on Sunday the 9th of August, 
1747. The bells were ringing, and he went immediately to St. 
Mary's Church, and in the afternoon, by arrangement with the 
curate, preached to " as gay and careless a congregation "as he 
had ever seen. The curate treated him politely, but was immov- 
ably prejudiced against his employment of lay preachers, and 
assured him that the archbishop was equally opposed to so extra- 
ordinary a novelty. Wesley sought th^ archbishop, and had an 
interview with him ten miles from the city. Two or three hours 
were spent in the consultation, during which the prelate advanced, 
and Wesley answered " abundance of objections." Had Berkeley 
been the bishop, Methodism would probably have taken possession 
of the Church. Wesley gives us no information of the result of 
the interview ; he immediately began, however, his usual course 
of independent labours.* 

A lay preacher from England, Thomas Williams, had formed 
a society in Dublin in 1747.t Wesley found in it nearly three 
hundred members. He examined them personally, as was his 
habit in the principal societies at London, Bristol, and Newcastle; 
for none of his " assistants " or successors has been more minute 
and faithful in such pastoral labours. J He found them " strong 
in faith," and admired their docile and cordial spirit. He pro- 
nounced the Irish the politest people he had ever seen. " What 
a nation," he exclaims, " is this ; every man, woman, and child, 
except a few of the great vulgar, not only patiently, but gladly 
suffers the word of exhortation." He had not yet fully, learned 
their character ; the "roaring lion," as he afterwards found, "shook 
himself here also." 

He preached repeatedly and without molestation at the 
society's chapel, which had been a Lutheran church. The house 
and its yard were crowded with respectful hearers ; many wealthy 
citizens were present, and his reception contrasted strikingly with 
what it had been in most places in England. " If," he wrote, "my 
brother or I could have been here for a few months, I question if 
there might not have been a larger society in Dublin than even 

* Journal, August 11, 1747. 

t Myles's Chronological History, p. 56. 

j Smith (History of Methodism, book ii., chap. 3) says, " The steady and 
zealous attention of Wesley to the character, conduct, and spiritual state of the 
individual members of his societies is truly remarkable. In 1745 he examined 
the society in London one by one, and wrote a list of the whole with his own 
hand, numbered from one to two thousand and eight. In 1746 he repeated 
this operation, and wrote another list, in which the number was reduced to 
one thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine." 


in London itself." The excessive cordiality of the people soon 
became a reason of some solicitude to him ; " on that very ac- 
count," he says, " they must be watched over with the more care, 
being equally susceptible of good or ill impressions." Having 
spent two weeks among them he preached his farewell discourse 
to an immense assembly, many of whom could not hear him, and 
took passage for England on Sunday, the 23rd of August. 

In about two weeks, Charles "Wesley arrived in Dublin, ac- 
companied by Charles Perronet, another of the sons of the 
Shoreham yicav, and remained more than half a year in the 
country. During the brief interval since the visit of his brother, 
the "roaring lion" had raged in Dublin. A^Papiat mob had 
broken into the chapel, and some store-houses which appertained 
to its premises, destroying furniture, stealing goods, making a 
bonfire of the seats, window cases, and pulpit in the streets; 
wounding with clubs the members of the society, and threatening 
to murder all who assembled with them. It was, in fine, a 
thoroughly Irish riot, bristling with shillalahs and triumphant 
with noise. The mayor was disposed to protect the Methodists, 
but was powerless before the great numerical force of their perse- 
cutors. The grand jury threw out bills brought against the 
rioters, and thus gave indirect encouragement to their violence. 
"Wesley met the society privately, but was followed through the 
streets to his lodgings by a retinue of the rabble, who compli- 
mented him. with shouts of derision. 

John Cennick had preached a Christmas sermon in Dublin 
on " the babe TVTapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." 
A Popish hearer, who knew little or nothing of his Bible, deemed 
the text a ridiculous Protestant invention, and called the Metho- 
dists " Swaddlers," a title which was immediately adopted by the 
mob. " Swaddler ! swaddler !" was shouted against Wesley by 
the children in the streets. " The word," he says, " sticks to us 
all, not excepting the clergy."* He faced the persecutors with 
his usual courage. Meeting privately with the society, and weep- 
ing with and comforting them, he went forth also daily to the 
public parks, and preached the Word amid shouts and showers of 
stones. After having been more than a week in Dublia, strug- 
gling daily against the fiercest odds, he writes : " Woe is me now, 
for my soul is wearied because of the murderers which the city is 
full of." The mob, he says, seldom parted without killing one or 
more persons. A Methodist was knocked down, cut severely in 
several places, and thrown into a cellar, where stones were cast 

* Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 14. 


upon him. One of Cennick's Calvinisfcic brethren, a feeble man, 
was so abused by his neighbours, who prostrated and stamped 
upon him, that he died. The murderers were tried, but acquitted, 
" as usual," says Wesley. A woman was beaten to death by the 
rioters in one of the open-air assemblies. A constable, who was 
present to protect him, was knocked down, dragged on the earth 
till dead, and then hung up with triumph, and no one was called 
in question for the deed. Wesley himself was in the midst of 
perils, but escaped without a blow, except once, when he was 
stoned through the length of a street or two, and though' 
screened by young Perronet, who interposed his own person as a 
shield for him, was struck by a missile. Their firmness, however, 
could discourage even an Irish mob. They were heard at last on 
the public green with quiet; and Wesley was able finally to 
record that never had he seen a more respectful congregation at 
the Foundry in London than at the Dublin green and in the 
society meetings at night. The Word, he writes, came with power 
irresistible, and the prayers and sobs of the people often drowned 
his voice. Additions were almost daily made to the band of con- 
verts, and the " bulk of the communicants " at St. Patrick's were 
usually Methodists, led forward to the altar by Wesley himself. 
He preached continually, and sometimes five times a-day. He 
collected subscriptions, and erected a better house of worship, 
and addressing the afflicted but growing company of believers for 
the last time before they left their chapel in Marlborough Street, 
he encouraged them from the appropriate text : " These are they 
that came out of great tribulation." It was, he writes, a day of 
" solemn rejoicing in hope of His coming to wipe all tears from 
our eyes." Thus, while the gospel reclaimed them, did persecu- 
tion bind them together in common sympathy under their common 
sufierings, and augment among them the fervour, simplicity, im- 
worldliness, and mutual tenderness, which marked so distinctly 
the primitive character of Methodism, compelling even their 
enemies to wonder, and exclaim. See how these Christians suffer 
and love ! 

Several preachers had been sent out into the country, and 
news came of great *' awakenings " in 'various places. Wesley 
set out for the interior. He heard the Methodist tunes sung or 
whistled by Catholic children on his route.* At Tyrrell's Pass 

* The Wesleyan singing was a source of great power to early Methodism. 

Charles Wesley's hymns, with simple but effective tunes, spread everywhere 

among the societies ; and hundreds of hearers who cared not for the preach- 

ing, were charmed to the MethodiBt aaaembUea b^ thevc music. It secured 


the town crowded out to hear him. " Xever," he writes, "have 
I spoken to more hungry souls. They devoured every word. 
Some expressed their satisfioiction in a way peculiar to them, and 
whistled for joy. Few such feasts have I had since I left fhigland. 
It refreshed my body more than meat or drink. God has begun 
a great work here. The people of Tyrrell's Pass were wicked to 
a proverb — swearers, drunkards. Sabbath-breakers, thieves, etc., 
from time immemorial. But now the scene is entirely changed. 
Not an oath is heard, nor a drunkard seen among them. They 
are turned from darkness to light. Near one hundred are joined 
in society, and following hard after the pardoning God. At 
Athlone he was mobbed and struck with a stone, while one of his 
companions was knocked from his horse, and severely wounded. 
The mob had been roused by a Roman priest ; many Protestants 
turned out in favour of the Methodists, and the encounter be- 
came so perilous that the dragoons had to interfere. Wesley 
walked through the agitated mass to the market-house, but it 
could not accommodate a third of his hearers. He took his stand, 
therefore, in the window of a dilapidated building, and proclaimed 
his message to them. At Moat he preached amid weeping 
listeners, while the mob threw stones, and tried to drown his 
voice with drums. At PhiDipstown he was welcomed by a party 

them much success among the susceptible Irish. A curious example of its 
power is told by one of the Irish preachers. At "Wexford the society was per- 
secuted by Papists, and met in a closed bam. One of the persecutors had 
agreed to conceal himself within it beforehand, that he might open the door 
to his comrades after the people were assembled. He crept into a sack hard 
by the door. The singing commenced, but the Hibernian was so taken with 
the music, that he thought ho would hear it through before disturbing the 
meeting. He was so much gratified that at its conclusion he thought he 
would hear the prayer also ; but this was too powerful for him ; he was seized 
with remorse and trembling, and roared out with such dismay as to appal 
the congregation, who began to believe that Satan himself was in the sack. 
The sack was at last pulled off him, and disclosed the Irishman, a weeping 
penitent, praying with all his might. He was permanently converted. 
(Arminian Magazine, 1781, p. 474.) Southey remarks that " this is the most 
comical case of instantaneous conversion that ever was recorded ; and yet the 
man is said to have been thoroughly converted." A tavern-keeper, relishing 
music, went to one of the meetings merely to hear the singing. He was afraid 
of the preaching, and that he might not hear it, sat with his head inclined, 
and his fingers in his ears. But a fly lit upon his nose, and at the moment 
he attempted to drive it away with one of his hands the preacher uttered with 
power the text : " He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. The word took 
hold upon the publican's conscience, and he found no relief till he became a 
converted man. (Sketches and Incidents, etc., page 335.) Such anecdotes 
abound in the publications of Methodism, and are not without hi&tAc\&AL 
sigoificance as illustrations of its modus operandi. 


of dragoons, who " were all turned from darkness to light," and 
had been formed into a Methodist society. Returning to Dublin, 
he found that continual accessions were made to the society. 
His brother having arrived, Charles "Wesley lefb for England with 
the benedictions of hundreds who had found his word " the power 
of Q-od unto salvation," Methodism had entered Ireland never 
to be overthrown there. 

John Wesley reached Dublin on his second visit, in company 
with his clerical friend, Meriton, and Robert Swindells, a lay 
preacher, March 8, 1748. He entered the new place of worship 
in Cork Street, while his brother was conducting the devotions of 
the society, and immediately proceeded to preach. But such was 
their joy on seeing him again among them, that, he writes, his 
" voice could hardly be heard for some time, for the noise of the 
people in praising God.'' He found nearly four hundred persons 
united in the fellowship of the Classes. He preached daily, 
beginning at five o'clock in the morning, a measure unheard of 
among the dilatory Irish, but successful wherever he went. He 
was undisturbed on the public green, for the Dublin mob had, at 
last, been conquered. He passed rapidly among the country 
towns. At Phiillipstown he confirmed the society of Methodist 
dragoons, and preached in a street full of attentive hearers ; at 
TuUamore, to most of the inhabitants of the place ; at Clara, 
to a vast congregation, many being wealthy families in their 
coaches ; at Athlone, from the window of the unoccupied house 
where his brother had stood, to an assembly immense but per- 
fectly respectful. " I scarce ever saw," he says, " a better be- 
lukved or more attentive congregation. Indeed, so ci\dl a people 
as the Irish in general I never saw, either in Europe or America." 
So large an assembly as he addressed there the next day had 
never, he says, been seen in Athlone, and most of them were 
Papists. He was still astonished at their Irish cordiality. " Most 
of the congregation," he says, *'were in tears." Indeed, almost 
all the town appeared to be moved, being full of good-will and 
desires for salvation, but, he adds, ** the waters spread too wide 
to be deep ; I found not one under very strong conviction, much 
less had any attained the knowledge of salvation in hearing 
thirty sermons." He now, in fine, perceived the real Irish cha- 
racter, and formed no very sanguine hopes of the immediate 
success of Methodism, though he knew that, could it be generally 
established in the country, it would ultimately achieve there its 
noblest results. He was astonished at the simple frankness of his 
converts, and had some difficulty in restraining it within decorous 


limits. Examining one of the classes, he says he found a sur- 
prising openness among them. He asked one of them in pap- 
ticular how he had lived in time past ; the honest man spread 
abroad his hands and said, with many tears, " Here I stand a 
grey-headed monster of all manner of wickedness," " which," says 
Wesley, '* I verily believe, had it been desired, he would have 
explained before them all." ]\Luch in the same manner spoke one 
who came from Connaught, but witli " huge affliction and dis- 

Travelling rapidly from town to town he soon returned to 
Athlone, where he again addressed a vast congregation, most of 
whom were Romanists. Their priest came among them and drove 
them away before him like a flock of sheep. Wesley admired 
their friendly attention, but could perceive none of the profound 
effects which attended his discourses among the sturdier sinners 
of England. He therefore preached in the evening on a threaten- 
ing text ; a fact which, so far as can be traced in his journal, had 
occurred seldom, it* at all, since his conversion in 1738. " I 
preached," he writes, " on the terrors of the Lord in the strong- 
est manner I was able ; but still, they who are ready to eat up 
every word do not appear to digest any part of it." At a subse- 
quent visit he saw, however, some good results from his labours, 
for a society had been formed, and he preached in the market- 
place to a large congregation of Papists as well as Protestants. 
He describes them as " an immeasureably loving people," and it 
was diflicidt for him to escape from them. When he thought he 
had effectually done so he found, at a mile's distance from the 
town, a multitude awaiting him on a hill-top over which the road 
passed. They opened the way for him until he had reached their 
midst, then closed, and would not let him proceed till he had 
united with them in singing several verses. When he left, men, 
women, and children lifted up their voices and wept as he 
" never heard before ;" his heart wtis touched by their affectionate 
simplicity ; *'yeta little while," he said, "and we shall meet to 
part no more, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away for ever." 
At Tullamore the next day the people would not cover their heads 
in a hailstorm while he preached, though he requested them to do 
so. At Edinderry he found much good had been done by his lay 
assistants, but it was not as profound or vivid as he had expected. 
" I see,"' he remarks, "nothing yet but drops before a shower." 

After spending three months in traversing Ireland, he returned 
to England. Numerous societies had been formed, and a corps 
of preachers distributed through the country. In about two 


months Charles "Weslej again visited Dublin, where the society- 
had greatly prospered. He left it quickly for Cork, where the 
lay preachers had met with much success. He was astonished 
to observe the impression which they had produced. A visible 
reformation had taken place in the morals of the populace ; 
" swearing was seldom heard in the streets," and the churches 
and altars were crowded, to the astonishment of oppo§ers.* He 
took the open field and preached to ten thousand hearers, Pro- 
testants and Papists, high and low. Two hundred members were 
enrolled in the society, yet he had occasion to repeat his brother's 
complaint of the superficiality of their religious character, for 
" all seemed awakened, but not one of them justified." The door 
appeared wide open for him, however, and he writes that even at 
Newcastle the awakening had not been so general. The city- 
clergy turned out to hear him with unexpected favour ; he was 
astonished at his multitudinous congregations, but asked himself, 
" How few will own Grod's messengers when the stream turns ?" 
He knew human nature too well to suppose that this hearty good 
will, natural as it was to the Irish character, could long resist the 
capricious mutability which is equally natural to it ; and as soon 
as he began to gather genuine converts into the society, he pre- 
pared for the usual outbreaks of hostility. *' Hitherto," he 
says, " they seem asleep, but the witnesses of Jesus are rising 
to rouse them." 

Hardly had he returned to England when the storm gathered 
and burst over Cork. During about three months the mob, led 
on by a ballad-singer by the name of Butler, and indirectly sanc- 
tioned by the mayor, kept the city in excitement by a series of 
riots against the Methodists. Butler arrayed himself in a cleri- 
cal gown, and with his ballads in one hand and the Bible in the 
other, went about pretending to preach against them. The 
excited people, armed with swords and clubs, fell upon them 
without mercy ; men, women, and children were knocked down 
in the streets, and not a few of them dangerously wounded. 
Their houses were assailed ; a member of the society, who was a 
well-known merchant, applied fco the authorities for protection, 
but was sent away without redress ; another member, whose 
house the mob were pulling down, ran to the mayor, who ac- 
companied him to the spot, but amid the rioters cried out to the 
helpless Methodists, " It is your own fault for entertaining your 
preachers ; if you will turn them out of your houses, I will en- 
gage that no harm shall be done, but if you will not you must 

* Jackson's Charles "Wesley, chap. xv. 


tako the consequences." A respectable Methodist citizen replied, 
very relevantly, that this was extraordinary usage for a Protestant 
government ; that had he a Eoman priest saying mass in every 
room of his house, it would not be touched. The only response 
of the mayor was, that the priests were protected, but the Method- 
ists were not. The crowd, hearing the reply, huzzaed, threw 
stones faster than ever, and attacked the house until midnight. 

The pusillanimous conduct of the authorities continued to 
inspirit the mob. Butler ranged the streets, armed with ballads 
and the Bible, and followed by drimken throngs shouting ** Five 
pounds for the head of a swaddler." An Amazonian woman, 
indignant at the cowardice of the magistrates, attempted to in- 
terfere, but was carried away and inclosed in Bridewell. Twenty- 
eight depositions were presented to the grand jury at the Assizes 
against these disgraceful proceedings, but they were aU thrown 
out, and the jury made "a remarkable presentment,'* which still 
stands on the city records, and which declares that " we find and 
present Charles "Wesley to be a person of ill fame, a vagabond, 
and a common disturber of his majesty's peace, and we pray that 
he may be transported." Nine of his associates were denounced 
in the same terms. All were preachers except one, whose crime 
was his hospitality in entertaining the itinerants. Butler and his 
crew were now more triumphant than ever; but at the Lent 
Assize all the preachers who were in the kingdom, or at least all 
who had been in Cork, presented themselves in a body before 
the court. They had now to deal with a higher authority, the 
king's judges. Butler was the first witness; to the question. 
What is your calling ? he responded, " I sing ballads." " Here," 
exclaimed the judge, lifting up his hands indignantly, " here are 
six gentlemen indicted as vagabonds, and the first accuser is a 
vagabond by profession!" The second accuser replied he was 
" an anti-swaddler," and treated the court with such disrespect 
that he was ordered away for contempt. The preachers were 
triumphantly vindicated, but the reign of the mob was not over. 
John Wesley returned to Cork in 1750, and was assailed with 
terrible violence. The furniture, windows, and floor of the 
chapel were torn out and burned in the street. He went to 
Bandon to preach, but the Cork mob followed him thither in 
grand procession and hung him in effigy.* During nearly a week 
the rioters prevailed, unchecked if not encouraged by the mayor. 
They patrolled the streets with shouts and menaces, and one of 
them affixed an advertisement at the Exchange, subscribed with 

* Moore'8 Life of Wesley, chap. vi. sec. 1. 


his name, proposing assaults on the houses of " Swaddlers," or 
of any citizens who dared to entertain them. But the excite- 
ment exhausted itself at last ; many of the soldiers in garrison at 
Cork attended the Methodist preaching ; soldiers made staunch 
Methodist converts in those stormy days, and the mob became 
afraid of them. Butler then went to "Waterford and raised 
similar riots there, but in a quarrel with his associates lost an 
arm, and lingered out the remainder of his life disabled and 

John Wesley afterwards visited the city without molestation. 
Methodism took permanent root there ; a spacious chapel was 
soon erected, and there are few places, says his Irish biographer,* 
where religion has prospered more than in Cork ; " Being reviled 
for the name of Christ, the spirit of glory and of God has rested 
upon them, and many have been there the living and dying wit- 
nesses of the power of true religion." On a subsequent visit 
Wesley was received at the mansion-house by the mayor, and his 
presence was considered an honour to the city. So advanced, in 
fine, did Methodism become in its social position in Cork, that 
five years later Wesley dreaded that city as the Capua of his 

preachers, t 

It spread, meanwhile, rapidly over the country. It was per- 
manently founded about this time, not only in the three southern 
counties, but also among the mountains of Ulster, where it found 
sympathy, and wrought its usual good effects among the poorer 
classes of Protestants. Circuits were formed and regularly sup- 
plied, and several effective native preachers were raised up. The 
peculiar susceptibility of the Irish character afforded continually 
striking cases of conversion. " Are there any drunkards here ?'* 
cried an itinerant, as he preached amid a mongrel multitude. 
*' Yes, I am one," replied a sobbing Irishman, who, returning in- 
toxicated toward his home had stepped aside to the assembly, 
supposing it was witnessing a cock-fight, and from that day he 
was not only reclaimed from his long-confirmed vice, but became 
a genuine Christian.^ Some poor natives who could not under- 
stand the English language of the itinerants, were awakened and 
effectually turned to a religious life by the force of their earnest 
manner of address. A deaf mute of the county of Antrim was 
thus reclaimed from a life of excessive profligacy in the twenty- 
fifth year of his age. He had been notoriously addicted to cock- 
%htmg, horse-racing, drunkenness, and other vices, but became 

* Moore's Life of Wesley, chap. vi. sec. 1. t Journal, anno 1765. 

:|: Arminian Magazine, 1781, page 478. 


an upriglit citizen, a devoted member of the Motliodist society, 
and its siicceastul promoter among his townsmen. Unable to 
speak the word ot* exhortation to his neiglibours, he preached by 
his exemplary life, and wheneyer the preacher or class-leader was 
expected in the town, he watched for liis arrival, and hastened 
from house to house to summon the people to the place of prayer. 
His business had required him to work on the Sabbath, but on 
becominn; a 3Iethodiat he w- ould no more do violence to the Lord's 
day. Unable to read, he nevertheless learned, by the aid of his 
Ciiristian brethren, the precious promises, and their place in the 
sacred volume, and would often turn to them with "a wild scream- 
ing voice and Hoods of ti'ars."* 

In some towns ^lethodism secured a permanent lodgment in 
a most uai'Xpocted manner. Jolin Smith, a zealous preacher, 
who had been re:^cucd from desperate vices, felt "pressed in 
spirit" to preach in Grienarn, a neglected town among the moun- 
tains of the north. As he rode up to make his evangelical assault 
on the place, he met a young lady who was riding with a servant. 
In reply to his iucpiiries, she warned him that it was a very 
wicked community. " Are there no good men there ?" inquired 
the Methodist. " Yes, there is one, William Ilimter," was her 
only encouragement. Eiding into the town, he inquired for the 
house of the one pious townsman. At the door he met a young 
woman, and directed his horse to be taken to the inn; "and tell 
every one you meet," he added, " that a visitor at your liouse has 
good news to tell all at seven o'clock." At the hour the house 
was filled. The eccentric evangelist was heartily welcomed by 
the warm-liearted Irishmen ; they detained him nine days, preach- 
ing to them twice daily, and a society was then formed which 
conthiues to the present time. When he was about to depart, 
he had but threepence in his pocket. He asked his landlady what 
he was to pay for his horse ? " Nothing, sir," she replied ; " a 
gentleman has paid all, and will do so if you stay a month." The 
whole incident was genuinely Irish. f 

Mobs, however, continued for some time to alternate with 
such semi-humorous scenes of Hibernian good nature, and they 
occasionally assumed a frightful and perilous severity. Another 

* Arminian Magazine, 1794, page 489. 

t CJoko and Mooro's Life of Wesley, cliap. iiL sec. 1. This work must be 
distinguialied from Moore's Life of Wesley, a later production, which does not 
contain the facts referred to. The zealous John Smith died in the faith in 
1772. My lea (Chron. Hist.) says : " He was a remarkably useful man ; many 
hundreds were conTcrtcd by his instrumentality, upwards of twenty of whom 
became preachers." 


of them at least was fatal, and afforded Methodism its first Irish 
martyr. John M^Burney deviated sometimes from his circuit to 
preach in the market-place at Clones. Many people attended, 
and much good was done; but the Papists took alarm, and, 
assembling the rabble, persecuted the assembly so violently that 
it was feared the worship must be abandoned, especially as no 
magistrate would interfere. "When about to give up, a singular 
incident occurred to restore confidence to the worshippers. A 
veteran military pensioner astonished the preacher and his friends 
by taking his post at a tree in the market-place, musket in hand, 
and proclaiming, with a terrible oath, that he would shoot the 
first man who should pass the tree to disturb the meeting. He 
was a Scotchman, wicked, but with high hereditary notions of 
religious decorum, and good courage to maintain them. " His 
word," says a contemporary writer, ''was certainly attended with 
power of some kind, for not one of the rioters, although they 
shouted from a distance, attempted to pass the prescribed limits." 
The staunch old soldier mounted guard at the tree regularly at 
every visit of the preacher for several weeks, until he had com- 
pletely won the field. "What strange instruments," writes a 
Methodist preacher who recorded the case on the spot, " what 
strange instruments are sometimes raised up to prevent or defeat 
the designs of hell !"* But the cowed rioters sought revenge 
elsewhere. M*Bumey attempted to preach near the neighbouring 
village of EnniskiUen. While the congregation was singing, the 
mob, armed with clubs, rushed in, breaking the windows, and 
violently thrusting out men and women. The preacher was 
knocked down, and dragged on the earth ; he lay for some time 
senseless under the blows of the rioters. On becoming conscious, 
he attempted to rise, but staggered, and fell again. A ruffian set 
his foot upon his face, swearing he would " tread the Holy Ghost 
out of him." "May God forgive you; I do," exclaimed the 
sufferer, as soon as he could speak. He was then placed upon 
his horse, and one of the rioters mounting behind him, drove nim 
impetuously down the mountain side to the town, where he was 
rescued by a hospitable citizen. Preaching as long as he had 
strength, and rejoicing that he had been counted worthy to suffer 
for Christ, he died at last of the injuries thus received, and claims 
in the history of Irish Methodism the honourable rank accorded 
to Thomas Beard in that of England. 

Notwithstanding their frequent riots, Wesley always con- 
iended that the Irish were the politest people he had ever met, 

* JUfe of Bev. Henry MooTe, ^ag© 4S, 


and that in tlieir wretched cabins could be seen as thorough 
courtesy as at the courts of London or Paris. " The damp, dirtj, 
smoky cabins of Ulster," said one of the preachers, " were a good 
trial ; but what makes double amends for all these inconveniences 
to any preacher who loves the Word of God is, that our people 
here are in general the most zealous, lively, affectionate Christiana 
in the kingdom." "I liad many an aching head and pained 
breast," wrote another, "but it was delightful to see hundreds 
attending to my blundering preaching with streaming eyes and 
attention still as night."* 

Methodism won many converts from Popery, and from among 
them secured one of its most distinguished early preachers, an 
extraordinary man, whose name, fragrant with saintly associations, 
still lingers as a household word among its families in both hemi- 
spheres. While Robert Swindells, a devoted lay preacher,t who, 
as we have seen, accompanied Wesley to Ireland in 1748, was 
addressing a large congregation on the parade-ground at Limerick 
in 1749, a young man who had been trained a strict Eoman 
Catholic, but whose intelligent and melancholy aspect betrayed 
an unsettled and inquiring mind, took his stand amid the throng, 
attracted among them not more by the novelty of the scene than 
by the hope that some words appropriate to his religious anxieties 
might be uttered by the humble preacher. The needed word was 
uttered, for the text of the itinerant was, " Come unto Me all ye 
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 
Twenty years later John Wesley wrote, respecting this Irish 
youth, that he knew a young man who was so thoroughly ac- 
quainted with the Bible, that if he was questioned concerning 
any Hebrew word in the Old or any Grreek in the New Testa- 
ment, he would tell, after a brief pause, not only how often the 
one or the other occurred in the Bible, but what it meant in 

* Southey*8 Wesley, chap. 23. 

t Swindells was one of Wesley's best lay itinerants ; he began to preach 
in 1741, and died in the itinerancy in 1783. (Myles's Chron. Hist, of the 
Methodists, page 297.) In the obituary of the Minutes for 1783, Wesley says : 
" He had been with us above forty years ; he was an Israelite indeed. In all 
these years I never knew him to speak a word which he did not mean, and he 
always Bpoke the truth in love. I believe no one ever heard him speak an 
unkind word. He went through exquisite pain (by the stone) for many years, 
but he was not weary. One thing was almost peculiar to himself, he had no 
enemy ; so remarkably was that word fulfilled, * Blessed are the merciful, for 
they shall obtain mercy.' " (Arminian Magazine, 1784, page 621.) Besides his 
connection with the conyersion of Thomas Walsh, this good man did import- 
ant service for Methodism in Ireland. He deserves a fuller notice, but I have 
been unable to find any available records for it. 


every place. Sucli a master of Biblical knowledge he says he 
never saw before, and never expected to see again. His name 
was Thomas Walsh. His parents were rigorous fiomanists ; when 
a child they taught him the Lord's Prayer and the Ave Maria in 
Irish (his native tongue), and also the 100th Psalm in Latin. 
He learned English in his eighth year, and afterwards the Latin 
grammar, under the tuition of his brother, a school teacher, de- 
signed for the Papal priesthood, but who, by reading the Scrip- 
tiies, had discovered reasons for abandoning the faith of his 
family. Young Walsh, whose temper was constitutionally serious, 
if not melancholy, had deep religious solicitudes in his childhood. 
He describes himself as often terrified by his apprehensions of 
death and the future state, and as strict in his religious exercises ; 
but " a small part of them only was addressed to God, the rest 
to saints and angels."* From his fourteenth to his sixteenth 
year he was more than ever devoted to the requirements of his 
faith, particularly the Mass. He was scrupulous against most 
ordinary vices, especially profanity, except the petty forms of it, 
with which the native Irish language abounds more than any 
other tongue. Meanwhile, his religious impressions deepened, 
and became intense. " The arrows of the Almighty," he says, 
" stuck fast in me, and my very bones trembled because of my 
sins." He confessed to his priest, who advised " many prayers," 
but seemed not to comprehend his case. He strove to divert 
himself by recreations, but " a hell," he says, " opened in my 
breast." He fasted rigorously and prayed incessantly, and in his 
agony sometimes threw himself upon the ground, tearing the hair 
from his head. He records, with morbid scrupulosity, his failings 
and sins : the confessions of Augustine scarcely surpass these 
brief records in candour and compunction; yet he says he ** was 
as one who beateth the air," as he had not the Bible to instruct 

In his eighteenth year the conversations of his brother led 
him to serious doubts respecting the pretensions of Popery. It 
had afforded his awakened mind no satisfactory relief, and his in- 
telligence revolted from its manifest absurdities. In an appointed 
interview with his brother and other Protestant friends, at which 
the Bible and Nelson's " Eeasts and Pasts of the Church of Eng- 
land" were consulted and discussed till midnight, he was con- 
strained, he says, "to give place to the light of truth." About 
one o'clock in the morning he returned to his lodgings, fell upon 

* Life of Thomas Walsh, composed in great part from his own aooonnts, 
bj- James Morgan* 


his knees, and for the first time prayed to God alone. No saint 
or angel was ever again invoked by him, for he was now convinced 
that " tliere is hat one Ood, and one mediator between God and man, 
the man Christ Jesu^J*^ He resolved, he says, to suffer no man to 
beguile him again into a voluntary humility in worshipping either 
saints or angels. His father attempted to reclaim him, but could 
not answer his arguments. His candid reading of the Scriptures 
entirely overthrew the sophisms by which the invocation of saints 
and the other errors of Popery were sustained. His quick, dis- 
cerning intellect was surprised at the total absence of any intima- 
tions of these errors in the divine records. 

He formally abjured the creed of his family, and united with 
the Established Church. But his sincere heart was full of charity ; 
he speaks of the Papists in language which is unusual to such con- 
verts : " I bear them witness," he writes, "that they have a zeal 
for God, though not according to knowledge. Many of them have 
justice, mercy, and truth, and may (notwithstanding many errors 
in sentiment, and therefore in practice, through invincible igno- 
rance), be dealt with accordingly, since as is God's majesty so is 
His mercy." He believed that after his enlightenment he could 
not be saved among them, but that earnest men who had not been 
thus convinced, would be accepted of God in their communion ; 
and he dismisses the subject with a pathetic prayer in their 
behalf, which might well be substituted for much of the severity 
and dogmatism with which they are commonly treated. His 
renunciation of Popery relieved him of many superstitious 
troubles of mind, but deepened his religious anxiety. His con- 
science, he says, still condemned him ; ** There was no rest 
in my bones, by reason of my sin." It was in this state of mind 
that he heard Kobert Swindells procldm on the parade-ground 
at Limerick, " Come imto Me all ye that labour and are heavy 

The evangelical itinerants soon penetrated to his native village 
of Newmarket. He welcomed them and joined the little Method- 
ist society there ; and now, he says, a purer light began to dawn 
upon him, for he saw not his " guilt only, but the all-sufficiency 
of Christ." The itinerants, true to the genius of Methodism, 
wrangled not about ecclesiastical or dogmatical questions with 
even Papists, but proclaimed the vital doctrines of personal reli- 
gion. In one of their assemblies, " I was divinely assured," he 
says, " that God for Christ's sake had forgiven me all my sins ; the 
Spirit of God bore witness with my spirit that I was a child of 
God. I broke out into tears of joy and love •" ^3CL<i i^^tssscl^Xs^^^^ 

220 nisxoBY OF Methodism. 

side received the same consolation at the same hour.* He lived 
now, "writes his biographer, as in another world. A more saintly 
life than he exemplified from this time down to his death cannot 
be found in the records of either Papal or Protestant piety. The 
life of Thomas Walsh, says Robert Southey, " might, indeed, 
almost convince a Catholic that saints are to be found in other 
communions as well as in the Church of Rome." He saw in 
Methodism a genuine reproduction of the apostolic Church, and 
he gave himself to stuoy that he might the better promote its 
marvellous mission. Besides his native Irish language, he mastered 
the English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew ; the latter was especially 
a sublime delight to him, as the tongue with which God himself 
had originally spoken to man. He rose at four o'clock, and con- 
tinued to do so the remainder of his life, to study it, and he read 
it often upon his knees. " O truly laudable and worthy study !" 
he exclaims, *' whereby a man is enabled to converse with God, 
with holy angels, with patriarchs and prophets, and clearly to un- 
fold to men the mind of God from the language of God !" He 
believed even that a divine inspiration helped hSn in these sacred 
studies ; and such was his success with them, that probably no 
man ever excelled him in the knowledge of the "Word of God. 
His memory was a concordance of the entire Bible. Hso Catholic 
saint ever pored more assiduously or devoutly over his Breviary 
than did this remarkable man over the original Scriptures during 
the rest of his life. His studies were intermixed with ejaculations 
of praise and supplication. " Turning his face to the wall, and 
lifting up his heart and countenance to heaven, with his arms 
clasped about his breast, he would stand for some time before the 
Lord in solemn recollection, and again return to his work.f 
Meanwhile his cry was, " I fain would rest in Thee ! I thirst for 
the divine life. I pray for the spirit of illumination. I cast my 
soul upon Jesus Christ, the God of glory, and the Redeemer of the 
world. I desire to be conformable unto Him, His friend, servant, 
disciple, and sacrifice !'* Such was this good, this sublime man, a 
noble trophy won by the illiterate preachers of Methodism from 
the abject superstitions of Popery. In reading the brief record of 

* Southej (chap, xxiii.) refers to the passage of Scripture at the utterance 
of which Walsh's mind was relieved, as affording to the psychologist '* a curious 
illustration of Methodist conversions." It was, *' Who is this th^t cometh from 
Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ; this that is glorious in his apparel, 
trayelUng in the greatness of his strength P" Southey was evidently ignorant 
of the evangelioal application which commentators and Walsh himself gave to 
the sublime text. 

f Life, etc,, chap, ziL 


his life, we seem to have hefore us a combination and impersona- 
tion of the Hebraic grandeur of the old prophets, the mystic piety 
of the Papal saints, and the Scriptural intelligence and purity of 

He contemplated with a sentiment of awe the responsibility 
of the Christian ministry', and entered upon it with a trembling 
hesitancy and humility. " Lord Jesus !" he prayed in view of it, 
" Lord .fesus, I lay my soul at thy feet, to be taught and governed 
by Thee. Take the veil from the mystery, and show me the truth 
as it is in Thyself; be Thou my sun and star by day and by night." 
Once in the ranks of the lay ministry no contemporary member 
of it became more eminent for zeal, labours, or sufferings. He 
walked thirty miles to his first appointment, which was in a bam, 
and amid the contradictions and mockery of some, and the tears 
of others, preached with an effect that demonstrated the genuine- 
ness of his mission. He proclaimed his message with remarkable 
power every day for some weeks at Limerick ; and his awakened 
hearers sometimes could not be induced to leave the spot where 
they heard him till they received the peace of Grod. He went 
like a flame of fire through Leinster and Connaught, preaching 
twice and thrice a day, usually in the open air. Multitudes of 
all denominations attended his ministrations, and before long he 
was known all round the country. His command of the Irish 
tongue gave him great advantage with the native Papists. They 
flocked to hear their own rude but touching language ; they wept, 
smote their breasts, and invoked the Virgin with sobbing voices, 
and declared themselves ready to follow him as a saint over the 
world. The beggars would gather around him as he passed, and, 
melting under his words, would kneel down in the streets and 
weep and pray. A Papist who had saved his earnings to leave to 
a priest or friar, for masses for his soul when he should be dead, 
called upon Walsh, begging him to take the money and the respon- 
sibility of praying his soul out of purgatory. " No man can forgive 
your sins," said the preaclier ; " the gift of God cannot be purchased 
with money ; only the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin." 
The astonished ]iomanist was deeply affected, and cried earnestly 
to Grod, while Walsh Imelt by his side, and prayed for him in 
Irish. A native, with whom he was conversing in English, be- 
came enraged at his religious warnings, and declared that "although 
he should be shot for it he would have satisfaction," adding, with 
an oath, " thou shalt never deceive another, for I am resolved to 
be the death of thee just now." Walsh immediately reproved hiTn 
in Irish. " Why didst thou not speak ao to m^mAiiwi\i^^ssssssj5^'' 

222 HISTORY or ^klETnODISM. 

exclaimed the excited man. " The lion became a lamb," says the 
preacher, " while I let him know in Irish what Christ had done 
for sinners. He departed with a broken heart."* When preach- 
ing in Irish, hearers who did not understand his speech were, 
nevertheless, sometimes smitten by his earnest and affecting man- 
ner, and an instance is related of a man who, hearing him in 
Dublin, was thus " cut to the heart." 

It is admitted that no man contributed more than Walsh to 
the diffusion of Methodism in Ireland. f The Eoman priests 
were alarmed at his success, and instigated mobs against him. 
On his way to Eoscrea he was assailed by seventy-eight men 
armed with clubs ; he was surprised at their illogical but Hiber- 
nian generosity, for they proposed to bring a clergyman of the 
English Church and a Eoman priest to convert him to either 
faith, as he pleased, and then to let him depart in peace. He 
told them that he came not to discuss opinions, but to preach 
against the wickedness of any or all parties. This seemed in- 
comprehensible to them. They, nevertheless, offered him his 
liberty if he would swear not to come to Eoscrea again ; but he 
would have suffered martyrdom rather than make such a pledge. 
They hurried him away, therefore, raging like wild beasts, to put 
him into a well, which they had secured for the purpose ; but 
his calm and courageous bearing excited the admiration of some 
of the mob, and while one party cried vehemently that he should 
go into the water, another swore he should not. The parish 
minister interfered, and had him taken to an inn. The mob 
bi?ought him out again, and it being market day, he bravely took 
his stand among the throng in the street and began to preach ; 
but some of the crowd seizing him by the back, hurried him out 
of the town. He at last got upon his horse, and, taking off his 
hat, prayed for some time in their midst, and then addressed 
them in a persuasive exhortation. " I came off from them at 
length," he writes, " in peace of conscience and serenity of 
mind." They had not conquered him ; he resumed his labours in 
the town, and Methodism was securely planted there. 

He travelled towards Cork, proclaiming the gospel as he went. 
In a town near that city, sergeants, sent by a magistrate, arrived 
to seize him as he was about to preach beneath a tree. He 

* **Ifc is an old maxim in Ireland," says Southey, *'When you plead for 
your life, plead in Irish." " It has a peculiarly affecting impressiveness, par- 
ticularly with reference to the things of Gl^od." Morgan's Life of Thomas 

fSontbey'B Wegley, chap. 23. 


opened his Bible at the text, Job xxi. 3 : " Suffer me that I may 
speak, and after that I have spoken, mock onP The oflScers, 
interested at first by the singularity of the text, and afterwards by 
his eloquence, heard him attentively through the sermon. They 
then conducted him to the magistrate, who demanded a promise 
that he would preach there no more. He asked if there were no 
swearers, drunkards, and Sabbath-breakers in the town. " There 
are," was the reply. He refused to give the required promise, 
but intimated that if no reformation ensued among such 
oftenders after he had preached there a few times, he would 
trouble them no more. This, however, Avas not satisfactory, and 
he was sent aw^ay to prison. The whole town seemed moved on 
his behalf, for his remarkable character and talents impressed all 
who heard him. Several persons accompanied him into the prison, 
where they spent the time in singing hymns. The inhabitants of 
the town sent bedding and provisions for him, and he preached 
to a multitude without, which extended as far as his voice could 
reach through the grated Avindow. He afterwards revisited the 
place repeatedly, as he had declared he would ; and years later, 
nis biographer records that there were yet remaining on the spot 
living fruits of his labours and sufterings. In the north of 
Ireland he was still more severely treated by Protestant assail- 
ants ; his life was periled several weeks with a fever, occasioned 
by exposures in his attempt to escape his Christian persecutors. 

His name became well known among the Soman Catholic 
churches throughout the country. The common people would 
hear him notwithstanding the remonstrances of their priests, and 
many were turned not only from Popery, but from flagrant vices 
to repentance and a holy life. All kinds of derogatory reports 
were spread abroad to deter them from his preaching. In Clon- 
mel the priest assured his congregation that the eloquent itine* 
rant had been a servant boy to a certain priest, and that having 
stolen his master's books, he had by that means learned to preach, 
and was now availing himself of his newly-acquired art for a 
better living. At Cork the Papists crowded to hear him, and 
many were converted ; the priests were greatly irritated, and one 
of them affirmed publicly that, " as for that Walsh, who had , 
some time before turned heretic, and went about preaching, he 
had been dead long ago, and he who then preached in this way 
was the devil in his shape." Such was the only manner in which 
they could account to the ignorant multitude for the power of 
his discourses. The people, nevertheless, ran after him, and 
wept and cried aloud under his woxd «»» \^ ^x^^^asaa^*^ *3^ 


mountains and highways, in meadows, private houses, prisons, 
and ships. They often followed him when the sermon was con- 
cluded, begging for further instruction. They would come to his 
rooms to entreat his counsels and prayers, and kneeling down 
under his exhortations, would begin to call with tears upon the 
'Virgin and Apostles, till he could check them and teach them 

As it was Wesley's habit to transpose his preachers often, 
Walsh was sent to London, where he did much good among his 
Irish countrymen. He addressed them in their own language in 
Mooriiolds and at Short's Gardens, and they crowded to hear 
their native tongue so eloquently used. He preached constantly 
twice [a-day, and with such fervour that one of his intimate 
friends says it is scarcely possible to enable a stranger to con- 
ceive of the glow of his soul, and the energy of his spirit on 
these occasions ; " such a sluice of divine oratory ran through the 
whole of his language as is rarely to be met with."* Wesley 
called him " that blessed man ;" *' wherever he preached,'* he 
adds, " the Word, whether in English or Irish, was sharper than 
a two-edged sword. I do not remember ever to have known a 
preacher who in so few years as he remained upon earth was an 
instrument of converting so many sinners.^f In London he had 
frequent discussions with the Jews. He attended their syna- 
gogues, and his intimate knowledge of Hebrew enabled him to 
reason with them out of their own original Scriptures. 

During nine years did this remarkable man pursue his tireless 
and luminous course. It was closed at last, as we shall here- 
after see, by a death of singular mental anguish, but final triumph, 
presenting a startling lesson well worthy the study of the best of 

The Methodist itinerants in Ireland, visited frequently by the 
Wesleys, and stimulated, if not, indeed, led on, by this talented 
and flaming native preacher, planted their cause m. most of the 
country. It was destined to pass through many vicissitudes, and 
to show its energy at times as mucli by endurance as by progress; 
but its root struck ineradicably into the soil, and it is not perhaps 
too much to say that it saved Protestantism in many parts of the 
island. Persecutions subsided ; Wesley in later life was received ' 
with veneration as an apostle; " the scandal of the cross," he 
wrote, " has ceased, and all the kingdom, rich and poor, Papists 
and Protestants, behaved with courtesy, nay, with good-will." 
JSa rejoiced at last over a larger society m Dublin than anywhere 

* Morgan's Life of Walsh, chap. 15. \ "MLjWa CS^oi\..'5Safc.^iga^e 64. 

CALTITTISTIO 3£ETH0DISTS : 1744 — 1750. 225 

^Ise in the United Kingdom, except London. He directed his 
oourse towards the island always with a peculiar interest, and the 
time he spent there in his numerous visits amounted to at least 
six years. 



Whitefield's third Visit to America — His dangerous Sickness in Maine — Tes- 
timonials against liim — His Success — ^The Cape Breton Expedition — ^Hia 
Reception at Philadelphia — Singular Religious Interest in Virginia — Mary- 
land— He goes to Bermuda — ^He embarks for England — Labours of Howell 
Harris — The Countess of Huntingdon trayelling in Wales — ^Whitefield 
arrives in London — Rev. John Newton — ^Whitefield in Scotland — His 
Travels in England — ^Remarkable Conversion — Bishop Lavington's At- 
tacks — Charles Wesley and Whitefield preaching amid the Alarms of 
Earthquakes in London. 

While "Wesley and his Arminian colabourers were successfully 
spreading Methodism during the present period, WTiitefield and 
the other Calvinistic agents of the movement were hardly less 
active. Whitefield re-embarked for America in August, 174-1?. 
He arrived at York, Maine, in disabled health, after a passage of 
eleven weeks. Three weeks he lingered between life and death, 
but preached repeatedly, though he had to be carried like a child. 
After one of his sermons, he was taken home and laid near the 
fire ; his friends wept around him, and he heard them say, " He 
is gone.'* He supposed himself dying, but "recollecting," he 
says, " the life and power which spread all around, while expect- 
ing to stretch into eternity, I thought it was worth dying for a 
thousand times."* The venerable Moody, pastor of York, still 
remembered for both his piety and his humour, attended him, and 
welcomed him in the name of " all faithful ministers in !New 
England." But on arriving at Boston he found the good pastor's 
welcome not entirely verified. Harvard College had issued a 
"testimony" against him, and not a few clergymen opposed him 
in a similar manner. Hostile " testimonies," signed by ministers, 
eame out almost every day.f i'ifteen pastors, assembled at Taun- 
ton, IVIassachusetts, published a testimony in his favour. " But," 
he ^vrites, " amid all this smoke, a blessed fire broke out ; the 

* Philip's Life and Times of Whitefield, chap. 14. 
t Gillies's Memoirs of Whitefield^ <iVk».^» YL. 


awakened souls were as eager as ever to hear." He was admitted^, 
though with reluctance, to the pulpits of Coleman, Sewall, "Webb,, 
and Gee. He began to expound at six o'clock in the morning, 
as he had done in Scotland, and though this hour was now before 
full daylight in. that latitude, he usually had two thousand hearers. 
He found occasion also to rejoice over the results of his former 
labours. Twenty pastors, at least, acknowledged that they had 
not been converted till he came among them. Tennent had been 
abroad itinerating since his last visit, and so extensive had been 
the " awakening," that many supposed the latter-day glory had 
come, and that a nation was to be bom in a day. Fanatics marred 
the good work, and hence the reaction at Harvard College and 

Whitefield's presence and eloquence could not long be resisted 
anywhere. Some favourable incidents also occurred to help him 
at this visit. An accomplished wit of the city used to entertain 
convivial parties over the bottle with scraps from his sermons,, 
and imitations of his manner. He was present in the church one 
day to get new specimens, but when supplied could not make his^ 
way out through the crowd. The Word, meanwhile, took effect 
on his conscience. He went afterwards to one of the city pastors, 
"full of horror;" and seeking Whitefield, begged his pardon.. 
Other equally remarkable conversions deepened the popular in- 
terest. The expedition against Cape Breton was preparing in the 
city; such, at last, was Whitefield's power over the populace, that 
Sherburne, one of the commissioners, insisted on his mvouring it 
publicly, as " otherwise the serious people would be discouraged 
from enlisting." He gave them a motto for their flag,* after 
" which great numbers enlisted." They wished him to become 
one of their chaplains, but he had better work. He preached a. 
sermon to them, and sent them to the North with the enthusiasm 
of crusaders. In six weeks news came of the fall of Louisburgh,. 
when he delivered a thanksgiving sermon to a great multitude, 
who flocked from all quarters. GDhe spirit of the Puritan com- 
monwealth still survived in "New Engknd, and Whitefield evi- 
dently relished it. 

He had now reconquered the people, if not their pastors. It 
was proposed to bmld him " the largest place of worship that was 
ever seen in America," but he left them for other fields : for the 
eastward as far as Casco Bay ; for Cape Cod, as far as North Yar- 
mouth; for B,hode Island and Connecticut; preaching twice 
a-day to thousands. " And though," he writes, ** there was mucL 
* JPTH desperandum^ Chriito d^no^i rear nothing while Christ is Captain. 

CALVIKI8TIC METHODISTS: 1744 — 1760. 227 

smoke, yet, every day I liad more and more convincing proof that 
a blessed gospel fire had been kindled in the hearts of both 
ministers and people." 

At Philadelphia he was heartily welcomed. The society which 
occupied the house that had been erected for him at his former 
visit, wished to settle him there, and offered him a salary of four 
hundred pounds per annum, and half the year for his itinerant 
labours. He found that his previous visit had left a profound 
effect ; Gilbert Tennent's " feet were blistered" in walking to 
and fro visiting the awakened.* 

He was grateftdly surprised on reaching Virginia to learn that 
a volume of his sermons had produced an extraordinary religious 
interest. A gentleman who had obtained a copy invited some of 
his neighbours to hear them read at his house. Soon it could not 
accommodate the throng who gathered for the purpose every Sun- 
day, and they erected a "meeting-house merely for reaiding." 
No one dared to offer public prayer on these occasions, as none 
had ever been accustomed to do so ; yet deep religious convictions 
spread among them, and " they could not keep from crying out and 
weeping bitterly." The reader was invited abroad with his 
volume, and the " awakening" extended to several towns. Ten- 
nent and Blair visited them soon after ; a pastor by the name of 
Eobinson took charge of them for some time, and in 1747 there 
were four chapels in the neighbourhood of Hanover which had 
sprung from tnis singular excitement.f 

Whitefield passed on rapidly to his Orphan House at Bethesda, 
near Savannah, but paused not long there. Eeturning northward, 
his preaching was attended with great success in Maryland. " The 
gospel is moving southward," he writes ; " the harvest is promis- 
ing ; the time of the singing of birds has come." His travels in 
that region, including some excursions into Pennsylvania, com- 
prised three hundred miles. " Thousands and thousands are ready 
to hear the gospel," he says, " and scarce anybody goes out but 
myself. ]S"ow is the time for stirring ! " It is not surprising that 
when he arrived in Philadelphia again he wrote that he had almost 
continually a burning fever. ^ Yet he expresses great regret that 
he omitted preaching one night (to oblige his friends), and purposes 

* PhiHp's Life and Times of Wliitefield, chap. 14. 

t Morris's Narrative. Philip's Wliitefield, chap. 14. Samuel Morris was 
the gentleman -who obtained and read the sermons. He 'and his associates 
were called Lutherans. They were required by law to attend the Established 
Church or take some dissenting designation. They knew not at first what 
title to assume, but at last chose the great IBLefotm^st^^xAssA. 

228 HiSTOBY or hethodism. 

to do so once more, that they might not charge him with self- 
murder. " But," he adds, ** I hope yet to die in the pulpit, or 
soon after I come out ofitP They were prophetic words. 

At New York he preached with his usual power and success, 
■and wrote, " I shall go to Boston as an arrow from a bow, if Jesus 
strengthen me." He was soon there, and found all opposition 
subdued. He wrote to Tennent that *' the arrows of conviction 
flew and stuck fast," and that he was " determined to die fighting, 
though it be upon his stumps." This was enthusiasm, doubtless, 
but it was such enthusiasm as makes heroes. The world disdains 
it nowhere but in religion, where it is most befitting and most 
needed. With Whitefield it was no spasmodic impulse ; it had 
lasted now more than ten years, and was to sustain him in scarcely 
diminished labours during a quarter of a century more, till, in 
accordance with his expressed hope, he should descend from the 
pulpit to die. 

He travelled during the first tour of his present American visit 
about eleven hundred miles ; but we cannot trace, by the slight 
data that remain, his repeated excursions northward and south- 
ward. They were, however, incessant. His passage among the 
colonies seemed as the flight of an archangel, beheld with delight 
and awe by the wondering people. 

In 1748 he departed for the Bermudas on account of his 
health. Before leaving he wrote from North Carolina : — " I am 
here hunting in the woods, these ungospelized wilds, for sinners. 
It is pleasant work, though my body is weak and crazy." " Pray 
for me," he adds, " as a dying man ; but O pray that I may not 
go off" as a snuff. I would fain die blazing, not with human glory, 
but with the love of Jesus." But never did " a dying man" seek 
health as did Whitefield among the Bermudas. He spent more 
than three months on the islands, preaching almost daily twice or 
thrice, sometimes in the churches, sometimes in the open air. 
One week, he says, it being rainy, he preached only five times in 
private houses ; " ' faint, yet pursuing,' must be my motto yet." 
He was entertained with much respect and hospitality by the 
island dignitaries, civil and clerical, and the common people soon 
appreciated his remarkable talents with enthusiasm, as they had 
done wherever he had been. The churches were crowded, while 
hundreds usually thronged about the doors and windows. There 
was a visible improvement in the people from Sabbath to Sabbath ; 
they were ** affected as in the days of old at home." One week 
he preached, besides the Sabbath services, two funeral sermons 
and Rye diacouTBea in private houaea. He went, in fine, from 

CALVINISTIO METHODISTS : 1744 — 1750. 229 

island to island, church to church, house to house, labouring as if 
the judgment-day were immediately to be revealed ; and when he 
preached his farewell sermon, the whole audience wept aloud, as 
if parting from an old and endeared pastor. He could hear the 
crowd of negroes outside sobbing with grief, and wept himself, 
unable to resist the general and contagious sorrow. " Surely," 
he exclaimed, as he left them, " a great work has been begun in 
some souls at Bermuda." A hundred pounds were spontaneously 
raised for his Orphan House, and the ship in which he departed 
was supplied by the grateful islanders with a superabundance of 
provisions for his comfort on the passage. He had extended the 
movement of Methodism to these isles of the sea ; in a few years 
more Wesley's assistants were to follow him, and to spread it 
through all the British colonies of the West Indies. He embarked 
for England in June, 1748. 

Meanwhile Howell Harris was pursuing his missionary itine- 
rancy in Wales. "He was," says Wesley, "a powerful orator, both 
by nature and grace ; but he owed nothing to art or education."* 
He was also an apostle in labours, travels, and trials. Persecu- 
tions and mobs opposed him iu Wales, as they had Wesley in 
England. In Brecknockshire and Carmarthenshire especially, 
the Methodists "were hunted like partridges." Harris gives an 
account of a single " round " of his travels in South and North 
Wales, in which he had gone, during nine weeks, over thirteen 
counties, travelled one hundred and fifty miles each week, and 
preached twice a-day, and some days three or four times ; in this 
journey he had not taken off his clothes for seven nights together, 
being obliged to meet the people, and preach at midnight, or very 
early in the morning, to avoid persecution. Many of his followers 
were carried before the magistrates, and fined for assembling 
together. Near the town of Bala, where he was almost murdered 
at a former visit, he was again attacked, and struck on the head 
with a stone, but escaped unhurt. " I never," he writes, " saw 
such crowds come to hear. Many hearts and doors have been 
opened lately, "t 

In May, 1748, Lady Huntingdon started on a tour through 
Wales, accompanied by two noble but devout women, Lady Anne 
and Lady Frances Hastings. They were met at Bristol by the 
leading Welsh evangelists, Howell Harris, G-riffith Jones, Daniel 
Eowlands, and Howell Davies. They journeyed by brief stages, 

* Journal, anno 1756. 

t Letter of Howell Harris. Life and Times of Selina^ Oounteea at "Sss^ 
tingdoD, chap. 7. 


stopping at almost every village for a public religious service. 
Two of the preachers proclaimed the Word every day as they 
went, and thus scattered the seed of the truth over a large range 
of the country. At Trevecca, afterwards noted as the seat of her 
" school of the prophets," she passed several days. Some eight or 
ten clergymen and lay evangelists met her there, and preached 
four or five times daily to great congregations, gathered from all 
the surrounding country. ** The influence of the Spirit of G-od," 
writes Lady Prances Hastings, " was evidently afforded with lus 
Word, and many were added unto the Lord."t Rowlands' ser- 
mons seem especially to have been attended with extraordinary 
effect ; immense assemblies were moved by the truth, as a forest 
by the wind, and prayed aloud for the Divine mercy. The societies 
were encouraged and fortified by this seasonable visit. ** On a 
review of all I have heard and seen during the last few weeks," 
wrote the Countess on her return, *' I am constrained to exclaim, 
* Bless the Lord, O my soul ; and all that is within me bless His 
holy name V Many on these solemn occasions, there is reason to 
believe, were brought out of nature's deepest darkness into the 
marvellous light of the all-glorious Gospel of Christ." 

She arrived in London with Howell Harris and Howell Davies 
in time to receive Whitefield, who, after an absence of four years, 
reappeared among his old friends flaming with imabated zeal. 'He 
was received with enthusiasm, and the Tabernacle was soon again 
thronged. John Newton, one of the ministerial notabilities of the 
last century, and the well-known friend of Cowper, describes the 
scene there as quite marvellous. He used to rise at four o'clock 
in the morning to hear the great orator at his five o'clock service, 
and says he has seen Moorfields as full of the lanterns of the 
worshippers before daylight as the Haymarket was full of flam- 
beaux on opera nights. "I bless God," he adds, "that I have 
lived in his time." 

He now began his chaplaincy at Lady Huntingdon's residence, 
but could not long be content with the city. In September, 
1748, he departed on his third visit to Scotland, Bateman, the 
Methodist vicar of St. Bartholomew's, and both the "Wesleys, 
supplying his place at the Countess's mansion till his return. His 
zeal and eloquence again prevailed against all opposition in the 
North. Two synods and one presbytery discussed the propriety 
of discountenancing him. All unfavourable rumours were can- 
vassed before them, but only to his advantage, for a more disin- 
terested, guileless man than Whitefield never lived. At Edin- 

* Life and Tunes of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, chap. 6. 

CALVIN18TI0 METHODISTS: 1745 — 1750. 231 

*'burgli and Glasgow he was greeted by congregations almost as 
yast as had gathered about him at Moorfields and Kennington 
Common. Giratefiil groups came to inform him of his former 
usefulness in their conversion. At Cambuslang the old scenes of 
interest were revived. The pertinacious "Seceders" still com- 
plained that he did not "preach up the Solemn League and 
Covenant." "I preach up the Qovenant of grace," replied 
Whitefield, and sped his way, superior to all partizan and polemic 

He returned to England, where he was attended by his old 
triumphs. There was, he wrote to Lady Huntingdon, a great 
stirring among the dry bones at Bristol and Kingswood. At 
Plymouth, the scene of former persecutions, a "tabernacle" had 
been built for him, and the city " seemed quite a new place." 
Kinsman, afterwards distinguished in England as a successful 
^evangelist, was one of his converts there. A youth had climbed 
.a tree to hear and mimic him. Whitefield, attracted by his out- 
rages, cried, " Come down, Zaccheus, come down, and receive the 
Lord Jesus Christ." The appeal was effectual, and the young 
man became not only a convert but a zealous preacher. 

At Tavistock he was mobbed. A bull and dogs were brought 
and set upon the assembly while he was praying. He prevailed 
over the rabble, however, and delivered his message. At Exeter, 
a persecutor came to the field-preaching with his pocket fiill of 
atones to throw at him ; he stood with one in his hand, ready for 
the convenient moment, but the Word struck his conscience ; he 
dropped his missiles, and made his way to the preacher, contritely 
acknowledging, " Sir, I came here to break your head, but God 
has broken my heart." He became a genuine Cliristian and an 
ornament to the Church.* 

Having traversed the west of England to the extent of six 
hundred miles, spreading through all his course a marvellous 
sensation, he returned to London in IMarch, 1749. He and 
Wesley now exchanged pulpits. They were bound together by 
their common Christian spirit, their common success, and their 
•common persecutions. It was about this time that Lavington, 
Bishop 01 Exeter, sacrificed the dignity of his office by assailing 
them with merciless severity in his pamphlet, entitled, " The En- 
thusiasm of Methodists and Papists compared," to which both 
the evangelists wrote replies. Soon after nis elevation to the see 
of Exeter, Lavington delivered a charge to his clergy, which was 
^ ?said to reflect severely on the Methodists. A forgery, pretending 

* OiUies's Whitefield, chap. 14 


to be this address, was printed in London. The prelate charged) 
the counterfeit on the Methodist leaders in a public " Declara* 
tion." They denied it peremptorily, and its printer afterwards 
confessed the fraud, and exonerated them from any direct or in- 
direct collusion with him. Lady Huntingdon communicated thi& 
confession to LaviQgton, and demanded a retraction of his Decla- 
ration. He treated her appeal with silent contempt till she 
threatened to make public the actual state of the case, when he 
sent her a note " apologizing to her ladyship, and the Messrs. 
Whitefield and "Wesley, for the harsh and unjust censures which 
he was led to pass on them, from the supposition that they were 
in some measure concerned in and had countenanced the late im- 
position on the public." He even requested them to " accept his 
unfeigned regret at having unjustly wounded their feelings, and 
exposed them to the odium of the world."* This acknowledg- 
ment was not, however, made by him publicly, as it should have 
been, in order to counteract his hasty "Declaration." The 
Countess herself gave the recantation to the public. The bishop 
would not pardon this necessary act, and vented his indignation 
in relentless attacks on the Methodists. His tracts on their 
" Enthusiasm" exaggerated their real faults, and imputed to them 
many that were monstrous fictions. The historian of the times 
cannot show a greater kindness to his memory than to pass these 
flagrant publications with the least possible allusion. They are 
known in our day only by the triumph of the cause they im- 
peached, a cause whose early incidental defects the Christian 
world is not willing to set ofl" against its beneficent results.f 

Whitefield could not remain long in London; he was feeble 
in health there, and soon unable to hold a pen. Again he started 
on his old routes. At Portsmouth he preached to a great assembly 
amid clamorous outcries ; but before he closed the leader of the* 
opposition was subdued, and " received him into his home with« 
tears of shame and joy."J He passed into Wales, and had a- 
triumphant progress through its towns and villages. " Jesus," 
he wrote, "rides on in the chariot of the everlasting gospel.'* 
He preached, mostly out of doors, in eight counties, and to more 

* See his letter in Lady Huntingclon's Life and Times, chap. 7. " Such," 
flays the author of this work, *' was the recantation of this wily prelate, but it 
was only in the language of hypocrisy." 

t Wesley show^ his characteristic kindness of heart when, some years* 
later, while at Exeter, he wrote in his Journal : " I was well pleased to partake- 
of the Lord's Supper with my old opponent, Bishop Layington. Oh may wa 
sit down together in the kingdom of our Father!" (Journal, anno 1762.) 

* PhiUp's Whitefield, chap. 16. 


than a hundred thousand hearers. Throughout eight hundred miles 
he had conquered all opponents ; " not a dog stirred a tongue." 
Magistrates and people beheld him with respect, if not with awe. 
Twenty thousand people were sometimes present, and many 
prayed and wept aloud under his sermons. " I think," he says, 
" we had not one dry meeting." Eetuming, he went to Exeter, 
not to answer Lavington's slanders, but to counteract them by 
the preaching of the gospel. He proclaimed it there in the fields 
with great power. At one of his sermons the prelate and some 
of his clergy stood near, gazing on an assembly of ten thousand 
of the common people, many of whom trembled under the Word, 
while others threw stones at the head of the preacher. He went 
into Yorkshire, and preached for G-rimshaw at Haworth to six 
thousand hearers, and administered the Lord's Supper to a thou- 
sand. Wesley's preachers and people invited him to Leeds, where 
he addressed an assembly of ten thousand. Charles Wesley met 
him on the highway, and took him to Newcastle, where he preached 
repeatedly in the Wesleyan chapel, but finding the crowd too 
great turned out into the fields. Many were his converts through 
all these regions, some of whom afterwards laid the foundations of 
the dissentmg churches which now flourish there.* 

He returned frequently to London, where "thousands on 
thousands crowded to hear," and conversions were continually 
occurring. In the early part of 1750, repeated earthquakes 
alarmed the metropolis. Charles Wesley and Whitefield were in 
the city, and presented a sublime example of ministerial faithful- 
ness amid the general trepidation. On the 8th of March, while 
the former was rising in the pulpit of the Foundry to preach, at 
five o'clock in the morning, the earth moved through all London 
and Westminster with a strong, jarring motion, and a rumbling 
noise like distant thunder. The walls of the foundry trembled ; 
a great agitation followed among the people : but Wesley cried 
aloud to them, " Therefore will we not fear though the earth be 
moved, and the hills be carried into the midst of the sea, for the 
Lord of hosts is with us, the GTod of Jacob is our refuge." His 
heart, he says, was filled with faith, his mouth with words, 
" shaking their souls as well as their bodies."t The subterranean 
shocks recurred during several days. Multitudes flocked to the 
early Methodist service in deep alarm. The Westminster end of 
the metropolis was crowded with coaches and people flying pre- 
cipitately, and London " looked like a sacked city.'*^ Throughout 

* PhiUp'B Whitefield, chap. 16. 

t Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 17. 

:234! niSTOBX or siethodism. 

A whole night many of the alarmed people knocked at the Poundry 
door, entreating admittance, though *' our poor people," writes 
Wesley, "were calm and quiet as at any other time." During 
one of those terrible nights, Tower Hill, Moorfields, and Hyde 
Park were filled with lamenting men, women, and children; 
"Whitefield stood among them in Hyde Park preaching at mid- 
night. A deep moral impression followed these events. They 
gave origin to many tracts and sermons, and the courage and 
labours of the Methodist evangelists could not fail to secure the 

• reverence of the people. 

On the morning in which Charles "Wesley stood preaching 
amid the trembling walls of the Foundry, John Wesley assembled 
the Conference of 1750 in Bristol, a date at which opens a new 

, period of our narrative. 



EERENCES, FROM 1745 TO 1750. 

The Conference of 1745 — Its Composifcion — Its Theolo^cal Discussions — Is the 
Witness of the Spirit invariable in Conversion ? — Sanctiiicatirn — ^Terrible 
Preaching — Church Government — ^Wesley's High-Church Views — ^Lord 
King's Primitive Church — Wesley still designed not to form a permanent 
Sect — ^The Session of 1746 — Laymen admissible — ^Progress of Opinion — 
Faith and Works — Necessity of the Lay Ministry declared— Its Divine 
Right acknowledged — Ordination anticipated — Exhorters recognized — Im- 
portance of Local Preachers and Exhorters — ^First List of Circuits — Session 
of 1747 — Its Members — ^Private Judgment and Free Discussion — Relation 
' of Faith to Assurance — Correction of Wesley's Opinion on the Subject — 
Cautions respecting Sanctification — ^What is a Church ? — Divine Right of 
Episcopacy denied — Session of 1748 — Number of Circuits — The Formation 
of Societies resumed — Conference of 1749 — ^A Scheme of General Union — 
Assistants distinguished from Helpers — Quarterly Meetings ordered — Eook 
Distribution — Session of 1750 — ^Extraordinary Results of the first Decade 
of Methodism. 

The second Conference was held in Bristol, August 1st, 1745. 

Jobn Hodges, rector of Wenvo, "Wales, was the only regular 

clergyman who was present besides the Wesleys. One layman, 

-Mannaduke Gwynne, and seven lay preachers, Thomas Eichards, 

opnnoNS AiTD EcoiroMT. 236 

Samuel Larwood, Thomas M^iick, James Wheatley,* Bichard 
Moss, John Slocombe, and Herbert Jenkins, met with them. 
The deliberations related to questions of theology and church 
•economy. As at the first Conference, all dogmatic subjects not 
immediately concerned in personal religion were avoided ; Justifi- 
•cation, Sanctification, and the Witness of the Spirit were especially 
discussed. It was asked, Is assurance absolutely necessary to our 
being in the favour of Otod ? or may there possibly be some exempt 
•cases ? We dare not positively say there are not, was the answer.f 
" Is it indispensably necessary to final salvation ? Suppose in a 
Papist, or in general among those who never heard it preached ? 
Love hopeth all things. We know not how far any of these may 
fiall under the case of invincible ignorance. Does a man believe 
:any longer than he sees a reconciled God ? We conceive not. 
But we allow there may be infinite degrees in seeing God, even as 
many as there are between him who sees the sun when it shines 
-on his eyelids closed, and him who stands with his eyes wide open 
in the full blaze of his beams. Does faith supersede (set aside 
the necessity of) holiness or good works ? In nowise ; so far 
from it that it implies both, as a cause does its efiect. When 
does inward sanctification begin ? In the moment we are justified. 
The seed of every virtue is then sown in the soul. From that 
time the believer gradually dies to sin and grows in grace. Yet 
sin remains in him, yea, the seed of all sin, till he is sanctified 
throughout in spirit, soul, and body. Is it ordinarily given till a 
little before death ? It is not to those that expect it no sooner, 
nor consequently ask for it, at least not in faith. But would not 
one who was thus sanctified be incapable of worldly business ? 
He would be far more capable of it than ever, as going through 
aU without distraction." 

It was also asked whether some of the assistants did not 
preach too much on the wrath and too little on the love of God, 
and answered : " We fear they have leaned to that extreme, and 
hence some of their hearers may have lost the joy of faith, l^eed 
we ever preach ,the terrors of the Lord to those who know they 
^are accepted of Him ? No, it is folly so to do ; for love is to them 
the strongest of all motives." 

While the Conference thus avoided as much as possible un- 
essential polemics — the polemics, however, which have most en- 
grossed theological parties, and most distracted Christendom — it 

* Wheatley'g name is omitted by Smith. (Hist, of Meth.) Myles gives 
it. (Ghron. Hist., paj^ di.) 

t Minutes of tJie Wesleyan Conference, etc, voL i., page 22. London, 1812. 


showed a decided progress of opinion on ecclesiastical questions.* 
It was providential, perhaps, that "Wesley's sentiments on Church 
order and ecclesiastical prerogatives were at first somewhat rigid, 
and known to be so, otherwise he might have suiFered more seri- 
ously in his relation to the National Church, and swung away, 
with his increasing followers, into perilous ecclesiastical novelties 
and experiments. It was as providential, however, that with the 
advancing necessities of Methodism he was led to increasing 
liberality on such questions, until finally he was prepared, when 
the great exigency which required the special organization of 
American Methodism arrived, to practically disown the most im- 
portant High- Church prejudices by the most important ecclesias- 
tical act of his life — an act which has given to the world an 
example of Apostolic Episcopacy without the usual adventitious 
dignities or pretensions of Prelacy, or even a claim of Apostolic 
Succession, or of any scriptural or other authority higher than 
that of practical expediency itself. 

At the present Conference it was asked, " Is not the vrill of 
our governors a law ?" The answer was emphatic : " No ; not of 
any governor, temporal or spiritual. Therefore, if any bishop 
wills that I should not preach the gospel, his will is no law to me. 
But what if he produce a law against your preaching ? I am to 
obey God rather than man." To the question, " Is Episcopal^ 
Presbyterian, or Independent Church government most agreeable 
to reason ?" a reply was given which presents the true rationale 
of Church order. " The plain origin of Church government," 
says this answer, " seems to be this : Christ sends forth a preacher 
of the gospel. Some who hear him repent and believe the gospel. 
They then desire him to watch over them, to build them up in 
the faith, and to guide their souls in the paths of righteousness* 
Here, then, is an independent congregation, subject to no pastor 
but their own, neither liable to be controlled in things spiritual 
by any other man or body of men whatsoever. But soon after, 
some from other parts, who are occasionally present while he 
speaks in the name of Him that sent him, beseech him to come 
over to help them also. Knowing it to be the will of God, he 
consents, yet not till he has conferred with the wisest and holiest 
of his congregation, and with their advice appointed one or more 
who has ^fts and grace to watch over the nock till his return^ 

* The bound, or " octayo Minutes," as they are usually called, contain only 
the theological part of the deliberations of this conference. For the remainder 
of its proceedings we are indebted to the "Disciplinaiy Minutes," lately dis* 
oorered. See note on page 157. 


If it please Gk)d to raise a flock in the new place before lie leaves 
them, he does the same thing, appointing one whom God has 
fitted for the work to watch over these souls also. In like man- 
ner, in every place where it pleases Grod to gather a little flock 
by his Word, he appoints one in his absence to take the oversight 
of the rest, and to assist them of the ability which Grod giveth. 
These are deacons, or servants of the Church, and look on the 
first pastor as their common father. And all these congregations 
regard him in the same light, and esteem him still as the shepherd 
of their souls. These congregations are not absolutely indepen- 
dent. They depend on the pastor, though not on one another. 
As they increase, and as their deacons grow in years and grace, 
they need other subordinate deacons or helpers, in respect of 
whom they may be called presbyters or elders, as their father in 
the Lord may be called the bishop or overseer of them all. Is 
mutual consent absolutely necessary between the pastor and the 
flock ? No question. I cannot guide any soul unless he consent 
to be guided by me. If either can any soul force me to ^ide him 
if I consent not. Does the ceasing of this consent on either side 
dissolve the relation ? It must in the very nature of thiogs. If 
a man no longer consent to be guided by me, I am no longer his 
guide. I am free. K one will not guide me any longer, I am 
Iree to seek one who will. But is the shepherd free to leave his 
sheep, or the sheep to leave their shepherd ? Yes, if one or the 
others are convinced it is for the glory of God and the superior 
good of their souls." The more direct question, How shall we 
treat those who leave us ? was answered by the advice, first, 
" Beware of all sharpness, or bitterness, or resentment ; second. 
Talk with them once or twice at least ; third. If they persist in 
their design, consider them as dead, and name them not except in 

Notwithstanding the liberality of these views, Wesley stiQ 
believed in the Apostolic Succession, in the priestly character of 
the Christian ministry, and the essential distinction of its three 
orders. He explicitly affirmed this belief in a^ letter written at 
the end of the present year.f His opinions, however, were evi- 
dently fast being unsettled by study and by the practical difficul- 
ties which they presented in the momentous work opening before 
him. In about three weeks after the letter alluded to, he recorded 
in his journal that he had recently read Lord King's " Account of 
the Primitive Church." ** In spite," he says, " of the vehement 

* Smith's History of Methodism, book ii. chap. 3. 
t It is given in his Journal, 1745. 


prejudice of my education, I was ready to believe that this was a 
lair and impartial draught ; but if so, it would follow that bishops, 
and presbyters are (essentially) of one order, and that originally 
every Christian congregation was a Church independent of all 
others." That irrefutable work made a profound impression on 
his mind, and, as we shall hereafter see, thoroughly dispelled his^ 
High- Church errors. 

It is evident from the Minutes of this Conference that Wesley 
had as yet no settled purpose of maintaining a permanent organi- 
zation of his followers. He still hoped that the general revival of 
religion would prepare the Established and Dissenting Churches 
to take charge of them, and obviate any such necessity. It was, 
therefore, suggested that his assistants should preach without 
forming any more new societies in large towns, particularly in 
Wales and Cornwall. In the preceding Conference, as has been 
shown, he opposed any imnecessary increase of the lay ministry ; 
and declared that " its employment at aU was allowable only in 
cases of necessity." In fine, the ambition of founding a new sect, 
so heedlessly imputed to him by some of his cMtics, had not 
entered his mind ; his one purpose was the reformation of religion 
and morals throughout the land ; and his policy, pertinacious even 
with High- Church prejudices, aimed to effect this reformation aa 
far as was at all practicable within the pale and under the auspices 
of the National Church. 

The third Conference assembled at Bristol on the 12th of 
May, 1746. John Wesley, Charles Wesley, John Hodges, 
Samuel Taylor, Jonathan Eeeves, Thomas Maxfield, Thomas 
Westall, Thomas Willis, and Thomas Glascot were present. 
These annual assemblies were yet designed to be quite informal, 
and to include, besides regular clergymen and lay preachers, 
such prominent laymen as might be within convenient reach. 
At the preceding session Marmaduke Gwynne attended, as we 
have seen, and on the present occasion, to the question, Who are 
proper persons to attend any conference ? it was replied, that, 
besides the preachers conveniently at hand, the most prudent 
and devoted of the band-leaders of the town where the session 
might be held, and any pious and judicious stranger who might 
be in the town, should be invited.* 

The deliberations lasted but two days. They related, as at 
the previous sessions, exclusively to questions of personal religion 
and to ministerial arrangements. An important advancement in 
the theological development of Methodism was marked here. It 

* " Disciplinary Minutes." Smith's History of Methodism, book ii. chap 3. 


was asked, " Wherein does our doctrine now differ from that we 
preached when at Oxford ?" and answered, " Chiefly in these two - 
points : first, we then knew nothing of the righteousness of faith 
in justification ; nor, second, of the nature of faith itself, as 
implying consciousness of pardon." 

To the question. Is not the whole dispute of salvation by 
faith or by works a mere strife of tcards ? it was answered : " In 
asserting salvation by faith we mean this: first, that pardon 
(salvation begun) is received by faith, producing works ; second, 
that holiness (salvation continued) is faith working by love; 
third, that heaven (salvation finished) is the reward of this faith. 
If you, who assert salvation by works, or by faith and works, 
mean the same thing (understanding by faith the revelation of 
Christ in us, by salvation, pardon, holiness, glory), we will not 
strive with you at all. If you do not, this is not a strife ofwoi^ds^ 
but the very essence of Christianity is the thing in question."* 

Wesley's conviction of the importance and necessity of the 
lay ministry had been deepened since the last session. Provi- 
dential circumstances every day rendered it more evident that 
the great religious interest which had begun in the land must be 
conducted forward chiefljr by that agency, or be generally aban- 
doned. Next to revelation itself, such providential indications 
were decisive of Wesley's judgment. The lay ministry was then 
God's own means, because the only means provided, for the 
prosecution of the growing work ; but much discrimination was 
necessary to ascertain the fitness of untrained men for such a 
momentous responsibility. How shall we try those who think 
they are moved by the Holy Spirit, and called of God to preach ? 
was an anxious question asked at this session. Three tests were 
given in the answer : Have they grace, gifts, and fruits ? " First, 
Do they know God as a pardoning God ? Have they the love of 
God abiding in them? Do they desire and seek nothing but 
God ? And are they holy in all manner of conversation ? Second, 
Have they the gifts (as well as grace) for the work ? Have they 
(in some tolerable degree) a clear, sound understanding ? Have 
they a right judgment in the things of God? Have they a just 
conception of salvation by faith ? And has God given them any 
degree of utterance? Do they speak justly, readily, clearly? 
Third, Have they fruit ? Are any truly convinced of sin, and 
converted to God by their preaching ?" " As long as these three 
marks concur in any, we believe," affirmed the Conference, " that 
he is called of God to preach. These we receive as a sufficient 

* Minutes of the Wesleyan Conferences, etc., vol. i. page 29. 


^roqf that he is ^noved thereto hy the Holy Ohost;^^ a decision 
which has never been essentially modified by the rapid progress 
of ministerial improvement within the pale of Methodism, and 
which has incalculably tended to its success by the great variety 
and consequent adaptation and efficiency of the natural talent 
embodied in its ministry. IMany directions, prescribing the 
studies and other habits of the lay ministry, were adopted at this 
session, but they wiQ more appropriately come under considera- 
tion elsewhere. 

It is evident, also, from the proceedings of this Conference, 
that though Wesley still believed, as he did through the rest of 
his life, in the appropriateness of ordination, and the usual orderly 
distinctions of the Christian ministry, they were no longer essential 
requisites in his estimation. His lay assistants were " moved of 
the Holy Ghost," and "called of God" to their work-; they 
were, therefore, by Divine right as legitimate preachers of the 
Word as any priest or bishop of the land. Yet he did'not ordain 
them, nor by analogous ceremony set them apart for their office ; 
but with the reason assigned for this course was given also a dis- 
tinct intimation that a more formal consecration might sooner or 
later become desirable. To the question why they did not use 
more form and solemnity in receiving a new labourer, it was 
answered that the Conference purposely declined it : " Eirst, be- 
cause there is something of stateuness iu it ; second, because it 
was not expedient to maJce Iboste; we desire barely to follow 
Providence as it gradually opens."* At a later date, as we shall 
see, Wesley did ordain some of his assistants. 

We meet in the Minutes of this Conference with the first in- 
timation of another class of lay labourers, which has since been 
of no small influence in the progress of Methodism. It was pro- 
vided that none should be allowed to exhort in the societies with- 
out a note of authorization from the preacher, and that this 
license, as it has since been called, should be renewed once a-year. 
Thus arose the order of " Exhorters," a notable example of the 
manner in which Methodism appropriated all its resources of 
talent. The local ministry has usually graduated from the class 
of exhorters, and the itinerant ministry from the class of local 
preachers, while men incompetent for either of these two offices 
nave remained with usefulness in the subordinate rank of ex- 
horters. This process of graduation has always been a process 
of preparation. Thousands of able local preachers, whose mo- 
desty as laymen would never have allowed them to begin their 

* '< Disciplinary Minutes." Smith's History of Methodiimi book ii. chap. 3. 


ministerial labours in the pulpit, have effectually begun them in 
the vestry as exhorters ; and hundreds of itinerants, whose ability 
for the pulpit would never have been otherwise ascertained, either 
by themselves or their brethren, have disclosed it in the humbler 
labours of the local ministry, and gone forth from them as high 
priests of the Church. The history of Methodism teaches few 
lessons more emphatically than the importance of maintaining 
these practical processes and distinctions, so effective in its past 
process, and so evidently essential to its genius and destiny. 

We have already seen that Wesley, observing the necessity of 
repeating his labours in any given place in order to secure per- 
manent results, had resolved to ** stoke no blow which he could 
not follow up." From that time he endeavoured to methodize as 
much as possible the itinerant labours of both himself and his 
associates. The Minutes of the present Conference give us the 
first intimation of definitive circuits, though it is supposed they 
existed before.* The whole country was mapped into seven of 
these itinerant districts. "Wales and Comwafl each constituted 
one. Newcastle, with doubtless many neighbouring towns, was 
another. That of Yorkshire included seven counties. London, 
Bristol, and Evesham were the head-quarters of others. 

The fourth Conference assembled at the Foundry in London, 
on June 16, 1747, and was numerically the most imposing session 
yet held. Besides the "Wesleys, their venerable chief counsellor, 
Perronet (vicar of Shoreham), Manning (vicar of Hayes), Bate* 
man (rector of St. Bartholomew the Great in London, where 
Wesley now often preached), and Piers (vicar of Bexley), attended 
it. Howell Harris, the Methodist apostle of Wales, whose capa- 
cious soul suffered no loss of affection for Wesley by his alliance 
with Whitefield, was also a member. The other lay preachers 

5 resent were Thomas Hardwick, Thomas Maxfield, John Bennett, 
ohn Downes, Thomas Crouch, Eobert Swindells, and John 

The first question was how they should render the Conference 
"eminently" an occasion of "prayer, watching, and self-denial." 
They resolved to have a special care " always to set God before 
them,'* and to spend the intermissions of the sessions in devotions 
and in visiting the sick. The right of utterly free discussion, so 
distinctly stated in the first Conference, was asserted more em- 

* Smith's History of Methodism, book ii chap. 3. 

t "Disc^linary Minutes." Smith's History of Methodism, book ii, 
chap. 3. The " Octavo Minutes" do not mention the names of the lay 
preachers (except Harris and Hardwick) nor Perronet. 


phatically than ever. Unanimous agreement was pronounced 
desirable, but in speculative matters each, it was affirmed, could 
only submit so far as his judgment should be convinced ; in every 
practical point, so far as would not wound his conscience. It was 
asked, " Can a Christian submit any further than this to any man 
or number of men upon earth ?" " It is,'* they answered, " un- 
deniably plain he cannot, either to pope, council, bishop, or con- 
vocation. And this is that grand principle of every man's right 
to private judgment in opposition to implicit faith in man, on 
which Calvin, Luther, Melancthon, and all the ancient Eeformers, 
at home and abroad, proceeded. Every man must think for him- 
self, since every man must give an account for himself to God." 

Two important theological themes were discussed : the relation 
of Assurance to Faith in Justification, and the extent of Sancti- 
fication. It was admitted that justifying faith is itself a divine 
assurance, but not without evident hesitancy, as the Conference 
could not deny that some good men give abundant proof of justi- 
fication while they deny assurance. "There may be exempt 
cases," say the Minutes ; but they add, " it is dangerous to ground 
a general doctrine on a few particular examples."* To the ques- 
tion. What will become of them if they die in this state ? it was 
replied, " This is a supposition not to be made. They cannot die 
in this state ; they must go backward or forward. If they con- 
tinue to seek they will surely find righteousness, peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost. We are confirmed in this belief by the 
many instances we have seen of such as these finding peace at 
the last hour ; and it is not impossible but others may then be 
made partakers of like precious faith, and yet go hence without 
giving any outward proof of the change which God hath wrought." 
Wesley himself saw the vagueness and difficulty which prevailed 
in the deliberations on this subject, and in less than a month his 
reflections corrected his present opinion. In a letter to his bro- 
ther he denies that "justifying faith is a sense of pardon.'* 
*' Every one," he writes, " is deeply concerned to understand this 
question well, but preachers most of all, lest they should either 
make them sad whom God hath not made sad, or encourage them 
to say peace where there is no peace. Some years ago we heard 
nothing of justifying faith or a sense of pardon, so that when we 
did hear of them the theme was quite new to us ; and we might 
easily, especially in the heat and hurry of controversy, lean too 
much either to the one hand or to the other. By justifying faith 
I mean that faith which, whosoever hath it not is under the wrath 

* Minutes of Wesleyan Conferences from the first, etc., voL i. page 84. 


^nd the curse of Q^od. By a sejjise of pardon I mean a distinct, 
explicit assurance that my sins are forgiven. I allow, ilrst, that 
there is such an explicit assurance ; second, that it is the cam/uion 
privilege of real Christians ; third, that it is the proper Christiim 
faith which purifieth the heart and overcometh the world. But I 
cannot allow that justifying faith is such an assurance, or neces- 
sarily connected therewith, because if justifying faith necessarily 
implies such an explicit assurance of pardon, then every one who 
has it not, and every one so long as he has it not, is under the 
ivrath and under the curse of God.' But this is a supposition 
contrary to Scripture, as well as to experience."* This matured 
view of the question he entertained during the rest of his life, 
■but he always taught the blessing of assurance as the privilege 
and right of every true believer. 

The doctrine of entire sanctification was unreservedly as- 
serted, but with several important cautions against its imprudent 
treatment either in the pulpit or in personal life. To the ques- 
tion, suppose one had attained to this, would you advise him to 
speak of it ? it was replied : " Not to them who know not God ; 
it would only provoke them to contradict and blaspheme : nor to 
any without some particular reason, without some particular 
good in view ; and then they should have an especial care to 
avoid all appearance of boasting, and to speak more loudly atid 
convincingly by their lives than they can do by their tongues." It 
was asked, " Does not the harshly preaching perfection tend to 
bring believers into a kind of bondage or slavish fear ? It does. 
Therefore we should always place it in the most amiable light, so 
that it may excite only hope, joy, and desire." It was further 
asserted that " we may continue in the joy of faith even till we 
are mq,de. perfect. Since holy grief does not quench this joy, and 
since even while we are under the cross, while we deeply par- 
take of the sujfferings of Christ, we may rejoice with joy un- 
speakable." These cautions were pushed even further. It was 
insisted that to " teach believers to be continually poring upon 
their inbred sin, is the ready way to make them forget that they 
were purged from their former sins. We find by experience it is 
so, or to make them undervalue and account it a little thing. 
Whereas, indeed (though there are stiU greater gifts behind), 
this is inexpressibly great and glorious."t 

* Myles's Chron. Hist, of Methodism, page 545. 

t By a singular error in the Bound Minutes (Minutes of the Methodist 

Coniferences from the first, etc., London, 1812), the report on Sanctification 

numbered as pertaining to the next Conference, held in 1748. There are no 


Of the discussions on ecclesiastical questions we have no 
traces in the current Minutes, but in the " Disciplinary Minutes" 
are eyidences of important progress. The term church is asserted 
to mean in the !New Testament " a single congregation."* A 
" national church" is pronounced '* a merely political institu- 
tion." It is conceded that the " three orders" of deacons, pres- 
byters, and elders, obtained early in the Church, but are not 
enjoined in Holy Scripture ; that uniformity of Church govern- 
ment did not exist till the. age of Constantine, and was not 
taught by the sacred writers, for the reason that variety in eccle- 
siastical administration was necessary for the varied circumstances 
of different ages and countries. We have also positive proof 
that "Wesley had abandoned his belief in the divine right of 
Episcopacy. He declares in these Minutes that it was not as- 
serted in England till about the middle of Queen Elizabeth's 
reign ; and that till then all bishops and clergy in England con- 
tinually allowed and joined in the ministrations of those who 
were not episcopally ordained. The arguments of the " Ireni- 
cum" and " The Primitive Church" had now evidently prevailed 
with him, and not these so much, perhaps, as the providential 
arguments afforded by the increasing exigencies of his great work, 
and by his growing catholicity. He still, however, repels the 
charge of schism. " You profess," continue these Minutes, " to 
obey both the rules and the governors of the Church, yet in 
many instances you do not obey them. How is this consistent ? 
It is entirely consistent. "We act at aU times on one plain uni- 
form principle. "We will obey the rules and governors of the 
Church whenever we can consistently with our duty to God. 
"Whenever we cannot, we quietly obey God rather than man. 
Eut why do you say you are thrust out of the churches ?• Has 
not every minister a right to dispose of his own church ? He 
ought to have, but in fact he has not. A minister desires that I 
should preach in his church, but the bishop forbids him. That 
bishop then injures him, and thrusts me out of the Church." 
Still thus denied the churches, they resolved to limit less than 
ever their field-preaching ; reasons were discussed for extending 
it, and after recording some sixty assistants as in the work, 
besides coadjutors among the regular clergy, they dispersed to 
exemplify these convictions in the length and breadth of the land. 

Minutes whatever of that Conference except in the recently discoyered " Dis- 
ciplinary Minutes.*' See Smith's Hist., book ii. chap. 3. Myles (Chron. 
Hist.) gives it correctly. . . 

* Smith's HiBtoiy of Methodism, book ii. chap. 3. 

opnnoNs AND ECONOMY. 245 

On the 2nd of June, 1748, the fifth Conference was held in 
the Tower Street Chapel, London.* John Wesley, Charles 
"Wesley, William Pelton, Charles Manning, Thomas IVIaxfield, 
John Jones, Thomas Mejrrick, John Trembath, Edward Perro- 
net, son of the vicar of Shoreham, Jonathan Reeves, Eichard 
Thomas Bateman, John Green, William Tucker, Howell Harris, 
Samuel Larwood, James Jones, and William Shent were present. 
No theological question was examined, as the time was mostly 
employed in discussing the interests of Kingswood School. 
Nine circuits were reported : London with ten towns or counties, 
Bristol with thirteen, Cornwall with nine, Ireland with four, 
Wales with four, Shropshire with seven, Cheshire with five, 
Yorkshire with nine, and Newcastle with ten. 

The Minutes of this session afford one, and but one, very im- 
portant indication of the progress of Wesley's opinions respect- 
ing the distinct mission of Methodism. Taken in connection 
with his improved views on ecclesiastical questions, it has not a 
little significance. At a previous Conference it was resolved, as 
lias been shown, to preach without forming new societies, espe- 
cially in the larger communities. It was hoped that the Metho- 
dists might be thus kept in closer sympathy with the Established 
Church, and that tendencies to secession might be prevented. It 
w^as a concession to the many devout men who approved the 
opinions and usefulness of Wesley and his fellow-labourers, but 
who recoiled at the prospect of a Methodist sect, which, by its 
separation from the National Church, could not fail to carry with 
it the sympathy of a large proportion of the common people, and 
might in the future sh^^e the very foundations of the Establish- 
ment. This policy was now abandoned. It had been tried, and 
was found to be pernicious. The clergy generally continued their 
hostility to Methodism. They neglected, and in many cases 
maltreated, the thousands of converts which it sent to their com- 
munion altars, and proffered to their pastoral care. " We have 
preached," says the Minutes, " for more than a year, without 
forming societies, in a large tract of land from Newcastle to 
Berwick-on-Tweed, and almost all the seed has fallen upon the 
wayside ; there is scarce any fruit of it remaining." Among the 
inconveniences arising from this course, it was aflSrmed that, first, 
the preacher could not give proper exhortations and instructions 
to those who were convinced of sin, imless he had opportunities 

* As the Octavo Minutes contain no records of this session, we are in- 
debted for them exclusively to the " Disciplinary Minutes.** Snrifch's Hist., 
etc., book ii. chap. 3, 


of meeting them apart from the mixed, unawakened multitude ; 
second, they could not watch over one another in love unless 
thus united together ; third, nor could the believers build up one 
another, or bear one another's burdens. "Wesley still, however, 
clung to the Church, though it was difficult for him, with even 
such concessions, to prevent many of his people from resenting, 
by open dissent, its stately and obstinate disdain of their labo- 
rious lay preachers, as well as of the Methodistic clergy, who 
were unimpeachably orthodox, and the most useful ministers of 
the realm.* 

The Conference adjourned, counselling " a closer union of the 
assistants with each other." 

About eighteen months later, November 16, 1749, it assembled 
again in London.f A measure was now suggested which would 
have traded to consolidate the societies, and sever them, practi- 
cally, still more from the Established Church. It was proposed 
that the society in London should be considered the mother 
church ; that every assistant in country circuits should send 
reports to the stewards of the London circuit, who should arrange 
a regular correspondence with all the provincial societies. With 
this scheme was to be combined an annual collection throughout 
the land for the relief of necessitous societies. Wesley was at 
first greatly pleased with the plan. " Being thus united,'* he said, 
*' in one body, of which Christ Jesus is head, neither the world 

* At a later date, Wesley, in alluding to the arguments of Methodists who 
advocated open dissent, says : " I will freely acknowledge that I cannot 
answer these arguments to my own satisfaction. As yet we have not taken 
one step further than we were convinced was our bounden duty. It is from 
a fall conviction of this that wo have preached abroad, prayed extemporey 
formed societies, and permitted preachers who were not episcopally ordained. 
And were we pressed on this side, were there no alternative allowed, we 
should judge it our bounden duty rather wholly to separate from the 
Church than to give up any one of these points ; therefore if we cannot 
stop a separation without stopping lay preachers, the case is clear, we can- 
not stop it at all." Letter to Rev. Mr. Walker, September 24, 1765. Ar- 
minian Magazine, 1779. 

t The Octavo Minutes cannot be relied on for a distinct report of the pro- 
ceedings of this session, for many of the proceedings attributed by that work 
to this year belong to other sessions. They are a compendium of the minutes 
from 1748 to 1763, placed together for convenience, but without discrimination. 
For the real minutes of 1749 we are indebted to a manuscript report appended 
to the recently-discovered "Disciplinary Minutes." (Smith's Hist, of Meth., 
ii.9 8.) As the minutes were not usually printed, written copies alone were 

Eiented to new members of the Conference at their admission on probation, 
atson's Wesley, chap. 9.) This important manuscript is doubtless one of 
le copies* 

OPnncoNS and EcoyoMT. 247 

nor the devil will be able to separate us in time or in eternity." 
Its possible tendency towards a separation from the Establisned 
Church was probably his reason for not effectively adopting it. 
He proposed, however, to try it by appointing one of his 
" helpers " on each circuit to take charge of its societies, giving 
him exclusively thereafter the title of "assistant," a term which 
had hitherto been appUed, interchangeably with " helper," to all 
his lay preachers. Nine such were designated to the circtiits, 
which still continued to be of that nimiber. The proposed rela- 
tion to the London circuit, was not, however, realized. The 
annual Conference became more appropriately the centre of unity 
to the societies. 

A variety of minute regulations originated at this session. 
Quarterly meetings, which had been held in some places, were 
ordered to be everywhere observed. Watch-nights and love- 
feasts were to be held monthly. Every circuit was to be supplied 
with books by the assistant, and every society was to provide " a 
private room," and also books, for the helper. A return was to 
be made quarterly of money for books from each society, and thus 
began that organized system of book and tract distribution which 
has secured to Methodism a more extensive use of the religious 
press than can be found in any other Protestant denomination of 
our day. Wesley had already issued many publications, from the 
one-page tract to the stout volume. He forthwith began his 
" Clmstian Library," in fifty volumes, and aU his preachers were 
soon active " colporteurs." Tracts especially did he publish, and 
scatter both by his own hands and by his preachers. "A Word 
to a Smuggler ;" "A Word to a Swearer ;" "A Word to a Street- 
walker;" "A Word to a Drunkard;" "A Word to a Malefactor;" 
" A Word to a Sabbath-breaker ;" — such were the titles of small 
publications which he disseminated over the kingdom. "He 
thus," says his best biographer, " by his example, was probably 
the first to apply, on any large scale, this important means of 
usefulness to tne reformation of the people."* 

On the 8th of March, 1750, was held the seventh Conference. 
Only four months had passed since the preceding session ; its 
proceedings seem not to have been important. Not a trace of its 
minutes is preserved ; nor have we the minutes of any subsequent 
sessions, save two, before the year 1765, when their regular pub- 
lication commenced. 

A little more than ten years had passed since the recognized 
epoch of Methodism. The results thus far were certainly lemark- 

♦ Watwn's Life of Weiley, chap. 8. 


able. A scarcely paralleled religious interest had been spread and 
sustained throughout the United Kingdom and along the Atlantic 
coast of America. The churches of both countries had been 
extensively reawakened. The great fact of a lay ministry had 
been accomplished — great not only in its direct results, but 
perhaps more so by its reacting shock, in various respects, against 
the ecclesiasticism which for fifteen hundred years had fettered 
Christianity with bands of iron. It had presented before the 
world the greatest pulpit orator of the age, if not of any age ; also 
one of the greatest reKgious legislators of history; a hymnist 
whose supremacy has been but doubtfully disputed by a single 
rival;* and the most signal example of female agency in religious 
affairs which Christian history records. The lowest abysses of 
the English population among colliers and miners had been 
reached by the gospel. Calvinistic Methodism was restoring the 
decayed nonconformity of England. Wesleyan Methodism, 
though adhering to the Establishment, had taken an organic and 
permanent form; it had its annual Conferences, quarterly Con- 
ferences, class meetings, and band meetings ; its watch-nights and 
love-feasts ; its travelling preachers, local preachers, exporters, 
leaders, trustees, and stewards. It had districtied England, Wales, 
and Ireland into circuits for systematic ministerial labours, and 
now commanded a ministerial force of about seventy men.f It 
had fought its way through incredible persecutions and riots, and 
had won at last a general, though not universal peace. Its 
chapels and preachers' houses, or parsonages, were multiplying 
over the country. It had a rich psalmody, which has since spread 
wherever the English tongue is used ; and a well-defined theology, 

♦ The American Presbyterian Quarteriy for Marcli, 1858, says : " We regard 
it as a great loss to the Presbyterian churches of our country that so few, com- 
paratively, of Charles Wesley's hymns should have been admitted into their 
collections. It may not be generally known that, not even excepting Dr. 
Watts, he is the most voluminous of all our lyrical authors, and it were only 
justice to add, that he is the most equal. . . . We have never read or sung a 
finer specimen than his well-known paraphrase of the 24!th Psahn: ''Our 
Lord is risen from the dead," etc. There is another objective hymn by Charles 
Wesley which is among the finest in the language. We wonder that it has not 
found its way into American hymn-books : " Stand the omnipotent decree," etc. 
Well has this hymn been spoken of as being in a strain more than human. 
!rhere is the noble hymn by Charles Wesley, Jacob wrestling with the Angel, 
concerning which Dr. Watts did not scruple to say that it was worth aU the 
verses he himself had written. James Montgomery declares it to be among 
the poet's highest achievements. Never have we read a finer combination of 
poetic taste and evangelical sentiment. 

t There are no data for an estimate of the membership of its societies. 


wliich was without dogmatism, and distinguished by two notable 
facts, that could not fail to secure popular interest, namely, that 
it transcended the prevalent creeds in both spirituality and liber' 
ality — in its experimental doctrines of conversion, sanctification, 
and the witness of the Spirit, and in the evangelical liberalism of 
its Arminianism. It had begun its present scheme of popular 
religious literature, had provided the first of that series of 
academic institutions which has since extended with its progress, 
and was contemplating a plan of ministerial education, which has 
been effectively accomplished. Already the despondent declara- 
tions of "Watts, Seeker, and Butler, respecting the prospects of 
religion, might be pronounced no longer relevant. Yet "Watts 
had been dead but two years, and Seeker and Butler still 

* Watts had lingered in his hospitable retirement at Abnej Park, whence 
he beheld with grateful surprise the religious revolution which was spreading 
through the country. He received there occasional visits from Charles Wesley, 
Xady Huntingdon, and other leading Methodists. Doddridge still survived, 
welcoming Whitefield and the Weslejs at Northampton and corresponding 
with them. He revised Whitefield's journals, and, in his occasional visits to 
London, found religious consolation among the Methodists at Lady Hunting- 
don's mansion. 






Wesley again in Ireland — John Jane — Progress of Methodism — ^Bemarkable- 
G«rman Colony — It gives Birth to American Methodism — ^Methodism in 
the Army in Ireland — Duncan Wright, a Soldier, becomes a Preacher — 
Sketch of his Life — A Military Execution induces him to preach — He 
joins the itinerancy — ^A converted Surgeon — ^Thomas Walsh — His Sickness 
— ^His saintly Character — His Dissent from Eletcher on the Death of 
Good Men — His own Mental Trouble in Death. 

IMMEDIA.TELT after the Conference of 1750 Wesley again started 
for Ireland, passing through Wales, and preaching with much suc- 
cess on his route. He was accompanied by Christopher Hopper, 
a man of note among the early Methodist itinerants. Wesley 
summoned John Jane, a self-sacrificing evangelist, to meet him and 
Hopper at Holyhead before they embarked. Jane gave an exam- 
ple of the usual heroic obedience of the lay preachers to their 
great leader's commands : he made the journey on foot with but 
three shillings for his expenses. The devoted man could not fail, 
however, to secure the interest of humble families on the route ; 
he was entertained six nights out of the seven by utter strangers, 
and arrived at Holyhead with one penny in his pocket. In a few 
months he sunk under excessive labours. The poverty of the 
Methodist itinerants seldom allowed them to use horses in those 
times, and John Jane usually travelled on foot ; a long walk to a 
preaching place on a hot dajr produced a fever, under which he 
died with more than resignation — *' with a smile on his face," said 
one of his fellow-labourers, leaving as his last utterance the words, 
"I find the love of G-od in Christ Jesus." Wesley concludes a notice 
of his death in his Journal with these remarkable words : *' AH his- 

METHODISM IN IBBLAND : 1750 — 1760. 251 

clothes, linen and woollen, stockings, hat, and wig are not thought 
sufficient to answer his funeral expenses, which amount to 
£1 17*. Sd. All the money he had was Is, 4d., enough for an 
unmarried preacher of the gospel to leave to his executors."* St. 
IFrancis himself, adds Eobert Southey, might have been satisfied 
with such a disciple. 

Wesley spent nearly four months in Ireland during this visit, 
travelling and preaching in every direction. At Dublin he found 
the societies in a more prosperous state than ever. In Cork the 
riots had not yet entirely subsided; their contagion had also 
spread to other towns ; and he was frequently assailed while 
preaching in the open air in that part of the island. In Limerick 
the foundations of Methodism had been securely laid; sixty 
Highlanders of the army had joined the classes, " and by their 
ze^, according to knowledge, had stirred up mauy." At New- - 
market, the former residence of Thomas Walsh, he met a pro- 
sperous society, and was so deeply affected among them as to be 
compelled by nis emotions to stop short several tunes in his ad- 
dress. At Athlone, he says, it was such a night as he had seldom 
known ; the stout-hearted were broken down on every side. In 
Longford a storm of rain could not drive the people from the out- 
door services ; the Word cut like a two-edged sword ; several per- 
sons fell as if smitten with death, and some were carried away 
insensible. Others, he writes, would have gone away but could 
not, for the hand of the Lord pressed them to the earth. Yet 
such were his views of the Irish character that he exclaimed, 
amid these scenes : " O fair beginning ! But what will the end 
be?" Similar effects attended his labours at Drumcree, and, 
indeed, throughout this prolonged visit. As he passed daily from 
town to town, preaching morning, noon, and night, among rapists 
and Protestants, he was almost eveiywhere cheered with evidences 
of the triumph of the GTospel. The work of God advanced, 
he writes, in the county of Cork, and at Waterford and Lime- 
rick, as well as in Mount MeUick, Athlone, Longford, and most 
parts of the province of Leinster. He had the satisfaction of 
observing how greatly Gk)d had blessed his lay fellow-labourers, 
by whom multitudes |were saved from the error of their ways. 
Many of these had been eminent for all manner of sins ; many had 
been Soman Catholics ; and he supposes the number of converts 
among the latter would have been far greater had not the Protes- 
tant, as well as the Popish priests, tjien pains to hinder them.f 

* Wesley's Jonmal, anno 1750. 

t Short History of the People called Methodists. 


The dead Protestantism of the land was his chief obstacle. " Oh, 
what a harvest might be in Ireland !" he writes, in the midst of 
these tireless labours, " did not the poor Protestants hate Chris- 
tianity worse than either Popery or heathenism." Before leav- 
ing Dublin for England he was heard in the public green by larger 
congregations than he had ever addressed in the city. 

In 1752 he was again in Ireland visiting most of the towns of 
his former route. He found equal reasons for encouragement. 
His preachers were now numerous enough in the country for him 
to hold an informal Conference among them. The mobs at Cork 
had ceased, and he projected a new chapel in that city. He re- 
peated his visit in 1756, when all his assistants on the island met 
him at Dublin, and planned, with good courage, for still greater 
labours. Thomas Walsh accompanied him in his excursions 
among the towns, preaching in Irish with great eifect. After 
visiting the societies in Leinster and Munster, they went into the 
province of Connaught, scattering the good seed broadcast. He 
visited also, for the first time, the province of Ulster, where he 
found that the labours of his preachers had been extensively useful. 
Churchmen, Dissenters, and reformed Papists constituted the 
societies, and there *' was no striving among them except to enter 
in at the strait gate." 

He had now traversed every part of Ireland except the county 
of Sligo, on the western coast. In 1758 he returned in order to 
visit particularly that region — ^the best peopled, he says,that he had 
seen in the kingdom. He preached in the market-place of the city 
several times to large congregations, and with great effect ; and 
from that time, he adds, there have never been wanting a few in 
Sligo who worship God in spirit and in truth ; and in many other 
parts of the county numerous converts had been gathered into 

He passed to Court Mattress, where he found a colony of 
Germans, whose fathers had come into the kingdom under Queen 
Anne, from the Palatinate on the Rhine. A hundred and ten 
families had settled in the town and in the adjacent hamlets of 
XiUiheen, BaUy garrane, and Pallas, and their population was now 
numerous. Having no minister they became noted for drunken- 
ness, profanity, and an utter contempt of religion ; but they had 
changed remarkably since they had heard the truth from the 
Methodist itinerants ; an oath was now rarely heard among them, 
nor a drunkard seen in their borders. They had built a large 
preaching-house in the middle of Court Mattress. Many times 
afterwards Wesley preached among them, as did also his fellow- 

METHODISM IS IBELAND : 1750 — 1760. 253 

labourers, and with lasting effect. So did Q-od at last provide, 
he remarks, for these poor strangers, who for fifty years had none 
that cared for their souls. 

At a later visit, he says that three such towns as Killiheen, 
Ballygarrane, and Court Mattress could hardly be found else- 
where in Ireland or England; there was no profanity, no Sabbath- 
breaking, no ale-house in any of them. " How," he exclaims, 
"will these poor foreigners rise up in the day of judgment against 
those that are around about them !"* 

But the most extraordinary fact respecting this Grerman colony 
thus found out and evangelized by the Methodist itinerants, was 
not yet apprehended by Wesley. It was destined to give birth 
to Methodism in the New "World. During his visit to the island 
in 1762, he became acquainted with one of these German Irish- 
men, who was afterwards licensed as a local preacher among them. 
Eourteen years later this young man resided ^vith a smaJl com- 
pany of his countrymen in the city of New Tork. Strangers in 
a strange land, and deprived of the religious aids which Metho- 
dism had afforded them among their distant brethren, they had 
lost their religious zeal and strictness, and some of them were 
playing at cards, when a devout woman, a later emigrant from 
Ballygarrane, reproved them, and going to the local preacher, en- 
treated him to resume his Methodist labours. He was recalled 
to his duty by the seasonable appeal. He opened his own house, 
a humble one-story building, for worship, preached there, and 
formed there the first Methodist society in America. In two 
years more he dedicated the first American Methodist chapel, and 
thus founded that form of Methodism which was destined to be- 
come, within the lifetime of many then bom, the predominant 
Protestant belief of the New "World, from Newfoundland to 

On one of his visits to Ireland "Wesley said that "the first 
call" of Methodism there was to the soldiers. J They defended 
him and his people amid the mob at Cork, where they flocked to 
his preaching, and where the rioters, when they saw them in the 
assembly, lowered their shillalahs or retreated. Ordinary Metho- 
dists suffered persecution quietly; but these stout-hearted men 

* Journal, anno 1760. 

t Wesley's Journal, 1758, 1760, 1762. Bangs's History of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, vol. i. chap. 2. Wakeley's Lost Chapters Becovered from 
the Early History of American Methodism, chaps. 2, 3, 13. See also two 
letters by Bev. 0. P. Harrower, in the Christian Advocate and Journal (New 
York), May 13 and 20, 1858. 

:|: Journal, anno 1756. 

254 niSTOEY or hethodism. 

felt that their Methodism ought not to deprive them entirely of 
the use of their professional license, and were quite ready to stop 
praying at times in order to fight a little for what they deemed 
the honour of religion. They gathered around "Wesley at Dub- 
lin, where he often preached near their barracks for safety from 
the rabble. They liked him heartily, with the rough generosity 
of soldiers, as not only a good but a brave man. They made a 
way for him with their swords into an immense crowd in the 
public green of that city, and preserved order while he preached. 
There was a class in that city composed of nineteen of them who 
" were resolved," he says, " to fight the good fight of faith." At 
Phillipston they constituted the strength of his society. At 
Limerick he formed, as we have seen, a class of sixty. At Kil- 
kenny they took him into the barracks, and had him to preach to 
them, and " a few of both the army and the town met together " 
as a society. In another place the remnants of John Nelson's 
regiment gathered to hear him. At Kinsale they rallied around 
him, and many of them, he writes, " were good soldiers of Jesus 

The army in Ireland afforded to Methodism, during our pre- 
sent period, one of its most useful early preachers. Duncan 
Wright, a brave Scotchman, had early a " bookish inclination," 
and in his childhood " read and wept often tiU his head ached," 
wishing to be a Christian, " and to be easy and happy, but not 
knowing how." He resolved to dissipate his anxieties by seeing 
the worid in a military life, and enlisted in his eighteenth year in 
a regiment of foot. The next year he was in camp near Cashel, 
Ireland, but found no escape there from his religious impressions, 
for a good corporal preached frequently to the troops. Methodist 
fellow-soldiers disturbed his conscience when the regiment re- 
moved to Limerick. He attended the Methodist society in that 
city, and at last sought the conversation of its members with 
eagerness, as the best guidance to his disturbed mind. He used 
to spend his wakeful hoiu:s at night in weeping and prayer, and 
it was on one of these " weepiag nights," he says, " that the Lord 
brought him in an instant out of darkness into His marvellous 

During the ensuing two years he passed through many vicissi- 
tudes, inward and outward, and was deeply impressed with the 
thought that he should openly proclaim the truth to his comrades. 
He resisted the impression, however, until a melancholy event 
called him to his duty. The government, he says, had resolved 

* Anninian Magazine, 1781, page 368. 

METHODISM IK IBELAND : 1760 — 1760. 255 

to shoot a deserter in every city of Ireland as an example. A 
youth but twenty years old, in Wright's regiment, was among the 
condemned. The earnest Scotchman hastened with trembling to 
converse and pray with him, though he was surrounded by guards. 
He found the unfortunate young man " weeping as if his heart 
would break, and reading * The Whole Duty of Man ' with all his 
might, like a drowning man catching at anything to save himself." 
Wright spoke a few words of exhortation to him, and returned to 
him in the evening, though with reluctance, as there were many 
soldiers gazing upon them. He prayed with him, and exhorted 
all who were present. The doomed youth saw himself an undone 
sinner, without help, and almost without hope. Taking with him 
some of his comrades, Wright visited him twice or thrice a-day, 
and four days before his execution, he received the peace of God. 
Prom that time he witnessed a good confession to all who 
approached him. Every one that saw him go to the place where 
he was shot, could not but admire the serene joy that appeared in 
his countenance. He said but little ; but his calm, happy death 
made a deep impression on many of the soldiers, for they could 
not fail to discern the difference between him and one they saw 
die shortly before at Dublin, who showed the greatest reluctance, 
the field-officer of the day being obliged to ride up to him several 
times to tell him he must die, while this converted victim was not 
above ten minutes on his knees before ^* he dropped the signal and 
went to paradise." 

The execution of this young man induced Wright to preach, 
and at last to enter the itinerant ministry. Every night, after 
the call of the roll, he held a meeting at his quarters for his 
fellow-soldiers, and soon formed a Methodist class among them. 
He at first only sang, prayed, and read with them ; but ms liffht 
usually went out early, and he was compelled to lay aside his 
book and exhort. He thus became known as the camp preacher. 
As his regiment moved from town to town he had opportunities 
of sprea(fing the truth. He was, in fine, already an itinerant 
Evangelist. He planted Methodism in Galway; no Methodist 
preacher had ever been there before him, yet he had many seals 
to his ministry in that city, and years later he wrote : " Some of 
them are a comfort to me to this day, and some are fallen asleep 
in Jesus." He did good service also in Dublin while there with 
his regiment. 

His colonel endeavoured to stop his preaching, but could not, 
and was at last glad to get him out of the army ; and, '^ thus it 
was," he says, " that the Lord thrust me into the harvest." He 

256 niSTOST of hethodisii. 

assisted at a great revival in Waterford, and proved himself a- 
workman that needed not to be ashamed, so that Wesley soon 
sent him out as a travelling preacher. 

HiR loss to the army was, however, in an unexpected manner 
supplied for a time. The surgeon of a regiment, who was the 
fevourite wit of his comrades, went to hear a local preacher in 
order to procure new matter of merriment ; but while leaning on 
his cane, and looking waggishly at the speaker through his fingers, 
the humble man's word pierced his heart like an arrow. He 
became a zealous Methodist, and preached to the soldiers where- 
ever he could find opportunity, till on visiting some sick prisoners 
in the Dublin Newgate he contracted a malignant fever, and 
" finished his course rejoicing in God his Saviour." 

Duncan Wright proved himself a good soldier of the Lord 
Jesus. He travelled extensively in Ireland, sometimes accom- 
panjring Wesley, though he had to acknowledge that, notwith- 
standing his own military training, Wesley's activity gave him 
" too much exercise," and he " had to give it up." Besides his 
useful labours in Ireland, he preached in Scotland, and occupied 
important circuits in England, and, after thirty years' service, fell 
at his post. 

While Methodism was thus advancing in Ireland, it was des- 
tined to suffer towards the close of the present period an irre- 
parable loss. Wesley was in Limerick in the spring of 1758 ; he 
met there Thomas Walsh, " just alive." " Three of the best 
physicians in these parts," he writes, " have attended him, and all 
agree that it is a lost case. Oh what a man to be snatched away 
in the strength of his years ! Surely Thy judgments are a great 
deep 1" Thomas Walsh died a martyr, but he was self-mari^red. 
His constitution was originally feeble, yet he used it in his mental 
and ministerial labours as if it were Herculean ; he preached con- 
stantly twice, and often thrice a-day, besides visiting his people 
from house to house, especially the sick and the dying, from some 
of whom it was said he was rarely a day absent while he was sta- 
tioned in London. Meanwhile his studies were pursued as if they 
were alone the occupation of his time. He rose at four in the 
morning, and pored over his books late into the night ; and preach- 
ing and pastoral work, assiduously as they were pursued, seemed 
but slight intermissions of the work of the brain. When advised 
to take more sleep, he replied, " Should a man rob God ? " appa- 
rently not aware that his extreme self-denial was the most effectual 
robbery of God by the abbreviation of his usefulness in life. He 
walked the streets of great cities absorbed in introspection and 

METHODISM TS lEELAND : 1760 — 1760. 257 

prayer, and as iinobservant of external things as if lie were in the 
solitude of a wilderness. He spent much time reading the Hebrew 
and Qreek Scriptures upon his knees. He seldom smiled, and 
perhaps never laughed after the commencement of his public 
ministry. This habitual self- absorption, added to excessive labour, 
produced the usual consequences of such errors ; his health failed, 
and his nervous sensibilities suffered tortures which he too often 
ascribed to demoniacal agency. 

In some of his inward combats he would rise at night, and, 
prostrating himself with his face upon the floor, would pray and 
weep before God with unutterable agony. He needed rest and 
relaxation, and the innocent refireshments of social life. Wesley, 
who, if not one of the wisest, was one of the most sagacious 
of men, knew what was requisite in a case like that of Walsh ; he 
took prudent care of his own health, and wrote the best sanitary 
rules for his preachers ; but when we remember that Walsh was 
frequently with him in Ireland, and laboured at three different 
periods in London, the last time for nearly two years, residing 
there in Wesley's own house, we are surprised, we are more than 
surprised, that he did not interpose his authority, if his advice 
were unavailing, to rescue this young and splendid victim. Wes- 
ley seemed to regard him with a sentiment which could hardly be 
called respect ; it was reverence, if not awe. .Of no other one of 
his contemporaries, young or old, has he left such emphatic ex- 
pressions of admiration as for this young man — a youth of hardly 
twenty years when he began his ministry, and but twenty-eight 
when he descended into the grave.* All contemporary allusions 
to him, found in Methodist books, express similar reverence, if 
not indeed wonder. Not merely his great learning, nor his talents 
in the pulpit, where he often seemed clothed with the ardour and 
majesly of a seraph, but something in his character, something of 
saintly dignity and moral grandeur, impressed thus his friends 
and those most who were most intimate with him.f His Eoman 
Catholic education and reading seemed to have given to his piety 
an ascetic tinge, which the confiding and joyous trustfulness of 
his Methodistic faith could not entirely correct. He fasted and 
denied himself excessively. At twenty-five he looked like a man 

* In a letter to his brother Charles he says of "Walsh :— " I love, ad- 
mire, and honour him, and wish we had six preachers in aU England of his 

t " He was a person of a surprising greatness of soul, forVhich the whole 
circumference of created good was far, far too little." Morgan's Life of Walsh, 
chap. 15. 



of forty.* He persisted in preaching when *' one wonld hare 
thought he must £rop down dead immediately after." His :&iends 
represent him as seeming not to belong to this world ; nor could 
a person better conceive of him^ thev sar, than bj forming an 
id^ of one who had returned &om the happy dead to converse with 
men. *• Thou knowest my desire," he wrote — ^' thou knowest there 
has never been a saint upon earth whom I do not desire to resemble^ 
in doing and suffering thy whole wiiL I would walk with thee, 
my God^ as Enoch did. I would follow thee to a land unknown, 
as Abraham did. I would renounce all for thee, as did Moses 
and FauL I would, as did Stephen, seal thy truth with mj 
Uood !" One who from study of the Scriptures understood what 
manner of person a Christian approved of Grod must be, and who, 
from his reugious solicitude, read, conversed, and thought of little 
else, says, that in Thomas Walsh he saw clearly what till then he 
had only conceived ; that in him his conceptions were truly exem- 
plified. Prostrate upon his face, kneeling, standing, walking, 
eating — in every posture, and in every place and condition, he 
was a man mighty in prayer. " In sleep itself^ to my certain 
knowledge," says one of his associates, '' his soul went out 
(Cant. V. 2) in groans, and sighs, and tears to Grod. His heart 
having attained such a habit of tendency to its Lord, could onlj 
give over when it ceased to beat." He is represented as some- 
times lost in mental absence on his knees, with his face heaven- 
ward and arms clasped upon his breast, in such composure that 
scarcely could one hear him so much as breathe ; as absorbed in 
God, and enjoying a calmness and transport which could not be 
expressed ; while from the serenity, and something resembling 
splendour which appeared on his countenance, and in all his ges- 
tures afterward, one might easily discover that he had been on 
the Mount of Communion, and had descended, like Moses, with, 
the divine glory on his brow. 

His public prayers were attended with such ardour, perti- 
nence, and faith, that it appeared, says his biographer, ^* as though, 
the heavens were burst open, and God himself appeared in the 

He was sometimes rapt away, as from earth, in his devotions, 
being quite lost to himself, and insensible of everything around 
him, absorbed in the visions of God ; and in these profound and 

^ * With the exception of his larger and more Imninous eye, his portraits 
might be taken as fac-sinules of the current pictures of Jonathaxi £dward«y 
whom he resembled much in other respects. 

METHODISM IK IBELJiND : 1750 — 1760. 269 

solemn &ames of mind he has remained for hours, still and motion- 
less as a statue. 

It has abeadj been remarked that the death of this saintly, 
this seraphic man, was attended by circumstances deeply affictive 
to his friends, and affording a suggestive lesson.* Bunyan shows 
his sagacity in representing his hero as beset with terrors and 
demonaical mockeries before his final triumph, for the characters 
of neither good nor bad men can be inferred from their dying 
words. It pleases God usually to comfort exceedingly his chil- 
dren in the solemn crisis of death ; and even the phantasies of 
the struggling and disordered mind generally then take their 
character from the habitually pious or godless course of the pre- 
ceding life; but it is sometimes otherwise; disease and drugs 
have much effect on the shattered sensibilities, and Christian 
biography teaches that surviving friends should attach but little 
significance, whether saddening or consoHng, to the last expres- 
sions of the dead. Life, not death, reveals the probable fat3 of 
the soul. 

Thomas "Walsh once heard Fletcher, of Madeley, preach in 
Wesley's Chapel, in London, on the dying trials of good men. 
Metcher supposed that some comparatively weak believers might 
die most cheerftdly ; and that some strong ones, for the further 
purification of their fiiith, or for inscrutable reasons, might have 
severe conflicts. At the subsequent meeting of the Bands, Walsh 
opposed this opinion, and said he thought it bore hard against 
(Sod's justice, faithfulness, and covenant love to his servants, 
iletcher modestly observed that G-od's wisdom is sovereign and 
unsearchable ; and though he was sorry he had given offence, yet 
he could not, with a good conscience, retract what he had said. 
With some degree of warmth Walsh replied : " Be it done unto 
you according to your faith ; and be it done unto me according to 
mine !" and here the matter rested.f 

Two years afterwards Walsh needed in death the consolatory 
opinion of Fletcher. During some months he struggled with 
what were doubtless the agonies of a disordered nervous system. 
He was brought almost to the extremity of mental anguish, if not 
despair of his salvation. To his Christian brethren it was a 
mysterious spectacle, and public prayers were offered up for him 
in Dublin, London, and other places. " His great soul," says his 
biographer, " lay thus, as it were, in ruins for some considerable 
time, and pomred out many a heavy groan and speechless tear 
from an oppressed heart and dying body. He sadly bewailed the 

* See page 256. t Bey. Melville Home : Appendix to Walsh's Life. 


absence of Him whose wonted presence had so often given him 
the yictory oyer the manifold contradictions and troubles which 
he endured for his name's sake." 

But as sometimes the clouds, thick on the whole heavens, are 
rent at the horizon the moment the sun seems to pause there 
before setting, and his last rays stream in and flood with efful- 
gence and joy the entire sky, so was the darkness lifted from the 
last hour of this good man. After prayers had been offered in 
his chamber by a group of sympathizing friends, he requested to 
be left alone a few minutes that he might *' meditate a little." 
They withdrew, and he remained in profound prayer and self- 
recollection for some time. At last he broke out with the rap- 
turous exclamation, " J<9 is come! — he is come! — my beloved is 
mine, and I am his; — his for ever!*^ and died. 

Thus lived and thus, in his early manhood, died Thomas 
Walsh, a man whose memory is still as ointment poured forth in 
the sanctuaries of Methodism.* 

Before the Conference of 1760, "Wesley again passed rapidly 
over much of Ireland. He found the societies in Dublin larger 
than they had ever been. Connaught enrolled more than three 
hundred members ; Ulster about two hundred and fifty ; Leinster 
a thousand; Munster about six hundred. Methodism, he re- 
marks, had now successfully made its way into every county in 
Ireland, save Kerry, and many were its exemplary witnesses in 
most large towns, as well as in the rural districts. He doubted 
not, however, that there would have been double the number had 
it not been for the hostility of Protestants, who, with an infatu- 
ation which blinded them against their' own interest, had endea- 
voured to defeat the Methodistic movement in almost every 
important place of the kingdom. f 

* The last mental sufferings of Walsh " spread a very strong sensation 
among his brethren," says Home. Fletcher, whose wise remarks in London 
he had so hastily challenged, was deeply affected by his friend's sad verificatioiv 
of them. He wrote a heart-touching letter to Charles Wesley on the occasion, 
and expressed himself as despondent in view of his own death after such a 
fact ; yet no more triumphant death is recorded in Christian biography than 
that which awaited the pious vicar of Madeley. See Melville Home's remarks, 
Appendix to Walsh's Life. Home's irrelevant supposition as to the cause of 
Walsh's despondence is sufficiently refuted by Jacksoii: Life of Charles 
Wesley, chap. 21. 

t See hif "Short History of the People called Methodists." 

ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND: 1750 — 1760. 261 




Success in Cornwall — Wesley in Scotland — His slight Success — He itinerates 
in England — State of the Societies — Proselytism of the Baptists — Natha- 
niel Gilbert and Methodism in the West Indies — First African Methodist 
— Happy Deaths of Methodists — Jamei Wheatley the first expelled Me- 
thodist Preacher — John Bennett's Secession — Grace Murray — ^Wesley's 
fraternal Disposition towards Calvinists — ^Whitefield — Wesley preaches 
and administers the Sacrament to the Calvinistic Leaders at Lady Hunting- 
don's house — Sketches of Thomas Lee and Christopher Hopper — Charles 
Wesley ceases to itinerate — Death of Meriton — ^Metcher of Madeley — 
Wesley's desire for Rest and Solitude — His unfortimate Marriage — His 
serious Sickness — His Epitaph — His Notes on the New Testament — James 
Hervey — ^Wesley's Address to the Clergy — His Views of Ministerial 

At the beginning of the present period of our narrative, "Wesley- 
wrote to one of his preachers that from JJ^ewcastle to London, 
and from London to Bristol, God was everywhere reviving his 
work.* He visited Cornwall repeatedly during this time.f At 
St. Just he still found the largest of his societies in the west ; so 
great a proportion of believers he had not seen in any other part 
of the nation, nor " any society so alive to God." He laid there 
the foundation of a new chapel, and when it was completed pro- 
nounced it the best in the country. Preaching-houses had begun 
to dot the west generally, but they were as yet very humble 
structures, and scarcely distinguishable as chapels. 

He assembled at St. Ives the stewards of aU the Cornish 
societies in a quarterly meeting, and held with them the first 
Watch-night known in that region. Only slight and occasional 
attempts were now made at persecution, for Methodism had tri- 
umphed generally in this once degraded section of the land. 
" "What now," wrote Wesley, " can destroy the work of God in 
these parts but zeal for and contending about opinions." He 
had as great an antipathy against doctrinal controversies as most 
theologians have zeal for them. Crowds of tinners attended him 

* Letter to Joseph Cownley. Lives of Early Methodist Preachers, vol. i. 
page 100. 

t Journal, 1750, 1753, 1757. 


wherever lie appeared. Gwennap assembled still its immense 
hosts. At Camelford he preachea in the market-place, and had 
occasion to exclaim, " How are the lions in this town become 
lambs !" Port Isaac, long a barren soil, promised now to bring 
forth abundant fruit. At St. Agnes the knowledge of God had 
already " travelled from the lowest to the greatest." He was 
surprised at the talents of the Cornish local preachers ; he heard 
extempore preaching from a reformed tinner as correct as " most 
men or learning could write." Some of the old persecutors in 
high life had become changed ; and the one who imprisoned Max- 
field no longer molested the Methodists nor allowed others to 
oppose them, but had become noted by his charities to the poor. 
At one place he found, in his usual paistoral examination of the 
society, that some of its members were in the practice of using, if 
not of dealing in " uncustomed goods," then a general vice on the 
Cornish coast. He stopped short in his inquiries, and told them 
they should see his face no more unless the accursed thing were 
entirely abandoned ; and Methodism, more than any other means, 
has corrected the evil throughout Cornwall.* At St. Mewen and 
St. Austle his congregations were too large to be accommodated. 
At St. Ewe some fell to the earth under the preached "Word, and 
the whole assembly seemed awe-struck. At Eedruth he addressed 
in the open street a crowd who wept around him. At Falmouth 
he found that the former riots were followed by reverent atten- 
tion ; the town was " quiet from one eud to the other ;" not 
only his chapel, but the yard and the neighbouring houses were 
crowded with eager hearers. At Breage a great reformation had 
taken place ; it had been noted for its violence against the Me- 
thodists ; its clergyman instigated mobs, and fabricated the basest 
slanders respecting "Wesley and his societies, charging him with 
having been expelled from Oxford for a crime, and his people with 
extbguishing the lights in their private meetings like the ancient 
heathen. After bringing upon the inoffeusive society much suf- 
fering by these reports, the clerical persecutor had sunk into 
despondence and hanged himself. The people now flocked around 
Wesley ; he had not intended to stop among them, but they con- 
strained him. He preached in the street, and gratefully recorded 
that *' the lions of Breage too were now changed into lambs.*' 
Everywhere, in fine, on the west coast did he &id the power of 
the truth prevailing. 

In April, 1751, he first visited Scotland, accompanied by 
Christopher Hopper, who had returned with him from Ireland. 

* It refonned also the barbarous cruelties of the wreckers on that coast. 

ENGLAin) AJSTD SCOTLAITD : 1750 — 1760. 268 

It has already been stated* that Methodist dragoons from the 
regiment of John Haime, in Elanders, had founded societies at 
Dunbar and Musselborough. A colonel, now in quarters at the 
latter place, invited Weslejr to the North. Whitefield warned 
him not to go, as his Arminian principles would " leave him 
nothing to do but to dispute from morning till night."t Wesley 
replied that he would go ; that he would studiously avoid contro- 
verted points, and, according to his custom, keep to the funda- 
mental truths of Christianity. He went, and was welcomed to 
Musselborough. He preached while the people stood as statues 
around him, respectful, but too cold for his Methodistic ardour ; 
nevertheless, the prejudice which, as he says, the devU had been 
several years planting, was plucked up in an hour. A bailiff of 
the town and an elder of the kirk waited upon him, with the re- 
quest that he should stay with them for some time, or at least two 
or three days longer, and offered to fit up a larger place for his 
congregations. His engagements, however, called him away; but 
Hopper returned, and preached among them to large congrega- 
tions. This, says the lay itinerant, was the beginning of a good 
work in Scotland.J Still later, Hopper preached at Edinburgh, 
Dunbar, Leith, Dundee, and Aberdeen. God, he wrote, blessed 
his word, " and raised up witnesses that He had sent us to the 
North Britons also." 

In April, 1753, Wesley again entered Scotland. He was re- 
ceived courteously by Gillies of Glasgow. He preached early in 
the morning outside the town ; the weather and the hour did not 
suit the Scotch, and his congregation was small ; but at the ser- 
vice under a tent in the afternoon he had " six times as many," 
and his word was " in power." It rained the next day, and Chillies 
had the courage to open the kirk for him. A few years earlier, 
it would have required equal courage on the part of Wesley to 
-enter it, such had been his " High-Church principles." " Surely," 
he said at the close of the day, " with God nothiug is impossible ! 
Who would have believed, five and twenty years ago, either that 
the minister would have desired it, or that I should have con- 
sented to preach in a Scotch kirk!" His next congregation was 
too large for the church, and he addressed them in the open air. 
On the Sabbath more than a thousand people listened to him 
in a shower of rain, and at his last sermon, the meadow in which 
he preached was filled from side to side. He believed that a great 
and effectual door was opened for Methodism in the North, but 

* See page 179. f Coke and Moore's Life of Wesley, iii 2. 

X Hopper's Life. LiyeB of Early Methodist Preachers, yol. i. page 30. 


tHe apparent respectfolness of tHe Scotch was mostly indifTerence. 
Their cold couitesj denied to Methodism eren the stimulus of 
riots. Thej did not persecute him, but they would not follow 
him. On another occasion he remarked, that ther Intow ereiy- 
thing, and Jeel nothing. It became, indeed, a problem to him, 
** whj the hand of the Lord, who does nothing without a cause, 
was almost entirely stayed in Scotland r" 

He persisted, however, in his visits to the Xorth. In 1757 
he was again welcomed by Gillies to Glasgow, and the kirk could 
not accommodate his numerous but impassive congregations. A 
tent-pulpit was placed for him in the 1^-ge and commodious yard 
of the poor-house, where a singular spectacle was presented. 
Around him stood the collected people; in firont was the in- 
firmary, with its windows crowded with the sick, while adjacent 
to it was the lunatic hospital, with its inmates reverently listening. 
Amid these scenes, he not only proclaimed his message, but what, 
perhaps, had never been done before by a Methodist preacher in 
S^otl^d, baptized several children. His congregations grew 
daily, notwithstanding the comparatively slight effect of his word. 
At one time, his voice could hardly reach their outmost limit ; 
at another, two thousand people retired, unable to hear, though 
the evening was calm and clear. He discovered a small, obscure 
society in the city, but, with the characteristic national taste, they 
met mostly to discuss some general or difficult point of religion. 
He directed them to confine their attention to matters of personal 
piety, after the example of the Methodists in England, and placed 
them under the care of Dr. Gillies. He was agreeably surprised 
to find the society founded by John ELaime's fellow-dragoons at 
Musselborough, zealous for the faith ; ** and there," he adds, ** the 
tree was known by its fruits ; the national shyness and stubborn- 
ness were gone, and they were as open and teachable as little 
children.'' At Dunbar he met equal encouragement — " a little 
society, most of them rejoicing in God their Saviour." The men 
whose piety had been tried in the fires of Fontenoy had intro- 
duced into both these places the living fEiith. 

Wesley traversed !&igland during the present period in every 
direction, and found the societies almost everywhere advancing. 
His preachers were still occasionally mobbed, but he himself was 
generally, if not universally, received with a respect which was 
fust growing into a national sentiment of reverence. At Bir- 
mingham, the chapel could not contain half his congregation, and 
he had to go into the street. " How has the scene changed here !" 
he writes ; '' the last time I preached at Birmingham, the stones 

EITGLAND AXD SCOTLAITD : 1750 — 1760. 265 

flew on every side ; if any disturbance were made now, the dis- 
turber would be in more danger than the preacher." In meeting 
the society there, he says, the hearts of many were melted within 
them, so that neither they nor he could refrain from tears. At 
Wednesbury and Darlaston, formerly the strongholds of the Staf- 
fordshire mobs, God had summoned away, by " a train of amazing 
strokes, most of the old persecutors, and those that remained 
were not only respectful, but cordial." He preached to a large 
congregation in the open air at the former place, amid a rain- 
storm, but every man, woman, and child stayed till the end of 
the discourse. Peace, however, had brought greater perils than 
persecution. It was necessary for him to sifb out Antinomian 
and Anabaptist errors, which had been brought in among them 
from abroad. At a later visit to "Wednesbury, he found a new 
chapel erected, and remarked that few congregations exceeded 
this either in numbers or seriousness. At "Wakefield, where, a 
few years before, the people were " as roaring lions," and the 
honest vicar would not allow him to preach in his yard, lest the 
mob should pull down the house, he was now heard attentively in 
the church. At Hull he met a very different reception, for it 
was his first appearance there. As he landed on the quay, it was 
crowded with staring and laughing groups, inquiring " Which is- 
he? Which is he?" An immense multitude, rich and poor, 
horse and foot, with many coaches, gathered to hear him in the 
fields, half a mile out of the city. He cried to them, " What shall 
it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own 
soul ?" Some thousands heard seriously, but " many behaved as 
if possessed by Moloch." Stones and clods flew on every side- 
When he had finished, the mob followed him, throwing missiles 
into his coach windows. The house in which he was entertained 
was attached until midnight, and its windows broken to the third 
story. Hull, however, speedily redeemed itself,*and has ever 
since maintained the honour of Methodism. At his next visit, he 
was respectfully heard by its best citizens ; and even the rich, he 
says, had the Gospel preached unto them in the streets. At 
Sunderland he found John Nelson's society to be " one of the 
liveliest in the North of England." It included two hundred and 
fifty members. At Biddick, a multitude of colliers stood to hear 
him in a drenching rain-storm, and melted like wax under the 
word. At Barnard Castle he held his ground, and preached 
through his discourse, though the mob played an engine upon the 
assembly. At Chester he saw the Methodist chapel in ruins ; 
two days before his arrival the mob had pulled it down ; but he 


took bis stand near the wreck, and defended "the sect every- 
where spoken against." The mob was subdued, and Methodism 
again reared its standard there, never to be struck. At his next 
visit the scene was quite changed ; " there was peace through all 
the city." At Bolton the society had doubled since his preceding 
visit ; they were increased in grace as well as in numbers, " walk- 
ing closely with G-od, lovingly and circumspectly vdth one another, 
and wisely towards those who were without." At Charlton he 
addressed a vast congregation, gathered from aU the towns and 
country for many miles around. Methodism had recently made 
its way into the neighbourhood against the most discouraging 
odds. All the farmers had entered into a joint engagement to 
dismiss from their service any one who should dare to hear the 
itinerant 'preachers ; but, providentially, the chief man of the 
combination was soon after smitten by the truth, and sent for 
these very men to preach in his house. Many of the other con- 
federates came to hear, and their servants and labourers gladly 
followed their example ; " so the whole device of Satan fell to the 
ground, and the Word of God grew and prevailed." At Man- 
chester, Methodism still had severe struggles ; the mob stood 
quiet and awe-struck while he preached in the street, but when 
he closed " raged horribly." He made his first visit to Liverpool 
(April, 1755), though he had now been itinerating over the realm 
for more than fifteen years ; but that great commercial metropolis 
was yet in its infancy. He found there a Methodist chapel larger 
than that at Newcastle, and the hearts of the whole congregation 
" seemed to be moved before the Lord and the presence of His 
power." He spent nearly a week among them, preaching to crowds 
morning and evening.* 

At Keighley, famous for riots, he preached without molesta- 
tion ; "such a change," he writes, "has God wrought in the hearts 
of the people £nce John Nelson was in the dungeon here.'* At 
York, which formerly repelled Methodism at every point, he now 

* His remarks on the growth and proBpects of Liverpool are a curiosity in 
our day. He says : " Liverpool is one of the neatest, best-built towns I have 
seen in England. I think it is full twice as large as Chester ; most of the 
streets are quite straight. Two-thirds of the town, we were informed, has 
been added within these forty years. If it continue to increase in the same 
proportion, in fifty yeoers more U wUl nearly equal Bristol. The people in 
general are the most mild and courteous I ever saw in a seaport town ; as, 
indeed, appears by their Mendly behaviour, not only to the Jews and Papists 
who live among them, but even to the Methodists (so-called). Many of them, 
I learned, were dear lovers of controversy ; but I had better work. I pressed 
upon them all ' repentance towards Gt>d, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.' '' 

EKGLA1!7D AKD BCOTJaAJSTD I 1760 — 1760. 267 

found the " richest society, number for number," which it pos- 
sessed in England. At Sheffield, which had been unyisited by a 
Methodist itinerant since he himself had been there two years 
before, the little society had not only sustained itself, but had 
made progress in numbers and grace by its own efforts, under the 
guidance of its class-leaders. As he passed and repassed Haworth, 
he frequently paused to preach lor Grimshaw. He usaally 
administered the Lord's Supper there to a thousand communi- 
cants, and preached in the churchyard to many thousands of 
hearers, gathered from all the adjacent towns and villages. At 
Flacey Methodism had demonstrated its efficacy, as at Kingswood, 
and a society of redeemed coUiers welcomed him. It was a 
"pattern to all the societies in England;" no member ever missed 
his band or class ; they had no discord of any kind among them, 
but with one heart and one mind provoked each other to love and 
good works. At Hornby he found that the landlords had turned 
all the Methodists out of their houses ; but it proved " a singidar 
kindness,'' for they built small houses at the end of the town, in 
which forty or fifty of them lived together, a little Christian 
community, as comfortable and devoted as a station of Moravians. 
At Wandsworth, "a desolate place," an effectual door was opened 
for him by a West India planter, several of whose negroes were 
present and awakened by the Word. He baptized two of them, 
one a convert, and the first regenerated African he had ever 
known. She returned to the West Indies with her master, and 
was the first of that innumerable host of her people which Me- 
thodism has ever since been leading into heaven from Africa and 
America. " Shall not His saving health be made known to all 
nations ?" wrote Wesley, after preaching to them. The words 
were more prophetic than he supposed. This American gentle- 
man was Nathaniel Grilbert, Speaker of the House of Assembly in 
Antigua. He became a local preacher, as we shall have occasion 
to notice, and introduced Methodism into the West Indies, where 
it has since spread among all the English colonies. 

Such are but a few glimpses of Wesley's incessant travels and 
labours during this period. It would be impossible to follow him 
in their detail and in their results, without filling volumes. One 
interesting fact enhanced the encouragement of this general pros- 
perity ; Methodism had now been sufficiently long in progress to 
afford many ripe sheaves for heaven. It had been signalized by 
remarkable conversions ; it had now become noted by triumphant 
deaths. " Our people die well," has always been a fateful remark 
of Methodists. As they were expected to maintain a good 


"assurance" of the Divine favour in life, it was hardly possible they 
should falter on entering into the eternal life. By the year 1751 
good John Nelson had a catalogue of more than seventy who had 
ascended to their rest in triumph from his prosperous society at 
Birstal.* In Bristol, London, and Dublin, the societies now 
frequently recorded, with mournful joy, the departure of their 
brethren beloved into the " general assembly, and church of the 
first-bom which are written in teaven." The journals of both the 
Wesleys abound in such notices. Charles "Wesley especially took 
a melancholy pleasure in recording them, and in no place more 
than among the reclaimed coUiers of Eangswood, as vet the most 
interesting field of the triimiphs of Methodism over the barbarism 
of the British populace. Many of his elegies, written on such 
occasions, have an uneartldy power ; a sadness of the grave per- 
vaded by the rapture of heaven. On the death of nearly every 
Methodist preacner, from Thomas Beard, the martyr, who was the 
first that died, till, with an elegiac verse on his lips, he lay down 
himself to die, he wrote not one only, but usually two or three of 
these affecting and beautiful memorials. His " Funeral Hymns,'* 
occasioned, with hardly an exception, by actual deaths, constitute 
the most perfect part of the Methodist psalmody, and for a 
hundred years and more these testimonials of the dying triumphs 
of their early brethren have been sung at the death-beds and 
funerals of Methodists throughout the world. 

These encouraging evidences of prosperity in most of the land 
were contrasted, however, by frequent instances of discord and 
delusion. At Bristol, serious disturbances occurred, and its nine 
hundred Methodists were diminished in 1757 to but half the 
number ; but a day of fasting and prayer was observed, an extra- 
ordinary revival ensued, and the strength of the society was 
restored. The society at ]N"orwich was rent and almost destroyed 
in 1751, by the defection and apostasy of James Wheatley, who 
fell into scandalous vices, and has the peculiar distinction of being 
the first Methodist preacher expelled from the Connection. The 
secession broke to pieces ; Wesley gathered its remnants together, 
incorporated them into his remaining societies, and left the latter 
nearly six hundred strong.f In Lancashire the classes were 
disturbed by the secession of John Bennett and a large part of the 
Methodists at Bolton. Bennett was a man of classical education 

* Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 17. 

t Short History of the People called Methodists. Hy other data are from 
his Journal, from 1750 to 1760. 

ENGLjLin) AiTD scoTLAim: 1750 — 1760. 269 

and superior native talents. He had been led into the Methodist 
minist:^ by Lady Huntingdon. His correspondence with "Wesley 
shows nim to have been opposed to Calvinism, but at his defection 
he assailed the Methodists violently for their Arminianism, and 
imputed Papistical doctrines to "Wesley. He had been a useful 
man in Lancashire, Derbyshire, and Cheshire, but his new course 
was proportionally disastrous.* 

In many of the country towns "Wesley's most onerous work 
was the administration of discipline, especially along the coasts, 
where the crime of smuggling was hardly recognized by the com- 
mon people as a vice. He showed it no forbearance. He nearly 
broke up whole classes in order to suppress the evil, and his 
societies did more than all the police of the realm to abate it. 

He was also compelled to labour indefatigably to reclaim his 
incipient churches from doctrinal wranglings.f These he would 
not tolerate ; Methodism disowned their importance ; it would 
not admit that dogmas, except the most fundamental and gene- 
rally received, should be considered conditions of Christian 
communion, or of membership in its classes. Calvinistic Anti- 
nomianism beset him at almost every turn, and ravaged his most 

Eromising societies. With the evangelical Calvinists of his day 
e maintained, however, the most harmonious relations. He 
ministered often during the present period in "Whitefield's chapels, 

* He was the husband of Gl^race Murray, to whom Wesley had made over- 
tures of marriage. He died in about eight years after his separation from the 
Methodists. His excellent wife lived for more than fifty years, in CJhristian 
retirement, near Chapel-en-le-Frith, honouring religion by her daily example. 
She remained partial to the Methodist usages to the last, and maintained a 
class-meeting in her house for many years. She died in 1803, aged 89. Her 
last words were, " Glory to thee, my Q-od ; peace thou givest me." Wesley 
imdoubtedly loved her, and she deserved his affection and his name. See Life 
and Times of Lady Huntingdon, vol. i., p. 45. 

t The catholic reader will, perhaps, be surprised to learn that Wesley's 
chief vexation in this respect was from evangeUcal parties. He frequently 
refers to them as inveigling away his converts, or "making havoc" of his 
societies ; and on one occasion (Journal, April 3, 1751) laments that he had 
to ** spend near ten minutes in controversy with them," more than he had 
" done in public for many months, perhaps years before." Charles Wesley 
seldom alludes to these proselytisers without a tinge of bitterness. They seem 
to have vexed his righteous soul more than any other class of Christians, 
except those lay Methodist preachers who favoured Dissent. He calls them 
** cavilling, contentious, always watching to steal away our children." (Jack- 
son's Charles Wesley, chap. 20.) Methodism has largely recruited its sister 
evangelical churches for a hundred years, but has characteristically avoided 
proselytism, though it has not deemed it right to repel appUcants for member- 
ship from other denominations. 


and Whitefield in his. Afber preaching in Whitefield's Tahemacle 
in Hymouth, he said : " Thus it behoveth us to trample on 
bigotiy and party zeal. Ought not all who love Gtod to love one 
another ?" " Mr. Whitefield," he wrote, during a visit* to Lon- 
don, " called upon me ; disputings are now no more ; we love one 
another, and join hand in hand to promote the cause of our com- 
mon Master."* He met "Whitefield, and the Calvinistic leaders 
on all convenient occasions, and at one time preached and ad- 
ministered the Lord's supper, at Lady Huntingdon's house in 
London, to Whitefield, Madan, Eomaine, Downing, Venn, Grif- 
fith Jones, and others.f Tenacious as these good men were of 
what they called the " Doctrines of Grace" they could not well 
quarrel while they saw that the great " Work of Q-race" was so 
triumphantly advancing through the country by the labours of 
both parties. 

Though Wesley's reputation and years now commanded too 
much public respect to allow of frequent disturbances from mobs, 
his lay preachers had still often to encounter them, especially 
in towns and villages where they preached for the first time. 
Among the bravest of the brave of these heroic men was Thomas 
Lee. Pew of his fellow-labourers endured severer " fights of 
affiction." Erom his childhood he had feared God, and main- 
tained an admirable purity of conduct. He uttered an oath when 
but four years old, but felt such compunction for it that he never 
swore again throughout his life. As early as his tenth or eleventh 
year he experienced deep religious impressions, and the words 
." everlasting" and "eternal" were much upon his mind. Li his 
fifteenth year, while an apprentice to the " worsted trade," he 
gave himself with fondness to books, and spent much of his 
leisure in reading the Scriptures, lie also found delight in 
prayer, and had many inward consolations, though he had never 
then heard any one speak of the comforts of the Holy Ghost. 
He was, in fine, one of those earnest, sensitive minds, numerous 
in all communities, present in nearly all congregations, who are 
ready to respond to the first faithful appeals of the pulpit, and 
who sprang forth everywhere with ardour on the first appearance 
of the Methodist itinerants of those times, recognizing their 
apostolic character, ready to weep at their feet, and to die with 
them in their persecutions. He heard Grimshaw, and made 

* Journal, anno 1756. 

t Wesley's text on this occasion shows his spirit. It was 1 Corinthian* 
jan^m^ff^low abideth faith, hope, charity, these three $ but the greatest of 

IJKGLAKD AlTD SCOTLAIH) : 1750 — 17(50. 27l 

many good resolutions, which were revived and deepened when 
he heard some of the humbler Methodist evangelists. " From 
that time," he writes, " my heart was so united to them that 
I dropped at once all my former companions and, blessed be 
God ! I have not from that hour had one desire to turn back." 

His scrupulous conscience was, however, a long time troubled 
with religious anxieties. He suspected that he was a hypocrite, 
and mentioned his fears to a friend, but got no comfort from the 
ambiguous reply given him. It was impossible, he says, to 
express the anguish he felt; he longed for death, though he 
believed himself unfit for it. But he omitted no religious duty ; 
with the consent of his master, who had the good sense to esteem 
him highly, he prayed daily in the family, and soon conducted 
domestic worship in neighbouring households. Being alone a 
great part of one day, and much engaged in meditation and 
prayer, he felt a persuasion that God was willing to receive him. 
He left his business immediately, and went to his usual place of 
prayer ; "in a moment," he says, " God broke in iipon my soul 
in so wonderful a manner that I could no longer doubt of His 
forgiving love. I cried, * My Lord and my God !* And with 
the spirit I was then in, I could have praised, and loved, and 
waited to all eternity."* 

His habit of praying in families had now prepared him to 
conduct prayer-meetings, and as Methodism pressed all its avail- 
able talent into use, he was soon holding such . services among 
his neighbours. He was invited to Harding Moor, Lingobin, 
and Thornton. No Methodist itinerant had yet appeared in 
these places, but the faithful young evangelist was enabled in a 
short time to deliver up a society in each of them to the travel- 
ling preachers. "Working at his business half the time for his 
subsistence, and exhorting and praying up and down the country, 
he founded Methodism not only in the villages named, but also 
at Long Addingham, at Greenough HiQ, at Hartwith, and other 
places. At Pateley Bridge he was initiated into the common lot 
of the Methodist evangelists, and received his first baptism of 
persecution from the clods, clubs, and stones of the mob. His 
meek and pure spirit was not weak, but displayed during this 
and later trials a heroism which John Nelson would have ad- 
mired. ""We have done enough," cried the mob, who were 
instigated by the parish clergyman — " we have done enough to 
make an end of him." " I did, indeed," says he, " reel to and fro, 
and my head was broken with a stone. But I never found my 

• Liyes of Ewrly Methodist Preachers, vol. ii. pige 196. 

272 HiSTOET or Methodism. 

soul more happy, nor was ever more composed in my closet. It 
was a glorious time, and there are several who date their conver- 
sion from that day." Such tests were very salutary to the early 
Methodist ministry. They drove cowards quickly from the 
ranks and made heroes of all others. He went to a neighbouring 
town, had his wounded head dressed, and the same day bravely 
preached in the street to a large crowd, many of whom had come 
with him from the scene of his sufferings. Some of the rioters 
had followed with them, biit as their clerical leader was not pre- 
sent they were restrained, " and the Lord blessed us much," says 
the evangelist. 

During four years did this good man travel about on foot, 
preaching and founding societies in neglected and obscure places. 
He was often, he says, thoroughly wet, and obliged to preach in 
his damp clothes from appointment to appointment. He worked 
at night that he might travel and preach by day. His appoint- 
ments multiplied so fast that he was at last obliged to give up 
business, buy a horse, and take the field as an itinerant ; it was 
much against his wOl, for though he had mdde full proof of his 
ministry his modesty shrunk from an honour so high, as he 
deemed it. The eccentric but generous Grimshaw could not 
fail to love such a man ; driving about Yorkshire night and day 
on his evangelical tours, he witnessed the usefulness of Lee, and 
inspiriting him by his own example, sent him out on one of his 
extended circuits for a month. He thus appeared formally among 
the travelling preachers of the day, and never disappeared from 
their ranks until he was summoned away to his final rest. 

We cannot, by tracing the travels of Whitefield and Wesley 
during this period, obtain a correct impression of the times. 
Their comparatively few persecutions would lead us to suppose 
that the populace had been almost universally subdued, but the 
subordinate labourers were still in many places confronting the 
fiercest mobs. It is incredible what trials Thomas Lee encountered 
during most of these years. In the winter of 1762 and 1753 
the work of Grod prospered exceedingly, he writes, throughout 
his long routes in "x orkshire ; " but persecution raged on every 
side." Wherever he went he was in perils, " carrying his life in 
his hands." One day, as he was going through Pateley, the cap- 
tain of the mob, who was kept in constant pay, pursued him, and 
pulled him from his horse. The crowd soon collected about him, 
and one or another " struck up his heels," he says, " more than 
twenty times upon the stones." They pulled him into a house 
bj the hair of his head, then pushed him back with one or two 

BITGLAND AND SCOTLAKD : 1750 — 1760. 273 

upon him, and threw him upon the edge of the stone stairs. The 
fall nearly broke his back, and for many years he suffered from 
the injury. Thence they dragged him to the common sewer, 
roUed him in it for some time, and then drove him to the bridge 
and threw him into the water. When they drew him out he was 
unable to rise from the ground, his strength being quite spent. 
His wife, who, like Nelson's, was worthy of him, now came to his 
relief with a few friends. Seeing her helping him, some of the 
rioters asked, "What, are you a Methodist?** and giving her 
several blows, which made her bleed at the mouth, swore they 
would put her into the river. All this time he lay upon the 
ground, the mob being undetermined what to do with him. Some 
cried, " Make an end of him ;" others were for sparing his life ; 
but the dispute was cut short by their agreeing to put other 
Methodists into the river ; and taking a number of them away 
for the purpose, they left him and his wife together. She endea- 
voured to raise him up, but having no strengm he dropped to the 
ground again. She again raised him, and supported him some 
distance, when by her assistance he was enabled to mount ahorse, 
and made out to ride to the house of a friend, where he was 
stripped from head to foot and washed. He left his wet clothes, 
and rode courageously to Grreenough Hill, where a congregation 
was waiting for him, and though " much bruised and very weak," 
he preached from Psalm xxxiv. 19 : " Many are the afflictions of 
the righteous ; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." 
He was not to be discouraged, and the next day was again pro- 
claiming his message. His brethren followed him to a neigh- 
bouring appointment ; but the leader of the mob came also, and 
with a long stick broke the glass of the windows while he 
preached. " This," he says, " made a little confusion at first, but 
afterwards the Lord poured down His blessing in an uncommon 
manner. Almost all were in tears, and the people took joyfully 
the spoiling of their goods." Thence he rode to Hartwith, where, 
he writes, " we had peace, and the power of the Lord was with 
us ;" but when the preaching of the day was over he was so 
bruised and sore that he could not undress himself without 
aid. Nearly a whole year ** hot persecutions" prevailed around 
him. The Methodists were violently abused in the streets. They 
applied to the Dean of Eipon for protection, but got none, for the 
Church would have suffered in the investigation. " But," remarks 
the persecuted preacher, " what made amends was, the members 
of the society loved each other dearly, and had exceedingly com- 
fortable seasons together;" and after one of his days of sore 



trial, lie says of their meeting, " it seemed to us little less than 
heaven ; and though it was a hard day, it was a blessed one to my 
soul." In later life he wrote that he remembered that once, 
during these times of trouble, when his life continually hung in 
suspense, a demurring thought occurred to him — " It is hard to 
have no respite, to be thus perpetually suffering." Immediately 
it was impressed upon his mind : " Did you not, when you were 
on the borders of despair, promise the Lord that if He would give 
you an assurance of His favour you would count no suffering, 
sorrow, nor affliction too great to be endured for His name's sake ?" 
This reflection at once silenced all murmuring, and thenceforth 
he bore whatever befell him with patience and joy, and felt willing 
to bear it as long as G-od saw meet, if it were to the end of his life. 

During the remainder of this period Thomas Lee preached on 
the Birst^, Leeds, Lincolnshire, Newcastle, and Manchester Cir- 
cuits. His labours were greatly effective, his circuits incredibly 
long. We may judge somewhat of the labours of the Methodist 
preachers of that day from the fact that his " Leeds round'* com- 
prehended Sheffield and York, and extended into Derbyshire 
on the south, to Hull on the east, and to Newton on the north. 
His Manchester Circuit included Lancashire, Cheshire, parts of 
Shropshire and of "Wales, Staffordshire, and part of Derbyshire. 
Throughout most of these years he suffered from mobs ; some- 
times the pulpit was torn out of the preaching-house, and burnt 
in the street ; at others eggs, " filled with blood and sealed with 
pitch," were thrown in upon the assemblies, " making strange 
work wherever they alighted." Mire, clods, and stones flew about 
him as he rode into or out of the towns ; the rioters beat him and 
his horse, knocked him off his horse, dragged him on the earth, 
poured water upon him from his head to his feet, covered him 
with paint," laying it on plenteously." Such was the treatment he 
received, particularly in Newark, in 1760. He was offered imme- 
diate relief if he would only promise to preach there no more ; 
but this, he says, he could not do. He suffered on tni he con- 
quered, and could write : " Thus ended the trouble in Newark ; 
since then the Word of God has prospered greatly, and a conve- 
nient preaching-house has been built, in which numerous congre- 
gations meet without disturbance." 

After years of such labours and trials, Thomas Lee wrote to 
Wesley : " If I this moment saw all the sufferings I have had for 
His name's sake ; if they were now spread before me I would say, 
* Lord, if thou wilt give me strength 1 will now begin again, and 
thou shalt add to them lions' dens and fiery furnaces, and by thy 

EN»LAlin> IlKD SCOTLAND: 1760 — 1760. 275 

grace I will go tlirough them all. My life, though attended with 
many crosses, has been a life of mercies. I count it one of the 
greatest favours that He still allows me to do a little for Him, 
and that He in any measure owns the Word which I am able to 
speak in His name. I beg that I may be humble at His feet all 
the days of my life, and may be more and more like Him whom 
my soul loveth."* 

One of the lay heroes of Methodism, especially in the north, 
during this period, was Christopher Hopper, a man distinguished 
through many years of faithful service. He describes his early 
life as especially wicked. t He was prone to anger, and of a cruel 
disposition, and took, he says, a diabolical pleasure in hanging 
dogs, worrying cats, and killing birds and insects, wringing ana 
cutting them to pieces. These, however, were the freaks of his 
misdirected childhood, for his heart was naturally tender, and his 
robust soul full of benificent energy, and during his youth his 
religious impressions were frequent and sometimes intense. He 
endeavoured to stifle them in singing, dancing, fishing, fowling, 
in hunting, cock-fighting, card-playing, racing, or *' whatever the 
devil brought to town or country,*' but could not succeed. The 
universe appeared to him, he writes, as a vault wherein true 
comfort was entombed, and the sun itself as a lamp to show the 
gloomy horrors of a guilty mind. " I was not happy," he adds, 
" yet I believed there was something that could make me so, but 
I knew not what it was, nor where to find it." His vigorous 
mind had meanwhile acquired no smaU amount of scientific know- 
ledge, and he became a school-teacher. Wesley passed through 
his neighbourhood; "he mad^ a short blaze," says Hopper, "soon 
disappeared, and left us in consternation." But Hopper felt the 
impression of his sermon. "At this time there wus a great 
bustle," he adds, " among all sorts and parties about religion, 
and I made a bustle among the rest. I said, I wiU read my 
Bible, say my prayers, go to the parish church, and reform my 
life." This, however, he soon perceived, was not sufficient to 
appease the moral cravings of his awakened spirit. EfCeves, one 
of the heroic itinerants who had been indicted at Cork as a 
vagabond, passed through the town, and under his preaching the 

* He died in 1786. Mary Lee, his devoted wife, who had stood by him 
amid mobs, wrote to Wesley of his last moments, that " he sobbed seyeral 
times, looked up once and smiled, closed his eyes, and gently fell asleep." 
Wesley records his death in the minutes of 1787, and calls him " a faithful 
brother, and a good old soldier of Jesus Christ." 

t Lives of Early Methodist Probers, vol. i., p. 25. 


baffled penitent saw what lie yet needed. "I am broken to 
pieces," he said ; " I am sick of sin, sick of myself, and sick of a 
vain world. I will therefore look unto the Lord." In deep 
compunction he called, upon G-od for relief, and soon found it. 
God, angels, men, and the whole creation, he writes, appeared 
then to him in a new light, and stood related to him in a manner 
he never before knew. This was what Wesley and the Methodists 
called conversion; the renovation of the soul, by which it is 
placed in harmony with all its just and pure relations to men and 
to Grod, and, in the consciousness iof that harmony, has a peace 
which passes expression. Wesley made him a class-leader. He 
began also to exhort with great success. His "poor old mother " 
was among the first fruits of his zeal. His brother and sister 
also soon acknowledged him the instrument of their conversion. 
Many of his former companions were reclaimed from their vices. 
The " fire kindled and the flame spread," and he was called to 
Low-Spen, Barlow, Woodside, Prudhoe, Newlands, Blanchland, 
Durham, Sunderland, and many other places, and before he was 
hardly aware what the result would be, he found himself preach- 
ing and itinerating. Persecutors attempted to seize and impress 
him for the army, but he escaped them in remarkable ways, 
sometimes leaving them to quarrel among themselves respecting 
him, and to end their disputes with "blows and bloody faces." 
Sectors and curates headed mobs to assail him, and answered his 
arguments with hard words and hard blows. He was indicted 
before a court, but nothing could be found against him. None 
of these things moved him ; " I gave," he says, " my soul, body, 
and substance to my adorable Saviour, and I grieved I had no 
more to give.*' 

Thus did Christopher Hopper do good service during these 
times, in founding and spreading Methodism in scores of towns 
and villages. He usually led a class every night, and preached 
three or four times every Sabbath. He made exciu'sions to 
Newcastle, Sunderland, and Durham, and towns and villages 
around his home to the distance of twenty or thirty miles, 
preaching with great power. He did not, he says, regard much a 
Httle dirt, a few rotten eggs, the sound of a cow's horn, the noise 
of bells, or a few snow-balls in their season, but he found occasion 
sometimes to think more seriously of salutations from the mob in 
blows, stones, brickbats and bludgeons. When he had to preach 
with a patch on his wounded head he gloried in it as a badge for 
his Lord. He spread Methodism greatly in Allendale, " where a 
glorious work broke out." He went from town to town, and from 

ENGLAiiTD ASD SCOTLAirD : 1750 — 1760. 277 

house to house, " singing, praying, preaching," and large multi- 
tudes followed him from place to place, weeping and praying. 
"Whole congregations were sometimes melted into tears under his 
discourses, and " bowed down before the Lord as the heart of one 
man." He preached in bams, cock-pits, ale-houses, and wherever 
he could find a door open for him. 

It would require many pages to detail the travels and labours 
of this faithful itinerant in England, Ireland, and Scotland ; the 
many mobs he encountered, and the many societies he founded. 
He was the first Methodist lay preacher, as we have recorded, 
who went into Scotland; and all the north of England still 
cherishes his memory. He did much during our present period 
to extend Methodism in that part of the country. Cownley, who 
had been his fellow-labourer in Ireland, was also with him, and 
they formed several societies which continue to this day. On the 
banks of the Tyne, in Prudhoe and JNTafferton, besides a variety of 
other places in that neighbourhood, numbers were awakened and 
converted. They endured no little persecution also. In one of 
Cownley's excursions into the Dales he was assaulted by a mob, 
which was headed by a clergyman. Warm from the village tavern, 
this zealous son of the Church advanced to the attack with the 
collected rabble. Cownley was preaching near the door of an 
honest Quaker, when the minister insisted that he was breaking 
the order of the Church, and began to recite the canon against 
conventicles. " If I am disorderly," answered the preacher, " you 
are not immaculate ;" and he reminded him of the canon " for 
sober conversation, and against frequenting ale-houses." Con- 
founded with the pertinent reply the parson retired for a while ; 
but mustering up his courage and his ale-house friends he re- 
turned, and with threats of prosecution began to take down the 
names of the hearers. A Quaker, who was one of the congrega- 
tion, hearing the menace, stepped up, and with unruffled gravity, 
clapped the curate on the back, and said, " Friend John, put my 
name down first." This ended the contest ; quite disconcertea, 
the clergyman withdrew and left the field to the Methodist, and 
it was never afterwards yielded. 

Both these noted itinerants were chief founders of Methodism 
in the Dales. During these years they met formidable difficulties, 
but left the region to their successors covered with a rich harvest, 
jand the " Dales" soon stood prominently on the list of circuits in 
the Conference Minutes.* 

* After labouring more than half a century in the itinerant ministry, 
Hopper died in 1802, aged eighty. While on his death-bed, the veteran 

278 HiSTOBY or Methodism. 

Of Charles Wesley's labours during the present decade, we 
have but disconnected traces in fragments of journals and undated 
letters. His family resided at Bristol, and as Methodism had 
now spread over the country, and was generally settled and sys- 
tematized, and its superintendence by his brother was almost 
ubiquitous, he ceased to itinerate in the latter part of 1756, and 
thenceforward mostly confined himself to its nead-quarters* in 
London and Bristol.* His passages between these cities were 
continual ; his pulpit and pastoral labours in. each more arduous, 
if possible, than when he travelled more at large. In the metro- 
polis he had charge of four principal chapels, besides other preach- 
ing-places, and the comimunion was administered by him every 
Sabbath, beginning at five o'clock in the morning. After the 
expulsion of Wheatley, he made an excursion over most of Eng- 
land, expressly to ascertain the moral condition of the lay ministry. 
Wheatley had reported that his own private flagrancies were 
common among these laborious and devoted men. Charles Wesley 
himself was suspicious that they were at least becoming disafiected 
towards the National Church, bis prejudices for which were now 
more strenuous by far than those of his brother. He assembled 
them in small coi&rences, at various points, and was surprised at 
their usefulness, integrity, and talents. He speaks of only two 
or three as deficient in abilities, and one he sent back to his secu- 
lar employment as intellectually incompetent for the ministry ; 
but he brought to London only favourable reports of the piety 
and ministerial decorum of them all.t 

Wesley lost, during the present period, one of the earliest 
coadjutors which the Established Church had afforded him. The 
Eev. John Meriton died on the 10th of August, 1753. He was a 
member of the first Wesleyan Conference, and attended most of 
the subsequent sessions down to the year of his death. He itiner- 
ated extensively in England, Wales, and Ireland. He was mobbed 
and imprisoned for the Grospel, and deserves a fuUer record in 
the history of the great revival for which he laboured and suffered 
so much ; but no traces of his useful life remain, except in brief 
yet frequent allusions of contemporary Methodist documents. 
Even the place of his death is unmentioned, and we know nothing 

said to a &iend : '* I bare not a doubt, no, not the sliadow of a doubt ; and 
as fop the enemy, I know not what has become of him. I have neither 
Been bim nor heard from him for some time. I think he has| quitted the 

* Jackson's Life of Charles Wesley, chap. 21. 

t Ibid., chap. 17. 

ekgIlOd and SCOTLAND : 1760 — 1760. 279 

of his last hours. Charles Wesley, howeyer, has embalmed his 
memory in an immortal elegy.* 

His place in the Methodist ranks was more than supplied by 
another Churchman, who came to "Wesley's assistance during the 

S resent period. In the "Short History of the People called 
lethodists," Wesley says : " March 13th, 1757, finding myself 
weak at Snowfields, I prayed that Qod, if He saw good, would 
send me help at the chapels. He did so. As soon as I had done 
preaching, Mr. Fletcher came, who had just then been ordained 
priest, and hastened to the chapel on purpose to assist me, as he 
supposed me to be alone. How wonderful are the ways of God ! 
When my bodily strength failed, and no clergyman in England 
was able and willing to assist me, He sent me help from the moun- 
tains of Switzerland! and a helpmeet for me in every respect! 
Where could I have found such another ?" Fletcher thus comes 
upon the scene, and comes as an angel of light. 

As the traveller sails along the north shore of the Lake of 
Geneva, Switzerland, interested in its rare scenery as well as in 
the literary associations which Gibbon, De Stael, and others have 
left, to Lausanne and Coppet, his eye is attracted by Nyon, a 
beautiful village between these towns. The large homestead of 
the Plecheres, descendants of a noble Savoyard house, stands 
prominently out among the humble dwellings of the villagers, and 
is still occupied by the family, who continue to maintain the name 
and religious reputation oi their house. John William de la 
Plechere was bom there in 1729. t He was early religiously in- 
clined, and was designed by his parents for the Church. His 
superior intellect gave him distinguished success in the prize 
competitions of the University of Geneva. On completing hia 
studies, he abandoned his intention of entering the ministry, one 
of his objections being his Arminian sentiments, and his conse- 
quent inability conscientiously to subscribe to the Calvinistic 
doctrines of the Church of his country. He chose a military life, 
and, going to Portugal, received a captaia's commission for Brazil, 
but accidentally failing to sail at the appointed time, he departed 
for Germany; a similar disappointment there induced him to go 
over to England. In London he heard the gospel faithfully 
preached, and became convinced that, notwithstanding his strict 
religious habits, he was yet an unregenerated man. " Is it pos- 

* See it in Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 18, English edition. It is 
omitted in the American edition. 

t Life of Eev. John William de la Flechere, etc., by Joseph Benson, 
chap. i. 


sible," he wrote, "that I who haye always been accounted ill 
religious, who have made divinity my study, and received titt 
premium of piety from my university for writings on divine suk 
jects — ^is it possible that I should yet be so ignorant as not te 
know what faith is ?" After a protracted struggle, he was enabled: 
to " believe with the heart unto righteousness." Never was tht 
doctrine of faith as the condition of spiritual life, the potent' 
element which "works by love," and secures both inward Iioline»^ 
and outward good works, more demonstrably exemplified than in 
the subsequent career of this rare man. At Wesley's instancei 
he took orders in the National Church. On March 6th, 1757, he 
was ordained a deacon, and on the following Sabbath a priest. He 
hastened the same day to "Wesley at "West Street Chapel, and 
assisted him in his services. Thenceforward he was Wesley's 
most ardent coadjutor in the Establishment; his counsellor, hia 
fellow-traveller at times in his evangelical itinerancy, an attendant 
at his Conferences, the champion of his theological views, and, 
above all, a saintly example of the life and power of Christianity 
as taught by Methodism, read and known, admired and loved hy 
Methodists throughout the world. Madeley, his vicarage, is 
familiar and dear to them next to Epworth itself. He will re- 
appear often in our narrative, and always#with a reflection of the 
glory of that Divine Presence with which he habitually lived in 
an intimacy and purity rarely if ever excelled by even the holiest 
men who have walked with God on earth. 

Wesley could not but be deeply impressed at the present time 
by the remarkable results of tlie Methodistic movement. He 
began his career without an anticipation of its consequences ; but 
the nation had now been, to a great extent, morally awakened, 
and the future was apparently pregnant with greater results than 
the past. Eeflecting on the subject while in London, he says: 
" Erom a deep sense of the amazmg work which G-od has of lite 
years wrought in England, I preached on those words, Ps. cxlyii. 
20, * He hath not dealt so with any nation ;' no, not even with 
Scotland nor New England. In both these God has, indeed, 
made bare His arm, yet not in so astonishing a manner as among 
us." This must appear, he argued, to all who impartially con- 
sider, 1. The number of persons who had been reformed ; 2. The 
swiftness of the work in many, who were both convinced and truly 
converted in a few days ; 3. Its depth in most of these, changing 
the heart, as well as the whole conversation; 4. Its clearness, 
enabling them boldly to say, " Thou hast loved me ; thou hast 
given thyself for me ;" 5. Its continuance. In Scotland and New 

ENGLAKD AND SCOTLAlTD : 1750 — 1760. 281 

England, reviyals had occurred ai; seyeral times, and for some 
weeks or months together; but the Methodist movement had 
lasted for about eighteen years without any observable intermis- 
sion. Above all, he adds, let it be remarked that a considerable 
number of the regular clergy were engaged in the great revival 
in Scotland, and in New !^gland above a hundred, perhaps as 
eminent as any in the whole province, not only for pie^, but also 
for abilities ; whereas in England there were only two or three 
inconsiderable clergymen, with a few young unlettered men, and 
these were opposed by well-nigh all the clergy as well as laity in 
the nation. '^ He that remarks this must needs own both that 
this is a work of God, and that He hath not wrought so in any 
other nation." 

"Wesley had now passed the middle period of life ; his opinions 
had in some respects moderated, but net his earnestness nor his 
labours. An habitual cheerfulness marked his daily life. His 
continual intercourse with all classes of men made him at home 
with all. He relished a good story, and could tell one with zest ; 
and his conversation was often anecdotal and playful. Both his 
religious feelings and natural temperament were exempt from 
gloominess. He loved children, and they never failed to love 
him. Books were his daily entertainment, and a relief to his 
increasing cares; he indulged in not only the graver kinds of 
reading, but in poetry, the drama,* fiction somewhat, and espe- 
cially the curious and entertaining researches of antiquaries. But 
notwitstanding these reliefs, his natural love of retirement and 
of studious habits led him often to long, amid his daily preachings 
and travels, and the care of all his Churches, for leisure and a 
place of rest. While hastening, like a courier, over Ireland, he 
paused on his way to Dublin in a village, among " a little earnest 
company," and wrote : " Oh, who should drag me into a great city, 
if I did not know there is another world ? How gladly could I 
spend the remainder of a busy life in solitude and retirement !" 

* The pious zeal of one of his preachers deprived him of the honour of 
taking rank among the numerous commentators of Shakspearo. John Fawson, 
a very holy man, had charge of the City Road Chapel after Wesley's death, and 
occupied the adjacent parsonage, Wesley's London home. He expurgated its 
library with iconoclastic zeal. Wesley's intimate friend and executor, Rev. 
Henry Moore, says, that " among the books which Mr. Pawson laid violent 
hands on and destroyed, was a fine quarto edition of Shakspeare^s Flays (pre- 
sented to Mr. Wesley by a gentleman in Dublin), the margin of which was 
filled toith critical notes by Mr. Wesley himself The good man judged them, 
and the work itself, " as among the Uhings which tended not to edification." 
Life of Rev. Henry Moore, p. 180. New York. 


Entering a solitary house cm. tlie romantic coast of Wales, where 
no other dwelling could be seen, he envied its humble tenants. 
" Here I was," he wrote, " in a little quiet, solitary spot, miiaime 
animo exoptatum meo ! — ^most heartily desired by me, where no 
human voice was heard but those of the family." Best in this 
life he knew could never be his lot, but he still hoped for a home. 

In 174!9, as has been stated, he designed to marry Grace Musr^ 
ray, who would have made him a congenial wife ; her natural 
amiability, her accomplishments and piety had evidently won his 
affection ; and he felt profoundly his disappointment, but re- 
lieved it by pursuing, with undiminished energy, his accustomed 

"With the advice of his friend and counsellor, Perronet, of 
Shoreham, he married, in 1752, Mrs. Yizelle, a widow lady of 
wealth, of intelligence, and of apparently every qualification 
necessary to render his home happy and exemplary. At his own 
instance, her ample property was secured, before the marriage, to 
herself and her children. She understood that he was not to 
abate his itinerant labours. He pursued them as usual, and in 
about two months after his marriage wrote in his Journal : " I 
cannot understand how a Methodist preacher can answer it to 
Q-od to preach one sermon or travel one day less in a married 
than in a single state. In this respect surely, * it remaineth that 
they who have wives be as though they had none.' " His wife 
travelled with him for some time, but soon very naturally grew 
dissatisfied with a life so restless and so incompatible with the 
tastes and convenience of her sex. Unwilling to travel herself, 
she became equally dissatisfied with her husband's habitual ab- 

* Watson (Life of Wesley, chap. 10) give&an extract from an impublished 
letter of Wesley, which proves both how deeply he felt, and how resolutely he 
bore his disappointment. "The sons of Zeruiah were too sf^rong for me. 
The whole world fought against me, but, above all, my own familiar friend. 
[Charles Wesley.] GChen was the word fulfilled : * Son of man, heboid I 
take firom thee the desire of thine eyes at a stroke, yet shalt thou not 
lament, neither shall thy tears run down.' The fatal, irrevocable stroke was 
struck on Thursday last. Yesterday I saw my friend (that was), and him 
to whom she is sacrificed. But why should a living man complain, a man 
for the punishment of his sins ?" Jackson (Life of Charles Wesley, chap. 
17) says that several letters of Wesley to his termagant wife, during his 
worst trials firom her, show ''the utmost tenderness of afiection, such as 
£bw female hearts could have withstood, and justify the opinion that had 
it been liis happiness to be married to a person who was worthy of him, he 
eould have been one of the most afiectionate husbands that ever lived. 
Those who think that he was constitutiDnally cold and repulsive utterly mis- 
take his character." 

ENGLAITD AITD SCOTLAND: 1750 — 1760. 283 

sence. Her discontent took at last the form of a monomaniaeal 
jealousy. During twenty years she persecuted him with un- 
founded suspicions and intolerable annoyances, and it is among 
the most admirable proofs of the genuine greatness of his charac- 
ter that his public career never wavered, never lost one jot of its 
energy or success, during this protracted domestic wretchedness. 
She repeatedly deserted him, but returned at his own earnest 
instance. She opened, interpolated, and then exposed to his 
enemies his correspondence,* and sometimes travelled a hundred 
miles to see, from a window, who accompanied him in his carriage. 
At last, taking with her portions of his Journals and papers, 
which she never restored, she left him with the assurance that 
she would never return. His allusion to the fact in his Journal 
is characteristically laconic. He knew not, he says, the immedi- 
ate cause of her determination, and adds : " Non earn reliqui, non 
dimissi, non revocabo*^ — I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss 
her, I will not recall her. She lived about ten years after leaving 
him. Her tombstone commemorated her virtues as a parent and 
a friend, but not as a wife.f 

To his domestic trials were added, in the latter part of 1753, 
the sufferings and anxieties of a perilous sickness. His symptoms 
— ^pains in the chest, cough, fever and debility — ^indicated a rapid 
consumption, and his physicians required an entire cessation of 
his labours and retirement in the country. The London societies 
became alarmed, and great anxiety soon spread among his people 
throughout the nation, for never before was his continued agency 
so apparently necessary to the stability of Methodism. Public 
prayers were offered for his restoration at the Poundry, and 
throughout the land as the afflicting intelligence extended. Charles 
"Wesley hastened to the metropolis, hardly expecting to see him 
alive. Unable to sit on his horse, he was conveyed to the country 
in a coach. On one day his death was hourly expected by his 
attendants; he was conscious of his danger, and, to prevent 

* She resided in Wesley's parsonage at the Foundry. Charles Wesley, 
whose family still continued at Bristol, found it necessary to guard them 
against allusions to her, in their correspondence with him, as she opened hia 
letters. Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 21. 

t Southey is candid in his account of this case, (Life of Wesley, chap. 24.) 
Watson supplies additional and necessary fitcts. (Life of Wesley,' chap. 10.) 
There is an intimation in Wesley's Journal as late as June 30, 1772, which 
seems to imply a temporary reconciliation. " Calling," he says, " at a Uttle 
inn on the Moors, I spoke a few words to an old man there, as my wife did to 
the woman of the house." At her death she left him a ring. Coke and 
Moore's Life of Wesley, ii. 4. 


" vile panegyric," wrote for his own epitaph this remarkable pn^ 
sage : " Here lietli the body of John Wesley, a brand pludced 
from the burning,* who died of a consumption in the fifbj-fini 
year of his age ; not leaving, after his debts are paid, ten pounds 
behind him.f Praying Gtod be merciful to me, an unprofitabb 
sinner, he ordered that this, if any inscription, should be placed 
on his tombstone." 

With his usual equanimity he pursued his literary laboim 
during this season of general anxiety among his people. Hie 
finished the books which he designed to insert in his '' Chiistiail 
Library," transcribed a part of his Journals for the press, and 
retiring, by order of his physician, to the Hotwells near Bristol, 
began there his Notes on the New Testament, with a new version 
of the text ; a work unrivalled among Biblical commentaries for 
its terseness, condensation, and pertinency, and a recognized 
standard of Methodist theology throughout his " Connection." 
In the spring he resumed his itinerant labours with renewed 
health and undiminished energy. 

To his many other trials was added during this period one 
which, by its undeserved and unexpected severity, and its per- 
nicious public influence, occasioned him no little suffering. Her- 
vey the author of the " Meditations" and " Contemplations," 
" Theron and Aspasio," and other works noted more for their 
meretricious style than for any intrinsic excellence, had been a 
member of the " Holy Club" at Oxford. Eminently pious, but 
feeble in health, he pursued, after leaving the university, a course 
of clerical labour in a retired parish ; he continued, however, to 
maintain a deep interest in the progress of Methodism, and 
sharing the Calvinistic opinions of Whitefield, was in habitual 
correspondence with him and Lady Huntingdon. He acknow- 
ledged himself to be under the greatest obligations to Wesley- 
till he entered the controversial lists against his Arminianism. 
He had admitted to his confidence William Cudworth, a man who 
was chiefly responsible for his alienation from the Wesleys, and 
at whose instigation he commenced his unfortunate "Eleven 
Letters." Hervey died in 1758 ; as his end approached, he di- 
rected that the manuscript of this work should be destroyed. His 
brother, however, judged that it would be a desirablejpecuniary 
speculation to publish it, and placed it in the hands of Cudworth 
to be finished, giving him liberty " to put out and put in" whatever 
he judged expedient. J Cudworth's Antinomian sentiments led him 

* See note on page 37. t See page 201. 

X See Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 21 ; and Coke and Moore's Life of 
Wesley, iii. 2. 

ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND: 1750 — 1760. 285 

to abhor "Wesley's opinions ; he caricatured them relentlessly by 
his interpolations of Hervey's pages, and sent forth in Hervey's 
name the first and most reckless and odious caveat against 
Methodism that ever emanated from any one who had sustained 
friendly relations to it. It was republished in Scotland, and 
tended much to forestall the spread of Methodism there. "Wesley 
felt keenly the injustice and heartlessness of this attack, but his 
sorrow was mitigated by the knowledge that most of the abuse in 
the publication was interpolated, and that Hervey, who had de- 
lighted to call him his ''friend and father," knew him too well to 
have thus struck at hhn from the grave. He answered the book ; 
but time has answered it more effectually — time, the invincible 
guardian of the characters of great men. 

Wesley had now the sympathy and co-operation of some 
zealous and able men among the regular clergy. He was still 
anxious that the momentous work on his hands should at last 
obtain the patronage and be continued imder the auspices of the 
Church. He lamented the general lack of zeal, the inefficiency, 
the secular motives, the ignorance and stupidity which character- 
ized many of its pastors. In 1756 he sent forth his " Address to 
the Clergy ;" it pleads earnestly for the best intellectual qualifica- 
tions of their office, and contends that without a knowledge of 
the original tongues of the Scriptures no clergyman can, " in the 
most effectual manner," expound and defend them ; " for with- 
out a knowledge of the literal meaning of every word, verse, and 
chapter, there can be no firm foundation on which the spiritual 
meaning can be built." But not for Biblical knowledge only does 
he plead ; Logic, History, and the Natural Sciences are advo- 
cated with much earnestness. He also insists upon the highest 
style of manners as necessary in the office ; " all the courtesy of 
the gentleman joined with the correctness of the scholar." St. 
Paul, he says, showed himself before Pelix, Festus, and Agrippa, 
" one of the best bred men, one of the finest gentlemen in the 
world." He rebukes with a tone of severe scorn the common 
remark of English fiimilies in high life, that '* the son who is 
fit for nothing else will do well enough for a parson." But on 
no prevalent evil of the order does he spend more remark and 
force than on the practical simony with which preferment was 
conducted. Gain, as a motive to the office, beyond a comfort- 
able subsistence, he reprobates as a disgrace to the profession, a 
profanation of its apostolic prestige, and a provocation of the Hl- 
will of the people. The moral standard of qualification for the 
ministry he lifts to the highest altitude. He would have his 


clerical brethren return to the simplicity, self-sacrifice, and martyiv 
spirit of the first ages, and this he pronounced the great requisita 
of the times for the salvation of the Church and the nation. HiD 
would have them, in other words, become genuine Methodiit 
preachers. " Is not," he asks, " His will the same with regard 
to us as with regard^to His first ambassadors ? Is not His lo?e 
and is not His power still the same as they were in the a-ncient 
days ? Know we not that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, 
to-day, and for ever ? Why then may not you be as burning and 
shining lights as those that shone seventeen hundred years ago ? 
Do you desire to partake of the same burning love ? of the same 
shining holiness ? Do you design it, aim at it, press on to this 
mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus ? 
Do you constantly and earnestly pray for it ? Then, as the 
Lord liveth, ye shall attain it !" His hope of an evangelical 
clergy in the National Establishment was not, however, to be 
verified in his own day, and Methodism was compelled to take 
care of itself. 



Whitefield "ranging" — His Good Hmnour — His Health — His steady Zeal — 
The New Tabernacle — Cordiality between Wesley and Whitefirfd — ^White- 
field in America — In Ireland — Terrible Mob in Dublin — DistdngmBlied 
Methodistic Churchmen — ^Berridge — Extraordinary Beligious Interest at 
Everton — Singular Conversion — Romaine — His Persecutions — His liabours 

■ — "SiB Writings — Madan — ^His Conyersion — His Eloquence — TTia Labours 

Venn — His Connection with the Methodist Founders — ^Moravian Metho- 
dism — Ingham — His Numerous Societies in Yorkshire — ^Their Diseq^line 

Their attempted Union with Wesley — Their Overthrow by Sandemaniamsm 
— Wesley's Legislative Ability — Death of Lady Ingham — Ingham's Death 
and Character. 

Eaelt in 1760 Whitefield went forth f5pom London "ranging " as 
he called it, through the land, and preaching with his usual 

Sower at Gloucester, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Nottingham, 
lanchester, and other places, till he reached Edinburgh. " In- 
vitations," he wrote, "came from every direction. ... I 
want more tongues, more bodies, more souls for the Lord Jesus."* 
He preached on his route about one hundred sermons, to a hun- 
dred and fifty thousand hearers, in less than three months. It 

• amies's Whitefield, chap. 14. 

CALviKiBTic mbthodism: 1760 — 1760. 287 

was amazing, he said, to see how the people were prepared for 
him in places which he had never visited before ; the Methodist 
lay preachers had been over most, if not all the ground, had 
tnnmphed over persecutions, and had prepared the whole land 
for him. 

His labours in Scotland at this visit are not minutely re- 
corded, but are said to have left a deep impression ; he preached 
from two to four times a-day till his health yielded. Many, he 
wrote, were under conviction, and hundreds received benefit and 
consolation from the Word. In a few months he was ranging 
through "Wales, where he rode five hundred miles, preaching twice 
eve^ day. 

ii 1751 he passed over to Ireland; he found in Dublin 
" many converted souls,'* and his congregations were large, and 
" heard for eternity." He hastened among the country towns, 
preaching daily, and in the most of the island he discovered that 
a great evangelical work had been advancing, though through 
prodigious opposition. Large numbers were converted not only 
trom Popery, but to a truly spiritual life, at Athlone, Dublin, 
Limerick, Cork, and various other places. Wesley and his lay 
preaches had stood the brunt of the first mobs, and had at last 
conquered, so that at this visit Whitefield scarcely met with 
opposition. Hundreds prayed for him as he left Cork ; and it 
is said that many Papists promised to leave their priests if he 
would stay among theuL He preached eighty times during his 
short stay of less than two months, and left the island for Scot- 
land, well satisfied with the brief retrospect. " Providence," he 
wrote, " has wonderfully prepared my way, and overruled every- 
thing for my greater acceptance. Everywhere there seems to be 
a shaking among the dry bones, and the trembling lamps of Gfod's 
people have been supplied with fresh oil. The Word ran and was 

On reappearing in Glasgow, he was received with renewed 
enthusiasm. Thousands attended his services every morning and 
evening, and seemed never to be weary. He was followed from 
town to town ; and many influential clergymen shared the popu- 
lar enthusiasm, admiring his devout spirit, and delighting in nis 
extraordinary eloquence and his social qualities ; for in the latter 
respect one of them describes him as exceedingly entertaining, 
and as " reviving " as in his sermons. A playful humour, rich in 
evangelical sentiment, strange as the collocation may seem, en- 
livened his social intercourse, and especially his (finner-table 
converse. '' One might challenge," says G-illies, alluding to this 



visit, " one might challenge the sons of pleasure, with all their 
wit, good humour, and gaiety, to furnish entertainment so 

At Edinburgh, the longer he stayed the larger were his con- 
gregations. In about twenty-eight successive days he preached 
to nearly ten thousand hearers a-day. It was during these ex- 
cessive labours that we first hear of his habit of " vomiting 
blood " after preaching. It would have terrified and sent into 
retirement, or to a healthier climate, any ordinary man; by 
Whitefield it now came to be considered a relief to his over- 
excited system, and seems to have continued during most of the 
remainder of his life.f 

He returned to London to embark again for America, where 
he spent the winter, labouring chiefly in G-eorgia and South 
Carolina. Unhappily we have no important records of this visit ; 
but it was doubtless, like all the rest of his career, a series of 
unintermitted labours. The epistolary fragments which afford 
glimpses of his movements, palpitate with life. " I intend to 
begin," he wrote, on hearing of the death of Doddridge — " I in- 
tend to begin, for as yet I have done nothing ; G-od quicken my 
tardy pace, and help me to do much work in a little time." In 
June, 1752, he was again in London, planning tours of the whole 
countrjr. " Oh that I could fly from pole to pole publishing 
the everlasting gospel!" he wrote, as he left the city to "range" 
through the west. At Bristol he stood up amid "Moorfields 
congregations," and saw the " old times revived again," and 
during a fortaiight flew like a herald over "Wales, preaching 
twenty times and travelling on horseback three hundred miles. 
"We next hear of him in Scotland again, where he rejoices over 
immense congregations, and the news of " a dozen young men " 
who were awakened under his preaching ten years before, and 
were now useful preachers. But soon he is on his southern 
route, passing as *' a flame of fire." The enthusiasm which had 
now borne him along as on wings for fifteen years suffered no 
abatement, but seemed rather to kindle into increased fervour. 
As he hastened southward from town to town, he wrote at Shef- 
field : " Since I left Newcastle I have scarce known sometimea 
whether I was in heaven or on earth. At Leeds, Birstal, 
Haworth, and Halifax, thousands and thousands have flocked 
twice a-day to hear the Word of Life. The Word has run so swiftly 
at Leeds that friends are come to fetch me back, and I am now 

* Memoirs of Whitefield, note, chap. 15. 

t Memoirs of Rev. Cornelius Winter, by Rer. William Jay. 

CALTDTLSTIO METHODISM: 1750 — 1760. 289 

going to Eotherham, Wakefield, Leeds, York, and Epworth. Oh 
that 1 had as many tongues as there are hairs upon mj head ! 
Fain would I die preaching." In fine, the whole temperament 
and genius of the man, as well as his religious sentiments, were 
suited to the extraordinary course of life he had adopted. Preach- 
ing was as natural to him as flight to an eagle. 

On March 1st, 1753, he laid the foundation-stone of the 
new Tabernacle, in London, on the site of the old structure 
which had been the theatre of his eloquence and usefulness. 
Wesley lent him the use of the Spitalfields' Chapel while the new 
edifice was rising, and their harmony became more than ever 
manifest. Whitefield continually revealed, during these times, 
the magnanimity of his great soul by proofs of liberality to- 
wards his Arminian coadjutors. He visited Norwich at the crisis 
of the trouble of Wheatley, and Bolton at the defection of 
Bennett, and in both cases pleaded with the societies to maintain 
their union and their fidelity to Wesley. As he formed few 
societies himself, most of his preaching excursions were, in effect, 
recruiting tours for the Wesleyan societies and the evangelical 
Dissenters. When Wesley was sick he hastened to visit him, 
but first sent a letter, written from the fulness of his heart. 
" If," he said, " you will be in the land of the living, I hope to 
pay my last respects to you next week. K not, farewell ! My 
heart is too big ! Tears trickle down too fast ; and I fear you 
are too weak for me to enlarge. May underneath you be 
Christ's everlasting arms ! I commend you to His never-failing 
mercy, and am your most affectionate, sympathizing, and afficted 
younger brother in the gospel." 

During this year he made what is supposed to have been hia 
most successful campaign in England ; we have not its details, 
but know that in three months he travelled twelve hundred miles, 
and delivered a hundred and eighty discourses to hundreds of 
thousands of hearers.* The Arminian Methodists welcomed him 
everywhere to their chapels, but no chapels could accommodate 
the people. At Leeds twenty thousand himg upon his word. 
All Yorkshire was roused with interest ; the Methodists thinned 
out the Minster and overawed the mob, says one of his biogra- 
phers.t Griasgow and Edinburgh again poured their tens of 
thousands out upon the public green to hear his thrilling words, 
and London rallied its still greater hosts. 

In March, 1754, he was again on the deck for America, ac- 
companied by a score of poor children, who were to receive shelter 
* Philip's Life and Times of Whitfield, chap. 19. f Ibid. 


in the Orphan Hoaae at his Bethesda, where he found a hundred 
and six persons in his family, '' black and white.'* He was soon 
ranging northward. At Philadelphia and New York the former 
scenes of enthusiastic interest were again enacted. Everywhere, 
he wrote, " a Divine power accompanied the Word ; prejudices 
were removed, and a more effectual door opened than ever for 
preaching the Gospel.** He projected a tour of two thousand 
miles to Boston, and back again to Georgia, and passed over it 
as on a triumphal march. In Bhode Island and Massachusetts he 
found " souls flying like doves to the windows," and opposition 
everywhere falling before him. President Burr accompanied him, 
and says that his magical eloquence attracted in the eastern me- 
tropohs weeping thousands every morning to his ante-breakfast 
sermons. Whitefield writes that he never saw a more effectual 
door opened for the truth. The godless were awakened, believers 
quickened, and enemies made at peace with him. Such was the 
eagerness of the crowd that it was often impossible for him to get 
into the pulpit except by climbing in at the windows. He went 
as far as Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where a cavalcade came out 
to meet him ; and returning he'preached two or three times af-day 
through his entire route. It was, perhaps, his most effective 
campaign in America. The trumpet of the truth was sounded 
.along its whole Atlantic coast, and the religious interest of all 
the colonies was roused. He himself regarded it as the most im- 
portant of his evangelical expeditions : " What have I seen ? 
Dagon falling everywhere before the ark; enemies silenced or 
made to own the finger of God ; and the friends of Jesus tri- 
umphing in His glorious conquests. A hundredth part cannot be 
told. We had scarcely one dry meeting." On his southern 
route hearers flocked forty and fifty miles to the points at which 
he was to pass. Unquestionably these mighty labours did much, 
io sustain and project forward those evangelical agencies which 
have since made the nation an arena of religious revivals and 
philanthropies. They were especially a fitting preliminary to the 
more systematic evangelization which Arminian Methodism was 
About to extend over the continent. 

In May, 1755, he was again in London, and began to preach 
amid the uproar of mobs at Long Acre, near the theatres ; drums, 
bells, and yells saluted him whenever he appeared there. Foote 
caricatured him on the boards of the theatre. Letters threatening 
his life were sent to him, and a ruffian came into the pulpit 
to attack him with clenched fist ; but he persisted till at last he 
saw rise, as his battery at the West End, the Tottenham Court 

OALYIiriSTIO MITHODISIC: 1750 — 1760. 291 

Chapel, subsequentlj renowned in the history of religion in 

In 1757 he reyisited both Scotland and Ireland ; the former 
with a heartier reception than eyer before^ the latter with an Irish 
welcome of stones, dods, and shillalahs. The Lord High Com-> 
missioner at Edinburgh treated him with distinction, and the 
clergy invited him to a public dinner. They also flocked to hear 
him, and as many as a hundred were present at a time in his im- 
mense congregations. On passing from these hospitalities into 
Ireland, he expected the cordial treatment he had reoeired at his 
preceding visit ; but while preaching on Oxmantovm Green, in 
Dublin, he received what was nearly, as he said, his '^parting 
blow from Satan." He finished his sermon, but could not return 
to his lodgings by the way he came. It was barricaded by the 
solid mass of the mob, so that he had to go nearly half a mile 
from one end of the Green to the other, through hundreds of 
excited Papists. A soldier and four Methodist preachers accom- 
panied him part of the way, but fled for their lives, and left him 
to the mercy of the rioters. Stones flew about him from all 
directions, and he reeled under them till he was breathless and 
dripping with blood. His strong beaver hat protected his head 
for some time, but was at last knocked ofl*, and left it defenceless. 
He received several severe wounds, one near his temples. He 
thought of Stephen, he says, and as he believed that he received 
more blows than the ancient martyr, he had great hopes that like 
him he should *' be despatched, and go off in this bloody triimiph" 
to the presence of his Lord ; but he staggered at last to a door, 
and was sheltered. Meanwhile the mob broke up his field-pulpit, 
and severely beat and wounded his servant with the fragments. 
Whitefield lay speechless and panting for some time in the house 
where he had taken refuge. A few of his friends had foUcAved 
him, and now washed the blood from his wounds ; but as soon as 
lie revived, the family, fearing their house would be demolished, 
'entreated him to leave them. As it was perilous for him to go 
out, a mechanic offered him his wig and cloak as a disguise. He 
put them on ; but, ashamed of such apparent cowardice, threw 
them off with disdain, determined to face the populace in his 
proper habit. A Methodist preacher brought a coach to the door, 
Wmtefield leaped in and rode unhuxt, and with what he calls 
** Gospel triumph," through whole streets of Papists, who threat- 
ened him at every step of the way. None, he says, but those 
who were spectators of the scene could form an idea of the 
affection with which he was received by the weeping, mourning, 


but now joyful Methodists. A Christian surgeon was ready to 
dress his wounds ; after which he went into the preaching-house, 
and having given a word of exhortation, *' joined in a hymn of 
praise and thanksgiving to Him who makes our extremity His 
opportunity, who stills the noise of the waves and the madness of 
the people." 

Under this memorable sermon, John Edwards, one of Wesley's 
ablest preachers, received the truth, and afterwards devoted him- 
self to similar labours and trials. Whitefield escaped from Dublin, 
but immediately resumed his work, preaching with great power 
at Athlone, Limerick, and Cork ; but soon left the island for more 
inviting fields, and returned no more. 

During the remainder of our present period he made several 
tours in England, "Wales, and Scotland, and the public interest 
augmented with every visit ; but in the north, with undiminished 
popularity, he had to adopt Wesley's lamentation over the moral 
insensibility of the Scotch. They crowded to hear him ; " but it 
is a dead time," he wrote ; " little or no stirring among the dry 
bones." He comforted himself, however, by his Calvinistic opinion 
of the Diviue sovereignty. Wesley declined that consolation. 

It was during these times that some of the most important 
coadjutors afforded by the National Church to the Calvinistie 
Methodists became prominently identified with the Methodistic 
movement. The names of Berridge, B-omaine, Madan, and Venn 
are consecrated in its annals. 

Eev. John Berridge, vicar of Everton, had been preaching for 
years without, as he believed, a true knowledge of personal re- 
ligion. In 1758 he invited a visit from Wesley. " A few months 
ago," writes the latter, " he was thoroughly convinced that by 
grace are we saved through faith. Immediately he began to pro- 
claim the redemption that is in Jesus, and God coDdfirmed Mb 
own words, exactly as He did at Bristol in the beginning, by 
working repentance and faith in the hearers, and with the same 
violent outward symptoms."* These violent symptoms were, in- 
deed, more extraordinary than had occurred under the preaching 
of either Wesley or Whitefield. Wesley has recorded them with 
much minuteness, and while it cannot be denied that they some- 
times took an extreme and even fanatical form, yet they were 
but the concomitants, the human infirmities, of a profound and 
wide-spread religious reformation. The Bev. Mr. Hicks, vicar of 
Wrestlingworth, Berridge's neighbour, entered zealously into the 
excitement. The whole region round about was astir. Curious 

* Journal, anno 1758. 

OALVINISTIC METHODISM: 1760 — 1760. 298 

or anxious multitudes came ten, twenty, and even thirty miles to 
hear these awakened clergymen, and witness the wonders which 
attended their labours; and few came who did not return to 
spread the excitement by a renewed religious life. Berridge's 
church was usually thronged, aisles, portals, and windows. The 
hearers crowded up the pulpit steps until the preacher was some- 
times nearly stifled with their breath, and scores fell helplessly to 
the floor, and were carried to the parsonage. The assembly was 
often swayed with irrepressible emotion, sometimes crying out 
' with groans and sobs, at others pervaded by a sound of *' loud 
breatlung, like that of people gasping for life." A spectator de- 
scribes the faces of " all the believers present as really shining at 
times ;" and he adds, " such a beauty, such a look of extreme 
happiness, and at the same time of Divine love and simplicity, 
did I never see in human faces tiU now." Berridge soon began 
to itinerate almost as energetically as Grimshaw ; and Everton, 
like Haworth, became the centre of an extensive range of evan- 
gelical labours. He often rode a hundred miles and delivered 
ten or twelve sermons a-week. He preached much in the open 
air. At Cambridge, standing upon a table, he addressed ten 
thousand hearers. At Stafford, where he had been curate, he 
was determined to preach " a G-ospel sermon," such as he de- 
clared he had never preached thel-e when responsible for the souls 
of the people ; he did so in a field to a host of wondering hearers. 
A robust man, who had been " chief captain of Satan's forces" in 
the town, and was noted for his profanity and readiness to horse- 
whip the Methodists, was suddenly seized with the "violent 
symptoms" which had before excited his mirth or his wrath. " I 
heard," says a correspondent of Wesley who was present, "a 
dreadful noise on the farther side of the congregation, and, turning 
thither, saw him coming forward, the most horrible human figure 
I ever saw. His large wig and hair were coal-black ; his face 
distorted beyond all description. He roared incessantly, throwing 
and clapping his hands together with his whole force. Several 
were terrified, and hastened out of his way. I was glad to hear 
him after awhile pray aloud. Not a few of the triflers grew 
serious, while his kindred and acquaintance were unwilling to 
believe even their own eyes and ears. They would fain have got 
him away, but he fell to the earth, crying, *My burden! my 
burden ! I cannot bear it !* Some of his brother scoffers were 
xjalling for horsewhips, till they saw him extended on his back at 
full length. His agonies lasted some hours ; then his body and 
soul were eased." 


It was estimated that, dariDg one year, at least four thousand 
souls had been awakened in this revival. "Wesley returned to the 
scene repeatedly to aid his two clerical brethren. He was startled 
at its marvels, and acknowledged the human infirmity which 
mixed with them ; but accredited not only as a Christian, but aa 
a Christian philosopher, the inestimable good which attended the 
excitement. Its excesses subsided, but its blessings remained* 
At a visit, after the novelty of the excitement had passed, "Wesley 
preached for Berridge, and observed " a remarkable diiFerence as 
to the marmer of the work. None now were in trances, none 
cried out, none fell down. A low murmur was heard, and many 
were refreshed with the multitude of peace, ^^ 

Eeviewing the case, he remarked that more or less of these 
outward symptoms had usually attended the beginning of a general 
religious interest. So it had been in New England, Scotland^ 
Hofiand, Ireland, and many parts of England ; but after a time 
they gradually decreased, and the revival proceeded more quietly. 
Those whom it pleases G-od to employ on such occasions ought, 
he adds, to be " quite passive in this respect ; they should choose 
nothing, but leave entirely to Him all the circumstances of Hia 
own work." 

Berridge continued his zealous course during more than twenty 
years. His theological opinions allied him with Whitefield, and 
ne became a notable champion of Calvinistic Methodism. He 
was rich, but liberal to excess, and rented preaching-houses, sup- 
ported lay preachers, and aided poor societies with an unsparing 
hand. He was a laborious student, and nearly as familiar with 
the classic languages as with his native tongue. Like most good 
men whose temperament renders them zealous, he had a rich vein 
of humour, .and his ready wit played freely but harmlessly through 
both his public and private discourse.* 

Roraaine had distinguished himself at Oxford, and as curate in 
Devonshire and Essex. He had met Warburton in controversy 
on the " Divine Legation of Moses." In the metropolis he was 
appointed to the Lectureship of St. Botolph's, and that of St*. 
Dunstan in the "West, as also to St. George's, Hanover Square, 
where he was morning preacher. His discourses were onginal 
and powerful, and his eloquence, inspired as much by his earnest-- 
ness as by his genius, soon attracted larger crowds than could be 

* Berridge died in 1793, aged 76. A host of evangelical clergymen had 
by that time appeared in the National Church, chiefly through the influence or 
Methodism. The venerable Simeon, of Cambridge, and several others of thetn^. 
hor^ Berridge to the grave, with the tears of thousands. 

cALYiNiSTio kstuopxsh: 1750 — 1760. 295 

accommodated in his churohes. lie had caught the Methodistic 
spirit of the times, and was now found to be too zealous, too 
urgent a preacher, and too strict a pastor for the satisfaction of 
his patrons. At St. Dunstan, where he held two lectureships, 
clamorous opposition was raised against him, and his rector re- 
fused him admission to the- pulpit. The dispute was brought be- 
fore the Court of King's Bench, and one of his lectureships was 
taken from him by the decision ; but the other was confirmed, and 
endowed with a salary of eighteen pounds a-year, which, notwith- 
standing his exalted talents and devoted character, was his chief 
support from the Church. On being removed from Hanover 
Square, Lady Huntingdon appointed him one of her chaplains. 
He thus became openly connected with the Methodists, but re- 
tained some time the lectureship of West Dunstan, where, how- 
ever, his evangelical zeal and doctrines gave such offence to the 
rector that he usually took possession of the pulpit before 
Itomaine could finish the liturgy, and thereby prevented his 
preaching. Another ruse of his opponents was to keep the church 
doors closed till the latest moment, while the crowds congregated 
in the streets, and at last rushed into the doors so precipitately as 
to endanger their lives. The wardens sometimes refused to light 
the church, and often did Eomaine address the multitude with 
but a single taper, which he held himself in one hand, while gesti- 
culating with the other in those powerful appeals that sent trem- 
bling amid the multitude, and at once astonished and exasperated 
his enemies. 

It was about the beginning of our present period that he en- 
tered the Methodist ranks as chaplain to Lady Huntingdon, He 
preached often with Whitefield, tne Wesleys, Fletcher, and others 
at her mansion. He made frequent evangelical tours into the 
country, and proclaimed the Word at all opportunities with signal 
effect. He first took his stand as an " open-air'* preacher at 
Haworth with his friend Grimshaw. He laboured with Ingham's 
Moravian Methodist societies in Yorkshire, and travelled exten- 
sively in Sussex and Hampshire with the Countess of Hunting- 
don, preaching incessantly. He accompanied Madan to Everton, 
and co-operated with Berridge amid the extraordinary scenes that 
occurred there and throughout the neighbouring region. Hia 
opinions were strongly Calvinistic, and he was unreserved in 
his dissent from some of the peculiar sentiments of Wesley, but 
met him frequently in the catholic services of Ladj Hun- 
tingdon's mansion, sharing in his prayers and preaching, and 
receiving from his hands the Lord's Supper. Eomaine became 


rector of St. Andrew, "Wardrobe, and St. Anne's, Blackfriars, and 
died a faithful adherent to the National Church. His numerous 
works— "the Life of Faith," "Walk of Faith," "Triumph of 
Faith," " Self-existence of Jesus Christ," " Sermons on the Hun- 
dred and Seventh Psalm," and others — are precious exponents of the 
resuscitated evangelical spirit of the times, and continue to have a 
salutary influence on the Calvinistic piety of England and America. 

A young lawyer of brilliant talents and aristocratic relations 
was in the habit of meeting with his gay associates at a coffee- 
house in London. He was the wit of the company, and at one 
of their meetings, when Wesley was to preach in the neighbour- 
hood, his companions sent him to hear the itinerant apostle, in 
order to give them a mimicked specimen of his preaching. Just 
as he entered the place of worship Wesley announced his text, 
" Prepare to meet thy God .'" It struck the young man's con- 
science ; he listened with emotion to the sermon, and thence- 
forward the career of his life was changed. On returning as a 
necessary courtesy to his company at the coffee-house, they asked 
him if he had "taken off the old Methodist ?" " No, gentlemen," 
was his reply, "but he has taken me off," and he retired from 
their circle to return no more. 

Lady Huntingdon was personally intimate with his mother, 
and the young convert found in the friend of his parent a reli- 
gious guide : he became a faithful attendant at the devotional 
meetings which were held continually at the house of the Countess. 
The possessor of an opulent fortune, he had no pecuniary motive 
to seek a lucrative position in the Church ; and being a superior 
scholar, he had little need of preliminary training for the pulpit. 
He quickly owned his Methodistic principles, and sought ordina- 
tion, not, however, without some obstructions, though his brother 
was a bishop. He delivered his first sermon at Allhallows, Lon- 
don, to a large assembly, attracted mostly by the novelty of the 
fact that a lawyer had turned preacher. But his power as a pul- 
pit orator was immediately revealed, and thenceforward could not 
fail to secure him crowds of hearers. Tall and commanding in 
stature, majestic in countenance, unusually dignified and grace- 
ful in manner, and, above all, profoundly impressed himself with 
the truth he delivered, his audience was struck with surprise, and 
his entrance upon the sacred office was " hailed with the acclaims 
of the friends of religion, who heard the doctrines of the Reforma- 
tion nobly defended by an able advocate, whose knowledge was 
equal to his zeal,"* Wesley had scarcely made a more notable 

* Life and Times of the Countess of Huntingdon, chap. 10. 

CiLLVINIBTIC METHODISM: 1760 — 1760. 297 

convert, and had never given to his Calvinistic brethren a more 
important trophy. Such was Eev. Martin Madan. During the 
present decade of our narrative he was prominent in the Metho- 
distic movement. He traversed much of the country with 
Eomaine, Venn, Lady Huntingdon, and Wesley, proclaiming the 
truth with great effect. He continued to labour as an evange- 
list, and as chaplain to the celebrated Lock Hospital, till the 
publication of his " Thelypthora ; or. Treatise on Female Ruin," 
a work of benevolent intention but of fallacious theories, which 
greatly diminished his usefulness. 

Bev. Henry Venn was curate of Clapham, and served three 
lectureships in the metropolis. He heard Whitefield often in 
both places, and his intimacy with Bryan Broughton, one of the 
original Methodists at Oxford and a coadjutor and correspon- 
dent of "Wesley and Whitefield, led him to sympathize with the 
great revival which Methodism was extending over the land. He 
accompanied Whitefield and Madan on an itinerant excursion into 
Gloucestershire, and was thus initiated into those " never* me- 
thods of ministerial labour which distinguished his new friends, 
and which he pursued, as he found opportunity, the remainder of 
his useful life. Whitefield, in a letter to Lady Huntingdon, de- 
scribes him as " valiant for the truth, a son of thunder ; he labours 
abundantly, and his sincerity has been owned of the Lord in the 
conversion of sinners. Thanks be to God for such an instrument 
as this to strengthen our hands!" During more than thirty 
years he co-operated zealously with Whitefield, the Wesleys, and 
Howell Harris in many parts of England and Wales. He ad- 
hered stedfastly to the Church after the necessary secession of 
Lady Huntingdon's societies, but continued the " irregularities " 
of his labours, preaching in private houses, bams, and sometimes 
in the open air, till the disabilities of age compelled him to retire.* 
Like Berridge and Grimshaw, he made his parish at Huddersfield, 
the head-quarters of extensive labours in all the neighbouring 
region. No less than thirteen young men, who had been con- 
verted by his instrumentality, entered the ministry, chiefly in In- 
dependent churches. Besides his regular Sabbath services, he 
usually preached eight or ten sermons each week in remote parts 

* See page 125. The attempt of Yenn's biographers (his son and grandson) 
to clear him from the noble reproach of Methodism is too futile to need re- 
mark. The reader will find it answered in Lady Huntingdon's Life and 
Times, chap. 17, and Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 18. The motivo of 
his biographers was as reprehensible as their attempt was unsuccessful. Yenn 
corresponded through thirty years with Lady Huntingdon, but not one of tho 
letters is inserted in his Memoir. 

298 HI8T0BY 07 KSTH0DI81C. 

of his parish, and many of them were delivered in the open air. 
He found, he says, his " out-door preaching much owned of the 
Lord.'** He was the correspondent as well as the co-labourer 
of the Wesleys, and his name continually recurs on the pages of 
their journals during these times. In the theological world he 
is noted as the author of " The Complete Duty of Man," an able 
attempt to correct the defects of the more famous ** Whole Duty 
of Man." 

Thus did an illustrious constellation of Churchmen — Pletcher, 
G-rimshaw, Berridge, Thompson, Eomaine, Madan, Venn, and 
others — gather around the elder lights of Methodism in this me* 
morable decade of its history. They reflected much lustre upon, 
but borrowed more from it ; and they owe their chief importance 
in ecclesiastical history to the fact that they were Methodists a» 
well as Churchmen. 

We have contemplated the Methodistic movement thus far aa 
advancing chiefly in two separate though nearly parallel lines — 
Arminian and Calvinistic. We have had occasional glimpses, 
however, of a third development of the great revival, one which 
reached a crisis, worthy of particular attention, towards the end of 
this period. Both the Arminian and the Calvinistic Methodist 
bodies suflbred no little inconvenience from the English excesses 
of Moravianism, after the separation of Wesley and Lady Hunt* 
ingdon from it in London. The most difficult cases of discipline 
in their respective communities came from this source. These 
excesses were temporary, however, and no desirable purpose could ^ 
be promoted by a record of them in our pages. Ingham, one of 
the Oxford Methodists, and the companion of Wesley in Georgia^ 
was impressed like Wesley himself, on the sea and at Savannah,, 
by the simplicity and moral beauty of the Moravian religious life* 
On their return to England he accompanied Wesley to Herrnhut^ 
and so strong became his sympathies with these excellent people 
that he could not sacrifice his attachment to them when the 
Methodists revolted from the disorders of the Fetter Lane society^ 
He went into Yorkshire, and with incredible itinerant labours^. 
assisted by Moravian companions, he founded there what may be 
called a Moravian form of Methodism. Preaching stations were 
established throughout the county and in neighbouring shiresi. 
At Birstal he took Nelson publicly by the hand, and gave him 
liberty to speak in all his chapels. The Wesleys, Whitefield^ 
Madan, and Eomaine often preached for his societies, and they 
seem to have been generally recognized by the Methodistio 

* Letter to the Countess of Huntingdon. Life and Times, etc, ohap. l7» 

MOBAVIAir KBTH0DI81C : 1760—1760. 29^ 

leaders as a legitimate branch of the great revival, notwith- 
standing Wesley's people in Yorkshire experienced many vexa- 
tions from the eccentricities of individual preachers, who retained 
some of the London Moravian follies. The student of the con- 
temporary Methodist documents is surprised at the frequent 
allusions made to these ''Inghamite societies," and their numerical 
and moral importance. They multiplied till no less than eighty- 
four were reported. John Cennick joined them, after leaving 
successively Wesley and Whitefield. Grimshaw delighted to. 
mount his itinerant steed and scour the country among them, for 
his great soul could never pause to consider merely geographical 
or ecclesiastical distinctions. Their preachers often accompanied 
Wesley in his travels in that part of the kingdom ; two of them, 
Batty and Colbeck, stood with him, like good soldiers of the Lord 
Jesus, in the fiery fight of affliction which he and Grimshaw en- 
countered from the Colne mob at Eoughlee, and Grimshaw and 
Ingham had a severe conflict previously with the same rabble. 

Count Zinzendorf and his son-in-law. Bishop Johannes de 
WatteviUe, visited them, and assisted in the organization of their 
discipline. On the accession of a new member he was presented 
with a ticket, by which he had admission to all their services,, 
consisting of public meetings, choir meetings of men and choir 
meetings of women, and many other peculiar occasions. They 
had circuits for preaching, .which compnsed Yorkshire, Westmore- 
land, Cumberland, and Lincolnshire, with portions of Cheshire 
and Derbyshire. Ingham was admitted to Wesley's Conference 
in Leeds, but the precise relation of his societies to the Wesleyan 
body was never defined. He had his own conferences also, and 
at one of them was elected a general overseer, or bishop. Lady 
Huntingdon, who could not approve all the disciplinarv feature* 
of his societies, attempted to promote a union of them with 
Wesley, and she sent Whitefield to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to- 
meet the Wesleys for consultation on the subject. Charles 
assented, but John declined the overture. He was sagacious 
enough to perceive its dangerous liabilities, for he knew well the 
incoherent elements of the mongrel association, and the impossi- 
bility of subordinating them to the strict regimen which he had 
been able to establish among his own people, and by which alone- 
these reclaimed multitudes could be kept together. Events soon 
confirmed his wise judgment. 

In 1769 Ingham read " Sandeman's Letters on Theron and 
Aspasio," and " Glas's Testimony of the Kin^ of Martyrs.'* 
These works produced such an impression on his mind that he 


deputed two of his preachers to Scotland to learn more fully the 
views of their authors. At Edinburgh they met Sandeman, and 
Glas at Dundee. They returned converts to the Sandemanian 
principles, and immediately spread discontent and disputes ^mong 
the societies. Ingham^s authority could not control the partisan 
violence which soon broke out. He called in the assistance of 
his friends. The Countess of Huntingdon wrote them' letters. 
"Whitefield felt deeply for them, "wept and prayed," and used 
his influence to save them. Bomaine hastened into Yorkshire, 
but could not restrain them. Ingham attempted to excommuni- 
cate the disturbers, but it was an endless task. The whole order 
was wrecked and sunk. Thirteen societies only remained from 
more than eighty which had flourished with all the evidences of 
permanent prosperity.* 

Discipline and authority, such as Wesley alone among tlie 
Methodist foimders seemed capable of establishing, were neces- 
sary to any enduring organization of the various and crude 
elements which Methodism gathered from the degraded masses of 
the English populace. The Countess of Himtingdon resembled 
him most in capacity for government. She attempted, as we 
shall hereafter see, to give an organized unity to the Calvinistic 
Methodists, but her effort was too late to prevent the threefold 
division which at last took place among them, and their conse- 
quent declension. 

The fate of Ingham's societies is one of the best vindications 
of Wesley's wisdom as an ecclesiastical legislator. The dispersion 
of these societies, however, left some good results. Many of them 
were merged in the Wesleyan or Dissenting bodies, especially in 
the class of Scotch Presbyterians called Daleites. Many of tneir 
preachers remained useful men, and the disaster was much relieved 
by the consideration that Wesleyan Methodism took general pos- 
session of Yorkshire, and that two Methodistic orders were hardly 
necessary at the time of Ingham's failure. 

Ingham left the Moravians through Lady Huntingdon's in- 
fluence. He sank into temporary despondence after the breaking 
up of his societies. He deemed their overthrow a divine judg- 
ment upon himself, and seemed inconsolable for some time, but 
recovered his tranquillity at last. His wife. Lady Margaret 
Hastings, sister-in-law of the Countess of Huntingdon, and the 

* Sandemanianism was afterwards introduced into New England, but failed 
by its own distractions. Sandeman died in Danbury, Connecticut. His tomb 
is still preserved there, and slight traces of Sandemanianism linger in the 


MOBATIAK METHOPISM: 1750 — 1760. 301 

instrument of introducing the latter to the Methodists, rapidly 
declined in health soon after these events, but her afflicted 
husband was comforted by the moral beauty with which the sun 
of her life went down. " Thanks be to God," she exclaimed in 
her agony, " Thanks be to God, the moment has come, the day is 
dawning!" and died. "When she had no longer strength to 
speak to me," wrote Ingham, *' she looked most sweetly at me 
and smiled. On the Tuesday before she died, when she had 
opened her heart to me and declared the ground of her hope, her 
eyes sparkled with divine joy, her countenance shone, her cheeks 
were ruddy ; I never saw her look so sweet and lovely in my life. 
All about her were affected ; no one could refrain from tears, and 
yet it was a delight to be with her."* She occupies a conspicuous 
place among the " elect ladies " of early Methodism. 

Four years later Ingham follovred her into the rest that 
remaineth for the people of God. He is reported to have been 
in person imcommonly handsome — " too handsome for a man " — 
a gentleman in manners, a saint in temper, and an apostle in 
labours. He contributed greatly to the Methodistic revival, and, 
notwithstanding some errors, deserves an honourable record in 
its annal^. 



CONFERENCES: 1750—1760. 

Deficient Records of the Conferences — Salary of the Preachers — Prominent 
Members at the Session of 1753 — Separation of Prominent Preachers — 
Tendency to Dissent — ^The Perronets — Charles Wesley's High Church 
Prejudices — Critical Importance of the Session of 1755 — Question of Sepa- 
ration from the National Church — Charles Wesley's hasty Conduct — Was 
Dissent expedient at this Time? — ^Wesley writes his ''Twelve Reasons 
against a Separation from the Church of England" — Wesley as a Re- 
former — His Opinion of John Knox — Historical Importance of his Con- 
servatism — His Ecclesiastical Opinions at this time — Subsequent Sessions 
— Conference Examination of Character introduced. 

CoNFEBENCES wore held annually, and oftener during the present 
period, but no authentic IVIinutes remain of any sessions except 
two, and of these our accounts are very meagre. 

* The pious Romaine wrote to a friend : " I got a good advancement by 
the death of Lady Margaret, and was led into a sweet path of meditation, in 
which I went on contemplating till my heart burned within me. . , . Many a 
time my spirit has been refreshed with hearing her relate simply and feeHngly 
how Jesus was her life." 



To the session of 1750 alliiftion has already been made. Be- 
«pecting that of 1751, held at Bristol, Wesley expressed much 
anidety ; many of his preachers were tired of his forbearance with 
the national clergy, and ^ of the dependence of 4;he Methodist 
societies upon them 'for the sacraments, and some of both 
preachers and societies were eager for open Dissent. He also 
suspected, though erroneously, other grievances. He says, *' My 
spirit was much bowed down among them, fearing some of them 
were perverted from the simplicity of the gospel; but I was 
revived by the sight of John Haime and John ^Nelson, knowing 
they held the truth as it is in Jesus, and did not hold it 'in un- 
righteousness. The more we conversed the more brotherly love 
increased. I expected to have heard many objections to our first 
doctrines, but none appeared to have any ; we seemed to be all 
of one mind, as well as one heart."* He held a second Confer- 
ence the same year at Leeds ; thirty preachers were present ; he 
particularly inquired " concerning their grace, gifbs, and fruits, 
and found reason to doubt of one only." 

At the Conference of 1752 an attempt was made to provide 
better support for the preachers. Hitherto their only j)ecuniary 
<5laim was for the payment of their travelling expenses by the 
stewards of Circuits ; their board was gratuitously given by 
members of the societies as they passed along from town to 
town; any other assistance was in the form of donations, and 
^as scarcely enough to provide them with clothing and books. 
It was now ordained that each preacher should be supplied with 
twelve pounds per annum. Por many years, however, this 
meagre allowance was seldom provided, and the self-denying 
itinerants had to be content with what partial payments their 
brethren could make. 

We have a list of the members present at the tenth Con- 
ference, held May 22nd, 1753, at Leeds. Grimshaw, Hopper, 
Shent, Walsh, Nelson, Hampson, Edward Perronet, John Haime, 
with many others, attended. GDwelve local preachers and four lay- 
men were also recognized as members. At this session it was 
resolved that the Conference should thereafter sit successively at 
London, Bristol, and Leeds. Some suggestions were adopted re- 
specting the best modes of suppressing discords in the societies, 
which were occasioned by Moravian and Calvinistic influences.f 
The eleventh session was held in London, May 22nd, 1754. 
Wesley says : " The spirit of peace and love was in the midst of 
us. ^Before we parted we all wiUingly signed an agreement not 

♦ Journal, anno 1751. f Smith's History of MetLodism, look ii. chap. 3. 

C0N71EBirCE8 , tSOM 1750 TO 1760. 303 

to act independently of each other, so that the breach lately- 
made has only united us more closely than ever." 'Eiye able 
?reachers, Jonathan Beeves, John lidwards, Samuel Larwood, 
Iharles Skelton, and John Whitforth, had retired from the 
itinerancy. The lack of pecuniary support for their families 
seems to have been the chief motive for their secession. Beeves 
became a useful minister of the Established Church ; the others 
were settled as independent pastors. The written pledge men- 
tioned by Wesley seems to have been designed as a guard against 
any future liability of the kind. 

* ♦ The ensuing year was attended by new diffictQties. Some of 
the ablest of the lay preachers were disposed to concede the 
reasonable demand of the people for the sacraments from their 
own pastors. In many cases the national clergy, upon whom the 
societies were dependent for these means of grace, were flagi- 
tiously unmoral ; they had been often found at the head of mobs 
attacking the Methodists who were to receive the Eucharist firom 
their hands the next Sabbath. In not a few instances the 
Methodists were denied the right of communion. "Wesley him- 
self had been repelled &om the sacramental altar by the drunken 
curate of Epworth ; his brother had been treated in like manner 
in Wales ; his adherents were so treated in Bristol, Leeds, and 
parts of Derbyshire. Neither the good temper nor the good 
sense of his people could require them to submit to this privation 
and such outrages. Joseph Cownley, whom Wesley considered 
one of the best preachers in England, demanded for himself and 
his brethren the right, as legitimate ministers of the gospel, to 
supply their persecuted people with the sacraments; Thomas 
Walsh, and Edward and Charles Perronet, joined them in this 
demand, and actually began to administer them.* Charles Wes- 
ley, whose mind, less noble than his heart, was perpetually 
fettered by his High Church sentiments, became alarmed. His 
influence over his brother on any disputed question was feeble, 
and deservedly so, for on ecclesiastical questions especially he 
seemed incapable of progress, only because, through his strong 
prejudices, he was incapable of logic. He endeavoured to in- 
fluence his brother by correspondence with his friends. Walter 
Sellon, who had been a Methodist itinerant, but was now a curate 

* Edward Perronet afterwards ceased to travel, through his opposition to 
Wesley's adherence to the Church. He settled at Canterbury as a Dissenting 
pastor, and wrote a seyere satire against the Establishment, entitled The 
Mitre. Charles Perronet continued in the itinerancy till 1776, when he died 
at his post. 


in Leicestershire, and retained much influence with Wesley, was 
employed by Charles to defeat the new tendencies.* Charles 
also meanwhile remonstrated with his brother. He knew that 
John had declared his belief in the equality of presbyters and 
bishops, and suspected that he had, as a presbyter, secretly 
ordained some of the malcontent preachers. 

As the Conference of 1755 approached much anxiety was felt 
for the decision which might be reached on the question. It was 
likely to be an important crisis in the history of Methodism, and 
the correspondence between Charles Wesley and Sellon became 
eager. The latter was to attend the Conference and plead for 
" the Church ;" Grimshaw was to be present only to take leave 
of them if they took leave of the Church. The session began on 
the 6th of May, 1755, at Leeds. Its prospective importance 
brought together no less than sixty-three preachers, the largest 
number that had yet assembled at any Conference. The main 
question proposed for discussion was whether they ought to sepa- 
rate from the Establishment. It was debated through three days. 
John Wesley records the result ; whatever was advanced, he says, 
on the one side or the other, was seriously and calmly considered ; 
and on the third day they were aU fuUy agreed in the general 
conclusion that, whether it was lawful or not, it was no way 
expedient to separate from the Church. f Walsh and his associ- 
ates consented, for the sake of peace, to cease to administer the 
sacraments. John Wesley said that when he reflected on their 
answer he admired their spirit and was ashamed of his own. 
He acknowledged that though he " did not fluctuate, yet he could 
not answer the arguments " on their side of the question ; but 
his brother seemed incapable of understanding his liberality. " I 
have no fear about this matter," wrote John ; " I only fear the 
preachers' or the people's leaving, not the Church, but the love of 
G-od and inward or outward holiness. To this I press them for- 
ward continually. I dare not in conscience spend my time and 
strength on externals. If, as my lady says, all outward esta- 
blishments are Babel, so is this establishment. Let it stand, for 
me ; I neither set it up nor puU it down. But let you and I 
build up the city of God." 

In another letter, alluding to the excommunication of a 
clergyman by the Bishop of London for preaching " without 
license," he wrote : *' It is probable the point will now be deter- 
mined concerning the Church, for if we must either dissent or 
he silent y actiiam est. We have no time to trifle." " Church or 

* Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 19. t Wesley's Journal, anno 1755. 

CONFSBXKOEB FBOH 1750 TO 1760. 805 

no Church," he again wrote, "we must attend to the work of 
saying souls."* This was as generously as it was bravely said ; 
and especially does it appear so when we consider the coomess of 
his temper and the tenacity of his attachment to the Church. 

Though Charles Wesley had secured his main design, he per- 
ceiyed that it was a concession made by the Christian spirit of 
the discontented preachers. Their manly good sense had not 
yielded to new conyictions respecting the right they claimed. 
Some of them were as able men as the pulpits of England could 
present. They and their people had borne long and patiently 
the maltreatment of the Established clergy; they could make 
out an unanswerable argument from the best ecclesiastical 
authorities of the Anglican Church for their new claim ; they 
proved both their good sense and good temper by suspending it 
lor the sake of peace ; but Charles Wesley saw clearly enough 
that it was only suspended, that such men could not always be 
treated as children, and unwilling, if not incapable, through his 
obstinate " Churchmanship," of sharing their generous spirit of 
concession, he had no sooner secured his purpose than he retired 
from the Conference and left the town without taking leave of 
even his brother. *' I took French leave this morning,*' he wrote 
to his family : " the wound is healed — slightly J^ And at a subse- 
quent date ne dclareed himself " done with Conferences for ever,*' 
a rash assertion, which he afterwards practically recalled. The 
pertinacity and precipitancy of his conduct in this whole affair is 
in unfortunate contrast with the charitable and considerate course 
of the lay preachers. Methodism owes inestimable obligations to 
Charles Wesley for the unrivalled Psalmody which he gave it, and 
for his eloquence, his travels, and his sufferings in its behalf. 
His ecclesiasticism, however, continually retarded its develop- 
ment, and had he ultimately prevailed he would have defeated 
one of the most momentous measures in its history — its American 
organization. While the moderation of the lay preachers cannot 
feil to command our admiration, its expediency is not imques- 
tionable. Had Methodism taken a more independent stand at 
this early period, when it had so many intolerable provocations 
from the Establishment, and the popular mind so little ground 
of sympathy with the clergy, it is the opinion of not a few 
wise men that it might before this time have largely superseded 
the Anglican hierarchy, and done much more than it has for 
the dissolution of the connection of the Church and State. 
The measure demanded by its lay ministry at thig Conference, 

* Smith's History, etc., book ii. chap. 2, 



and bj many of its societies, it was compelled' subsequently to 
adopt, but at so late a date, and with such precautions, that it haa 
ever since, wisely or unwisely, maintained an ambiguous relation 
towards both Churchmen and Dissenters. 

The thirteenth annual Ck)nference was held at Bristol, August 
26th, 1756. Fifty preachers were present, including Charles Wes* 
ley, notwithstanding his precipitate retirement from the preceding 
session and his equally hasty resolution to attend no more. The 
propriety of adhering to the Church, and of treating " the clergy 
with tenderness," was again considered. God gave us all to be 
of one mind, says Wesley. The Eules of the Society, of the 
Bands, and of Kingswood school, were examined and confirmed, 
and the Conference was adjourned with a declaration from 
both the "Wesleys of their purpose never to separate from the 

To confirm this conclusion Wesley* wrote at this time his 
" Twelve Reasons against a Separation from the Church of Eng- 
land," though they were not published till 1758. They are a re- 
markable example of his terse style, his precise habit of thinking, 
and his large charity. He dreaded the controversies which a 
separation would occasion, and his consequent diversion from his 
better work ; the offence it would give to many devout minds ; 
the scorn it would provoke among gainsayers ; the difficulties of 
constructing an independent Church, and the internal discords, 
experiments, and excesses it might induce among his own people 
and preachers. Moving, as Wesley did, amid mobs and tumults, 
no man in public life ever maintained more self-recoUection or & 
finer sense of order. He abhorred disputation, and even contro- 
versy. He contemned the vulgar idea that rudeness is essential 
to energy, or an anarchical spirit to the heroism of great re- 
formers.* He repressed with calm but prompt determination 
any appearance of such a spirit among his associates. When, in- 
Scotland, viewing the ruins of Aberbrotheck, " Grod deliver us,'* 
he exclaimed, "from reforming mobs." He acknowledged the 
usefulness of Jolm Knox, but reprobated his spirit. " I know,'* 
he vn*ote^ " it is commonly said the work to be done needed such 
a spirit. Not so ; the work of God does not, cannot need the 

* One of his critics, Isaac Taylor, has rightly estimated him in this respect 
at least. " It is a fact worthy of al] regard, that when Heayen sends its own 
chosen men to bring about needed reformations at the cost of a momentary 
anarchy, it does not give any such commission as this to those who by temper 
are anarchists. , » . The Wesleys present a notable illustration of this prin-* 
ciple. Great innovators indeed they were, but anarchists they were not.'* 
Wesley nnd Methodism. 

COITFEBSHOSS fBOM 1750 TO 1760. d07 

work of the devil to forward it. And a calm even spirit goes 
through rough work better than a furious one. Although, there- 
fore, God did use, at the time of the Beformation, some over- 
bearing, passioiiate men, yet He did not use them because they 
were such, but notwithstanding they were so. And there is no 
doubt He would have used them much more had they been of a 
humbler, milder spirit." 

If his temper in this respect led to too much moderation in 
the present instance, it was, nevertheless, of great importance to 
the future course of Methodism ; it infused into the system that 
spirit of conservatism which, without neutralizing its force, has 
preserved it from the peril of those incongruous elements which 
it has necessarily gathered imder its extended sway. The pro- 
verbial conservatism of Methodism, notwithstanding its equally 
proverbial energy, has been owing almost as much to the im- 
pression which Wesley's personal character has left upon its 
ministry, as to the discipline which he gave it. His fidelity to 
the Church is the more striking, as it was not at this date the 
result of any ecclesiastical opinion, but of that expediency 
which with him was always a moral law. He had been convinced, 
as we have seen, that the recognized distinction between the 
orders of bishops and presbyters was a fallacy, that the apostolic 
succession was a "fable,'* and the doctrine that "none but epis- 
copal ordination was valid" was " an entire mistake," as proved 
by Bishop Stillingfleet.* Admirable then, even if mistaken, was 
the caution with which he avoided every violent measure not 
forced upon him by absolute necessity, and the imswerving self- 
control by which he controlled all aroimd him. 

The fourteenth session was held on August 4th, 1757. We 
have no trace of its Minutes. Of the fifteenth session, held at 
Bristol on August 10th, 1758, "we have but a single sentence : " It 
began and ended in perfect harmony." The sixteenth, held in 
Loudon on August 8th, 1759, was equally harmonious. We have 
no intimation of its proceedings, except that the time was almost 
entirely employed in the personal examination of the characters 
of the preachers, a usage which has ever since been annually 
maintained in Methodist Conferences throughout the world. Tho 
seventeenth session was held at Bristol, August 29th, 1760. Wes- 
ley arrived late in the week from Ireland, and the deliberations 

* A Letter to a Friend. " I firmly believe I am a Scriptural episcopos, as 
much as any man in England, or in Europe. Eor^the uninterrupted snecession 
I know to be a fable^ wMch no man eyer did or can prove." 


continued but two days. *^ The love and unanimity" of its mem- 
bers, he says, " was such as soon made me forget all my labours." 
Such is its brief, its only record. 



Great Eevivals — The Doctrine of Sanctifioation — ^Writers on the Subject — 
Disturbance in the London Society — George Bell's Delusions — ^Thomas 
Maxfield's Separation from Wesley — Fanaticism respecting the End of the 
World — George Story — Fate of Bell and Maxfield — ^Wesley itinerating — 
His large Congregations in England and Ireland — He visits Scotland — 
Christopher Hopper — Cudworth's Letters of Hervey — ^Thomas Taylor — 
Sketch of his hue — ^His Adventures in Scotland — Duncan Wright among 
the Highlanders — ^Dissent among Wesley's Societies — ^Death of Gbimshaw — 
Death of Coates, the oldest Lay Preacher of the Connection — ^Wesley and 
Warburton — Fletcher at Madeley — His Persecutions — His Liberality — His 
Pastoral Habits — ^His Preaching — His Piety — ^Wesley at Madeley~Oon- 
dition of Methodism in 1770 — It is introduced into America — -JBarbara 
Heck — PhiHp Embury — ^Wesley's Regard for Military Men — Captain 

The year 1760 was signalized by a more extraordinary religious 
interest than had hitherto prevailed among the Methodist socie- 
ties. " Here began," says "Wesley, " that glorious work of sanc- 
tification which had been nearly at a stand for twenty years. 
Prom time to time it spread, first through various parts of Tork- 
shire, afterwards in London, then through most parts of England, 
next to Dublin, Limerick, and through all the south and west of 
Ireland. And wherever the work of sanctification increased, the 
whole work of God increased in all its branches."* It continued 
io advance with deepening effect for several years. In 1762 he 
remarks that his brother had, some years before, said to him that 
the day of the Methodist Pentecost had not folly come ; but he 
doubted not it would, and that then they should hear of persons 
sanctified as frequently as they had thus far heard of them justi- 
fied, " It was now fully come," adds Wesley. His Journal for 
successive years records the spread of this higher Christian ex- 
perience, and its salutary effects on all the interests of his socie- 
ties. "Wherever he went he preached on the subject as particu- 
larly appropriate to the present development of the Methodistic 
* Myles's Chronological Histoiy of the Methodists, p. 72. 

AEMnnAN METHODISM: 1760 — ^1770. 309 

movement. In March, 1761, he called many of his preachers 
together at Leeds, and inquired into the state of the societies in 
Yorkshire and Lincobishire ; they were pervaded by the new in- 
terest. He found, he writes, the work of God increased on every 
side, particularly in Lincolnshire, where there had been no such 
interest since he had preached at Ep worth on his father's tomb.* 
At Manchester he exhorted the societies to " go on unto perfec- 
tion,'* and a flame was kindled which he trusted neither ** men 
nor devils would ever be able to quench." In London all the 
societies were revived ; " many believers entered into such a rest 
as it was not in their hearts before to conceive ;" the congrega- 
tions were increased, and while Christians sought a more entire 
consecration, the godless were awakened more numerously than 
ever. Afc Bristol he made the same record; the society was 
larger than it had been for many years. " God was pleased 
to pour out His Spirit this year," he writes, " on every part 
of England and Ireland, perhaps in a manner we had never 
seen ; certainly not for twenty years." At Liverpool prevailed 
such a religious excitement as had never been known there 
before.t In 1762 he ascertained that there were about four hun- 
dred witnesses of sanctification in the London Societies, and on 
his visit to Ireland the same year he found the classes almost' 
everywhere quickened with the same aspirations after holiness. 
Such times were never before in Limerick, wrote one of his Irish 
correspondents ; " the fire which broke out before you left us is 
now spreading on every side. Blessed be God, his Word runs 
swiftly." J Wesley records his opinion that this great revival was 
more remarkable in Dublin than even in London, far greater in 
proportion to the members in the societies, and more exempt 
Irom objectionable features ; none there were headstrong or un- 
advisable ; none were wiser than their teachers ; none dreamed of 
being infallible or above temptation ; none were whimsical or 
enthusiastic ; ** aU were calm and sober-minded." At the close 
of the year 1763 he says : " Here I stood and looked back on the 
late occurrences. Before Thomas Walsh left England God 
began that great work which has continued ever since without 
any considerable intermission. During the whole time many 
have been convinced of sin, many justified, and many backsliders 
healed. But the peculiar work of the season has been what St. 
Paul calls the perfecting of the saints. ^^ Many persons, he adds, 
in London, in Bristol, in Yorkshire, and in various parts both of 

* Journal, anno 1761. t Journal, August, 1762. 

X Ibid, July. 


ED|land and Ireland, experienced so deep and unlrersal a change 
as it had not entered into their hearts to anticipate. Afber a 
deep conviction of inbred sin, they had been so filled with faith 
and love that sin vanished, and they found from that time no 
pride, anger, or unbelief. They could rejoice evermore, pray 
without ceasing, and in everything give thanks. "Now," he 
continued, " whether we call this the destruction or su8]^ension 
of sin, it is a glorious work of God ; such a work as, considering 
both the depth and extent of it, we never saw in these kingdoms 

Some, he admits, had lost the blessing ; a few, " very few 
compared to the whole number," had given way to enthusiasm 
and separated from their brethren ; but though these errors 
formed a serious stumbling-block, yet the work went on, " nor has 
it," he says, " ceased to this day in any of its branches. God 
still convinces, justifies, sanctifies. We have lost only the dross, 
the enthusiasm, the offence. The pure gold remains, faith work- 
ing by love, and we have reason to believe increases daily." And 
as late as 1768 he writes to a friend, blessing God that if a hun- 
dred enthusiasts were set aside, they were still encompassed with 
a cloud of witnesses who have testified, and do testify in life and 
in death, the Perfection he had taught for forty years.* 

It was indeed remarked that the professoijs of sanctification. 
were generally, as at Dublin, distinguished more than other 
Methodists as "calm and sober-minded." Quietness without 
" quietism" became a characteristic of them as a class, and, among 
preachers and people, they were considered by Wesley to be his 
most prudent, most reliable coadjutors. During forty years he 
had been preaching, as he says, this doctrine of Christian Perfec- 
tion, and throughout that period many exemplary witnesses of it 
had lived and died in his societies. While at Oxford, as we have 
seen, he became convinced that the Mystic writers, with all their 
errors, had apprehended a great truth of Christianity in this 
tenet. The sketch of a perfect Christian by Clemens Alexandrinus 
had excited his ardent aspirations. Bishop Taylor had irradiated 
that ideal of a religious character by his rare eloquence. William 
Law had written ably upon it. Thomas a Kempis and other 
Catholic saints had taught and exemplified it. Fenelon had been 
an illustrious example of it in both his writings and life. Wesley 
translated the life of Fenelon's friend, Madam Guyon, and gave it 
to his people as a practical demonstration of the great truth. He 
also published in his Christian Library the essay of Dr. Lucas on 

* Journal, August, 1768. 

ABMnnuur ttOBTSOPUH: 1760 — 1770. 311 

Beligioiui Perfection,* aa presenting generally the Scnptmal 
yiew of the subject. The Scriptural phrases '^ Sanctification," 
"Perfection,** "Perfect Love,'* would, independently of these 
authorities, haye suggested to him a pre-eminent standard of 
spiritual life, but these writers had given a specific and even 
technical character to the words. Their opinions, glowing with 
the very sanctity of the G-ospel, and aspiring to wnat most men 
deemed an altogether preterhuman virtue, have been ren- 
dered fiimiliftr to the Methodist itinerants throughout England, 
And later throughout the world, in the writings of Law, Fletcher, 
^nd "Wesley. Every one of them, at his reception into the travel- 
ling minisiry, avows his belief in the doctrine, and that he is 
*^ groaning after,'* if he has not already attained, this exalted 
grace. Perhaps no single £a>ct affords a oetter. explanation of the 
marvellous success of Methodism. Wesley observed and declared 
that wherever it was preached revivals usually prevailed. " It 
is,*' he said, "the grand depositum which God has given to the 
people called Methodists, and chiefly to propagate this, it appears, 
Q-od raised them up. Their mission was not to form a rehgious 
party, but to spread holiness over these lands." The doctrine of 
personal sanctification was, in fine, the great potential idea of 
Methodism. It not only gave it life and energy, by inspiring its 
-congregations with devout and transforming aspirations, but it 
was the precise sentiment needed as the basis of its ministry, 
l^othing short of entire self-sacrifice could consist with the duties 
And privations of that ministry ; and according to their doctrine 
of Perfection, entire consecration was the preliminary of entire 
sanctification. These holy men, then, in making an entire public 
sacrifice of themselves, did so as a part of an entire consecration 
to God, for the purpose of their own entire personal sanctification, 
as well as their usefulness to others. What ideal of ministerial 
xjharacter and devotion could be more sublime or more effective ? 
And this ideal they realized in the exceeding labours and purity 
of their lives, and the martyr-like triumphs oi their deaths. 

Wesley defined this Scriptural truth more clearly than any 
other modern author. Evangelical theologians cannot 'deny his 
definition of the doctrine. They can dissent from him only in 
respect to the time in which entire sanctification may be practi- 
cally reached by the believer. All admit it as at least an ideal, 
yet Scriptural standard of spiritual life, to be habitually aspired 
to by good men, though attamed, with rare exceptions, only at 

* The third part of " An Inquiry after Happiness/' by Dr. Lucas, prebend . 
♦of Westminster. 


death. Wesley claimed it as, like justification, an attainment of 
faith, and practicable at any moment.* 

The " enthusiasm" to which Wesley alludes as having marred 
this special revival, was mostly limited to London, where George 
Bell, a life-guardsman and an honest madman, had become one 
of his local preachers. Bell supposed he had effected a miraculous 
cure ; he attempted another on a blind man, but pronounced in 
vain the EpJipJiatJia. His failure in the last case did not correct 
his delusion respecting the first. It arose, he argued, from the 
patient's want of faith. His language became fimaticad in public 
meetings. He asserted that his " perfection" rendered him infal- 
lible, above temptation, and superior to the instructions of all per- 
sons who were not perfect, and to the rules of the Bands and of 
the United Society.f Wesley admonished him, and visited Lon- 
don repeatedly to restrain him. His forbearance shows the kind- 
ness of his heart, but was injudicious. 

fanaticism is always infectious. La this instance it spread 
rapidly, and Wesley was surprised to learn that Thomas Maxfield 
was allied with the enthusiasts. Maxfield had been converted 
under his preaching at his first visit to Bristol. He ranked as his 
earliest lay preacher, and Wesley had promoted his welfare in all 
possible respects. He introduced him, in London, to a social 
position above his birth, by which he had secured an advantageous 
marriage ; and obtained ordination for him in Ireland from the 
Bishop of Londonderry, who favoured Wesley's labours in that 
country, and who, in laying hands on Maxfield, said : " Sir, I or- 
dain you to assist that good man, that he may not work himself 
to death." Maxfield was not naturally an enthusiast, and how 
far he shared the fanaticism of BeU and his associates it is difficult 

* Alexander Knox, Esq., the friend and correspondent of Bishop Jebb, 
sayg (Thirty Years' Correspondence with Bishop Jehb, Letter XIX.), " Nay, 
the very point you aim at in them, I mean their view of Christian Perfection, 
is in my mind so essentially right and important, that it is on this account 
particularly I yalue them above other denominations of the sort. I am awa£e 
that ignorant individuals expose what is in itself true by their unfounded pre- 
tensions .and irrational descriptions ; but with the sincerest disapproval of 
every such excess, I do esteem John Wesley's stand for holiness to be thaet 
whidi does immortal honour to his name. . . « . In John Wesley's riews of 
Christian Perfection are combined, in substance, all the sublime morality of 
the Greek fathers, the spirituality of the Mystics, and the divine philosophy of 
our favourite Platonists. Macarius, Eenelon, Lucas, and all of their respective 
classes, have been consulted and digested by him, and his ideas are essentially 
theirs." See also Knox's Essay on Wesley's Character, addressed to Southej. 
Appendix to Southey's Wesley- 

t Wesley's Journal, February, March, and April, 1763. 

ABMIKIAK METHODISM : 1760 — 1770. 313 

to ascertain. He seems to hare been, perhaps unconsciously, 
inclined to side with them more from discontent with "Wesley's 
authority, than from any sympathy with their errors. Being now 
an ordained clergyman, well married, and with good resources, it 
was natural that he should dislike his subordinate position and 
wish an independent one. Whatever was his motive, he took side 
with the enthusiasts and really became their head, though Bell 
continued to furnish by his ravings the chief stimulus of their • 

Wesley was compelled at last to expel the latter, and to dis- 
claim, in the provincial newspapers, a prophecy which he had 
spread, that the world would end on a given day. A great panic 
arose from this prediction. The news of it extended into the 
interior, injuring the reputation of the Methodists, till Wesley's 
disclaimer could follow and counteract it. George Story, one of 
Wesley's best itinerants, reached Darlington on the predicted day, 
and found many of the people terrified, and others indignant and 
threatening to tear down the preaching-house and kill the first 
preacher who should appear in the neighbourhood. Story was a 
dispassionate man, and telling the mistress of the house that if 
she would venture the building he would venture himself, he con- 
fronted the mob with the newspaper containing Wesley's adver- 
tisement in his hand. He could not otherwise have prevailed 
over the uproar and delivered his sermon. 

In London, meanwhile, the terror of the people was too great 
for the logic of even Wesley, though he endeavoured day and 
night to dispel the delusion. Scores of members withdrew from 
the societies, giving up their tickets. " Blind John," they ex- 
claimed, " is incapable of teaching us ; we will keep to Mr. Max- 
field." On the dreaded day Wesley preached against the prophecy, 
but many, he says, were afraid to go to bed. Some betook them- 
selves to prayer-meetings which were continued through the night ; 
and others went out into the fields, believing that if the world 
was not destroyed, London at least would be by an earthquake. 

The failure of the prediction did not wholly disconcert Bell's 
party, for insanity in tne form of fanaticism has a subtle shrewd- 
ness at sophistry. Prayers might have prevailed to avert the 
threatened doom, or it might have been postponed for some new 
reasons ; or the prophecy might have been designed as a trial of 
the faith of believers, like the demand for the sacrifice of Isaac. 
In the course of time. Bell lost his religious ardour. Prom being a 
fanatic, he became a sceptic ; he turned politician, was rampant for 
ultra! opinions, and died at an extreme age a '^ radical reformer." 


Maxfield gathered round him the alienated memben of the 
London Society, and opened an independent chapel in Moorfields, 
where he contmued to labour for aoout twenty years. He be^ 
came Galyinistic in his opinions, and published a severe pamphlet 
against Wesley. Some of the Methodists who seceded with him 
continued with him to the last, but most of them returned.* 
Wesley treated him throughout this disturbance with extreme 
forbearance, and when he chose the alternative of preaching for 
the followers of Bell, rather than for the Methodists at the 
Foundry, went thither himself from Westminster, and preached 
with deep affliction from the text, ^^ If I am bereaved of my chiU 
dren I am bereaved,*^ 

If Wesley's treatment of these disturbances was at first too 
indulgent, his final course was characteristically decisive, and 
soon extinguished the evil. He then went forth traversing the 
land, and found the societies flourishing, the revival extending 
into many new places, and his congregations larger than ever 
before. In some towns even his five o'clock morning assemblies 
were so great that he had to leave the chapels for the open air. 
The Birstal Hill was thronged with twenty thousand hearers. At 
Leeds his out-door assembly was almost as large, and surpassed 
all preceding congregations there. At Newcastle, he says, he 
knew not that he had ever preached to three such congregations 
in one day as met him at the outside of Pandon Gtite ; he was 
obliged to speak to the utmost reach of his voice from the first to 
the last word. On Calton Hill, at Edinburgh, he addressed the 
largest throng he had ever seen in the kingdom, and the most 
deeply affected. Throughout Cornwall the interest of preceding 
years was unabated. His congregations, in some instances, were 
too large to be able to hear him, and in his favourite amphitheatre 
at Gwennap he preached to thousands, whom he supposed no 
human voice could reach on any level ground. 
■^ In Ireland he was greeted with similar encouragements. At 
Cork many of the chief of the citizens, clergy as well as laity, were 
present at his street preaching. " What a change," he writes ; ** for- 
merly we could not walk through these streets but at the peril of 
our Hves." At KilfiUan nearly all the town, Irish, English, G^eiv 
mans, Protestants, and Papists, gathered around him in the market- 
place, and many followed him to his lodgings, where he continued 
to pray with and exhort them till bedtime ; and the next day, as 
early as four o'clock, the "town seemed aU alive," and audible 
6obs and ejaculations were heard from ^' old and young, on the 

* Coke and Moore's Life of Wesley, ii. 4. 

ABiinrLur ICBTHODIBH : 1760 — 1770. 815 

right hand and on the left.*' At Limerick he addressed, ^' amid a 
flcuemn awe,'* the largest congregation he had ever seen there; 
and in Dublin he preached, in Barrack Square, to '^ such a oon- 
gr^ation as he never saw in Dublin before." " "What a change," 
be adds, '^ since Mr. Whitefield a few years ago attempted to preach 
near this place ! " 

He yisited Scotland several times during this period, with better 
success than in former years, but with none comparable to that 
which attended him in other parts of the realm. 

Christopher Hopper had not laboured in vain in Edinburgh. 
^' Many poor sinners," says this noted lay preacher, "were con- 
verted to God," and a society was formed. He extended his 
labours to Dundee, Musselburgh, Leith, Aberdeen, and other 
places, and when Wesley arrived he saw a better prospect for 
Methodism in the north than at any earlier period.* In 1764 the 
society at Aberdeen was able to lay the foundation of its first 
chapel, " the Octagon," as the preaching-houses were then called 
from their peculiar architecture. The next year a similar building 
arose at EdinbuTgh. A Scotch edition of Cudworth's Letters of 
Hervey was extensively circulated, and damaged the influence of 
Methodism seriously. The devoted lay preachers, attending to 
their one work, and indisposed to waste their time in polemics, 
were met at all points and deeply afflicted by the influence of this 
unfortunate book. " Oh," wrote one of them, " the precious con- 
victions which these letters have destroyed! Many who have 
often declared the great profit they have received imder our 
ministry, were by these induced to leave us. This makes us 
mourn in secret places. "f Hervey himself, were it possible, 
shared their mourning in heaven over the heedless and heartless 

The opposition, however, gave way, though slowly. A new 
champion entered the field, one who had been well tried in itin- 
erant labours and sufferings, and who could not be intimidated by 
the adversities which so peculiarly beset Methodism in Scotland. 
Thomas Taylor was a Yorkshire man, a fact of considerable 
significance in the history of a Methodist preacher of those days. 
His parents died in his infancy and his education was neglected. 
He was early of a turbulent and daring disposition. At seven 
jears of age he was habitually profane in his language, and being 
of a passionate temper — " Oh that I could write this in tears of 
blood," he says — ^he frequently swore " in a most dreadful man- 
ner," nor did he " stick at lying." One of his brothers took him 

* Early Methodist ProM^ors, vol i. f Coke and Moore's Wesley. 



to his house and attempted to teach him the business of a clothier ; 
but he disliked work, and ran away seyeral times, suffering 
severely from cold and hunger in his wanderings. As he advanced 
in youth his evil habits strengthened, and his "mouth waa jfraught 
with oaths, lies, and deceit. He became a dexterous gambler, 
and having much pride and little money, was the more intent on 
furnishing himself with resources by that art. He was, in fine, 
one of those reckless cases of early vice which Methodism alone 
seemed at that day adapted to reach. "Whitefield passed through 
his neighbourhood about his seventeenth year ; there was an im- 
mense multitude of hearers ; the great preacher's ** voice was like 
a trumpet," and the discourse was attended with " an amazing 
power" to the conscience of young Taylor. He made the best 
resolutions ; but they soon failed, and left him in such wretched- 
ness that he sought relief by attempting to enlist in the army, 
but fortunately he was half an inch too short for the standard of 
the recruiting service. 

He afterwards heard a sermon from an earnest Independent 
preacher, which revived and sealed upon his conscience the im- 
pressions of Whitefield's discourse. While under deep religious 
convictions he met with a Methodist layman, who maintained a 
public meeting in his own house every Sunday evening, and who 
instructed him respecting his religious duties. His reformation 
was at once visible to all, but he had many inward conflicts before 
his awakened conscience found rest. While in retirement, reading 
his Bible and praying, one evening, he was able to apprehend by 
faith the atonement. " I saw," he says, " the Lord hanging upon 
the cross, and the sight caused such love to flow into my soul that 
I believed that moment, and have never since given up my con- 
fidence. I was enabled to cast my soul upon that atoning sacrifice 
which I saw was made for my offences."* 

Thus introduced into the Christian life, Thomas Taylor soon 
began to travel about Yorkshire, preaching the Gospel to rustic 
assemblies, as John Nelson had done before him. He heard 
Thomas Hanby, a veteran of the early Methodist ministry, and 
was so impressed by the evangelical character of his preaching 
and the heroism of the " Itinerancy," that he resolved to join it. 
Walking to London, he was received at the Conference in 1761, 
and sent into Wales. Two years he traversed the mountains of 
the principality, enduring hardships from hunger and cold, from 
journeys among bleak and almost trackless hills in winter, and at 
times from mobs ; but his success was great ; he forined numerous 

* Lives of Early Methodist Preachers, voL iiu 

ABMHOAK METHODISM: 1760 — 1770. 317 

Bocieties, and proved himflelf one of the best of the Methodist 
itinerant host. 

In 1763 he was sent to Ireland, where he laboured two years, 
suffering not a little from Papists^ whose tenets his Yorkshire 
hardihood led him to attack imprudently, as he confesses. He 
preached abroad in towns and villages, sometimes depending upon 
the troops for protection. His fare was often very hard, and 
he lost for a time his speech and hearing, and nearly lost his 
life, through sickness occasioned by sleeping in damp beds. At 
Cork he was especially successful ; he preached abroad in every 
part of the city, and the society was greatly enlarged. 

During his laborious ministry thus far he had, by his diligence 
and that systematic imjjrovement of time which Wesley con- 
tinually enjoined upon his preachers, gathered a large amount of 
valuable knowledge, and acquired the use of the Latin, Grreek, 
and Hebrew languages. 

It was in 1765 that he entered Scotland. Wesley sent him 
to introduce Methodism into Glasgow. Thoroughly tried as he 
had been by the hardships of the itinerant ministry in Wales and 
Ireland, he says that his new field in Scotland presented tests 
severer than any he had yet known. The winter was at hand ; 
he was in a strange land ; there was no society, no place for the 
preacher's entertainment, no place even to preach in, and no 
friend to consult. He took a private lodging, and gave out that 
he would preach on the Green, a public resort hard by the city. 
A table was carried to the place, and at the appointed time he 
found two baker's boys and two old women waiting. His soul 
sunk within him. He had travelled by land and by water, near 
six hundred miles, to this city, and such was his congregation ! 
At length, however, he mounted his table and began the singing, 
which he had entirely to himself. A few more hearers crept 
together, all seemingly very poor people, till at length he had 
about two hundred around him. His natural energy, as well as 
his Christian zeal, was not to be defeated, and the night following 
he ha4 a more promising congregation. The third night it rained 
violently ; this quite cast him down. " The enemy," he says, 
*' assaulted me sorely, so that I was ready to cry out, * It is better 
for me to die than to live.' But God pitied my weakness." The 
next day the sky cleared up, and he took the field again and kept 
it steadily every day for about three months. He soon rallied 
large congregations, and on one occasion the largest assembly he 
had ever seen gathered to hear him. He mounted his table, but 
found it too low ; a chair was then set upon it, but even this did 


318 HI8T0BT Of 1CBTH0DI81C. 

not enable him to command the vast multitude. He then as* 
cended a high stone waU and cried aloud, " The hour is comings 
and now is when the dead shall hear the yoioe of the Son of G-od; 
and they that hear shall live." He conceived great hopes from 
the effects of this appeal, as the multitude stood rapt in silence 
and attention ; but when he concluded he was astonished to see 
them quietly open a lane for him through their midst, and stand 
calmly staring at him as he walked through it, no one inquiring^ 
""Where dwellest thou?" "I walked home," he says, "much 
dejected." His ardent Yorkshire nature could not at first in- 
terpret this Scotch apathy. He solved the problem afterwards^ 
however, for he discovered that the most important part of a 
Scotchman's religion is his creed, and the popular creed waa 
thoroughly Calvinistic, notwithstanding Socmianism prevailed 
among the upper classes. The Scotch wept aloud and fell like 
dead men under Whitefield's preaching, for Whitefield was a 
good Calvinist, though he cared little about the "League and 
Covenant." But "Wesley, whose preaching was attended in 
England with more such phenomena than Whitefield's, waa 
powerless among them except to command their phlegmatic 

Hervey's Eleven Letters, garbled by Cudworth, met Taylor 
at Glasgow. They carried gall and wormwood wherever they 
went. Arminianism was a fatal heresy, and the best disposed of 
his hearers seemed perplexed with the difficult problem that so 
much zeal and devotion as he and his fellow-itinerants showed 
could co-exist with such amazing heterodoxy. 

A generous instance of ministerial conduct involved the per- 
severing Yorkshireman in still greater difficulties. A Scotchman 
was condemned for murder ; Taylor visited him in prison, and 
attended him to the gallows, where, according to the barbarous 
law of that day, the unfortunate man's right hand was struck off 
with an axe, and attached on the gibbet before he himself was sus- 

E ended. Taylor had reason to believe that " the Lord had plucked 
im as a brand from the burning," and published an account of 
his case. The popular theology revolted at this charity for a 
penitent malefactor. "It is amazing," says the itinerant, " what 
a cry was raised against me for saying that God had mercy on 
such a sinner." Scurrilous papers were cried up and down the 
streets against him, and a zealous Scot commenced a weekly pub- 
lication to oppose him. His case, he says, was now deplorable, 
for he had famine within doors and plenty of reproach without. 
He was compelled to practise the closest economy to save himBolf 

jleluustulS kithodibh: 1760— 1770. 319 

£rom extreme want. He sold his horse to pay for his lodgings 
jet he shared his little stock of funds with a poor brother preacher^ 
who, passing through Gflasgow for Irelaad, had lamed his own 
horse, and had not money enough left to bear him forward. 
Taylor confesses that he never kept so many fast days either 
before or afterwards. It was important, but next to impossible, 
for him to keep up his credit. He resorted to a little artifice to 
do so ; frequently requesting his landlady not to prepare his 
humble dinner, he would dress himself before noon and walk out 
till after dinner-time, and then return to his " hungry room with 
a hungry stomach," his hostess supposing he had dined elsewhere. 

Por some time it seemed, indeed, that he was attempting a 
hopeless task. The seyere weather was approaching, and his 
funds were diminishing. He was beset also with characteristic 
examples of Scotch economy, which confounded his own frugal 
experiments. Though his voice was poor he had to do his singing 
mostly alone, as the Scotch did not know the Methodist hymns 
or tunes. One of his hearers proposed to become his precentor, 
after the Kirk custom, and " lead the psalms.'* Taylor supposed 
it was an act of Christian compassion, and the experiment pro- 
ceeded very well for a time, but he was surprised at last by a bill 
jfrom his precentor for " thirteen shillings fourpence, which was 
just fourpence a time." Taylor dismissed him and the Scotch 
psalms together, and began again to sing the Methodist melodies, 
" the people liking them right well." They soon became familiar, 
and have never since ceased to be heard in Glasgow. 

A few stout mobs and downright persecutions would have 
suited the evangelist better than these vexatious trials; but 
though he was perplexed he could not be discouraged. He con- 
tinued to preach in the streets night and morning till [the 
November weather rendered it impossible. Throngs gathered to 
hear him, to scent out his heresy if for no other purpose ; but 
some were awakened and converted, and at last the obstinate 
opposition gave way so far that when no longer able to preach 
abroad a room was provided for his meetings, and furnished by 
his hearers with seats and a pulpit, ffis labours now began to 
yield firuit; his friends continually increased; the Methodist 
Society of Glasgow was formed, and Methodism founded there, 
never, he trusted, to be overthrown, however feebly it had to 
struggle against the formidable odds which still encompassed it. 
It is a curious fact, however, that not till the society had in- 
creased to forty or fifty members did any one inquire how he was 
maintained. They then asked him if he had an estate, or supplies 


from England. ** I told them," he says, "I had neither; but 
having sold my horse, I had made what uttle I had go as far as I 
could. I then explained our custom to them. I told them of the 
little matter we usually received from our people. The poor souls 
were much affected, and they very liberally supplied my wants, 
as also those that came after me." He laboured mightily with 
them during the ensuing winter, and left them in the spring with 
seventy members. He had fought a good fight, and he had also 
kept his faith, for during the severest period of his sufferings a 
new kirk was opened in Griasgow, an influential member of which 
had appreciated his fine talents, and offered to settle him as its 
pastor, with a good salary. " It was," he says, " honour and 
credit on the one hand, and hunger and contempt on the other ;'* 
but to accept it appeared a " betrayal of the trust which was re- 

Eosed in him " by his brethren. The sentiment of honour was 
igher among these noble men than honour itself. 
Such were Thomas Taylor's " adventures " in Glasgow;* such 
the history of the origin of Methodism in that city. He went 
elsewhere in Scotland, labouring for some years with similar 
trials and success. At Edinburgh he preached usually in the 
*^ Octagon" in the morning, and on Castle Hill in the evening. 
Between Edinburgh and Glasgow he formed a circuit, including 
Burrowstounness, Linlithgow, Ealkirk, and Kilsyth. Thomas 
Olivers and other itinerants came to his help, and through many 
obstacles made some progress.f 

After Taylor's partial success in Glasgow the Methodist 
itinerants penetrated to the Highlands, and at his next visit 
Wesley preached at Inverness, where a society was formed which 

* So Southey not unjustly calls them. He refers to them with his usual 
invidiousness, but with evident admiration of the heroic Methodist. 

t During fifty-five years did Taylor pursue his itinerant ministrations in 
Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland, encountering mobs, founding societies, 
and enduring all kinds of hardships. He was a thorough disciplinarian, a 
great economist of time, an indefatigable student, and a powerful preacher. 
He was among the first, if not the first, after Wesley's death, to introduce the 
sacraments among the Methodists, and to break away from the disadvanta- 
geous custom till then strictly maintained among their societies (except in 
London, where Charles Wesley officiated as a Churchman), of never assem- 
bling during " Church hours " on the Sabbath. He was nearly eighty years old 
when he died, honoured and beloved as a veteran throughout the connection. 
In a sermon a short time before his decease he raised his venerable form in 
the pulpit, and said with great emphasis : " I should like to die like an old 
soldier, sword in hand." Ho was soon after found dead in his chamber. 
Montgomery's well-known ode, " Servant of God, well done," etc., was written 
on his death. 

ABMINIAK METHODISM: 1760 — 1770. 321 

continues to this day. His reception was now cordial every- 
where, and his '^ High-Chiu*chism " had so far relaxed that he 
" laid aside his last portion of bigotry,"* and shared in the com- 
munion of the Lord's Supper at the West Kirk, Edinburgh. At 
a subsequent visit the magistrates of Perth and Arbroath con- 
ferred upon him the freedom of those cities. 

In 1769 the Methodist preachers pushed their labours with 
much energy among the Highlanders. Alexander MacNab, 
followed by Duncan Wright, formed many classes. Wright re- 
acquired the Erse language, and travelled over the country 
preaching from town to town three times a-day in houses, and 
usually once a-day in the open air. " Though by this means," he 
writes, ** I had many an aching head and pained breast, yet it was 
delightful to see hundreds of them attending with streaming 
eyes, and attention still as night, or to hear them in their simple 
way singing the praises of God in their own tongue. If ever God 
said to my heart, Go, and I mil be with thee, it was then. I 
extol the name of my adorable Master that my labours were not 
in vain. How gladly would I have spent my life with these dear 

While Wesley and his fellow-labourers were thus extending 
their cause in all the land, they were called to bear, during the 
present decade, not a few adversities which were severer than any 
local inhospitalities or mobs. The societies were in many places 
distracted by disputes respecting the propriety of dissent from 
the National Church. Members who had joined them from among 
Dissenters, especially, could not approve Wesley's extreme loyalty 
to the Establishment, which still disowned and often persecuted hia 
measures and his people, and such members had the peculiar in- 
convenience of being under the necessity of going for the sacra- 
ments back to the sects which they had left, or to the church, 
which many of them had never attended. Some of his preachers 
tired out by his persistence in this questionable policy, deserted 
him to take charge of independent churches, where they could 
maintain their self-respect as genuine ministers of the gospel by 
administering the sacraments to their hearers, and in not a few 
places discontented Methodists resorted to their ministry. 

He was called also to mourn over the death of some of his 
most esteemed fellow-labourers. In 1762, the eccentric but in- 
defatigable and useful Grimshaw died in the peace of the Gospel. 
Wesley felt deeply his loss, and devotes several pages of his 
Journal to an affectionate notice of him, more than to the death 

* CJoke and Moore's Wesley, iii. 2. 

322 HiSTOET or mbthodibm. 

of any other one of liifl friends. "In sixteen years," says "Wesley,. 
" he was only once suspended from his labour by sickness, though 
he dared all weathers upon the bleak mountains, and used his 
body with less compassion than a merciful man would use hi& 
beast. His soul at various times enjoyed large manifestations of 
God's love, and he drank deep into his Spirit. His cup ran over, 
and at some seasons his faith was so strong and his hope so 
abundant, that higher degrees of spiritual delight would have 
overpowered his mortal frame." Besides his unusual labours in 
his own parish, he preached about three hundred times a-year m 
other places. He fell at last a victim to his pastoral labours- 
during an epidemic fever. His old friend, Jeremiah Bobertshaw, 
a veteran Methodist preacher, approached him on his death-bed ► 
" Grod bless you, Jerry," he said, " I will pray for you as long a»^ 
I live y and if there is praying in heaven, I will pray for you there 
also." " I am as happy as I can be on earth," he declared to 
another, " and as sure of glory as if I were in it." " Here goes^ 
an tmprojltable servant^'* were his last and characteristic words. 
It would have been impossible for such a man not to have thrown 
himself, soul and body, into the Methodist movement. A loyal 
Churchman, he was imbued, nevertheless, with the catholic spirit 
of Methodism. While driving about his circuits, like a horseman 
on the field of battle, he co-operated with all good men who came- 
upon his track. "I love Christians," he used to say, "true 
Christians of all parties ; I do love them, I will love them, and 
none shall make me do otherwise." 

At his own request his remains were carried to the residence 
of his son at Ewood, a parish of Halifax, where they were fol- 
lowed by a vast and weeping procession to Luddenden church. 
According to his dying wish, the mourning crowd sang as they 
bore his corpse along on the highway. Venn preached his funeral 
sermon in the churchyard, as the multitude could not be accom- 
modated in the church. He repeated it the next day at Haworth, 
where thousands assembled from all the neighbouring country, 
and wept as at the death of a parent. Romaine lamented him in 
an eloquent funeral discourse at St. Dunstan's, in London. Hoth 
Calvinistic and Arminian Methodists universally felt that a prince 
and a great man had fallen in Israel.* 

* He left an only son, who, notwithstanding his strict religious edueatioQi 
at Wesley's school in Kingswood, became a drunkard. He revered, however, 
the example of his parent's piety. While riding home drunk on the old 
circuit horse of his deceased fiither, he used to say, " Once thou carried a 
Bdmif but now thou carrievt a devil." Such recollections and the many prayer» 

ABMIKIAIfr HSTH0DI8H: 1760 — 1770. 328 

In 1764 died John Manners, b bumble labourer, who bad spent 
five years of great usefulness in tbe lay ministry. Wesley said 
tbat be seemed expressly raised up for tbe extraordinary revivals 
of 1760, 1761, and 1762. During tbese tbree years be preacbed 
in Dublin, amid a religious interest seldom or never equalled in 
tbat city. He was not eloquent, but ratber rude in speecb ; yet 
be laboured witb bis migbt, and walked intimately witb God. 
'* Tbe way is quite clear," be said, as be descended into tbe valley 
and sbadow of deatb. " My soul is at liberty."* 

Tbe next year, Alexander Coates, tbe oldest lay preacber tben 
in the Connection, departed to bis rest, venerable witb years and 
usefulness. He bad preacbed about a quarter of a century. His 
pulpit talents are said to bave been very extraordinary ; be was 
exceedingly popular, and bis conversation " wonderfully pleasant 
and instructive.'* He always called Cbrist bis "Master." He 
was one of tbe many bumble founders of Metbodism, wbo left no 
account of tbeir laborious lives, but wbose record is on bigb. 
One of bis brethren inquired, a short time before be ceased to 
breathe, if be bad followed cunningly devised fables ? " No ! no ! 
no !" was bis emphatic reply. " Do you see land ?" be was tben 
asked. "Yes, I do," be answered, and "after waiting a few 
moments at anchor, be put into the quiet harbour." His old 
friend and faithful co-labourer, Cbristopher Hopper, says, with 
an affection and pathos which only such fellow-labourers and 
feUow-sufferers could feel, " I saw bim fall asleep in tbe arms of 
oiu* adorable Saviour without a doubt. Farewell, my brother, for 
a season. But we shall meet again to part no more."t 

Wesley continued to be attacked with fierceness through tbe 
press. He had effectually answered Lavington; during tbe pre- 
sent period he replied to a more able and influentiid prelate, 
Warburton, Bishop of ^Worcester. Warburton bad assailed him 
in a tract " On tbe Office and Operations of tbe Holy Spirit." 
It was remarkable chiefly for its personal misrepresentations of 
Wesley, and the indication which it affords of the low standard 
of religious opinion at the time among tbe highest functionaries 
of the National Church. Tbe bishop's theology appears but little 
above tbe ethics of natural religion. He cites whatever bis 
rationalistic sagacity could detect in Wesley's writings as liable 

that ascended for him at last pieyailed. He repented with bitter anguish, and 
died exclaiming, " What -will my father say when he sees that I haye got to 
heaven ?" 

* Myles^s Chponological History of the Methodists, chap. 4, 
t Wesley's Journal, anno 1765 ;. Sarly Biethodiat Preachers, 

voL X» 


to be construed into credulity or enthusiasm, and the frankness 
with which Wesley recorded extraordinary facts afforded abun* 
dant materials for his invidious purpose.* 

Wesley is classed as " special among modem fanatics," and as 
"claiming almost every apostolic gift in as full and ample a 
manner as they were possessed of old." His reply not only 
*' fairly meets the attack/* as Southey admits,t but fairly refutes 
it in the most essential points. Wesley could not, either as a 
Christian or as a philosopher, agree with the prelate's Deistical 
views of Scriptural phenomena, and contends, with what his 
friends should esteem admirable frankness, though his enemies 
would call it weakness, for several remarkable facts which he had 
recorded, and which Warburton condemned as impossible, luiless 
they were miraculous, and incredible if they were inclined to be 
so. Wesley was vague, if not contradictory, in his judgment re- 
specting the swoons and convulsions of his hearers at Bristol, 
jNewcastle, and other places. He was, as has been shown, not a 
little perplexed by them. At Newcastle he ascribed them mostly, 
if not entirely, to demoniacal agency. At Everton he seems to 
have supposed some of them to be the effect of Divine influence. 
Warburton had advantage from these facts ; but the phenomena 
were new to Wesley ; they have been more common in our day, 
yet even our later science is baffled by them. Wesley's " Letter" 
to the bishop was long and elaborate, and remarkable for its 
candour and respectfulness. It is a fine example of both his 
style and logic, though it consists chiefly of citations and concise 

Pletcher was zealously at work during the present period. 
He had joined a Methodist class in London, and his first public 
exercise, after his ordination, had been, as we have seen, in one 
of Wesley's chapels. He continued some time in the metropolis 
assisting Wesley, and preaching and administering the Lord's 
Supper at Lady Huntiugdon's mansion. On returning to Tern 
Hall, Shropshire, his liberal patron, in whose family he had been 
tutor, offered him the living of Dunham ; the parish was small, 

* It is noticeable that Wesley records, in but comparatively few instances, 
his own opinion of the many marvels related in his Journal. Never was a 
more Baconian record made of such phenomena ; they are usually given cir- 
cumstantially as facts, for the examination of the learned or the curious, and 
are of no small value in this respect. He has, however, given us sufficient 
evidence of his belief respecting supernatural agency in physical phenomena. 
This fact has already been shown in the text, and will be further examined in 
its appropriate place. 

t Southey's Life of Wesley, chap. 24. 

ABHIKIAK HETH0DI8K: 1760 — 1770. 325. 

its labour ligHt, and its income good, being £4:00. But Pletcber 
had previously preached several times in the populous and de- 
graded parish of Madeley, and had conceived sucn sympathy for 
its wretched inhabitants that he declined the offer of Dunham as 
affording " too much money and too little work." His patron 
then proposed to Tgive Dunham to the vicar of Madeley, and 
secure the latter for him. He thus, by an act of self-sacrifice, 
became settled in the obscure parish which his name has rendered 
familiar in all the Protestant world. Few places in England 
needed more the labours of such a man. It was a region of 
mines and manufactures. Its population was debased, and its 
congregation small. For months he went about his parish early 
on the Sabbath morning, with a bell in his hand, to awake such 
parishioners as excused their neglect of worship by alleging that 
they could not wake early enough to prepare their families for 
the service. The vicious began to be reclaimed, and persecutions 
arose. Sometimes his public services were interrupted by out- 
breaks of scurrilous language from offended hearers. A bull-bait 
was attempted on one occasion, near the spot where he had an- 
nounced a public service, and a part of the rabble was appointed 
to " bait the parson ; to pull him from his horse, and to set the 
dogs upon him.'* He escaped only by a providential detention 
at the funeral of a parishioner. His preaching against drunken- 
ness aroused all the maltmen and publicans of the town against 
him. A magistrate threatened him with his cane and with im- 
prisonment, and many of the neighbouring gentry and clergy 
joined his persecutors. A clergyman posted on the church-door 
a paper, charging him with schism and rebellion. Some of his 
friends were arrested. He was, in fine, subjected to the usual 
treatment of the Methodist clergy of the times, and he laboured 
with their usual zeal and success. Like Grimshaw and Berridge, 
Thompson and Venn, he established preaching appointments at 
Madeley Wood, at Coalbrook Dale, and most other places within 
ten miles of his parish; and Madeley became, like Haworth, 
Everton, St. Gennis, and Huddersfield, a radiating point of Me- 
thodist influence and labours for the whole region around it. 
With incessant preaching he combined the most diligent pastoral 
labours. He went from house to house, sympathizing with the 
a£9[icted, helping the poor, ministering to the sick, and admonish- 
ing the vicious. His liberality to the poor is said, by his successor 
in the parish, to have been scarcely credible.* He led a life of 
severe abstinence that he might feed the hungry ; he clothed him- 

• GUpin's Biographical Notes in Eletoher's « Portrait of St Paul** 


self in cheap attire that he might clothe the naked ; he sometimes 
imfunushea his house that he might supply sufTering families 
with necessary articles. Thus devoted to his holy office, he soon 
changed the tide of opposition which had raged against him, and 
won the reverence and admiration of his people ; and many looked 
upon their homes as consecrated by his visits. 

His preaching is described as greatly effective. HJe spoke the 
English language not only with correctness, but with eloquence. 
There was, says G-ilpin, who heard him often, an energy in his 
discourse which was irresistible ; to hear him without admiration 
was impossible. Powerful as are his writings, his preaching was 
mightier; his "living word soared with an eagle's flight; he 
basked in the sun, carried his young ones on his wings, and seized 
the prey for his Master." 

Meanwhile his devout habit of mind quickly matured into 
saintliness itself. We look in vain through the records of Eoman 
or Protestant piety for a more perfect example of the consecra- 
tion of the whole life, inward and outward. For a time he erred 
by his asceticism, living on vegetables and bread, and devoting 
two whole nights each week to meditation and prayer, errors 
which he afterwards acknowledged. He received Wesley's doc- 
trine of Perfection, and not only wrote in its defence, but exem- 
plified it through a life of purity, charity, and labour, which was 
as faultless, perhaps, as was ever lived by mortal man.* Even in 
theological controversy his spirit was never impeachable. " Sir, 
he was a luminary," said Venn to a brother clergyman ; " a lumi- 
nary, did I say ? He was a «im." " I have known," he added, 
" aU the great men for these fifty years, but I have known none 
like him."t 

It was during our present period (1768) that the theological 
school of Lady Huntingdon, at Trevecca, was opened, and 
Fletcher appointed to its presidency. Benson, the Methodist 
eommentator, and its head master, says that Fletcher was receiTed 
there on his frequent visits as an angel of God. Sober and 
reserved as was the usual style of Benson, his pen glows when he 
writes of those occasions. " The reader," he says, " will pardon 
me if he thinks I exceed ; my heart kindles while I write. Here 
it was I saw, shall I say, an angel in human fiesh P I should not 
far exceed the truth if I said so. But here I saw a descendant 

* Sonthej ssya: "Ko age or countiy has ever produced a man of more 
ferrent piety or more perfect charity ; no Church has ever possessed a . more 
apostolic minister." Life of Wesley, chap. 25. 

t Life and Times of Lady Huntingdon, chap. 30. 

AEMINXIN METHODISM: 1760 — 1770. 327 

of fallen Adam so fully raised above the ruins of the fall, that 
though by the body he was tied down to earth, yet was his whole 
conversation in heaven ; yet was his life from day to day hid with 
Christ in God. Prayer, praise, love, and zeal, all ardent, elevated 
above what one would think attainable in this state of frailty, 
were the elements in which he continually lived. Languages, 
arts, sciences, grammar, rhetoric, logic, even divinity itself, as it is 
<5alled, were all laid aside when he appeared in the school-room 
among the students. And they seldom hearkened long before 
they were all in tears, and every heart caught fire from the fiame 
that burned in his soul.'* 

Closing these addresses, he would say, " As many of you as 
are athirst for the fulness of the Spirit of G-od follow me into my 
room." Many usually hastened thither, and it was like going 
into the Holiest of Holies. Two or three hours were spent there 
in such prevailing prayer as seemed to bring heaven dovm to 
earth. " Indeed," says Benson, " I frequently thought, while 
attending to his heavenly discourae and divine spirit, that he was 
so different from, and superior to, the generality of mankind, as 
to look more like Moses or Elijah, or some prophet or apostle 
come again from the dead, than a mortal man dwelling in a house 
of clay 1" 

Besides his labours in Madeley and the region round about, 
and his important services among the ministerial candidates at 
Trevecca, Fletcher made preaching visits to London, Bath, Kings- 
wood, Bristol, Wales, and Yorkshire. He sometimes accompa- 
nied Wesley and Lady Huntingdon in their travels, attended the 
annual Conferences, was indefatigable in the use of his pen for 
the promotion of Methodism, and took rank as one of its most 
conspicuous representatives. Madeley became one of Wesley's 
favourite stopping places in his ministerial travels. The church 
could not contain the congregation which flocked to hear him 
there, and, as in his visits to Crimshaw, at Haworth, he had to 
stand on a platform in one of its windows, preaching to them 
within and without. " I found," he says on one of his visits, 
" employment enough for the intermediate hours in praying with 
various companies who hung about the house, insatiably htmger- 
ing and thirsting after the good Word. Mr. Q-rimshaw, at his 
first coming to Haworth, had not such a prospect as this. There 
are many adversaries indeed, but yet they cannot shut the open 
and effectual door." 

Wesley had passed, during the present decade, through many 
triab : domestic troubles that would have made life a burden to 


most men ; diBturbances in some of bis societies wbich bad -tbus 
far no parallel in their history ; persecutions from the mob wbidiy 
if less severe towards himself personally, were more so towards his 
lay preachers than ever ; and travels and labours which surpassed 
those of any preceding years of his life. But he closed this 
period, at the Conference of 1770, with results and prospects 
such as had never before cheered him. He could hardly now fail 
to perceive that Methodism was to be a permanent fact in the 
religious history of his country. Without design on his part, its 
disciplinary system had developed into consistency and strength ; 
its chapels dotted the land ; its ministerial plans formed a net- 
work of religious labours which extended over England, Wales, 
Ireland, a part of Scotland, and reached even to North America 
and the West India Islands. Seven years before, when the num- 
ber of its circuits was first recorded, they were but thirty-one ; 
they now amounted to fifty. Its corps of lay itijierants included 
one hundred and twenty-one men, besides as many, perhaps more, 
local preachers, who were usually diligent labourers in their sec- 
tional spheres. The membership of its societies was nearly thirty 
thmsand strong. 

Towards the close of this period he was further cheered by an 
extraordinary opportunity for the enlargement of his great work, 
one which has been attended with its grandest results. A new 
sign appeared in the western sky, and was hailed by the Confer- 
ence with thanksgiving, with prayers, and contributions of men 
and of money. The little colonies of German " Palatines," which 
Methodism had redeemed from gross demoralization in Ireland, 
had been mostly dispersed. Wesley, as he year after year passed 
over that country, lamented their gradual disappearance, but he 
saw not then the special design which divine Providence was to 
accomplish by them. In 1760 some of them, among whom was 
Philip Embury, emigrated to New York.* Subsequently another 
company arrived, among whom was Barbara Heck,t through 
whose instrumentality Embury and his Methodist associates were 
led, in 1765, to resume in the New World the Methodistic disci- 
pline and labours which they had adopted in Ireland. Some 
years before. Captain Webb, of the British army, had been con- 

* Not 1765, as heretofore stated in Methodist publications. See letter to 
the author from Dr. G-. 0. M. Boberts, of Baltimore, in the Christian Advo* 
ccfte and Journal iot Sept. 2, 1858. 

t Not Hick, as she is called in all former Methodist books which men- 
tion her. The Heck family emigrated to Canada, and retain the origiiuU 

ASMiKiAK hxthodism: 1760 — 1770. 329 

verted under Wesley's preaching in Bristol. "Wesley had a strong 
regard for military men ; he liked authority, obedience, methodi- 
cal habits, and courage ; he found that soldiers had made good 
Methodists in Ireland and Scotland, as well as in Planders, and 
that Methodist soldiers made good preachers, and especially good 
disciplinarians, as in the example of John Haime, Sampson Stani- 
forth, Duncan Wright, and otners.* Captain (then liieutenant) 
Webb was therefore soon licensed by him as a local preacher. 
Being sent on military duty to New Tork, he preached in his 
uniform, and with great success, for the newly-organized society. 
He sent a call to Wesley for preachers, two of whom were des- 
patched from the Conference of 1769. Previous to the Confer- 
ence of 1770 Wesley received letters from these messengers, 
reporting a society in New Tork of about one hundred members, 
and a chapel which accommodated seven hundred hearers, and yet 
only a tliird part of those who crowded to the preaching could get 
in. " There appears,*' wrote one of the newly-arrived preachers, 
" such a willingness in America to hear the Word as I never saw 
before." t Whitefield had spread the influence of the Methodist 
revival in the American Churches from Maine to Georgia ; but 
his mission was ending — he was dying in New England. The 
great work of Arminian Methodism in the New World had be- 
gun, and already two young men, Prancis Asbury and Eichard 
Whatcoat, who were to be among its earliest bishops, were travel- 
ling circuits in England. 

* Wesley adyised the Methodists to learn the military exercise, that they 
might the better defend their countir when the French threatened to invade 
it in 1756. (Jackson's Charles Wesley, chap. 20.) He made an offer to the 
Government, ** -when the kingdom was in imminent danger,*' to raise troops 
among his people. He was a staunch English patriot, and believing that 
fighting was sometimes necessary, believed also that none were fit for it but 
such as were fit to die. Like Unde Toby, he thought soldiers, above all other 
men, should be saints. 

t See the correspondence of Pilmoor and Boardman, in Coke and Moore'ft 
Life of Wesley, iii., 3. 




The Greek Bishop, Erasmns — ^Wesley's Proposition of Union with Evangelical 
Clergymen — ^Twelve of them meet at the Conference of 1764 — ^They decline 
his Terms — Proceedings of the Session of 1765 — Tickets — First Temperance 
Societies — Beports of Members first made in 1766 — Wesley's Views of his 
own Authority — He requires his Preachers to Study — Whitefield, Howell 
Harris, and Laymen present at the Session of 1767 — ^Its Statistics — The 
Circulation of Books — Term of Circuit Appointments — ^The Conferenoe of 
1768— Its Statistics — The Preachers required to abandon secular Business 
— John uS'elson and WiUiam Shent — Origin of Methodism at Leeds — Books 
— Field Preaching — Early Bising — Sanctification — Session of 1769 — Preach- 
ers sent to America — ^First Provision for Preachers* Wives — ^Wesley laments 
the Unwillingness of the Regular Clergy to co-operate with him — ^He pro- 
poses a Plan for the Perpetuation of his Lay Mmistry — Session of 1770 — 
Its Minute on Calvinism. 

It has already been stated that no Minutes remain of the Confer- 
ences held in the present decade before the year 1765. Of the 
session of August 29th, 1760, Wesley gives but a passing intimation 
in his Journal. His allusion to that of September 1st, 1761, is but 
a sentence. That of August 9th, 1762, was held at Leeda.* It is 
an interesting proof of the mutual good understanding of the 
Calvinistic and Arminian Methodists, that most of the leaders of 
the former were present with Wesley at this Conference. Lady 
Huntingdon, Whitefield, Romaine, Madan, and Venn, attended 
it.f Wesley only says of it : " Our Conference began on Tues- 
day morning, and we had great reason to bless G-od for His 
gracious presence from the beginning to the end." It is evident, 
however, that the demand of both people and preachers for a 
more general administration of the sacraments in their societies 
had by this time become still more urgent, for early in the next 
year Wesley obtained the ordination of Dr. Jones, one of his 
preachers, and classical teacher at Kingswood school, from a Greek 
bishop by the name of Erasmus, who was travelling at the time 
in England. Several other lay preachers received ordination 
from him also, and some clamour arose from the fact ; but their 
sufficient apology was that the prelates of the National Church 

* Not at Bristol, as Smith says : History of Methodism, book ii., chap. 2., 
See Wesley's Joamid, and Myles's Chronological History, chap. 3. 
f Life and Times of the Countess of Huntingdon, chap. 17. 

CONTSJUBSrOBB FBOK 1760 TO 1770. 831 

still refused them this courtesy.* Charles "Wesley, however, 
would not recc^nize the ordination of Dr. Jones, nor share with 
him in the administration of the sacraments. Jones, who was a 
man of piety and learning, was justly offended by this ungenerous 
treatment, and left the Connection. 

The Conference of July 19th, 1763, was held at London, amid 
the ferment occasioned by Maxfield's secession. " It was a great 
blessing," says Wesley, "that we had peace among ourselves, 
while so many were making themselves ready for battle." The 
circuits now numbered twenty in England, two in Scotland, two 
in Wales, and seven in Ireland ; in fdl, thirty-one. At this ses- 
sion the first provision for " old, worn-out preachers " was made, 
by the establishment of a general fund, to which each preacher 
contributed ten shillings. It was the beginning of that series of 
" Connectional Funds " which has since become so extended and 
effective among British Methodists.f 

To the session of August 6th, 1764, Wesley devotes but three 
brief sentences in his Journal. " The great point," he says, " I 
now laboured for, was a good understanding with our brethren 
of the clergy who were neartily engaged in propagating vital 
religion." Seven years before. Walker, of Truro, a devout man 
but rigid Churchman, had proposed that he should abandon all 
his societies in parishes over which evangelical clergymen presided. 
Wesley's good sense led him to see that this course would 

* Toplsdj attacked Wesley geyerely on this occasion. Thomas Olivers 
conclusively answered the attack. See Myles's Chron. History, chap. 3. 
Southey affects, without reason, to douht the episcopal character of Erasmus. 
It was satisfactorily ascertained by Wesley before the ordinations. Compare 
notes to Southey's Wesley, chap. 26, with Myles, as above. It is one of the 
characteristic blunders of the author of *' The Life and Times of the Countess 
of Htmtingdon " that he says : " Wesley was accused of a breach of the Oatli 
of Supremacy by thus availing himself of the powers of a foreign prelate ; and 
accused also of pressing the prelate to make him (Wesley) a bishop. The for- 
mer charge was denied by Mr. Olivers, and the latter justified, etc. This 
statement is absolutely &tlse; Olivers denied the latter accusation on the 
authority of Wesley. Wesley himself, in reply to an attack from Rowland 
Hill, declared : " I never entreated anything fi*om Bishop Erasmus, who had 
abundant unexceptionable credentials as to his episcopal character. Nor did he 
ever * reject any overture* made by me. Herein Mr. Hill has been misinformed. 
I deny the fact ; let him produce the evidence." 

f It was during this year that the Minutes of preceding Conferences from 

1748 were compiled and placed in the " Octavo Minutes," with the date of 

1749 (see page 158), a fact which has inextricably confused their data. I 
have chosen, therefore, to tise whatever material they may afford for the 
historical illustration of Methodism, in distinct chapters on its doctrines and 


soon result in tbeir extinction, and the defeat of the great work 
for which God had thrust him out. He desired their continued 
connection with the Church ; he desired the co-operation of pious 
clergymen in their local management, for thereby he could secure 
the sacraments in a manner satisfactory to most of them, but he 
could not abandon his own responsibility for them ; for how few 
of even the evangelical clergy, if disposed, were capable of sus- 
taining them in the special work to which they were providentially 
designated, and what certainty could he have that their successors 
would do so ? He therefore declined the proposition of Walker. 
A more prudent and important act had hardly occurred in his 
history. He was, however, still intent on the union of all evan- 
gelical clergymen in the great revival which he was conducting, 
and on the stedfast union of his people with the Church. He 
therefore addressed a circular letter to many of the most evan- 
gelical clergy of the Establishment, proposing, not any concession 
of opinions, for " they might agree or disagree touchmg absolute 
decrees, on the one hand, and perfection on the other," but a more 
catholic spirit, and better co-operation with him, as a member of 
the Church of England, in the spread of true religion throughout 
the land.* It is to this correspondence that he refers in the brief 
allusion of his journal to the present Conference. Though only 
three clergymen had responded to his overtures, no less than 
twelve met him at the session, but not in the catholic spirit which 
he himself had manifested. They insisted, in fine, upon the very 
course which Walker had proposed and Wesley had rejecteo. 
seven years before. It was a momentous juncture to Methodism; 
and to Wesley's calm stedfastness subsequent generations owe 
the fact that it was not then absorbed into the Establishment^ 
and that the organic consolidation which it had been for some 
time assuming was not effectually counteracted. Charles Wesley 
himself had the indiscretion to take side with these clergymen 
against him, and the heedlessness to declare that if he were a 
parish minister the lay itiaerants ''should not preach in his 
parish."t The lay preachers showed both their good sense and 
self-respect by unanimously agreeing with Wesley ; and aa the 
clerical visitors would not unite with him, except on their own 
conditions, he determined to pursue his providential course with- 
out them. And thus was another step taKen forward towards the 
legitimate independence and permanence of Methodism. 

* See the whole correspondence with Walker and others in Coke and 
Moore*! Life of Wesley, ii^ 4. 

t Myles'i Chron. History, chap. 4 

coKnBXKCss YBOM 1760 TO 1770. 333 

"With the twenty-second Conference, held at Manchester, 
August 20th, 1765, began the regular annual publication of the 
Minutes. They now assumed more than ever the form of busi- 
ness-like documents. Theological and ecclesiastical questions are 
seldom discussed in them, as these subjects had already been 
settled with sufficient definiteness for the present progress of the 
body. The names of preachers admitted on trial, of the assistants, 
helpers, and circuits, the appointments for the ensuing year, and 
financial arrangements, with singularly minute rules of discipline 
for the societies as well as for the preachers, make up their 

At the session for this year were reported twenty-five circuits, 
with seventy-one preachers, in England ; four, with four preachers, 
in Scotland ; two, with two preachers, in Wales ; and eight, with 
fifteen preachers, in Ireland, making thirty-nine circuits and 
ninety-two lay itinerants, besides the Wesleys, their clerical 
coadjutors, and a numerous corps of local preachers, many of 
whom effectively devoted a large portion of their time to itinerant 
labours. The title of "Superannuated Preachers" occurs this 
year for the first time in tho Minutes, and the financial plan for 
their relief was further matured. The certificate, or " Ticket," 
by which members of the societies could, in removing, transfer 
their membership to their new places of residence, was adopted, 
and became a permanent custom. In 1749 the chapels had been 
legally settled upon trustees. A person was now appointed to 
examine their deeds, and see that vacancies among their trustees 
were filled. It was ordered that men and women should sit 
upart, that field-preaching should be maintained wherever pos- 
sible,* and love-feasts not be continued longer than an hour and 
A-half, as "every person should be home by nine o'clock." 
Preachers were directed to ** exhort all that could, in every con- 
-gregation, to sing," and to see that they were taught to smg by 
note ; to enjoin upon the heads of families the duty of family 
prayer, with the reading of the Scriptures, night and morning, 
and to recommend them to be good " economists." The phrases 
"brother" and "sister" were to be used " prudentli/ ;*^ tobacco 
and drams were not to be touched by preachers on "any pre- 
tence," and were to be denounced among the people.f 

* Wesley wrote to one of his preachers : " If you desire to promote the 
work of Q-od, you should preach ahroad as often as possible. Notlung destroys 
the work of the devU like this." Letter 678. 

t " So that in fact the Methodist societies were the first temperance soci* 
eties.** Watson's Life of Wesley, chap. 9. 


The twenty-third seBsion was held inLeeds, August 12th,1766 ; 
forty circuits were reported. Eor the first time we now haye an 
attempt at a census of the societies, but it is too imperfect to 
afford an aggregate estimate of their members. Ireland and 
Wales, as also London and other circuits, made no returns; 
Cornwall reported over twenty-two hundred; Grimshaw's Ha- 
worth circuit more than fifteen hundred ; Nelson's Birstal circuit 
nearly fourteen hundred ; Leeds more than one thousand ; New- 
castle eighteen hundred ; Lancashire seventeen hundred and forty- 
two ; Edinburgh one hundred and five, and Dundee three hundred 
and twenty-one. 

During several years subscriptions had been made for the 
relief of suffering societies. The amount reported at the present 
year was seven hundred pounds, one hundred and fifty ojf which 
were sent to Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The whole debt of the 
societies for their chapels and preachers' houses was £11,383.' 
" "We shall be utterly ruined," said Wesley, " if we go on at this 
rate ;" and it was ordered that no building should be undertaken 
till two-thirds of the necessary money should be subscribed. It 
was again asserted that the Methodists were not Dissenters ; they 
were recommended to attend the Church service every Sabbath, 
and the preachers were directed to hold their Sunday worship at 
five o'clock in the morning, and the same hour in the evening, to 
avoid interference with the Church worship. 

In a concluding address, remarkable for its length and point- 
edness, Wesley stated the grounds of his power as providentially 
placed at the head of the Arminian Methodist societies, and 
exhorted the preachers to more faithfulness, detailing, as reasons^ 
the prevalent faults of their people. 

After describing the unavoidable manner in which the SocietieB 
and Conferences had involved him in his present responsibility, 
and the impossibility of his now abandoning it with a good con- 
science, he remarked, " I did not seek any part of this power ; it 
came upon me unawares ; but when it was come, not daring to 
bury that talent, I used it to the best of my judgment. Yet I 
never was fond of it ; I always did, and do now, bear it as my 
burden, the burden which G-od lays upon me, and therefore 1 
dare not yet lay it down. But if you can tell me any one, or any 
five men, to whom I may transfer this burden, who can and will 
do just what I do now, I will heartily thank both them and you.'* 
" Preaching twice or thrice a-day," he added, " is no burden to 
me at all ; but the care of all the preachers and all the people is 
a burden indeed." As he advances in his exhortations to the 


preacliers his sentences grow ardent with earnestness. He insists 
on increased pastoral labour, visits from house to house, and the 
instruction of the children of their people. After answering the 
objection that this thorough work would preclude all study, he 
proceeds to complain of their want of diligence in the latter 
respect, and of their desultory habits of reading. " "Why are we 
not more knowing?" he asks; "we talk, talk, read history, or 
what comes next to hand. We must, absolutely must, cure this 
evil or give up the whole work.* But how ? Bead the most 
useful books, and that regularly and constantly. Steadily spend 
all the morning in this employment, or at least five hours in 
twenty-four. * But I have no taste for reading.' Contract a taste 
for it by use, or return to your trades. * But different men have 
different tastes.' Therefore, some may read less than others, but 
none should read less than this." 

He finally urges them to go " into every house and teach every 
one therein, young and old ;" to spend at least an hour twice a 
week with the children of the societies wherever ten of them could 
be assembled ; to rise at four in the morning ; to observe five 
o'clock in the afternoon for private prayer, and to bear in mind 
that any time for this duty is no time. " Oh let us," he concludes, 
" stir up the gift of G-od that is in us ! Let us no more sleep as do 
others ! But whatsoever our hand findeth to do let us do it with 
our might ! " - 

On August 18th, 1767, was held in London the twenty-fourth 
annual Conference.f The continued harmony of the two sections 
of Methodism is indicated by the fact that both Whitefield and 
Howell Harris were present. Several lay itinerants and local 
preachers also attended it. Nine new preachers were " admitted 
on trial," among whom was Francis As bury, afterwards the chief 
founder of American Methodism. Two desisted from travelling, 
and six probationers were admitted to full membership. Forty 
circuits were reported. Their number, however, does not show 
the extent of the field, for they were continually changing, and 
two or three were often combined in one. England had twenty- 
five, Ireland nine, Scotland five. All Wales was this year in- 
cluded in one. Twenty-five preachers were designated to those 
of England, nineteen to those of Ireland, seven to Scotland, and 

* It is worthy of notice that this sweeping declaration was uttered bj him 
in the same address in which occurs the much-abused passage; ''Gaining 
knowledge is a good thing, but saving souls is better.'* 

t It is numbered by mistake as the twenty-third in the Octavo Minutes^ 
edition of 1812 : London. 


three to "Wales. There were 22,410 members in the English 
societies, 2801 in the Irish, 468 in the Scotch, and 232 in the 
"Welsh. The comparatively small number reported from "Wales 
arose &om the fact that wnile Calvinistic Methodism formed but 
few societies in the rest of the country, it had begun in Wales, 
under Howell Harris, by their organization, and as Wesley dis- 
owned dogmatic terms of membership, and recognized the whole 
Methodistic revival as a unit, the Welsh converts of his preachers 
very naturally resorted to the societies of Harris. It seems never 
to have occasioned a demur on his part. 

The membership of the societies amounted to 25,911 :* Lon- 
don circuit reported 2180 ; Bristol, 1177 ; Cornwall, 2038 ; Staf- 
fordshire, 1994 ; Lancashire, 2000 ; Leeds, 1088 ; Bristol, 1476 ; 
Haworth, 1356 ; Newcastle, 1910. 

The examination of the characters of preachers, now an inva- 
riable part in the proceediugs, seems to have occupied most of the 
time of the session, as but few other important items of business 
are recorded. Among these was the better circulation of books ; 
a means of usefulness which began almost at the origin of Me- 
thodism, and may thus be considered the commencement of the 
popular and systematic use of the religious press by evangelical 
Protestantism. Hitherto books had been sold on all the circuits ; 
the assistants were now instructed to " give them away prudently," 
and beg money from the rich to pay for them for the poor. 

A singular apprehension had been expressed by the trustees 
of Wednesbury Society, that the conference might impose the 
flame preacher upon them for many years. They seem to have 
prized the itinerancy, and the Conference, to relieve their fears, 
allowed to be inserted, in the deeds of " Preaching-houses," the 
promise **that the same preacher shall not be sent ordinarily 
above one, never above two years together." English Methodists 
afterwards found it convenient to change the term to three years. 
•Quarterly fasts in all the societies were ordered at this session. 
** Love and harmony," says Wesley, " reigned from the beginning 
to the end." 

The twenty-fifth Conference was held at Bristol, August 16th, 
1768. Eleven probationers were admitted to membership, and 
twelve candidates were received on trial, among whom was Q-eorge 
Shadford, another name known in American Methodist history. 
Two desisted from travelling. The contributions toward the pay- 
ment of debts on chapels and preaching-houses were £5666, 

* This is Myles's estimate. (Chron. Hist.) The aggregate given in the 
Octavo Minutes is 26,341. 

COKTSBXKCES ITBOM 1760 TO 1770. 837 

besides the collection of £173 for Kingswood school. The finan- 
cial system which has since been a distinguishing chaxa^steristic of 
English Methodism, had already begun to take efficiency under 
the systematic genius of Wesley. The whote debt remaming in 
England, Ireland, and Scotland, was £7728. Porty circuits were 
reported, and 27,341 members, showing a gain of 1430 over the 
returns of the preceding session. 

While some circuits returned an increase, others reported a 
declension, and an inquiry was made why the preachers were not 
more effective. The reason most discussed was the fact, hitherto 
quite general, of their partial devotion to secular business. This 
had been to some extent necessary, their support by the societies 
having been quite deficient. John Nelson, as we have stated, 
worked as a mason during the day and preached at night. William 
Shent, one of the earliest of the itinerants, had maintained himself 
by a humble craft in Leeds. He kept it up by hiring assistants^ 
and by returning frequently to his shop from his distant fields of 
labour, and at last gave his entire time to it, excepting such inter- 
vals as he could spare for preachiug excursions in the vicinity — a 
fact which seems to have had a serious if not fatal effect on his 
religious character.* 

Wesley now saw that the time had come to correct this incon- 
venience. He did not deny its necessity under some circum- 
stances, as in the case of St. Paul, but the keeping of shops, or 
dealing in merchandise, he pronounced " an evil in itself, an evil 
in its consequences." Those views of their character, as legitimate 
preachers of the Gospel, which he had already expressed, were 
again indicated by the fact that he applied to them the passages 
of Holy Scripture which assert the right of Christian pastors to 
a pecuniary support from the Church. He even appealed to the 
office of Ordination in the Liturgy of the National Church as rele^ 
vant to the case, thereby classing his itinerants, in this respect, 
with the regular clergy. " Therefore," he concludes, " give up all, 
and attend to the one busiaess, and G-od will recompeuse you a 
himdred-fold ia this world as well as in the world to come." 

The increased circulation of books was urged as a means of 

* Three female memberB of bis family were the first Methodists of Leeds, 
and are still held in affectionate remembrance there as " tbe three Marys." 
On hearing of the fame of John Kelson^ when he began to exhort among his 
neighbours at Birstal, they went thither to see him, and soon after opened 
the way for him at Leeds. He preached his first sermon there in front of 
Shent*s shop. See PawB0n*8 Lire in Lives of Early Wesleyan Preachers, 
ToL ii. p. 60. 


338 msTOsr oe mbthoduk. 

checking the lamented declension. "Wesley, from the very begin- 
ning of his pubHc career, seemed to have a sublime idea of the 
power of the religions press ; he used it continually, and never 
ceased to exhort his preachers to circulate books and tracts. 
*' Carry them with you in every round," he said ; " leave not a 
stone unturned." They were to be presented everywhere among 
the people, and even portions of them read by the preachers in the 
congregations, in order to promote their sale. 

Field preaching was to be kept up diligently, and it is evident 
that "Wesley intended it should never be abandoned — ^never, 
at least, while any considerable portion of the population neglected 
the house of G-od. The morning five o'clock preaching was to be 
maintained wherever twenty persons could be found to attend 
it. This he deemed absolutely necessary for the success of Me- 
thodism ; " it is," he says, " the glory of the Methodists. E»ising 
early is equally good for soul and body. It helps the nerves 
better than a thousand medicines ; and in particular preserves 
the sight, and prevents lowness of spirits more than can well be 

He exhorted them to give more attention than ever to the 
doctrine of sanctification. " I ask, once for all. Shall we defend 
this perfection or give it up ? You all agree to defend it, mean- 
ing thereby, as we did from the beginning, salvation from all sin 
by the love of Qod and our neighbour filling the heart. The 
Papists say, * This cannot be obtained till we have been in pur- 
gatory.' The Dissenters say, ' It wiU be attained as soon as the 
soul and body part.' The old Methodists said, * It may be 
attained before we die, a moment after it is too late.' You are all 
agreed we may be saved from all sin before death. The substance 
then is settled." As to the question. Is the change instantaneous 
or gradual P he argues that it is both ; that from the moment of 
justification there may be a gradual sanctification, a daily growth in 
grace ; but that if sin ceases before death, there must, in the notoze 
of things, be an instantaneous change ; there must be a last 
moment wherein it does exist, and a first moment wherein it does 
not. But should the preacher insist upon both one and the other P 
Certainly, he replies ; he should insist on the gradual change, and 
that earnestly and continually. But there are reasons why he 
should insist on the instantaneous one also. If there be such a 
blessed change before death, all believers should be encouraged to 
expect it, becausethe more earnestly they expect it, the more steadily 
andawiftly does the gradual experience of grace goonin their hearts^ 
the more watchful are they against all sin, the more sealona of 

CONTBBBKCrai SBOH 1760 TO 1770. SSd, 

good works ; whereas the contrary effects were usuallj obserred 
when this expectation ceased. They are saved hy hope ; by this 
hope of atotalrenovationsavedwitha gradually increasing salvation. 
Destroy this hope, and that salvation usually stands still. There- 
fore, he concludes, whoever would advance the gradual salvation 
of believers should strongly insist upon the instantaneous one. 

On the first day of August, 1769, began at Leeds the twenty- 
sixth Conference. The number of circuits reported was forty-six, 
showing a gain of six. The aggregate of members was 28,263, 
showing an increase of 922. Ten probationers were admitted, and 
twelve candidates received on trial. Six ceased to travel. 

It was at this Conference that the first appeal for Methodist 
preaching from America was presented by W esley. " Who is 
willing to go ?" he asked. Eichard Boardman and Joseph Pil- 
moor responded, and were appointed to the distant field. The 
occasion could not fail to produce a deep interest in the assembly, 
Methodism had already begun its work in the West Indies by 
Nathaniel G-ilbert, who had formed a society of two hundred 
negroes in Antigua. Whitefield had spi-ead it in spirit and power 
among the independent churches of North America, where he was 
about to die. It was now to take an organic form in the New 
World by the agency of Wesley's lay preachers. ** What can we 
do further in token of our brotherly love ?" he asked, after the 
appointment of Boardman and Pilmoor. " Let us now make a 
■collection among ourselves," was the prompt response, and the 
liberal sum of £i70 was collected among these generous men, most 
of whom were habitual sufferers from want. Twenty of the seventy 
pounds were appropriated for the voyage of the two missionaries, 
and fifty were sent toward paying the debt of " Wesley Chapel,*' 
the first that ever bore that name, and the first Methodist church 
of the Western hemisphere. 

As measures had been adopted at the preceding Conference to 
relieve the preachers from dependence upon secular business for a 
maintenance, another step forward for their support, and towards 
the permanent organization of the lay ministry, was now taken 
by the enactment of a regular circuit collection for an " allow- 
ance " to their wives. Only about one-third of them seem yet to 
have been married men; but as these had thus far been ap- 
pointed only to the wealthiest circuits, in order that their 
lamilies might not unnecessarily suffer, the effective operation of 
the itinerant system had been seriously restricted, and its talents 
distributed not so much according to the need of the societies aa 
to the necessities of the preachers. The allowance now made, for 


a wife was Bmall, being but ten pounds a-jear ; but it was the 
beginning of a better provision, which in our day has secured to 
Wesleyan preachers and their families a more competent and more 
reliable average support than is afforded perhaps by any other 
religious community of England, not excepting the iNational 
Church itself. 

Wesley was now sixty-six years old. It was prudent to think 
of the means necessary to perpetuate the unity of his preachers 
and people after his death. He read a paper to the Conference 
on this subject. He referred to the failure of all his efforts to 
secure the co-operation of even the "evangelical*' portion of the 
clergy of the Establishment, and the fact that from among the 
fifty or sixty to whom he had addressed his circular letter on the 
subject only three had responded. " So I give this up," he said, 
with undissembled grief: "I can do no more. They are a rope 
of sand, and such will they continue." But it was otherwise 
with his own travelling fellow-labourers. They were one body, 
acting in concert and by united counsels. And now was the time 
to consider what could be done in order to continue this union. 
As long as he lived there would be no great difficulty, for he, 
under G-od, was a centre of union to them. They all Knew him, 
they all loved him for his work's sake, and therefore, were it only 
out of regard to him, would continue connected with each other. 
But by what means might this connection be preserved when God 
should remove him. 

He proposed that on notice of his death all the preachers in 
England and Ireland should repair to London within six weeks ; 
that they should seek G-od by solemn prayer and fasting ; draw up 
articles of agreement, to be signed by those who chose to act in con- 
cert ; dismiss in a friendly manner those who should not so choose ; 
select by votes a committee of three, five, or seven, each of whom 
was to he a moderator in his turn — ^to do what he did : " propose 
preachers to be tried, admitted, or excluded ; fix the place of each 
preacher for the ensuing year, and the time of the next Con* 

It was further proposed that a document should be signed by 
all who agreed to these suggestions, pledging them, first, To 
devote themselves entirely to God ; denying themselves, taking 
up their cross daily ; steadily aiming at one thing — ^to save their 
own souls and the souls of their hearers ; secondly, To preach the 
old Methodist doctrines, as contained in the Minutes, and no 
other ; thirdly. To observe and enforce the whole Methodist difei* 
pline as defined in the Minutes. 

coinr£BEKCss TBOK 1760 TO 1770. 341 

It was finallj ordered that this plan should be issued in the 
Minutes^ and submitted to the consideration of the preachers, 
many of whom were not present at the session. It^was held in 
euspense by "Wesley during several years, but was brought up for 
consideration at the Conferences of 1773, 1774, and 1775, and 
signed by all the preachers present at those sessions, amounting 
to one hundred and one. Tne arrangement was afterwards super- 
seded by "Wesley's Deed of Declaration, but it is worthy of this 
passing notice, as a proof of his growing conviction that Method- 
ism would be compelled, sooner or later, to take an independent 
and permanent form * 

The twenty-seventh Conference was held in London, August 
7th, 1770. Eighteen candidates were received on probation, and 
sixteen probationers admitted into membership. Eive members 
ceased to travel. Fifty circuits were reported, being an increase 
of four. The last in the list is especially significant ; it reads : 
" Piftieth, America, Joseph Pilmoor, Bichard Boardman, Bobert 
"Williams, John King." Volumes of history were anticipated in 
that brief sentence. 

The returns of members of societies amounted to 29,179, 
showing a gain of 1143. The payments on society debts amounted 
to £1700, but the sum remaining unpaid was nearly £7000. A 
resolution, characteristic of "Wesley's strict economy, was adopted, 
putting a stop to all building for the ensuing year. No new 
house was to be erected, no alteration nor addition made in any 
old one, unless the society concerned should defray the expense, 
without lessening its yearly collections. 

Forty-three preachers* wives were to be provided for during 
the ensuing year, and the former regulation respecting them was 
re-enacted. The children of preachers were to be supported by 
the circuits on which their fathers laboured. An illustration of 
the financial condition of the ministry is afforded by the fact that 
■only twelve pounds a-year were allowed for a preacher's wife, 
and four pounds for each of his children ; and the latter sum was 
to be paid for boys only till their eighth year, when they were to 
be sent to Kingswood school ; and ibr girls ^1 their fourteenth 
year, after which no provision was yet made for them. 

To prevent scandal, it was enacted that in all cases of 
insolvency among members of the societies, a committee should 
examine their accounts, and bankrupts were to be immediately 
" expelled," if their fwlure should be seen to have occurred from 
any unjust cause. 

* MyWi Chronological History, etc., chap. 5. 

342 histout op msthodisx. 

While the Minutes showed an increase of members, ten cir- 
cuits reported a decrease. It was therefore urgently asked: 
" What can be done to revive the work of Gtod where it has de- 
cayed ?" And the preachers pledged themselves anew to pastoral 
diligence, visiting from house to house, to increased care of the 
' religious training of the children of their societies, to field preach- 
ing, early morning services, and the circulation of religious books. 

This session was memorable for the occasion which it gave 
for the revival of the Calvinistic controversy. No man of his 
age had clearer views of the great doctrine of the Eeformation — 
Justification by Eaith — than John Wesley. But he knew it& 
liability to Antinomian abuse. As early as 1738 he guarded it 
against this perversion, with no little emphasis, in his sermon 
before the University of Oxford, and in his first Conlerence he 
admonished his preachers against it. At that session (1744) it 
was declared that they had " leaned too much towards Calvinism.'* 
He believed that the Calvinism of his day tended to Antinomian- 
ism, and the " leaning towards Calvinism," to which he objected, 
was such a representation of the relation of works to faith as 
tended to supersede the former by the latter. The doctrine of 
the " imputation of Christ's righteousness," upon which American 
Calvinists have in latter years very largely adopted his opinions, 
was particularly, as he thought, abused by contemporary Calvinists, 
and the theological world owes him no small obligation for the 
discrimination with which he guarded the Methodistic movement 
against this Antinomian tendency. 

The Minute on the question at the present Conference was 
not designed as a popular view of the subject ; it was liable itself 
to abuse in that respect ; but as a brief, dogmatic statement, made 
for his preachers as students of theology, it is safe and Scriptural, 
It produced the most violent theological controversy known in the 
history of Methodism, in which Shirley, Toplady, Hill, Eletcher, 
and Olivers were the champions. It has tended, more than any 
other occasion for a hundred years, to fortify evangelical Armin- 
ianism in the Protestant world. It forecasts, perhaps irrevocably, 
the theological character of Methodism, and, by Arminian Me- 
thodists, at least, must be considered one of those special provi- 
dences which have developed and determined its history. As this 
memorable controversy did not take place till the next Confer- 
ence, and forms one of the most interesting facts in our narratively 
the Minute which produced it will be given at that period. 

CALVINISTIC METHODISM: 1760 — 1770. 848 



Mutual delations of the Calyinistic Methodist Societies — ^Position of the 
Countess of Huntingdon — She itinerates with her Preachers in Yorkshire 
— They attend Wesley's Conference — ^Venn — Grimshaw—^Fletcher — Sketcli 
of Captain Scott — ^Adventures of Captain Joss — The Countess and her 
Preachers at Cheltenham — Lord Dartmouth — A great " Field Day " — 
"Quadruple Alliance" hetween the Wesleys and Whitefield and Lady 
Huntmgdon — Trevecca College — ^Expulsion of Methodist Students from 
Oxford — Scenes at Trevecca — ^Whitefield's Declining Health — He again 
Visits America — Returns to England in 1765 — Last Interviews with 
Wesley — Last Voyage to America — Happiness of his Beligious Frame as 
he approached his End — His Excursion up the Hudson — ^Last Sermon- 
Character — Eesults. 

It would be difficult if not impossible to define the mutual rela- 
tions of the Calvinistie Methodist societies. Calvinism has 
always tended, by some occult law, to ecclesiastical indepen- 
dence, and has thereby favoured freedom of thought rather than 
effectiveness of organization. "Whitefield and Howell Harris 
were the apostles of Calvinistie Methodism ; Bomaine, Madan, 
Venn, and Berridge, their coadjutors ; the Countess of Hunting- 
don was their most important centre of union. Her good sense, 
the influence of her social position as a member of the British 
aristocracy (an important consideration to the English mind), 
and still more, her munificence, upon which most of the Calvin- 
istie chapels were more or less dependent, enabled her to central- 
ize their sympathies around her own person, and she never 
abused the moral power which she thus commanded. No formal 
conferences were held ; few, if indeed any, representative consul- 
tations were had ; but the Calvinistie evangelists naturally re- 
sorted to her house for counsel with each other, and always with 
her. Most of their leaders were her chaplains, a fact which gave 
her a paramount influence. Severely practical, and never whim- 
sical in her judgments, she added to her other sources of power a 
moral authority to which all reverently deferred. 

While really directing the whole Calvinistie movement of 
Methodism, she never transcended what was deemed the propriety 
of her sex by any activity in the public assemblies of her societies. 
She often '' itinerated " among them, but was always accompanied, 
not by Whitefield, for his movements were too rapid for her, but 
by Harris, Bomaine, Venn, Fletcher, or Madan, they preaching, 


while she maintained her womanly decorum as a hearer, planning 
their labours and counselling the societies privately. 

Her excursions among them were frequent during the present 
period. In 1760 she went into Yorkshire with Somaine and 
Venn, and was joined there by Whitefield.* One object of their 
▼isit was to harmonize the distracted societies of Ingham. In 
1762 she again visited that county, and, with Venn, Eomaine, 
Madan, and Whitefield, was present at the Conference at Leeds. 
Their attendance seems to have been purely one of courtesy and 
Christian fellowship. No dissentient opinion disturbed the de- 
liberations ; "Wesley expressed in his Journal thankfulness to 
God for " His gracious presence, which attended it from the be- 
ginning." The occasion must have been one of deep interest, 
S resenting, as it did, an imposing representation of the whole 
fethodist movement, in the persons of most of its great leaders, 
and crowded by an unusual attendance of local preachers, class- 
leaders, and stewards. 

After the session Whitefield went to Scotland, rousing the 
towns and villages in his course. The Countess hastened to 
Knaresborough, where she had frequent meetings with the evan- 
gelical clergy of the shire, inspiriting them to more energetic 
labours. Bomaine continued with her, preaching daily and with 
powerful effect. Venn, who had charge of the parish of Hudders- 
field, wrote to her, after her departure, with an overflowing heart, 
respecting the " light and life which her visit had spread among 
the Yorkshire churches. The catholic-minded Q-rimshaw, who 
was evangelically the archbishop of Yorkshire, and was now about 
to depart to the Church triumphant, rejoiced to see any new 
labourer enter his great Methodist diocese. He wrote to the 
Countess, after her visit, that the " Lord's work prospers amaz- 
ingly among us," and that the societies were everywhere in a 
good state. So pure at this time was the charity^ so fervent the 
zeal of both classes of Methodists, that it was indeed difficult for 
either themselves or their enemies to distinguish between them. 
Orimshaw wrote, with a sort of rapture, of the blessings showered 
by the Lord upon them all while the Countess and her chaplains 
were in Yorkshire. " How," he says, " did our hearts bum with- 
in us to proclaim His love and grace to perishing sinners. Come 
and animate us afresh ; aid us by your counsels and your prayers ; 
and stir us up to renewed activity in the cause of (Jod. All the 
dear apostles go on well ; all pray for your dear ladyship, and aU 
long for your coming among us again." He had been, he con- 

* JMd and Times of the CountesB of Huntingdon, chap. 17. 

CALTIKIBTIC MXTH0DI8M : 1760 — 1770. 345 

tinues, a '^ long round " since she was with them, and had seen 
Ingham, Venn, Conyers, and Bentley, " all alive and preaching 
Christ crucified wita wonderful sficcess." Nelson, Grimshaw, 
Ingham, and Venn had kindled a flame of Christian charity and 
zeal in Yorkshire which still glows over their graves. Not only 
these early and beautiful examples of religious fellowship, but the 
abiding results of Methodism in that region are among its best 

Pletcher proposed, at the next visit of the Counters to York- 
shire, to accompany her to that " Goshen of the land, to learn 
the love of Christ at the feet of his brethren and fathers there." 
She was also attended by Whitefi-eld, Venn, Howell Harris, 
Tovmsend, Dr. Conyers, and Lady Anne Erskine, daughter of Lord 
Buchan ; and Madan joined them afterwards. They had public 
worship twice a-day, Pletcher being the chief preacher, as White- 
fi.eld left them early for Wales. They paused at Venn's parish, 
in Huddersfield, where Fletcher preached twice to large congre- 
gations, and with manifest effect. They also entered the parish of 
Grimshaw, who had now gone to his rest. Pletcher and Townsend 
addressed thousands there who had assembled from the towns and 
villages round about. Madan, Fletcher, and Venn, assisted by 
several Yorkshire clergymen, preached incessantly for some weeks, 
not only in that county, but m the adjacent shires, to vast multi- 
4:udes. It was, in fine, a religious jubilee throughout that part of 
England. Whitefield again joined them, and spread widely the 
public interest. The Churches were quickened, hundreds, if not 
thousands, of hearers were awakened, and the whole region 

Two interesting laymen, one a military man. Captain Jonathan 
Scott, and the other a mariner. Captain Torial Joss, were con- 
spicuous among the Calvinistic labourers about this time. The 
former was with the catholic band in Yorkshire, where he preached 
with great usefulness and popularity. Whitefield had said of 
them that God, who sitteth upon the fiood, can bring " a shark 
from the ocean and a lion from the forest, and make them to show 
forth His praise." Methodism hesitated not to use any talent 
which Providence thrust in its way, though it took good caution 
against eccentricities which were not weU guarded by prudence 
and piety. Both these remarkable men became powerftd labourers 
in its field, and never betrayed its confidence. Their personal 
histories are striking illustrations of the manner in which the 
Methodistic revival reached all classes of men^ and turned to 
account all kinds of talent. 

846 Hi6ax)BY or meth^odibx. 

Captain Scott was descended from an ancient and optilent 
family in the county of Salop. He was well educated, and in his 
seventeenth year adopted a military life as a comet, hut was soon 
promoted to the rank of captain of dragoons. He fought in tho^ 
Battle of Minden in 1759. Of vivid temperament, courageous 
and ambitious, he was, nevertheless, addicted to religious reflec- 
tion, and in the midst of battle saw the folly of bravery itself, 
when it is without moral fitness for its perilous contingencies. 
He desired to be a genuine Christian, but knew not the power of 
faith as "the victory which overcometh the world." He read 
punctiliously the Psalms and Lessons of the Liturgy, and his 
fellow-officers usually accosted him with the pleasantry, " Well, 
Scott, have you read your Psalms and Lessons to-day ?" Per- 
sisting, against the banter of his comrades, in these honest attempts 
to make himself righteous, ho felt, nevertheless, from day to day, 
that he had no success. While quartered near Oathall, he was 
overtaken, on a shooting excursion, by a storm that drove him 
into a farm-house, the humble tenant of which was a Methodist, 
and conversed with such good sense on religious subjects that 
Scott inquired where he had got his information. Pointing to a 
neighbouring hall, the farmer replied that a famous man, Mr, 
Bomaine, was now preaching there. The next Sunday the officer 
was present, and was struck by the devout order of the assembly, 
but still more by the text, " I am the way.^'^ It was precisel^i* 
what he needed, and led him at last to a saving faith in Christ. 

During some time he remained in the army, but while in 
Leicester with his regiment he began openly to preach to his 
men. A good but eccentric man having observed lus ability and 
usefulness, one day shut him in an apartment alone with his &od, 
a Bible, and a hymn-book, and declared that he must inevitably 
preach there that evening. He did so, and thus took his commission 
as an ambassador of Christ. Prom this hour he never swerved, 
but zealously preached in his regimentals wherever he moved with 
his troops. The novelty of the sight of a military officer preaching 
in costume excited the liveliest interest among the common people. 
Nearly all Leeds turned out to hear him, and he addressed 
" amazing crowds." Wherever he laboured with Lady Hunting- 
don's clerical attendants, during her present visit to Yorkshire, 
he was a centre of attraction to the midtitude. He accompanied 
the Countess to Madeley, where, as he could not canonically 
occupy the church, he preached, at the invitation of Eleftcher, 
twice on Sunday £rom the horse-block at its door to an immenBe 
assemhly, and the next day in Madeley Woods to a still larger 

CALTINlSrrC METHODISM: 1700 — 1770. 847 

concourse. Pletclier wrote of him as " a captain of the truth, a 
hold soldieop of Jesus Christ. Gtod had thrown down before him 
the middle wall of bigotry, and he had boldly launched into an 
irregular usefulness. For some months ho had exhorted his dra- 
goons daily, for some weeks he had preached publicly at Leicester, 
in the Methodist meeting-house, in his regimentals, to numerous 
congregations with good success." " The stiff regular ones pur- 
sue him," he adds, " with hue and cry, but I believe he is quite 
beyond their reach. I believe his red coat will shame many a 
black one. I am sure he shames me.'* 

Whitefield could not but rejoice in such a fellow-labourer. 
He gave a public account of him in London. " I have invited 
the captain,'' he added, " to bring his artillery to the Tabernacle 
rampart, and try what execution he can do here." Scott went to 
the metropolis, aud a great assembly welcomed him in the Taber* 
nacle. The brave man's heart melted as he rose before them ; he 
burst into tears, and lost the control of his voice ; but recovering 
his composure, he delivered a discourse which produced a lasting 
impression, and rendered him thenceforth one of the most popular 
preachers of the city. He sacrificed for the Gospel flattering 
prospects in the army, sold his commission, and gave himself to 
the Christian ministry. During more than twenty years he was 
one of the most successful supplies of "Whitefield's Tabernacle, 
and went to and fro through the country preaching in both 
Calvinistic and Arminian chapels. 

Captain Joss was another example of the Methodistic spirit 
of the times. He was an energetic Scotchman, and trained to 
maritime life. He was early inclined to religion, but being dis- 
couraged at home, he hid his' Bible out of the house, and reading 
it clandestinely, received from it impressions which he never lost. 
He was sent to sea when quite young ; it was at a time of war, 
and being taken by the enemy, he was carried to a foreign port, 
and suffered a severe imprisonment. Returning to Scotland 
diuing the Stuart rebellion, he was immediately impressed, and 
sent on board an English ship of war. He made his escape, and 
connected himself with a coasting vessel which belonged to Robin 
Hood's Bay, in Yorkshire. "Wesley records, in his Journal, fre- 
quent visits to this place, where he preached in the market-square 
and on the quay, till he succeeded in founding a society. Joss, 
who had strictly maintained his morals, and even his religious 
scrupulousness, in all his adventures, and had been a diligent 
student during the winter suspensions of navigation, joined the 
Methodists, and became noted in l^e town for the ability of his 


exhortations. Wesley discerned his talents, and encouraged him. 
He retained his Scotch Calvinism, but, as he did not dispute about 
it, it was no obstacle among his brethren. 

Still pursuing his seafaring life, he preached on board his 
vessel, and became known as an evangelist in all the harbours 
which he frequented. His first regular sermon was delivered at 
Boston, Lincolnshire, where he produced an extraordinary im- 
pression. On being appointed to the command of a ship, he 
established regular worship among his crew, and became at once 
captain and chaplain, and soon trained a band of his converted 
tars to exhort and pray publicly. 

He was a good sailor, and nad accumulated enough property 
to become owner, in part, of his ship, with a fair prospect of 
wealth ; but now disasters beset him continually, as if providen- 
tially to dnye him from the seas. He made unfortunate voyages, 
and was repeatedly wrecked. At one time he lost his ship, and 
with difficulty saved himself and his crew ; but, courageous against 
all odds, he went to Berwick for the purpose of building a still 
larger vessel. "While there he preached to great crowds, and, 
when about to leave, the common people mourned as at the loss 
of a faithful pastor. After he had sailed, a friend wrote, without 
his knowledge, to London, respecting his successful labours in 
Berwick during the preceding nine months. The letter came 
under "Whitefield's eye, and when he heard of the arrival of the 
preaching captain in the Downs, he announced in his Tabernacle 
that Joss would preach there the next Saturday evening, and 
despatched a messenger to the ship, which had already receiyed 
among sailors the name of " The Pulpit," to summon him to 
London. His modesty was startled at the unexpected honour, 
and he refused to go; but the messenger would not leaye the 
deck till he consented. Amid wondering throngs the sailor pro- 
claimed the Gospel from Whitefield's pulpit, not only on Saturday 
but on Sunday ; and Whitefield insisted that he should at once 
abandon the chart and compass, and give himself wholly to the 
ministry. He shrank from the proposition, but on his next 
voyage met with an accident which Whitefield deemed a warning. 
On his return to London, still gireater crowds gathered to hear 
him. Whitefield again urged him to confine himself to preaching, 
but he again resisted the call, and his following voyage was attended 
with a still worse disaster. On his third arrival at London, lus 
word was heard by yet greater throngs, and vnth still greater 
effect. While in the city his brother, a pious young man, fell 
^rerboard and was drowned in the Thames. '* Sir/' said. White* 


OALYTEnSTIC HSTHOBISK: 1760 — ^1770. 340 

field, '^ all these disasters are tbe fruits of jour disobedience, and 
let me tell you, that if you still refuse to hearken to the call of 
God, both you and your ship will soon go to the bottom." He 
yielded at last, and after his fourth voyage gave up the deck and 
took the pulpit. In 1766, Whitefield had the happiness to re- 
cognize nim as his colleague at the Tabernacle and Tottenham 
Court Eoad, and Captain Joss became the Eev. Torial Joss^ of 
famous memory in the religious history of the times. 

During thirty years he was "Whitefield's associate pastor of 
the London Calviuistic Methodist societies, and his popularity 
was only second to that of Whitefield himself. The crowd ran 
after him, and his word, delivered with great native eloquence, 
was successful in the conversion of multitudes of souls. Berridge 
called him ** "Whitefield* s Archdeacon of Tottenham." He not 
only s;pread Methodism extensively in the metropolis, but made 
preaching excursions into the coimtry. He usually spent four or 
five months of each year in itinerating in Enghmd and Wales. 
The Welsh especially delighted in his simple eloquence. Many 
came twenty miles on foot to hear him, and wherever he went he 
left seals of his ministry. He was a good man, mighty in the 
Scriptures, and faithful to the end. After preaching the Gospel 
more than thirty years, he was smitten down by sudden disease. 
" Oh, the preciousness of faith !" he exclaimed to the groups 
around his death-bed. "I have finished my course. My pil- 
grimage is ended. Ob, thou Friend of sinners, take thy poor old 
iriend home !" As if rapt in visions of the celestial world, he at 
last uttered the word " Archangels," and expired.* 

Thus did Methodism gather its trophies from the sea and 
the land, and while the " regular" clergy treated vdth scorn its 
" irregularities," and bishops wrote diatribes against its " enthu- 
siasm," but failed to save the heathen masses around them, it 
went forward, redeeming the people. 

In 1768 the Countess of Huntingdon made excursions into 
Gloucestershire and neighbouring counties, attended by a corps 
of regular and irregular preachers, whose ministry spread a great 
sensation throughout their course. " A remarkable power from 
on high," wrote the Countess, ** accompanied the message of His 
servants, and many felt the arrows of distress, "t Shirley, Eo- 
maine, Madwa, Venn, and Maddock were with her, and White- 
field joined them at Cheltenham. They preached in the churches 
when they could obtain permission ; when it was denied they 

* Gillies's Whitefield, oh. 19 ; Life, etc., of Lady Huntingdon, oh. 12, 
t Life and Times of the Countess of Huntingdon, chap. 26. 


betook themselves to Methodist and Dissenting ohapels, to 
churchyards, to highways, and fields. At Cheltenham the church ' 
was refused them by its rector and wardens, but Lord Dartmouth, 
noted as a Methodist himself, opened his mansion' for them. 
Downing, his chaplain, was a Methodist evangelist, and had done 
much good in the neighbourhood. His lordship hoped to obtain 
the church for Whitefield, but when the latter arrived it was 
denied to him also. An immense assembly had been attracted by 
the fame, of the preacher and the exertions of the earl; finding 
the church door closed, Whitefield mounted a tombstone and 
cried aloud, **Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the 
waters !" A singular spectacle was it — ^the closed church, the 
graves covered with thousands of the people, and such churchmen 
as Yenn, Madan, Shirley, Maddock, Talbot, Eowlands, and White- 
field, ordained and gowned, and yet proscribed for preaching to 
the famishing multitudes the doctrines of the Anglican Eaforma- 
tion ; and this, too, while a peer of the realm, a nobleman distin- 
guished for his wealth and dignity, admired by the king, the first 
Lord of Trade, sworn of the Privy Council, and Principal Secre- 
tary of State for the American Department, stood with his 
family among them, their friend and patron.* Such was the 
treatment of Methodism by the Established Church of the land. 
Venn spoke of this "field day," and those which immediately 
ensued, as remarkable for interest and success beyond what hia 
" powers could describe." He says he was overwhelmed by a 
sense of the awful power and presence of Jehovah ; that the 
effect of Whitefield's discourse was so irresistible that some of 
the hearers fell prostrate upon the graves, others sobbed aloud, 
some wept in silence, and almost the whole assembly seemed 
struck with awe. When the preacher came to the application of 
his text to the ungodly, "his word cut like a sword.'* Many 
cried out with anguish. At this juncture Whitefield made an 
" awful pause" of a. few seconds, then burst into a flood of tears. 
Madan and Yenn stood up during this short interval, and exhcarted 

* America still respects the name of the noble Methodist at the college 
(Dartmouth, Hanover, S".H.) which he patronized. It was to him that Oowper 
alluded in the verses : 

**We boast some rich ones whom the Gospel sways, 
And one who wears a coronet and prays." 

•'They call my Lord Dartmouth an enthusiast," said George HL ; "but 
surely he says nothing on religion but what any Christian may and ought to 
say." There wa* a;vein of outright good sense running tbisough the inamity 
of the aged king. 

CAxynoBTio mbthobism::: 1760 — 1770. 851 

the people to resiarain as much as possiUe their emotions. Twice 
afterwards they had to repeat the same advice. " Oh with what 
eloquence," writes Venn, " what energy, what melting tenderness 
did Whitefield beseech sinners to be reconciled to God, to come 
to Him for life everlasting, and rest their weary souls in Christ the 
Saviour." When th&sermon was ended the people seemed spell- 
bound to the ground. Madan, Talbot, Downmg, and Venn found 
ample employment in endeavouring to comfort those who had 
broken down under a sense of guilt. They separated in different 
directions among the crowd, and each was quickly surrounded by 
an attentive audience still eager to hear the Word of Life. 

Turned away from the church, the evangelists found shelter 
at Lord Dartmouth's mansion. Whitefield administered the 
sacrament there the same evening. Talbot " exhorted," and Venn 
closed the day with prayer and thanksgiving. The next day was 
equally interesting. Whitefield addressed " a prodigious congre- 
gation" in the churchyard, and Talbot preached at night at the 
earl's residence, where all the rooms and the adjacent grounds 
were crowded. A table was brought out before the door, and 
"Whitefield mounting it, again addressed them with overwhelming 
effect. Intelligence of these extraordinary scenes soon spread 
abroad, and the next day Charles Wesley, and many Methodists 
from Bristol, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Eodborough, and their 
adjacent villages, arrived and shared in the Pentecost ; but all 
" loud weeping and piercing cries had subsided, and the work of 
conversion went on, and much solid good was done." 

On leaving Cheltenham Madan and Talbot itinerated through 
Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, and Northamptonshire. " They went," 
says Hervey, who met them, " like men baptized with the Holy 
Ghost and with fire/' and through all those regions, as well as 
Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, they sounded the alarm day 
and night, and woke up slumbering thousands. These proceed- 
ings seemed, indeed, disorderly to grave Churchmen, but White- 
field expressed the just view of them : " This order undoes us. 
As things now stand we must be disorderly or useless." 

It is supposed that there were about forty clergymen of the 
Establishment publicly known about this period as *' Evangeli- 
cal"* Wesley had tried in vain to introduce among them some 
plan of co-operation which should not compromise their opinions. 
With Whitefield and Lady Huntingdon he had better success. 
He frequently met them in London, and preached at the resi- 
dence of the Countess amid throngs not only of the aristocracy, 

* Life and Times of- tlie Comttess of Hixntiiigdon, chap. 27. 

352 HI8T0BT 07 HITH0DI8K. 

but of 'the Calyinistic Methodist ministers; he occupied their 
pulpits, also, in his travels through the country. About 1766 the 
Countess, Whitefield, and the two Wesleys cemented their 
Christian harmony by something like a formal, ''a quadruple 
alliance," as Charles W esley called it.* They agreed to meet as 
often as convenient, and co-operate in their common work. 

Lady Huntingdon prized highly "Wesley's counsels. She 
cotdd not fail to perceive his peculiar ability as an ecclesiastical 
administrator, and, more than any other leader of Calvinistie 
Methodism, shared his legislative and executive genius ; but her 
sex did not admit of its exertion to the extent needed by her so- 
cieties. She consulted him often on important occasions. In 
1767 she submitted to him, and also to Venn, Bomaine, and her 
other conspicuous associates, a plan for the education of preach- 
ers, from which arose her Trevecca | College. "Wesley heartily 
approved the scheme ; it was, in fact, the exemplification of a 
design which he himself had propounded in his first and second 

A provision of this kind was the more needed as it had be- 
come manifest that the Methodists could expect no treatment, 
compatible with their self-respect, for their ministerial candidates 
at the English universities. About the time that Lady Hunting- 
don and "Wesley were consulting respecting Trevecca, a conclusive 
motive for the project was given at Oxford. Methodism had 
again revealed itself within its learned cloisters, as also at Cam- 
bridge ; in the latter, the noted Rowland Hill headed a band of 
devout youth who were stigmatized by the title. At Oxford, 
Halward, of "Worcester College, led a little company who were 
reproducing " The Holy Club," to the dismay of its clerical arid 
literary dignitaries. Hill and Halward were in constant corre- 
spondence ; Whitefield, also, had influential relations with them, 
and the new revival began to assume much prospective import- 
ance, when it was summarily arrested by the collegiate autnori- 
ties at Oxford. Six students of St. Edmund's Hall were cited to 
trial " for holding Methodistic tenets, and taking upon them to 
pray, read, and expound the Scriptures in private houses."t Dr. 
Dixon, Principal of St. Edmund's, defended the accused students 
from the Thirty-nine Articles, and spoke in the highest ' terms of 

* See his letter (tinged not a little with his characteiistic diBOontent to- 
wards his brother) in the Life of Lady Huntingdon, chap. 27. 

t St. James's Chronicle. Philip's Whitefield, chap. 27. The principal 
charges against one of them was that *' he had been instructed by Mr. Fletcher, 
A decided Methodist," and had ** associated with Methodists." 


their, piety and exemplary lives ; but his motion for their acquit* 
tal was overruled, and they were expelled. The proceeding pro- 
duced a general sensation in religious circles throughout the 
comitry. Sir Eichard Hill dedicated to the Earl of Lichfield, 
Chancellor of the "University, a pungent pamphlet, entitled 
" Pietas Oxoniensis." Home, afterwards Bishop of Norwich, 
entered into the controversy in favour of the expelled } oung 
men. Macgowan, who had been a local preacher among the 
Methodists, but was now a Baptist pastor in London, published 
against the University a satirical sermon, famous in that day, 
under the title of "The Shaver," which, with Aristophamc 
humour, but scathing logic, showed the Oxford proceedings to be 
not only impious but supremely ridiculous ; many thousands of 
the publication fiew over the land. Whitefield addressed a pub* 
lished and forcible letter to the Vice-Chancellor. Most, if not 
all these young men had been sent to Oxford under the auspices 
of Lady Huntingdon ; and the Oxford authorities, as also the' 
public journals, accused her of " seducing young menlGrom their 
respective trades and avocations and sending them to the Uni- 
versity, where they were maintained at her expense, that they 
might afterwards skulk into orders." It was time, therefore, that 
Trevecca should be opened. In three months it was dedicated by 
Whitefield, several of the persecuted students- resorted to it, and 
most of them became useful ministers in the National Church os 
among the Dissenters. 

In August, 1769, a remarkable scene was exhibited at Tre-^ 
vecca. It was the celebration of the first anniversary of the col- 
lege ; and so catholic was yet the whole Methodist movement^ 
that both its Calvinistic ana Arminian leaders met there in har- 
mony, and gave an example of Christian charity which should 
never be forgotten by their successors. Nearly a week before the 
celebration many of the most distinguished evangelists had 
arrived, and vast congregations, sermons, exhortations, prayers^ 
and conversions, in the courtvard of the castle, marked these 
preliminary days. Early in tne morning of the anniversary the 
Eucharist was administered, and shared by Methodists of aU 
opinions. Its administrators were Wesley and Shirley, the expo- 
nents of the Calvinism and Arminianism of the day. A large* 
company of clergymen first partook of it, then the students, and 
afterwards the Countess and a train of ** elect ladies," mostly of 
high rank, followed by the people. Fletcher preached in the 
court at two o'clock, and was succeeded by a sermo^ in Welsh, 
after which all the clergymen dined with Lady Huntingdon, wlule 



l»ead and meat were distributed from ample baidcets to the multi^- 
tudewii^ut. In the afternoon Wesley preached, and Eletcher 
followed witii a seeond sermon. Ike evening was deyoted to a 
'' lore-feasti" the primitive Agape, derived, in a simplified form, 
through the London Maravians ; it was an occasion of extraordi^ 
nary interest ; all classes sat '^together as in heavenly places in 
Christ Jesus.'' Howell Bams, with a band of his Welsh con* 
verts, took part in the exerciBee in iiieir own langui^e, and nar- 
ratives of Uhristian experience, prayers^ and hvmns occupied the 
hours. Wesley, always on the wing, 1^ the next day; but 
Eletcher, Shirley, and other clergymen tarried several days in 
brotherly devotions, preaching firom a platform in the courtyard 
to the multitudes who still lingered with them in deep religions 

But let us return, and for the last time, to the hero of Gal- 
vinistic Methodism. It pleases Grod, in acoominodation to the 
infirmities of our fallen humanity, that His most eminent servants 
should not be entirely exempt from its common imperfections, 
<3therwise they could not so well command our common sympa- 
thies, and do us the good for which they are sent ; but often, as 
their appointed work is closing, does He put upon their brows an 
unearthly glory, as if crowning them among men for their admis- 
sion among angels. Even in private life, when the aged pilgrim, 
or the long-sunering saint, or sanctified childhood itself, seems 
preparing to depart, it is often thus ; but still more among, the 
good and noted, of public Christian usefiilness. Whitefield has 
appeared and reappeared amid the scries of our narrative with 
^continually increasing interest— an interest which the historian, 
while he may well apprehend that he shall be suspected of exag- 
:geration, knows equally well to be short of the original reality. 
We come now to follow him to his grave, or rather to the scene 
of his ascension ; and as we trace hun through his last days, and 
behold his eloquence, his demotion, his heroism, taking a character 
of sublimity from the approach of death, we shall find that tibe 
ground u|>on which we tread becomes more holy, and should be 
walked with unsandaUed feet. 

We parted from him last in 1760. His health was feeble; 
the asthma oppressed him, and his chronic hemorrhage, '^ vomit- 
ing of blood," was considered by him a fortunate relief after the 
excitement of his discourses. In 1761 he was reduced almost to 
extremity, and expected death. Berridge, Eomaine, Madan, and 
his other associates, had to sustain ihe services of the Tabernacle 
And Tottenham Chapel, and for the first time in his niiTvi«i^^ 

GALYiNm:^o< iCMEHOBiBM I l%iit— 1770. 885 

causer he preaohed not for seveiol weeks, in 19^2 he ecmaidered 
it;^ a mga of some improyement that he could resume his *^ rasp- 
ing," and preaA some ^ fi?e times a-week." !Ete oo«dd ^^ft^dse the 
open field " occasionally. " Ok&r power e^ual to my wdll! " he 
wrote ; " I would fljfirom pde topote; publishing the everlastsng 
gospel of the Btm of God:" iBb made a. voyage to HJolland for 
his heall^ this year, and mxl his return was soonagain in^otland^ 
and could^write : ^' All my old Mmes have retiumed." . Edinbui^, 
G^iasgow, Cambudang,.again rejoiced tinder his mimstrations. Om 
returning to iEkiglaodk, it is recorded that he was abl^ to preach 
*^ hut once a-day," in extreme weakness. 

In 1763 he was again on the ocean. It was his sixth. expedi- 
tion. At Ehibddplua he preached twice a-week, though still 
very feeble. !Forty preachers, of yarioira denominations, who had 
be(^ regenerated i^ the American >emiil, eotig»imlatod him on 
his arrlTal. He passed through K«w York, Gonnectieut, and 
!Bhode !bland, to Boston, welcomed by tens of thousands. At 
Jfi^ew York he wrote i^t such a flocking of all ranks he never saw 
before. At Boston his reception was more coiedial than ever. 
Even Harvard College, which had issued its ^' testimony*^ against 
him, voted him thanha for ins Jonmal and oi^er books, and re-> 
eeived bim as an ambassador of Christ. On leaving the city for 
the south, messengers were sent after him; he went baek and 
preached to imm^ise crowds for several weeks. 

In his southwaid toiur the wk^le populatiGBi on his route 
seemed swaged with interest* On reading New York he wrote : 
^ It would astoni^ you to see above a hundred carriages at e^very 
49ermon in the ISew Worlds" Before the end of 17M he reached 
his beloved BeMiesda, near Savannah, having ;^yreached all ^ong 
his course fmm Boston to innumerable multitudes^ 

in the spring of 17>6S he again swept over the colonies north- 
ward as far' as New Y<»k. It would be impossible to estimate 
-Uie influence of his powerful discourses on the Churches, and the 
iseligious interests of the Atlantic settlements generally. The 
peculation, fifom* the highest to the lowest, gathered at ell the 
prominent points of his passage. Hundreds of thoosands l^ard 
^e highest evangelical truths uttered with an eloquence probably 
never equalled. Writing from Pyiadelphia, he says e " All along 
&bm Chaiiieston to this place the cry is ^ Eor Chnst'e sake, stay 
andjpreach to us.' »» 

In July, 1765, he "agam landed in England. He was still 
broksn,in health, but a^> ardent as ever with the devout enthuv 
siasm which huA boi^ebhiqpLitbsough unflaggiiig lajbours for nearly 


thirty years, '' Oh to end life well!" he wrote on his arriyal ; 
** methinks I hare now but one river to pass over, and we know 
of One that can cany na over without being ankle ieep." During 
the ensuing four years he itinerated in England, Scotland, and 
Wales, repeating his excursions whenever his health rallied 
sufficiently to sdlow him to mount his ^' field-throne," as he 
called his out-door pulpit. The enthusiasm of the people to 
hear him increased with the increased fame which years *had given 
him. Thej gathered by ten thousands kud twenty thousands 
around him, and he speaks of ** light and life nying in all 

Cornelius Winter, a distinguished Calvinistrc Methodist, gives 
us some glimpses of lus more personal life about this period. Me 
was avaricious of time, and his expectations generally went before 
the ability of his assistants to perform his commands. He waB 
very exact to the time appointed for his meals ,* a few minutes^ 
delay would be considered a great fau^t. He was irritable, but 
soon appeased. 'Not patient enough one day to receive a reason 
for his being disappointed under a particular occurrence, he hurt 
the mind of one who was studious to please him ; he discovered it 
by the tears it occasioned, and, on reflection, he himself burst 
into tears, saying, '* I shall live to be a poor peevish old man, and 
everybody will be tired of me." He never indulged parties at his 
table ; a select few might now and then breakfast with him, dine 
with him on. a Sunday, or sup with him on a Wednesday night. 
In the latter indulgence he was scrupulously exact to retire early » 
In the height of a conversation he would abruptly say, " B^t we 
forget ourselves," and rising from his seat, and advancing to the 
door, add, '' Come, gentlemen, it is time for all good folks to be at 
home." Whether by himself, or having but a second person at 
his table, it must be spread elegantly, though it presented but a 
loaf and a cheese. It never presented much variety. A cow- 
heel was his favourite dish, and he has been known cheerfully to 
say, " How surprised would the world be if they were to peep 
upon Dr. Squintum,* and see a cow-heel only upon his table.** 
He was fastidiously neat in his person and everything about him» 
Not a paper could be out of place or put up irregularly. Every 
part of the furniture must be in order before he retired to rest. 
He said he did not think he should die easy if he thought his 
gloves were out of their place. There was no rest in the house 
after four in the morning, nor sitting up after ten in the evening. 
He never made a purchase without paying the money for it imme- 

* One of his ejes was defective. See pa^ 62. 


CAIiYIiriBTIO HXTHODISM: 1760 — 1770. 867 

diatelj. He was truly generous, and seldom denied relief. He 
often dined among his friends, when he usually connected a com- 
prehensiye prayer with his thanksgiving at the table, noticing 
particular cases connected with the family : he never protracted 
his visit long after dinner. He often appeared tired of popidarity, 
and said he envied the man who could take his choice of food at 
an eating-house, and pass tmnoticed. He apprehended he should 
not glorify G-od in his death by any remarkable testimony, and 
was desirous to die suddenly. 

His wife died in 1768; he writes of her with regret, but 
suffered scarcely an intermission of his labours by the event. His 
marriage was not as unfortunate a3 that of John Wesley, nor as 
fortunate as that of Charles.* If it yielded him no great happi- 
ness, it did not interfere with the great work to which everything 
else had to bend. At the death of his only child, his Mends 
united in the request that he should decline preaching tiU it was 
buried ; but he preached twice the day after its death, and once 
the following day, and the bell was tolling for the funeral before he 
left the pulpit. This was zeal, but not a lack of tenderness, for 
in a few minutes he was on his knees by the side of the corpse, 
shedding " many tears, though tears of resignation." The next 
day he was again in the pulpit. Never was there a man so en- 
tirely of one work as "Whitefield. 

This, his last sojourn in England, was of incalculable advantage 
to Methodism. He consecrated new chapels, provided by the 
Countess of Huntingdon ; he promoted the success of the college 
at Trevecca ; he stimulated his fellow-labourers, Eomaine, Venn, 
Berridge, Madan, and their associates ; he called out Scott, Joss, 
Howland Hill, and other extraordinary labourers into his London 
pulpits, and spread renewed interest through most of the land. 
Meanwhile his generous spirit, fast ripening for heaven, sought 
every opportunity of promoting the catholicity of the great re- 
vival. He not only attended, and drew his most eminent asso- 
ciates to Wesley's Conferences, but met him often in private 
interviews. Wesley's equally charitable heart was touched by 
these Christian courtesies, and by the reminiscences of their 
long and common labours and sufferings. He saw that his elo- 
quent friend was hastening to his rest, and that the opportunities 
for such brotherly amenities should be prized as soon to be had 
no more. In 1769 he records in his «ioumal that he spent '' a 

* Winter, who lived in his family, represents it as unhappy. (Winter's 
Memoirs, by Jay.) Philip (life of Whitefield, chap. 11) attempts an elaborate 
and plausible, if not successful defence. 

858 .^ ^tidiM^B^ OOP janraDiMnK. ) 

oclmfoJHBUe knd po&tm& hour " wxtii WUtefidd '*-$» caiUfifi^ 
mmd thejbrmer times^'* And the mamier in wMoh €k>d bad pte^ 

Earod them for '^fo work -wlncAi it had Hot ostered into th^ 
eatrts to conceive.'^ Whitefieild was at thki time sinking ^&(tt. 
Two years- earlier Wesley speaks of breakfastmg inth him, and df 
his appeaanng to be " an old, old man, fairly worn out in his 
Maatfflr's service." In February, 1/769, he says : " I had <me 
inore agreeable eonversatioaL with my M fhend and fellow* 
labourer, Qeorge Whitefield. His soul appeared to be vigorous 
still, but his body was sinking apace." 

In September, 1769, the mighly apostle was again on the deok 
for America. He took affectionate leave of "Wesley in a ferewell 
letter as he embarked. After a tedious and perilous voyage, he 
was eheered to find Bethesda in tmprecedented prosperi^. For 
about thirty-two years he had cherished it as one of the fcmdest 
objects of his life. It was almost dear of 'debt, with two new 
wings, each nearly one hundred and ^Mty feet in length, and 
smaller buildings in much forwardness, and the whole executed 
^'with taste and in a masterly manner." ^e governor and 
council of the colony received him with public ceremonies, and 
adopted his plans for the •re*organi2ation c^ the institution as a 
college. He seemed never more coutented. " I am happier," 
he wrote, " than words can express." " O Bethcnda ! my Bethel I 
my Peniel; my happiness is inooncmable ! " This year he was 
to die, and it was well that yslttet days were not to be clouded 
by an anticipation of i^e fate which awaited this his fo.vourite 
project.* He felt a momentary temptation te repose in its tfan* 
qui! retirement, ^ but all must give way to gospel ranging, 'divine 
employ !" and soon he was again moving northward. Early in the 
morning on which he started be wrote the prophetic words : " Thia 
will prove a sacred yearforme at the day of judgment. Ballelu^ 
jah! Come, Lord, cdtnci!" 

The last tour befitted his whole teKgioi* history. He was in 
improved health ! never did his spirit soar more loftily; never did 
such frequent ejaculations of zeal and rapture i^pear in his cor- 
respondence. "Hallelujah! hallelujah! he wrote to England; 
>* let chapel, tabernacle^ heaven, and earth rasound veith hal* 
lelujah! I can no more; my heart is too big to speak or add 
more ! " To Charles Wesley he wrote : " I can only sit down, and 
cry, * What hath &od wjpoughti' My bodily health is mu^ 
improved, and my soul is on the wing for another gospel 

* It was destxoy^d by fire two dr tiiree jetH ilater, And scarce^ a tamo^ i^ 

GALYHaSTIC lOBTHODdSK: 1760—1770. -8^ 

magB' TJnuiterabla love ! I am lost in ivYmder and amaze- 

In May he appeared again among the enthoBiastic crowda of 
Philadelphia, preaching twice on Sunday, bendes three or four 
times daring the rest df the week. All ranks flocked to hear him, 
and now even ihe Episcopal churches were all open to him. The 
salutary effects of his former labours were everywhere obvious. 
He made an excursion from the city ov^ a circuit of a hundred 
and fifty miles, preaching every day. So many doors were open, 
he wrote, that he knew not which way to turn. He turned 
finally to New York, where he preached " to congregations larger 
than ever.*' He passed up the Hudson Biver, and made a tour of 
more than five hundred nules, preaching at Albany, Schenectady, 
Great Barrington, and many other places. He had reached the 
New York frontier of that day ; for as late as the Bevolution the 
white population west of the Hudson scarcely extended back sixty 
miles to Cherry Valley, Johnstown, and some scattered settle- 
ments in Otsego, Montgomery, and Herkimer counties ; and such 
was still the power of the Indian tribes, that during the war 
Schenectady itself was likely atone time to become the prominent 
point of the western boundary of the state. *' Oh what new 
scenes of usefulness are opening in various points of this world," 
wrote Whitefield, as he returned. He saw the gates of the north- 
west opening, those mighty gates through which the nations have 
since been passing, as in grand procession, but he was not to enter 
tiiere ; ihe everlasting gates were opening for him, and he was 
hastening towards them. The last entry in his memoranda relates 
to his labours on this tour up the Hudson : '^ I heard afterwards 
that the Word ran and was glorified. Grace! grace! " He had 
preached with his usual zeal, and at every possible point, in 
churches, in streets, in fields, and at one time on the coffin of a 
criminal, beneath the gallows, to thousands of hearers ; ^* Solemn! 
solemn 1" he wrote ; ** effectual good, I hope, was done. Grace! 
grace ! *' 

From New York he went to Boston, and wrote in one of his 
latest letters that never was the Word received with greater eager- 
ness than now, and that all opposition seemed to cease. He 
passed on to Newbury, where he was attacked with sudden ill- 
ness ; but recovering, he resumed his route to Portsmouth, N.H. 
During six days he preached there and in i^e vicinity every day.