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1753.

1753

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Age 50

S usual, Wesley began the new year by preaching, in the

Foundery, at four o'clock in the morning, when a large congregation met to praise the God of providence and grace with “joyful hearts and lips.” On the same day, his old friend Howel Harris wrote him a long letter, from which the following is an extract :

" January 1, 1753. “DEAR BROTHER JOHN WESLEY,— ... Shall I speak freely to you, as I am going to that dear Man, who has indeed honoured you, and whom I believe you wish to honour, for you live on His bloody sweat and passion? I wish your ministry and that of the Moravians were united. It would be for the public good. I have fought a good fight, and have, through millions of infirmities, kept the faith. You and your brother Charles have ever been dear to me; but I have often feared, that your wisdom and popularity would be injurious to you, and turn you from the true simplicity of the gospel. I send this, as my dying and loving request, for the Lord's sake, for your own sake, and for the sake of thousands that attend your ministry, that you would direct their eye to the Saviour, and suffer them not to idolize you. Let nothing fall from your lip or pen, but what turns the soul from self to the Saviour. To deny ourselves is a difficult lesson, and there are but few that learn it. I have written some things, in the time of my confinement, which I have ordered the bearer to show you, and which you will perhaps correct and publish, if you have time, and think they would be of service to the cause of Christ. Hearty salutation to your brother Charles, and all who love Jesus Christ in sincerity. I have been laid aside from public service for some months. I am weary of nothing here but the body of sin in my flesh. I rejoice in you, and the large field that is before you. Though I know not how to give over, I must conclude.

“Howel HARRIS.” 1 Whitefield spent the year in a glorious itinerancy throughout the kingdom. On the ist of March, the first brick of his new Tabernacle was laid, on the site of his old wooden one, he having collected £1100 towards defraying the expense of its erection. He published several sermons, and also a small collection of hymns for public worship. “I and the Messrs.

1“ Life and Times of Howel Harris," p. 203.

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Wesley," he writes, “are very friendly.” The Wesleys, 1753 during the erection of his Tabernacle, allowed him the use of

Age 50 their London chapels,—an act of courteous kindness which he gratefully acknowledges. In a three months' summer tour, he travelled about twelve hundred miles, and preached a hundred and eighty times. In Grimshaw's church, at Haworth, thirty-five bottles of wine were used at a single sacrament. The year throughout was a year of triumph and of joy,-with one exception, which we are bound in honesty to mention.

Moravianism was increasingly a bone of contention. Two years before, Zinzendorf had purchased, of Sir Hans Sloane, an old family mansion with adjoining grounds, situated on the banks of the Thames at Chelsea. The mansion was turned into a congregation house ; a chapel was fitted up; a burial ground was laid out; and gardens, and a terrace, facing the Thames, were formed. The money expended was more than £11,000. In April, 1753, the whole establishment of the Unitas Fratrum removed into the newly acquired premises ; and Lindsey House, Chelsea, was henceforth “the disciple house,"—the head quarters of the English Moravians. All bishops and elders were subordinate to Zinzendorf, who, under the name of "papa," was exclusively the ruler of the church.

Meantime, an enormous debt had been incurred. Parliamentary negotiations, sending brethren and sisters to the American colonies, maintaining the preachers of country congregations, sustaining boarding schools, and meeting the large expenses of Lindsey House, -created pecuniary liabilities which the Unitas Fratrum found it difficult to meet. During the year 1749, and the first half of the year 1750, the managers of the “diaconies " had advanced £13,000, and clamoured for repayment. Zinzendorf tried to raise a loan of £30,000 for the English Moravians, from the nobility of Upper Lusatia ; but his effort failed. A few of the London Brethren lent, from their own resources, nearly £15,000, which merely met present wants. Zinzendorf and others were in danger of arrest for debt. A crop of lawsuits sprung up.

Thomas Hankey was a creditor to the amount of nearly £19,000; and the Moravian liabilities, ecclesiastical and trading, were altogether more than £130,000. Affairs

1753 appeared to be involved in inextricable confusion.

BankAge 50 ruptcy was imminent; disgrace was great. Peter Bohler, at

the time, was the minister in London, and did his utmost to calm the troubled waters. Scandals of all kinds were rife ; and even Bohler himself was not exempt from the general censure,-a fact which led him, in March, 1753, to refuse to join with the Brethren in the holy communion, and which probably had something to do with his leaving London for America in the month of June ensuing?

In the midst of all this, a terrible onslaught was made upon the Moravians, and upon Zinzendorf in particular, by Henry Rimius, "Aulic Counsellor to his late majesty the King of Prussia,” in an octavo pamphlet of 177 pages, dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and entitled, “A Candid Narrative of the Rise and Progress of the Herrnhuthers, commonly called Moravians, or Unitas Fratrum.In one place, he charges Zinzendorf with flagrant falsehood. He states, that in his book, “Natural Reflections," the count asserts that "he had been examined by the Theological Faculty at Copenhagen." Upon inquiry, this was found to be an absolute untruth, and had been positively contradicted by a public act of the said faculty, signed with their corporate seal.

Wesley read Rimius's narrative as soon as it was published, and wrote: “It informed me of nothing new. I still think several of the inconsiderable members of that community are upright; but I fear their governors wax worse and worse, having their conscience seared as with a hot iron.”

Whitefield, in a letter dated March 21, 1753, observed : “What is happening to the Moravians is no more than I have long expected, and spoken of to many friends. Their scheme is so antichristian in almost every respect, that I am amazed the eyes of the English Brethren have not long since been opened."

Whitefield tried to open them. He published a pamphlet, entitled, “An Expostulatory Letter, addressed to Nicholas Lewis, Count Zinzendorf, and Lord Advocate of the Unitas Fratrum." The letter, dated April 24, 1753, in whole or in

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part, was reprinted in the magazines and newspapers of that period, and produced a great sensation.

Zinzendorf and his friends are charged with "misguiding many honest hearted Christians; with distressing, if not ruining, numerous families; and with introducing a whole farrago of superstitions, not to say idolatrous fopperies, into the English nation.” The Unitas Fratrum are accused of "walking round the graves of their deceased friends on Easter day, attended with hautboys, trumpets, french horns, and violins." Zinzendorf had suffered incense to be "burnt for him, in order to perfume the room before he made his entrance among the brethren"; and had allowed a picture to be exhibited in a lovefeast, “representing him handing a gentleman and lady up to the side of Jesus Christ.” It was alleged, that the married women were “ordered to wear blue knots; the single women, pink ; those that were just marriageable, pink and white; widows that were past childbearing, white ; and those that were not so, blue and white." Hannah Nitschmann, the general eldress of the Fetter Lane congregation, wore "the episcopal knot," and might be seen sitting at the head of a table, surrounded with eldresses and deaconesses, covered with artificial flowers, and bearing a small altar on which stood a cross composed of glittering stones, and environed with wax tapers. On Hannah's birthday, the floor of one of the rooms in the house of the single brethren was covered with sand and moss, amid which a star was made of coloured pebbles. Upon the star was placed a gilded dove, spouting water from its mouth. The room was curiously decked with moss and shells; and here Zinzendorf, Hannah Nitschmann, Peter Bohler, and other labourers sat, in high dignity, beneath an alcove made of pasteboard. Upon a table was an altar covered with shells, and, on each side of the altar, a bloody heart emitting flames. The place was illuminated with wax candles; and musicians were fixed in an adjacent room, while Zinzendorf and his company performed their devotions, and regaled themselves with sweetmeats, coffee, tea, and wine.

Zinzendorf is said to be over head and ears in debt; and many of the English Brethren, by signing bonds for more than they had means to pay, had exposed themselves to bankruptcy and prison. Peter Bohler, to comfort one of the

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1753 · creditors, William Bell, had sent for him to his house in
Age 50 Neville's Alley, Fetter Lane; where an artificial mountain

had been erected in the hall, which, upon the singing of a
particular verse, was made to fall flat down, and then behind it
appeared a representation of Mr. Bell and the blessed Saviour
embracing each other, while the clouds above were raining
money most gloriously. Mr. Freeman and Mr. Grace had
found bills drawn in their names, unknown to them, to the
amount of £48,000; and Mr. Rhodes had been prevailed upon
to sell his estate, of above £400 per annum, to meet the neces-
sities of the Unitas Fratrum; and, to avoid further payments,
for which he had made himself responsible by signing bonds,
had fled to France, leaving behind him a destitute mother,
who since had died.

Such is the substance of Whitefield's letter, What were its
effects? Wesley writes

“ July, 1753.-I found the town much alarmed with Mr. Rimius's narrative, and Mr. Whitefield's letter to Count Zinzendorf. It seems, indeed, that God hastening to bring to light those hidden works of darkness. Mr. Whitefield showed me the letters he had lately received from the count, P. Bohler, and James Hutton. I was amazed. Either furious anger or settled contempt breathed in every one of them. Were they ashamed after all the abominations they had committed ? No; they were not ashamed: they turned the tables upon Mr. Whitefield. The count blustered, like himself, and roundly averred, he could say something if he would. James Hutton said flat, “ You have more than diabolical impudence ; I believe the devil himself has not so much.””

Wesley has not recorded the sentiments of his old friend Peter Bohler ; but Whitefield states, that Bohler availed himself of the pulpit to declare, that his letter“ was all a lie."? It so happens, however, that, since then, the letters of the count, of Bohler, and of Hutton have been published. Zinzendorf says : "As yet, I owe not a farthing of the £40,000 you are pleased to tell me of;" and concludes thus : "As your heart is not prepared to love me, nor your understanding to listen to my reasons” (which he declines to give) “I wish you well. . sir, and am your loving friend, Louis."

Peter Bohler, in his letter of May 4, begins : “Sir, I pity

i Whitefield's Works, vol. iv., p. 253.

Ibid. vol. iii., P. 14.

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