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Age 50

inward and outward holiness so strongly and closely as they ought. Many of the Methodists having lately married with unbelievers, it was resolved, that those who did this in future should be expelled from the society; and, that it should be a general rule, that no Methodist should marry without consulting the most serious of his brethren. It was ascertained, that sabbath breaking, dram drinking, evil speaking, unprofitable conversation, lightness, and contracting debts without sufficient care to discharge them, extensively prevailed ; and it was determined, that none, who hereafter were guilty of such things, would be permitted to remain members of the society. Some of the married preachers were suffering great hardships, through no provision being made for the sustenance of their wives; and it was agreed that, in future, preachers ought to be careful in marrying “hand over head;" that they ought first to consult their brethren; and that, if they neglected this, they must not take it amiss if left to provide for themselves and their wives in the best way they could; and that, if they did consult with their brethren first, and still married wives without anything, they must be content to return to their temporal business, and again become local preachers. The circuits were twelve in number, namely-London, Bristol, Devonshire, Cornwall, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Leeds, Haworth, Lincolnshire, Newcastle, Wales, and Ireland ; and the preachers appointed to supply them, including the two Wesleys, were thirty-nine.

The conference being ended, Wesley proceeded to Birstal, Haworth, Keighley, Heptonstall, and Todmorden ; preaching, in three days, ten or eleven sermons, and meeting the societies, till his voice began to fail, though at Birstal it had been sufficiently powerful, and so exerted, that those who sat in John Nelson's windows, at a distance of a hundred yards, heard every word he uttered. Writing to his friend, Mr. Ebenezer Blackwell, on May 28, he says : "The harvest has not been so plenteous for many years as it is now, in all the north of England; but the labourers are few. I wish you could persuade our friend" (probably his brother] “ to share the labour with me. One of us should, in anywise, visit both the

1 Minutes (edit. 1862), p. 717.

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north and Ireland every year. But I cannot do both; the
time will not suffice, otherwise I would not spare myself. I
hope my life, rather than my tongue, says, I desire only to
spend and be spent in the work." 1

On his way to London, Wesley paid his first visit to the
town of Leicester. He writes : “ June 10, Whit-Sunday :-
After dinner, a gentleman who came from Leicester, eight
miles off,” [Markfield] “invited me thither. About eight I
preached there, in a place near the walls, called the Butt-close.
The people came running together from all parts, high and
low, rich and poor; and their behaviour surprised me; they
were so serious and attentive, not one offering any interrup-

Soon after this, a society was gathered, and was placed under the care of John Brandon, a dragoon, who subsequently became one of Wesley's itinerant preachers; and an old thatched building, in Milstone Lane, which had been successively used as a tithe barn, a theatre, a riding school, and a coal depot, was now turned into a Methodist chapel.

Wesley reached London, after a four months' absence, on the 12th of June. A month later, he started for the Isle of Wight, where one of his preachers had been already labouring. Calling at Portsmouth, he writes: “I was surprised to find so little fruit here, after so much preaching. That accursed itch of disputing had well-nigh destroyed all the seed which had been sown. And this vain jangling' they called 'contending for the faith.' I doubt the whole faith of these poor wretches is but an opinion.”

The society here mentioned was not Wesley's, but one
belonging to the preachers of the Countess of Huntingdon.
Immediately after this visit, however, a small class was
formed by Wesley's itinerants, one of the members of which
was John Mason, an orphan child now approaching manhood,
and who, in 1764, became an itinerant preacher, and died in
peace in 1810.

Leaving Portsmouth, Wesley, after a three hours' voyage,
landed at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight; which he says
far exceeds the Isle of Anglesey, both in pleasantness and

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1 Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 168.

* Ibid., vol. xiii., p. 318.

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fruitfulness, as that exceeds the rocks of Scilly.” He rode
straight to Newport, where he "found a little society in
tolerable order.” He preached in the market-place to a
large but noisy congregation. He walked to Carisbrook
castle, and tells of the deep well, from which water was then
drawn by an ass sixty years old.

Newport was the only place in the island at which Wesley
preached. On July 12, he started thence for Cornwall.
On reaching Bristol, he performed a service worth mentioning.
At the end of May, hundreds of colliers, on account of the
dearness of corn, had risen in riot; had smashed the windows
of the council house; and forcibly boarded a vessel laden
with grain for exportation. They had pelted the constables
and city guards with stones, and committed other outrages,
when a troop of the Scots Greys arrived, who killed four of
the rioters, and took thirty prisoners.' At Wesley's coming,
they were still in gaol; and he writes : "July 17.–At their
earnest desire, I preached to the poor colliers confined in
Newgate on account of the late riot. They would not hear
the gospel while they were at liberty. God grant they may
profit by it now !

He spent three weeks in Cornwall; met the stewards; examined the societies; and told the Methodists of St. Ives, that they must cease smuggling, or he would not visit them again. Here he was seized with illness,-a flux, a continual headache, violent and frequent vomitings, and cramp in his feet and legs. By this he was made a prisoner for a week, when he recommenced preaching, and, on August 21, got back to Bristol.

Kingswood school, as usual, required attention. He writes : “Surely the importance of this design is apparent, even from the difficulties that attend it. I have spent more money, and time, and care, on this, than almost any design I ever had ; and still it exercises all the patience I have. But it is worth all the labour."

On September 3, he "began visiting the little societies in Somersetshire and Wiltshire ;” and, at Paulton, had an encounter with Stephen Plummer, a quondam Methodist, but

1 Lonion Magazine, 1753.

1753 now an insane Quaker. Wesley preached, and, as soon as he Age 50 had done, Stephen began an outpouring. Wesley listened

for half an hour ; but, finding that his old acquaintance was no nearer the end of his discourse, he rose up to leave. Stephen's "sister then begged him to suspend his oration; on which he few into a violent rage, and roared louder and louder, till an honest man took him in his arms, and gently removed him." Wesley adds: “What a wise providence was it, that this poor young man turned Quaker some years before he ran mad! So the honour of turning his brain now rests upon them, which otherwise must have fallen upon the Methodists."

Taking the Isle of Wight on his way, Wesley arrived in London, on October 9.

Almost for the first time, an estrangement now sprang up between Wesley and his brother. Their friendship, hitherto, had been of the most tender and confidential kind ; but, for some reason, Charles began to be reserved, and, to some extent, restive. He was a married man, and had a happy home; and children were being born, whose claims were scarcely compatible with the domestic absences occasioned by his itinerant life. Added to this, Wesley's wife was perpetually brewing mischief. Towards Charles and his “ dear Sally,” she entertained and cherished feelings of strong aversion, which she was seldom backward to express. All this may help to explain the following extracts from two letters, from Wesley to his brother, and dated respectively October 20, and October 31.

“I came back from Bedford last night. I know not whether it was your will or no (I believe not), but I am sure it was God's will for you, to call there. How do you judge whether a thing be God's will or no? I hope not by inward impressions. Let us walk warily. I have much constitutional enthusiasm ; and you have much more. I give you a dilemma. Take one side or the other. Either act readily in connection with me, or never pretend it. Rather disclaim it; and openly avow you do and will not. By acting in connection with me, I mean, take counsel with me once or twice a year as to the places where you will labour. Hear my advice before you fix whether you take it or no. At present you are so far from this, that I do not even know when and where you intend to go. So far are you from following any advice of mine ; nay, even from asking it. And yet I may say, without vanity, that I am a better judge of this matter than either Lady Huntingdon, Sally, Jones, or

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any other : nay than your own heart, that is, will. You told William
Briggs, that you never declined going to any place because my wife was
there. I am glad of it. If so, I have hope we may sometime spend a little
time together. Why do you omit giving the sacrament in Kingswood ?
What is reading prayers at Bristol, in comparison of this ? I am sure, in
making this vehement alteration, you never consulted me.
“My love to my sister. Adieu !” I

His brother was not the only one, among his friends, that
gave Wesley trouble. Hence the following extracts from two
other letters.

“You give five reasons why the Rev. Mr. P—— will come no more among us :-1. ' Because we despise the ministers of the Church of England.' This I flatly deny ; I am answering letters this very post, which bitterly blame me for just the contrary. 2. 'Because so much backbiting is suffered amongst our people.' It is not suffered : all possible means are used, both to prevent and remove it. 3. 'Because I, who have written so much against hoarding up money, have put out £700 to interest.' I never put sixpence out to interest since I was born ; nor had I ever £100 together, my own, since I came into the world. 4. . Because our lay preachers have told many stories of my brother and me.' If they did, I am sorry for them : when I hear the particulars, I can answer, and perhaps make those ashamed who believed them. 5. 'Because we did not help a friend in distress. We did help him as far as we were able. You conclude with praying, that God would remove pride and malice from amongst us.' Of pride I have too much ; of malice I have none : however, the prayer is good, and I thank you for it.”

In the other letter, Wesley writes :

“ Some time since, I was considering what you said, concerning the want of a plan in our societies. There is a good deal of truth in this remark. Though we have a plan, as to our spiritual economy, it is certain, we have barely the first outlines of a plan with regard to our temporal concerns. The reason is, I had no design for several years, to concern myself with temporals at all ; and when I began to do this, it was solely with a view to relieve, not to employ, the poor ; except now and then, with respect to a small number ; and even this I found was too great a burden for me, as requiring more money, more time, and more thought, than I could possibly spare. I say, than I could possibly spare ; for the whole weight lay on me. If I left it to others, it surely came to nothing. They wanted either understanding, or industry, or love, or patience, to bring anything to perfection,

“With regard to myself, you do well to warn me against ' popularity, a thirst of power, and of applause ; against envy, producing a seeming contempt for the conveniences or grandeur of this life ; against an affected humility ; against sparing from myself to give to others, from no other

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1 Wesley's Works, vol. xii., pp. 107, 108.

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