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1748 miserable priest who raised the Roughlee mob, and its proAge 45 phetic utterances were soon fearfully fulfilled. Within three years White was dead. "For some years," says Wesley, "he was a popish priest. Then he called himself a protestant. He drank himself first into a jail, and then into his grave."1

Leaving Barrowford, Wesley and his friends went to Heptonstall, where he preached, with unexampled power, in an oval surrounded with spreading trees, and scooped out of a hill, which rose round him and his congregation like a rural theatre. He then made his way, through Todmorden and Rossendale, to Bolton, where with the cross for his pulpit, and a vast number of "utterly wild" people for his audience, he began to preach. Once or twice they thrust him down from the steps on which he was standing, but he still continued his discourse. Then stones were thrown, which seem to have done more injury to the mob themselves than they did to Wesley. One man was bawling in his ear, when his bawling was silenced by a missile striking him on the cheek. A second was forcing his way to the preacher, when another stone hit him on his forehead, and disfigured him with blood. A third stretched out his hand to lay hold on Wesley, when a sharp flint struck him on the knuckles, and made him quiet till Wesley concluded his discourse and went away. It was either on this, or some subsequent occasion, that six papists, from Standish, near Wigan, rode right through the midst of Wesley's congregation; and tradition states, that two of the horsemen, brothers of the name of Lyon, were afterwards hanged for burglary.2

Wesley and his friends proceeded from Bolton to Shackerley, six miles farther, where he preached to a large congregation, including not a few Unitarians, the disciples of Dr. Taylor, the divinity tutor of the Unitarian academy. founded at Warrington. Wesley, always hopeful, remarks: "O what a providence is it, which has brought us here also, among these silver tongued antichrists!" Wesley visited Shackerley three times after this, and wrote, in 1751: "Being now in the very midst of Mr. Taylor's disciples, I enlarged much more than I am accustomed to do, on the doctrine of

1 Wesley's Works, vol. ii., p. 253.

2 Manuscripts.

Whitefield returns to England.


original sin; and determined, if God should give me a few years' life, publicly to answer his new gospel." This was done six years afterwards; and Shackerley must always have a place in Methodistic annals, inasmuch as to Wesley's visits here Methodism is indebted for the most elaborated work he ever wrote.

In his onward progress, Wesley came to Astbury, where a lawless mob, headed by "Drummer Jack," surrounded the preaching house, and endeavoured, by discordant noises, to drown his voice. Some years after, the same Drummer Jack was escorting a wedding party to Astbury church, and, on reaching the spot where he had attempted to disturb Wesley's congregation, suddenly expired.1

Thus preaching on his way, Wesley, on September 4, got back to London.

Meanwhile, on July 5, Whitefield, after nearly a four years' absence, returned to England from America. On the day he landed, he wrote to his friends, the two Wesleys; but an immediate interview was impracticable, for Wesley himself was on his northern journey, and his brother Charles, besides attending to his ministerial duties, was paying loving attentions to Sarah Gwynne. Three days before Wesley got back to London, Whitefield wrote to him as follows:

"LONDON, September 1, 1748.

"Reverend anD DEAR SIR,-My not meeting you in London has been a disappointment to me. What have you thought about an union? I am afraid an external one is impracticable. I find, by your sermons, that we differ in principles more than I thought; and I believe we are upon two different plans. My attachment to America will not permit me to abide very long in England; consequently, I should but weave a Penelope's web, if I formed societies; and if I should form them, I have not proper assistants to take care of them. I intend therefore to go about preaching the gospel to every creature. You, I suppose, are for settling societies everywhere; but more of this when we meet. I hope you don't forget to pray for me. You are always remembered by, reverend and dear sir, yours most affectionately in Christ Jesus,

"GEORGE WHITEFIELD."2 Whitefield left London for Scotland before Wesley's arrival,

1 "Methodism in Congleton Circuit," p. 38.

2 Whitefield's Works, vol. ii., p. 370.


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1748 and the two evangelists had no opportunity of meeting until the end of November, when, it is possible, they might, in their hurried ramblings, have a brief interview in town. They were still the warmest friends; but their courses of action were separate. Whitefield was a Calvinist; Wesley was not. Whitefield thought an external union, of the Tabernacle and other congregations with the congregations raised by Wesley, was impracticable; Wesley, so far as there is evidence to show, did not desire it. Whitefield had no societies, for the societies in Wales really belonged not to him but to Howel Harris; Wesley had already societies from one end of the kingdom to the other. Whitefield intended to spend his time chiefly in America; Wesley meant to stay in England. Whitefield, for the reasons he assigns, resolved to form no societies, but to be a mere evangelist; Wesley was resolved, for reasons stated at more than one of his annual conferences, to form societies wherever he and his preachers preached. Here the two friends parted, one in one direction, the other in another, both of them with hearts as warm as ever, and both equally animated with zeal for God and benevolence for man; but each, henceforth, cheerily pursuing his own chosen path, until both, laden with the spoils of a victorious war, were welcomed to the tranquillities and joys of their Father's house in heaven.

Hitherto Whitefield's preaching had chiefly been in fields and lanes, squares and streets, woods and wildernesses; but now, oddly enough, he was admitted into the drawing rooms of the rich and great.

The Right Honourable Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, wife of the Earl of Huntingdon, and sister of the Earl of Ferrars, was now in the forty-second year of her age. Her noble husband was a man of extensive learning, was most exemplary in his character, and treated his wife with great affection. At his death, in 1746, ninety-eight elegies were written concerning him, and were published under the title of "Lacrymæ Musarum."

For two years past, the countess had been a widow. Hitherto, she had admirably fulfilled her duties in the higher circles of society. At Donnington Park, she had been the "Lady Bountiful" among her neighbours and dependants;

The Countess of Huntingdon.


she had evinced great interest in their temporal and eternal welfare; and, besides encouraging the clergy in her own immediate neighbourhood, she had, more than once, dared to give a hearty welcome to the outcast Wesleys and their friends. Her heart was now pierced with the deepest sorrow, and was highly susceptible of religious impressions. Just at this juncture, Whitefield came back to England; his fervid eloquence attracted her attention; she made him her chaplain; and what Whitefield had resolved not to do, she did herself,she founded societies, built chapels, appointed ministers, and formed a Methodist connexion apart from that which was formed by Wesley. She never renounced the Church of England; but she embraced views hardly compatible with its practices and well being. She was a child of emotion, carried onwards by an impulse not easily resisted or described. She had her annual conferences; the preachers whom she stationed were called "Lady Huntingdon's preachers"; and the connexion over which she presided was known by the name of "Lady Huntingdon's connexion." Perhaps her people were less efficiently organised; but she held to them the same relation that Wesley did to his. Her authority was parental and decisive. No one doubted the purity of her motives, and all trusted the general soundness of her judgment. Chapels were erected in London, Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, and other places. Again and again, revivalists were sent from one end of the land to the other, preaching everywhere, and almost everywhere winning souls for Christ. A college, the first that Methodism had, was opened at Trevecca, for the training of young ministers. The countess was the empress of the new connexion, and Whitefield was her prime minister. Wesley's connexion was Arminian; hers was Calvinist. His continues, and is more extended and powerful than ever; hers has long been broken up into Independent churches. Wesley died March 2, 1791; she on the 17th of June next ensuing.

The Countess of Huntingdon was, in many respects, the most remarkable woman of her age and country. She was far from faultless; but she was neither the gloomy fanatic, the weak visionary, nor the abstracted devotee, which different parties have painted her. Her endowments were above the

1748 Age 45

1748 ordinary standard, and were much improved by reading, conAge 45 versation, study, and observation. Though not a beauty, she was not without the charms of the female sex. Her devotion to the work of God was almost unexampled. Her house was used for Methodist meetings, which were attended by large numbers of the nobility and higher classes, including the Duchesses of Argyll, Bedford, Grafton, Hamilton, Montagu, Queensberry, Richmond, and Manchester, and Lords Burlington, Townshend, North, March, Trentham, Weymouth, Tavistock, Hertford, Trafford, Northampton, Lyttelton, and others, even William Pitt. During the last forty years of her life, she gave, at least, £100,000 for the support and extension of her system; and actually sold her jewels to find means for the building of Brighton chapel. Her life was a beautiful course of hallowed labour. Her death was the serene setting of a brilliant sun. Almost her last words were: "My work is done; I have nothing to do but to go to my Father." She was a mother in Israel, whose decease left a vacancy not filled up. Her person, endowments, energy, and spirit were all uncommon. Accustomed to assume great responsibilities and to be deferred to in matters of great importance, she necessarily cultivated self reliance to such an extent as sometimes made her seem obstinate, haughty, and dogmatical. Still, dignity and ease met in her; and in manners she was refined, elegant, and engaging. Honour, heroism, and magnanimity were always conspicuous in her remarkable career; and, for intrepidity in the cause of God, and success in winning souls to Christ, Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, stands unequalled among women.

Six weeks after his return from America, Whitefield commenced preaching in her ladyship's mansion. Among his earliest hearers was the celebrated Lord Chesterfield, "a wit among lords, and a lord among wits." Twice a week, Whitefield preached to these conclaves of nobility and rank, his congregations usually consisting of about thirty persons.1

In London, he preached at St. Bartholomew's, and helped

1 Whitefield's Works, vol. ii., p. 200.

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