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Bristol to finish his “Notes on the New Testament." During 1755 this Cornish tour, he was accompanied by Michael Fenwick, Age 52 whom he pronounces to be an excellent groom, valet de chambre, nurse, and, upon occasion, a tolerable preacher.” 1 He wrote to his friend Blackwell as follows.
“REDRUTH, August 31, 1755. “DEAR SIR,-In my last journey into the north, all my patience was put to the proof again and again, and all my endeavours to please ; yet without success.
In my present journey, I leap, as broke from chains. I am content with whatever entertainment I meet with, and my companions are always in good humour, ' because they are with me.' This must be the spirit of all who take journeys with me. If a dinner ill dressed, a hard bed, a poor room, a shower of rain, or a dirty road, will put them out of humour, it lays a burden upon me, greater than all the rest put together. By the grace of God, I never fret ; I repine at nothing ; I am discontented with nothing. And to have persons at my ear, fretting and murmuring at everything, is like tearing the flesh off my bones. I see God sitting upon His throne, and ruling all things well. Peace be with
“I am, etc.
“JOHN WESLEY." At the end of October, he returned to London, and, on the first Sunday after his arrival, read prayers, preached, and gave the sacrament, at Snow's Fields, in the morning; preached and gave the sacrament at noon in West Street chapel ; met the leaders at three ; buried a corpse at four; preached at five; and afterwards met the society, and concluded the day with a general lovefeast.
Whitefield had returned from America in the month of May, and wrote: “The poor despised Methodists are as lively as ever; and, in several churches, the gospel is now preached with power. Many, in Oxford, are awakened to a knowledge of the truth, and I have heard almost every week of some fresh minister or another that seems determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. The greatest venom is spit out against Mr. Romaine, who, having been reputed a great scholar, is now looked upon and treated as a great fool.” 3
On November 5, after a long separation, Wesley and White
3 Ibid. 1 Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 171.
3 Whitefield's Works, vol. iii., pp. 121, 122.
1755 field met in London. “ Disputings," writes the former, "are Age 52 now no more : we love one another, and join hand in hand to
promote the cause of our common Master.” The remainder of the year was spent in the metropolis and its immediate vicinity.
At this period, John Fletcher, afterwards vicar of Madeley, was a young man, twenty-six years of age, and officiated as private tutor to the two sons of Thomas Hill, Esq., at Tern Hall, in Shropshire. He had recently been converted, principally by the instrumentality of the Methodists, and had already formed a warm attachment to Wesley, which continued to increase until his death, in 1785. One of his first letters to the great Methodistic leader, perhaps the very first, was dated “ London, November 29, 1755," and is, in all respects, a remarkable production. He expresses a conviction that the end of the world is near at hand, and adduces elaborated reasons for this opinion. He confesses his belief in the second coming of our Saviour; in His making war among His enemies; and in His personal reign on earth for a thousand years. Fletcher's millenarian letter is far too long to be inserted here ; it may be read in the Methodist Magazine for 1793 ; and is of some importance, as showing, that the millenarian theory, which is now attracting so much attention, found considerable favour among some of the most distinguished of the first Methodists. We shall have to recur to this important subject at a future period.
Before leaving the year 1755, it only remains to review Wesley's publications.
At the commencement of the year, an anonymous octavo pamphlet, of 32 pages, was published, entitled "Queries humbly proposed to the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Count Zinzendorf.” James Hutton, who was Zinzendorf's chief disciple, believed this to be the work of Wesley ; 1 and, after a careful examination, we are bound to say, that we concur in this belief;? and as the pamphlet is extremely rare and also curious, a brief analysis of its contents may not be
1 Hutton's Memoirs, p. 302.
? It was advertised in a list of books published by Wesley and his brother; and, to such an extent, was acknowledged by them.
Wesley catechizes Zinzendorf.
unacceptable. The Queries are arranged under ten divisions, 1755 and the writer hopes the count will give "speedy, plain, positive, Age 52 categorical answers." He also states, that, in these Queries, he has "summed up, as briefly as possible, the most material parts of the charges against the Moravians.” Viewed in such a light, the pamphlet is of great importance The following are specimens.
“I. With regard to yourself and your community. 1. Do you permit the Brethren to style you ‘The angel of the church of Philadelphia'? 2. Do not they almost implicitly believe your assertions, and obey your directions ? 3. Do not you think yourself, as a teacher, equal to any of the apostles ? 4. Do not you believe your doctrinal writings are of equal authority with the Bible? 5. Do not you judge your church to be the only true church under heaven ; and the members of it the only true Christians on earth ? 6. Are the Brethren the 144,000 mentioned in the Revelation ? 7. Is it honest to term yourselves the Moravian church, when you know you are not the Moravian church ? 8. Do you yourself expect to be judged at the last day? 9. Do you believe a thousand souls of the wicked will be saved in that day at your intercession ?
“II. With respect to your doctrines concerning the Trinity. Have you spoken these words, or anything to the same effect, ‘Praying to God the Father is not a whit better than praying to wooden or stone God? The preachers of God the Father are Satan's professors ? The Father and the Holy Ghost minister to Christ in all things? The Holy Ghost is the wife of God, the mother of Christ, and of the church ?'
“III. With regard to the Son of God. Do you affirm, that He sometimes gave answers to people that are not fit to be examined according to logic ; and, that He had nothing extraordinary in His turn of mind or gifts ?
“IV. With regard to the apostles and Scriptures. Do you affirm, that the apostles, except St. Paul and John, did not know so much of the blood theology as the Brethren? Were these your words, 'I have ever, and still do protest, that the first Christians cannot properly be called a church, being no more than a troop of legalists'? Did you affirm, that there are more than six hundred blunders in the four gospels? Have you left out the whole epistle of St. James in your edition of the New Testament? Are there any persons among you who boast that they never read the Bible in their lives? Have you used it as a term of reproach, to have "heads full of Biblish lumber'? Did any of the Brethren say, “The Bible is dung, fit only to be spit upon’?
“V. With regard to the moral law of God. Are these your own words, "There is but one duty, which is that of believing'? Our method is to preach no commandment but that of believing'? Is it true that, at some of the merry meetings of the Brethren, there was an uproar as if a madhouse had broken loose ? that the Brethren threw one another on the floor,
and struggled, with many gross indecencies? Is it true, that your sori vindicated all this? And that you yourself said, it was blasphemy to censure it?
“VI. With regard to idolatry and superstition. Have you not hymns directed to angels, and the Virgin Mary? Has not a large image of our Saviour been placed in the midst of the Brethren met together? Has not incense been burnt for you?
“VII. With regard to your manner of conversation. Are not you of a close, dark, reserved temper and behaviour ? Is not the spirit of secrecy the spirit of your community? Do not you, in many cases, use cunning, guile, dissimulation? Was not Mr. Gambold guilty of a calm, deliberate lie, in publicly affirming, you had not so much as seen those hymns, some of which you had not only seen but composed ?
“VIII. With regard to moral honesty. Have you not distressed, if not totally ruined, numerous families ?
“IX. With regard to your manner of answering for yourselves. Have you ordered the Brethren to give no answer to any accusation, but the general one, 'It's all a lie’? Do you still deem those who blame your hymns worthy of having their tongues plucked out, or their hands chopped off ? "
The above are fair specimens of all the Queries proposed by the writer of this curious pamphlet. The conclusion is as follows.
“But I have done. I have proposed the Queries which you desired, and have endeavoured therein to come to the point. Permit me now to remind your lordship of the assurance given to the public, ‘As soon as these Queries are finished, the Moravians, who expect them with earnest longing, will lose no time in answering them. If your lordship is inwardly and deeply convinced, that the bulk of the preceding objections are just, and if you are determined to amend whatsoever is capable of amendment, then silence may be a sufficient answer. I am, my lord, your lordship's real well wisher, and humble servant."
What gave birth to this publication ? Was Wesley justified in writing it? The following facts will help to answer these questions.
The reader has already seen that the eccentricities of the Moravian brotherhood had occasioned a large amount of public scandal. This, unfortunately, increased, rather than diminished; and, hence, on the last day of the year 1754, James Hutton published an advertisement in the London Daily Advertiser,
Except one class of Queries, here omitted, because referring to matters obscene and blasphemous. It may be added that, in this same year, 1755, Warburton, bishop of Gloucester, published a furious pamphlet, of 180 pages, entitled, “ The Moravians Compared and Detected.”.
calling for “Queries” to be proposed in reference to the 1755 charges publicly circulated against the Brethren; and indi- Age 52 cating that answers to the Queries would be furnished. 1
What was the result ? Seven days after the appearance of Hutton's advertisement, Wesley's Queries were published ; but we can hardly say that they were answered. It is true, that an octavo volume was issued soon after ; but the jejuneness, irrelevance, and confusion of the answers to the Queries may be guessed from the cumbrous title of the book, which
as follows: “ An Exposition, or True State of the Matters objected to in England to the people known by the name of Unitas Fratrum: in which facts are related as they are ; the true readings and sense of books, said to be his, (which have been laid to his charge sometimes without sufficient proof that they were so, and been moreover perverted and curtailed) are restored; principles are laid down as they ought, fairly ; the practice, as it has been, is at present, and is intended for the future, is owned. By the Ordinary of the Brethren. The notes and additions by the editor,”-that is, by Count Zinzendorf and James Hutton.
Passing to other publications. It was in 1755, that Wesley completed his “Christian Library,” by the issue of ten additional 12mo volumes, containing more than 3000 printed pages. One of these was in the form of an index to the whole of the fifty volumes published; the others consisted of extracts from the writings of Reynolds, South, Flavel, Annesley, Nelson, Beveridge, Howe, and other distinguished authors.
Another of Wesley's publications, in 1755, arose out of one of the most fearful events of modern times. On November 1, occurred the great earthquake at Lisbon, a city containing 36,000 houses, 350,000 inhabitants, a cathedral, forty parish churches, as many monasteries, and a royal palace. In six minutes, the greatest part of the city was destroyed, and not less than 60,000 persons met with an untimely death. The same earthquake was severely felt in almost the whole of Europe.
In 1754, Whitefield visited Lisbon, on his way to America, and spent nearly a month in that ill fated city. Early in
1 Hutton's Memoirs, p. 301.
2 Ibid. p. 302.