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1755 Age 52

1755, he published a 12mo pamphlet of 29 pages, giving an account of what he witnessed, little thinking that the scene of so much sin would soon become the graveyard of tens of thousands of its inhabitants. He found crucifixes, and images of the Virgin, and of other real or reputed saints, in almost every street, lamps hanging before them, and the people rendering them obeisance as they passed. Processions of priests and friars, with lighted wax tapers, were almost of daily occurrence. One of these was led by three popish dignitaries in scarlet clothes, followed by two little boys with wings fixed on their shoulders to make them resemble angels. Then came several images of St. Francis; then an image of our Saviour, with long black hair, and dressed in a purple gown; and then the virgin mother, to whom St. Francis rendered homage. After this, followed a mitred cardinal gaudily attired ; a gorgeous friar under a splendid canopy; and then a long train of fat Franciscans. Another procession consisted of nearly two hundred penitents, all clothed in white, their faces veiled, their feet bare, and chains fastened to their ankles; some having on their backs great stones; others carrying in their hands dead men's bones and skulls; some bearing upon their shoulders a heavy cross; and most lashing themselves with cords, or beating themselves with iron rods. In one of the churches, Whitefield found a solid silver altar of several yards circumference, and about twelve steps high. In another, he met with a golden altar, of nearly the same dimensions, its base studded with precious stones, each step lit up with large lighted silver candlesticks, and the top adorned with silver images of angels. In a large church, belonging to the convent of St. De Beato, he mingled with many thousands irr witnessing what was meant to be a representation of the crucifixion of the Son of God. Upon a high scaffold were three fullsized figures of the blessed Saviour and of the crucified malefactors. At a little distance, was the holy Virgin, in long ruffles and widow's weeds, her face veiled with purple silk, and her head encircled with a crown of glory. At the foot of the Saviour's cross, lay, in a mournful posture, a living man, dressed in woman's clothes, personating Mary Magdalene ; while near at hand was a younger man, arrayed in a bob-wig and a green silk vesture, representing the apostle John. On

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each side, stood two sentinels in buff, with formidable caps 1755 and beards; and, directly in front, a personation of the Roman Age 52 centurion, with a large target in his hand. From behind the purple hangings came twenty purple-vested boys, all wearing golden caps, and adorned with wings, and each one bearing a lighted taper in his hand. Opposite to the stage, a black friar, mounted in a pulpit, preached a sort of fifteen minutes' sermon. Then came four long-bearded men, two of them carrying a ladder, and the other two, as the representatives of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathæa, bearing large gilt dishes filled with spices. Amid great ceremony, the body of the Saviour was taken down ; Mary Magdalene wrapped the feet in her widespread handkerchief; the beloved disciple clasped the corpse to his loving heart; shrouded in linen, it was carried round the churchyard in grand procession; and then, followed by the Virgin, Mary Magdalene, and St. John, and by a whole troop of friars, bearing wax tapers in their hands, was conducted to an open sepulchre, and buried. Thus ended the Good Friday's superstitious tragedy in the far famed Lisbon. A year and a half afterwards, Lisbon was a heap of ruins.

Under the date of November 26, Wesley says: "Being much importuned thereto, I wrote 'Serious Thoughts on the Earthquake at Lisbon ;' directed, not as I designed at first, to the small vulgar, but the great; to the learned, rich, and honourable heathens, commonly called Christians."

This was published in an octavo pamphlet of 34 pages; and, within a month, passed through two editions. Perhaps none of Wesley's publications contain so much fiery eloquence as this. The reader must peruse it for himself.

Another of Wesley's publications, in 1755, though small, was important-"Catholic Spirit. A Sermon on 2 Kings X. 15.” 12mo, 31 pages. It contains the principles of an evangelical alliance, namely, belief in the Holy Trinity in Unity, love to God and man, and the practice of good works. Wherever he found a man answering to this description, he was ready to recognise a Christian and a brother. He would not urge him to entertain his opinions, or to embrace his modes of worship. The presbyterian, the independent, the baptist, and even the quaker, had as much right to their opinions and preferences as he had to his. All he asked was VOL. II.


1755 this, If thine heart be as my heart, in the three great points Age 52 already named, give me thine hand. In this respect, as in

many others, Wesley was far in advance of the age in which he lived; and, more than a hundred years ago, was quite prepared for the Evangelical Alliance that has since been organised.

Wesley's principal publication, in 1755, was his “ Explanatory Notes on the New Testament” (with a portrait), quarto, 762 pages.

Concerning the portrait, Wesley himself gives the following information, in his account of the death of John Downes, one of his untaught itinerants. “In 1744, while I was shaving, John Downes was whittling the top of a stick; I asked, “What are you doing?' He answered, 'I am taking your face, which I intend to engrave on a copper plate.' Accordingly, without any instruction, he first made himself tools, and then engraved the plate. The second picture which he engraved was that which was prefixed to the ‘Notes on the New Testament.' Such another instance, I suppose, not all England, or perhaps Europe, can produce." I

We believe this was the first instance in which Wesley's portrait was prefixed to any of his works. John Hampson pronounced it one of the best that he had seen.2

In his preface, Wesley tells the reader that, for many years, he had contemplated such a work as this; and that the Notes are written “chiefly for plain, unlettered men, who understand only their mother tongue, and yet reverence and love the word of God, and have a desire to save their souls.”

In reference to his new translation of the text, he remarks that he has never altered the authorised version for altering's sake; but only where, first, the sense was made better, stronger, clearer, or more consistent with the context; and, secondly, where, the sense being equally good, the phrase was better or nearer the original.

He made the notes as short as possible, that the comment might not obscure or swallow up the text. Many of them were translations from Bengelius's “Gnomon Novi Testamenti;

1 Wesley's Works, vol. iv., p. 33. Hampson's Life of Wesley, vol. iii., p. 147.

Wesley's Notes on the New Testament."


many more were abridgments from the same learned and 1755 invaluable work. He also acknowledges himself largely Age 52 indebted to the writings of Dr. Heylin, Dr. Guyse, and Dr. Doddridge.

A second edition of Wesley's Notes was published in 1757. In 1759, he and his brother carefully compared the translation with the original, and corrected and enlarged the Notes for a new edition, which was issued in 1760.1

It is a fact worth mentioning, that, before Wesley's Notes were put to press, he sent the manuscript to his old friend, the Rev. James Hervey, at that time one of the most popular writers of the day, and received the following answer.

“WESTON, June 29, 1754. “ DEAR SIR,-I have read your Notes, and have returned them, with such observations as occur to my mind. I think, in general, you are too sparing of your remarks and improvements. Many expositions are too corpulent, yours are rather too lean. May the good hand of the Lord be with them and their author." 2

As a set off to this, Dr. Adam Clarke observes : “Though short, the notes are always judicious, accurate, spiritual, terse, and impressive ; and possess the happy and rare property of leading the reader immediately to God and his own heart.” 3

1 Wesley's Works, vol. ii., p. 495.
2 Methodist Magazine, 1847, p. 965.
3 Clarke's Commentary, General Preface, p. 10.



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HITEFIELD began the year 1756 with quinsy. A

physician prescribed a perpetual blister; but Whitefield says, he found that a better remedy was perpetual preaching In February, he commenced preaching in a Dissenting chapel, in Long Acre. The bishop of the diocese sent him a prohibition. Whitefield persisted. A mob, belonging to the bishop's vestry, assembled, with "bells, drums, clappers, marrow bones, and cleavers," and made the most hideous noises, to hinder Whitefield being heard. The chapel windows were smashed with stones, levelled at Whitefield in the pulpit. Anonymous letters were sent to him, full of the most fearful threats. One of these was forwarded to the government; who, at once, offered a reward and his majesty's pardon to any one who would detect the writer. This, together with steps taken to bring such an ecclesiastical outrage into a court of law, stopped the evil.

The annoyances at Long Acre led Whitefield to commence the erection of Tottenham Court chapel. The sabbath after he took possession of the ground, he obtained nearly £600 towards the expense of building. It was begun in May, and opened in November, 1756, and was called, by a neighbouring doctor, “Whitefield's Soul Trap.":

During the present year, an octavo volume, of 229 pages, was published, with the title, “The History of Modern Enthusiasm, from the Reformation to the present Times." A long list of subscribers' names is given, including dukes,

1 Whitefield's Works, vol. iii., p. 155.

2 The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Herring, was quite as bitter as the Bishop of London. In a letter dated" January 25, 1756," he calls Whitefield,“ Daniel Burgess redimivus," and speaks of his “joco-serious addresses." In the same letter, he says Wesley “is a man of good parts and learning ; but a most dark, and saturnine creature, whose pictures may frighten weak people, but will make few converts, except for a day.” (Gentleman's Magazine, 1777.)

3 “ Life and Times of Countess of Huntingdon," vol. i., p. 207.

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