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1758 only with Berridge, but with another distinguished man. Age 55 John Newton was the son of a shipmaster, and was born

in 1725. The chief part of his boyhood and youth was spent at sea. His life, up to the age of five and twenty, was a painfully chequered scene. Soon after the year 1750, he obtained the post of tidewaiter at Liverpool; where, by dint of severe application, he rapidly acquired a considerable knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. He now made some unsuccessful attempts to become the pastor of a Dissenting congregation. He then applied to the Archbishop of York for episcopal ordination ; but was refused, on the ground that he had been preaching, without authority, among Dissenters. On his way to Ireland, in the spring of the present year, Wesley paid him a visit, during his ten days' stay in Liverpool. Mr. Newton was now thirty-eight years old; and, a few months later, wrote to Wesley as follows.

“LIVERPOOL, August 29, 1758. “DEAR AND REVEREND SIR,-I am informed of your arrival at Bristol, which I much rejoice in, and desire to praise the Lord for. I hope He has yet much service for you to do; and, till your work is done, I know your life is secured. When it is fully accomplished, I think, I can give my consent, that you should be released from hence, and removed to that kingdom of love, and joy, and peace, where none of the evils of mortality can find admittance.

“I wait your directions where to send you the paper you left with me, and hope it will not be long, for it will give me double satisfaction to hear of your welfare, propria manu. Mrs. Newton concurs with me in tendering our sincerest respects, and requesting a remembrance in your prayers, and a share in your correspondence. I am, with respect and affection, reverend sir, your obliged friend and servant,

“JOHN NEWTON." Six years after this, Mr. Newton, through the interest of Lord Dartmouth, obtained ordination, and the curacy of Olney, where, from 1764 to 1779, he lived in the closest friendship with the poet Cowper and the Olney circle. He then removed to the rectory of St. Mary Woolnoth, Lombard Street, London, where he continued until his death in 1807. Like Berridge, he wrote his own epitaph, which was follows:

» 1


· Methodist Magazine, 1797, p. 457.

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"John Newton, clerk : once an infidel and a libertine, a servant of 1758 slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus

Age 55 Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy, near sixteen years at Olney, in Bucks, and twenty-eight years in this church.” 1

In the same year, 1758, Wesley entered into correspondence with another man of distinguished talent, who afterwards became the bitterest opponent he ever had.

Augustus Montague Toplady was the son of a major in the army, and was born at Farnham, in Surrey, in the year 1740. He received the rudiments of his education at Westminster school; and thence went, with his widowed mother, to Ireland, to pursue claims to an estate which belonged to her in that island. Here, a little before he was sixteen years of age, he heard James Morris, one of Wesley's itinerants, preach in a barn at Codymain, and was converted. Soon after, he entered Trinity college, Dublin; and wrote to Wesley as follows,

“DUBLIN, September 13, 1758. “REVEREND SIR, I thank you for your satisfactory letter; particularly for your kind caution against trifling company. I do not visit three persons in the college, except one or two of the fellows. It is indeed Sodom epitomized ; for I do not believe there is one that fears God in it.

“Your remarks on Mr. Hervey's style are too just; and I think a writer would be much to blame for imitating it; or indeed the style of any other; for if he has abilities of his own, he ought to use them; if he has not, he would be inexcusable for writing at all. I believe Mr. Hervey's mentioning the active, exclusive from the passive, obedience of Christ, is rather a casual than intentional omission; but an author cannot be too careful how he expresses himself on a point of so much importance. I have long been convinced, that self righteousness and antinomianism are equally pernicious; and that to insist on the imputation of Christ's righteousness, as alone requisite to salvation, is only strewing the way to hell with flowers. I have myself known some make shipwreck of faith, and love, and a good conscience, on this specious quicksand.

“My heart's desire, and prayer is, that Christ would grant to keep me close to Him, with meek, simple, steady love. I think, of late, the studies I am unavoidably engaged in have done me some harm ; I mean have abated that fervency with which I used to approach the throne of grace ; and this, by insensible degrees. My chariot wheels have drove heavily for a month past ; but I have reason to hope I am recovering my usual joy. I can attribute its declension to nothing else but assiduous application to

| Memoirs of Newton.

1758 Age 55

my college business ; which prevents my attending the preaching so often as I would. I depend on your candour to excuse this trouble given you, by, reverend sir, your most dutiful, humble servant,


This was an admirable letter, to be written by a youth not yet eighteen years of age. A year later, Toplady published a 12mo book of his poetic pieces; and, in 1762, was ordained, and inducted into the living of Blagdon in Somersetshire. In 1768, he obtained the vicarage of Broadhembury, which he held until his decease in 1778. Three years before he died, he removed to London, and became the preacher of the French church, in Orange Street, Leicester Fields. His death was very beautiful. “ The sky," said he, “is clear ; there is no cloud : come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” Thus died Augustus Toplady, on the 11th of August, aged thirty-seven. He was buried in a grave, which, by his own request, was thirteen feet deep, beneath the gallery in Tottenham Court chapel.

It is extremely difficult to form an estimate of Toplady's life and character. He was unquestionably a man of great talent, of extensive knowledge, and of burning zeal. His discourses were extemporary; his language eloquent; his voice melodious; his delivery and action engaging, elegant, and easy. His private diary breathes with the richest piety; and yet, in the Gospel Magazine, of which he was the chief editor, and in his controversial works, his abuse of Wesley is rancorous to a degree which is almost without parallel, and is expressed in terms far more nearly allied to the slang of Billingsgate than to the language of a Christian and a gentleman.

Wesley, in 1758, was not without his troubles. Among other matters, the leaders of the Leeds society began to exercise prerogatives to which he had the strongest objection. Hence the following characteristic letter.

“ LONDON, December 9, 1758. “MY DEAR BROTHER,-From time to time, I have had more trouble with the town of Leeds than with all the societies in Yorkshire. And I.

1 Methodist Magazine, 1780, p. 54.
2 “Life and Times of Lady Huntingdon.”

Wesley's Publications in 1758.



Age 55

now hear, that the leaders insist, that such and such persons be put out of the society! I desire the leaders may know their places, and not stretch themselves beyond their line. Pray let me judge who should be put out of the Methodist society, and who should not. I desire Faith and Ann Hardwick may not be put out of the society, unless some matter appear against them; and, if any new matter does appear, let it be laid before me.

He shall have judgment without mercy who hath shown no mercy. “I am your affectionate brother,

"J. WESLEY.1 Another annoyance was the publication of a sermon, preached against the Methodists, by the Rev. Mr. Potter, at Reymerston, in Norfolk. This was answered by Cornelius Cayley, jun., in an octavo pamphlet of 41 pages. In itself it was hardly worth Wesley's notice; but, having been preached and circulated in the neighbourhood of Norwich, where Methodism had to encounter difficulties of no ordinary kind, Wesley deemed it his duty to dissect it, which he did in a long "Letter to the Reverend Mr. Potter," 12mo, II pages.

During the year 1758, he also published “A short Account of the Life and Death of Nathaniel Othen, who was shot in Dover Castle, October 26, 1757.” 12mo, 12 pages.

This was the romantic history of a common soldier, who was executed for deserting the army.

Another of his publications was, “A Letter to a Gentleman at Bristol,” dated January 8, 1758: 12mo, 24 pages. Wesley says, that this was written at the request of several of his friends, “in order to guard them from seeking salvation by works on one hand, and from antinomianism on the other.” 2

Another work of Wesley's, published in 1758, was entitled, “Reasons against a Separation from the Church of England." 12mo, 22 pages. This was an abstract from a larger work, which Wesley wrote, but never published, and which remains in manuscript to the present day. Wesley meant it for publication ; but the Rev. Samuel Walker, of Truro, to whose friendly inspection it was submitted, advised that it should not be printed. The fact is, in this treatise against sepa

1 Wesleyan Chronicle, 1843, p. 267.
2 Wesley's Works, vol. ii., p. 411.

1758 ration from the Church, Wesley conceded points, which Age 55

Walker thought might be used as reasons for a separation rather than against it. The objections of Dissenters to some parts of the liturgy and canons, to the spiritual courts, and to the character of too many of the clergy, were acknowledged to be just; but Wesley argued, that these objections did not form a sufficient ground for separation. Walker was afraid that, if the premises were admitted, Wesley's readers might draw a conclusion opposite to what Wesley did; and hence the treatise was suppressed ;' with the exception that, in 1758, Wesley published an extract from it, with the title already given. The reasons are twelve in number. 1. Because, it would be a contradiction to the solemn and repeated statements of his brother and himself. 2. Because, it would give huge occasion of offence. 3. Because, it would prejudice many good Christians against being benefited by Wesley's preaching. 4. Because, it would hinder multitudes of the unconverted from hearing him at all. 5. Because, it would cause many hundreds, if not some thousands, to leave the Methodist societies. 6. Because, it would produce inconceivable strife and contention. 7. Because, it would engage him in a thousand controversies, both in public and private, and so divert him from useful labours. 8. Because, to form the plan of a new church would require more time, care, thought, and wisdom than any of them possessed. 9. Because, barely entertaining a distant thought of it had already produced evil fruits. 10. Because, though the experiment of separation had been frequently tried by others, the success had never answered the expectation. II. Because, melancholy instances of failure might now be witnessed. 12. Because, to separate would be to act in direct contradiction to the very end for which, he believed, the Methodists had been raised up by Providence.

Such were Wesley's reasons. He allows, that the lawfulness of the Methodists to separate from the Church of England is a point which may fairly be debated ; but he has no doubt, that for them to separate is not expedient. He replies to the objections that, till they separate, they cannot be a compact,

1 Life of C. Wesley, vol. ii., pp. 84, 137.

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