Abbildungen der Seite
[blocks in formation]

Wesley's opinion, as might be expected, was more qualified. 1765 “He is,” he writes, “an inexperienced, honest, zealous, loving Age 62 enthusiast."

We shall meet with Captain Webb again; suffice it to add here, that, to the end of life, he furnished a bright example of Christian diligence and zeal. For several years, he annually made a summer's visit to the French prisoners at Winchester, addressing them in their own language, which he had studied while in Canada. Portsmouth, also, was often favoured with his services. Here crowds of soldiers and sailors listened, with all possible veneration, to the Christian warrior, and, under the spontaneous effusions of his holy eloquence, trembled, as they would not have trembled in the midst of battle, and wept on account of sin, when they would have scorned to weep on account of pain. In Bristol and its vicinity, his labours were greatly blessed; and to him, in an eminent degree, Bristol is indebted for the erection of Portland chapel, where he lies interred.? The good old captain was carried to his grave by six local preachers, and his pall was borne by six itinerants. His funeral sermon was preached and published by John Pritchard. “Webb,” says Dr. Dixon, "seems to have been a perfect embodiment of the true genius and spirit of primitive Methodism.”+ He was not perfect, and John Pawson found great fault with Pritchard's funeral sermon, for being far too eulogistic of the captain's virtues; 5 but, maugre Pawson's criticism, there cannot be a doubt, that the brave and generous wounded old warrior was as courageous and as zealous, in the cause of Christ, as he ever was in the service of his country. His native talent was respectable; he had seen much of life; his education enabled him to read his Greek Testament, which is still a much prized relic in America;“ his enthusiasm was almost unbounded; and his impassioned eloquence sometimes overwhelming. His name must be for ever illustrious in the history of Methodism in the United States; and he well

Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 391. ? Methodist Magazine, 1849, p. 386.

3 Ibid. 1845, p. 427. Dixon's “Methodism in America,” p. 162. 5 Manuscript letter. • Stevens' History of Methodist Episcopal Church, vol. i., p. 62.

1765 deserved the eulogium on his monument in Portland chapel, Age 62 Bristol : "Brave, active, courageous, faithful, zealous, and


Wesley left Bristol on October 21, and reached London three days afterwards. On October 28, he writes: “I breakfasted with Mr. Whitefield, who seemed to be an old, old man, being fairly worn out in his Master's service, though he has hardly seen fifty years; and yet it pleases God, that I, who am now in my sixty-third year, find no disorder, no weakness, no decay, no difference from what I was at five-and-twenty; only that I have fewer teeth, and more grey hairs."

During the first week in December, Wesley paid a visit to the societies at Canterbury, Dover, Margate, and Faversham. At Canterbury, he found all the members, without exception, " upright and blameless in their behaviour." At Dover, where the Methodists met in a cooper's shop, some had formerly indulged in smuggling, but they had ceased to “rob the king," and were now in prosperity.

At Margate, the society were "earnestly opposed” by the parson of the parish, who thought he was “ doing God service.” At Faversham, says Wesley, “the mob and the magistrates had agreed together to drive Methodism out of the town. After preaching, I told them what we had been constrained to do by the magistrate at Rolvenden; who, perhaps, would have been richer, by some hundred pounds, had he never meddled with the Methodists; concluding, 'Since we have both God and the law on our side, if we can have peace by fair means, we had much rather; but if not, we will have peace.'”

From a manuscript, written by Miss Perronet, we learn that, five months before Wesley's visit to Faversham, Mrs. Pizing had gone to Canterbury, to consult with Charles Perronet, respecting her husband, who had been threatened with expulsion from the situation he held, if he continued to attend the Methodist services at Faversham, or entertained the preachers at his house. The mob, also, were determined to assault the congregation, and to punish them with vengeance. Charles Perronet exhorted Mrs. Pizing and her husband to continue faithful; and Miss Perronet went to visit them. During her stay, many of the female members, as

[blocks in formation]

sisters Butler, Godfrey, Pizing, Clark, Whitehead, and 1765 Rigden, found peace with God; and there was, what Miss Age 62 Perronet designates, “ a blessed work of God among them." These were some of the poor Methodists threatened by the mob and magistrates of Faversham.

Wesley's friendship with the Perronet family was of long standing, and was unabated. On December 15, he buried the remains of Henry, one of the vicar's sons, who " had been a child of sorrow from his infancy,” but who died in hope and happiness. Wesley spent some days at the Shoreham parsonage, endeavouring to comfort his old and faithful friend; he himself suffering at the time from a serious accident, which occurred to him while he was on his way to the house of mourning. In riding through Southwark, his horse fell, with Wesley's leg under it. A gentleman picked him up, and took him into an adjoining shop, where he was exceeding sick, but was relieved by hartshorn and water. After a brief rest, he called a coach, and proceeded on his journey, but soon found himself severely bruised in his right arm, his breast, his knee, his leg, and ankle, all of which were greatly swollen. Arriving at Shoreham, he applied treacle plasters twice a day; and, within a week, was able to return to London in a carriage, where, to the treacle applications, he added electrifying every morning and every night.

He gradually improved; but, for many months afterwards, he was a serious sufferer, though he refused to permit his pain to interrupt his work. “I am not quite free,” he wrote, on May 6, 1766, “from the effects of my fall at Christmas, and perhaps never shall be in this world. Sometimes my ankle, sometimes my knee, and frequently my shoulder, complains. But, blessed be God, I have strength sufficient for the work to which I am called. When I cannot walk any farther, I can take a horse, and now and then a chaise; so that, hitherto, I have not been hindered from visiting any place which I purposed to see before I left London.” 1

Comparatively speaking, there was, in 1765, a cessation of the printed attacks on Methodism. There was one, however, which must be mentioned: "Mumbo Chumbo: a Tale

Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 179.



1765 written in antient manner. Recommended to modern DevoAge 62 tees.” 4to, 19 pages. The title page of this precious morsel

is adorned with Mumbo Chumbo's picture-a sort of humanised monster, with hair on end, hands and fingers long and bony, eyes glaring, and mouth belching fire on a crowd of women and little children; while, just behind, stand two persons in parsonic costume, and also a drawing of Whitefield's tabernacle, in Tabernacle Row. Of course Mumbo Chumbo means Methodism. The following is the last verse but two in this disgraceful production, and may be taken as a fair sample of all the rest. Addressing women, in reference to Methodist preachers, the Mumbo Chumbo poet sings :

“ Still let them rave, and their loud throats uprear,

As if the walls they'd crack, and split the doors;
Be not dismayed, nor aught give way to fear,

Only think this—that Mumbo Chumbo roars."
Wesley's publications, during the year 1765, were

1. “The Scripture Way of Salvation. A Sermon Ephesians ii. 8.” 12mo, 22 pages. Wesley's text, in this instance, was the same as the one he took when he preached, twenty-seven years before, his famous sermon before the Oxford university.

The divisions also are substantially the same; but the discourses are different. There are no contradictions; but there are further elucidations. The sermon published in 1738 was exactly adapted to the times; and so was the sermon published in 1765. During that interval, controversies had sprung up respecting faith, repentance, and Christian perfection. Sandemanianism had become rampant, and it was become necessary to define, with great exactness, the nature of saving faith, and also the nature of repentance, and in what sense it is essential to salvation. The fanatical theories of Thomas Maxfield and George Bell had thrown all the Methodist ideas of entire sanctification into confusion; and it was of the highest importance, that Wesley should state most distinctly, not only what he meant by being entirely sanctified, but, how such a state was to be attained. These are questions which the second sermon discusses; and, in that respect, it is a most important

Wesley's Publications in 1765.


Age 62

appendix to the first. Thoroughly to understand Wesley's 1765 doctrine, the two must be read together.

2. “The Lord our Righteousness. A Sermon preached at the chapel in West Street, Seven Dials, on Sunday, November 24, 1765.” 8vo, 36 pages. This, also, was a sermon for the times. The controversy respecting Hervey's notions of imputed righteousness had attracted great attention. Wesley was misrepresented, and misunderstood; and the object of his sermon is to correct the errors in circulation concerning him.

His two divisions are: 1. What is the righteousness of Christ? 2. When, and in what sense, is it imputed to us? Wesley most conclusively shows, that the accusations respecting his having changed his opinions are unfounded; and that, really, the difference between him and men like Hervey is merely verbal. He wrote in his journal, on the day he preached the sermon: I said not one thing which I have not said, at least, fifty times within this twelvemonth ; yet it appeared to many entirely new, who much importuned me to print my sermon, supposing it would stop the mouths of all gainsayers. Alas! for their simplicity! In spite of all I can print, say, or do, will not those who seek occasion of offence find occasion ?” Well might Wesley write thus; for, though his sermon is written in language the most explicit and unmistakable, no sooner was it published than a sixpenny octavo pamphlet was issued with the title,—"A Letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, concerning his inconsistency with himself. Occasioned by the publication of his sermon, entitled “The Lord our Righteous

The spirit of the letter may be surinised from the motto on the title page : "Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.”

3. Thoughts on a Single Life.” 12mo, il pages. This is a queer tract; and the less said about it the better.

A man holding such sentiments had no right to have a wife; and yet Wesley declares: “My present thoughts upon a single life are just the same they have been these thirty years, and the same they must be, unless I give up my Bible."

About the same time, another tract, of the same size, was written with the title, “ Jesus altogether lovely; or, a letter to some of the single women of the Methodist society"; but, though it was sold at Wesley's "preaching houses, in town and


« ZurückWeiter »