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1750 Hall afforded the children of darkness an occasion of triumph. Age 47 The poor Methodists were loaded with infamy and insults on his account. One of them was Mrs. Barbara Hunt, who, after a membership of sixty-three years, fell asleep in Jesus, on July 22, 1813. From Salisbury, Wesley proceeded to Winterburn and to Reading, and, on September 8, after a six months' absence, got back to London.
A week later, he wrote: "September 15.-I read a short 'Narrative of Count Zinzendorf's Life, written by himself.' Was there ever such a Proteus under the sun as this Lord Freydeck, Domine de Thurstain, etc., etc.? For he has almost as many names as he has faces or shapes. O when will he learn (with all his learning) simplicity and godly sincerity? When will he be an upright follower of the Lamb, so that no guile may be found in his mouth?"
To some this language may seem somewhat harsh; but was it so? Take the commencement of a letter which Zinzendorf addressed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1749. "We, Lewis, by Divine providence, bishop, Liturgus, and Ordinary of the churches known by the name of the Brethren; and, under the auspices of the same, Advocate during life, with full power over the hierarchy of the Slavonic Unity; Custos Rotulorum, and Prolocutor both of the general Synod and of the Tropus of instruction; by these presents declare," etc. Or take the following from Spangenberg, who says he thus enumerates all the titles of the count, because he not unfrequently availed himself of them :-"The individual whose character I have attempted to pourtray, was Nicolas Lewis, Count and Lord of Zinzendorf and Pottendorf, lord of the baronies of Freydeck, Schöneck, Thurnstein, and the vale of Wachovia, lord of the manor of Upper, Middle, and Lower Bertholdsdorf, Hereditary Warden of the Chace to his imperial Roman majesty, in the Duchy of Austria, below the Ens, and at one time Aulic and Justicial Counsellor to the Elector of Saxony." Compare this sickening bombast with Wesley's most flattering description of himself: "John Wesley, M.A., Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford." Un
1 Methodist Magazine, 1815, p. 47.
fortunately we shall have to return to this high-flown German gentleman.
It seems to have been some time during the present year, that the Methodists of London began to occupy the French church, in Grey Eagle Street, Spitalfields. This chapel had been built by the French protestant refugees, and is said to have had for its minister, from 1700 to 1705, the eminent French protestant preacher, James Saurin. It is now a part of the brewery of Truman, Buxton, and Hanbury.' Here, on September 21, Wesley held a watchnight, and remarks: "I often wonder at the peculiar providence of God on these occasions. I do not know that, in so many years, one person has ever been hurt, either in London, Bristol, or Dublin, in going so late in the night to and from all parts of the town."
Wesley's stay in London was of short duration. On September 24, he left for Kingswood, where he spent a month in revising and preparing for the school the works following: Parochial Antiquities, by White Kennet, bishop of Peterborough; Grecian Antiquities, by Archbishop Potter; and Hebrew Antiquities, by Mr. Lewis. He also wrote, at this time, his "Short History of England," and his "Short Roman History"; and nearly finished his abridgment of Cave's Primitive Christianity, which he had begun about two years before. On October 24, he returned to London, and here, with the exception of short journeys to Windsor, Canterbury, and Leigh, he remained till the year was ended.
His publications, during 1750, were as follows :
1. "Desiderii Erasmi Colloquia Selecta. In Usum Juventutis Christianæ. Edidit Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ Presbyter." 12mo, 85 pages.
It is rather remarkable, that in a second instance the Methodists took possession of a French protestant church, in Spitalfields, namely, the chapel now occupied in Church Street, and at the erection of which John Nelson worked, when he heard Wesley preach in 1739, and saw him stroke back the hair of his head. (Private manuscript.) Apropos of chapels, it may be added, that in Reed's Weekly Journal of December 15, 1750, is the following item of intelligence: "We hear that the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, senior fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, has purchased New Wells, near the London Spaw, Clerkenwell, and that he intends, with all convenient speed, to fit up the same for a tabernacle."
1750 Age 47
2. “Phædri Fabulæ Selectæ. In Usum Juventutis Christi-
3. "A Compendium of Logic." 12mo, 33 pages. This was a translation of Dr. Henry Aldrich's "Artis Logicæ Compendium. Oxon: 1691" [8vo]. "Logic," says Wesley, "is the art of apprehending things clearly, judging truly, and reasoning conclusively. What is it, viewed in another light, but the art of learning and teaching; whether by convincing or persuading? What is there, then, in the whole compass of science, to be desired in comparison of it? It is good for this, at least (wherever it is understood), to make people talk less; by showing them both what is, and what is not, to the point; and how extremely hard it is to prove anything." It is well known, that Wesley himself was an adept in the art of logic. "For several years," says he, "I was moderator in the disputations which were held six times a week at Lincoln College, in Oxford. I could not avoid acquiring hereby some degree of expertness in arguing; and especially in discerning and pointing out well covered and plausible fallacies. I have since found abundant reason to praise God for giving me this honest art. By this, when men have hedged me in by what they called demonstrations, I have been many times able to dash them in pieces; in spite of all its covers, to touch the very point where the fallacy lay; and it flew open in a moment." 2
All the works, already mentioned, were chiefly designed for the use of Kingswood school. Those that follow were of a different kind.
4. "Letter to the Rev. Mr. Bailey, of Cork, in answer to a letter to the Rev. John Wesley." 12m0, 36 pages. Wesley handles Bailey with deserved severity, telling him, that many of his accusations are no more likely to be credited than that of a wise friend of his, who said "the Methodists were a people who placed all their religion in wearing long whiskers." Bailey's slanderous charges were of the coarsest kind. The Methodist preachers were "a parcel of vagabond, illiterate babblers, who amused the populace with nonsense, ribaldry,
1 Wesley's Works, vol. x., pp. 464, 472.
2 Ibid. p. 340.
and blasphemy, and were not capable of writing orthography 1750 or good sense." Wesley is called a "hairbrained enthusiast," Age 47 and is accused "of frontless assurance, and a well dissembled hypocrisy"; of "promoting the cause of arbitrary popish power "; of "robbing and plundering the poor, so as to leave them neither bread to eat, nor raiment to put on "; and of "being the cause of all that Butler had done." Such a slanderer had no claim to mercy. "Never," says Wesley, "was anything so ill judged as for you to ask, 'Does Christianity encourage its professors to make use of lies, invectives, or low, mean abuse, and scurrility, to carry on its interests?' No, sir, it does not. I disclaim and abhor every weapon of this kind. But with these have the Methodist preachers been opposed in Cork above any other place. In England, in all Ireland, have I neither heard nor read any like those gross, palpable lies, those low Billingsgate invectives, and that inexpressibly mean abuse, and base scurrility, which the opposers of Methodism have continually made use of, and which has been the strength of their cause from the beginning."
5. "A Short Address to the Inhabitants of Ireland. Occasioned by some late occurrences. Dublin: 1750." 12m0, eight pages. Wesley, in this small tract, answers three questions concerning the Methodists, or, as the Irish called. them, Swaddlers-1. What are the Methodists? 2. What do they teach? 3. What are the effects of their teaching?
6. "A Letter to the Author of the 'Enthusiasm of the Methodists and Papists compared.'" 12mo, 44 pages.
Lavington, bishop of Exeter, was the author here addressed. Early in 1749 he published the first part of his work, and it is this only which Wesley answers. In his preface, the bishop tells his readers, that the Methodists are "a set of pretended reformers,—a dangerous and presumptuous sect, animated with an enthusiastical and fanatical spirit ;" and that his object is "to draw a comparison between the wild and pernicious enthusiasms of some of the most eminent saints of the popish communion, and those of the Methodists in our own country." He further alleges, that the Methodists are a people of "sanctified singularities, low fooleries, and high pretensions; they are doing the papists' work for them, and
agree with them in some of their principles; their heads are Age 47 filled with much the same grand projects, and they are driven on in the same wild manner,-not perhaps from compact and design, but from a similar configuration and texture of the brain, or the fumes of imagination producing similar effects." The preachers were "strolling predicants, of affected phrases, fantastical and unintelligible notions, whimsical strictnesses, and loud exclamations. The windmill indeed was in all their heads. Every flash of zeal and devotion,-every wild pretension, scheme, tenet, and overbearing dictate,-impulses, impressions, feelings, impetuous transports and raptures,--intoxicating vapours and fumes of imagination,-phantoms of a crazy brain, and uncouth effects of a distempered mind or body,— their sleeping or waking dreams, their actions and passions, -all were ascribed, with an amazing presumption, to the extraordinary interposition of heaven, setting its seal to their mission."
In illustration of all this, Whitefield and Wesley are treated with the grossest ridicule.
Whitefield replied to Lavington at once, and published his pamphlet in the month of May, with the title: "Some Remarks on a Pamphlet, entitled, The Enthusiasm of Methodists and Papists compared; wherein several mistakes in some parts of his past writings and conduct are acknowledged, and his present sentiments concerning the Methodists explained." 8vo, 48 pages.
In September following, another reply was published, namely, "Some Remarks on the Enthusiasm of Methodists and Papists compared. By Vincent Perronet, A.M." Price threepence.'
Limited space prevents any further notice of these productions; except to say, that both are ably written, and evince a Christian spirit.
Wesley's reply was finished at Canterbury on the Ist of February, 1750, and was published soon afterwards. Like most of his other writings, it is as brief as he could make it. Wesley was too busy to compose elaborate answers to the attacks of his opponents. Besides, had it been otherwise,
1 London Magazine, 1749, p. 436.