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1765 Age 62
written in antient manner. Recommended to modern Devo-
"Still let them rave, and their loud throats uprear,
As if the walls they 'd crack, and split the doors;
Only think this—that Mumbo Chumbo roars.”
Wesley's publications, during the year 1765, were as follows.
1. "The Scripture Way of Salvation. A Sermon on 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.
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 RighteousThe spirit of the letter may be surmised 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, II 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
1765 country," it is far from certain that Wesley was its author. Age 62 Still, it is not unlikely that one was connected with the other. At all events, both substantially aim at the same thing, namely, to show that, though marriage is not sinful, it is a high state of perfection, and the result of a great gift of God, to be able to live a single life.
In 1765, also was published, "The Christian's Pocket Companion: consisting of select Texts of the New Testament, with suitable observations in prose and verse. By John Barnes, Carmarthen." 372 pages. The preface to this Welsh production was written by Wesley, and is as follows:
"To the Reader. Perhaps few books, lately published, have been more useful, to serious and pious readers, than that entitled 'The Golden Treasury. It will be easily observed, that this is wrote on the same plan, containing a short exercise of devotion for every day of the year. The chief difference, between the one and the other, I apprehend, is this,-they do not only contain the first principles of religion, repentance towards God, and faith in Christ, the doctrine of justification, and the new birth; but likewise the whole work of God in the soul of man, till being rooted and grounded in love he is able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, and to be filled with all the fulness of God.
"PEMBROKE, July 30, 1764.
4. In Lloyd's Evening Post, for June 5, 1765, appeared the following advertisement.
"On Thursday the 1st of August will be published, price 6ď., Number I. of Explanatory Notes upon the Old Testament. By John Wesley, M.A., late fellow of Lincoln college, Oxford. Conditions. 1. That this work will be printed in quarto, on a superfine paper. 2. That it will be comprised in about 60 numbers (as near as can be computed) making two handsome volumes.1 3. That each number will contain three sheets of letterpress, printed on a new type. 4. That the first number will be considered as a specimen, and, if not approved of, the money paid for it
1 Dr. Adam Clarke, in the general preface to his commentary, says that Wesley's notes on the Old Testament are "meagre and unsatisfactory"; and, that Wesley himself told him, that this was owing to "Mr. Pine, the printer, who having set up and printed off several sheets in a type much larger than was intended, it was found impossible to get the work within the prescribed limits of four volumes, without retrenching the notes, or cancelling what was already printed. The former measure was unfortunately adopted." It is difficult to reconcile Clarke's statement with Wesley's advertisement.
Wesley's "Notes on the Old Testament."
shall be returned. 5. That the work will be delivered weekly to the subscribers, without interruption, after the publication of the first number. 6. That the whole will be printed in an elegant manner, no way inferior to the very best work of the kind ever offered to the public. Bristol : Printed by William Pine. Sold by J. Fletcher & Co., in St. Paul's Churchyard, London; and by the Booksellers of Great Britain and Ireland."
Such was the advertisement. The work was really published in three quarto volumes, making 2622 printed pages, the preface being dated "April 25, 1765," and the last page of the work, "December 24, 1766." Wesley writes:
"About ten years ago, I was prevailed upon to publish Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament. When that work was begun, and, indeed, when it was finished, I had no design to attempt anything further of the kind. Nay, I had a full determination not to do it, being thoroughly fatigued with the immense labour of writing twice over a quarto book containing seven or eight hundred pages.
"But this was scarce published, before I was importuned to write Explanatory Notes upon the Old Testament. This importunity I have withstood for many years. Over and above the deep conviction I had of my insufficiency for such a work, of my want of learning, of understanding, of spiritual experience, for an undertaking more difficult by many degrees than even writing on the New Testament, I objected, that there were many passages in the Old which I did not understand myself, and consequently could not explain to others, either to their satisfaction or my own. Above all, I objected the want of time: not only as I have a thousand other employments, but as my day is near spent, as I am declined into the vale of years."
He then proceeds to state, that he cannot entertain the thought of "composing a body of notes on the whole of the Old Testament"; but that he will give the pith of Matthew Henry's Exposition; leaving out the whole of what Henry wrote in favour of particular redemption; also all his Latin sentences, abundance of his quaint sayings, and the far greater part of his inferences from and improvements of the chapters. His notes however would not be "a bare abridgment of Mr. Henry's Exposition"; for he would make as many additions from Mr. Pool's Annotations as he made extracts from Mr. Henry's Exposition; and would add to the whole such further observations, either of his own or of other authors, as might occur to him. Here and there he had made a verbal alteration in the text; but, he says, "I have done this very
1765 Age 62
1765 sparingly, being conscious of my very imperfect acquaintance Age 62 with the Hebrew tongue." He concludes: "my design is not to write sermons, not to draw inferences from the text, or to show what doctrines may be proved thereby, but to give the direct literal meaning of every verse, of every sentence, and, as far as I am able, of every word, in the oracles of God."