Imágenes de páginas

a manifest blessing. Some of the wildest children were struck with deep conviction : all appeared to have good desires ; and two or three began to taste the love of God.

3, Yet I soon observed several things which I did not like. The maids divided into two parties. R. T. studi- . ously blew up the coals, by constant whispering and tailbearing. M. D. did not supply the defects of other servants, being chiefly taken up with thoughts of another kind. And hence the children were not properly attended, nor were things done with due care and exactness.

4, The Masters should have corrected these irregularities : but they added to them. T. R. was so rough and disobliging, that the children were little profited by him. A. G. was honest and diligent, but his person and manner made him contemptible to the children. R. M. was grave and weighty in his behaviour, and did much good, till W. S. set the children against him, and instead of restraining them from play, played with them himself. J. J. and W. S. were weighed down by the rest, who neither observed the rules in the School, nor out of it.

5, The continual breach of that rule, “Never to let the children work, but in the presence of a Master,” occasioned their growing wilder and wilder, till all their religious impressions were worn off. And the sooner, as four or five of the larger boys, were very uncommonly wicked.

6, When I came down in September, 1750, and found the Scholars reduced to eighteen, I determined to purge the house thoroughly. There are now two Masters, the housekeeper, a maid, and eleven children. I believe all in the house are at length of one mind, and trust God will bless us in the latter end, more than in the beginning.

Monday, July 8, I wrote an account of that wonderful self-deceiver and hypocrite, James Wh- O what a scandal has his obstinate wickedness brought on the gospel ! and what a curse on his own head !

After deeply weighing the matter, I read the following paper to him, before I gave it into his hands :

« June 25, 1751. “ Because you have wrought folly in Israel, grieved the Holy Spirit of God, betrayed your own soul into temptation and sin, and the souls of many others, whom you ought, even at the peril of your own life, to have guarded against all sin; because you have given occasion to the enemies of God, whenever they shall know these things, to blaspheme the ways and truth of God:

" We can in no wise receive you as a fellow-labourer, till we see clear proofs of your real and deep repentance, Of this you have given us no proof yet. You have not so much as named one single person, in all England or Ireland, with whom you have behaved ill, except those we knew before.

“ The least and lowest proof of such repentance which we can receive, is this, that till our next Conference (which we hope will be in October ) you abstain both from preaching, and from practising Physic. If you do not, we are clear; we cannot answer for the consequences.

66 John WESLEY.

" CHARLES WESLEY.' On Thursday and Friday, my brother and I spared no pains to persuade him to retire for a season : but it was labour lost. He professed himself indeed, and we would fain have thought him penitent. But I could not find any good proof that he was so : nay, I saw strong proof that he was not : 1, Because he never owned one tittle, but what he knew we could prove: 2, Because he always extenuated what he could not deny :. 3, Because he as constantly accused others as excused himself, saying, Many had been guilty of little imprudences as well as he :" 4, Because in doing this, he told several palpable untruths, which he well knew so to be. : Yet still we spared him, hoping God would give him repentance. But finding after some weeks, that he cone tinued going from house to house, justifying himself, and condemning my brother and me for misrepresenting him ;


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


on Monday, July 22, I rode to Bearfield again, and put myself to the pain of writing down from the mouths of seven persons as near as I could, in their own words, the accounts which I judged to be most material. I read over to each what I had written, and asked, “ If I had mistaken any thing ?” Every one answered, “ No; it was the very truth, as they were to answer it before God.”

I would now refer it to any impartial judge, whether we have shewn too much severity ? Whether we have not ratber leaned to the other extreme, and shewn too much lenity to so stubborn an offender ?

Even when I returned to London soon after, I declined as much as possible, mentioning any of these things: having still a distant hope, that almighty Love might, at length, bring him to true repentance.

Some who came up from Lincolnshire, in the beginning of August, occasioned my writing the following letter :

London, Aug. 15, 1751. “1, I take the liberty to inform you, that a poor man, late of your parish, was with me some time since, as were two others a few days ago, who live in or near Wrangle. If what they affirmed be true, you were very nearly concerned in some late transactions there. The short was this: that a riotous mob, at several times, particularly on the 7th of July, and the 4th of this month, violently assaulted a company of quiet people, struck many of them, beat down others, and dragged some away, whom, after abusing them in various ways, they threw into drains, or other deep wa. ters, to the endangering of their lives : that not content with this, they broke open a house, dragged a poor man out of bed, and drove him out of the house naked ; and also greatly damaged the goods; at the same time threatening to give them all the same or worse usage, if they did not desist from that worship of God which they believed to be right and good.

“2, The poor sufferers, I am informed, applied for redress, to a neighbouring Justice of the Peace. But they


[blocks in formation]


could have none. So far from it, that the Justice himself told them, “The treatment was good enough for them ; and that if they went on ( in worshipping God according to their own consciences) the mob should use them so again.'

3, I allow, some of those people might behave with passion or ill manners. But if they did, was there any proportion at all between the fault and the punishment? Or, whatever punishment was due, does the law direct, that a riotous mob should be the inflicters of it?

“ 4, I allow also, that this gentleman supposed the doctrines of the Methodists ( so called ) to be extremely bad. But is he assured of this ? Has he read their Writings? If not, why does he pass sentence before he hears the evidence ? If he has, and thinks them wrong, yet is this a method of confuting to be used in a Christian, a Protestant country ? Particulary in England, where every man may think for himself, as he must give an account for himself to God?

“ 5, The sum of our doctrine, with regard to inward religion (so far as I understand it) is comprized in two points, the loving God with all our hearts, and the loving our neighbour as ourselves : and with regard to outward religion, in two more, the doing all to the glory of God, and the doing to all what we would desire, in like circumstances, should be done to us. I believe no one will easily confute this, by Scripture and sound reason ; or prove

that we preach or hold any other doctrine, as necessary to salvation.

“ 6, I thought it my duty, Sir, though a stranger to you, to say thus much, and to request two things of you: 1, That the damage these poor people have sustained may be repaired; and next, that they may, for the time to come, be allowed to enjoy the privilege of Englishmen, to serve God according to the dictates of their own consciences. On these conditions they are heartily willing to forget all that is past. “ Wishing you all happiness, spiritual and temporal,

“I remain, Rev. Sir,
“ Your affectionate Brother and Servant."

Mr. B. was not so wise as to take my advice. So the sufferers applied to the Court of King's-Bench : and after it had cost him a large sum, he was glad to let them worship God in their own way.

Saturday 17, Calling on a gentleman in the City, whom I had not seen for some time, I was surprised to find him thin and pale, and with all the marks of an approaching consumption. I asked, whether he did not think a journey would do him more good than a heap of medicines ? And whether he would set out with my wife and me for Cornwall on Monday ? To which he willingly assented.

On Monday evening I preached at Reading. Mr. B. overtook us on Tuesday morning, with whom we had an agreeable ride to Newbury, and thence to Andover. Leaving him there, I rode on, through heavy rain, to Salisbury, and preached in the evening to an attentive congregation.

Wednesday 21, We joined companies again, till Mr. B. went to Shaftsbury. I overtook him there the next morning, and we rode on together to Yeovil. Here I struck off, to yisit the Societies in Devonshire, and Mr. B. went straight forward to the Land's-end, whence he returned in perfect health..

I now found more and more proofs, that the poor wretch whom we had lately disowned, was continually labouring to poison our other Preachers. And with some of them he did not lose his labour ; the deep prejudices they then received, having utterly drank up their blood and spirits, so that we were obliged, sooner or later, to part with them also.

We reached Beercrocombe in the evening, and Collump. ton the next day, Friday 23. I preached in the little meadow, at the end of New-street, and observed one circumstance which I had not seen elsewhere. The people did not come close to me, but stood in a half-moon, some yards off, leaving a considerable space in the midst. The very children behaved with remarkable seriousness. I saw but

« AnteriorContinuar »