« AnteriorContinuar »
other, and another, sunk to the earth ; dications, at least, and by no means to be they dropt on every side as thunderstruck.' encouraged. But no sooner had he begun * In the evening I was again prest in spirit to preach among a congregation, among to declare that Christ gave himself a ran. whom the outward signs' bad previously som for all. And almost before we called taken place, and who therefore were preupon him to set his seal, he answered. pared for the affection by their state of One was so wounded by the sword of the mind, as fear, in times of pestilence, pre. Spirit, that you would have imagined she disposes the body for receiving the contacould not live a moment. But immedi gion, than tour persons were seized almost ately bis abundant kindness was showed, at the same moment, and sưnk down close and she loudly sang of his rigbteousness.'
This was a great triumph to -Vol. I. p. 122
Wesley. From this time,' he says, I
trust we shall all suffer God to carry on his "While,' he says, ' I was earnestly in own work, in the way that pleaseth him.' viting all men to enter into the Holiest by
Whitefield, however seems rather to have this new and living way, many of those that been perplexed by the occurrence than beard began to call upon God with strong satisfied; for he makes no mention of it in cries and tears; some sunk down, and
his journal, which assuredly he would there remained no strength in them ; oth bave doue, bad he been convinced with ers exceedingly trembled and quaked ; Wesley, that these fits were the immedisome were torn with a kind of convulsive
ate work of God."-Vol. I. pp. 138—139. motion in every part of their bodies, and that so violently, that often four or five
Even Charles Wesley, who had persons could not hold one of them. I have seen many hysterical and epileptic
the greatest respect for his brother, fits, but none of them were like these in and followed him, in almost every many respects. I immediately prayed thing, with a devoted attachment and that God would not suffer those who were weak to be offended; but one woman was
confidence, but who was less inclined greatly, being sure they might help it if
to enthusiasm than John, judged in they would, no one should persuade her to this instance more correctly. the contrary ; and she was got three or four yards, when she also dropt down " Charles was not so credulous in such in as violent an agony as the rest. Twen cases as bis brother. That the body would ty-six of those who had been thus affected, sometimes partake of the violent ernotions (most of whom, during :he prayers which of the soul, and sink under the passion were made for them, were in a moment which the preacher had raised, he could filled with peace and joy,) promised to call not doubt, because it often occurred under upon me the next day; but only eighteen his own eyes to persons whose sincerity came, by talking closely with whom I could not be impeached; but he saw that found reason to believe that some of them this was not always involuntary ; he frehad gone home to their houses justified ; quently attempted to check it with suc. the rest seemed to be patiently waiting for cess, and he sometimes detected imposiit." - Vol. I. p. 134.
tion. A woman at Kingswood was dis.
torting herself, and crying out loudly while It is not surprising, that when facts he preached ; she became quite calm like these were witnessed, for the first
when he assured ber that he did not think
the better of her for it. time, they should make a deep im
A girl at Bristol
being questioned judiciously concerning pression upon such a mind as Wes
her frequent fits and trances, confessed ley's, and still more upon weaker
that what she did was for the purpose of minds, into whom he had infused his making Mr. Wesley take notice of her.
• To-day,' he says in his journal, one own spirit and sentiments. They
came who was pleased to fall into a fit for considered them as undoubted marks my entertainment. He beat himself of Divine power, and as outward heartily: I thingot it a pity to hinder bim; signs” not to be questioned, of a work
so instead of singing over him as bad often
been done, we left bim to recover at bis of grace wrought upon the heart. It
leisure. A girl, as she began her cry, I is remarkable, however, that even ordered to be carried out: her convulthen Whitefield doubted concerning sions were so violent as to take away the them.
use of her limbs till they laid her without
at the door, and left ber; then she imme. « These effects had never as yet been
diately found her legs, and walked off. produced under Whitefield's preaching,
Some very unstill sisters, who always took though they now followed Wesley where
care to stand near me, and tried wbó could ever be went; and it appears that White
cry loudest, since I have had them remov. field, who came once more to Bristol at-lambs. The first night I preached bere,
ed out of my sight, have been as quiet as this time, considered them as doubtful in
balf my words were lost through the noise were the operation of grace, and attempt of their outcries ; last night, before I be to prove it by the reality of the skipptoms, gan, I gave public notice, that whosoever and the perinanence of the religions imcried so as to drown my voice, should, pressions which were produced. Perwithout any man's hurting or judging bapis,' says Wesley,' il might be because them, be gently carried to the furtberest of the hardness of our hearts, unready to corner of the room : but my porters had receive any thing, unless we see it with po employment ihe whole night. '-Vol. our eyes and bear it with our ears, that 1. pp. 1-48—149.
God in lender condescension to our weak.
Dess sutfered so many outward signs at the Those who live in the present age very time when he wrought the inward when such phenomena have long been change, to be continually seen and beard
among us. But although tbey saw sigas common, and who have seen what is
and wonders, for so I must term them, yer the evidence, in alter life, of a change many would not believe.'"-Vol. I. p. of heart, given by many who have 124. been the subjects of these bodily exercises. have better means of forming
It is much to be regretted that a cool, correct judgment of their val. Wesley did not form a correct opinion ue, than those had among whom they of the real nature and importance of first occurred. We do not believe these bodily affections, or bad not the that such appearances are always the candour fully to express such an opioeffect of fraud, nor of the special ion it he did form it. Such an avowagency of the Almighty ; but some
al would have had a great and salutatimes the effect of the agitations of ry effect ou his followers, who, in this the mind upon the body, and to be country, at least, still regard them explained upon the common princi- precisely as he did when they first ples of philosophy. We agree there. appeared ; and endeavour to make fore on the whole with the opinion the same use of them to promote their expressed by Mr. Southey, in the fol- cause, even after the most zealous lowing passage.
Methodists in England, it is said,
have ceased either to expect, or en"A powerful doctrine preached with courage, or desire them. Such an passionate sincerity, witb fervid zeal, and avowal however, would have been, in with vehement eloquence, produced a powerful effect upon weak minds, ardent
no small degree, mortifying, after all feelings, and disordered fancies. There
that he had published on the subject, are passions which are as infectious as the and might perhaps have operated unplague, and fear itself is not more so than favourably on the progress of Methodfections were declared to be the work of ism, to which Wesley was so ardentgrace, the process of regeneration, the ly devoted, that he could cheeriolly Throes of the new birth, a free license was sacrifice every thing to it,-unless it proclained for every kind of extravagance. And when the preacher, instead of exhort in regard to that, he could hardly
were a good conscience';—and even ing bis auditors to coinmune with their own hearts, and in their chambers, and be view any thing as evil, which manistill, encouraged them to throw off all re. festly promoted the good cause'. straint, and abandon themselves before Hence he has been accused of a dethe congregation to these mised sensations of mind and body, the consequences were
gree of disingenuousness in arguing in what might be anticipated.' -Vol. I. p.
favour of those outward symptoms," 123.
after he is suspected to have doubted, Even Wesley himself, as he had Many years after the events recorded
at least, concerning them himself. greater experience, was led to regard above, he says he found a remarkable bodily exercises very differently from difference in the manner of the work.” what he had done at first.
« None now were in trances, none cried " In later years Wesley neither expect. out, none fell down, or were convulsed. ed paroxysms of this kind, nor encouraged Ouly some trembled exceedingly; a love them; nor are his followers in England murmur was heard, and many were reforward to excite or boast of them. They freshed with the multitude of peace.' Tbe maintain, however, that these early cases disease bad spent itself, and the reflections
whicb he makes upon this change, show the glory of our pardon, and restorathat others had begun to suspect its real
tion to the favour of God, to his free nature, and that he himself was endeav. ouring to quiet his own suspicions." The grace, through the atonement of danger was,' says he, “to regard extraor
Christ. These two doctrines which dinary circumstances too much,--such as were held in common by Wesley and outcries, convulsions, visions, trances, as
Whitefield, with their companions, if these were essential to the inward work, so that it could not go on without them.
were considered as the foundation of Perhaps the danger is, to regard them too Methodism. Wesley, however, was little ; to condemn them altogether ; to
10 equally tenacious of other opinions, imagine they bad nothing of God in them,
some of which were peculiar, and on and were a bindrance to his work ; whereas the truth is, 1. God suddenly and that account were defended with a strongly convinced many that they were zeal disproportionate to their real Jost sinners, the natural consequences importance; and were therefore prowhereof were sudden outcries, and strong ductive of serious differences between bodily convulsions. 2. To strengthen and encourage them that believed, and to
him and many with whom he had make bis work more apparent, he favour. hitherto been accustomed to associate ed several of them with divine dreams; Among these were the doctrines of others with trances and visions. 3. In "Christian perfection,'-of the assursome of these instances, after a time, na. ture inixed with grace. 4 Satan likewise
ance of faith, to which was added a mimicked this work of God, in order to violent opposition to all the peculiar discredit the whole worki and yet it is doctrines of Calvinism, and more esnoi wise to give up this parl, any more tban to give up the whole. At fir i it was
pecially to the doctrines of Election doen!!e-s, wholly from God: it is partly and the Perseverance of the saints. so at this day ; and He will enable us to His zeal for the former opinions caused discera how far, in every case, the work is a separation between him and his admipurr, and when it mises or degenerates. red instructors and friends the MoraL. i us even suppose that, in some few ca. ses, there was a mixture of dissimulation ;
vians ; while his opposition to Calthat persons pretendid to see or feel what vinistic sentiments, separated him tbey did not, and maled the cries or from his dear friend and fellow laconvuoite roolions of those who were re. ally overpowered by the Spirit of God;
bourer, George Whitefield. yet even this should not make us either
The sentiments and practices of deny or undervalue ibe real work of the the Moravians were not only opposed Spirit. The shadow is no disparagement to the very spirit of Methodism, but of the substance, nor the counterfeit of the real diamond.' "--Vol. II. pp. 150–151.
some of them were equally opposed to
what we believe to be the truth. They When Wesley was from thirty-five seem to have denied the use of what years of age to forty, his docirinal are called the means of grace, to the opinions which had before been un unconverted, while they denied, as it sieady and wavering, began to be fix- would seem from Wesley's statement, ed, and of course, to be supported by the necessity of self denial, sacrifices, him with his constitutional pertinaci- and laborious duties to those who are ty. Some of the most important of converted and have faith. Wesley these opinions were scriptural, and accordingly, formally separated from were often expressed by him with the Moravians, and found, to his morgreat force and correctness. The tification, that of the society in principal of them were the doctrine of London, not one in ten followed him. regeneration, or “the new birth,' as However he remodelled the barris of he was accustomed to term it, and the the small minority, and began again. doctrine of justification by faith in This separation was not desired by Christ. On the latter especially, he the Moravians. Upon the first intelis sometimes unusually clear, in his ligence of it in Germany, Count Zinstatements, which exclude wholly all zendorf sent over Spangenburg to act merit of good works, and all merit as mediator; who, after inquiring ineven in that faith itself by which we to the affair, declared that the Moraare justified, while they ascribe all vians in London had been blameable
in their conduct towards Wesley, his attacks upon the Moravians, and
field, was more painful to him, and
was productive of more important “Some of Wesley's disciples, women as well as men, who were present at this con- consequences, yet it was occasioned ference, bore testimony to the possibility solely by himself, and by his perseof attaining that Christian pertection vering attack upon the sentiments of wbich was at this time Wesley's favourite his friend. In particular, Wesley tenet, and which was so flatering to the bad written a sermon on“ free grace, pride of his followers. But Spangenberg answered this with great truth, as well as
which, however, he was persuaded by great emotion, and the old man's hand'rem. Whitefield, before he left England bled as he spake : You all deceive your the second time, for America, not to own souls ! There is no bigher state ihan that I have described. You are in a very
After Whitefield's depar
publish. dangerous error. You know not your ture, however, he did publish it, and own hearts. You fancy your corruptions scattered copies of it, not only over are taken away, whereas they are only cov. England, but in the different parts of ken away, till our bodies are in the dust.: America, where his friend was at that The same opinion was afterwards espres time travelling and preaching with sed to Wesley, in familiar conversation, great success and applause. That by Boehler, but with characteristic vigour:
our readers may see what cause Sin will and must always remain in the soul. The old man will remain till death. Whitefield had to be grieved at this The old nature is like an old tooth : you conduct, and at the same time may may break off one bit, and another, and notice the manner in which the Methanother : but you can never get it all odist preachers, from the beginning, away. The stuinp will stay as long as
have endeavoured to support their you live, and sometimes will acbe too.'' -Vol. I. p. 170.
opposition to Calvinistic doctrines,
we shall add a few extracts from this The Moravians, at the command most celebrated of their printed disof Count Zinzendorf, asked forgive. courses. ness of Wesley, but he rejected the proffered reconciliation. The Count “Call it by whatever name you please," then came to England himself, and said be, attacking the Calvinistic doctrine, held a conversation with Wesley, on
“Election, Preterition, Predestination, or
Reprobation, it comes to the same thing. the subject of perfection, which only The sense is plainly this; by virtue of an shewed that their differences were too eternal, unchangeable, irresistible decree great ever to be healed, and their of God, one part of mankind are infallibly
saved, and the rest infallibly damned; it opinions too firmly fixed ever to be
being impossible that any of the former altered by argument. It appears should be damned, or thai any of the latfrom Southey, that the personal char ter should be saved."-Vol. II p. 174. acters of the leaders of the two Societies, made a union impossible. Nei- think, might make the ears of a Christian
“ Such blasphemy as ibis, as, one would ther Count Zinzendorf nor John Wes
to tingle! But there is yet more behind; ley could be second, or bear a rival in for, just as it honours the Son, so doth ibis the circle of their disciples and fol- doctrine bonour the Father. It destroys
all his attributes at once: it overturns lowers. Both possessed, if not too both his justice, mercy and truth. Yes, it much ambition, at least too much of represents the Most Holy God as worse a constitutional and habitual disposi- than the devil; as more false, more cruel, tion to direct others, to live peacea
and more unjust. More false, because
the devil, liar as he is, hath never said be biy as members of the same commu willeih all mankind to be saved ; more nity. After this breach, the Mora- unjust, because the devil cannot, if be vians, according to their principles would be guilty of such injustice as you and uniform practice, remained silent ascribe to God, when you say, ibat God concerning it , but Wesley departed ting fire, prepared for the devil and bis
condemned millions of souls to everlasfrom his usual candour and charity, in angels, for continuing in sin, whicb, for
want of that grace he will not give them, sist thee; but he can irresistibly destroy they cannot avoid : and more cruel, be- both body and soul in hell! Thou canst cause that unhappy spirit seeketh rest, only entice; but bis unchangeable decree and findeth none,' so that his own restless to leave thousands of souls in death, commisery is a kind of temptation to bim to pels ibem to continue in sin, till they drop tempt others. But God «resteih in bis high into everlasting burnings. Thou iempi. and holy place ;' so that to suppose bim est : he forcetb us to be damned, for we out of his mere motion, of his pure will cannot resist his will. Thou fool! why and pleasure, bappy as he is, to doon bis goest thou about any longer, seeking creatures, whether they will or not, to whom thou mayest devour? Hearest thou endless misery, is to impute such cruelly not that God is the devouring lion, the to him, as we cannot impute even to the destroyer of souls, the inorderer of men? great enemy of God and man. It is to Moloch caused only children to pass represent the Most High God (he that through the fire, and that fire was soon hath ears to hear, let him bear!) as more quenched; or, the corruptible body being cruel, false, and unjusi, than the devil. cousumed, its torments were at an end;
« This is the blasphery clearly contain but God, thou art told, by his eternal deed in the horrible decree of Predestination. cree, fixed before they had done good or And here I fix my foot. On this I join is evil, causes not only children of a span sue with every asserter of it. You repre long, but the parents also, to pass through sent God as worse than the devil; inore the fire of bell; that fire which shall nev. false, more cruel, more unjust. But you er be quenched : and the body which is say, you will prove it by scripture. Hold! cast thereinto, being now incorruptible What will you prove by scripture ? that and immortal, will be ever consuming and God is worse than the devil? It cannot never consumed; but the smoke of iheir be. Whatever that scripture proves, it torment, because it is God's good pleasure never proves this: whatever be its true ascendeth up forever. meaning, it cannot mean this. Do you 6 Oh, how would the enemy of God and ask what is its true meaning then? If I man rejoice to hear these things were so ! say, I know noi, you have gained nothing; How would he cry aloud, and spare not ! for there are many scriptures, the true How would be lift up bis voice, and say, sense wherevf neither you nor I shall To your tents, O Israel! flee from the know, till death is swallowed up in victo face of this God, or ye shall utterly perish. гу
But this I know, better it were to say But whither will ye flee! loto heaven? it had no sense at all, than to say it had
He is there. Down to hell ? He is there such a sense as this. It cannot mean,
also. Ye cannot fee from an omnipreswhatever it meao beside, that the God of ent, almighty !yrant. And whether ye truth is a liar. Let it mean what it will, flee or stay, I call heaven his throne, and it cannot mean that the Judge of all the earth his footstool, to witness against you: world is unjust. No scripture can mean ye shall perisb, ye shall die eternally! that God is not love, or ihat his mercy is Sing, O hell, and rejoice, ye that are unnot over all his works: tbat is, wbatever der the earth! for God, even the mighty it proves beside, no scripture can prove God, hath spoken and devoted to death Predestination.-Vol. II. p. 175.
thousands of souls, from the rising of the
sun, unto the going down thereof. Here, Then follows an address to the O deatb, is thy sting! They shall not, canDevil, and a long apostrophe, or so
not escape, for the mouth of the Lord
hath spoken it. Here, o grave, is thy liloquy of the Devil himself, which is victory! Nations
yet unborn, or ever they so characteristical of the manner and have done good or evil, are doomed nevspirit of the writer, that we er to see the light of life, but thou shalt
Let tempted to extract the passage.
gnaw upon them for ever and ever.
fell with Lucifer, son of the morning! “ This is the blasphemy for which I ab.
Let all the sons of hell shout for joy; for bor the doctrine of Predestination ; a doc
the decree is past, and who shall annulit: trine, upon the supposition of which, if Vol. II. pp. 175, 176. one could possibly suppose it for a moment, call it election, reprobation, or
The whole discourse, is declared wbat you please, (for all comes to the by Southey, to be one of the most same thing,) one might say to our adversa
able and eloquent of all his discoursry the devil, .Thou fool, why dost thou roar about any longer? Thy lying in waites; a triumphant specimen of impastor souls is as needless and useless as our sioned argument.” The “ memorapreaching.-Hearest thou not, that God ble passage from which we have exbath taken tby work out of thy hands; tracted, he considers “ the most reand that he doth it more effectually? Thou, with all thy principalities and pow.
markable and the most powerful in ers, canst ouly so assault tbat we may re all his works” a tremendous