Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

refused to administer it to him, unless he would submit to be re-baptized ; and he would not read the burial-service over another for the same reason, or for some one founded upon the same principle. He was accused of making his sermons so many satires upon particular persons, and for this cause his auditors fell off; for though one might have been

very well pleased to hear the others preached at, no person liked the chance of being made the mark himself. All the quarrels which had occurred since his arrival were occasioned, it was affirmed, by his intermeddling conduct. “ Besides,” said a plain speaker to him, “ the people say they are Protestants, but as for you they cannot tell what religion you are of; they never heard of such a religion before, and they do not know what to make of it."

It was not merely by his austere opinions and ascetic habits that Wesley gave occasion to this notion. With all his rigid adherence to the letter of the rubric, his disposition for departing from the practices of the church, and establishing a discipline of his own, was now beginning to declare itself. He divided the public prayers, following, in this respect, the original appointment of the church, which, he said, was still observed in a few places in England; so he performed the morning service at five, and reserved the communion office, with the sermon, for a separate service at eleven: the evening service was at three. He visited his parishioners from house to house in order, setting apart for this purpose the hours between

H

twelve and three, when they could not work be. cause of the heat. And he agreed with his companions to form, if they could, the more serious parishioners into a little society, who should assemble once or twice a week for the purpose of improving, instructing, and exhorting each other : from these again a smaller number was to be selected for a more intimate intercommunion, which might be forwarded partly by the minister's conversing singly with each, and partly by inviting them altogether to the minister's house on Sunday afternoons. Mr. Oglethorpe so far accorded with his views of reformation, as to give orders that no. person should profane the Sabbath by fishing or fowling upon that day; but the governor, who had cares enough to disquiet him, arising from the precarious state of the colony, was teazed and soured by the complaints which were now perpetually brought against the two brothers, and soon began to wish that he had brought out with him men of more practicable tempers.

The best people are not to be looked for in new colonies;- formed as such establishments hitherto have been in modern times, they usually consist of adventurers, who have either no fortune to lose, or no character,--the most daring, or the most desperate members of society. Charles Wesley attempted the doubly difficult task of reforming some of the lady colonists, and reconciling their petty jealousies and hatreds of each other; in which he succeeded no farther than just to make them cordially agree in hating him, and caballing to get rid of him in any way. He had not been six days at Frederica before he was involved in so many dis- . putes and disagreeable circumstances, that he'declared he would not spend six days more in the same manner for all Georgia, - but it was neither in his power to change his situation so soon, nor to improve it. As he was at prayers in a myrtle grove, a gun was fired from the other side of the bushes, and the ball passed close by him: he believed it was aimed at him, yet if there had really been a design against his life, they who made the attempt would not so easily have given up their purpose. Oglethorpe was at this time

inland with the Indians, to see the limits which they elaimed. During his absence the doctor chose to shoot during service-time on the Sunday, in the midst of the sermon, and so near the church, that the constable thought it his duty to go out and deliver him to the commanding officer, who put him under arrest in the guard-room. This was of course imputed to the chaplain; the doctor's wife poured out a torrent of execrations against him in the street; and to heighten the indignation which was excited, the doctor himself refused to go out to any patient, though his services were wanted by a woman at the time. When Oglethorpe returned he found Frederica in an uproar, and he was informed that a plan was concerted among the settlers for abandoning the colony, and that Charles Wesley was the prime mover of the mischief. The accusation came in too authentic a manner to be disregarded, for it was made by the spokesman of the

gone

не

discontented, who in their name demanded leave to depart. Oglethorpe accordingly sent for him, and charged him with mutiny and sedition, yet treated him with some remains of kindness, and said, that he should not scruple shooting half-adozen of those fellows at once, but that from regard to him he had spoken to him first. A cross-examination, skilfully managed, made the accuser himself admit that Charles Wesley had no otherwise excited the mutineers to this resolution than by forcing them to prayers. Still an uncomfortable feeling remained in Oglethorpe's breast, which no explanation could remove :-- he had expected that men of such talents, such learning, such piety, and such zeal as the Wesleys, would have contributed essentially to the good order of the colony : and he complained that instead of love, meekness, and true religion among the people, there was nothing but mere formal prayers : but of the form, he was soon convinced, there was as little as of the reality, seldom more than half-a-dozen attending at the public service. Still he thought Charles had raised these disorders, -as in truth he had been the occasion of them by his injudicious zeal : Charles asked whether it was his wish that he should altogether forbear from conversing with the parishioners. To this the governor would give no answer; but he spoke of the difficulties of his own situation; “ Every thing was in confusion," he said : “ it was much easier to govern a thousand persons than threescore; and he durst not leave them before they were settled.”

ور

[ocr errors]

This interview left neither party in an enviable state of mind. Charles wrote to his brother, the letter was intercepted, and the scoundrel who opened it proclaimed its contents : instead of writing again, he resolved to send Ingham to him. There was one person of better character among these profligate settlers, who burst into tears when he took leave of Ingham, and said,

“ One good man is leaving us already; I foresee nothing but desolation. Must my

my poor

or children be brought up like these savages ?" And Charles himself, feeling the utter loneliness in which he was left, though but by a temporary separation, exclaims in his journal, « O happy, happy friend! abiit, erupit, evasit ; but woe is me that I am still constrained to dwell in Meshech! I languished,” he says, “ to bear him company, followed him with my eye till out of sight, and then sunk into deeper dejection of spirit than I had known before.” Mr. Oglethorpe now began to manifest his displeasure in a manner not more distressing to its object than dishonourable to himself. Charles Wesley, expecting to live with him as his secretary, had taken out with him from England no furniture of any kind : he was now informed that Mr. Oglethorpe had given orders that no one should use his things; and upon observing that he supposed the order did not extend to him, was told by the servant that he was particularly included by name.

6 Thanks be to God," said he, “ it is not yet made capital to give me a morsel of bread. I begin now,” he

in his journal, “ to be abused and slighted into an

says

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »