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Sophia Causton, the niece of the chief magis. trate at Savannah, had fixed her eyes upon Wesley ; and it is said that Mr. Oglethorpe wished to bring about a marriage between them, thinking it the likeliest means of reclaiming him from those eccentricities which stood in the way of his usefulness. She was a woman of fine person, polished manners, and cultivated mind, and was easily led to bear her part in a design which was to cure an excellent man of his extravagances, and give her a good husband. Accordingly she was introduced to him as one suffering under a wounded spirit, and enquiring after the way of eternal life. Nor was it enough to place herself thus in a more particular manner under his spiritual guidance: she became his pupil also, like another Heloisa. She dressed always in white, and with the utmost simplicity to please his taste; and when in consequence of his having taken meat and wine one day at the Gene ral's express desire, as a proof that he did not think the use of these things unlawful, he was seized with fever, and confined to his bed, she attended him night and day with incessant and sincere solicitude. Wesley's manner of life had hitherto estranged him from women, and he felt these attentions as it was designed that he should feel them. But she had a difficult part to act, and might well doubt whether with all his virtues it was likely that such a husband would make her happy. While she was at Frederica, he wrote to his brother Charles concerning her in language which strongly marks his anxiety: the letter was partly written in Greek, olt i migrante su be exposed to impertinent curio
Whis purport:-“I conjure you spare ***24) Quadress or pains to learn the true cause wasteud's former grief. I much doubt you are the righi. God forbid that she should again err
Watch over, guard her as much as you posibly can. Write to me, how it behoves me to write to her.” Here not being under Wesley's eye, her life was not regulated with the same reference to his opinion; and when he went to Frederica some weeks after his brother's departure, “ he found her,” he says, “scarce the shadow of what she was, when he had left her." He endeavoured to convince her of this: the kind of remonstrance excited some pain and some pride ; and in her resentment she told him she would return to England immediately. “ I was at first a little surprised,”. says he,“ but I soon recollected my spirits, and remembered my calling. *
non me, qui cætera vincet Impetus ; at rapido contrarius evehar orbi.”
He had recourse to prayer, however, and to the exhortations of Ephrem Syrus, whom he thought at this time the most awakening writer of all the ancients; and after several fruitless attempts, he
• It was perhaps on this occasion that be composed these lines, which, as he tells us in his “ Plain Account of Christian Perfection,” were written at Savannah in the year 1736 :
Is there a thing beneath the sun
That strives with thee my heart to share ?
The Lord of every motion there!
at length succeeded in dissuading her from what he called the fatal resolution of going to England. She went back with him to Savannah, and in a short time he believed she had recovered the ground which she had lost. This was the close of October. “ In the beginning of December," he writes, “ I advised Miss Sophy to sup earlier, and not immediately before she went to bed. She did so, and on this little circumstance, what an inconceivable train of consequences depend! not only all the colour of remaining life for her, but perhaps my. happiness too."
Notwithstanding this docility, Delamotte suspected that both her obedience and her devotion were merely assumed for the occasion; he there. fore told Wesley what he thought of her artfulness and his simplicity, and plainly asked him if it was his intention to marry her. That he had formed this intention in his heart is beyond a doubt, but he had not declared it; the question embarrassed him, and he made no decisive answer; but being staggered by what Delamotte had said, he called upon the Moravian Bishop. The Bishop replied thus:--“ Marriage is not unlawful. Whe: ther it is expedient for you at this time, and whether this lady is a proper wife for you, ought to be maturely considered.” The more he considered the more he was perplexed, so he propounded the matter to the elders of the Moravian Church. When he went to learn their determination, he found Delamotte sitting with the elders in full conclave assembled ; and upon his proposing the
question, the Bishop replied : “ We have considered your case; will you abide by our decision?" He made answer that he would. Then said the Bishop, we advise you to proceed no further in this business. Upon this Wesley replied, “ The will of the Lord be done,” and from that time in perfect obedience to their decision, it is affirmed that he carefully avoided the lady's company, though he perceived what pain this change in his conduct gave her. Had the lady herself known that a consultation of Moravian elders had been held upon her case, whatever pain and whatever love she might have felt, would soon have given place to resenta ment.
Docile, however, as he had shown himself to his spiritual directors, his private diary shows what pain he felt in their decision, and that even when he thought it best for his salvation that the match should be broken off, he had not resolution to break it off himself, so that the point on his part was still undecided, when she put an end to his struggles by taking another husband. Passages in his private journal make this beyond a doubt: “ Feb. 5. 1737. One of the most remarkable dispensations of Providence towards me which I have yet known began to show itself this day. For many days after I could not at all judge which way the scale would turn: nor was it fully determined till March 4. on which God commanded me to pull out my right eye; and by his grace I determined so to do; but being slack in the execution, on Saturday, March 12., God being very merciful to
me, my friend performed what I could not. I have often thought one of the most difficult commands that ever was given, was that given to Ezekiel concerning his wife. But the difficulty of obeying such a direction appeared to me now more than ever before, when considering the character I bore, I could not but perceive that the word of the Lord was come to me likewise, saying, •Son of man, behold I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke, yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.'” The fourth of March appears to have been the day on which the consultation was held ; “From the direction I received from God this day,"
“ touching an affair of the last importance, I cannot but observe, as I have done many times before, the entire mistake of many good men, who assert that God will not answer your prayer unless your heart be wholly resigned to his will. My heart was not wholly resigned to his will; therefore, I durst not depend on my own judgement; and for this very reason I cried to him the more earnestly to supply what was wanting in
And I know, and am assured, that he heard my voice, and did send forth his light and his truth.” The twelfth of March was the day on which Sophia married Mr. Williamson, “ being," says Wesley, “ the day which completed the year from my first speaking to her. What thou doest, O God, I know not now, but I shall know hereafter." *
Upon this part of Wesley's private history Dr. Whitehead says, “ Mr. Wesley has observed a silence in his printed journal on some