« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
time the day before. This you did not do. And any
of these have done any wrong to his neighbour by word or deed, so that the congregation be thereby offended, the Curate shall advertise him that in any wise he presume not to come to the Lord's Table, until he hath openly declared himself to have truly repented. If you
offer yourself at the Lord's Table on Sunday, I will advertise you (as I have done more than once,) wherein you have done
have openly declared yourself to have truly repented, I will administer to you the mysteries of God.”
This affair was now the whole business of Savannah. Causton was so far forgetful of what is due from man to man in civilized life, as to read Wesley's letters to the lady during the whole course of their intimacy, before all who chose to hear them, omitting such passages as did not exactly suit his purpose, and helping out others by a running comment. Wesley on his part, at the request of several of the communicants, drew statement of the case, and read it after the evening prayers in the open congregation ; a conduct not less extraordinary, though less reprehensible than that of his adversary. An affidavit was made by the lady, asserting that Mr. Wesley had many times proposed marriage to her, all which proposals she had rejected, and insinuating much more than it asserted. He desired a copy of it, and was told by Causton that he might have one from any of the newspapers in America; for they were bent upon the double object of blackening his character and driving him from the colony. A grand jury was summoned, consisting of fifty persons, no trifling proportion of the adult male population of Savannah: four and forty met ; and Wesley complains that of these one was a Frenchman, who did not understand English, one a Papist, one a profest infidel, some twenty were dissenters, (all of course unfit persons to decide upon a question relating to church discipline,) and several others persons who had personal quarrels with him, and had openly threatened to be revenged. Causton addressed them in an earnest speech, exhorting them to beware of spiritual tyranny, and to oppose the new and illegal authority which was usurped over their consciences : he then delivered in a list of grievances, which with some immaterial" alterations was returned as a true bill, charging John Wesley with having “ broken the laws of the realm, contrary to the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, his crown and dignity.” The indictment contained ten counts, of which the first was for speaking and writing to Mrs. Williamson against her husband's consent; the others related to his repelling her from the communion, his division of the service, and his conduct respecting baptisms and burials. He appeared before the court, and declared, that as nine of these counts related to ecclesiastical matters, they were not within the cognizance of that tribunal; but that which concerned speaking and writing to Mrs. Williamson was of a secular nature, he said, and therefore he desired that it might be
tried upon the spot where the facts complained of had occurred. But it was in vain that he repeatedly demanded a hearing on this charge ; and in this manner more than three months elapsed. During that time a donation of ten pounds from the Vice Provost of Eton reached him, designed for his private use and for works of charity: when it arrived he had been several months without a shilling in the house, but not, he says, without peace, health, and contentment.
Indeed he had still zealous friends in the colony. Even among the jurors, though every means was taken to select men who were likely to favour his accusers, and no means for prepossessing them against him were spared, twelve persons were found, who in a paper addressed to the trustees, protested against the indictment as a scheme for gratifying personal malice by blackening Mr. Wesley's character. The indictment was found toward the end of August, and it seems that its first effect was to make him think of leaving Savannah : but on the tenth of September he says in his private journal, “I laid aside the thoughts of going to England ; thinking it more suitable to my calling, still to commend my cause to God, and not to be in haste to justify myself.” When however another month had elapsed, and the business appeared no nearer its decision, he consulted his friends, “ whether God did not call him to return to England ?? The reason, he said, for which he had left his country had now no force; there was as yet no possibility of instructing the Indians *, neither had he found or heard of any Indians on the continent of America, who had the least desire of being instructed. — But it is not for their desire, that missionaries whose hearts have been intently set upon this good work have waited; and though the North American tribes have been found far less docile than those in the other part of the new continent, still sufficient proof had been given both in Canada and New England, that the labour of love was not lost upon them, when it was perseveringly pursued. Wesley could not find what he did not seek; other and greater labours were reserved for him : he was not to be a missionary himself, but a founder of missions, in which men more suitable for the work would find their proper and most meritorious employment. It will not be deemed superstitious thus to notice as remarkable the manner in which Wesley gave up the object for
• Ingham had lived among the Creek-Indians for a few months, and had begun to compose a grammar of their language. Wesley has recorded a curious dialogue between himself and some Chicasaws, which I do not insert in this place because it is printed among the notes to Madoc. On his part it consisted chiefly of well directed questions. Whitefield was not so likely to have led these Indians into the right way, if we may judge by his conference with poor Tomo-Chichị when that chief was at the point of death. I desired his nephew Tooanoowee, who could talk English, he says, to enquire of his uncle“ whether he thought he should die;" he answered " he could not tell." I then asked “ where he thought he should go after death?” He replied, “ To Heaven.” But alas, how can a drunkard enter there! I then exhorted Tooanoowee who is a tall proper youth, not to get drunk, telling him he understood English, and therefore would be punished the more if he did not live better. I then asked him whether he believed a Heaven? He answered, “ Yes.” I then asked, whether he believed a Hell? and described it by pointing to the fire: he replied, “ No."
which he went to Georgia, without one serious effort for its accomplishment, and apparently without being conscious of any want of effort, or any change in himself.
As to Savannah, he said, he had never engaged himself either by word or letter, to remain there a day longer than he should judge convenient; nor had he taken charge of the people any otherwise than as in his passage to the heathen; he therefore looked
upon himself to be fully discharged from that cure by the vacating of his primary design ; and besides there was a probability of his doing more service to that unhappy people in England, than he could do in Georgia, by representing the real state of the colony to the trustees without fear or favour. His friends, of whom the Moravians were probably the greater number, listened attentively to this reasoning; and after considering it well, were of opinion that he ought to go, but not yet. So for the present he laid aside the thought, being persuaded that when the time was come, God would make the way plain before his face. Another six weeks elapsed, during which he appeared at two more courts, to no other purpose than to hear himself reviled in calumnious affidavits by Mr. Causton. Weary of this, he laid the case again before his friends, and they agreed with him now that it was proper he should depart. Accordingly he called upon Causton to give him notice of his intention, and obtain money for the expences of his voyage ; and he posted up a paper in the great square with these words, - Whereas John Wesley