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avoid,” he says, “ acquiring hereby some degree of expertness in arguing; and especially in discerning and pointing out well-covered and plausible fallacies. I have since found abundant reason to praise God for giving me this honest art. By this, when men have hedged me in by what they called demonstrations, I have been many times able to dash them in pieces; in spite of all its covers, to touch the very point where the fallacy lay, and it flew open in a moment.” He now formed for himself a scheme of studies, resolving not to vary from it for some years at least. Mondays and Tuesdays were allotted for the classics ; Wednesdays to logic and ethics ; Thursdays to Hebrew and Arabic ; Fridays to Metaphysics and natural philosophy; Saturdays to oratory and poetry, but chiefly to composition in those arts; and the Sabbath to divinity. It appears by liis diary, also, that he gave great attention to mathematics. But he had come to that conclusion, at which, sooner or later, every studious man must arrive,--that life is not long enough for the attainment of general knowledge, and that there are many things of which the most learned must content themselves to be ignorant. He says to his mother, “ I am perfectly come over to your opinion, that there are many truths it is not worth while to know. Curiosity, indeed, might be a sufficient plea for our laying out some time upon them, if we had half a dozen centuries of lives to come; but methinks it is great ill husbandry to spend a considerable part of the small pittance now allowed us, in what makes us neither a quick nor a sure return.” Full of business as he now was, he found time for writing, by rising an hour earlier in the morning, and going into company an hour later in the evening.
As his religious feelings grew upon him, that state of mind came on which led the enthusiasts of early ages into the wilderness. He began to think that such society as that wherein he was placed, hindered his progress in spiritual things. He thought it “ the settled temper of his soul,” that he should, for some time at least, prefer such a retirement as might seclude him from all the world, where he might confirm in himself those habits which he thought best, before the flexibility of youth should be over. A school was proposed to him, with a good salary annexed to it, in one of the Yorkshire dales. Some persons, who knew the place, gave him what they thought a frightful description of it, according to the fashion of an age in which the sense of picturesque beauty seems hardly to have existed. They told him that it was a little vale, so pent up between two hills, that it was scarcely accessible on any side;
company was to be expected from without, and there was none within.
“ I should therefore,” says he, “be entirely at liberty to converse with company my own choosing, whom, for that reason, I would bring with me; and company equally agreeable, whereever I fixed, could not put me to less expence.
“ The sun that walks his airy way,
All of these, and all I see,
The option of this retirement, to which he seems at this time to have been so well inclined, was not given him, and his mother was not sorry that the school was otherwise disposed of: “ That way of life,” she said, “ would not agree with your constitution, and I hope God has better work for you to do;" words which, perhaps, in after years, carried with them a prophetic import and impulse to his imagination. The elder Wesley was now, from age and infirmity, become unequal to the duty of both his livings, especially as the road between them was bad, and sometimes dangerous in the winter. John therefore, at his desire, went to reside at Wroote, and officiated there as his curate. Though a native of the county, he did not escape the ague, which was then its endemic malady; and perhaps it was fortunate for him, after two years, to be summoned to his college, upon a regulation that the junior fellows, who might be chosen moderators, should attend in person the duties of their office. It was while he held this
that he obtained priest's orders from the same prelate who had ordained him deacon three years before.
In consequence of this summons he once more took up his abode at Lincoln College, became a tutor there, and presided as moderator at the disputations which were held six times a week in the hall; an office which exercised and sharpened his habits of logical discrimination. Some time before his return to the University, he had travelled many miles to see what is called “ a serious man.” This person said to him, “ Sir, you wish to serve God and go to heaven. Remember, you cannot serve him alone : you must therefore find companions or make them : the Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” Wesley never forgot these words; and it happened that while he was residing upon his curacy, such a society was prepared for him at Oxford as he and his serious adviser would have wished.
While Charles Wesley was at Westminster under his brother, a gentleman of large fortune in Ireland, and of the same family name, wrote to the father, and inquired of him if he had a son named Charles; for if so, he would make him his heir. Accordingly his school bills, during several years, were discharged by his unseen namesake. At length a gentleman, who is supposed to have been this Mr. Wesley, called upon him, and after much conversation, asked if he was willing to accompany him to Ireland : the youth desired to write to his father before he could make answer: the father left it to his own decision, and he, who was satisfied with the fair prospects which Christ Church opened to him, chose to stay in England. John Wesley, in his account of his brother, calls this a fair escape: the fact is more remarkable than he was aware of; for the person who inherited the property intended for Charles Wesley, and who took the name of Wesley, or Wellesley, in consequence, was the first Earl of Mornington, grandfither of Marquis Wellesley and the Duke of Weilington. Had Charles made a different choice, there might have been no Methodists, the British Empire in India might still have been menaced from Seringapatam, and the undisputed tyrant of Europe might at this time have insulted and endangered us on our own shores.
Charles, then pursuing contentedly his scholastic course, had been elected from Westminster to Christ Church, just after his brother John obtained his fellowship. He was diligent in study, and regular in his conduct; but when John sought to press upon him the importance of austerer habits, and a more active devotion, he protested against becoming a saint all at once, and turned a deaf ear to his admonitions.
While John, however, resided at Wroote, the process which he had vainly sought to accelerate in his brother, was going on. His disposition, his early education, the example of his parent and of both his brethren, were in unison: not knowing how or when he wokeout of his lethargy, he imputed the change to the efficacy of another's prayers, --- most likely, he said, his mother's; and meeting with two or three undergraduates, whose inclinations and principles resembled his own, they associated together for the purpose of religious improvement, lived by rule, and received the sacrament weekly. Such conduct would at any time have attracted observation in an English university ; it was peculiarly noticeable at that time, when a laxity of opinions as well as morals