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prudently, though not fearfully; and prayed that God would keep them humble.
“ Be not highminded,” said he ; preserve an equal temper of mind under whatever treatment you meet with from a not very just or well-natured world. Bear no more sail than is necessary, but steer steady. The less you value yourselves for these unfashionable duties, (as there is no such thing as works of supererogation,) the more all good and wise men will value you, if they see your actions are of a piece; and what is infinitely more, He by whom actions and intentions are weighed will both accept and reward you."
Thus encouraged and thus advised, Wesley consulted the Bishop, who sanctioned and approved their visiting the prisons. This was no doubtful matter ; the parts of their conduct which he might have regarded with disapprobation, were precisely those upon which it would not be thought necessary to consult him. About this time Wesley became personally acquainted with William Law, a man whose writings completed what Jeremy Taylor, and the treatise De Imitatione Christi, had begun. When first he visited him, he was prepared to object to his views of Christian duty as too elevated to be attainable; but Law silenced and satisfied him by replying, “ We shall do well to aim at the highest degrees of perfection, if we may thereby at least attain to mediocrity.” Law is a powerful writer: it is said that few books have ever made so many religious enthusiasts as his Christian Perfection and his Serious Call : indeed the youth who should read them without being perilously affected, must have either a light mind or an unusually strong one. But Law, himself, who has shaken so many intellects, sacrificed his own at last to the reveries and rhapsodies of Jacob Behmen. Perhaps the art of engraving was never applied to a more extraordinary purpose, nor in a more extraordinary manner, than when the nonsense of the German shoemaker was elucidated in a series of prints after Law's designs, representing the anatomy of the spiritual man.
His own happiness, however, was certainly not diminished by the change : the system of the ascetic is dark and cheerless; but mysticism lives in a sunshine of its own, and dreams of the light of heaven, while the visions of the ascetic are such as the fear of the devil produces, rather than the love of God. It was in his happier state of mind that Law was found by Wesley, and in this spirit he said to him, “ You would have a philosophical religion, but there can be no such thing. Religion is the most plain, simple thing in the world. It is only, we love Him because He first loved us." Wesley on one occasion confessed to him that he felt greatly de. jected, because he saw so little fruit from his lahours. My dear friend,” replied Law, “ you reverse matters from their proper order. You are to follow the Divine Light, wherever it leads you, in all your conduct. It is God alone that gives the blessing. I pray you always mind your own work, and go on with cheerfulness; and God, you may depend upon it, will take care of his. Be
sides, Sir, I perceive you would fain convert the world! but you must wait God's own time. Nay, if after all he is pleased to use you only as a hewer of wood or a drawer of water, you should submit, -yea, you should be thankful to him that he has honoured you so far.”
These visits to Law, who at that time resided near London, were performed on foot, the Wesleys travelling in this manner that they might save the more money for the poor. It was so little the custom in that age for men in their rank of life to walk any distance, as to make them think it a discovery that four or five-and-twenty miles are an easy and safe day's journey. They discovered also, with equal surprise, that it is easy to read while walking, and that it neither made them faint, nor produced any other symptom of weariness. Some years afterwards, when John carried his economy of time to the utmost, he used to read on horseback, till some severe falls, which he met with in consequence, convinced him that this practice might probably cost him his life. The brothers also accustomed themselves to converse together in Latin, whenever they were alone : when they had subsequently much intercourse with the Moravians, they found the great advantage of having acquired. this power. It is indeed a notorious defect in modern education, that the habit of speaking a language, which is every where understood by all educated men, should no where be taught in schools as a regular part of the course of instruction. Yet Wesley's mind was now in that per
turbed and restless state, that he began to doubt the utility, and even the lawfulness, of carnal studies. In a letter to his mother, written under evident disquietude, he says, “ To all who give signs of their not being strangers to it, I propose this question,—and why not to you rather than any?—shall I quite break off my pursuit of all learning, but what immediately tends to practice ? I once desired to make a fair show in languages and philosophy; but it is past: there is a more excellent way, and if I cannot attain to any progress in the one, without throwing up all thoughts of the other, why, fare it well! Yet a little while, and we shall all be equal in knowledge if we are in virtue." In the same letter he
" I am to renounce the world,- to draw off my affections from this world, and fix them on a better : but how.? what is the surest and the shortest way? Is it not to be humble ? surely this is a large step in the way. But the question occurs, how am I to do this ? To own the necessity of it is not to be humble. In many things you have interceded for me and prevailed: who knows but in this too you may be successful ? If you can spare me only that little part of Thursday evening which you formerly bestowed upon me in another manner, I doubt not but it would be as useful now for correcting my heart, as it was then for forming my judgement.— When I observe how fast life flies away, and how slow improvement comes, I think one can never be too much afraid of dying before one has learned to live."
The good intentions of Wesley and his associates could not be questioned; but they were now running fast into fanaticism; and a meeting was held at Christ Church, by the Seniors of the College, to consult in what manner the evil might be checked. The report in Oxford was, that the Dean and the Censors were going to blow up the Godly Club. When Samuel Wesley heard of this, he called it an execrable consultation, in order to stop the progress of religion, by giving it a false name. He did not like, he said, that they should be “called a club, for that name was really calculated to do mischief: but the charge of enthusiasm 'could weigh with none but such as drink away their senses, or never had any; for surely activity in social duties, and a strict attendance on the ordained means of grace, are the strongest guards imaginable against it." However, it was not long before Samuel, who was of riper judgement than his brother, and of a less ardent disposition, began to perceive that John was carrying his principles to excess, and that he excited injurious prejudices against himself, by affecting singularity in things which were of no importance. Wesley, in defending himself, observed, that the most unpopular of his habits were those of early rising and keeping little company, in the propriety of which there could be no difference of opinion between them. “ Is it not hard,” he says, “ that even those who are with us should be against us:— that a man's enemies, in some degree, should be those of the same household of faith? Yet so it is. From the