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It had been Charles Wesley's intention to spend all his days at Oxford as a tutor, for he dreaded exceedingly to enter into orders: now, however, he determined to accompany his brother. This was strongly opposed by Samuel, but in vain: he was more docile towards John, whom he always regarded as his guide, and in deference to his judgement consented to be ordained; but he went out in the capacity of secretary to Mr. Oglethorpe. Their companions were Charles Delamotte, the son of a London merchant, and Benjamin Ingham, who was one of the little community at Oxford. Qur end," says Wesley, "in leaving our native country, was not to avoid want, (God having given us plenty of temporal blessings,) nor to gain the dung and dross of riches and honour; but singly this, to save our souls; to live wholly to the glory of God." They embarked at Gravesend on the 14th of October, 1735, and from that day the series of his printed journals commences. Oh that all men who have produced great effects in the world had left such memoirs of themselves!
On board the same vessel there were six-andtwenty Moravians, going to join a party of their brethren from Herrnhut, who had gone out the preceding year under the sanction of the British > government, and with the approbation of the English church; some of our bishops, indeed,
A short time before he left England he seems to have published a corrected version of Thomas à Kempis, and to have translated a Preface which had not appeared before in any English edition.
having, of their own accord, offered to ordain their pastors. The conductor of this second detachment was David Nitschmann, one of a family distinguished for their sufferings and their zeal: he was afterwards the first bishop of the revived Church of the Brethren, the appellation by which the Moravians designate themselves. The rise and institutions of this remarkable people, with whom Wesley was for some time intimately connected, and from whom much of the economy of the Methodists has been derived, will be described hereafter. Wesley was exceedingly impressed with the piety, the simplicity, and the equanimity of these his shipmates: he applied himself to the German language, that he might converse with them the more freely, and Nitschmann and the others began to learn English.
While he resided at Oxford he had always hitherto been restrained, perhaps unconsciously, by some regard to appearances; that restraint was no longer felt, and he and his companions began to put their ascetic principles in full practice. Believing, he says, the denying ourselves, even in the smallest instances, might, by the blessing of God, be helpful to us, we wholly left off the use of flesh and wine, and confined ourselves to vegetable food, chiefly rice or biscuit. After a while they persuaded themselves that nature did not require such frequent supplies as they had been accustomed to, so they agreed to leave off supper: and Wesley having slept on the floor one night, because his bed had been wetted in a storm, thought he
should not find it needful to sleep in a bed more. His next experiment was, whether life might not as well be sustained by one sort of food as by variety: he and Delamotte accordingly tried with bread, as being the staff of life in Europe, and they found themselves never more vigorous and hearty. Upon this he exclaims, "Blessed are the pure in heart; to them all things are pure: every creature is good to them, and nothing to be rejected. But let them who are not thus pure use every help and remove every hindrance, always remembering, that he that despiseth little things shall fall by little and little." "At this time," his official biographers say," he had only attained to the spirit of bondage unto fear, and he found that all his senses were ready to betray him into sin, upon every exercise of them." In a spirit akin to this, and derived from the same source, he wrote from on board to his brother Samuel, beseeching him, by the mercies of God, to banish all such poison from his school as the classics which were usually read there, and introduce Christian authors in their place; for it was his duty to instruct his scholars, "not only in the beggarly elements of Greek and Latin, but much more in the Gospel." Fanaticism always comes to this in its progress: first it depreciates learning, then it would destroy it. There have been Christians, as they believed themselves, who would have burnt the Alexandrían library upon the same logic as the Caliph Omar, with no other difference than that of calling their book by a Greek name instead of an Arabic one.
The course of life which they adopted on board was as regular as the circumstances of a voyage would allow, and as severe as the rule of a monastic order. From four in the morning till five they used private prayer: from five till seven they read the bible together, carefully comparing it with the writings of the earliest ages, that they might not lean to their own understandings. At seven they breakfasted, and they had public prayers at eight. From nine till twelve John Wesley was employed in learning German, Delamotte pursued his Greek studies, Charles wrote sermons, and Ingham instructed the children: and at twelve they met to give an account to one another of what they had done since their last meeting, and of what they intended to do before their next. They dined about one, and from dinner till four the time was spent in reading to those of whom each had taken especial charge, or in exhorting them severally, as the case might require. There were evening prayers at four, when the second lesson was explained, or the children were catechised and instructed before the congregation. From six to seven each read in his cabin to a few of the passengers. At seven Wesley joined with the Germans in their public service, and Ingham read between the decks to as many as desired to hear. At eight they met again to instruct and exhort. By this time they were pretty well wearied with exhortations and instruction; and between nine and ten they went to bed, where, as Wesley says, neither the waving of the sea, nor the motion of
the ship, could take away the refreshing sleep which God
It was a rough season, their passage was tempestuous; and, during the storm, Wesley felt that he was unfit, because he was unwilling to die. Ashamed of this unwillingness, he reproached himself as if he had no faith, and he admired the impassible tranquillity to which the Moravians had attained. They had evinced that they were delivered from pride, anger, and revenge; those servile offices, which none of the English would perform for the other passengers, they offered themselves to undertake, and would receive no recompense; saying, it was good for their proud hearts, and their Saviour had done more for them. No injury could move their meekness; if they were struck or thrown down, they made no complaint, nor suffered the slightest indication of resentment to appear. Wesley was curious to see whether they were equally delivered from the spirit of fear, and this he had an opportunity of ascertaining. In the midst of the psalm with which they began their service, the sea broke over, split the main-sail, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if, he says, the great deep had already swallowed us up. A dreadful screaming was heard among the English colonists: the Moravians calmly sung on. Wesley afterwards asked one of them, if he was not afraid at that time. He replied, “I thank God, no." He was then asked if the women and children were not afraid. His answer was, "No; our women and children are not afraid to die." In