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the great Spanish saint should establish an order by which the catholic faith would be strenuously supported in Europe, and disseminated widely in the other parts of the world. Voltaire and Wesley were not indeed in like manner children of the same year, but they were contemporaries through a longer course of time; and the influences which they exercised upon their age and upon posterity, have been not less remarkably opposed. While the one was scattering, with pestilent activity, the seeds of immorality and unbelief, the other, with

her, with equally unweariable zeal, laboured in the cause of religious enthusiasm. The works of Voltaire have found their way wherever the French language is read; the disciples of Wesley wherever the English is spoken. The principles of the arch-infidel were more rapid in their operation : he who aimed at no such evil as that which he contributed so greatly to bring about, was himself startled at their

progress : in his latter days he trembled at the consequences which he then foresaw; and indeed his remains had scarcely mouldered in the grave, before those consequences brought down the whole fabric of government in France, overturned her altars, subverted her throne, carried guilt, devastation, and misery into every part of his own country, and shook the rest of Europe like an earthquake. Wesley's doctrines, meantime, were slowly and gradually winning their way ; but they advanced every succeeding year with accelerated force, and their effect must ultimately be more extensive, more powerful, and more permanent, for he has

set mightier principles at work. Let it not, how. ever, be supposed that I would represent these eminent men, like agents of the good and evil principles, in all things contrasted : the one was not all darkness, neither was the other all light.

The history of men who have been prime agents in those great moral and intellectual revolutions which from time to time take place among mankind, is not less important than that of statesmen and conquerors. If it has not to treat of actions wherewith the world has rung from side to side, it appeals to the higher part of our nature, and may perhaps 'excitè inore salutary feelings, a worthier interest, and wiser meditations.

The Emperor Charles V., and his rival of France, appear at this day infinitely insignificant; if we compare them with Luther and Loyola; and there may come a time when the name of Wesley will be more generally known, and in remoter regions of the globe, than that of Frederic or of Catharine. For the works of such men survive them, and continue to operate, when nothing remains of worldly ambition but the memory of its vanity and its guilt.

4

CHAPTER I.

FAMILY OF THE WESLEYS.

WESLEY'S CHILDHOOD

AND EDUCATION.

The founder of the Methodists was emphatically of a good family, in the sense wherein he himself would have used the term. Bartholomew Wesley, his great-grandfather, studied physic * as well as divinity at the university, a practice not unusual at that time : he was ejected, by the act of uniformity, from the living of Allington, in Dorsetshire; and the medical knowledge which he had acquired from motives of charity, became then the means of his support. John his son was educated at New Inn Hall, Oxford, in the time of the Commonwealth: he was distinguished not only for his piety and diligence, but for his progress in the oriental tongues, by which he attracted the particular notice and esteem of the then vice-chancellor, John Owen, a man whom the Calvinistic dissenters still regard as the greatest * of their divines. If the government had continued in the Cromwell family, this patronage would have raised him to distinction. He obtained the living of Blandford in his own county, and was ejected from it for non-conformity : being thus adrift, he thought of emigrating to Maryland, or to Surinam, where the English were then intending to settle a colony, but reflection and advice determined him to take his lot in his native land. There, by continuing to preach, he became obnoxious to the laws, and was four times imprisoned: his spirits were broken by the loss of those whom he loved best, and by the evil days : he died at the early age of three or four and thirty; and such was the spirit of the times, that the vicar of Preston, in which village he died, would not allow his body to be buried in the church. Bartholomew was then living, but the loss of this, his only son, brought his grey

** Let me," says the humble moderator, (Bishop Croft) “ speak a word to those of the inferior clergy who take upon them to study and practise physic for hire: this must needs be sinful, as taking them off from their spiritual employment. Had they studied physic before they entered holy orders, and would after make use of their skill among their poor neighbours out of charity, they were commendable: but being entered on a spiritual and pastoral charge, which requires the whole man, and more, to spend their time in this, or any other study not spiritual, is contrary to their vocation, and consequently sinful; and to do it for gain is sordid, and unworthy their high and holy calling. But necessilas cogit ad turpia: the maintenance of many ministers is so smal!, as it forces them, even for food and raiment, to seek it by other employment, which may in some measure excuse them, but mightily conJemns those who should provide better for them.”

way, shuuld

* “ The name of Owen,” say Messrs. Bogue and Bennet, the joint historians of the Dissenters, “ has been raised to imperial dignity in the theological world by Dr. John Owen.”. -“ A young minister," they say, " who wishes to attain eminence in his profession, if he has not the works of John Howe, and can procure them in no other sell his coat and buy them; and if that will not suffice, let him sell his bed too and lie on the floor; and if he spend his days in reading them, he will not complain that he lies hard at night.”—But “ if the theological student should part with his coat, or his bed, to procure the works of Howe, he that would not sell his shirt to procure those of John. Owen, and especially his Exposition, of which every sentence is precious, shews too much regard for his body, and too little for his immortal mind."

History of the Dissenters, vol. ii. pp. 223. 236,

hairs with sorrow to the grave. This John Wesley married a woman of good stock, the niece of Thomas Fuller, the church historian, a man not more remarkable for wit and quaintness, than for the felicity with which he clothed fine thoughts in beautiful language. He left two sons, of whom Samuel, the younger, was only eight or nine years old at the time of his father's death. The circumstances of the father's life and sufferings, which have given him a place among the confessors of the non-conformists, were likely to influence the opinions of the son ; but happening to fall in with bigotted and ferocious men, he saw the worst part of the dissenting character. Their defence of the execution of K. Charles offended him, and he was at once shocked and disgusted by their * calf's head club; so much so, that he separated from them, and, because of their intolerance, joined the church which had persecuted his father. This couduct, which was the result of feeling, was approved by his ripe judgement, and Samuel Wesley continued through life a zealous churchman. The feeling which urged him to this step must have been very powerful, and no common spirit was required to bear him through the difficulties which he brought upon him

So Samuel Wesley the son states, in a note to his elegy upon his father. According to him, if his words are to be literally understood, the separation took place when Mr. Wesley was but a boy. There is, however, reason for supposing that he was of age at the time, as will be shown in the note next ensuing.

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