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ple in this country. They fprung up, about fifty years ago, at Oxford, and were foon divided into two parties, the one under the direction of Mr. George Whitfield, and the other under that of two brothers, John and Charles Wefley. Thefe leaders, and, if we except Mr. William Law, founders of the Methodists, were educated at Oxford; received episcopal ordination, and always profeffed themselves advocates for the articles and liturgy of the established church, though they more commonly practised the diffenting mode of worship. But conceiving a defign of forming feparate communities, fuperior in fanctity and perfection to all other Chriftian churches, and impreffed, to a very confiderable degree, by a zeal of an extravagant and enthusiaftic kind, they became itinerant preachers, and, being excluded from most of our churches, exercised their ministry, in private houses, fields, &c. not only in Great Britain and Ireland, but also in America; thus collecting a very confiderable number of hearers and profelytes, both among the members of the established church and the diffenters. The theological fyftem. of Mr. Whitfield and his followers is Calvinistic; that of Mr. Wesley and his difciples Arminian; and the latter maintains the poffibility of attaining finlefs perfection in the present state. The fubordinate teachers of both thefe claffes of Methodists are generally men of no liheral education; and they pretend to derive their minifterial abilities from fpecial communications of the fpirit. The Methodists of both parties, like other en thufiafts, make true religion to confift principally in certain affections and inward feelings, which it is impoffible to explain, but which, when analysed, seem to be mechanical in their fpring and operation; and they generally maintain, that Chriftians will be most likely to fucceed in the pursuit of truth, not by the dictates of reason, or the aids of learning, but by laying their minds open to the direction and influence of divine il. VOL. III. + Mm
lumination: And their conduct has been directed by impulfes."
- Our readers will judge for themselves, according to their various modes of education, and to the different lights in which they may respectively view the doctrines of our common Christianity, whether this reprefentation of the origin of the Methodists, and of their diftinguishing tenets, be accurate and just.-Not prefuming to fit in judgment on the religious opinions of any man, we fhall only obferve, that an appellation, originally given in reproach, has been gloried in ever fince, by thofe who have diftinguished themselves as the followers either of Mr. Whitfield or of Mr. Welley. "After the way called methodifm, fo worship they the god of their fathers +." But the ridicule and contempt which the fingularity of their conduct produced, both John and Charles Wesley were well qualified to bear. They were not to be intimidated by danger, actuated by intereft, or deterred by difgrace."
The boundaries of this ifland were foon deemed by Mr. Welley too confined for a zeal which difplayed the piety of an apofile, and of an intrepidity to which few miffionaries had been fuperior. In 1735, he embarked for Georgia, one of our colonies, which was, at that time in a state of political infaney; and the great object of this voyage was to preach the gospel to the Indian nations in the vicinity of that province. He returned to England in 1737. Of his spiritual labours, both in this country and in America, he himself has given a very copious account, in a series of "journals," printed at different periods. These journals drew upon our laborious preacher, and his coadjutors, fome fevere animadverfions from two right reverend prelates--Dr. George Lavington, bishop of Exeter, and Dr. William Warburton, bishop of Gloucefter. The former pub
† Aas xxiv, 14.
lished, in three parts," The enthusiasm of the methodifts and papifts compared:" The third part of this performance containing a perfonal charge of immoral conduct. Mr. Wesley, in his vindication, published a letter to his lordship, which produced a reply from the latter.
Bishop Warburton's attack is contained in his celebrated treatise, intitled "The doctrine of grace or the office and operations of the holy fpirit vindicated from the infults of infidelity, and the abuses of fanaticism; concluding with fome thoughts, humbly offered to the confideration of the established clergy, with regard to the right method of defending religion against the attacks of either party," 2 vol. small 8vo, 1762. There is much acute reafoning, and much poignant and fprightly wit in his "doctrine of grace;" but there is too much levity in it for a grave bishop, and too much abuse for a candid chriftian. On this occafion, Mr. Wefley published a letter to the bishop, in which, with great temper, and moderation, as well as with great ingenuity and address, he endeavoured to fhelter himself from his lordship's attacks, not only under the authority of the holy fcriptures, but of the church itfelf, as by law established; and arguments, on this last authority, it must be allowed, could be urged, without much impropriety, in an address to a right reverend prelate of that church.
On his return from Georgia, Mr. Wefley paid a vifit to count Zinzendorf, the celebrated founder of the fect of Moravians, or Herrnhuters, at Herrnuth in Upper Lufatia. In the following year, he appeared again in England, and with his brother Charles, at the head of the methodists. He preached his first field termon at Bristol, on the 2d of April 1738, from which time his disciples have continued to increase. In 1741, a serious altercation took place between him and Mr. Whitfield. In 1744, attempting to preach at an inn at Taunton, he was regularly filenced by the magiftrates. Alhough he chiefly refided, for the remainder of his life.
in the metropolis, he occafionally travelled through every part of Great Britain and Ireland, establishing congregations in each kingdom. In 1750, he married a lady, from whom he was afterward feparated. By this lady, who died in 1781, he had no children.
We have already mentioned Mr. Wesley as a very various and voluminous writer. Divinity, both devotional and controverfial, biography, hiftory, philofo phy, politics, and poetry, were all, at different times, the fubiects of his pen: and, whatever opinion may be entertained of his theological fentiments, it is impoffible to deny him the merit of having done very extenfive good among the lower claffes of people. He certainly poffeffed great abilities, and a fluency which was well accommodated to his hearers, and highly acceptable, to them. He had been gradually declining for three years paft yet he ftill rofe at four in the morning, and preached, and travelled, and wrote as ufual. He preached at Leatherhead, in Surrey, on the Wednesday before his death. On the Friday following, appeared the first * fymptoms of his approaching diffolution. The four fucceeding days he spent in praising God; and he left this scene, in which his labours had been fo extenfive and fo ufeful, at a quarter before ten in the morning of the second of March 1791, in the 88th year of his age. His remains, after lying in a kind of state at his chapel in the cityroad, dreffed in the facerdotal robes which he usually wore, and on his head the old clerical cap, a bible in one hand, and a white handkerchief in the other, were, agreeably to his own directions, and after the manner of the interment of the late Mr. Whitfield, deposited in the cemetry behind his chapel, on the morning of the 9th March, amid an innumerable concourfe of his friends and admirers, many of whom appeared in deep mourning on the occafion. One fingularity was obfervable in the funeral fervice: Inftead of "We give thee hearty thanks for that it hath pleased thee to deliver this our brother," it was read, 6.6 our father." A fermon, pre
viously to the funeral, had been preached by Dr. Thomas Whitehead, one of the phyficians to the London Hofpital; and, on the 13th, the different chapels of his perfuafion in London were hung with black.
It has been justly obferved of Mr. Wesley, that his labours were principally devoted to those who had no inftructor; to the highways and hedges; to the miners in Cornwall, and the coalliers in Kingtwood. These unhappy creatures married and buried among themselves, and often committed murders with impunity before the methodists sprung up. By the humane and active endeavours of Mr. Wefley and his brother Charles, a fenfe of decency, morals, and religion, was introduced into the lowest claffes of mankind; the ignorant were inftructed, the wretched relieved, and the abandoned reclaimed. His perfonal influence was greater, perhaps, than that of any other private gentleman in any country. But the limits of this article will not permit us to expatiate further, at prefent, on the character of this extraordinary man.
He also extended his views to the poor negroes' in the West Indies; and it is probable, that his difciples may do more towards the civilization of thefe poor people, than all the laws that can be made for that effect.
To the Editor of the Bee.
ON reading the fecond number of the second volume of your prefent entertaining and valuable publication, wherein you give us a method of raifing early potatoes, it occured to me, that mentioning what I accidentally difcovered a few years fince, relative to that subject, might not prove unacceptable to you, especially as it might tend to fave even the little trouble which