confidence, bursts in flame at the sight of deep breaking, his affections thenceforward a glorious future.

flowed, impetuous and uninterrupted, in Of this power the splendid example was the one channel of love to the Saviour. WHITEFIELD. The son of a Gloucester The Bishop of Gloucester ordained him, innkeeper, and sent to Pembroke College, and on the day of his ordination he wrote his mind became so burdened with the to a friend, “Whether I myself shall ever great realities, that he had little heart for have the honor of styling myself a pristudy. God and eternity, holiness and sin, soner of the Lord' I know not; but indeed, were thoughts which haunted every mo- my dear friend, I can call heaven and earth ment, and compelled him to live for the to witness that when the Bishop laid his salvation of his soul; but, except his tutor hand upon me, I gave myself up to be a Wesley and a few gownsmen, he met with martyr for Him who hung upon the Cross none who shared his earnestness. And for me. Known unto Him are all future though earnest, they were all in error. events and contingencies. I have thrown Among the influential minds of the Uni- myself blindfold, and, I trust, without reversity there was no one to lead them into serve, into his Almighty hands ; only I the knowledge of the Gospel, and they had would have you observe, that till you hear no religious guides except the genius of the of my dying for or in my work, you will place and books of their own choosing. The not be apprised of all the preferment that genius of the place was an ascetic quietism. is expected by George Whitefield.” In Its libraries full of clasped schoolmen and this rapture of self-devotion he traversed tall fathers, its cloisters so solemn that a England, Scotland, and Ireland, for fourhearty laugh or hurried step seemed sinful, and thirty years, and crossed the Atlantic and its halls lit with medieval sunshine, thirteen times, proclaiming the love of God perpetually invited their inmates to medi- and His great gift to man. A bright and tation and silent recollection ; whilst the exulting view of the atonement's sufficiency early tinkle of the chapel bell and the was his theology; delight in God and refrosty routine of winter matins, the rubric joicing in Christ Jesus were his piety; and and 'the founder's rules, proclaimed the a compassionate solicitude for the souls of religious benefits of bodily exercise. The men, often rising to a fearful agony, was Romish postern had not then been re-open- his ruling passion ; and strong in the oneed; but with no devotional models save the ness of his aim and the intensity of his marble Bernards and de Wykhams, and no feelings, he soon burst the regular bounds, spiritual illumination except what came in and began to preach on commons and vilby the North windows of the past, it is not lage greens, and even to the rabble at Lonsurprising that ardent but reverential spi- .don fairs. He was the Prince of English rits should in such a place have unwittingly preachers. Many have surpassed him as groped into a Romish pietism. With an sermon-makers, but none have approached awakened conscience and a resolute will, him as a pulpit orator. Many have outyoung Whitefield went through the sanitary shone him in the clearness of their logic, specifics of A’Kempis, Castanza, and Wil- the grandeur of their conceptions, and the liam Law; and in his anxiety to exceed all sparkling beauty of single sentences; but that is required by the Rubric, he would fast in the power of darting the gospel direct during Lent on black bread and sugarless into the conscience he eclipsed them all. tea, and stand in the cold till his nose was with a full and beaming countenance, and red and his fingers blue, whilst in the hope the frank and easy port which the English of temptation and wild beasts he would people love-for it is the symbol of honest wander through Christ-Church meadows purpose and friendly assurance-he comover-dark. It was whilst pursuing this bined a voice of rich compass, which could course of self-righteous fanaticism that he equally thrill over Moorfields in musical was seized with alarming illness. It sent thunder, or whisper its terrible secret in him to his Bible, and whilst praying and every private ear: and to this gainly aspect yearning over his Greek Testament, the and tuneful voice he added a most expres

open secret” flashed upon his view. The sive and eloquent action. Improved by discovery of a completed and gratuitous conscientious practice, and instinct with his salvation filled with ecstasy a spirit prepar- earnest nature, this elocution was the acted ed to appreciate it, and from their great sermon; and by its pantomimic portrait

enabled the eye to anticipate each rapid * Born 1714. Died 1770.

utterance, and helped the memory to treaVol. XII. No. II.


sure up the palpable ideas. None everness, by a sort of spiritual induction a vast used so boldly, nor with more success, the audience would speedily be brought into a highest styles of impersonation. His frame of mind-the transfusing of bis own; " Hark! hark !” could conjure up and the white furrows on their sooty faces Gethsemane with its faltering moon, and told that Kingswood colliers were weeping, awake again the cry of horror-stricken In- or the quivering of an ostrich plume benocence ; and an apostrophe to Peter on spoke its elegant wearer's deep emotion. the Holy Mount would light up another And coming to his work direct from comTabor, and drown it in glory from the munion with his Master, and in all the opening heaven. His thoughts were pos- strength of accepted prayer, there was an sessions, and his feelings were transforma- elevation in his mien which often paralysed tions; and if he spake because he felt, his hostility, and a self-possession which only hearers understood because they saw. They made him, amid uproar and fury, the more were not only enthusiastic amateurs, like sublime. With an electric bolt he would Garrick, who ran to weep and tremble at bring the jester in his fool's-cap from his his bursts of passion, but even the colder perch on the tree, or galvanize the brick bat critics of the Walpole school were surprised from the skulking miscreant's grasp, or into momentary sympathy and reluctant sweep down in crouching submission and wonder. Lord Chesterfield was listening shame-faced silence the whole of Bartholoin Lady Huntingdon's pew when White- mew Fair ; whilst a revealing flash of senfield was comparing the benighted sinner tentious doctrine or vivified Scripture, to a blind beggar on a dangerous road. would disclose to awe-struck hundreds thé His little dog gets away from him when forgotten verities of another world, or the skirting the edge of a precipice, and he is unsuspected arcana of their inner man. left to explore the path with his iron-shod “ I came to break your head, but, through staff. On the very verge of the cliff this you, God has broken my heart,” was a sort blind guide slips through his fingers, and of confession with which he was familiar; skims away down the abyss. All uncon- and to see the deaf old gentlewoman, who scious, its owner stoops down to regain it, used to mutter imprecations at him as he and stumbling forward—“Good God! he passed along the street, clambering up the is gone!" shouted Chesterfield, who had pulpit stairs to catch his angelic words, was been watching with breathless alarm the a sort of spectacle which the triumphant blind man's movements, and who jumped Gospel often witnessed in his day. "And from the seat to save the catastrophe. But when it is known that his voice could be the glory of Whitefield's preaching was its heard by 20,000, and that ranging all the heart-kindled and heart-melting gospel. empire, as well as America, he would often But for this all his bold strokes and bril- preach thrice on a working-day, and that liant surprises might have been no better he has received in one week as many as a than the rhetorical triumphs of Kirwan and thousand letters, from persons awakened other pulpit dramatists. He was an orator, by his sermons; if no estimate can be formbut he only sought to be, an evangelist. ed of the results of his ministry, some idea Like a volcano where gold and gems may may be suggested of its vast extent and be darted forth as well as common things, singular effectiveness. but where gold and molten granite flow all The following codicil was added to alike in fiery fusion, bright thoughts and Whitefield's will; “N. B.-I also leave a splendid images might be projected from his mourning ring to my honored and dear flaming pulpit, but all were merged in the friends, the Rev. John and Charles Wesley, stream which bore along the gospel and in token of my indissoluble union with himself in blended fervor. Indeed, so sim- them, in heart and Christian affection, notple was bis nature, that glory to God and withstanding our difference in judgmeat goodwill to man having filled it, there was about some particular points of doctrine.” room for little more. Having nó church to The

points of doctrine” were chiefly found, no family to enrich, and no memory the extent of the atonement and the perseto immortalize, he was the mere ambassa- verance of the saints; the “indissoluble dor of God; and inspired with its genial, union” was occasioned by their all-absorbpiteous spirit--so full of heaven reconciled ing love to the same Saviour, and untiring and humanity restored-he soon himself efforts to make his riches known.

They became a living gospel. Radiant with its quarrelled a little, but they loved a great

Few characters could be more benignity, and trembling with its tender-deal more.

completely the converse, and in the side of one another. Ten years older than.. Church's exigencies, more happily the sup- his pupil, Wesley was a year or two later plement, of one another, than were those of of attaining the joy and freedom of GospelGeorge Whitefield and John Wesler ;* forgiveness. It was whilst listening to Luand had their views been identical, and ther's Preface to the Romans, where he detheir labors all along coincident, their large scribes the change which God works in the services to the gospel might have repeated heart through faith in Christ, that he felt Paul and Barnabas. Whitefield was soul, his own heart strangely warmed; and findand Wesley was system. Whitefield was ing that he trusted in Christ alone for salà summer-cloud which burst at morning orvation, “ an assurance was given him that noon in fragrant exhilaration over an ample Christ had taken away his sins, and saved tract, and took the rest of the day to gather him from the law of sin and death.” And again ; Wesley was the polished conduit in though in his subsequent piety a subtle the midst of the garden, through which the analyst may detect a trace of that mystiliving water glided in pearly brightness and cism which was his first religion-even as to perennial music, the same vivid stream from his second religion, Moravianism, he was day to day. After a preaching paroxysm, indebted for some details of his eventual Whitefield lay panting on his couch, spent, church-order.—No candid reader will deny breathless, and death-like; after his morn- that “righteousness, peace, and joy in the ing sermon in the Foundry, Wesley would Holy Ghost,” had now become the Religion mount his pony, and trot and chat and ga- of the Methodist ; and for the half century ther simples, till he reached some country of his ubiquitous career, his piety retained hamlet, where he would bait his charger, and this truly evangelic type. A cool observer, talk through a little sermon with the villa- who met him towards the close, records, gers, and re-mount his pony and trot away “ so fine an old man I never saw. The again. In his aerial poise, Whitefield's happiness of his mind beamed forth in his eagle eye drank lustre from the source of countenance. Every look showed how light, and loved to look down on men in fully he enjoyed the gay remembrance of assembled myriads; Wesley's falcon glance a life well spent;' and wherever he went, did not sweep so far, but it searched more he diffused a portion of his own felicity. keenly and marked more minutely where it Easy and affable in his demeanor, he acpierced A master of assemblies, White-commodated himself to every sort of comfield was no match for the isolated man ;- pany, and showed how happily the most seldom coping with the multitude, but finished courtesy may be blended with the strong in astute sagacity and personal as- most perfect piety: In his conversation, cendency, Wesley could conquer any num- we might be at a loss whether to admiré ber, one by one. All force and impetus, most his fine classical taste, his extensive Whitefield was the powder-blast in the knowledge of men and things, or his overquarry, and by one explosive sermon would flowing goodness of heart. While the grave shake a district, and detach materials for and serious were charmed with his wisdom, other men's long work; deft, neat, and his sportive sallies of innocent mirth depainstaking, Wesley loved to split and trim lighted even the young and thoughtless; each fragment into uniform plinths and po- and both saw, in his uninterrupted cheerlished stones. Or, taken otherwise, White-fulness, the excellency of true Religion. field was the bargeman or the wagoner To a degree scarcely paralleled, his piety who brought the timber of the house, and had supplanted those strong instincts--the Wesley was the architect who set it up. love of worldly distinction, the love of Whitefield had no patience for ecclesiasti- money, and the love of ease.

The answer cal polity, no aptitude for pastoral details; which he gave to his brother, when refusing with a beaver-like propensity for building, to vindicate himself from a newspaper caWesley was always constructing societies, lumny, “ Brother, when I devoted to God and with a king-like craft of ruling, was my ease, my time, my life, did I except my most at home when presiding over a class or reputation ?" was no casual sally, but the a conference. It was their infelicity that system of his conduct. From the moment they did not always work together; it was the Fellow of Lincoln passed into the highthe happiness of the age, and the further ways and hedges, and commenced itinerant ance of the Gospel that they lived along- preacher, he bade farewell to earthly fame.

Born 1703. Died 1791.

. Alexander Knox.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And perhaps no Englishman since the days gre, and very seldom racy. His volumi-
of Bernard Gilpin, has given so much away. nous Journals are little better than a turn-
When his income was thirty pounds a year, pike log-miles, towns, and sermon-texts-
he lived on twenty-eight, and saved two for whilst their authoritative tone and self-cen-
charity. Next year he had sixty pounds, tring details give the record an air of arro-
and still living on twenty-eight, he had gance and egotism which, we doubt not,
thirty-two to spend. A fourth year raised would disappear, could we view the venera-
his income to a hundred and twenty pounds, ble writer face to face. Assuredly, his power
and steadfast to his plan the poor got ninety- was in his presence. Such fascination re-
two. In the year 1775, the Accountant- sided in his saintly mien, there was such
General sent him a copy of the Excise Or- intuition in the twinkle of his mild but
der for a return of Plate ; “Rev. Sir,- brilliant eye, and such a dissolving influ-
As the Commissioners cannot doubt but you ence in his lively, benevolent, and instruc-
have plate, for which you have hitherto ne- tive talk, that enemies often left him ad-
glected to make an entry, &c. ;' to which he mirers and devotees. And should any re-
wrote this memorable answer :-“Sir-Ilgard the Wesleyan system as the mere em-
have two silver tea-spoons at London, and bodiment of Mr. Wesley's mind, it is a sin-
two at Bristol. This is all the plate which gular triumph of worth and firmness. Ne-
I have at present; and I shall not buy any ver has a theological idiosyncrasy perpetuat-
more while so many around me want bread. ed itself in a church so large and stable.
I am, Sir, your most humble servant, John But though every pin and cord of the Me-
Wesley." And though it is calculated that thodist tabernacle bears trace of the fingers,
he must have given more than twenty thou- concinnate and active, which reared it, the
sand pounds away, all his property, when he founder's most remarkable memorial is his
died, consisted of his clothes, his books, and living monument. Wesley has not passed
a carriage. Perhaps, like a ball burnished away ; for, if embalmed in the Connexion,
by motion, his perpetual activity helped to be is re-embodied in the members. Never
keep him thus brightly clear from worldly did a leader so stamp his impress on his
pelf ; and when we remember its great fellowers. The Covenanters were not such
pervading motive, there is something sub- fac-similes of Knox; nor were the imperial
Iime in this good man's industry. Ris- guards such enthusiastic copies of their lit-
ing every morning at four, travelling every tle corporal, as are the modern Methodists
year upwards of 4000 miles, and preaching the perfect transmigration of their venerat-
nearly a thousand sermons, exhorting socie- ed Father. Exect, orderly, and active ;
ties, editing books, writing all sorts of let- dissident, but not dissenters; connexional,
ters, and giving audience to all sorts of peo- but Catholic; carrying warmth within, and
ple, the ostensible president of Methodism yet loving southerly exposures ; obliging
and pastor of all the Methodists, and amidst without effort, and liberal on system ; se-
his ceaseless toils betraying no more bustle rene, contented, and hopeful-if we except
than a planet in its course, he was a noble the master-spirits, whose type is usually
specimen of that fervent diligence which, their own—the most of pious Methodists are
launched on its orbit by a holy and joyful cast from Wesley's neat and cheerful mould.
impulse, has ever afterwards the peace of That goodness must have been attractive as
God to light it on its way. Nor should we well as very imitable, which has survived
forget his praiseworthy efforts to diffuse a in a million of living effigies.
Christianized philosophy, and propagate Whilst a college tutor, Mr. Wesley num-
useful knowledge among religious people. bered amongst his pupils, along with
In the progress of rescarch most of his com- George Whitefield, James Hervey.* To
pilations may have lost their value ; but his kind and intelligent teacher he owed
the motive was enlightened, and the effort superior scholarship, and along with a
to exemplify his own idea was characteristic knowledge of Hebrew, a taste for natural
of the well-informed and energetic man. In science; but at Oxford he did not learn
Christian authorship he is not entitled to theology: Pure in his conduct and correct
rank high. Clear as occasional expo- in his clerical deportment, his piety was
sitions are, there is seldom comprehen- cold and stiff. It had been acquired among
sion in his views, or grandeur in his the painted apostles and sculptured mar-
thoughts, or inspiration in his practical ap-tyrs, the vitrified gospels and free-stone
peals; and though his direct and simple
style is sometimes terse, it is often mea-

Born 1714. Died 1758.

[ocr errors]

litanies of Alma Mater, and lacked as and died, on the Christmas afternoon. quickening spirit. Talking to a plough-Taught by the poor, and then their teacher, man who attended Dr. Doddridge, he he wished his body to be covered with the asked, “What do you think is the hardest paupers' pall; and it lies beneath the comthing in religion » “Sir," said the munion-table of his beloved sanctuary, till ploughman, “ I am a poor man, and you he and his parishioners rise to meet again. are a minister; will you allow me to return Last century was the first in which pious the question ?" “Well,” said Mr. Her- people cared for style. The Puritans had vey, "I think the hardest thing is to deny apple-trees in their orchard, and savory sinful self;" and enlarged at some length herbs in their kitchen garden, but kept no on the difficulties of self-mortification. At green house, nor parterre; and, amongst last the ploughman interposed—“ But, Mr. evangelical authors, Hervey was about the Hervey, you have forgotten the most diffi- first who made his style a study, and who cult part of self-denial, the denial of sought, by planting flowers at the gate, to righteous self.” Though conscious of some allure passengers into the garden. It is defect in his own religion, the young cler- not, therefore, surprising that his ornagyman looked with disdain at the old fool, ments should be more distinguished for and wondered what he meant. Soon after- profusion and brilliant hues, than for simwards, however, a little book, on “Sub- plicity and grace. Most people admire tumission to righteousness of God," put lips and peonies, and martegon-lilies, bemeaning into the ploughman's words : and fore they get on to love store-cups, and Mr. Hervey wondered how he could have mosses, and ferns. We used to admire read the Bible so often and overlooked its them ourselves, and felt that summer was revelation of righteousness. When he saw not fully blown till we saw it sure and it he rejoiced with exceeding joy. It solved certain in these ample and exuberant every problem and filled every void. It lit flowers. Yes, and even now, we feel it up the Bible and kindled Christianity. It would make a warmer June could we love gave emancipation to his spirit and mo- peonies and martegons once more. Hertion to his ministry; and whilst it filled vey was a man of taste equal to his age, his own soul with happiness, it made and of a warmth and venturesomeness behim eager to transmit the benefit. But yond it. He introduced the poetical and his frame was feeble. It was all that he picturesque into religious literature, and could do to get through one sermon every became the Shenstone of theology. And Sabbath in his little church of Weston- although he did what none had dared beFavell; and the more his spirit glowed fore him, the world was ready, and the sucwithin, the more shadowy grew his tall and cess was rapid. The Meditations evangewasted form. He could not, like his old lized the natural sciences, and the Diatutor and his college friend, itinerate; and logues embowered the old divinity. The so he was constrained to write. In Indian former was philosophy in its right mind, phrase, he pressed his soul on paper. With and at the Saviour's feet; the other was à pen dipped in the rainbow, and with as- the Lutheran dogma relieved from the acapirations after a celestial vocabulary, he demic gown, and keeping healthful holiday proceeded to descant on the glories of his in shady woods and by the mountain stream. Redeemer's person, and the riches of his The tendency of his writings was to open great salvation. He published his Medita- the believer's eye in kindness and wonder tions, and then the Dialogues between The on the works of God, and their effort was ron and Aspasio ; and then he grew too to attract to the Incarnate Mystery the weak even for this fire-side work. Still heart surprised or softened by these works. the spirit burned, and the body sank. We cannot, at the distance of a century, “You have only a few minutes to live,” recall the fascination which surrounded said the doctor ; "spare yourself.” “No, them when newly published-when no simidoctor, no; you tell me that I have but a lar attempts had forestalled their freshness, few minutes—0 let me spend them in and no imitations had blown their vigor inadoring our great Redeemer.” And then to bombast. But we can trace their melhe began to expatiate on the “all bliss” | low influence still. We see that they have which God has given to Christ, till with the helped to make men of faith, men of feelwords precious salvation,” utterance ing, and men of piety, men of taste. Over ceased. He leaned his head against the the bald and rugged places of systematic side of the easy-chair, and shut bis eyes, orthodoxy they have trained the sweetest

« VorigeDoorgaan »