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TO

MARTIN G. BLACK AND WILLIAM A. BLACK, ESQUIRES,

THIS MEMOIR OF THEIR REVERED FATHER

IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED,

WITH SENTIMENTS OF PROFOUND VENERATION

FOR HIS MEMORY,

AND THE MOST DEVOUT AND ARDENT WISHES THAT,

FOLLOWING HIM AS HE FOLLOWED CHRIST,

THEY MAY EVENTUALLY REIGN WITH HIM

IN LIFE ETERNAL.

F08 - 1919

PREFACE

ONE HUNDRED Years have now elapsed since the first Methodist Society was formed. That auspicious event dated the commencement of a new and glorious era in the history of Christianity. The moral revolution which Methodism, under the blessing of Almighty God, has already produced, has not been surpassed in magnitude and rapidity since the days of the Apostles. Its “ line has gone out through all the earth, and its words to the ends of the world;" and while we behold it, all-animate still with the ardour and energy of its first love," as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoicing as a strong man to run a race," is it too much to expect, that the day is coming when it will be universally recognized as the selectest agency of a redeeming Providence,

in ushering in the glories of millennial renovation and joy?

Religious apathy and ecclesiastical intolerance, on the one hand, and the predominating influence of doctrinal prejudice, on the other, have ever, not merely denied historical justice to the immortal Wesley, his coadjutors and immediate successors, but in many instances treated them with contempt and calumny. Those stars, however, in the Saviour's right hand, are now fast dissipating the clouds that so long dimmed their lustre, and are becoming broader and more refulgent to the view, in proportion as we recede from them. How animating the spectacle we witness at the present moment! Thousands, and tens of thousands, instinct with a hallowed emulation to testify their gratitude to God, for the inestimable blessings of Methodism, are coming forward, and with a liberality unexampled in the annals of the Church, decreeing the MONUMENTAL CELEBRATION of its CENTENARY on a scale commensurate with the

greatness of the occasion. Already does the Trea

sury of the Lord overflow with princely donations consecrated to this noble object : already does every genuine follower of Wesley, in anticipation, participate in a triumph immeasurably purer and more exalted than that of the vaunting poet.

* Exegi monumentum ære perennius,
Regalique situ pyramidum altius ;
Quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens
Possit diruere, aut innumerabilis
Annoruin series, et fuga temporum.-HOR.

At such a period, the rise and progress of Methodism must become an object of interesting contemplation to all classes of Christians, save those whose zeal for the salvation of souls glows only on the altar of a party.

Nothing,”-observes the amiable and eloquent Owen--"Nothing is more natural than a desire to investigate the rise, and ascertain the progress of whatever has acquired sufficient importance to excite our astonishment,

*I have erected a monument more lasting than brass, and loftier than the imperial elevation of pyramids; which neither the wasting rain, the impotent north wind, nor an innumerable succession of years, and the flight of seasons, shall be able to demolish.

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