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marked for his diligence, noted for his courage, but no man drew to himno one loved him.

Referring to this epoch of his life, he thus retraces his mental history. At the age of twenty-two, after a boyhood and youth exemplary and regular, he had resolved to enter Holy Orders. “ Then I began to alter the whole form of my conversation, and to set in earnest upon a new life. I set apart an hour or two a day for religious retirement. I communicated every week. I watched against all sin, whether in word or deed. I began to aim at, and pray for inward holiness. By my continued endeavour to keep God's law, to the utmost of my power, I was persuaded that I should be accepted of him, and that I was even then in a state of salvation. I began visiting the prisons, assisting the poor and sick. . . I abridged myself of all superfluities, and many that are called nccessaries of life. The next spring, I began observing the Wednesday and Friday fasts, commonly observed in the ancient church, tasting no food till three in the afternoon. And now I knew not how to go any further. I diligently strove against all sin. I omitted no sort of self-denial. · I carefully used all the means of grace. I omitted no occasion of doing good. Yet, when, after continuing some years in this course, I apprehended myself to be near death, I could not find that all this gave me any comfort or any assurance of acceptance with God.”

He then tried to rest his confidence in the Church

its unity, and its rule of faith: the unity by following the rule—quod ab omnibus, quod ubique, quod semper creditum, —but these views gave him no comfort.

Then he tried the mystics, who recommended mental prayer, as the mode of union with God—but “I had no heart, no vigor, no zeal in obeying; continually doubting whether I was right or wrong."

“I was indeed fighting continually without conquering. I fell and rose, and fell again.”

He set himself to root out of his heart each of the evils he found there, pride, anger, self-will, but found, after a hard trial, that his enemy retained the hold, nay, was even increased in strength.

“On my return to England, Jan. 1738, being in imminent danger of death, and very uneasy on that account, I was strongly convinced that the cause of that uneasiness was unbelief; and that the gaining a true, living faith, was the one thing needful for me. But still I knew not that I was wholly void of it."

These pages of Wesley's journal, which reflect the perplexities of his mind, form a striking contrast with the cheerful character of its later chapters, and lead us to ask, what were the views of Divine truth which he, after his return from America, adopted, and in which he found both peace and purity.

The doubting, worn, harassed ascetic is a very different man from the hopeful, joyful, and energetic Christian. Yet the two characters grew, within a short interval, on the same mind.

It was in Oxford that Wesley had first plunged into the austerities of his religious life. From Oxford he carried to America his doubts and austerities. In Oxford he found, at length, the convictions which changed his character. Yet he found them, not in books, learned divines, or philosophers, but in the conversation of a simple man.

The Moravian, Peter Boëhler, had come to the famous university of Oxford, sent by the Moravians, who had at that time a strong wish to be united with the church of England. Boëhler brought with him neither reputation nor talent; but, in his short stay he exercised influence over one mind, which changed the moral aspect of England. “What a work,” says Charles Wesley, speaking of Boëhler, “bath God begun since his coming into England. Such a one as never shall come to an end." The simple German, of strange dress and rude gait, might be seen walking through the avenues of Christ Church, on the banks of the Isis and Charwell, in converse with a man whose peculiar habits and rigid rules had already attracted the notice of the University. The undergraduates smiled at the pair, and quizzed the dress and manners of the stranger. But the conversation between them went on uninterrupted, for it had intense interest for both. Wesley was a subtle logician, trained in the learning of the schools of copious reading, and much power of argument. But he was in this case no match for the

rugged German. He indeed affected no learning, and knew little of the Fathers, but he was versed in Scripture, and had become imbued with its wisdom. To Scripture, in his discussions with Wesley, he constantly appealed ; and, after a stubborn resistance, the simplicity of his arguments prevailed. Wesley's doubts were cleared, and truth at length broke on the perplexed mind of the unsatisfied enquirer.

He became convinced, as he tells us, “that he must renounce all dependence, in whole or in part, on his own works and righteousness, and place a full reliance on the blood of Christ shed for him, and trust in him as his sole justification, sanctification, and redemption." *

This conviction he felt he had not yet attained, but he recognized it to be God's gift; and “ that He would surely bestow it on every soul, who earnestly and perseveringly sought it.”

To strengthen these impressions he repaired to the settlement of the Moravians at Herrnhut, and there he saw practical religion influencing men to works of charity, and self-denial ; free from ascetic rigor. The result was to settle his convictions; and to send him back, to England, with altered opinions, to enter on the mission of his life. It was a great mission, but sorely needed, for never before had England fallen so low; ignorance, scepticism, venality, licentiousness, ran wild, and covered the land.

* Moore's Life of Wesley, p. 389.

CHAPTER IV.

THE DARKNESS OF ENGLAND AND THE LIGHT,

It seemed strange, yet it was natural, that, after the excitement of the seventeenth Century, England should have sunk into torpor. The religious controversies that had exercised all parties from the Reformation to the Restoration, the heats, antipathies, and disputes had disappeared. The spell of an enchantment seemed to have touched her, and her sects and disputants, Puritans and Zealots, Nonconformists and Churchmen, had fallen into a deep sleep. The cries, the names, the byewords were well nigh forgotten, and over the field of this passionate conflict there had passed the stillness of a death-like calm. The chapels of the Puritans had lapsed into other hands; and their pulpits, once familiar with the language of Baxter, Henry, and Owen, gave forth the drowsy tones of the Indifferentist and Socinian.

The Non-conformists had been rescued from the fury of mobs and the fangs of the law; magistrates

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