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gregation. As Nelson extended his labours, he attracted the notice of the magistrates, who arrested him, and sent him into the army. His conduct there was irreproachable; and, after his discharge, he resumed and continued, till his death, his labours as a preacher, with such respect from all around him, that when he died at Leeds, and his remains were carried to Birstall, they were attended by a dense crowd of mourners, who collected from the neighbourhood, and extended for nearly half a mile, testifying by their silent sorrow, their reverence for the man.
One further case I add, as it brought to Methodism the zeal and fervor of Ireland. Thomas Walsh was the son of a carpenter in the County of Limerick. His parents were Romanists, and he was brought up in the strictest tenets of that faith. At nineteen he opened a school, but was led, in the course of controversy with his brother, who had become a Protestant, to detect the errors of his faith. His devotion had been earnest; it was now directed to God; and, dropping the worship of Saints and Angels, he resorted to Scripture as his rule of life. But, though he had obtained conviction, he had not gained peace.
In the main street of Limerick he saw a crowd gathered, who were listening to a Methodist, who was preaching in the open air. Walsh drew near and heard a sermon on the words,“ Come unto me, all
ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest." The sermon struck him, and he followed the directions of the preacher. It was some time indeed before peace came, and it was through another Methodist sermon which presented to him in vivid terms the mercy and glory of the Saviour.
“And now," says he, “I felt of a truth that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. God, and the things of the invisible world, of which I had heard before by the hearing of the ear, appeared now in their true light as substantial realities. Faith gave me to see a reconciled God, and an all-sufficient Saviour.”
He was now anxious to give himself to the work of a teacher, and his study of the Scripture, which he read on his knees, was accompanied by a prayer, which the Christian may copy and admire,—“Lord Jesus, I lay
soul at Thy feet, to be taught and governed by Thee. Take the veil from the mystery, shew me the truth as it is in Thyself. Be Thou my sun and star, by day and by night.”
Wesley saw the fervour of the man, and, with his usual tact, appointed him to preach in Irish, a language which, then as now, gains access to the hearts of Irishmen. This access he used with skill. He avoided points of controversial dispute. He dwelt on those realities which belong to the whole family of man. He availed himself of every occasion, in the street, the highway, the hovel or the inn, to proclaim what he felt.
The effect of his unprepared appeals was great on that ardent people. The peasantry, when they frequented the markets, turned aside in crowds, moved by his eloquence, to hear him. They shed silent tears, or sobbed aloud their cries for mercy. Even the beggars, when accosted by him, would fall on their knees, and beat their breasts in anguish under his addresses, while multitudes declared that they would follow him over the world.
Denounced by priests, assailed by mobs, arrested by magistrates, Walsh continued, without shrinking, his course. Wrapt in thought, absorbed in devotion, he moved among men, as a being of another world. The care of the body never occurred to him. His sermons, earnest, vehement, and long; his studies intense, protracted to midnight; his vigils begun at four in the morning, -soon wore out the feeble frame.
At five and twenty he looked like a man of forty, and sunk at thirty, worn out by unremitting labour, but leaving behind among his Irish countrymen a memory which, from the purity and earnestness of his character, singularly impressed that susceptible people.
PERHAPS I ought not to proceed further without noticing the opinions by which the early Methodists were characterized, and the doctrines which they taught. I enter reluctantly on this ground, which would be better occupied by the theologian; but a sketch of Methodism would be considered imperfect, perhaps inaccurate, if this were omitted. The doctrines of the Methodists have been characterized by strong censure and high praise. Let me endeavour, after a brief sketch of them, to pass upon them an unexaggerated judgment. The views, which had the sanction of Wesley, spread over his followers. It is well therefore to explain Wesley's opinions.
The great topic of his preaching was the necessity of faith for our justification before God, and as the ground of our peace; but by faith he did not mean the reception of a creed -a string of opinions being in his eyes as valueless as a string of beads ;-he meant the power to feel
the realities of the invisible world, to renew the broken intercourse between the Deity and man in the events and objects of life, to hear God's voice within our hearts, and there to feel His love.
This strange change was, he said, a new creation, issuing from the Creator. Man could not gain or give it. He could only ask it from Him who grants it. By God the change was effected suddenly or by degrees; the light breaking gradually on the eye, or bursting, like the lightning, on the startled sight.
These views were thoroughly practical. They were the growth of Wesley's personal experience. He had long desired to be religious, and striven to become so. He had failed. Ceremonies, observances, alms, efforts, had been employed by him. But they had not brought to his heart the dispositions, nor to his character the power, nor to his spirit the rest which he had sought.
The religion, which he had finally reached, and by which he lived, was of a different sort. It is thus described by Wesley, borrowing the view of it from his Moravian teacher.* He, observing the earnestness of Wesley, and his efforts, had said to him ;—“It is not this (contrition &c.) by which you are justified. This is no part of the righteousness, by which you are reconciled unto God. To think that you must be more contrite, more humble, more grieved, more sensible of the weight of sin, before you are justified, is
Journal, vol. i. p. 111.