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ease his labours. Bishop Gibson, who had been hostile, became friendly. Secker's doubts were satisfied. Archbishop Potter refused to take any step which might drive such men out of the church ; and the learned Lowth, with the warmth of a gentle heart, threw away the claims of rank, in order to place himself at John Wesley's side as an honoured father in the Church.*

Amongst the clergy, great changes took place. At the outset of Wesley's labours, not a dozen clergymen agreed with him. Those, who opened their pulpits, did · so from personal kindness. In the middle of his labours fifty was the number computed to sympathize with him. Before their close, the assenting clergy were reckoned at 500.

The change in the social condition of England was still more decisive. The most lawless districts were civilized. The rudest of the population were reformed. New sentiments began to be avowed. The licentiousness of fiction, the coarseness of poetry gave way to a new order of writers, who owed, and some of them traced, their change to the altered tone of practical piety. In Parliament a new spirit of independence appeared. Integrity was esteemed : plans of philanthropy were discussed. At length, the movement spreading, associations for the relief of suffering or ignorance began.

* Wesley's Works, Vol. xii. p. 53; xiii. p. 255. C. Wesley's Life, Vol. i. p. 176.

+ See testimony of Mr. Romaine, Jay's Life, p. 226.

Then arose the labours of John Howard ; and the efforts of Wilberforce : Societies for the development of religion; hospitals for disease ; efforts for education; schemes for the amelioration of the poor.

This great change has continued down to our day, and is now advancing at an augmented pace.

But whatever be its greatness, or its ultimate issues, let it not be forgotten that they took their rise in the impulse which Methodism impressed upon England. . To the work of the Methodists, the patriot and the Christian are therefore deeply indebted.

CHAPTER IX.

THE HISTORY RENEWED.

But we return from this notice of Methodism to the story of its founders.

In 1753 John Wesley had passed his fiftieth year. He had married in 1751 a widow, but his marriage was not fortunate. The lady was fond of attention and ease. John Wesley was busy and constantly in journeys. After much murmuring, jealousies, and illnatured attacks, which Wesley bore with great equanimity, Mrs. Wesley separated from her husband, and carried into solitude her animosities and whims. The labours of Wesley were continued : incessant journeys, numberless cares, the work of preaching thrice a day, of organizing and purging his new societies, filled up every moment of his busy life.

Now we have him beginning his spring work by preaching in wind and rain in Gloucestershire, riding

through heavy rain and almost impassable roads” to Evesham, and on to Birmingham “a barren, dry, un

comfortable place.” Then preaching at Wednesbury, prescribing for a poor woman and for a man with an ague, at the wayside inn at which he baited beyond Lichfield, preaching in Barton Forge in the morning, turning aside to give an early morning sermon at Ashbourne, then at Hayfield in a private house. In Manchester he is assailed by a mob; at Warrington he preaches to a large congregation ; at Liverpool, whose rising population he notices, he preaches in a great meeting-house : at Bolton to a "little flock,”--to multitudes on the side of a hill at Todmorden, on the mountain brow at Heptonstall, twice in a meadow at Ewood, then, curing, as he passes, a poor old man, he preaches repeatedly on his way

to Bradford. At Bristol he meets his brother, goes through the books and pamphlets which had been written in defence of separation from the Church, makes up his own mind, and then passes on to preside at the Conference. At Leeds the delicate question of secession is discussed : and, Wesley, allowing vent to the opinions opposed to his own, checking his brother's impatience, hearing and answering objections, meeting doubts, and allaying scruples, traced the course of duty, and stopped a formidable schism. No sooner set free from this task, he resumes his

We hear of him at North-Allerton, then at Newcastle, riding and musing on the Roman Wall, preaching at Sunderland, Northfleet, and Alnwick, next at Durham, investigating a natural wonder in the

sermons.

hills of Yorkshire, cheering his little society at Thirsk, preaching twice to a large audience at York, filling up the interstices of the Sunday with one service at the Minster, and another in a parish church ; then repairing to Epworth, he preaches in a meadow at Misterton, at night at Clayworth, and then at Rotherham and Sheffield. Soon after he is comforting and rebuking an erring friend, then he suggests to 1800 persons, crowded to hear him in Spitalfields, to enter into a solemn covenant of piety and zeal. Next he starts off to Cornwall, preaching at each halting-place on his way through Berkshire and Dorsetshire. Gwennap, Penrhyn, Falmouth, and Helstone, once noisy with a turbulent rabble, give him welcome. Sermons in meeting-houses, in town-halls, in the fields, mark his career, diversified with visits to curious caves and descents to mines; and on his adventurous labours the autumn closes at Bristol. Through Bath and Reading he works his way to winter quarters in London, preaching as he goes. But the campaigner breaks out of his London camp from time to time in the bleak months of November and December, to give now a sermon at Leigh, reading it by moonlight, one at Maldon, one at Tonbridge Wells, at Canterbury and at Dover; now sermons at Wandsworth and Lewisham, now a preaching excursion to Suffolk, one to Cambridge, a ride to Bedford to confirm a soli. tary waverer, a ride to Bristol to encourage a large society, a journey to another place to restore a society

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