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“ His lively manner of representing the truths of God could not fail of being much talked of, and bringing many hundreds out of curiosity to Haworth church ; who received so much benefit by what they heard, that when the novelty was long over, the church continued to be full of people, many of whom came from far, and this for twenty years together.
" Mr. Grimshaw was now too happy himself in the knowledge of Christ to rest satisfied without taking every method he thought likely to spread the knowledge of his God and Saviour : and as the very indigent constantly make their want of better clothes to appear in, an excuse for not coming to church in the day-time, he contrived, for them chiefly, a Lecture on Sunday evenings, though he had preached twice in the day before. God was pleased to give great success to these attempts, which animated him still more to spend and be spent for Christ. So the next year he began a method (which was continued by him for ever after) of preaching in each of the four hamlets he had under his care three times every month. By this means, the old and infirm, who could not attend the church, had the truth of God brought to their houses; and many, who were so profane as to make the distance from the house of God a reason for scarce ever coming to it, were allured to hear. By this time, the
great labour with which he instructed his own people, the holiness of his conversation, and the benefit which very many from the neighbouring parishes had obtained by attending his ministry, concurred to bring upon
him many earnest entreaties to come to their houses who lived in the neighbouring parishes, and to expound the word of God to souls as ignorant as they had been themselves. This request he did not dare to refuse : so that while he provided abundantly for his own flock, he annually found opportunity of preaching nearly three hundred times to congregations in other parts.
“ And for a course of fifteen years, or upwards, he used to preach every week, fifteen, twenty, and sometimes thirty times, besides visiting the sick, and other occasional duties of his function. It is not easy to ascribe such unwearied diligence, chiefly among the poor, to any motive but the real one. He thought he would never keep silence, while he could speak to the honour of that God who had done so much for his soul : and while he saw sinners perishing for lack of knowledge, and no one breaking to them the bread of life, he was constrained, notwithstanding the reluctance he felt within, to give up his name to still greater reproach, as well as all his time and strength to the work of the ministry.
“During this intense application to what was the delight of his heart, God was exceeding favourable to him. In sixteen years, he was only once suspended from his labour by sickness, though he dared all weathers, upon the bleak mountains, and used his body with less compassion than a merciful man would use his beast. His soul at various times enjoyed large manifestations of God's love, and he drank deep into his Spirit. His cup ran over, and at some seasons his faith was so strong, and his hope so abundant, that higher degrees of spiritual delight would have overpowered his mortal frame.
“ In this manner, Mr. Grimshaw employed all his powers and talents even to his last illness : and his labours were not in vain in the Lord. He saw an effectual change take place in many of his flock, and a restraint from the commission of sin brought upon the parish in general. He saw the name of Jesus exalted, and many souls happy in the know
ledge of Him, and walking as became the Gospel. Happy he was himself
, in being kept, by the power of God, unblamable in his conversation: Happy in being beloyed in several of the last years of his life, by every one in his parish ; who, whether they would be persuaded by him to forsake the evil of their ways, or no, had no doubt that Mr. Grimshow was their cordial friend. Hence, at his departure, a general concern was visible through his parish. Hence, his body was interred with what is more ennobling than all the pomp of a royal funeral : For he was followed to the grave by a great multitude, with affectionate sighs, and many tears; who cannot stiil hear his much-loved name without weeping for the guide of their souls, to whom each of them was dear as children to their father.
“ His behaviour, throughout his last sickness, was of a piece with the last twenty years of his life. From the very first attack of his fever, be welcomed its approach. His intimate knowledge of Christ abolished all the reluctance nature feels to a dissolution ; and, triumphing in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, he departed April 7th, 1762, in the 55th year of his age, and the twenty-first of his eminent usefulness."*
The cordial and intimate friendship, and union of ministerial labours, which for so many years subsisted between Mr. Wesley and Mr. Grimshaw, furnish high evidence of that catholic spirit, which Mr. Wesley so incessantly cultivated and preserved. Mr. Grimshaw did not agree in every point of doctrine with Mr. Wesley; but he had so much of
the wisdom from above, that he was easy to be convinced,' (EUTELONS,) of any truth, and easy to be persuaded in any good way. This excel
nt spirit appeared in him upon all occasions, and is manifest in a letter which he wrote to Mr. Wesley concerning those differences, which were indeed more in words than in judgment. The letter is dated July 23d, 1761. After apologizing for not attending the Conference then held at Leeds, he observes, " The disappointment is more my own loss than yours : For there are several things which have for some time been matter of so much uneasiness to me, that I thought, could they not at this time be some how accommodated, I should be obliged to recede from the Connexion ; which to do, would have been one of the most disagreeable things in the world to me. I would fain live and die in this happy relation I have for many years borne, and still bear
io Two of the most material points were, concerning Imputed Righteousness and Christian Perfection. But as to the former, what you declared to be your notion of it, at Heptonstal, is so near mine that I am well satisfied.† And as to the other, your resolutions in Conference are such, if John Emmot informs me right, as seem to afford mé sufficient satisfaction.
" There are other matters more, but to me not of equal importance ; to which notwithstanding, I cannot be reconciled. Such as, asserting 'a child of God to be again a child of the devil, if he give way to a
* The late Rev. Mr. Newton, several years after this, published a Life of Mr. Grimshaw, in which he gives him due honour ; but strange to say, he omits his connexion with Mr. Wesley! Must we account for this in the way that Mr. Wesley himself accounts for such conduct in other good men who had been, like Mr. Newton, his intimate friends and correspondents !-" He is fallen into the pit of the Decrees, and knows me no more !"
+ See the note in page 36.
temptation. That he is a child of the devil who disbelieves the doctrine of sinless perfection. That he is no true Christian who has not attained to it,* &c, &c.—These are assertions very common with some of our preachers, though, in my apprehension, too absurd and ridiculous to be regarded, and therefore by no means of equal importance with what is above said ; and yet have a tendency, as the effect has already shown, to distract and divide our societies. You will perhaps say, Why did you not admonish them? Why did you not endeavour to convince them of the error of such absurd assertions ?-In some degree I have, though perhaps not so fully or freely as I ought, or could have wished to have done : For I feared to be charged by them, perhaps secretly to yourself, with opposing them or their doctrines. These things I mentioned to brother Lee, who declared, and I could not but believe him, that
you did and would utterly reject any such expressions. I am therefore, in these respects, more easy; and shall, if such occasions require [it], as I wish they never may, reprove and prevent them with plainness and freedom.
“ Sinlesst Perfection is a grating term to many of our dear brethren; even to those who are as desirous and solicitous to be truly holy in heart and life, as any perhaps of them who affect to speak in this unscriptural way. Should we not discountenance the use of it, and advise its votaries to exchange it for terms less offensive, but sufficiently expressive of true Christian holiness ? By this I mean, (and why may I not tell you what I mean ?) all that holiness of heart and life, which is literally, plainly, abundantly taught us all over the Bible ; and without which no man, however justified through faith in the righteousness of Christ, can ever expect to see the Lord. This is that holiness, that Christian Perfection, that sanctification, which, without affecting strange, fulsome, offensive, unscriptural expressions and representations, I, and, I dare say, every true and sincere-hearted member in our societies, and I hope in all others,
ardently desire and strenuously labour to attain. This is attainable : For this therefore let us contend : To this let us diligently exhort and excite all our brethren daily; and this the more as we see the day, the happy, the glorious day approaching.
“ I have only to add, that I am determined, through the help of God, so far as I know or see at present, to continue in close connexion with you, even unto death ; and to be as useful as I am able, or is consistent with my parochial, and other indispensible obligations ; chiefly in this round, I and at times abroad; to strengthen your hands in the great and glorious work of our Lord, which you have evidently so much at heart, elaborately so much in hand, and in which He (blessed for ever be his name !) has so extensively and wonderfully prospered you."
Immediately on the receipt of this letter, before the Conference quite broke up, Mr. Wesley took an opportunity of preaching from the words of St. James, “In many things we offend all. On this occasion, he observed, “ 1. As long as we live, our soul is connected with the body.--2. As long as it is thus connected, it cannot think but by the help of bodily organs.-3. As long as these organs are imperfect, we are liable to mistakes, both speculative and practical.-4. Yea, and a mistake may occasion my loving a good man less than I ought; which is a defective, that is, a wrong temper.-5. For all these, we need the atoning blood, as indeed for every defect or omission.— Therefore, 6. All men have need to say daily, * Forgive us our trespasses." "_We see here the solid reason why Mr. Wesley always objected to the phrase, sinless perfection.
* Uttered, do doubt, by warm men when disputing with Antinomians. Such contentions were very common in that day.
of Mr. Wesley himself never used that term. He looked upon it as almost, if not quite, equal to legal perfection.
| The Circuits were at that time called Rounds. Haworth, Mr. Grimshaw's parish, was afterwards printed in the Minutes “ Haworth Circuit,” and Mr. Grimshaw was appointed the Assistant, or the preacher who immediately assisted Mr. Wesley.
THE REV. JOHN WESLEY, A. M.
BOOK THE SEVENTH.
GREAT REVIVAL OF RELIGION-SEPARATION OF MAXFIELD AND OTHERS
--MINUTES OF THE CONFERENCE AGAINST ANTINOMIANISM— PROTEST BY THE REV. MR. SHIRLEY AND OTHERS-MR. FLETCHER'S WRITINGS.
Whoever seriously considers the foregoing pages, will readily conclude, that the work carried on by Mr. Wesley and his assistants was really of God. The great concern for religion, which was evident in many thousands, who were before careless or profane ; the impression made on their minds, of the importance of eternal things; their being so deeply convinced of the number and heinousness of their own sins, from which conviction sprungfruits meet for repentance;' their being made happy partakers of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, and walking in all holiness, were demonstrable proofs of this. For is there any name given under heaven, whereby men can be thus saved, but the name of Christ alone ?
But the Lord, at sundry times and in divers places, poured out his Spirit in a remarkable manner. This religious concern, these divine impressions, and their consequent fruits, attended the preaching of God's word in so great a degree upon those occasions, that more were converted in a few months, or even weeks or days at such times, than for several years before. Many parts of these kingdoms have been thus favoured, at different seasons ; but especially about the year 1760, and for some years after. In London particularly, this revival of religion was great and conspicuous ; many hundreds were added to the Societies, and the word of the Lord was glorified among them.
The city of London had been highly favoured from the commencement of Mr. Wesley's labours. He usually resided there during the winter months. There were now several chapels in it under his direction. In some of these, on every Lord's day, the service of the Church of England was performed, and the Lord's Supper administered. Mr. Maxfield, whom we have already mentioned, was ordained by Dr. Barnard, then Bishop of Londonderry, who resided for some time at Bath, for the benefit of his health. The Bishop received him at Mr. Wesley's recommendation, saying, “Sir, I ordain you, to assist that good man, that he may not work himself to death.” He did assist Mr. Wesley for some years, and was eminently useful.
At the beginning of this great revival of religion, Mr. Maxfield was in