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trates, as a token of their respectful regard for him, presented him with the freedom of the city. The diploma ran thus :
“Perthi vigesimo octavo die mensis Aprilis, Anno Domini millesimo septingentesimo septuagesimo secundo :
“ Quo die, Magistratuum illustris ordo, et honorandus Senatorum cætus inclytæ civitatis Perthensis, in debiti amoris et affectûs Tesseram erga Johannem Wesley, Artium Magistrum, nuper Collegii Lincolniensis O.coniæ Socium, Immunitatibus præfatæ civitatis, Societatis etiam ac Fraternitatis Ædilitiæ privilegiis, de omnibus a cive necessario exigendis ac præstandis donârunt,” foc.*
This diploma was struck off from a copper-plate upon parchment : The arms of the city and some of the words were illuminated, and flowers painted round the borders, which gave it a splendid appearance. And for purity of the Latin, it is not perhaps exceeded by any diploma, either from London or any other city in Europe.
Mr. Southey supposes, that the reason why Methodism did not prosper in Scotland as in England, was, that it was not needed; that the religious education of the Scotch, made the foolishness of preaching unnecessary, and consequently really foolish. It is not surprising that Mr. Southey should think thus. His opinion of human nature is entirely at variance with the Holy Scriptures, and with the authorized creeds of the Established Churches of both kingdoms. Were Mr. Southey's doctrine true, it would be quite sufficient to direct men how to walk, and no inward renovation would be needful. In that case, the ironical observation of a pious man would be realized—“ If a man be born on the other side of the Tweed, he need not be born again.” Mr. Wesley, however, painfully found, that the self-righteousness natural to man was mightily fostered by that kind of religious education so common in Scotland. “I am now," says he, speaking of Scotland, “among a people, many of whom hear much, know every thing, and feel nothing.” Thus that which might have been for their health, became an occasion of falling.' There is, however, a great and blessed change in this respect. Dr. Chalmers, and other pious ministers, seem to have adopted, in a good measure, Mr. Wesley's views; and their success has been so great that multitudes have been roused from their self-righteous delusion : So that the simple and powerful religion of the Bible bids fair to become again the religion of Scotland.
* Perth, the twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord one Thousand, Seven Hundred, and Seventy-two:
“On which day, the illustrious order of Magistrates, and the honourable Assembly of Senators (Alderinen) of the celebrated city of Perth, in token of their deserved love and affection for John WESLEY, Master of Arts late Fellow of Lincoln College in Oxford, have bestowed upon
him the immunities of the above-mentioned city, and have endowed him with the privileges of the Society and Brotherhood of a Burgess, - with respect to all those things which are necessarily required from and performed by a citizen," &c.
PROPOSAL TO MR. FLETCHER FULLY TO UNITE WITH MR. WESLEY IN
THE WORK-REMARKABLE DEATH OF MR. DOWNS-MR. WESLEY's DANGEROUS ILLNESS IN IRELAND-DISPUTE CONCERNING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION-CURIOUS ANECDOTE CONCERNING MR. WESLEY'S PLATE.
MR. Wesley now saw the religious societies he had been the happy instrument of forming, spread rapidly on every side ; and the preachers increasing in an equal proportion. He became, therefore, every day more solicitous to provide for their unity and permanency after his decease, wishing to preserve, at the same time, the original doctrines and economy of the Methodists. From the beginning he had stood at the head of the Connexion, and by the general suffrage had acted as a Father, in matters relating to the government of the societies. He had often found, that all his authority was necessary in order to unanimity, and he wished that authority to be continued.
In January, 1773, being at Shoreham, where, no doubt, he had consulted Mr. Perronet on the subject, he wrote the following letter to Mr. Fletcher, whom, of all men, he thought the most proper to fill his place, when the Lord should remove him :
“ DEAR SIR,—What an amazing work has God wrought in these kingdoms, in less than forty years ! And it not only continues, but increases throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland ; nay, it has lately spread into New-York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Carolina. But the wise men of the world say, "When Mr. Wesley drops, then all this is at an end ! And so it surely will, unless, before God calls him hence, one is found to stand in his place. For Oux ayafov wo Auxoipavim. Εις κουρανος εσω.* I see more and more, unless there be one II possws,T the work can never be carried on. The body of the Preachers are not united : Nor will any part of them submit to the rest ; so that either there must be One to preside over all, or the work will indeed come to an end.
“ But who is sufficient for these things ? Qualified to preside both over the Preachers and people ? He must be a man of faith and love, and one that has a single eye to the advancement of the kingdom of God. He must have a clear understanding; a knowledge of men and things, particularly of the Methodist doctrine and discipline; a ready utterance ; diligence and activity, with a tolerable share of health. There must be added to these, favour with the people, with the Methodists in general. For unless God turn their eyes and their hearts towards him, he will be quite incapable of the work. He must likewise have some degree of learning; because there are many adversaries, learned as well as unlearned, whose mouths must be stopped. But this cannot be done, unless he be able to meet them on their own ground.
* It is not good, that the supreme power should be lodged in many hands: Let there be One chief governor.
† A person who presides over the rest.
“ But has God provided one so qualified ? Who is he? THOU ART THE MAN! God has given you a measure of loving faith ; and a single eye to his glory. He has given you some knowledge of men and things ; particularly of the whole plan of Methodism. You are blessed with some health, activity, and diligence; together with a degree of learning. And to all these, he has lately added, by a way none could have foreseen, favour both with the preachers and the whole people.-Come out in the name of God! Come to the help of the Lord against the mighty! Come, while I am alive and capable of labour
Dum super est Lachesi quod torqueat, et pedibus me
Porto meis, nullo dextram subeunte bacillo.* Come while I am able, God assisting, to build you up in faith, to ripen your gifts, and to introduce you to the people. Nil tanti. What possible employment can you have, which is of so great importance ?
But you will naturally say, I am not equal to the task: I have neither grace nor gifts for such an employment.' You say true ; it is certain
have not. And who has ? But do you not know Him who is able to give them? Perhaps not at once, but rather day by day: As each is, so shall your strength be.—But this implies,' you may say, thousand crosses, such as I feel I am not able to bear.' You are not able to bear them now; and they are not now come. Whenever they do come, will he not send them in due number, weight, and measure ? And will they not all be for your profit, that you may be a partaker of His holiness?
" Without conferring, therefore, with flesh and blood, come and strengthen the hands, comfort the heart, and share the labour of 6. Your affectionate friend and brother,
6 John Wesley."
6. This warm and sincere invitation,” says Dr. Whitehead,
to a situation not only respected but even reverenced by so large a body of people, must have been highly flattering to Mr. Fletcher ; especially as it came from a person he most sincerely loved; whose superior abilities, learning, and labours he admired; and to whose success in the ministry he wished to give every assistance in his power. But he well knew the embarrassments Mr. Wesley met with in the government of the preachers, though he alone, under the providence of God, had given existence to their present character, influence, and usefulness; he was also well acquainted with the mutual jealousies the preachers had of each other, and with their jarring interests ; but above all, with the general determination which prevailed among them, not to be under the control of any one man after the death of Mr. Wesley. Under these circumstances, he saw nothing before him but darkness, storms, and tempests, with the most threatening dangers, especially if he should live to be alone in the office. He therefore determined not to launch his little bark on so tempestuous an ocean."
I have quoted the above passage from Dr. Whitehead, in his own words, as expressive of his views and feelings ! But he wrote on a subject with which he was wholly unacquainted. The charity of his sur
* While Lachesis has some thread of life to spin, and I walk on my own feet without the help of a staff.--JUVEN. Sat. 3.
misings is, however, very manifest. He did not know, that Mr. Fletcher had ever answered Mr. Wesley's letter ; but I am happy in being able to lay his answer before the reader, who will see in it the very different spirit of that man of God. His faith, indeed, respecting the continuance of the whole body of the preachers in their first calling, seems to have been shaken, as Mr. Wesley's also was ; but there is no such feeling expressed as that which festered in the mind of Dr. Whitehead. His attachment to that work which he fully believed to be of God, is also strikingly evident. He certainly could not be easily persuaded to take the station which Mr. Wesley wished him to take, as his well-known humility used to give the preachers trouble by his constantly preferring them before himself. But he certainly would have taken a most decided part in the work, if his total loss of health, which obliged him to leave his parish, and to retire to Switzerland, had not prevented it. Upon his return, with his strength renewed in some degree, he married, and thus became settled in his parish, evidencing to the last his ardent love to the work of God, and to those who were employed in it. At the last Conference which he attended, in the year 1784, (the year before he died,) he entreated Mr. Wesley to put Madeley into the Minutes, as a Methodist Circuit, and that he might be put down as Supernumerary there : Thus wishing to be still more united to those whom he so much loved.
The following is Mr. Fletcher's answer :
“MADELEY, 6th February, 1773. “ REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,-I hope the Lord, who has so wonderfully stood by you hitherto, will preserve you to see many of your sheep, and me among the rest, enter into rest. Should Providence call you first, I shall do my best, by the Lord's assistance, to help your brother to gather the wreck, and keep together those who are not absolutely bent upon throwing away the Methodist doctrine or discipline, as soon as he that now letteth shall be removed out of their way. Every little help will then be necessary ; and I hope, I shall not be backward to throw in my mite.
• In the mean time, you stand sometimes in need of an assistant to serve tables, and occasionally to fill up a gap. Providence visibly appointed me to that office inany years ago : And though it no less evidently called me here, yet I have not been without doubt, especially for some years past, whether it would not be expedient that I should resume my place, as your Deacon; not with any view of presiding over the Methodists after you, (God knows !) but to save you a little in your old age, and be in the way of receiving, and perhaps of doing, more good. I have sometimes considered, how shameful it was that no Clergyman should join you, to keep in the church the work which the Lord had enabled you to carry on therein ; and, as the little estate I have in my native country is sufficient for my maintenance, I have thought I would, one day or other, offer you and the Methodists my free services.
“ While my love of retirement, and my dread of appearing upon a higher stage than that I stand upon here, made me linger, I was providentially called to do something in Lady Huntingdon's plan ; but being shut out there, it appears to me, I am again called to my first work.
“ Nevertheless, I would not leave this place, without a fuller persuasion that the time is quite come. Not that God uses me much now
among my parishioners, but because I have not sufficiently cleared my conscience from the blood of all men, especially with regard to ferreting out the poor, and expostulating with the rich, who make it their business to fly from me. In the mean time, it shall be my employment to beg the Lord to give me light, to guide me by his counsel, and make me willing to go any where or nowhere, to be any thing or nothing.
“I have laid my pen aside for some time ; nevertheless, I resumed it last week, at your brother's request, to go on with my treatise on Christian Perfection. I have made some alterations in the sheets you have seen, and hope to have a few more ready for your correction, against the time you come this way.
“How deep is the subject! What need have I of the Spirit, to search the deep things of God! Help me by your prayers, till you can help me by word of mouth.
« Reverend and dear Sir,
" J. FLETCHER."
Respecting the Preachers, Mr. Fletcher, it is plain, had no feelings in common with Dr. Whitehead. The wish to have Mr. Fletcher at their head, in case of Mr. Wesley's removal, originated with themselves. They pressed Mr. Wesley to apply to him; and, on his reporting Mr. Fletcher's answer, they were so encouraged, that they requested that the application should be renewed. Mr. Wesley replied in his usual
“ He will not come out, unless the Lord should baptize him for it.”—His habits were very retired, though his exertions in his parish were great. In one of his letters to his friend Mr. Ireland, he says, “ I am like one of your casks of wine : I am good for nothing till I settle.”_"If,” said he in another letter, “ I had a heart full of grace, a head full of wisdom, and a pocket full of money, I might take Mr. Wesley's place.”—From all I know of Mr. Fletcher, I am certain he would have resisted such thoughts as that to which Dr. Whitehead has thus given utterance, and would have considered them as coming from the Accuser of the brethren.'
Mr. Wesley was now advancing in the seventy-first year of his age, and found his health and strength undiminished : He, therefore, con-, tinued his labours and travels, with the same assiduity and punctuality as at the beginning. In June 1774, when he entered on his seventysecond
year, he speaks thus of himself: “ This being my birth-day, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering, bow is this, that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago ? That my sight is considerably better now, and my nerves firmer, than they were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age, and have lost several I had in my youth ? The grand cause is, the good pleasure of God, who doth whatsoever pleaseth him. The chief means are, 1. My constantly rising at four, for about fifty years : 2. My generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world : 3. My never travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.”
About this time died Mr. John Downs, who had been many years a Preacher among the Methodists. He was a man of sincere unaffected piety, of great affliction, and also of uncommon genius. Mr. Charles