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Park, were filled, best part of the night, with men, women, and children, lamenting. Some, with stronger imaginations than others, mostly women, ran crying in the streets, * An earthquake! an earthquake !! Such a distress, perhaps, is not recorded to have happened before in this careless city. Mr. Whitefield preached at midnight in Hyde-Park. Surely God will visit this city: it will be a time of mercy to some. O may I be found watching!"
June 22.—“ I met,” says Mr. C. Wesley, “ a daughter of my worthy old friend Mr. Erskine, at the Foundery: she was deeply wounded by the sword of the Spirit : confessed she had turned many to Deism, and feared there could be no mercy for her.—July 18. I had the satisfaction of bringing back to Mr. Erskine his formerly disobedient daughter. She fell at his feet: it was a moving interview-all wept-our Heavenly Father heard our prayers."
December 2.–Being in Wales, he observes, “ I encouraged a poor girl to seek a cure from him who hath wounded her. She has the outward mark too; being daily threatened to be turned out of doors by her master, a great swearer and strict churchman, a constant communicant and a habitual drunkard.”
At this time, James Wheatley, having fallen from God, brought much scandal on the people with whom he was connected. Mr. Wesley, in conjunction with his brother, searched out the truth of the complaints, and first suspended, and afterwards expelled the guilty person. Wheatley had said, when charged, that others were as guilty as he had been; a very natural supposition for such a man. This assertion put the brothers upon a resolution strictly to examine into the religious and moral character of every preacher in the Connexion ; "and the office,” says Mr. Charles Wesley, “ fell upon me.” He was, under such circumstances, well fitted to search out the evil. It has been said, but not by a friend, that the two brothers were totally dissimilar—that one believed all things, and the other believed nothing. Both parts of the assertion are untrue. Both were upright men, but Mr. John Wesley had eminently the love that hopeth all things. He had also a high and piercing sense of his situation and responsibility. In his rules of discipline, he exhorts every preacher to “ beware how they believed evil of any man. Unless it be proved,” says he “ take heed how you credit it. Your word especially would eat as doth a canker.” His brother did not sufficiently feel this, neither did he occupy such high ground. We shall see in the course of these Memoirs, how much he was hindered in his usefulness by a deficiency in this temper so absolutely necessary for such a situation.
Mr. Charles Wesley being clothed with his new office, set out the next morning, June 29, to visit the societies in the midland and northern counties, as far as Newcastle ; in which journey Mrs. Wesley accompanied him : But even Dr. Whitehead adds, “ I do not find, however, in the whole of his Journal, the least accusation of a nature similar to that of Wheatley, against any preacher in the Connexion.” In this journey he was a great blessing to the people wherever he came; many were added to the societies, and the old members were quickened in their zeal and diligence, to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
July 21.-He observes, “I rode to Birstal, (near Leeds,) where John Nelson comforted our hearts with his account of the success of the Gospel in every place where he has been preaching, except in Scotland. There he has been beating the air for three weeks, and spending his strength in vain. Twice a day he preached at Musselborough to some thousands of mere hearers, without one soul being converted. I preached at one, to a different kind of people. Such a sight have I not seen for many months. They filled the valley and side of the hill as grasshoppers for multitude ; yet my voice reached the most distantGod sent the word home to many hearts.”—July 25. He was taken ill of a fever ; and, on the 28th, his fever increasing, he says, " I judged it incumbent on me, to leave my thoughts concerning the work and the instruments, and began dictating the following letter.”-Unfortunately the letter was not transcribed into the Journal,-a blank space was left for it: I apprehend it is not now to be found anywhere.
August 12.-Being at Newcastle, he desired W. Shent, who was with him, to go to Musselborough. Before he set out, he gave Mr. C. Wesley the following account of a remarkable trial they lately had at Leeds.
" At Whitecoat Hill, three miles from Leeds, a few weeks since, as our brother Maskew was preaching, a mob arose, broke the windows and doors, and struck the constable, Joseph Hawley, one of the Society: On this we indicted them for an assault; but the ringleader of the mob, John Hellingworth, indicted our brother the constable, and got persons to swear the constable struck him. The Grand Jury threw out our indictment, and found theirs against us, so we stood trial with them, on Monday, July 15, 1751. The Recorder, Richard Wilson, Esq., gave it in our favour, with the rest of the court. But the foreman of the jury, Matthew Priestley, with two others, Richard Cloudsly and Jabez Bunnel, would not agree with the rest, being our avowed enemies. The foreman was Mr. Murgatroyd's great friend and champion against the Methodists. However, the Recorder gave strict orders to a guard of constables, to watch the jury, that they should have neither meat, drink, candles, nor tobacco, till they were agreed in their verdict. They were kept prisoners all that night and the next day till five in the afternoon, when one of the jury said, he would die before he would give it against us.' Then he spake closely to the foreman concerning his prejudice against the Methodists, till at last he condescended to refer it to one man. Him the other charged to speak as he would answer it to God in the day of judgment. The man turned pale, trembled, and desired that another might decide it. Another, John Hardwick, being called upon, immediately decided it in favour of the Methodists. After the trial, Sir Henry Ibison, one of the Justices, called one of our brethren to him, and said, ! You see, God never forsakes a righteous man ; take care you never forsake him.'
EXTRAORDINARY EVENT PRECEDING MR. WESLEY'S MARRIAGE_VERSES
ON THAT OCCASION-HIS MARRIAGE-RENEWED ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN HIM AND HIS BROTHER-MR. WESLEY'S PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE.
Mr. Wesley had hitherto preferred a single life, because, as he himself observes, he believed he could be more useful in a single than in a married state ; “and I praise God,” says he, “ who enabled me so to do.” He now as fully believed, that, in his present circumstances, he might be more useful in a married state : into which, upon this clear conviction, and by the advice of his friends, he entered some time after.
Some years previous to this step, he had published a small tract entitled, Thoughts on a Single Life. He therein advised all unmarried persons, who were able to receive it, to follow the counsel of our Lord and St. Paul, and remain single for the kingdom of heaven's sake.' But, in the same tract, he pronounces, after St. Paul, the • forbidding to marry, to be a doctrine of devils,' and declares, “ it cannot be doubted but a man may be as holy in a married as in a single state." Nor did he ever suppose, that this precept was designed of God for the many. Several years after his marriage, he mentions in his Journal his again reading over that tract, and observes, “ I am of the same mind still ; and I must be so, till I give up my Bible.”
I should not have said so much on the present occasion, if it was not for the many fleers that have been cast at Mr. Wesley on this account. The best excuse that can be made for those gentlemen who have indul'ged their wit on this subject, is, that they knew nothing of the matter ; that they had never seriously considered those passages of the Bible alluded to, nor ever read over what Mr. Wesley has said upon them. It was quite enough for them to hear, that he had recommended celibacy, and had afterwards married, which all candid men, who believe the Scriptures, must be sensible, involves neither blame nor contradiction.
Dr. Whitehead has prefaced his account of this event by stating" That Mr. Wesley, a year or more before this period, had formed a resolution to marry ; but the affair coming to the knowledge of Mr. C. Wesley, before the marriage took place, he found means to prevent it, for reasons which appeared to him of sufficient importance. Mr. John Wesley, however, thought otherwise ; and this was the first breach of that union and harmony, which had subsisted between the two brothers without interruption, for more than twenty years."-As I know more of the case alluded to than Dr. Whitehead did, I must state it a little more at large. The person on whom Mr. Wesley's affections were placed, was in every respect worthy of them. From documents now before me, I am enabled to give a short account of this very interesting attachment, and of its failure, so very painful to Mr. Wesley.
Miss Grace Norman, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was married, at a very early age, to Mr. Alexander Murray, of a respectable family in Scotland. He was then in the seafaring line, in which he continued till
his death. He was an affectionate husband, and his kind attentions were repaid by the affectionate attachment of his wife; but they were both, at that time, totally insensible to the happiness of religion, Mrs. Murray having departed from the God of her early youth. After some time, she was awakened by the powerful preaching of that day, and immediately began to fulfil her baptismal vow. She renounced the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, in which they had both delighted, and became the devoted servant of the Lord that bought her.* This change gave her husband great pain, and for some time she suffered a degree of real persecution from him. He even threatened to confine her in a madhouse. Her gentle and affectionate behaviour in some measure overcame this evil ; but his death at sea, which happened not long after, almost overwhelmed her. She was, however, strengthened by divine grace to submit to this afflictive bereavement, and it was sanctified, in a remarkable manner, to her furtherance and growth in grace.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Murray returned to Newcastle ; and when Mr. Wesley formed a family, connected with his chapel in that town, he appointed her to be the housekeeper. Mr. Wesley had three houses which he accounted his own, one at London, another åt Bristol, and a third at Newcastle ; to all others, he had only the power to appoint the preachers. These houses might be called Religious Houses ; the housekeepers were persons eminent for piety. The Itinerant Preachers in the Western, Northern and Middle Counties occasionally visited these establishments, and rested for a short space from their great labour.
Mrs. Murray had now full employment in that way in which she delighted. In the town and in the country societies, her labours of love, especially among the females, were remarkably owned of the Lord and highly edifying. Mr. Wesley then enlarged her sphere, and she travelled through the Northern counties to meet and regulate the female classes. She then, under his direction, visited Ireland, where she abounded in the same work of faith and love, for several months; and though she never attempted to preach, her gifts were much honoured, and her name as ointment poured forth. She returned by Bristol, and visited the societies in the Southern and Eastern counties, and rested again at Newcastle.
Mr. Wesley, who knew all her proceedings and greatly esteemed her labours, thought he had found a help meet for him. But while he indulged these pleasing prospects, in which he was encouraged by his highlyvalued friend, the Vicar of Shoreham, and others, they were dashed to pieces by the intelligence of Mrs. Murray's marriage, on the third day of October, 1749, at Newcastle, to Mr. John Bennet, one of the Itinerant Preachers, in the presence of Mr. C. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield!
A son, the fruit of this marriage, and who became a Dissenting Minister, published a short Memoir of his pious mother, after her death; in which he informs his readers, that his father when on a visit to the house at Newcastle, was seized with a violent fever; and that, when all his friends despaired of his life, he was, as he always declared, given back to them in answer to the prayers of Mrs. Murray. From that period he thought, as his son informs us, that “ she was given to him for a wife, although he did not declare this for a long time after.” I cannot at this distance of time fully state the causes of this strange interference, especially as, contrary to his usual freedom, I do not remember ever to have heard Mr. Wesley mention the event. The high character of those concerned, forbids the imputation of any corrupt motive.
* See her Letter to Mr. Charles Wesley, vol. i, p. 303.
The disappointment was a most severe one to Mr. Wesley, and perhaps the forgiveness and love which he manifested on that occasion, was the highest proof of the power of the religion he possessed that he was ever called to exercise towards man. He continued to employ Mr. Bennet as before, and behaved to him with his usual kindness : That gentleman, however, became still more intimate with Mr. Whitefield, adopted his sentiments, and at length publicly separated from Mr. Wesley at Bolton, in Lancashire, on April 3d, 1752. He afterwards settled, as a Dissenting Minister, at Warbutton, in Cheshire, where he died on the 24th of May, 1759.
There is now lying before me a copy of verses by Mr. Wesley, never yet published, which will fully warrant all I have said concerning this painful event. He seems to have written to ease his bleeding heart
. The public life which his high calling obliged him to adopt, caused him generally to restrain the feelings of one of the kindest hearts that ever man was blest with. But in these verses we see that warm and tender nature breathe itself forth without restraint, except from submission to God; a point of religion which he ever inculcated as the highest fruit
REFLECTIONS UPON PAST PROVIDENCES.
O Lord, I bow my sinful head!
Righteous are all thy ways with man;
With lowly rev'rence to complain;
And danced along the flow'ry way,
An easy, unresisting prey
Firm I shook off the abject yoke;
Through all his wily fetters broke;
Long had I soar'd and spurn'd the ground:
My soul a kindred spirit found;
Mild, sweet, and tender was her mood !
Soft and compassionately good;