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for a poor man in great distress, and gave him only fifteen shillings, reserving to himself fourteen pounds five shillings for the trouble of collecting it, with which, and twenty pounds more he was entrusted with, he decamped the next day, to the astonishment of the simple on whom he had imposed.
I wish the author, as he proposes, may soon give us a more particular account of the Methodists, preachers and people, and also of some of Mr Wesley's private opinions, &c.
This pamphlet concludes with very curious letters written by Mr J. Wesley; and he informs us, in a note, that the publisher has his address, in order to direct any person to the author, where they may see the original letters. I here give you the whole of these extraordinary letters.
Page 50, &c.
“ Dear Sir, “For your obliging letter, which I received this morning, I return you thanks.
“ Our opinions for the most part perfectly coincide respecting the stability of the connexion, after my head is laid in the dust.
“ This however is a subject, about which I am not so anxious as you seem to imagine ; on the contrary, it is a matter of the utmost indifference to me; as I have long foreseen that a division must necessarily ensue, from causes so various, unavoidable, and certain, that I have long since given over all thoughts and hopes of settling it on a permanent foundation. You do not seem to be aware of the most effective cause that will bring about a division. You apprehend the most serious consequences from a struggle between the preachers for power and pre-eminence, and there being none among them of sufficient authority or abilities to support the dignity, or command the respect and exact the implicit obedience, which is iso necessary to uphold our constitution on its present
principles. This is one thing that will operate very powerfully against unity in the connexion, and is, perhaps, what I might possibly have prevented, had not a still greater difficulty arisen in my mind : I have often wished for some person of abilities to succeed me as the head of the church I have with such indefatigable pains and astonishing success established ; but convinced that none but very superior abilities would be equal to the undertaking, was I to adopt a successor of this description, I fear he might gain so much influence among the people as to usurp a share, if not the whole, of that absolute and uncontrollable power, which I have hitherto, and am determined I will maintain so long as I live ; never will I bear a rival near my throne.--You, no doubt, see the policy of continually changing the preachers from one circuit to another at short periods : for should any of them become popular with their different congregations, and insinuate themselves into the favour of their hearers, they might possibly obtain such influence as to establish themselves independently of me and the general connexion. Besides, the novelty of the continual change excites curiosity, and is the more necessary, as few of our preachers have abilities to render themselves in any degree tolerable any longer than they are new.
“The principal cause which will inevitably effect a diminution and division in the connexion after my death, will be the failure of subscriptions and contributions towards the support of the cause; for money is as much the sinews of religious as of military power. If it is with the greatest difficulty that even I can keep them together, for want of this very necessary article, I think no one else can. Another cause which, with others, will effect the division, is the disputes and contentions that will arise between the preachers and the parties that will espouse the several causes, by which means much truth will be brought to light, which will reflect so much to their
disadvantage, that the eyes of the people will be opened to see their motives and principles, nor will they any longer contribute to their support, when they find all their pretensions to sanctity and love are founded on motives of interest and ambition. The consequence of which will be, a few of the most popular will establish themselves in the respective places where they have gained sufficient influence over the minds of the people; the rest must revert to their original humble callings. But this no way concerns me: I have obtained the object of my views, by establishing a name that will not soon perish from the face of the earth; I have founded a sect which will boast my name long after my discipline and doctrines are forgotten.
My character and reputation for sanctity are now beyond the reach of calumny; nor will anything that may hereafter come to light, or be said concerning me, to my prejudice, however true, gain credit.
My unsoil'd name, th' austereness of my life,
“ Another cause that will operate more powerfully and effectually than any of the preceding, is the ray of philosophy which begins now to pervade all ranks, rapidly dispelling the mists of ignorance, which has been long in a great degree the mother of devotion, of slavish prejudice, and the enthusiastic bigotry of religious opinions : the decline of the Papal power is owing to the same irresistible cause, nor can it be supposed that Methodism can stand its ground, when brought to the test of truth, reason, and philosophy.
“I. W." "City Road, Thursday Morning.”
Our author informs us that the following was written to a very amiable and accomplished lady some years ago. The lady was about three-andtwenty years of age.
“MADAM, “ It is with the utmost diffidence I presume to address superior excellence: emboldened by a violent yet virtuous passion, kindled by the irresistible rays, and encouraged by the sweetly attractive force, of transcendant beauty, the elegant simplicity of your manners, the fascinating melody of your voice, and above all, the inexpressible fire of an eye, that the extravagance of the Muses has given to the goddess of love, but which Nature has bestowed on you alone.
• They sparkle with the right Promethean fire! “ Believe me, my dear madam, this is not the language of romance, but the genuine exuberant effusions of an enraptured soul. The impression of your charms was no less instantaneous than irresistible : when first I saw you, so forcibly was I struck with admiration and love of your divine perfections, that my soul was filled with sensations so wild and extravagant, yet delightful and pure !-But I will not indulge in declaring what are my real sentiments, lest I should incur a suspicion of flattery. Your mind, superior to fulsome panegyric, unsusceptible of the incense of affected adulation, would, with just indignation, spurn at those impertinent compliments, which are commonly offered with a view to impose upon the vanity and credulity of the weaker part of you I will not attempt it: but confine myself to the dictates of sincerity and truth, nor shall a compliment escape my pen that is not the sentiment of a devoted heart.
“ As beauty has no positive criterion, and fancy alone directs the judgment and influences the choice,
we find different people see it in various lights, forms, and colours ; I may therefore, without a suspicion of flattery, declare that, in my eye, you are the most agreeable object, and most perfect work of created nature : nor does your mind seem to partake less of the divinity than your person.
• I view thee over with a lover's eye;
No fault hast thou, or I no fault can spy.' “ The reason I did not before declare myself, was the profound and respectful distance I thought it became me to observe, from a conscious sense of my own comparative unworthiness to approach, much less to hope for favour from, the quintessence of all female perfection. Forgive me, my dear Eliza, and compassionate a heart too deeply impressed with your divine image ever to be erased by time, nor can any power, but the cold hand of death, ever obliterate from my mind the fond imagination and sweet remembrance of Eliza's charms! Nor can even death itself divide the union that subsists between kindred souls.
“ Yesterday, my dear Eliza, the charms of your conversation detained me too late to meet the penitents, as I had promised to do; but
• With thee conversing, I forget
All times, all seasons, and their change.' “ I hope however the disappointment of my company did not deprive them of a blessing.
“ This being my birth-day, reflections on the revolution of years and the shortness of life, naturally intrude on my mind. I am now eighty-one years of age, and I thank God I enjoy the same vigour of constitution that I possessed at twenty-one! None of the infirmities that usually accompany years, either corporal or mental ; and I think it not impossible that I may fulfil my hundred years, the residue of which shall be devoted to love and Eliza.
" I. W.”