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in imminent danger. When his sufferings were excru.. ciating, and it was doubtful whether he could survive many hours, he was visited by Böhler. “I asked him,” says Mr. Charles Wesley, “to pray for me." He seemed unwilling at first; but beginning faintly, he raised his voice by degrees, and prayed for my recovery with strange confidence. Then he took me by the hand, and calmly said, You will not die now.' I thought within myself, I cannot hold out in this pain till morning.' He said, • Do you hope to be saved ?? I answered · Yes.' For what reason do you hope to be saved ?' • Because I have used my best endeavours to serve God.' He shook his head, and said no more. I thought him very uncharitable, say. ing in my heart, • What, are not my endeavours a sufficient ground of hope? Would he rob me of my endeavours? I have nothing else to trust to.'"*
Mr. Charles Wesley, who was thus offended with the doctrine of free and present salvation from sin by faith in Christ, turned his anxious and prayerful atten. tion to the subject, and was soon led to concur in sentiment with his brother and the devout German. Hitherto John had always taken the lead in matters of a religious nature; but this order was now reversed. Charles, who had been the last to receive the doctrine in question, was the first to realize its truth in his own experience. On the morning of Whitsunday, May 21st, having had a second return of his illness, and his brother and some other friends having spent the preceding night in prayer for him, he awoke in the earnest hope of soon attaining the object of his desire,—the knowledge of God reconciled in Christ Jesus. About nine o'clock his brother and some friends visited him, and sang a hymn suited to the day. When they had left him he betook himself to prayer. Soon afterward one of his religious acquaintance said to him, in a very impressive manner,
66 Believe in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and thou shalt be healed of all thine infirmities.” The words went to his heart, and ani. mated him with confidence; and in reading various
* Whitehead's Lives of John and Charles Wesley, vol. i,
passages of Scripture he was enabled to trust in Christ, as set forth to be a propitiation for his "sins, through faith in his blood, and received that peace and rest in God which he so earnestly sought.
Three days afterward Mr. John Wesley received the same blessing. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, he says, “I had continual sorrow and heaviness in my heart : something of which I deseribed, in the broken manner I was able, in the following letter to a friend :0, why is it that so great, so wise, so holy a God will use such an instrument as me! Lord, let the dead bury their dead !' But wilt thou send the dead to raise the dead? Yea, thou sendest whom thou wilt send, and showest' mercy by whom thou wilt show mercy ; Amen! Be it then according to thy will! If thou speak the word, Judas shall cast out devils.
" I see that the whole law of God is holy, just, and good. I know every thought, every temper of my soul, ought to bear God's image and superscription. But how am I fallen from the glory of God! I feel that I am sold under sin. I know that I too deserve nothing but wrath, being full of all abominations, and having no good thing in me to atone for them, or to remove the wrath of God. All my works, my righteousness, my prayers, need an atonement for themselves. So that my mouth is stopped. I have nothing to plead. God is holy. I am unholy. God is a consuming fire. I am altogether a sinner, meet to be consumed.
“ Yet I hear a voice (and is it not the voice of God?) saying, Believe, and thou shalt be saved.' • He that believeth is passed from death unto life.' loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
“O let no one deceive us by vain words, as if we had already attained this faith! By its fruits we shall know. Do we already feel peace with God,' and joy in the Holy Ghost ?? • Does his Spirit bear witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God ?' Alas! with mine he does not. Nor, I fear, with yours. O, thou Saviour of men, save us from trusting in any thing but thee! Draw us after thee! Let us be emptied
of ourselves, and then fill us with all peace and joy in believing; and let nothing separate us from thy love in time or eternity.”.
His prayer was heard. “On Wednesday evening," says he, “I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed; I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
“I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial manner despitefully used me, and persecuted me. I then testified openly to all there, what I now first felt in my heart."*
From this time the two brothers were new men. A sensible application of the blood of Christ to their consciences rendered them cheerful and happy, and produced in their hearts an intense love to their Sa. viour. Having obtained by the simple exercise of faith in Christ, not only the abiding witness of the pardon. ing and adopting mercy of God, but also that purity of heart which they had long unsuccessfully endeavoured to obtain by works of righteousness and law, they were astonished at their former errors, and longed to make known the great salvation which is thus attainable by all. Before this period they served God because they feared him; now they loved him from a joyous assurance that he had first loved them. They confessed that, up to this period, they had been mere servants of God; now they stood in a filial relation to him; and because they were sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into their hearts crying, Abba, Father. They had laboured with all fidelity to benefit man. : kind, because they felt this to be their duty ; but now the love of Christ kindled in their breasts a generous and yearning affection for the whole human race, and a willingness even to lay down their lives, if others might only be converted and saved.
* Works, vol. iii, p. 74. Am. edit.
Charles, with his bodily strength impaired by illness, immediately began, in private conversations wherever he went, to recommend to others the salvation which he had so happily experienced, and with most encouraging success. In one month no less than thirty persons professed to have received the peace and joy of faith in the several private meetings at which he was present. Among these was the Rev. Henry Piers, the vicar of Bexley, with whom he had become acquainted in consequence of his visits to the Delamotte family at Blendon, who regularly attended the Bexley church on the Lord's day., Mr. Piers introduced the Wesleys to the Rev. Vincent Perronet, the pious vicar of Shoreham, who became one of the most valued and faithful of their friends. Mr. Piers was present at the first Methodist Conference, which was held in London. He also published a very faithful sermon which he addressed to the clergy at Sevenoaks, about the same period.
Before he left Georgia, Mr. John Wesley resolved, if possible, to visit the Moravian settlement at Hern. huth, in upper Lusatia; a place which is situated on the borders of Bohemia, and about thirty English miles from Dresden ; and he availed himself of this opportu. nity to fulfil his purpose.
On his arrival, he was deeply impressed with the order and godly discipline of the church, as there presented to his view, and still more with the discourses which he heard from the pul. pit, and the religious experience of the brethren with whom he conversed. They all declared as with one voice, that they had been made permanently happy and holy by believing in Christ; so that he was greatly strengthened and confirmed in those views of the truth which he had now received, and which he was unconsciously preparing to preaeh to others with almost un. exampled publicity and effect.
MEASURES ADOPTED BY THE WESLEYS FOR THE
REVIVAL OF RELIGION.
WHEN Mr. Wesley returned from Germany, he immediately began, with his characteristic diligence, to preach justification by faith ; with the penitential sor. row by which it is preceded, and the peace and holi. ness which invariably follow it. He did this in some of the churches of London, but more frequently in what he calls“ societies,” which then met in various parts of London and its vicinity. They are well described by Dr. Woodward, and had long been very useful in different parts of the land. It was at one of these
societies,” in Aldersgate-street, that he had some months before, found rest to his soul; and as they con. sisted almost entirely of professed members of the Established Church, he seemed, as a matter of course, to claim relationship to them. In these small assemblies, which appear to have generally met in private houses, he declared what God had done for his soul, and ex. horted the people also to taste and see that the Lord is gracious. Many believed the report, and were made happy in the God of their salvation.
He was thus employed when he received a letter from his friend, Mr. Whitefield, recently returned from America, and now in Bristol, earnestly pressing him to come to that city without delay. On his arrival, he says, “ I could scarce reconcile myself, at first, to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he set me the example on the Sunday; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relat. ing to. decency and order, that I should have thought the saving of souls alniost a sin, if it had not been don in a church.” On the following day, Mr. Whitefield having left Bristol, Mr. Wesley says, “ At four in the afternoon I submitted to be more vile, and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation, speaking