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PREFACE.

The volume now before the reader has been written in compliance with the request of the late Wesleyan Conference, expressed in the following resolution :-“That our President is requested to prepare and publish, with as little delay as possible, a brief but comprehensive work, on the subject of the Centenary; including, with succinct notices of the origin, progress, and present state of Wesleyan Methodism, and of the leading facts in the life and history of the revered founder of our societies, such remarks as may assist our friends in the devout improvement of the occasion."

It has been the writer's intention to present an honest statement of facts, without any attempt at embellishment. Though he has been compelled to execute his task in a comparatively short period, and in the midst of numerous and urgent engagements, yet he indulges a hope that his work will in some degree meet the views of the venerable body of Ministers who have called

for its publication, and that it will be found not altogether devoid of interest to the general reader. Its leading design is to stir up the pure minds of the Wesleyan societies, wherever situated, by calling their attention to the great things which the Lord has done for them and for their fathers, that under a grateful sense of his goodness they may give unto him the glory which is due unto his name, and may transmit to their children, in unimpaired efficiency, that system of evangelical doctrine and of godly order upon which the divine blessing has so signally rested during the last hundred years.

January 1, 1839.

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STATE OF RELIGION IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE RISE

OF METHODISM.

Few' periods of British history are of deeper inte. rest than the early part of the eighteenth century.. The army, under the command of the duke of Marlborough, had gained a series of brilliant victories on the European continent; and, at home, philosophy and polite learning flourished beyond all former example. The discoveries of Newton filled the civilized world with astonishment; and the compositions of Addison, Steele, Swift, Pope, and others, have secured for that period the name of the Augustan age of English litera. ture. While these eminent men occupied the public attention, other agents were in a course of training, who were destined by Providence to achieve victories greater than Marlborough ever contemplated-victo. ries over sin and brutal ignorance; and to produce changes in the state of society more profound, momentous, and extensive than the most polished writers have ever been able to effect. - At the very time when patriots and politicians were fired with the military success of the great general of the age, and gentler spirits were charmed with the smooth numbers of Pope, and the graceful simplicity of Addison, Mrs.

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