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removal from his wife and children, and an entrance into the world of spirits, to which many of his pious friends were already gone. The following are extracts from his letters to Mrs. Wesley, who was still in Bristol :
“ London, May 1st, 1771. I clearly saw it my duty to bring Charles up, although I were sure to drop my old bones in the ground adjoining. I have taken the best care of him I could ; and am still waiting upon him as his loving servant. On Tuesday evening, at Mr. Kelway's, we met Mr. Smith and Mr. Tate. They stared, and looked at each other, as if they did not believe their own ears, while Charles played like his master. It was hard to say which of the three was most delighted. The first masters count it an honour to assist him.”
“May 16th. I want country air to perfect my recovery. Charles cannot be better. We rejoice in hope of seeing you all next week.
“Mrs. Ashlin thinks the person now employed in airing the beds, &c., would be a very proper servant. She is cleanly, sober, diligent, a hearer of the word, though not in society. We shall keep her, to keep up the fires, to keep the windows open,
and to lie in the beds. When you come, you will do as you like.
“Give our love to dearest Mrs. Vigor, and her sisters, and her blessed, disconsolate friend. I nothing doubt our meeting again, unless I escape first.
“Morse will take care of the harpsichord; but who of the cat? If you cannot leave him in safe hands, Prudence must bring him up in a cage ; and if I finish my course here, I may bequeath him to Miss Derby.
"I am stepping into the pulpit. The Lord bless and prosper you and yours in all things ! ”
When Mr. Charles Wesley was settled with his family in London, he served the congregations and societies there with great efficiency, and cherished that spirit of prayer by which he had been distinguished from the time when he obtained the peace and holiness which are consequent upon a vital faith in Christ. There were seasons in which he was drawn out in intercession in behalf of particular friends, especially at the Lord's table. A singular instance of this occurred in the year 1772. He remembered the arduous controversy in
which Mr. Fletcher was engaged, and one Sunday commended him with deep feeling to the especial care and blessing of God. He afterwards mentioned the subject in a letter to Mr. Fletcher, from whom he received the following remarkable answer :
“ July 5th, 1772. I thank you for the letters you have lately sent me. Your loving directions are seasonable. You asked me in one of them, how I found myself the Sunday before. Your question surprised me so much the more, as I had spent some time that day in wondering how I was inwardly loosed, and how prayer and praise came from a much greater depth than usual in my heart; which, glory be to God, hath in general remained with me ever since, together with greater openings of love, and clearer views of Christian simplicity and liberty. I thought I was merely indebted to the Lord's love for this enlargement; but I am still more thankful that He would have my gratitude pass through the channel of brotherly love, by which his bounty came down to me. I desire, then, you will add thanksgiving to prayer.”
Mr. Charles Wesley's friendship for his brother was tender and inviolable. Nothing could separate them in affection. They differed in their views respecting the Church, and on other questions ; but, to the end of their lives, their mutual love was constant and unimpaired. In the summer of 1775, Charles's submission to the divine will was put to the severest test by an illness of his brother, from which his recovery was extremely doubtful. Mr. John Wesley was travelling in the north of Ireland, when he was seized with a fever of a very dangerous kind. His tongue was much swollen, and as black as a coal. He was convulsed all over; and for some time his heart did not beat perceptibly, nor was his pulse discernible. Mr. Joseph Bradford, his faithful friend and travelling companion, addressed the following letter to Charles, apprizing him of his brother's situation :
“ July 19th, 1775. Rev. and very dear Sir, I suppose you have received my letter, dated the 16th, in which I informed you of your brother's sickness. From the time I wrote he has continued very ill. On Saturday morning, with much entreaty, he was prevailed with to call in a Physician. The medicines which he proposed gave present ease,
and I was in hopes he would have soon recovered. In the afternoon he grew much worse, and continued so all night. About three yesterday morning he appeared to be in the agonies of death. I think his pulse beat at least one hundred and thirty times in a minute, his flesh was like fire, and he was convulsed from head to foot. But blessed be God, that He hath continued him so long, and endued his servant with much patience to suffer. What will be the event, God only knows. I fear. I think the fever is not so violent; but he continues very ill.
“Yesterday we left Tanderagee, and came to Mr. Grier's, about a mile from Lisburn. The family are Methodists, and live in as handsome a manner as any in the kingdom, and hav an estate which brings in some hundreds annually to support it. The people are friendly, and with pleasure provide all things necessary. Here he is to stay until the Lord is pleased to restore him, which I hope will be soon. Mr. Wesley is very happy and composed under this afflictive providence. He has no choice either to live or die, but with submission to the divine will. Yesterday morning one of our sisters, not knowing that he was ill, came from Armagh to Tanderagee, to hear him preach. He, seeing her come into the room, said, Sister Russell came to hear me preach, but did not think she should come to see me die. The Lord does all things well.'
“When I informed your brother that I was writing to you, he desired me to send his love, and to tell you that he gains no ground, but is of opinion that when the fever is turned, he shall recover rapidly. The Lord hasten the time! A word of advice from you would be thankfully received."
In this very trying emergency the public sympathy was strongly excited; for scarcely any person seems to have expected Mr. Wesley's recovery. The newspapers announced that he was dead. Under this impression the Vicar of Shoreham wrote a letter of condolence to Charles ; but hearing that Mr. Wesley was better, he forbore to send it. Mr. Fletcher
more prompt. He knew the unsettled state of the Methodist societies, for whose preservation no adequate provision was made in the event of Mr. Wesley's death, and endeavoured to rouse Charles to a sense of his responsibility, that he might take his brother's place; advising that the
senior Preachers should be convened together in London, and
Madeley, July 2d, 1775. My very dear Brother,—The same post which brought me yours, brought me a letter from Ireland, informing me of the danger of your dear brother, my dear father, and of his being very happy in, and resigned to, the will of God. What can you and I do? What, but stand still, and see the salvation of God? The nations are before Him but as the dust that cleaves to a balance; and the greatest instruments have been removed. Abraham is dead; the fathers are dead; and if John come first to the sepulchre, you and I will soon descend into it. The brightest, the most burning and shining lights, like the Baptist, Mr. Whitefield, and your brother, were kindled to make the people rejoice in them for a season,' says our Lord. *For a season. The expression is worth our notice. It is just as if our Lord had said, 'I give you inferior lights, that ye may rejoice in them for a season. But I reserve to myself the glory of shining for ever. The most burning lights shall fail on earth ; but I, your Sun, will shine to all eternity.'
“Come, my dear brother, let the danger of our lights make us look to our Sun more steadily: and should God quench the light of our Jerusalem below, let us rejoice that it is to make it burn brighter in the Jerusalem which is above; and let us triumph in the inextinguishable light of our Sun, in the impenetrable strength of our Shield, and in the immovableness of our Rock.
“Amidst my concern for the church in general, and for Mr. Wesley's societies in particular, I cannot but acknowledge the goodness of God, in so wonderfully keeping him for so many years, and in preserving him to undergo such labours as would have killed you and me ten times over, had we run the same heats of laborious usefulness. The Lord may yet hear prayer, and add a span to his useful life. But forasmuch as the immortality of the body does not belong to this state, and he has fulfilled the ordinary term of human life, in
hoping the best, we must prepare ourselves for the worst. The God of all grace and power will strengthen you on the occasion. Should your brother fail on earth, you are called not only to bear up under the loss of so near a relative; but, for the sake of your common children in the Lord, you should endeavour to fill up the gap, according to your strength. The Methodists will not expect from you your brother's labours; but they have, I think, a right to expect that you will preside over them while God spares you in the land of the living. A Committee of the oldest and steadiest Preachers may help you to bear the burden, and to keep up a proper discipline, both among the people and the rest of the Preachers : and if at any time you should want my mite of assistance, I hope I shall throw it into the treasury with the simplicity and readiness of the poor widow, who cheerfully offered her next to nothing. Do not faint. The Lord God of Israel will give you additional strength for the day; and his angels, yea, his praying people, will bear you up in their hands, that you hurt not your foot against a stone; yea, that, if need be, you may leap over a wall. I am by this time grey-headed, as well as you; and some of my parishioners tell me that the inroads of time are uncommonly visible upon my face. Indeed I feel as well as see it myself, and learn what only time, trials, and experience can teach. Should your brother be called to his reward, I would not be free to go to London till
and the Preachers had settled all matters. My going just at such a time would carry the appearance of vanity, which I abhor. It would seem as if I wanted to be somebody among the Methodists. We heartily join here the prayers of the brethren for your brother, for you, and the societies. Paper fails, not love. Be careful for nothing. Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. Farewell in Christ.”
By the merciful interposition of divine Providence, the threatening calamity was averted. Mr. Charles Wesley was not compelled to assume the government of the societies, under the pressure of which he would have inevitably sunk. His brother soon recovered, so as to be able to resume his labours ; and a few years afterwards he was led to make such legal provision for the perpetuity of the Connexion, as has been a means of its preservation and prosperity to the present day. When the danger was passed away, the venerable