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nearer relation to him, and whose pious integrity he had
It is at once instructive and gratifying to find, that while
He was not merely the gratified
“ Nov. 23d. Dear Sir,—The joy I felt at seeing you on
you do not know; but to stir up your mind by way 941 of remembrance, and exhort both you and myself :
Of little life the best to make,
And manage wisely the last stake.'
“Him hath God exalted to give both repentance and
“The true repentance is better felt than described. It surely implies a troubled and wounded spirit, a broken and contrite heart. It is what the publican felt, when he could only cry, 'God be merciful to me, a sinner;' what Peter felt when Jesus turned and looked on him; and what the trembling jailer felt when he asked, 'What must I do to be saved ?'
“ By this brokenness of heart our Saviour prepares us for divine faith, and present pardon sealed upon the heart in PEACE which passes all understanding; in joy unspeakable, and full of glory; and in love which casts out the love of sin, especially our bosom sin, our ruling passion, whether the love of pleasure, of praise, or of money.
“Now, my dear Sir, this meetness for heaven is what I must earnestly wish you and myself, even repentance, faith, Sizes and love. And all things are now ready for you. One look of Jesus Christ can break your heart this moment, and bind it up by faith and pardoning love. One day is with Him as a thousand years : and He is still the Man who receiveth sinners, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
“I will pardon those whom I reserve,' is his promise; and for this gracious end He has reserved you, and has held your soul in life for above seventy years. For this end He has delivered you in innumerable evils ; blessed you with innumerable blessings; and for this end, I humbly hope, his providence brought you acquainted with, dear Sir, “ The faithful servant and friend of
soul.” Mr. Charles Wesley did not confine his regards merely to professional men, and such as might consider themselves his equals. The Earl of Mornington shared in his kind and Christian concern.
He addressed to that nobleman a letter of spiritual advice, to which he received the following answer. Every document that casts light upon the history of the Wellesley family must be interesting to Englishmen. This letter shows that the father of the Duke of Wellington was a sincere believer in the Gospel, and had a deep sense of the fear of God. While he admired the musical genius of the two younger Wesleys, he set a high value upon the friendship of their devout father, which he regarded as an advantage conferred upon him by divine Providence. The letter is indorsed by Mr. Charles Wesley, “Serious Lord Mornington.”
“Duke-street, Portland-square, Sept. 9th, 1778. I should have much sooner acknowledged the receipt of my dear and worthy friend's kind letter, had I not been much engaged in business, occasioned by the perplexed state of affairs in Ireland. I entirely agree with you, that there was something very singular and uncommon in the manner by which we were made acquainted with each other; and the more I consider it, the more I am persuaded that there was the interposition of a superior power to that of man in it. I can with truth say that I esteem the commencement of your acquaintance as one of the happiest moments of my life; and hope, with the blessing of God, to merit in some degree the too partial opinion I am afraid you have conceived of me.
“Indeed you do me but justice in believing me to be a servant of God, though a most unworthy one; and if I can plead the smallest degree of merit, it is that I have a true sense of my own unworthiness. Blessed with a most upright and religious parent in my father, (for my mother died when I was four years of age, I was early instructed in my duty to God; and as I never associated with the idle, but have always lived a domestic life, I have escaped some snares that might otherwise have fallen in my way. My faith in Christ, his own words and works, as delivered in the holy Gospels, has from my earliest years been so strong, that I never would enter into the reading of controversial books. I did not want to be converted to what I most firmly believe. All I pray for is, to be made more perfect in the true faith and knowledge of my Saviour, by whose merits alone I can hope for the pardon of my sins. It is a very easy matter to be a good Christian ; as He says himself, and assigns the reason: for his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. I have in truth, my revered friend, a most lively faith, and so strong an assurance that it is my own fault if I am not eternally happy, that it is impossible for me to find words to express myself.
“I am one of few words. I never talk upon religion but in my own family; and here I can say with Joshua, that I and house will serve the Lord. For one in the rank of life to which I am called by Providence, I have always been remarkably retired, as I always wished to be as much master of myself and my actions as possible : therefore I never was, or ever shall be, a good courtier.
"After saying so much about myself, it is time to come to that part of your letter where you mention your ideas as to my two young friends. I think you are perfectly right in changing your design of having them introduced to a certain musical gentleman, which I agree with you would not answer. Keep them up a little longer. Their merit will make its own way upon so much the surer footing, as it is independent. I hope you will live to see it; and though you have been called out of your retirement back into a world you wished to keep clear of, yet you have the satisfaction of finding that the world is obliged to come to you, and not you go to them. I hope I need not take any pains to assure you how much I am interested in their success in life, and how truly happy I shall be to render my young friends those services they so justly merit. I look upon myself, in the contracted state I am in here, as doing a kind of penance : but though it be very irksome at present, yet it comes to the reward of a consciousness that I am doing justice to my neighbour, and a firm persuasion that, with God's assistance and blessing on my honest intentions, my latter days will be, like Job's, better than my first. I pray God bless you, and send you all happiness here and hereafter.”
The Earl of Mornington died in less than three years after writing this letter. The phraseology is not in every instance such as persons of enlightened and established piety would use, but the spirit of it is admirable. The noble Earl enjoyed his property in consequence of Charles Wesley's refusal to accept it; and there is reason to believe that the Methodist Clergyman, at this period of his life, was a means of conferring upon his Lordship a blessing of far richer value. A spirit so meek and teachable as the letter indicates, was prepared to receive those lessons of evangelical instruction which no man was better qualified to give than the Reverend friend to whom the letter was addressed.
Mr. John Wesley, who tenderly loved his brother's children, did not entertain so favourable an opinion of their musical exhibitions as did their more partial father. Writing to John, after the first concert was finished, Charles says, “I am clear, without a doubt, that my sons' concert is after the will and order of Providence. It has established them as musicians, and in a safe and honourable way. The Bishop
has since sent us word, that he has never heard any music he
“Here is a musical child from Norwich, whom Sam
Mr. John Wesley published this letter in the Arminian Magazine, but with a caveat against his brother's opinion, that the concerts were in the “ order of Providence.” On that point Charles was “clear without doubt.” John declared himself to be “clear of another mind.” He probably thought that the professional advantages which his nephews might reap from this display of their talents, would be more than counterbalanced by their exposure to the temptations of the gay world, which they were not prepared, by deep personal piety, to meet and resist. Their temporal interest was perhaps advanced ; but their spiritual dangers were increased.
And yet it is a fact, that neither of the brothers, though their abilities were unquestionable, could ever obtain the patronage which their qualifications authorized them to expect. Dr. Shepherd introduced Charles to George III., with whom he became a great favourite. The King was passionately fond of Handel's music; and as scarcely any man could play it on the organ as could this gifted performer, he received many marks of the royal approbation, George IV., also, whom Charles often declared to be an excellent judge of music, showed him more than common respect. While he was Prince of Wales, he made Charles his private organist ; and after his accession to the throne, he treated him with undiminished kindness and esteem. But in his attempts to obtain official and lucrative appointments Charles was singularly unsuccessful; the name of Wesley, which he had the honour to bear, operating to his disadvantage. He offered himself for the situation of organist at St. James's chapel, at St. Paul's cathedral, at the Charter-house, at