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ON MRS. HORTON, 1786.
A meek and lowly follower of the Lamb,
The epitaph which is placed upon his own tombstone was written by him for that of his friend Mr. Latrobe, the Moravian Minister.
The soul of Mr. Charles Wesley was formed for friendship. He possessed such a frankness of disposition, combined with such warmth of affection, and integrity of purpose, as at once commanded the esteem and love of all who were likeminded. His sympathies were deep and tender; so that his friendship was felt to be of inestimable value, especially in seasons of affliction, when help is the most needed. indeed - a brother born for” the benefit of those who are in “adversity,” and possessed great power to soothe and cheer. The pain and sickness in which much of his life was spent, the successive deaths of five children, added to the natural and gracious tenderness of his heart, enabled him so to enter into the views and feelings of the sorrowful, that they were at once strengthened and encouraged, and blessed God for the consolation of which he made his servant the instrument.
His personal intercourse with his pious friends was indeed interrupted by death; but his affection for them, after they had entered into the celestial paradise, was still cordially cherished. Of the reality and nearness of the spiritual world, and of the certain blessedness of those who die in the Lord, he had a perfect conviction; and many times, when his friends died, his spirit struggled to get free from the fleshly burden, and accompany them in their flight to the heavenly world. When they had entered into rest, their spirits seemed still to be near, and to converse with him thought to thought, and feeling to feeling. To this solemnly-interesting subject he often refers in his poetry; and the following beautiful hymn, which he left among his papers, fully expresses his views concerning it. It is entitled, “Commu
was we are
nion with a Saint departed.” Who the "saint”
Ah! my dear, departed friend,
Can I cease remembering thee?
With the life of misery?
Dead to all thou lovedst before,
Shall I clasp thy soul no more ?
Wherefore, when we met below,
Struck with sympathy divine,
Flew my soul to mix with thine?
Such as burns in those above ;
Heavenly, everlasting love.
Wing'd with infinite desire,
Wherefore doth my soul remain,
If we ne'er must meet again?
Once so intimately dear,
None on earth is half so near.
Could the greedy grave devour
One whom I this moment feel,
To that world invisible?
Live her life which never dies :
Draws me after to the skies !
A similar feeling towards him was indulged by many when he had entered into rest. Several years after his death his memory was cherished by his friends with the strongest affection.
His friendship for his brother was inviolable. It was so when, “ being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness," they vainly endeavoured to obtain purity of heart before they were justified. Their regard for each other assumed a higher character when, through a faith of the operation of God, they “received the atonement,” and the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, filling them with peace and joy, subduing the otherwise unconquerable evils of their nature, and inspiring them with all holy and benevolent affections. From that period they were indeed
“True yoke-fellows by love compellid
To labour in the Gospel field ;”
and nothing could dissolve their oneness of heart.
As they advanced in their work, they entertained different views, not of its nature, but of the manner in which it should be carried on, and the objects to which it should be directed. Both of them had the fullest conviction that the revival of religion which they everywhere witnessed was the work of God; for no human power could make thousands of ignorant, miserable, and ungodly people permanently wise, and holy, and happy. Their spiritual children, both in life and death, exhibited all the characteristics of apostolical Christianity. Charles was anxious that this revival of religion should be conducted in subserviency to the Church of England, in which he thought it would ultimately merge.
John was mainly intent upon extending it to the utmost possible limit, both at home and abroad, leaving its connexion with the Church to be determined by providential circumstances. He believed that men might be saved out of the Church of England ; but he knew that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” His ordinations, therefore, and the favour which he showed to the Preachers and people who refused to attend the Church service, gave Charles exquisite pain, but diminished not his affection. He himself animadverted upon some of John's acts; but he would allow no other person to censure him. He refused to write an epitaph on Mr. Hervey, whose “ Eleven Letters” contain many violations of candour and truth; thinking it enough for him, as the “brother” of the injured man, to "forgive” the wrong that had been done. Lady Huntingdon attempted to alienate him from his brother, by telling him, in a private letter, that John was a teacher of “heresy” and “Popery ;” but, deeply as he was indebted to her kindness, he rebuked her for her unseemly
bigotry, and declared that death itself should never separate him from the brother of his heart. He was linked to him by no selfish feeling, or mere instinct of nature, but by the “ love that never faileth ;” and his generous friendship was returned by his brother with equal fidelity and warmth.
In the various domestic relations the conduct of Mr. Charles Wesley was most exemplary. His filial reverence and affection towards both his parents were as profound as they were justly merited. Towards both his brothers, and all his sisters, he was an example of fraternal kindness. They witnessed through life his readiness to serve them as much as lay in his power. What he was as a husband the preceding narrative declares. To his wife he disclosed the secrets of his heart, with perfect confidence and unreserve; and in her society he sought for solace when troubled with the affairs of the world and the church. His concern for her comfort, his sympathy with her in affliction, and, above all, his pious solicitude for her spiritual improvement, are attested in the whole of his correspondence with her, of which many specimens have been given. Several of his hymns were originally written for her use and benefit. They were acts of supplication in times of necessity and sorrow; of resignation under bereavements; or of adoring gratitude for divine mercies. He received her as a gift from God; he regarded her as his best earthly friend ; and he ever treated her as an heir with himself of eternal life. Often did he remind her, that the most import, ant end of their union was their mutual improvement in personal holiness; and most assiduously did he labour to bring her into increasing union with Christ, their living Head. In a letter which he addressed to her when he felt his strength decay, he says, “My best of Friends,- I am going the way of all the earth; and what shall I do for you before we part? I can only pray, and very imperfectly, that the providential end of our meeting may be answered upon you in both worlds. You married me, that you might be holier and happier to all eternity. If you have received less spiritual good than you expected, it is chiefly my fault. I have not set you the pattern I ought. For the same reason, I have been of so little use to my children. But it is too late to attempt it now. My night cometh, or rather is come.
. I leave you to the God of all grace, who is ready to supply all
your wants. Time fails me for the rest. I may have another opportunity ; I may not. The Lord be yours and your children's portion !” Such were the humbling views which this Christian husband and parent entertained concerning himself!
He doubtless fell into an error in bringing up both his sons are despression to the musical profession. But he was led to this decision by the strong bias of their minds, and the superior genius which they discovered in composition and performance. There are few fathers, it is presumed, who could, under the same circumstances, have come to a different determination. All the world admired the powers of his precocious boys. Royalty itself was charmed into admiration; and old musicians wept for joy when they heard the organ, under the plastic touch of the young Wesleys, express every variation and combination of sound. His children were accustomed, to the end of their lives, to speak of him as the kindest and best of fathers. That he knew the true theory of domestic government is obvious from his hymns on that subject, and if in anything he failed, as the head of a family, it was in the maintenance of his just authority.
Yet he would not suffer his son ? Samuel to attend the theatres ; nor would he tolerate in
any member of his family what he deemed offensive in the sight of God. His children were mostly educated by himself; and the letters which he addressed to them when they were from home, many of which have been preserved, express the tenderness of his love, and his yearning desire for their salvation.
Mrs. Susanna Wesley is well known to have disapproved of the Revolution of 1688. Yet none of her sons inherited her views. Her son Samuel was a stanch Tory, but not a Jacobite; and men more loyal to the House of Brunswick than were her sons John and Charles never existed. All their influence through life they exerted on the side of the Protestant monarchy, which at some periods was in considerable danger. Both of them freely used the press in behalf of the Brunswick dynasty, whose mild and equal sway has conferred upon
the nation the most substantial benefits. Democracy, whatever name it may assume, Mr. Charles Wesley could not endure. Of the incendiary Wilkes, and the men who led the way in the American war, he speaks in language