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REV. JOHN WESLEY:
IN TEN VOLUMES.
AN ACCOUNT OF HIS FAMILY; OF HIS EDUCATION IN THE EARLY PART
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.
PUBLISHED BY D. & S. NEALL, AND W. S. STOCKTON.
PRINTED ON THE VERTICAL PRESS, BY D. & S. NEALL,
THE want of a complete and uniform Edition of the WORKS of the REV. JOHN WESLEY, has long been deplored by a considerable portion of the religious Public. The need complained of may now be supplied, as this Edition is a reprint of the London " Octavo Edition, prepared and Published by Authority of the British General Conference of the People called Methodists."-See the English Editor's Preface, p. 9.
The British Conference in their Annual Address for 1825, invite the attention of their Brethren to the important fact, "That the introduction of Books into their families, is the same thing as the introduction of companions into their societies."-"In this view (continues the Address) you will never, we trust, forget the eminent character of the Writings of our illustrious Founder, which we again recommend to you for your daily companions, as more clearly than any other human compositions, unfolding the scriptural doctrine of salvation; and, as connecting the evangelical system of pure and perfect morals, and its spirit of meekness and love, with the life of faith in the divine atonement ;-subjects which, in other writings, in many respects excellent, are too often disjoined, or imperfectly stated."
As the first in order, of these Works, is the Journal, and as the English Editor has said but little respecting it, a few additional observations in this place, may be allowable. In his Journal, MR. WESLEY is, confessedly, his own best Biographer. All other histories of him, and of that great revival of religion in which he was the chief instrument, are, of necessity, more or less imperfect. Volumes were required to detail the principal occurrences of nearly sixty-five years of unremitted, if not unexampled, labours, trials, sacrifices, persecutions, and achievements: And with a continually "single eye," to the glory of God and the good of man, MR. WESLEY wrote volumes for this very purpose. Here the Reader may at his leisure, trace the progress of truth, on the mind of one of the most extraordinary men that has for a long time appeared on the stage of human life, from the first faint glimpse of its beams, like those of the morning spread upon the mountains,' through all its ascending gradations to mid-day splendour-this is one of the most delightful and instructive exercises in which the human intellect can possibly be
engaged. In this view, the Journal is replete with attractions: And there is another view in which these volumes are scarcely to be paralleled, if there are any others worthy to be compared with them. MR. WESLEY'S Biography, throughout, connects itself with the history of the church, and in this respect not only eminently tends to an enlargement of mental vision, but at the same time strengthens the habit of a close and investigating observation of the works and ways of God. For these reasons, his Journal has ever been esteemed as the best history of him, and as forming the most authentic and comprehensive record of the rise and progress of Methodism, that has ever been published; and the remarks of the Writer on a great variety of subjects, which came under his notice in the course of his travels, render it one of the most interesting publications in the English language.
These considerations alone are sufficient to affix the highest value on MR. WESLEY's Journal; an observation of one of his Biogra phers, not greatly prejudiced in his favor, may, however, be added:
"The history of men who have been prime agents in those great moral and intellectual revolutions, which from time to time take place among mankind, is not less important than that of statesmen and conquerors-and there may come a time when the name of WESLEY will be more generally known, and in remoter regions of the globe, than those of Kings and Czarinas. For the works of such men survive them, and continue to operate, when nothing remains of worldly ambition but the memory of its vanity and guilt."*
"But who can produce an intelligible theory which shall account for some of those mysterious relations, in the Journal, regarding the invisible world?" The Objector will please to observe that MR. WESLEY never identified any of these things with christianity. He continually declares the contrary. He merely relates what he conceived to rest on credible testimony; leaving every one to believe or not, without any offence to him. In the language of an eminent writer, it may be asked, if "From the testimony of credible witnesses we do not derive our information upon every subject, with which we have not either a demonstrative, or intuitive, or an experimental acquaintance? And shall we invalidate this evidence for the purpose of weakening even a collateral proof of the reality of things unseen? To the believer in Scriptural Revelation,-to the Christian,-these occasional disclosures of the certainty and of the nearness of the spiritual world are neither strange nor terrible. He feels himself beneath the
* Southey's "Life of Wesley."-Vol. 1, p. 135.