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unruly parishioners, and having suffered great loss through the destruction by fire of his house at Epworth (not without suspicion of treachery from the wild fenmen in his parish), he was committed for a time to Lincoln gaold.

The three sons received their education at public schools, and at Christ Church, Oxford, Samuel, the eldest (1692—1739), was educated at Westminster, and became a Student of Christ Churche; John, the second (1703-1791), who was eleven years younger than Samuel, went to the Charterhouse, whence he proceeded, when he was seventeen years of age, to Christ Church, Oxford. Here we are told his favourite studies were the De Imitatione Christi, Jeremy Taylor's “Holy Living and Dying,” and above all Law's “Serious Call," (to which book he attributed the revival which bore his name). Having been ordained Deacon by Dr. Potter, Bishop of Oxford, he

From this fire John Wesley was, just before the roof fell in, almost miraculously rescued.

• He was for nearly twenty years Under Master at Westminster, and became Head Master of Blundell's School, Tiverton. He was a High Churchman, and was said to be a Jacobite; but John Wesley said, "he was no more a Jacobite than he was a Turk.”

John Wesley became personally acquainted with William Law about 1729, when the latter was a tutor in the family of Gibbon the Historian. To the “Serious Call” Dr. Johnson attributes his first religious impressions, and even Gibbon admitted that “if it found a spark of piety in the reader's mind, it would soon kindle it to a flame."

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was in 1726 elected a Fellow of Lincoln College 5, not, however, without some opposition on account of the seriousness of life which had produced much banter and ridicule in the University.

Charles Wesley (1708—1788) was, in 1721, elected on the foundation at Westminster, and in 1726, shortly after his brother John had gained his Fellowship, proceeded on a Westminster Studentship to Christ Church, Oxford, and in due course of time received Holy Orders.

We must now give some account of another person who bore a part in the Methodist movement, second only to that of John Wesley. George Whitfield (1714-1770) was born at the Bell Inn, Gloucester, of which his father was landlord; but the management of which, when George was only two years old, devolved upon his mother. His mother kept him as much as possible from the business of the tavern, but he tells us himself he “ was froward from his mother's womb;" he was frequently exposed, and not unfrequently succumbed, to temptation, and in his early years a curious conflict of good and evil seemed to wrestle for the formation of his character. He emptied his mother's till, but it was in order to give money to the poor ; he stole his mother's books, but they were books of devotion.

& This was a great joy to his father in his poverty : “I can bear any other disappointment," he said, "for Jack is Fellow of Lincoln."

He tells as that in his early years he was “addicted to lying, filthy talking, and foolish jesting ;” “a Sabbath-breaker, a theatre-goer, a card-player, and a romance-reader.” He was sent to the grammarschool of St. Mary-le-Crypt, Gloucester, where his chief delight was the study of the dramatic writers, composing plays, and representing characters (in which he greatly excelled); and soon wearying of his school studies, he returned to his mother's tavern, where, he says, “I put on my blue apron and my snuffers ", washed

mops,

cleansed rooms, and in one word became professed and common drawer for nigh a year and a half;" finding, however, time for reading Ken's “Manual for Winchester Scholars," and the De Imitatione Christi.

After he had been a year in this servile occupation, his mother, who had contracted a second marriage, made over the Bell Inn to her married son, and George, not agreeing with his sister-in-law, left the inn and took up his residence with his mother. She was very poor, and in great straits to know what to do with him, when a Servitor of Pembroke College, Oxford, chanced to call upon her, told her what his College expenses were, and how, after they were all paid, he remained in possession of one penny. To Oxford George was sent at the age of eighteen, and ten pounds for his entrance expenses being found by a friend, he was, in 1732, admitted as a Servitor at Pembroke, just a year after Samuel Johnson was forced by poverty to leave the same College.

* Probably “scoggers," as the sleeves worn by domestics are called in some parts of England.--Southey's Life of Wesley, i So many lives of John Wesley, and so many accounts of the Methodist movement have been written, and are easily accessible to the public, that it is not thought necessary to describe the minute details of its organization.

At Oxford George Whitfield practised great selfdenial and mortification. He would walk in Christ Church Meadows on a stormy night, prostrate himself on the ground, fast during Lent; "he would expose himself to the cold till his hands began to blacken, and so emaciated his body through abstinence as to scarcely be able to creep upstairs to his rooms," and for seven weeks he laboured under a dangerous illness.

We have now before us the three principal agents in that Methodist movement which forms so prominent a feature in the eighteenth century. It is, however, with John Wesley and Wesleyan Methodism that we are chiefly concerned, and we shall content ourselves in this chapter by giving such a general outline of the movement, as shall exhibit John Wesley in his real character—from first to last a staunch, if a somewhat inconsistent, Churchman, who meant the Society which bears his name to be not antagonistic, but ancillary, to the Church of Englandi.

Soon after his Ordination, John Wesley became his father's Curate at Wroth for two years, and it was during this time that his brother Charles gathered together a small society of like-minded men with himself, at first for the study of the Classics, but soon afterwards for the purpose of religious improvement, for prayer and religious study, especially that of the Greek Testament. This little society consisted of himself, Morgan of Christ Church ķ and Kirkham of Merton, to whom were afterwards added Hervey of Lincoln, Gambold, a Servitor of Christ Church m, Clayton, a Hulme Exhibitioner of Brasenose“, Whitfield of Pembroke, and several others. They bound themselves (after the manner of the earlier Religious Societies) to live by rule ; to abstain from the prevalent amusements and luxuries of the University ; to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, and throughout Lent; to receive the Holy Eucharist every week at St. Mary's; and to visit the prisoners in the gaol and the poor in the workhouse. The greatest prudence in such an age, when laxity of opinions and infidelity so widely prevailed, could hardly fail to draw towards them the attention and ridicule of the University. They were what in

k He died in 1732.
· Author of “Theron and Aspasio.”

m Presented in 1739 by Dr. Secker, Bishop of Oxford, to the Living of Stanton Harcourt; in 1742 he joined the Moravians, and in 1754 became a Moravian “Bishop.”

Afterwards a zealous High Churchman.

D

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