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the present day would be called Ritualists. The men of wit in Christ Church called them Sacramentarians; the Merton men styled them the “Holy Club;” others stigmatized them as the “Godly Club;" other as “the Enthusiasts °;" but the general term applied to them, which survived all others, was “Methodists P."
Nor was it only ridicule that they had to suffer. Whitfield writes: "I daily underwent some contempt from the Collegians. Some have thrown dirt at me; and others took away my pay from me." The Master of Pembroke threatened to expel him if he continued to visit the poor.
Charles Wesley, then, was really the Founder of Methodism. But when in 1727 John Wesley, on being made Tutor of his College, returned to Oxford, the little community, at that time numbering about fifteen, willingly accepted him on account of his age, his character, his learning, his position in the University, as their leader?; and thenceforward he became the life and guiding spirit of the movement.
In 1735 Samuel Wesley, the father, died, and John received the offer of succeeding him at Epworth. But he never once seems to have doubted as to his vocation for mission-work, or to have contemplated settling down in one parish; at a later period of the movement, in a conversation with the Bishop of Bristol, he alluded to his fellowship as affording him a sufficient maintenance, without his being under the necessity of accepting a living. He therefore refused Epworth. In the same year, at the suggestion of Dr. Burton, President of Corpus, who was one of the trustees for Georgia, and William Law, he accepted the appointment as missionary, under the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, in that, the latest founded of the American Colonies, which owed its origin, only two years before, to the philanthropic energy of General Oglethorpe.
• Tyerman, Life of Wesley, p. 9.
p The word was familiar at Epworth ; "the true founder of Methodism was Mrs. Wesley."-Wedgwood's Life of Wesley, p. 48.
9 Just as the later Oxford movement, to which this early movement bears a strong resemblance, for similar reasons accepted the leadership of Dr. Pusey.
Accordingly on October 14, 1735, hemin company with his brother Charles (who went as secretary to Oglethorpe), Mr. Delamotte, a London merchant, and Ingham, who had been one of the little community at Oxford-left England for Georgia, with the double object of ministering to the new settlement, and of evangelizing the neighbouring tribes of Red Indians; to use his own words, “to save souls; to live wholly to the glory of God.”
On board ship he made the acquaintance, and was much impressed with the piety, of some Moravians", going out to join a party of their brethren from Herrnhut, who, under sanction of the British government and the approbation of the English Church, had sailed for Georgia in the preceding year. The colonists of Georgia belonged to many nationalities, and spoke different languages; Wesley worked hard amongst them, and it is not a little to his credit and proof of his ability, that in a short time, in addition to the English services, he was able to conduct also services in French, German, and Italian. But his mission was a lamentable failure ; John Wesley was never a very amiable man, and at this period of his life he certainly was not a discreet man. He tried to revive the ritual and discipline of the Church in a way for which the colonists were not ripe. He divided the Church services; this, however, alone would probably not have caused much disaffection. But he insisted also on Baptism by immersion; on rebaptizing those who had been baptized by Dissenters; and he refused to read the Burial Service over a Dissenter. He was hard and domineering; he was accused of prying into the secrets of every family; all the quarrels which took place in the colony were attributed to his intermeddling; at last a not very creditable law-suit, in which he was the
' A small body of Moravians, or “United Brethren" (Unitas Fratrum) ten in number, under Christian David, a Roman
Catholic of Moravia, first settled in Herrnhut in 1822. Their doctrine was a kind of Pietistic Lutheranism, uniting Lutheran Solifidianism with certain Quietist tenets, and their own addition of convulsive and instantaneous conversion.
defendant, made the place too hot for him; so that after having remained there little more than a year and three months, he left the colony, (his brother Charles, who was equally unpopular, having left before him), shaking off the dust from his feet, and he reached England a few days after Whitfield had left England for Georgia.
Whitfield having taken his degree at Oxford, returned to Gloucester, and although he was only twenty-one years of age, Dr. Benson, the Bishop of the Diocese, who had formed a very high opinion of him, broke through the ordinary rule, and ordained him a Deacon in 1736. Whitfield preached his first sermon in the Church of St. Mary-le-Crypt, Gloucester, in which church he says he “was baptized, and first received the Lord's Supper." He gives us an account of his first sermon : “My heart was enlarged, and on the Sunday morning I preached to a very crowded audience with as much freedom as if I had been a preacher for some years. . . . Some few mocked, but most for the present seemed struck, and I have heard since that a complaint had been made to the Bishop, that I drove fifteen mad by the first sermon. The worthy Prelate, as I am informed, wished that the madness might not be forgotten before next Sunday." In 1737 he began to preach in London, and it was then that he received a letter from John Wesley asking him to go to Georgia. Upon reading the letter, his heart, he said, leaped with joy, and reechoed, as it were, to the call; Bishop Benson approved of the plan, and after preaching to immense congregations at Bristol, where the churches were as full on week-days as they used to be before on Sunday, he set sail on December 23, 1737, but being detained by contrary winds in the Downs, it was not till the end of January that he actually left England, and arrived at Savannah on May 7, 1738.
He remained only a few months at Savannah, but, although he discharged his duties with equal earnestness, he met with none of the vexations that had embittered Wesley's life in the colony. Two reasons necessitated his return to England, the one to take Priest's Orders, the other to raise contributions for an orphan home in the colony; he accordingly embarked for England in September, and after a miserable voyage arrived in England in December, and received Priest's Orders from Dr. Benson,
The unexpected success of Whitfield had excited some jealousy amongst the Clergy in England, and they were not sorry when he had left it to go to Georgia; but no sooner had Whitfield left, than John Wesley arrived in England to take up and to deepen the impression which Whitfield had made. His preaching in London was not more appreciated by the Clergy than Whitfield's had been, and after his first sermon, he was generally told that he must not preach in that church again.