« ZurückWeiter »
Wesley excelled in Controversy. Few have equalled him either in logical skill, or in moderation and a Christian temper* His oponents could not depart from the question, shift the terms, or use any fallacy, but he readily perceived and exposed it. And as he was attacked from every quarter, there is scarcely any point of divinity which he has not illustrated or confirmed in these occasional publications. His Tracts against Absolute, Unconditional Predestination are well known, and have been the means of convincing many of the error of that hypothesis, and of establishing them in the doctrine of General Redemption, and other topics connected therewith. Of these Tracts, that termed « Predestination Calmly Considered,” is certainly of distinguished excellence. “ It is a model of controversy," says a writer of his Life, who cannot be suspected of partiality, “ clear and cogent; concise and argumentative; and the more convincing, because the spirit in which it is written is as amiable as the reasoning is unanswerable. Perhaps there is not in the English language, a Treatise which contains, in so small a compass, so full and masterly a refutation of the principle he opposes."
His Journal, which, after a concise account of his family and the early part of his life, we first present to our Readers, will, we doubt not, be peculiarly interesting to them. It contains perhaps the best History of his Life and Labours, with the success attending them, which has yet appeared. It is written with great simplicity and clearness, and is an excellent model for that species of writing. It is as entertaining as it is instructive, and cannot fail to please and profit almost every description of persons into whose hands it falls. Although many Editions of the sundry Numbers which it comprises have been sold, the demand for them still continues, and, - no doubt, will continue for ages to
Upon the whole, to use the words of a writer already quoted, “ If usefulness be excellence; if public good ought to be the chief object of attention in public characters; and if the greatest benefactors to mankind are the most estimable, Mr. Wesley will be long remembered as one of the best of writers, as well as of men, as he was for more than fifty years the most diligent and indefatigable."
But excellent as the works of this eminent writer and most laborious servant of God are, his friends have long had to complain that no uniform and elegant Edition of them could be obtained. Indeed no such Edition had been printed. Many of his writings, like those of the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, before the late Edition in Octavo appeared, had only been published in mere Pamphlets, on very indifferent paper, and with a small type, in order to suit the convenience of such Readers as had not much money to spare for the purchase of books. If it be objected, that an Edition of his Works, prepared by himself, was published near forty years ago in thirty-two volumes, we answer, that impression neither did nor could contain the Sermons, Tracts, and sundry Numbers of his Journal, which were not then composed ; and being only in Duodecimo, and but indifferently executed, it is by no means such a Work as Mr. Wesley's friends wish to have put into their hands. Besides, while it does not comprehend many of his own original Writings, it includes not a few composed by other Authors, and only abridged or extracted by him, which, however illustrative of his views of the doctrines and duties of Christianity, and well worthy of the attentive considertion of every Reader, cannot with propriety be termed the Works of Mr. Wes
and certainly ought not to be comprehended in what is held forth to the public as an Edition merely of his Works. Add to all this, that the impression in thirty-two volumes
has long been out of print, and except that a few odd volumes of it are occasionally to be met with, is, we believe, not to be procured from any bookseller in the Kingdom. The last General Conference, therefore, of the people called Methodists, having taken all these things into consideration, together with the requests of many individuals in different parts of the United Kingdom, have ordered the present Octavo Edition to be prepared for the Press, and published with all convenient speed; and it is not doubted but it will fully answer the expectations of all who respect Mr. Wesley's memory, while it gives satisfaction to the Subscribers in general.
New Chapel, City-Road,?
London, May 8, 1809.
Joseph Benson, Editor,
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
OF HIS FAMILY AND THE EARLY PART OF HIS Life.
SECTION 1, Of his Father the Rev. Samuel Wes-
His Embarking for Georgia, and his Employment
His leaving Hernhuth and the Occurrences of his
Preaches to Multitudes in different parts of Kings-