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ver given them more reason to speak against me.' As to the proposal of letting some other person read for her, she thought her husband had not considered what a people they were; not a man among them could read a sermon without spelling a good part of it, and how would that edify the rest? And none of her own family had voices strong enough to be heard by so many.
"While Mrs Wesley thus vindicated herself in a manner which she thought must prove convincing to her husband, as well as to her own calm judgment, the curate of Epworth (a man who seems to have been entitled to very little respect) wrote to Mr Wesley in a very different strain, complaining that a conventicle was held in his house. The name was well chosen to alarm so high a churchman; and his second let ter declared a decided disapprobation of these meetings, to which he had made no serious objections before. She did not reply to this till some days had elapsed, for she deemed it necessary that both should take some time to consider before her husband finally determined in a matter which she felt to be of great importance. She expressed her astonishment that any effect upon his opinions, much more any change in them, should be produced by the senseless clamour of two or three of the worst in his parish; and she represented to him the good which had been done, by inducing a much more frequent and regular attendance at church, and reforming the general habits of the people, and the evil which would result from discontinuing such meetings, especially by the prejudices which it would excite against the curate, in those persons who were sensible that they derived benefit from the religious opportunities, which would thus be taken a way through his interference. After stat ing these things clearly and judiciously, she concluded thus, in reference to her own duty as a wife: If you do, after all, think fit to dissolve this assembly, do not tell me that you desire me to do it, for that will not satisfy my conscience; but send me your positive command, in such full and express terms as may absolve me from guilt and punishment for neglecting this opportunity of doing good, when you and I shall appear before the great and awful tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
"Mr Wesley made no farther objections; and, thoroughly respecting as he did the principles and the understanding of his wife, he was perhaps ashamed that the representations of meaner minds should have prejudiced him against her conduct.
"John and Charles were at this time under their mother's care: she devoted such a proportion of time as she could afford to discourse with each child by itself on one night of the week, upon the duties
and the hopes of Christianity; and it may well be believed that these circumstances of their childhood had no inconsiderable influence upon their proceedings when they became the founders and directors of a new community of Christians. John's providential deliverance from the fire had profoundly impressed his mother, as it did himself, throughout the whole of his after life. Among the private meditations which were found among her papers, was one written out long after that event, in which she expressed in prayer her intention to be more particularly careful of the soul of this child, which God had so mercifully provided for, that she might instil into him the principles of true religion and virtue ;— Lord,' she said, give me grace to do it sincerely and prudently, and bless my attempts with good success.' The peculiar care which was thus taken of his religious education, the habitual and fervent piety of both his parents, and his own surprising preservation, at an age when he was perfectly capable of remembering all the circumstances, combined to foster in the child that disposition which afterwards developed itself with such force, and produced such important effects.
"Talents of no ordinary kind, as well as a devotional temper, were hereditary in this remarkable family. Samuel, the elder brother, who was eleven years older than John, could not speak at all till he was more than four years old, and consequently was thought to be deficient in his facul. ties; but it seems as if the child had been laying up stores in secret till that time, for one day when some question was proposed to another person concerning him, he auswered it himself in a manner which astonished all who heard him, and from that hour he continued to speak without difficulty. He distinguished himself first at Westminster, and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford, by his classical attainments. From Christ Church he returned to Westminster as an usher, and then took orders, under the patronage of Atterbury. But he regarded Atterbury more as a friend than a patron, and, holding the same political opinions, he attracted the resentment of the ministers, by assailing them with epigrams and satires. when the situation of under-master became vacant, and he was proposed as a man eminently qualified to fill it, by experience, ability, and character, the appointment was refused, upon the irrelevant objection that he was a married man. Charles was placed under him at Westminster, and, going through the college in like manner, was also elected to Christ Church. John was educated at the Charter-house.'
On this account,
Vol. I. pp. 15-21.
"John suffered at the Charter-house under the tyranny which the elder boys were
this kind more painful than the last; but Wesley seems never to have looked back with melancholy upon the days that were gone; earthly regrets of this kind could find no room in one who was continually pressing onward to the goal.
"At the age of seventeen he was removed from the Charter-house to Christ Church, Oxford." Vol. I. pp. 27-29.
permitted to exercise. This evil at one time existed very generally in English schools, through the culpable negligence of the masters; and perhaps may still continue to exist, though, if a system were designed for cultivating the worst dispositions of human nature, it could not more effectually answer the purpose. The boys of the higher forms of the Charter-house were then in the practice of taking their portion of meat from the younger ones, by the law of the strongest; and during great part or EXTRACT FROM MR WORDSWORTH'S the time that Wesley remained there, a small daily portion of bread was his only food. Those theoretical physicians who recommend spare diet for the human animal, might appeal with triumph to the length of days which he attained, and the elastic constitution which he enjoyed. He himself imputed this blessing, in great measure, to the strict obedience with which he performed an injunction of his father's,
that he should run round the Charter
house garden three times every morning. Here, for his quietness, regularity, and application, he became a favourite with the master, Dr Walker; and through life he retained so great a predilection for the place, that, on his annual visit to London, he made it a custom to walk through the scene of his boyhood. To most men every year would render a pilgrimage of
"Good old Izaak Walton has preserved a beautiful speech of that excellent man Sir Henry Wotton, when, in his old age, he was returning from a visit to Winches
ter, where he had been educated.
useful,' he said to a friend, his companion in that journey, how useful was that advice of a holy monk, who persuaded his friend to perform his customary devotions in a contant place, because in that place we usually meet with those very thoughts which possessed us at our last being there. And I find it thus far experimentally true, that my now being in that school, and see ing that very place where I sate when I was a boy, occasioned me to remember those very thoughts of my youth which then possessed me: sweet thoughts, indeed, that promised my growing years numerous pleasures, without mixtures of cares; and those to be enjoyed when time (which I therefore thought slow-paced) had changed my youth into manhood: but age and experience have taught me, that those were but empty hopes: for I have always found it true, as my Saviour did foretell, sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. Nevertheless, I saw there a succession of boys using the same recreations, and questionless possessed with the same thoughts that then possessed me. Thus one generation succeeds another, both in their lives, recreations, hopes, fears, and death." "
LAST VOLUME.-MEMOIR OF THE
OUR attention has been taken off for a time from the Father of Methodism, by the following little Memoir of a Clergyman in the notes to Mr Wordsworth's Sonnets on the River Duddon. We will own the "noiseless tenor" of the life which it pourtrays has something in our view much more characteristic of genuine Christianity, than all the mighty doings either of Wesley or Whitefield, though we by no means regard these with any feeling approaching to worldly contempt. Mr Southey, we think, appreciates them very justly, and with a true sense, both of their importance and their extravagance; and we yet hope to give our readers some of the more interesting particulars in his work, although we have been pausing, we confess, a little too long at the threshold. It is from no disrespect to Mr Wordsworth that we have selected this note in preference to the poetry of his volume. That will be bepraised or bespattered sufficiently, according to people's different notions, without any aid from us; and although, no doubt, it is saturated with "unprosaic loveliness," to our vulgar capacities, and may be yet a piece of plain prose is more level more generally acceptable to our read
"IN the year 1709, Robert Walker was born at Under-crag, in Seathwaite; he was the youngest of twelve children. His eldest brother, who inherited the small family estate, died at Under-crag, aged ninetyfour, being twenty-four years older than the subject of this Memoir, who was born of the same mother. Robert was a sickly infant; and, through his boyhood and youth continuing to be of delicate frame and tender health, it was deemed best, according to the country phrase, to breed him a scholar; for it was not likely that he would be able to earn a livelihood by bodily labour. At that period few of these
Dales were furnished with school-houses; the children being taught to read and write in the chapel; and in the same consecrated building, where he officiated for so many years both as preacher and schoolmaster, he himself received the rudiments of his education. In his youth he became school.. master at Lowes-water; not being called upon, probably, in that situation, to teach more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. But, by the assistance of a "Gentleman" in the neighbourhood, he acquired, at leisure hours, a knowledge of the classics, and became qualified for taking holy orders. Upon his ordination, he had the offer of two curacies; the one, Torver, in the vale of Coniston, the other, Seathwaite, in his native vale. The value of each was the same, viz. five pounds per annum: but the cure of Seathwaite having a cottage attached to it, as he wished to marry, he chose it in preference. The young person on whom his affections were fixed, though in the condition of a domestic servant, had given promise, by her serious and modest deportment, and by her virtuous dispositions, that she was worthy to become the help-mate of a man entering upon a plan of life such as he had marked out for himself. By her frugality she had stored up a small sum of money, with which they began housekeeping. In 1735 or 1736, he entered upon his curacy; and, nineteen years afterwards, his situation is thus described, in some letters to be found in the Annual Register for 1760, from which the following is extracted:
Coniston, July 26, 1754: "SIR,-I was the other day upon a party of pleasure, about five or six miles from this place, where I met with a very striking object, and of a nature not very common. Going into a clergyman's house (of whom I had frequently heard) I found him sitting at the head of a long square table, such as is commonly used in this country by the lower class of people, dressed in a coarse blue frock, trimmed with black horn buttons; a checked shirt, a leathern strap about his neck for a stock, a coarse apron, and a pair of great woodensoled shoes, plated with iron to preserve them, (what we call clogs in these parts,) with a child upon his knee eating his breakfast; his wife, and the remainder of his children, were some of them employed in waiting on each other, the rest in teazing and spinning wool, at which trade he is a great proficient; and moreover, when it is made ready for sale, will lay it by six teen, or thirty-two pounds weight, upon his back, and on foot, seven or eight miles will carry it to the market, even in the depth of winter. I was not much sur-prised at all this, as you may possibly be,
"Then follows a' letter, from another person, dated 1755, from which an extract shall be given.
"By his frugality and good management, he keeps the wolf from the door, as we say; and if he advances a little in the world, it is owing more to his own care, than to any thing else he has to rely upon. I don't find his inclination is running after further preferment. He is settled among the people, that are happy among themselves; and lives in the greatest unanimity and friendship with them; and, I believe the minister and people are exceedingly satisfied with each other; and indeed how should they be dissatisfied, when they have a person of so much worth and probity for their pastor? A man, who, for his candour and meekness, his sober, chaste, and virtuous conversation, his soundness in principle and practice, is an ornament to his profession, and an honour to the country he is in; and bear with me if I say, the plainness of his dress, the sanctity of his manners, the simplicity of his doctrine, and the vehemence of his expression, have a sort of resemblance to the pure practice of primitive Christianity.'
We will now give his own account of himself, to be found in the same place.
"From the Rev. Robert Walker. "SIR, Yours of the 26th instant was communicated to me by Mr C, and I should have returned an immediate answer, but the hand of Providence then lying heavy upon an amiable pledge of conjugal endearment, hath since taken from me a promising girl, which the disconsolate mother too pensively laments the loss of; though we have yet eight living, all healthful, hopeful children, whose names and ages are as follows: Zaccheus, aged almost eighteen years; Elizabeth, sixteen years and ten months; Mary, fifteen; Moses, thirteen years and three months; Sarah, ten years and three months; Mabel, eight years and three months; William Tyson, three years and eight months; and Anne Esther, one year and three months: besides Anne who died two years and six months ago, and was then aged between nine and ten; and Eleanor, who died the 23d inst., January, aged six years and ten months. Zaccheus, the eldest child, is now learning the trade of tanner, and has two years and a half of his apprenticeship to serve. The annual income of my chapel at present, as near as I can compute it, may amount to about L. 17, 10s. of which
is paid in cash, viz. L. 5 from the bounty of Queen Anne, and L.5 from W. P. Esq. of P, out of the annual rents, he being lord of the manor, and L. 3 from the several inhabitants of L, settled upon the tenements as a rent-charge; the house and gardens I value at L. 4 yearly, and not worth more ; and, I believe the surplice fees and voluntary contributions, one year with another, may be worth L.3; but, as the inhabitants are few in number, and the fees very low, this last-mentioned sum consists merely in free-will offerings.
I am situated greatly to my satis faction with regard to the conduct and behaviour of my auditory, who not only live in the happy ignorance of the follies and vices of the age, but in mutual peace and good-will with one another, and are seemingly (I hope really too) sincere Christians, and sound members of the established church, not one dissenter of any denomi nation being amongst them all. I got to the value of L. 40 for my wife's fortune, but had no real estate of my own, being the youngest son of twelve children, born of obscure parents; and though my income has been but small, and my family large, yet, by a providential blessing upon my own diligent endeavours, the kindness of friends, and a cheap country to live in, we have always had the necessaries of life. By what I have written (which is a true and exact account to the best of my knowledge) I hope you will not think your favour to me, out of the late worthy Dr Stratford's effects, quite misbestowed, for which I must ever gratefully own myself, Sir, your much obliged and most obedient humble Servant,
"R. W., Curate of S
To Mr C., of Lancaster.'"
About the time when this letter was written, the Bishop of Chester recommend. ed the scheme of joining the curacy of Ulpha to the contiguous one of Seathwaite, and the nomination was offered to Mr Walker; but an unexpected difficulty a. rising, Mr W. in a letter to the Bishop, (a copy of which, in his own beautiful handwriting, now lies before me,) thus expresses himself: If he,' meaning the person in whom the difficulty originated, had suggested any such objection before, I should utterly have declined any attempt to the curacy of Ulpha; indeed, I was always apprehensive it might be disagreeable to my auditory at Seathwaite, as they have been always accustomed to double duty, and the inhabitants of Ulpha despair of being able to support a schoolmaster who is not curate there also; which suppressed all thoughts in me of serving them both.' And in a second letter to the Bishop he -writes:
MY LORD-I have the favour of yours of the 1st inst., and am exceedingly
obliged on account of the Ulpha affair; if that curacy should lapse into your Lord. ship's hands, I would beg leave rather to decline than embrace it; for the chapels of Seathwhite and Ulpha annexed together, would be apt to cause a general discontent among the inhabitants of both places; by either thinking themselves slighted, being only served alternately, or neglected in the duty, or attributing it to covetousness in me; all which occasions of murmuring I would willingly avoid.' And in concluding his former letter, he expresses a similar sentiment upon the same occasion, desiring, if it be possible, however, as much as in me lieth, to live peaceably with all men."
"The year following, the curacy of Seathwaite was again augmented; and to effect this augmentation, fifty pounds had been advanced by himself; and in 1760, lands were purchased with eight hundred pounds. Scanty as was his income, the frequent offer of much better benefices could not tempt Mr W. to quit a situation where he had been so long happy, with a consciousness of being useful. Among his papers I find the following copy of a letter, dated 1775, twenty years after his refusal of the curacy of Uĺpha, which will show what exertions had been made for one of his sons.
"MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GRACE,
"Our remote situation here makes it dif ficult to get the necessary information for transacting business regularly such is the reason of my giving your Grace the present trouble.
"The bearer (my son) is desirous of offering himself candidate for deacon's orders, at your Grace's ensuing ordination; the first, on the 25th inst. so that his papers could not be transmitted in due time. As he is now fully at age, and I have afforded him education to the utmost of my ability, it would give me great satisfaction (if your Grace would take him, and find His him qualified) to have him ordained. constitution has been tender for some years; he entered the college of Dublin, but his health would not permit him to continue there, or I would have supported him much longer. He has been with me at home above a year, in which time he has gained great strength of body, sufficient, I hope, to enable him for performing the function. Divine Providence, assisted by liberal benefactors, has blest my endeavours, from a small income, to rear a numerous family; and as my time of life renders me now unfit for much future expectancy from this world, I should be glad to see my son settled in a promising way to acquire an honest livelihood for himself. His behaviour, so far in life, has been irreproachable; and I hope he will not degenerate, in principles or practice, from
the precepts and pattern of an indulgent parent. Your Grace's favourable reception of this from a distant corner of the diocese, and an obscure hand, will excite filial gratitude, and a due use shall be made of the obligation vouchsafed thereby to your Grace's very dutiful and most obedient son and servant,
"ROBERT WALKER.' "The same man, who was thus liberal in the education of his numerous family, was even munificent in hospitality as a parish priest. Every Sunday were served, upon the long table, at which he has been described sitting with a child upon his knee, messes of breth, for the refreshment of those of his congregation who came from a distance, and usually took their seats as parts of his own household. It seems scarcely possible that this custom could have commenced before the augmentation of his cure; and, what would to many have been a high price of self-denial, was paid, by the pastor and his family, for this gratification; as the treat could only be provided by dressing at one time the whole, perhaps, of their weekly allowance of fresh animal food; consequently, for a succession of days, the table was covered with cold victuals only. His generosity in old age may be still further illustrated by a little circumstance relating to an orphan grandson, then ten years of age, which I find in a copy of a letter to one of his sons; he requests that half-a-guinea may be left for 'little Robert's pocket-money,' who was then at school; entrusting it to the care of a lady, who, as he says, may sometimes frustrate his squandering it away foolishly,' and promising to send him an equal allowance annually for the same purpose. The conclusion of the same letter is so characteristic, that I cannot forbear to transcribe it. We,' meaning his wife and himself, are in our wonted state of health, allow ing for the hasty strides of old age knocking daily at our door, and threateningly telling us, we are not only mortal, but must expect ere long to take our leave of our ancient cottage, and lie down in our last dormitory. Pray pardon my neglect to answer yours: let us hear sooner from you, to augment the mirth of the Christmas holidays. Wishing you all the plea sures of the approaching season, I am, dear son, with lasting sincerity, yours affectionately,
"ROBERT WALKER.' "He loved old customs and usages, and in some instances stuck to them to his own loss; for, having had a sum of money lodged in the hands of a neighbouring tradesman, when long course of time had raised the rate of interest; and more was offered, he refused to accept it; an act not difficult to one, who, while he was drawing seventeen pounds a-year from his curacy,
declined, as we have seen, to add the profits of another small benefice to his own, lest he should be suspected of cupidity. From this vice he was utterly free; he made no charge for teaching school; such as could afford to pay, gave him what they pleased. When very young, having kept a diary of his expences, however trifling, the large amount, at the end of the year, surprised him; and from that time the rule of his life was to be economical, not avaricious. At his decease he left behind him no less a sum than L. 2000, and such a sense of his various excellencies was prevalent in the country, that the epithet of WONDERFUL is to this day attached to his name.
"There is in the above sketch something so extraordinary as to require further explanatory details. And to begin with his industry; eight hours in each day, during five days in the week, and half of Saturday, except when the labours of husbandry were urgent, he was occupied in teaching. His seat was within the rails of the altar; the communion table was his desk; and, like Shenstone's school-mistress, the master employed himself at the spinning-wheel, while the children were repeating their lessons by his side. Every evening, after school hours, if not more profitably engaged, he continued the same kind of labour, exchanging, for the benefit of exercise, the small wheel, at which he had sate, for the large one on which wool is spun, the spinner stepping to and fro.e Thus, was the wheel constantly in readiness to prevent the waste of a moment's time. Nor was his industry with the pen, when occasion called for it, less eager. Entrusted with extensive management of public and private affairs, he acted in his rustic neighbourhood as scrivener, writing out petitions, deeds of conveyance, wills, covenants, &c. with pecuniary gain to himself, and to the great benefit of his em◄ ployers. These labours (at all times considerable) at one period of the year, viz. between Christmas and Candlemas, when money transactions are settled in this coun try, were often so intense, that he passed great part of the night, and sometimes whole nights, at his desk. His garden also was tilled by his own hand; he had a right of pasturage upon the mountains for a few sheep and a couple of cows, which requir ed his attendance; with this pastoral occupation, he joined the labours of husbandry upon a small scale, renting two or three acres in addition to his own less than one acre of glebe; and the humblest drudgery which the cultivation of these fields requir ed was performed by himself.
"He also assisted his neighbours in hay-making, and shearing their flocks, and in the performance of this latter service he was eminently dexterous. They, in their