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PREFACE.

THI

"HE following little history of JOHN WESLEY has not been

written because there was a scarcity of books on that subject.

Neither has it been written to the praise and glory of JOHN WESLEY. Neither, in the last place, has it been written to expose the defects and errors of this servant of the Lord. There is but one good reason for any undertaking on the part of those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This reason is given in the thirty-first verse of the tenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” It is a simple story, intended for the simple and unlearned, in order to tell them something, not of John WESLEY'S goodness and greatness, but of the goodness and greatness of the God of all grace, who raised up the great army of preachers of the last century. It is as the work of God, not as the work of man, that we look with joy and wonder at the labours of the Methodists. Alas, when the thoughts and plans of man showed themselves amidst the thoughts and plans of God, it was but to bring in error and confusion. This is true of JOHN WESLEY's thoughts and plans, whenever they were his own, and not those of his Master. But clouded as was the work of these blessed preachers of the Gospel by their own errors and defects, it was none the less the work of God which was thus clouded. And the Lord who ordered all desires that we “should be made glad through His work” (if, indeed, we are His own people), that we should "triumph in the work of His hands,' that we should join in the song of praise, “O Lord, how great are Thy works, and Thy thoughts are very deep.' It is “the brutish man” who “knows not,” and “the fool” who "understands not the work of God.

It is in the hope that some of the Lord's beloved people who have had no opportunity of reading the wonderful history of the times of their grandfathers, will learn something more of the Lord's ways by reading it, that this little story is written.

It is written also in the hope that some who might otherwise have spent some spare hours in reading untrue and unprofitable stories may be awakened to see something of the love of God, when they read of His messages of grace, through His beloved servants. It is well to “seek the profit of many, that they may be saved,” and the servants of God, who being dead yet speak, may perhaps by means of a small history be heard where larger and more learned books would not find their way. It may be that some of the words which sounded a hundred years ago by the roadsides of England may thus reach some wanderer, who has not yet known the love and grace of God. And lastly it may be that some of the Lord's faithful servants will take warning by the errors of God's dear servant, and stand more than before in fear of themselves—in fear lest their own thoughts and opinions should be allowed a place. The word of God, and that alone, can be a lamp to the feet and a light to the path, and all that man, with the best intentions, can add to it, will be but as a smear upon the lamp-shade, clouding the light of God. May the Lord use this little record of His work for His own glory, and may He lead some who read it to a better understanding of the work He is doing in our own day. We see, from the history of the Methodists, how those who came a hundred years ago with God's message were despised and rejected. So in all times is it the case, that those who are really sent by God are to be found, like their Master, amongst those who are despised and rejected of men. Let us take warning lest we should be as our fathers in the days of the Methodists. The world will turn an ear to those who have the world's sanction and authority, but it is amongst those whom men separate from their company, and whose names they cast out as evil, that we shall find the truest of the messengers of God. May He lead each one who reads these pages to seek and to value His true servants, though they may preach in barns, and not in cathedrals, and may have learnt by constant experience that “if they pleased men they would not be the servants of Christ." The offence of the cross has not ceased, and though the enmity of the world may be shown in a less savage manner than in the days of our fathers, it is still true that those of whom all men shall speak well are those to whom Christ speaks the awful words, “Woe unto you!" May we learn to value the reproach of Christ, for ourselves and for others !

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