« НазадПродовжити »
BY GEORGE WHITEFIELD, A. B.
OF PEMBROKE-COLLEGE, OXFORD.
PRINTED FOR HUNT AND CLARKE,
As there may be some difference of opinion in relation to the claims of a portion of the Journals of John Wesley and George Whitefield, to a place in this collection, it may be necessary for those who most doubt the propriety of their introduction, to call to mind the principal literary objects of its formation,-namely, a wide and diversified view of human character. Without entering into comparison or investigation, which forms no part of the intended plan, it may be allowable to observe, that both the conspicuous persons alluded to, not only gave a peculiar colour to the religious complexion of the century in which they flourished, but said the foundation of establishments which still prosper; and in the one instance may, possibly, at no distant period, either in the way of collision or junction,* even operate upon the fortunes of the church of England. Such being the fact, it has been thought that a well-authenticated specimen from the journals of each of these methodistic founders, might be given with a view to an instructive exhibition of the human mind, under the excitement of enthusiasm, both active and passive; the Journalist himself illustrating the effects in the one case, and the recorded conduct of his hearers, the operation in the other. Another instructive end is answered by a comparison of the temporary or the intended, with the permanent and the actual result, as unfolded by time and experience. In a word, reli. gious enthusiasm has produced such extraordinary consequences in society, it has been thought that a brief example of the manner in which the two most eminent of modern English leaders,* have recorded the spirit and effect of their respective labours, would be altogether within the scope of this undertaking, in which, as already observed, the leading purpose is to combine the most comprehensive illustration of general character, with as much entertainment as can be rendered compatible with a due fulfilment of it. Happily that is a great deal. Upon the whole, however, difference of taste may vary as to the extent of the assumed licence in particular instances; a due allowance for diversity of liking will be very readily made by all who duly appreciate the variety of characteristic exhibition which the plan necessarily embraces.
* In respect to the latter alternative, Dr. Southey, the most prominent lay, champion for the church, has even suggested a reception of the Wesleyan priesthood, as a species of protestant Franciscans, with a view to the greater diffusion of religion among the people at large.