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The following Inscription, though in the judgment of many, not at all worthy of Mr. Wesley, has since his interment been put on his Tomb.
To the Memory of
This Great Light arose
To enlighten these Nations,
And to revive, enforce, and defend,
THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH:
And, to his expressible Joy,
And their EFFICACY witnessed,
To The Joy of putURE GENERATIONS !
Give GoD THE GLORY !
After having languished a few days, He at length finished
his Course and his Life together : gloriously triumphing over Death, March 2, An. Dom. 1791, in the Eighty-eighth Yeur
of his AC.
The following Epitaph, written by Dr. Whitehead, has been inscribed on a marble Tablet and placed in the New Chapel, City-Road, by order of the Trustees.
Sacred to the Memory
Scarcely inferior to any :
Superior (perhaps) to all Men
Since the days of St. PAUL.
Calling Sinners to Repentance,
The Patron and Friend of the Lay-Preachers,
Through Great-Britain and IRELAND,
The West-Indies and AMERICA
With unexampled Success.
And died March 2d, 1791;
In sure and certain hope of Eternal life, Through the Atonement and Mediation of a Crucified Saviour.
He was sixty-five Years in the Ministry,
And fifty-two an Itinerant Preacher:
About three-hundred Itinerant,
And a thousand Locul Preachers,
Raised up from the midst of his own People ; And eighty-thousand Persons in the Societies under his care, His Name will ever be had in grateful Remembrance By all who rejoice in the universal Spread
Of the Gospel of CHRIST.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Delivered at the New Chapel in the City-Road, London,
On the 9th of March, 1791, At the Interment of the late Rev. John WESLEY,
By JOHN WHITEHEAD, M. D.
2 Samuel iii. 38.
Know ye not, that there is a Prince, and a great Man fallen
this day in Israel ? I SHALL only observe on the passage of Scripture which I have now read, that the Hebrew word, which is rendered Prince, sometimes signifies a Leader; and sometimes also it is applied to a person of superior or princely qualities. In this general sense the passage may be applied to that eminent Servant of God, of whose character I am now to speak. This is all the use I shall make of the words; I consider them only as a motto to the Discourse I intend to deliver.
When we consider the public character of the late Rev. Mr. Wesley, and the various opinions which have been entertained concerning him: when we consider the extent of his labours, the influence which he has had over a large body of people, and the prevalence of bis sentiments, not only in these, but even in other nations ; it becomes a matter of some importance to enquire into the leading features of his character, both as a Man, and as a Minister of the Gospel. This i mean to do in the present discourse.
But you must not expect the flowers of eloquence, nor the splendid ornaments of speech : these are things which I do not inuch cultivate. I will
, however, endeavour to speak with plainness and propriety, so as to be understood ; and I hope ihat in going through the various matters I intend to speak of, you will receive instruction and profit.
1. 1. Although the acquisition of human learning has been little esteemed by some religious people; yet we must acknowledge that it is of very considerable service to a Minister of the Gospel. The knowledge of languages, and of arts and sciences, is not only an ornament to the mind, but it enlarges the human faculties; it improves the understanding, gives a habit of thinking closely and reasoning justly; and prepares the mind, when under a proper direction, for great attainments even in religion. These advantages Mr. Wesley possessed in a higli degree, and he knew well how to iinprove them to the most useful purposes in his ministerial labours. His mind was richly furnished with literature in its various branches: he was well read in ancient, and several modern tongues. In the learned languages he was a critic : and must have studied them with peculiär pleasure in his youth, or he could not have made that progress in classical Tearning, which so justly raised him to a distinguished rank as a Scholar. It has been acknowledged by men who were good judges, and no great friends to Mr. Wesley, that when at College, he gave proofs of a fine classical taste : and there are some poems which he wrote at that time, which shew that he had formed his taste on the best models of antiquity. Those who were much in his company, and heard his apt and pointed quotations from the Greek and Roman Classics, on the various occasions which occurred in travelling and in conversation, could not but be sensible that he had read them as a critic; that he admired their stile, had entered into their spirit, and was delighted with their beauties.—He has selected some pieces from the Roman Classics; and as he travelled, he would sometimes read them for his amusement.
But he did not confine his studies of this kind to profane literature : SacrED LEARNING likewise occupied much of his time and attention. lle was well read in the Hebrew Scriptures ; and in the original language of the New Testament he was an able critic, and so conversant with it, that sometimes of late I have been exceedingly surprized to observe, that, when he has evidently been at a loss to repeat a passage out of the New Testament in the words of our common translation, he was never at a loss to repeat it in the original Greek; the words seemed to flow without the least difficulty or hesitation, and he was always correct in reciting them ; which made it evident to me, that the words and phrases of the