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The Letters of John Wesley

Editor's Introductory Notes: 1762



[1] John Pawson often visited Miss March's house, where he also met Mrs. Caley, and 'derived great benefit from their conversation and experience in the deep things of God.' See letter of March 4, 1760.

[2] Thomas Rankin was a native of Dunbar. He heard Wesley at Morpeth in May 1761, and rode on with him to Newcastle. He wrote him in October about his call to preach, and was sent to take John Murlin's place in Sussex. When the work in America began, Wesley appointed him General Superintendent. He sailed on April 9, 1773; but he returned in 1778, and spent his last years in London, where he died in 1810. See Wesley's Veterans, vi. 113-97; and letter of March 20.

[3] Brooke was an artist and drawing-master in Dublin, much esteemed by Wesley and Fletcher. His uncle wrote The Fool of Quality, of which Wesley published an abridged edition. See Crookshank's Methodism in Ireland, i. 182; and letter of May 25, 1768.

[4] On June 7, 1761, George Horne (1730-92), Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, preached in St. Mary's before the University, from James ii. 24, on 'Works wrought through faith on condition of our Justification.' Wesley says in his Journal for March 8, 1762: 'I retired to Lewisham to answer Dr. Home's ingenious "Sermon on Justification by Works." Oh that I might dispute with no man! But if I must dispute, let it be with men of sense.' On August 31, 1770, Wesley reads Lord Lyttelton's Dialogues of the Dead, and asks, 'Could he point out many men of stronger and deeper understanding than Dr. Horne and Mr. William Jones' There is a pleasant reference in the Journal for March 27, 1783. At Hinckley he says: 'Here I met with Dr. Home's Commentary on the Psalms, I suppose the best that ever was wrote. Yet I could not comprehend his aggrandizing the Psalms, it seems, even above the New Testament. And some of them he hardly makes anything of the 87th in particular.' It was published in 1771. Horne was Vice-Chancellor in 1776, Dean of Canterbury in 1781, and Bishop of Norwich in 1790-2. When the Bishop was asked whether he had any objection to Wesley's preaching in the parish church at Diss on October 20, 1790, he answered, 'None at all.' See Journal, iv. 490, v. 382-3, vi. 402, viii. 108.

[5] In October 1763 Jane Esther Lee married James Freeman, a zealous leader and local preacher, at Dublin. He died in 1771, in his thirty second year. Her sister Elizabeth died of consumption in 1762. She herself lived many years. She met the Wesleys at Limerick while on a visit to her grandmother's, and on her return home introduced Methodism into Larne. See W.H.S. viii. 98, 168-9; and letter of March 2, 1764.

[6] The fifth Irish Conference began on this day. John Maddern, on whose behalf this letter was written, was a man of genuine piety, a lively, zealous, acceptable preacher. His boy shared the blessing of the Revival in 1768. Facts are given here which were unknown to Atmore, who says that after travelling a few years Maddern finished his course with joy. See Journal, v. 259; Lecky's Ireland, ii. 36-41; and letter of February 23, 1750.

[7] Charles Wesley had been greatly troubled by the wild sayings of Bell and Maxfield, and had spoken in his Short Hymns on Select Passages of the Holy Scriptures (2 vols. 1762) as though Christian perfection was not to be obtained by an act of faith but by discipline and affliction. The Preface says: 'Several of the hymns are intended to prove and several to guard the doctrine of Christian Perfection.' The importance of an understanding between the brothers is shown by the next letter to Miss Furly.

[8] Thomas Maxfield, Wesley's convert at Bristol, was one of the first lay preachers. He was ordained by the Bishop of Londonderry to assist Wesley; but he left Methodism in 1763.

On Monday, November 1, 1762, Wesley says in his Journal: 'I went down to Canterbury. Here I seriously reflected on some late occurrences, and, after weighing the matter throughly, wrote as follows.'The letter was to Thomas Maxfield, who had lent himself to the fanaticism of George Bell, of the King's Life Guards, and others in the Society. When Wesley returned from Bristol, he found the Society in an uproar, as described in the letter of May 1763. Maxfield had denied that he had any thought of separation. He said the Wesleys contradicted the highest truths, and that almost all who 'call themselves ministers of Christ or preachers of Christ contend for sin to remain in the heart as long as we live, as though it were the only thing Christ delighted to behold in His members.' Wesley began to visit the classes on his return, and in many of them had hot spirits to deal with. See letter of January 26, 1763.

[9] Emma Moon's conversion was due to an old woman, a Methodist from Birstall, who came to her husband's farm at Potto, near Yarm, to card Mr. Moon's sheep 'doddings' and spin them into linsey-woolsey yarn. See Tyerman's Wesley, ii. 409. The epidemic referred to resembled influenza. The Annual Register for 1762, p. 82, says: 'Numbers of people have been lately affected by colds, which attacked them with violent pains in the stomach, head, and bones; it is the opinion of the Faculty that it is in the air, the distemper being so common.' See W.H.S. xi. 175.

[10] For the letter of November 26, 1762, to Dr. William Warburton, occasioned by his tract on 'The Office and Operations of the Holy Spirit,' see pp. 338-4.

[11] George Clark (1711-97) became a Methodist when thirty-five years old, and had three large classes at the Foundery. He received the blessing of entire sanctification in May 1762. He built a house on its north corner when City Road was opened, where the Rev. Peard Dickinson lived with him. Jonah Freeman may have been one of his assistants or a member of his class. Sister Freeman, of London, is mentioned in the Journal, vii. 231d.



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