Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

Methodism at the Fountain

This is a reprint of a London work, although it does not so appear on the title page.1 We have lately read it in connection with another very interesting book, Clarke's “Memoirs of the Wesley Family,” and have been led to far deeper interest in this great stream of religious thought and feeling, by a nearer approach to its fountain-head.2

The world at large takes its impression of the Wesleys from Southey.3 A humbler historian has scarce a chance to be heard beside one so rich in learning and talent. Yet the Methodists themselves are not satisfied with this account of their revered Shepherds, which, though fair in the intention, and tolerably fair in the arrangement of facts, fails to convey the true spiritual sense, and does not, to the flock, present a picture of the fields where they were first satisfied with the food of immortals.

A better likeness, if not so ably painted, may, indeed, be found in chronicles written by the disciples of these great and excellent men, who, as characters full of affection no less than intellect, need also to be affectionately, no less than intellectually, discerned, in order to a true representation of their deeds and their influence.

The books we have named and others which relate to the Wesleys are extremely interesting, apart from a consideration of the men and what their lives were leading to, from the various and important documents they furnish illustrative of the symptoms and obscurer meanings of their times.

In the account of the family life of the Rectory of Epworth, where John and Charles Wesley passed their boyish years, we find a great deal that is valuable

____________________
1
This book was first published in London by John Mason in 1841.
2
Adam Clarke (1760–1832), English cleric, religious critic, and anti-tobacco reformer, who published Memoirs of the Wesley Family in 1824.
3
Robert Southey (1774–1843), English poet, historian, and critic, who published Life of Wesley in 1820.

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