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Mr. Vivian, whose name occurs in Mr. Adam's letter, has succeeded better than either of them, in distinctly explaining the sense of the Catechism. His larger exposition was of more use to me than any other book on the subject, when I began to catechise the children of my parish ; and there is a very useful abridgement* of it for the use of children. He was a Devonshire clergyman, and survived both Mr. Walker and Mr. Adam.”+
From the year 1753 to 1756, the editor's materials furnish no notices of the manner in which Mr. Adam was employed in serving his Redeemer. He had a parish containing seven hundred inhabitants, and he could there find full employment, upon which he placed a due estimate : saying, “A poor country parson fighting against the devil in his parish, has nobler ideas than Alexander had.”
He deemed the duties of a clergyman both important and requiring the devotion of a large part of his time. In his Private Thoughts he has this observation : “But we will give ourselves unto prayer and the ministry of the word.” “Remember this, O my soul, it is for eternity.”
Mr. Adam could not be an idle spectator of the progress of methodism. He lived within a few miles of Epworth, where the Wesleys were born. The Rev. John Wesley visited Wintringham, and spent some time at the rectory. The leader of the Methodists seems to have entertained hopes of having Mr. Adam's favour in his plans. Mr. Wesley thought
* This Mr. Adam used with his children at Wintringham. A copy, the gift of Mr. Adam, is before me.-Edit.
+ Vide Memoir of Rev. William Richardson.
St. Paul say,
that a revival of spiritual religion could not be effectually promoted without a separation from the Established Church; in matters of discipline the Rector of Wintringham thought otherwise.
Mr. Wesley assumed an arrogant tone toward Mr. Adam, in one of his communications : “Sir, the Methodists can do very well without you ; but you cannot do without the Methodists."
Each followed his own judgment, and, since Christ has been preached, we as Christians can with
“ We rejoice, and will rejoice." About this time Mr. Adam formed a friendship with the Ven. Archdeacon Basset, of Glentworth, in Lincolnshire, in whose society he found much-com-fort; and he has borne this honourable testimony to his character: “Mr. Basset is an industrious labourer in Christ's vineyard, exerting himself to the utmost" to revive the antiquated doctrines of the Church of a England; for which he does not escape scot free; but he is a stout champion for the truth, and has grace enough to fear nothing."
The letter which follows, makes the editor regret that some others addressed to Mr. Walker are either lost or mislaid ; and that a correspondence with the Rev. Mr. Hartley, probably extending over thirty years, is not to be found.
TO THE REV. S. WALKER.
“ Wintringham, Dec. 1754. . “ Dear Sir, “ The account you give of your work and labour
* Vide Sydney's Life of the Rev. S. Walker.
of love at Truro is very acceptable to me, and I praise God with you for the success of it. I would gladly believe that as you will be steady in the
prosecution of your excellent system against all discouragement and opposition whatever, you have still a much greater harvest to reap. I can truly say, let others increase, though I decrease. I am much obliged to you for touching that tender point with so tender a hand, and animating me to perseverance, notwithstanding the hopeless appearance of things in this place.
* Mrs. Basset (wife of the venerable archdeacon of Stowe, in Lincolnshire) has shed tears for her husband and me, as supposing that, if we were engaged in a true work, more good would come of it; but she is now convinced by Matt. xi. 21, 'Woe unto thee Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida !' and other scripture instances, that the Rev. John Wesley was misled, and sadly misled her, by making success the necessary mark of a true prophet. Mr. Greenham, a famous preacher, in Queen Elizabeth's time, to a hardened parish, left it on that account, but is said to have repented of the step to the end of his days. Nevertheless, to unbosom 'myself freely to you, I am exercised with many grievous thoughts about the quomodo intrâsti ?' and though Mr. Vivian of Cornwood, after a just and honest representation of the great guilt of taking upon us the ministry, in the way we do, almost one and all, does not give it up as a lost case ; yet it must have a bitter retrospect, and beget uneasy thoughts. The archdeacon of Stowe, to whom I communicated your
letter, is of one heart and spirit. with the author of this visitation sermon, (Mr. Vivian,) and will rejoice to hear that he as well as you, sees some fruit of his labour. We both gathered from the contents of your letter, from Mr. Vivian's sermon, and from what he says of the ministers of Plymouth, that there was a much greater awakening in those parts than we can say there is here. As for our parishioners, in general, they brand those few clergymen, who endeavour to open their eyes and bring them to Christ in the way of humility and self-condemnation, with the name of Methodists. This they consider a sufficient pretence for standing off from the truth, and saying in the bottom of their hearts, "What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth ?? : May God rescue them all from the depth of every satanical wile, and in his own good time come among us with his power! Your advice to me, to wait the event with patience, is very sonable. I beg the continuance of it, with your prayers, that God would enable me to discover and remove whatever impediments I myself lay in the way of his work. “ The advice proper to one in
to one in your circumstances, and which I offer with brotherly freedom, at your request, is humility, and strict watchfulness over your spirit; that you be not puffed up by any thing that God has done by you; that you ground not yourself upon it for your own salvation, but sink low in a deep sense of your own instrumentality' ; and then that you consider your past success as a loud call to you, if need be, to double your diligence :
not that I imagine you are in any danger of taking your hand from the plough, after having resolutely broken through the first difficulties.
“ But pray, sir, if it is not altogether impertinent to ask the question, how do you manage to avoid disputes in your society? And what method have you of terminating them amicably, when they do arise ? You will understand me right. I have not the least thought of damping the design.
“ Heb. x. 25, I take to be fully to the purpose, and much good may be expected from it. Indeed, truly religious persons will hardly be kept asunder. But upon the whole it is a delicate affair, and requires all the steadiness, prudence, and piety of an able conductor, to keep the members of it knit together in the bonds of christian love, considering the varieties of tempers and mixture of human frailties in the best. May it answer your most sanguine expectations ! May God daily add to it, and make it a blessing to the place where you are, in the pious examples, christian lives, and brotherly charity of all who belong to it! For the eyes of many will be upon you; and graceless, ill-judging by-standers will be ready to take occasion, from the miscarriages or infirmities of a few, to involve all in one common
“ If a hint of this kind is improvable by you to the uses of your society, I have my end; and, whether wanted or not, I know you will pardon me. I shall be glad of any farther particulars at your leisure, every thing you say being useful to me in the way of instruction or reproof. Your method of catechising by classes shows that you are resolved