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At the same time he is particular to guard and pray against any perversion or exaggeration of this permitted human love :
While with just, peculiar kindness We each other's soul embrace, Sare us from that doting blindness Fatal to our fallen race; From the mean, contracting passion Keep us free and unconfined; Raise our generous inclination, Fix our love on all mankind. Several hymns still used by the Methodists, and made to bear upou the church and Christian fellowship, were written at various times by the poet with direct reference to his wedded state.
Come away to the skies, My beloved, arise,
And rejoice in the day thou wast born, was addressed to his wife upon her birth-day. Its companion-piece,
Come let us ascend, My companion and friend,
To a taste of the banquet above, had a similar origin. So had the fine hymn, “ Centre of our hopes thou art :” which in the original commences :
Author of the peace unknown, Lover of my friend and me,
Who of twain bast made us onc, Onc preserve us still in thee: All our beightened blessings bless ; Crown our hopes with full success.
His object in composition, says Mr. Jackson, was first his own edification, then the edification of the church. Hence it was natural for him to use language which, while refering directly to his personal affairs, could be easily turned to all believers and the church at large :
Why hast thou cast our lot In the same age and place,
And why together brought, To seo cach other's face? To join with softest sympathy, And mix our friendly souls in thee. The poet's wife was an intelligent, aimiable, and pious woman, who did her whole duty by her husband. Iler character, as slightly recorded in his Biography, by Mr. Jackson, makes no profound or startling impression; but they seem to have lived in uninterupted peace. He was not so happy in his children. Five died in infancy, and the remaining three caused him much anxiety and sorrow by
their lack of early piety. The younger son, Samuel, a perverse and undutiful child, embittered his father's dying years by going over to Popery. The poet's fortune in this respect gave melancholy confirmation to that stoical preference of his brother's:
I have no babes to hold me here; But children more securely dear
*For mine I humbly claim; Better than daughters or than sons, — Temples divine of living stone,
Inscribed with Jesus' name.
We cannot forbear pursuing the comparison, in Charles's own touching verse. In the first poem, headed “ Naomi and Ruth. Adapted to the Minister and People,” he addresses his loved and loving spiritual children, who often, on foot, followed his horse for miles:
Turn again, my children, turn; Wherefore would ye go with me?
Oh forbear, forbear to mourn ; Jesus wills it so to be. Why, when God would bave us part, Weep ye thus, and break my heart ?
Go in peace, my children, go; Only Jesus' steps pursue :
He shall pay the debt I owe; He shall kindly deal with you ;
love to me. Compare with this the earth-renouncing hopelessness, the mournful resignation of the following, when his aged heart was wrung by the ungrateful folly of his son in the flesh :
Farewell, my all of earthly hope,
Submissive to the will divine,
The blessed day of my release
Make darkness light, and crooked straight,
But while thy way is in the deep,
The bitterness of death is past;
Patient till death, I feel my pain,
My sins the cause of my distress
In hope his plan to comprehend, When Jesus sball with clouds descend, And call me from the tomb. The life of Charles Wesley was a varied, and in the main, a sad one. He thoroughly understood the great lesson of the book of Ecclesiastes, and of all earthly life:
Taught by long experience, Lord, By thy Spirit taught, I see,
Empty all our bliss below, Seeming bliss, but real woe. He never forgot that this is not our rest. He expected persecution and opprobrium as the natural and necessary favors of the world towards living Christians:
Since first we heavenward turned our face,
Exposed and outraged all day long,
For doing good, we suffer wrong:
And wait for all thy glorious cross. But the prospect did not frighten him. When he first undertook to follow Christ, he began to deny bimself and take up his cross :
And did my Lord on earth endure
Sorrow and hardship and distress,
And rest in self-indulgent ease ?
Be suffered all thy boly will:
I will not lose the slightest ill,
Is pure delight, endured for thee;
And death is immortality ;
Some eminent pleasures, indeed, he enjoyed, in the consciousness of his Maker's favor, in communion with God's people, and in the exercise of his gifts for his Redeemer's glory:
How happy, gracious Lord, are we,
Betwixt the mount and multitude ;
With us, as melancholy void,
Our weariness of life is gone,
What a mercy is this, Wbat a heaven of bliss,
Ilow unspeakably happy am I!
With thy people to live and to die !
The God of my life to proclaim :
And salvation in Jesus's name.
A child of sorrow from the womb, By sad variety of pain
Always profoundly sensible that he was a pilgrim and stranger upon earth, worldly things seemed to him as dream, and nothing real but the realities of eternity:
The angels are at home in heaven; The saints unsettled pilgrims here :
“ On going to a new habitation,” moving from Bristol to London, he sings :
What then is change of place to me?
No spot of earth but yields a grave;
Where'er He wills, if Jesus save, I lay me down and die. And again :
No matter where or how I in this descrt live,
To reach the purchased house above, And find a mansion there. His tender sympathies were often tried by the personal unkindness or spiritual faithlessness of his friends. Divisions were introduced into the Methodist societies ; some of his followers became Calvinists or Moravians, and were taught to turn from their spiritual father as a false prophet; others embraced fatal errors, and abandoned the profession and practice of the common faith. On such occasions, the poet's wounded spirit soared to the healing fountain. In the volumes of 1739 are a number of hymns on the “ Loss of his Friends :"
Take these broken reeds away! On the Rock of Ages I
Still for human friendship sue, Stoop, ye worms of earth, to you ? With such sublime consolations did the Christian soothe his own afflicted spirit and the spirits of as many as could rise with him to that altitude of faith. But for the enduring comfort, the perfect rest of life, he looked beyond the present state :
Come, Finisher of sin and woe, And let me die my God to sec;
And spend, contemplating thy face, A blest eternity in praise.