The World's Attitude toward Reform

THE grateful recognition of the character and labors of John Wesley, expressed upon the occasion of the late bicentennial anniversary, is worthy of the great body of earnest Christian believers constituting the church of his founding. Like all successful leaders of religious reform, Wesley was quickened and impelled by a new apprehension of Truth, which in its unfoldment freed him, despite his hesitation, from bondage to tradition and the limitations of a conventional ritualism. Truth found in him a more open channel, a more transparent medium, and during the long period of his immediate supervision of the movement, his wisdom and authority grew apace until the ever-increasing tide of his enriched and enriching spirituality flowed out into well-nigh every highway and byway of England and America.

The remarkable growth of Methodism was the natural result of the coming of a great nourishing religious thought to a vast area of barren human need; moreover, "the grace of God" which had awakened and transformed this Oxford youth, was expressed in that active and unswerving persistence which led him to travel an average of eight thousand miles a year, it is said, in the ceaseless and untiring ministry of a long life. That such a man, dominated by a revolutionary idea, should have awakened antagonism was inevitable, and those who honor Wesley will not forget the patient endurance with which he bore grievous and long continued persecution, misrepresentation, and ridicule at the hands of the so-called Christian and cultured, and even worse at the hands of the common crowd, while, as Macaulay has said, "devoting all his powers, in defiance of obloguy and derision, to what he sincerely considered the highest good of humanity." They may remember, too, that Wesley lived to be welcomed and honored in many a town where he had once met with indignities while laboring in the most unselfish way for the betterment of all.

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Letters
Letters to our Leader
March 28, 1903
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