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Methodism

methodist, wesley, people and movement

METHODISM. The name given to the ons reli°i movement in England led by John Wesley, s• • appropriated by the numerous churches which have sprung from that movement, and by others which, though not bearing the name, are both historically and spiritually in the Methodist suc cession. Wesley himself was impatient of all sectarian names, and called the people whom he enrolled in classes for religious culture sim ply the United Societies, and proudly appealed to the fact that to join the Societies there was no dogmatic or ecclesiastical test, all Christians. from Anglicans to Quakers being alike' welcome. His definition of a Methodist (abridged) was as follows: "A Alethodist is one who has the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him; one who loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. He rejoices evermore, prays without ceasing, and in everything gives thanks. His heart is full of love to all mankind, and is puri fied from envy, malice, wrath, and every unkind affection. His one desire, and the one design of his life, is not to do his own will, but the will of Him that sent him. He keeps all God's com mandments, from the least to the greatest. He follows not the customs of the world; for vice does not lose its nature through its becoming fashionable. He fares not sumptuously every

day. Be cannot lay up treasure upon the earth; nor can he adorn himself with gold or costly ap parel. He cannot join in any diversion that has the least tendency to vice. He cannot speak evil of his neighbor any more than he can tell a lie. He cannot utter unkind or evil words. No cor rupt communieation ever conies out of his mouth. He does good unto all men; unto neighbors, strangers, friends, and enemies. These are the principles and practices of our sect. These are the marks of a true Methodist. By these alone do Methodists desire to he distinguished from other men." Wesley's catholicity was so broad that it was indifferent to him whether the books he reprinted for his people were by Roman Catho lics or Unitarians. It was his hope that his movement would be the nucleus of a reunited Christendom, and it, was with sorrow he saw forces which he could not control carrying his people into permanent separation both from An glicanism and Dissent. The title Methodist was not a word of his own choosing—it was given by Oxford students because of the strict life of Charles Wesley and his band in the university— and he detested it as soon as it became an eecle siast ieal watchword.