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The New Zealand Evangelist

Whitfield And Wesley

Whitfield And Wesley.

Whitfield was soul, and Wesley system. Whitfield was a summer-cloud which burst at morning or noon in fragrant exhilaration over an ample tract, and took the rest of the day to gather again; Wesley was the polished conduit in the midst of the garden, through which the living water glided in pearly brightness and perennial music, the same vivid stream from day to day. After a preaching paroxysm, Whitfield lay panting on his couch, spent, breathless, and deathlike; after his morning sermon in the foundery, Wesley would mount his pony, and trot, and chat, and gather simples, till he reached some country hamlet, where he would bait his charger, and talk through a little sermon with the villagers, and remount his pony and trot away again. In his aerial poise, Whitfield's eagle-eye drank lustre from the source of light, and loved to look down on men in assembled myriads; Wesley's falcon glance did not sweep so far, but it searched more keenly and marked more minutely where it pierced. A master of assemblies, Whitfield was no match for the isolated man; seldom coping with the multitude, but strong in astute sagacity and personal ascendancy, Wesley could conquer any number one by one. All force and impetus Whitfield was the powder-blast in the quarry, and by one explosive sermon would shake a district and detach materials for other men's long work; deft, neat, and pains-taking, Wesley loved to split and trim each fragment into uniform plinths, and polished stones. Or, taken otherwise, Whitfield was the bargeman or the wagoner, who brought the timber of the house, and Wesley was the architect who set it up. Whitfield had no patience for ecclesiastical polity, no aptitude for pastoral details; Wesley was always constructing societies, and, with a king-like craft of ruling, was most at home when presiding over a class or a conference.