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MEMOIR OF MRS. SARAH WESLEY, (Who died Dec. 28, 1822, aged 96, Relict of the Rev. CHARLES Wesley, M. A.)
WRITTEN BY MISS WESLEY.
years old. :
MRS. CHARLES WESLEY myself, before I commit him.” Ac
was the daughter of the late cordingly he made one of the conMarmaduke Gwynne, Esq. of Bre- gregation, with the Riot Act in his conshire, South Wales. From her pocket. The sermon was so truly childhood she evinced a deep sense evangelical, so calculated to arouse of religion; and received the Lord's the careless, to alarm the wicked Supper when she was only fourteen and to encourage the penitent, and
the preacher's manner was so zea. Mr. Gwynne was an upright, lous and affectionate, that Mr. G. pious man, strenuously attached thought he resembled one of the to the Church of England. He was apostles. He was so convinced of eminently kind to his tenantry, be the purity of his doctrines, and of neficent to the poor, and exemplary the benevolence of his motive, that in all the relations of life. He re at the end of the discourse he went tained a chaplain in his house, who up to Howel Harris; shook him daily read the morning and evening by the hand; told him how much service in it; the church being dis- he had been misled by slanderous tant, and only open on Sundays. reports; avowed his intention of
When Mr. Howel Harris began committing him, håd they been his itinerant preaching in South true; asked his pardon; and, to Wales, (which was some years the amazement of the assembly, before the Mr. Wesleys visited that entreated him to accompany himi part of the country,) Mr. Gwynne back to Garth to supper. was alarmed at reports of an inso- Mrs. Gwynne, his lady, was a vation in the church; and imagin. worthy woman, endowed with a suing that this Howel Harris might perior understanding, and distinhold the tenets ascribed to the În- guished by her love of the poor, aependent Dissenters under Oliver whom she supplied regularly with Cromwell's reign, and be an incen- food, clothing and medicine; but diary in church and state, he, being she had the strong prejudices of a magistrate, determined to put an birth and fortune. She was one of end to these portentous irregula- six heiresses, each of whom had rities. For this purpose he sallied 30,0001. for their portion, and had out one day; but said to his lady married into suitable families of on going, “I will hear the man high descent and splendour. She
was a violent enemy to all Presby- at the infatuation of her family. terians; and when her husband re- Nor was she reconciled to Methoturned, introducing to her Howel dism till she had perused the “ ApHarris, a man of the inferior peals” of Mr. John Wesley, and class, (for in Wales there are but heard the character of the two brotwo classes of society,) an innova- thers from some of their colleagues tor in the church, and a rebel to the at Oxford, which convinced her king --when she heard Mr.Gwynne that their intentions must be good; himself
, in the presence of his whole and, at last, that their usefulness family, entreat his forgiveness, ac- was great. Indeed, till then, she knowledge his error, and pay him would not hear Howel Harris. On as much respect as he would pay the arrival of Mr. John Wesley in to a bishop,-she thought that her South Wales, Mr. Gwynne invited poor dear husband must have lost him to Garth,where he was most corhis senses; and in grief and con- dially welcomed by Mrs. Gwynne sternation she quitted the room, nor also. Her remaining prejudices would return to it till after supper, were conquered by his conversaand till Howel Harris hadde- tion; and he preached in the hall, parted.
where the audience was great. The authority and countenance There were seldom less than ten of Mr. Gwynne was of much im- or fifteen guests residing in the portance to the ministry of this house; and there were eight sons good man, who would have suffered and daughters, and twenty servants, persecution from the higher orders besides neighbouring tenants, who had he not been so strenuously sup- were admitted to hear him. ported by one of them, who valiantly
It was two years afterwards that stood forth in his defence, regard- Mr. Charles Wesley came there, less of public and private censure. to whom the whole family seemed It is worthy to be recorded, that immediately united. The servants if the same scenes of outrage and were deeply affected by his disbarbarity through which the Rev. courses, which he delivered every Messrs. John and Charles Wesley, day while he stayed, either in the and many of their preachers, pass- hall or the churches. The nurse, ed, (scenes promoted by some of Grace Bowen, (always a serious the clergy, and often unchecked person,) became eminently useful by the magistrates of that day,) and zealous in the cause. It was did not occur in Breconshire, South on her that the funeral hymn was Wales, it was, under the divine composed, which begins, blessing, solely owing to Marma- “Stay, thou triumphant spirit, stay, duke Gwynne,
And bless me, ere thou soar'st away, His young daughter, Sarah, de
Where pain can never come. lighted to accompany him to hear Her character and happy death are Howel Harris, whom he constantly fully described in the remaining attended : her mind was open to receive all good, and she was par- a true portrait of a Christian, and
verses of that hymn, which contains ticularly blessed under his sermons. Her pious disposition exposed her
one of the Old Methodists. to the raillery of her gay brothers that Mr. Charles Wesley, with the
It was two years after this visit, this itinerant preacher incurred the entire consent of both her parents, displeasure of her mother, who
See Wesley's Funeral Hymas, passed much of her time in tears Humn xiii. p. 85.
espoused their daughter Miss Sarahed the preachers; and often she Gwynne; who, without reluctance, remarked, that “she had never sacrificed earthly splendour and met with persons better behaved, the distinctions of wealth, to be- or more agreeable inmates; they come the wife of a pious minister. were so many eminent proofs how She had never cause to regret, nor well divine grace could supply the was she ever known to regret, her fictitious aid of education and high change of situation and habits of breeding. They were most humble, life. In the affection and society, obliging, simple-hearted men, who the example and protection, of one lived above the world." John Nelof the best of husbands, she deemed son and John Downes were amongst herself richly remunerated for the her guests. loss of worldly honours; and she She caught the small-pox four ever highly estimated the privi- years after her marriage, in which leges of being acquainted with emi- disease the late Countess of Hung nent Christians in lower states, - tingdon came to attend her; which those of whom the world is not confirmed a friendship they had worthy.” During the first years formed before, and of which she of their marriage, she accompa- never spoke without the most lively nied Mr. Charles Wesley in his gratitude. It ended but with life travels to the North, where their During her illness, Mr. Charles accommodations usually formed a Wesley was with his brother in striking contrast to the luxuries in London, who was then supposed which she had been bred. She to be near death. It was a trying would sometimes speak of them season to both; for he could not, with a smile; always dwelling on on the first information, leave the the tender attentions of her hus- chapels and the congregations; and band on these occasions, who, she every post, 'he feared, would bring said, "felt for her much more than him intelligence that his beloved she did for herself.” In Norwich a wife was no more.
She was for violent mob collected through which twenty-two days in imminent danit was deemed advisable that she ger. He rode down to visit her should pass with a lady who came twice, at the risk of his own health, with her, rather than with her hus- and returned to serve the public, band, who was the object of their His first babe, a lovely son under vengeance, while he braved it. two years, took the infection from Happily (she said), her insigni- his mother, and was buried before ficance secured her; (she was low his next return home.
Some of in stature ;) but her poor friend, his affecting Funeral Hymns, writ(Colonel Galatin's lady,) of majes- ten on this occasion, describe a tic height and appearance, being father's sufferings, and express his taken for the wife of Mr. Wesley, tender gratitude for the spared life was separated from her side, and of the mother
. When Mrs. Wesley sorely annoyed by the rabble. But recovered, the alteration of her feaall providentially arrived at their tures was so great, that no one lodgings unburt. It was pleasing could recognise her; which, she to witness the satisfaction with would sportively say, '“afforded which she related these hardships, great satisfaction to her dear husas others would term them. band, who was glad to see her look
When they hired a house in Bris- so much older, and better suited to tol, where Mr. Chalres Wesley be his companion.” There was became stationary, they entertain- nearly twenty years differenog in