CHARLES WESLEY’S ROUGH DRAFT
Reasons against a Separation from the Church of England.
Bristol: Elizabeth Farley, 1758.
This publication is the last of thirteen pamphlets issued together as A Preservative against Unsettled Notions in Religion. The final page of Bridwell Library’s copy was signed “John Wesley” – not by the author, but by his brother, Charles Wesley, who added a lengthy note of praise and support:
“I think myself bound in duty to add my testimony to my brother’s. His twelve reasons against our ever separating from the Church of England are mine also. I subscribe to them with all my heart. Only with regard to the first, I am quite clear that it is neither expedient nor lawful for me to separate, and I never had the least inclination or temptation to do so. My affection for the Church is as strong as ever, and I clearly see my calling, which is to live and to die in her communion. This therefore I am determined to do, the Lord being my helper. I have subjoined the Hymns for the lay-preachers; still farther to secure this end, to cut off all jealousy and suspicion from our friends or hope from our enemies of our having any design of ever separating from the Church, I have no secret reserve or distant thoughts of it. I never had. Would to God all the [Methodists preachers were, in this respect, like-minded with Charles Wesley].”
The final eleven words of the incomplete inscription, once written on a now-missing blank leaf, are only known today because Charles arranged to have the passage printed in the introduction to the second edition of 1760. Thus, Bridwell Library’s copy contains a rare autograph draft of a text published by one of the founders of Methodism.