AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF THE REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY, Who departed this Life MARCH 2, 1791, in the Eighty-Eighth Year of his Age.

The Memory of the Just is blessed.





AWAKE, my muse, and seek great WESLEY fled!
This righteous man is number'd with the dead.
How sad and awful is the parting stroke,
Which hath the long subsisting union broke!
WESLEY is set, that bright that shining star,
Which oft conducted strangers from afar,
To come by faith, and taste their Saviour's grace,
And humbly bow their souls before his face.
How long he labour'd in the gospel field!
While hundred thousand souls his Mission seal'd:
Who heard the gospel from his willing tongue,
Upon his lips with fix'd attention hung:
Heard for their lives, and fled from wrath to come
And found in Jesu's arms a welcome home.
What regularity his life display'd!
By rule he liv'd; his mind on God was stay'd.
Jesus he lov'd, his Gospel he pursu'd,
And wish'd, like him, to be divinely good;
His temper cultivated in his breast,
He learnt of him, and found the promis'd rest;
Thought, spoke, and acted like his Lord divine,
And in the sight of men his light did shine.
His works of love, known only to the Lord,
Insure for him a rich, a large reward:
[Page 4]Ten thousand acts of gen'rous kindness shown,
Have gain'd him honour, glory, and renown.
Many have done great things, and are approv'd,
But he excell'd them all, for much he lov'd.
Long did he move in Wisdom's pleasant ways;
He lov'd and sought her in his youthful days:
And to his latest years advancing still
In that blest way that leads to Zion's hill,
He gain'd at last the bright, the glorious prize,
The tree of life, which grows in Paradise.
His life was dedicated to the Lord;
And more than sixty years he preach'd his word:
Some millions heard his ready tongue proclaim
The wonders of the great Redeemer's name.
The universal Saviour he confess'd,
And sought to bring mankind to taste his rest.
Proclaim'd abroad "He tasted death for all;"
And that his grace extensive, as the fall,
Is freely given to ev'ry willing mind,
Who seek their Saviour and their God to find:
That none were reprobated by decree,
But that God's saving grace for all is free.
He taught mankind their hopes of heaven to place
Upon the Saviour's merits, and his grace,
Proclaim'd Repentance, Faith, Hope, Joy, and Love:
Taught men the way that leads to God above:
Five words well understood will shew the way,
Repent, Believe, Hope, Love, and then Obey.
This was the glorious doctrine which he brought,
This to the human race he freely taught;
And this to many thousand souls was blest,
Brought weary wand'rers unto Christ for rest.
How vast, and, oh! how regular his plan,
For God's great glory, and the good of man!
How wide, and yet how pow'rful was his sphere!
He shed his influence far, as well as near.
His sermons and his num rous writings shin'd,
With heav'nly light, a blessing to mankind.
[Page 5]His active soul flew swiftly to perform
His Father's will, his heart was always warm.
With God like Enoch he did spend his days:
Good works his business; preaching, pray'r and praise
These were his choicest pleasures ever high:
He wish'd in Jesu's cause to live and die.
The greatest ardour of his active mind
Was to proclaim the Gospel to mankind;
And make the Saviour's name and nature known
To all whom he had purchas'd for his own.
He joy'd to see the blood-bought human race
Partakers of the Saviour's love and grace:
He lov'd to see them walk in Wisdom's ways,
Hold fast the truth and joyful end their days.
He sought by every method in his pow'r
To spread the sacred Gospel more and more,
To turn the souls of men from death and sin,
And make them feel a Heav'n begun within.
He wish'd to see our Jesus rule and reign,
In every heart, that sin might all be slain:
That every soul might full salvation know,
And thus enjoy a Heav'n begun below.
How did he pray, and thirst, and pant, and long,
That Jesus might be prais'd by ev'ry tongue:
That all the world might taste redeeming love;
And be prepar'd for Heav'ns bright courts above.
And wheresoever he beheld a sign
That any heart was touch'd with pow'r divine,
It gave him joy beyond what harvest yields,
When plenteous crops are gathered from the fields
But hence my Muse: Come take a lofty flight,
Pursue this holy man to realms of light:
Behold him introduc'd to Heaven's high King?
Hark! how the Heav'nly arches loudly ring.
He comes, the faithful persevering man!
Whose life was govern'd by his Saviour's plan!
Who thought, spoke, acted, like his glorious Lord,
He comes to taste a part of his reward!
[Page 6]Behold his happy spirit swiftly rise!
To Heav'n he lifts his joyful wond'ring eyes!
Convey'd by angels swifter far than light,
The Heav'nly city soon appears in sight.
The shining gates of pearl are open'd wide,
And holy angels are his guard and guide.
How swift he marches on! fresh glory sees;
And traverses the sacred plain with ease.
But who is that stands waiting at the gate?
To bid him welcome in? What heav'nly state
Attends that glorious person? O 'tis he;
My Lord, the glorious man that dy'd for me;
He comes to welcome in his servant, John!
He takes him by the hand, and says, WELL DONE.
"Well done thou good and faithful servant, come,
"Partake of glory, Heav'n is now thy home.
"Thou shalt obtain the plaudit of thy God,
"And in his temple have thy fix'd abode.
"As thou hast faithfully his will obey'd,
"So shalt thou be a greater Ruler made:
"Far greater honour I'll on thee bestow
"Than ever was enjoy'd by kings below.
"Thy works of love were great, and not in vain,
"And from my hand thou shalt the prize obtain.
"With me thou shalt descend, and with me share
"The kingdom, sceptre, and a crown shall wear.
"Mean time, inherit now a glorious rest,
"And be with thousands of thy children blest."
As thus the Saviour spake, his servant bow'd
Adoring low before him; while aloud,
All heav'n resounded with the Saviour's praise,
Who takes such pleasure worms of earth to raise
To highest glories in the realms above;
He honours them who shew, that "God is love,"
But while my muse beholds this heav'nly scene,
Who can inform me what those triumphs mean?
Such crowds of shining spirits fly to meet,
This venerable man, and loudly greet,
[Page 7]And bid him welcome to the bliss divine:
Pray who are these, that in such glory shine?
These, says my kind instructor, are the bands
By him reclaim'd from sin, from Satan's hands,
Prepar'd for glory by his doctrine clear,
Went home before him, shout him welcome here.
See Fletcher, holy man, whose zeal and love,
Was so esteemed by all the hosts above;
Whose labour, faith, and patience to the last
Held out, till fears and dangers all were past.
See how he shines in glory ever bright,
And how he hails his friend to realms of light!
FLETCHER; that favourite of God and man,
How clearly he beheld Salvation's plan;
Saw through the parts, beheld the glorious whole;
Explor'd the gospel, with capacious soul!
Saw farther than he hath in words exprest,
But souls akin to his, can guess the rest.
His spirit, soul, and heart, were fill'd with love,
Love drew him on, and made him swiftly move.
While life immortal all his pow'rs inspir'd,
Sweetly he went to Christ as he desir'd.
His last day's labour in the house of God,
Push'd on his eager soul to its abode.
With what immortal pleasure did he rise
To join the happy millions in the skies!
Now he with rapture sees his ancient friend,
Come to possess those joys that never end.
His brother CHARLES, his fellow lab'rer dear,
With joy receives him, bids him welcome here.
He sweetly sang on earth, now sings above,
And shouts the Saviour's universal love.
How noble were his strains! how unconfin'd!
Vast was the scene which open'd to his mind!
His thoughts were boundless love, his voice was praise;
He liv'd to God, and joyful clos'd his days.
His sweet composures cannot be forgot,
His name, his memory shall never rot.
[Page 8]Th' immortal God his numbers did inspire,
They glow'd with more than bare poetic fire.
The love of jesus was his darling theme,
Who shed his blood for all, dy'd to redeem
The race of men, without excepting one,
Who were by sin, and by the Fall undone.
Nor can I here omit that herald bright,
Who preach'd the Gospel with unrivall'd might;
WHITEFIELD, a name to many thousands dear;
Who sat with great delight his voice to hear,
Who like an Angel seem'd thro' heaven to fly,
Proclaiming, "Fear the God who made the sky,
"The earth and seas, and water fountains deep;
"Worship JEHOVAH, his commandments keep."
But Jesus was his most enliv'ning theme;
How shone his face whene'er he spoke of him?
So glorious were his talents, all confess'd
That as a speaker he excell'd the best.
No less than thirteen times he cross'd the main;
The love of Jesus did his soul constrain,
In Europe and America to preach,
That sinners he might call, warn, and beseech;
And pray them to be reconcil'd to God,
Through Jesus Christ, and his attoning blood.
How ardently he labour'd for mankind,
That peace and pardon they thro' Christ might find!
And spent his precious life in acts of love,
Till Jesus call'd his soul to dwell above.
There universal love fills all his sight,
He swims in the broad ocean with delight;
He sees what once he hardly dar'd to scan,
That God is loving unto every man.
His soul was fitted for the realms of day,
And holy tempers in his heart bore sway,
And therefore upward did his spirit rise,
To meet his glorious Lord in Paradise.
He knows his ancient friend and brother's face,
And bids him welcome to that blessed place:
[Page 9]Where all disputes are over, wranglings past.
But perfect peace and pleasures always last.
United now, each other they embrace,
Redeem'd alike by Jesus, sav'd through grace:
They view with pleasing eyes the num'rous train
Of blood-bought souls, for whom the Lamb was slain
Who first by them alarm'd, have sought and found.
Through Jesus Christ, free grace and love abound.
And having persever'd in holiness,
Have enter'd Heav'n, and glory now possess.
Hundreds of shining heralds, who proclaim'd
The Gospel, where the Saviour scarce was nam'd,
Who first invited home by WESLEY'S tongue,
Felt Jesu's pow'r, and join'd the happy throng:
Publish'd salvation to their fellow men,
Call'd and invited them, and call'd again:
At length their Saviour call'd their spirits home
To dwell with him, where troubles never come.
Now they rejoice, to see their leader rise,
And take possession of the heav'nly prize.
While hundred thousands' turn'd from sinful ways,
Liv'd holy lives, triumphing clos'd their days,
Now hail their first instructor to that shore
Where sin and sorrow, pain and death's no more.
Oh, what amazing pleasures now he feels,
To view such multitudes of heav'nly seals!
Souls that were giv'n him for his joyful crown,
Procure him from his Lord the best renown.
For whosoever winneth souls is wise,
(Souls are those treasures we should highly prize.)
And such as men to righteousness shall turn,
Shall shine like stars, those lamps of Heav'n that bur
Many hath WESLEY turn'd to righteousness,
And therefore, he this honour shall possess.
Nor him alone, for Christ, the living Lord,
Will give to all his faithful ones reward.
And we that labour in our little sphere,
If we are faithful in his service here,
[Page 10]Shall gain the plaudit of our Lord divine,
And in his heav'nly kingdom ever shine.
But as this man of God did honour him,
Who shed his blood, all sinners to redeem,
So Jesus gave him favour and success,
And wond rouily his ministry did bless.
Long did JEHOVAH lengthen out his time,
And long his faculties remain'd in prime:
His influence vast continu'd all his days,
And great designs fulfill'd to Jesu's praise,
He labour'd to the last with ardent pain,
And sought the wand ring souls of men to gain.
But just one week before his dying day,
With love and fervour he did preach and pray,
"Seek ye JEHOVAH while he may be found,
"Call on his name, while mercy doth abound;
"O put not off, until another day,
"Now while he's near at hand, arise and pray.
"Now let the wicked man forsake his crimes,
"And to our God JEHOVAH turn betimes.
"And let th' unrighteous man his thoughts forsake:
"His evil tempers, and to pray'r betake:
"Then God his grace and mercy will bestow,
"Their sins forgive, and save their souls from woe."
The point he labour'd long with earnestness,
And on his hearers did repentance press.
Thus nobly clos'd his public labours then,
Finish'd his work on earth. Now gone from men,
He walks with Jesus, sees him as he is,
High in salvation, and the Climes of Bliss.
In Heav'n is joy, fullness of joy in store,
At God's right hand are pleasures evermore.
And what from mortal eyes must be conceal'd,
Is to the heirs of glory there reveal'd.
Freedom from sin and sorrow, guilt and pain,
And ev'ry evil inclination slain;
Beholding Jesus Christ with open face,
Resting for ever in his lov'd embrace:
[Page 11]Being conform'd to him in perfect love;
And join'd to all the heav'nly hosts above;
Praising the name of God in loudest strains,
Adoring Christ, who high in glory reigns;
If this is Heav'n and this their blest employ,
Who dwell in Jesu's presence, sure 'tis joy,
Lord let us enter there when life is past,
And, taste those joys which shall for ever last.

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