Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon
Selina, Countess of Huntingdon was an English religious leader who played a prominent part in the religious revival of the 18th century and the Methodist movement in England and Wales, has left an affiliated group of churches in England and in Sierra Leone in Africa. She played a major role in guiding early Methodism. Selina was the first female principal of a men's college in Wales, she financed the building of 64 chapels in England and Wales, wrote to George Whitefield and John Wesley, funded mission work in colonial America. She is remembered for her adversarial relationships with other Methodists. Selina Hastings was born Lady Selina Shirley, the second daughter of Washington Shirley, 2nd Earl Ferrers, Mary Levinge, at Staunton Harold Hall, a mansion near Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, she married Theophilus Hastings, 9th Earl of Huntingdon, on 3 June 1728, went to live at Donington Hall, Leicestershire. Her husband died in 1746, she gave birth to seven children in the first ten years of the marriage, of whom four died at young ages, she suffered from poor health.
The family were interested in politics and the arts, commissioned portraits from fashionable artists of the day. On 21 April 1730 she became one of the twenty-one aristocratic women whose support Thomas Coram would enlist in his efforts to establish the Foundling Hospital. Securing the support of notably pious women such as Lady Huntingdon as signatories to the Ladies' Petition for the Establishment of the Foundling Hospital lent his endeavour not only respectability but cachet. Selina would provide the Coram with'financial support for fees, stamp duties, vellum and others expenses connected with the presentation of the Foundling Hospital Charter for the King's signature.'The petition was presented to King George II in 1735. In 1739, Lady Huntington joined the first Methodist society in London; some time after the death of her husband in 1746, she threw in her lot with John Wesley and George Whitefield in the work of the great revival. Whitefield became her personal chaplain, with his assistance, following problems put in her path by the Anglican clergy from whom she had preferred not to separate, she founded the "Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion", a Calvinistic movement within the Methodist church.
In the earlier part of her life Isaac Watts, Lady Abney, Philip Doddridge, Augustus Montague Toplady were among her friends. Lady Anne Erskine, was her closest friend and companion for many years in the latter part of Lady Huntingdon's life. In 1748, the Countess gave Whitefield a scarf as her chaplain, in that capacity he preached in one of her London houses, in Park Street, Westminster, to audiences that included Chesterfield and Bolingbroke, she held large dinner parties at which Whitefield preached to the gathered dignitaries after they had eaten. Moved to further the religious revival in a Calvinistic manner compatible with Whitefield's work, she was responsible for founding 64 chapels and contributed to the funding of others, insisting they should all subscribe to the doctrines of the Church of England and use only the Book of Common Prayer. Amongst these were chapels at Brighton, Worcester, Tunbridge Wells, several in Wales, a small number in London including founding one adjacent to her London home at Spa Fields, Clerkenwell/Finsbury.
She funded the independent Surrey Chapel of Rowland Hill. She appointed ministers to officiate in them, under the impression that as a peeress she had a right to employ as many chaplains as she pleased. In her chapel at Bath there was a curtained recess dubbed "Nicodemus' Corner" where bishops sat incognito to hear services. Following the expulsion of six Methodist students from St Edmund Hall, Oxford in 1768 the Countess founded a ministers' training college at Trefeca near Talgarth, in Mid Wales, not far from Brecon. George Whitefield preached at the opening ceremony; the college moved to Hertfordshire in 1792, was renamed Cheshunt College. It moved to Cambridge in 1906. Cheshunt College, Cambridge merged with Westminster College, the training college of the Presbyterian Church of England, in 1967. In 1842, the Presbyterian Church of Wales opened a college at Trefeca, a quarter of a mile south of the site of the Countess's college, it is said. A slave owner, having inherited overseas estates in Georgia and South Carolina in 1770 on the death of her chaplain, George Whitefield, the Countess promoted the writings and independence of enslaved Africans who espoused religious views compatible with her own including authors Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano.
She used her influence in the world of the arts to secure publication for Wheatley's 1773 volume of poems, Poems on Various Subjects and Moral by Phillis Wheatley, Negro Servant to Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston, in New England, dedicated to the Countess. Despite acting as Wheatley's patron, the Countess' ill-health during her visit to London meant that t
Works of mercy
Works of mercy are practices which Christians perform. The practice is popular in the Catholic Church as an act of both charity. In addition, the Methodist church teaches that the works of mercy are a means of grace which lead to holiness and aid in sanctification; the works of mercy have been traditionally divided into two categories, each with seven elements: "Corporal works of mercy" which concern the material needs of others. "Spiritual works of mercy". Pope John Paul II issued a papal encyclical "Dives in misericordia" on 30 November 1980 declaring that "Jesus Christ taught that man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but that he is called'to practice mercy' towards others." Another notable devotion associated with the works of mercy is the Divine Mercy, which derives from apparitions of Jesus Christ to Saint Faustina Kowalska. Based on Jesus' doctrine of the sheep and the goats, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are a means of grace as good deeds and their omission is a reason for damnation.
Because the Messianic Age will be a time of mercy, because the church believes this age began at Jesus' coming and believes Jesus obeyed every mitzvah and fulfilled the Scriptures, Catholics perform the works of mercy. In particular cases, a given individual will not be obligated or competent to perform four of the spiritual works of mercy, namely: instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, admonishing sinners, comforting the afflicted; these works may require a superior level of authority or knowledge or an extraordinary amount of tact. The other works of mercy, are considered to be an obligation of all faithful to practise unconditionally. In an address on the 2016 World Day of Prayer for Creation, Pope Francis suggested "care for creation" as a new work of mercy, describing it as a "complement" to the existing works. Francis characterized this new work as having spiritual components. Corporally, it involves "daily gestures which break with the logic of violence and selfishness". Spiritually, it involves contemplating each part of creation to find what God is teaching us through them.
This pronouncement extensively quoted the encyclical Laudato si', Cardinal Peter Turkson, who helped write the encyclical, clarified that the addition of this work of mercy was part of Francis' intention for Laudato si'. Corporal works of mercy are those; the standard list is given by Jesus in Chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, in the famous sermon on the Last Judgment. They are mentioned in the Book of Isaiah; the seventh work of mercy comes from the Book of Tobit and from the mitzvah of burial, although it was not added to the list until the Middle Ages. The works include: To feed the hungry. To give water to the thirsty. To clothe the naked. To shelter the homeless. To visit the sick. To visit the imprisoned. To bury the dead. Just as the corporal works of mercy are directed towards relieving corporeal suffering, the aim of the spiritual works of mercy is to relieve spiritual suffering; the first four come from Ezekiel 33, the fifth comes from the mitzvah of forgiving others before receiving forgiveness from God, the sixth comes from Deuteronomy 15, the seventh comes from Maccabees 2.
The works include: To instruct the ignorant. To counsel the doubtful. To admonish the sinners. To bear patiently those who wrong us. To forgive offenses. To comfort the afflicted. To pray for the living and the dead; the Corporal works of mercy are an important subject of Christian iconography. In some representations of the Middle Ages, the seven works were allegorically juxtaposed with the seven deadly sins; the pictorial representation of the works of mercy began in the 12th century. The Master of Alkmaar painted the polyptych of the Seven works of mercy for the Church of Saint Lawrence in Alkmaar, Netherlands, his series of wooden panel paintings show the works of mercy, with Jesus in the background viewing each, in this order: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, bury the dead, shelter the traveler, comfort the sick, ransom the captive. The painting of the Seven Works of Mercy by Frans II Francken represents the acts not as a picture cycle, but in one single composition.
A major work of the iconography of mercy is the altarpiece of Caravaggio in Naples, commissioned by the Confraternità del Pio Monte della Misericordia for their church. This charity brotherhood was founded in 1601 in Naples; the artist painted the Seven Works of Mercy in one single composition. Regarding the sharp contrasts of the painting’s chiaroscuro, the art historian Ralf van Bühren explains the bright light as a metaphor for mercy, which "helps the audience to explore mercy in their own lives". In Methodist teaching, doing merciful acts is a prudential means of grace. Along with works of piety, they are necessary for the believer to move on to Christian perfection. In this sense, the Methodist concern for people at the margins is related to its worship; as such, these beliefs have helped create the emphasis of the social gospel in the Methodist Church. Works of MercyDoing Good Visiting the Sick and Prisoners Feeding and Clothing People Earning, Giving All One Can Opposition to Slavery "Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy" at the Catholic Encyclopedia "The Means of Grace" by John Wesley Seven Corporal Works of Mercy in English painted churches
George Whitefield spelled Whitfield, was an English Anglican cleric and evangelist, one of the founders of Methodism and the evangelical movement. Born in Gloucester, he matriculated at Pembroke College at the University of Oxford in 1732. There he joined the "Holy Club" and was introduced to the Wesley brothers and Charles, with whom he would work in his ministry. Whitefield was ordained after receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, he began preaching, but he did not settle as the minister of any parish. Rather he became an itinerant evangelist. In 1740, Whitefield traveled to North America, where he preached a series of revivals that became part of the "Great Awakening", his methods were controversial and he engaged in numerous debates and disputes with other clergymen. Whitefield received widespread recognition during his ministry. Whitefield could enthrall large audiences through a potent combination of drama, religious rhetoric, imperial pride. Whitefield was born on 27 December 1714 at the Southgate Street, Gloucester in England.
Whitefield was the fifth son of Thomas Whitefield and Elizabeth Edwards who kept an inn at Gloucester. At an early age, he found that he had a passion and talent for acting in the theatre, a passion that he would carry on with the theatrical re-enactments of Bible stories he told during his sermons, he was educated at the Crypt School and Pembroke College, Oxford. Because business at the inn had diminished, Whitefield did not have the means to pay for his tuition, he therefore came up to Oxford as the lowest rank of undergraduates. He was a part of the "Holy Club" at the University with the Wesley brothers and Charles. An illness, as well as Henry Scougal's The Life of God in the Soul of Man, influenced him to turn to the Church. Following a religious conversion, he became passionate for preaching his new-found faith; the Bishop of Gloucester ordained him a deacon. Whitefield preached his first sermon at St Mary de Crypt Church in his home town of Gloucester, a week after his ordination, he had earlier become the leader of the Holy Club at Oxford when the Wesley brothers departed for Georgia.
In 1738 he went to Savannah, Georgia, as parish priest. While there he decided that one of the great needs of the area was an orphan house, he decided. He returned to England to raise funds, as well as to receive priest's orders. While preparing for his return, he preached to large congregations. At the suggestion of friends he preached to the miners of Kingswood, outside Bristol, in the open air; because he was returning to Georgia he invited John Wesley to take over his Bristol congregations, to preach in the open air for the first time at Kingswood and at Blackheath, London. Whitefield accepted the Church of England's doctrine of predestination and disagreed with the Wesley brothers' views on the doctrine of the atonement, Arminianism; as a result, Whitefield did what his friends hoped he would not do—hand over the entire ministry to John Wesley. Whitefield formed and was the president of the first Methodist conference but he soon relinquished the position to concentrate on evangelical work.
Three churches were established in England in his name—one in Penn Street and two in London, in Moorfields and in Tottenham Court Road—all three of which became known by the name of "Whitefield's Tabernacle". The society meeting at the second Kingswood School at Kingswood, a town on the eastern edge of Bristol, was also named Whitefield's Tabernacle. Whitefield acted as chaplain to Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, some of his followers joined the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, whose chapels were built by Selina, where a form of Calvinistic Methodism similar to Whitefield's was taught. Many of Selina's chapels were built in the Welsh counties. One was erected in London—Spa Fields Chapel. In 1739, Whitefield returned to England to raise funds to establish the Bethesda Orphanage, now the Bethesda Academy, it is the oldest extant charity in North America. Whitefield's endeavor to build an orphanage in Georgia was central to his preaching; the orphanage and preaching comprised the "two-fold task".
On 25 March 1740, construction began. Whitefield wanted the orphanage to be a place of strong Gospel influence, with a wholesome atmosphere and strong discipline. Having raised the money by his preaching, Whitefield "insisted on sole control of the orphanage", he refused to give the Trustees a financial accounting. The Trustees objected to Whitefield's using "a wrong Method" to control the children, who "are kept praying and crying all the Night". On returning to North America in 1740, he preached a series of revivals that came to be known as the Great Awakening of 1740. In 1740 he engaged Moravian Brethren from Georgia to build an orphanage for Negro children on land he had bought in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Following a theological disagreement, he dismissed them but was unable to complete the building, which the Moravians subsequently bought and completed; this now is the Whitefield House in the center of the Moravian settlement of Nazareth. The Whitefield House is owned by the Moravian Historical Society, operates as the Society's museum and administrative offices.
He preached nearly every day for month
Conditional preservation of the saints
The conditional preservation of the saints, or conditional security, is the Arminian belief that believers are kept safe by God in their saving relationship with Him upon the condition of a persevering faith in Christ. Arminians find the Scriptures describing both the initial act of faith in Christ, "whereby the relationship is effected, the persevering faith in Him whereby the relationship is sustained." The relationship of "the believer to Christ is never a static relationship existing as the irrevocable consequence of a past decision, act, or experience." Rather, it is a living union "proceeding upon a living faith in a living Savior." This living union is captured in this simple command by Christ, "Remain in me, I in you". According to Arminians, biblical saving faith expresses itself in obedience to God. In the Arminian Confession of 1621, the Remonstrants affirmed that true or living faith operates through love, that God chooses to give salvation and eternal life through His Son, "and to glorify all those and only those believing in his name, or obeying his gospel, persevering in faith and obedience until death...
"Arminians believe that "It is abundantly evident from the Scriptures that the believer is secure." Furthermore, believers have assurance in knowing there is no external power or circumstance that can separate them from the love of God they enjoy in union with Christ. Arminians see numerous warnings in Scripture directed to genuine believers about the possibility of falling away in unbelief and thereby becoming severed from their saving union with God through Christ. Arminians hold that if a believer becomes an unbeliever, they cease to partake of the promises of salvation and eternal life made to believers who continue in faith and remain united to Christ. Therefore, Arminians seek to follow the biblical writers in warning believers about the real dangers of committing apostasy. A sure and biblical way to avoid apostasy is to admonish believers to mature spiritually in their relationship with God in union with Christ and through power of the Spirit. Maturity takes place as Christ-followers keep on meeting with fellow believers for mutual encouragement and strength.
Free Will Baptist scholar Robert Picirilli states: Appropriately last among the points of tension among Calvinism and Arminianism is the question whether those who have been regenerated must persevere or may apostatize and be lost.... Arminius himself and the original Remonstrants avoided a clear conclusion on this matter, but they raised the question. And the natural implications of the views at the heart of Arminianism in its early stages as a formal movement, tended to question whether Calvinism's assumptions of necessary perseverance was Biblical; those tendencies indicated by the questions raised did not take long to reach fruition, thus Calvinism and Arminianism have come to be traditionally divided on this issue. Prior to the time of the debate between Calvinists and the Arminians at the Synod of Dort, the view in the early church appears to be on the side of conditional security. From his research of the writings of the early church fathers, patristic scholar David W. Bercot arrived at this conclusion: "Since the early Christians believed that our continued faith and obedience are necessary for salvation, it follows that they believed that a'saved' person could still end up being lost."
Jacobus Arminius arrived at the same conclusion in his own readings of the early church fathers. In responding to Calvinist William Perkins arguments for the perseverance of the saints, he wrote: "In reference to the sentiments of the fathers, you doubtless know that all antiquity is of the opinion, that believers can fall away and perish." On another occasion he notes that such a view was never "reckoned as a heretical opinion," but "has always had more supporters in the church of Christ, than that which denies its possibility." Arminius' opinion on the subject is communicated in this brief statement: My sentiments respecting the perseverance of the Saints are, that those persons who have been grafted into Christ by true faith, have thus been made partakers of his life-giving Spirit, possess sufficient powers to fight against Satan, the world and their own flesh, to gain the victory over these enemies—yet not without the assistance of the grace of the same Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ by his Spirit assists them in all their temptations, affords them the ready aid of his hand.
So that it is not possible for them, by any of the cunning craftiness or power of Satan, to be either seduced or dragged out of the hands of Christ. But I think it is useful and will be quite necessary in our first convention, to institute a diligent inquiry from the Scriptures, whether it is not possible for some individuals through negligence to desert the commencement of their existence in Christ, to cleave again to the present evil world, to decline from the sound doctrine, once delivered to them, to lose a good conscience, to cause Divine grace to be ineffectual. Though I here and ingenuously affirm, I never taught that a true believer can, either or fall away from the faith, perish.
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a mainline Protestant denomination and a major part of Methodism. In the 19th century, its main predecessor, the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a leader in evangelicalism; the present denomination was founded in 1968 in Dallas, Texas, by union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley in England, as well as the Great Awakening in the United States; as such, the church's theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan. It embraces both evangelical elements; the United Methodist Church has a connectional polity, a typical feature of a number of Methodist denominations. It is organized into conferences; the highest level is called the General Conference and is the only organization which may speak for the UMC. The church is a member of the World Council of Churches, the World Methodist Council, other religious associations. With at least 12 million members as of 2014, the UMC is the largest denomination within the wider Methodist movement of 80 million people across the world.
In the United States, the UMC ranks as the largest mainline Protestant denomination, the largest Protestant church after the Southern Baptist Convention, the third largest Christian denomination. In 2014, its worldwide membership was distributed as follows: 7 million in the United States, 4.4 million in Africa and Europe. In 2015, Pew Research estimated that 3.6 percent of the US population, or 9 million adult adherents, self-identify with the United Methodist Church revealing a much larger number of adherents than registered membership. The movement, which would become the United Methodist Church, began in the mid-18th century within the Church of England. A small group of students, including John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield, met at Oxford University, they living a holy life. Other students mocked them, saying they were the "Holy Club" and "the Methodists", being methodical and exceptionally detailed in their Bible study and disciplined lifestyle; the so-called Methodists started individual societies or classes for members of the Church of England who wanted to live a more religious life.
In 1735, John and Charles Wesley went to America, hoping to teach the gospel to the American Indians in the colony of Georgia. Instead, John became vicar of the church in Savannah, his preaching was legalistic and full of harsh rules, the congregation rejected him. After two years in America, he returned to England dejected and confused. On his journey to America, he had been impressed with the faith of the German Moravians on board, when he returned to England he spent time with a German Moravian, passing through England, Peter Böhler. Peter believed a person is saved through the grace of God and not by works, John had many conversations with Peter about this topic. On May 25, 1738, after listening to a reading of Martin Luther's preface to Romans, John came to the understanding that his good works could not save him and he could rest in God's grace for salvation. For the first time in his life, he felt the assurance of salvation. In less than two years, the "Holy Club" disbanded. John Wesley met with a group of clergy.
He said "they appeared to be of one heart, as well as of one judgment, resolved to be Bible-Christians at all events. The ministers retained their membership in the Church of England. Though not always emphasized or appreciated in the Anglican churches of their day, their teaching emphasized salvation by God's grace, acquired through faith in Christ. Three teachings they saw as the foundation of Christian faith were: People are all by nature dead in sin and children of wrath, they are justified by faith alone. Faith produces outward holiness; these clergy became popular, attracting large congregations. The nickname students had used against the Wesleys was revived; the English preacher Francis Asbury arrived in America in 1771. He became a "circuit rider", taking the gospel to the furthest reaches of the new frontier as he had done as a preacher in England; the first official organization in the United States occurred in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1784, with the formation of the Methodist Episcopal Church at the Christmas Conference with Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke as the leaders.
Though John Wesley wanted the Methodists to stay within the Church of England, the American Revolution decisively separated the Methodists in the American colonies from the life and sacraments of the Anglican Church. In 1784, after unsuccessful attempts to have the Church of England send a bishop to start a new church in the colonies, Wesley decisively appointed fellow priest Thomas Coke as superintendent to organize a separate Methodist Society. Together with Coke, Wesley sent a revision of the Anglican Prayerbook and the Articles of Religion which were received and adopted by the Baltimore Christmas Conference of 1784 establishing the Methodist Episcopal Church; the conference was held at the Lovely Lane Methodist Church, considered the Mother Church of American Methodism. The new church grew in the young country as it employed circuit riders, many of whom were laymen, to travel the rural nation by horseback to preach the Gospel and to establish churches until there was scarcely any village in the United States without a Methodist presence.
With 4,000 circuit riders by 1844, the Methodist Episcopal Church became the largest Protestant denomination in the