Info

Lowlands, however, were strategically decisive, and here patronage questions were crucial. The Erskine brothers seceded from the Church of Scotland in 1733 over their objections to both patronage and what they perceived as the dominance of rationalism and moderatism in the church. Within thirty years their Secession Church had gathered over a hundred congregations. In 1741 they invited Whitefield himself to join the work. The Erskine's movement looked like revival but was actually the old Presbyterian way of reform by secession and discipline. Upon his arrival in Scotland, Whitefield instantly found himself denounced by Cameronian hotheads, and he soon distanced himself from the Seceders and won his greatest triumphs in the established Church of Scotland, in the company of Leicester House forces who were seeking to change the balance in the Scottish church. In the troubled parish of Cambuslang, its minister, William McCulloch, had been labouring without significant impact since being installed in the parish in 1731. Then in 1741, the parish became the centre of a large-scale revival; with Whitefield's assistance the revival spread to other parishes by contagion and personal connection. The Last Days seemed at hand, but as in New England, the Cambuslang revival in Scotland bloomed but for a day.

However irascible at home, Harris was a peacemaker in Methodism outside Wales. There was indeed a British Methodism, which was a movement and never became a denomination; and there were others who helped to keep differences within bounds, to sustain networks which extended from eastern Europe to America and to preserve a common, unifying 'myth' about the regenerating work of Halle. All the main figures were establishment men who did not want to organize a new denomination - even in Presbyterian Scotland the Episcopalians Whitefield and Wesley tried to act within the established church. In London the religious societies had created a consolidated market ripe forthe evangelists evenbefore Whitefield arrived. These societies provided a springboard and a model for advances elsewhere, but they also showed that the sort of community revival aspired to in New England was not possible in London. Even Moravianism established its headquarters in London between 1749 and 1755, Zinzendorf competing with Wesley for political advantages from the Tory and Leicester House connexions. It was hard for English Dissenters to enter the Methodist company. Abiding loyalties to the Whigs had kept them from a Tory and Jacobite milieu, at least until their disgust with the Whig prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, had sunk deep; by the mid-eighteenth century, the universal pledges of Protestant loyalty to the British state expressed during the 1745 Jacobite rebellion made unity between Methodists and English Dissenters easier. Philip Doddridge in particular became a 'Methodist' in the

0 0

Post a comment