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The Wesleyan Heritage Collection

Classic Wesleyan Writings

wesleyan collection cd ages

Price: $19.95

A sundry collection of somewhat rare, sometimes difficult to find, and generally out of print reference books of the Wesleyan/Arminian viewpoint. The CD includes: Francis Asbury's Journals and Letters, Joseph Benson's Commentary, John Fletcher's Works, Thomas Ralston's Elements of Divinity, Joseph Sutcliffe's Commentary, Richard Watson's Dictionary, Watson's Exposition, Watson's Institutes, D. D. Whedon's Commentary, J. Agar Beet's Commentary, Adam Clarke's Commentary, John Wesley's Notes on the Bible, Works of Arminius, Works of Wesley

Asbury's Journals and Letters
Benson's Commentary
Fletcher's Works
Ralston's Elements of Divinity
Sutcliffe's Commentary
Watson's Dictionary
Watson's Exposition
Watson's Institutes
Whedon's Commentary
Beet's Commentary
Clarke's Commentary
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Works of Wesley
Works of Arminius

Asbury's Journals and Letters, Vols. 1-3

Francis Asbury was a bachelor Bishop of the early American Methodists. He travelled an average of 6000 miles per year through pathless forests and untravelled wildernesses among the swamps of the South, the prairies of the West, the heats of the Carolinas and the snows of New England.

In 1784 - four years before the organization of the Protestant Episcopal Church - the Methodist societies were organized into an Episcopal Church. Mr. Asbury was elected Bishop and consecrated by Dr. Coke, who had been ordained in England by Wesley. Asbury's personal history is almost the history of the growth of Methodism in his time. His journals contain a wonderful record of apostolic zeal and fidelity, of a spirit of self-sacrifice rivaling that of the saints and martyrs of the early church, and no records of American frontier adventure show greater endurance or courage than Asbury's travels beyond the mountains. Armed hunters escorted him from point to point to protect him from the Indians, and great were the gatherings and grand the jubilees wherever he appeared.

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Benson's Commentary, 5 Volumes

One of the most eminent of the early Methodist ministers in England, Joseph Benson was born at Melmerby, in Cumberland, Jan. 25, 1748. At sixteen he fell in for the first time with the Methodists and was converted. In 1766 Mr. Wesley appointed him classical master at Kingswood School. He devoted himself closely to philosophy and theology, studying constantly and zealously.

Dr. Clarke calls Benson "a sound scholar, a powerful and able preacher, and a profound theologian." Besides editing the Methodist Magazine for many years, he published A Defence of the Methodists, A Farther Defence of the Methodists, Vindication of the Methodists, Apology for the Methodists, Sermons on various Occasions, Life of John Fletcher, and A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures. In a quote from the footnotes of Asbury's Journals - vol. 3 Frank Baker writes:
"It is amazing to realize that within a generation four massive commentaries on the whole Bible were published by British Methodists: Thomas Coke, six volumes, 1801-9; Adam Clarke, eight volumes, 1810-26; Joseph Benson, five volumes, 1811-18; Joseph Sutcliffe, two volumes, 1834-39."
Sulu Kelley of Wesleyan Heritage Publishing says:
"In my opinion Joseph Benson's Commentary ranks right up there with Adam Clarke's and Thomas Coke's."

From Commenting & Commentaries -- A Catalogue of Biblical Commentaries and Expositions by C. H. Spurgeon:
Adopted by the Wesleyan Conference as a standard work, and characterized by that body as marked by "solid learning, soundness of theological opinion, and an edifying attention to experimental and practical religion." Necessary to Methodist Students.

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Fletcher's Works, Vols. 1-4

Fletcher was Wesley's choice as his successor to head the Methodists, although Fletcher ultimately died before Wesley. Fletcher was a brilliant defender of Arminius' doctrines, and emphasized the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as the "means" of sanctifying grace. His Appeal to Matter of Fact and Common Sense is an admirable, and, in some respects, novel treatise on the doctrine of universal depravity.

Benson describes Fletcher at Trevecca in glowing terms: "The reader," he says, "will pardon me if he thinks I exceed; my heart kindles while I write. Here it was that I saw, shall I say, an angel in human flesh? I should not far exceed the truth if I said so."

Fletcher wrote largely upon the Calvinistic controversy, and his writings, especially his Checks to Antinomianism, are essential to the comprehensive study of that controversy. The scriptural argument is thorough, and exegetical expositions are given in detail, as in the Discussion of the ninth Chapter to the Romans, and the View of St. Paul's Doctrine of the first Chapter to the Ephesians. No writer has better balanced the apparently contradictory passages of Scripture on the question. They have been more influential in the denomination than Wesley's own controversial writings on the subject, for Wesley was content to, "leave the contest to Fletcher."

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Ralston's Elements of Divinity

RALSTON, Thomas Neely, clergyman, born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, 21 March, 1806. He was educated at Georgetown college, Kentucky, joined the state conference of the Methodist Episcopal church in 1827, and was its secretary for twelve years. He was a member of the convention that met in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1845, to organize the Methodist Episcopal church, south, and secretary of that body in 1850, subsequently becoming chairman of the committee to revise the discipline of the church. He was president of the Methodist female collegiate high-school in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1843-7, and in 1851 edited the Methodist Monthly. Wesleyan university, Florence, Kentucky, gave him the degree of D. D. in 1857. His publications include Elements of Divinity (Louisville, Kentucky, 1847); Evidences, Morals, and Institutions of Christianity (Nashville, Tennessee, 1870): Ecce Unitas, or a Plea for Christian Unity (Cincinnati, 1870); and Bible Truths (Nashville, 1887).

- Appleton's 1886 Encyclopedia

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Sutcliffe's Commentary, 2 Volumes

Joseph Sutcliffe, M.A., an English Wesleyan minister, was born at Baildon, Yorkshire. He was converted in early life and was appointed by Wesley to Redruth in 1786. Sutcliffe introduced Methodism into the Scilly Isles in 1788, and spent the last twenty years of his life in retirement in London, where he died May 14, 1856. His course was one of "unspotted Christian purity and progressive excellence. In Biblical scholarship he especially excelled." He was an indefatigable writer, publishing in all thirty-two works on religious subjects, the chief being - A Commentary on the Old and New Testament.

Sutcliffe's own words on his Commentary:
The Author begs to close this address by stating, that the present work is the result of his study and labour for about forty years. Favoured with health, and a biblical library, he has spent his mornings in reading the original scriptures, with versions and comments.

To English commentators his references are few, lest he should be a plagiarist from others, which real industry has no need to be. He conceives it to be the duty of a commentator, treading a beaten path, to give ancient truths the drapery of living language, like the renovated verdure of the year.

Another devout aim of the author has been to assist the candidate for the sanctuary to the utmost of his power; for the conscious mind, called to save souls, and defend the truth, is worthy of all the aid that science can afford.

- BRIGHTON, January 1st, 1834.

From Commenting & Commentaries -- A Catalogue of Biblical Commentaries and Expositions by C. H. Spurgeon:
To comprise the whole Bible in one volume necessitated notes few and brief. Sutcliffe, though an Arminian, is in general so good that we wish we had more of him ; his style is vivacious and forcible.

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Watson's Dictionary

"It is not necessary to say any thing in commendation of this work. Whatever merit, however, may be attached to others of a similar character which have preceded it, we think it will be conceded by all, that Mr. Watson, by furnishing this Dictionary, has supplied a desideratum, in the department of Biblical and Theological literature, which had long been felt, and for doing which the religious community will not be backward in acknowledging its obligations."

- N. Bangs
New York, Sept. 25, 1832.

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Watson's Expositions

The lamented author of this work intended to write expository notes on the whole of the New Testament, but was called away by death before he had completed his design. He was especially desirous of presenting to the Church of God what he conceived to be the legitimate sense of the Epistle to the Romans, and of that to the Hebrews: but as he advanced in his important critical labours his health rapidly declined; and being apprehensive that he should not live to finish the work according to his original plan, he passed from the middle of St. Luke's gospel to the Epistle to the Romans. His strength, however, entirely failed before he had proceeded far with that sacred book; and in a few weeks after he had ceased to write he was summoned to his final account. The Exposition of St. Matthew's gospel he had corrected with more than his usual attention, as he did not expect to see it conducted through the press; and he gave the requisite directions to the printer, that, in the event of his decease, no difficulty might be experienced in its publication. The whole has been carefully printed from his own manuscripts.

Though a posthumous work, it is presumed that this Exposition will not be deemed unworthy of the author's reputation. The strong and steady light which it sheds upon the sacred oracles, and the spirit of pure and fervent devotion which pervades it, excite strong regret that the same enlightened piety and discriminating judgment were not employed in the elucidation of the remaining books of the New Testament. But the Lord "giveth not account of any of his ways;" and upon this, as well as upon every similar occasion, it becomes Christians to adopt the language of the humbled psalmist, "I became dumb, I opened not my mouth; for it was thy doing."

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Watson's Institutes, 2 Volumes

Richard Watson, a Wesleyan theologian, was born at Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, Feb. 22, 1781. Watson gave the first systematic treatment of Wesleyan theology. His Institutes, though not the legal, have been the moral and scientific standard of Methodist doctrine. Although the works of Profs. Pope and Raymond fill a niche in the temple of more recent literature which the Institutes cannot fill, Watson's work can never be superseded. The elder Hodge speaks of it as "excellent, and well worthy of its high repute among Methodists." (Systematic Theology, 3, 190)

Watson's mind was versatile, his sympathies universal. He was at home in theology, metaphysics, politics, and domestic economy. As a preacher, great things are spoken of him. Nihil tetigit quod non ornavit. "He soars," says Robert Hall, "into regions of thought where no genius but his own can penetrate. He led his hearers into realms of thought of which they had previously no conception; and his tall and graceful form, his pallid countenance bearing marks of deep thought and of severe pain, and at the same time beaming with benignity and holy delight, served to deepen the impression of his incomparable discourses. The greatest charm of his preaching was its richness in evangelical truth and devotional feeling; and in those qualities it increased to the last." (Wesl. Meth. Magazine 1833, p. 151).

"Watson had not the earnestness and force of Chalmers," says an elaborate and able article in the London Quarterly Review, 1854, 2, 192. "But he possessed much more thought, philosophy, calm ratiocination, and harmonious fullness. He had not, perhaps, the metaphysical subtlety and rapid combination, the burning affections and elegant diction of Hall; but he possessed as keen a reason, a more lofty imagination, an equal or superior power of painting, and, as we think, a much more vivid perception of the spiritual world, and a richer leaven of evangelical sentiment. Owen's oratory seemed to be more flowing, spontaneous, and impassioned than that of Watson; but the latter exceeded Owen in stretch of thought, sublimity, beautiful imagery, and deep and touching pathos."

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Whedon's Commentary, 14 Volumes

Daniel D. Whedon (b. 1808 in Onondaga, N.Y.) was well qualified as a commentator. He was Professor of Ancient Languages in Wesleyan University, studied law and had some years of pastoral experience. He was editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review for more than twenty years. He was one of the most important theological figures in America. His strong defense of Arminian theology makes his notes in that area especially valuable, as in the book of Romans.

Whedon's Commentaries are old reliable commentaries by one of the great exponents of holiness among Wesleyan-Arminian theology. Whether studying the Gospels, the Epistles or Revelation, Whedon's Commentary has a word that will guide and direct you in the old paths. I am satisfied that Whedon's commentary is going to become a most valuable tool to the holiness movement.

- R.E. Carroll

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Beet's Notes on Romans Through Philemon

Joseph Agar Beet was an English Wesleyan was a pastor from 1864 to 1885, and professor of systematic theology in Wesleyan College, Richmond, 1885-1905. He was also a member of the faculty of theology in the University of London in 1901-05.

"In Dr. Agar Beet the Wesleyans have now a theologian who takes his place among the best of living expositors.... It is no small achievement to have carried into its ninth edition a book on so well worked a theme as the Epistle to the Romans. This success is the reward of solid and sober work. The writer has the great merit of knowing his own mind and of expressing his meaning with lucidity; and his literary skill enables him to give his readers most of the results attained by scholarship without distracting the unlearned by a parade of Greek. But he is more than a commentator; he applies the lessons of the Epistle with impressive earnestness and unfailing good taste."
- The Saturday Review

"This is one of the greatest extant commentaries on Romans; and it is more, for it is also a compendium of theology, as must needs be the case with a work on the Epistle that deals at all adequately with its subject. Again and again as we turn over the pages we are delighted with ome happy rendering, the skilful unravelling of some knotty phrase, the keen cut of thought into the heart of some tough sentence."
- The Christian World

Beet's Notes features Joseph Beet's Expositions on Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

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Clarke's Commentary

Adam Clarke (ca. 1760-1832), a Wesleyan Methodist minister, was sent out by Wesley as an itinerant preacher, and he remained in this laborious work with few interruptions from 1782 to 1815. Dr. Clarke's life was one of almost unparalleled industry as preacher, pastor, student, and author. His literary reputation rests chiefly upon his Commentary, which has had a wider circulation than any other in the English language, except, perhaps, Matthew Henry's. It is now superseded by later works, but will always be cited with respect for its multifarious learning, and for the frequent originality and acuteness of its annotations.

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Wesley's Notes on the Whole Bible

John Wesley's Notes on the Whole Bible includes commentaries on all 66 books of the Bible. Wesley's Notes are organized into five volumes.

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Complete Works of John Wesley

The Complete Works of John Wesley includes 14 volumes of Wesley's works. Contents of the volumes are as follows:
• Volume 1 - Journals, October 14, 1735 - November 29, 1745
• Volume 2 - Journals, December 2, 1745 - May 5, 1760
• Volume 3 - Journals, December 31, 1760 - September 13, 1773
• Volume 4 - Journals, September 13, 1773 - October 24, 1790
• Volume 5 - The Life of John Wesley; Sermons, 1 - 39
• Volume 6 - Sermons, 40 - 86
• Volume 7 - Sermons, 87 - 141
• Volume 8 - Addresses, Essays and Letters
• Volume 9 - Letters and Essays
• Volume 10 - Letters, Essays, Dialogs and Addresses
• Volume 11 - Thoughts, Addresses, Prayers, Letters
• Volume 12 - Letters
• Volume 13 - Letters, Writings
• Volume 14 - Grammars, Music, Letters

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Works of Arminius

James Arminius (1560-1609) was born at Oudewater, a small town of Holland. In 1575 he was sent to the University of Leyden, which had just been founded. Arminius was the first on whom the University of Leyden conferred the degree of D.D., which he received 11th July, 1603.

In the course of his sermons at Amsterdam, Arminius commenced an exposition of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, in which some of the new views which he had adopted found expression. In 1593 he published Lectures in Rom. 9, in which he questions the view of that chapter given by Calvin and Beza.

Arminius was one of the most learned men of a learned age. His writings, though inferior in point of Latinity to those of Calvin and Grotius, bear ample testimony to his learning, and to his skill in logic. He was so thoroughly versed in the ancient fathers, and so much of an adept in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, that his opinions carried along with them a weight among the learned which his antagonists could not well resist.

The above is excerpted from McClintock & Strong's Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

The Works of James Arminius are here organized into three volumes. Volume 1 includes orations, declarations, and public disputations by Arminius on various subjects. Volume 2 offers additional disputations, articles, and and addresses. Arminius' discussions with Francis Junius are featured in Volume 3, as well as An Examination of the Treatise of William Perkins and an Analysis of the Ninth Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.

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