In the Midst of Early Methodism: Lady Huntingdon and Her Correspondence (Pietist and Wesleyan Studies)

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9780810857933: In the Midst of Early Methodism: Lady Huntingdon and Her Correspondence (Pietist and Wesleyan Studies)

Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntingdon, was the chief administrator behind the Calvinistic wing of Methodism, and was its main organizer. She leased chapels, purchased advowsons (the right to nominate a person to hold a church office), and appointed chaplains and lay preachers to staff the far-flung connection of more than sixty-seven chapels and preaching posts. She established a college for the training of preachers and operated an orphanage.

In the Midst of Early Methodism: Lady Huntingdon and Her Correspondence introduces the Countess of Huntingdon to a modern readership from the vantage point of her own letters and papers. As a friend and confidant to most of the leading figures of the Eighteenth Century, English revival, Lady Huntingdon was indeed, located In the Midst of Early Methodism. Among her frequent correspondents were John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Philip Dodderidge, and many lesser-known evangelicals. Through the works of her most illustrious chaplain, George Whitefield, the Countess also became involved in religion and politics in North America. Hence, her voluminous correspondence includes letters to and from George Washington, John Jay, and Phillis Wheatley, an early African American Poetess. This is the first representative anthology of the letters and papers of Selina Hastings, which are presented chronologically from the early years of her marriage through her last days and death.

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About the Author:

John R. Tyson has served as Professor of Theology at Houghton College since 1979.

Boyd Schlenther, now retired, was formerly professor of ecclesiastical history at the University of Wales. He is the author of The Queen of the Methodists: The Countess of Huntingdon and the Eighteenth Century Crisis of Faith and Society (1997).

Review:

These studies are impressive works of scholarship, based upon painstaking research in the Countess's massive correspondence and other contemporary materials. (New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century)

She corresponded with the Wesleys, George Washington, John Jay and African American poet Phillis Wheatley. She appointed chaplains and ran the business of nearly 70 chapels, operated an orphanage and established a seminary. The efforts of Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntington, were integral to all the eighteenth century revival movement and to Methodism in particular. In this collection, which begins as she is married and ends as she is dying, we read of her concerns for John Wesley's peace of mind, her substantial finances, and her ability to know which candlesticks were at which chapel awaiting the new preacher. We read her assessments of the Calvinism with which she is so closely associated, and the means by which she intends to illuminate all with it. Mostly, she informs us that women of the period could be capable and powerful as well as prayerful. (Reference and Research Book News)

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