It was a good day today in Oxford Street at the Westminster Conference. Today had a very Welsh flavour with three Welsh speakers (Stephen Clark, Adrian Brake and Andrew Davies) and three Welshish subjects. Welshmen seemed thicker on the ground than usual too.
The first paper was called holy worldliness (almost the same name as this blog). After a laudatory introduction concerning Whitefield we moved to the way he and Harris were less than perfect in their approach to marriage. Certainly the Harris, Whitefield, Elizabeth James affair is bizarre and Harris's obsession with Mrs Griffith wrong but I felt it was harsh to criticise Whitefield's unsuccessful letter of proposal to Elizabeth Delamotte. Failures by two men in one area does not justify the accusation of dualism. Anyway we had a half decent discussion following the paper.
We then had an excellent introduction to Thomas Charles who died in 1814. His Bible Dictionary had an incredible impact. It makes you wish you spoke Welsh. It begins
"The Holy Scriptures are a treasure house of all profitable and essential knowledge ….. Since they have all been given by the inspiration of God, they must partake of his perfection, and befit it. Because of the perfection of his knowledge, he cannot err; and because of the integrity of his nature, he will not deceive us in any matter; therefore, the knowledge given to us in the Scriptures is lofty, certain and complete. There is nothing which pertains to our condition and our blessedness in another world; nor anything which pertains to our circumstances and our duties in this world, that God, in his holy word, has not given us full instruction, how to behave in all things, in all situations, and towards everyone. The great plan of salvation, through a Mediator, shines clearly and fully in it, before a world of sinners."
You can get one in leather on ebay for around £60-70. There appear to some volumes available online.
The final paper was on Calvinistic Methodism and so the focus was on Wales again but it went well beyond that. The discussion after limped along a little.