The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.
§ 14. Fletcher of Madeley
From this, the transition to John William Fletcher is agreeable. He is one of the examples, more common in the seventeenth, than in the eighteenth, century, of the attractive power of the English church, its system and its theology, for he was born in Switzerland (his name was de La Flechère); but he became a priest of the English church and gave his life to the work of an English village. His anti-Calvinist views severed him from Lady Huntingdon’s connection, with which, for a time, he was associated as superintendent of her training college at Trevecca, but endeared him the more to Wesley, who preached his funeral sermon from the text “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.” Never was there a controversialist more honest or more gentle. The title of his Zelotus and Honestus Reconciled; or an Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism, which includes parts
He was the St. Francis of early methodism, and it seems the most natural thing in the world to be told that, one day, he took a robin for his text. If other leaders of the movement were stern, his was always the voice of tenderness and charity. By way of contrast, we may, like Southey, take the vehement denunciations of Augustus Toplady, who deserves to be remembered for the immortal hymn “Rock of Ages,” while his The Historic Proof of the Doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England best remains buried in oblivion. He wrote with coarse vigour, smartness and abandon, in complete contrast alike to the preciousness of Hervey and to the calm of Fletcher. His quarrel with John Wesley, which from theological became personal, makes curious reading to-day. Wesley declared that Toplady’s doctrine might be summed up thus—