Religion in the Age of Enlightenment


Calvinistic Methodists, Enlightenment, Religion, Welsh


The Calvinistic Methodists have received far less attention from historians than the Wesleyan or Arminian Methodists, and this book sets out to remedy that neglect. The imbalance is not surprising-Methodism of the Wesleyan kind became and remains a multimillion, worldwide movement, with many variants that retain the Wesleyan emphasis on holiness and salvation open to all, whereas eighteenth-century English Calvinistic Methodism is now represented only by the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, active on a small scale in England and Sierra Leone, while its Welsh co-movement became the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church, now known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales. The aim of the authors is for the first time "to tell the story of English and Welsh Calvinistic Methodism woven into a single analytic narrative:' organized chronologically, exploring how the movements overlapped and interpenetrated and yet never fully merged, and asking why the Welsh movement went from strength to strength while the English movement ran out of steam. They "hope to reflect the remarkable complexity of the eighteenth-century evangelical revival"(xiv-xv). This is a readable, clearly written, and scrupulously referenced account, which is in many ways an invaluable guide to its tricky terrain but which oddly misses some important opportunities when dealing with English movement.