Wesley’s Britain in the 1700s - Curbing the abuse of power
Type of Spiritual Experience
Power domestically in the 1700s was still dominated by the wealthy landowners, the aristocrats. Most men were unqualified to vote because of a land qualification law. A few owned much of the country's agricultural land. Some others owned small farms. People rented land from the big landowners, giving the landowner a share of the wealth they produced. And many others laboured for wages on the landowner's property and were able to graze a pig or a cow on the village common.
In effect, a small minority wielded great power of a completely unrepresented majority, none of whom had a voice or any form of comeback.
Not just morally but spiritually this is a disaster, as a person's whole life may be taken up with fulfilling ther obligations to a tyrant. They may be called on at ay time to fight for them, or perfrm onerous tasks, nne of which help them or the world at large progress spiritually.
A description of the experience
Wesley had no power himself and certainly could not change the political and historical cllimate that had created this situation, but he did try to influence his followers to think about where they stood in relation to their fellow human beings and not to abuse their position
You have likewise a peculiar advantage over many, by your station in life. Being superior in rank to them, you have the more influence on that very account. Your inferiors, of course, look up to you with a kind of reverence. And the condescension which you show in visiting them, gives them a prejudice in your favour, which inclines them to hear you with attention, and willingly receive what you say. Improve this prejudice to the uttermost for the benefit of their souls, as well as their bodies. While you are as eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame, a husband to the widow, and a father to the fatherless, see that you still keep a higher end in view, even the saving of souls from death, and that you labour to make all you say and do subservient to that great end.