Monday, February 20, 2012

Sit anima mea cum Westleio

"We hope nothing then, we fear every thing, from a religious movement, which nevertheless in its rise excites our sympathy, and of which we do not deny, as of any event in the world, the incidental benefits.  Yet interest, pity and admiration we do feel for many of the principal agents in it; and if the choice lay between them and the reformers of the 16th century (which we thankfully acknowledge it does not,) a serious inquirer would have greater reason for saying, 'Sit anima mea cum Westleio,' than 'cum Luthero,' or 'cum Calvino,' and 'cum multis aliis,' as the grammar has it, 'quos nunc perscribere longum est.'"

     John Henry Newman, reviewing vol. 1 of The life and times of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon (London:  Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1839), in The British critic, and quarterly theological review 28, no. 56 (October 1840):  264.  All of this though Methodism was, for Newman, undoubtedly "a formal heresy" (263).
     George Whitfield in a letter from Bristol dated 24 June 1749:  "Sit anima mea cum Methodistis."
     I was put onto this by Robert G. Walker, "A game of tag:  a new source for Samuel Johnson?," Times literary supplement no. 5675 (January 6, 2012):  14 (14-15), where the source and subsequent career of the Averoeism "Sit anima mea cum . . ." is discussed at some length.

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