Perronet, Vincent

Perronet, Vincent an English divine of the 18th century, noted for his association with the Wesleys, and the service he rendered to Methodism in the days of its first establishment, was born of Swiss-French parentage about 1700. He was educated at Oxford University. After taking holy orders, he was given the parish of Sandwich, Kent, where he remained about nine years, when he was presented to the vicarage of Shoreham. While in this position, two of his sons (Charles and Edward), who were students at Oxford, became intimately associated with the Wesleys, their classmates. Thus the vicar of Shoreham himself conceived a lively interest in the Oxford movement, and when in 1746 John Wesley met vicar Perronet, he found in him a true friend, a warm admirer, and a most confidential counselor. Charles Wesley called him the "archbishop of Methodism." He welcomed the traveling evangelists into his own church; though his parishioners mobbed them. When Charles Wesley first appeared in his pulpit, they "roared, stamped, blasphemed, rang the bells, and turned the church into a bear-garden." Their hostility was subdued, however, and when John Wesley arrived, soon after, he preached without interruption. Perronet adopted their strongest views of personal religion, and wrote several pamphlets in defense of Methodism, and even went so far in his enthusiasm as to send forth this declaration: "I make no doubt that Methodism is designed by Providence to introduce the approaching millennium." Wesley dedicated to him the Plain Account of the People called Methodists. For nearly forty years the vicarage of Shoreham was a frequent and endeared refuge to both the great leaders, and the Shoreham church virtually a Methodist chapel; Vicar Perronet died May 9, 1785. He was a man of saintly piety, and "was entitled on various accounts," says a Calvinistic Methodist authority, "to a conspicuous place among the brightest ornaments of the Christian Church in the last century" (Life and Times of the Countess of Huntingdon, 1:387). He published A Vindication of John Locke from the Charge of giving Encouragement to Scepticism (Lond. 1736, 8vo): — A Second Vindication (1738, 8vo): — Some Enquiries chiefly relating to Spiritual Beings (Lond. 1740, 8vo): — An Affectionate Address to the People called Quakers (ibid. 1747, 8vo), and his defences of Methodism (1740- 53). See Jackson, Centenary of Methodism, ch. v; Wesleyan Mag. 1858, p. 484; Stevens, Hist. of Methodism, 1:25 sq.; 2:259 sq.

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