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NOTES ON WESLEYAN-METHODISM.
ning to preach, he hastened back to silence him. But his mother-whose views had been indisputably high-church-said, "John, you cannot suspect me of favouring readily anything of this kind; but take care what you do with respect to that young man, for he is as certainly called of God to preach as you are." On hearing Mr Maxfield preach, and learning what fruits had resulted from his efforts, Mr Wesley "submitted to what he believed to be the order of God." Here, as in many other instances, he acted on the principle that, however he might value ecclesiastical order in its own place, he would regard the salvation of souls as the object of paramount importance. The plan of an itinerant ministry was now instituted, the country being divided into "circuits," to each of which two or three "travelling preachers" were appointed, under the direction of the annual "Conferences," the first of which assembled in London in 1744. Even then the ultimate separation of the societies from the Established Church was contemplated as not improbable, and a resolution to this effect was adopted: "We do, and will do, all we can to prevent those consequences which are supposed to be likely to happen after our death; but we cannot, in good conscience, neglect the present opportunity of saving souls while we live, for fear of consequences which may possibly, or probably, happen after we are dead." The Wesleys and their assistants, therefore, laboured on in the face of opposition from the press, from the pulpit, and from, in not a few instances, the brutal violence of infuriated mobs, instigated-sometimes actually led onby clergymen. The erection of separate places of worship became indispensable, the churches of the Establishment being closed against the Wesleyans, and thus yet another step towards Nonconformity was taken. The publication of books and tracts was employed with vigour, both in defending the system against the numerous attacks by which it was assailed and diffusing information. Indefatigably as John Wesley travelled and preached, he yet found time to be a voluminous writer. In 1778 he established the periodical then called "The Arminian Magazine," which he conducted while he lived, and which is still continued by the Conference, on an enlarged plan, however, under the title of the "Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine."
While the system was spreading in England, its influence soon extended far beyond the borders of that country. Mr Williams, one of the preachers, crossed over to Ireland, and began to labour zealously in Dublin. Ireland was at that time in a state of lamentable gloom as to its religious condition. A death-sleep seemed to have come upon what had been evangelical in its Protestantism, and the mass of the people were the unresisting and unreasoning vassals of Rome. Mr Williams' efforts were crowned, however, with encouraging success; and in
1747, Mr Wesley himself visited the island, and was immediately followed by Mr Charles Wesley. As might have been expected, they encountered fierce opposition both in that and in their numerous subsequent visits. Romanist mobs thirsted for their blood, and the grand jury at Cork once represented Charles Wesley and several of the preachers as persons of illfame, rogues and vagabonds, and common disturbers of his majesty's peace," praying that "they might be transported." The work prospered notwithstanding. Circuits and societies were formed. Many nominal Christians were led to seek the power of godliness, and not a few were converted from Popery. A native ministry was raised up, from the ranks of which the early Wesleyan itinerancy in England itself was recruited by such men as William Thompson (the first president of the English Conference after Mr Wesley's death), Walter Griffith, Thomas Walsh, and Adam Clarke. A foundation was laid for operations which have since extended widely, not only through the regular circuit ministry, but by an Irish mission (instituted in 1799, and having as one of its first agents the well-known and indefatigable Gideon Ouseley), by mission schools (instituted in 1823), and by other arrangements, especially suited to the wants and circumstances of that interesting portion of our empire. To these, however, we shall have occasion to refer again.
As early as 1744, Mr Wesley had a correspondence with the Rev. James Erskine, from which he learned that several pious ministers and others in Scotland rejoiced in the success of his labours, notwithstanding the difference of their sentiments on some points. Perhaps, in these days when Christian union engages so much attention, the readers of the Treasury will not grudge the space occupied by the following extract from Mr Erskine's letter:
Are the points which give the different denominations (to Christians), and from whence proceed separate communities, animosities, evil-speakings, surmises, and, at least, coolness of affection, aptness to misconstrue, slowness to think well of others, stiffness in one's own conceits, and overvaluing one's own opinion, &c., &c.—are these points (at least among the clearly revealed, and as essential, or as clearly confar greatest part of Protestants) as important, as nected with the essentials of practical Christianity, as the loving of one another with a pure heart fervently, and not forsaking, much less refusing, the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some was, and now of almost all is?
Subsequently, however, much prejudice was excited against Mr Wesley in Scotland, by the republication of Mr Hervey's" Eleven Letters," with a strongly worded preface by Dr Erskine. He (Mr Wesley) had three times visited Scotland; and preaching only upon the fundamental truths of Christianity, had been received with great affection. The societies had increased, and several of his preachers were stationed in different towns. But the work referred to pro
duced in the minds of many Calvinists a horror of Wesleyan theology, as a heresy which it was a bounden duty to contend against with all earnestness. But this, after a time, subsided; and in subsequent visits to Scotland, Mr Wesley was favourably received; at Perth the freedom of the city was conferred upon him. We believe, however, that, on the whole, Scotland has not proved as congenial or productive a field for Wesleyan effort as the southern part of the kingdom, although there are several thousands of attached members in the societies there. It would lead us from our present purpose to enter upon any investigation of the probable causes to which this may be attributed.
It is plain, therefore, that when, in after years, the Conference adopted the administration of the sacraments in the societies generally, they did not introduce a new principle, but simply carried out a principle laid down by their founder, just as, we have no doubt, he would have done, had he lived to their day, and been placed in their circumstances.
The missionary operations of Wesleyan-Methodism commenced, properly speaking, at the Leeds Conference, 1769, when, on an occasion already noticed, Mr Wesley asked, "Who will go to help our brethren in America?" and Messrs Boardman and Pillmoor responded to the call. The cause of Wesleyan missions, however, received its great impulse through the devoted, unwearying, and self-sacrificing labours of Dr Coke, a clergymen of the Church of England, who attached himself to Mr Wesley as a son in the Gospel." As we shall again advert to the present state of the missions, it may be enough that we should here indicate their progress as exhibited in a brief extract from Dr Alder's work on "Wesleyan Missions" (as they were in 1842) :—
In addition to the places previously occupied in America and the West Indies, missionary operations were commenced on the continent of Europe as early as the year 1791, on the African continent in 1711, and in Asia during the year 1814. asia was first visited by a Wesleyan missionary in the course of the following year; and Polynesia, where the word of the Lord has been so eminently glorified, in 1822. It will be seen from this statement, that the field in which the labourers of this society are emOn the shores ployed, is emphatically THE WORLD. of Sweden and the Upper Alps; at Gibraltar and Malta; on the banks of the Gambia, at Sierre Leone, and on the Gold Coast; at the Cape of Storms; in Ceylon, and on the shores of Southern India; amongst the colonists and aboriginal tribes of Australia; in New Zealand, the Friendly Islands, and Fugee; on the islands of the Western as well as the Southern Hemisphere; and from the Gulf of St Lawrence to the far West, the agents of the Wesleyan Missionary Society are found. To all these places, to a portion of the people by whom they are inhabited, to man in all these regions, the British Conference has sent the Gospel of salvation, since the question was asked, in 1769," Who will go to help our brethren in America ?”
To Irish Methodism belongs the distinction of having sown that seed which has grown up into the great tree that now extends its branches so widely over America. Philip Embury, a local preacher from Ireland, having settled in New York, began to preach there, and, in 1766, succeeded in forming a society. Other Wesleyan emigrants from England and Ireland followed, and pursued a similar course. In 1769, the Conference sent out two of its preachers, Messrs Boardman and Pillmoor, to take charge of the societies. From this time the work proceeded with great rapidity, the plan of itinerancy being found especially adapted to the wide-spread settlements of a new country. The progress has up to the present been steady; the Methodists have become, as to numbers, the leading religious body of the Union; and the annual increase is very great. After the termination of the war of independence, Mr Wesley constituted the American societies into a Church, having within itself all the ordinances of Christianity. Of his right as a presbyter to ordain to the full work of the ministry (including, of course, the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper), he entertained no doubt. The "apostolical succession" he regarded as a fable that no man ever did or could prove. "If any one is minded," said he, "to dispute concerning diocesan Episcopacy, he may dispute; but I have better work." Again: "Lord King's Account of the Primitive Church' convinced me, many years ago, that bishops and presbyters are the same order, and It was upon the 2d of March 1791-three consequently have the same right to ordain." years after the death of his brother CharlesUnquestionably he regarded all those whom he that John Wesley rested from all his labours, had set apart to the work of the ministry as duly leaving impressed upon the memory and hearts ordained, although, in England, he restrained of his followers the sentiment to which, in his them from administering the sacraments," not last hours, he gave frequent utterance-" The only for peace' sake," as his motives were ex- best of all is, God is with us!" Many years preplained by himself, "but because I was deter-viously he had considered the importance of mined, as little as possible, to violate the established order of the National Church to which I belonged." He removed this restraint, however, in the cases of America and Scotland; in the former, because the American Methodists could no longer remain a society attached to a colonial Establishment which had then ceased to exist; and in the latter, because the closing of the English Establishment did not reach to it.
making provision for the stability and government of the Connexion after his removal; and in 1784, the desired settlement was effected by the enrolment in Chancery of a legal instrument, called "A Deed of Declaration," in which one hundred preachers, mentioned by name, were declared to be "the Conference of the people called Methodists." By means of this deed a legal description was given to the
CHEAP PUBLICATION SCHEME.
term "Conference," and the settlement of the chapels on trustees was provided for; so that the appointment of preachers to officiate in them should be vested in the Conference, as it had heretofore been in Mr Wesley. The deed also declares how the succession and the identity of the Yearly Conference is to be continued,
and contains various practical regulations. The wisdom of this deed has been tested and proved in many instances. Various attempts have been made to set it aside; but its validity has been confirmed by the highest judicial authorities. If there be any provision in it to which loyai adherents to Methodism object, it is that which forbids the appointment of a minister to the same chapel for more than three successive years, and thus binds the itinerant plan in perpetuity on the Connexion. Some think that it would have been better if more liberty had been allowed in this matter; but, as a whole, the deed has proved of the utmost importance and practical worth.
It may be in place to give here a statement which will show the progress of the body since the death of the founder. In 1791, when Mr Wesley died, the number of circuits in the United Kingdom was one hundred and fifteen. The present number is four hundred and eighty-two. The number of members in connection with his societies in Europe, America, and the West Indies, was eighty thousand. At the last Conference the numbers were, in Great Britain, three hundred and forty thousand seven hun dred and seventy-eight; in Ireland, twentyseven thousand nine hundred and twenty-six; and on the foreign mission stations, ninetynine thousand six hundred and nine; making the total of members under the care of the British and Irish Conferences, four hundred and sixty-eight thousand three hundred and thirteen a total which is largely exceeded by the number of Methodists in America, and which, of course, does not include the members of the different bodies that, from time to time, seceded from the Old Connexion. The entire number of preachers then was three hundred and twelve; the present number of ministers and preachers on trial, connected with the British and Irish Conf. rences, is one thousand six hundred and eighty-five. Such has been the progress of Wesleyan-Methodism during that first century of its existence which, in 1839, was celebrated so remarkably by special devotional exercises, and by a liberality of special contribution (the Centenary Fund having nearly amounted to a quarter of a million sterling), which we may, perhaps, be permitted to say, all things considered, was without precedent, and would have been without parallel, but for the late noble munificence of the Free Church of Scotland.
A summary of the doctrines believed and taught by the Wesleyans, and some account of their peculiar religious services, will form the subject for our next paper.
CHEAP PUBLICATION SCHEME.
John Knox's Select Practical Works- Rutherford's Tria) and Triumph of Faith-Traill's Sermons-Dickson's Practical Writings-Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scriptures-Memoirs of Mrs Veitch, Mr Hog, &c., &c.
THIS is one of the marvels of a marvellous age. Six volumes of the richest practical divinity, by men known to all Christendom, and containing eighteen hundred pages of letterpress, for six shillings!
It is an old saying, that a bad or stupid book is dear at any price; and, tried by this rule, there are many of the cheap publications of our day which those who purchase will find dear enough. We heard lately of a young man who had become a subscriber to a cheap series of tracts published at London, but
who, in his experience, found them very dear. He
was the son of respectable parents, and had been well trained; but the weekly reading of these tracts, in which violence was offered to all the sanctions of religion, and sometimes even to the decencies of morality, was his ruin. His eye fell so often upon oaths, that the dislike, or even horror, with which he had been taught, both by his parents and his conscience, to regard them, was soon blunted; and shortly he even began to swear a little for himself, till, after a few months, swearing became a habit, and a habit so strong that he could scarce wish a friend well without an oath. He read in another tract a very pleasant story of Continental village life, in which the Sabbath was introduced as the most delightful day of all the week, because on it the villagers had their picnics and parties, and excursions on foot, or perhaps by railway, and, in the evening, dances on the green. It seemed all so cheerful and inviting, that he thought he might do worse than join a company of friends who spent their Sabbaths much after the same fashion; and accordingly he left off attending church, and on one day took a sail down the river, and on another ran out by rail to Windsor or down to Brighton, coming home, almost always half-tipsy, by the last train. His parents saw the sad change, and, being godly people, were much grieved. But he "would none of their reproofs;" and because they sought to advise and sometimes restrain him, he left their house, and went into lodgings, with one of his Sabbath-desecrating companions. By him he was further corrupted-initiated, indeed, into all manner of vice; and, as the consequence of all, he-the once well-principled and promising youth-is now a convict at a penal settlement. He became dishonest—was detected and banished. His father is since dead, and his poor mother was, at the time when the sad story was told us-three months ago-not expected to survive him long. In all probability she, too, is by this time bowed down to the grave. And all this owing, in the first instance, to these cheap tracts.Only a penny a-week they were, but surely they were too dear. The honesty, the happiness, the peace, the character of a young man ruined; his immortal soul, if God prevent not, lost; and the grey hairs of his parents brought down with sorrow to the graveneither a penny nor a world would be an equivalent for this.
There are other cheap publications not so outrageous, nor, in their effects, so certainly or speedily ruinous, but still often much too dear. We refer to those which, although moral enough in their charac- | ter, at least, containing nothing positively immoral or offensive, do yet studiously exclude from their pages all reference to the requirements and advantages of religion. They give sketches of history, interesting in their way, and faithful; but it is history without God-without any, even the slightest, reference to the workings of that Providence by which all its events are ordered and arranged. Personal narratives also are given; but they contain experiences altogether destitute of Christianity, and without any hint of the evils incident to its absence. Many pleasant stories also have we read in their pages-stories portraying sometimes the highest earthly happiness, and sometimes the deepest affliction-and it would be untrue to deny that we have often been delighted with them, often saddened, often, it may be, improved; but still they are stories in the happiness of which religion is sedulously prevented from having any share, and the afflictions of which religion is never called in to soothe or to sustain. They are written, in fact, not only as if religion were not the highest concernment of man, but as if there were no such thing as religion at all. Now, while we are no advocates of that sentimental piety which, in writing a history, would superinduce a sermon at every second sentence, or as, in some instances we have seen, would, in writing travels, intersperse every page with hymns, it is, at the same time, clear that
an entire and systematic exclusion of all reference to the things of God and of eternity from such publications is fraught, to the reader, with effects most deadening and destructive. A man who, by regularly perusing such publications, sees God put out of his own world, will not long seek to have him in his own heart. Indeed, it is to be feared that one great cause of the spiritual apathy by which the masses in our day are characterized is just the vast extent to which this worldly and godless literature has been carried on and encouraged. And with such an issue the "cheapest" literature is surely too dear.
It is a pleasant thing to find, however, that Christian enterprise is now being stirred up to fight the enemy in this matter with his own weapons; and that magazines, tracts, and publication schemes, conducted on really sound and Christian principles, are so numerous, and so fully qualified, both in talent and cheapness, to obtain and preserve popular favour and support.
of scriptural and experimental illustration-a holy earnestness of application and appeal, which need not fear comparison with the same features of the practical divinity of any Church, or of any age. One cannot but feel, while reading any one of these volumes, that he is in the hands of a master-of a man who knows thoroughly of what he is speakingwho is acquainted with the truth of God in all its length and breadth, and who knows also the human heart, as far as man can know it, in the depths of its deceitfulness; and the effect on the reader, if he possess even ordinary natural feeling and susceptibility, cannot fail of being impressive. Prefixed to each volume is a memoir of the author, by the editor of the series. These memoirs enhance not a little the value of the works. They are written with great piquancy and vigour, and give the reader a vivid idea both of the men whose lives they sketch, and of the times in which they lived, and by which their characters and currents of thought were so largely moulded.
THE HOPE OF THE WICKED HOPELESS. Ir is a strange impudence for men to "trust and hope in God," who are in perfect hostility against him. be so hereafter. "They turn to me the back, and not Bold fellows go through dangers here, but it will not the face; yet in their trouble they say, Arise and save us." They do it as confidently as if they never had despised God; but they mistake the matter it is not
"Go and cry," says he, "to the gods whom ye have chosen." When men come to die, then they catch hold of the mercy of God; but from that their filthy hands are beat off; there is no help for them there, and so they fall down to the pit. A holy fear of God, and a happy hope in him, are commonly linked together. Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him-upon them that hope in his mercy.-Archbishop Leighton.
THE ONE LEAF.
THERE was once a caravan crossing, I think, to the north of India, and numbering in its company a godly and devout missionary. As it passed along, a poor old man was overcome by the heat and labours of the journey, and, sinking down, was left to perish on the road. The missionary saw him, and, kneeling down at his side, when the rest had passed along, whisThe dying man raised himself a little to reply, and pered into his ear," Brother, what is your hope", with a great effort succeeded in answering, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin!" and immediately expired with the effort. The missionary was greatly astonished at the answer, and, in the calm and peaceful appearance of the man, he felt assured he had died in Christ. where," he thought, "could this man, seemingly "How, or a Heathen, have got this hope ?" And as he thought of it, he observed a piece of paper grasped tightly in the hand of the corpse, which he succeeded in getting out. What do you think was his surprise and delight containing the 1st chapter of the First Epistle of when he found it was a single leaf of the Bible, John, in which these words occur? On that page the man had found the Gospel.-Children's Mission
The scheme named at the head of this short paper was, we believe, the first of the kind which was started, and is a truly admirable and deserving one. We have spent portions of many Sabbath evenings very pleasantly, and we trust profitably, in reading several of the works which have been issued under its auspices. They are not void of denominational peculiarities, but the great burden of their thought and teaching is Christ. They are evidently the productions of men of masculine minds, and deal of divine truth with a strength and spirituality of thought a vigorousness of expression a powerary Newspaper.
THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.
THE UNBELIEVER IN A STATE OF CONDEMNATION.
BY THE LATE HENRY DUNCAN, D.D., MINISTER AT RUTHWELL.
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that
believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." -JOHN iii. 18.
that all have sinned."-Rom. v. 12. And again:
THIS is a part of the remarkable conversation
It would have been more pleasant to me to speak to you on the first part of the verse-on the happy state of those who believe; but I have not come here to-day to speak smooth things to you. I have come to arouse you; for I fear many of you are yet in a state of condemnation.
Observe, dear brethren, the force of these solemn words: "The wrath of God abideth on him!" and, "condemned already!" It is not on the last day that the condemnation of sinners is suspended. It is not at the final judgment that the wrath of God is to reach them for the first time. In one sense, their condemnation is already past. The wrath of God "abideth" on them. Even now they are in this awful state. They are "born in sin" and are «under condemnation." Unless their natural condition come to be altered by grace, the wrath of God must continue to abide upon them, and they must finally "perish." Now consider what these plain declarations imply, "Condemnation!" this is a dreadful word-even when it refers merely to the sentence of an earthly judge. A condemned criminal is doomed, perhaps, to suffer an ignominious death. He is remanded to prison, that in his miserable cell he may prepare for the gallows. Death stares him in the face, and its horrors are aggravated by the thought of his guilt. Had he but followed some honest calling he might still have been free and prosperous-happy amidst his
This implies two things: :1st, That all who do not believe in Christ lie family and friends-useful, respected, honoured.
But now how different! Few, short, and miser
2d, That through Christ alone may this con- able, are the days allotted to him. He must demnation be removed.
I. That all who do not believe in Christ lie under condemnation, is clearly proved by numerous passages in Holy Writ. Sometimes it is asserted generally as the condition of the whole family of Adam, as when it is said: "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for No. 10. *
forfeit his life to the violated laws of his country, and his memory shall rot. This is condemnation! Can that man experience hope, or enjoyment, or ease? Must not the very domestic affections which might have cheered his heart become bitterness to him? His wife and children-where are they? What are they doing? Can they think kindly of him who has