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it or not, of a state in which the enjoyments prevented it from appearing—in the manner of the shall never return, and in which the troubles narratives, both as to the miraculous and the comshall be succeeded by others that shall never
mon facts recorded to have taken place. In regard end, and such as shall drive the former out of constantly meet with in Popish legends, a mixing up
to the miraculous, we would have seen, what we remembrance only by their own more fearful
of the future with the present-not a simple and intensity! Is there a single reader that can unvarnished tale, as we have in the Gospels, of the hesitate about the choice ?
most wonderful events, recorded just as they oc(The connection between the afflictions and curred, and as if, in the circumstances, they were the prospects of the believer, or the influence but natural and ordinary occurrences, but such an of the one upon the other, in next paper).
account as bespoke the writer to be acquainted with
the nighty consequences that were to grow out of THE TRUTIIFULNESS OF THE GOSPELS
them, and to be looking back, as it were, with the
If it CONFIRMED BY JEWISH AND HEATHEN impressions and feelings of after ages. WRITERS.
could have been impossible, however, to avoid be. !
traying the fraud here, it would have bcen still mcre BY THE REV, PATRICK PAIRBAIRN, SALTON. so in regard to the more common and ordinary cirThe facts which form the chief matter of Gospel cumstances mixed up with the narrative-the mani
Listory belong, in the strictest sense, to the extra- fold allusions to the manners and customs then i ordinary and the supernatural. Had they not done prevailing, or to the public characters and civil
so, they could not have served the purpose for affairs of the period. Even when the reference to which they were intended—they could not have these was correct, there would have been a manifest formed the suitable occasions and materials through study and design about it which showed the writer which the Son of God was to make himself known not to have been an eye-witness describing things ag
to the world, and lay the foundation of his divine they then actually appeared; and if the references 1 kingdom. Even those events and circumstances were frequent and various, as in the Gospels, thero
which, from their more striking singularity, are apt, would, to a certainty, bave been many slips and it first sight, to awaken a feeling of suspicion or dis errors, which future researches would not have failed trust-those, for example, connected with demoniacal to bring to light. For it is one of the most difficuit possessions, or the Pool of Bethesda-are found, I things imaginable to write as an eye-witness of trans- , when closely examined, in strict accordance with the actions happening, or of circumstances existing, in great purpose of God then unfolding itself, and in a another and earlier period of the world's history, manner necessary to its accomplishment. But, along without stumbling on some point or another. It Lius with so much that was extraordinary and super- been often tried, but never successfully; the writer zatural, there are other things to be met with in the has never been able so completely to forget the ! Giospels, of the most ordinary description, relat- changes that have meanwhile taken place, to direst ing to civil and earthly affairs, and which are com- himself of the thoughts and habits peculiar to his own 120nly noticed in a passing manner, as matters of fact time, and identify himself with those of the time of 1amiliarly known, or customs in current use, or which he writes, but that, in some respects, his
transactions somehow affecting the interests of the speech is found to betray him. Thus, to give only a | Church. Matters of this kind were certainly of single instance out of many that might be produced,
little moment, when compared with the great facts there is an ancient collection of letters, purporting to on the existence and belief of which the salvation of be the Epistles of Phalaris, a king in Sicily, who the world depends. But they still have a most im- lived nearly six hundred years before the birth of 1:ortant purpose to serve in connection with these Christ. Being not narratives of facts, but episties, greater things of the Gospel; for as we would judge there were very few points, comparatively speaking, of the truthfulness of a traveller's account of the respecting which the writer had to touch on ti.c wonderful scenes and events he had witnessed in circumstances and events of his own time; and the other lands by his description of scenes and events in whole work was so artfully arranged, that many even our own land, the accuracy of which we had the learned men took it for the real productioa oi PhaDneans of testing; so the way and manner in which laris; but by-and-by it was ascertained and proved the evangelists notice what is common and familiar that the style of language was not precisely of the Inay fitly be regarded as an index to the character of kind which should have been employed had tiie real the accounts they give of what is extraordinary and Phalaris written them; that a certain kind of cups Lupernatural. And if we find them to have been were spoken of as then in use, which had no existence faithful and exact in the one, we have in that a clear till a considerable time after his death; tlagt certain jiroof of their having also been faithful and exact in words, also, were used in senses which they had not the other.
como to possess till a later period, and various other Let it be supposed, for example, that the scenes | things of the same sort; leaving no room to doubt and events of Gospel history were described, not by that the epistles in question must have been 2 foreye-witnesses, but by persons who lived some cen- gery, written by some person who lived long after the turies later, aral only wrote as if they had been pre- real Phalaris died. Now, though in the Gospels sent while the things themselves were taking place, alone, to say nothing of the Epistles of the New then we may affirin with the utmost confidence that Testament, there are immensely more numerous this would have appeared-no cure or art could have references to the circumstances of the time--circum
THE TRUTHFULNESS OF THE GOSPELS, &c.
stances, too, which were widely different from those peculiar to that period; or rather, the narrative brings of any future time, for everything soon underwent out, in the most natural and undesigned manner, an entire change, yet there is not one instance of facts implying the existence of customs which we error or confusion to be met with: the style of lan learn from other sources to have then prevailed. guage used is precisely that of the period, and while The particular form of Christ's death, by crucifixion most marvellous facts are recorded, such as are to be -his being scourged before being delivered up to be found in no other histories, yet whenever the inspired crucified-his being made to bear his cross when writers touch, even in the most incidental way, upon going to meet his doom-his having a superscription common topics or events, they are never found at written over his head to declare the cause of his variance with the creditable accounts which may be death-and his liability, from which he only escaped derived from other sources, but are often very by a special intervention of Providence, to have his strikingly confirmed by them. It may not be unpro- legs broken-all these particulars come out as so fitable to give a few examples of these.
many circumstances connected with the kind of treat1. First, in regard to manners and customs. The ment he at last received; and while we can produce Pharisees are represented in the Gospels as having a contirmation for every one of them from other many of these, of a religious sort, which were not writers, it is remarkable that we require to gather taught in the law of Moses; so Josephus tells us : the confirmations from scattered and incidental * The Pharisees have delivered to the people many notices found in Josephus, a Jewish writer; in institutions as received from the fathers, which were Suetonius and Aurelius Victor, two Latin Heathen not written in the law of Moses."-- Antiq., b. xiii., writers, and Dio Cassius and Plutarch, two Heathen c. 10. It is implied in the account given us in the Greek writers. They may be found most readily by 9th chapter of Luke, where our Lord is spoken of as those who wish to see them, in Paley's Evidences of going up from Galilee to Jerusalem, and being un- Christianity, part ii., ch. 6. kindly rejected by a Samaritan village, that it was 2. Characters and events. Here a long list might customary for the Galileans to pass through Samaria be produced, but a few must sufice for the present. to attend the temple service, and sometimes, at least, Looking to the Gospels, we would gather that the to meet there with harsh treatment; and Josephus first Herod there mentioned was ambitious, crafty, mentions expressly that such was the usual route, and cruel; and such, also, is the impression produced and even gives an instance of a number of persons from a great many more particulars mentioned by being killed by the Samaritans when doing so.- Josephus; and as, in the Gospels, his jealousy is Antiq., b. xx., c. 5. Of the hatred of the Samaritans aroused when he hears of Messiah, so in Josephus generally toward the Jewish temple, and their blind (b. xv., c. 1l) it may be gathered that his secret attachment to Mount Gerizim, as the only proper design in rebuilding and beautifying the temple at place of worship, frequently noticed in the Gospels, such immense cost was to make it surpass Solomon's, especially in John iv., Josephus speaks so often, that and so prevent the Jews from looking for any further "here is no need to refer to any particula: passage.
fultilment of Haggai's prophecy about the greater In the 7th chapter of Luke we are told of a woman glory of the second temple, and the peace which coming behind Christ, when he was at dinner, and Messiah was to give in connection with it. Herod's washing his feet with her tears; which she could not speech on the occasion as much as tells the people have done if he was sitting with his feet under the that the prophecy was to have its fulfilment in the table, after our fashion, but only if he was reclining events of his reign. In the 2d chapter of Matthew it upon a couch; and, indeed, the word customarily appears that Herod died soon after Christ's birth, used in the original of the New Testament concern- and that Archelaus, who succeeded him, reigned only ing the usual posture at meals means literally to in Judea, but not in Galilee, whence Joseph and recline, while in the Old it as regularly means to sit. Mary went to reside in the latter region. Josephus In confirmation of this change, Philo, a Jewish tells us that Herod left only Judea to Archelaus, the writer, who lived in the age of the apostles, when rest of his dominions being assigned to other song, speaking of Joseph making his brethren sit down to and that Archelaus was of so cruel a disposition, that meat, incidentally mentions that “men were not then the Jews could hardly endure his tyranny. About sccustomed to lie on beds at entertainments," imply- thirty years after the birth of Christ, which was the
ing that it had become customary in his day. What fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar, Luke (iii. 1) speaks 11
is still more peculiar, the custom of reclining is of two other sons of Herod, the one as being tetrarch represented as having become so prevalent, that even of Galilee, the other of Iturea and Trachoritis; and at the Feast of the Passover it was used, as John is we also learn, from different places of Josephus, not
said to have, at one paschal feast, reclined on the only that these were their provinces, but that they i bosom of his Master, although the injunction in continued in them beyond the period in question;
Moses' law was to eat it standing, with a staff in the the one being affirmed to have died in the twentieth hand, and the loins girt. Now, we learn from year of Tiberius, and the other to have been removed Rabbinical writers that such indeed was the case, by Caligula, the successor of Tiberius.--Antiq., b. and that the Jewish authorities had even taken it xviii., c. 5, 8. We also read in the same book of upon thern to require this posture at the passover, as Josephus of Herodias, the wife of the one brother, a sign of the ease and freedom to which they had running off with the other, after she had given birth attained through their establishment in Canaan. to a daughter. The only difference is, that Josephus Finally, in the closing history of our Lord's life we calls both brothers by the name of Herod, while the Bad allusions made to a whole series of customs 'evangelist calls one of them Philip, which, in all probability, was an additional name commonly used Business, alas ! hath stopped in mid career, to distinguish the one from the other. That Caia- And none are anxious to resume it here. phas was high priest while Pontius Pilate was governor, appears by comparing the times respectively of This is the home of grandeur; where are theytheir appointment and removal, in the 17th and The rich, the great, the glorious, and the wise? 18th books of Josephus; that there were sometimes Where are the trappings of the prard, the gaytwo who went by the name of high priest, as in Luke The gaudy guise of human butterties ži. 1, so we find in Josephus, b. ix., c. 10, of the Alas! all lowly lies each lefty brow, Ivars; and that, infidel as the Sadducees were in And the green sod dizens their benuty now. their views, they sometimes filled the office even of high priest, we may learn from Josephus (Antiq.,
This is the place of refuge and repose; b. xiii., c. 10), perfectly agreeing with what is men
Where are the poor, the old, the weary wight, tioned in Acts v. 17. Knowing how hateful the
The scorned, the huinble, and the man of woes, koman government was to the Jews, we should
Who wept for morn, and sighed again for night? hardly have expected that any of them would have
Their sighs at last have ceased, and here they sleep become publicans, or tax-gatherers for the State; and
Beside their scorners, and forget to weep. yet, in the Gospels, we read of Levi or Matthew the
This is a place of gloom; where are the glocmy? publican, and of Zaccheus, a chief of the publicans;
The gloomy are not citizens of deatlı; but we also read of the same in Josephus-for ex
Approach and look, where the long grass is plumy; ample, in his Wars, b. ii., c. 14, $ 45.
See them above! they are not found beneath! We are obliged to stop, though many more might
For these low denizens, with artfu) wiles, de prodaced, especially from the Acts of the Apostles,
Nature, in flowers, contrives her nimic smiles. on which we have scarcely touched. Even from what we have adduced, we may warrantably state that the
This is a place of sorrow! friends have met Gospels have so many marks of credibility in this
And mingled tears o'er those who answered not; respect that we cannot but see the hand of God in
And where are they whose eyelids then were wet: providing them—the more so as, when we come Alas! their griefs, their tears, are all forgot: down to the Christian writers of the first centuries,
They, too, are landed in this silent city, we find them abounding with mistakes regarding the Where there is neither love, nor tears, nor pity. state of things in Judea at the time of Christ: and when we can thus prove the evangelists out of the
This is a place of fear; the firmest eye Inouths even of Jews and Heathens, when they wrote
Hath quailed to see its sladowy dreariness; of common and earthly transactions, to have written But Christian hope, and heavenly prospects high, as real eye-witnesses and honest men, shall we not
And earthly cares, and nature's weariness, acccpt it as a contirmation of their testimony in
Have made the timid pilgrim cease to fear, regard to the higher things which they also record,
And loay to end his painful journey here. especially when we think of the holy tendency of the things concerning which they testified, and the sufferings they bore on account of their testimony? If
NOTES ON WESLEYAN-METIODISM. such men were false in the testimony they delivered, it must have been as no other men ever were _“ false
BY DR JOHN B. BENNETT, for no end but to teach honesty--martyrs without the
Editor of the “ Watchman," London. least prospect of honour or advantage."
Although the Wesleyan-Methodist Connexion
now occupies a position which may render its HYMN OF THE CHURCHI-YARD.
history, its doctrinal and disciplinary system, BY HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.
and its general operations, inatters of some Au me! this is a sad and silent city;
interest to every religious observer; and alLet me walk softly o‘er it, and survey
though its denominational literature is suffIts grassy streets with melancholy pity!
ciently extensive and explanatory to afford all i Where are its children? where their gleesome the information that could be desireel; it is yet play?
certain that many, otherwise well-informed Alas! their cradled rest is cold and deep
persons, have little correct knowledge on the Their playthings are thrown by, and they asleep. subject, and that various strangely mistaken This is pale beauty's bourn; but where the beautiful, tained. It has been suggested to the present
views in relation to it are frequently enterWhoin I have seen come forth at evening's hours, writer that a brief and popular account of the Leading their aged friends, with feelings dutiful,
rise and progress, the doctrines, the general Amid the wreaths of spring, to gather flowers ?
constitution and frame-work, and the existing Alas! no flowers are here but flowers of death,
operations of Wesleyan-Methodism, might be And those who once were sweetest sleep beneath.
acceptable to at least a portion of the numerous This is a populous place; but where the bustling, readers of the Christian Treasury. In addressing The crowded buyers of the noisy mart
himself to the preparation of such an account, The lookers on-the snowy garments rustling- he need scarcely say that the responsibility of
The money-changers and the men of art? the accuracy of his statements must rest ex
NOTES ON WESLEYAN-METHODISM.
clusively on himself as an individual; but he Dense ignorance and general neglect of religion will exercise every care to guard against error. were the characteristics of the lower classes. Vor can it be necessary to disavow all contro. It would be easy, were it necessary or called versial or sectarian purposes-all intention to for here, to prove that this is not an overinsinuate a vindication of the denominational charged description, by the testimony of witpieculiarities of Methodism, however conscien- nesses of the highest reputation in the Estab. tiously lie may be attached to those peculiari- lished and Dissenting Churches. It was in ties, or however ready he may be, on fitting such a state of England, when good men, who occasions, to assign his reason for that attach- “sighed and cried” because of the abounding ment. llis simple aim will be, to present a of evil, began to fear that the nation had filled portraiture-in miniature, indeed, but true in up the measure of its iniquities, that God, in the resemblance-of the principal features of his wise and gracious sovereignty, chose, qualithe system which may serve the purpose of tied, and sent forth John and Charles Wesley those who wish to have some correct acquain. and George Whitefield to engage in that mighty tance with it, but do not feel called on to study work, which they subsequently were instruthe details of its minuter proportions.
mental in carrying forward to such extensive Enough, however, of prefatory observation. and important results. We can only record a We proceed to sketch,
passing ascription of praise to God for what
Mr Whitefield was, by grace, enabled to acI. AN OUTLINE OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS
complish; our present purpose calls our special
attention to the Wesleys. It would scarcely be an exaggerated descrip- The brothers were born at Epworth, in Line tion of the religious and moral state of England colnshire, where their father, the Rev. Samuel at the period when Methodism was called into Wesley, was rector. Their mother, Mrs Susexistence, if we were to say that “ darkness anna Wesley, was the daughter of the Rev. covered the land, and gross darkness the Dr Annesley, a distinguished Nonconforming people.” The benetits resulting from the minister. John Wesley, the founder of the Reformation (which were never realized there Connexion called after his name, was born so extensively as in Scotland) had been checked June 14, 1703. At eleven years of age he was in their progress by various antagonist influ- sent to the Charter-House School, in London, ences during the civil wars, and from the where he was soon noticed for his diligence Restoration downwards there was an especially and progress in learning.” At seventeen he rapid spread of unsoundness in doctrine, and proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, where he licentiousness in practice. At the beginning pursued his studies with zeal, assiduity, and of the eighteenth century, the ministers who success, laying up those stores of solid and either preached or lived the Gospel were a varied learning on which he drew so largely lamentably small minority. How deficient in and advantageously in his subsequent career. theological knowledge the mass of the clergy He was ordained deacon in 1725, and in 1726 was of the Established Church were may be inferred elected fellow of Lincoln College, and obtained from Bishop Burnet's testimony (in 1713): priest's orders. For a short time he officiated "The much greater part of those who come to as his father's curate, but in November 1729 be ordained are ignorant to a degree not to be he returned to Oxford, intending to reside apprehended by those who are not obliged to there permanently as a tutor. It is from this know it.” The teaching of the Homilies and period that his religious character claims parArticles of the Church of England on the vital ticular attention. He had previously been subject of personal salvation was banished serious and deeply convinced of the necessity froin the pulpits of the Church, and little but of piety, and had endeavoured, but with little an Arminianism which was divested of evange-effect, to produce similar iir pressions on his lical truth, and which might more properly be younger brother Charles. But he found, on called Pelagianism, was to be heard. Of the coming back to Oxford, that Charles (then Dissenting ministers, some were rapidly degene student of Christ Churoh) had, during his rating into Socinianism; some conformed their absence, and chiefly through his influence, discourses to the fashionable taste for natural, acquired views and feelings corresponding with as distinguished from scriptural, theology; and his own, and had prevailed on two or three some who professed to adhere to the tenets of young men to unite with him in receiving the Calvinism wandered into the wildness of un- Lord's supper weekly, and cultivating strict mitigated Antiuomianism. Amongst the more morality in their conduct and regularity in educated classes, Infidelity, either boastfully their demeanour. “Here is a new set of avowed, or partially concealed under the dis- Methodists sprung up,” said one. The namo guise of philosophical speculation and inquiry, caught the taste of the members of the uniextensively prevailed. The light literature of versity, and was thenceforth applied to the the day was unsound and prurient in senti- little band.* To this company John Wesley ment; and the stage, always demoralizing in its influence, was then, in a more than ordinary taken from that given to an ancient vect of physicians. It
* This designation is supposed by many to have been degree, the proincter of indecency and vice. is known, however, that Nonconformnists were frequently united himself, and of it he soon became the He preached in such pulpits of the Establishleader. He was diligent in the use of ordi- ment as were opened to him; his grand theme nances, watched against sin, prayed for holi- being the cardinal doctrine of justification by ness, and exerted himself to do good—as by faith-a doctrine which seemed new and strange visiting the prisoners in Oxford jail, and the to most of his hearers. He saw, however, that poor and sick generally; but still he had a there were vast multitudes who pever attended painful conviction that he had not attained the any place of worship. How were they to be religion he longed for. The writings most reached? Mr Whitefield urged upon him an studied by him were those of Bishop Taylor adoption of his practice of preaching in the and Mr Law. In them he found no distinct open air. Mr Wesley had himself done this in declaration of the evangelical scheme, and he Georgia, but he was unwilling to enter, in Enzcontinued to seek justification by labouring land, upon a course so little in accordance with after a perfect obedience to the law. In 1735 those views of Church order in which he had both the brothers went to Georgia, having been educated, and from the influence of which engaged with the trustees of that colony to take he was emancipated only very gradually and religious charge of the settlers, and to instruct by the force of circumstances. In his own the Indian tribes in the neighbourhood. There language," so tenacious was he of every point they laboured for about two years with extra- relating to decency and order, that he should ordinary zeal, but against formidable and un- have thought the saving of souls almost a sin, scrupulous opposition. Still they were them- if it had not been done in a church.” But the selves only seekers after salvation. John ex- necessities of perishing multitudes, and the fact pressed his judgment respecting his own state that many pulpits were closed against him in these striking words : “ It is now upwards through the objections of clergymen to his doo. i! of two years since I left my native country, in trines, soon prevailed over his scruples, and he order to teach the Georgian Indians the nature commenced that plan of field-preaching which of Christianity; but what have I learned my. was afterwards so zealously and successfully self in the meantime? Why (what I least of carried out. The beneficial results almost im. all suspected), that I, who went to America to mediately became apparent. Thousands and convert others, was never converted myself !” thousands attended on the open-air services, The day of liberty was drawing near, however; and very many were awakened to a sense of and Wesleyans should not-and, we believe, sin, and led to seek and find salvation. Amongst do not-forget how much they owe to the in- the most remarkable of the early converts was strumentality of the Moravian Church in the a number of colliers in the neighbourhood of spiritual illumination of the founder of their Bristol, who had boen proverbial for their communion. Intercourse with Mr Nitschman, wickedness, but who became truly exemplary and others of the Moravian Brethren, during for their piety. the voyage to Georgia, and with Mr Spangen- The formation of the “UNITED SOCIETIES” — berg, one of their pastors in that colony, had which, however unintentionally on the part of already produced a beneficial effect on Mr the founder, proved to be really the institution Wesley's mind; but it was in his conversations of a distinct Church took place in 1739. The i with Peter Böhler, a Moravian minister, with following is Mr Wesley's own account of it: whom he became acquainted in London, that “ In the latter end of the year 1739, eight or he received the largest measure of evangelical ten persons came to me in London, who aplight. He now discovered the error of his peared to be deeply convinced of sin, and earnotion, that faith was a mere principle of belief nestly groaning for redemption. They desired which might render him ultimately acceptable (as did one or two more the next day) that I to God, by quickening his efforts in self inorti. would spend some time with them in prayer, fication and obedience. In short, he learned and advise them how to flee from the wrath to the Gospel plan of justification, by simple trust come, which they saw continually hanging over in the merits of the Redeemer, He rated his their heads. That we might have more time conversion from the 24th of May 1738. “I for this great work, I appointed a day when felt,” he says, “I did trust in Christ alone for they might all come together, which thencesalvation; and an assurance was given me that forward they did every week, namely, on he had taken away my sins, even mine, and Thursday, in the evening. To these, and as saved me from the law of sin and death.” many more as desired to join with them (for Three days previously, Charles Wesley, to their number increased daily) I gave those adwhom also Peter Bühler had been the instru. vices, from time to time, which I judged most i ment of much good, professed to have entered needful for them; and we always concluded our into the enjoyment of the same blessing. meeting with prayer suited to their several
Now a new man, John Wesley proceeded to necessities. This was the rise of the United labour not as a matter of mere servile obedience, Society, first in London, and then in other but from an animating principle of filial love. places." As these sooieties increased, they
were divided into “classes,” each of which was derisively called Methodists: and, perhaps, Mr C. Wesley's placed under the care of a leader, whose duty Strict adherence to method and order may have suggested the application of the term in this case,
it was to see the members once a week, in