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be shining in all his effulgence. A second miracle was necessary, before the individual who was brought to see men as trees walking" could distinguish “every thing clearly." Those who would see "light in God's light" must use God's collyrium. "Anoint thine eyes with eye salve that thou mayest see," is a divine prescription which all must heed before they can with open face behold the glory of the Lord." Without this, men marvel and wonder and perish."




The days of the Puritans were novel; light and liberty, the two greatest boons of heaven, were enjoyed more than in any previous age, and men revelled in these blessings until they became licentious. In religion, as formerly in medicine, speculation and empiricism were rife: and as a consequence, nothing was settled; hence mysticism, scepticism, and infidelity prevailed. Still there were a few happy spirits, who had received "the unction of the Holy One which taught them all things." These beheld" as in a glass the glory of the Lord." Their "Thummim" and their "Urim were with the Holy One." To them, every thing in religion was fixed and settled; they had a Thus saith Jehovah," for their faith and practice; and every text of Scripture was esteemed an axiom written with the "finger of God." Jehovah had brought them " up out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set their feet upon a rock, and established their goings;" he had also put a new song in their mouth, even praise unto our God." Multitudes saw it and became devout, and trusted in the Lord. These were the true " Methodistœ” of Christianity; and there was more of honour than disgrace in the name; for what in religion was chaos and confusion to others, was to them, light, liberty, purity and love.


Such "Methodista," as those of which we have been speaking, have always existed in the church. In this sense, the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, the martyrs, the Waldenses, and the Wickliffites, were Methodists. They were all rooted and grounded not only in love, but in the truth. Their hearts were fixed, because their faith rested on the word of Jehovah, as on a rock. God's method of salvation, and of every thing else, was theirs; they had received "a kingdom which cannot be moved," and were not soon shaken in mind, nor troubled either by spirit, by word, or by letter." Now it was quite natural that Wesley and Whitfield and their contemporaries should be proud of a name which, notwithstanding its reproach, was connected with so many pleasing and glorious associations.


As the world at that time was too dark to receive the effulgent light of Divine truth, so it seemed quite incapable of appreciating the motives and characters of those whom the Gospel had illuminated. When Moses came from the mount, his face shone with such a dazzling lustre that the children of Israel could not look upon him. "Behold," says John, "what manner of love

the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." It is absolutely necessary that God in Christ should be known, before any one can recognize the family likeness in his children. In the period of which we are speaking, religion was deemed a speculation, or a tissue of formality and hypocrisy. The priesthood was in a degraded condition, the aristocracy was corrupt, and the people were ignorant and depraved. The idea of real and sincere piety was too lofty for the wits, the wags, the sceptics and the formalists of that day to conceive. "Such knowledge was high, they would not attain to it." The court of George II. was notoriously irreligious. The monarch himself was too sensual and debauched to understand the purity of the Gospel; and the queen was a sceptic. The anxiety of the bishops for promotion and pelf, coupled with their obsequiousness and sycophancy, could not mend the matter. Walpole, one of the ruling spirits at court, with so much church patronage at his command, and worshipped more than the Redeemer by the worldly ecclesiastics of the day, deemed every one who professed sincerity in his devotions, a fool or a knave. When his royal mistress was dying in the same unconverted state in which she had lived, some one asked, "If it would not be well for her majesty to receive the sacrament?" The courtier replied that, "The thing was immaterial; but still," said he, "by attending to this formality we shall silence the hypocrites, and Hoadley will perform the farce!" prelate, who had filled four bishopricks successively, went through the ceremony, although there were no signs of penitence or faith in the dying princess. When we thus see that the court, the church, the aristocracy, and the people were in this state of spiritual degradation, it is not at all wonderful, that the term Methodist, in its worst sense, was deemed an appropriate appellation for the folly, cant, and hypocrisy which were deemed the necessary and inseparable attributes of all who made any pretensions to serious piety, or professed to have arrived at any certainty in faith and practice.


The dissenters of the day were in almost as pitiable a condition as the other religionists. Arianism and formality were very common, and how far they would have sunk, but for the Methodists, it is impossible now to divine. It is true that there were a few among them that were sound in the faith, but even these were not entirely free from the spiritual torpor that prevailed. Most of the Presbyterians and Independents looked on Methodism with as great horror as conservatives and others do on Chartism now. Doddridge committed an almost unpardonable offence in allowing Whitfield to preach in his pulpit !

Such being the state of religion in the country, we should soon have become as degenerate as the continental churches, had not the Methodists been raised



These holy men and women had no creed but the Bible. satisfied themselves that the Scriptures were the word of God, they felt that they had nothing to do but to submit to its teachings. They received its truths with the simple faith with which little children listen to the words of a father or mother. "God that cannot lie," or deceive, was their motto: and while others argued themselves and their hearers into cold speculators or heartless sceptics, these men published the truth as it is in Jesus, and trusted in the Holy Spirit to make it effectual unto salvation. They had no apology for proclaiming the doctrine of the Trinity; the Divinity, humanity, and atonement of the Saviour; the Divinity and personality of the Holy Ghost; &c., &c., except that Jehovah had revealed them. Hence they taught "with authority and not as the Scribes." They were the inductive philosophers of Christianity, with every text of Scripture as a great fact on which to lean and argue. They were said to discard reason, and yet theirs was a scientific and rational procedure beyond that of the schools. To them revelation was divine reason instructing human reason, and evangelical faith, was human reason submitting itself to the guidance of divine reason. Their Methodism was to follow God's method in every thing.

The whole theory of salvation, in their creed, resolved itself into two simple doctrines, justification and sanctification. Man was a sinner, and, as such, must have his sins pardoned and subdued, or be excluded from heaven. Sin cannot enter heaven; and will not be forgiven, or destroyed, beyond the grave. "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." These Methodists looked on a dying world, and their hearts yearned over it. They "put on bowels of mercy." They longed after all "in the bowels of Jesus Christ." In the sacrifice of Christ, and the work of the Spirit, they beheld

"A sovereign balm for every wound.”

"Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," was their constant cry.

The cross was to them a mirror, in which they saw the full glory of the Deity, and at the same time, as in a prism, every ray distinctly. Divine love and mercy were here especially predominant. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were seen to work in the salvation of every sinner. Such condescending power and compassion were overwhelming. The example was inspiring, the stupendous grace was encouraging. This marvellous work of redemption by the death of Christ, occupied their thoughts and feelings by day and night. "The love of God was shed abroad in their hearts, by the Holy Spirit," and they could not but speak. But we feel that in writing of these worthies, we can do them little justice, especially in a short paper like this. Volumes

would not suffice to say all that ought to be said; we will therefore conclude with a few facts worthy of the deepest consideration.

1. They enjoyed sweet intercourse with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ; they felt that the human soul was made for the Trinity, and that in "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost," was the heaven of the soul. They enjoyed a familiarity with each person of the Godhead, which some persons have branded as fanaticism, but which was as real as it was ennobling and sanctifying. The views which they had of the blendings of majesty and mercy in the great work of salvation, produced in them the deepest devotion. They loved and they feared. Mercy allured them to draw near, and gaze, and commune; while majesty set bounds to the mount, and caused them to take their shoes from their feet, whenever they trod on holy ground.

2. This communion with heaven, induced spirituality of mind. They were filled with love and with the Holy Ghost. They were always ready to converse about the gospel, or call upon the Saviour. They never sat dumb for want of a theme. We have heard those who conversed with them say, that it was heaven upon earth to be in their company. They not only lived within the veil themselves, but they introduced you to the enjoyment of the same privilege. The tea table with them was not an occasion of small talk, or scandal. Every meal was a sacrament; there was no need of bagatelle, chess, conundrums, &c., &c., to pass away the tedium of insipid and brainless intercourse. In their company hours flew with the rapidity of minutes, and it was easy to understand, how in such society, when perfected, “A thousand years would be as one day." They not only believed in the communion of saints, but they enjoyed it, and daily their hearts burned within them, as they took sweet counsel together, and walked or sat in company with each other and their Lord.

3. The Methodists in their earliest and best days were distinguished for brotherly love. They rejoiced, and wept, and prayed with each other, and when absent, they made mention of one another in their supplications. Each heart was a living tablet on which the name of every brother and sister in Christ was engraved; and like their High Priest, they never appeared before God without mentioning these children of Israel. At every farewell, the last word was, "Pray for me!" And the postscript of each letter was a repetition of the request," Remember me at the throne of grace." The envy and detraction, now so common, was then unknown, for each soul was bound up in the temporal and spiritual welfare of every brother and sister in Christ.

4. The equality of apostolic days was now realized again. The "greatest was the servant of all." There was no distinction but that which superior devotedness to the cause of Christ, and the good of man conferred. There

was neither "Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female;" but they were "all one in Christ." Lady Huntingdon forgot her ancestry, her coronet, and her jewels, as she sat on the bench of the society-meeting, with the poor brethren and sisters of her Lord. The fact that they belonged to Christ was to her nobility enough, and the vilest sinner, the veriest outcasts of society, however needy, never felt their humble birth or lot, as they associated in christian fellowship with these nobles of the land. Here, in a sense of which the French have never dreamt, were Liberty, equality, fraternity." The "poor rejoiced in that he was exalted, and the rich in that he was made low;" while they all "sat together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." "Rich and poor met together" on equal terms, acknowledging one common parentage, the same spiritual ruin, looking to the same Saviour, and expecting the same glory.


5. Their hearts melted with pity as they looked on a perishing world. And their sympathies did not evaporate in sighs and prayers, but led to self-denying effort of every description. Those that could preach, travelled from town to town, and village to village; and those that could not address public assemblies, "prophesied in the tent." Those that had wealth, cast a goodly portion thereof into the treasury. Many opened their doors and lodged and fed the messengers of mercy. Lady Huntingdon spent, it is said, £100,000 in the spread of the gospel, and at last sold her jewels to carry on the work of the Lord. All who were converted, believed that it was a solemn duty, which they owed to God and man, to labour for the conversion of others. They felt that they were not their own, but bought with a price," and that price, the blood of their risen Lord; and that therefore they were under the most sacred obligations "to glorify God with their bodies, and their spirits, which were his."



Such was early Methodism, before it divided into sects, and the brethren separated one from another. It was without exception the finest exhibition of pure Christianity the world had seen since the days of the Apostles. What we have said can be more than borne out by the labours, letters, hymns, &c., of Whitfield, Wesley, Lady Huntingdon, Rowland Hill, and others. need not wonder at the number of conversions which followed, nor at the rage of the children of the wicked one. Had they proceeded as they began, the world would soon have been brought to submit to Christ. But Methodism declined, and the work they began has been impeded. In our next number, we will offer a few remarks on its divisions and decline, and what may yet be done for its revival.

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