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preachers upon hardened sinners almost before they began to speak. Both on the intellectual and on the emotional sides, Methodism is a phenomenon which deserves every Christian's and every thinker's thoughtful study.

The author gives us the promise, which we hail with great satisfaction, of another work, to contain the separate and special history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America.

Even if the denomination to which this publication is especially interesting were not the numerous one that it is, we still could not wonder at the acceptance and popularity implied by the first volume's having passed through twenty-four, and the second seventeen editions, within these four years. It is a noble record of a marvellous "movement" (we cannot escape that word), and we trust it has been and will be widely read beyond the wide limits of the Connection which has personal reasons to be charmed with its delineations and reminiscences. We congratulate our brethren, the Methodists, on having such an historian among them, and still more on having such a history; and we congratulate ourselves on being introduced, in a manner so graceful and genial, to such a vast and goodly company of confessors, such a noble army of martyrs, such a genuine representation, in many of the best characteristics, of the old original Apostles. Verily, the "Ages of Faith" and the age of miracles are not past. As we turn over page after page filled with the plain, touching, and moving story of what those devoted itinerants suffered in the shape of revilings, buffetings, and scourgings, as we read how they resisted unto blood, testifying and striving against sin, how they carried their own earthly life in one hand and eternal life in the other, as an offering to the crowds that thus foully treated them, - two thoughts rise at once to our minds. The one is, Here again is that mystery of iniquity manifested of old in men's treatment of the meek and merciful Master, and the other is," Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." And we hardly know which to marvel at the more, that men could inflict, or that men could endure, such outrages as the Methodists in England had to undergo.


We have said that this history interests not Methodists only, but all Christian people. We would add, that for all, whether Christians or not,


for all, at least, who can say, "I am a man, and count nothing that belongs to humanity foreign to me," these pictures of one of the most memorable movements of humanity · whether, with the lowest sceptic, you call it a sentimental stampede, or, with the admiring and adoring believer, a spiritual awakening and modern miracle- must surely possess a peculiar attraction. To us, at least, these brief biographies have proved no less interesting, if not far more so, than if they had been little romances. Romances, indeed, they are, of truth and nature and divine grace, 66 stranger than fiction." Since Mayhew's "London Labor and the London Poor," we have read nothing in this way so charming as many of these quaint and affecting sketches of the children of the spirit in which the volumes before us abound. We would gladly give specimens, if we knew where to begin or end in taking bricks out of so goodly a structure as samples of the building.

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In regard to the manner in which Dr. Stevens has done his work, we have only to acknowledge in this new volume the same merits as we found in its predecessors; the same felicity in the distribution of his matter, combining the biographic and the annalistic methods; the same vigorous and spirited style; the same wise and kindly tone of remark; the same genial, gentlemanly, scholarly, charitable spirit.

But we express only a very small part of the value of these volumes when we describe them as full of entertaining matter skilfully handled; they are full of edifying lessons for the seeker of Christian wisdom.

The term "Methodist," first given, it would seem, in derision or disparagement, and accepted with a proper sense of the fact that the foolishness of men is the wisdom of God, was retained, we may well believe, not without a feeling that it expressed or hinted a great deal of truth and wisdom, which, in the things of religion, is generally too little appreciated. Although cavillers will associate with the name Methodist only the idea of a martinet in moral discipline, and, in the matters of religious experience, of one so much a devotee of method as to deserve the name of a methodistic man, a spiritual mechanic, — and although calumniators will sweepingly say, "Much ignorance hath made them mad, — their method is the method of madness," a wise and right-minded observer, and especially a lover of the simplicity of the Gospel, will have suggested to him by the title of Methodist quite other thoughts. These people, he will say to himself, mean to keep themselves reminded that there is a way of life, a method of salvation; they mean to remember Him who is himself "the way." They believe, and mean practically to keep in mind, that in spiritual no less than in secular things there must be an adaptation of means to ends. They hold, too, that where there is a will, there is a way; and admirably have they proved themselves, by their fidelity to these simple truths, an exception to that interpretation, at least, of the saying of Jesus, which has it, that the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light are in theirs.

Wisdom, certainly this is the quality which the Methodist movement, in its beginnings, in the persons of its first leaders and subsequent guides, prominently illustrates. Wise steersmen for Christ, (to adopt, or adapt, the image of one of their preachers,*) they have certainly proved themselves in the storms of Church and State through which they have been called to pass. And, indeed, is there any better explanation of the wondrous union of so much wisdom with so much enthusiasm what their enemies would call so much method with so much madness than to ascribe this fine balance of qualities to the possession of the secret of apostolic simplicity?

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Candor, indeed, constrains us to confess that, while the very name of Methodist tells to a thoughtful mind so many of the good points of the denomination that bears it, it also bespeaks some of their leading errors or dangers. It should caution them not to forget, what, indeed, they

* "Under-rowers," Benson, p. 63.

themselves profess, as well as ourselves, to remember, that God's " ways are not as our ways," and to be careful that we do not "limit," by our methods either of speech or of action, "the Holy One of Israel." And we gratefully acknowledge that Methodism, especially when we take into account a great deal of its material in past times, has memorably guarded itself against this rock.

But there is another liability from which we are not quite so sure that our Methodist brethren take sufficient care to keep clear. In reading the glowing and rapturous records of the experience of ministers and converts, the question has forced itself upon us, Is there not a danger, in all this, that selfishness, self-enjoyment, spiritual dissipation, will creep in under the very guise of piety and devotion? And what has suggested this question has been our perceiving, or seeming to perceive, a stress laid upon states of feeling, as if desirable for their own sake, as if feeling were to be sought as an end, and not merely as evidence or motive of action. In a word, we have feared that the social and sentimental elements combined were liable, where so much use is made of sympathy in religion, to lead people away from that very simplicity and soberness of Christ and the Apostles which we have always supposed to be one of Methodism's great ideals. He, certainly, whom we call our Master and Model was very far from encouraging anything scenical or sentimental in the simple and serious matter of the religious life.

Full well do we remember, indeed, and hope we appreciate the significance of the fact, that the same Teacher who said, "Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" also said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." And if the question had to be met, what class of Christians has both spoken the most fervently and worked the most faithfully for Christ, we certainly feel that the Methodists would not be behind any.

And perhaps our being tempted to make the suggestion we have made in regard to the comparative value of emotion, as a thing to be sought for and relied upon, arises partly from the fact, that the historian of a movement like the Methodist one naturally makes most prominent those manifestations which were most characteristic and peculiar to the people he writes of, - the relations of their experience, and the expressions of their feelings, -dwelling less on those quiet, more retired, less romantic, yet not less real and precious, proofs of true religion and Christianity which daily domestic, social, neighborly, and civil life affords, and which are presented alike by all true people of the Lord.

So that, after all, we would have far more emphasis laid on our gratitude for what Methodism has done and is doing, than on our criticism of its liability to morbid moods or movements. We thank the Methodists for what they have done to keep alive the sense of a living connection (the true Apostolic succession) between the Apostolic age and ours, in the community of one continuous work and warfare of the spirit. We thank the historian of "the religious movement called Methodism," and the body he represents, for reminding us so impressively that the Christian religion, as it was a movement in the begin

ning, is always, where really believed and received, a living and onward-moving force, and the Christian Church a militant and missionary brotherhood. We thank them for what they have done to keep the waters of Christian life, which are always in danger of stagnating, constantly astir, ever full and flowing, fresh and sparkling, -a mighty river of spiritual life, bearing health to man, and reflecting the glory of Heaven. We honor them for the steadfastness with which they have labored to keep up in Christendom the sensation of the great facts on which so much of the power of the Gospel rests, as of things newly transpired, or even now transpiring; - to make men feel that the Saviour and the Apostles are, by the Holy Spirit, still speaking and acting on the earth; that the world is still lifting up Christ on the cross, and he still yearning to draw all men unto him with those outstretched arms of supplication and benediction.


There are many particular services to be gratefully acknowledged which the Methodists have done the cause of truth and righteousness and charity. We are under especial obligations to them for the noble stand they have generally taken on the side of liberty and liberality in religion, - for honoring the man in man above any mere conventional characters, however imposing the authority of investiture. In their combination of freedom and flexibility with religious fervor,—in their recognition of the principle that the one faith, "the same yesterday, to-day, and forever," may take many forms of expression in creed and character, and must adapt its method of manifestation to the changing phases of what the world calls human progress, and the believer calls the Divine Providence, the history of Methodism shows a remarkable degree of the wisdom of Christ dwelling in his disciples. The deliberations and doings of the Conferences during those revolutionary years which followed the death of John Wesley are most honorable to them. In that troublous and threatening time, when "without were fightings, within were fears," the patience and firmness and kindness with which these servants of their God and their generation strove to keep themselves unspotted from the world while they toiled and prayed and watched for the world, to help and heal its maladies, deserve high praise.

We look forward with the highest interest to the promised volume, or volumes, in which Dr. Stevens is to give us the history of his Church in this country. We feel that this task will give great occasion for his already so well proved candor, discrimination, charity, and perception of the great end of the Gospel. In passing from the old country to this, and in coming down from old times to these, one has to confess that Christian souls and societies have a peculiar work and warfare committed to them, in the double capacity they now and here sustain of citizens of this world and citizens of the heavenly. Though Christ's kingdom is not of this world, our position in this country and this age reminds us most powerfully that it is for this world; that the Christian Church has not merely to escape, to conquer, to convert, but to help guide and govern the world; that the grace, wisdom, and courage of the disciple must be manifested also in his carrying the great senti



ments and principles of Christianity into political as well as personal relations. Here is one of the sorest points of trial with our religious bodies. Here is one of the great tests whether a church will prefer self-aggrandizement to the self-sacrificing spirit of Him who lived and died for man, whether it will be true to the principle," first pure, then peaceable."

For the present, then, we part with our Methodist historian gratefully, as well as hopefully. We thank him for his manliness, his candor, and his kindly spirit. We thank him for his labor of love, for his beautiful pictures of a faith which "is abhorrent to the spirit of sectarianism"; which "meets all upon the common ground of loving the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity"; whose "sole object is to revive and extend Christianity in all churches, in all the world"; which "teaches us to place religion, not in forms and opinions only, but in a renewed nature, and especially in the Christian temper"; *—and we conclude with expressing our conviction that a large share of the praise will, under God, be due to the Methodists, in the day when we all cease to see in part, when there shall be one brotherhood of faith, and God shall be all in all.


THE remarkable dissertations which have appeared from time to time in the columns of the Revue de Théologie and the Revue Germanique, have prepared us to welcome any work which may bear the name of Michel Nicolas. No writer has done more to condense and popularize in France the best results of German criticism and philosophy than the learned Professor in the Protestant school at Montauban. His residence in Berlin, and in several other of the principal German universities, his acquaintance with many of the leading thinkers and with most of the important theological treatises of Germany, and his brave sympathy with free thought and fearless investigation, have made him more than any other person the representative of the German mind in France. He is exceedingly feared by the Romanist and the Reactionary parties; and those who cannot answer his views with argument abuse him without stint, as an infidel and a blasphemer. Yet Nicolas is neither a very destructive critic nor a mere echo of the German rationalists. Radical as his views frequently are, their tone is moderate, and they are stated with an admirable calmness and candor. He is, moreover, by no means a blind worshipper of any German doctor, or an adherent of any school. He uses the opinions of Vater, De Wette, Gesenius, Ewald, Bleek, and Knobel, but does not bind himself to the decisions of any one of them. He is an acute, original, and independent thinker, and his force of expression is equal to the vigor of his thought. As a literary work, his new volume of Critical Studies on the Old Testament† has few superiors in its kind. It can be read without fatigue, even by one not wonted to theological discussions.

*Watson, p. 87.

+ Études Critiques sur la Bible. Ancien Testament. Paris: Michel Lévy Frères. 8vo. pp. viii., 442.



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