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those men? Is it not generally enough to impose any maxim or opinion upon them, that Wesley or Fletcher said it? Are not their writings treated by you as paramount to the scriptures? Is it the scriptures you put into the hands of those, whom you have made or want to make converts to Methodism? No, you send them for the most part to Fletcher's Checks ; and stuff tbeir poor heads with bad metaphysics and worse divinity, before they have rightly learned the first principles of the gospel of Christ. And if they be directed to the seriptures at all, they must read them accompanied by Wesley's notes, for fear they should imbibe from the scriptures any thing contrary to Methodism. This is the way to make Methodistszealous, bigotted Methodists; but indeed it is not the way to make simple and devoted Christians. It is the way to inflame their minds against the persons whom Mr. Wesley and Mr. Fletcher opposed, and to make them bitter controversialists; but it is not the way to combat their natural prejudices against the truths of God, or to feed them with the sincere milk of his word.
Ask yourselves, Brethren, how many of your present opinions have you adopted from a serious, diligent, and humble examination of the scriptures, in the spirit of prayer, waiting on the Father of Light for that wisdom which cometh from above; and how mans, from a rash submission to the authority of human teachers? I know so much of this spirit among you, that I am aware many, into whose hands this address will come, are likely to think me worse than an infidel, for even hinting a doubt of the excellence of Mr. Wesley's and Mr. Fletcher's writings. Yes, I know that some will not endure the man, who shall venture to drop a hint derogatory to their honour ; while they easily bear in their writings, and readily adopt from them, sentiments, the most derogatory to the honour of God our Saviour.
But, Brethren, besides your party-spirit and your idolatrous veneration of men, there are other evils, to which I desire to call your attention. Looking at the general aspect of Methodism, and coinparing it with the Christianity of the Gospel, I see a striking coutrast indeed— between the obtrusive, tumultuous bustle of the one, and the calm and sober, though happy and heavenly character of the other. You hold, indeed, scriptural and important phrases ; but in the sense in which you hold them, and the manner in which you apply them, (as a body,) they appear quite different things from what I discover in the scripture. Faith, tion, sanctification, &c. are terms in frequent use among you: but they seem all perverted, and employed to sanction a system of human feeling, strongly wrought on either, in the way of distressing terror, maintains the precariousness and insufficiency of these, you are too. or joyful emotion. These you call experience; and any man who ready to pronounce an enemy to experimental religion..
Brethren, I hold as strongly as any of you, that all true religion begins and is carried on by the power of God experienced in the heart; but I know that this is perfectly distinct from the natural agitation of the passions, into which it seems the object of the Methodistic system to lash the minds of its members. I can see no divine power in the mechanical groan, and the periodical Amen, without which you think your religious meetings lifeless. I can see no divine power in those tumultuous assemblies, which have at various times been encouraged among you, and are now encouraged, where two or three, or more, are at the same moment uttering petitions to God with Stentorian voices, and others are going about among the people urging them to cry out-till their nerves are wrought upon to screeching, swooning, and various hysterical affections, which you are taught to consider as the power of God. When attempts are made to impose this on the world for religion, serious Christians will be disposed to weep, and the rest of mankind to laugh. I know that you do not all take a part in these meetings, to which I allude ; that they are not yet universal among you. But there must be some awful delusion on the minds of a society, which not only tolerates, but countenances and approves of such practices.
Having mentioned, in general, what you call your experience, I am led to say a few words on those meetings in which you speak your experience with each other—your class-meetings and lovefeasts. I think I know something of the blessedness of free intercourse and unreserved communication between Christians. But I am persuaded that meetings, conducted as yours are, must prove in many instances highly injurious; and perhaps they are most injurious to those who like them most. At them, each member of your Society is weekly called on to declare the state of his soul, in the presence of others, to the number of 12 or 20. The most truly experienced Christian is best able to say, how nice and trying a matter it is, to speak before others of himself, and of his walk with God.It is not at all times or at any periodical intervals, that he will dare to attempt it ; and when he does see it expedient to speak upon the subject, it will be with holy fear, whether he speaks of his sorrows or of his joys. But among you, the weakest are every week put upon this exercise: those who have no real experience in religion at all, are brought forward to declare their experience, and drilled either into hypocrisy or self-deceit. They hear one and another around them speaking the language of complaint or of rejoicing, of distressing anxiety or assured confidence; and they, in their turn, retail the gleanings of the phraseology they have heard. They utter perhaps the most humiliating complaints of themselves, and are secretly filled with a proud satisfaction at the thought of having complained so well and spoken so humbly. Set in motion by this gust of self-complacency, they are ready to receive the exhortation, which their class-leader gives them, to work out strenuously wbat is wanting of their salvation. They report progress at the next meeting, for which they have been preparing in the interval.They have now to say (as they have heard others say,) that they are thirsting-wrestling-on the stretch-for justification. They are sent away with encouragement, perhaps, to win it that night by violence; and in all probability, by the following meeting, they will have to declare that they have obtained--that which they are taught to call justification-a lively impression on their minds, of some words of scripture, as is a voice from heaven told them that their sins were forgiven. The poor creature is then rejoiced over, and rejoices over himself, as having experienced the blessing ;talks of this experience with delight; and mistakes his fomness of talking of it for zeal and spiritual fervour. He is given to understand, that all he needs now is to keep up those feelings, and to go on in the same way, to attain what is called sanctification. He is questioned weekly as to his progress, in this effort, or perhaps is employed to question others; and if he only continue regular in attending his class, and precise in the observation of Methodist discipline, no doubt is entertained by himself or others of his Christianity: while he has only exchangeil, perhaps, the sins of drunkenness and swearing, for the sins of spiritual pride, censoriousness and hypocrisy. If he can only deceive himself then sufficiently to imagine that all sin is at some instant exterminated from within him, the course is finished ; and his experience held up as a pattern to all the society.
But some of you, perhaps, are ready to say—'s what right has this man to suppose, that any among us walk in such a self-deceiving course, or make such a false profession of experience, as he has just now described?” I candidly own, that I have met some Methodists, and read of others, who to my judgment gave evidence of being in various stages of that course. But indeed I am not fond of deciding on the state or character of individuals, where there is any room for doubt. But I must add that there are some among you of whom I can have no doubt that they are in the last and most awful stage of it: I mean all those, who avow that they have attained that same perfection in holiness, in consequence of which they live without sin, in thought, word or deed.”
[To be concluded.]
The New-Orleans papers contain an account of a meeting which was beld in that city on the 8th of February, to adopt measures for the more general circulation of the Scriptures in the State of Louisiana.' Addresses were made by Judge Smith, J. A. Maybin, Esq. General Ripley, Louis Moreau Lislet, Esq. and Reverend Messrs. Clapp and De Fernex. The sum of $779 was subscribed at the meeting, and measures were taken to increase the amount.
N. Y, Jour. Com.
PRAYER OF FAITH. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.—John xiv. 13.
The following remarks upon the above are copied from the Christian Journal, an able and well conducted paper recently commenced at Utica, N. Y. The Editor introduces them thus: “ We could but notice, at the time of reading it, that this article was inconsistent with itself, and are glad its defects have coine under the review of one, who is evidently able to discover tho difference between sophistry and sound reasoning."
After thus telling us, (and he does it correctly,) under four distinct heads, what it is to ask in Christ's name, the writer commences his next paragraph with the assertion, that “Where the above mentioned feelings really exist, there will be the utmost confidence, that the identical blessing will be granted.” But how does he know this? Will this “ utmost confidence, that the identical blessing will be granted,” result from that cordial.submission to God, “ as to one who knows better than the suppliant what is best," which the writer has attributed to the prayer of faith? If not, what feelings has he under either of his four heads, attributed to the Christian, who truly asks in Christ's name, that can possibly lay a foundation for such confidence? Evidently none; and of this the writer was aware; for in the same paragraph, and only the third sentence from the one last quoted, and with direct reference to the feelings which constitute that asking in Christ's name, to which the promise is made, he says, “ The belief of receiving the blessing would not be in view of the feeling exercised.” That is, if I understand him, the belief of receiving the blessing would not be in view of the feeling that fulfils the condition on which the blessing is promised.
What then has the passage of scripture at the head of his article to do with the subject? And if it is irrelevant, how do his views, as he seems to think, save it from entire rejection? But if the believer's feelings, which constitute that asking in Christ's name which God has promised to regard, do not lay the foundation of bis confidence, that he shall receive the identical thing he asks, I would inquire what is the ground of that confidence? In the same paragraph, the writer tells what it is. He says, it is “an impression produced by the Spirit upon the mind; and proceeds to ask, “ Is it incredible, that a man's belief should be under the influence of the Holy Spirit? May he not produce in the mind a firm belief of a truth otherwise doubtful? Let us look at facts,” &c. Suppose the Spirit may do this, and even that facts may be looked at which prove it, I see not how all this helps to derive the sentiments from the text placed at the head of the article. If the belief of receiving the identical thing asked, is to be derived from some peculiar impression produced by the Spirit upon the mind, and the proof that such impression is from the Divine Spirit, is to be sustained by looking at facts, why this attempt to put off the sentiment, as of serip ture origin?
In connexion with what is said about looking at facts, the mother of the missionary Mills is mentioned, as affording an instance, is which prayer was answered in the specific object. But how dors the writer know that Mills was converted in answer to his mother's prayers? Were no other Christians acquainted with him previous to his conversion, who might also have prayed for the same object? But suppose it was granted that the mother's prayer, and her's only, was answered in the specific object, and I see not how it would prove the point in question. Must we believe, either that God never answers the prayer of faith in the specific object, or, that be always does?
In the concluding paragraph, this writer says : “ We are in erery instance required to exercise the feelings specified abore under the first four heads.” “And, in proportion as they become strong and sensible, will be the faith for the blessing.” Here, again, I must ask him how he knows this; since, according to his own declaration, the “faith for the blessing,” or, “the belief of receiving the blessing, would not be in view of the feeling exercised,” (that is, the feeling specified under the first four heads,) but an "impression produced by the Spirit upon the mind?” Must he then hare two kinds of impressions; or a two-fold operation of the Spirit, at the same time?
The writer anticipates an objection, that such a belief as his, may lead to enthusiasm; but seems to think that no Christian is in danger from believing it, because “ no one who understands it from ezperience will mistake any thing for it.” But, what is to secure him from danger, while acquiring this experimental knowledge, which is to enable him to distinguish it from all other things? This he had not told us. Perhaps he would say, the Holy Spirit makes a revelation of the fact, to all those who are subject to this impression; and does it in such a manner, that they cannot mistake respecting it: be it so. How will this help others not thus favoured, to distinguish enthusiastic excitement from this peculiar impression of the Spirit? If the writer is a clergyman, and has been much acquainted with revivals, it is not improbable that he can easily recollect cases, which were evidently of this description. Surely, then, he ought to have made his rule for trying the spirits, applicable also to impressions which are false.
As the writer's logic, rather than his sentiments, is the object of these strictures, I would remark in my conclusion, that I cordially approve of what he calls his " first four heads,” and regret that his subsequent remarks were not made in consistency with them.”
B. W. Maryland Sunday School Union. Connected with this union are 120 auxiliary schools, and nearly 12,000 scholars. Besides these, there are in the state 70 or 80 schools not in connexion with the union, making in all 200 schools and about 20,000 scholars.