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and love to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb: which may God grant for Jesus Christ's sake, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one Eternal God, be ascribed all majesty and dominion, from this time forth for ever.
THE TRUTH OF GOD DEFENDED.,
To the Editor of the Methodist Magazine. Dear Sir, The following remarks are extracted from a Periodical Publication for April last; the re-publishing them in your Miscellany, I believe, will give satisfaction to many of your readers. I am, Sir, your's respectfully,
D. Watson. Kingsland, May 13, 1820.
REMARKS ON THE QUARTERLY REVIEW. In Number XLIII. of the Quarterly Review, published in November last, there is a long article on the colonization of the Cape of Good Hope. The passage relates to the prospective conversion of the Caffrees. “These people," says the Reviewer, “ being entirely free from idolatrous prejudices, would be ready to embrace the benevolent doctrines of Christianity, and this field will perhaps be occupied by the Moravians, though we much fear that Methodists of a less useful character have already got the start of them. These enthusiastic ranters have spread themselves over the colony, and gone beyond its limits, encouraging idleness by instructing the natives in their own peculiar doctrines, and in nothing else, as is but too apparent in their wretched and filthy establishments, swarming with Hottentots still in a state of nakedness, or in their ancient sheep-skin clothing. Instead of expressing their gratitude to their Creator in hymns and songs, the Methodist Hottentots do nothing but whimper, whine, and groan."
This passage contains more charges against that denomination of Christians than is usually met with in so small a compass. The question is, Are these charges true or false ?
On the first of these it is not necessary to say much; it may be proper, however, to remark one or two things. The Re. viewer considers the Moravians a superior class of Methodists; now this really betrays a degree of inaccuracy, not to say ignorance, not very honourable to a publick censor. For, first, the term Methodist properly applies only to the followers of Wesley and Whitefield, to whom it was originally given at Oxford. Its apun plication to the Moravians is at once novel and absurd. And,
Secondly, Because, though it is readily admitted that the Moravians have been, and continue to be, a useful people, yet it is
denied that they have been more useful than the Methodists. In this country there is hardly any comparison between the moral and religious good which have been effected by these two denominations. The labours of the former have been confined to a very few places in the kingdom; the labours of the latter are nearly co-extensive with the kingdom itself, having penetrated not only cities and market-towns, but also villages and bamlets. That the former have been useful in turning many from darkness to light is granted; but these sink into perfect insignifcance in the presence of that multitude, who, through Methodist instrumentality, have been brought to a life of piety and virtue. Nor has their usefulness been confined merely to one or two classes of society, but has diffused itself through all its various gradations. Even persons of no religion are so convinced of the moral and civil advantages of Methodism, that in many places they cheerfully contribute to its support. This is particularly the case in some of the more populous districts in this kingdom; and which, their enemies themselves being judges, in times of popular commotion, would often have furnished scenes of anarchy and blood, but for the tranquilizing influence of Methodism.
That the Moravians have been useful in distant lands also, both in the torrid and frigid zones; and that their missionaries have furnished some striking and apostolic examples of zeal, and patience, and perseverance, are facts which one feels a pleasure in recording; but it is equally correct that Methodist missionaries have furnished examples not less striking-examples of zeal, and patience, and perseverance, and success, which have rarely been equalled, and perhaps never surpassed by any denomination of Christians, in either modern or ancient times, the period of the apostles alone excepted. In making this statement, the object is not to deprecate the Moravians, who are highly entitled to the esteem of the Christian world, but to rescue a body of Christians who are not less entitled to that esteem, from the wanton aspersions of bigotry. The Reviewer charges them with being enthusiasts. What an enthusiast is he has not told us. It is good policy sometimes not to define terms. Want of definition gives an opportunity to escape by replying, “O) you misunderstood me, I did not mean that." Enthusiasm is often used in a good sense, as merely signifying a passionate ardour. Take for example the following expressions: He is, in politics, or in painting, or in music, or in poetry, or in sculpture, quite an enthusiast; that is, he is passionately fond of these. A man who is destitute of enthusiasm will never excel in any of the arts. In relation to these, it is a good thing; but the moment it is employed in religion, it becomes a bad one. How is this? Is it right to be passionately fond of science, and wrong to be so of religion? Right to be zealous in the propagation of political truth; and wrong to be so in the propagation of those truths which are able to make men wise unto salvation ? Right in ardently entering into those plans which have for their object the temporal emolument and aggran. disement of a nation; and wrong when that ardour is employed in rescuing immortal souls from eternal perdition? Should not our ardour be regulated by the importance of the subject in which it is engaged? But if so, should there not be more of this, more of (what in application to other subjects is called) enthusiasm in religion than in any thing else ? 'Will not even the Reviewer himself, if he think there is any such thing as religion, be obliged to admit this?
But that he does not intend the word in a good sense, is evident from his joining it to ranters. A ranter, Dr. Johnson tells us, is a ranting fellow; and to rant is to rave in a violent or highsounding language. The passage under consideration is a fine specimen of this kind. Whether the Reviewer intended it as such, it would, perhaps, be too much confidently to assert; but as the sense so exactly echoes to the sound, there is strong ground for such a supposition : but though the Reviewer has a clear and indisputable title to this character, what wisdom has he furnished that it has any application to the Methodist missionaries ? None. He indeed raves in violent language about them; but this only proves that he himself is a ranter, and leaves them, for any evidence adduced by him, as innocent ranting as St. Paul. As reviewers sometimes say, “ It so happens that we know," so I say-it so happens that I know something of the Methodist missionaries in Africa, and that they are not enthusiastic ranters, but men of genuine piety and unblemished morals; of clear, and sound, and masculine understandings; men of minds sufficiently cultivated to become writers in the Quarterly Review, had they been favoured with a talent at ranting; and men who are indefatigable in their exertions to promote the best interests of the Hottentots, both in relation to this life and the life to come.
But these missionaries, it seems, “ encourage idleness:" and this they do, first, by teaching them (the Hottentots) their peculiar doctrines. What these are he has not told us; but as “ idleness" is the result of such teaching, they must, of course, be doctrines by which idleness is promoted; for the effect must agree with ibe cause. To affirm that their “ peculiar doctrines" do not promote idleness, and yet that idleness is encouraged by their peculiar doctrines, is a direct contradiction, and therefore impossible.
What the doctrines are which produce the evil complained of, it is difficult to conjecture. I am well acquainted with the doctrines preached by the Methodist missionaries, but cannot perceive any connection between them and idleness. They preach Vol. XLIV. March, 1821.
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repentance towards God; but surely there is no connection between being sorry for sin, deeply humbled on account of it, hating it, and putting it away, and idleness. They preach faith in the Lord Jesus Christ-faith in him as the Redeemer of the world, who came to make atonement for sin by his death, to procure pardon for every penitent sinner who believes in his name, and to regenerate and sanctify them by his Spirit; and who will finally come to judge the world, when he will reward diligent or faithful servants, and punish idle and unprofitable ones. They preach, that Christians are to imitate the example of Christ, and to be followers of God. Now, is this to encourage idleness pu Is it possible to utter a grosser libel on him who went about doing good ?
But they encourage idleness, it seems, secondly, by teaching them “ nothing else.” Suppose they don't teach any thing else, what then? Is there not enough in the above to prove that idleness cannot possibly be the result of their teaching, unless it be the nature of doctrinez to produce an effect directly the reverse of themselves ? I admit that « nature," or rather the God of
- Nature may appoint new laws,
Cut off the effect from its connected cause;' but I demand proof of the Quarterly Review, that such a miracle has been wrought in the case before us. If the obvious tendency of a doctrine be to promote an imitation of Jesus Christ, though that doctrine may fail to produce that imitation, it is morally impossible that it should produce its opposite.
But it is not true that they teach nothing but the doctrines of the gospel, which, perhaps, if the Reviewer meant any thing but to declaim, is the only thing intended by “ their own peculiar doctrines,” supposing that they neglected to preach the duties of Christianity. But in this also he greatly errs, for they strenuously maintain that every real Christian is created in Christ Jesus unto good works; that he is bound to “present his body a living sacrifice unto God, and not to be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of his mind;" and to " glorify God in his body and his spirit, which are God's." They not only teach them, (the Hottentots,) the duties which they immediately owe to God, but also those which they owe to themselves and to each other. And among other things they do not fail to teach our Lord's golden rule— As ye would that others should do to you, do you even so to them;" and to enforce that law as the constant rule of life, one of whose precepts is, “ Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour;" rules with which our Reviewer seems unacquainted; or, if acquainted with them, rules which he practically rejects, whilst he betrays the rancour of his spirit, by uttering the grossest falsehood with the most shameless effrontery.
But, in addition to teaching religion and morality, they also teach the arts and civilization. The Rev. Mr. Shaw, a Methodist missionary, has introduced the English plough, and has shewn them how they may perform as much labour with four oxen as they formerly could perform with twelve. He has erected a smith's shop among them, by which means they are supplied with a variety of implements of great importance to their convenience and comfort, of which they before were destitute. He has also shewn them how to build; and has introduced & variety of English culinary roots and vegetables, which in that climate will probably soon become so abundant as to furnish an ample supply to the various inhabitants. And, in addition to all the rest, he devotes a part of the day to the instruction of the children, whilst every evening in the week he either preaches or catechises, or converses on spiritual subjects, and prays with the Hottentots. Such is the nature of the every-day work of the men, who by tbe Quarterly Reviewer are most malignantly represented as “ encouraging idleness by instructing the natives in their own peculiar doctrines, and in nothing else.”
The Hottentots who go naked, or appear in their ancient sheep-skin clothing, have nothing to do with the Methodist mission. Such a report, whether true or false I know not, has been circulated of one, and only one, missionary. But he, and the people among whom he labours, have no more connexion with the Methodist mission, than with the society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Should the fact have been as reported, the evil has, no doubt, by this time engaged the attention of that respectable body of Christians from whom that missionary receives his appointment, and either is already, or soon will be completely remedied.-But, admitting the existence of the evil to the full extent of the Reviewer's statement, does it, I would ask that gentleman, comport, I will not say with candour, but with common heathen honesty, to filiate it upon the Methodists, and to make nakedness and filth the ordinary accompaniments of their mission ? That they, the Methodist Hottentots, “ never express their gratitude to their Creator in hymns and songs," is a charge which will obtain credit only among those who are totally ignorant of the mode of worship among the Methodists. Singing hymns and spiritual songs occupies a considerable place in their publick devotions. Nor is this the case here only, but in Africa also. Neither is the expression of “their gratitude in hymns and songs" confined to publick worship, but in this way they give vent to the pious emotions of their souls in other places. In a letter from the Rev. Mr. Shaw to his father, dated Leelie Fontien, March 26, 1818, are the following observations :
“ During the last week our people cheered us with songs in the night; the Lord doubtless tuned their hearts. On hearing
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