Imágenes de páginas

inent feel, when they have read these admirably-executed volumes. The style is clear and forcible. It is that of a writer well understanding the instrument which he uses for the expression of his thoughts, and who employs it, not for the purpose of displaying his own skill, but of conveying to the reader his own impressions. We have read biographies so richly ornamented, that they have always reminded us of painted glass placed before some portrait, which, though it might exhibit the artistic skill of the delineator, had the effect of either hiding the portrait itself from the spectator, or making him unroindful of it by fixing his attention on some other object. It is not thus with the author of these volumes. It was his design to make his readers acquainted with Charles Wesley ; and in this he has succeeded so well, (reminding us of the trite but very true saying, that it is the perfection of art to conceal art,) that it is only when the reader's mind has had time to pause, and to exercise reflection, that he comes to think of Mr. Jackson. The judgment will be, “ The writer of this book intended to bring Charles Wesley before us,—to make us live with him through his life, render his character transparent to us, and to fix our attention with intense interest on the solemn but animating scene at the close, when mortal was about to become immortal : this he has done, and he has done it completely.”

The smaller 6 Memoirs" were published in 1848. We are not sure whether this was not the more difficult work of the two. The size of the former afforded room for the employment of proper, and in some sense necessary, illustrations. In this small volume the likeness of the man had to be preserved, throughout his whole character, intellectual, spiritual, and active; but the task is accomplished,-ably accomplished. The reader of the “ Memoirs ” will find, substantially, the information afforded by the “Life.” Mr. Jackson has thus secured for that large class of readers who for various reasons may not have access to his former volumes, the full opportunity of becoming —we repeat the expression, and we do so advisedly—thoroughly acquainted with Charles Wesley, so far as biographical authorship can accomplish this.

But there was another task which he had to perform. Mr. Charles Wesley is one of those whose autobiography, should one exist, deserves not only perusal, but study. Now, the younger brother, as well as the other, “ kept a Journal.” Extracts from this were given by Dr. Whitehead more than half a century ago; and this was done more copiously by Mr. Jackson in the “Life” published in 1841 ; " but the entire document is now for the first time presented to the public. It was purchased some years ago of the writer's heir, the late Charles Wesley, Esq., of musical celebrity; having, however, undergone some mutilations, the occasion of which it would perhaps be impossible to ascertain. A little while before it was purchased, it was in great danger of being irrecoverably lost. It was found among some loose straw on the floor of a public warehouse in London, where the furniture of the owner was for a time deposited, several leaves in the volume being cut from the binding, and yet not removed. The intelligent and pious reader, it is presumed, after perusing and weighing its valuable contents, will be thankful that its publication effectually prevents the recurrence of a similar casualty, and will preserve it from oblivion." (Journal, Introduction, vol. i., p. v.)

The “Journal” occupies the whole of the first volume, and as far as page one hundred and sixty-six of the second. One hundred and twenty pages are devoted to “ Selections from the Correspondence of the Rev. Charles Wesley." We need not dwell on the propriety of this appendix " to the Journal. Mr. Wesley's “ Letters” were not designed to be elaborate and elegant essay-form compositions, but expressions of the living thoughts and feelings of the writer. The Journal would almost be incomplete without them. The third portion of the second volume (comprising nearly two hundred pages) is aptly entitled, “ Selections from the Poetry of the Rev. Charles Wesley, illustrative of his Journal and Correspondence.” We say aptly; for the Poetry of Charles Wesley is as illustrative of the true character of the writer, as are his Journal and Letters. But on this subject we quote the language of Mr. Jackson :

“ The selections from the author's poetry, which follow next in order, reflect great honour on his genius. Notwithstanding the sameness of the subjects which they embrace, and the occasions on which they were written, they present a beautiful variety both of sentiment and expression. They exhibit, with no less distinctness, the tenderness and piety of his personal friendships, and the spirit of the people whose characters were formed under his ministry and that of his fellow-labourers. Happy the men whose preaching was followed by such results ! who saw among their own spiritual children persons who adorned the doctrine of God our Saviour, by their spirit and deportment, in all the relations of social and domestic life, and then passed to the companionship of angels and of glorified saints with the very language of heaven upon their lips.

“Some of these poetical compositions were never before printed ; and the rest have been hitherto known by only a very limited number of readers; most of them having been out of print more than half a century, and others of them for twice that period. They show how the Methodist Christians who were in fellowship with the Wesleys, lived and died a century ago. In the beautiful and expressive lines of the venerable Charles Wesley, these devout persons still speak, reminding the members of the living church of their high privileges and calling, and beckoning to the heaven which is provided for them.

“ The second series of poetical selections mostly refer to facts which are recorded in the Journal and Correspondence, and therefore serve to illustrate the author's personal history. They express, in his own inimitable manner, the spirit of faith, of patience, and of holy zeal, in which he laboured and suffered as a Christian evangelist and Pastor, who was intrusted with the Gospel message and the care of souls.”

Though what follows refers to the general contents of the work rather than to the poetry in particular, we can neither refrain from quoting them in the connexion in which they stand, nor allow any passing remarks of our own to intervene ; unless it be to say that the biographer of Charles Wesley is evidently imbued with the spirit of the man whose life and character and labours he thus brings before the public, and thoroughly understands the subjects to the utterance and enforcement of which that man, so truly great and good, entirely devoted himself, without any low and desecrating motives.

“ The editor of these volumes cherishes a feeling of lively satisfaction in sending them forth into the world, persuaded as he is of their tendency to promote true spiritual religion, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' They exhibit the power of evangelical truth, and the signs which follow, when it is preached by men of faith and prayer. Why should not conversions be as numerous in the congregations of the present age as they were in the days of the Wesleys? Gospel truth is the same; the mercy and power of Christ have suffered no diminution; the grace of the Holy Spirit is as omnipotent as it ever was; the ordinances of day and night shall cease sooner than the word of the living God shall fail; the gracious covenant of God still remains in force, so that fervent and believing prayer is as prevalent as it was even in the apostolic times. O for a return of those days when in every religious assembly the power of the Lord was signally present, to wound the consciences of the impenitent, to heal the broken in heart, to comfort and sanctify those who had through grace believed! Let all who are interested in the cause of Christianity remember, that the irrevocable word which secures the future enlargement of the church has passed the lips of Him who cannot lie.

"Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,

And looks to that alone,
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries, It shall be done !””

(Journal, Introduction, vol. i., p. xliv.) And this is Methodism,- Wesleyan Methodism. Whoever asks what the work was in which the Wesleys were engaged, and for labouring in which the only reward sought by them was its full success in the souls of their fellow-men,-this is our reply: In this spirit to preach the Gospel of the grace of God, to make known His love to a fallen world by the gift of His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, -to proclaim to guilty and sinful man, “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

-in this spirit to call on men to receive by faith in Christ“ a present, free, and full salvation,”-this is Wesleyan Methodism. God grant that to this high calling all Methodists, ministers and people, may be clearly and perseveringly faithful!

To Mr. Jackson we tender our sincere and cordial thanks for these three works. As sincerely and cordially do we recommend them to our readers. The perpetuation of the Wesleyan spirit (and we only use the term in the way of descriptive distinction, honouring in it the grace of God, and fully recognising the claims of fraternal love and union) is an object of inexpressible importance; and towards securing it, Mr. Jackson, of whose other labours in the field of Christian Theology our readers need not to be reminded, has here furnished a most valuable contribution. Long after his own right hand has forgotten its cunning will he, in these volumes, teach successive generations the glorious religion of—“We love Him because He first loved us." We only add (but this we ought to add) that though, as their subject unavoidably occasioned, the theology of these volumes is honestly distinctive, it is totally destitute of everything intolerantly exclusive. Mr. Jackson has shown that he can be decidedly Wesleyan, and yet truly evangelical and catholic, in doctrine and spirit. In fact, we sometimes incline to think that we have some advantage in this respect over our brethren of other denominations. We can read with thankfulness and profit the Memoirs of holy men like M'Cheyne, the Theological Treatises of giants in Christian literature like Chalmers : glad shall we be to acknowledge an equal readiness on their part to study the lives, labours, and writings of the Wesleys, as set forth by the pen of a Jackson.

(To be concluded in our next.)


CHRISTIAN reader, cultivate a friendly acquaintance with the humble members of the church. Greet them kindly when you meet them. In sickness and in sorrow visit them. Be tender of their feelings, and by unfailing benevolence secure their good will.

Are you in the humbler walks of life? Do not look with envy upon those who are above you in wealth or education ; for this is censuring God. Improve your mind and add to your wealth as much as you can by honest industry, and be contented with your lot. With such a state of feeling in the church, dissension is but little to be feared. There will be a respect for each other's opinions, and a mutual spirit of conciliation, which will insure harmony of counsel.

It is often in the power of one stubborn individual to keep a whole church for months in a state of disquietude. He will set up his will against the prayerful decisions of the whole church. He will persist in fomenting strife, though he knows it is destroying harmony and happiness. It is astonishing to see how much of passion, and prejudice, and unfairness, he will allow himself to exhibit. Such a man is a terrible curse to a church. The ingredients of such a character are generally mortified pride, disappointed ambition, and self-confidence. He will deceive himself by supposing that he is contending for principle, when he is the victim of wilfulness. There seemns to be no access to his understanding or his heart. All appeals to his Christian feelings are in vain. The united opinion of all his brethren is nothing to him. The decision of the most devoted ministers of God deserves no regard. The destruction of the church, the grief of his brethren and sisters, the exultation of the foes of Christ, the ruin of many souls, are all of no moment in his eyes, compared with having his own will. A church can hardly suffer a more severe calamity than to have such a person in its enclosures.

A man of pious feelings and humble frame of mind will never place himself in such an attitude. If a decision is formed which to him appears incorrect, he will say, “Brethren, my opinion is different; but I am led to distrust my own opinion, from the unanimity with which you have come to a different decision. I know that I am not infallible, and I shall therefore cordially acquiesce in the result to which you have come.” Now, who does not love such a spirit? Who is not compelled to love such a man? Suppose that it shall afterwards appear that this individual was right and the church were wrong, is there a single member of the church who would not be glad to take this brother by the hand and say, “It would have been better for us if we had followed your opinion ? " This is the spirit of mutual confidence and conciliation which should ever be cherished. There is no infallibility here on earth. It is to be expected not only that individuals will entertain wrong opinions, but that the churches will occasionally decide in a way that will not be for the best. There must always be a greater or less diversity of opinion upon almost every question that can come before the church.

And, while every member should be ready frankly and kindly to express his own views, it should be the established and unalterable opinion of every one, not merely patiently to submit to the decision of the majority, but with the utmost cheerfulness and good feeling to acquiesce in that decision. Or, if the circumstances of the case are so very peculiar that you feel you cannot in conscience continue your relation with the church, consider that the other members have a conscience and rights as well as yourself, and ask for a letter of dismission in those courteous and respectful terms which will insure a kind reply. This is the spirit of the Gospel ; and he who pursues a different course dishonours his Christian profession, and brings calamity and sorrow to the cause of Christ. Members of the church of Christ, resolve that there shall be peace in your borders. Do everything but sin, to insure this peace. Make any sacrifice of your own opinions and your own interests, to promote harmony. Then will the time be near when the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.-J. S. C. Abbott.


A.D. 1204.* (Translated for the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) Part I.-Brief HistorICAL INTRODUCTION.—The First Crusade terminated in A.D. 1099, by the siege and capture of Jerusalem, and the establishment of a Christian kingdom in Syria, Godfrey of Boulogne being the first sovereign. He and his successors had to maintain continual warfare against the often defeated but still unsubdued Mohammedans; and the condition of the European colonies in the East became so disastrous, that, in A.D. 1144, a new crusade was preached by the celebrated Bernard of Clairvaux. Conrad III., Emperor of Germany, and Louis VII., King of France, in A.D. 1147, conducted to Constantinople, on their way to the Holy Land, two armies, amounting to one hundred and forty thousand knights, and nearly a million of foot-soldiers. Manuel Comnenus, the Greek Emperor, received them with apparent kindness, but in secret was their deadly foe. Some of the French Ecclesiastics penetrated his perfidious designs; and, in a council of the leaders of the French army, proposed to the King the seizure of Constantinople. Louis refused, as having taken arms for the full recovery of the Holy Land from the infidels. This was one of the most momentous decisions ever taken. It is impossible to consider it without asking, What might have resulted from a different one? Possessed of the key-city of the East, the crusaders would have had a strong position on which to fall back in case of any reverse ; the reverses they actually did sustain, through the horrible treachery of Manuel, would very likely never have occurred; the formidable succours brought from Europe would have reached Syria with their strength little diminished, and the issue might have been the final and permanent settlement of a Christian government from Constantinople, through Asia Minor, to the southern limits of Palestine. Constantinople, held by the chivalry of Europe, would have stemmed the torrent of Turkish invasion, as, ages after, was done so effectually by John Sobieski at the head of his Polish knights. Going back in imagination to the council of the warriors of Europe held on the shores of the Hellespont in A.D. 1147, and then from that standing-point looking forward, the whole history of Europe and Eastern Asia might have been different, had the council adopted a different resolution. But Louis was unwilling to believe in such treachery as was imputed to the Greek

* From “ Histoire de la République de Venise ; par P. Daru.”

« AnteriorContinuar »