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number of those who are sent forth by our body to evangelize the destitute portions of the land.” In that resolution we have the germ of our present aggressive system. In accordance with it, my father held the first Methodist Home-Missionary Meeting, in the chapel at Dudley. The extension of the practice of holding Home-Missionary Meetings has so roused the public opinion of Methodism, that, since the period now reviewed, the income of the fund has increased by fifty
The seven years from 1847 to 1854 were the most laborious of my father's life. To the duties of his Secretariat he seldom deroted less than eight hours a day. And he was, successively, Superintendent of the Louth Circuit during the rise of the “agitation,” and of the Dudley Circuit, then (before its division into three parts) one of the largest in the Connexion. He was a man of great physical strength. His portrait, in the Magazine for 1847, represents him as tall and stout, though not corpulent ; dressed in the simple style which was then common with Methodist preachers, and which still compares favourably with a more professional attire. But the most robust health was not proof against such toils as his; and in the spring of 1854 he was prostrated by a severe illness. He recovered partially before the meeting of Conference, but was obliged to resign his connexional duties, and to take the position of second minister for a year. This period of comparative rest was highly beneficial to him; but be was never again, either in mind or body, equal to his former self
. For six years longer he fulfilled the duties of a Superintendent, bringing to bear upon his work the wisdom acquired by his long experience. There are many in the Whitby and Manningtree Circuits who thankfully recollect the healthy vigour of his administration among them. The Conference of 1861 appointed him to the Retford Circuit. Before going thither, he went to spend a few days with a daughter at Sleaford, and there was seized with paralysis. From the first attack be recovered so far as to sit once more among his children, who had gathered round him on receiving tidings of bis illness.
But, a few days later, a second stroke deprived him of the powers of speech and motion. Yet, when asked to give to his wife a sign of his comfort and safety, he pressed the hand which was placed in his, while "joy" broke through his "swimming eyes," and "meant the thanks ” he could not "speak.” So gradually, without apparent pain, his life ebbed away from earth, that it might flow for ever on the golden shores of heaven. His last day here was August 27th, 1861.
I shall not attempt to praise my father. Those who knew him will need no words of mine to produce esteem and admiration of his ebaracter. Those who did not know him would, perhaps, suspect the only testimony which a son's heart could give. But this I may say, that a more strictly honourable man never lived. He utterly hated everything that was mean, and narrow, and bigoted; and he let this be seen very plainly. Hence some have thought that he had not sufficient "tact” in dealing with men. But duty, not popularity, was
the lode-star of his life. His motto was, “ Let right be done, though the heavens fall.” God grant that Methodism may never lack men like him!
WALLS AND BULWARKS:
OR, THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF THE CHURCH HER BEST DEFENCE
AGAINST "ALL FALSE DOCTRINE, HERESY, AND schism," This is an age of intellectual liberty and license. It is a time of historical research and scientific criticism. The spirit of eager, curious speculation is rife and rampant; and men claim for it freedom from all control, however legitimate. The pendulum has swung from the extreme of superstition, which was the nightmare of the "middle ages,” to that of scepticism, which is the "wild ass's colt” of modern days. Men ask to know the certainty of those things in which they have been instructed ;" but they must approach that certainty in a rational Way, by the light of their own minds, and with the distinct understanding that from their decision, when made, there is and can be no appeal. The existence of the supernatural is ignored. “You can prove anything by a miracle,” is the defiant taunt. No room is allowed for the interposition of God, or for the action of faith in Him. Man's understanding is his supreme light ; his mental calculations are the substance and sum of the truth; his observations and experiments constitute its test
. He " can understand all mysteries.” Therefore he demands that everything be proved with arithmetical accuracy, and by mathematical demonstration. He can believe in nothing he does not see. Around no truth must there be a darkening cloud of mystery; above it, no faintest trace of mist. In fine, Rationalism in its various forms is in the ascendant; and, spurning the light of heaven, men are proud to walk in the glimmer of “sparks of their own kindling.” No wonder, then, that the inspiration of Holy Scripture is impugned, its authenticity assailed, its text ruthlessly' handled, its history opposed by the quasi-discoveries of science, its doctrines by the dogmas of philosophy.
And no wonder, amid this “confused noise" of strife, this clashing of the weapons of controversy, this deafening musketry of argument, that the faith of many is unsettled, and that they ask, with Pilate, “What is truth?” It is also natural that others, who are steadfast in the faith, and jealous for the ark of God, should discuss the question, How can the truth be best defended? This is the question we have proposed to ourselves, and seek to answer here.
An attempt has just been made in the Ecclesiastical and other courts to defend the Church of England against " false doctrine" on questions of the most vital importance. And the decision of the Council of the House of Lords, the highest court of appeal in the land, has taught us how weak is the jurisdiction of courts on theological subjects, * —how
The “ Athenæum," of February 13th, 1864, states, in an article on the recent decision :-" It must be held henceforward that a clergyman is safe so long as he does
faint and powerless the whole artillery of law, when mounted for the defence of Holy Scripture, when levelled against the insidious attacks of daring speculation. The painful position into which the failure of the late prosecution has thrown this venerable Church is such as to awaken the alarm of her friends, both far and near. Our views are not broad enough to allow us to think with those who wish her to become a “Catholic National Church,” embracing within her pale" all particular ecclesiastical societies," with their varying doctrines and practices. Such a position might have its advantages, though from our point of observation we do not see them. But one of these would not, surely, be the ability to "enrol under one standard the whole capacity of Christendom," and combine “its now wild guerilla bands into one vast spiritual army." We rather fear it would tend to destroy her spiritual distinctiveness altogether; to make identical the circle of the church and the nation; to render synonymous the terms Churchman and Englishman. Before she can become such a church, embracing all parties as could be desired, there must be a mighty process of correction and purification. Were she really disposed to try, her utmost persuasiveness would fail to win a single evangelical and spiritual church or society. The“ old leaven,” both of Traditionalism and of Rationalism, must be first cast out. This is now the one practical question, with all its pressure of momentous issues, before her heads of houses.” What surer means can we adopt to save the Church from "all false doctrine, heresy, and schism,” than an appeal to worldly jurisprudence ? A question, this, of most thrilling import, and of immediate consequence to the position, reputation, and godly efficiency of the Church of England.
There is no doubt we can meet the opponents of the truth of Scripture, and of the truth taught by Scripture, in argument. We can give criticism for criticism, reason for reason, explanation for explanation. We are not of those who seem to think that the “evangelical churches” of our land lack sound Rationalism ; who are disposed to pit faith against reason, the spiritual in man against the intellectual, and to conclude that where the one prevails the other is prostrate,--tbat
, because a man is devout and prayerful, therefore he is a man of mental feebleness and rapid sentiment. There may be persons of this sort among us ; there may be classes of men, the prevailing feature of whose character is the sentimental, and in whom the intellectual is not at all predominant. Now, there can be little doubt that such persons, if they touch upon subjects like those which underlie the surface of our remarks, will give us more of pious sentiment than of probing research or conclusive argument.
And it would be well if they kept out of the arena of controversy. They may add to the number of combatants,
not contradict a proposition laid down in the Articles in express logical terms of negation ; and further, that even if he should so contradict, he has license, prorided that the history of the Establishment shows that license has been taken by the first names in theology.” The latter part of this inference is deduced from the judgment in the Gorham case; the former, from that in the Wilson and Williams case.
faith, and strong in debate also.
though not to the strength of the combat. But we spurn assumption of a necessary antagonism in the case. A man may be strong in
Yet, it may be well to remember that he who is ie sound in the faith,” when writing against its assailants
, does not discard its yoke. Faith living in his heart must influence his views and thoughts. He argues “ according to his several ability,” and “according to the proportion of faith.” Hence to one who denies the faith, or whose faith is dead, his positions may not take 80 sharp an outline, his statements may not be so bold, his reasonings hot so linked together and consecutive, as those of the exclusive Rationalist
. But they may be none the less safe and sure. Moreover, it is a much more delicate task to balance and present together seemingly opposed but really compatible truths, than it is to assert each of them separately. This marks the precise difference between the one reasoner and the other. The Rationalist has all the advantage of one-sidedness. He takes up a position of avowed antagonism to the word of God, and, by appeals to history and to science, seeks to resolve its narratives into legends, and its truths into fiction. But the man of faith does not
nor deny the proved discoveries of science. He accepts both history and science as heartily as his opponent. But, in addition, he believes in the word of God; and when the Bible and science seem opposed, he does not dogmatically assert, like the other, that this is absolutely right and that positively wrong. He is willing to allow some limitation to his faculties; to acknowledge that, while he can apprebend the truths both of Scripture and of science, he may yet fail to see clearly their agreement and harmony with each other. And he is willing rather to wait for fresh investigations and further light, than to rush to any random conclusion founded on floating opinions, instead of fixed,
But we are going astray. Our détour has been caused by a suspicion that among some, especially among the young people around us, there is springing up a kind of superficial intellectualism, which is fascinated by smart sayings, and broad, bold, statements; which is prone to imagine that, because a man writes against evangelical truth, bis ability must be something superior; and, vice versá, that the style of the champion of evangelism must be, perforce, greatly inferior ;which seems to accept it as an axiom that religious literature is and must be sentimental and prosy, in contrast with general literature, which is, of course, attractive and brilliant, if not quite faultless. Let it be remembered, that “all is not gold that glitters.” And let the hint be accepted, that, while a man's choice of books for reading depends much upon his moral bias and taste, it is not very seemly or consistent with one breath to fulminate a sweeping condemnation, and with the next to declare that it is long years ago since you read or touched that which you so decidedly condemn. In passing, we may add, that it is by no means a healthy symptom of our age that very little in speaking or writing is popular, unless it be hung in festoons of literary tinsel, or lost in quips and jokes which move to explosive merriment, or woven by the fancy into a “charming” tale which is a
“ baseless fabric," an "unsubstantial pageant," and its actors spirits (sprites) which at the first touch of real life “are melted into air, into thin air.” Surely Christians, wlio are set for the defence and diffusios of the truth of God, who should be co-workers with the ministers Christ, and who should therefore seek to be “ wellinstructed unto the kingdom of heaven," ought not to be ensnared by the gaudy trappings of meretricious literature, but rather to be attracted by that "sound doctrine," and sound style of discourse, which will tend to their "godly edifying" in the faith, and their possession of "the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind.”
Now let us take up our thread. There are intellect and learning enough among us to defend the citadel of Zion against all attacks. And it may be a word in season, if we admonish ourselves against placing an undue trust in them. The “chariots and horses" of earth are with us in their strength, and in goodly numbers; but are these our chief dependence? While we “earnestly contend for the faith,” does our hope rest exclusively or mainly in keen criticisms, in profound disquisitions, in learned debatings, as the last and effectual resource for the defence and supremacy of the word of truth? We trust not. There is a twofold reason why this must not and cannot be. The religion of Christ is Divine. And it must carry the proofs of its divinity to universal man,—such proofs as shall meet man in all places, in the countless spheres and phases of his outward life, in the all but infinite variety of his character, and come home with the power of convincing speech to his heart. Christianity does not ask that man shall be prepared to weigh her claims, and test her origin, by a course of training in the schools of human learning. She asks to meet man as he is, wherever and whatever she finds him, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, barbarian or Scythian, civilized or savage, lofty in intellect or dwarfish, a man of letters or a man unread. And she asserts ber power to enforce her teachings, and bring him into the obedience and love of the truth. “By manifestation of the truth," sbe claims to commend herself “to every man’s conscience in the sight of God." Now "every man" is not amenable to logic, or capable of being convinced by exact arguments. “Every man cannot appreciate arithmetical calculations or mathematical solutions. The vast mass of mankind have neither time, nor thought, nor opportunity, for scientific and historical investigations. Yet the truth must be commended to every man's conscience. There is, then, some higher standard, some nobler test, than that which historical accuracy or critical power affords ; some surer defence than that furnished by the prowess of intellectual championship. Our aim now is to point out the place and nature of this better safeguard. The title of this paper indicates what is meant. “ The external forms of revelation must stand or fall with the loss or maintenance of its interior truths ;" * and these "interior truths" must stand or fall with the loss or maintenance of that spiritual life in man which they were revealed to teach, inspire, and nourish. "Now
* Steward's “ Mediatorial Sovereignty."