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I am not half legal enough, not the spirit of God being always ready enough under the law of love." And (so far as his influence may be neces. again, in a subsequent letter to the sarv,) to co-operate with the sinner, same lady, February 16, 1771, he says; and assist him in the work of conver“ Legality, with most who use that sion. But it would appear, from this term, really means tenderness of con- system of doctrine, that by far the science.'” The Methodists have al- greater part of the work rests with the ready done much good, and we have sinner himself, who, it scens, has it no fear of their usefulness being dimi- completely in his power to become a vished by their preaching becoming saint whenever he pleases; only in more practical.
consideration of the foolish and sinful We are glad to find that rational liabits he has long indulged, it will ideas respecting the nature of faith, are necessarily be a work of some time making progress among the Metho. and labour to get his heart thoroughly dists in Ireland; for which they are converted to the ways of truth and censured by this writer. Complain- holiness. No extraordinary degree of ing of the pharisaism of some of the divine influence, however, is to be expreachers, he says, p. 130, “ faith pected, or is indeed supposed to be according to them, being only a rati- requisite to effect the great work of onal conviction of the great truths of conversion; and accordingly it is a revelation, and its only use to act as a principle held by the favourers of this spur to our endeavours to fulfil the doctrine, • That God, prompted by righteousness of the law, which is to his own goodness, hath already done be our chief passport to heaven." all that he possibly can do, consistentAgain,
ly with his own glory, for the present
happiness and final salvation of every " The advocates for this doctrine (and human crcature upon earth; and that they are numerous in the Methodist connexion,) contend that the faith which is of divine power or influence need be
consequently no farther interference ordained of God to be the instrument of our salvation, is essentially the same with that expected to effect the conversion of seliance which we repose upon the testi- any individual; although, as the divine mony of a man, in whose integrity we can spirit is omnipresent, and is in fact place implicit confidence; the distinction the primum mobile of all physical, inbetween these consisting only in the diver- tellectual, and moral power in the sity of the objects which they embrace. universe, his aid in a general way canAnd accommodating their language to
not be excluded, particularly as it is their principles, they divide faith into hu- admitted, that God is loving to every man and divine : human faith is, accord
man, and his tender mercy is over all ing to them, the assent which we give to human testimony; and divine faith the as
his works.'” Pp. 177—178. sent which we give to divine testimony.
Though this writer asserts, p. 287, And they insinuate, that the one is as much that “the Methodist societies are well the spontaneous act of the natural powers grounded in the fundamental and imof the human mind as the other.
portant doctrine of a trinity of persons “ The evidence upon whivb this divine in the Godhead;" it appears from his faith' is required and supposed to rest, is account at large that a dissonance of that which is contained in the oracles of language is found among them respecte inspiration. But little or nothing is either ing the divinity of Christ, and that a said or admitted respecting the particular complete uniformity of opinion on the influence of the spirit of God, in applying subject does not exist in their societhe truths of scripture to the conscience, or inspiring a convietion of their reality and
ties. He says, p. 288. importance.” P. 224.
rality both of preachers and people
seem content with a general, but often · The following is the view of Rege- very confused idea of the divinity of neration, which this autbor states as Christ." In a note, he adds, " A entertained by some of his brethren preacher, who certainly has no mean the Methodists, and to be rapidly opinion of his own talents and orthogaining ground among them. They doxy, was delivering a discourse from appear to believe that every man pos- Col. i. 12—18. He admitted that the sesses what may properly be termed terms Jesus Christ applied only to the a natural power to obey the divine manhood of our Lord, and were descommandments, to repent of his sins, criptive of his vicarious character, as md believe the gospel at his pleasure; the Saviour of the world, and the only
Reriew.--Inquiry into the Methodist Societies.
101 mediator between God and man. And because although committed against a being he contended strenuously that his per- infinite in his perfections, yet it was the son and character had no kind of ex- transgression of a finite creature who was istence until the formation of the for. incapable of performing an infinite act,
and it was also the violation of a law instimer in the womb of the virgin mother, tuted for the regulation of the conduct of and the subsequent developement of that finite creature; consequently its terms the latter in the life and death of were suited to the limited capacity of that Christ." Even some of the writer's being, or those beings who were to be its own expressions will be found ditficult subjects. Now we argue, that if the fulfilto reconcile with the proper doctrine ment of that law did not demand the exerof the trinity, of which he declarus tion of infinite powers, so neither could its “ Athanasius the great oracle." P. violation require an infinite atonement." 295. He represents the notion that P. 299. God died, as the greatest of absurdi- He justly censures the following ties.
lines in the Methodist hymns, which he
says, “ carry their own condemnation “ But is any one anong us woak enough
on their face." to conclude from this figurative expression, (Acts 20.-28.) that the eternal God The immortal God for me hath died !!! Jiterally sbed his blood for us? This pre
And posterous notion would be incomparably more g ssly absurd than the Popish doc
16 I thirst for a life-giving God, trine of transubstantiation. The idea of a
“ A God that ou Calvary died !" suffering and espiring Deity is so repug- It will be difficult for the author to nant to our ecrigatened reason, so degrad- recoucile the above passages with his ing to the die character, so much at ascribing to the Son of God all the varia ice ieith be p:isciples of all theology, essential attributes of Deity, p. 287, and is 1.ersive resery attribute of the Godhead, that it is beyond measure asto- for if, as he justly asserts, God could wishing how such a notion could ever find neither suffer nor die, it follows that its way into the doctrines of Christianity; he who actually suffered and died was or that any igmatise expression of scrip- not God: but Paul declared, “ It is ture could, by men of sease, be ever lor.
Christ that died," and that he was tured into ihe support of a doctrine so full “ declared to be the Son of God with of absurdity and contradiction. It is deily- power, according to the spirit of holiing the material body of the blessed Jesus, vess, by the resurrection from the and laying the foundation of the grossest dead." Could the author induce the idolatry, in the very person of the imma. Methodists to form a creed, under the culate Son of God. Doubtless the idolatry of the mass originally sprang out of this name of “ An Official Compendium" absurd notion of a corporeal Deity: of Doctrines, it is not at all likely it whereas we know that "God is a spirit, would produce uniformity, though it whom no man hath seen nor can see and might dissimulation and hypocrisy. they that worship him acceptably must do If creeds when enforced by the civil it in spirit and in truth.” P. 297. power, and fenced by all the terrors Again, he says,
of persecution, never produced uni“ It is very commonly supposed that the thought that one upsupported by the
formity of opinion, how can it be vengeance of God, which was satiated by state and not so fenced would do it? the blood of Christ, was infinite in its extent, and boundless in its demands; and The most probable effect of such a hence it has been concluded that the Deity measure would be, that no longer perhimself must have participated in the suf- mitted to exercise freedom of opinion fering, and have given merit to the atone- in the methodist connexion multitudes inent, which otherwise could not have been would leave it, and form separate adequate to the purposes of reconciliation societies where they could freely think upon legal principles. The accuracy of for themselves, and openly declare these sentiments may be justly questioned; their views of divine truth. We trust they appear to be the offspring of a fallaci- the Methodists are too sensible of the ous mode of reasoning, upsupported by value of religious liberty, ever to subdivine authority, and instituted for the mit to the yoke of bondage this writer opinion of an excessive rigour in the divine wishes to see imposed opon them. Is economy, which even transcends the bound- it not enough that the societies are aries of strict justice, and which induced denied the liberty of choosing their God to require an infinite satisfaction for a own ministers; must the preachers finite offence. We call it a finite offence, also be put in fetters by their "perfect coincidence in their public capa
« But ueither of these eminent men, vo, cities, with the essential doctrines nor all the conferences at which they astherein contained :" that is, in the pro- sisted or presided, bad any power to enact posed compendium? The adoption of laws, to establish principles, or institute the author's plan would be a direct regulations, binding upon their successors violation of the rights of conscience, these is a matter of choice, and not com
or their posterity. Our acquiescence in and a gross departure from the prin- pulsion; and we possess the unquestionciples of liberty, which he states as able power of revising, altering, or aboasserted and acted upon by the founder lishing any part of our religions establishof the Methodist connexion. The fol- ment. P. 340. lowing note deserves the attention of
The length to which this article is every person in that connexion, and already extended, compels us to pass should the plan recommended by this
over several things we bad intended writer, ever be proposed at Confer.
noticing; we conclude our extracts ence, it is hoped some of its members with the following note, p. 231. It is will move that this note be read.
quoted by the author from the Belfast “ It is both interesting and important Monthly Magazine, for March, 1813.* here to refer to the minutes of the First 6 AN EXAMPLE TO MODERN METHO. Conference, held in June 1744, where we DISTS.—The Rev John Wesley himself has find the ground of private judgment dis- asserted in his writings, not only that an tinctly laid down as the unalienable privi- Anti-trinitarian may manifest a desire of lege of every Christian; and, at the same escaping future misery, but that he may be time, the boundaries are ascertained at a truly good man. In one of the numbers which a surrender of that judgment is re- of the Arminian Magazine, published a few quired of a Methodist preacher. These years before his death, he inserted an exfundamental principles being coeval with tract of the memoir of the life of that emi. the preacher's character as a Christian, and nent Unitarian, Thomas Firmin. In introhis admission as a minister of the gospel in ducing this extract, he observed, that "be the Methodist connexion, are in full force had been formerly inclined to think, that a at the present day, and must continue so to
person who was unsound with respect to the end of time. These therefore must the doctrine of the Trinity, could not be a form the basis of all future regulations, re- converted or good man.
But that now he specting the belief and propagation of doc- though differently, since the subject of the trines in the Methodist societies. They memoir was undoubtedly a pious man, run thus:
though erroneous in the doctrine of the “ Question. How far does each of us Trinity, and that there was no arguing agree to submit to the judginent of the ma- against facts.'” jority ? - Answer. In speculative things each can only submit so far as his judg. Art. IV.—Discourses chiefly on prac. ment shall be convinced. In every prac
tical Subjects, by the late Rev. Newtical point, each will submit so far as he can without wounding his conscience.
come Cappe. Edited by Catharine 6 Question. Can a Christian submit any
Cappe, 8vo. pp. 192. York printed, farther than this to any man, or number of
sold by Longman & Co. 128. 1815. men upon earth - Answer. It is unde- TO such of our readers, and we beniably certain he cannot, either to Bishop,
lieve they are many,
who are acConvocation, or General Council. And this is that grand principle of private judg
* The extract which follows was taken ment on which all the reformers proceeded, * Every man must judge for himself, be? by the editor of the Belfast Magazine, cause every man must give an account of VIII. From the Belfast Magazine it has
from our number for January, 1813, Vol. himself to God.'. It is impossible to read been copied into the “ Inquiry, and copied this without admiring it; let it never be back by our reviewer into the Monthly Reforgotten that these principles formed the basis of the Methodist Conference." P. pository. A striking proof, that when 336.
facts and truths are put into print, it is im
possible to guess how widely, and by what After reading the above, we were
means they may be made known to the pubready to ask, can this writer be in lic. The statement concerning John Wes. carnest in wishing to have the religious publications, was made in a letter to us
ley, which was the original of these several opinions of the whole body of the Me- * On the. Methodist Excommunication at thodists fixed by “ An Official Com- Flushing," under the signature of Sabrinus, pendium?" Most inconsistently with adopted in the former volumes of this work, the plan he recommends, speaking of by the late much-respected Rev. W. Severn, John and Charles Wesley, he says, of Hull. ED.
103 quainted with the former volume of nothing but stability and immortality, to sermons, (M. Repos. I. 31 & 93.] by convert this earthly happiness into Heathis truly Christian preacher, we should ven.” Pp. 262, 263. think it unnecessary to do more than The following passages are extracted announce the present publication. from the series of sermons on Christian They kuow what to expect, and they Perfection. will not be disappointed. Simplicity
“ We must propose to ourselves an exand godly sincerity, upaffected earn- alted standard if we mean no more than to estness in the cause of religion and
make a moderate progress. virtue, benignity and zeal in happy “ Every man's experience may be apunion, speak in their proper language pealed to, how much in all affairs, and through the whole volume. The name particularly in those of religion, our designs of Baxter has often occurred to us in ordinarily surpass our execution. We prothe perusal of it; for like the works of pose great things; it is but little ones we that very impressive preacher, it perform. In the most enlarged views, with abounds in affectionate, practical ap- the most intense desires, with the most elepeals, ardent expostulations, and that ambition of our souls stretching forward
vated purposes, with all the ardour and persuasiveness of address which is sug towards perfection, if we make no specdier gested, and therefore recognised by progress in the Christian character, and the heart. We no where detect an
our progress is liable to so many interrupendeavour to win admiration or extort tions, disgraced by so many failures, what applause by ornament or artifice or would be done, how much less could be labour. The author appears to have expected from narrow views, from grovellost sight of himself, his thoughts and ing purposes, from cold desires, and faint feelings wholly occupied by the gran- endeavours? To rest content with the afdeur and importance of his subjects; such a degree of self-complacency and
tainments we have already made, bespeaks and the serious reader can scarcely self-confidence as bodes very ill to our pafail to lose sight of him too, attending tient continuance in well-doing; it besolely to the matter and objects of his speaks much of that pride which goeth headdress.
fore destruction, and of that haughty spirit For the sake of such of our readers which precedes a fall.” Pp. 115, 116. as may not be acquainted with the “ Departed hours, and neglected tapreacher's manner, we insert the fol- lents, are like departed and neglected lowing specimens of his devout oratory. friends. When they come to stand upon In one of the sermons on the final Con- the margin of the grave, when from the sequence of our present Conduct, he bed of death, they look back upon their
forepast life, and on their former talents, thus pours forth his convictions:
then it is that men wish most earnestly to “ Could I make you privy to the good call back the years that are gone by; then man's thoughts, to the best man's feelings it is that tbey Jament their insensibility and in his happiest hours, when, musing on the negligence. They might have made betworks and providence of God, or meditat. ter preparation for the tribunal of their ing on the glorious discoveries of his gos- Judge ; they might have raised a better pel, his soul, dilated into the noblest senti- harvest from this only seed-time of their ments of charity, and elevated into the sub- existence : but, alas ! the season is gone, limest transports of devotion, triumphs in and they too must go, with what they have the government of God, and with all the done, and what they have neglected to do, ardour of gratitude for what is past, unites to the bar of an all-knowing and all-righall the prospects of the liveliest and most teous God.” Pp. 121, 122. exalted hope in respect of what is yet to
The following animated appeal to come; when, finding all things right with Christian professors is in the last series in, he forgets whatever is amiss
without, of discourses, on the great Importance overlooks the sufferings that are present with him, overlooks the sufferings he has yet to
of the public Ministry of Christ. undergo, overlooks the death he has to die, “ Among all your schemes and purposes and anticipates his union with the innu- of improvement, does it never enter into merable company of angels, with his de- your thoughts, that your capacities of useparted friends, with the spirits of just men fulness may and ought, not only to be made perfect, with Jesus, whom not having employed, but to be enlarged ? Are the seen he loves, and with God the standard of riches of beneficence, the only riches you excellence and the fountain of all good; have no solicitude to increase? Are these could I make you privy to his feelings in the only pleasures of which you are conthese happy hours, when, encouraged by tented with a little sphere ? Are these the the testimony of his conscience, he is not only honours in which you are willing to afraid to indulge his hope and confidence be undistinguished? Can you pass from in God, you might think that these wanted, week to week, and from year to year, so
licitous in every thing that regards your- sometimes original. In the last series selves and your sublunary interests, to he on the importance of the public Mimaking progress; without labour, withi- nistry of Christ, the reader, who is out care, without desire to becovie more acquainted with the“Critical Remarks capable of serving those who are within the sphere of your beneficence? Can your ture," by the same author, will recog.
ou muy important Passages of Scripcapacities of usefulness be actually though wise with pleasure the same ingenious not intentionally enlarged, and get your and satisfactory mode of illustrating good works become neither more numerous, nor more perfect; neither more, nor the language of the New Testament. greater ? Can you content yourselves to
On the whole, we caunot better exhave more of tlie sources of human hap- plain the leading objects of these dispiness within your power, and not a soul courses, than as the editor has explained of the human race be the more happy for them in her preface, it ?" P.435. is What a difference between Christ and able importance of holiness of heart and
" —simply to demonstrate the unspeakChristians; between his life and their lives ; between his sentiments and theirs! lisc; of piety, humility aud benevolence; What a contrast, between the constancy, hension of mind, which habitually looks
of attaining to that truly Christian comprethe ardour, the perfection of his benefi. cence; and the interruptions, the lan- forward, beyond the present to the future.” guors, and the blemishes of theirs! How Pref. p. 10. deplorable is the dissimilitude that appears And after the specimens which we between the exemplar that is proposed un
have laid before our readers, it is suto the sons of men, and many who avnw the obligation, and even make profession perfluous to add our recommendation of conforming to it! How glaring is the of what must so well recommend itself opposition between his activity, and their to the pious and intelligent of every indolence in doing good; between his use
Christian denomination. fulness, and their self-indulgence; be
The volume is dedicated in a very tween his disinterested zeal in works of sensible and affectionate address to the charity and kindness, and their undiverted Divinity and Lay.students, educated application to the gains and profits of the in the Vissenting College, York; and world! P. 437.
in addition to the reasons alleged by These sermons are presented to the the editor, her dedication of it has this public by the pious hand of affection, propriety, that it offers to their peru. and we join most cordially in the earn- sal the discourses of an eminent Chrisest prayer of the Editor Mrs. Cappe, tian Minister, written in the pure and --that by a wider circulation, sen
ardent spirit of his religion, and in a timents like these, so serious and awful, style which has nothing in common yet at the same time so just and important, with the false eloquence that often semay eventually contribute to form in many duces the young and sometimes dar. others those habits of diligence, of resigna- zles the old, that incumbers truth with tion, and pieży, which were a source of ornament which it does not require, continual satisfaction to himself, and of and invests in a gaudy rhetoric subconsolation, hope, and joy, when all other jects too lofty to be raised by a metacousolations failed." P. 130. Note.
phor, and interests too grave and This volume of practical sermons momentous to be decked in flowers. consists principally of four series of
M. discourses: the first on Christian Perfection ; the second on the Final Con- Art. V.-A Sermon on Free Inquiry sequences of our present Conduct; the in Matters of Religion. By W. j. third on the Imperfection of our Know- Fox, 12mo. Pp. 24. ledge concerning God; and the fourth Axt. VI.--A Reply to Popular Objec. on the great Importance of the public tions against Unitarianism: A SerMinistry of Christ. They are all very mon preached at Bristol, on Wedproperly styled practical sermons, but nesday, June 21, 1815, before the with some difference of character not. Western Unitarian Society. By withstanding. Into the third series W. J. Fox, 12mo. Pp. 48. Hunter on the imperfection of our knowledge and Eaton. concerning God, the nature of the T is difficult to speak of these ser. subject has thrown a mixture of spe- mons as they deserve, without culation; but the speculation is chas- running into the style of extravagant tised and reverential, neither presump- panegyric. Mr. Fox is always master tuous uor timid, always pivus and of his subject, master of his temper