Imatges de pÓgina

reverent before God, and charitable to man, uniformly and uninterruptedly.

Methodism has had a grand mission to fulfil in modern Christendom; a mission of mediation, we might say, between differing sects on the one hand, and between an exclusive church and a neglected world on the other. And there is a moral majesty in the firm and sure tread with which it has marched to the accomplishment of its work.

In dogmatics, Methodism has always been a standing protest, or rather persuasive, against bigotry. We can willingly believe that the repugnance which the wise father of Methodism felt for theological controversy arose mainly from the twofold apprehension, first, that it would distract and deaden the practical zeal and efficiency of the converts, and secondly, that it might engender bitterness and pride. To quote Mr. Withington's application of the text, he feared that a viper might come out of the heat. It is our opinion and experience, that, of all Christian sects, the Methodists are those with whom, in their theological position, the so-called Liberal Christians can most easily sympathize. Our chief practical difference in this respect would probably be, that controversy, which they dread as poison, we regard as the angel that stirs the pool of our Protestant faith, and keeps it from stagnating. Wesley carried his dread of controversy to such an extreme, that on one occasion he laments that he had to "spend near ten minutes in controversy with some Baptists, more than he had done in public for many months, perhaps years, before." For our own part, we do not believe that in the age which is coming, nay, which now is, it is going to be quite practicable for Christian men to agree to use the same, even though they are Scriptural, words and phrases, when we understand them so differently as we do, without telling each other plainly, and asking ourselves distinctly, what we mean by them. We may call what this must lead to conference or controversy, at any rate it is reasoning together, and in some form or other is an important help towards the attainment of the truth which sanctifies the soul.

But we honor and admire Wesley's degree of neutrality in so far as it arose from his making the practical doctrines of religion and Scripture the essential ones, and the practical char

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acter of the dogma the grand test of its importance. Bravely has Methodism contended against the predominance of the merely speculative tendency in the Christian character and Church. And when we think of Wesley's position between Calvinism on the one hand and Pelagianism on the other, we do not remember a better illustration than he and his disciples afford of the pithy saying of "Lacon," that "we should act with as much earnestness as those who expect everything from themselves, and pray with as much earnestness as those who expect everything from God."

The peculiar power of Methodism lies in the practical, wise, humane tendency of its efforts. "By their fruits ye shall know them" is its leading motto, and we believe it can well abide this test. No church, except the Roman Catholic, can compare with the Methodist in the active determination to do away the reproof that "the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light." No church has done so much, (notwithstanding what has been or may be said about the despotic power of its hierarchy,) to defend the doctrine of the equal sanctity of sincere ministers of God, whether formally ordained or not; a favorite saying among Methodists is, that "it takes the whole Church to preach the Gospel" (certainly then to perform it).

Perhaps in no one quality did the founder of Methodism more nearly resemble his great Master, than in that true wisdom which is born, not of fear, not of time-serving selfishness, but of God-serving love for the soul of man. That "wisdom from above" was conspicuous in every word and step of this holy man. It inspired that eminent tact by which he felt his way along, desiring barely to follow Providence, as it gradually opened. It manifests itself in his pithy comments upon incident and character, in the very neatness and nicety of his style of expression,-in the pat use of Scripture texts. It was strikingly exhibited in the way (ingenious without ceasing to be ingenuous) in which he steered clear of the dangers that lay in the Quietism of the Moravians, the Calvinism of Whitefield, and the Ecclesiasticism of Charles Wesley, and in the eclectic spirit that got what was good from each, the quietness from Quietism, the sentiment of the sovereignty of

Divine grace from Calvinism, and from Ecclesiasticism that reverence for " Heaven's first law" which made him for years cling to the hope of reforming the English Church without going out of it, and indeed to the day of his death unwilling to do more than provide against the future contingency" that Methodism would be compelled, sooner or later, to take an independent and permanent form."

We are not sure that Methodism can be as successfully defended against the charge of a tendency (or liability) to bigotry in matters of Christian discipline, as in those of doctrine. Nobly, indeed pre-eminently, have the Methodists held forth and carried out the precept, "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all for the glory of God." Strenuously have they contended for the infusing of religion all through the daily life; but whether they have not been in danger of making the maxim read "life for religion" instead of "religion for life," whether they have not too often adopted too narrow and formal and precise an idea of what religion is, and judged other men's character and conduct with an unwise severity, is a question we are not prepared to answer in the negative.

Of one thing we are confident, that the Methodist movement will be so guided by a good Providence, as to be made a mighty help towards the reign of brotherly equality among men, and of that genuine and wholesome universalism in theology, upon which we believe the coming of that heavenly kingdom so much depends.

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1. Asia Mineure et Syrie. Souvenirs de Voyages par MME. LA PRINCESSE DE BELGIOJOSO. Paris: Michael Levy. 1858. 8vo. pp. 424.

2. Palestine, Past and Present, with Biblical, Literary, and Scientific Notices. By REV. HENRY S. OSBORN, A.M. Philadelphia: James Challen and Son. 1859. Royal 8vo. pp. 600.

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or Biblical Illustrations drawn from the Scenes and Scenery of the Holy Land. New York: Harpers. 1859. 2 vols.

76. Brighame.

Books of Syrian travel and descriptions of the Holy Land have received already their full share of notice in the pages of this journal; and perhaps our readers are already weary of these topics. This consideration has hindered us from bringing into prominent notice several entertaining volumes in French and English which have come to our hands, and it will prevent us in the present instance from occupying the space to which the fit treatment of the theme might seem otherwise lawfully entitled. The "Christian Examiner" ought not, certainly, to neglect any important work on the land of the Saviour, or any valuable contribution to Biblical geography.

The three works above named are valuable and important: the first, from the rank, reputation, and ability of its author; the second, from the magnificent style in which it is issued; and the third, from the novelty of its plan and the fulness and variety of its details. The sacrifices and sufferings of the Princess Belgiojoso in behalf of freedom, not less than her keen wit and her rare powers of observation, would bespeak respectful attention to any work that might come from her pen. This volume, on Asia Minor and Syria, is the best fruit of her years of exile. It illustrates her patience and her courage, and shows that the spirit which could brave Austrian tyranny, and lose for conscience' sake a princely heritage, can be as firm and calm in encountering Arab robbers, and in enduring the fatigues of journeys in the wilderness. One of the charming features of this volume is its radiant cheerfulness.

It has none of the morbid tone of Lamartine or Didier; the exile never seems to feel her solitude, or regret what she has lost; we are not vexed with sighs and lamentings, or perpetual comparisons of Syrian skies and hills with the skies and hills of France or Italy. But even without a pilgrim's faith, with a constant sly rationalism amusing itself over the legends of monkery in the Holy Land, this traveller goes on from city to city, over Taurus and Lebanon and the mountains of Ephraim, with all the zeal and joy of a "passionate pilgrim."

The chapters of this volume of the Princess Belgiojoso were originally published in successive numbers of the Révue des Deux Mondes. They contain the record of a journey made in the first half of the year 1852, from her home in Anatolia to the city of Jerusalem, and of her return by a different route. The whole of this difficult and dangerous journey was made by land, a feat which practised travellers of the other sex have rarely accomplished, and which is still more remarkable when performed by a woman of delicate organization, in company with an invalid daughter, and with no male companion of her own rank and country. Of the privations and perils incident to such a journey the Princess found no lack; but she passed gayly through them all, and in the end her expedition was a success. It acquainted her with the characteristics of primitive races, it opened before her new scenes of natural beauty, and enabled her more intelligently to compare the various sects of the East, and to judge more candidly the institutions of monasticism. Her views on these topics are the best things in the record which she has given.

The account which Madame Belgiojoso gives of Southern Syria, of what is properly Palestine, is more superficial than her sketch of Asia Minor and Northern Syria, and is, we are sorry to say, frequently inaccurate. She neglects to see much that an orthodox curiosity would have sought; her Biblical knowledge is rather confused, and her mistakes of names are quite annoying. She calls Naplous (the ancient Shechem) "l'ancienne Samarie," whereas the true site of Herod's capital is the town of Sebustieh, on a hill two hours northwest of Naplous. She blunders about the names of tombs in the valley of Jehosaphat; says that the row of remarkable monu

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