Thomas Carlyle.

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and cruel; and such, also, is the impression produced
from a great many more particulars mentioned by \
Josephus; and as, in the Gospels, his jealousy is
aroused when he hears of Messiah, so in Josephus
(b. XV., ell) it may be gathered that his secret \
design in rebuilding and beautifying the temple at '
such immense cost waste make it surpass Solomon*8, '
and so prevent the Jews from looking for any further :
fulfilment of Haggai*s prophecy about the greater
glory of the second temple, and the peace which
Messiah was to give in connection with it. Herod*s
speech on the occasion as much as tells the people i
that the prophecy was to have its fulfilment in the I
events of his reign. In the 2d chapter of Matthew it
appears that Herod died soon after Christ's birth, '
and that Archelaus, who succeeded him, reigned only
m Judea, but not in Galilee, whence Joseph and !
Mary went to reside in the latter region. Josephus
tells us that Herod left only Judea to Archelaus, the
rest of his dominions being assigned to other sons, I
and that Archelaus was of so cruel a disposition, that '
the Jews could hardly endure his tyranny. About I
thirty years after the birth of Christ, which was the
fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, Luke (iii. 1) spealcs
of two other sons of Herod, the one as being tetrarc:h
of Galilee, the other of Iturea and Trachonitis; and
we also learn, from different places of Josephus, not
only that these were their provinces, but that they
continued In them beyond the period in question;
the one bemg affirmed to have died in the twentieth
year of Tiberius, and the other to have been removed ,
by Caligula, the successor of Tiberius.— J »«ty., b. '
xvilL, c. 5, 8. We also read m the same book of
Josephus of Herodias, the wife of the one brother^
running off with the other, after she had given birth
to a daughter. The only difference is, that Joeephue
calls both brothers by the name of Herod, while the
evangeUst calls one of them Philip, which, in all

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probability, was an additional name commonly used
to distinguish the one from the other. That Caia-
phas was high priest while Pontios Pilate was gorer-
nor, appears by comparing the times respectively of
their appointment and removal, in the 1 7th and
18th books of Josephus; that there were sometimes
two who went by the name of high priest, as in imVe
iii. 1, so we find in Josephus, b. iz., c. 10, of the
Wars; and that, infidel as the Sadducees were in
their views, they sometimes filled the office even of
high priest, we may learn f^om Josephus (Anttq,,
b. xiii., c. 10), perfectly agreeing vnth what is men-
tioned in Acts T. 17. Knowing how hateful the
Roman government was to the Jews, we should
hardly have expected that any of them would have
become publicans, or tax-gatherers for the State ; and
yet, in the Gospels, we read of Levi or Matthew the
publican, and of Zaccheus, a chief of the publicans;
but we also read of the same in Josephus — ^for ex-
ample, in his WarSf b. ii., c. 14, § 45.

We are obliged to stop, though many more might
be produced, especially from the Acts of the Apostles,
on which we have scarcely touched. Even from what
we have adduced, we may warrantably state that the
GK>8pels have so many marks of credibility in this
respect that we cannot but see the hand of God in
providing them>-the more so as, when we coine
down to the Christian writers of the first centuries,
we find them abounding with mistakes regarding the
state of things in Judea at the time of Christ : and
when we can thus prove the evangelists out of the
mouths even of Jews and Heathens, when they wrote
of common and earthly transactions, to have written
as real eye-witnesses and honest men, shall we not
accept it as a confirmation of their testimony in
regard to the higher things which they also record,
especially when we think of the holy tendency of the
things concerning which they testified, and the suffer-
ings they bore on account of their testimony? If
such men were false in the testimony they delivered,
it must have been as no other men ever were—" false
for no end but to teach honesty— martyrs without the
least prospect of honour or advantage."



Ah me I this is a sad and silent city;

Let me walk softly o'er it, and survey
Its grassy streets with melancholy pity !

Where are its children ? where their gleesome
Alas ! their cradled rest is cold and deep —
Their playthings are thrown by, and they asleep.

This is pale beauty^ bourn ; but where the beautiful.
Whom I have seen come forth at evening's hours,

Leading their aged friends, with feelings dutiful.
Amid the wreaths of spring, to gather flowers ?

Alas ! no flowers are here but flowers of death.

And those who once were sweetest sleep beneath.

This is a populous place; but where the bustling,
The crowded buyers of the noisy mart—

The lookers on— the snowy garments rustling—
The money-changen— and the men of art ?

Business^ alas ! hath stopped in mid career,
And none are anxious to resume it here.

This is the home of grandeur; where are they—
The rich, the great, the glorious, and the wise ?

Where are the trappings of the proud, the gay —
The gaudy guise of human butterflies ?

Alas! all lowly lies each lofty brow,

And the green sod dixens their beauty now.

This is the place of refuge and repose;

Where are the poor, the old, the weary wight.
The scorned, the humble, and the man of woes.

Who wept for mom, and sighed again for night ?
Their sighs at last have ceased, and here they sleep
Beside their scomera;, and forget to weep.

This is a place of gloom ; where are the gloomy ?

The gloomy are not citizens of death;
Approach and look, where the long grass is plumy;

See them above ! they are not found beneath !
For these low denizens, with artful vdles.
Nature, in flowers, contrives her mimic smiles.

This is a place of sorrow! friends have met
And mingled tears o'er those who answered not;

And where are they whose eyelids then were wet?
Alas ! their griefs, their tears, are all forgot :

They, too, are landed in this silent city,

Where there is neither love, nor tears, nor pity.

This is a place of fear; the firmest eye
Hath quailed to see its shadowy dreariness;

But Christian hope, and heavenly prospects high.
And earthly cares, and nature's weariness.

Have made the timid pilgrim cease to fear,

And long to end his painf\il journey here.



JEditor of tfte " Watchman,'*'' London,

Although the Wesleyan-Methodist Connexion
now occupies a position which may render its
history, its doctrinal and disciplinary system,
and its general operations, matters of some
interest to every religious observer; and al-
though its denominational literature is suffi«
ciently extensive and explanatory to afford all
the information that could be desired; it is yet
certain that many, otherwise well-informed
persons, have little correct knowledge on the
subject^ and that various strangely mistaken
views in relation to it are frequently enter*
tained. It has been suggested to the present
writer that a brief and popular account of the
rise and progress, the doctrines, the general
constitution and frame-work, and the existing
operations of Wesleyan-Methodism, might be
acceptable to at least a portion of the numerous
readers of the Chriaian Treasury, In addressing
himself to the preparation of such an account,
he need scarcely say that the responsibility of
the accuracy of his statements must rest ex«

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olusively on himself as an individual; but he
will exercise every care to guard against error.
Nor can it be necessary to disavow all contro-
versial or sectarian purposes — all intention to
insinuate a vindication of the denominational
peculiarities of Methodism, however conscien-
tiously he may be attached to those peculiari-
ties, or however ready he may be, on fitting
occasions, to assign his reason for that attach-
ment. His simple aim will be, to present a
portraiture — in miniature, indeed, but true in
the resemblance — of the principal features of
the system which may serve the purpose of
those who wish to have fome correct acquain-
tance with it, but do not feel called on to study
the details of its minuter proportions.

Enough, however, of prefatory observation.
"We proceed to sketch,


j ^ It would scarcely be an exaggerated descrip-
tion of the religious and moral state of England
at the period when Methodism was called into
existence, if we were to say that ** darkness
covered the land, and gross darkness the
people." The benefits resulting from the
Reformation (which were never realised there
80 extensively as in Scotland) had been checked
in their progress by various antagonist influ-
ences during the civil wars, and from the
Restoration downwards there was an especially
rapid spread of unsoundness in doctrine, and
licentiousness in practice. At the beginning
of the eighteenth century, the ministers who
either preached or lived the Gospel were a
lamentably small minority. How deficient in
theological knowledge the mass of the clergy
of the Established Cliurch were may be inferred
from Bishop Burnet's testimony (in 1713) :
'* The much greater part of those who come to
be ordained are ignorant to a degree not to be
apprehended by those who are not obliged to
, know it." The teaching of the Homilies and
I Articles of the Church of England on the vital
\ subject of personal salvation was banished
from the pulpits of the Church, and little but
an Arminianism which was divested of evange-
lical truth, and which might more properly be
called Pelagianism, was to be heard. Of the
Dissenting ministers, some were rapidly degene*
rating into Sociniauism; some conformed their
discourses to the iashionable taste for natural,
as distinguished from scriptural, theology; and
some who professed to adhere to the tenets of
Calvinism wandered into the wildness of un-
mitigated Antinomianism. Amongst the more
educated classes, Infidelity, either boastfully
avowed, or partially concealed under the dis-
guise of philosophical speculation and inquiry,
extensively prevailed. The light literature of
the day was unsound and prurient in senti-
ment; and the stage, always demoralizing in
its influence, was then, in a more than ordinary
degree, the promoter of indecency and vioe.

Dense ignorance and general neglect of religion
were the characteristics of the lower classes.
It would be easy, were it necessary or called
for here, to prove that this is not an over*
charged description, by the testimony of wit-
nesses of the highest reputation in the Estab-
lished and Dissenting Churches. It was in
such a state of England, when good men, who
" sighed and cried " because of the abounding
of evil, began to fear that the nation had filled
up the measure of its iniquities, that God, in
his wise anfl gracious sovereignty, chose, quali-
fied, and sent forth John and Charles Wesley
and Georg^e Whitefield to engage in that mighty
work, which they subsequently were iuG^-
mental in carrying forward to such extenSve
and important results. "We can only record a
passing ascription of praise tb God for what
Mr Whitefield was, by graoe, enabled to ao-
complish; our present purpose caUs our special
attention to the Wesleys.

The brothers were bom at Epworth, in Lin-
colnshire, where their father, the Rev. Samuel
Wesley, was rector. Their mother, Mrs Sus-
anna Wesley, was the daughter of the Rev,
Dr Annesley, a distinguished Nonconforming
minister. John Wesley, the founder of the
Connexion called after his name, was bom
June 14, 1703. At eleven years of age he was
sent to the Charter-House School, in London,
*• where he was soon noticed for his diligence
and progress in learning." At seventeen he
proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, where he
pursued his studies with zeal, assiduity, and
success, laying up those stores of solid and
varied learning on which he drew so largely
and advantageously in his subsequent career.
He was ordained deacon in 172fi,and in 1726 was
elected fellow of Lincoln College, and obtained
priest's orders. For a short time he ofiiciated
as his father's curate, but in November 1729
ho returned to Oxford, intending to reside
there permanently as a tutor. It is from this
period that his religious character claims par-
ticular attention. He had previously been
serious and deeply convinced of the necessity
of piety, and had endeavoured, but with little
effect, to produce similar impressions on hia
younger brother CHiarles. But he found, on
coming back to Oxford, that Charles (then
student of CJhrist Church) had, during his
absence, and chiefly through his influence,
acquired views and feelings corresponding with
his own, and had prevailed on two or three
young men to unite with him in receiving the
Lord's supper weekly, and cultivating strict
morality m their conduct and regularity in
their demeanour. **Here is a new set of
Mahoditts spmng up," said one. The name
caught the taste of the members of the uni- |
versity, and was thenceforth applied to the
little band.* To this company John Wesley

* This designation is supposed bj many to hare been
taken from that Rlren to an ancient sept of phjrsldans. 1|
la known, however, that Nooconfonniito weie Crequently

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nnited himself, and of it he soon became the
leader. He was diligent in the use of .ordi-
nances, watched against sin, prayed for holi-
ness, and exerted himself to do good — as by
visiting the prisoners in Oxford jail, and the
poor and sick generally; but still he had a
painful conviction that he had not attained the
religion he longed for. The writings most
studied by him were those of Bishop Taylor
and Mr Law. In them he found no distinct
declaration of the evangelical scheme, and he
continued to saek justification by labouring
after a perfect obedience to the law. In 1735
both the brothers went to Georgia, having
ei^aged with the trustees of that colony to take
rMgiouB charge of the settlers, and to instruct
the Indian tribes in the neighbourhood. There
they laboured for about two years with extra-
ordinary zeal, but against formidable and un-
scrupulous opposition. Still they were them-

I selves only seekers after salvation. John ex-

, pressed his judgment respecting his own state
in these striking words : ^ It is now upwards
of two years since I left my native co.untry, in
order to teach the Georgian Indians the nature

I of Christianity; but w^t have I learned my-
self in the meantime I Why (what I least of
all suspected), that I, who went to America to
convert others, was never converted myself ! '*
The day of liberty was drawing near, however;
and Wesleyans should not — and, we believe,
do not— forget how much they owe to the in-
strumentality of the Moravian Chureh in the
spiritual illumination of the founder of their
communion. Intercourse with Mr Nitschman,
and others of the Moravian Brethren, during
the voyage to Georgia, and with Mr Spangen-
berg, one of their pastors in that colony, had
alresuly produced a beneficial effect on Mr
Wesley's mind; but it was in his conversations
with Peter Bdhler, a Moravia minister, with
whom he became acquainted in London, that
he received the largest measure of evangelical
light. He now discovered the error of his
notion, that faith was a mere principle of belief

I which might render him ultimately acceptable
to God, by quickening his efforts in self-morti-
fication and obedience. In short, he learned
the Gospel plan of justification, by simple trust
in the merits of the Redeemer. He cated his
conversion from the 24th of May 1738. **I
felt,"* he says, ** I did trust in Chnst alone for
iMklvation; and an assurance waa given me that
he had taken away my sins, even mine, and
saved me from the law of sin and death."
Three days previously, Charles Wesley, to
whom also Peter BiJhler had been the instru-
ment of much good, professed to have entered
into the enjoyment of the same blessing.

Now a new man, John Wesley proceeded to
labour not as a matter of mere servile obedience,
but from an animating principle of filial love.

derisWelT call9d ICethodltts : and, perhaps, Mr C. Wacley's
•tiict adherence to method and order ma^ have suggeited
Ukt application of (ti« («rm in tlU* oaie.

He preached in such pulpits of the Establish-
ment as were opened to him; his grand theme
being the cardinal doctrine of justification by
iaith^-« doctrine which seemed new and strange
to most of his hearers. He saw, however, that
there were vast multitudes who never attended
any place of worship. How were tkey to be
reached ? Mr Whitefield urged upon him an
adoption of his practice of preaching in the
open air. Mr Wesley had himself done this in
Georgia, but he was unwilling to enter, in En^r.
land, upon a course so little in accordance with
those views of Church order in which he had
been educated, and from the influence of which
he was emancipated only very gradually and
by the force of circumstances. In his own
language, ** so tenacious was he of every point
relating to decency and order, that he should
have thought the saving of souls almost a sin,
if it had not been done in a church." But the
necessities of perishing multitudes, and the fact
that many pulpits were closed against him
through the objections of clergymen to his doc-
trines, soon prevailed over his scruples, and he
commenced that plan of field-preaching which
was afterwards so zealously and successfully
carried out. l*he beneficial results almost im-
mediately became apparent. Thousands and
thousands attended on the open-air services,
and very many were awakened to a sense of
sin, and led to seek and find salvation. Amongst
the most remarkable of the early converts was
a number of colliers in the neighbourhood of
Bristol, who had been proverbial for theii
wickedness, but who became truly exemplary
for their piety.

The formation of the ** United Societies'* —
which, however unintentionally on the part of
the founder, proved to be really the institution
of a distinct Church — took place in 173D. The
following is Mr Wesley's own account of it ;
*' In the latter end of the year 1739, eight or
ten persons came to me in London, who ap»
peared to be deeply convinced of sin, and ear-
nestly groaning for redemption. They desired
(as did one or two more the next day) that I
would spend some time with them in prayer,
and advise them how to flee from the wrath to
come, which they saw continually hanging over
their heads. That we might have more time
for this great work, I appointed a day when '
they might all come together, which thence« '
forward they did every week, namely, on
Thursday, in the evening. To these, and as
many more as^ desired to loin with them (for
their number increased daily) I gave those ad-
vices, from time to time, which I judged most
needful for them; and we always concluded our
meeting with prayer suited to their several
necessities. This was the rise of the United
Society, first in London, and then in other
places." As these societies increased, they
were divided into ** classes," each of which was
placed under the care of a leader, whose duty
it wa« to see the members once a-week^ ia

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order to inquire how their souls prospered, and
to give such reproof or counsel as occasion
migkt require, and to receive what they were
willing to contribute for charitable purposes.
In 1743, Mr Wesley drew up a set of rules,
observance of which was made, and continues
still to be, the condition of membership. They
relate entirely to moral conduct, charitable
offices, and attention to the ordinances of reli-
gion; so that Evangelical Churchmen or Dis-
senters might be members without any relin-
quishment of their respective views of doctrine
or discipline. The title ** United Societies," in-
dicates the adoption, from, the first, of that
Connexional principle which has tended so much
to the consolidation and extension of Wesleyan-
Methodism, giving to the body the strength of
union, and providing means for the introduc-
tion and maintenance of the system not only in
the populous towns where the formation of
large societies might be anticipated, but also in
the scattered vill^es of the poorer agricultural

{To he e<mtinued.')


In his "History of the Popes," Banke gives
! an account of the retrograde of the Reforma-
tion on the Continent, which, at the present
I juncture, ought to be universally known and
studied. Many Protestants, including perhaps
some of our readers, are wearied of the fre-
quent statements made, and the many warnings
given, regarding the Jesuits, and are disposed
to think that there is much both of morbid
feeling and of unnecessary alarm regarding
them. Let such ponder Kanke's account of
the mode in which Rome regained, to a large
extent, her ascendency on the Continent, and
exchange their lethargic indiiference for alarm,
when they are told, that at this moment, over
all the countries of Europe and in America,
the Jesuits are vigoroasly at work, compassing
the overthrow of Evangelical Christianity by
the same or similar means.

Ranke first shows, that the Reformation
** had continued, for forty years from Luther's
first efforts, to make its way with irresistible
force, far and wide over all the Germanic,
Sclavonic, and Romana nations of Europe."
It ** was hailed with delight" in Denmark; ** on
the eastern shores of the Baltic it had gained a
complete ascendency;" ** Prussia set the ex-
ample — Livonia followed it." In Poland ** the
Jagellonian kings were prevented from oppos-
' ing the progress of the Reformation." In Hun-
gary, ** Ferdinand I. never could prevail on the
Hungarian Diet to pass resolutions unfavour-
able to Protestantism." In Bavaria ** a large
majority of the nobles had embraced the Pro-
testant faith." In Austria, ''all the colleges
-were filled with Protestants, and it was assert-
ed that only <me4hirHeth of Uie inhabitants ad-

hered to Catholicism. Even the constitutions
of the Austrian States underwent changes de-
rived from the free principles of Protestantism."
In the dominions of the electors on the Rhine,
•*a Protestant party existed in every city;"
'* the same state of things prevailed in West-
phalia; in short, throughout the whole of Ger-
many, from east to west and from north to
south. Protestantism decidedly predominated!"
'' A Venetian ambassador, in 1558, reckons only
a tenth part of the inhabitants of G^rmaay re-
mained faithful to the old religion." Ib Scot-
land "it was poor, popular, and democratic,
but so much the more resistless was the enthu-
siasm it inspired. In England, on the contrary,
it had gained ascendency by its alliance with
the existing Government." ** The French had
embraced the doctrines with their national
vehemence," so that in 1661 the Venetian
ambassador says : ** Three-fourths of the king-
dom were filled with them." In short, ** the
Protestant spirit had extended its vivifying
power to the most distant and obscure comers
of Europe. What an immense empire had it
conquered in the short space of forty years ! — an
empire reaching from Iceland to the Pyrenees,
and from Finhmd to the summit of the Italian
Alps !"

The historian then traces from the com-
mencement the efforts of the Jesuits to turn
back this Reformation by the instrumentality
of education, and their astonishing success.

This commenced by the Emperor of Germany
addressing a letter to Ignatius Loyola, the
founder of the Jesuits, in which ** he expresses
his conviction that the only means of propping
the decaying cause of Catholicism in Germany,
was to give the rising generation pious Catholic

This plan was instantly adopted throughout
Europe. Three establishments were founded
at Vienna, Cologne, and Ingolstadt, and '^ from
these three metropolitan settlements the Jesuits
spread in all directions." Above all, they
laboured at the improvement of the universities^
and in a short time they had among them
teachers who might claim to be ranked as the
restorers of classical learning. They re-intro-
duced the practice of disputations which were

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 21 of 145)