Thomas Carlyle.

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succeeded in forming a society. Other Wes-
leyan emigrants from England and Ireland fol-
lowed, and pursued a similar course. In 1769,
the Conference sent out two of its preachers,
Messrs Boardman and Pillmoor, to take charge
of the societies. From this time the work pro-
ceeded with great rapidity, the plan of itine-
rancy being found especially adapted to the
wide-spread settlements of a new country. The
progress has up to the present been steady; the
Methodists have become, as to numbers, the
leading religious body of the Union; and the
annual increase is very great. After the ter-
mination of the war of independence, Mr Wes-
ley constituted the American societies into a
Church, having withhi itself all the ordinances
of Christianity. Of his right as a presbyter to
ordain to the frdl work of the ministry (includ-
ing, of course, the administration of baptism
and the Lord's supper), he entertained no
doubt. The ** apostolioal succession" he re-
garded as a fable that no man ever did or CQuld
prove. •* If any one is minded," said he, " to
dispute concerning diocesan Episcopacy, he
may dispute; but I have better work." Again :
** Lord King's * Account of the Primitive
Church' convinced me, many years ago, that
bishops and presbyters are the some order, and
consequently have the same right to ordain."
Unquestionably he regarded all those whom he
had id apart to the work of the ministry as duly
ordained, although, in England, he restrained
them from aduiinijitering the sacraments, *^ not
only for peace' sake," as his motives were ex-
plained by himself, ** but because I was deter-
mined, as little as possible, to violate the estab-
lished order of the National Church to which
I belonged." He removed this restraint, how-
ever, in the cases of America and Scotland; in
the former, because the American Methodists
could no longer remain a society attached to a
colonial Establishment which had then ceased
to exist; and in the latter, because the closing
of the English Establishment did not reach to it.

It is plain, therefore, that when, in after yoara,
the Conference adopted the administration of
the sacraments in the societies generally, they
did not introduce a new principle, but simply co]**
ried out a principle laid down by their founder,
just as, we have no doubt, he would have done,
had he lived to their day, and been placed in
their circumstances.

The minionary operations of Wesleyan-Me-
thodism commenced, properly speaking, at the
Leeds Conference, 1 769, when, on an occasion
already noticed, Air Wesley asked, *^ Who will
go to help our brethren in America!" and
Messrs Boardman and Pillmoor responded to
the call. The cause of Wesleyan missions,
however, received its great impulse through the
devoted, unwearying, and self-sacrificinglabours
of Dr Coke, a clergymen of the Church of Eng-
land, who attached himself to Mr Wesley as
** a son in the Gospel." As we shall again ad-
vert to the present state of the missions, it may
be enough that we should here indicate their
progress as exhibited in a brief extract from
Dr Alder's work on " Wesleyan Missions" (as
they were in 1842) : —

In addition to the places previously occupied in
America and the W^st Indies, missionary operations
were commenced on the continent of Europe as
early as the year 1791, on the African continent in
171 1, and in Asia during the year 1814. Austral-
asia was first visited bpr a Wesleyan missionary in the
course of the followmg vear; and Polynesia, where
the word of the Lord has been so eminently glorified,
in 1 822. It will be seen trom this statement, that the
field in which the labourers of this society are em-
ployed, is emphatically the world. On the shores
of Sweden and the Upper Alps; at Gibraltar and
Maita; on the banks oi the Gambia, at Sierre Leone,
and on the Gold Coast; at the Cape of Storms; in
Ceylon, and on the shores of Southern India ; amongst
the colonists and aboriginal tribes of Auttnlia; in
New Zealand, the Friendly Islands, and Fugee; on
the islands of the Western as well as the Southern
Hemisphere; and from the Gulf of St Lawrence to
the far W^est, the agents of the Wesleyan Mission-
ary Society are found. To all these places, to a por-
tion of the people by whom they are inhabited, to
man in all these regions, the British Conference nas
sent the Gospel of salvation, since the question was
asked, in 1701^, '* Who will go to help our brethren in
America ?"

It was upon the 2d of March 1791 — three
years after the death of his brother Charles —
that John Wesley rested from aU his labours,
leaving impressed upon the memory and hearts
of his followers the sentiment to which, in his
last hours, he gave frequent utterance — ^ TU
best of all it, God it icilh utl** Many years pre-
viously he had considered the importance of
making provision for the stability and govern-
ment of the Connexion after his removal; and;
in 1784, the desired settlement was effected by
the enrolment in Chancery of a legal instru-
ment, called ** A Deed of Declaration," in
which one hundred preachers, mentioned by
name, were declared to be ** the Conference of
the people called Methodists." By means of
this deed a legal description was given to the

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term ^ Conference,'* and tbe settlement of the
chapels on trustees was provided for; so that
the appointment of preachers to officiate in
them should be vested in the Conference, as it
had heretofore been in Mr Wesley. The deed
also declares how the sticcesBion and the iden-
tity of the Yearly Conference is to bo continued,
and contains various practical regulatious. The
wisdom of this deed has been tested and proved
in many instances. Various attempts have
been made to set it aside; but its validity has
been confirmed by the highest judicial autho-
rities. If there be any provision in it to which
loyai adherents to Methodism object, it is that
which forbids the appointment of a minister to
the same chapel for more than three succes-
sive years, and thus binds the itinerant plan in
perpetuity on the Connexion. Some think that
it would have been better if more liberty had
been allowed in this matter; but, as a whole,
the deed has proved of the utmost importance
and practical worth.

It may be in place to give here a statement
which will show the progress of the body since
the death of the founder. In 1791, when Mr
Wesley died, the number of circuits in the United
Kingdom was one hundred and fifteen. The
present number is four hundred and eighty-two.
The number of members in connection with his
societies in Europe, America, and the West
Indies, was eighty thousand. At tho last Con-
ference the numbers were, in Great Britain,
three hundred and forty thousand seven hun-
dred and seventj'-eight; in Ireland, twenty-
seven thousand nine hundred and twenty-six;
and on the foreign mission stations, ninety-
nine thousand six hundred and nine; making
the total of members under the care of the
British and Irish Conferences, four hundred
and sixty-eight thousand three hundred and
thirteen — a total which is largely exceeded
by the number of Methodists in America, and
which, of course, does not include the members
of the different bodies that, from time to time,
seceded from the Old Connexion. The entire
number of preachers then was three hundred
and twelve; the present number of ministers
and preachers on trial, connected with the
British and Irish Conf«-rences, is one thousand
six hundred and eighty-five. Such has been
the progress of Wesleyan- Methodism during
that first century of its existence which, in
1S39, was celebrated so remarkably by special
devotional exercises, and by a liberality of spe-
cial contribution (the Centenary Fund having
nearly amounted to a quarter of a million
steriing), which we may, perhaps, be permitted
to say, all things considered,, was without pre-
cedent, and would have been without parallel,
but for the late noble munificence of the Free
Church of Scotland.

A summary of the doctrines believed and
taught by the Wesleyans, and some account
of their peculiar religious services, will form
thi» subject for our next paper.


John Knox's Select Practical Works— RutlMrrord's TrUI
and Triumph of Faith — Traill's Sermons— Dickson's
PracticJil Writings— Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scrip,
tures— Memoirs of Mrs Vcttch, Mr Hog, &c, ttc

This is one of the marvels of a morvellons age. Six
volumes of the richest practical divinity, by men
known to all Christendom, and containing eighteen
hundred pages of letterpress, for six shillmgs I

It is an old saying, that a bad or stupid book is
dear at any price; and, tried by this rule, there are
many of the cheap publications of our day which
those who piurchase will find dear enough. We heard
lately of a young man who had become a subscriber
to a cheap series of tracts published at London, but
who, in his experience, found them very dear. He
was the son of respectable parents, and had been
well trained; but the weekly reading of these tracts,
in which violence was offered to all the sanctions
of reli^on, and sometimes even to the decencies of
morajity, was his ruin. His eye fell so often upon
oaths, that the dislike, or even horror, with which
he had been taught, both by his parents and his
conscience, to regard them, was soon blunted; and
shortly he even began to swear a little for himself, till,
after a few months, swearing bec^one a habit, and a
habit so strong that he could scarce wish a friend
well without an oath. He read in another tmct a
veiy pleasant story of Continental rillage Hfe, in
which the Sabbath was introduced as the most de-
lightAil day of all the week, because on it the ril-
lagers had their picnics and parties, and excur-
sions on foot, or perhaps by railway, and, in the
eveninjic, dances on the green. It seemed all so
cheeri'ul and inriting, that he thought he might do
worse than join a company of friends who spent
theur Sabbaths much after the same fashion; and
accordingly he left off attending church, and on
one day took a sail down the river, and on another
ran out by rail to Windsor or down to Brighton,
coming home, almost always half-tipsy, by the last
train. His parents saw the sad change, and, being
godly people, were much griered. But he ** would
none of their reproofs;^* and because they sought
to adrise and sometimes restrain him, he left their
house, and went into lodgmgs, with one of his Sab-
bath-desecrating companioni. By him he was fur-
ther corrupted— initiated, indeed, into all manner of
rice; and, as the consequence of all, he — the onoe
well-principled and promising youth— is now a conrict
at a penal settlement. He became dishonest— was
detected and banished. His father is since dead,
and his poor mother was, at the time when the sad
story was told us — three months ago — not expected
to surrive him long. In all probability she, too, is by
this time bowed down to the grare. And aU this
owing, in the first instance, to these cheap tracts.—
Only a penny a-week they were, but surely they were
too dear. The honesty, the happiness, the peace, the
character of a young man ruined; his immortal soul,
if God prerent not, lost; and the grey hairs of his
parents brought down with sorrow to the graye—
neither a penny nor a world would be an equijalanl
for this.

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There are other cheap pablicationi not ao oat-
rageous, nor, in their effects, lo certainly or speedilj
ndnooB, but atiU often much too dear. We refer to
those which, although moral enough in their charac-
ter, at least, containing nothing poritiTcly immoral or
offensiye, do yet studiously exclude from their pages
an reference to the requirements and adrantages of
religion. They gire sketches of history, interesting
in their way, and faithiul; but it is history with-
out God—- without any, eyen the slightest, reference
to the workings of that Providence by which all its
eyents ^reordered and arranged. Personal narratiyes
also are given; but they contain experiences altoge-
ther destitute of Christianity, and without any hint
of the evils incident to its absence. Many pleasant
stories also have we read in their pages— stories
portraying sometimes the highest earthly happi-
ness, and sometimes the deepest affliction— and it
would be untrue to deny that we have often been
delighted with them, often saddened, often, it may
be, improved; but still they are stories in the hap-
piness of which religion is sedulously prevented from
having any share, and the afflictions of which reli-
gion is never called in to soothe or to sustain. They
are written, in fact, not only as if religion were not
the highest concernment of man, but as if there were
no such thing as religion at aU. Now, while we
are no advocates of that sentimental piety which,
in writing a histoiy, would superinduce a sermon at
every second sentence, or as, in some instances we
have seen, would, in writing travels, intersperse every
page with hymns, it is, at the same time, clear that
an entbre and systematic exclusion of all reference to
the things of Gh>d and of eternity fhmi such publi-
cations is fraught, to the reader, with effects most
deadening and desbructive. A man who, by regularly
perusing such publications, sees God put out of
his own world, will not long seek to have him in
his own heart. Indeed, it is to be feared that one
great cause of the spiritual apathy by which the
masses in our day are characterised is just the vast
extent to which this worldly and godless literature
has been carried on and encouraged. And with
such an issue the ** cheapest** literature is surely too

It is a pleasant thing to find, however, that Chris-
tian enterprise is now being stirred up to fight the
enemy in this matter with his own weapons; and
that magarines, tracts, and publication schemes,
conducted on really sound and Christian principles,
are so numerous, and so ftdly qualified, both in talent
and cheapness, to obtain and preserve popular favour
and support.

The scheme named at the head of this short paper
was, we believe, the first of the kind which was
started, and is a truly admirable and deserving one.
We have spent portions of many Sabbath evenings
very pleasantly, and we trust profitably, in reading
several of the works which have been issued under
its auspices. They are not void of denominational
peculiarities, but the great burden of their thought
and teaching is Christ They are eridently the
productions of men of masculine minds, and deal
of divine truth with a strength and spirituality of
thought— a vigorousneif of expression — a power

of scriptural and experimental illustration— a holy
earnestness of application and appeal, which need
not fear oompariMm with the same features of the
practical divinity of any Church, or of any age.
One cannot but feel, while reading any one of these
volumes, that he is in the hands of a master— of a
man who knows thoroughly of what he is speaking—
who is acquainted with the truth of God in all its
length and breadth, and who knows alio the human
heart, as £&r as man can know it, in the depths of its
deceitfulness; and the effect on the reader, if he
possess even ordmary natural feeling and suscepti-
bility, cannot fail of being impressive. Prefixed to
each volume is a memoir of the author, by the editor
of the series. These memoirs enhance not a little
the value of the works. They are written with great
piquancy and vigour, and give the reader a rivid idea
both of the men whose lives they sketch, and of the
times in which they lived, and by which their cha-
racters and currents of thought were so laigely


It is a strange impudence for men to " trust and
hope in God,'* who are in perfect hostility against him.
Bold fellows go through dangers hero, but it will not
be so hereafter. ** They turn to me the back, and not
the face; yet in their trouble they say, Arise and save
us.** They do it as confideatly as if they never had
despised God ; but they mistake the matter— it is not
so. ** Go and cry," says he, " to the gods whom ye
have chosen.** When men come to die, then they
catch hold of the mercy of God; but from that their
filthy hands are beat off; there is no help for them
there, and so they fall down to the pit. A holy fear
of G^ and a happy hope in him, are commonly
linked together. Behold the eye of the Lord is upon
them that fear him— upon them that hope in his
metey»-—ArehbisIu>p LeighUm.


There was once a caravan crossing, I think, to the
north of India, and numbering in its company a godly
and devout missionary. As it passed along, a poor
old man was overcome by the heat and labours of the
journey, and, sinking down, was left to perish on the
road. The missionary saw him, and, kneeling down
at his side, when the rest had passed along, whis-
pered into his ear, " Brother, what is your hope ?**
The dying man raised himself a little to reply, and
with a great effort succeeded in answering, ** The
blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin !** and
inunediately expired with the effort. The mission-
ary was greatly astonished at the answer, and, in
the calm and peaceful appearance of the man, he
felt assured he had died in Christ "How, or
where,** he thought, ** could this man, seemingly
a Heathen, have got this hope ?** And as he thought
of itL he observed a piece of paper grasped tightly in
the hand of the corpse, which he succeeded in getting
out. What do you think was his surprise and deUght
when he found it was a sinde leaf of the B^le,
containing the 1st chapter of the First Epistle of
John, in which these words occur P On that page
the man had found the Gospel— -CAi/(ff«n*« Misnon"
ary Aewtpaper,

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^ &nmotu



*< He that believeth on him If not condem^ : hat ketkat
betievetk not it ctmdtnmed alreadjf, becaiue he hath not
believed in the name of the ouly begotten Son of God."
—John iii. 18.

This is a pari of the remarkable conversation
of our Lord with Nicodemus, in which he
teaches the necessity of being bom again. In
the Terses immediately preceding, he shows
how wonderfully God has manifested his love
to man in giving his only begotten Son for the
salvation of our fallen world; and then, in
the words of the text, he proclaims the utter
condemnation of all who refuse to believe in
him. If we believe, then we are bom of the
Spirit; that is to say, we become new creatures
— ^new as to our sentiments respecting our own
chanicter and responsibilities — new as to ' our
views of happiness and longings after immor-
tality — ^new as to our knowledge of God and
the love which we ought to cherish toward
him. But there is another view which we are
required to take of our condition. We are to
consider not merely what is to become of us in
the event of our believing in Christ, but what
we are by nature, and what we must remain if
we do not believe. And this is the view pre-
sented in that part of the text to which I pro-
pose to direct your particular attention : " He
that believeth not is condemned already."

It would have been more pleasant to me to
speak to you on the first part of the verse— on
the happy state of those who believe; but I
have not come here to-day to speak smooth
things to you. I have come to arouse you; for
I fear many of you are yet in a state of con-

This implies two things : —

Itt, That all who do not believe in Christ lie
under condemnation.

2d, That through Christ alone may this con-
demnation be removed.

I. That alLwho do not believe in Christ lie
under condenmation^ is clearly proved by nu-
merous passages in Holy Writ. Sometimes it is
asserted generally as the condition of the whole
family of Adam, as when it is said : ^ By
one man sin entered into the world, and death
by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for

No. 10. •

that all have sinned." — Rom. v. 12. And again :
^ We were by nature children of wrath, even as
others." — Eph. ii. 3. More frequently, how-
ever, this doctrine appears in a somewhat dif-
ferent form, as connected with the rejection
of the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Thus it is said by our. blessed Lord himself:
^ He that believeth not the Son shall not see
life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
— John iii. 36. And stiU more expressly, per-
haps, in the language of the text : ** He that
believeth not is condemned already."

Observe, dear brethren, the force of these
solemn words : ** The wrath of God abideth on
him!" and, ** cojtdemned already J** It is not
on the last day that the condemnation of sin-
ners is suspended. It is not at the final judg-
ment that the wrath of God is to reach them
for the first time. In one sense, their con-
demnation is already past. The wrath of Grod
** abideth** on them. Even now they are in this
awful state. They are ** bom in sin" and are
*• under condemnation." Unless their natural
condition come to be altered by grace, the
wrath of God must continue to abide upon
them, and they must finally ** perish." Now
consider what these plain declarations imply.
** Condemnation ! " this is a dreadful word — even
when it refers merely to the sentence of an
earthly judge. A condemned criminal is doomed,
perhaps, to suffer an ignominious death. He is
remanded to prison, that in his miserable cell
he may prepare for the gallows. Death stares
him in the face, and its horrors are aggravated
by the thought of his guilt. Had he but fol-
lowed some honest calling he might still have
been free and prosperous — chappy amidst his
family and friends — useful, respected, honoured.
But now how different ! Few, short, and miser-
able, are the days allotted to him. He must
forfeit his life to the violated laws of his country,
and his memory shall rot. This is condemna-
tion I Can that man experience hope, or enjoy-
ment, or ease ! Must not the very domes-
tic affections which might have cheered his
heart become bittemess to him ! His wife and
children — where are they ! What are they do-
ing f Can they think kindly of him who has

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ruined them I Are they not cursing him in
I their hearts ! — ^This is to be condemned by the
law of man; but for, far more miserable is it
' to be condemned by the law of €rod. Yes ! ye
' who neglect the great salvation, it is more
miserable /or, if you but knew it. But you are
bold and senseless, and you hug the chidntthat
bind you down in the condenmed cell of your
I original and acquired estate. It is more miser-
' able stUl, just because you know it not ! Ah I if
you knew it, you would ask pardon of God, and
you would obtain it. How awful, to see a man
wallowing in wretchedness, and turning every-
: where for relief but in Ike right direction — every-
where in vain! to see a man ready to perish
amidst a raging flood, and recklessly turning
: away from the hand that is stretched out for
, his deliverance ! And such is the state of
misery in which those are ** already" sunk who
are under $piritveU condemnation — slaves of the
world — slaves of their own passions — slaves of
Satan, and they know it not I — who, while they
join with their fellow-criminals in brutal mirth
t and folly, hate and avoid those who would open
their eyes and bring them deliverance I
I There are many points of resemblance be-
' tween him who is condemned by an earthly,
and him who is condemned by a heavenly
' judge. If banishment be the lot of the one,
, banishment is also the lot of the other. The
man who is condemned by human laws was
happy once. So was Adam in a state of inno-
cence. Paradise was his home — his Creator
was his friend — within and around him all
was beauty, and sunshine, and joy. But he re-
belled — he was condemned — he was banished !
Then what a change took place ! — a change in
the dire effects of which all his posterity are
involved I Every impenitent sinner is to be re-
garded as banished from the presence of God,
Iiis best, his only friend — banished from the
beauties and delights of Eden — banished to the
barren wilderness, where all is blighted with a
curse — ^where his food is unblest — where hatred

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 27 of 145)