Thomas Carlyle.

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tary transgressions. 5. 8uch transgressions
you may call sins if you please; I do not, for
the reasons above-mentioned." The Wesleyans
believe that this attainment of *^ perfect love"
may be ca once realized through faith. In Mr
Wesley's " Plain Account of Christian Perfec-
tion," he thus speaks : ** A man may be dying
for some time; yet he does not, properly speak-
ing, die till the instant his soul is separated from
the body; and in that instant he lives the life
of eternity. In like manner, he may be dying
to sin for some time; yet he is not dead to sin,



till sin is separated from his soul; and in thai
inttOAt he lives the full life of love." It is
added, however : ** Yet he still grows in grace^
in the knowledge of Christ, in the love and
image of God; and will do so, not only till death,
but through all eternity "

We naturally pass frxnn this view of the
height to which the Wesleyans elevate the
standard of possiUe Christian attainment, to
notice their belief respecting i

8. The Persbveraiice of the Saiitts. — They
hold that a believer need never fall fronl grace^
but that, on the contrary, he may and should go
on from strength to strength. But they also
believe that, through temptation and unwatch-
fulness, he may faU into sin, and not only lose,
for a time, but never recover, the favour and
image of God.

This part of our subject may be concluded
by a few words, stating the Wesleyan doctrine
respecting

9. Good Works. — While the Wesleyans
strenuously deny that good works can, in any
degree, avail to the justification of the sinner,
and that the unjustified man can perform any
work that has not in it ** the nature of sin,"
they as earnestly affirm that wherever justify-
ing faith has been brought into exercise, its
genuineness will, and must, be attested by the
fruit of good works. And while, in anticipate
ing the judgment of the great day, they main*
tain sudi feelings as those thus expressed in
one of their most popular hymns : —

** When from the dust of death I rise,
To claim ny mansion in the skies.
Even then, this shall be all my plea.
Jbsds hath lived, hath died for me !"

they believe that works, as the evidences of
faith, will then be inquired into ; and, moreover,
that good works, springing from lively faith,
and performed through love of God, will be re-
quited with a reward, not the less precious
because it will be, not at all of debt, but
altogether of grace. I

We have thus given what we believe to be
a correct simimary of those doctrines which
are either, in some degree, peculiar to the
Wesleyan-Methodists, or on which mistakes
and misrepresentations have eidsted as to their
opinions. We have thought it the better plan
to select and extract passages from authorized
documents on the several points, thus letting
Wesleyanism speak for itself. This may have
caused the statement of doctrines to wear some*
times rather an apologetical and drfensive aspect,
scarcely consistent with the impartiality we
desire to manifest, so far as the composition of
these articles is concerned; but this fault — ^if
fault it be — is made up for by the authentication
and teriJUation of the statements which are thus
secured.

A few very brief notices of the Reuoioub
Services of the Wesleyan-Methodists ehaJl
conclude the present paper.



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THE POOR COTTAGER'S DEATH.



119



PuBUo Worship. — ^This, on the Sabbath
morning, is commenced in many of the most
important congregations, by the reading of the
Church of England service^ in a more or less
abridged form. The Conference has recom-
mended that, when this is not done, the lessons
for the day, as appointed in the calendar,
should be read. Where this formulary is not
used (and, indeed, where it is, only that the sub-
sequent devotional exercises are then shortened),
a hymn is sung from a hymn-book compiled
by John Wesley, and subsequently much en-
larged, of which, however, the compositions of
Charles Wesley, of whom the Methodists de-
light to think as the ** sweet singer *' of their
Israel, occupy a large portion. Extempora-
neous prayer follows ; then another hymn;
then, unless the Church service has been pre-
viously used, reading of the Scriptures; then
an extemporaneous sermon; and the service is
concluded with singing and prayer. With the
exception of the Church service, the same order
: is observed in the evening worship. A prayer-
I meeting frequently follows, in which several
' accredited official or private members, under
[ the superintendence of the minister, or some
J other known and responsible person, engage in
1 prayer.

I Watoh-Niohts. — The custom of holding
j •* watch-nights,** originated with the converted
! colliers at Blingswood, near Bristol, who had
j been accustomed, when they were slaves of sin,
to pass their Saturday nights at the ale-house.
I They now devoted that night to prayer and
praise. Mr Wesley took up the idea, and re-
' solved to make something like their practice
^general. Waich-nights may be held at any
' time; but the principal observance of the usage
in the Weeleyan Church is on the last night of
the old year. Then, prayers, a sermon, exhor-
tations, and the singing of appropriate hymns,
are continued until within a few minutes of
twelve o'clock. The congregation engage in
silent prayer, during the minutes immediately
preceding and following the stroke of mid-
night. Then they arise, and, usually, sing a
hymn, well known in the Connexion, which
b^lins — •

** Come, l«t 110 anew our Journey purrae.
Roll rouod with the year,
' And nerer stand still tUl the Master appear."

Prayer closes the service.

Rbkswal of tbb Covsnaft. — ^This service is
held early in the new year — when practicable,
on the first Sabbath. It is a renewal of the
engagement of the members of the Societies to
be devoted to God. A sermon or exhortation
is delivered; extracts- from a powerful tract,
entitled ''Directions for Penitents and Be-
lievers Renewing their Covenant with Grod,** are
read; the officiating minister reads the ''Cove-
nant Prayer" from this tract; and the solemn
service is generally concluded by the adminis-
tration of the Lord's sapper.



Amount the peculiarities of Methodism, we
must notice Clatt-MeeHngf and Love-FecuH,

Class-Msetinos. — Their origin has been ad-
verted to in the preceding paper. Persons
"desirous to flee from the wrath to come"
assemble weekly to relate V> each other their
religious experience — to receive from the leader
such counsel or admonition as they may respec-
tively require, to pray for one another, and to
encourage and stimulate one another in the
ways of piety. Band-Meetings are class-meet-
ings on a smaller scale as to numbers, com-
prising usually only a very few persons, and on
a stricter plan as to faithfulness in the inter-
change of mutual reproof or advice.

LovB-FsASTS are a revival, in a simpler form,
and with a more expressly religious purpose,
of the agajKB of the primitive (Cluistians. The
members of society meet, sing and pray to-
gether ; partake of bread and water, as an in-
dication of kindly feeling ; pass some time in
the relation of Christian experience, as at class-
meetings; and contribute to a collection for
the poorer members of the Church. These
•* feasts of love*' generally take place after the
quarterly visitation of the classes, when the
ministers have personally seen and inquired
in^ the spiritual condition 'of the members,
and have given to those deserving of continued
membership, the ** Ticket," with a text of
Scripture printed on it, which is the token of
recognition, admitting to those services which
are not open to the public.

The ecclesiastical frame-work of the Wea-
leyan Church — its affairs, and the funds by
which its operations are sustained— will form
the subject in our next article.



THE POOR COTTAGER'S DEATH.

** I WILL tell you what I think, lir," said a poor cot-
'y in reply to a Christian minister, who XMtd been {
Qg to him about the oonoems of his soul : " I
think God is too merdful to take much notice of
what we poor creatures do. May^ be he will reckon |
with those who are karned and rich, and who know ;
better than we, who are not scholars; but I do think, j
if I can only ask him to save me when I oome to die,
that I Bhoold fare very weU in the other wc»rld, if
there be one.*' " I endeavoured,'' said the minister, j
**to show him that though Gk>d luts made a difference
among his creatures in the distribution he has made
of his bounlnr, yet, as sinners, we are on a level in bis
sight; that he notices alike the conduct of every ra-
tional creature; that he has given us a revelation of
his will, which shows us the way of salvation by his ,
Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; and that this way of
recovery from our perishing state as sinners, is so
plain, that even the most unleamed may understand
it; and that if he refused to listen to the truth when '
he had an opportunity of doing so, he would act as .
wickedly as if he really knew it" ** It may be>o, sir,
perhaps; but I only mean to take care <a the main i
chance, as we countiy folk say, till I am going to die,
and then it may be time enough to see about the
other world."

'*And80,"said I, " you really thhik that taking
care of your temporal interest, and obtaining food



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120



THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.



and clothing, is the principal thing which man has to
do in the present world ?^* ** I think so, and so does
a power of other people." " If you had a box," I
asked, ** which contained a thousand guineas, which
would it be best to take care of— the m>x, which was
decaying, or the money?" " Oh, the money to be
sure !" " And if you hare a soul which must live
for cTcr and ever, and a body in which it lives only
for a little while, and will then decay, which should
you care for most?" "Ah! sir, that is all very
good, I dare say, but we must take care of the body
now, that is certain; and the soul must be thought of
by-and-by."

^ I could make no impression on his mind, but re-
tired, praving that He who wept over the impenitent
sinners of Jerusalem would be pleased to show this
man his folly, and lead him to seek that salvation
without the possession of which no man can be saved
from th^ wrath to come.

Several years passed away, when I was one day in-
formed that a man, in- breathless haste, had come to
say that John Wilkina was dying, and that I must
immediately go to see him. I hastened to the cottage,
where I found the poor old man with whom I mA
the conversation I have repeated. He had met with
an accident while engag^ in his labour, and had
just been informed by h& doctor that he could not
survive it many dajrs. ** O sir !" said he, the mo-
ment he saw me enter his room, " O sir ! my soul is
lost ! — ^my soul is lost ! Save me, O save me ! I am
dying— I caxmot live ^— you must save me ! O sir ! do
save me!"

He was in unutterable Stress; nor was it without
cause. He had neglected the great concerns of im-
mortality through ufe, and how could it be expected
that he would be happy in the prospect of death !
He had neglected the service of that Being who re-
quires us to seek his favour as soon as we have heard
of his requirements; and how, then, could he expect
to be favoured with joy in the prospect of appearing
at his bar ! ** I cannot save you, John," I replieu;
" you have been an awful sinner for man v years ; you
have broken the law of God; you have long refused
to hear how he could save you. No man or angel
could save vou; nor can anything short of the infinite
grace of tne almighty Qo& save ^ou from endless
misery." He cried out, " I know it, I know it; but
what can I do ? Will God anyhow have mercy on
me now ? "

I sat down, and endeavoured, in the plainest and
simplest manner, to explain the way of salvation, by
Christ's dying for our sins, to him. I showed oim
how we had all failed to obey the holy and rifi^hteous
I law of God; that we had done many uiings which we
I ou^ht not to have done, and had left undone many
I thmgs which Gh)d had commanded us to perform;
I that, as the effect of our sins, we had drawn on our-
I selves the anger of GK>d, who has said : ** Cursed be
he that confinneth not all the words of this law to do
them" (Deut. xxviL 26); and that, therefore, we
could not by any means make atonement to his ius-
tice for the sins we had committed. I then told him
that so great was the love of God to poor sinners, that
he sent his only Son into the world to publish the holy
law, and to die, that sinners by him might be saved;
, and I assured mm that even the greatest sinner, wlio
1 believed our Lord Jesus Christ, and plaoea his
hope of salvation on him, as the only and all-suffi-
cient Saviour, might enjoy the eternal blessings of his
mercy. He listened with eagerness to the communi-
cations I made, and to the prayers I offered on his
account; but whether his entire neglect of all the
means of grace previously might not have prevented
his being able to understand the way of salvation, I
am unable to say; it is certain, however, that every



effort I could make seemed to be but of little use in
penetrating his understanding. In a day or two he
died, and was called before ** the righteous Judge of
the whole earth."

The awful prospect of this poor man's future state
has often been to me a source of much anxiety. At
times, I have indulged a hope of meeting him before
the throne of GKmI, as a trophy of the grace of Jesusu
shown at the last hour; but far oftener have I fearea
that his long rejection of the mercv of Christ only
prepared him for the torments of helL It is true, he
appeared to repent of his past sins; but it might Iwve
been only the fear of future punishment, rather than
grief of heart on account of offending a holy and
gracious God. What a warning ! Oh, sinner I re-
pent now — even now, while it is called to-day —
lest, when death comes, you bind your bands too
strong.— iVT. F. Observer.



THE ALTOGETHER LOVELY.
Augustine^ prayer was : ** Lord, give me thyself !"
And in this spirit the believer is ready to exult :
** Whom have I in the heavens but thee, and there
is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. The
Lord himself is the portion of mine inheritance and
of my cup; thou maintainest my lot. The lines are
fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly *
heritage. I will bless the Lord who hath given me
counsel" Surely the whole world cannot weigh ;
against the comfort of being able to let all go and !
look up : " Thou art my portion, O Lord." For, i
unless his perfections should moulder away, and I
leave him a destitute and indigent Gt)d, it is impos- '
sible that his people can be impoverished. This!
portion, however, can never be ei^oyed, even by a
child of God, unless He who is the essence of it be
supreme in the soul — not only above all, but in the
place of all. Other objects may be subordinately
loved; but of none but Himself must we say : ** He
is altogether lovely,''^ — Rev, C Bridges,

PRAYING TO SAINTS.
The rich man cried out and said, "Father Abraham,
have mercy upon me ! " There was a time when he
might have prayed to the God of Abraham, and have
foimd mercy: now he dares not approach that GocL
whom in his life he had neglected; and he addressed
a creatiure, who has neither power nor authority to
dispense blessedness. This is the onl^ instance men-
tioned in Scripture of praying to saints; and to the
confusion of the false doctrine, which stages it to be
necessary and available, let it be remembered, that it
was practised only by a damned soul, and that toith-
ovX any success, — Adam Clarke,



DEATH OF CHILDREN.
Leighton thus wrote on hearing of the death of a
child: ** Sweet thing, and is he so quickly laid
asleep ? Happy he ! Though we shall have no more
the pleasure of his lisping and laughing, he shall have
no more the pain of crying, nor of being sick, nor of
dying. Tell my dear sister, that she is now so much
more akin to the other world ; and this will be quickly
passed to us alL John is but gone at an early hour
to bed, as chUdren use to do, and we are undressmg
to follow. And the more we put off the love of the
present world, and all things superfluous, beforehand,
we shall have the less to do when we lie down."



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THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.



121



REPENTANCE.
BY THE REV. DAVID KING, LL.D., GLASGOW.



|l



If we inquire what is meant by repentance
among evangelical Christians generally, the term
may be found nearly equivalent in their appre-
hension to penitence or contrition for sin. Repen-
tance, as so understood, stands distinguished
from remorse, which partakes more of an appal-
ling nature, viewing God as unpacified and im-
placable, and filling the mind with a horrible
misery. It is also distinguishable from regret,
which is a milder term, expressive commonly
of minor concern, and which, besides being
moderate in degree, may have respect to mere
consequences of conduct apart from its intrin-
sic hatefuluess.

Many have entertained views of the Chris-
tian virtue now under consideration differing
widely ^rom those above stated, and also from
one another. The Church of Rome has con-
founded penitence and penance; and numbers,
without subscribing to a Papistical creed, have
conceived uf repentance as essentially bitter in
its character — a mental misery whicu the hap-
less transgressor must both inflict and endure —
a present purgatory, the hidden flames of which
must be fanned by the spirit on which they
prey, as a painful but indispensable preparation
for spiritual joy. Recoiling, perhaps, from these
stem conceptions of the subject, some of late
days have passed to an opposite extreme, and
have maintained that torrow for sin, instead of
being the whole of repentance, is no part of it
whatever. The word, they have argued, de-
notes in the original, change of mind, by which
they seem to understand mere change of
opinion : and, therefore, brokenness of spirit,
they assure us, cannot be one of its constituents,
though following after, as one' of its sequences.

Another interpretation, distinguishable from
all the foregoing, has been ably advocated — that
scriptural repentance is equivalent to reforma-
tion of conduct, and that the sorrow which it
implies for former misconduct is a secondary
matter at most, and not the principal idea sug-
gested by the language.

These discrepancies of opinion have been
noticed, not to create any doubtfulness about
ascertaining the truth, but to stimulate earnest-
ness and diligence in seeking it where alone it
can be discovered. •* Unless ye repent, ye shall
No.ll.* J' /- >J^



perish,** Such is the solemn asseveration of
Him whom we call Lord and Master ; and can
we be in truth his servants, or can ours be that
repentance which averts perdition, if we despise
the announcement, and so utterly despise it as
to take no pains for ascertaining its import f
Let us not be unwise, but understanding what ,
the will ofthe Lord is. His will is to be learned ,
only from his Word, and not from the sugges- j
tions of ingenious speculation ; for genuine re- ,
pentance is a scriptural grace, and we must
find in Scripture itself the true account of its
nature. We apply ourselves, then, to determine
the scriptural signification of the term repen- '
tance. There are two words so translated in {
the New Testament. One of them occurs sel- i
dom, and is used with considerable latitude of
meaning. It is employed in a good sense, as '
when the Jews (Matt. xxi. 32) are censured
for not repenting, that they should believe
on the Baptist; in a bad sense, as when
Judas (Matt. xxviL 3) is said to have re-
pented, and bronght again the thirty pieces of I
silver, and thereafter to have hanged himself;
and in a sense that may be called indifferent, '
as when Paul says to the Corinthians (2 Cor.
vii. 8),** Though I made you sorry with a letter,
I do not repent, though I did repent."

The other word which our translators have
rendered to repent, occurs often in the New
Testament. It is always employed in a good
sense, invariably representing the repentance
which it denotes as a religious duty ; and it is
of this word we speak in the following observa-
tions.

It has been stated to mean, as we have al-
ready remarked, ' change of mindf and this is
no doubt a fair enough translation, if we view
the mind as inclusive of the heart. Strictly, it
represents a person as otherwise minded after-
wards; that is, on reconsidering his conduct.
The question, then, arises. If repentance be a
change of mind, in what does that mental
change consist f It will be readily perceived
that we cannot, by a direct act of the will, make
the mind, as to its essence or powers, different
from what it is ; nor does the work of the Holy
Spirit properly consist in annulling certain facul-
ties, and creating others. The signification,



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122



THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.



then, is, that we are to change our minds in rela-
tion to certain tiibjedt; in other words, we are to
ponder them seriously, and thus become other-
wise and more justly minded concerning them.
To put the case more explicitly, we may lay
down the proposition that —
i I Repentance denotes a change of mind in re-
j lation both to evil and to good.
1 1 It may be useful, for the sake of illustration,
1 1 to divide this twofold statement, and consider
I its different parts successively.

Fint^ then, repentance involves a change of
mind in relation to eviL To exclude the idea of
mere opinion being hence altered, while feeling
remains unaffected by the process, I think it may
be of some moment to prove satisfactorily that
repentance, as a change of mind in relation to
evil, comprehends sorrow for sin. The accuracy
of this sentiment must be judged of by its con-
sistency with Scripture, by collating it with
those scriptural passages in which the term re-
pentance occurs. We are informed (Matt, iii.l, 2)
that ''til thou days came John the Baptiit preaching
inthamtdtmeteofJudea^and taying^BtpenlyeJor the
hitigdom qfheaun ii at hand,** This was the sum
of the Baptist's preaching ; and, as an exemplifi-
cation of itssucoessywe are tdd of many (verse 6)
who were baptifed of him in Jordan, *' oonfetiing
their tine** Now, when repentance was the duty
enjoined, and confession of sin was the ostensible
oompUanoe with the injunction, these seem to be
associated in the record as expository of one
another. We are told (Matt. xi. 20) that '^ (^
began Jeem to upbraid the dtiee wherein mott of hit
mightif worke were done,** He subjoined that ^ had
auoh mighty worke been done in Tyre and Sidon, they
would have repented long ago in duet and aehet,**
But dust and ashes were not put upon the head
to bespeak mere change of notion, or visible
reformation: they were the appropriate em-
blems of deep, sorrowing, and self-abasing hu-
miliation. We find our Lord saying (Luke xvii.
3, &c.) ** If thy brother treepatt againtt thee rebuke
him, and if he repent forgive him. And ifketretpate
agavMt thee eeven timet in a day, and teven titnet in a
day turn again to thecy taying, J repent, thou thalt
forgive him,** This passage I regard as very do-
I cisive of the point at issue. It would be a waste
! of time to show that repentance in this connec-
I tion means anything else, or anything less, than
a sorrowful acknowledgment of one's fault: and
i so often as this satisfaction shall be rendered,
I the offended party Is ordered to forgive. We
learn (Acts viii.) that when Simon Magus had
manifested blasphemous impiety, Peter said to
him (verse 22), ** Repent Ikmfm of ihk wieked-



!



(



SMft." Did this repentance import any cslnaTi^
of mind as to siq, short of deep-felt sorromr Tex
it ! Certainly not ; and if so, such sorro'w 1>e
longs to repentance.

It would be easy to adduce more cita^ionfl
of kindred character, but further multiplic&tiojtf
of them appears superfluous. These maty mrvLf-
fice to excite our marvel that the love oF poki-ar-
dox could be carried so far as to induce aJOLjr to
denude repentance of all penitence, in opposi-
tion to such Biblical testimonies, as well as tlxe
general^ sense of the Christian C^hurch in ail
ages.

Secondly, Repentance denotes a change oT
mind in relation to what is good.

It may be admitted that this view of tlie ,
subject, though by no means expressing the
whole duty, is too much overlooked. In speak-



Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 30 of 145)