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morning he again received the blessed sacrament, with the most exemplary piety and devotion, and renewed his former declaration of forgiveness; naming again, very audibly, the prince and princess of Orange, the princess Anne, and the emperor, and said he wished them to be acquainted that he for gavethem.' The doctors had all along given him the quinquinna, which, though the thing in the world he had the greatest aversion to, he never refused. It was neither fear of death nor hopes of recovery that made him so compliant; but he thought it more perfect to obey, and that the patient suffering of those remedies might benefit his soul though of no advantage to his body. The following day he continued in the same lethargick state, and seemed to take little notice of any thing, except when prayers were read, which he was always attentive to, and by the motion of his lips seemed to pray continually himself."
then communicated, and passed some he continued during the night, appatime in silent contemplation of God.-rently at times occupied in holy thoughts, When he had concluded his thanksgiv- and always roused by prayer. In the ing, he desired to have the extreme unction administered to him; it was accordingly done; and while he received it, his whole soul seemed absorbed in the rite. He then solemnly pardoned all his enemies, publickly naming them. Meanwhile the affliction of the queen was most distressing: she sunk down by the side of the bed, in extreme anguish. This seemed greatly to affect the dying monarch he entreated her to resign herself to God, and with the most tender expressions sought to comfort her. Having thus fulfilled his essential duties, the king gave directions respecting his funeral, ordering it to be in every respect like that of a private gentleman; his body to be interred in the parish church of St. Germains, and his only epitaph, Here lies king James.' Thus passed Sunday, the third day of his illness. Towards evening he ap. peared much revived, and had a better night; every symptom being favourable,except the fever,which, though not violent, was continual. No murmur of impatience escaped his lips; but his deportment was invariably gentle, calm, and resigned. Thus he continued till the eighth day, when the decrease of his fever gave increased hopes; but on the ninth he fell into a stupor, his fever increased rapidly, his countenance changed, and it was believed he was about to expire. The queen attended him dissolved in tears. Do not afflict yourself,' he said; 'I am going to be happy.' 'It is not you,' she replied, while she pressed his hand to her quivering lips; it is not you that I bewail: it is myself.' Seeing her near swooning from fatigue and grief, he entreated her to withdraw; and as soon as she had quitted the apartment, they began the recommendation of his soul to God. In this state
"The next day he grew much weaker, was seized with continual convulsions or shaking of the hands, and the day following, being Friday, the 16th of September, about three in the afternoon, aged sixty-eight years, rendered his pious soul into the hands of his Redeemer, the day of the week and hour wherein our Saviour died, and on which he always practised a particular devotion to obtain a happy death, and his prayer was heard; for as he manifested the most exemplary resignation, patience, and piety, during his illness, so when he could no longer speak, it was apparent from his gestures, looks, and even his silence itself, that his mind was fixed upon God; and, having his senses to the last moment, he seemed, by the motion of his lips, to pray, till the soul escaped from the bondage of the body."
To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate. PLAIN REMARKS BY A PARISH MINISTER, ON THE OFFICIAL REPLY OF THE METHODISTS TO SOUTHEY'S LIFE OF WESLEY.
THERE has recently appeared in England a reply to Mr. Southey, by a methodist; and its republication in this country, and sale at their book-store, would warrant the opinion that it is a book of authority with that sect of Christians of which Wesley was the founder. This work contains little additional information respecting Mr. Wesley, and it differs of course with Mr. Southey on all points touching his character, and the tendency of his system. On the doctrine of perfection, it merely observes, that the founder of methodism had been misunderstood by and on his other distinctive doctrine, "the assurance of personal forgiveness,' it offers a statement which is chiefly remarkable for confounding hope with assurance.* If by "assurance" Wesley meant only a strong expectation, few would object to his tenet; but the belief that he meant "certain knowledge" and thus contradicted several scriptural declarations, is the ground of the objection which has been made to his peculiar views on this subject.
It is gratifying to observe the features of his theology thus reduced, (as they evidently are in the present work) and from the anxiety manifested to disprove what Mr. Southey calls extravagancies in practice, there is reason to hope that methodism is about to become no longer a misnomer. But let it not be thought that the writer would pollute the pages of the Gospel Advocate by uncharitableness. He will gladly bear testimony to the zeal of the followers of Wesley, and to the comparative soundness of their theology; but he knows that the best informed among them have endeavoured, and *Luther says, "I believe in the forgiveness of my own sins." This our author quotes, as if "I believe" was "I am sure."
in some instances not ineffectually, to recommend a worship consistent with the recollection that the Lord is the lover of order, and that he has said, "Be still, and know that I am God."
To the Christian world, the inquiry as to the motives of Wesley is but of secondary importance. If impartial posterity should decide that with his devotedness to the gospel, there was mingled some personal ambition, it will only confirm past experience, which teaches the imperfection of all human virtue. "In my best action, (says a most pious man) I have always found some alloy ;" and it may be added, he who has not detected it As ought to question his humility. to the enthusiasm of Mr. Wesley, the decision of that depends upon another question of much importance in theology, viz: "Whether the ordinary influences of the Holy Ghost are infallibly distinguishable from the natural operations of the mind." Archbishop Secker maintains that the presence of the Holy Ghost in the heart of any individual is discoverable by comparing his inclinations with the scriptural standard. Thus, of a good inclination, he may conclude, it was excited by the Holy Spirit, for by nature "the heart is desperately wicked."
"Out of the heart
proceed" that is naturally, "evil thoughts." There is another method by which a man might ascertain the presence with him of the Holy Ghost: it is his being able to work a miracle, as the apostles were. Now Mr. Wesley undoubtedly maintained what may be called the other side of the question. He thought that the suggestions of the Holy Spirit (without any reference to the general principle "every good and perfect gift cometh from above," without any comparison between them and the truths laid down in the scriptures) could be instantaneously distinguished from the operations of the mind, so that a man might say, At this moment the Holy Spirit was present with me: at that moment
he was absent. This thought was excited by the Holy Ghost. To this action, perhaps some action of an indifferent nature, that is, not involving any religious or moral motive, I was impelled by the power of the Holy Ghost. If he be right, if the operations of the Holy Ghost are thus infallibly distinguisha. ble, then there is no reason to doubt that he was as capable as any other person of distinguishing them, that he did fol low the divine suggestions and not his own imagination, and of course must be acquitted of the charge of enthusiasm. Zeal, to whatever height it be raised, does not constitute an enthusiast, St. Paul being judge, for he says: "It is good to be zealously affected in a good thing." The zeal which is not according to knowledge, directed not by revelation but by the fancy, is the essential characteristick of the enthusi
It may be said that according to this view, Mr. W. was the subject of a special revelation, and that he was an inspired man. The present writer will not affirm that Mr. Wesley took this high ground, but it would seem that these positions result as a natural consequence from the admission that the influences of the Holy Ghost are distinguishable in the manner maintained by him and by many others. And if so, it is a consideration not to be overlooked in the inquiry as to the scriptural foundation of that opinion.
It is remarkable that as in the present work, so in some of the later writings of Wesley himself, and in those of his chief supporters, methodist theology, properly so called, has been in a great measure explained away. Those distinctive tenets respecting perfection and assurance, it would seem, could not bear the crucible of controversy May we not reasonably hope then that they will no longer be enforced either from the pulpit or the press, at least without such neutralizing explanations as may be considered to be recommend ed by the present official publication. Perhaps it may not be irrelevant to
mention, in this place, that it is the apostle John on whose authority the doctrine of perfection is asserted, who has said, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us," and that it is St. Paul to whom is attributed more particularly the doctrine of the assurance of personal forgiveness, who exhorts not merely mankind in general, but the disciples at Philippi, "to work out their salvation with fear and trembling." No churchman can be readily persuaded to embrace either of these tenets, if he has entered into the spirit of either of the "confessions," and it is remarkable, as if anticipating this objection, the work before us takes occasion to observe that "the services of the church" were designed not for the use of true Christians only, but of mixed congregations, and therefore abound in acts of confession and the expressions of fear and spiritual grief. But the whole force of this remark is done away by the fact, that the communion office, which was designed certainly not for a mixed congregation, contains expressions not less humiliating, and inconsistent with the assurance of forgiveness and the state of perfection, supposed to belong to the believer, than any other portion of the liturgy.*
The discipline established by Wesley, furnishes to Christians in general both warning and instruction. It is believed the strictures which it has excited will lead to some modification by
*There seems an inconsistency in believing the doctrine of "the assurance of personal forgiveness," and yet denying the doctrine of the assurance of eternal salvation as held by the Calvinist. If the Holy Spirit assures one man that he is forgiven, why may not he asply a man may fall away, and therefore the sure another that he will be saved. You reSpirit must speak conditionally. You then test the reality of the Spirit's speaking in this case by the scriptures; and why not test the reality of his speaking in every other case by the same standard, which is admitting that the operations of the Spirit are not per se distinguishable from the operations of the mind.
which it will lose some of its faults, and probably some of its spirit also. The successful propagation of methodism and the comparative harmony in its conferences, illustrate the importance of retaining the spiritual power in the hands of the clergy, and this ar. rangement shows at least the sentiment of Wesley on the subject after he had had full experienee of the advantages of lay preaching and indeed of the contrary system in several of its branches. Wesley rested the authority of his ministers on the presbyterian foundation, in truth he had no other, unless he had resorted to the congregational system, although it appears that he anxiously sought consecration from a Greek bishop, doubtless with the view of perpetuating his sect in a regular way. But that which is chiefly remarkable is, that though compelled to originate his society on the presbyterian model, he immediately gave to it an Episcopal form of government, as if convinced of the expediency thereof without entering into the higher consideration of its divine authority. To what extent methodism has promoted the cause of true religion, is a question which probably cannot be decided. The present age is not sufficiently impartial, and posterity must necessarily view it mingled with all those effects which have been brought about by an over-ruling Providence. Who will be competent to determine whether the good consequences which may arise are to be ascribed to this institution as the cause; or as the occasion which Providence has turned to the accomplishment of his beneficent Besides, who can know what would have been the state of things had this institution never exist
To the members of the Protestant Episcopal Church, the history of methodism is full of instruction. If they follow the light which by this medium has been afforded, it will soon cease to be a question whether this child has
It is said by
benefited her mother. the friends of Mr. Wesley that when he appeared the church of England was in a deplorable condition: that the clergy in general did not preach the doctrines of their own church and of the reformation, that there were many who did not adorn their profession in their lives, and, in short, that disgusted with the excesses of puritanism, they were gradually approaching to the excesses of libertinism. Reformation in the church was then the design originally of Wesley. The church in heaven is a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but in her militant state, exposed to the infection of a wicked world, she constantly needs, for her preservation from corruption and her progress in holiness, the zeal of her ministers and the prayers of her friends. Who then can disapprove the design of Wesley, whether the alleged peculiarity of his time be admitted or not? But in pursuit of his good purpose, did he use proper means? Did he not violate his ordination vows, occasion confusion in many parishes, and enter, as the apostle expresses it, into "another man's line?" See 2 Cor. x. 16. Did he not invade the rule which forbids the doing of evil that good may come? If he thought that his brethren in the ministry did not sufficiently feel their office, ought he not to have kindly expostulated with them, and endeavoured to persuade them to cooperate with him in the great undertaking on which he had entered. If he thought that there was a prevailing apathy on the subject of religion, could he not have awakened the publick in some way not inconsistent with his obligations to the church, and with those principles of order and subordination, essential not merely to her prosperity, but to her peace and existence. What a blessing might such a man have been, had he only adhered to those solid maxims of conduct which reason and religion alike inculcate.
found followers, (as other innovators have,) who carried his principles farther than he wished. This is natural. When the mind is taken from its anchor and set afloat, it is impossible to know in what direction and to what limit it will be carried. Let not this precedent speak in vain to churchmen. The means of grace are of divine appointment. Let us use them faithfully. They are sufficient. There would be no occasion to institute any new means of grace, even if we had authority to do so.
The offices in the church are of divine institution. Let us pray that they may be filled by suitable characters. But let us not add to their number or change them as if they were not sufficient for all the purposes which the divine wisdom contemplated. church is a society. In it the advantages of social religious improvement and worship may be attained, without creating any other association for ac complishing the same objects. tendency of these modern associations is to produce an undervaluing of the association divinely constituted first in the time of the patriarchs, then among the Hebrews, and lastly on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,Jesus Christ being the head. Their tendency also is to break down the distinction between the clergy and the laity, and such is the admission of the work before us.
He was the minister of a church whose faith and polity he approved, but he conceived that the spirit of its institutions was not sufficiently regarded. The proper course then was to address those in authority, as St. John did the seven angels of the seven churches, and in a regular way exert himself to effect the desired reformation. But it may be asked, are abuses not to be exposed? The reply is, abuses are not to be corrected by any method calculated to produce other abuses. It is not to be admitted that a reformation in the church is impracticable without violating those regulations which are of divine authority. If that reformation be necessary, doubtless divine Providence, as in the case of the English church separating from the Roman, will bring it about in a way consistent with the principles which he has himself prescribed. The press was open to Wesley, and so were many pulpits; indeed at first no pulpit was denied to him. These means he might have improved to their full extent. Even if he had confined his labours to some parish, the light of a zealous example would have gradually diffused itself over the whole kingdom. In this case he might not have been the founder of a sect, but he would have promoted,in no small degree, his original, and it may be added, most worthy object. The course he adopted was to minister within the precincts allot"Long before Mr. W's. ted to other ministers, and to institute death, a great number of the societies societies in which laymen were to ex- were anxious to have the sacrament ercise some of the offices belonging to from the hands of their own preachers," the sacred ministry, and there follow- and it will be recollected these preached as consequences, the excitement of ers were laymen, who had not even prejudicies against him and his cause; the semblance of ordination. Mr. W's. much opposition where there might great authority restrained them. "But have been co-operation; the confound- after his death it was out of the powing of all distinction between the layer of the conference to prevent the man and the clergyman in discharging administration of the sacrament to the functions of the priesthood; and the people by their own preachers." finally the establishment of a separate church-the rending anew of the body of Christ. Wesley undoubtedly did not anticipate these effects. But he
We have been told by high authority in an American church, that prayer meetings, as generally conducted, usually lead to an undervaluing of the li