Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

وو

[ocr errors]

matter of fact, that God does ' now 'make good this is promise daily,' very frequently during a représentation (how made I know not, but not to the outward eye,) of Christ, 'either hangiug on the cross, or standing on the right hand of God." (Hamps. ii. 55.)-Again: '“I saw the fountain opened in his side-we have often seen Jesús Christ crucified, and evidently set forth before us.” (B. Lavingt. vol. i. part. i. p. 51) "And Coke, in his Life of Wesley, says, that

being in the utmost agony of mind, there was clearly représented to him Jesus Christ pleading for him with 'God the Father, and gaining a free pardon for him.”—-Secondly, as to "the tenet of perfection, Mr. Wesley affords us the

following ample explanation.-“ They” (the purified in heart) “are freed from self will: as desiring nothing, no not for a moment, but the holy and per'fect will of God: neither supplies in want, noreasein pain, nor life, nor death, but continually cry in their inmosť soul, Father, thy will be done.They are freed from evil thoughts, * so that they can

* That he, who could use such language as this, would feel it necessary to reject the fifteenth Article of the Church, as the reader is already apprised Mr. Wesley did, will not appear surprising on a perusal of that article.-“ Christ, in the truth of our nature, was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh and in his spirit. He came to be a lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made should take way the sins of the world: and sin, as St. John saith, not in him. But all we'the rest, although baptized and

was

not enter into them, no not for an instant. Aforetime, (i. e. when only justified) when an evil thought came in, they looked up, and it vanished away: but now it does not come in; there being no room for this in a soul, which is full of God. They are freed from wanderings in prayer: they have an unction from the Holy one, which abideth in them, and teacheth them every

born again in Christ, yet offend in many things : and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Such is the doctrine of the Established Church; and such is the direct contrary of the doctrine, which Mr. Wesley and his followers hold upon the subject of this ar. ticle: for which reason, they have with perfect consistency rejected it from their code of Christian belief. And, for the same reason, the cry of the party is every where loudly raised, against every work, that intimates the corruption of man's nature, in the language of the article.

As to the rejection of the Eighteenth Article, Mr. Wes. ley's language has not been so explicit, as to enable us to pronounce upon the precise ground of that rejection, with perfect certainty. But when we consider, that in that article there is contained, a condemnation of the assertion, " that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth;” and that it is at the same time affirmed, that “ Holy Scripture doth set out unto us, only the name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved:” and when at the same time we recollect, that “ the name of Jesus Christ” implies certain belief and doctrines respecting the nature of the Saviour and the religion which he has taught; whilst Mr. Wesley considers doctrines, or right opinions, to be of little value, and holds the religious feelings which distinguish the true Methodist to be the only sure pledge and passport of salvation :-when we compare these things together, we seem to run no great risque in concluding, that this article was condemned by the founder of Mctho.

hour what they shall do, and what they shall speak.” -(Pref. to 2d vol. of Wesley's hymns, Hamps. iii. 52, and Coke's life of Wes. pp. 278, 344).

These extracts from the writings of the father of Methodism, fairly open up to us the two great fundamental doctrines of the sect: viz. 1. That the assurances of forgiveness and of salvation, arise from a sudden infusion of divine feeling, conveyed by some sensible and miraculous manifestation of the spirit: and 2d. That the true believer attains in this life such perfection, as to be altogether free from sin, and even from the possibility of sin. Holding such doctrines, it is not at all wonderful that the Wesleian Methodist is indifferent about every other. Mr. Wesley fairly says upon the subject of doctrines, “ I will not quarrel with you about any opinion: believe them true or false.(Third Appeal, p. 135.) In another place, he confesses, “ the points we chiefly insisted upon were, that Orthodoxy, or Right Opinions, is, at best a very slender part

dism, as clearly marking, that religious opinions were by no means a matter of indifference; that on the contrary just notions concerning Christ were requisite for salvation ; and that for the want of these, no association with any particular sect or religious description whatever could make compensation,

of Religion, * if it can be allowed to be any part of it at all!!!"— This, it must be admitted, is an excellent expedient for adding to the numbers of the sect. A perfect indifference about doctrines, and a strong persuasion that the divine favour is secured, whilst the fancy of each individual is counted to him for faith, are such recommendations of any form of religion, as can scarcely be resisted. But what can be more mischievous than all this? What more destructive of true religion? The sound principles of Christian Doctrine disparaged, as of no value to the believer: and the serious feelings of Christian Piety caricatured, and thereby brought into general disrepute: whilst the sober and regulated teaching of the national Clergy is treated with contumely and contempt; and separation from the national Church deemed a decisive criterion of godly sincerity!- In the contemplation of such a state of things, it seems as if one were surveying the completion of the following prospective description given to us by Sir Walter Raleigh. " When” says he, “ all order, discipline and Church government shall be left to newness of opinion, and men's fancies; soon after, as many kinds of Religion will spring up as there are parish churches within England; every conten

* On this favourite position of Mr. Wesley, Bishop Warburton justly remarks, that here is a complete separation between reason and religion. For when reason is no longer employed to distinguish right from wrong opinions, religion has no further connexion with it.

But reason once separated from religion, must not piety degenerate either into nonsense or madness? And for the fruits of grace what can remain but the froth and dregs of enthusi, asm and superstition? In the first ages of Christianity, the glory of the Gospel consisted in its being a reasonable ser. vice. By this it was distinguished from the several modes of Gentile religion, the essence of which consisted in fana. tic raptures and superstitious ceremonies; without any articles of belief or formula of faith: right opinion being, on the principles of the Pagan priesthood, at best, but a very slender part of religion, ij any part of it at all. But Christianity arose on different principles. St. Paul considers right opinion as one full third part of religion, where speak, ing of the three great fundamental principles on which the Christian Church is erected, he makes truth to be one of them. The fruit of the Spirit is in all GOODNESS, RIGH. TEOUSNESS, and TRUTH.-So different was St. Paul's idea, from that entertained of Christianity by Mr. Wesley, who comprises all in the new birth, and makes believing to con, sist entirely in feeling. On the whole, therefore, we may fairly conclude, (with Warburton) that that wisdom which divests Christianity of truth and reason, and resolves its essence rather into mental and spiritual sensations, than tries it by moral demonstration, can never be the wisdom which is from above, whose first characteristic attribute is

purity. The same writer truly adds, that if Mr. Wesley's position be well founded, the first Reformers of Religion from the errors of Popery, have much to answer for: who, for the sake of right opinion, at best a slender part of ree ligion, if any part of it at all, occasioned so much turmoil, and so many revolutions in civil as well as in religious sys. tems.--See Warburton's Principles of Nat. and Rev. Religion, vol. i. p. 263-267.

« PoprzedniaDalej »