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their labours by Mr. Hampson, in his Memoirs of 'Mr. Wesley: “ Their excursions (says he) through immense forests, abounding in trees of all sorts and sizes, were often highly romantic, Innumerable rivers and falls of water; vistas opening to the view, in contrast with the uncultivated wilds; deer now shooting across the road, and now scouring through the woods, while the eye was frequently relieved by the appearance of orchards and plantations, and the houses of gentlemen and farmers peeping through the trees, formed a scenery so various and picturesque, as to produce a variety of reflections, and present, we will not say to a philosophic eye, but to the mind of every reasonable creature, the most sublime and agreeable images. Their worship partook of the general simplicity. It was frequently coñducted in the open air. The woods resounded to the voice of the preacher, or to the singing of the numerous congregation, whilst the horses fastened to the trees, formed a singular addition to the solemnity. It was, indeed, a striking picture, and might naturally impress the mind with a retrospect of the antediluvian days, when the hills and vallies re-echoed the patriarchal devotions, and a Seth, or an Enoch, in the shadow of a projecting rock, or beneath the foliage of some venerable oak, delivered his primeval lectures, and was a preacher of righteousness to the people!”
The distinguishing principles of Methodism are, salvation by faith in Jesus Christ; perceptible, and in some cases instantaneous conversion ; and an assurance of reconciliation to God, with which, they say, the new birth, or being born again, is inseparably attended. On these doctrines they lay the utmost stress; and much curious information respecting these topics will be found in Dr. Haweis's History of the Church of Christ*. Several persons have written the Life of Mr. Wesley ; there is one by Mr. Hampson, another by Dr. Whitehead, and a third by Dr. Coke and Mr. Moore. Mr. Whitfield's Life was drawn up by the late Dr. Gillies, of Glasgow. Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitfield both published an account of their itinerant labours in this kingdom and in America. These sketches are entitled Journals, and though containing many strange things, serve to illustrate the principles and progress of Methodism. To conclude this article of the Methodists, in the words of Mr. Ilampson, in his Memoirs of Mr. · Wesley" If they possess not much knowledge, · which however we do not know to be the case, it is at least certain they are not deficient in zeal, . and without any passionate desire to imitate their
* This work, it is to be regretted, is deficient in references to authorities, the soul and substance of history..
example, we may at least commend their endeavours for the general good. Every good man will contemplate with pleasure the operation of the spirit of reformation, whether foreign or domestic, and will rejoice in every attempt to propagate Christianity in the barbarous parts of the world; an attempt, which, if in any tolerable degree successful, will do infinitely more for their civilization and happiness, than all the united energies of the philosophical infidels, those boasted benefactors of mankind.”
Dr. Priestley published a volume of Mr. Wesley's Letters, just after his decease, prefaced with an Address to the Methodists; where, after having freely expostulated with them respecting Their peculiarities, he gives them credit for their zcal and unwearied activity. The Methodists have found an advocate in William Wilberforce, Esq. M.P. who pleads their cause at some length in his Treatise on Vital Christianity*.
* The author of the Sketch thinks it proper here to notice the unchristian conduct of Mr. Benson, editor of the Methodist Magazine, in refusing the insertion of his reply to a most virulent attack upon him which appeared in that publication. Some scraps of it, indeed, after various expostulations, were introduced, accompanied with Mr. B's, remarks, with the view of doing away the impression on the minds of the readers: yet he concluded With saying, that he had now done the author of the Sketch justice! Wretched zealot! preposterous partizan! when shall the obliquities of party be sacrificed upon the altar of scriptural
Before this article relative to the Methodists is closed, it may be proper just to add, that a communication has been made me, respecting the Revival Meetings among the W'esleyan Methodists, where certain persons, under the influence of a religious phrenzy, occasion, by their groanings and vociferations, an uncommon degree of tumultand confusion. The more sensible, however, of the Methodists reprobate these disgraceful scenes. At Nottingham I witnessed them with astonishment; and there is a considerable number of them at Macclesfield, in Cheshire. Here they have just built a chapel. It is fer
Christianity ? ---The charge brought against the author of the Sketch was, that from the perusal of the work it could not be found out to which of the denominations there described, he belonged; in other words, acknowledging that he had done his duty to the public in not extolling his own sect at the expence of evée ry other ! Indeed Mr. B. had the assurance in conversation to tell him, that he wanted to prevent the Sketch being so much read by the Methodists, as it might lead them astray! Poor souls, they must not, it seems, read and judge for themselves! It is, however, some consolation to the author of the Sketch, that scveral sensible and worthy individuals among the Methodists have been greatly disgusted at this conduct of Mr. B. and hare reprobated it in appropriate terms. But, alas! the precept of the blessed Saviour-As ye would that men should do to you, wo ye also to them likewise, seems to have been excluded from the systeins of some professors of Christianity. Bishop Horne remarks, that a man may soon by great humility become the head of a sect, and then damn all the rest of the world in the very spirit of charity!
vently to be wished that such fanaticism may not continue long, and that some persons of respectability among them would interfere, so as to put an-end to practices, which cannot fail to strengthen the hands of infidelity, and afford matter of grief to all the friends of real and substantial piety.
NEW METHODISTS*. THE New Methodist Connection, among the followers of Mr. Wesley, separated from the original Methodists in 1797. The grounds of this separation they declare to be church government, and not doctrines, as affirmed by some of their opponents. They object to the old Methodists, for having formed a hierarchy or priestly corporation; and say, that in so doing, they have robbed the people of those privilèges, which, as members of a Christian church, they are entitled to by reason and Scripture. The New Methodists have therefore attempted to establish every part of their church government on popular princi"ples, and profess to have united as much as possible the ministers and the people in every department of it. This is quite contrary to the original government of the Methodists, which, in
. * This article was sent to the editor by a correspondent at Note tingham, and is inserted with a few alterations and omissions,