« PreviousContinue »
ably taught the pernicious error, that vital religion consists in spiritual feeling or experience; and he also encouraged an equally dangerous delusion, that “absolute perfection," or a " total freedom from sin,” is attainable in this life. These notions have a much nearer affinity to Calvinism than the teachers or believers of them imagine; but in fact, without some such fallacies to mislead weak minds, it is impossible that Methodism in either of its divisions can stand.
I perfectly agree with your excellent correspondent, that, if Mr. Wesley separated from the Church of England without any reason, with respect to doctrines, that is, without supposing the doctrines of that Church to be sufficiently Calvinistic, as he must have done if he was an Arminian, it will be difficult to reconcile his separation with honesty."
It certainly does no honour to the integrity of this eccentric man, that while he continued to profess a warm attachment to the Church of England, and always told his followers, at least publicly, that it was their duty to continue in communion with their parish churches, he organized and increased a most formidable schism. I am firmly convinced, from a particular acquaintance I have had with many of the leading persons in Mr. Wesley's connection, that if he had taken another course, and had directly recommended a separation from the Church, his sect would have been comparatively very small. Numbers joined the Methodistical societies, from a persuasion that they should thereby become such Christians, both in doctrine and in life, as the Church of England required her members to be. After they were entangled in the mystical mazes of religious error, their regard for the principles and ordinances of the Church became weaker ; till at last these things were considered as “ beggarly elements," when compared with the exalted heights to which they had arrived.
Mr. Wesley was not ignorant of this. He was well acquainted with human nature; and no man knew better how to manage his converts according to their particular inclinations and ways of thinking. The great mass of his followers consisted at first of such as were members of, and sincere friends to, the Church of England. These he deluded, by his pretensions to a mighty zeal for the doctrine and ordinances of the Church. In time, however, and when he had thoroughly systematized a sect, of which Vol. X. Churchm. Mag. May 1806.
he was little less than Sovereign Pontiff, he began to take greater liberties. For instance, he had the assurance to Te-baptize some of his scrupulous people by immersion ; because, as it seems, he was fearful that they were about to join the Mennonites, from an apprehension that their own baptism in infancy by sprinkling was not valid *. He also introduced the practice of confession among his bands, or 'select societies; wherein the junior disciples were required, on pain of expulsion, to confess periodically, not only their faults, but their irregular thoughts and desires. This practice, as far as it relates to morals, aud the good order of society, is worse than the auricular confession of the Romish Church.
He revived the Agapa of the ancients, without considering the danger of promiscuously assembling persons of both sexes together at midnight, under the pretence of encouraging brotherly and sisterly affection.
In addition to these innovations, so completely at variance with the sober regulations of the Church; he assum-. ed, without authority, the episcopal character; and not only laid hands on his preaching mechanics, but even took upon himself to appoint bishops ! !Such a bishop, if I may so prostitute the term, is Dr. Thomas Coke;
who has succeeded to the superintendance of the Wesleian societies. Yet this man still calls himself a member and minister of the Church of England ; and that with just as much consistency and propriety, as his quondain master did, or as the itinerating rector of Aldwinėle may now be called the bishop of Spa-fields.
Is it not very extraordinary, or rather is it not a barefaced insult, that such men shall continue to be called True Churchmen? And is it not to be lamented, that "men of this description should be permitted to preach in our churches, when their whole practice tends openly tó overthrow our ecclesiastical establishment ?
Yet I have heard this same Dr. Coke preach what are called Charity Sermons, in this metropolis, on which-occasions the churches have been crowded by multitudes from the conventicles in Moorfields, Queen-street, &c.
At the end of Toplady's
. Historic Proof, a remarkable instance of this is recorded, with the name and residence of the person who underwent the ceremony, which was performed in a cellar, at a cheesemonger's house in Spitalfields. It is certain, that many of the Baptist preachvers and congregations at present consist of such as have been forinerly in connexion with the Wesleian Methodists,
I remember a few years ago, when the doctor was engaged in making his visitation in the West of England, he came to a town where I then happened to be; and one of his admirers, who, by the bye, was churchwarden of the place, applied to the rector to allow the doctor the use of his pulpit. The rector, who was a very good-natured man, was almost inclined to grant the request; but mentioning the matter to me, I earnestly conjured him, if he had any regard for his own peace, or for the unity and order of the church, not to give such a countenance to schism. I also related to him the above circunstances, of which he was before ignorant; and I represented as well as I could, the danger of giving encouragement to these clerical itinerants ; who are sure, wherever they go, to cause a division in parishes, by alienating the people from their lawful pastors. The consequence of this remonstrance was a refusal on the part of my friend, who, as well as myself, received no small abuse from the tub of the preacher at the neighbouring conventicle.
I am, &c. May 4, 1806.
ON Acts ii. 2, S, &c.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
SIR, STAND corrected (in part) by your respectable cor
respondent Mr. Pearson. The parallel passages of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are clear evidence of the meaning of John ii. 15; and I undoubtedly ought to have referred to them. But I wrote in a hurry; though how far that ought to acquit me of the oversight, I am doubtful. One thing, however, should be noticed, that I did not say, or mean to say, that John ii. 15, ought to be
so rendered, but that such a rendering, I believed, was not inconsistent with the idiom of the Greek language. I am so far still of the same opinion; but the parallel passages cited by Mr. P. put it oat of all doubt, what was actually the meaning of the writer in the place alluded to, which is all that we are concerned about.
I am sorry I cannot equally coincide with Mr. P. in his opinion of the proper rendering of drapegoSopeevæv, Acts ii. 3, The tautology Mr. P.speaks of, is not so strong, I think, as to form an objection to the word being rendered as I proposed : dieuplego šouevas may imply, that the tongues were dispersed or distributed, and 10 éve, &c. the proportion or degree in which they were so distributed. But even, if the passage so rendered could not be vindicated according to the strict rules of criticism, from a charge of tautology, I confess it would not weigh very much with me. I do not look for a scrupulous adherence to the refined rules of classic compositiop in the sacred writers; and have met with many passages (in the Psalms in particular) which cannot be exempted from the charge in question, In reference to Mr. P.'s mode of explaining the word, I must think, that lambency forms no part of the idea suggested by it. I cannot immediately refer to the
pas. sages, but sure I am, I have met with them somewhere in the chorusses of the Greek tragedies, where the lam: bency of flame is expressed by very dissimilar words.
Allow me now, Mr. Editor, to change sides, and rindicate the gentleman I have been opposing. I am sensible I run the risque of a non tali eget aurilio from him; but I am always glad to shew my concurrence with so able and judicious a writer. I have long thought with him, that our Burial Service, in certain expressions, is liable to just exception on particular occasions. The remark of your correspondent V.O.O. (see p. 271. last No.) does not apply, I apprehend, to the part objected to by Mr. P. The exception taken is to the epithet “ dear ;" which as applied to notorious sininérs, cannot be used in its genuine and appropriate sepse, without a confounding of affections, and a violation of the moral feeling: “sincerely regretted brother” would be more consonant to truth, and would more accurately express the measure or degree of benevolent feeling, which one naturally experiences to wards the unhappy. objects. ".Of kis great mercy,” is also an exceptionable expression, if considered as
of universal application. How do we know that an
I am, Sir,
Your well wisher,
QUERY RESPECTING MR. GRANVILLE SHARP's Rule.
TO THĘ EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN's
Request, that some of your correspondents, who have
entered into the question of Mr. Granville Sharp's Rule more than I have yet had an opportunity of doing, will have the goodness to consider, whether the following passages of Scripture be consistent with the universality of it! Εποικοδομηθελες επι τω θεμελιων των αποφολων και προφηβων.