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Wesley's Works, and particularly his Sermons, contain the most comprehensive, the deepest, the most experimental and practical body of divinity to be found in the English language. Disdaining the ornaments of rhetoric, and despising the applause of man as the reward of his labours, he simply aimed at truth; and when ascertained, he unfolded it in language chaste, energetié, perspicuous and strong. His eloquence is the eloquence of truth, warmly addressed to the understandings and consciences of men. While he unfolds the attributes and perfections of God, displays the character and offices of the Redeemer, and points to the energies of the Holy Spirit as the efficient cause of every thing good, he lays open the nakedness and depravity of the human heart; and he leaves you not until he leads you to the atoning blood, transforms you into the likeness of Christ, fills you with perfect love, takes you around the circle of all civil and religious duties, and opens to your enraptured soul the kingdom of ineffable glory. You cannot read him, if you have any taste for solid truth, for a chaste, an elegant and a classic style, for experimental and practical divinity, without profit and delight. He is never dull or insipid; never dry and uninteresting; but always lively, energetić, plain, and possesses the rare and happy talent of making you commence with your own heart and with your God. Though his discourses are not written in a systematical order, yet they contain a concise and scriptural view of every doctrine of the gospel, and explain, in a pointed and perspicuous manner, all the individual and social duties of man. For a correct knowledge of the great doctrines of God our Saviour, therefore, you need only read Wesley.
But for the sake of variety and general improvement, you may read also Saurin and Masillon. Saurin will inspire you with a spirit of sermonizing; and Masillon will teach you, in addition to a lofty and florid style—which is not best adapted to the pulpit-to analyze the human heart. Blair will furnish you with a . worthy sample of language and of pulpit oratory; but he is not to be taken as a guide in divinity. His excellent colleague, Walker, will unite purity of style and sentiment, and teach you to mingle piety in all your public and private exercises. Baxter will make your soul revolve upon itself, and enter into a minute examination of all its desires, and motives, and actions.
The beloved, the able, the pious, and the indefatigable Fletcher, will instruct you in polemical divinity. Of all polemical writers, he is to be preferred for the spirit and manner in which he put to flight his antagonists. Other writers may teach you the art of disputing; they may succeed in rescuing the truth from the mazes of error, and learn you how to wield a logical argument to the best advantage in defence of orthodoxy; but while Fletcher does all this in the most masterly manner, he makes you love and respect your adversary, and learns you to distinguish between the
person of your combatant and the cause he has espoused. He does more-he makes you think meanly of yourself, brings you to the feet of the Saviour, makes you acquainted with your own heart, and gives you no rest until you surrender yourself entirely to the direction of that truth he so ably defends. In addition to this, he wakes up all the dormant faculties of your soul, makes you think, reason, deliberate, and decide, for yourself. While, impelled on by the force and impetuosity of his arguments, you are ready to leap on your antagonist and crush him beneath your feet, you are instantly arrested with a sight of yourself, of your weakness and dependence, and you are lead to deplore those frailties of human nature which make men swerve from the truth; and while compassion awakens in your breast, you are presented with the all-compassionate Saviour, who is ready to heal your wounds and to strengthen you again for the combat. His “Checks to Antinomianism," though professedly controversial, and as such have shed a flood of light over the horizon of evangelical truth, are pervaded with a spirit of love; and while your understanding is enriched with the lucid arguments, illustrated as they are by the most striking, lively, and apt metaphors and comparisons, your heart is inflamed with love to God and man. Read Fletcher, then, but do not forget Wesley.
For the defence of some of the particular doctrines of the gospel, you will select particular treatises. Wesley on Original Sin, and Fletcher's Appeal to matter of fact and common sense, will fully evince the natural and hereditary depravity of man.
Wese ley's and Coke’s Sermons on the Divinity of Christ, are both good. If you wish a more enlarged view of this momentous subject, Wardlow on the Socinian Controversy is the best. Horseley against Priestley may be read with interest and profit.
Study well this subject. It lies at the foundation of your system. It forms, in fact, the most prominent peculiarity of the Christian doctrine. Do not, therefore, let the enemy find you unprepared upon this point. Christ is God or we are all å set of fools; and Christianity is worse than nothing for perplexing the minds of men with contradictory notions about a thing of no importance. The doctrine of atonement, of the influence of the Holy Spirit, of regeneration, stands or falls with the divinity of Christ. But after all your reading, you will do well to remember that the doctrine is to be supported by plain, positive, scripture testimony. Consult, therefore, all those texts which bear upon this point, for yourself, and have them always ready for use. Thus saith the Lord, is better than a thousand comparisons, reasonings, or human assertions.
On the doctrine of Repentance, Justification, and Sanctification, you can find no authors who have illustrated those subjects with greater clearness and accuracy, than Wesley and Fletcher. If you wish to heighten the beauty, and to enhance the worth, of VOL. I.
truth, by contrasting it with its opposite, you may find shades enough-Calvin, Edwards, and Hopkins, will each contribute his share. You need not, however, reject what is good in these authors on account of the bad. Sherlock upon Providence and on death, and Porteus' Lectures, contain much excellent matter. Sellon will help you to many useful hints on the Calvinistic controversy; but his pen was not dipt so deep in the oil of love as was that of Fletcher. Taylor and Law will teach you the art of holy living; and Baxter, while he opens your understanding, and makes
think and reason, winds around your heart, makes you ashamed of sin, and forces you to pronounce condemnation upon spiritual sloth; and, if you be not past hope, awakens all your faculties to holy meditation and prayer. His Reformed Pastor is a two-edged sword. It is neglected merely because it is too sharp!
On the subject of Infant Baptism, Wesley, Edwards, Moore and Merritt, will be sufficient.
If you have made a good use of your time, and have sedulously consulted the principal part of the authors already recommended, you
will be able to select for yourself such miscellaneous reading as may be necessary for your continual improvement. A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences should be in your possession. The New Edinburgh Encyclopædia is the most impartial. But if, after all, you contract no relish for study, and are making no advances in wisdom and knowledge, I advise you to give up the pursuit, and return to some employment that is more congenial to your sordid mind. Never think of palming yourself upon the public as a teacher of religion, when you yourself will not be taught.
It may seem somewhat strange to some that we should include all the doctrines of the gospel among the internal evidences of Christianity. The reason is, that we consider all truth as shining by its own light. It only needs to be exhibited and to be perceived, in order to be embraced. Let, therefore, Christianity be presented to the mind in its own native lustre, and it will convince every intelligent mind of its truth and importance. It is only because its peculiar glories have been either hid or obscured, by the smoke and dust of error, that it has been rejected. Let this bright Sun of truth but shew itself, and its divine glories will eclipse the glory of every other system of religion, and make its truth and excellency be felt by the weight of its own internal testimony.
(To be continued.)
Religious and Missionary Intelligence.
(The following has been inadvertently delayed until now.)
Rahway, N. J. April 18, 1822. DEAR BROTHER,
EVERY instance of the love of God manifested in the awakening and conversion of souls, cannot but be interesting to all who rejoice in the salvation of mankind. And if the reading of such manifestations affords pleasure, how much more gratifying must it be to those“ who go forth weeping, bearing precious seed to be able to return, bringing their sheaves with them.”
It is with some degree of this pleasure that I communicate to you the manner in which the Lord has visited Essex circuit, during the past year. At almost all the appointments on this circuit, we have evident indications of a work of God, and in some of them, showers of divine grace have already descended, particularly on the northern part of the circuit. Numbers have been converted, and a society of twenty members has been formed in the mountains, a place notorious for immorality. At another place, where we were held in the utmost contempt, we have succeeded in forming a class of sixteen members. Near Woodbridge, a gracious reformation has commenced, and twenty-two have been admitted into society, and the work is still progressing. About one hundred and fifty have been received into the church, most of whom give evidence of being renewed, since last Spring. Most of these are persons who have passed the meridian of life. At present the circuit is in a flourishing condition. “The inhabitants of the rock sing, and shout from the top of the mountains."
pray for the peace of Jerusalem," and remember, that
S. S. KENARD
they shall 6
REVIVAL OF RELIGION IN WASHINGTON CITY.
To the Editors of the Methodist Magazine.
Washington, Nov. 18, 1822. DEAR BRETHREN,
By giving the enclosed account of the greatest revival of religion ever witnessed in this city, an insertion in your Magazine, you will oblige many of your subscribers, and no doubt gratify all the friends of Zion into whose hands it may fall. D.
“ The congregation in this city, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Y. T. Peyton of the Methodist Episcopal Church, has been
recently favoured with a gracious revival of religion. Since the 1st «f July last, two hundred and twenty persons have joined the church, nearly all of whom have given the most satisfactory proofs of a sound conversion and thorough reformation. The chapel is still crowded with attentive and serious hearers; the work progresses, with little, if not without any, intermission; and appearances are calculated to encourage the hope that there will shortly be a considerable accession to the number already received.
“The benefits of this revival have extended to other congregations, and it is believed that its influence, in a greater or less degree, is felt throughout the district. The Foundry congregation in particular, has had a considerable increase, both in number and piety. The Lord is in the midst of Zion. Jehovah blesses his people. May the Prince of Peace ride on; and for every conquest receive the glory!”
Upper-Sandusky, Wyandut Reservation, Dec. 2, 1822
PERMIT me to lay before you some particulars respecting the Wyandot Mission at Upper Sandusky, which, if you deem expedient, may be published in your Magazine.
At the last Ohio Conference I was appointed Missionary for this place; and the Rev James B. Finley, my predecessor here, who rides the district in which it is included, superintends the Mission, and visits us once a quarter. On the 5th of October, I and my wife arrived here, after travelling two hundred miles from our former circuit, and commenced our Missionary labours under such trials as are usual on such occasions. Great things, under God, have been already done here. Upwards of sixty persons of this nation belong to our church, most of whom, in all appearance, are sincere and happy Christians; walking in all the commandments of God to the best of their knowledge and power. The greater part has continued five years in the Christian path, and there are as few instances of unsteadiness and apostacy among them, in my opinion, as among most of white people. There are now several very zealous, and comparatively, well informed exhorters, who speak to their people with warmth, judgment and effect. After the preacher has finished his sermon by the interpreter, each of them for the most part, gives his exhortation, and very frequently accompanied with tears, which has a very good effect, for they confirm what the preacher says, and generally take up some part of his discourse, as the subject of their exhortation. The most influential, and greater part of this nation, are now Christians, either in theory or practice. But there is an opposite party who oppose Christianity, and are attached to their old heathenish superstitions and traditions, whose cause is fast declining. Christianity by being properly and perseveringly inculcated, will finally prevail over all these.
As to the state of the school, little has been done before this year, unless by way of preparation. My worthy predecessor did as much as possibly could be done by any person in that way. Our school commenced, October 22d : on the 27th we had eight children. On the 4th of November, we had eighteen : on the 13th, we had twenty-seven: and we have now thirty-seven scholars, all of whom, except two, board with us. The children are learning very fast, all things considered. It is needless to insist that the instruction of these children is of great importance, as this must appear plain to every person of consideration. They will be here taught to read, and perhaps to write, and some other parts of education. They shall by this means be qualified to read the bible for themselves, and