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was the “victory which overcometh the world.” Here was the “death of the body of sin.” Here was “redemption from all iniquity,” into the “glorious liberty of the children of God.” At this time, the appropriate office of the Holy Spirit presented itself to my mind with a distinctness and interest never understood nor felt before. To know Christ was the life of the soul. To“ take of the things of Christ and show them unto us;" to open our hearts to understand the Scriptures ; to strengthen us with might in the inner man, that we might comprehend the “breadth, and depth, and length, and height, and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” and thus be “ filled with all the fulness of God,"—is the appropriate office of the Spirit. The highway of holiness was now, for the first time, rendered perfectly distinct to my mind. The discovery of it was to my mind as “life from the dead.” The disclosure of this path had the same effect upon others who had been, like myself, “ weary,” “ tossed with tempest, and not comforted.” As my supreme attention was thus fixed upon Christ ; as it became the great object of my being to know Him, and be transformed into His likeness ; and as I was perpetually seeking that Divine illumination by which I might apprehend Him,—an era occurred in my experience, which I have no doubt will ever be one of the most memorable in my entire existence. In a moment of deep and solemn thought, the veil seemed to be lifted, and had a vision of the infinite glory and love of Christ, as manifested in the mysteries of redemption. I will not attempt to describe the effect of that vision upon iny mind. All that I would say is, that, in view of it, my heart melted, and flowed out like water. The heart of stone was taken away, and a heart of love and tenderness assumed its place. From that time I have desired to “know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” I have literally “ esteemed all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord;" and the knowledge of Christ has been eternal life begun in my heart.
Now, when the Lord Jesus Christ was thus held up among us, by myself and others, a brother in the ministry arose in one of our meetings, and remarked that there was one question to which he desired that a definite answer might be given. It is this: “When we look to Christ for sanctification, what degree of sanctification may we expect from Him? May we look to Him to be sanctified wholly or not ?" We were bound, as pupils of the Holy Spirit, to give a scriptural answer. We did not attempt to give a definite answer to it during that time. With that question before us, a brother and myself came to New-York, and spent most of the winter together in prayer and the study of the Bible. The great inquiry with us was, What degree of holiness may we ourselves expect from Christ, when we exercise faith in Him? and in what light shall we present Him to others as a Saviour from sin ? We looked, for example, at such passages as this,-passages of which the Bible is full, -“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly ; and I pray
God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” We looked at such passages, I say, and asked ourselves this question : Suppose an honest inquirer after holiness comes to us, and asks of us,—What degree of holiness is here promised to the believer? May I expect, in view of this prayer and promise, that God will sanctify me wholly, and preserve me in that state till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ?—what answer shall we give him? Shall we tell him that merely partial and not perfect holiness is here promised, and that the former, and
VOL. VI.--FOURTHI SERIES.
not the latter, he is here authorised to expect? After looking prayerfully at the testimony of Scripture, in respect to the provisions and promises of Divine grace, we were constrained to admit, that but one answer to the above question could be given from the Bible ; and the greatest wonder with me is, that I have been so long a “master of Israel," and have never before “known these things.” Since that time we have never ceased to proclaim the redemption of Christ as a full redemption. Nor do we expect to cease, till Christ shall call us home. For myself, I am willing to proclaim it to the world, that I now look to the very God of peace to sanctify me wholly, and preserve my whole spirit, and soul, and body, blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I put up this prayer with the expectation that the very things prayed for will be granted. Reader, is that confidence misplaced? In expecting that blessing, am I leaning upon a broken reed, or upon the broad promise of God ?
There is one circumstance connected with my recent experience, to which I desire to turn the special attention of the reader. I would here say that I have for ever given up all idea of resisting temptation, subduing any lust, appetite, or propensity, or of acceptably performing any service for Christ, by the mere force of my own resolutions. If my propensities, which lead to sin, are crucified, I know that it must be done by an indwelling Christ. If I overcome the world, this is to be the victory, even our faith.” If the great enemy is to be overcome, it is to be done “ by the blood of the Lamb."
Believing, as I now do, that the Lord Jesus Christ has provided special grace for the entire sanctification of every individual, for the subjection of all his propensities, for a perfect victory over every temptation and incentive to sin, and for rendering us, in every sphere and condition in life, all that He requires us to be; the first inquiry with me is, In what particular respects do I need the grace of Christ? What is there, for example, in my temper that needs correcting? Wherein am I in bondage to appetite, or to any of my propensities? What are the particular responsibilities, temptations, &c., incident to each particular sphere and condition in life in which the providence of God has called me to act? What is the temper that I ought there to manifest, so that I may everywhere, and under all circumstances, reflect the image of Christ ?
Thus, having discovered my special necessity, in any one of the particulars above referred to, my next object is, to take some promise applicable to the particular exigency before me, and go directly to Christ for the supply of that particular necessity. By having the eye of faith perpetually fixed upon Christ in this manner ; by always looking to Him for special grace in every special exigency ; yes, for “grace to help in every time of need,”—how easy it is to realise in our own blessed experience the truth of all the “exceeding great and precious promises” of Divine grace ! How
easy it is to have “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” to “keep our heart and mind through Christ Jesus.” Our“ peace” is then “as a river," and our “righteousness as the waves of the sea.” The inind seems to be borne upward and onward, as upon an ocean of light, peace, and blessedness, which knows no bounds.
“O glorious change! 'tis all of grace,
By bleeding love bestow'd
To bring them home to God;
And now, reader, “my heart's desire and prayer to God” for you is, that you may know this full redemption. If you will cease from all efforts of your own, and bring your sins, and sorrows, and cares, and propensities which lead into sin, to Christ, and cast them all upon Him; if, with implicit faith, you will hang your whole being upon Him, and make it the great object of life to know Him, for the purpose of receiving and reflecting His image-you will find that all the “exceeding great and precious promises” of His Word are, in your own blissful experience, a living reality. The waters that Christ shall give you “shall be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” You shall have a perpetual and joyful victory over “ the world, the flesh, and the devil.” “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” “There is no want to them that fear Him.” And, reader, when your cup is once filled with the love of Christ, you will then say with truth, “The half has not been told me.” “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
A GOVERNOR OF NEWGATE.
BOSWELL tells an anecdote of his esteemed friend Akerman, characteristic of the prison-world at that time. A fire broke out in that part of Newgate in which the officers lived : this was before the present buildings were erected. The prisoners, seeing the flames, became alarmed for their own safety, and rushed to the gate, shouting, “ Down with it! We shall be burnt !” It was a moment of great excitement, and the men were about to carry their shouts into effect, when Akerman appeared at the grill, and commanded silence. After a little confusion, they allowed him to speak. He told them, with great calmness, that the gate must not go down; that they were under his care, and not a man of them should be suffered to escape. But he could assure them that the fire was not in the prison, properly so called, which was built entirely of stone ; and there was no danger. If they would behave quietly, he said he would come in to them, and remain with them until they were convinced that the danger was past. To this they agreed. He then ordered them to fall back from the gate : it was lowered, and he stepped in. Then, turning to the under-keeper, who now stood on the other side of the grill, he commanded him, in a resolute tone, not to open the gate on any account, not even if the prisoners should compel him to give the order for it. Having shown them in this manner that he would die with them rather than allow a general escape, he conducted them by passages, of which he carried the keys, to a part of the gaol farthest from that where the fire was raging; and, having brought them into a place of safety, addressed them,—“Gentlemen, you are now convinced that I told you true. I have no doubt the engines will soon extinguish this fire : if they do not, a guard will come, and you shall all be taken out, and lodged in the Compter. I assure you, upon my word and honour, that I have not a farthing insured. I have left my house that I might take care of you. I will keep my promise, and stay with you, if you insist upon it; but if you will allow me to go and look after my family and property, I shall be much obliged to you.” This appeal went home, and they all cried out for him to go. Happily, no further mischief was done by the fire.-The London Prisons.
THE ECLECTIC REVIEW AND THE WESLEYANS.* To what are we to ascribe the now undeniable hostility of English Dissenters to Wesleyan Methodism and Methodists? The fact, we repeat, is undeniable. That there may be, and that there are, exceptions,—and, when we consider the character of the hostility, we cannot but call them honourable exceptions,—we know, and readily acknowledge. Ministers and laymen among the Dissenters there are who lament the attacks that are from time to time, and in various forms, made by their brethren and co-religionists on Methodism : but either they constitute a very small minority, or they place their friendship in such abeyance as to appear to
To what is this hostility owing? That it is not provoked by a similar line of conduct, we fearlessly assert. The controversies of a former age have ceased. Even into these neither Wesley nor Fletcher entered with any eagerness, and they withdrew from them as soon as their object was attained. In the virulence with which Arminian Wesleyanism was frequently attacked, we perhaps see, if not the germs, yet the indication of more recent assaults. By the Weslevs the great scriptural doctrine of God's love to mankind, in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, was revived and maintained. All their discourses were founded upon it. All their labours were animated by it. Adopting the very language of St. Paul, they could say, “ The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” This was the source of their zeal. Christ died for all; therefore all were dead, and needed that the awakening, the encouraging, yet alarming, ministry of reconciliation should be addressed to them. And, thus borne onwards by Christ's love, they went forth into the streets and lanes and highways, proclaiming, “ All things are ready ; come ye to the marriage.” And their preaching was peculiar; and its peculiarity was one of the main reasons of its power and success on the neglected masses of England's population. They did not preach like men who, having before them a mixture of rubbish with steel-filings, passed a powerful magnet over the surface, which attracted the metal and left the dust behind; as seems to have been the case with those who had shared in the religion of the revival, but who had embraced a thoroughgoing Calvinism, and identified—as too many of their successors do nowits distinctive peculiarities with the Gospel, so as to regard the Wesleys, though on all other points as orthodox and evangelical as themselves, as heretics, deserving excommunication, and against whom Christendom ought to thunder its condemnation. We never recur to the writings of Toplady, and Hill, and their assistants, without being forcibly reminded of the saying of the able and devoted Bengelius, that they who figure to themselves a despotic God, will be themselves despotic. The Wesleys and Fletchers of that day entered into controversy not so much in their own defence as to vindicate those truths which gave life and soul to their ministry, and enabled them, when they stood before a congregation, to regard every member of it as belonging to that world in love to which God had given his Son; to that literal “ all,” as a ransom for whom the Son had given himself. There was, therefore, nothing restrictive in their
* 1. Methodism as it is. Reprinted from the Eclectic Review for August, 1846. 12mo., pp. 31. Ward and Co.
2. Wesleyan Agitation : its Rise and Progress. Eclectic Review for May, 1850. Article viii.
preaching. They could stretch out their unbound hands to the widest extent in beseeching sinners to be reconciled to God. In the full conviction of an enlightened understanding, and with an overflowing heart, they
“Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast ;
Let every soul be Jesu's guest ;
“Sent by my Lord, on you I call;
The invitation is to ALL:
All things in Christ are ready now.
His conquering love consent to feel ;
“ This is the time, no more delay;
This is the acceptable day;
For preaching thus, their names were cast out as evil; but they defended themselves with other weapons than those employed by their assailants. It is not true that Wesley and Fletcher went to the armoury used by Hill and Toplady. And the power of their arguments was shown by success. Calvinists preach like Arminians now. The points of difference are carried farther back, and placed among the mysteries of the Spirit's influence. That Christ died for all, is on all hands admitted. Nor even on the remaining differences, great and essential as they are, have we shown an eagerness for controversy. In these days of Missionary zeal, and of reviving Popery, we have attached too much value to the peace and union of the churches to be ready to interrupt it. The enemy is at the gates ; a great work has to be done: till the work indicated by each has been accomplished, we have thought we might well postpone the renewal and settlement of the quinquarticular controversy.
Had the principles of an unrelenting hostility to the Calvinian Dissenting churches been alive amongst us, have there been no disputes, no agitations among them, collectively and severally, of which we might have availed ourselves? Have opportunities been wanting for aiding factions, extending division, strengthening animosity, and thus far contributing to the weakness and diminution of the influence of our opponents? We fearlessly assert that just the contrary has been the fact. And when the Connexional character of Wesleyanism is remembered, it will be seen that of those who have been employed in its administration, the very policy has been—the public, undisguised policy—so to engage in the great duties of the common Christian ministry, as to be, at the same time, THE FRIENDS OF ALL, THE ENEMIES OF NONE.
Controversies on forms of ecclesiastical polity we have not stirred up. Believing our own to be consistent with the great principles of the New Testament, we have, as far as possible, let others alone : we have always done so when they have let us alone. Against the exclusive claims of an earlier High Churchism, and of more recent Tractarianism, we have defended ourselves, as it was our duty to do. The exclusive, unchurching,