Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

pleases ? Is it true—the actual working of the entire system, in all its parts, being taken into the account—that “this unique body” “exercises & sovereign sway in all the affairs of the community ?” We again say that he whose statements are thus partial and defective, and whose animating spirit, in the construction of his sentences, is the assumption of the validity of the objections which he entertains against the system he professes to describe, and which he only sees in the point of view in which those objections place it, is censor est et definitor controversiarum, non historicus. It is not with such writers, surely, that we are called to engage in a regular controversy.

We just quote another brief sentence, illustrative of the manner in which this author writes history. He is speaking of the power of one man, whom he describes as a permanent dictator, and gives a brief sketch of his life. Referring to some anonymous critic on Dr. Bunting's character and proceedings, he says,

“ As a ruler, he is deemed despotic both by nature and from art. This temper is thought to have involved him in numerous Wesleyan broils, in the band-room fracas at Manchester, in the squabble about teaching writing on Sundays, at Sheffield, &c., &c.” (Ib., p. 7.)

Mr. Bunting's natural and acquired love of despotism is first illustrated by what is sneeringly termed the “band-room fracasat Manchester. Certain persons belonging to the Wesleyan Society there, in a room not under Circuit control, held band-meetings,—the most sacred and select among the private meetings of Methodism,—and opened them to the public. The details of inward religious experience were narrated in the presence of a promiscuous assemblage. Was the endeavour to enforce Methodist rule in such a case, or the discussion connected with it, a mere fracas, in which a despotic temper involved Mr. Bunting ? We ourselves remember an attempt in another place to establish public meetings of a similar character; and were witnesses of the melancholy effects. We have heard drunken men, and rough, vulgar boys, shouting in the streets on the Monday, often with profane associations, the expressions which simple-hearted, pious, well-meaning, but very misguided, persons had employed in their meeting on the preceding day. The feelings of penitential sorrow, of believing joy, humble confessions of sin, ardent aspirations after holiness,—all that is sacred in the inward work of the Spirit,-turned into subjects of vulgar and profane street-amusement! And yet, the conscientious effort of a Wesleyan Minister to prevent such evils by restoring Wesleyan discipline is just-a despotic temper involving him in the band-room fracas !

And then there is “the squabble at Sheffield about teaching writing on the Sunday.” Was there no better way of describing the attempt to remove what is now, we believe, universally, by all denominations, considered as an evil, than to speak of it as a squabble? We remember it well,- both the solemn arguments on one side, and the angry, abusive opposition on the other,-angry abuse of which many were afterwards ashamed, and for which they were sincerely sorry. Could there be no motive for trying to remove this plan of secularising the Sabbath but the promptings of a natural and studied despotic temper? But Mr. Bunting was not alone. There was another “squabbler ;and if we may judge from the share of vituperation dealt out to him, not less earnest, at all events, in squabbling than Mr. Bunting : one who even then had given no small promise of the power with which he could defend Wesleyan doctrine, and who on that as on other occasions proved himself to be a wise, but strenuous, asserter of Wes

[ocr errors]

leyan discipline. EDWARD HARE stood side by side in that squabble with Jabez Bunting, led into it, there can be no doubt, by the same inducement. Was that inducement a despotic temper? Perhaps the author of the attacks on Methodism, from the “Christian Advocate” and “Patriot” to the “Eclectic,” can inform the public whether there was only one despot, or whether there were two. This we know, that if there was one of the “squabblers who had the largest share of the reproach of the defenders of Sabbathwriting, that one was not Jabez Bunting. The removal of such a man was indeed a public loss,—one of those mysteries of Providence to which we must reverently submit. We never think of him without feelings of respect and gratitude. Our first preaching effort was in his presence, and never can we forget his encouraging kindness. Subsequently, his instructions on some most important branches of Wesleyan doctrine, in which his own views were clear as sunlight, were of the utmost service to us. Exact truth was set before us at the very commencement. We might add another name to his; but we mention his, as glad to take this opportunity of acknowledging our debt of gratitude to the dead : comparatively little as he had time to write, that little proved him to be, even in an early stage of his ministry, an acute polemic, a clear-headed, profound, and unimpeachably orthodox divine. Humanly speaking, had his life been prolonged, his contributions to the theological department of Wesleyan literature would have been of the most important character. In the maintenance of Wesleyan discipline he was not less firm than his colleague and fellowsquabbler! On the important subject of Sabbath sanctity, and of resistance to its desecration, he stood along with the man whom the writer in the “ Eclectic” represents as a lover of despotism. Jabez Bunting and Edward Hare were equally involved in the squabble about teaching writing on the Sabbath! One of the two yet survives in venerable age, honoured with vituperations of which he and his colleague were the objects, and which, in his case, on equally reasonable grounds, have, from a similar party, ever since followed him, and honoured him by following him. The other was early removed from labour to rest; but if the church lost by the removal, what did not the man gain? Of one thing we are certain. Had his life been spared, Edward Hare would have been found standing side by side with Jabez Bunting in the present Connexional agitations as he was in the Sunday-school squabble at Sheffield. Had he lived—what would he have thought of such attacks on his beloved Methodism? Would these articles have been furnished to the “Eclectic Review?

At all events, our readers will see, from the few sentences quoted, what is the nature of the attacks on Wesleyanism in these “ Articles.” We are persuaded that they do not wish our pages to be occupied with disputes occasioned by articles written in such a manner.

We have only now to protest against such a mode of controversy. They who can write such sentences as we have quoted, do not invite to a friendly search after truth. They only give us angry attacks on persons and proceedings which have excited their own hostility. Methodism can afford to let them rail on, and even to allow them to boast of their victory. But to the Ministers and members of Congregational Churches we would respectfully say,—Take care that you do not receive your views of Methodism and its developments, of its Ministers and their proceedings and characters, from angry partisans, whether they are still connected with the body, or have left it. If you must attack Methodism, study it as it really is, and

not as it may be represented to you by party prejudice and animosity. A contrary line of conduct can only produce angry disputes, by which, eventually, the peace of the whole church in Britain may be broken up. If such conduct become general, the Evangelical Alliance, in the remainder of its brief existence, will only be an unreal mockery. Against such conduct we earnestly protest : but if it must be pursued, it will be our consolation that it has been altogether unprovoked. Methodism has always aimed at being—and will always aim to be—THE FRIEND OF ALL, THE ENEMY OF NONE,

REVIEW

Sacred Annals : or, Researches into the History and Religion of Mankind.

Vol. II. The Hebrew People : or, The History and Religion of the Israelites, from the Origin of the Nation to the Time of Christ : deduced from the Writings of Moses and other inspired Authors; and illustrated by copious References to the ancient Records, Traditions, and Mythology of the Heathen World. By George Smith, F.S.A., 8c., &c. London : Longmans, 1850.

(Concluded from page 632.) To follow the author through this volume, would be to exceed our limits. An accurate idea of its scope will be given by an enumeration of its subjects. These embrace the History of the Hebrews in the wilderness ; their Religion during the same period; their History under the government of Joshua and the Judges; the narrative continued from the establishment of the monarchy to the division of the kingdom; the Religion of the Hebrews from their entrance into Canaan to the division of the kingdom ; the History and Religion of the kingdom of Israel, and those of the kingdom of Judah ; the History of the Hebrews during the Captivity ; their Religion in the same age ; their History from the Restoration to the establishment of Independence ; the narrative continued, and illustrated by a view of their Religion, from this date to the time of Christ; and the Genius of the Dispensation.

The plan is natural and comprehensive,-features of no minor importance in an historical work. Of the great variety of topics, and the amount of information, which these chapters comprehend, the reader will obtain some notion from the following table of contents, placed at the commencement of one of the chapters :THE RELIGION OF

logue-Effects produced by its Revelation_The Tabernacle- Altar_Laver

The Holy and the Most Holy Place, with The Object of the Chapter-Religion their sacred Furniture_Tue Prieste of Jacob and his Sons when thcy entered HOOD_The sacred Vestments-Urim Egypt–of the Israelites at the Time of and Thummim-RELIGIOUS Festi. the Exodus_Their Idolatry in Egypt VALS— Day of Atonement—Feast of partial and secret_CHARACTER AND Tabernacles_Of Trumpets—New Moons CIRCUMSTANCES OF DIVINE WOR- -Sabbatical Year— The Sabbath_THE SHIP AT THIS TIME-Priests Place CHARACTER OF of Worship-RELIGIOUS REVELA- System-National and theocraticTIONS MADE TO THE HEBREWS IN Object and Sanctions of the Theocracy THE WILDERNESS the Divine Author -Future Rewards and Punishments of these, the sacred Wond_The Deca- known—The Theocracy national and

THE HEBREWS
IN THE WILDERNESS.

THIS

RELIGIOUS

general—The typical Character of the and those of Heathen Nations— The proMosaic Economy was to some extent per Division of the Decalogue_Mosaic understood by the ancient Hebrews. Tabernacle - The Cherubim-The SheNotes. The patriarchal Priesthood— kinah-The Levitical Priesthood-Urim The Place of patriarchal Worship_Cause and Thummim-Harmony of the Mosaic of Similarity between Mosaic Institutions Law.

We know of but one subject which affords equal scope to the theological writer,—and of no subject which presents materials equally ample and attractive for the historian—with that which occupies Mr. Smith’s pen. The topics which it suggests—doctrinal, critical, moral, legal, theocratical, political, and philosophical-are obviously manifold ; and the variety of occurrences which come under the eye of the annalist, all but endless. There is no other nation whose history offers such resources. Beginning with the discomfiture of the Egyptians and the triumphs of Israel at the Red Sea, we are led on to a series of the most brilliant and impressive scenes ever presented to the view of man; while we are introduced to a succession of the most distinguished men that have appeared in the history of the world. If we confine our observation even to the times of Moses, how attractive and ample is the field of inquiry which opens before us ! The emigration from Egypt of more than three millions of souls, their progress towards the sea, their danger and perplexity, their deliverance and rejoicing ;—the establishment of the theocracy, its nature, its design, its influence upon the people ;—the miraculous supply, in the wilderness, of so vast a population with bread, and flesh, and water ;-the approach to Mount Sinai, with its clouds and darkness, its majesty and terror, its lightnings, thunders, and angels' trumpets ;—the moral law, its purity, its simplicity, its immutability ;—the ceremonial law, with its Priests and its ministering Levites, its tabernacle and holy of holies, its ark of the covenant, mercyseat, and overshadowing cherubim ; its sacrifices, sprinklings of blood, and ablutions ; its gifts and offerings, its typical character, its influence upon the religion of the nation ;—the murmurings and rebellions of the people, followed by God's anger and judgments ;-the wars in the wilderness, their retributive aspect, their varying successes ;—the life of Moses, his education, his learning, his prowess, his flight, his piety and faith, his excellencies as a national leader, his integrity, his wisdom, his meekness, his remarkable death ;—the character of Aaron, of Miriam, and of Jethro ;the advancement of the people in literature, in poetry, in music, in mechanics, in the fine arts ;—the doctrines which they learned from Moses, and the extent of their religious knowledge ;-all these circumstances present a rare occasion of investigation, of powerful description, and of critical disquisition. Scarcely less stirring are the times of Joshua and the Judges, and the administration of Samuel. And when we come down to the prosperous reigns of David and Solomon,—while the nation first triumphs, and then enjoys abounding peace, wealth, and glory,—the field is still most inviting. To mention the subjects embraced, is enough to indicate into how beautiful and instructive a narrative they must be formed by skilful adjustment, clear detail, and flowing description. A little later, the annalist falls upon those degenerate times in which Elijah and Elisha shone amid the general gloom. The story of the former is altogether replete with deepest interest ; and not less so the political and religious career, illuminated with so many miracles, of him upon whom fell Elijah's mantle. Not long after the death of these holy men, we reach the period of the captivity. Babylon and Persia now open to our view. This, indeed, is an

affecting and yet most instructive portion of the history. Incidents full of interest, persons of every rank and character, scenes of darkest calamity and of brightest prosperity, are continually presented. The fall of Israel and Judah, and the consequent extinction of their independence; the banishment of kings, princes, nobles, and people, to Assyria and Babylon ; the persecutions and mockings to which they were subjected; the influence of Jeremiah and Ezekiel ; the holy courage of the three Hebrews; the wisdom, integrity, and eventful course of Daniel; the influence of the captivity on Jewish religion, political opinions, and domestic customs ;-all these make up a magnificent chapter of the “philosophy” which (as Bolingbroke says) “teaches by examples.”—Then follow the facts and incidents which belong to the restoration ; calling up the instrumentality by which it was effected, the proclamation of Cyrus, the zeal of Zerubbabel and his compatriots, and the building of the second temple, and no less the learning, persistency, patriotism, and godliness of Ezra. At this exciting period the annalist has to relate the liberal concessions made by Xerxes to the Jews; and to depict Mordecai and Esther, in the memorable incidents of their career, and the meliorating influence which their exalted rank shed upon their countrymen.—Then arise the times, government, and reforms of Nehemiah. We next mark the rising temple on Mount Gerizim ; then, the administration of Jonathan the High Priest, and the attempt of Bagoses to supplant him by the introduction of his brother Jeshua, whom he murdered in the court of the temple.—A few years bring us down to the death of Artaxerxes, and the succession, to the Persian crown, of the cruel and profligate Ochus, who marched his army into Judea, captured Jericho, and carried captive large numbers of Jews into Egypt and Hyrcania.- The succession of Jaddua comes next in order ; and, among other incidents, we fall upon his remarkable interview with Alexander the Great, followed by the stern conqueror’s favour, his homage to the Pontiff, and generous indulgences to the Jews. After the death of Alexander, we arrive at the times of Onias, and the government of Laomedon, one of the conqueror's Generals, to whom the countries of Palestine, Cælo-Syria, and Phænicia were allotted at the division of the empire. The usurpation of Ptolemy Lagus, the refusal of the Jews to submit to his authority, his successful attack upon Judea and Jerusalem, his carrying away into Egypt of one hundred thousand captives, his generous treatment of them there, the successive loss and recovery of his power and dominion,--are the leading topics of this period. The wisdom and exalted virtues of Simon the Just, the successor of Onias, then present themselves; as well as the generosity of Ptolemy Philadelphus, the patron of learning, under whose auspices the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament was effected; the martial distinctions of Ptolemy Euergetes, who made thank-offerings in the temple ; and the various career of Ptolemy Philopater,-his presents to the temple, his desire to enter the holy of holies, the High Priest's refusal of his request, his consequent revenge upon the Jews, the interference of Jehovah in their behalf, and Ptolemy's fearful end ; the restoration of Jewish privileges by Antiochus; and the rapacity of Seleucus, his sacrilegious attempt upon the temple, and its signal failure. We now come to that momentous period which embraces the history and times of Antiochus Epiphanes, afterwards designated, by way of reproach, “Epimanes ;' his unjust deposition of the third Onias from the Pontificate, his sale of this office (successively) to Jason and Menelaus; Jason's recovery of his dignity from the latter, the rage of the Syrian King, his descent upon Jerusalem, his plunder of the temple, his

« НазадПродовжити »