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was his constructive and administrative faculty. 'In dealing' (we quote Mr. Taylor's sentences), ' in dealing with whatever may belong to a process of organization, or of marshalling a host for a single initiatory purpose, Wesley has never been surpassed by civil, military, or ecclesiastical mechanists; nor has he been surpassed by any general, statesman, or churchman, in administrative skill.' His society was formed gradually, and, for the purposes of a society, as distinguished from those of a church, its structure was as nearly perfect as is permitted to the invention of man. His administration of it, his management of the complex machine, showed talent and tact, firmness as to principles, with flexibleness in details, which seemed to meet every emergency, avert every peril, and promise the conquest of the world to Methodism, if the founder of Methodism could have been immoital on earth.
But the time came that Wesley must die. He had survived his brother Charles, whom, till death parted them, for a little while, he had loved, in spite of great differences of opinion and frequent discussions; and whose hymns were constantly on his lips, because they were written on his heart. He had survived his friend and fellow-worker, Fletcher of Madely, also; who, while his champion as a controversialist, was, b)r a strange combination of qualities, his pattern as a saint For John Wesley aspired to be not the philosopher, the scholar, the orator, nor even, as his chief object, the leader of men, and their spiritual governor" for their good, but to be himself a saint indeed, a Christian growing up into Christ in all things, attaining the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. And herein God gave him the desire of his heart. He was not faultless. The faultless are to be found only before the throne of God. He had the infirmity of credulousness, not, as those who will see no fault in him say, according to the measure of his age, but far beyond it, beyond the measure of any age, except those which could receive and transmit the legends of the Romancatholic saints. It is mortifying, Mr. Taylor observes, to see his 'powerful mind bending like a straw in the wind before every whiff of the supernatural.' He had a far more injurious infirmity, in his undue self-confidence—a confidence, however, almost inevitable to one who was surrounded by men, his inferiors in nearly every respect, his instruments rather than his counsellors, who were only ' to help him when, where, and how he pleased.' One result of this infirmity—a result already most calamitous, and which threatens to be fatal—was his stereotyping the Methodism of his 'Poll Deed,' his four volumes of ' Sermons,' and his 'Notes on the New Testament,' and binding it, so far as Law can bind Thought, upon the souls of all the Methodist preachers as long as Methodism shall endure. This was by far his gravest fault; but even this, and whatever other faults impaired the excellence of his character, are only proofs that perfection is never found among the fallen children of men. In the heart and life, in the words and deeds of John Wesley, there were combined in beautiful symmetry whatsoever things are true, venerable, and just, with whatsoever things are pure, lovely, and of good report. From his dying chamber he might have sent forth, with scarcely less confidence than the apostle, whom in ardour and activity he so much resembled, the charge—' Those things which ye had both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.' 'His was a personal virtue that was not merely unblemished, for it was luminously bright. His countenance shone with goodness, truth, purity, benevolence: a sanctity belonged to him which those near him felt, as if it were a power with which the atmosphere was fraught.' His death was the crown of his life. His passage through the Valley of the Shadow of Death was in perfect peace. Never, since the days of the apostles, did earth lose one who had contributed more to spread scriptural holiness among men. Never, since those days of inspiration, did heaven receive one for whom a larger company of spiritual children was waiting, to be his joy and crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus.
We must notice, though far more briefly than we wish, the exquisite chapter which Mr. Taylor gives regarding Charles Wesley. We do not remember any passage in Mr. Taylor's writings equal in all respects to this. It is very brief, yet very comprehensive; beautiful in expression, and full of wisdom in thought. It is from this chapter that extracts may best be taken. We wish, indeed, that our space would permit us to enrich our pages with the whole. Our readers will welcome two or three paragraphs. Those who have already read them in the volume will delight to have them presented to their attention afresh:—
'A9 his brother's friend, adviser, and colleague, Charles exerted an influence that was almost always corrective and salutary. Less credulous tlian John, less sudden in his apprehensions, aud proportionately more discriminative and cautious, his mind reached its maturity earlier; and this maturity was itself of a riper sort. But then his prejudices, as a churchman, were less flexible; his reserve and modesty were greater, and unless the superior force of his brother's character had carried him forward beyond his own limit, he must soon have withdrawn from public life, and then he would have been known only, if at all, as the author of some sacred poetry of rare excellence. But these very hymns, if the author had not been connected with Methodism, would have shown a very different phase, for while the depth and richness of them are the writer's, the epigrammatic intensity and the pressure which marks them belong to Methodism. They may be regarded as the representatives of a modem devotional style which has prevailed quite as much beyond the boundaries of the Wesleyan community as within it. Charles Wesley's hymns on the one hand, and those of Toplady, Cowper, and Newton on the other, mark that great change in religious sentiment which distinguishes the times 01 Methodism from the staid non-conforming era of Watts and Doddridge.
'Better constituted than his brother for domestic enjoyment, Charles had a happy home, where the gentle affections of a gentle nature found room to expand; and it was thus that he became qualified to shed into the methodistic world something of a redeeming influence which John could never have imparted. Charles Wesley's mind was an ameliorating ingredient, serving to call forth and to cherish those kindlier emotions with which a religion of preaching—a religion of public services—so much, needs to be attempered. His personal ministrations, no doubt, had this tendency in some degree, but it was by his sacred lyre, still more than as a preacher, that he tamed the rudeness of untaught minds, and gained a listening ear for the harmonies of heaven, and of earth, too, among such.' —pp. 89, 90.
Several paragraphs follow, which, most reluctantly, we must omit. They contain a graphic description of an old-fashioned Methodist congregation singing, with heart and voice, the hymn,—
'0 Love Divine, how sweet thou art!'
Every reader will feel that this scene must be from the life. To this there follows a high eulogium of the hymns generally, both in their doctrinal and devotional characteristics, and some observations, well deserving to be pondered, on the importance of psalms and hymns considered as 'the liturgical element,' in the worship even of those churches that do not use liturgical prayers. 'The Hymn Book to such bodies comes in the stead of creed, articles, canons, and presiding power.' Mr. Taylor will think us in error; nevertheless we must say we heartily welcome the change. The Hymn Book is dear for its own sake, and dearer still if it helps to secure our deliverance from the frozen creed, and the exclusive and uncharitable canon. But we will not dispute. We prefer to give the beautiful and noble concluding paragraph of Mr. Taylor's tribute to the sweet singer of Methodism:—
* " Hymns and psalms and spiritual songs," a species of literature in which the English language is more rich than any other, administer comfort, excitement, and instruction, to an extent, and in a degree, which never can be calculated. The robust in body and mind, the earthly, the frivolous, and the sordid, know nothing of that solace, of that renovation of the heart which sacred poetry is every day conveying to the spirits of tens of thousands around them. It is not merely when sickness has slackened the cords of life, but also when the heart has become benumbed by the cares and toils of a common day, and when even the understanding is rendered obtuse, it is then that the hymn and psalm, at a late hour, restore the spirit, and give renewed clearness, by giving consistency to the distracted intellect, and so lead the soul back to its place of rest in the presence of things "unseen and eternal." Among those to whose compositions millions of souls owe inestimable benefits in this manner, Charles "Wesley stands, if not foremost, yet inferior to few.'—p. 94.
We must pass over entirely the sketches of Whitfield, Fletcher, Coke, Lady Huntingdon, and the other 'honorable' men and * women,' not a few, 'who formed The Methodistic Company,' and laboured, whether apart from each other, or with each other, for the spread of the gospel. The chief matters of the volume claim more than all our space. At the conclusion of the division on the Founders of Methodism, there are several paragraphs relating to the founders and martyrs of the English Church, and to the Puritans and Nonconformists, Howe, Baxter, Charnock, Manton, Bates, and Flavel, in which there is much to invite remark; but we may not indulge either our readers with extracts, or ourselves in commentary. Mr. Taylor's promised book on the Nonconformists of the past age will soon, we hope, instruct and delight us by the fuller consideration of these themes.
In the second part of his volume, our author treats of the substance of the Methodism of the last century. He inquires 'what it is which distinguishes it on the one hand from that religious condition which it found existing, and, on the other, from that which has come into its place, and which now surrounds ourselves?'
Though this question is so distinctly proposed, we are obliged to say that it is not distinctly answered. Here we have to complain, as other reviewers have done, in respect to Mr. Taylor's writings, of want of clearness. We cannot help contrasting him, in this respect, with another of the lights of our age—Archbishop Whately. Some may say of the archbishop, as Mr. Taylor says of Wesley, that he is 'a shrewd and sharp logician, not a master of the higher reason.' For ourselves as readers, and as reviewers, desiring much to give a just deliverance, we greatly regret the absence, in this part of Mr. Taylor's book, of those clear and brief marginal summaries of the contents of every paragraph, which the great logician is wont to give, and by means of which, had they been furnished, we might have stated, in Mr. Taylor's own words, and without risk of misrepresenting him, what are the four elements into which he has divided the substance of Methodism.
As to what these four elements are not, he speaks clearly enough. They are neither new doctrines nor new rules of Christian life. The doctrinal peculiarities he holds to be comparatively trivial; the disciplinary arrangements he excludes from the distinctive characteristics of methodism. What, then, are these four really distinctive 'elements of the great methodistic revival?'
The first is a vivid feeling of our relationship to an unseen Sovereign and Judge, and to an unseen and eternal world, in which the sentence of the judge will he executed on every human spirit. It is the awakening of the religious as distinguished from the moral sense—the awakening of the soul to the dread realities of a righteous judge and an eternal retribution.
The second is a vivid 'reflex' feeling of the relation of tbe Father of Spirits to the individual spirit thus awakened to a divine life. This feeling must needs blend with the first, in order to any permanent spiritual renovation. Yet our author seems afraid of it, or doubtful of its practical results. He speaks of it as tending to produce a piety morbidly personal— a perilous habit of brooding over our inward experiences, and speaking of them, as in the class-meetings of the Methodists. This morbidly individual form of piety which Mr. Taylor holds to be specially methodistical, he contrasts, dimly indeed, yet repeatedly, with some church form of piety—which he traces to the apostles—perceives morbidly developed in the Church of Rome, and prominently manifested in the English Church— but which, unhappily for us, he does not clearly describe in his own pages. One cannot help doubting whether this Church idea of Christian piety is very clearly defined in his own mind. Methodism, however, had, for its second element, this vivid feeling of relationship between the individual spirit and the Father of Spirits.
We have examined three times the chapter on the third element; but are not yet sure that we know what that third element is. After three pages of preliminary remarks, we are said to ' come in sight of that which we are now in search of— namely, that which was the principal and the harmonizing element of the inethodistic revival.' We expect to have immediately a distinct statement of this principal and harmonizing element. We look for the large type, in which Mr. Taylor sometimes presents the words which express his leading thoughts—but instead of this, we have several singularly beautiful paragraphs concerning HIM the one Christ our God and Saviour—His participation in our nature—His sympathy with us—and our pence through Him, and concerning the process by which our spirit is led to the enjoyment of this peace. But