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forms, is among the striking illustrations of the Pauline text, “The world by wisdom knew not God.” So much for this vain effort to set up a rival system, based upon “a combination of the Oriental theosophy, the Jewish Cabbala, and the Platonic philosophy.”
Montanism also arose in the time of Justin. In its better features it was an earnest re-action against externalism in the church, with an "incipient attempt to give a more literary and philosophical character to the exposition of Christian subjects.” But it rapidly degenerated into a false and presumptuous spiritualism, and became intensified into delusive “revelations,” which professed to be more complete than those of Christ and His apostles. Montanus fanatically claimed to be the representative of the Spirit, and was, in fact, the prototype of modern advocates of the development theory. The fervid eloquence of Tertullian contributed largely to the spread of these evils in the West; and the system bas found a counterpart in our own times.
Yet, notwithstanding these errors, and more or less severe persecutions, (now raging in fury, and again restrained by the humanity or the philosophy of the reigning sovereign,) the church maintained its onward course. True, that, with the exception of the brief account furnished by St. Luke, (who for the most part confines his narrative to the proceedings of a single individual,) a remarkable sileuce prevails, and we can trace little of primitive labours and successes. It is an almost mysterious chasm, truly, between the time of apostles and the results apparent in the following age: but herein, if we rightly consider, we find a commanding illustration of the power of Christianity. This is well put by a modern writer, in a book of deep thought and true eloquence, which offers a beautiful and somewhat novel argument for the divinity of the Bible, based on the perfect humanness which marks the writings of which it is composed.* A brief extract follows : -"The slender narrative alluded to, though extending so little of the way, and so abruptly terminating, is sufficient to show the unearthly spirit and the irresistible energy of this power; whilst the silent blank which remains prepares the thoughtful mind for the contemplation of that real marvel, which, though Gibbon could not see it, is, in fact, the greatest miracle in the chronicles of our earth. Here was wrought the greatest change in the flow of human acts and human opinions. Never was there such an apparent effect in the absence of all assignable earthly causes, natural, moral, social, political, or philosophical. Such a transition-period stands alone in history. It is like one of those awful pauses in the physical progress, where, in the mighty visible effect, science traces the existence of a new-creating power, and yet that power has worked unseen. It has veiled its operation, until it stands revealed in the new result, the new order of things it has initiated in nature. The new light sho the hidden power. It is more startling than though all along this transition. interval there had been a series of visible miraculous displays, liuking the old with the new order of things. We come down to the brink
• “The Divine-Human in the Scriptures,” By Professor Taylor Lewis.
of the last traceable causation; and we know that the supernatural, though we see it not, must somewhere have come between,- for here is something which the old nature, the old causation, could never have produced. Such is the effect of this blank, or apparent blank, in the church's history. To the thoughtful mind, folios of miracles, and of minute details of apostolic labours, would not produce a deeper feeling of the wonder-working power of God.”
(To be continued.)
MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOSEPH HUNT:
BY THE REV. WILLIAM H. BAMBRIDGE. A few weeks before the Conference of 1861, Mrs. Hunt happened one day to surprise her husband, who was busily engaged with his papers. “What are you so eagerly doing ?” said she. " You are not, surely, 'sermonizing' now." “ Sit down," said le, "and I will read what I have been about for several days, and have only just now finished.” He read, and then handed over to her, the following short autobiographical paper. The document is presented as he left it; since it seems the preferable way to let him describe that with which he was best acquainted. Afterwards we may hear and state something of what others thought and said, and then narrate the incidents connected with the closing scene.
“I was born on the 31st of October, 1791, at Ketley, in the parish of Wellington, Salop. From the earliest period of my recollection, God, by His blessed Spirit, graciously strove with me. Before I was five years of age, my mind was greatly affected by thoughts of God and of eternal things. I prayed, and had no fear of death ; but rather wished to die, and go to heaven. When I was about eight, a boy a little older than myself asked me the time of day. I told him, and he strangely wished me to add, ‘God knows it is.' I did as he desired; and he then said, “There, you have taken God's name in vain ; and God will not hold him guiltless that does so.' Much alarmed, I sought for my brother, and told him what had happened. I feared, and wept till I could weep no more. I refused to be paci. fied; and left off prayer, because I thought God would not now hear
From that time I turned away from God, and became prayerless and wicked.
“When fifteen years old, I began to attend the Wesleyan chapel. The ministry of the Rev. James Blackett and others was made a blessing to me. On the 7th of November, 1807, I joined the Methodist Society at Bradley, in the Wednesbury Circuit; and for about six months I sought for a clear sense of God's forgiving love. I ras resolved not to be satisfied without this blessing, and hoped to find it in the diligent use of the means of grace. I felt the powerful drawings of the Holy Spirit, but was not happy, because I did not believe
with the heart onto righteousness. Thus I continued, tiil one night, at my class, while I was listing up my heart to God, He looked upon me, and heard my cry. He opened my 'faith's interior eye,' and I was enabled to see Jesus. I had not a clearer sense of my being, or that it was light at noonday, than I had of the great and glorious fact, that Jesus loved me, and gave Himself for me. I could and did take Him as my Saviour. Had I possessed a thousand souls, I could have trusted them all with Him who had thus loved me. “My chains fell off, my heart was free. I felt a sacred calm ; I had peace
with God, and the joy of love. Thrice happy day!
“Being happy in God, I was anxious to be the instrument of making others happy. I sought to be useful. I began therefore to teach in the Sunday-school, to distribute tracts, and assist in the prayer-meeting; and, by example and conversation, I strove to recommend religion wherever I came. In my eighteenth year, I began to think it was my duty to preach the glorious Gospel of the grace of God. On this subject I had great searchings of heart. I deeply felt my want of education, my utter insufficiency, my inexperience; and tried to banish the thought from my mind. I feared - lest Satan should get an advantage' over me thus, by filling me with pride, and causing me to think my own wishes were the call of God. But the word of the Lord was in my heart, 'as a fire in my bones;' and I could not ‘forbear. I prayed much, most earnestly sought Divine light, and waited for guidapce. And such was the answer, that I could not doubt my call to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. In 1811 I was received on trial by the Conference, and appointed to a Circuit.”
The narrative shall be interrupted for a moment, for the sake of relating an incident which at this time made a deep impression on Mr. Hunt's mind. He was quite satisfied that it was the will of God be should preach; he believed it was his duty to give himself up wholly to the ministry of the word. But he liesitated. There was a struggle in his mind between duty and inclination ; and he almost decided to give up the idea of the ministry. He had seen a minister insulted by a rude official; and, when he defended the injured man, he was met with the allegation, that he took this part because he hoped himself to enter the ministry. Wounded by this reflection on his motives, and determined not to expose himself to such rudeness as he had witnessed, he resolved to marry, and settle in business, at the earliest convenient opportunity. In a little while, accordingly, he entered into a matrimonial engagement, and thought so to escape from all further anxiety on the subject of his sacred calling. He began in earnest to make business-arrangements. But then suddenly a great darkness fell upon his soul. His once buoyant and happy spirit became sad. Preaching was not to him as it had been ; the class-meeting was no longer a joyous occasion ; even the closet seemed no more to be the place of happy communion with God. He now felt sure that he was in the wrong path; but what to do he knew not. Come what might, he could not behave dishonourably to the female with whom he had formed a matrimonial engagement. He sought direction from God. A short time sufficed to clear his way. The lady was taken ill; ber medical attendant gave no hope of ber recovery; and one day she voluntarily sent for Mr. Hant, signified to him that she believed her end was near, and requested that the engagement might be given up. The sequel is not a little remarkable. Mr. Hunt was appointed to a Circuit in Cornwall. Among the many who were present to bid him adieu, on occasion of his departure to his first Circuit, was this young lady,—who, after the interview above described, rapidly recovered, and at the end of four years became his wife. — To resume :
“My first three years were spent in Cornwall; in the Penzance, Bodmin, and Truro Circuits. God was indeed better to me than all my fears, and gave me favour in the sight of the people. In each of those places, He vouchsafed to us His presence and blessing ; espe. cially in Truro, to which I went in 1813. In that Circuit, He added to our numbers sixteen hundred souls in one year.
It was, as called by the Cornish people, the year of the great revival.' Since leaving that District, I have had Circuits in the counties of Leicester, Mon. mouth, York, Durham, Lincoln, Stafford, Norfolk, Gloucester, and Warwick ; and I am now settled, I suppose for life, at Coventry.
“I have just received the 'Stations for the fifty-first time. In all probability, this is the last copy I may ever receive. “The end of all things is at hand ;' may I be 'sober, and watch unto prayer.' Looking back on the last fifty years, I see much that humbles me, and lays me in the dust before God; but I see much also that calls for gratitude. By the Divine aid, I have been enabled to stand in the day of temptation. I have endeavoured to be faithful, as a WesleyanMethodist minister. So far as I have known it, 'I have not shunned to declare all the counsel of God. I have not wittingly kept back any truth, nor have I lowered the standard ; but, as the Lord helped me, have always aimed to set forth the truth as it is in Jesus. I have always loved Methodism; and, after being connected with it fifty-four years, I love it more than ever. I esteem it as the purest form of Christianity I know. I approve its discipline, and have laboured to maintain it with Christian firmness and affection. I heartily believe its doctrines, and, so long as I was able, preached them prayerfully, plainly, faithfully, and earnestly. May God in His mercy forgive my many defects! I look back with pleasure on the past fifty years. I regard my appointments as the best that could have been given me. I have seen the hand of God in each and all. I have prayed to be sent to those Circuits where I might be most holy, useful, and safe. I am thankful that I have stood fair with my brethren, whom I have loved more than any other body of men in the world ; and that I have had a good reputation in the church, and beyond it. I have seen Methodism greatly tried and fearfully sifted by two most wicked agitations; and I have lived to see it come out of the trial, unstained, yea, blessed, and prospered. And what more than this can I wish! • Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.' if, after my decease, anything be said of me, I wish it to be told that I was saved by grace; that I never found one of God's promises to fail ; that I advise all to save themselves by taking hold of God's mercy in Jesus.”
In the thirty-fifth year of his ministry, Mr. Hunt, being thrown out of a gig, sustained serious injury; so that he was compelled to retire for awhile. From the Conference of 1846 to that of 1850 he was laid aside ; but in 1850 he desired and obtained a re-appointment. He liked work, and would gladly have continued in full employ to the end; but it soon became evident, both to himself and others, that he had not energy enough for a ministry like ours. And so, in 1854, he sithdrew into private life, and took up his abode at Coventry. But, though no longer able to take full duty, he did not retire into inactivity. Until the spring of 1860, he was able to render no inconsiderable service in the pulpit, besides devoting himself to pastoral visitation. In many respects his life's eventide was happy. He could work as he found strength ; he was wholly free from the anxieties and responsibilities of active service ; he knew that the aid he gave was appreciated ; and he lived in the esteem of the ministers, and the affection of the people. Of wealth he could not boast ; but neither was he harassed with undue worldly cares. Of cheerful countenance, he looked like one who enjoyed life to the full; and left an impression, wherever he came, that the ways of wisdom are “ways of pleasantDess." There was not a particle of asceticism about him : he could not be gloomy, and did not believe in the religion of sadness. He retained personal faith in Jesus, and a comfortable assurance of pardoning mercy; regarded himself as a child of God; and most properly claimed his privilege to rejoice in the Lord alway. His smiling face gave him a ready introduction anywhere, and his ready tongue made him a favourite everywhere. To the poor, and to the sick, he was a messenger of good news; to children and young people, a loving adviser and friend.
Few men bave loved the Methodist Connexion, and its ministers, more than be did. Nor had he been much associated with good men of cther communions ; so that he was not likely to know much of their excellence. Yet he was not a bigot. He rendered good service to his own communion, as by other means, so likewise by catholic and kindly behaviour, as opportunity served, toward brethren of other names. He was often solicited to preach for Dissenting ministers in Coventry ; and he never refused such aid as he was able to render.
In the spring of 1860, he began to suffer from the disease of which he died; and, though not immediately unfitted for all public service, he was compelled gradually to decline active employment. He preached a few times, and still met his wife's class ; but his pain was so great, and so continuous, as to make any effort burdensome. Having called in his medical attendant, he desired to know at once the opinion that Fas formed, and learned that the case was likely to be fatal. He was not alarmed, not even surprised; for he had anticipated the decision. To his professional friend he said, "Death is to many a sad subject, and a thing too gloomy to dwell upon. But to me it is far different. I like to think of the realities beyond the tomb. I look upon this