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ORIGINAL LETTER OF JOHN NELSON. In the Life of John Nelson, page then bound by them, in a £20 bond, 198, it is stated, that, in 1771, he to appear at York Assizes. Some
was subpænaed to appear at the would not have let me go: but, for Crown bar," at the York Assizes, to the Gospel's sake, I would not have give evidence on the trial of a missed going for an hundred pounds, woman “charged with a capital though I bore my own charges. crime." The letter in which he I was the first
person called ;
and himself refers to the occurrence (ad- great silence was in the court. The dressed to the Rev. Charles Wesley, Judge asked me, if I knew the deand docketed by him, “J. Nelson, ceased. I answered, “Yes." He -Trial of a murtherer") has been said, “Do you know the prisoners preserved. It was given by Miss at the bar?" I replied, “Not in Wesley to Thomas Marriott, Esq., person, till this day, my Lord.” He by whom we are now enabled to lay said, " How came you to turn them it before our readers.-Edit.
out of your society ? ” I said, “For not keeping the rules of our society, my Lord: when any one
breaks them, they are reproved ; TO THE REV. MR. CHARLES WESLEY,
and if that will not do, we declare AT THE FOUNDERY, NEAR MOOR
that they are no longer of us." FIELDS, LONDON.
He said, “What are your rules ? " Dear Sir,—This with my duty I said, “ First, to cease from evil in to you, and earnest prayers for you
word and work ; from blaspheming and yours, and all the church of the name of God; from evil-speakGod.
ing, as lying, backbiting, or speakI think it my duty to acquainting evil of Magistrates or Ministers; you how it went with me at York, not to buy and sell uncustomed after the horrible murder of our goods; nor to contract debts they dear brother, William Smith. I was cannot pay ; nor to make promises, sent for to appear before four Jus and not to keep them. And I untices, and asked many questions ; derstood that these people at the
bar had broken these rules, and had dual faith, but is ministered by a definite and been reproved again and again, to esclusive order of men, through the intervention
no purpose. Then, my Lord, I de. of the sacraments. If this scheme is right, the
clared to the whole congregation, one propounded above most assuredly is wrong ; but if the statements of the present paper are
that they that looked fine in other right, then what are called “church principles "
birds' feathers, and fared sumptu. are not only mistakes, but mistakes having in ously at other men's expense, were Scripture a certain character ascribed to them. not fit for a religious society ;-no! They constitute the very apostasy which was pre
they were no better than thieves and dicted as the characteristic apostasy of the latter
robhers; and I bade all beware of days; namely, the possession of the form of godliness, connected with the denial of its power.
such, for they were not of us ; and Under these circumstances, it was necessary to they were crossed out from among enlarge upon the nature and character of reli
And we declare to the whole gion, and to exhibit that which is the great proof
world, that no one is any longer of of the correctness of the exposition given above of St. John's statement; namely, its exact and
us than he keeps our rules.” Some entire harmony with the whole scheme of religion of the Counsel said, “ These are as presented in holy writ, and as running through good morals.” Then my Lord said all dispensations. The conclusion of the paper
to the man and his wife, “ Have you will show the argument under, perhaps, its most important aspect. The life of God in the soul is
anything to object to what John God's standing witness concerning his Son; that
Nelson hath said ; ” and they both is, it is the intended and abiding evidence of replied, “Not a word, my Lord.” both the truth and value of Christianity. The Many more questions were asked reader is respectfully referred to three papers on
me, that gave me an opportunity to ** Christian Experience,” inserted in the Wesleyan Magazine for January, February, and March,
explain the thing to Judge and 1837. The question is there examined in its
Jury, Counsel and Sheriff, that I principles, and pursued to its resulting details. could not have done anywhere else ;
and I doubt not but it will remove crime was committed. The Lord is prejudice out of the minds of many converting some sinners amongst us, and be for the furtherance of the and several have died in triumph : Gospel. The Class-Leader was calls old Mrs. Romaine for one. O, Sir, ed, and heard with much attention. pray for me, and beg the prayers of Then the other witnesses
all the church! My wife hath bad called, and the man condemned, a bad winter. This from and afterwards confessed the ur unworthy brother and son crime.
to serve in the Gospel, I think we ought to bless God
John Nelson. that they were turned out, in so March 28th, 1771. public a manner, so long before the
POPERY IN THE CENTRE OF ENGLAND.
(To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) The communication from the (similar, it appears, to that described Rev. William Woon, in the Maga- by Mr. Woon). “He then endea. zine for this month, relative to voured to convince me, that Popery Popery in New-Zealand, has in. was the oldest and purest religion. duced me to send you the following I told him, I could not reconcile my specimen of Popery in England. Å À mind to pray to the Virgin Mary. few weeks since, an intelligent and He replied, “Do you not think, that pious female related to me the fol. the Son would sooner listen to his lowing particulars :
mother at court, than to a rebel at “Some time ago, when under a a distance ?' I also objected to his serious concern about my soul, on doctrine of purgatory.
He said, returning a visit to a family in a • Christ went to purgatory.' I anneighbouring town, I found that swered, “The words of Christ to the they had become converts to the thief were, To-day shalt thou be with Popish faith. The Priest called, me in paradise.' The Priest then and I was introduced to him as a said, 'Well, you may call it parareligious inquirer. He invited the dise, if you will. Before we parted, family and myself to spend the fol. he gave me a book which he had lowing afternoon at his house, and written, told me to pray for direcpromised to give me some religious tion; and that then, in less than instruction. We went; and, shortly twelve months, I should be right. after our arrival, cards were intro Some time after this he came to my duced. I refused to play, consider father's house ; sang the profane ing it sinful. The Priest expostu song, “The drunken Vicar;' and lated with me, saying, there could reeled about the room with the glass be no sin in bits of paper. After in his hand, to suit his action to the rest of the party had played, the the words. I also found that he Priest said it was time for us to go was accustomed to attend dancing to the chapel ; where, among other entertainments. I then formed such prayers, be read one for a person an idea of Popery, that I heartily who had recently died,-in conse thank God for having preserved me quence of which, the altar was from its unchristian influence." covered with black cloth. On our Such was the statement given to return to the house, the cards were me; and which, but yesterday, was again brought forward ; but, on my again confirmed. again refusing to play, the Priest took me into his study, and there “O for that warning voice which he who saw spread before me, on the table, a The' apocalypse heard cry in heaven," large picture of a tree, representing the origin of the Romish Church" “Babylon the great is fallen, is
fallen. Come out of her, my peo unto heaven, and God hath remem. ple, that ye be not partakers of her bered her iniquities.” sins, and that ye receive not of her
SAMUEL Durn. plagues. For her sins have reached Dudley, March 9th, 1842.
THE FATHERS AS INFLUENCED BY THEIR OWN TIMES.
The Fathers, hoth Greek and circus and the amphitheatre; and Latin, had the ill fortune to be ex there was a theatre. From all such travagantly esteemed by the Church pleasures the Christian was sternly of Rome ; whence, under a natural excluded, by his very profession of re-action, they were systematically faith. From the festivals of the depreciated hy the great leaders of pagan religion his exclusion was the Protestant Reformation : and even more absolute ; against them yet hardly in a corresponding degree. he was a sworn militant protester For there was, after all, even among from the hour of his baptism. And the Reformers, a deep-seated preju- when these modes of pleasurable redice in behalf of all that was“ pri- laxation had been subtracted from mitive” in Christianity; under which ancient life, what could remain ? term, by some confusion of ideas, Even less, perhaps, than most read. the Fathers often benefited. Primi- ers have been led to consider. For tive Christianity was reasonably ve the ancients had no such power of nerated ; and on this argument, that, extensive locomotion, of refreshment for the first three centuries, it was for their wearied minds, by travelnecessarily more sincere. We do ling and change of scene, as we chil. not think so much of that sincerity dren of modern civilization possess. which affronted the fear of persecu. No ships had then been fitted up for tion; because, after all, the search- passengers, nor public carriages esing persecutions were rare and inter. tablished, nor roads opened extenmitting; and not, perhaps, in any sively, nor hotels so much as imacase, so fiery as they have been re- gined hypothetically; because the presented. We think more of that relation of gevia, or the obligation to gentle, but insidious, persecution reciprocal hospitality, and, latterly, which lay in the solicitations of be. the Roman relation of patron and sieging friends; and more still of the client, had stifled the first motions continual temptations which haunted of enterprise of the ancients; in fact, the irresolute Christian in the fasci. no man travelled but the soldier and nations of the public amusements. the of political authority. The theatre, the circus, and, far be- Consequently, in sacrificing public yond both, the cruel amphitheatre, amusements, the Christian sacrificed constituted, for the ancient world, a all pleasure whatsoever that was not passionate enjoyment, that, by many rigorously domestic whilst, in authors, and especially through one facing the contingencies of persecuperiod of time, is described as going tions that might arise under the to the verge of frenzy. And we, in rapid succession of changing Emmodern times, are far too little aware perors, they faced a perpetual anxin what degree these great carnivals, iety more trying to the fortitude together with another attraction of than any fixed and measurable evil, great cities, the pomps and festivals Here, certainly, we have a guaranof the pagan worship, broke the tee for the deep faithfulness of early monotony of domestic life, which, Christians, such as never can exist for the old world, was even more for more mixed bodies of professors, oppressive than it is for us. In all subject to no searching trials. principal cities, so as to be within Better the primitive Christians the reach of almost all provincial were, (by no means individually betinhabitants, there was a hippodrome, ter, but better on the total body.) often uniting the functions of the yet they were not, in any intellectual
sense, wiser. Unquestionably, the too naturally met by retorted scorn : elder Christians participated in the malignity in the Pagan, which chalocal follies, prejudices, supersti- racterized all the known cases of tions of their several provinces and signal opposition to Christianity, cities, except where any of these could not but hurry many good men happened to be too conspicuously into a vindictive pursuit of victory. at war with the spirit of love, or the Generally, where truth is communi. spirit of purity, which exhaled at cated polemically, (that is, not as it every point from the Christian faith; exists in its own inner simplicity, and, in all intellectual features, as but as it exists in external relation were the Christians generally, such io error,) the temptation is exceswere the Fathers. Amongst the sive to use those arguments which Greek Fathers, one inight be unu. will tell, at the moment, upon the sually learned, as Clement of Alex. crowd of bystanders, in preference andria ; and another might be re to those which will approve them. puted unusually eloquent, as Gre- selves ultimately to enlightened disgory Nazianzen, or Basil. Amongst ciples. Hence it is, that, like the the Latin Fathers, one might be a professional rhetoricians of Athens, man of admirable genius, as far not seldom the Christian Fathers, beyond the poor, vaunted Rousseau, when urgently pressed by an antain the impassioned grandeur of his gonist equally mendacious and ignothoughts, as he was in truth and rant, could not resist the human inpurity of heart,- we speak of St. stinct for employing arguments such Augustine, usually called St. Aus. as would baffle and confound the tin; and many might be distin. unprincipled opponent, rather than guished by various literary merits. such as would satisfy the mature But could these advantages antici. Christian. If a man denied bimself pate a higher civilization ? Most all specious arguments, and all artiunquestionably, some of the Fathers fices of dialectic subtlety, he must were the élite of their own age, but renounce the hopes of a present not in advance of their age. They, triumph ; for the light of absolute like all their contemporaries, were truth, on moral on spiritual besieged by errors, ancient, invete- themes, is too dazzling to be susrate, traditional ; and accidentally, tained by the diseased optics of from one cause special to themselves, those habituated to darkness. And they were not merely liable to error, hence we explain not only the many but usually prone to error. This gross delusions of the Fathers, their cause lay in the polemic forin which sophisms, their errors of fact and so often they found a necessity, or a chronology, their attempts to build convenience, or a temptation, for great truths upon fantastic etymoloassuming, as teachers or defenders gies, or upon popular conceits in of the truth.
science that have long since been He who reveals a body of awful exploded, - but also their occasional truth to a candid and willing audi- unchristian tempers. To contend tory, is content with the grand sim- with an unprincipled and malicious plicities of truth in the quality of liar, such as Julian the Apostate, (in his proofs. And truth, where it its original sense, the first deliberate happens to be of a high order, is miscreant,) offered a dreadful snare generally its own witness to all who to any man's charity. And he must approach it in the spirit of child-like be a furious bigot, who will justify docility. But far different is the the rancorous lampoons of Gregory position of that teacher who ad- Nazianzen. Are we, then, angry on dresses an audience composed, in behalf of Julian? So far as he was various proportions, of sceptical in interested, not for a moment would quirers, obstinate opponents, and we have suspended the descending malignant scoffers. Less than an scourge. “ Cut him to the bone !" Apostle is unequal to the suppres we should have exclaimed at the sion of all human re-actions incident time. “ Lay the knout into every to wounded sensibilities. Scorn is raw' that can be found !” For
we are of opinion, that Julian's porting their great cause in a spirit duplicity is not yet adequately un. alien to its own, retorting in a temderstood. But what was right as per pot less uncharitable than that regarded the claims of the criminal, of their opponents : sometimes, was not right as regarded the duties again, as adopting arguments that of his opponent. Even in this mis- are unchristian in their ultimate chievous renegade, trampling with grounds; resting upon errors the his orang-outang hoofs the holiest refutation of errors; upon superstiof truths, a Christian Bishop ought tions the overthrow of superstitions ; still to have respected his Sovereign, and drawing upon the armouries of through the brief period that he was darkness for weapons that, to be such, and to have commiserated his durable, ought to have been of celesbenighted brother, however wilfully tial temper. Alternately, in short, astray, and however hatefully seek- the Fathers trespass against those ing to quench that light for other affections which furnish to Chrismen, which, for his own misgiving tianity its moving powers, and heart, we could undertake to show against those truths which furnish that he never did succeed in quench. to Christianity its guiding lights. ing. We do not wish to enlarge Indeed, Milton's memorable attempt upon a theme hoth copious and easy. to characterize the Fathers as a But here, and everywhere, speaking body, contemptuous as it is, can of the Fathers as a body, we charge hardly be challenged as overcharged. thein with antichristian practices of - Blackwood's Magazine (March, a twofold order : sometimes as sup 1842).
: or, the Reading of the Bible. By Adolphe Monod. Translated
from the French. Pp. 320. 18mo. Religious Tract Society. With respect to religion, the state and as it is admitted, that the Papal of France at this time is one of deep Church never errs, the doctrines and solemn interest. The people which she has avowed, and the may be divided into three classes: forms of worship which she has inRomanists, infidels, and Protestants. stituted, must on no account be The first class yield an unthinking changed. The Bible, therefore, is adherence to the Papacy, entertain- beld in abeyance, and the general ing the dogmas, and practising the reading of it discountenanced. rites, which their fathers have trans The infidels of France, for the mitted to them, without any serious most part, refuse to contemplate and general inquiry whether or not Christianity in any form but that of those dogmas and rites are in ac Popery. They take it not as it is cordance with Christianity, as taught proposed in the holy Scriptures, and by its Author, and by his inspired was practised in the apostolical Apostles. The hierarchy of the churches, where it appears recomGallican Church, like their brethren mended by the strongest evidence, elsewhere, are strenuously opposed and worthy of all acceptation ; but to the general reading of the holy as debased and corrupted by the adScriptures ; and that for a very ob- mixture of pagan error and superstivious reason. The peculiarities of tion. In this manner French philo. Romish theology and worship are sophers, as they affect to be called, not only nowhere sanctioned in the attempt a justification of their own sacred volume, but are at variance unbelief; and having no fixed prinwith its plainest declarations. The ciples of religion, some of them inBible and Popery cannot co-exist; dulge in speculations, on this most