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to Jew and Gentile. I enlarged the sphere of my labours as much as my situation in life would permit.
Quest. Were your labours owned of the Lord in the awakening and conversion of souls ?
Answ. Yes: many were brought to the knowledge of the truth. But it was a strange work; and some of the Menonist Meetinghouses were closed against me. Nevertheless, I was received in other places. I now preached the gospel spiritually and powerfully. Some years afterwards I was excommunicated from the Menonist church on a charge, truly enough advanced, of holding fellowship with other societies of a different language. I had invited the Methodists to my house, and they soon formed the society in the neighbourhood which exists to this day: my beloved wife Eve, my children and my Cousin Keagy's family, were among the first of its members. For myself, I felt my heart more greatly enlarged towards all religious persons, and to all denominations of Christians. Upwards of thirty years ago I became acquainted with my greatly-beloved brother, William Otterbein, and several other ministers who, about this time, had been ejected from their churches as I had been from mine because of their zeal, which was looked upon as an irregularity. We held many and large meetings in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Virginia, which generally lasted three days: at these meetings hundreds were made the subjects of penitence and pardon. Being convinced of the necessity of order and discipline in the church of God, and having no wish to be at the head of a separate body, I advised serious persons to join the Methodists, whose doctrine, discipline and zeal suited, as I thought, an unlearned, sincere and simple-hearted people. Several of the ministers with whom I laboured, continued to meet in a Conference of the German United Brethren; but we felt the difficulties arising from the want of that which the Methodists possessed. Age having overtaken me, with some of its accompanying infirmities, I could not travel as í had formerly done. In 1802 I enrolled my name on a Methodist class-book, and I have found great comfort in meeting with my brethren. I can truly say my last days are my best days. My beloved Eve is travelling with me the same road Zionward; my children, and most of my grand-children, are made the happy partakers of the same grace. I am this 12th of April 1811, in my eighty-sixth year. Through the boundless goodness of my God, I am still able to visit the sick, and, occasionally, to preach in the neighbourhood : to his name be all the glory in Christ Jesus!
Martin Boehm died on the 23d of March, 1812. His death was thought to have been hastened by an imprudent change of dress. Bishop Asbury, in a sermon preached upon the occasion of the death of his long-known and long-loved friend, improved the opportunity by mentioning some farther particulars of him, of
his friends and of the work of God in which he and they had laboured. His observations are, with the alteration and substitution of a few sentences and words, as follow :-“ Martin Boehm had frequent and severe conflicts in his own mind produced by the necessity he felt himself under of offending his Menonist brethren by the zeal and doctrines of his ministry : some he gained; but most of them opposed him. He had difficulties also with his United Brethren. It was late in life that he joined the Methodists, to whom, long before, his wife and children had attached themselves : the head of the house had two societies to pass through to arrive at the Methodists, and his meek and quiet spirit kept him back. Honest and unsuspecting, he had not a strange face for strange people. He did not make the gospel a charge to any one; his reward was souls and glory. His conversation was in heaven. Plain in dress and manners, when age had stamped its impress of reverence upon him, he filled the mind with the noble idea of a patriarch. At the head of a family, a father, a neighbour, a friend, a companion, there was one prominent feature of his character which distinguished him from most men ;-it was goodness; you felt that he was good. His mind was strong; and well stored with the learning necessary for one whose aim is to preach Christ with apostolic zeal and simplicity. The virtue of hospitality was practised by his family as a matter of course; and in following the impulse of their own generous natures, the members of his household obeyed the oft-repeated charge of their head to open his doors to the houseless, that the weary might be solaced and the hungry fed. And what a family was here presented to an observant visitor! Here was order, quiet, occupation. The father, if not absent on a journey of five hundred miles in cold, hunger, privations and labour, proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation to his dispersed German brethren, might, by his conduct under his own roof explain to a careful looker-on the secret of a parent's success in rearing a family to the duties of piety, to the diligent and useful occupation of time, and to the uninterrupted exhibition of reflected and reciprocated love, esteem and kindness in word and deed. If it is true, as is generally believed, that the mother does much towards formning the character of their children ; it will be readily allowed that Martin Boehm had an able help-mate in his pious wife. The offspring of this noble pair have done them honour :—the son Jacob, immediately upon his marriage, took on himself the management of the farm, that his excellent father might, without carefulness,' extend his labours more far and wide. A younger son, Henry, is a useful minister in the Methodist Connexion, having the advantage of being able to preach in English and German. We are willing to hope that the children of Martin Boehm and his children's children to the third and fourth and latest generations, will have cause to thank God that his house, for fifty years, has been a house for the welcome reception of gospel ministers, and one in which the worship of God has been uninterruptedly preserved and practised! O ye children and grand-children ! O rising generation who have so often heard the prayers of this man of God in the houses of your fathers! O ye Germans to whom he has long preached the word of truth, Martin Boehm being dead yet speaketh - hear his voice from the grave, exhorting you to repent, to believe, and to obey."
(To be continued.)
DISTINCTION BETWEEN SCRIPTURE FACTS AND SCRIPTURE DUTIES.
To the Editors of the Methodist Magasine. DEAR BRETHREN,
BELIEVING that whatever will in any measure throw light on the sacred scriptures, or in any way assist the serious inquirer, would be acceptable to your numerous readers, I send you the following observations. Yours affectionately,
T. SPICER. Newburgh, April 10, 1823. • Not only the sneering infidel, but the loose moralist some times asks, “Did not your holy men of old do, and say thus and so, and are not they suitable examples for us to follow.” And with this question even serious persons are sometimes much perplexed.
Now in order to understand this subject, we must distinguish between those actions and words which were inspired and those which were not. And among those which were inspired we must distinguish those related to us as matters of fact from those proposed to us for examples.
1. A considerable part of the Bible, especially of the Old Testament, is a history of facts, many of which it is probable were at first recorded by public authority; and from these public records were transcribed by good men. These good men were aided by, divine influence to transcribe truths, and such truths only as the Holy Spirit saw would illustrate the plan of salvation, or lead to a knowledge of the human heart, or in some way benefit man
Now whether these words and actions thus recorded were uttered by Angels, good men, bad men, or devils; and whether they are in themselves right or wrong, the account of them is given to us by divine inspiration. “Facts occurred and words were spoken," says Dr. Scott in his general preface, “as to the import of them and the instruction contained in them exactly as they
stand here recorded; but the morality of words and actions recorded merely as spoken and done must be judged of by the doctrinal and preceptive parts of the same book.”
2. “Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” So says an apostle. But are we to understand by this that they were always and on all occasions in whatever they said or did moved by the Holy Ghost ? This is not pretended. It is evident this was not the case. For we find the Patriarch Jacob saying, “ This is my son's coat, an evil beast hath devoured him. Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces ;” and “these things are against me.”. This passage gives us the history of a fact. Jacob said thus and so; this is the fact; but it is not pretended that he was inspired to utter these words. It was rather the language of grief and distrust; for Joseph was not torn in pieces, nor were these things ultimately against him.
Likewise Moses, although a man of God and divinely inspired to give us a history of creation, and to communicate the law of God to the Israelites, did on one occasion speak unadvisedly with his lips, at the waters of Meribah, Psal. cvi. 33. And it would be difficult to prove that the Spirit of God moved him to dash in pieces the tables of stone at the foot of Mount Sinai. Nor will it be pretended, that David was moved by the Holy Ghost to perform all the actions attributed to him; for the Holy Ghost in several instances has testified against them. Nor was Jonah divinely inspired to be exceeding angry, and to pray the Lord to take his life from him.
Again; the prophet Elijah on a certain occasion said to the Lord, “I, even I, only am left.” But what saith the answer of the Lord ? " I have reserved to myself seven thousand that have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” From this answer, it is evident that the Spirit did not inspire even the prophet Elijah upon all occasions. Here he laboured under a mistake which would not have been the case, if, on all occasions, he had been divinely inspired.
3. We must not only distinguish those words and actions spoken and performed under the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, from those where no such influence existed; but we must carefully distinguish those said to be under such influence which are related to us as a matter of fact, from those proposed to us for our example. It must be carefully observed, that the actions of persons recorded in Scripture, although in many instances performed under the direction of the Holy Spirit, are not always proposed to us as examples for us to imitate. Laws and precepts are designed to regulate our conduct; and examples only so far as they are conformable to these. Examples exhibit to us matters of fact, or what has been done; but not matters of duty, or what ought to be done. Although the Jewish nation and some eminent individuals could plead divine authority for some things which they did: and although they acted under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit; yet until we are placed in exactly similar circumstances, and have equally as clear a revelation of the divine will as they had, it will not be lawful for us to imitate their example. What God has permitted and even commanded to be done. on certain occasions and for certain reasons, cannot cancel those laws which are of 'universal obligation. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not covet, are laws universally binding; yet the Israelites by divine authority spoiled the Egyptians, and Abraham was about to slay his son. These instances and many others that might be quoted, although the persons acted under divine influence, their conduct is not proposed to us for our imitation.
- O* Miscellaneous.
For the Methodist Magazine. IMPORTANCE OF STUDY TO A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL.
' (Continued from page 196.) “But must I not study the Languages?" If you have studied language, and can speak and write your vernacular tongue correctly and grammatically, it will not be labour lost to acquire a a knowledge of other languages; and especially of those in which the Holy Scriptures were first written. There is, indeed, an indescribable satisfaction in being able to read and understand the inspired writings in the language in which "holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” One advantage resulting from this sort of study is, that it familiarizes the mind to the sacred volume, and communicates a knowledge of divinity at the same time that it introduces us to an acquaintance with the venerable languages of antiquity, and also enables us better to understand the point of an allusion to ancient customs and maxims, now obsolete, but with which the scriptures abound.
We do not, indeed, subscribe to the opinion that we cannot acquire a grammatical knowledge of our own language, without a previous knowledge of the Latin ; because the grammar of a language is but a critical analysis of that particular language, whose principles the grammarian unfolds and displays before his students; and therefore, a man may have a critical knowledge of the Latin or any other foreign tongue, and yet not perfectly understand the peculiar idioms of his own; and, indeed, this is a prevailing fault in many of our English Grammars, that they have been constructed more in conformity to the Latin idioms, than to the peculiarity of their own language. Hence the retention of such technicals as adjective, adverbs, &c. which really have no meaning to the mere English scholar, until he is told that an