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method of blessing mankind admits of no human improvement. The prominence, therefore, given to the leading truths of Revelation by the early Methodists, constituted at once their characteristic and their glory.

It will likewise be seen, in The Life and Times of the Countess, that a conviction generally actuated the number of this body, that they had to promulgate the Word of God, which LIVETH and abideth for ever. Not only the doctrines themselves that were delivered, but the vivida vis animi that inspired the preachers, gave warmth and force to public addresses, and awakened sympathy in the congregations. The conscience, too, more than even the passions, was assaulted; the arrow had not only force but point, and, under a divine guidance, pierced the heart. The discourses, indeed, of some of the auxiliaries might be without the nice discriminations of logic and the classic embellishments of rhetoric, but they were rich in evangelical truth, “sprinkled with blood,” and delivered with affection and fervour. These social graces, together with an elocution of extraordinary command, gave to the addresses of WHITEFIELD, in particular, a charm and a mastery, which neither the collier nor the philosopher could altogether resist; and invested the less powerful but more argumentative WESLEY with legitimate means of access to the hearts of his hearers. This animation happily diffused itself through all denominations, and thus formed a new era in the history of the pulpit. The unusual, though not novel practice, which the first Methodists adopted, of delivering their sermons, either extempore, or memoriter, or from short notes, aided them in this work; but, next to the gracious power with which God was pleased to clothe their ministrations, the great charm and secret of their energy and impression was the fervour of their own hearts. The fire burned within them, and, giving warmth to their discourses, diffused a glow through all their vast congregations.

Nor ought we, perhaps, to overlook the improvement in Psalmody, in the introduction of hymns, and of a more lively style of singing, in which the Methodists excelled, though WATTS and other sacred minstrels had set them an example. This gave a degree of life to public worship unknown to congregations,


in which slow music is robbed of all its sublimity by its defeetive performance, and where words are sung, excellent for the service of the temple, but being unsuited to our dispensation, are foreign to the sympathies of Christian worshippers, and, indeed, unintelligible.

It will be seen in these Memoirs, that some of the first composers of the age, and many persons of good musical and poetic talents, gathered around the Countess, to whose lyres we are indebted for many of the sweetest of all sweet sounds to charm our moments of social devotion, and to aid our rehearsal of the song of Moses and the Lamb. The Poet Laureat, in his Life of Wesley, carried away by the influence of his own art, has given too much to poetry and to scenery, by attributing the effect of preaching to fancy and landscape; but, with all its plainness, Methodism had much of imagination and pathos, and was thus philosophically adapted to human nature, carrying its credentials in its success.

The object, too, of those whose pious actions are here recorded, gave grandeur and power to their public ministry. Heedless, in a great degree, of denominational and sectarian attainments, their sole purpose was to bring sinners to JESUS Christ: and this object is so evidently paramount, that men felt and recognized its sublimity. Instead of the amusements of secondary, if not unimportant speculations, and the discussion of the questionable assumptions of Ecclesiastical Polity, the awful truths of sin, ruin, redemption, grace, death, judgment, hell, and heaven, came down upon the crowds, as the visitation of the prophet, in the wind, and in the earthquake, and in the fire, and in the still small voice.

It is one of the numerous proofs of the divinity of the Gospel, that the grandeur and force of its dispensation does not consist in the subtile and eloquent discussion of its more delicate and recondite doctrines, but in plain and earnest statements of its broad and evident principles; and all shyness of those principles, through fear of awakening prejudice, or through desire of gratifying curiosity by widening the field of inquiry, will render

the ministry tame and unhonoured—the word of man rather than the word of God.

The character of the agency employed in the revival here recorded is certainly worthy of consideration. In moral qualities, indeed, this agency possessed great uniformity; the same simplicity and godly sincerity, the same stirring conviction of man's necessity and of the riches of Divine grace, pervading the whole, even although the views of one part, on subjects of minor importance, did not accord with those of the other. Nothing, however, could be more diversified than the earlier agency of Methodism, in respect to rank, and education, and natural talent. The more originating and ostensible instruments of this work of the Gospel weré Clergymen of the National Church--men of regular training, and strongly attached to the body with whom they had been nurtured : these soon found it necessary to call in the aid of the laity, some of whom, like HowEL HARRIS, had enjoyed liberal advantages; while others, though generally possessed of strong, good sense, had received only a very ordinary education. To these a group of persons, considerable in number, of the highest rank and of the most cultivated habits, publicly and zealously attached themselves. The sanction of these distinguished persons encouraged those who were toiling through good report and evil report; the doors of utterance which by them were opened, their own private exertions and liberality, together with their influence on the various classes of the community, were of incalculable value. This agency, however, was as unusual as was miscellaneous; and the world equally wondered to see Clergymen preaching in houses, and barns, and fields; persons not in orders, nay, even illiterate, co-operating with them; and the rich and noble aiding their exertions by personal attendance on ministrations deemed irregular, and by great sacrifice and exertion. This disturbed the noiseless tenor of Christian profession, and startled many into attention and prayerfulness; while others exclaimed, with equal surprise and dislike, "We have seen strange things to-day !"

There was throughout something in this economy admirably

adapted to the work intended to be performed. Even amidst great irregularities, Church prejudice, so prevalent at that time in our country, was in some measure disarmed, by Clergymen taking the lead ; and by the employment of laymen, the agency was multiplied a hundred-fold, and met the mass of the people on their own ground, addressing them in a style which they could easily comprehend; while the highest orders in society were brought within the circle of its influence. The co-operation of the noble and wealthy with the Clergy and common people, was also one means of diffusing the blessings of vital religion in the Established Church, as it was of increasing the number and of elevating the tone of Evangelical Dissenters.

The revival which animates these pages owes, indeed, some of its success to the accidental circumstances of the social body. Mind had been excited to activity; the character of Civil and Religious Liberty had been investigated in the Bangorian and other controversies; the moral sense of the multitude, and the piety of the few, by various means, had increased; while preaching had become too commonly, both in the Church and in the Meeting-house, dull and lifeless where it was Evangelical, and void of the distinguishing truths of the Gospel, where it was animate and engaging.

The ground, therefore, on which the friends and coadjutors of the Countess were presented, as in a painting, added considerably to the effect of the figures, giving them space and relief; for common sense, admitting the Gospel to be of God, nay, Infidelity itself, as in the case of BOLINGBROKE, saw and confessed that they had the advantage. Had the ministers of religion been more orderly and active, and had they preached something more like the Gospel, in doctrine and in spirit, the contrast would not have been so great and striking, but the darkness of the night disposed the people to hail the dawn of the morning

No adventitious circumstances, however, can account for the wonderful success of early Methodism. The time to favour Zion, yea, the set time, was come; and the impression, the extent, the continuance of the work-place it beyond a question

that it is of God. “ Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The doctrine of the Divine Sovereignty, in relation to converting and sanctifying influence, has indeed been perverted, to the relaxing of moral obligation ; but it is impossible not to see it illustrated in the history of the Church. Such a tide of success, at times when least expected, and through a channel in little esteem, flows in upon her, that all must attribute it, not to earthly but to heavenly attraction, and recognize in it the good pleasure of God.—“ He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy.” Were we, indeed, qualified to take a view of all the circumstances of the work, we should doubtless see an agreement between cause and effect, an aptitude in the employment of appointed means to convey the great blessings received; and thus should we be confirmed in a belief of the connexion between sovereignty and equity,—that grace reigns through righteousness. As, however, we are ignorant of this fitness and connexion, and of the modes of gracious operations on the human mind, we must deal with facts, and finding the effect so much exceeds the apparent circumstantial cause, resolve the question in the sentiment of our blessed Lord, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” Taking this view of the subject, we shall at once be constrained to ascribe the glory of success to its proper Author, and excited to the performance of duty, since, as far as we know, the right employment of the means always results in the attainment of the end. Let Christians, and especially Christian ministers, rival the characters here pourtrayed in piety, in united activity, and, above all, in faith and prayer; and sovereign grace, having already acted in preparing an agency, will soon appear, in the enlarged success of their efforts. “I will bless thee, and make thy name great ; and thou shalt be a blessing."

It may appear strange that the Calvinistic branch of Methodism, commencing under auspices equally favourable with the Wesleyan, should, in the present age, be so much less flourishing than its cotemporary. Reflection, however, on the real number of the former will, in some degree, qualify wonder—a number far greater than appears to a hasty observer: for while the

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