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exhortation implies the necessity of pursuing this course of conduct, if we would obtain mercy, and prove that our God doth abundantly pardon. Such are the things which must of necessity be done, "in order to justification and to find favour with God."
The following extracts from Mr. Fletcher's vindication of the minute in question appear well calculated to meet your correspondent's difficulty, and set his fears at rest for the orthodoxy both of Mr. Wesley and his followers. "Mr. Wesley concludes his proposition with a very pertinent question: When a man that is not justified does works meet for repentance, what does he do them for? Permit me to answer it according to Scripture and common sense. If he do them in order to purchase the Divine favour, he is under a self-righteous delusion; but if he do them in order to find what Christ has purchased for him, he acts the part of a wise Protestant... Our doing something in order to justification, does not in the least hinder it from being a free gift; because whatever we do, in order to it, we do by the grace of God preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will; all being of free, most absolutely free, grace, through the merits of Christ." But Mr. Wesley is perhaps the best exponent of his own meaning, and in his sermon on The Scripture Way of Salvation," he thus expresses himself : 'Both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are in some sense necessary to justification, but not in the same sense with faith, nor in the same degree. Not in the same degree; for these fruits are only necessary if there be time and opportunity for them. Likewise, if a man have ever so much repentance, or ever so many of the fruits meet for repentance, yet all this does not at all avail: he is not justified until he believe. Not in the same sense; for repentance and its fruits are only remotely necessary-necessary in order to faithwhereas faith is immediately and directly necessary to justification."
It may likewise be proper to remark, that an explanatory declaration, relative to the obnoxious Minutes, was presented by Mr. Shirley and his friends at the following conference held in Bristol, in 1771, and subscribed by Mr. Wesley and fifty-three of his preachers. In this document they "solemnly declare, in the sight of God, that they have no trust or confidence but in the alone merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for justification and salvation, either in life, death, or the day of judgment. And though no one is a real Christian believer who doeth not good works, where there is time and opportunity, yet our works have no part in meriting or purchasing our justification, from first to last, either in whole or in part." The whole account of this matter, as it is contained in the late much-esteemed and lamented Mr. Watson's Life of Wesley (pp. 244-261), is well worthy of your correspondent G.'s serious attention; and it contains some interesting, but by no means generally known, particulars of the proceedings and controversies of those times.
In regard to your correspondent's hope that Mr. Wesley's followers are more Evangelical in sentiment than their founder; the Wesleyan Methodists would utterly disclaim any such preference. They certainly hold "the free justification of mankind by virtue of the Saviour's obedience unto death, without any human works or deservings," as a fundamental doctrine of religion; but they wish to be understood as maintaining this essential principle of saving religion, not as an improvement upon the form of sound doctrine left them by that venerable person, but in strict and undeviating conformity with it. They think it impossible to be more Evangelical, even in the restricted and doctrinal sense of that term, than he was; and while anxious to abound in every good word and work, they wish to follow the cautionary exhortation he so appropriately supplies, as to the only ground of their dependence, in the following beautiful lines:
"Thus while we bestow
Our moments below,
And refuge in Jesus's righteousness take :
The foundation we own;
And pardon we claim,
And eternal redemption, in Jesus's name.
Large Hymn Book, pp. 463, 464: Hymn 495.
Explanation unavoidably runs out to a greater length than that which calls it forth. The above remarks and extracts are presumed to bear immediately upon the case, and to be no more than G.'s strictures imperatively call for it is hoped that they will prove satisfactory both to him and your readers in general. On the whole, the true Methodist doctrine is admirably expressed in the Church of England Homily of Salvation, where it asserts that the faith which a man exerciseth respecting his salvation" does not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread, and the fear of God, to be joined with it in every man that is justified, but it shutteth them out from the office of justifying: so that they be all present together in him that is justified, yet they justify not all together." At the same time, the Methodists firmly believe that a man must repent and forsake his sins, “in order to justification ;” though they are far from supposing that he thus prepares himself for the mercy of God. By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."
AFFECTING EPISTLE OF POMPONIO ALGIERI,
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
In lately taking up your Number for last October, I have read with renewed pleasure the extract given by Mr. Southey, after Bunyan, from the impassioned epistle addressed by the Italian martyr Pomponio Algieri to his friends, from his dungeon in the Leonine prison. Bunyan takes the paragraph from the translation in Fox's Book of Martyrs; but the style of that version does not do justice to the elegance of the original-though, perhaps, the antique quaintness of the style makes amends for this defect to an English ear; nor would every reader wish to exchange "my delectable orchard of the Leonine prison," as Fox gives it, for "garden,” which is the true sense. Dr. M'Crie, in his "History of the Reformation in Italy," translates the chief passages of the epistle from the original Latin, in Pantaleon's "Rerum in Eccles. Gest." The autograph of the letter, together with the facts respecting the writer, were communicated to Pantaleon by Celso Secundo Curio, himself a noble confessor of the faith of Christ, at the constant hazard of property and liberty and life. It is consoling, amidst the black night of Papal Italy, to read such names as those of Pomponio Algieri, and Curio, and his sainted friend Olympia Morata.
But my present concern is only with the first of these three worthies, Pomponio Algieri, a Neapolitan, who was seized while attending the university of Padua, and sent bound to Venice. His answers, on the different examinations which he underwent by his Popish accusers, are still extant, and contain, says Dr. M'Crie, a luminous view of Divine truth, and one of the most succinct and nervous refutations of Popery any where to be found. They caused his fame to spread throughout Italy; and the senators of Venice, from regard to his youth and learning, were anxious to set him at liberty; but, as he refused to recant his sentiments, they con
demned him to the galleys: yielding, however, to the importunities of the Pope's nuncio, they afterwards sent him to Rome, as an acceptable present to the new Pope, Paul IV. by whom he was doomed to be burnt alive. He was then only in his twenty-fourth year; and the Christian magnanimity with which he bore that cruel death, terrified the cardinals who had assembled to witness his martyrdom. The epistle above alluded to was written in his prison at Venice, and describes his sufferings and consolations in language which Bunyan, Southey, and M'Crie, all agree can scarcely be paralleled. The following is M'Crie's translation.
"To allay the grief you feel on my account, I am anxious to impart to you a share of my consolation, that we may rejoice together, and return thanks to the Lord with songs. I speak what to man will appear incredible: I have found honey in the bowels of the lion, (who will believe it?) pleasantness in a dismal pit, soothing prospects of life in the gloomy mansions of death, joy in an infernal gulf! Where others weep, I rejoice; where others tremble, I am strong; the most distressing situation has afforded me the highest delight, solitude an intercourse with the good, and galling chains rest. But instead of this deluded world believing these things, it will be rather disposed to ask, in an incredulous tone: How, think you, will you be able to endure the reproaches and threats of men, the fires, the snow-storms, the crosses, the thousand inconveniences of your situation? Do you not look back with regret on your beloved native land, your possessions, your relations, your pleasures, your honours? Have you forgot the delights of science, and the solace which it yielded you under all your labours? Will you at once throw away all the toils, watchings, and laudable exertions devoted to study from your childhood? Have you no dread of that death which hangs over you, as if, forsooth, you had committed no crime? O foolish and infatuated man, who can by a single word secure all these blessings and escape death, yet will not! How rude, to be inexorable to the requests of senators the most august, pious, just, wise, and good; to turn an obstinate ear when men so illustrious entreat you!'
"But hear me, blind worldlings: what is hotter than the fire which is laid up for you, and what colder than your hearts, which dwell in darkness and have no light? What can be more unpleasant, perplexed, and agitated, than the life you lead; or more odious and mean than the present world? Say, what native country is sweeter than heaven, what treasure greater than eternal life? Who are my relations, but those who hear the word of God? and where shall riches more abundant, or honours more worthy be found, than in heaven? Say, foolish man, were not the sciences given to conduct us to the knowledge of God, whom if it so be we know not, our labours, our watchings, and all our painful exertions are doubtless utterly lost. The prison is severe indeed to the guilty, but sweet to the innocent, distilling on the one side dew and nectar, sending forth on the other milk and abundance of all things. It is a desert place and wild, but to me a spacious valley, the noblest spot on earth. Listen to me,
unhappy man, and judge whether there be in the world a more pleasant meadow. Here kings and princes, cities and people, are presented to my view. Here I behold the fate of battles; some are vanquished, others victorious, some trodden to dust, others lifted into the triumphal car. This is Mount Sion, this is heaven. Jesus Christ stands in the front, and around are the patriarchs, prophets, evangelists, apostles, and all the servants of God: he embraces and cherishes me, they encourage me, and spread the sacrament; some offer consolations, while others attend me with songs.
Can I be said to be alone, while surrounded by so many and so illustrious attendants? Here I find an intercourse which affords me example as well as comfort; for in that circle I behold some crucified and slain, others stoned and sawn asunder; some roasted, others fried in the pan and in brazen vessels; one with his eyes dug out, another with his tongue cut off; one beheaded, another maimed of hand and foot; some thrown into the fiery furnace, others left a prey to the ravenous birds. Here I have no fixed habitation, and seek for myself in the heavens the first New Jerusalem which presents itself. I have entered upon a path which conducts to a pleasant dwelling, and where I doubt not to find wealth, and relations, and pleasures, and honours. Those earthly enjoyments (all of them shadowy, and fading, and vanity of vanities, without the substantial hope of a coming eternity) which the supreme Lord was pleased to bestow upon me, have been made my companions and solace. Now they bring forth good fruits. I have burned with heat, and shuddered with cold, I have earnestly watched day and night; and now these struggles have come to a close. Not an hour nor a day has passed without some exertion: the true worship of God is now engraven on my heart, and the Lord has filled me with joy and peacefulness. Who then will venture to condemn this life of mine, and to pronounce my years unhappy? Who so rash as to declare his labours lost who has found the Lord of the world, who has exchanged death for life? The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I seek him.' If then to die be to begin a blessed life, why does rebellious man cast death in my teeth? Oh how pleasant is that death which gives me to drink of the cup of God! What surer earnest of salvation than to suffer as Christ suffered! * * * * * Be comforted, my most beloved fellow-servants of God, be comforted, when temptations assail you; let your patience be perfect in all things, for suffering is our promised portion in this life; as it is written, The time cometh, when he who slays you will think he doeth God service.' Tribulation and death therefore are our signs of election and future life: let us rejoice and praise the Lord that we are innocent; for it is better, if such be the will of God, that we suffer for well-doing, than for evil-doing. We have a noble pattern in Christ, and the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord, whom the children of iniquity have slain. Behold, we call those blessed who bore up under their trials. Let us rejoice in our innocence and righteousness: God will reward our persecutors, for vengeance is his. As to what they say concerning the Venetian nobility and senators, extolling them as the most august, wise, just, pious, pacific, and of the highest character and fame, I give this its due weight. The Apostle teaches us, that we ought to obey God rather than man.' And accordingly, after first giving service to God, then, and not till then, are we bound to obey the official powers of this world. I grant they are august, but as yet they require to be perfected in Christ; they are just, but the foundation and seat of justice, Jesus Christ, is wanting; they are wise, but where is the beginning of wisdom, the fear of God? they are called pious, but I could wish they were made perfect in Christian charity; they are called good, but I look in vain for the foundation of goodness in them, even God the Supreme Good; they are called illustrious, but they have not yet received our Saviour, the Lord of glory. Lift up your eyes, my dearly beloved, and consider the ways of God; the Lord has lately threatened with pestilence, and this he has done for our correction: if we do not receive him he will unsheath his sword and attack those who rise up against Christ, with sword, pestilence, and famine. These things, brethren, have I written for your consolation. Pray for me. I salute with a holy kiss my
masters Sylvio, Pergula, Justo, along with Fidelis a Petra, and the person who goes by the name of Lælia, whom though absent I knew, and the Lord Syndic of the university, with all others whose names are written in the book of life.
Farewell, all my fellow-servants of God; farewell in the Lord, and pray earnestly for me. From the delectable garden of the Leonine Prison, 21st July, 1555, the most devoted servant of the faithful, the bound POMPONIUS ALGIERI."
SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS A CAUSE OF THE REJECTION OF THE GOSPEL.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
I BEG leave to state explicitly, what you, Mr. Editor, have justly given me credit for, but which, perhaps, was too slightly inferred in my former communication. So far from doubting that self-righteousness and selfcomplacency are often the cause of the rejection of the Gospel, I could bring an example, from my own intimate knowledge, as much in point as the one you have adduced, allowing for some slight difference in the temper with which it is maintained. All I meant to express a doubt of was as to selfrighteousness being the only, or chief, cause of the rejection of the Gospel; and whether there are not other causes to be assigned for it, which equally shut the door of the heart to its reception. From my own experience, and the observation which a long life has enabled me to make on others, I cannot but think that there are, and that those which I stated are among the number. I wish the subject may be thought worthy of attention.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
A PAPER appeared in your number for April, page 216, entitled "Expounding," your note upon which invites the attention of your correspondents to the subject. It does not seem to me to require much learned discussion: if I had thought otherwise, I should certainly have left it to other hands.
I am fully of Mr. Erskine's opinion, that the declaration, "The poor have the Gospel preached to them," contains one of the most powerful of all the internal evidences for its Divine authenticity. If then its truths are found to be couched in terms the force of which nothing short of the most searching ingenuity can trace out, I should feel almost sure that ours was a forged gospel, and not that which Christ preached. This shews how simple are the requisites necessary for a general exposition of it. I accept your definition of the word "expounding." It is, " to give the true sense of the word of God, and to ground upon it such useful inferences as naturally flow from it." Nothing can be more clear than this. As a preparation for a sound exposition, then, I suggest the following hints :
First, That the literal meaning of every word and phrase in the passage to be expounded be fully understood.
Second, That it be considered whether the passage occurs in poetical, historical, or didactical writing.
Third, That a clear view be obtained of the author's object, by an accurate examination of the context.
Fourth, That, before actually applying these principles to the study of CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 379.