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of Addison's prose. While his sentiments and language are admired by the most competent judges of good writing, his hymns are perfectly intelligible to the common people; thousands of whom, possessed of spiritual religion, feel their truth and power, and sing them with rapturous delight. His metres are very numerous, perhaps more so than those of any other English writer whatever; and it is difficult to say in which of them he most excelled. There are twenty-six metres in the Wesleyan collection in general use; and several others occur in the volumes which Charles published in his own name.
This variety renders the reading of his books exceedingly agreeable. His cadences never pall on the ear, and never weary the attention. Like scenes in nature, and the best musical compositions, they are perpetually varying, and charm by their novelty.
“As his object in writing was not the establishment of his own reputation, but the advancement of Christian piety, by fanning the flame of devotion, he was not so solicitous for the originality of his thoughts as for their truth and importance. Occasionally, therefore, he did not hesitate to borrow a thought from other men, and cast it into his own mold; and while he proposed it in his own incomparable diction, he never failed to expand and improve it. He did not borrow the thoughts of other men because he was himself destitute of the inventive faculty; for his hymns which are perfectly original are far more numerous, and embrace a wider range of subjects, than those of any other writer in the English language. His object in composition was first his own edification, and then the edification of the church; and he was ready to press into his service whatever was likely to advance these holy designs.”—Vol. ii, pp. 476-479.
We should be happy here to give some specimens of Mr. C. Wesley's poetry, but for want of space must leave the reader to find these in the work before us, or elsewhere, as he has the means.
Mr. Jackson's volumes afford the most ample evidence of the integrity, zeal, and peculiar greatness of Mr. C. Wesley. Here we see him as the zealous and successful preacher; the spirited, chaste, elegant, and truly Christian poet; the tender husband, and the affectionate father. We see him, indeed, like other human beings, sometimes struggling with his prejudices, and often, like some of his class of mind, more sensibly alive to emergencies than wise to provide for them; but he is always prompt to act when duty is plain, and never backward to labor or suffer when the cause of Christ and the good of souls require it. When, in the latter part of his life, he ceases to travel at large as he had formerly done, he sings of the loving-kindness of the Lord. And while his brother is in the field, braving the dangers, and enduring the toils and hardships of the battle, we hear the mellow and inspiring voice of the poet of Methodism shouting to the hosts of Israel,
Soldiers of Christ, arise,
And put your armor on,
Through his eternal Son.
And in his mighty power,
Is more than conqueror.”
Thus, in his peculiar way, effectively contributing, to the very last of his life, to the continuance and increase of the great revival which he had, as an itinerant preacher in connection with his brother, been instrumental in commencing.
The journals and private letters of Mr. C. Wesley exhibit him in the light of a most amiable and trustworthy friend. Nothing can exceed the tenderness and true respect with which he addressed his most worthy and pious lady, when absent from home. And though not so happy in his sons, both of them being too much devoted to music, and one of them, in his religious course, being intractable and erratic, yet his kindness and parental affection remain the same, most marked, if not peculiar. He was a great and good man, and his biographer is entitled to the thanks of the world for the comprehensive and impartial view he has given of him.
We have extended this article to so great a length, that we cannot occupy space for several citations and remarks which we had intended to present. We fear, indeed, we have given a very inadequate view of the work. We hope it will, ere long, in some form, be given to the American public from the Methodist press. It is a work full of interest, not only to Methodists, but to liberal-minded Christians of all denominations.
The manner in which the good and laborious C. Wesley met his last enemy may be gathered from the following characteristic and affecting lines, which were dictated by him, and written by Mrs. Wesley, just before his exit:
“ In age and feebleness extreme,
Who shall a sinful worm redeem ?
Art. IX.-1. Theory of Temptation. Methodist Quarterly Re
view for October, 1841 : Article, Butler's Analogy of Religion,
pp. 586-590. 2. Methodist Quarterly.--Nature of Temptation. Zion's Herald
and Wesleyan Journal. Vol. xii, No. 43. (Oct. 27, 1841.)
We read with pleasure and profit the Review of Butler's Analogy, in the Methodist Quarterly for October, 1841, in which was set forth a theory of temptation ; and have perused, with scarcely less interest, some editorial strictures on the same in Zion's Heráld, (Vol. xii, No. 43 ;)-perceiving that they had their origin in no captious spirit, that they are candidly and clearly stated, and were evidently dictated by an honest desire of arriving at the truth, on a most important subject.
The first objection presented in the strictures, as it seems to us, resolves itself, in part at least, into a mere matter of criticism. When the reviewer says, “Temptation is a sensible impulse or solicitation to do some evil act,” and afterward points it out as the office of “virtue and religion to restrain from indulgence, where indulgence is unlawful, or to restrain within proper limits, where indulgence is lawful;" we understand him, by these and similar remarks, sufficiently to have defined the general nature of temptation. It is true, for the purpose of presenting a perfect and harmonious theory on this subject, he refers to the appetites and passions in the human constitution as having each its corresponding external object, appointed by God as its natural excitant; and says, –
“When, under proper conditions, the external exciting object is presented, its corresponding appetite or passion is necessarily excited, and tends to seek gratification. This involuntary and necessary excitement, which tends to seek its gratification, is called lust; and properly constitutes temptation.”
This, though appearing to be a universal proposition, is evidently intended to be limited by the qualifying remarks with which it is accompanied. Had it read thus :-When, under proper conditions, the external exciting object is presented, its corresponding appetite or passion is necessarily excited, and tends to seek gratification ; and this involuntary and necessary excitement, when it tends to unlawful or excessive gratification, is called lust, and properly constitutes temptation ;-then it would have been clear and precise, and would have prevented the possibility of misconstruction.
We remark, in passing, however, that the reviewer does not say,
nor intimate, that this is the direct natural origin of all our temptations. He subsequently refers expressly to "reflection” and to “Satanic suggestion,” as secondary sources of temptation.-Nor do we see that it was necessary to the mere statement of the general theory, to encumber it with an allusion to “irregular and perverted sensibilities;” inasmuch as such an allusion was in no way necessary to the practical application made by him of the theory. It is sufficient, if it shall appear, that all he says of the class of temptations designated by him, is properly applicable to them.
If the first objection presented in the strictures goes any further than to this mere statement of the theory, it is not distinctly set forth. The writer, however, in one place, says,
• Temptation most certainly does not consist in the natural and necessary excitement of the appetites and passions by the objects ' which God has appointed as their natural excitants ; but in some perverse or some irregular excitant, or some perverted susceptibility in the appetite or passion excited ; that is, when there is excitement." And again he remarks,
A disposition to unlawful or excessive indulgence is not a natural and necessary' excitement; such a disposition is contrary to the appetites and passions' of an unfallen nature, and the power to excite it does not inhere naturally and necessarily in the objects which God has appointed as their natural excitants.
There seems to be here suggested a radical objection to the theory itself. And the point at issue, we think, must lie somewhere in this general question :—Whether an “involuntary and necessary excitement,” produced in “ the appetites and passions" by the “ objects which God has appointed as their natural excitants," does, or even can, “tend to unlawful or excessive indulgence;" and that too, in the language of the strictures, “in an unfallen nature ?" This I understand the Herald to deny; while it may
be rather indirectly, but yet, I think, fairly, affirmed from the doctrine of the review. Now let us follow the reviewer, in seeing what light is thrown on this subject by the only example on record of a temptation addressed to our first parents before their fall. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” In this temptation there is exhibited, beyond the possibility of controversy, excitement, and an excitement of both an appetite and a propensity, (or, in the language of the review, a “passion,”) and that, by an object which God had appointed as their natural excitant ,—the intervention of Satanic influence, as we shall by and by see, not materially affecting the case.
See also Dr. Clarke on this passage, the italicizing being his own :-“The fruit appeared to be wholesome and nutritive. And it was pleasant to the eyes. The beauty of the fruit tended to whet and increase appetite. And it was to be desired to make one wise, which was an additional motive to please the palate. From these three sources, all natural and moral evil sprung; They are exactly what the apostle calls the desire of the flesh! the tree was good for food; the desire of the eye, it was pleasant to the sight; and the pride of life, it was to be desired to make one wise."
The only remaining question here is,-Was this excitement involuntary; and, under the circumstances of the case, necessary? We answer, that we perceive no evidence that this temptation was voluntarily sought; but have conclusive evidence to the contrary. Was it necessary ? That is, did it arise unavoidably out of the circumstances with which they were surrounded ? In this sense, was any temptation necessary to our first parents? Dr. Butler says, “ The notion of a future account, and general righteous judgment, implies some sort of temptation to what is wrong, otherwise there would be no moral possibility of doing wrong, nor ground for judgment or discrimination.” And he again and again speaks of a state of probation, as necessarily implying "trial, difficulties, and danger." Without temptation, how could these exist? And if they were to meet temptation at all, how could it arise more unavoidably than in the case in question ? or, to use the precise language of the reviewer, how could it be more “involuntary,” or more “necessary ?" As, however, our reply to the second objection presented in the strictures will throw further light on this whole subject, we will here leave it.
To this second objection brought against the theory of temptation as set forth in the review, we turn with pleasure, because it is definite in its nature, and precise in its statement. The strictures say,
“ This theory, in our humble opinion, construes as mere temptalion what we believe all sound theologians condemn as sin. We refer to the “ excitement of the passions or appetites' in temptation. This our author (the reviewer] repeatedly and emphatically declares not to be sin, nor of the nature of sin ;' an assertion which we apprehend to be liable to dangerous consequences.”
And again the editor demurs to this theory on these “two grounds :"