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dwelling, than in the house of prayer, amidst the supplications of the great congregation, and the beseechings of a faithful and powerful ministration of divine truth. We cannot believe this, without disparaging the ordinances of Christ, who has made “preaching” the Gospel the great means of human salvation. We believe that what is mainly wanted in the present day, is a greater “unction of the Holy One" in the public assemblies of his people ; and following up the word of truth by private meditation, prayer, and exhortation. A Minister must not be expected to perform all the duties of an itinerant Evangelist, a located Pastor, and a Christian parent, toward the young. Parents have their own duties assigned by God, which they cannot fulfil by proxy. “These words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deut. vi. 6, 7; xi. 18, 19.)
At the same time, we think that the apostolic plan of “teaching from house to house” is a great desideratum, and would be an important means of spreading abroad the knowledge of divine truth. But let us explain what was meant by “teaching from house to house." It is customary in Eastern countries, when the business of the day is over, (which is never prolonged after sun-set,) forthwith to take the evening repast. After this is finished, the men assemble in small groups or parties in their friends houses, sitting on the flat roof, or in the balconies, or public chambers, according to the state of the weather. They there pass the evening in friendly conversation. The pipe and coffee are their usual companions ; more elegant refreshments being added by the rich. They have no publichouses, taverns, gin-palaces, theatres, balls, drawing-rooms, or places of public entertainment. These private parties are a substitute for them all; and conversation is the staple amusement. It may be imagined that their conversational powers are of no mean order, especially as politics form no part of their ordinary musings; for they have no political status except that of subjection.
Here, then, was an element of social intercourse, which the Apostles and first disciples eagerly embraced for spreading the Gospel. The new religion of Jesus Christ would naturally or necessarily occupy the attention of these conversational parties. The miraculous cures effected upon themselves or their friends, would introduce the topic into every house." What was done? how was it done? who did it? why did he do it?” were questions which their curiosity could not help discussing. Such subjects were just suited to their taste. Leaving all religious considerations out of the case, the canvassing of these topics would be a feast for their curiosity and powers of debate. Perhaps they had seen or heard an Apostle in public: now they would be delighted to hear all that he had to say in private. With men of the East, there is the patience of hearing. Unless some interested and clamorous Priest be present, there is no “stopping the mouth” till all has been heard ; and then they ponder and discuss the matter. This accounts for the rapid spread of opinion in private, before a public exposé takes place; and was doubtless a powerful means of the Gospel taking deep root before the rulers were acquainted with the fact of its prevalence. Where there are no newspapers, public opinion cannot be easily known. A great working may go on in secret, the extent of which is entirely concealed, until it breaks forth in an overwhelming demonstration.
The Apostle Paul frequented these evening parties,* and took this opportunity of explaining the Christian religion, of answering questions, and applying words of exhortation to all who were present. He taught “publicly” in the synagogues and places of usual resort during the day, “and from house to house" in the evening.
It is a custom of this kind that we should like to see introduced in the present day. If pious persons would invite their friends and neighbours, not to an elegant party, or to frivolous gossip, but to talk about the things of God, these meetings might be the means of great interest and profit. To such little companies, the Ministers might be invited to go in their character of Teachers, to propose and answer questions, and keep up a useful conversation. The rich might have such assemblies in a forenoon, other classes in an evening.+ But luxury, finery, and stateliness,“ the last of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” would require to be excluded. Perfect freedom, with decorum, must prevail. Meddling show, etiquette, and gluttony are the bane of Christianity in the present day, and nearly keep wisdom out of the church. Cannot a few Christian friends meet together for profitable conversation, without a multitude of accompaniments and trappings, borrowed from the world, or Paris, not from the Bible, though this is said to be the only rule of faith and practice?
We believe that such a mode of “teaching from house to house” would have a great influence on society at large. It would introduce the practice of free religious conversation, and would bring the wonders and beauties of Christianity home to many minds, who now look upon it as a dull form or moody profession. We call upon the upper classes of Christian professors to aid us in this matter, and set an example that shall be followed by the lower orders; thus giving us access to an immense number of persons who do not frequent our chapels, and enabling us to fix divine truth on the tender mind, or impart it in all its richness to those that believe.
R. M. MacBRAIR.
METHODISM IN FORMER DAYS.
(To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) The necessity of some provision being made for superannuated Preachers and their widows was long felt before any plan was devised for their relief. The first idea was suggested of an hospital, together with a college, somewhat on the plan of Dulwich, or that of Bromley, for Clergymen's widows. This plan was proposed by the First Classical Master at Kingswood, Mr. Sellon, soon after his preferment in the Church. It is dated from his curacy at
Smisby, July 20th, 1760. Rev. and DEAR SIR,—I would have done myself the pleasure to have met you at your Conference, but, having two churches to supply, and none at that time to assist me, must lay aside all thoughts of it.
* They are also held in the day-time by those who have leisure and convenience ; but evening is the principal season.
+ The Wesleyan Ministers would require to be relieved from some part of their itinerant labours; and, as in days of old, Deacons might be appointed to "serve tables," or transact the pecuniary business of the societies, which has become very onerous.
I need not tell you what Mr. Tizzard * has been doing in these parts, as he is with you to give an account himself. But as his labours are a good deal intermixed with mine, I take the liberty to offer my advice concerning carrying on the work hereabouts. I think it would not be amiss if Mr. Tizzard were continued another quarter in this round, till the people are a little more established; as he seems to be pretty well received in most places. But if it be thought proper to remove him, I must advise you to send a picked man; a man of gifts, of grace, of prudence, of seriousness, and of a tender healing spirit; for such a one is necessary for the people he will have to deal with.
What say you to an hospital for poor superannuated Methodist Preachers, and for Travelling Preachers' wives; together with a college for a Master and four Fellows, and a certain number of students, to be chosen from Kingswood School, or elsewhere, &c.? To build and endow such a place would be a very great expense; yet, I am persuaded, not too great for the Methodists to bear, if they had only a willing mind. To make a beginning, I will promise to subscribe £20 down, as soon as such an undertaking shall be agreed upon. I will not say how much more at present. How many have you in society that can afford to give £1 a piece ? How many that can and will give that and more? How many that are much more able than I, that will give but half so much? If the ends proposed from such an undertaking be thought worth obtaining, consider at your Conference what can be done in it. Make an estimate of what you think can be raised. I apprehend such an undertaking would free the Preachers from many fears and cares, which must now almost necessarily attend them.
2. Under God, it would be a sure means of perpetuating the work for ever, which you have begun, as there would be from hence a constant supply of Travelling Preachers to spread abroad the doctrine you have revived. 3. It would ease the societies of considerable expense hereafter. 4. It would be a means of causing the Gospel to keep footing in some of our churches at least for ever, beside other good ends which might be mentioned. May the Lord be with you, and direct you in your consultations, and prosper all your undertakings for his glory and the good of mankind!
I am, dear Sir,
Docketted by J. W., “Sellon's Plan of Hospital, July 24th, 1760. Answered, September 4th.”
Transcribed from the original by Thomas Marriott, City-road, November 12th, 1847.
TOWN SKETCI IN MADEIRA. FUNCHAL in no degree differs from any sea or river-side town in Portugal. The Funchalese are Portuguese in form and feature; the women, if possible, more ordinary, and the beggars more importunate and persevering. The beach is covered with plank sleds, to which are yoked most comical little oxen, no larger than donkeys. In these sleds the hogsheads of wine are conveyed to the boats, as they are better adapted to the rough shingle than
* For an account of George 'Tizzard, admitted 1759, see Almore's Memorial, PP. 426_428.
+ For an account of this excellent man, see Atmore's Memorial, pp. 381-384.
wheeled conveyances. To a stranger, the trade of the town appears to be monopolized by venders of straw-hats and canary-birds. These articles of merchandise are thrust into one's face at every step. Sombreros are pounded upon your head; showers of canaries and goldfinches, with strings attached to their legs, are fired like rockets into your face; and the stunning roar of the salesmen deafens the ear. Ascending the precipitous ruas, we soon reached the suburbs, our guides holding on by the tails of the horses to facilitate their ascent. Still mounting, we pass where vines are trellised over the road'; sweet-smelling geraniums, heliotrope, and fuschias overhang the garden-walls on each side ; whilst in the beautiful little gardens which everywhere meet the eye, the graceful banana, the orange-tree, and waving maize, the tropical aloe and homely oak, form the most pleasing contrasts, and enchant the sight.--Rurton's Adventures in Mexico.
THE COMMENDABLE STRICTNESS OF SABBATH
OBSERVANCE IN GREAT BRITAIN: BEING REMARKS ON SOME PASSAGES WORTHY OF CENSURE IN DR. CARUS'S
ACCOUNT OF “THE KING OF SAXONY'S JOURNEY THROUGH ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND.”
(To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) I have lately read, with considerable interest, the account of the “King of Saxony's Journey through England and Scotland, in the year 1844,” drawn up by Dr. C. G. Carus, His Majesty's Physician, who accompanied him during his travels. It is not my present design, however, though the task might be an interesting one, to refer to the general observations suggested by the various scenes through which the travellers passed. I intend to confine myself to one subject, by which, during my perusal of the volume, I was deeply, and at the same time painfully, impressed. I refer to the way in which Dr. Carus speaks of the English manner of observing the Sabbath. We, in this country, have been accustomed, of late, to lament what we have believed to be the departure of many persons from what was formerly considered as English strictness in this matter, and too close an approximation to the only too notorious laxity of the Continent. Bad as we are, however, it seems we are still, happily for us, unhappily for them, very different from our continental neighbours. Dr. Carus repeatedly complains of us. He speaks, over and over again, of our “pedantic" and “puritanical” observance of the Sabbath. Thus : “ It was Sunday, which, as is well known, is observed in England with almost puritanical strictness; the streets are, therefore, comparatively speaking, little frequented on Sundays, and I had a clearer view of the city.” “ As to-day was Sunday, on which in London all work ceases, I had more leisure to devote to my particular pursuits.” Noticing the Monument, he says: “I could have wished to have obtained a view of London from the top; but this pedantic celebration of the Sunday even closes the door at its base, which on other days is always open! Thus a puritanic faith always prevents every free view. Yet,” he adds, “what a size is this bridge ; and what traffic is on it on a Sunday !” “To-day the steamers are doubly busy; for on Sunday many persons take advantage of the opportunity of visiting Greenwich ; and just as I left London Bridge, some boats set off quite overfilled with passengers." On the Sunday, too, he was at Bath, and wished to see Lansdowne Tower. “Unfortunately, our visit suffered shipwreck against the Presbyterian strictness of the English Sunday. The old housekeeper, dressed in mourning, who hardly opened the door after repeated knocking, was proof against royal names, as well as against guineas; she said it was a holy day, and the tower could not be shown.” Again : “ Chester contains some very old churches. I saw the cathedral from without only, as it was just the time of service; and to attempt to enter an English church at such a time, to look about one, would cause a very disagreeable scene. (I often thought of Italy in such cases, where no notice whatever is taken of such slight disturbances, although the devotion of the Catholics there is certainly not less fervent than that of these English, whose pedantry, rather than their religious feeling, is manifested by the prohibition.)" In England, religious service is united service, the presentation of “common prayers and supplications” unto God; and there is no pedantry in refusing to allow curious travellers to be walking about the building when the congregation is met in the name of the Lord Jesus, with the promise of his sacred presence with them. In such countries as Italy, the churches are not for the public worship of “common prayer,” but for the Priests to offer “ the unbloody sacrifice of the mass for the living and the dead.” Some public services undoubtedly there are; but this is the principal work. The people go to hear mass, to confess, to receive absolution, each one minding what seems to be regarded as his own private business, during attention to which, strangers may be gratifying their curiosity by examining what is considered worthy of admiration in the place,-its sculptures, its paintings. Which is the better, we do not now examine ; but the cases are too different to allow of any arguing from one to the other, on the real character of the fact which Dr. Carus states.
The Scotch, he says, “are very puritanic in their notions of the respect due to the Sabbath-day.” He makes, however, an odd mistake. While the King, on Sunday, was attending divine service at the Catholic chapel, he visited what he calls a Presbyterian church. It was, in fact, a Scotch Episcopalian one ; but Dr. Carus knew no difference. He did not know that the Presbyterians had no prescribed liturgies. He says, “ The litanies are too long, and contain much not to be approved of by sound common sense. Among these, I may reckon the continual reading of the old Mosaic laws.” That is, of the Decalogue! “From this part of the service, however, I perceived clearly how it is that this nation in general has so much reverence for the Sabbath. Every time they go to church they hear, and even several times in the course of the service,” (several times in one service! When? where ? Dr. Carus is a very careless observer,) «« Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy,' &c., &c. The peculiar puritanic strictness which distinguishes the English form of worship was to be perceived in the bearing of all present. I was glad to find myself once more in the open air.”
The true condition of his mind at times oozes out too plainly to allow any doubt concerning its infidel-perhaps he would say, its philosophicrationalistic character. He was at York during the assizes, and heard the flourishing of the High Sheriff's trumpeters, on which he observes : “ There still exists here, therefore, the summoning to trial by means of the trumpet, quite according to the myth of the last judgment.” On another occasion, viewing the picture-gallery of Mr. P. Miles, in the neighbourhood of Bristol, he noticed the “Conversion of St. Paul,” by Rubens. He remarks on it: “It must still be confessed, that the whole history of such