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ascertain how much, but it may be very little. He has drawn from it, by means of a fountain, a good while already, and draws from it every day. But how would he feel each time of drawing, and each time of thinking of it? Not as if he had a perennial spring to go to. Not, 'I have a reservoir, I may be at ease.' No! but, 'I had water yesterday-I have water to-day; but having had it, and my having it to day, is the very cause that I shall not have it on some day that is approaching. And at the same time I am compelled to this fatal expenditure!' So of our moral, transient life! And yet men are very indisposed to admit the plain truth, that life is a thing which they are in no other way possessing than as necessarily consuming; and that even in this imperfect sense of possession, it becomes every day a less possession!" WEAR A SMILE.
WHICH Will you do, smile and make others happy, or be crabbed and make every body around you miserable? You can live among beautiful flowers and singing birds, or in the mire surrounded by fogs and frogs. The amount of happiness you can produce is incalculable, if you will show a smiling face, a kind heart, and speak pleasant words. On the other hand, by sour looks, cross words, and a fretful disposition, you can make scores and hundreds wretched almost beyond endurance. Which will you do? Wear a pleasant countenance, let joy beam in your eye, and love glow on your forehead. There is no joy so great as that which springs from a kind act or a pleasant deed, and you may feel it at night, when you rest; at morning, when you rise, and through the day, when about your daily business!
"A smile-who will refuse a smile, The sorrowing breast to cheer? And turn to love the heart of guile, And check the falling tear?"
WHAT is the eternity of God? Existence without beginning or end. Who can comprehend it? Run your thoughts back, as far as the utmost stretch of imagination, even millions of ages before creatures were madeGod existed, and was as old as he is now, or as he will be, when millions of ages more are passed away. From everlasting to everlasting he is God!
What is the eternity of creatures? Existence without end. Such is our inheritance, to live for ever and ever. No period of years, or revolution of unnumbered ages, will diminish aught of the duration, which will still lie before us. Here we have no abiding place. Time is hastening us into eternity. All we do is for eternity. We are forming characters for eternity. The thoughts we indulge, the feelings we cherish, the words we utter, the works we do, are all drawing the features of our moral likeness. How short and uncertain is the period of our probation. How soon will our deathless souls rise to the joys and employments of heaven, or plunge into the world of hopeless despair!
Do you wish your present character to remain unchanged for ever? Is your preparation all made; is your lamp trimmed, and your light burning for ETERNITY?
is in affliction, pay that individual a visit. Do not hoard up all you earn; give a certain portion of your property to the poor. Never get angry. If you are slandered or imposed upon, better suffer a little, than to retaliate and use harsh language. Be not proud or selfish. Think no more highly of yourself and your talents than you do of the capacities of others. Pay all you owe. Keep out of debt. Have nothing to do with lawyers. Get not entangled in the meshes of the law; avoid it as the sure gate to ruin. Shun vicious pursuits and unprincipled associates. Honour the sabbath, serve God, and be devoted to truth and religion. Finally, take some useful paper, pay for it in advance, and read it attentively, and our word for it you will be happy. Peace and contentment will smile in your path, joy dance on your countenance, and every lane of life before you will be fraught with blessings rich and abundant.
HOW TO BE HAPPY.
Do all the good you can. Whenever you hear of apoor widow, an orphan child, or aged man who VOL. IV.
THE SIGHT OF THE DYING. THE late Abner L. Pentland, of Pittsburg, remarked, when he was dying, "Mother, I can see a great distance!" Doubtless this is the experience, beautifully expressed, of every one who comes with a chastened faith to a calm death-bed. In his progress through ordinary life, the vapours that float in the mental atmosphere render the vision imperfect, and he cannot see afar off; but as he draws near eternity, the air grows purer, the light brighter, the vision clearer, and the serenity pervades the whole being; the vista of futurity opens upon the eyes of the soul; he beholds the gates of heaven, the river of life, its glad waters kissing the footsteps of the throne of God, the glories of the new world grow brighter and brighter upon him; with Stephen, he beholds Jesus at the right hand of his Father; and as he dwells with rapture on those enlivened sights, the earth and all its scenery grows dim about him, and, like Elisha's servant at the gate of Damascus, he is instantly environed with troops of angels, come to take him up over the everlasting hills in the chariot of the Lord of Hosts.
adults belonging to missionary schools. Some 800 or 400 churches, and 2,000 or 3,000 schools have been organised. The Bible is printed in most of the principal dialects of the children of men. These are the brief results of what has been done for the heathen in the period of 1840 years' effort."
THE TEST OF FAITH.
Do you fetch your joys from earth or heaven? From things seen, or unseen? Things future, or present? Things hoped for, or things possessed? What garden yieldeth you your sweetest flowers? Whence is the food that your hopes and comforts live upon? Whence are the cordials that revive you, when a frowning world doth cast you into a swoon? Where is it that you repose your soul for rest, when sin and sufferings have made you weary? Deal truly; is it in heaven or earth? Which world do you take for your pilgrimage, and which for your home? I do not ask where you are, but where you dwell? Not where are your persons, but where are your hearts? In a word, are you in good earnest when you say you believe in a heaven and hell? And do you speak, and think, and pray, and live as those that do indeed believe these things? Do you spend your time, and choose your condition of life, and dispose of your affairs, as a man that is serious in his belief? Speak out: do you live the life of faith, on things unseen, or the life of sense, on the things you behold? Deal truly, for your endless joy or sorrow doth much depend upon it. The life of faith is the certain passage to the life of glory; the life of sense, on things here seen, is the certain way to endless misery.-Baxter.
MEEK, BUT VEHEMENT.
THE Christian is meek, but vehement; meek in his own cause, but vehement in the cause of God; as Moses, who was dead to affronts, deaf to reproaches, and blind to injuries. He will comply with anything that is civil, but with )" thing that is sinful. He will stoop to the ne sities of the meanest, but will not yield to the sinful humours of the greatest. When he is most sensible of his own weakness, and most dependent on Christ's strength, then he stands the safest. When he is most vile in his own eyes, he is most glorious in the eyes of God. He cannot sin, yet he cannot but sin. He cannot sin habitually, and with full consent of will; yet he cannot but sin actually, through weakness. He saith, "O, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?" Yet he saith, " O, blessed man that I am! who shall condemn me?" He grieves, yet rejoices, under the stroke of his heavenly Father's hand. He grieves that his Father's hand strikes him, yet rejoices that it is the hand of a Father. He knows there is no absolute perfection in this life, yet is continually reaching after it. The less his burden grows, the more he feels it. The less sin he hath, the more sensible he is of sin; not that sin grows, but light, holiness, and tenderness are increased. He is content to live, yet willing to die. He desires to serve Christ here, yet desires more to depart, and to be with him in heaven.— Mason.
MADNESS OF INFIDELITY.-The infidel, who, by his cavils, would undermine the foundations of Christian hope, is like the madman who recklessly pushes from him the life-boat which is his
only hope of rescue from the wreck. Christianity does hold out hope; it is a hope which has proved substantial and consolatory to thousands; but what has infidelity done? Its highest achievement is to produce temporary insensibility to a fate which cannot be averted, and which, when it does come, will crush the obdurate unbeliever into perdition.
MINISTERS OF CHRIST.-St. Paul, in his Epistles to Timothy, speaks of ministers both in a negative and in a positive sense. He says of a man fit to be a minister, he must not be a novice: that is, not one "newly come to the faith;" not one who is floating upon the surface of things, but he must be "a good soldier of Jesus Christ;" one well-trained, disciplined, and equipped for the fight; one that can endure hardness; a husbandman that laboureth; one that digs deep, breaks the clods, sows good seed, waits in patience, and is made a partaker of the fruits!
PREPARATION FOR CHANGE.-The impression is general that we are on the eve of great events. A cloud impends-perhaps of mingled evil and good. It is an expectation which is solemn and emboldening. It leads a man to say, "Away with trifles, I must abandon all that is frivolous. Life is short. A great work is before me. I must gird myself. I must pray more." It must affect men in their relations as associated. "We are on the eve of great things, therefore let us be sober, let us be vigilant, let us be active, let us be at peace, let us live for Christ!"-Dr. Alexander.
Essays, Extracts, and Correspondence.
DANGERS OF METHODISTIC CENTRALIZATION.
TO WESLEYAN METHODIST SOCIETIES THROUGHOUT THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
"The progress of intelligence and morals always tends to de-centralize and diffuse power among the people; the progress of ignorance and corruption always tends to its centralization, and when these exercise their full power, leads to the toleration of a despotism."-TORONTO EXAMINER.
BRETHREN AND FATHERS,-Your liberties, both civil and religious, are in imminent danger of ultimate destruction from the centralizing policy of your Conference government. But the peril is not confined to you; it extends to all sects in the church of Christ, and to all parties in the British empire. That greatest of modern philosophers, the infidel Adam Smith, was early alive to the evils and dangers connected with centralization, as will appear from the following passage:
"The interested and active zeal of religious teachers can be dangerous and troublesome only where there is either but one sect tolerated, or where the whole of a large society is divided into two or three great sects-the teachers of each acting by concert, and under a regular discipline and subordination. But that zeal must be altogether innocent, where the society is divided into two or three hundred, or perhaps into as many thousand small sects, (eongregations,) of which no one could be considerable enough to disturb the public tranquillity. This plan of ecclesiastical government-or, more properly, of no ecclesiastical government-was what the sect called Independents, a sect, no doubt, of very wild enthusiasts, proposed to establish in England towards the end of the Civil War. If it had been established, though of a very unphilosophical origin, it would probably by this time have been productive of the most philosophical good temper and moderation with regard to every sort of religious principle."-WEALTH OF NATIONS, Vol. III., p.
A "philosophical origin" is not claimed for this system; it is enough that its origin is inspired: the philosopher certifies that, while it is wholly conservative of civil liberty, it is also highly conducive to social harmony. These are points which demand the attention alike of statesmen and of Christians, since Conference Methodism threatens in the end to be destructive of both. No two systems can be more unlike to each other than the Methodism of the former and the Methodism of the present century; and the grand distinguishing feature of the latter is centralization. The system
of Wesley, abhorring location, was wholly incompatible with this tremendous evil. In his days it was entirely unknown; but, with that sagacity which penetrated everything, he saw the principle of location at work, which he knew would lay the foundation of centralization. Speak ing of this, he says, "I beg, my brethren, for the love of God; for the love of me, your old and well-nigh worn out servant; for the love of ancient Methodism, which, if itinerancy is interrupted, will speedily come to nothing; for the love of mercy, justice, and truth, all of which will be grievously violated by our allowed inroads on this system; I beg that you will exert yourselves to the utmost to preserve our itinerant system unimpaired." Would that this vehement entreaty of the great Patriarch had been listened to! But the Divan have not only contemned, they have systematically violated the solemn injunction. Location is the basis of centralization, and the seat of the Divan's despotic empire. Hence means have been devised of collecting a body of picked men, and fixing them in London, as the great theatre of Connexional operation. To accomplish this without exciting popular alarm required skill, plans, and purposes strongly marked by pious plausibility. The pro
was bold and hazardous, but the Cage and dexterity of its authors were equ to the occasion. Building on the ancient and deep foundation of the BookROOM, they added story to story, till the Temple of Tyranny was completed. The Committee of Privileges, with its accompaniments, was a master stroke: its location is necessarily in London; its object is laudable; and its name at once indicates denominational importance and official vigilance: it is, therefore, calculated to bespeak popular favour, and to lull healthful suspicion into a self-complacent security. Next came the Missions with their stationary Committees and functionaries, and endless ramifications of intercourse, influence, and authority. To these must be added fifteen or sixteen Metropolitan Connexional Committees-a boundless source of strength and authority to Conference. Add to all these the Theological Institution at Richmond, with its officers and students, with the President of Conference for the time being, who is now always resident in the
Metropolis, and you see a system which supplies no contemptible analogy to the Government itself of this great empire!
Here, then, you behold your Oligarchy -a Conference within a Conference! Here is the Head of influence, the horn of power. Here is the mind that rules the realm of Wesleyanism, the arm that executes its universal law. The mass of the ministers, spread and toiling over the country, are nothing, and the people everywhere are less than nothing. Here is the throne of that tyranny which, at home, abroad, and in all places, lies on the watch to crush the liberties of men! Thus London is rapidly becoming, in this the kingdom of modern Methodism, what Rome was in the field of ancient Christianity. The eyes of the whole Methodistic world are directed towards it
it is their metropolis. The fate of the whole body of Preachers at home is determined there, and thence emanate the laws which are to govern every member of the fraternity in the remotest corners of the earth. The despotism of the Cæsars was not more complete; the Society of the Jesuits is not more dangerous. In fully estimating this danger, we must look less to the history of the past, how pregnant soever with instruction and warning, than to principles and their tendencies, as illustrated by the present position and proceedings of the Oligarchy of the Conference. Its horn grew while men slept; it has stolen a march both on the churches of Christ and "the powers that be;" it has called out and disciplined to its various offices and purposes a large portion of the mind of the empire, including men, active, ambitious, and aspir ing. It has put in requisition, on a large scale, a faculty for administering a new system of religious politics wholly unknown to the apostles. It has silently and gradually formed a close connection with the public mind, by its diversified agencies, its tracts, its books, its weekly and monthly periodical literature, its sabbath and day-schools, its Local and Itinerant ministries, and the countless ramifications of social and commercial life. It has, through its innumerable auxiliary societies, established a system of action on the public mind at home, for the support and extension of its various interests, that is in constant and all-pervading operation, increasingly effective, and, of its kind, without a rival. It understands the mind of the country, and can, at any given period, with tolerable accuracy, gather up the public sentiment.
It has at its disposal far more talent than the State, and ten thousand times more character; it has much wider connections over the globe, and a far more extensive correspondence. It has penetrated the unexplored regions of barbarism, and established its posts of observation and influence in the heart of remote nations. It has planted foreign colonies, and governs them. In a word, it has taken a field that is its own; and has gained an influence, either for good or evil, with all the governments on earth whose territories it has invaded.* Throughout this vast ghostly empire your Conference are the sole legislators, the irresponsible judges, and the irresistible executive! A most vigorous writer of your own has correctly said, "The President of the Conference is the generalissimo: he, with his staff-officersfew, we understand, in number-issues the word of command, and all the army begins to move; he cries, Halt,' and forthwith they stop; he saith to this man, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh.' This union of action is observed in all matters of great concernment; in relation to charitable institutions, human rights and human wrongs, the interests of the race and the interests of individuals, the election of a member of parliament and the election of a parish apothecary. Nor do we hesitate to say, that to our apprehension it proceeds mostly in the wrong way. The influence of the Conference is, for the most part, anti-liberal. They are, as will appear in the sequel, tyrants themselves, and they seem generally to incline to the side of tyranny. It has, in fact, been put forth by them as a plea in their favour, that they have checked innovation, been pillars to the State in perilous times, and prevented thousands from becoming absolute Dissenters."
Fathers and Brethren! These are facts; and from these facts arise your dishonour and the common danger. This is modern Methodism, but it is not apostolic Christianity, which imposes no laws but those of Christ. THE SUFFICIENCY AND THE AUTHORITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENTthese are the only true principles of church government. None else can bind your conscience; none else should regulate your conduct! And as far as these principles are violated by self-elected ecclesiastical legislators, the deviations, whatever their precise character, should
See "A Voice from America to England," pp.
be promptly rejected, indignantly spurned as the impious assumptions of illegitimate power; in submission to which you degrade yourselves, and sacrifice the holy principles of Christian liberty to the ambition of a domineering priesthood! This system is wrong in proportion as it is opposed to the word of God, and the danger is in proportion to the wealth and numbers at its disposal. Now, it has no foundation whatever in the word of God! The system of the apostles is thoroughly popular, and hence in apostolic times the church presented not one element or atom of centralization. Will you not listen to your own Benson? That eminent man, speaking of the apostles, in Acts vi., says, "It would have been happy for the church, had its ordinary ministers, in every age, taken the same care to act in concert with the people committed to their charge which the apostles themselves did on this and other occasions." How different your condition! The apostles were the "servants" of the churches; your preachers are your "masters." The apostles made proposals to be considered; Conference issues edicts to be obeyed! The apostles renounced the management of even the most insignificant temporalities; Conference has grasped into its own hands the entire financial economy. One of the ablest men that ever lifted a voice in your behalf, thus expounds the matter: "Who are the circuit stewards? The nominees of the preachers! Who chooses the laymen on the Mission Fund Committee? The Conference alone chooses the members of that Committee ! The same remark applies to the Chapel Fund Committee, and the Auxiliary Fund Committee. We do not get one step farther in having laymen on these Committees towards securing the liberties which we ought to possess as subscribers to these Funds. The preachers alone take all these matters into their own hands, because they take care to appoint those individuals only who will be subservient to their will. The preachers nominate men, not on account of their natural or spiritual qualifications, but solely on account of their known subservience to the Conferential system!" Your position is utterly unlike that of any other portion of the church of God on the face of the whole earth.
the real state of things in this body, the country at large has but little knowledge; nor are our fellow-countrymen at all aware of the dangers with which they, in common with ourselves, are menaced by these overt acts of an ecclesiastical tyranny. The concentration, the organization, the secrecy, the ease with which, at the nod of one man, the most complicated, yet most efficient machinery in the world, is now brought to bear upon the people of England, as one means of checking the progress of salutary reforms; and, under the mask of religion at home, and Missions abroad, of overtopping all other churches, and upon their ruins causing a second grisly Papacy to arise; these religious and political features of Wesleyan Methodism, as at present administered, are now disclosing themselves in a way that, unhappily, leaves no room for doubt, whilst it must fill the mind of the generous philanthropist with serious apprehension, if not with dismay. * * The object is, to call the attention of Christians, and of the public generally, to the present position and aspects of the Wesleyan Conference on the one hand, and of its reformers on the other; to forewarn Englishmen of all classes of the danger that threatens their municipal and national liberties, through the wily but steadily progressing career of this now stupendous body, more secret, farther ramified, and more dangerous than any Orange Union that ever plotted against our freedom; to forearm all thus forewarned, that they may be ready to meet these men at every fresh development of their deep-laid schemes, and to bespeak the counsel and support of all who are willing to take any part in reforming this great people, and so, relatively, in reforming the entire church of Jesus Christ.'
Another most able advocate of your rights, whose voice unhappily could not command a hearing, has made the following truthful and solemn deliverance on your lamentable condition :-" Of
Methodists! Englishmen! we conjure you by all that is sacred to ponder your situation, to reflect on your tremendous responsibilities! The time is come when, as one man you are called upon to invoke the spirit of scriptural reform. Most great reforms have come from the people, or rather from a portion of the people; the minority generally works the deliver-ance of the majority. The multitude are for the most part too ignorant to value liberty, or even to understand that to possess it is not simply a privilege but a duty. The thoroughly priest-ridden portion of a people have a horror at innovation not unlike that of the ancient Poles, who when their king Stephen proposed