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practice,-and “the word of Christ” shall “ dwell in us richly in all wisdom.” Let be especially recollected, that the great object of the Scriptures is, that we receive remission of sins, and that salvation of our souls which is by it, and which is the end of our faith. The practice of which the word of God lays down the rules, is constituted by the works which only those who are saved can perform. To the inspired word, therefore, we “ do well to take heed,” till our natural ignorance is removed by the dawn of the day of holy knowledge, heavenly light shining around us; so that the whole landscape shall spread clearly before us, and we see
way of peace” in all its distinctness. We do well to take heed to it, till its great purpose be accomplished, and “the day-star arise in our hearts ;” till we so believe as to have the “ witness in ourselves,” and the light of the countenance of a sin. pardoning God lifted up on us. Thus being mindful of the Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles, not basely and slavishly surrendering them to those who would tyrannize over our souls, nor allowing the professors of a godless knowledge to “spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ,” “ beguiling us with enticing words,” we shall be guided and preserved in “the way of holiness,” and live “ looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God; so that instead of being “led away with the error of the wicked, and falling from our own steadfastness,” our diligence” shall receive the abundant recompence of mercy, and we shall “ be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless," and have an everlasting inheritance in the “ new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
INSTITUTION OF THE SABBATH. Genesis ii. 1–3.—In these words you hear the origin of the divine and ancient institution of the Sabbath-day, but one day younger than the earth and its inhabitants. During six days the Almighty had been pleased to employ himself in the great work of creation; calling upon every day of the six to witness some wonderful addition to the mighty whole ; and now, when all was finished, God called upon the seventh day to behold him resting from his work which he had made. Upon this day the Almighty solemnly pronounced a blessing, and dedicated it, or “ sanctified” it, as a day of rest for ever. To an unfallen world how dear a boon! that there, where every day would doubtless behold the intimate communion of creatures and their God, even there, one day, “the Queen of days,” should be, above all others, dedicated, and wholly set apart, for this blessed employment. But, in a fallen world, how absolutely necessary a provision ! Were it not for this most hallowed institution, surely all holiness, all piety, all knowledge of and intercourse with God would have, long since, been blotted out for ever. Were there no pause amid the exciting, stirring, earth-born business of the world, engrossing as it now is, how would it, long ere this, have swallowed up all thoughts, all minds, all time, and have left nothing for the calm and holy duties of the soul to God. Blessed, then, be God for the Sabbath-day. Let nothing tempt you to forego its privileges, or to neglect its injunctions : let it be to you, as far as is compatible with your stations and employments, always a day of holy rest ; not a day of slothful and unprofitable listlessness, not a day of idle visiting, not a day of frivolous conversation; still less a day of guilty pleasures; but a day withdrawn, as far as it be possible, from the worldly employments of all other days; and “ sanctified,” as the Lord your God has sanctified it, to himself, to the public ordinances of his religion, to the private searching of his word, to prayer, to praise, to calm, and quiet, and endearing family intercourse with your children and your dependents ; in fact, to the more stated and weekly preparation for the rest which remaineth for the people of God.-Blunt on the Pentateuch.
No. XXVII.-REMARKS ON WESLEY'S NOTES ON THE NEW
TESTAMENT. (To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) THE Explanatory Notes on the New Testament were first printed by William Bowyer,* in 1755, with a good type, on excellent paper. The number of capital letters in use is explained by Mr. Wesley's note, p. 47:
Many texts are not understood, and others are utterly mis-understood, by placing the emphasis wrong. To prevent this, the emphatical words are here printed with capital letters.” In 1757 the second edition was published. London, 4to. In 1760 they were first printed in three volumes, 12mo., for the convenience of Preachers to carry in their pockets while travelling their Circuits ; for they were directed “frequently to read and enlarge upon a portion of these Notes.” +
He began transcribing these Notes for the press, January 6th, 1754, and finished them September 23d, 1755. The preface is dated from the HotWells at Bristol, whither he had retired, by Dr. Fothergill's advice, for the benefit of his health, and there “to resume a work he had determined to delay as long as possible, that, if it should please God, he might finish this work and his life together.” In his Journal he makes the following entries :-“ Having finished all the books which I designed to insert in the
Christian Library,' Sunday, January 6th, 1754, I began writing Notes on the New Testament, a work which I should scarce ever have attempted had I not been so ill as not to be able to travel or preach ; and yet so well as to be able to read and write.”
February 27th. My brother came down from London, and we spent several days together, in comparing the translation of the Evangelists with the original, and reading Dr. Heylin's Lectures, and Dr. Doddridge's Family Expositor.
“ March 19th. Having finished the rough draught, I began transcribing the notes on the Gospels.”
Before Mr. Wesley put his Notes to press, he sent the ms., with a copy of Bengelius, || to the Rev. James Hervey, who had been a Student of the same
* Chalmers says,
" He stood unrivalled for more than half a century as a learned printer ; and some of the most masterly productions of this kingdom have undoubtedly appeared from this press. To his literary and professional abilities he added an excellent moral character."
He printed the Dissertationes in Librum Jobi, by Samuel Wesley.
+ Wesley's Works, vol. viii., p. 317. See also Minutes, vol. i., pp. 16, 41. All the large societies were to provide these “ Notes for the use of the Preachers.” (Wesley's Works, vol. viii., p. 315; also vol. xiii., p. 10.)
See Preface, close of the first paragraph, Works, vol. xiv., p. 250 ; Matt. xiii. 57. Ś 12mo. edit., fifty volumes, 1749–1755,
i The Notes are chiefly a translation or abridgment of a learned German Divine, John Albert Bengelius, the first of the Lutheran Divines who published a learned, pro
College of which Wesley was a Fellow. Hervey was at that time one of the most popular writers of the day ; for his “Meditations and Contemplations” came to a sixth edition, while Wesley was publishing his Appeals (1749). The ms. was speedily returned, as appears by the following transcript I made from an original letter, dated,
" Weston, June 29th, 1754. “ DEAR SIR,—I have read your Notes, and have returned them by the Northampton carrier, and transmitted such observations as occur to my mind. I think, in general, you are too sparing of your remarks and improvements. Many expositions are too corpulent, yours are rather too lean. May the good hand of the Lord be with them and with their author.
“Bengelius* is likewise returned, with thanks for the use of that valuable book.t Please to present my affectionate respects to Mr. Charles, and desire him, if he has done with Vitringa, to send it by the same conveyance as brings your parcel. Let me beg to be remembered in your prayers and in his, that I may not dishonour the relation of,
66 Dear Sir,
“ JAMES HERVEY. “ To the Rev. John Wesley, at the Foundry, London.”
In a letter to Mr. Richard Tompson, dated June 28th, 1755, he says : “I received your favour of the 22d very seaso:
sonably, for I was just revising my notes on the fifth chapter to the Romans : one of which I found, upon a closer inspection, seemed to assert such an imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity, as might make way for the horrible decree.'I therefore struck it out immediately; as I would willingly do whatsoever should appear to be any way inconsistent with that grand principle, “The Lord is loving to every man; and his mercy is over all his works.'” §
In February, 1756, he published his “Address to the Clergy,” || which
found, and complete criticism on the New Testament, or rather an accurate edition. He became a critic from motives purely conscientious. The various deviations exhibited in preceding editions induced him to examine the text with great care and attention; and the result of his labours he published at various times, from 1725 to 1745. He died in 1752, justly entitled to the epithet Mr. Wesley gives him of “that great light of the Christian world.” “Bengelius,” says Mr. Jackson, “was a Lutheran Minister of extraordinary piety and erudition. Many of Mr. Wesley's Notes on the New Testament are translated from the works of this celebrated critic and expositor. Mr. Charles Wesley had been led to a careful examination of Bengelius's writings, in consequence of the assistance which he had been called to render his brother in preparing his translation of the New Testament, and the explanatory Notes with which it is accompanied.” (Life of Charles Wesley, vol. ii., p. 203.)
* Gnomon Novi Testamenti, 1742.
+ Chalmers calls it “a lasting memorial of the author's profound learning and solid piety.”
" The first controversy on the subject of the Calvinian system was with the celebrated Mr. Hervey; a gentleman of much piety and learning, and of the mildest and most amiable manners.” (See Hampson's Life of W'esley, vol. iii., pp. 126, 127.) Mr. Wesley had drawn up some objections against his Dialogues of Theron and Aspasio; and the latter, not satisfied with them, prepared an answer in eleven Letters. (“ Ascribed to Mr. Hervey,” says Wesley. Journal, Nov. 12th, 1764. Works, vol. iii., p. 201.) This answer was not published in Mr. Hervey's life. It is said, he gave orders on his death-bed, that it should be suppressed ; and execrable was the zeal which broke through so solemn an injunction.
& Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 451.
occasioned * "An Expostulatory Letter to the Rev. Mr. Wesley,” in which they thus animadvert upon his Notes, p. 12: “ You have obliged the world, and us in particular, with a translation of the New Testament. We accept your “labour of love with all thankfulness, and assuredly trust that the administration of this service doth not only supply the necessities of the saints,' but likewise “aboundeth by the thanksgivings of many to God, and by their prayer for you, who long after you for the exceeding grace which is in you. Well assured we are, because you say, 'that you
have never so much as in one place altered the text for altering's sake.' Nevertheless, we could have wished, for the sake of those who think otherwise of you than we do, that you had given some reasons—and good reasons you doubtless have—for the several alterations you have made. This would have been very edifying, both to ourselves and others, and would have freed us from the trouble of many perplexing questions, which vain cavillers are incessantly asking. For instance: why such alterations are made; why you say "Happy,' instead of 'Blessed, are ye when men shall revile you,' &c.; and why you do not teach the Virgin Mary to speak the same English, “ All generations shall call me happy,' instead of blessed. If we say, “The words are different in the original, and require this difference in the translation,' we are in danger of discovering our own nakedness. If we say, you have expressly declared against multiplying trivial alterations ;' it is answered, and we cannot withhold our testimony from the same opinion,—that if the alteration is trivial, it ought not to be made at all; for if you who are familiar with other tongues, much more must we, who boast of no such gifts, see somewhat peculiarly solemn and venerable in the old language of our translation. And if it be an “excusable infirmity' in you, is it not almost a laudable prejudice in us, to be unwilling to part with what we have been long accustomed to, and to love the very words by which God has often conveyed strength or comfort to our souls?'
“Suspect not, Sir, that we mention those things with any intention to blame you for what you have done : we mean only to express our uneasiness that you have done no more. Well satisfied we are, that every alteration you have made is right; but it would have been peculiarly pleasing and useful to us to have seen the reasons for as many of them as might be, in your own words; both because we are always pleased and improved with anything that is yours; and more especially in this case, because we should have been enabled thereby to withstand the disputes of this world, and to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (P. 14.)
These hints, together with others, Mr. Wesley took in the same friendly manner as they were intended ; and before he published his third edition, corrected, 1760,+ we find the following entry in his Journal, under date of December 12th, 1759 : “I began reading over the Greek Testament and the Notes, with my brother and several others,” (but who those were he does
* London, printed for J. Wilkie, St. Paul's Church-Yard, 8vo., pp. 30, 1757.
+ This is called in the title the Third Edition, corrected. The first volume was printed in 1760, the second, 1761, the third, 1762 ; in which same year, Charles Wesley brought out his “Short Hymns on select Passages of Scripture," designed to accompany the Notes, and thus furnish appropriate verses to the Preacher at the close of his discourse.
This end is still answered, as above an hundred are inserted in our general HymnBook, while objectionable ones (Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 192) have been omitted. Those which we have are in high estimation : to instance only one, p. 312, “When quiet,” &c., Deut. vi. 7.
not mention,) "carefully comparing the translation with the original, and correcting or enlarging the Notes as we saw occasion.” *
In 1760, a correspondent of the “ London Magazine” asked Mr. Wesley, “Why did you not, in your New Testament, distinguish those places with Italics where you altered the old translation?" He replied, “ It was needless, as any who chose might compare the two translations together.” It was further asked, “But should you not have given the learned a reason for every alteration ?” “ Yes,” said he, “if I had written for the learned; but I did not, as I expressly mentioned in the preface.”+
A fourth edition was published in 1768, and I his last revision was for the edition of 1788, as appears by reference to his Journal under date of December 4th, 1787, where he says, “I retireil to Rainham to prepare another edition of the New Testament for the press.” §
There is an anecdote connected with the plate to the first edition, which ought not to be omitted, recorded by Mr. Wesley, on the death of John Downes. In 1744, “ while I was shaving, he was whittling the top of a stick: I asked, “What are you doing?” he answered, 'I am taking your face, which I intend to engrave on a copper-plate. Accordingly, without any instruction, he first made himself tools, and then engraved the plate. The second print which he engraved was that which was prefixed to the Notes upon the New Testament.|| Such another instance, I suppose, not all England, or perhaps Europe, can produce.” I City-Road, Sept. 3d, 1847.
A FERVENT SPIRIT.
In heaven there is a perfect activity, because in heaven there is a perfect fervour. They are all happy there. They have a sufficient end in all they do. There is no wearying in their work, for there is no waning in their love. The want of a sufficient object would make any man idle. A friend once found the author of the “ Seasons” in bed long after noon ; and upbraiding him for his indolence, the poet remarked, that he just lay still, because, although he were up, he would have nothing to do. But even in this sluggish world, there are those whose hearty relish of their work, and sense of its importance, so inspire, that they are very loath when slumber constrains them to quit it, and often prevent the dawning in order to resume it. It was mathematical fervour which kept Newton poring on his problems till the midnight wind swept over his papers the ashes from his long-extinguished fire. It was artistic fervour which kept Reynolds with the pencil in his glowing hand for thirty-six hours together,
* Wesley's Works, vol. ii., p. 520. + Ibid., vol. xiii., p. 354.
# By a deed enrolled in Chancery, in February, 1784, these Notes, together with the four first volumes of his Sermons, became the standard of doctrine to be preached in all Methodist chapels. (Vol. viii., p. 331.)
$ Mr. Valton has made the following entry in his ms. Journal, under date of December 23d, 1780 :—“The mornings I spent with the few that came in reading the Notes on the New Testament, with prayer; and we found it good to draw nigh to God.”
U “We notice the quarto edition of the Notes on the New Testament, as the most elegantly printed book Mr. Wesley ever published, and embellished with one of the best of his early prints that we have seen. (Hampson's Life of Wesley, vol. iii.,
Wesley's Works, vol. iv., pp. 34, 35; Atmore's Memorial, pp. 109, 110.