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Wesleyan see is second to no other contemporaneous power.
“That Wesley was superstitious is shown by his heed to apparitions, noises, dreams, and demoniacal possession. It is true that Scripture warrants some belief in these things, but a wise man will remember that 'secret things belong to God,' and be careful how he intermeddles therewith. From this demonstration of himself, though considerably guarded in his own case, has radiated all kinds of fanaticism in his followers.
“It is certain that Wesley did much good. He was an apostle of reform to the ignorant and degraded. God raised him up for a particular era, and for a special purpose. He is entitled to the qualified regard of all good men for what he accomplished.
“Philip Embury, who had been a local preacher in Ireland, was the first to start Methodism in America, in the year 1766. The inauguration of his work originated in this manner : Barbara Heck, a pious Irishwoman in New York, found this Embury one day with a set of other fellows who were playing cards. She threw the pack into the fire, and said to Embury, “You must preach to us, or we shall all go to hell together, and God will require our blood at
And this man received her admonition, and began to preach in a private house, afterwards in a rigger's loft.
“From this beginning, Methodism has become a power in our land, eminent for its activity and numerical strength. Like Ephraim, while it was trembling in Israel, it prospered; but as soon as it began to exalt
itself in worldly pride, its spiritual power declined. Its present history is strangely inconsistent with its real life. Once it was adorned with humility and selfsacrifice; now it vaunts itself in gold and the tricks of mammon. It is second to no other sect in its aspirations for vain show. Its ministers adorn themselves with gold baubles, use great swelling words about the progress of their sect, and are all athirst for
power. They are often unreliable, and treacherous even to each other. No more regard is now paid to Wesley's * Rules' than to the traditions of Prester John.
“Methodism is adapted to the ignorant and to the worldly wise or managing leaders. It is jealous of
lay-representation,' of the most liberal education, and of refined culture.
“ Its periodicals represent their peculiar style of doing and saying. Take up its leading newspaper and read at random; the editor, who has received catholic culture to an unusual degree, is justly celebrated as one of their prominent men; you will find most undignified and common, often coarse, phrases used by contributors in allusion to subjects of the highest and gravest import.
“ The annals of its centenary year attained the culmination of ridiculous folly. The adventures of Don Quixote pale beside the color of its denominational nonsense. False as fair were its continual boasts of what it had achieved and was still doing. Its statements of what it was giving were most like the old riddle of going to St. Ives. An observer, on examining closely into the matter, found that, save the alleged subscriptions' and 'pledges, with a few really mag
nificent donations advanced, there was but a comparatively small basis for the foundation. In connection with all these vaunts, the name of Wesley was recorded ten times to that of Jesus Christ once. This name of a faulty man is nailed like a horseshoe to all their public edifices and denominational movements. Every tenth baby of them all receives it for his lifedower.
6. The round numbers footed up under this name are the crown-diamonds of this people who aspire to royalty. If the anger of the Lord was kindled against David, when he, in his pride, numbered the people ; and also against Hezekiah, who displayed unto the Prince of Babylon all that was in his house and in all his dominions, including the silver and gold, what shall this people say, in the time of the Lord's visitation? When Elijah was in the cave of contemplation, he was taught that the Lord was not in the great -strong wind, which rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks before him; nor was He in the earthquake, nor yet in the fire. The still, small voice spoke the will of the Lord.
THE METHODIST ANNUAL CONFERENCE.
Not wholly satisfied with the opinions of his guardian, Israel determined to make further observations.
In the following spring he attended the Annual Conference of this people, which, this year, met in one of the inland cities. During this session he kept a journal, extracts from which follow:
“I had a curiosity to see the Bishop who presided on this occasion, as he has the reputation of being a great man in the Methodist House of Zion. Probably he is better known outside of his own denomination than any other of his colleagues. His appearance is hieroglyphic. It is common-place at the first glance ; ugly at the second ; but by-and-by he gives one the impression of a man of power. It is, however, the power of a strong man by nature rather than by cultivation. His look reveals a silent but mighty struggle with his destiny, or rather, what with ordinary men under the same circumstances would have been his destiny. His will must have been fire-proof. He governs men and religious bodies by this latent power. Sometime, if not now, he must have been a man of
You see in his face much that you yourself have endured. Hence his charm over his hearers.
“When he speaks, I am disappointed, even more than when I first saw him. His voice is certainly a tone, superadded to which is a wave of brogue. He is called an orator. My ideas of what constitutes an orator are now all at fault, or else this man is not what he is called. As a presiding officer he is calm, dignified, correct.
“ This body of men is a study from my position in the gallery. It includes more stars and comets than did the camp-meeting stand.
" To-day an old friend from this city dropped in upon me accidentally, and volunteered some information. He is not a Methodist, and therefore his views are not altogether reliable respecting this people, but I listened with attention.
"There,' said he, pointing out a man who sat in one of the front seats, 'is the presiding elder of one of the districts. He is a great operator, and is noted for his long and methodically worded prayers. A good and kind man at heart, withal discreet. He knows enough to be silent when he should. Astute, meditative, but intensely active in the cabinet.'
" What cabinet?” I asked.
“Don't you know that the presiding bishop and all the elders of a conference are called the cabinet? They lay their heads together and concoct the appointments. But committees from the churches have more than half to do with this business. There is as much pipe-laying about the appointments assigned to the itinerants, as at any political campaign of the same magnitude of interest.'
"Possible!' I rejoined, when only last week I