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superlatively egotistical and self-adulatory; he rolls and swelters in vanity.” With these vices or weaknesses not even the most lynx-eyed and unscrupulous of his opposers have ventured to charge Mr. Wesley. His “Journal” must pass for “one in a hundred;” himself, for “one in a thousand.” The thought seems to have been omnipresent to him : “What is the praise of man to me, that have one foot in the grave, and am stepping into that land whence I shall not return " It is no wonder, then, that in all his estimates of men and things, he pays slight deference to human authority, and never regards the sliding scale of public opinion. All this may be seen in the quiet and chastened humor with which he records his collision with a certain “pillar of the church,” who, he says, “fell upon me with might and main for saying, ‘People might know their sins were forgiven'—and who brought a great book to confute me at once. I asked if it was the Bible, and upon his answering ‘No,' laid it quietly down. This made him warmer still; upon which I held it best to shake him by the hand, and take my leave.” The same candor, truthfulness, and elevation of soul, are seen in his estimate of human grandeur. Dec. 23, 1755, he says:—“I was in the robe chamber, adjoining to the House of Lords, when the king [George II.] put on his robes. His brow was much furrowed with age, and quite clouded with care. And is this all the world can give even to a king? All the grandeur it can afford ' A blanket of ermine round his shoulders, so heavy and cumbersome he can scarce move under it ! A huge heap of borrowed hair, with a few plates of gold and glittering stones, upon his head Alas, what a bauble is human greatness " Again:— “I was invited to breakfast at Bury, by Mr. Peel, [father of the late premier, who began with five hundred pounds, and is supposed to have gained fifty thousand. O what a miracle if he lose not his soul!” In all such remarks we find as little of the leaven of misanthropy or bitterness, as of the spirit of adulation. Every word is that of a man who
“Would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
And yet his loyalty and philanthropy can never for a moment be called in question. In such a character are there not materials for the poet as well as the historian' Was not his whole life, from its first gracious dawn to its glorious evening twilight, a grand epic, an almost divine drama 7 To the educator, the hero of this grand epic presents, perhaps,
* London Quarterly Review.
the finest example that can be found, of an education complete in every part. Physical education develops only man the animal— such as we see in the hero of prize-rings or ball-rooms, in the sensualist, the gladiator, and the savage. Add to this mere intellectual training, and what more can we expect than a monster of skepticism, misanthropy, or irreligion ? So also, on the other hand, an exclusive cultivation of the moral and spiritual faculties may be expected to result in every species of fanaticism. As the body is the mind's instrument, and most efficient interpreter; and as mind may, in turn, be regarded as the instrument of the soul, it is plain that, in order to develop the “noblest style of man,” none of the powers or capabilities of our threefold nature can be disregarded. It was an education thus conformed to the dictates of common sense and the manifest intention of the Creator, that formed a Socrates, a Washington, and a Wesley. To secure to the “mind's instrument” the greatest possible efficiency, John Wesley early learned the great lesson of self-control. In the most comprehensive sense of the phrase, he studied “to live soberly.” He at once and for ever abjured “all needless self-indulgence;” and rigorously observed that course of dietetics which he found to be most conducive to the great object for which he lived. In accounting for his extraordinary health and buoyancy of spirits at the age of eighty-five, he mentions his constant practice of rising at four, and his preaching at five o'clock in the morning, for more than half a century. At this age he was enabled to address an audience of more than thirty thousand persons, so that all could hear him distinctly. In Great Britain and Ireland alone he traveled, as is generally supposed, not less than three hundred thousand miles, chiefly on horseback; and preached, at a moderate estimate, fifty thousand sermons. “We do not believe,” say his official biographers, “there could be an instance found, in the space of fifty years, wherein the severest weather hindered him even for one day.” He seldom rode less than fifty or sixty miles: and we recollect one instance (vol. i., p. 489) of ninety miles accomplished in a single day, on the back of a faithful steed, by this Napoleon of a spiritual warfare. He could make his dinner from the product of the bramble; and for weeks together sleep upon the floor with Burkitt's Notes or a borrowed coat for a pillow. Indeed, his powers of physical endurance seem almost superhuman. And yet his was no herculean frame. His constitution, originally feeble, exhibited at times symptoms of premature decay. In stature, he was diminutive; in person, remarkably slight; and it seemed in later years as though
“Oft converse with the heavenly habitants,
That Mr. Wesley's intellectual training was thorough, symmetrical, and complete in all its parts, and that his attainments were of a high order, no one pretends to doubt. Was it the inspiration of his genius, or shall we deem it providential, that upon the most perfect of all languages, and the most important of all sciences, not sacred, he bestowed, as we have seen, marked and special attention ? After the one, his style seems to have been unconsciously modeled. The other gave to all his writings a cogency of reasoning, a precision, and, above all, a luminousness, which have seldom been attained. And it is, in fact, this very perfection of his style that, with common minds, is apt to detract from the majesty and elevation of his thoughts; just as the simple rover of the Pampas, to whom an atmosphere of remarkable purity reveals the far distant Andes in sharpest outline, is wont to confound them with his neighboring hills; and even the traveler, who finds himself, by slow and insensible gradations, lifted to those cloudless summits, may be far less impressed with the grandeur of the height, than when he contemplates the hills which surge up boldly from his native plains. For his style, he had, as we have seen, his own reasons; and we at least are well content with them. In literature, as in all things else, the “fashion of this world” changes and passes away. To endure, style should be characterless in the sense of the term as applied by Coleridge to his beau ideal woman. Mr. Wesley's taste, then, was truly admirable; but there was a higher principle than this which molded and regulated his diction. He had more exalted notions of learning than to make it, by a profusion of tropes and flowers, or an array of hard names, minister to itching ears and his own vanity. The rule to which he so rigidly adhered through life—“to take no pleasure which might not lead to the glory of God”—contemplated literary as well as physical indulgence. “Theopathy was his ruling passion;” and, hence, it was the constant language of his heart:—
“O grant that nothing in my soul
In a word, all other educations were made subservient to the education of the soul. We do not hesitate, then, to point to Wesley as a most illustrious example of the completely educated man: Luther was earnest, daring, and heroic; Melancthon, refined and benignant; and Calvin, learned and uncompromising; Baxter, Fletcher, and Whitefield, shone with peculiar lustre in their own spheres; but for Wesley it seems to have been reserved to combine in one person every quality requisite for the Christian hero. But, like Bunyan's dream, the “Journal” is a book for all classes. What is it, indeed, but another and more real “Pilgrim's Progress’" It opens with the same keen convictions which first startled good Christian to spiritual activity; and with the same idle efforts, “by works of the law,” to soothe an unquiet conscience; and yet the “way” once found, how unlike the fortunes of the two champions ! With our hero, there was no turning back or turning aside. He slept in no “arbor;” he lost his sword in no fights with Apollyon; and to him the “valley of the shadow of death” was even as the “Delectable Mountains.” Despair in vain frowned from the turrets of “Doubting Castle;” in vain the “flatterer” spread his “net;” and no “enchantment” could prevail against him. And is there not an obvious reason for all this? Bunyan's capital error consists in representing “good Christian” as one chiefly occupied with solving the selfish problem, “What shall I do to be saved 7” With Wesley, on the contrary, as he himself beautifully indicates in those stanzas from his own pen, already cited, it was, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will to man.” Well did he judge that the pusillanimous creature, whose chief business it is to watch the pulse of his own spiritual enjoyment, least of all deserves success, and most effectually contrives to be miserable. It is, then, as a mirror of genuine Christian experience, of heroic self-denial, and that untiring zeal which
“Scorns delights, and lives laborious days,”
that these records are chiefly valuable. They most impressively teach a lesson which men are slow to learn, and unfold a secret which the poet was far from discovering when he sung of happiness as our “being's end and aim.” Wesley's was a far more divine philosophy; and the key to his peculiar excellence of life and character, as pictured forth in these matchless Autos, was surely this—he looked upon life not as a scene of enjoyment, but as a FIELD OF DUTY.
ART. WII.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1. Self-education; or, the Philosophy of Mental Improvement. WILLIAM HosMER. 12mo., pp. 262. Havana, Geneva, Buffalo, and Bath. 1847.
WE have only given the work before us a cursory examination. So far as such an examination enables us to judge, we should say that it exhibits much patient investigation and vigorous thought. Many useful suggestions and interesting illustrations are presented by the author. The work cannot fail to benefit those who have the heart to study and labor to educate themselves, without much assistance from teachers. All possible encouragement should be given to such; at the same time none, who have the opportunity of instruction at the schools, need desire to plod their way through the mazes of science alone. The way marked out by our author is practicable; but that it is difficult, he does not deny.
2. A Voyage up the River Amazon, including a Residence at Pará. By WILLIAM H. Edwards. 12mo., pp. 256. New-York: Appleton & Co. 1847.
THE subject of this book is truly a magnificent one; and we wish we could say that the author has done it ample justice. We could imagine a better book upon the wonderful scenery of the great Amazon, and the condition of the country through which it passes, with its various prominent objects. Still the book is not without interest. It is readable and instructive.
3. The Path of Life: or, Sketches of the Way to Glory and Immortality. A Help for Young Christians. By Rev. DANIEL Wise, author of “Lovest thou me !” “Christian Love,” &c. 12mo., pp. 246. Boston: Charles H. Peirce. 1848.
The object of this book is truly great and noble—to help young Christians. How much help do our young Christians need How many snares are laid for their feet! What obstacles to progress are before them! And we must say we think the author has carried out his design with signal ability. The volume is not only strongly impregnated with the spirit of piety, but it is made attractive by the beauty and familiarity of its illustrations. We hope this useful little volume will be extensively circulated, and we doubt not but it will do much good. The volume is attractively got up.