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of the New Testament, collected and combined, would furnish a most appalling picture. Irreligion and profligacy were at their height: the one feature of profane swearing would not be absent. The affecting narrative of the fall of rash, self-confident Peter, brings before us, we fear, one, at least, of the "signs of the times." Peter, among the foes of Christ, was charged with being his disciple. "Thy speech bewrayeth thee," said one of them. This evidence, at least, he resolved to contradict, and "then began he to curse and to swear" that he "knew not the man."

At the time when our Lord came into the world, the Jews had large intercourse with the surrounding nations. The enumeration of the countries in which many of them dwelt, given us in the account of the impression made on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, regular and casual, by the effects produced on the Apostles by the descent of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, will show how extensive were their emigrations. In all the cities of Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy, they were to be found. (Acts ii. 5—11.) It is a fair question, therefore, especially as Christianity was designed equally for Gentiles and Jews, What was the practice of these nations in this respect? The answer is, that appeals to their gods entered largely into their ordinary conversation. Such appeals appear to have been their frequent, their customary method of giving force to their affirmations. To illustrate this, facts shall be adduced from the writings of their most respectable men. Of the Greeks, we refer to Xenophon and Plato. Of the Romans, to Plautus, Terence, and Cicero. Such swearing as we believe our Lord expressly and entirely prohibits, entered into social intercourse to an extent which shows the strength of the habit, and at the same time the commonness and greatness of the evil. It was necessary that discourse should be restored to its proper purity and simplicity, and purged from those profane expletives which always evince the absence of religious reverence, and tend to confirm those who use them in the obduracy of a fearful ungodliness. It was not against an evil that might possibly, at some future time, arise, and which required a sort of proleptic guard, that our Lord's solemn enactments were directed, but against an evil which had actually arisen to a terrible height, and which, if not effectually checked, would "eat as doth a canker."

We might fill whole pages with quotations proving this statement; but our readers would have as much pain in perusing them, as we ourselves in copying. It will be sufficient to cite one or two examples, and then to state the number which might have been taken from a certain proportion of the work.

We first take the "Memoirs" (as the title has been translated by Mrs. Fielding) "of Socrates by Xenophon." These "Memorabilia" consist chiefly in recitals of conversations held at different times, with different persons; almost always what would be called "respectable" persons. Book i., c. 2, §. 9: "But, by Jove," (Adda vŋ Ala,) the Accuser said, "he caused his pupils to despise our established laws," &c. Sometimes the phrase is, "By Hercules," or, "By the gods." In the conversational portions of the first two books-and our object does not require us to go any further these expressions occur, in dialogues most serious and argumentative, twenty-one times.

Plato, likewise, has given us a number of Socratic Dialogues. How far they are reminiscences, or how far they are his own invention, are questions quite irrelevant to our purpose. We only refer to them as exhibiting the style of conversation in his own day. It is plain that this was the manner in which the Athenians were accustomed to speak in their ordinary collo

quies. Even in his "Defence before his Judges," Plato represents Socrates as introducing these phrases several times: "By the dog, Athenians.” “You speak well," (addressing his accuser,) "by Juno." One of the replies of this man-Melitus-is, "You do not avow any God, by Jupiter." This "Apology" alone furnishes eight instances; the "Crito" and "Phædo," about twenty. And the custom runs through all the dialogues. Now, if on these more serious occasions, and among these more respectable persons, the practice was so habitual, what would it be with the people at large in their ordinary intercourse with each other?

Among the Roman writers we refer particularly to Plautus and Terence, because they (and especially the latter) may be taken as exhibiting the ordinary mode of conversation in their day. Their Dramatis Persona speak as the dramatists knew that their countrymen were in the habit of speaking. In the "Rudens" and "Epidicus" of Plautus, the usual phrases, Hercle, Pol, Edepol, Ecastor, Dii Immortales, &c., occur about a hundred and seventy times. Taking four of the compositions of Terence, his "Andria," "Adelphi," "Hecyra," and "Heautontimorumenos," such forms of speech occur about as often.

In the "Epistles" of Cicero, the existence of the custom is manifest. Mehercule and Edepol are often used to strengthen affirmations, and Diż Immortales is no uncommon interjection. Instances are not wanting in his more serious writings. In his " 'Republic," for example, his principal speaker is the great Scipio Africanus. Tubero finds him early one morning in his garden, and, having said that he was glad to see him disengaged, the reply is, "Mehercule, I am rather relaxing from business than from study." And it makes for our purpose to remark, that these phrases do not occur in what may be termed the "dissertative" observations, the larger and more weighty statements, but in the portions more strictly conversational. The same notice may be taken of its occurrence in the "Tusculan Questions' of the same author.

We need go no further. Our object is not full investigation, but sufficient though compendious illustration. Appeals to deities in common speech were customary at the time of our Lord's ministry; so customary, that when we call to mind the tendency of our fallen nature to run into the practice, it will be obvious that had it not been checked by that total avoidance of it which would be occasioned by our Lord's absolute prohibition of it, in all who truly believed in him, it would have risen to the most alarming height. Nothing is more dangerous to man, individually or socially, than ungodliness and profanity; and of these, common swearing is not only a decided evidence, but also a stimulating promoter. Such swearing shows that men are bad already, and it directly and powerfully tends to make them worse. God had commanded the Jews not to take his name in vain : Christ, the Sovereign and Legislator of the new dispensation, solemnly repeats the commandment. It was not inconsistent with the command as given in the Decalogue, to employ oaths on solemn, chiefly on judicial, occasions; neither is the same practice inconsistent with the command of Christ. On a serious examination of the whole case, willing and desiring to know the truth, we are confirmed in our full conviction that the prohibition of "swearing" in the New Testament does not at all refer to the reverent administration of oaths on solemn occasions. At the same time, the principle of that prohibition is such as to admonish Legislators to be extremely careful not to multiply oaths beyond what is strictly necessary. Whatever lessens their solemnity, weakens their force. And this is done when they

are applied to trifles, and when they are allowed to be administered with any degree of carelessness.

We respect "sincere" consciences, even where we think them erring. Where conscience is truly concerned, God will not be forgotten. But a scrupulous conscience is a serious matter. They who strain at a gnat, say by that act that the capacity for swallowing is narrow. Let them remember that they lay themselves under a solemn obligation not even to attempt to swallow what is of the size of a camel. They who take any one command strictly according to the letter, without a careful examination of all the circumstances of the case, are "bound" to go through with the principle. They must apply it in like manner and form in every case. A sincerely honest conscience will do so. Where this is not done, the proof is given that the conscience is scrupulous, rather than divinely tender. We may fancy that we are conscientious, when we are, in truth, self-opinionated and obstinate.

That which our Lord does forbid, is forbidden so explicitly, and the true form is so clearly described which conversational intercourse ought to take, "Let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay," that Christian professors ought most carefully to avoid even the appearance of departure from it. Some persons of strong feelings, and earnest speech, allow themselves occasionally the use of expletives, which, though certainly not swearing, look almost like a sort of apology for swearing. All these should be refused a place in our conversation. Happy are we when the words of our mouth, as well as the meditations of our heart, are acceptable in the sight of God, our strength and our Redeemer. R. I.



(To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.)

"THOSE persons," says Mr. Moore, "who have hitherto considered Mr. Wesley as an author, have fallen under great mistakes. There was a unity in his character, of which they were either totally ignorant, or not sufficiently sensible; and without this it was not possible to do him justice."

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To this observation I heartily subscribe; for though he was the publisher of more than a hundred treatises, he was still the man of one book. Mr. Poynder, in his "Literary Extracts," vol. i., p. 8, says: "Wesley called himself a man of one book.'" His own words in the preface to his sermons are, "Let me be homo unius libri;" and in another place he says, "I began to be homo unius libri, a man of one book."" But why does he introduce a Latin phrase? Because the author of it wrote in Latin. "If," says Thomas Aquinas, "a man would become learned, he must be homo unius libri." + Wesley seizes on the phrase, and applies it to the Bible; and a better application could not possibly be made. Mere authorship Wesley never designed. Have we his "Journals so artless and interesting?" they are to answer the vile slanders

* Life of Wesley, vol. ii., p. 400.
+Taylor's Life of Christ, folio, p. 364.


contained in Captain Williams's affidavit, and the extraordinary report that he and his brother had killed Mr. Morgan's son. Wesley had "no design or desire to trouble the world with his little affairs;" but he must obey the divine command, "Let not the good which is in you be evil spoken of." Does he preach and publish sermons? It is to furnish "plain truth for plain people." It was a saying of Archbishop Usher, "It will require all your learning to make things plain." Does Wesley write and print forms of prayer? The first of these is for the benefit of his pupils. Does he make appeals? It is to "men of reason and religion." Does he call an eminent engraver to his aid? It is to portray one who has adopted for his motto, "Through evil report and good report;" while the scroll beneath exhibits the child of six years plucked as a "brand from the burning." Is the same face again exhibited? It is in the attitude of a Minister preaching; the arm resting on a folio, on which is inscribed "Homilies," thereby declaring that the "new religion," so called, was the “old religion of the Reformers."+ A writer in the "Gentleman's Magazine" has well remarked, that his great object was to revive the obsolete doctrines of the Church of England; and for this he was exposed to every species of slander and persecution; but he appealed to the Homilies, the Articles, and the Scriptures, as vouchers for his doctrine. All his life was a comment on Father Malebranche's "Search after Truth;" and when he became experimentally acquainted with the truth, he was eminently a "defender of the faith." His polemical treatises were designed for this very object ; and these "he wrote as need required," first, to preserve those who were in danger of being seduced from the simplicity of the Gospel; and, secondly, if possible, to recover those who had fallen into the snare. The chief of these is his "Treatise on Original Sin," published 1757. His political papers were designed to "still the madness of the people," and were entitled 'Thoughts on Public Affairs," 1771. "A Calm Address to the American Colonies," 1776. "Observations on Liberty," 1776. The political sentiments of popular men are important to the State, and Wesley was a most strenuous advocate for the order and law, as well as freedom, connected with the limited monarchy of the English constitution. Ireland, that difficult spot for parliamentary legislation, he viewed as almost conquered by the powerful ministry of the word. "I have now," says he, "gone through the greatest part of this kingdom: Leinster, Ulster, and the greater half of Connaught. Time only is wanting. If my brother could take care of England, and give me but one year for Ireland, I think every corner of this nation would receive the truth, as it is in Jesus. They want only to hear it: and they will hear me; high and low, rich and poor. What a mystery of Providence is this! In England they may hear, but will not: in Ireland they fain would hear, but cannot so, in both, thousands perish for lack of knowledge." It was not by preaching alone, that he sought to benefit that benighted country; but in July, 1749, he published "A short Address to the Inhabitants of Ireland," and in 1753, "A short Method of

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*See Preface, pp. 3, 4, and Introductory Letter, p. 5.

+ See Works, 3d edit., vol. ix., p. 85. "The zeal," says he, "which many have for orthodoxy, is a reason for opposing us; for the truth is, the old doctrines of the Reformation are now quite new in the world. Hence, those who revive them are opposed by those of the Clergy who know them not."

Gentleman's Magazine, vol. lxi., p. 428.

S See Letter to Mr. Blackwell, dated Castlebar, June 5th, 1758, vol. xii., p.

converting all the Roman Catholics in Ireland." In that same year, he printed a piece with this title: "The Advantage of the Members of the Church of England, over those of the Church of Rome." Of this he published a second edition in London, in 1756. In this year he reprinted "A Romish Catechism, with a Reply thereto;" and about the same time published his tract, entitled, "Popery calmly considered." At the close of this he asks, "Are there not Papal indulgences to be had; yea, plenary indulgences? I have seen one of these which was purchased at Rome not many years ago. This single doctrine of Papal indulgences strikes at the root of all religion." The whole of the preceding publications will be found in the ninth and tenth volumes of the third edition of his Works. Preaching, writing letters, conversing, publishing, he was still the man of one book, the man with one object. He only lived to glorify God by spreading the truth for the salvation of mankind.

City-Road, February 1st, 1849.



TAKE, again, the condition of the Esquimaux, in his hut of ice-blocks or driftwood; his only food the seal and the walrus, which he spears with his bone-pointed weapon, from a little, frail coracle of skins. The air is cold enough to freeze quicksilver; he wraps himself in his dress of furs, and forth he goes with perfect impunity; and the cold of the shore of the frozen sea affects him less than that of a chilly January day does the Englishman by his warm fireside. Yet the Esquimaux has no fireside he cooks his food by the heat of a lamp fed with oil, the product of the chase; his country produces no fuel, and he cannot think of devoting the few fragments of wood brought by the ocean-currents from more favoured climes, which he finds upon the sea-beach, to this purpose, they are far too valuable to be so employed. How, then, it may be asked, is he capable of supporting this intensity of cold? The peculiarity of his food furnishes the reply. We are accustomed to look with horror and disgust at the food of these poor people, as we in our ignorance and presumption dare to call them; to commiserate the taste of those who, as our northern navigators relate, prefer a piece of tallow-candle, or a draught of train oil, to the fare of an English man-of-war; but a little more consideration might, perhaps, show us that the blubber and fat of the arctic cetacea and fish, the only food the inhabitants of these countries can obtain, really constitute the only sort of food which could enable them to bear up against the extremities of cold to which they are subject. There is no other substance but fat, and that in very large quantity, which would answer the purpose required: it is a substance exceeding rich in hydrogen, and in the body eminently combustible; weight for weight, it will generate a far larger amount of heat, when burning in the blood, than anything else which can be taken as food. It will be wiser, then, instead of condemning, as filthy and abhorrent, the tastes and propensities of the Esquimaux, to consider them as special adaptations, by an unspeakably benevolent Providence, of the very wishes and inclinations of the individual to the circumstances of his life.-From Chemistry, as exemplifying the Wisdom and Beneficence of God, by Dr. Fownes.

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