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of Zurich, in reply to a 'remonstrance' from a large part of the Helvetic body, had publicly declared their readiness to abandon the heretical opinions charged upon them, provided they were satisfactorily refuted, and their thorough determination to act upon those opinions if, after a specified interval, the required refutation were not forthcoming.
• After the appointed interval had elapsed, as no reply was received from the Roman Catholic cantons, the senate of Zurich proceeded to the execution of its late decree respecting images. We should observe the deliberate caution of its progress in this delicate transaction. In September, 1523, the images, as well as the mass, were arraigned in a public disputation, and the evangelical ministers encouraged to continue their attacks upon both, but neither the one nor the other was officially condemned in the edict which followed. After a second discussion on the same subjects in the January following, with the same result, the abolition of the images was indeed decreed, but the authorities for the moment advanced no furtherthey wished the work to be accomplished by the general consent, but not by the open violence, of the people, and some time was yet necessary to secure that consent. Meanwhile they challenged the whole of Catholic Switzerland to defend the idols, and the challenge was not accepted. Thus fortified, when at length they did interpose to remove the condemned abuse, they still conducted their measures with so much moderation, as to make it appear that they were rather obeying and regulating the popular will than leading it, so that every shadow of civil dissension was avoided, and the work seemed to spring from the unanimous determination of the canton.
• There exists a long account of this transaction from the pen of Zwingle himself, who was a principal actor in it. From this it appears that the power of the senate was first exerted to restrain individuals from destroying any images, except such as were their own property. It was next decreed, that every separate church might destroy its images after a certain prescribed method : the members of each church were to be in the first instance assembled, with their pastors at their head, to be consulted on the subject, and guided by the opinion of the majority ; those churches which would still retain their idols being left to the further instruction of their ministers. Before the work of demolition commenced, all the proprietors of private idols were directed to remove them from the churches within a prescribed time; and when these various precautions had been duly observed, the appointed officers proceeded (about the middle of June) to their duty, They consisted of three ministers, Zwingle, Leo Judæ, and Engelhard, and twelve senators, with some necessary assistants; and they accomplished their labors without any opposition from the citizens, while the rural population displayed even greater zeal in destroying the objects of their recent adoration.
""What surprised me,' continues Zwingle,' was this ; that among all those wooden gods, which had been held in such high honor, not one had virtue enough to resist the flames, but all, without a word in
reply, submitted to the fiery punishment. Still there was one prodigy, and I must relate it. There was a famous stone statue of the Virgin among the nuns in Altenbach, held in great reverence, and of much miraculous celebrity. There was a constant belief respecting it, that nothing could remove it from its place, and that so often as it had been transferred elsewhere, however firmly it might have been fixed and fastened, so often it had re-appeared on the following morning on its former basis, as steady and stable as before. We too, removed this statue, and in good earnest ; but from that time it has never returned to its position-here is indeed the miracle ! Forgive me, my christian brethren, if I speak with some ridicule on this subject; but ridicule is not unsuitable to those lying and most absurd inventions and fables, which have been related in utter shamelessness respecting these idols. I rejoice, then, and bid all others rejoice, that this most iniquitous imposture was at length removed from the eyes of men; for when this was once accomplished, all the other figments of the pontifical religion were overthrown more successfully, and with a more complete consent of all the citizens, To God, through whose power and grace all this has been accomplished, be praise and glory for ever. Amen.'
The demolition of the images was presently followed by the conversion of the two most important religious institutions in Zurich. The first which offered its voluntary adhesion was the Abbesses’ College, called the Frauen-Münster. It was distinguished not only by very high antiquity, but also by various immunities and privileges, and the possession of splendid revenues. These it surrendered into the hands of the government, on the understanding that the funds should be applied to pious and charitable purposes, with a due respect to vested interests, and the privileges, which were those of coining and a peculiar jurisdiction, were thenceforward exercised by the senate. The abbess, named Catharine Cimmern, retired on an honorable pension, and presently married. Towards the end of the same year, 1524, the canons, after some negotiation with the government respecting the disposal of their revenues
, followed this example. The few remaining monks of the three orders were united in one monastery, where the young were taught to apply their industry to some useful trade, and the old were permitted to end their days in peace. The monastery of the Domini. cans was converted into a house of public reception, and their chapel into the fourth parish church.
In the April of the same year Zwingle made public his nuptials with Ann Reinhart, the widow of John Meyar, a gentleman of the county of Baden. This event took place about fourteen months before the marriage of Luther, and, like the other, it gave occasion to some calumnies. That it was an earlier declaration of ecclesiastical independence of course aggravated the offence. Yet as Zwingle had not been a monk, nor his bride a nun, the scandal was not in his case so enormous, nor was there so wide a field for slander. One imputation alone seems to have given him much mortification—that of interested. ness, arising from the supposed wealth of the lady, and he thought it not beneath him to publish a short ' Apology,' now extant, in refutation of the charge. His character needed no such justification ; he
was as free throughout his whole life from the influence of pecuniary motives as Luther, or Melancthon, or Calvin ; nor has any act, betraying a mean or sordid spirit, ever been alleged against him with any show of truth, either by his Catholic or Lutheran opponents.'
-Vol. ii. pp. 298–300. We cordially recommend Dr. Waddington's work to the attention of the religious public, and shall be well pleased to meet him again on the wide and hitherto inadequately cultivated field of ecclesiastical history.
Art. VI. 1. Minutes of the Ninety-seventh Annual Conference in Nero
castle upon-Tyne, July, 1840. London: J. Mason. 2. Official Proceedings of the Wesleyan Conferences of England and
Canada, on the Subject of the Union and Separation, doron to October
28, 1840. Toronto: Conference Office. 3. The Wesleyan Conferences of England and Canada : their Union and
Separation. London: T. Tegg. 4. Documents relating to the Recent Determination of the British Wes
leyan Conference to dissolve its Official Union with the Provincial Conference of Upper Canada. London: J. Mason. 5. Reply of the Canada Wesleyan Conference, June, 1841, to the Pro
ceedings of the English Wesleyan Conference and its Committees, August and September, 1840. With an Appendix. London: T. Tegg
" longing to him is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.' We hold ourselves, however, in no sense liable to the charge of an officious interference in other people's affairs, by noticing the publications now before us. Though relating only to one section of the christian church, yet that section has risen into such prominence, and its numbers have increased to such an extent, as by their influence to touch, if not materially to affect, every question of importance, whether in relation to the civil or religious liberties of the people. To trace the principles and workings of a system attended with such results, is matter of deep interest to every well-wisher of society. The rise and progress of Methodism is indeed itself a study. So tempting was the theme, that even the Laureate of the day, though as destitute of the moral qualifications required for such a task as the most ignorant or prejudiced of his readers, must needs amuse the world with two volumes on the subject. By culling a vast quantity of extravagancies greatly exaggerated, facts magnified into miracles, and tales colored in relating till they appeared ridiculous,
he concocted an amusing and saleable book, and his end was answered.
It is little more than a century since the founder of Methodism began to form his followers into classes.
In the latter end of the year 1739 eight or ten persons came to me in London, who appeared to be deeply convinced of sin, and earnestly groaning for redemption. They desired (as did one or two more the next day) that I would spend some time with them in prayer, and advise them how to flee from the wrath to come, which they saw continually hanging over their heads. That we might have more time for this great work, I appointed a day when they might all come together, which from thenceforward they did every week, namely, on Thursday, in the evening. To these, and as many more as desired to join with them (for their number increased daily), I gave those advices, from time to time, which I judged most needful for them; and we always concluded our meeting with prayer suited to their several necessities. This was the rise of the United Society, first in London, and then in other places.'
Such were the insignificant beginnings of Wesleyan Methodism. But what, in the course of one century, has it become? By the Minutes of Conference for 1840, we find the number in connexion with its various societies throughout the world amount to 1,142,455. This number, however great, by no means determines the limit of Methodist influence over society at large. To ascertain the aggregate of that influence, we ought to allow nearly an equal number of persons attached to Methodist families, or stated hearers in Methodist chapels, who yet are not members of their society. And another large portion ought to be allowed for persons who, on various occasions and from a multiplicity of causes, have broken off from the original stock, and formed themselves into distinct and independent societies. Such is the result of John Wesley's labors; and such the aspect they bear upon the moral and spiritual interests of our country and of the world. suppose
that the founder of Methodism contemplated such a result, or that the rules he laid down were devised in the prospect of it, is not at all to be conceived. His views were too simple, and their effect too immediate, to permit us to imagine that he concerned himself much about the events of a future century. He knew as little what Methodism might become in 1839, as we now do what it may be in 1939. He often acknowledged that he had no definite plan; important movements were forced upon him with little time for thought, and less opportunity for consultation : the steps he took were in obedience to present duty-the future he left to providence. With a knowledge of mankind equal, if not
superior to any man of his time, he adapted his discipline to what human nature was, rather than to what it should be, or what it might become. His object was to take man as he was, and to make him better; 'to spread scriptural holiness over the length and breadth of the land.'
Mr. Wesley was educated with strong prepossessions in favor of the Established Church. His great endeavor, for a considerable portion of his life, was to promote the piety and usefulness of that ecclesiastical body. His early regulations were made in express subserviency to this object; and it was not until he found his efforts unavailing in this direction, that he consented to the formation of any thing like a separate society. He dealt as tenderly with her as if she had been the most affectionate of parents; and the steps by which he receded were slow, reluctant, and sorrowful. For many years he would permit no public services in canonical hours; a stand was afterwards made against the employment of lay exhorters and preachers; and subsequently against taking the sacrament otherwise than from a beneficed clergyman. At each of these stages he tried to fix a barrier against future retrograde movements; but from each he was compelled to recede. During the latter half of Mr. Wesley's life, he had no fixed position in relation to the Church. He kept receding step by step; and had he lived much longer, necessity would probably have compelled him to withdraw from all nominal, as he had already done from all real connexion with it. In one of the early conferences the question was asked, “Are we not dissenters ? To which Mr. Wesley replied in these emphatic words : 'We are not dissenters: we • do not, we dare not separate from the Church ;' and whatever might be the working of his system, and however in practice it verged almost of necessity towards dissent, language of the same import he uttered to his dying day. Mr. Wesley's attachment to the Church was the result of early associations : it was instilled into him from his birth, and was nourished by recollections of the most endearing and impressive character. He had received much good, and he had done much good in connexion with it. It gave him access to parties whom the advocate for dissent could never reach, and opened spheres of usefulness which the regular clergy were alone permitted to Occupy.
But nothing of this kind can be said with respect to the present race of Methodists. Their profession of attachment to the Established Church is a solecism which to common minds defies solution. It is worse than puerile for them to disown the appellation of dissenters; and yet thousands of them reject the cognomen, and all affinity with those who acknowledge it. So far from being a part of the Church, they are in reality more