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After our having continued friends for above seventy years, and fellow-labourers for above fifty, can any thing but death paxt us? I can scarcely yet believe, that in his eighty-second year, my brother, my old intimate friend and companion, should have assumed the episcopal character, ordained eklers, consecrated a bishop, and sent hin to ordain the lay-preachers in America. I was then in Bristol at his elbow ; yet he never gave me the least hint of bis intention. How was he surprised into so rash an action ? He certainly persuaded himself that it was right.
Lord Mansfield told me last year, that ordination was separation. This my brother does not, and will not see; or that he has renounced the principles and practice of his whole life ; that he has acted contrary to all his declarations, protestations, and writings; robbed his friends of their boasting ; realized the nag's head ordination; and leis an indeliable blot on his name, as long as it shall be remembered.
Thus our partnership here is dissolved; but not our friendship. I have taken him for better for worse till death us do part, or rather re-unite us in love inseparable. I have lived on earth a little too long, who have to see this evil day ; but I shall very soon be taken from it, in stedfast faith that the Lord will maintain his own cause and carry on his work, and fulfil his promise to his Church; “LO, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
Permit me to subscribe myself,
Reverend and dear Sir,
CHARLES WESLEY. P. S. What wilt become of those poor sheep in the wilderness, the American methodists? How have they been betrayed into a separation from the Church of England, which their preachers and they no more intended than the methodists here? Had they had patience a little longer, they would have seen a real primitive bishop in Ameri. ca, duly consecrated by three Scotch Bishops, who had their consecration from the English Bishops, and are acknowledged by them as the same with themselves. There is therefore not the least difference betwixt the members of Bishop Seabury's Church, and the members of the Church of England.
You know I had the happiness to converse with that truly apostolical man, who is esteemed by all that know him, as much as by you and me. He told me he looked upon the methodists in America as sound members of the Church, and was ready to ordain any of their preachers, whom he should find duly qualified. His ordination would be indeed genuine, valid, and episcopal. But what are your poor methodists now? Only a new sect of presbyterians. And after my brother's death, which is now so very near, what will be their end? They will lose all their usefulness and importance ; they will tuin aside to vain janglings; they will settle again upon their lecs, and, like other sects of dissenters, come to nothing.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE. Sir, THE Anecdote, that sometime since appeared in your Miscellany, of the European who imagined that the people of a certain town had all hanged themselves, put me in mind of a pamphlet I have sometime had in my hands, ad. dressed to the people of Scotland, and intended to correct the same kind of negligence alluded to in the anecdote. If you think any part of the sentiments it contains worthy of notice, I should like to have them inserted.
AN ESSAY ON THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN BODY, AND THAT SINGULAR RESPECT
AND VENERATION SHEWN TO IT, AFTER DEATH, AMONG ALL PEOPLE
AND NATIONS WHATSOEVER. And they told David, saying, That the men of Fabesk-Gilead were they that bur
ied Saul. And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-Gilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the Lord, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. And now the Lord shew kindness and truth unto you : And I will also requite you this kindness, because ye have done
this thing....2 Sam. ii. 4, 5, 6. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into
thy grave in peace...2 Kings xxii. 20. Why should not my countenance be sad when the city, the place of my father's sepul.
chres, lieth waste?....Nehem. ii. 3. And the son of David, King Solomon, said, If a man beget an hundred children,
and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth
is better than he....Eccles. vi. 3. And he said unto me, Son of man, Can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord · God, thou knowest....Ezek. xxxvii. 3. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power....1 Cor. xv. 42, 43.
THE ancient philosophers, who dreamed of a state of pre-existence of souls, imagined and asserted, that the body of man is a thing adventitious to the soul, a prison fitted only to its degenerate state. This opinion, so very derogatory to the nature of man, has been adopted by too many in latter ages, even Christians not except. ed, who, had they consulted only some of the plainest passages in their Bibles, might have escaped the snare. For, certain it is, that the body is so far from being adventitious to the soul, or a thing superinduced, that, on the contrary, it is an essential, constituent part of that compounded being called man; as the holy scriptures express. ly declare, that the body had the first and the soul the second place in the creation or formation of man, so that the body was made before the soul, Gen. i. 26. Let us, (said the ever-blessed THREE IN ONE AND ONE IN THREE) make man in our image, after our likeness. Which text is fully and clearly explained, chap. ii. ver. 7. where we find it recorded, that the body was first created, and then the soul, in these words, And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul. To be a little more particular upon this text; is it not very
remarkable, that even the body alone is here called man, before it was endowed with a soal ? as it was the body only that was formed of the dust of the ground, and yet it is called man. Into whose nostrils did the Lord God breathe the breath of life? even into the nostrils of that body, named man. And, then, and not till then, man, [the body) became a living soul, or, a fit habitation for the soul to dwell in. Every one will easily understand, that the house must be built and finished, before one can enter into it, and dwell in it. I would be ashamed to insist thus minutely upon so very plain a point, but that the inattention of many calls loudly for it. Mean time, I desire not to be mistaken in this matter, as if I meant the body to be the chief part of man : No; far from it. My plain meaning is this; that though the soul be the principal, and indeed the most excellent, part, yet the body also is one constituent and essential, though inferior, part of man, thus proceeding from the hands of his Creators, as they are expressly called in the original, Eccles. xii. 1. Remember now thy Creators in the days of thy youth.
Most excellently does an antient author of the Christian Church, Justin Martyr, reason upon this topic. He flourished about the year of Christ, 132, as he presented his first apology for the Christians in 140, and suffered martyrdom for the faith at Rome in 163. His words are these, and may be the words of every true Christian. “ What is man, says he, but a rational animal consisting of soul and body? Is then the soul by itself alone the man? No; it is only the soul of the man. May the body then be called the man? No; it can only be called the body of man. If then neither of these, separately, be the man, that only which consists of the union of both can be called the man.” Frag.de Resur. ap. Grab. Sficil. Patr. Secul. 2. p. 188.
This point being established, one, with all submission, may argue thus : Seeing the body, from its original make, is an essential and constituent part of man, hence proceeded that singular respect and veneration, shewn to the bodies of human creatures after death, among all people and nations, whether Patriarchal, Judaical, Heathen, or Christian, in their decent, costly and religious interment of them.
As to the Patriarchal state, we have abundant testimony from the most ancient records in the world, the books of Moses ; by which we find, that their funerals were performed, and their sepulchres provided, with an officious piety, and sometimes at no small expence. In the 23d chapter of Genesis, we have the beautiful, interesting history of Abraham's soliciting the people where he sojourned for a burying place to his bosom friend. With what earnestness and assiduity did the Father of the faithful humbly make his addresses to the children of Heth, for a grave to the remains of his beloved Sarah? The words are marked with a noble simplicity, and contain the ardent breathings of a pious soul. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and sojourner with you : Give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. It is worth remarking here, that these children of Heth were the descendants of the cursed Ham, and a warlike gigantic people, for of them were the Anakims; and yet they made a most generous and humane return to the mournful husband, and, moreover, had sepulchres so very capacious, that they could spare others a share of them. And the children of Heth answers ed Abraham, saying unto him, Hear us, my lord, thou art a mighty prince, or, a prince of God, as the margin has it, amongst us; in the choice of our scpulchres bury thy dead: None of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. But Abraham humbly and thankfully refused to accept of the friendly and seasonable present, now offered him, well knowing, that the way to secure a possession or property in any thing, is by purchase only; and therefore, he must needs buy the cave or vault, of Machpelah, as he would by no means have it for that which cost him nothing. Ac. cordingly, a bargain was struck, and Abraham paid unto the proprietor, Ephron, four hundred shekels of silver, amounting to about fifty pounds sterling of our money, as Josephus reckons the shekel at half an ounce, that is, much about our half crown. A round sum, may some smart wits say, for a grave to an old wife ! but so thought not the good Abraham. Nay, it was deemed a kindly and low price, as may be gathered from the words of Ephron. What is that between thee and me said he, bury therefore thy dead. There is one expression in this chapter, which merits particular notice, as it is repeatedly used, and the sacred oracles never deal in vain repetitions. In ver. 17, we are told, that the burying ground was made sure unto Abraham, and the same is told us in ver. 20. In the first instance, the sepulchre was made sure by Abraham's paying down the price, current money with the merchani, before all the inhabitants of the city, as witnesses of the bargain. In the second, the same expres. sion is repeated, because the purchase was finally confirmed by his depositing the body of Sarah in the cave, which was a taking actual possession, or, as we call it, infeofiment, of the ground. Several other useful reflections might be made from this portion of holy writ; but I choose not to be tedious, and therefore must leave any farther improvements to the ingenuity of the reader. Mean time, I cannot forbear expressing my wishes, that every husband would at. tentively study this same chapter, and learn from father Abraham a lesson of conjugal affection, and of heart-feeling tenderness, for a good and a virtuous wife, one of the chief blessings on this side the grave.
In the same sepulchre was Abraham buried by his two sons Isaac and Ishmael, Gen. xxv. 9, 10. And, doubtless, Isaac was interred likewise in the same cave, by his two sons, Esau and Jacob, Gen. XXXV. 27, 28, 29xlix. ver. 31. But this is not all that can be said upon the subject. It was ususal for parents to take an oath of their children, which they religiously performed, that they should bury them with their fathers, and even carry their bones with them, whenever they should quit the land where they were sojourning. For proof of this let us turn over to Gen. xlvii. 29, 30, 31. And the time drew nigh, that Israel must die ; and he called his 8971 Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, pul, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, (a token of homage and subjection) and deal kindly and truly with me: Bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt; but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of
Lgyht, and bury me in their burying place : And he said, I will do as thou hast said. And he said, swear unto me : And he sware unto him, And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head ; that is to say, in devotion to God. Yea, so very earnest was Jacob in this his last request, that, when he was blessing his sons, he renewed his charge to them with greater precision, pointing out the ancient burying ground, and the purchasing thereof, in these words, Gen. xlix. 29, to the end; And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my freonle : Bury me with my father, in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite ; in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought, with the field of Ephron the Hittite, for a possession of a burying place. (There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, and there they buried Isaac and Rebekah, and there I buried Leah.) The purchase of the field, and of the cave, that is therein, was from the children of Heth. And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. Be it remarked, by the bye, that in chap. xlviii. ver. 2, it is said, that Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed; which he seems to have done as upon a seat of judicature or authority : And whether or not a common expression in a neighbouring nation, viz. A bed of justice, be derived from this ancient pattern, let the learned and curious determine. Then it is said, as above, that he gathered up his fcet in the bed; meaning, his entire resignation to the call of God, or, as if he expired, at his own will, even as Christ did, a type of whom he was.
According to the oath of Joseph, so it was performed. Pharaoh frankly consented to his fulfilling it, though he might have pretended important business to have detained Joseph from any such journey, as he was prime minister in Egypt. So sacred was the regard, which this heathen king entertained for the religion of an oath even in another man, that he could not think of his violating it for his sake; which Christian kings and princes, who play fast and loose with their own oaths, would do well to consider and lay to heart. Gen. 1, 5, 6.
Joseph imitated the example of his father with an improvement upon it; for he took an oath, not only of his brethren, but likewise of all their families, to carry up his bones to the ancient burying ground. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die : And God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence, Gen. 1. 24, 25; so very natural, and worthy of imitation, is it, to desire to be buried with our forefathers. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him : (about 144 years after his death].for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you, Exod. xiii. 19. And the hones of Josefih, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem, for an hundred pieces of silver, and it became the inheritance of the children of