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out of forty-eight, with Prior's metrical love-tale, Henry and Emma. In answer to the outcry against this, he admits that it is not strictly religious,' yet vindicated its insertion on the ground of its exquisite sentiment and diction, and the facts that there is nothing in it contrary to religion, nothing that can offend the chastest ears, and that many truly religious men and women have profited thereby. Certainly it contains nothing un-Arminian. Wesley evidently held that if elegant entertainment is of the very essence of a Magazine, nothing is out of place, even in a religious, a Methodist Magazine, which can powerfully please, without polluting or perverting. As to literary aliment, he seems to have adopted the old dietetic maxim, · Whatever does not poison fattens.' Few will dissent from Wesley's judgment that IIenry and Emma is * one of the finest poems in the English tongue, both for sentiment and language; ' but to characterize it as “ not strictly religious,' is scarcely to give an exact description of it, since the only religious element it contains is purely pagan. Had it been produced by one of the popular poets of our own day, and sent to Good Words, its late illustrious Editor would doubtless have inserted it with artistic illustrations; perhaps not without a momentary demur at its classic heathenism. The lamented Guthrie would certainly have forbidden it the Sunday Magazine, and the Religious Tract Society would have deemed it hardly suitable for the Leisure Hour. But by publishing a metrical romance side by side with the Life of an Early Methodist Preacher and one of his own letters on Christian Perfection, he definitely, though not definitively, acted on the principle adopted by most modern religious periodicals. On the other hand, by the strong, and not surprising, protest which the Methodists made against its appearance under such auspices, they both definitely and definitively rejected and discarded from Methodist literature the unreligious novel, whether in prose or verse. A religious novel, Wesley's very imperfectly expurgated edition of The Fool of Quality, under the quieter title, Henry, Earl of Moreland, published the very next year,-a highly sensational anticipation of Tom Brown's School Days, combined with a sort of mildly religious Vanity Fair -had a quite sufficiently wide, warm and long-lasting Methodist popularity.
It is clear that the demur of the Methodists generally to the insertion of Henry and Emma in their Magazine was not to its purely imaginative character, but to the absence of the religious spirit. In any case, Wesley himself held the same view of the marvellous creative faculty with which the human imagination is endowed, which his brother Charles held as to music: that it
'-Alas ! too long hath been
Why should a good be evil ?'Listed into the cause of sin,
Press'd to obey the devil.'
The well-intentioned novel to which Wesley stood godfather, he left to the care of the Conference. It bore the imprimatur of the Methodist Book-Room and was entered on its Catalogues during a full generation after Wesley's death. It was immeasurably inferior in tone and tendency to the writings of Mrs. Charles, Sarson, and Ruth Elliott, and its prurient descriptions of scenes of vice were very perilous to young people of ignitible imagination.
Wesley wished for his Magazine much more than a Connexional circulation ; whilst it was a prominent part of the duty of every Assistant'-Superintendent -to promote its popularity, the title-page announced that it was sold by the booksellers in town and country.'
The Preface to the Magazine for 1792 states that it will be conducted on the same plan as Mr. Wesley left it ;' its object still being the maintenance of Arminianism, and the profit and entertainment of our readers ;...to render the whole not only pleasing and edifying to the present purchasers, but also useful to posterity.'
The entertaining articles formed a large but not very costly importation. Extracts from Captain Wilson's Pelew Islands, started by Wesley in January, 1791, stretched through two whole years, month after month ; as if Livingstone's Journals should be republished in the Magazine in twenty-four monthly instalments. In like manner Bruce's Travels in Abyssinia (not contributed by the great explorer himself) extended through eleven months of 1794 and the whole of 1795. The Miscellaneous element was perceptibly increased and merely secular poetry was still admitted.
By the Conference of 1792 the literary department of the Work of God was thought of sufficient importance to justify the setting apart to it of one of the most distinguished and effective men in the Connexion, George Whitfield. In 1793 the department was reinforced by the appointment of a second eminent Minister, Southey's great favourite, George Story, under the designation, Corrector of the Press. This year Missionary intelligence of the most exciting kind came to the aid of the Editors, in the - Journal of Dr. Coke to America,' for there were then no Missionary Notices. The Editors apologize that the first number does not contain a sermon, but promise that this omission shall not recur, and also engage to render the Magazine a valuable repository of religious tracts.' The first original sermon contributed by a Methodist Minister (Christopher Hopper) appears in the last two numbers. The Conference Address is for the first time inserted. The poetry was almost wholly culled from popular religious writers : Cowper, Byrom, Parnell, etc., including a Christless composition by the Socinian songstress Mrs. Barbauld.
In 1796 twice as many Ministers wrote for the Magazine as in any former year, a sequence, if not a consequence, of a decision of Conference that every Preacher contributing an article should have a reasonable pecuniary allowance.' On what principle the ratio was calculated does not appear. Still the newest books of travels form the largest sources of supply. The Mutiny of the Bounty enlivens Methodist readers during most of the year.
It should not be forgotten that the place since filled by the Memoirs was for many years occupied by the autobiographical experiences' of living Ministers; surely as much more interesting to contemporaries, as more valuable to posterity, than post-mortem delineations can ordinarily be made. 0 how delightful are these ' experiences'! as they are rightly called. In addition
to these are what would now come under the head of “Recent Deaths,' then designated Erperience and Happy Deaths. A reprint of Bishop Watson's Apology for the Bible occupies more than a year. · The Loss of the Grosvenor East Indiaman' and Prenties' Shipwreck succeed Captain Bligh and Bruce's Travels. In 1798 the title is altered to The Methodist Magazine, being a Continuation of the Arminian Magazine ; its controversial warfare having been accomplished. Adam Clarke begins to write for the Magazine. The few writers (since Wesley's death) were all amongst the very ablest men in Methodism. The typographical blunders through the years were almost incredible. Extracts from Dr. Gillies' Historical Collections stretch throughout the year 1800, while accounts of shipwrecks and naval engagements—exploits of Nelson, Jervis, etc., supply the sensational element. In 1801 Paley's Evidences fill the circle of the year, and Dr. Gillies' is allowed three-quarters of a year more.
At the close of 1803, the Editor issued an Advertisement of four pages, which opens thus :
Many of the more intelligent and judicious members of our Societies, in different parts of the kingdom, as well as the Preachers assembled at the last Conference, having sipified it to be their earnest wish, with a view to the edification of the many thousands of families and individuals-especially of the rising generation—that are in the habit of regularly perusing our Periodical Work, that more ottention should be paid than beretofore, to render it, as far as possible, a rehicle of useful knowledge and improreaert, the Editor conceives it to be his duty to lay before the public the nature of the plan intended to be pursued in the future...... The principal end invariably kept in view will be to illustrate the Word, Works, Providence and Grace of God.'
Under the last head, of course, came Biography; under the first, Divinity and Biblical Criticism ; under the second, Physico-Theology; under the third, Sketches of History, Civil or Ecclesiastical, and entertaining narratives and anecdotes. Two supplemental departments were added—Religious Intelligence and Sacred Poetry : original, if sent, otherwise carefully selected, ‘in accordance with our grand design.' Attention is called to an order in Conference of 1799, . That the circumstances of all remarkable deaths shall be drawn up at large, and sent to the Editor, who is to publish them as fur. as he judges proper.' The Religious Intelligence appeared under the heading, * The Kingdom of God Enlarged,' and consisted almost wholly of letters from Missionaries, corresponding exactly to our present Missionary Notices. In the province of entertainment, the Account of the Irish Rebellion (extracted from a recently published work) took the principal place, lasting the whole year. Accounts of Sunday-Schools and of the Bible Society were given.
The Conference of 1804 set apart four of its ablest men for the superintendence of the comparatively small literature of the comparatively small Connexion : I. Joseph Benson—the most powerful and popular preacher of the day, and next, perhaps, to Dr. Coke, the foremost man in Methodism—was appointed 'Editor and Corrector of the Press,'a title setting forth, not a double office, but the double duties of the Editorial office. II. George Story was • Manager of the Printing Office, relieving the Editor of all typographical
responsibilities and distractions. III. Robert Lomas was ‘Book Steward; and, IV. George Whitfield was · Assistant Book Steward.' N.B. The whole periodical literature of the time consisted of one serial of forty-eight pages, containing in the aggregate barely three-fourths of the matter compressed into the late City-Road Magazine. In Benson's case, no doubt, the office was meant to be, to some extent, a canonry, leaving him ample leisure for the writing of his Commentary.
In the first year of Benson's Editorship we find a few more original articles, but the scientific papers are almost exclusively extracts.
By the Conference of 1806 a complete code of 'Rules respecting their Books' was enacted; not inserted in the Minutes, but printed in a separate pamphlet, and sent to each Minister. Under the head of Rules and Privileges of the (Book) Committee, the first enactment is :
*Every member shall punctually and carefully read and examine all the numbers of our Magazine,...in order that he may see and know how the same is executed and done ; and as some little compensation for this trouble, the Book Steward shall present him with a copy of the Magazine.' The current hypothesis that the presentation of our periodicals to the members of the Book Committee is an honorarium for their attendance at the monthly meeting is illusory : by receiving some little compensation for this trouble' of punctually and carefully reading the Magazine, they put themselves under an engagement to give it such punctual and careful reading. The Editor is told that it must be his constant and unwearied endeavour to make that Miscellany (the Magazine) as useful and agreeable as possible.' It is furthermore decided that “the Preachers shall be considered as agents for the Conference in the sale of the Magazines.'
In the same year Systematic Divinity gave place to polemical, under the brave blazonry, The Truth of God Defended. The articles under this heading are mainly original, as also the expository Papers, under the title, The Word of God Illustrated, most of the latter being by two writers, Jonathan Barker and Joseph Pescod. The Reviews of Books—mainly replies to attacks on Methodism—are given as articles.
In 1808 Story became Supernumerary, and Benson undertook the sole Editorship. Daniel Isaac and John Gaulter were allowed a passage of arms within the lists of the Magazine. The Scientific Articles were written by a London layman, B. R. Goakman, who also contributed Accounts of Shipwrecks. Extracts from other Periodicals, Letters and Circuit Intelligence, which now belong to our newspapers, then supplied matter for the Magazine.
In 1811 an · Assistant-Editor' was granted to Mr. Benson in the person of James Macdonald, the worthy progenitor of two eloquent ministers, George B. Macdonald and Frederick W. Macdonald. This was regarded as an admirable combination: the two Editors were compared to the twin-pillars in the front of Solomon's Temple, and called the Jachin and Boaz of Methodist literature. The price, which had for some years been Sixpence, was raised to a Shilling. This was to balance an addition of thirty-two pages. Our present price is not only a re-adjustment, but also a recurrence. New and powerful pens were enlisted: J. Stephens, T. Lessey, J. Stanley, I. Keeling and P. Garrett : but the same signatures frequently recur. The Truth of God Defended consisted mainly of vindications of Methodism against unprincipled or hasty charges. A new series of Papers was introduced on Christian Morality. The letters of the Contributors to the Editor are prefixed to their articles, being exemplary in their deference to the office. Strictures on contemporary periodicals were frequent : the Editors becoming Correctors of the Press’ in a new and wider sense.
In 1815 Christian Queries, on pinching points of doctrine, were admitted and encountered. Only one original sermon appeared throughout the year, -on the Death of Dr. Coke. Chrysostom, Barrow, Ryland, etc., supplied the specimens of preaching ; but two appeared in 1816 : one by the Editor, the other by W.P. Burgess, then a Local Preacher. In 1817 Benson stands alone, Macdonald returning to the ordinary work.
In June, 1819, Benson publishes, without comment, a letter signed Mentor, addressed to him as Editor, expressing the opinion that since the change of title from Arminian to Methodist, the original character of the Magazine, as set for the defence of the truth, had been gradually submerged, and telling the Editor that it is his imperative duty in the post which he occupies “to watch with vigilant circumspection the Body and defend the purity of those doctrines, etc. By adopting this memorial, Benson changed it into a manifesto. One very noteworthy fact in connection with this year's Magazine is the admission of a letter from Valentine Ward containing sharp strictures on a previously inserted letter from Adam Clarke; and the subsequent insertion of a strong protest against Ward's strictures, written at the request of the Book Committee, and signed by Jabez Bunting, Joseph Taylor and Richard Watson, as Missionary Secretaries. Discussion of doctrinal points is allowed. Richard Watson calls in question the theological accuracy of C. L., and C. L. replies, and Richard Watson rejoins. These theological tournaments are very interesting and enlivening. Even the contributed articles are, to a great extent, excerpts from standard works; passages met with ' in the reading of the brethren. The Magazine was thus made a rich Connexional commonplace book.
In 1821, Jonathan Crowther's exposition of a passage in the Acts is attacked ; in the next number, Jonathan, though hardly bestead, valiantly defends his position ; his opponent renews the assault ; and Crowther gracefully surrenders an untenable criticism.
Although in 1817 the Youth's Instructer, a highly creditable, well conducted and elegantly illustrated periodical, was started; yet the articles on Natural History in the Magazine were not less juvenile than before.
In 1821, Benson died, and Jabez Bunting, the topmost man in Conference, was appointed his successor. The great Methodist leader at once initiated a “New Series of the Magazine. The word Wesleyan is prefixed to Methodist on the title-page. He issued a 'Prospectus’ of six pages unfolding his pur