« PreviousContinue »
he has not yet seen fit, in trial of our Allusion has been made in a precedfaith, to set his seal to our ministry; or ing sentence to the superintendence of he may withhold his blessing for a time, the clergy; a point which I consider lest men should attribute their success essential, whether as respects the geneto a wrong cause, should “sacrifice ral management of the school, or as unto their own net,” and “ burn in- affording an opportunity for conveying cense unto their own drag." Or it may religious instruction--without which, to be that our usefulness has been coun. say the least, education loses what teracted by the operation of other makes it vitally and essentially valuable causes more dependent on ourselves; in an elementary and familiar manby a deficiency of zeal; hy a wrong ner. It has been lately stated by one direction of labour ; by a partial or im of the highest judicial authorities, as the perfect distribution of the divine word; result of inquiries which he had himself by remissness in securing the affection taken great pains to institute, that the of our people; or by other still more proportion of literate to illiterate culobvious reasons, to which I am unwilling prits is as three to two. From this so much as to allude. But, however painful fact some perhaps will be inthese things may be, our future duty is clined to draw an inference unfavourable plain. We are to humble ourselves to education. But we must be in posbefore Him who alone giveth the in- session of other data, before it is possicrease, that he may be pleased to make ble to acquiesce in the truth of so startus more fruitful labourers in his vine ling a paradox, as that education is yard, and to multiply our “ crowns of productive of crime. If it be found in rejoicing." And, whether he bless or a population, where the literate culprits not, we are still to continue to “ cast are to the illiterate as three to two, that our bread upon the waters ” without the educated part of the community ceasing, in a spirit of fervent prayer, of bears a still greater proportion to the redoubled carnestness, of unwearied and uneducated, (as I believe now to be the patient vigilance, like those who wait case throughout the greater part of this the stirring of the waters, and watch country) then is the fact stated by the over the souls of others, as men who learned judge so far from being discoumust give account.
raging to the friends of education, that The observation of this sad deficiency in reality it furnishes them with an arguhas led me to reflect on the external ment in its favour. The true inference means by which, under God, your to be deduced from it is that which the ministry may be strengthened. I have author of the statement himself derives. not scrupled to lay open to you fear. He argues from it the necessity of inlessly the true state of the case, because creasing the attention of the lower classes it is my conscientious belief that the to religious instruction from their sevewound must be probed to the quick, ere ral pastors : “The time was, when we it can be healed; and that, to a certain were told that the growth of education degree, the remedy, with the divine would of itself turn people's minds to blessing on our labours, is in our own religion ; but the experience of the last hands. There is no wisdom in shutting twenty years, when education had had our eyes on the face of the land, until its full trial, refuted this expectation; others see its nakedness, and come in, for in that space of time the population and plant and reap in our own neglected had increased one-third, while crime had vineyard. Rather, let us devote our augmented four-fold. ... . It was this selves in earnest to our high and en- knowledge that induced him to desire grossing service, laying aside all meaner a careful attention to the religious inpursuits, and giving up every pre struction of the poorer classes.” The occupying study, which does not either clergy of our own church, on whom directly or indirectly bear upon that principally it depends, under God's holy work to which we are solemnly blessing, to keep alive in the nation the dedicated. Let us sow more seed, that, warmth of true religion, have not shown if it pleases God, the harvest may be themselves unmindful of this branch of more abundant.-Pp. 14-17.
their parochial duty; and I am perSurely pious Christians of every suaded you will see the importance, in denomination must approve the
the present times, of making any sacrispirit and sentiments of these ex
fice for the sake of giving a right direc
tion to the education of the people. I hortations.
may venture to promise you in return, After adverting to private teach what the pastor values as second only ing, his Lordship thus proceeds: to the reward of God's favour, that
<< your flocks will esteem you very highly I t appears that in not a few churches in love for your works' sake.
there is no psalmody. It is greatly to Among other imputations which in be wished that congregational singing the course of late discussions have been were more encouraged ; and, generally brought against the clergy, it has been speaking, when one leading voice can sometimes said that they do not advance be procured, there is not much difficulty in intelligence proportionally with the in attaining this object. Let it be rerest of the population. I believe an membered also, that, by the canon law, appeal may safely be made to the can this is one of the qualifications required dour of every neighbourhood for evi of the clerk, who is not only to be dence to disprove an assertion which, in “ sufficient for his reading and writing, a general sense, was never more noto but also for his competent skill in singriously unfounded than at the present ing, if it may be.” No countenance time. This, indeed, is not the age of should be given to the occasional attendthe Hookers and Lightfoots and Brian ance of singers whose custom it is to go Waltons and Ushers and Jeremy Taylors, round on successive Sundays to the difthe literary giants of former days, whose ferent churches in their neighbourhood. writings will endure as a monument of Such visits are little calculated to inwhat the industry of the church of Eng crease the devotional tendency of this land has produced, as long as the lan too much neglected portion of our serguage lasts. But there are not wanting vice. The psalmody that really edifies, among us men, emulous of their patient however humble the melody or simple study, on whom the mantle of their the tune, (and when most simple, then learning would have descended worthily, most edifying) is the voice of the whole had the exigencies of the present day people, as the sound of many waters, demanded a similar exercise of their singing to the glory of God with one talents. Practical usefulness may per- accord, and hymning his praise with the haps be singled out as the character heart and the understanding also. istic attribute of our own times. The --I will only remind you, in condignities of the church are now no sine- clusion, that there is something still cures, and their possessors must be wanting, when every care has been men neither of self-indulgent nor of in- taken for the better ordering of the active habits. Many too are the paro- palpable and visible worship of God chial clergy, known only to God and amongst us,--something without which the narrow circle of their own parish, it will be as a body without a soul who are now labouring, not for man's - the form and semblance of Chrisreward, but for the love of Him who tianity without its power and substance, seeth in secret and will reward them I take for granted that every provision openly. Punctual and zealous in the has been or will be made for the decency falfilment of all those legal duties, to the of our outward religion-more frequent discharge of which they are bound by opportunities of assembling together in their office and order, they are yet so public afforded—the truth preached, as far from resting satisfied in the bare it is in Jesus—our flocks duly visited performance of the public appointments, their wants inquired into their Bibles that it is their daily care to build up the multiplied the sick attended without people in their most holy faith, by ac- waiting for a summons—the church carquainting them, from house to house, ried, as it were, to those who from age with the principles of the gospel, and or distance are unable to be present at by engaging in all those pastoral func- the public ministrations. But all this tions which are at once the stated occu- and more may be done, without arriving pation and the solace, the duty and the at the mark of real devotion, or promotdelight of the parish priest. "Is there ing the worship of God in spirit and in one sick ? they visit him. Is there one truth. The church may be regulated in distress? they succour him. Is there externally, but that which is within may one oppressed ? they are at hand to yet remain unsanctified and impure. protect him.”—Pp. 21-25.
That God's blessing may prosper our His Lordship next enforces the
ministry, it must be begun, continued, duty of catechizing, collecting and
and ended in prayer. “Except the
Lord keep the house, and more espedistributing alms at the Commu
cially his own house, the temple of the non, &c; we have only room for heart, wherein the Holy Ghost has prothe following extract, relating to mised to dwell,) their labour is but lost psalmody, and the closing address. that build it.” In the spirit of prayer,
therefore, let us entreat of God, for our as in us lies, against existing evils people, that, according to his promise, and dangers: to express our ab. be will be alway with his church, even
horrence of falsehood and hypocrisy; to the end of the world, and that “ the abundant grace might, through the
to keep no terms with those who thanksgiving of many, redound to the
commit or countenance iniquity, glory of God.” For ourselves, that we and to call upon our readers may be enabled to render up our ac- to mark such persons, whether count with joy, and say, if possible, individuals or public bodies, and to with the great Shepherd of souls himself:
have no fellowship with them, that “Of those whom thou hast given me, have I lost none." And may “the
they may be ashamed. almighty and everlasting God, by whose
The case which has given rise to Spirit the whole body of the church is this Pamphlet, and occasioned these governed and sanctified, receive our remarks, may be described in few supplications and prayers, which we words. A Mr. Sissison, a reoffer before him for all estates of men in spectable tradesman at Hull, of the his holy church; that every member of
Methodist persuasion, was engaged the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve him, through
to be married to a Miss Bell, who our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. appears to have been long highly Pp. 26–28.
esteemed for piety and usefulness among the Methodists of North
Shields. A short time before their The Cause of Truth defended ; being intended union, Mr. S. received two
a plain statement of the Facts mysterious anonymous letters from connected with the two trials of North Shields, suggesting the most the Rev. T. Hill, Methodist painful ideas concerning Miss Bell, Preacher, for defamation of the and referring him for confirmation, character of Miss Bell, &c. Pp. to the Methodist preachers at that viii. and 156. Simpkin and Mare place. Instead of proceeding in shall. 1827.
person to North Shields, and laying
these letters before the lady and her In pursuing our periodical labours, friends, Mr. S. conferred with his we are often called upon to decide own friends at Hull, and wrote to on the expediency of adverting to a Mrs. Hill, the wife of the Superpainful topics, or the propriety of intendent Methodist preacher at N. passing them over unnoticed. In Shields, of whom he had some precensuring the criminal conduct vious knowledge. Mrs. Hill and of nominal Christians, occasion is her family being at Tynemouth, almost unavoidably given to the one mile from Shields, Mr. Hill enemies of religion to speak re- received and immediately replied to proachfully; the friends of religion this letter, advancing, with strict are usually grieved at such ex. exhortation to secrecy, various posures; and the individuals whose charges against Miss Bell. The misconduct is exposed, and the insinuations of the anonymous letpartizans by whom they are de- ters being thus supported by the fended, especially if of a different testimony of the Methodist preachreligious persuasion, are apt to er especially appointed by the Concomplain of illiberality, intolerance, ference as Superintendent of the cruelty, persecution,
district, Mr. S. determined to break If therefore we consulted our off the connexion. own ease, or were anxious to secure Miss Bell's friends of course de. general commendation, we should manded an explanation; and soon refrain from such men, and let suspected Mr. Hill. They attempted them alone; but we have a duty to bring the matter before the Meto perform, and that duty is to thodist's district, or leaders'meeting, guard the Christian public as much but as this could not be done without
Mr. Hill's consent, the attempt failed. ever could not be obtained, in Miss B.'s friends having obtained consequence of the power and inpossession of one of the anonymous Auence which Mr. Hill, under the letters to Mr. Sissison, then com- existing system of Methodism, posmenced an action at Newcastle sessed. After the failure of the first against Mr. Hill, but failed for want trial at Newcastle, a letter was ad. of evidence ; some circumstances, dressed to the then President of the however, which transpired on that conference, requesting him to call occasion convinced Mr. S. that he & special district meeting-stating had been grossly imposed upon, and that, though Miss B. was non-suited, he therefore felt himself warranted her non-suit was occasioned by a point to give up the whole correspondence. to givenn the whole correspondence in law, and that the evidence which was
wanting on the trial, and which would In consequence a second action was
criminate Mr. H. would now appear.brought against Mr. Hill at York, in July 1825, when the Jury re
The President replied as follows: turned a verdict in favour of Miss Bell: Damages £300. A verdict
London, Aug. 15, 1822.
SIR,-Your letter of the 13th I have which sufficiently marked their
now just received. Yesterday I closed views of the conduct of Mr. Hill, the Conference, at half past twelve, P. M. but which could never compensate --With your request of a special Dis(indeed what verdict could afford trict Meeting in reference to the point any adequate compensation !) for in question, I have no authority to comthe injuries sustained by Miss Bell.
ply; and as far as I have a right to
express an opinion on the case, I should And here we would call upon
think it not only indecorous, but absurd every person in the Methodist con.
to attempt to re-judge a business that nexion, nay upon every member of had regularly issued in a Court of our Legislature, to contemplate the Justice. direful consequences resulting from I have too much respect for the adthe powers entrusted to the super ministration of justice in the land, to intendents of districts by the Me
take such a step; and your own good thodist Conference. The abuse of
sense will at once, on reflection, show
you its impropriety. these powers has not only destroyed
If the Plaintiff be dissatisfied, she Miss Bell's peace and blasted her may remove her non-suit and complaint fairest prospects, but has also very into another Court. materially conduced to the death of
I am, Sir, your's respectfully, her brother, the settled melancholy
ADAM CLARKE, of her sister, and the abandonment A fresh application was made to under very disadvantageous circum- the Conference, held at Sheffield, stances of their business. *
the ensuing year. The following In what light, however, were is extracted from the reply of the these proceedings viewed by the then President, the Rev. Henry highest authorities among the Me- Moore. thodists. It has already been in With respect to the Conference, I do timated that Miss Bell, prior to not conceive that they have any thing commencing an action against Mr. to do with the business. Mr. Hill has Hill, had attempted to obtain some
been acquitted in a public Court of vindication of her character from
Justice, and no other tribunal can,
without great injustice, now call upon the District or Leaders' Meeting of
him to answer charges which have been the Methodists in her own neigh
so solemnly, and with such high aubourhood. A district meeting how thority, investigated and determined.
P. 26. • The only ground of hostility to the
The subject was again pressed Bell family seems to have been the oppo
on the attention of the succeeding sition of the brother to some arbitrary proceedings in a neighbouring Methodist
Miss B. waited on the President, the
Rev. Robert Newton, Messrs. Bunting, proceeded, and the verdict being Watson, and others of the leading obtained, the obvious inquiry is, Preachers, who treated her with every What course did the Conference mark of respect, but informed her that
adopt, with respect to their disas Mr. Hill had not been brought to a District Meeting, (which was the regular graced and degraded Preacher ? way to try a Preacher previous to the They gravely take the subject into case being represented to Conference consideration at their next meeting, they were of opinion it would not be and not only review (which they regarded, and especially as it had been were before so scrupulous of doing taken into Court. Miss B. informed
when there was really no reason to them of the endeavours of her friends
be so) but, without ever seeing the for many months to obtain a District Meeting, but that Mr. H.'s assurances original documents, actually reverse of innocence, and of his having received the decision of a British Court a letter from the author of the anony and Jury, pronounce Mr. H. not mous letters, influenced in his favour a guilty of writing the anonymous majority of the Leaders. Miss B. fur- letters, merely on the ground of his ther stated, that when the case was
own protestations of innocence, and taken into Court, there was only one
on that of his witnesses not having of the anonymous letters in her pos
been called in Court,—which was session, but now, as it was well known there were many letters with Mr. H.'s owing to the discretion-we doubt not. signature, she considered her claim 10 a very sound discretion-exercised an investigation equally just as before it by his own counsel.* They therewas taken into Court. Mr. Newton, fore continue him not only a memthe President, assured her that he would
ber, but a regular Preacher in their state to the Conference that he had re
society; and pass no other censure ceived her letter, as he considered it an
upon him than that of having used uncommon case, although it was not usual to pay attention to letters. During
intemperate language in the letters the fortnight Miss B. remained in Leeds, bearing his own signature ; for the President informed her that the which they declare him ineligible affair was a subject of much conversa to fill the office of Superintendent tion amongst the Preachers assembled, of a District for four years. and that the character they all gave of
Hear their own minutes, as her who had been stationed in the town where she resided, and had known her
quoted in the work before us.
“ Certain legal proceedings at the many years, was very different indeed from the account Mr. Hill had given :
Assizes, recently held in York, in the they stated that a whisper against her
case of Thomas Hill, (charged with character had never been heard ; be
writing various letters, alleged to be further said that the Conference were in
libellous) having been made known to a dilemma what to do on the business.
the Conference, the following ResoluOn the last day of the Conference Meet
tions were adopted :ing, the President informed them that
I. With respect to the anonymous lethe had the letter in question. Several
ters. Preachers stood up and observed it was
Considering, First, That it appears to a business which had been in a Court
be the decided opinion of many respecof Justice. The President said, “ Miss
table persons, who have inspected the Bell states she has evidence which has
said letters, that they are not in the handnot been in a Court of Justice.” The
writing of Mr. Hill; and that a consireply was “ if Miss Bell has additional
derable number of those persons were evidence, a Court of Justice is the pro
prepared to have stated that opinion per place to take her additional evidence
upon oath, as witnesses for the defend
ant, if Mr. Hill's counsel had not judged to."--P. 29. Mr. Sisisson himself applies to
* Every reader of the trial must see
why Mr. Hill's witnesses were not exthe ensuing Conference, held at
amined, they could not have altered the Manchester, but no notice is taken facts of the case-their failure would have of his appeal. Every effort, there increased the damages—this, doubtless, fore, to induce the Conference to
Mr. Pollock (whose ability and integrity interfere being in vain—the trial
are unquestionable) well knew, and he acted accordingly.