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which the slow progress which the New Connexion has made must be attributed. Nevertheless, there are persons who, in speeches and letters, laud the system, and recommend it to all that are called Methodists. It is denominated British, reasonable, and scriptural! The old system, it is said, suited a darker age; but it will not suit the present enlightened generation. “It is un-British, unreasonable, and unscriptural.” Standing in the consciousness of the inappropriateness of these thundering epithets to the Wesleyan polity, we hurl them back upon the New system. We say it is “un-British.” It is far from being in unbroken harmony with the constitution of this happy land! Is it British that nearly all legislative power should be in the hands of the people? Is it British that in all courts out of Conference the same men should be both judge and jury? Again-we say it is “unreasonable.” There ought to be government in a family. But are the children to rule? Reason dictates that parents “ rule well their own house." And are not ministers fathers in the church? As such, it is reasonable for them to “ take the oversight thereof, willingly.” And again—we say it is “unscriptural.” Let the preachers of the New Connexion read St. Paul's epistles to Timothy and Titus, with a reference to the form of government with which they are associated. Having perused them ourselves, the impression left on our minds is, that a “most arbitrary and tyrannical” encroachment has been made on the rights of the pastoral office! Certain duties of high import are required of ministers which are not enjoined upon the laity; and there are certain rights which ministers ought to possess in order to their fulfilment. But these rights lay delegation has, in a great measure taken away; as Sampson, by the Philistines, was "shorn of his strength." • It is, nevertheless said, that the preachers of the New Connexion are contented and happy! “How can these things be?” Can a ministry oppressed with the incubus of lay domination be comfortable? How is it that so many happy and contented preachers have forsaken the connexion, since it was first established ? Many have been called out into its ministry; but few, comparatively speaking, have persevered in it. Some have become ministers of other religious communities; and others have “ entangled themselves with the affairs of this life.” The aristocracy, or, more properly, the oligarchy, of the New Connexion-we mean a small number of individuals who, from year to year, are to be found ruling in the “high places” of the body, are aware that these facts do not indicate a pleasant ministerial condition. A committee, consisting of five laymen and two preachers (another instance of balanced power), was appointed by the last Conference to draw up a “plan for the improvement of the junior preachers.” We have seen a printed circular which this committee have addressed to their friends. They have agreed to have an Institution; and that every student who enters it shall engage that he will never leave the New Connexion itinerancy, without refunding the outlay of money on his academical education! Why have this committee proposed so strange a regulation ? They know that educated, talented preachers will be exposed to strong temptations to abandon a ministry, which they will find repressed in all its energies by the soveREIGNTY OF LAY DELEGATION!
The Wesleyan connexion is truly happy in having been saved from all the evils of lay delegation in Conference. Multitudes of our most excellent and influential people are satisfied with “Methodism as it is." They can reverberate the sentiment so nobly put forth in a declaration on the cover of the Methodist Magazine for March, signed by nearly one hundred officers, whose residence in Staffordshire Potteries, where the New system has long had its most powerful settlement, entitles their testimony to very considerable regard. “FOR LAY DELEGATION, so WARMLY EULOGISED AND EARNESTLY RECOMMENDED BY SOME AS THE SOVEREIGN REMEDY FOR EVERY ABUSE, AND THE CORRECTION OF EVERY EVIL, WE HAVE NO WISH; AND HAVING CAREFULLY MARKED ITS OPERATION ON OTHER RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES, AND CALCULATED ITS PROBABLE INFLUENCE UPON QUR OWN, WE WISH FOR OURSELVES TO REMAIN EXEMPT FROM ITS SUPPOSED ADVANTAGES.”
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ILLUMINATOR. Sir-May I beg the favour of a few rays from a source which will illustrate, and place in a clearer light than it at present stands, a circumstance in connexion with a statement which appeared in a late number of the Christian Advocate, relative to the proceedings of a meeting of the “ Wesleyan Methodist Association,” in Liverpool, and by which an impression which might otherwise obtain pretty generally, may be corrected. This, I opine, might be best subserved in your valuable and popular paper, provided you will oblige me with a corner for that purpose. I would charitably hope, that part of the statement to which I shall presently allude, must have owed its introduction to one of those accidents which attend upon and interlace themselves with all human doings, be they conducted with ever so much perspicuity and prudence-or that it was the effect of mere inadvertency. I am inclined to select the one alternative; for to suppose the existence of design, rather than to view the publication as an adventitious circumstance, would be to offer an easy transition from the fact to the data upon which these calculations might reasonably be imagined to rest, which number not only “the thousands of our Judah,” but “the tens of thousands of our Israel,” as in firm and fast alliance with the individuals and objects of that Association. This, indeed, would be, Sir, to bolster up a cause by means which would not only defeat its own proposed achievements, and eventually effectuate its certain overthrow, but would serve at no very distant day to enshrine its very memory, “the pressure from without” would soon be found to bear too hard upon its internal strength and structure, and to peril its very existence.
From the report of the proceedings above adverted to, we gather that “a meeting of the members and friends of the Wesleyan Methodist Association was held in the Music Hall, Bold-street, Liverpool, for the purpose of receiving a report of the proceedings and state of the Association, and transacting other business connected with it;" after the usual preliminaries had been adjusted and disposed of, “one of the secretaries,” we are told, “ was called upon by the chairman to read the report of the committee.” Among the various topics of that report, we find—“Resolutions demanding redress of grievances, had been passed”-observe the phraseology, sir—'HAD BEEN PASSED at the following quarterly meetings,” enumerating them. It was with no little astonishment-glancing, curiously, yet carelessly, over the list of those hieroic cantons of the Methodist commonwealth which, under the fecleral auspices of that grand legislative and executive body, “ the Wesleyan Methodist Association,” hail determined “ to brave the battle and the breeze,” 'in resistance of the “usurpation,” “priestly tyranny,” “undue domination,” and “ despotism ” of the members of the Wesleyan senate-the Conference; and who had nobīy dared to uplift and unfurl the oriflamme of liberty, not having before their eyes, their hearts nothing daunted, any fear of ecclesiastical premunire, excommuricatory anathemas, &c., which might be hurled at them, by “the rulers in high places,”—the name of a circuit, dear and interesting to me from many considerations, that of the “ Manchester Fourth.” Sir, I confess to you, that my first feeling was one of honest indignation at this impeachment of the loyalty and attachment of our circuit, through its accredited organ, the quarterly meeting, to the constitutional principles and discipline of Methodism, as administered by the Conference; and in the next place, Sir, I felt ashamed, for the first time, of the Fourth Manchester circuit-not of the circuit, morally and abstractedly considered, but to find it linked in and peering out from among such bad company; and at once determined, (under your favour, Sir,) without prejudice to better advocates, whom the occasion might probably call up, to free it from the imputationthe unjust imputation under which, collaterally at least, it lay, from its location among those circuits which had “passed” resolutions at their quarterly meetings, “demanding a redress of grievances.” Having the honour-and a high honour I esteem it to be, Sirto be officially connected with the largest society in that circuit, I felt as I ought to feel, jealous for the honour and reputation of it; being well assured that the societies of which the circuit is composed, generally, during this period of excitement, have no sympathy with those who, unmindful of the directions of our immortal founder, are endeavouring “ to mend his rules,” rather than “ to keep them.” Vain attempt! though, no doubt, “they be the men” with whom “wisdom shall die.” “ Passed” were they—these resolutions? Aye, Sir, but as “an untimely birth which never saw the sun;” one small adjunct to the word would have set the matter upon a right basis-they were “passed," Sir, but they were passed by an act of preterition.
A word or two as to the facts of the case. At a late quarterly meeting, after the excellent superintendent of the circuit, the Rev. Joseph Hollingworth, had enquired from the stewards whether they had any other business to bring before them, and was answered in the negative, intending to close the meeting, he gave out the first line of the doxology, “ Praise God, from whom all blessings flow," when he was interrupted by one of the leaders of the Bridgewater-street society rising, and stating that he had “ some resolutions which he wished to read to the meeting." Mr. Hollingworth very promptly and judiciously cut his speech short by enquiring from him whether he were a member of the Association.” To this he did not reply, but said again he wished “ to read the resolutions.” Mr. H. then told him he required an answer to his question before he suffered him to introduce any resolutions to that meeting. The individual, however, still persisted in endeavouring to obtrude himself on the meeting, claiming his right to do so, and by an evasive answer to avoid the drift of the inquiry -Mr. H. as resolutely reiterating his question, in which he was supported by the great body of the meeting. The course which the affair was now taking evidently chagrined the projectors and partizans of this notable scheme; and one of them was so exasperated at the failure which his friend was likely to make of this whole joint-stock business, that he became absolutely frantic with rage, and clamoured most vociferously for a hearing. This, however, was denied them, for the very obvious reason above noticed; and the superintendent leaving the chair, the meeting was dissolved. Not content, however, with this procedure, one of the party-seven or eight of whom constituted this inconsiderable opposition-moved that a certain brother should " take the chair;" but here a second difficulty was interposed, by the stewards politely informing them that they should not have the room in which they were then assembled, for any such purpose. An adjournment to the chapel-yard was recommended to them, which suggestion they signified their intention to profit by; but “discretion " being judged, most probably, in this instance also, “as the better part of valour,” this was subsequently abandoned; and it must have been that “resolutions demanding a redress of grievances, &c. were passed”-if passed at all—at a “ quarterly meeting” of their own. I may be allowed here to add," that to my own knowledge, had not the introduction of these resolutions been anticipated so summarily as they were, an amendment, deprecatory of the proceedings of the “ Wesleyan Methodist Association," and declaratory of the confidence and affection of the meeting to the Conference and constituted order of Methodism was intended to be proposed, and would have been carried by an overwhelming
I should judge, Sir, that the secretaries of the Branch Association in Liverpool, being honourable men, would be glad to have an opportunity of amending their report and of revoking a misrepresentation to which they were not, I am ready to believe, wittingly and voluntarily committed. Estimating them both from the slight knowledge which I have of one of them, I conclude that some less worthy individuals have palmed upon them a surreptitious record of a fact, the counterpart of which has, in reality, neither identity nor existence. Perhaps, “the wish has been father to the thought” with those who have thus interpolated, mediately, the name of the “ Manchester Fourth” circuit. Be that as it may, if I should not be thought presumptuous by those gentlemen, whom I can have no reason wantonly to seek to offend, and from whom, could I contemplate such a case, I should be very sorry to shield myself under an anonymous signature, in any animadversions they might think proper to make upon me; I would respectfully recommend them to receive reports such as I have had to comment upon above with extreme chariness, if they would wish to escape imposition, and the possibility of any conjecture that they might be accessory to the promulgation of
information which may be transmitted to them, through vehicles of communication which justly render such communications liable to suspicion.-"Fas ab hoste doceri,"s
z. TO THE EDITOR OF THE ILLUMINATOR. Sir-It was with as much surprise as pain that I read in a late number of the Christian Advocate a letter, signed by Mr. James Russell, a local preacher in the Wrexham circuit. If Mr. Russell dreamt that the Christian Advocate never fell into the hands of any but those who wink at the violation of truth, or if he imagined that the specific paper in which that letter is inserted would fortunately escape the notice of those who might possess, at least, as intimate an acquaintance with the nature and circumstances of the subjects upon which he so confidently writes as himself, then it would have been less strange that he should have so directly violated the great principles of Christian charity and truth, as it is evident he has done in that anti-Christian letter. But, sir, fortunately for the cause of truth and for those whose characters he has so unsparingly traduced, it is not so. As I, perhaps, am as well acquainted with the circumstances of the various cases he has presented to the world as he may be, I feel it to be my duty to show to the public how far his statements are correct, and can be borne out by fact.
His first grand thrust is made at the character of the superintendent of the Wrexham circuit, the Rev. Jos. Griffith-against whom he brings several charges. The first is that he refused to read, publicly, the paper relative to the re-opening of the chapel at Cefn Mawr; this statement is correct--for which refusal the followirg reasons may be assigned :-1st, Mr. Russell had engaged Dr. Warren and Mr. David Rowland to preach at the above place, (being in the Wrexham circuit,) without having at all consulted Mr. Griffith, as superintendent of that circuit, which was a direct violation of one of the most explicit laws of Methodism; 2nd-neither Dr. Warren nor Mr. Rowland was eligible to preach in any Methodist chapel : the one having been suspended, and the other expelled from society. Now, had Mr. G. published the re-opening of the above chapel, under such circumstances, would he not have subjected himself to the just rebuke of the Conference ? But, in the second place, he charges Mr. Griffith with having basely reflected upon the character of Dr. Warren. As for myself, I never heard a word fall from his lips which at all reflected upon the character of the Doctor; and, by the authority of that experienced and peaceable minister of Jesus Christ, I presume to ask Mr. Russell for the proof of a single instance wherein he has, in that way, debased himself; and until he can prove such an instance, will he not be esteemed by the world as a vile slanderer? But again : he asserts that at the Wrexham Decem. ber quarterly meeting, when he attempted to introduce the subject of the present agitated state of the connexion, the superintendent, after having expressed his determination not to suffer the discussion of that subject in that meeting, exclaimed—“I'll give you my opinion, but I'll not have yours.” Now, sir, I was in that meeting from its commencement to its conclusion: I have also spoken to several of my brethren who were there also—and they, with myself, unhesitatingly and solemnly declare that no such words were uttered by Mr. Griffith, in that meeting, nor any which could possibly bear that construction; therefore, as a palpable falsehood, with all the reprobation which it merits, we hurl it back upon its author. And in reference to his assertion that the above meeting was closed by Mr. Griffith in a most unbecoming spirit, while I allow that he might have been troubled and even agitated, I contend that he did not manifest a spirit at all unbecoming a Christian minister. Therefore, hoping that what I have said in answer to Mr. Russell's charges will be sufficient in the estimation of the public to rescue the character of our much esteemed pastor from that disgrace to which such a foul attempt has been made to consign it, I proceed by observing that Mr. Russell has, in his memorable letter, represented one of our leaders as preaching the doctrine of human infallibility. He says—“One leader told me, a short time ago, that the preachers were infallible—that they were incapable of doing wrong.” The gentleman to whom he thus refers I know well; and whose unblemished character, cheerful liberality, and devotedness to the cause of Christ, entitle him to the respect and esteem of all our societies. I waited upon him a few days ago, when he solemnly
* It is but fair to state that in the Notices to Correspondents of Lantern, No. 8, we are told that the words “had been passed" should have been printed, “had been proposed," in reference to the case about which our respectable correspondent complains. This considerably alters the case. To propose a resolution, and to pass a resolution are widely different affairs. We should wish to know how many other circuits have been served in the same manner by our benighted contemporary. We hope the Editors of the Lantern will profit by the above advice. It is painful to be under the necessity, again and again, of exposing the gross mis-statements, to say nothing, at present, of the falsehoods with which that publication has recently abounded.--Ev.
declared that he never said any such thing, which I confidently believe. And in reference to Mr. Russell's insulting assertion, that those of his brethren who refuse to engage in his wild proceedings are as much under the influence of the preachers as any Papist he ever met with if he means to say that they are as much under the influence of the preachers as the illiterate laity of the Romish church are under the influence of their priests, I take this opportunity of assuring him that he is much mistaken in his opinion of them, and cannot but express my surprise that he, as a local preacher, should make such a foul attempt to stigmatise their character.
But one more remark, sir, and I have done. According to Mr. Russell's own account the subject of dispute between the Conference and the Association, was not even discussed at the Wrexham December quarterly meeting, which is correct. But on the first page of the Watchman's Lantern, for January 28, we are told that at a meeting of the friends of the Association, held on the 22d of that month, in the Music Hall, Bold-street, Liverpool, it was publicly declared, that resolutions, demanding redress of grievances were actually proposed, read, and passed by that meeting. Now, sir, these things need no comment-they loudly speak for themselves; and, of themselves, hold out an answer to the following question :-Are these men fit to reform or govern the Church of Christ ? Leaving you to think and speak of them just as you think proper, I conclude by assuring Mr. Russell, that unless he is in future more careful in his assertions, and sparing in his reflections upon the characters of his brethren, he must expect the developement of something which will prove as surprising to his ears, and as grateful to his feelings, as the ignition and explosion of the sulphureous fire-damp of a Čefn-mawr coal-pit, would be to the eyes and feelings of an operative collier, employed in those subterranean regions.-I am, Dear Sir,
Yours respectfully, EDWARD JONES.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ILLUMINATOR. Sir-Your kindness in inserting my last is an inducement for me to trouble you again, especially as, I think, a statement made in the Lantern demands a reply. It is stated that the Conference had departed from the example of Mr. Wesley, in the examination of candidates for the ministry, by insisting upon a belief in the “ eternal sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those who are acquainted with the history of Me. thodism; and certainly none but such, and not even all those, should set themselves up to reform the constitution ; those, I say, will be aware of the fact, that if the question was not jproposed in its present form, one was proposed which involved it: viz.Have you read, and do you believe, Mr. Wesley's first four volumes of sermons, and his Notes on the New Testament. Now the above mentioned doctrine is most expressly laid down in those works. And according to the old axiom, “the whole is equal to the sum of all its parts,” which, by the bye, the Editor of the Lantern seems to have forgotten (if he ever learnt it); when a man believes the whole of what is contained in a book, he certainly believes each particular,
“'Tis strange, passing strange,” to observe how a kind of infatuation-a love for change, cloaked under the imposing name of Reform (and no matter be the change from good to bad) has taken possession of these individuals, though we may believe the great mass of the faction are led on-they know not why or wherefore. Their credulity has been imposed upon by a few designing men, always ready for change, and who would fain have them to believe they are deprived of their lawfnl rights ! í myself have had occasion to be acquainted with some of the leaders of the opposition ; and believe, that if peace were once more established amongst us, she would not long be allowed to maintain her seat, whilst certain characters remain with us.
I have heard one-one who can try to be eloquent upon a platform-one who is distinguished by longer legs and less sense than his neighbours-one who is “consummately” vain of his own productions, and one who has “ a name and local habitation” not fifty miles from Great Ancoat's-street, Manchester; I have heard this man declare, and this publicly, that he will never rest until lay delegation is established, and every member has a voice in the election of those delegates; and, after a few sentences, he declared he should be content if local preachers and leaders had a voice and they only. Perhaps, it may be said, he might then see the subject in another light. Admitting that—what dependence can be placed upon a man who so soon finds reason to change his opinion ? Or, does it speak much for his having considered, and weighed well the circumstances of the case, before he came there in public to deliver two such contradictory statements ?-Certainly not. Instances of this kind might be mul. tiplied; but the above is sufficient to show whom we have to deal with.