Page images

in abiding by his own.” We presume, he has found his own opinions not worth much lately; and they were evidently at a discount at the meeting, as the poor Doctor must have perceived, to the no small mortification of his towering ambition. The Salford delegate-author of the “Blessed Battle," and self-styled Captain Barlow-proclaimed himself a yulgar and illiterate person,” yet one who “means to be honest;" whilst Mr. Hay, from Carrickfergus, gravely told the meeting that it had been said in Ireland, "the British public will not pay much regard to what Samuel Hay says,”—which is true enough, until the British public become enamoured of twaddle and nonsense.

The list of letters, said to be received, hardly deserves notice. From the circuits named, they came not! From the towns, perhaps, they did ; that is, from individuals in them. Nor does the account furnish evidence whether these precious epistles were favourable or unfavourable to the objects of the conclave. We should like nothing better than to see them faithfully published. But this we can hardly expect.

As a meeting of Wesleyan delegates it was a decided failure; and felt to be so by the Association. As a meeting of any sort, it was remarkable for want of unanimity. Heterogeniously composed, its debates were amusing, and its conclusions futile. It may, perhaps, answer the purpose of agitation; but if intended, as we know it was, as a demonstration of the strength of the party, it has miserably exhibited its weakness. Thus much for the present. We have other matters in store.- Yours,

OMEGA. Manchester, May 8th, 1835.


Sir-I make no apology in transmitting the following extract of a letter, received from a Student in the above establishment; it proves how groundless the fears of many, lest the young men resident there should lose their ministerial fervour and zeal:

“I have not been above one Sabbath without preaching since I came, and have very frequently engaged on the week days; and, in several instances the power of God has been very manifest; and, in some places, souls have been saved. I preached last Sunday week three times; twice in the open air, and once in a small chapel. Last Sunday I preached three times in our new chapel at Richmond, and once in the open air. On Wednesday evening I preached in Tabernacle-square, to between two and three hundred people; and it is quite delightful to witness the feeling that pervades the whole assembly on those occasions; they seem alive to every expression, I hope you have commenced the street work in Liverpool; if not, do not delay--the people are dying and many of them without the knowledge of God. Pluck them, pluck them as brands from the burning."*

“G. M."


(From the Watchman.) A letter having been recently transmitted to the venerable William Carne, Esg.. Penzance, containing a resolution of the committee of the Manchester Association, in which he was earnestly requested to preside at a late meeting in Manchester, and accompanied by representations which presumed, as usual, that he was favourable to the objects of the Association, Mr. Carne gave the following reply :

Penzance, 14th April, 1835. Sir-Your letter of the 11th instant has greatly surprised me. If any person has represented me to you as favourable to the objects of your Association, I beg to state, that I have been entirely misrepresented; for, although I trust I shall always be anxious to obtain and preserve our just and scriptural rights as Wesleyan Methodists,' (to use your own expression,) I have from the first been fully convinced that the declared objects of the Association are such as (if they were obtained,) would not be at all bene ficial to the connexion at large; and that the means adopted to obtain them are of the most unjust and unscriptural description.

“I conclude you have not seen my signature to the declaration of the members of the different committees of the connexion; you would not otherwise have supposed me favourable to your objects, without believing my conduct to be inconsistent with sincerity and truth, and unworthy of a professor of religion.-I am, &c.

WILLIAM CARNE." The unblushing impudence of the Association which appears in this document, needs no comment of ours.-En.

* Some there are who, refusing credit to the testimonies of our venerated founder, his able coadiutors, or their successors in the connexion. will probably receive with deference the following opinion of Alexander Kilham, on the subject of a Theological Institution, who underwent the sentence of expulsion from the body, in 1796 :-“We are of the same opinion with this district last year--that it would be very useful for many pious, promising young men, to be a few months under a proper master, to learn a little of the English Grammar, and to pronounce their words properly. If a small academy were appointed near Leeds, or in any populous part of the kingdom, they might supply a number of places, and regularly attend their studies. This would not hinder their piety, but make them abundantly more useful in the vineyard of Christ. We believe, many of our friends would cheerfully subscribe to defray the expense."--Monitor, vol. I., p. 305.


A correspondent directs our attention to the triple calling of the Association-duping, begging, and stealing. The poor people have been duped sure enough; for the oft-repeated promise of “no division" has ended in separate preaching, and a new sect; and the idea of escaping from rascally preachers, by accepting the ministrations of the Pev. Mr. Lamb, completes the delusion. Messrs. Cole and Hiles have announced, by public advertisemeni, that they will thankfully receive any sums of money on behalf of poor Dr. Warren, and the truth of their statement nobody can deny; for the members of the “ grand central" had rather receive other people's money than give their own, and they find going to law to be a much finer thing than paying the expenses. Although the Apostle's advice and Mr. Hamilton's text, « let him that stole steal no more," would never disturb the mind of an honest man, yet it has completely unsettled the poor editor of the Lantern. He proposes, indeed, to tell a "plain tale," and "put us down;" but acknowledges he“ knows not how to begin;" and it is quite clear he knows not how to proceed, for his "tale" is grossly incorrect. On the whole, he admits that a robbery has taken place, and that restitution has been made, in part-though but in part; £18 8s 4d of stolen property has been returned, but the society's book is still kept back. He “assures" us, they were not driven to this measure by the Illuminator: so it was, most likely, by the sheer conviction that the money was not theirs, and that keeping it, under such circumstances, was no very creditable thing. This is hopeful: "where there is shame, there may in time be virtue." Yet there was not sufficient strength of principle to make them thoroughly honest, by sending book and all. This is alarming. So long as the culprit hesitates in his course of reform, he may relapse into his old habits. Lest that should be the case, we say again,“let him that stole steal no more."

More “LOGIC IN A LANTERN."-In one of the greatest efforts of genius which has ever yet ap. eared in our cotemporary, the writer begins by saying, “the Illuminator and the dram-shops ;" and, after adducing the amazing fact, that some preachers take “a glass of punch," he concludes by congratulating himself on having given us such a “blow on the sconce" as must stop our mouths about the “ gin-shops," effectually and for ever. Allowing this writer his own facts and principles, his argument, so far as it has any bearing upon ourselves, just amounts to this: Ist—“Some preachers choose to take a glass of punch," and, therefore, Mr. Wesley was mistaken when he said that such as sell ardent spirits to “any that will buy them," are “poisoners general;" and we forfeit our“consistency" by quoting his words. 2dly_« Preachers have admitted spirit dealers into society," and, therefore, "let the dram-seller become a member of the Association-let him lift up his voice in favour of a reform of abuses;" it is a violation of all “ decency" in us to tell him to begin at home. 3dly-“ Preachers hav offices of trust and responsibility;" and, therefore, when one of these, abusing the kindness shown him, begins to lift up himself, and must needs give a new code of laws to the connexion, it is utterly wrong in us to oppose the imprudent attempt. 4thly—“A preacher silenced two persons who wished to introduce the subject of spirit drinking into the quarterly meeting ;" and, therefore, when a ginseller affects a conscientious objection to the connexion between church and state, and at the same time is moving heaven and earth in order to keep up a “connexion" between his own shop and the “leaders' meeting," we are not at liberty to say that all this is "ineffable hypocrisy." 5thly_“If Methodist preachers will drink spirits, there must be persons to sell them.” So then, it seems, we must add avarice and cupidity to all the other bad qualities of the members of the Association ; for when they are asked to give any thing, why then the corrupt preachers are to be reduced to goodness by.“ stopping the supplies ;" and so long as these reformers have a chance of gaining a farthing by the infirmities of their pastors, all their wishes, as a matter of course, must be gratified. Surely the men who can utter such demonstrations as these, must be “ singula ly fitted for great actions."-We are next told a wonderful story about some spirit dealers in the Isle of Man, who were so disgusted with the Illuminator that they had “nearly quitted" the society, but second thoughts induced them to remain; for although it was a hard case to be brayed in a mortar, by the terrible words of Mr. Wesley, yet they well knew it was a far worse thing to join the Association, and so proceeded no further. The writer adds, “these remarks may seem severe;' and no doubt he will feel them to be so, for they are a great libel on his understanding.

The query proposed by an “English Methodist " has been advanced in such a spirit of candour and Christian sincerity, which at once refleets credit on the querist, and shall, without fail, receive due attention ; our limits, in this number, do not allow such an answer as we feel disposed to give. In our next, we hope to have an opportunity of considering the question at large.

Communications have been received from “Alpha,—“G. M."-Philagathos,"_" James Wild,""Omega,"_“Somebody,"—“J. W."-“H."-"A hearer of the Wesleyans in the Loughbro' circuit," " Mentor, '-“Epsilon,"_“Sigma," -“Delta," and " Observator."

Printed and Published by R. DICKINSON, 67, Pool-lane, Liverpool, to whom all communications (post

paid) to the editor, are to be addressed ; Sold also by J. MASON, 14, City-road, J. Hurton, 16, Cityroad, and WHITTAKER and Co., Ave Maria-lane, London; Love and BARTON, Manchester; SPINK and CULLINGWORTH, Leeds ; DEARDEN, Nottingham; ATKINSON, Bradford; SAXTON and CHALO. NER, Sheffield; the CHRONICLE OFFICE, Chester; PEART, Birmingham; OGLE, Bolton; WILSON, Whitehaven; JEFFERSON, Carlisle; DICKINSON, Workington; and may be obtained, by means of the Methodist Preachers, or respectable Booksellers, in any part of Great Britain and Ireland.





No. 12.

LIVERPOOL, JUNE 10, 1835. Price 1 d.



The utter incapacity of the men who have placed themselves at the head of the anti-Wesleyan movement, to legislate in its affairs, becomes more apparent by every attempt they make. The narrowness of their views, the scantiness of their information, the party spleen and excitement under which they labour, and above all—the sectarian principles they have adopted, ill qualify them to intermeddle in the government of a connexion so complex, extended, and truly unique, in its structure, as the Methodist. They possess no plummet to guage its depths of wisdom —no eye to scan its multifarious interests—no taste and genius in accordance with its gigantic and sublime objects—and no spirit in unison with its anti-sectarian and truly catholic form of government and communion.

From the earliest days of Mr. Wesley to the present period, it has been the anxious and continued effort of the body to preserve to itself a noble catholicism of spirit and operation. Its rules, doctrinal sentiments, plans of operation, and principles of communion have not been fixed on the narrow foundation of any one of the sects of Christendom. The simple, but grand designs of the kingdom of Christ have, it is hoped, been constantly kept in mind, and not the pre-eminence and distinction of a sect. Extreme views on different forms of church polity by their fond but narrow-minded advocates, have tended to stultify the exertions, and limit the boundaries of the church of Christ. In all periods of her history, the Christian religion has been doomed to suffer from this infirmity-littleness of the human mind. It appears to be too greatin its principles, promises, scope of exertions, designs of triumph, and field of predicted existence, for the grasp of most minds; they have screwed it down to the narrowness of a sect, and called that Christianity! Mr. Wesley was pressed and goaded to do the same, by the bigots of his

day, but with steadfastness of purpose he resisted to the day of his death. In his “ Thoughts upon a late Phenomenon,” a tract written in 1788, he glories in the liberality of Methodism :

“One circumstance more is quite peculiar to the people called Methodists; that is, the terms upon which any person may be admitted into their society. They do not impose, in order to their admission, any opinions whatever. Let them hold particular or general redemption, absolute or conditional decrees; let them be churchmen or dissenters, presbyterians or independents, it is no obstacle. Let them choose one mode of baptism or another, it is no bar to their admission. The presbyterian may be a presbyterian still; the independent or anabaptist use his own mode of worship. So may the quaker; and none will contend with him about it. They think, and let think. One condition, and one only, is required-a real desire to save their soul. Where this is, it is enough: They desire no more: They lay stress upon nothing else: They ask only—'Ïs thy heart herein as my heart? If it be, give me thy hand.

“Is there any other society in Great Britain or Ireland so remote from bigotry ? that is, so truly of a catholic spirit ?—so ready to admit all serious persons, without distinction ? Where, then, is there such another in Europe ? --in the habitable world ? I know none. Let any man show it me that can. Till then, let no one talk of the bigotry of the Methodists.”

As late as 1820, the Conference echo the same sentiment, and declare they do not "exist for sectarian purposes.Hence, men of all opinions on the subjects of church government, have always belonged to the Wesleyan societies. Amongst her wisest, most devoted, and useful disciples, have been found conscientious churchmen, who have considered it no compromise of their principles to unite in fellowship with a Methodist society-enjoy their rich provision of ordinances—and yet retain their episcopalian prepossessions. And, on the other hand, some of the brightest ornaments of Methodism have been professed dissenters in principle—and yet, within the pale of this communion, could meet the Church-Methodist in perfect concord and union of spirit. This agrees to the genius of Christianity, where “ There is neither Jew nor Greek—there is neither bond nor free-there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ.” Methodism has never yet assumed a distinctive form. She has adopted the truths and principles of the New Testament, and left herself at liberty to carry them out, without the restraints of either an episcolian or an independent mode and channel of operation. The absurdity of supposing that the gospel is to be made to pour its blessings exclusively upon the world through the medium of one of these conduits, never belonged to our connexion. The basis of the church of Christ, in her creed, is co-extensive with the world—the persons embraced in the scheme of redemption, every soul of man—the truth of the gospel, like the light of heaven, is so peculiarly subtle and ethereal as to be suited to every variety of mind—and the ordinances of religion so simple and spiritual, as to lose none of their value and efficacy, whether administered beneath the shadow of an American forest, or of the stately dome of a majestic cathedral.

• We trust this catholic spirit, and noble and expansive conception of the objects of Christianity will always distinguish the Wesleyan body.Great inconvenience, we conceive, would arise out of placing the connexion on an exact and accurately defined platform. It would oblige the body to seek the extension of the kingdom of Christ, and the happiness and salvation of the world, on fixed economical rules. In this respect its power of action has hitherto been perfectly free, and ihe amount of grod accumplished much greater than if trommellci by the encumberance of any nicely balanced and methodically defined mode of saving souls. We

have no doubt but great numbers of persons, both in the establishment of the country and the dissenting bodies, have groaned beneath the pressure of their respective systems, when they have been called, by the Spirit of God and the exigencies of a dying world, to extend to them the blessed provisions of the gospel. The Wesleyans have never bound themselves to do good on an exclusive model. They hold themselves at liberty to approximate to the form of worship in the church, and use the liturgy and the organ-or to observe the more simple and naked service of the nonconformists; and in their exertions to extend the knowledge of the truth amongst the dark population of our own country, or the more needy tribes of foreign lands, to act as circumstances may require-keeping constantly to the all-important principle of teaching the true gospel. To bind the connexion down to any absolutely settled plan would greatly abridge this freedom, and prevent the good which is accomplished by its right direction.

Another reason against a sectarian alteration of the discipline of the connexion is, the difficulties it must throw in the way of a prompt and ready obedience to the calls of God, and the openings of divine providence, which it has hitherto been enabled to attend to. It seems to have been a settled principle with Mr. Wesley, in all his arrangements, never to go beyond the call of present duty and obligation, and to hold himself in readiness for the next. His legislation is founded on this rule. Hence, law of Methodism is perfectly simple, like the primary principles of truth and justice which laid the basis of the British con stitution. On a careful examination of the writings of our great founder, and the minutes of Conference, it will be found that every new measure had its origin in some passing necessity of the moment, and was never prospective, except in that particular case. By this means the connexion was never in circumstances to refuse obedience to the calls of providence. No previously adopted scheme closed the door of access into any new field of usefulness. We are persuaded, the present race of Methodists will be wise in imitating their ancestors in this respect. The Conference will be urged, both by friends and foes, to alter and enlarge its code of laws; let them, however, be extremely moderate and cautious in this respect. If, when they assemble, they find a case of necessity exists to explain, amplify, or legislate, let them guard against going beyond the necessity of the case. The world is in progress-so is the church; and the safest and most advantageous position for Methodism is that which she has hitherto occupied, viz.-an unfettered state of freedom which enabled her, at the call of God, to rush into every open door.

-The case of the introduction of the American Methodist Episcopal Church into that country, finely illustrates our meaning. Other changes in the state of the nations, no doubt, will arrive; and it is most desirable that the Methodist connexion should be in circumstances to avail itself of all such changes, and introduce religion in such way as the case may require. If, however, her plans of operation are narrowed to some little, limited, sectarian scheme, how can she be prepared to operate on the grand and sublime movements of the divine providence, when that providence shall carry into effect the ultimate and universal designs of redeeming love. If the purposes of God are to be carried out by the church

—which, no doubt, is the case—then many of the sects must greatly enlarge their creed and their scale of operation too, or they can have little to do in the work; and one of the most prominent effects of the

« PreviousContinue »