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must be paramount; to be law at all. If, however, majorities are to determine every thing connected with the Methodist body, the ler scripta of the body becomes mere waste paper; all uniformity in the exercise of discipline is destroyed; and an act which a majority on this (Thursday) evening may be deemed perfectly innocuous, may by a majority next Thursday evening be considered highly criminal, and then and there visited with summary punishment.
The concessions of 1797, while they secure the authority and responsibility of the pastoral office, guarantee to all members of the Methodist society their just rights and privileges. Before this era of Methodism, the superintendent night advise with the leaders on the introduction of members into society: now, he is restrained from admit. ting any whom the leaders' meeting judge improper persons. Formerly the superintendent could expel from the society any whom he himself deemed unworthy : now, ho cannot remove from church fellowship any person until his offence be proved before, and to the satisfaction of, the leaders, whose business on such occasions is to decide upon the fact. Previous to this period the superintendent could appoint and remove officers without control and as he saw fit: now, this power is placed under salutary restrictions, and he cannot appoint or remove leaders or stewards from their respective offices, but in conjunction with the leaders' meeting.
When, therefore, a member of society is charged with an offence before the meeting of the leaders, it is the business of the meeting to decide upon the fact, whether the person before them is guilty of the offence, or, pot guilty. They are not empowered, in case they bring in a verdict declaring the offence to have been proved, to determine what the sentence shall be; this is left to the preacher, who, as judge, must award the punishment. By the leaders acting the part of faithful, and honest jurymen, the liberties of the people are protected against any undue exercise of the pastoral authority—the admirable balance of our well-tried constitution is preserved, and an impartial administration of ecclesiastical discipline is secured to all. But, should the leaders on account of prejudices conceived, or by being actual participatists in the criminality of the accused be unable to give an honest and just verdict, provision is made in the constitution of Methodism, that law shall be observed whatever the consequence may be. If the late leaders' meeting, in Leeds-street, Liverpool, had not committed that suicidal act by destroying its own legal existence, and had continued to protect the guilty in the committal of acts opposed to the laws of the body, the Rev. S. Jackson had his remedy, by which the discipline of Methodism would have been enforced; we mean a special district meeting; this, however, the wiseacres of Leeds-street prevented, by voting the superintendent out of the chair, a deed which we are warranted in saying they have regretted most deeply ever since, for by it they very quietly, and most satisfactorily to the preachers, placed themselves beyond the pale of the Wesleyan community. When the constituted and ordinary authorities of Methodism fail through weakness or turpitude to perforin their functions, and to maintain the laws and discipline of the connexion, the district meeting, specially called, has a right to interfere, as was the case in Leeds, in 1827, and which, so far froin having effected the ruin of Methodism in that populous town, has, under God, caused it to flourish beyond all former precedent.
We confess we discover nothing in the recent proceedings of the several leaders' meetings in Liverpool, at variance with the spirit and letter of Methodistical law. Majorities have never yet assumed the authority of law in our body, as it is wished by many they should now possess. The decisions to which they would arrive would be wild and capricious, and a new rule of action would be of every day occurrence. Our laws are well known and are the same for all; and no leaders' meeting has the power to determine by a vote whether or not they shall be enforced. When an individual enters the society, he is supposed, voluntarily and in good faith, to assent to these laws as the condition of his membership, and he is taking far too much upon him, after he has been welcomed with kindness into the Methodist fold, and for years been protected in the enjoyment of his privileges by its rules, and nourished in divine grace through the instrumentality of its ordinances, to join the revolutionary cry, “raze it, raze it." Such ingrates we have recently met with! We envy not their feelings. For ourselves we are determined to extend the influence and blessings of constitutional Methodism. unmoved by the sneers of the ungodly, the timnidity of the wavering, or the treachery of its quondam supporters. *
* We take this opportunity of recommending to the attentive rerusal of our readers a pamphlet which has recently been published, from the pen of the Rev. W. Vevers, entitled, “A Defence of the Discipline of Methodism;" this, with his two “ Appeals" to the Methodist public are the product of a well disciplined mind, and the result of a perfect acquaintance with the practical workings of the Wesleyan polity. Every member of our society ought to read them with care. They are highly creditable to the heart and head of the amiable and talented author.
SKETCHES OF THE “GRAND CENTRAL ASSOCIATION;" OR, “MEN SINGULARLY FITTED FOR GREAT ACTIONS.”
(Continued from our last.) “Mr. John Hull," though he has ceased to figure publicly as a Methodistical reformer, yet claims a passing notice, from the prominence with which his name and works appear in the history of the first opening of this wonderful crusade. An odd kind of chill creeps through one's mind on the mention of his name. But as it is probably nothing more than a nervous sensation, resulting from some unaccountable operation of galvanic causes-for we hold that there is galvanism in mind as well as in matter-we pass it without further notice. This gentleman has been for many years well-known and greatly respected as a member and leader in the Wesleyan Methodist society; but, unfortunately, he has seemed all along io be possessed with the idea—at least, he has acted on the principle that it is impossible for him to be mistaken on any question, either of fact or of opinion. The consequence is that he has frequently been brought into collision with his friends; and, mistaking mere obstinacy for a virtue, has stood fast in the integrity of his own error, where better knowledge would have taught him it was his duty to yield. Some years ago, during the prevalence of violent disputes, in the Manchester societies, it was his misfortune to take a stand, in the maintenance of which—whether right or wrong, it is not our business to inquire-he placed himself in opposition to the preachers, and to those friends by whom the preachers have in general been most faithfully supported; and he has never lost the savour of the spirit which he then displayed. Since that time, at least, if not from a much earlier date, his princi. ples as a Wesleyan Methodist have shown a tinge, most plainly indicating a deeplyseated and irremediable taint. The just and natural result of this has been, that though in other respects a very worthy and upright man, yet he has never, until lately, borne any higher office in the society than that of a leader; it being manifest that he had too great a leaning to his own understanding and to the principles of eccle. siastical democracy, to be trusted with any office which should give him a commanding and extensive influence. Unless he be greatly misrepresented by report, and by his own friends, he has felt this exclusion as a sore grievance; but it is now demonstrated to all, there was good reason for it; and it had probably been well, for himself as well as others, had it been continued to this day. For the first time in his long life he is appointed circuit steward ; and lo! one of the first uses which he makes of the influence connected with that office, is to support a faction who are bent on revolutionizing Methodism. We know he will resist this charge; for as it is his practice never to retract a charge which he has made against another, so it is his practice also never to admit the charges which others may allege against himself. Therefore, our readers may expect to hear from him accordingly.
In the proceedings of the quarterly meeting of the First Manchester circuit, on the subject of the Theological Institution and Conference reform, he took a prominent share; and, after reading a letter containing the most scandaluus reflections on the Conference in general, and Mr. Bunting in particular, he proposed the following most sapient and orthodox resolutions :
«1. That this meeting views with sentiments of most decided disapprobation the recent establishment of the Wesleyan Theological Institution : which, in the judgment of this meeting, is calculated to produce the most deteriorating effects in the original character of Methodism, and ultimately to subvert it.
« 2. That the unprecedented haste with which so monstrous a step has been taken, without at all consulting the sentiments of the connexion at large, through the medium of their public officers, according to regulations made at Leeds in 1797 ; and in defiance of the most serious remonstrances both of preachers, trustees, and societies, has created the utmost alarm for the safety of the body; convinced. as The members of this meeting are, that the officers of the Institution will possess the means of rendering nugatory the decisions of quarterly meetings and of district meetings.
«3. That this meeting is deeply impressed with the conviction that Mr. Bunting's acceptance of the presidency of the Institution, in conjunction with the senior secretaryship of our foreign Missions, is incompatible with the peace and happiness of the connexion; that his retiring, at any rate, from one of those offices is indispensably necessary to restore confidence to the connexion, and allay the dangerous excitement metitution should be forth with discontinued. excitement which such measures have, especially of late, occasioned; but it is the opinion of this meet14. That, under the influence of these views, this meeting-anxious, above all things, to preserve
..ancione above all things, to preserve the original constitution of Methodism-is determined, by every legitimate means, to resist the alarming innovations and encroachments of undue power, and are fully satisfied that, instead of such conduct being likely to occasion division in the body, it is the only method of preserving unity."
Of course. Mr. Hull, as the mover of these resolutions, could see nothing in them but what was rational and temperate, in the highest degree; and above all, as he sturdily maintained at the time, he could see nothing in them that, in the slightest measure, apóroached to any thing like personality! But the fact is, that himself and the other members of the self-elected cabinet, were so ashamed of them, in the course of a few days, that at the hasty and (Methodistically) illegal meeting, subsequently held, they
were withdrawn, in order to make room for other resolutions of a milder character, and in which the name of Mr. Bunting was prudently omitted. In advising the calling of that meeting, as he acknowledges he did, and in his observations at the meeting, he proceeded on the supposition that Dr. W. would probably be suspended at the approaching district meeting, and that the quarterly meeting would by that means be deprived of Dr. W. as its chairman; hence his haste to summon the members of the quarterly meeting before the proper time, and his objection to any adjournment of the meeting beyond the 20th October. But, strange to tell ! ever since that time he has spoken and acted on the principle that Dr. W. was not, and could not be, suspended by that meeting; and by one sweeping sentence of condemnation-which, after falling on the heads of the two Judges of the Court of Chancery, rebounds and rests upon himself-he has declared that none but a fool could ever have supposed the contrary! We should have been exceedingly sorry to apply the term to him gratuitously; but having unwittingly taken it to bimself, whilst in the act of applying it to others, we shall let him wear it as long as he pleases
“And leave him alone in his glory." “ Mr. J. J. Lees” has been shown off in sundry places as a powerful and splendid advocate of the Association, and must not, therefore, pass unnoticed. He came from London, as we learn, about two years ago, and is now settled in Manchester as an Agent for the sale of Morison's Pills. Our readers are probably aware that the proprietorship of these wonder-working pills and of the Christian Advocate is partly in the same bands; and they will not, therefore, be surprised to hear that the best efforts of the Manchester agent in question, have been used to push the latter as well as the former into extensive circulation. We have never had an opportunity of witnessing his powers of oratory; but we are told they are of such a sort as to fit him admirably for the double duties which he sustains. Almost immediately on his arrival at Manchester, he was received upon the plan of the first Manchester circuit, as a local preacher; but rumour says this was too hastily done, and that certain inquiries ought to have first been made of the Rev. W. Naylor, London. We are a little surprised not to find his name amongst the speakers at the late meeting of the delegates in Manchester. Is his stock of eloquence purged away, or do his friends begin to think so ?
(To be continued.)
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
Our contemporary declares, “we never publish facts on anonymous or questionable authority." Their facts, no doubt, are authentic; their fictions, it seems, are apocryphal. We quote the following from a Sunderland paper, in answer to our correspondent “Argus" :- « The Christian Advocate of Monday last, contains a paragraph extracted from the Watchman's Lantern, in reference to a conversation assumed to have passed between the Rev. Samuel Jackson, who formerly travelled in the Sunderland circuit, and Mr. James Vint of this town. Now, as Mr. Vint is an inhabitant of this place, and a respectable individual, we deem it our duty in our public capacity, to defend his character from the insinuations of the writer of the paragraph, especially as Mr. Vint, in toto, disclaims the imputed conversation. We would take this opportunity of admonishing the editor of that penny trumpet, the Watchman's Lantern, and the redoubtable writer of the Christian Advocate, who seems equally reckless, not to tamper with the character of a respectable gentleman, and assign to him a position in the ecclesiastical world in which he is by no means anxious to be placed. The paragraph in question is calculated to exhibit the individual whose character we feel it our indispensable duty to defend, in the light of an officious, disaffected, meddlesome, and factious personage-whereas, his real character is too generally known, and too duly appreciated, to render it possible for the most malevolent scribe to injure it."
TWO BLACKS CANNOT MAKE A WHITE.--The Editor of the Lantern is in a sad case about the street robbery. He says, indeed, there was no robbery : but admits the “Leaders retained the classmoney in their hands, by desire of their classes," and because it was “their own." Yet somehow or other, they became alaimed, or ashamed, and, in short, could keep “their own" money no longer; and so were obliged to relieve their burdened souls by sending it to the real owners, namely, the circuit stewards. He will have it that they have not stolen £18 8s 4d; but is too prudent to deny the notorious fact, that they have actually made restitution to that amount. The Association, it seems, have a notion that a portion of lost character may be recovered, by making other people as bad as themselves; so they now seek, by open attack and intimidation, to prevail on the committee for the erection of the new chapel, to betray their trust, and return a part of the money to a few choice friends of the Lantern. It so happens that the resolutions for the formation and management of this fund, having passed the June quarterly meeting, 1834, were immediately printed, and a few copies are still in existence. According to this document, the “express promise" that “ the money should be returned, if the chapel was not immediately commenced," is a simple fabrication. The 4th resolution says, “as soon as the sum of one thousand pounds is procured the ground shall be purchased :" and the 7th provides that “the money shall not be applied to any other purpose; but returned to the subscribers," when the managers despair
of ultimate success. As they really are "all honourable men," we are quite sure they will give due uotice to the parties concerned whenever they feel themselves in that state of mind. These resolutions, were unanimously adopted by the above meeting, of which the “ agitators and disturbers of the societies" were a part; so that, if they have been “humbugged" it is their own act and deed. Yet, says the Lantern, it is quite an “ absurdity" to think of a new chapel, instead of selling the old ones. Be it so. If the “men singularly fitted for great actions" may commit a robbery, surely common people may be indulged with an “absurdity." Oh, but the persons have been“ illegally expelled.” So says the Lantern, while the Lord Chancellor says that the suspension of Dr. Warren was “perfectly legal;'' and if so, then the Association, which arose out of his case, is a great combination to resist law, by protecting him, and is, of course, in itself an outrage upon all law. The members of its managing committee were, therefore, justly expelled; for in Methodism, whatever becomes of majorities, law must be paramount, and every man must finally submit to its authority. After asking us several questions about
ey, the writer adds, “I do wait for an answer." We beg leave to in. form him that, to the best of our knowledge, the committee are so impressed with the disgraceful affair at Leeds-street, they are quite afraid to tamper with public money, and are, therefore, determined to apply it to the one sole object for which it has been given, namely-to purchase ground, and build a chapel, as soon as practicable. Having now answered his question, we shall take the liberty to tell him a secret or two. In the first place, we rather think that whatever sums are given to this treasurer, towards the new chapel, he is resolved to keep and to apply accordingly; and, therefore, if people intend to cry, like babies, to have their money back again, they had better never give it at all. Secondly, could the Lantern prevail upon these gentlemen to misapply the funds with which they have been entrusted, still the case of the Association is desperate, as even that could not transform them into honest men, for “two blacks can never make a white."-As to the pother about the missionary box, the money it contained was either given to the missionary society, or it was not. If it was not, we advise the parties to bring the robber to justice. If it was, then by that act it became public property, and was no longer at the disposal even of the original donors; and the man did perfectly right, whoever he was, in handing it over to the treasurer of the society.-Having now answered our contemporary's queries, at least plainly and directly, if not to his satisfaction, we shall continue to become querists in our turn. As he has called upon a number of gentlemen to betray a public trust, and to rob a church, in order to accommodate a few friends of the Association, it would be satisfactory to the public to know what these friends have done to entitle themselves to such an indulgence? Or, for what services is this sacrilegious reward to be conferred? Is it because they have formed an Association to spread strife and discord through the connexion? Or, because one of them said, he had broken the law and he gloried in it? Is it for the manner in which the matchless jury, at Leeds-street, performed their solemn duties, when they-1st, with “ ineffable hypocrisy pleaded scriptural precedent in order to screen an accomplice in guilt-2d, proposed to give their verdict before hearing the evidence- and 3d. become sulky and resolved to give no verdict at all? Or is it for turning the preacher out of the chair? Is it for saying the vestry door was closed, when it was never closed at all? Is it because “mine host" has not only proved that he is either a gentleman or something else; but even exposed himself to the lash of the law, by repeatedly disturbing the congregation with his announcements? Or, is it because their friend Gordon, some “ dissenting ministers," and a miscellaneous mob, have made themselves into a leaders' meeting, in order to do justice upon the Dudley preachers? Or, is it because Dr. Warren has gone to law with his brethren, lost his cause, received a public rebuke, and is now wearing the “millstone"? Is it for divulging that won. derful piece of Association morality to be found page 250, and contained in these memorable words, “ Witness their society tickets, they are a fac-simile of those of the Conference, in order that, even in appearance, there shall be no more difference than cannot be avoided." We know that by these “ facsimile tickets" people are both “ deceiving and being deceived." Are public funds then to be misapplied in order to reward men for teaching that forgery is a virtue, and that uttering lies by wholesale is a proof of brotherly love? We have other questions to be put afterwards. In the meantime, we do wait for an answer,
We frankly inform Mr. John B., alias “ Ignatius," &c. &c. that unless he ceases inflicting his anonymous nonsense upon us; or, at least, unless he save us henceforth the expense of the postage of his letters, we shall be compelled, in self-defence, to divest him of his cap and jacket, and show the animal with his true cognomen to our readers, by publishing his “last," together with several other letters addressed to various persons, but have found their way to us—all of which are in the hand-writing of Mr. John B., although wearing different signatures,
A correspondent informs us, that when Mr. Killey's class was met in order to receive tickets, the person alluded to in Lantern, p. 271, did not avow himself a member of the Association until the Rev. G. Marsden had given the ticket and received the quarterage. Mr. Marsden saw the deep duplicity of the conduct of this Associate ; and, after intimating a hope that he would soon have done with the faction, passed on to the next member in rotation. Had Mr. H. been influenced by a sense of common prop iety, he would, without hesitating, have refused his ticket. This, however, would be expecting too much of the Association. Men who can forge Methodist tickets and publicly boast that the forgery is as complete as they can make it, are not the men who will relinquish their hold, when once a ticket is in their possession!
We regret that the valuable paper of “ Epsilon," is unavoidably postponed until our next, together with an account of Dr. Warren's Adventures in Sheffield.
Communications have also been received from “A Lover of Methodism,"_" Delta," _“ An Obser. ver," _“ Omega,"_“H."_“ Mentor,"_" An Old Methodist,"'--"J. M."-"C. J,"_“Epsilon,"_and
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THE POLITY AND SUCCESS OF WESLEYAN METHODISM.
On the important subject of church government there has been for many ages, and there is likely to continue for generations to come, a difference of opinion among good men. We are of a class of persons, and they are neither small in their number, nor feeble in their influence-who believe that no particular form of religious polity, is, by any divine commandment binding upon Christian societies; but that certain great principles are contained in the New Testament, on which all ecclesiastical order ought to be founded. Tyrannical as we are both suspected and reported to be, we are on this subject more liberal, in the sound sense of the term, than many individuals who, in their boasting professions, seem to monopolize all that accords with liberality of sentiment unto themselves. It appears to us that while the scriptures teach there must be government in the church, yet much is left to circumstances as to the precise form which it shall assume; and hence the want of uniformity in this particular among various Christian communities, which ecclesiastical history unfolds to its readers. We are of opinion, that God has left men as much at liberty in reference to sacred as tọ civil polity. There must be government in the state; God having ordained it for his glory and the happiness of mankind; but whether it shall be a monarchy, or an aristocracy, or democracy, or a mixture and balance of these several forms, as in the British constitution, the oracles of God are silent. So there must be government in the church of Christ; but whether it shall be episcopacy, presbyterianism, or independency, the scriptures do not determine or enjoin. Notwithstanding there is a considerable number of bigoted minds that give an undue consequence to each of these forms of ecclesiastical rule, and imagine they can see them all written in the bible as clearly as the proper divinity of the world's Redeemer, yet we are bold to affirm them to be under a delusion which is injurious to the peace and prosperity of Zion, for it generates in their breasts an unkindly and intolerant spirit.
The admirable system of Methodist polity was formed by the venerable Wesley under the leadings and teachings of the providence and spirit of the great Head of the church; and we, therefore, believe it to be