Page images
PDF
EPUB

issued being “a fac-simile" of those issued by the preachers, and tell us that it is a singular proof of their love to old Methodism. Men of honourable minds look with abhorrence upon the whole affair.-Teaching all sorts of people to make their way into lovefeasts, and to the Lord's table, with a lie in their right hand, is a rather serious thing. Those who hope to be separated from common liars hereafter will not hastily unite, even here, with those who are “singularly fitted for g. eat actions” in that line. And what “honest man can be connected” with a set of people who have been compelled to disgorge £18 88 4d of public money, after having “unanimously resolved” not to apply it to the purposes for which it had been put into their hands? It may, indeed, be convenient to some persons to forget the Leeds-street society's book, but others will remember it: whether returned or not, it has illustrated the characters of the men who took it away. As book stealing and purse stealing both proceed from the same principle, should these gentry ever come into the Methodist society, the honest people must go out. “So there is a division, there must be a division, and there shall be a division.”

Whether the Sunderland tale be true or false is of no public importance. “Dr. Warren's friend” says he was admitted to the company and confidence of Mr. Vint and a Methodist preacher-that he heard these tivo persons exchange an observation that he has kept the thing in his heart during some half-dozen years--and that he takes the present opportunity of showing his real character, by lodging a dagger in the bowels of each of them, for Solomon says, “the words of a tale bearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” During these days of reform, we must attend to Jeremiah's advice, “take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother.”

As “Oliver" was thought to possess a sharp genius, he was engaged to write a “caustic letter” on the subject of the new chapel. He has done his job pretty well, with the exception of a little mistake, for he has burnt himself and his friends, instead of his foes. According to him, the agitators and disturbers of the societies have “humbugged" themselves, by way of showing how “ singularly they are fitted for great actions.” As he cannot prevail upon any body to imitate the late Leeds-street leaders' meeting, and “rob a church,” he has again placed that “matchless jury", before the public, and “ left them alone in their glory." So “ Oliver” has had enough of "caustics,” and is gone, it seems, to be healed of his wounds. The editor now takes up the cause, and says, “we ask for the money to be returned on the principles of common honesty.” “On the principles of common honesty," we hope they will oblige us by having a little patience; because, 1-The town clerk of Ephesus advises people to do “nothing rashly.” 2-The money in question is really not theirs, but church property: and sacrilege is a serious thing. 3-The fund was formed, and the managers appointed, by the unanimous resolution of the agitators and disturbers of the societies ;” and servants must not undo what their masters have done. The persons who gave their money, and now wish to have it back again, it is clear, have changed their minds once, and, perhaps, if time be allowed, may change again. 5—They say great things are to be done at Conference, and so we had better first see the issue. 6-People who respect their characters cannot, at present, hold Christian fellowship with the men who stole £18 8s 4d and a society's book; and therefore, should any thing happen to bring them in the honest folks, of course, will go out, and hence need chapel accommodation. 7-The heads of the Association ought to have an opportunity of practising the good advice they have long, given to their dupes, which is this: “we mean to stand firm; and you must have patience, and all will be well at last."

We pity the plight in which “ Mr. John B. alias Ignatius, &c. &c." finds himself; that unpleasant complaint, which, in this instance, is beyond the skill of the Association doctor to eradicate, the 'ca coëthes scribendi has placed him in rather awkward circumstances. We hope, however, by the things he has suffered, he will learn wisdom. A greater pest in society of any description cannot be found than an anonymous letter-writer. At this work, to our certain knowledge, Mr. B. has been envaged for the last ten months. It is a cowardly, dishonourable, and assassin-like mode of attack. Why should Mr. B. write any thing to which he is ashamed to affix his signature? If our correspondents are pestered again with such things as anonymous letters, and will forward them to us, we will compare them with similar documents in our possession; and give Mr. B. all the disgraceful notoriety which such conduct merits. A private communication from “Ignatius” has been received, which supersedes the necessity of any further illumination just now, as “ Ignatius" and ourselves are happily agreed. He says of himself, “ whoever he may be, whether of the ani. mal genus or any other, is no matter.” We are precisely of the same opinion. “Whoever he may be " whether “John B.,” some other portion of humanity-an orang-outang, or not of the "animal genus,or a lifeless automaton of the Association, is really “no matter.”

We thank our correspondent for the illumination of the Warrington delegate, the account of the York meeting, the doings of the Association in the Isle of Man; and the account of the Sheffield meeting, to all of which we hope to give speedy insertion.

We inform our kind correspondent, “A Wesleyan,'' that we have by no means overlooked the valua. ble pamphlet, by the Rev. G. Turner, entitled " The Wesleyan Economy." It is a most useful and wellTimed production: for which the author deserves the thanks of the connexion at large. It is a reply to certain portioris of a slanderous publication, written by a Kilhamite preacher of the name of Allin, now resident as a supernumerary, in Sheffield, In the hands of Mr. Turner, this officious meddler with the affairs of another Christian society, and the recognised champion of Kilhamitism, appears truly contemptible, and is another among the many instances we have lately met with in this controversy, how simple upadorned truth casts into the shade error of every kind, no matter how garnished by the flowers of rhe. toric, or how decorated with the deceitful garments of sophistry. A Kilhamitish preacher in the Lantern wonders why we should attack his community. This is somewhat singular. He must have forgotten Mr. Allin's crusade against the old connexion. We heartily wish a most extensive circulation of Mr. Turner's excellent publication.

Communications have also been received from “ G. C.”-“ Aliquis,'' _" A Wesleyan Methodist Layman,”—Mentor,”—“Sigma,”—“Y. Z,” and “A Wesleyan.”

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. HUTTON, 16, City road, and WHITTAKER and Co., Ave Maria-lane, London; Love and BARTON, Manchester; SPINK and CulLINGWORTH, Leeds ; DEARDEN, Nottingham; ATKINSON, Bradford; SAXTON and CHALONER, Sheffield ; the CYRONICLE 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.

ILLUMINATOR;

DESIGNED
TO EXHIBIT TÅE TRUE PRINCIPLES OF THE WESLEYAN CONSTITUTION;

TO VINDICATE THE CHARACTER OF ITS AUTHORITIES; TO GUARD
THE MEMBERS AGAINST THE ATTEMPTS MADE TO SEDUCE THEM
FROM THE SOCIETY; AND EXPOSE THE SPIRIT AND OBJECTS OF
THE SO CALLED “GRAND CENTRAL ASSOCIATION.”

[merged small][ocr errors]

No. 15.

LIVERPOOL, JULY 22, 1835. Price 1 d.

THE PROPOSED DELEGATE MEETING AT SHEFFIELD..

We should not deem it of importance to offer any remarks on the constitution of the mis-named Delegate Meeting at Manchester, had they not informed us that their proceedings on that occasion were only provisional. By this avowal, confirmed by subsequent proceedings, it seems that, at the approaching Conference, we are to be favoured with another infliction of their congregated wisdom. As, on their recent assembling, they claimed for themselves the character and functions of a delegated body; and are to meet under that cognomen again ;—they cannot consider it ill-natured in us to examine their pretensions to this honourable appellation. ' In our vulgar and common-sense notions, the term they have applied to themselves delegates--we always understood to signify persons who were sent, or deputed. As this heterogeneous mass of faction professed to be a meeting of Wesleyan Delegates, they, of course, intended to pass themselves off as persons elected and sent by the members of the Wesleyan Societies. We presume, they intend to make their appeal to the next Conference in this character. Now, before the acts of a meeting of these pretensions can be considered valid, legal, and binding on any parties, it must be shown that the meeting itself is, ipso facto, what it professes to be. · All persons within the pale of the British Constitution and living in obedience to the laws, have, no doubt, the right of petition to the king, or legislature; but, if the great. Agitator should succeed in rending Ireland from the empire, and establishing a perfectly independent government; and, at a distant period, some great faction, political union, or "Grand Central Association,” should, for overt acts of rebellion and treason, be placed under the ban of law-would these two parties, because their objects happened to be identical, have the right to form one great aggregate meeting for the purpose of coercing the British Parliament into their measures ? To talk of the right of petition, under such circumstances, is arrant folly: none can enjoy that right but persons living in allegiance to the state. Men who take up arms, revolt, and separate themselves, have taken the law into their own hands; their new position, whether they remain in mere hostility to the law, or establish themselves. as an independent community, is their redress itself. They are not in the circumstances of aggrieved petitioners, waiting patiently for a remedy; but in the state of independent rebels, waging war against the state and the institutions of the country. Who, if the chieftains of agitation in Ireland and the radicals of England, should meet together to further their common objects of dismemberment and spoliation, would have the absurdity of considering them the legitimate representatives of the Irish and British people? Their union would be their own act; and, although it might suit them to assume the name of representatives of different constituencies, who does not perceive that the assumption would be a perfect fraud ?

This analogy is sufficiently apparent. It is only necessary to analyse the constituent parts of this delegate meeting to show that its assumed character is a falsehood; and all its acts and resolutions, instead of being the proceedings of parties seeking for redress of grievances, are the violent and coercive measures of men in a state of complete separation from, or revolt against the Methodist connexion.

We begin with Dr. Warren. Not because he was the first man at the meeting; but because he was first in the revolt. What an enigma is man! How often the elements of his character appear in perfect contradiction to each other, and the same passions to work contrary ways under different circumstances. Who can deny the Doctor the praise of a noble pride. It is only a few months since we beheld him assuming a lofty mien, standing before the Conference in all the dignity of an independent man, addressing his auditory with conscious superiority, firmly asserting his inflexible purpose to stand or fall by his principles, to refuse to listen to the counsels of his brethren, or to abide by their decisions !! He might not then exactly know what the inspiring genius which beat with lofty emotions in his bosom portended; but the swell of sentiment must have been overwhelming! How nobly he rode upon the storm when the elements of confusion were first let loose in debate at Conference, and the raging billows and angry tempest threatened to wreck the Wesleyan vessel. With manly heroism, keen eye, extended and philosophic grasp of thought, and undying love and devotedness to Methodism he took the helm; and, as every one imagined-himself especially-was destined to bear the vessel into port! Either within the pale of the Old Connexion, or the precincts of a new one, founded by his own superior sagacity and knowledge, we did expect, after the astounding displays we had of the Doctor's wonderful capacity at making a pother, that he would have immortalized himself by giving the impress of his mind to his followers. How does the matter stand at this meeting? Why, he appears to have no mind at all! He shifts and shuffles from one position to another; till, at length, he candidly confesses that, in his own opinion, his understanding is safer in the keeping of the meeting than in his own. Oh, that he had made this discovery sooner! It would have saved himself infinite trouble, mortification and disgrace; it would have saved the delegates the trouble of meeting and thinking for him; and it would, moreover, have saved the connexion the strife, agitation, and loss which it is now enduring. As men placed in a low situation, who have moved in elevated society, excite the pity of others; so we bespeak the pity of our readers for a gentleman once respectable and certainly not wanting in the notion that he was so—now fallen into the deepest mental degradation, and humbled, despised, and neglected by the compeers of his folly. But it is not so much with the spirit and manner of Dr. Warren's appearance at

this meeting, that we have to do, as with his right to appear there at all in the character of a delegate. Supposing the revolters of his own circuit chose to make Dr. Warren one of their representatives to seek an alteration in the laws of Methodism, to negotiate the question with Conference, and then to frame a new constitution—we ask whether, in all fairness, the Doctor was in circumstances to sustain this office? The facts of the case, clearly understood, we should have no objection to put the issue of the question to a jury of the first twelve honest Englishmen we could empannel, whether, in their judgment, Dr. Warren stood in so free, unembarassed, and honourable a position as to make it allowable. on any known principles of justice and religion, for him to take the part he did at the last meeting, and which-We presume—he proposes to do at the next? .. In the first place, Dr. Warren stands before the connexion and the world as an impeached and suspended preacher. He has been suspended by the laws of the body as they now exist; by a district, legally constituted, according to the decisions of the two Courts of Chancery; and on grounds which must bring both himself and his brethren of the district before the Conference. The sentence is open to revision, and the question is undecided. What would a spirit of honour and impartial justice have dictated to Dr. Warren, even supposing he had determined ultimately to follow the course he has chosen to take ? Obviously, to wait till his own individual case was fairly settled. If the final issue should be such as to leave him dissatisfied, then surely it would be time enough to appeal to the public as arbitrators. But, instead of this fair and honest course, the interval betwixt the Doctor's suspension and the meeting of Conference is taken up in raising a clamour against the law which, it is alleged, he has violated with a view to its abrogation, and, indeed, a change of the whole system. We ask, is a criminal in circumstances to judge the law which has judged him? What would be thought of the audacity of a disturber of the king's peace turning round upon his judge and saying, “Yes, the facts alleged against me are true: I have broken the law, but I object to submit to your sentence, because the case itself is not in accordance with my notions, of freedom and right.” It is very natural that a man should not be much enamoured of the law that condemns him ; but the question is, whether he would be a good and impartial judge of the case. This is precisely the question with regard to Dr. Warren. We say nothing respecting the sentence passed upon him; he does not wear the badge with much ease, it is evident; it is natural that he should dislike it, and also that he should abhor the law which suspended him. But in his circumstances, he is not a fit person to judge of the rules affecting himself. There is presumptive proof of the equity and usefulness of these rules, for Dr. Warren submitted to them for upwards of thirty years, without complaint-wrote a learned Digest of them, without any note of disaffection-and, moreover, assisted in their administration in several cases of discipline similar to his own. Is he then in circumstances, we ask, to go to Conference as a reformer-to insist on an alteration of the laws and usages of Methodism, to revolutionize the body, to dash the table under his feet, by which he is to be tried ? In our notions of propriety and justice, it would have been, at least, more fitting and honourable for the Doctor to have waited till his case had been settled, and then, if he saw good, to seek a reformation of the law? Will the Conference admit him, as a reformer of the law-as the head of a party--as the leader of a revolution ? If

they do, we shall conclude that a mental epidemic has befallen them, and they, as well as the Doctor, are gone mad. No; he will have the liberty, we suppose, to appear there; but it will be in the character of a suspended preacher, not of a reformer of the law-a culprit to take his trial, not to dictate terms. Then what kind of a delegate is Dr. Warren, with his sentence hanging over him? Had a constituency existed competent to elect to such an office, he could not be considered a qualified candidate. He is not at liberty to take on him the duties of such a task, and a total moral disqualification arises out of his state and his acts. Besides the excitement under which he labours, he is pledged to a certain line of conduct-to revolutionize, and, if necessary, to destroy that Methodism which has nurtured every good quality of his heart; but, refusing to lend itself to the degrading office of being the panderer to his vanity and ambition, is become the peculiar object of his hatred—a hâtred produced by the concentration of all his passions into one. We now see the soaring eagle crawling like a snail beneath the feet of his companions in agitation-the smooth note of the bird of love has been transformed into the hoarse and hollow croak of the black-winged raven, floating with portentous wing along the heavens, and, with scrutinizing glance, watching the hedge-rows, thickets, fields, gardens, and farm-yards, to spy out a stray and unprotected bird on which to fasten his talons, and make his meal. The moral phenomenon of varied passions all uniting in one, is not an uncommon occurrence; and, under certain circumstances, it is perfectly natural. When strong fires burn within the bosom, avenues are necessary, and if 'natural and easy ones do not present themselves, one will be forced. We perfectly believe all that Dr. Warren has, at various times, declared, respecting his love of Methodism; and we equally believe him now, when, by words and actions, he tells us he abhors it with an unmitigated hatred. Yes; he loved Methodism; but he loved it as the theatre on which he was destined to perform great feats of glory-emblazon his escutcheon with honourable distinction—and hand down his name to future generations as the author of great things. As long as this hope remained, Methodism was beloved; but, expiring last October twelvemonths, the mixed emotions of the Doctor's mind became one; and, failing to woo the object of his fondness, he, then, like the disappointed lover, spurns the virtuous lady as an object of detestation, and follows her with the unmixed hatred of a soul wound up to the highest tension of chagrin. This, we have no doubt, explains the two phases, the bright and affectionate-the dark and murky-which we find in many of the agitators. They are perfectly right when they tell us they devotedly loved Methodism, and we are equally so, when we say that they now hate it with as warm a passion of aversion. They loved it in hope; but not' with the simple and pure hope of receiving spiritual edification, improvement in grace, a training for heaven, and a fitness for its spiritual joys; but with these were mixed up the expectation of personal distinction, honour, advancement, and as these once incipient and not very apparent passions grew, so the spiritual ones were weakened ; being disappointed of their aliment, they have become rampant; and, now, hope being deferred, the heart is sickened with ambitious madness, and the infuriate passions are pouring out their vengeance against the object of their fondest love. We are in possession of such facts connected with the history of the leading agitators of the connexion as cause us to conclude, and would make the same impression on every impartial person, who might become acquainted with them, that it is chafed and mortified ambition which has transmuted them into the profession of patriotism. Had they been gratified with the distinction and power they sought (but can ambition ever become satisfied ?) the world would never have heard their eloquent speeches in praise of their own disinterested sufferings and labours; and against the corruption, tyranny, and power of others...

But to return to the case of Dr. Warren in his character of delegate : his total moral and legal unfitness for this office is not only apparent in the fact of his being a suspended preacher; but, from the additional circumstance of his choosing the vocation of a public and notorious agitator. How has Dr. Warren occupied his leisure since the period of his trial ? . All the world knows; and, no doubt, this notoriety is the most gratifying event in the Doctor's life-that he has been incessantly engaged in carrying debate, division, agitation, and ruin through the Methodist societies, wherever, by any means, he could gain access. Simply to state that this course is against law is to weaken the moral impression of the enormity of the crime. It is an offence for which we can find no name. The sin against Methodism is great; but the sin against God is infinitely greater. As regards the latter we must leave him in the hands of the “ Judge of the whole earth, who will do right ;" but with respect to the former, we feel ourselves at perfect liberty to state, that after the divisive and revolutionary proceedings of the Doctor, for him to assume the name and office of a delegate to Conference, is a piece of

« PreviousContinue »