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which the two parties stand to each other. We maintain that they can only justify their proceedings by putting us out of the pale of the Christian fellowship. They must first of all show, that we have no right to a name and a place in the house of God, and they will have a right to found a new apostleship to evangelize and bring us in. But even then, legitimate means only can be allowed. The first churches were not formed by a negative gospel. The Apostles of our Lord did not gain their converts to Chris tianity by abusing the Jews and heathens, of their day, or by attempting to agitate these respective systems to their “centre.” They taught something positive; and in persuading these classes of persons to embrace the faith of Christ, they took care to exhibit its objects, to set forth its privileges, to lay its foundations, and to persuade them to abandon one course by presenting the advantages of a better. It is a cruel mockery of our miseries and misfortunes to treat us as outcast men, without presenting us with a clue to the truth, and teaching us how we may be restored to our heavenly Father's house. They treat the Wesleyan Societies as a covey of unclean birds nestling in the holy place of the sanctuary, which deserve to be driven out. With them, agitation is a means and an end both. They present nothing beyond it. Previously to ejecting us from our abode, they ought to have prepared another. They treat our system as anti-christian and popish, and, consequently, ourselves as pseudo Christians and papists, without teaching and offering us any thing in its place. Now, as in our humble judgment, agitation cannot feed our souls with knowledge, grace, pious enjoyment, and consolation, we are, for ourselves, at least, disposed to keep within the precincts of the old habitation-believing it to be one of the com'artments of the house of God, till it can be shown to the contrary, and a fairer and more commodious home presented to our acceptance.
But we believe the revolutionists will not argue that the Methodist Societies are no part of the “ household of faith and the family of God.” They will allow us this relationship. Then, on its admission, we must claim from them the treatment of persons enjoying these privileges, and they must show on what authority they possess the liberty to disturb the peace, communion, and pious pursuits of this part of the “house of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” If they tell us they belong to the same family themselves, and on that ground proceed to put the whole into a state of disorder, we must beg to deny the assumption, and ask for proof. Did they not enjoy an equality of rights with all their brethren of the same family ? Had they not a full share in the inheritance without any let or hinderance ? Before this schism commenced, there was vot an Associationist who did not possess as indefeasible and perfect a citizenship in our church as any other person: great numbers were in possession of honourable and influential offices; they were open to all the rest; and the path of exalted piety, glowing zeal, extensive usefulness, and enjoyment, were within the reach of all. If they complain of the restrictions of law, we answer—the law was not made for them, but for the whole community. If they only were called to bear the burden of rule and restraint, whilst others were exempt, they might complain; but if they only share it in common with all the children of the family, then they have no just cause for rebellion. They were not selected as victims-made the subjects of civil oppressionsground down by the iron hand of tyranny-or debarred any of the privileges of the liege subjects or free-born children of the Christian family.
As they can make out no case of special oppression to provoke their riotous conduct, so they can mark out no peculiar right. Allowing them to be equal to others, it cannot be admitted that they possess any singular distinctions. It consequently follows, that they have no ground for these proceedings. They have not been proscribed and persecuted, neither have they any isolated immunities of their own.Then, on the principle that we are, in reality, a branch of the true church and a a part of the family of God, and admitted to be so by these parties themselves, they stand chargeable with a wanton and wicked aggression on the peace and order of the “ house of God.”
Suppose a part of the same family, and children of the same parents, were to rise up on a sudden, and arming themselves with missiles of mischief, without previous notice or just provocation, were to begin to break the furniture of the house, knock down its pillars, despoil its ornaments, overthrow its walls, and then with repeated blows injure and maim their brethren. It would be instantly allowed, by all honest men, that these riotous youths had infringed the family compact, had broken through all domestic order, had committed an injury on the common inheritance, had thrown discredit on the honour and authority of their father, had outrageously violated the laws of fraternal love, and were only fit subjects for the police and the prison. This is but a faint picture of the lawless proceedings of these rebellious children of our common father. Look at Oldham-street, Manchester; Leeds-street, Liverpool; or one of the chapels in Dudley. The family of God, domiciled in these respectire places, enjoyed a perfect equality of rights, worshipped in the same temple, knelt at the same altars and partook the same communion, enjoyed the same fellowship
and yet, a part of the household suddenly rose in violent opposition to the rest, grasped the iron bolts of the law, usurped the pulpits, coercively administered the ordiDances and discipline of the church by their own party agents, rubbed the house of its inmates, and attempted to “stop the supplies ;” and then, by every epithet of abuse and slander, assailed the peaceful members of the household as persons with whom no “ honest man” could bold communion. Desolation has, to a certain extent followed, and one of the chief sources of joy to these heroes of discord, is, that they bave succeeded in thinning our congregations, scattering the Societies, leading the people from the Lord's table, and producing a moral blight where the verdure of piety blooined be. fore. That which occasions other persons sorrow, mourning, tears, and many prayers, is to them a cause of triumph, and administers food to their perverted taste," sweeter than honey or the honey comb.”
The mischief which has been partially achieved in some places is attempted in others, and these sons of Ishmael, whose " hand is against every man's hand,” are now endeavouring to break into the “house of God,” in every place, and on system, throw it into confusion and tumult. Like midnight depredators, they scientifically sally forth, with the implements of their calling; and, as opportunities arise, use them for the purpose of breaking into the sacred precincts of some quiet habitation of the saints, and ruining their heritage. The reader is to recollect that the Wesleyan Societies are acknowledged, by the Associationists themselves, as a part of the family of God. And will He, their heavenly Father, look on, unmoved, while these depredations are committed ? Not if there is truth in his word. On any ground, these agents of anarchy are in the wrong. If the Societies they visit are in a state of error, sin, and absolute estrangement from Codmif the system they have been taught and havc embraced is anti-christian, and the preachers and Conference as bad as they represent them, yet still, they owe them the mercy and compassion of the gospel. They are bound, even in dealing with heathens, to attempt their conversion while they denounce their creed. But from the beginning to this moment, the Association have proposed nothing tangible. They have dealt in abstractions and general declamation, but have offered no amended scheme of their own. Then, as these Societies are part of the true church and family of God, they will have another account to give, and before another tribunal. When they open Pandora's box, and let fly all the evils of discord amongst a pious and peaceful Christian Society, they must recollect that these people have a peculiar interest in the re. garil and love of God. He may allow these agitators to be his rod, “ for whom he loveth he scourgeth ;” but, when the rod has done its work, it will be broken to sbi. vers, while the children will possess the eternal patrimony of their father's love.
1.-The church is described as the creation and temple of the Holy Spirit. The buildings consecrated to worship, and the litnrgies and forms of religion may exist, independently of the work of the Spirit, but there cannot be a living church possessed of the graces of true piety, but it must be the work of his influence. St. Paul's beautiful description is applicable to all times and all true churches: “Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: In whom the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God; him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple yo are.” “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them; and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." On this view of the church we offer one or two considerations to the attention of our readers. If the Wesleyan Societies are formed of persons who are, more or less, the subjects of a divine influence, then, they constitute a living spiritual church of God. Facts must determine whether this is the case or not. It is impossible to answer for individuals, or to deny that there may be many superficial, and even connterfeit and hypocritical members. But allowing for all this, it mnst be granted by every candid person, that, the union of the Societies is founded on a real work of God. Although Methodism has existed for a century, there is, even up to this period, very little hereditary profession amongst us, and few of the children of our people are found in our rinks except, such as give decided evidence of a work of grace." The great body of the people are gathered in from the world. Most of these had no pretensions to religion even in its form, but were living in utter ungodliness and sin. Methodism has always found the vast majority of her disciples in the lowest state of moral degradation. She has always numbered amongst her brightest oranments, most spiritual and pious members, and zealous and successful agents, persons who bad lived in a state of gross vice. What has produced the change, but the Spirit of God. Light and conviction have flashed on minds dark as midnight, and given them “the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” New emotions of penitence, restless desire, enquiry after truth, the fears and alarms of conscience, contrition and melting of mind under a sense of guilt, have been awakened in souls utterly dead to God, and dead in sin. Faith in Christ, not merely as to the general truth and subjects of his mission, but as their own personal Saviour, “made of God to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,” has been professed and exercised by thousands who had been “shut up in unbelief.” All the features of a regenerated state, in the tranquillization of the passions, the subjugation of the appetites, the change of the life, and especially the creation of all the graces of a spiritual mind, have been made to appear in the experience and habits of multitudes who had previously been “foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” And, in a countless number of spirits strangers to all happiness, and dead to every sacred emotion, feelings of joy have been awakened which have thrown their bright light, not merely on the path of life, but also on the darkness of the grave. Thank God, whatever may become of us, tens of thousands of our brethren, who have gone before us, have entered safely into rest, and in their end have “ witnes.. sed a good profession before many witnesses."
On the ground of this work the Societies have been united. No other motive could lead persons to connect themselves with the Wesleyan community than "the desire to flee from the wrath to come.” This body has never yet enjoyed the popular favour, and has consequently had no worldly temptations io offer as inducements to join its communion. We have as much evidence as the subject will allow, that the great living and operative agencyleading to the union of these Societies is the Spirit of God, and that their fellowship is founded in His work. No real religious experience can exist without this; and, consequently, the question turns on a matter of fact, vir.-whether the Wesleyan Societies, in general, do understand and experience the blessings of true piety and holiness? Who can doubt this, but the semi-infidel who denies the possibility of all religious enjoyment, or the narrow-minded bigot who can only allow the work of the Spirit to exist in union with the dogmas of his creed. One common influence has attracted the discordant elements composing these Societies, to rest on one foundation, unite together in one body, profess one faith, when undisturbed, to breathe “one spirit," and to exhibit similar features of fervent and devout piety; and that is the influence of the Holy Spirit. To what else are we to attribute the gradual growth of this work for a long series of years, as well as the more remarkable awakenings and revivals of religion. In ordinary times, when unobstructed by anarchy and confusion, the work of conversion has progressed in the Connexion, through the whole period of its history. Like the spring tide of life, in the natural would, producing successive scenes of beauty and seasons of fertility; so the spirit of God has, through the whole field of Methodistic operations, caused the fruits of grace to spring upin regular succession. But besides the ordinary tide of life, flowing through the system, we also find, that in almost all parts of the Connexion, at different times, extensive revivals of religion have been granted and great multitudes havebeen brought out of “ darkness into light.” It may be affirmed with truth, that there is not a Wesleyan Society in any part of this country, the majority of whose members do not super-add to the excellencies of a moral life, “the knowledge of sins forgiven," the privilege of the spirit of adoption, and the inarks and evidences of the new birth.
On these accounts the Wesleyan Societies, like all true Christian churches, are the creations of the Holy Spirit, and the temples of God. If so, He dwells amongst them. The scriptures intimate the deep and paramount interest felt by Him who is the author of all good, in the spiritual state of his people. A state of grace either enjoyed by an individual or a society, which embraces the exercise of the divine love in acts of justification and adoption ; the work of atonement performed by Christ on the cross and on his throne; the powerful influences of the Holy Spirit in his sanctifying influence on the heart; must be an object of the divine complacency and regard. "Infinitely more is involved in the state of the church, the conversion of souls, their attainment of the divine love, and the acquisition of Christian holiness than in the progress of arts, commerce, legislation, or empire in this world. God has “fixed his heart on man,” in his religious interests, and connects his own highest glories with his state of grace. But, besides this, the spiritual work is sustained by the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. Hence there is an important sense in which the Spirit of God dwells in his people, and pervades and fills his temple. The life, purity, and joys of the regenerate state which are produced by his direct agency, can only be continued and increased by his constant indwelling. The power which sustains, the light which guides, the love which warms, and the life which breathes in the renewed soul, is that of the Spirit of God. In like manner, the same Spirit actuates Christian Societies, wherever genuine piety is found. Up to the point of their conformity to the Christian standard of truth, their participation of gospel privileges, their possession of the mind which was in Christ, and their attainments in grace, they are as much the “habitation of God through the Spirit,” as individual saints. In addition to his being the source of perpetuated life and holiness, on the principle of his “living and walking" in his church, and making it his temple, the Lord presents himself as the object of sensible love and enjoyment. Hence, with what delight do spiritually minded persons recognise what they properly call, the presence of God in his ordinances, and “sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus !" They “come to God, the living God, in mount Zion,” and by the exercise of faith, answering to a spiritual sense, they “behold the beauty of the Lord,” “ listen to his still small voice,” consciously feel his power resting on theni, and enjoy his manifestations “as the God of love.” On these accounts, and many others, societies of spiritual Christians, are the “workmanship,” “husbandry,” “ house,” “ building,” and “temple” of God. He created their state, conferred their privileges, sustains their religious life, inspires their joys, inhabits their souls, and beautifies them with salvation.
. It follows on this, that every Christian is obliged to walk and live in a Christian society as in the temple of God. Or, in other words, that he is bound to regulate his own conduct and spirit in relation to the church, by the same rules as he does, or ought to do, in regard to the work of the Spirit in his own mind. Every Christian knows, or may know, the nature of his own obligations in respect to the work of God in his heart. He can do nothing contrary to the truth in his own case, without obscuring the distinctness with which the Spirit of truth illuminates his mind. He can do nothing in opposition to Christian love, but the Spirit of love must be “grieved," and his influence lessened. He can indulgein no carnal passion or worldly pursuit inordipately, but the Spirit of purity and holiness is much abated, in power and intensity. As the work of the Spirit is the same in the whole body of believers, it is to be treated in others, as it is in ourselves, and no one can have the right to “defile the temple of God.”
Whether the men who are now agitating these Societies are not guilty, in this respect, of sin against the Holy Ghost, let pious and considerate persons judge. The conversion of men to God, the spiritual creation, and living state of the churches of Christ, is as much the work of the Holy Spirit as the miracles of primitive timesonly in the one case, the operation took place in some part of the physical world, and and in the other, it is wrought in the soul. The Jews were held guilty of “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost,” because they impugned His work, having at the same time the opportunity of judging of the validity of the miracles wrought. We do not charge our agitators with similar offences, for they take care not to select the spiritual work as the object of attack; but we charge them with the sin of assaulting Societies which have been united on the ground of a work of the Spirit of God-of polluting the temple occupied by Him, and of endangering, by the introduction of strife and division, the safety of immortal souls—and, consequently, of being guilty of sin, if not the sin against the Holy Ghost. They, no doubt, will tell us, that their intention is not to assail this work of the Spirit, but, on the contrary, to demolish the outward bulwarks of these Societies, and inodify them anew, on an improved plan. Yes, but in doing this, they divide and scatter the people ; and if, as we contend, their union is founded on a work of the Spirit of God, then the yare breaking down that which He had built up. In his existence and offices, the Holy Ghost is immutable; in individual expeperience, many of the divided people retain his influence and grace; but, in his work of peace, love, purity, and life, as enjoyed and manifested in the “united” state of the people, his work is annibilated, and the “communion” of the Spirit is dissolved by violence. And although individual believers may retain their faith and experience, in a separated state, yet it is put to great hazard ; and the fatal consequence must be, in the case of many weak minds, that, instead of seeking another fold and retaining the -spirit and life of religion, they will be driven into the world, and “make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.” In carrying on their war of extermination against the discipline, and institutions of the Connexion, the agitators reach the work of God itself, and are guilty of a wanton, daring, and profane destruction of a building and edifice reared and beautified by the Holy Spirit.
5.-The systematized and confederated agitations of the Association are in direct opposition to all the injunctions of the word of God, and obligations of Christians to the church.
There is an essential difference betwixt an accidental evil, arising out of the temptation and excitement of a moment, and evil prosecuted on system. It is a crime of great magnitude to split and divide a true church of Jesus Christ, through a temporary excitement; but when men unite together, and lay a regular platform of agitation and division, as others do for the purpose of extending Christianity, then it assumes the form of conventional wickedness. We have the strange novelty of a society of professed Christians, established and organized for the avowed purpose of accomplishing that which is expressly forbidden in the word of God. Slander, evil-speaking, wrath, strife, hatred, and divisions in the church are as explicitly prohibited as murder; and yet we have a propagandi formed for the purpose of producing them all. The principle of our modern societies for the dissemination of the Scriptures, and the evangelization of the world, is now adopted to stir up discord. The Committee of the Association is not established to frame a code of laws for the government of themselves the organization of their own body into a Christian church-the preaching of the everlasting gospel-and the fulfilling in any way the law of Christ; but, for professed object of making a schism. This confederacy embraces several astounding particulars, We have a code of agitation laws. The Bible is laid aside (for we challenge any member of the fraternity to prove that their scheme is countenanced by that holy book) and the science of worlūly uproar introduced into its place. The catholic association and the political unions are giving the pattern of reform to modern Methodists. A regular machine is constructed, and all its strings touched by an organized society, to break up that field which has been cultivated with the utmost care, by a long race of holy men, who “went forth weeping, bearing precious seed.” This is a subject of extreme regret, on account of the mischief accomplished ; but more especially as it shows, that a numerous class of men, once in the Wesleyan Body, had ceased to regard the authority of the laws of Christ, and evidently sacrificed the great moral obligations of the Scriptures to the phrenzy of human ambition. If the Association will prove to us that their proceedings are supported by the counsels of God, the scheme of redemption--the descriptions of the church and kingdom of Christ--the rules of reciprocal love and support enjoined on Christiansand by the moral precepts of the New Testament, then we will yield them the palm of victory, and join them in their movement. But there is no echo to this appeal; and all that is left us is, to reiterate our unalterable opinion, that the confederacy is founded in a principle of utter ungodliness, and an antinomian rejection of the laws of Christ.
If the scheme itself is thus grounded in irreligion, what are we to think of those who are its hired agents? These men “receive the reward of iniquity," and "sell themselves to do mischief." They are salaried menials of turbulence and strife. Whether they feel the degradation of their state, and the unmingled scorn and contempt they have brought upon ihemselves, we cannot say; but it is impossible for men to degrade themselves beyond this point. Some of them were ministers of the gospel. Their employment was to unfold the mysteries of redeeming love, to invite sinners to the Saviour, to propound the doctrines of salvation, to enforce the holy precepts of the divine law--now, they are engaged to the profession of agitation. Dr. Warren could not procure the professorship of Divinity at the Theological Institution, and he has pushed himself into the chair of agitation. He had been preparing for a faculty of theology, belles lettres, moral philosophy, or any thing which might arise, by his Glasgow studies, and taking his degree of LL.D.-and now he finds himself the learned lackey, the hired servant, and the despised tool of a mob of destructionists. He walked among the Wesleyan Societies, as one of its ministers, conducted their sacred services, united in the prayers and praises of the multitudes of their people who lived in peace and love-now his ear is greeted with the yells of discord, the murmurs of discontent, the execrations of infuriate passion, and like a wizard he now finds himself surrounded by the malignant spirits raised by the incantations of his own black art. As an angel of light, he once occupied a place in the spiritual heaven of the church-held fellowship no doubt with God in Christ,“ walked in the light as he is in the light;”
“ Enjoyed the grace to angels given,
And served the royal heirs of heaven;" Whether he meets God in the dark and dismal regions of strife and contention we know not, but our be lief is, that we could not find him there, because we could not descend into that gulf of night, withou a previous loss of the faith and love which can only attach the soul to his communion, and enable u to "walk" with Him.
At first, the gospel was announced as “glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will to men." How in the face of this, and a thousand similar declarations, the hired agitators can, previously to setting out on their excursions, place themselves on their knees, and ask God to prosper them, is a strange thing to us.
Let not the incendiaries shelter themselves behind the example of Luther, Cranmer, Knox, and the Reformers. Let them not prostitute the sacred name of reform, by applying it to their cause. To make out the analogy they loftily assume, they must show us that Wesleyan Methodism is popery, as well as