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resting on the palladium of British rights and freedom, as well as the glorious principles of Methodism, their tyranny will be resisted to the last extremity; and the liberties of the followers of John Wesley maintained against one of the most horrid forms of despotism that ever disgraced the Christian name.
THE NEW CONNEXION AND ITS CREED. We have a sincere and growing attachment to Methodist theology, as it is contained in the Rev. John Wesley's first four volumes of Sermons and Notes on the New Testament. The more we search the Scriptures, the deeper is our conviction, that the doctrines which the above works explain and defend, are in strict accordance with the mind of God. In whatsoever part of the world they are simply and faithfully proclaimed, a blessing attends them to the souls of men. By such a ministration, accompanied with the Divine presence, the Methodists of former days have been made a thousand times as many more as they were. For these, among other reasons, we cordially and fervently love “the form of sound words delivered unto us;" and we are exceedingly wishful that it may be transmitted, in all its purity and power, to the generations to come.
We have not any fear of a departure from the truth of God, in our Connexion, while its polity is maintained in violate. Our persuasion waxes stronger and stronger, that the preservation of the doctrines and discipline of the Body is inseparably connected. If our scriptural form of government were, by the abolition of the pastoral office, to be trampled down by the iron feet of a wild and heartless radicalism, Wesleyan theology would be seriously endangered. Its doctrines would soon be subjected to those liberal interpretations by which they would gradually undergo, what Dr. Chalmers would denominate, a reform backward. Hence, the almost deafening outcry which the self-styled reformers who have sprung up among us have raised against the measures that the Conference has been compelled to adopt, in order to secure "one faith " for the peace and prosperity of our Societies.
Nothing but an assurance of the truth of these sentiments, induced us to write an article on “ The New Connexion and its Theology,” which, some of our readers may remember, appeared in number 9 of the Illuminator. We there most frankly expressed our fears, lest the good old Methodist doctrines in the keeping of Mr. Kilham's adherents should degenerate, and so the fine gold become dim. Our remarks, it seems, have, as we anticipated, given great offence, and a person who calls himself "A Minister of the New Connexion," has undertaken to make a reply. We have read this defence with becoming attention, and it is with regret we are obliged to say, that our impression still remains that the New Methodist Body has begun to depart, and is in the way for a much further deviation, from Wesleyan orthodoxy.
We asserted that many religious societies founded on their principles of ecclesiastical rule, have awfully apostatized from “the truth as it is in Jesus." As this painful fact is so strikingly evident in the present state of the old Presbyterian churches in this land, the writer who has replied to us, does not attempt to deny it. He does. however, labour to neutralize the force of the argument we had deduced from it, by putting us in remembrance, that a considerable number of Christian churches in this and other kingdoms, whose polity is fundamentally the same, are “sound in the faith.” But this is not a demonstration that they can never fall into “ damnable heresies.” Are they not liable to the same temptations to apostacy as their predecessors ? Does it not behove them to take the utmost heed, lest, while navigating the same sea of life, they a!so “make shipwreck of faith? Yes. The doctrinal deterioration of the old Presbyterian churches the soul-destroying Socinianism in which they are engulphed - loudly and powerfully reiterate the inspired caution to the democratic and republican churches of Christendom " Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." Our heart's desire and prayer to God is, that none of them may “fall after the same example of unbelief.”
Many of these churches, conscious of their danger, have a “ form of doctrine," clearly and strictly expressed, which their ministers are bound to believe and teach. In some of them where a liturgy is used in Divine worship, their Ministers are obliged to make a solemn repetition of it every Sabbath day; and in many of the others that dispense with forms of prayer, the Confession of Faith agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, is binding on the Preachers who occupy their pulpits. But these guards against the intrusion of strange doctrines, are not to be found in the New Connexion. They have no liturgy in their congregations; neither have they any doctrinal standard to be compared to the Westminster Confession of Faith. It is true, the Body
has a creed in what we may term its book of discipline. Yet it is one that is exceeds ingly loose and general in its construction; so that Preachers of very different sentiments may affirm their belief in its doctrines. If our former article be consulter, proofs of our position will be found. We may give, as one instance, the manner in which it speaks of the testimony that true Christians possess of their adoption into the family of God. It merely cites a text of scripture," he that believeth hath the witness in himself.” On this point, the Minister of the New Connexion who has censured us, asserts—" we have thus employed the words of the New Testament as the most unexceptionable that could be adopted.” This proposition is so manifestly at variance with truth, that its writer must have been either in haste or in warmth, when he committed it to paper. We suspect the latter to have been the case, as he declares, that, because we have said that certain doctrines in the New Connexion creed are dangerously liberal in their construction, we are chargeable with “audacity.” This Minister must know that if we were called upon to support the Methodist doctrine, that the Spirit of God directly witnesses to believers the fact of their sonship, we should go to Paul's epistles, and not to the passage which is put into their form of doctrine. Many Preachers who reject this Wesleyan doctrine as unscriptural, wild, visionary, fanatical, and mischievous, nevertheless proclaim from their pulpits," he that believeth hath the witness in himself.” And is a doctrine which is so stated, that preachers of the most opposite sentiments can declare their belief in it, expressed in “ words the most unexceptionable that could be adopted.” O! but, says this writer, we are “censuring the language of Divine inspiration." "We deny the charge. We censure the compilers of the creed for not having given the sense of scripture-which all creeds are bound to do-on a very important doctrine of Methodism. We also censure them for having employed a text which does not prove the Divine and immediate evidence which believers enjoy, that they are the children of God.
We informed our readers that we found subjoined to the New Connexion creed, the following sentence :-" For the illustration of these doctrines we refer to the first four volumes of Mr. Wesley's Sermons, and to his Notes on the New Testament.”* “ It inight,” says our reprover, “be supposed, that this reference to Mr. Wesley's works would have satisfied every one, however precise and fastidious; but it does not satisfy Epsilon; he is determined to pass the sentence of condemnation.” Is this true ? Is Epsilon the only person it fails to satisfy, merely from a determination to condemn ? Surely this writer forgot that the New Methodist Magazine, for 1828, is not satisfied with this reference. It is said, on page 280—“Our Preachers are virtually required to illustrate the doctrines we believe and teach, by Mr. Wesley's Sermons and his Notes on the New Testament. Now, I very much doubt whether every one of our Preachers has these works in his possession; and as we make a kind of secondary appeal to them as the standard of our religious belief, there is, at least, the appearance of inconsistency, in not requiring that all circuit Preachers should possess them.” Nor was this the opinion of its respectable writer only: the editor and committee, associated with him in the management of the Magazine, concurred in it; for they published it, without note or comment, for the instruction of the Connexion. In such a state of things, there is not merely the “ appearance,” but the reality of inconsistency; and we shall repeat our former statement, that this reference to the standard writings of Wesleyan orthodoxy is unauthoritative: no rule exists binding the Preachers to read them, and requiring them to declare that they cordially believe every part of the creed as it is therein illustrated. This singular fact, the Minister of the New Connexion does not even attempt to deny. But how does he notice it? In the most gentlemanly manner, by informing us of our qualifications to “make an excellent Pope, to fill up the pontifical chair most admirably," &c. Such a display of ill-nature in a Christian Preacher is to be pitied; but we can excuse it, on account of the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed. He found himself between the horns of a dilemma, and it was, of course, no pleasant thing to be gored. Our declaration was either to be denied or justified : truth forced him on a course of justification on the ground which is most popular with heretics, in every age—“that submission is due to the scriptures alone.” One of his observations is so deeply interesting, that we are greatly obliged to him for publishing it. It reads as follows :-“Should any attempt be made to enact a law bind
* We have more than once had occasion to refer to the “ Private Minutes" of the Conference of the Kilhamite Connexion. We again turn to this document, now lying before us; and, in corroboration of the assertion of our excellent correspondent, we extract the following:
“27. That the word Wesleyan' be immediately expunged from all our documents, and that we resume our original title of Methodists of the New Connexion.
« 28. That the title-page of the Magazine be continued as it is this year; afterwards, that the word "Wesleyan' be omitted, as well as in our other documents."-Private Minutes of the Conference held at Hanley, 1823
ing the New Connerion Ministers to what is stated above, and requiring from them what this writer specifies, I feel confident that such an attempt would be promptly, unanimously, and successfully resisted by the Preachers.” Hear this remarkable announcernent, ye Wesleyan Methodists! The New Connexion has a most imperfect summary of doctrines, which, it declares, are illustrated in Mr. Wesley's Sermons, and Notes on the New Testament; yet, if any attempt were made to enact a law that the Preachers in that Body, should read, believe, and teach such an explanation of their creed, they would all urite to resist it! This writer says, that he and the rest of his brethren in the ministry would successfully oppose it. In this prediction, however, he lost sight of his beloved system of church government. If the Preachers resisted such a measure in the Conference, could they crush it in the Quarterly Meetings of the circuits? If these determined to enact the law in question, the Conference durst not refuse to register it on the Minutes. The Conference of 1834, for instance, agreed, that candidates for the ministerial office shall have some preparatory instruction; but the Quarterly Meetings said, they shall not; and so the Conference of 1835 bowed to their masters, and inserted it on their Minutes that the matter should be given up! So much for the authothority of Conference, and the balance of power between the Preachers and the people, Though this New Connexion Minister has overlooked the fact, that he and his brethren in office are under lay dominion, in his calculation of their effectual resistance to any rule which would cause the reference of their doctrinal propositions to Mr. Wesley's works for explanation, to be more than simply a nominal and taking affair ; yet his statement is entitled to deep attention, as it shows the disposition of these Preachers not to be bound to instruct their congregations in pure Methodist divinity.
Our conviction of the existence of such a state of mind is strengthened by the charge which this writer prefers against Wesleyan Ministers of having “ a devoted attachment to unscriptural tests, and an infuriated zeal for non-essentials.” What are "non-essentials ?” We presume, this writer's views are so liberal, that the term includes whatsoever principles are not of a fundamental kind. With Preachers of this class, the existence of the triune God--the fall of man-the atonement of Christ-justi. fication by faith-sanctification by the Holy Ghost-and the certainty of a future state, are the leading doctrines of Christianity. We admit the fact; but are there not other revealed truths, connected with them, necessary to be received and professed ? Un, doubtedly there are; and we believe they are contained in that gospel which the vene. rable Wesleys preached so energetically and usefully, through the length and breadth of the land. When Mr. Wesley died, it became the solemn duty of the Conference to preserve, with all diligence and fidelity, those doctrines which he, under God, had committed to their trust. This obligation the Conference has so nobly discharged that, after the lapse of nearly a century, since they were first declared by their founder and his coadjutors, Methodist Ministers now preach the very same doctrines. Numerous and powerful have been the efforts to corrupt several of our doctrines, but they were seasonably checked, and completely subdued, And how were these victories of truth achieved ? By “unscriptural tests, and infuriated zeal for non-essentials ? No.It was by the application of tests furnished by the word of God, and by a godly zeal to maintain every doctrine essential to preserve Methodism as it was. Yes ;-it was thus that errors respecting the Sonship of Christ—the foreknowledge of God -the origin of faith-the witness of the Spirit- the necessity and extent of Christian holiness
and the eternity of future punishment, all deemed by certain liberals and reformers in the Methodist world to be “non-essentials,” were prevented from spreading and multiplying in the Connexion.
This best kind of praise will never belong to the New Connexion. If the Independency which pervades the system will allow the Body to hold together for a century, it is not possible to foretell what un-Methodistical tenets will be taught in it. We can. not believe its ministry will be Wesleyan ; for though the Connexion has not existed forty years, it has already departed from the unity of the Methodist faith. This fact has been demonstrated by some of the late acts of the late Conference. It is seen in the ministerial admission of Mr. Forsyth into the Connexion as a Preacher, who is to be considered as having travelled twelve years in its service. Why this triumphant exception ?-He had rent 800 members from the Old Connexion; and to borrow a phrase from “a Minister of the New Connexion”—“the oligarchy, and the slaves of the oligarchy,” thought he deserved an ample recompense. It is true that he was expelled the Wesleyan Body. And for what cause ?-He would both believe and preach doctrines opposed to Methodism. Some have said,, that this is incorrect. Our advice to such persons is, see if you can reconcile Mr. Forsyth's views of the Sonship of Christ with Mr. Wesley's Notes on the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The task is impossible to be performed.
The same difference of doctrines between both Connexions, is also to be witnessed in the reception of Mr. Jones as a travelling Preacher, by the New Methodist Con. ference. He has been a believer in God's ignorance of all future events in which the human will is concerned ; and he can give “most liberal interpretations” of man's fall and the Saviour's atonement. His resignation of office was published in the Advocate and Lantern. And why did he resign?-He feared expulsion. Several grave charges were preferred against him, for which he was to have been tried by his District Committee ; but he happily saved them the trouble, by withdrawing from the Connexion. He was accused of holding sentiments which tend to Socinianism. His “new light,” as it was designated in the south of England, has already conducted some of its admirers into this destructive heresy. Ah, yes! Men who were once holy and happy in our religious community, have, through the erroneous notions which they derived from this gentleman's writings and ministrations, most seriously wandered from the essentials of Christianity; for they have erected a Socinian chapel in which to “ deny the Lord that bought them.” “Nevertheless Mr. Jones can assent and consent to the creed of the New Connexion, especially as he is not by any law obligated to give it a Methodistical illustration; but to handle it on the broad principle which he well knows how to appreciate, that “submission is due to the Scriptures alone.”
As Messrs. Forsyth and Jones have been welcomed into the the New community, it is highly probable, if not certain, that more ministers from our Body would be gladly received. Nor would it be very particular about their theological sentiments. They might maintain that justifying faith is not the gift of God—the Spirit's witness to the adoption of Christians is only in the way of argumentation-entire sanctification is not attainable in this life-accepted believers cannot finally fall from the favour of God the torments of Hell are not strictly speaking endless; and yet, when expelled by the Conference for these un-Wesleyan doctrines, obtain access to the ministry of the New Connexion. If" a ministers of that body should send forth a rejoinder to this article an event which we fear not-and deny this declaration, we beg leave to assure him, that its “oligarchy and the slaves of the oligarchy" have proved, by their late Conferential proceedings, that a difference of sentiment on “non-essentials," is a matter of no moment with them. Moreover, he will permit us to ask him-are not the above doctrines, though decidedly at variance with Mr. Wesley's writings, “non-essentials ?” Cannot Ministers who believe and teach them find their way to heaven ? Such is the character of his liberality that he will, we doubt not, utter a reply in their favour. What then could hinder their entrance into the New Connexion ? "Wherein do these “non-essentials” differ from those of Messrs. Forsyth and Jones ? Were such heterodox Preachers to be rejected by the New Methodist Conference, it would be chargeable with gross inconsistency, and an “infuriated zeal for non-essentials.”
We would close this article by most respectfully inviting the attention of the more sober and candid part of the New Connexion to its subject. With some of these we have had free and friendly conversation; they have told us that they deplore the errors which are springing up in the body, and they detest the preselyting spirit of its aristocracy; which they apprehend will, some time or other, do immense mischief to the Connexion. Such views and feelings have our sympathy, and we wish they may extensively prevail,
THE MAGIC LANTERN.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ILLUMINATOR. .: Sir-We have had discourses on more insignificant things than lanterns presented to us, and why should not we have one concerning them also, seeing they are somewhat an. cient and classic things; at least as old as Diogenes, of cynical and tub-tabernacling noto. riety. Simple things they were at first, and for the most part simple they remain; and some learned authors hold, that in proportion as they lose their primitive simplicity, they lose their identity and value as lanterns; which-as they were originally intended to hold a light, and to allow its rays to escape, to the dissipation of surrounding darkness-are bound by propriety, and by the relation and fitness of things, to do so in a perfectly unsophisticated manner, as the first lanterns of famous memory had laudably done, and as their history attests. Refraction, or any other uptical delusion, they were forbidden, by the common and statute law affecting lanterns, to practice, on pain of being laid on the shelf as useless—broken in pieces, as dangerous-or in some other way degraded from their honourable illuminating occupation. Now, the schoolmen hold, as the result of “profound investigation and deep and mature thought,” that a lantern made by mischievous urchins mal-appropriating a turnip by scooping out and throwing away so much of its substance as shall leave little more than the rind remaining, and allowing the light which they place in it to stream forth through certain apertures, analagous to those in the human skull, is no true lantern, as it cannot answer any valuable, scientific, or useful purpose, and may probably affright some weak-minded person ; a decision to which no man whose head' is not of the turnip kind can, philosophically, object. When I first heard of the Lantern which had been manufactured at Livera pool, I thought it was one of this class. There were, I found on inspection, many turnipish attributes belonging to it; and its raw head and bloody-bones' properties were, as phrenologists say, “largely developed.” Its inscription, however, declared it to be a "Watchman's Lantern,” intended, not for one of the es ancient and quiet watchmen” of the olden time; but, very foolishly, for one of the new order, who do not use-because they do not require—the companionship of a lantern. And, indeed, the “Watchman” referred to, and for whose use this Lantern was ostensibly made, being well acquainted with the merits and demerits of lanterns generally, and with the demerits of this one in particular, has not, specially, noticed it; and would, ere this, have probably kicked it to shivers, but that he did not think it worth while to disturb the hosts of cross and puling children, who, in the intervals of their squalling, were amused with it; and especially, as at the first glance it appeared no true “Watchman's Lantern,” but a spu. rious and worthless article. With the idea of a Jack o' Lantern there is something rather sublime connected, at least, too sublime for this Liverpool production. In many respects it is identified as belonging to the dark lantern tribe. Now, a dark lantern is defined by learned writers to be "a rascally contrivance, used, at least from the days of Guy Fawkes, by his humble imitators in the art of mischief, to enable them to pursue their avocations whilst they remain undiscovered.” But whilst this lantern is capable of being thus used and is sometimes, nay, very frequently, so employed-it is, doubtless, to be considered in strict accordance with the established principles of lantern-science, as belonging to the class yclept magic lanterns; and has therefore no claims either to antiquity or classic distinction. As a magic lanternwhich belongs not to the simple, but to the sophisticated and delusive, and therefore to the lowest grade of lanterns-it answers tolerably well. I have witnessed its performances in the hands of Rowland, Gordon, Farrer, Warren, and Co. and recollect the following:
It represented a person concentrating in himself a most extraordinary degree of piety—the most profound and admirable wisdom-the most consummate learning, courtesj, integrity, independence, and purity-incomparable eloquence and gigantic energy: so much so, that if the representation had been intended for St. Paul or Martin Luther, the Apostle and the reformer would have declared the magnifying power too great. I did not-(how should I ?)—recognize the individual intended, but was told it was Samuel Warren, LL.D. Now, knowing that personage, I could not conceive how such a portraiture could have got into men's heads; when I recollected it had not got there, but into a magic lantern. This, of course, solved the difficulty, and I prepared for scene the second.
This was a group representing Fame crowning John Stephens with bays, as the first newspaper editor in the world, and proclaiming the Christian Advocate as the first journal of the day. All this very bright in its colouring, whilst the Times, Herald, and Chronicle, &c., appear in the shade. Now, having read in this celebrated journal a request, that a subscription should be made for the editor, and a declaration, that as Morison's pills could no longer preserve its vitality, nothing less than one thousand pounds could keep it alive for twelve months longer; I thought-why Fame, at no time over sober, is gone quite mad; but it occurred—it is not Fame in her temple, but inclosed in a lantern, and evidently intoxicated with the fume of the lamp, which is not an oil but a gin one.
Then came a series of propositions and syllogisms, viz.: assertion is proof-suspicion is demonstration- discipline is tyranny--the people are omnipotent-impudence is virtue and the Preachers ought to be puppets ; our approval is the rule of right; we approve of Dr. Warren's rebellion-of stopping the supplies--of disturbing congregations of agitating the Connexion-and of vilifying the Preachers. Therefore, these things are right. Whatever we frown on must be ruined. But we frown on the Conference. Therefore, the Conference must be ruined. Aye, said I, this is “ logic in a lantern ” with a vengeance, and not that taught in the schools.
The next was an exhibition of "men singularly fitted for great actions," most hugely magnified. Had Don Quixote seen them the whole machine would have gone to rack. Some of the singularly great, thus represented, did not know themselves, (but this is no new thing in their case), and it was impossible for their most intimate acquaintance to recognize them. It was remarked that the glass slide on which these worthies were drawn, was cracked throughout, just where their heads were painted, which untoward accident rendered the portraiture so far a faithful one. There was some confusion among the exhibitors when this circumstance was discovered, and not a little amusement among the audience.