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Then came pictures of Manchester and Liverpool. The Methodist chapels in both places were represented as nearly empty; the Societies scattered; and the Preachers and Trustees at their wits' end. Tabernacles more numerous than Peter even thought of appeared on every side, crowded with pious, intelligent, and orderly people; and the affairs of the Grand Central were painted in blooming prosperity. How is this? said I, aloud-I have seen the congregations in both towns lately, and this description is utterly false, As false as the preceding, said my neighbour; and addedIt is Methodist statistics in a Lantern.
Indeed, in the whole exhibition the delusive powers of the Lantern were displayed. Some things were minified, some magnified- others distorted—and again, others inverted. True delineation was out of the question, as it was out of the intention of the makers of this lantern. Simon Magus knew not, magician though he was, of such an instrument, or he would have been a much greater “one” than he was. Bat his suc. cessors live in happier days; and they hope to have better success than he had, though some authors doubt that. Lovers of truth are disgusted with the exhibition, which only pleases those who are in love with error, and disposed to “believe a lie.” Upon the whole, in confortnity with the definition given by schoolmen of a lantern, it is esident that this is no true lantern; but as sophisticated and false a one as ever appeared since lanterns first became corrupt and depraved. Por all useful purposes it is utterly useless, and would be mischievous, 'if its perversions and distortions were not so glaring. The charge for admission to the exhibition, which take place once a fortnight, is two-pence; but, we understand, for want of more of the patronage of“ an enlightened and discerning public,” the proprietors have already “gained a considerable loss” by their specu, lations. I shall perhaps go to the exhibition again, and am-Yours, &c. OMEGA.
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS:
The amiable and renerated Dr. Warren has been illustrating at Warrington, a few days ago, how well he deserves these favourite epithets amongst his admirers, by calumniating, in the grossest manner, men who were fathers in Christ before he was born, and whose names will be had in the sweetest and most reverential remembrance, long after the amiable and venerated Doctor is dead and forgotten. Our trusty correspondent informes us, that he was holding forth, for nearly three hours, to a motley congrevation of the very scum of the place, who applauded his speech to the echo, especially in his miserable and depraved alternpts to be witty on the subject of the fidelity and purity of the Connexion; forgetting all the while that he was standing there himself as a signal and irrefragable proof of both the one and the other. To the credit of Warrington, however, be it remgarked, that scareely any respectable person, and not a dozen Wesleyans were present at this disgraceful business.
Our correspondent from Northwich has our thanks. He has exposed the wicked but foolish attempts of the Grand Central agitators to ruin the missionary meetings, held at that place and Middlewich, on Monday and Tuesday, the 2nd and 3rd instant. When will these deluded men see that their attempts to stop the supplies only end in their own discornfiture and disgrace? That they only elicit the langh of the infidel and the pity of the wise and the good? What did it avail for them to abuse the body or Wesleyan Ministers in general, and their own preachers in particular, calling the former a band of hypocrites, and the latter (Messrs. Dixon and Hague) a couple of liars? What good did it do their unholy cause to vituperate the Rev. George Marsden, who was welcomed by the Societies as a venerated and esteemed visitor, on the occasion, to advocate a cause dear to God and to all good men ? True it is, that all this scandalous blackguardism was hugely to the taste of their numerous and enlightened audi tory, who expressed their approbation uproariously enough with clapping of hands, shouts of laughter and similar demonstrations of the high gratification which the speeches of Messrs. Wallace and Dignum afforded. No doubt they acted strictly on the advice which they received-namely, not to honour the pending missionary services with their presence, nor the treasury of God with their contributions, But, alas for the cause of Grand Central Association agitation! the meetings of the friends of missions were numerous, respectable, and gratifying, and the collections, after all, an advance upon the amount of the preceding year --As a specimen of the enlightened and discerning minds of the bulk of the attenders of anti-methodistical meetings, we quote the following from the Watchman:-“ A respectable gentleman who attended one of these meetings, lately held at M:. Alexander's Chapel, in Finsburysquare (kindly lent for the occasion), in order to learn what were the grievances complained of, desired a person who stood by him not to prevent him from hearing by expressing so loudly his approbation of the speaker, when the person observed, in reply, that he was so interested in the subject that he could not repress his feelings. 'I have been paying tithes,' says he, “to those rascally church parsons for many years, and I am delighted to hear this Mr. Eckett blow up their whole concern.'"
Communications have been received from “ Urbane,"'_“ Epsilon,''_“ Omega,”-and “ Observer."
Number 21 was in type when the valuable paper of our London correspondent arrived. We hope he will give some addition to his information by the time we go to press next.
The letter of u 0. P. Q." of Sheffield, arrived too late for insertion in our present Number. It shall appear in the next.We hope our valuable correspondent will kindly favour us with other contributions." Brother Joseph" did not arrive in time. It shall be attended to.
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. Masox, 14, City-road, J. HUTTOX, 16, City road, and WHITTAKER and Co., Ave Maria-lane, London; Love and BARTOX, Manchester; SPINK and CULLINGWORTH, Leeds ; DEARDEN, Nottingham; ATKINSON, Bradford; SAXTON and CHALONER, Sheffield; the CERONICLE OFFICE, Chester; PeART, Birmingham; OGLE, Bolton; WILSON, Whitehaven; JE PERSON, Carlisle; DICKINSON, Workington; and may be obtained, by means of the Methodist Preachers, or respectable Booksellers, in any part of Great Britain and Ireland.
DESIGNED TO EXHIBIT THE 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.”
TO BE PUBLISHED EVERY FORTNIGHT.
LIVERPOOL, DEC. 2, 1835.
THE LONDON AGITATORS,
The facts connected with the adjourned meeting, for agitating Methodism, held in Finsbury chapel, Moorfields, on Wednesday November 4, are few, easily told, and indeed, are already before the public. Barford was in the chair ; Eckett, of course, the chief speaker. Caveats were thrown in by a knot of youths, some of them sons of Preachers. At first they were ordered to be silent, afterwards called to reply to certain statements, and, eventually, one of them was given in charge to a police officer. The parties were heard before the Lord Mayor, on the following morning, who dismissed the case, saying, there was no cause whatever for Mr. Farrar's detention, and that he had his remedy if he chose to use it.
The matter, as a whole, is full of instruction. We all know that the agitators have long considered the Methodist Preachers as the worst chairmen in the world, and their mode of conducting our Leaders' and Quarterly meetings as bad beyond all further endurance. Mr. Barford has been set up as the model of a chairman; and here we have a specimen of what our meetings will be when Methodism is properly reformed. He came with a speech ready written for the occasion, which, however, he was not able to read without difficulty. The good man sat patiently, for three hours, to hear Eckett lecture on ecclesiastical history and church government. When disapprobation was expressed, he was nonplused at once; for he could control neither his friends nor his foes, and in the end, according to the police officer, the meeting became “a regular row.” In his capacity of president, he has laid down a principle which will enable the Preachers to get rid of himself and his agitating friends, without contradiction. The Advocate says, “Mr. Eckett suggested that those who disliked the statements which were made had better withdraw.” “Mr. John Farrar continued to interrupt, notwithstanding the admonition he had received.” So he was expelled by force. Eckett and his friends have long been told they had better withdraw, but they “continue to interrupt” the peace of the Society, “notwithstanding the admonition” they have received; and, of course, they will not object to an application of their own principle and practice to their own case. That Mr. Barford might end his official duties in a manner answerable to this beginning, he informed the Lord Mayor that the orators were hissed by their opponents, and applauded by their friends, and that it was “the acclamation in reply to the hissing which was the principal cause of the interruption.” From all this we may infer, that when these men have reformed Methodism, and take it into their own hands, it will often need the aid of the police, and the interference of the civil magistrate.
The Advocate says there were 2000 persons assembled. A gentleman present thinks there might be about 800, of all sorts. Nobody supposes they were all Methodists, as the gentlemen who got up the meeting are known to have acquaintances who are not in Society. As Mr. Thurston is at once a prominent agitator, a Class-leader, and a noted manufacturer of billiard-tables, he must be connected both with saints and gamblers. The attendance of a few of the latter sort, therefore, is no improbability, as they would wish to oblige an old friend, and are always partial to a scramble, and therefore to a reform in Methodism.
The editors of the Advocate are wonderfully indignant at the fact of the agitators being contradicted by a band of youths, some of them the sons of Preachers. Such instances of filial affection must have seemed very strange in such a meeting as this. There is a newspaper, under the special management of two Preachers' sons, who have long labouredand in their own opinion, with triumphant success—to prove that the Methodist Preachers are the most unprincipled knaves who have appeared in modern times; while every body knows that their own fathers were active, influential, and leading members of the brotherhood. The lads who bearded Goliah, in Finsbury chapel, seem to have had a better opinion of their fathers, and believing them to be men of untainted integrity, generously resolved that no agitator should publicly impeach their honour, without a public contradiction. Whatever these youths may be in other respects, they seem to be wise in their generation; and indeed they ought to be warned, by the new mode of begging a morsel of bread, paraded in the Advocate, from week to week. It is wise in them to honour and vindicate their fathers, and their fathers’ friends, since, although by slandering them, in order to gratify a faction, a precarious subsistence may be obtained for a time, yet this, in fact, is the high road to beggary.
The meeting has produced a further developement of the “ ineffable hypocrisy ” which has characterized the Association from the beginning. To the early meetings, called by the agitators, in Liverpool and elsewhere, the Preachers were invited, for the purpose of discussing the points in dispute. Several Preachers also received letters of invitation to attend the Sheffield meeting, held in the Kilhamite chapel. On the present occasion, the Farrars were called upon, by name, to reply to certain statements which were made. The event proves that the meaning of all this apparent fair dealing was, that the Preachers, and their friends, might be led on to offer something in their own defence, and then be charged with a breach of the peace, and committed to the care of a constable. Hear the Advocate. “Mr. Cuthbertson said, “Will you allow discussion ?!” “Yes,” says Eckett, “at any time, and any place you may appoint." The orator then went on to say, “We have given them a fair opportunity—we have openly challenged them. Will they accept the challenge ?” Some persons, it seems, thought that any time and any place included the present time and the present place. According
ly, “Mr. Luke Farrar expressed a wish to address the meeting, but the public voice was so decided against him that he was compelled to retire. Mr. John Farrar, who continued to interrupt, was at length removed by an officer, and conveyed to the Coleman-street watch-house.” “Challenge” and “discussion” mean a police officer and a prison.
As the Advocate affects to speak of these young persons as children, so he proceeds to say something to them about bugbears, and hopes they will be frightened, and offend no more. To be sure, he intimates they have escaped this once; but then, the Mayor is going out of office, and the next may be of a different opinion. As if it were possible for any Lord Mayor to punish a young man for legally rebutting the slanders thrown on the character of his father. Oh, but he adds, this opposition work must be put down; otherwise, religious and philanthropic meetings may be interrupted in the same way. We advise them to make themselves easy. Agitators may begin their meetings with singing and prayer, proceed to say all manner of evil against the Conference, and then turn round and call this religion and philanthropy; but all the world knows very well it is neither the one nor the other.
Shakspeare thought that to steal a man's good name is a worse thing than to steal his purse. The express business of the agitators is to rob the Methodist Preachers of their good name, and if they will exercise their calling, they must take it with all its chances and perils, for robbers are unprotected by law, and whoever feels it in his heart to oppose them may do so with perfect impunity.
A MARVELLOUS THING!
As it is necessary that persons who are piously disposed should be formed into societies so it is requisite to preserve these religious institutions from heresy, schism, and immorality, to the utmost extent, in order to secure their happiness and prosperity. We find this most important duty laid in the New Testament upon Christian ministers, and they are made responsible to the great Head of the church for its fulfilment.Timothy was desired to “ withdraw" himself from disorderly and discreditable professors; Titus was commanded to “ reject a man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition;" and the angels of the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira are censured for allowing false, corrupt, and seducing teachers to remain in communion with the simple, holy followers of the Lamb. Not the least intimation is given, that in their administration of discipline to maintain purity of doctrine and practice in the church, they were to be “officered," by being under the absolute control of a few individuals, sustaining minor functions, among the laity. No; for had the power to expel unworthy members and erroneous teachers been placed in the hands of a secular order of office-bearers, the Holy Ghost ought to have charged them, and not Timothy and Titus, to exercise it; and the Son of God should have sharply rebuked these lay-officers, and not the angels, in the cases of Pergamos and Thyatira, for having neglected to use their authority.
These interesting truths were well known to the immortal Wesley; and when he was providentially led to form the “United Society” that bears his name, the power of expulsion, as well as of admission, came scripturally and naturally—for he declares it was unsought by him-into his possession. This prerogative to exclude obstinate offenders from Christian fellowship, for manifest violations of the general laws of holy Scripture, or of the particular rules of the Connexion, was retained and exercised by Mr. Wesley, and the assistants whom he chose to employ, to the end of his days; and the same authority, under certain guards and securities judged expedient to prevent its abuse, has been transmitted to the present generation of Methodist Preachers. These facts are most distinctly avowed in the Minutes of the late Conference; and the principle they contain is declared to be “essential to the scriptural duties and functions of the pastoral office,"
It is admitted by the Association, that Mr. Wesley and the superintendents did. for many years, hold the power to eject lawless persons from Society; but they assert, that the Conference of 1197 surrendered it into the hands of Leaders' meetings. An attempt was first made to support this declaration by appealing to the rule in the class. books, which affirms, that “no Leader, or Society-Steward, shall be removed from his office, but in conjunction with the Leaders' meeting." This law, however, soon failed to answer the purpose for which it was adduced ; and was, consequently, left for something of a more promising nature to be subsequently considered. This was a wise proceeding; for the interpretation given of the rule was so forced as to be flatly opposed to the intention of Conference in making it. This venerable Body of Ministers knew too well their duty to God and to the Connexion, than to invest Leaders with the twofold office of judge and jury; and so give these local officers all the authority, and leave themselves none, in the exclusion of persons from Society. Had the Conference made guch an enactment, they would have been seriousiy unfaithful to the trust reposed in them; and it would bave presented a passing strange anomaly in the system of their pastoral superintendence. The true meaning of the law is, that there shall not be any clandestine expulsions ; every accused officer, if he desire it, shall be tried by his peers; and, if guilty, be thus excluded office, by the superintendent, in conjunction with the Leadery meeting ; just as the chairman of a sessions transports a prisoner, or the judge at an asaize dooms a criminal to be executed, in conjunction with a jury.
The next effort that was made to sustain the charge of usurpation against the Conference was by bringing forward an unauthorised paraphrase of our Society rules, published in the year 1800. When the Association met with this tract, they rejoiced " as one that findeth great spoil.” In the first transports of their bliss, it was instantly and unanimously agreed to reprint and circulate it in all parts of Great Britain. We believe, Mr. Éckett, who is now agitating some of our Societies to draw away disciples after him, was so pleased when a copy was given him, that he said at the delegate meeting held in Manchester during April last, he was amply recompensed for his loss of time and money in coming from London to obtain so important a document. We have designated it an unauthorised paraphrase of some of our rules; and we speak, in this respect as well as in others, the words of truth and soberness. It is only a paraphrase, as a careful comparison of it with the laws of Methodism as contained in the Minutes of Conference, will abundantly testify · it is likewise unauthorised, for the Conference never sanctioned its publication. Still we would inquire, what it contains that so much delights the Association ? It seems to be a solitary statement which has served as a text from which to “ lecture”-that is, to scandalise and abuse the Confeference in scores of English towns and villages; and it reads as follows :-“No Leader or Steward can be put out of his place but by a majority of Leaders, or a Quarterly Meeting ; neither can any Member of Society be excluded, but by a majority at a Leaders' meeting.” As this sentence was not the original and genuine rule-a fact which the Minutes of Conference for 1797 fully establish-it must be interpreted by the law which was then enacted, and that requires the expulsion of officers and members to be in “ conjunction with the Leaders' meeting.” It asserts, no Methodist is to be "excluded but by a majority of Leaders ;” and the sense to be consistent must be, that the decision of a majority of these officers, as to the guilt of an accused member, is essential to his legal excommunication. This is—and has been for nearly forty years— one of the laws of our Connexion.
We do not, however, expect, especially after reading the fierce remarks on this subject, published in the Lantern, that our interpretation of Methodistical law will be received by the Association as the right and true one. They have charged the Conference with “the eternal disgrace of altering the rule of 1800, by mercilessly wresting from the people one of their most essential and valuable privileges.” This is a heavy accusation preferred against a large Body of Christian Ministers; but to this heavy accusation they unite to put forward the plea of not guilty. Though it has been industriously propagated from Dan to Beersheba, and many thousands of persons have received it as substantial, by “proofs strong as holy writ; -yet they all attest it to be as false as it is degrading and injurious. To prove their innocence, we appeal not to Cæsar, for this is not necessary, but to the New Connexion; and, surely, such a tribunal will gain the approval of the Association. The New Methodists are their cordial friends, and our inveterate enemies. We can easily account for this state of the affections. They deeply sympathize with the Association in their strong hostility to the Wesleyan government, and they would exceedingly rejoice to see the old ship either revolutionized in her management, or blown up into a thousand fragments.They profess, like the Associationists, a great desire to witness our Connexion based, on the principle of an equality of rights between the Preachers and the people; but, when they say their own community is founded on this axiom (if they do not deceive