« PreviousContinue »
by giving him three months' notice. This at once settled the case, and closed all further negociation with such a company.
A feather serves to show the way of the wind. Not long ago, after preaching at the Music Hall, Lamb requested the committee of the Association to meet at the conclusion af the service, and, descending from the pulpit, very dispassionately took pos. session of the chair. This gave mighty umbrage to several of the Grand Centrals, who informed Lamb, in no very courteous terms, that although the Superintendents in the Old Body were lords paramount and took the chair ex-officio, they had thought fit to act differently, and a chairman was provided from among themselves. Poor Lamb was obliged quietly to sneak from the chair, and give place to the coffee-roaster of famous memory, we mean the valiant chairman of the Liverpool Association.
We are warranted in saying, the dissatisfaction between the pastor and the flock at the Music Hall has been mutual; Lamb has bitterly complained in many places of the dictatorial spirit of his constituents, whilst the ring-leaders of the agitators are determined to recognise no one as their minister, who will not acknowledge, that all ministerial power emanates from the people, and will submit to a practical exemplification of that principle in his own person and character. We are acquainted with much of the secret workings of the system, and know a great deal of the sentiments and conduct of the men above-mentioned, and also with many of the same fraternity, which we will not fail occasionally to illuminate. At the dictatorial treatment which James Lamb received, that lamb-like disposition, and temper, which he assumed at his first entry on the pastorate of the Music Hall was gradually displaced for those of an opposite cast, and fierce and numerous have been the altercations between the pastor and his flock! The strife and uproar which the Music Hall has again and again witnessed, have, in no degree, been harmonious; the fearful language and invectives to which utterance has been given, have resembled more the howlings of a den of wolves, than an association of persons for the pious purpose of effecting ecclesiastical reform. By and bye, the history and description of these dissensions became the talk of persons without, and therefore, to prevent further mischief and scandal--the poor Lamb must budge.
That James Lamb could long brouk the dictation of the Liverpool Association committee, we never expected, whilst we were fully convinced, from what we know of the persons composing this committee, that if Lamb “kicked against the pricks,” he would be soon taught better manners. Lamb, by the committee, is considered fair game, upun whom they may exercise their domineering powers. Pity it is, they do not learn to confine the exhibition of these qualities among their own associates. Barnes, the public-house keeper of Dale-street, Liverpool, essayed to dictate to the Rev. Samuel Jackson, while at the Conference, in Sheffield, and actually summoned his quondam Superintendent, to appear before him in a Kilhamite chapel in that town, to answer certain questions which he intended to propose. The following is a verbatim copy of the publican's subpana :
“ King's Arms Hotel, Sheffield, August 6, 1835. “SIR-As the circumstances connected with your conduct as Superintendent of the Liverpool North Circuit, will be made, in part, the subject to be submitted at the public meeting to be held in South-street chapel, to-morrow evening at Seven o'clock. Your attendance is therefore respectfully requested. “I am, Sir, yours, &c.
“ ANTHONY BARNES,
“Society Steward of the Liverpool North Circuit." This effusion of our host of the White Lion forcibly reminded us of a certain Khan of Tartary, who while he does not possess a single house under the canopy of heaven, has no sooner finished his repast of mare's milk and horse flesh, than he causes a herald to proclaim from his seat that all the princes and potentates of the earth have his permission to go to dinner!
But what will become of this poor shorn Lamb, is a question which his friends will probably thank us to answer. Something should be done, especially as persons who positions, and become the pastor of the motley congregation at the Liverpool Music Hall. The answer he received was this, that they could turn him adrift at any time,
profess to be weather-wise inform us, a hard winter is in prospect. To say nothing respecting the cruelty of the Association in turning a Lamb adrift, at this inclement season of the year, we should recommend that James Lamb throw himself under the protection of the dear Doctor, who may speak a word in his favour to the Kilhamite proselyting committee ; and although he does not, as Joseph Forsyth, bring his “bread and cheese" with him, in the seduction of eight hundred members from the Old Connexion, they may be induced, in their great mercy, to take him on terms similar to those on which James Jones has now a place in that very respectable Body; for he cannot calculate now upon receiving another £200 from a Preachers' Fund. Poor fellow!
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
We thank our Bramley correspondent for his communications. We can assure him that the poor, drudge of Kilhamitism, Joseph Barker, of Chester, whose contemptible scribbling, if possible, rendered more disgraceful than ever the miserable stuff which crowds the columns of the Advocate, bas not escaped our notice. We have some acquaintance with him, and shall not allow him to insult or defame the characters of pious and honourable men with impunity, compared with whom he is unworthy to be named on the same day. His former lucubrations, if we may judge from the tone of his "last" in the Advocate, have given huge offence to some of the Kilhamitish Preachers, and now he would feign make the “amende honourable." This is what we expected, and sincerely hope he will learn wisdom by his late experience. His illiberal slap-dash, and reckless insinuations, destructive of the ministerial character and usefulness of Ministers in his own Connexion—to say nothing, at present, of the bitter and diabolical accusations against the Ministers and polity of the Wesleyan Body-show the awful spirit by which he is actuated. Pretty language for a Minister of the Gospel, forsooth! Some of his friends would palliate his folly by attributing his conduct to juvenile indiscretion !! Well, be it so; we shall therefore, endeavour to teach him discretion, by the application of our birch! By the bye, little did we imagine, until informed by this Joseph Barker that the cause of the great declension in several Societies of the New Connexion is justly attributed to the tippling and drunken habits of the superintendent Preachers appointed by their Conference!! Shame, shame!
Our correspondent “N. P.," who so kindly furnished us with an account of the proceedings of the London “Grand Central," (!) at the Kilhamite chapel, Dover-road, in London, has our best thanks.We intend to make ample use of his communication. The inveterate and unprincipled hostility which the New Connexion has lately manifested toward the Old, and the mean, contemptible, and dishonourable efforts which are made to sow the seeds of discord in peaceful Societies, and to fan the flames of anarchy and confusion in a few places of the Wesleyan Connexion, through the machinations of their
ommittee," have excited unmeasured feelings of shame and disgust in almost all classes of the religious public. Pity that such men as Thomas Allin are not employed in a way more consistent with their hallowed profession! If we are credibly informed, Mr. Allín is already reaping the reward of his inconsistency. That the Kilhamites in London should be anxious for their new chapel being occupied by the “Grand Central,” we are not surprised. Although recently erected, it is well known to be a sinking concern; and the probability that some unsettled, disaffected Wesleyan might be induced to take a sitting (we say nothing of pews!) in that chapel, was a sufficient bait. We could mention another new chapel, used by the New Connexion, not one hundred miles from the place where we write, the debt upon which is tremendous—the congregation is miserably small—and the building is three times larger than the necessities of the case required; where, to obtain hearers, the most proselyting schemes have been concocted. But we forbear.
Communications have been received from 0. P. Q.-Delta-Abraham Watmough-Epsilon-A Lover of Methodism as it is.
ERRATUM.—The following erratum escaped our notice until a few copies of this number were printed :-The last two lines in page 351 should begin that page.
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 CHALO. NER, 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.
TO VINDICATE THE CHARACTER OF ITS AUTHORITIES ; TO GUARD
TO BE PUBLISHED EVERY FORTNIGHT.
LIVERPOOL, DEC. 16, 1835. Price 2d.
THE PROSPECTS OF METHODISM.—No. 2.
In the absence of a theocracy, or of express miracles, the chief security of religious communities must depend on the spirit and opinions of the people. Without their attachment and support, the name, forms, and polity of churches may continue; but, like a castle abandoned by its inmates, they remain in antiquated and forsaken solitude. Many of the Presbyterian places of worship retain their old and venerable forms of worship, but since they have admitted the Socinian heresy to take the place of the orthodox sentiments of their fathers, the people have deserted them, and they now present a scene of cold and mournful solitude-like the vaults of the dead. So it must be in all similar cases; and if it could be shown that the classes, properly constituting the people of the Wesleyan Societies, were alienated from the constitution, we should despair of its preservation.
From the secessions which have taken place at different periods, and the movements at present going on amongst us, a stranger would imagine that the Connexion is destined to be broken into fragments, and that, in a short period, not a wreck would appear on the stream of time. That such a catastrophe is possible, must be readily admitted ; and we allow, that a falsé estimate of our position, erroneous notions of the confidence and attachment of the people, and the consequent indulgence of illfounded hopes, may be inducing causes of a precipitate downfal. We are under no temptation to allow ourselves, intentionally, to take a wrong estimate of the opinions, character, and spirit of the Societies; and we would not willingly lead others astray. The questions in dispute have been before the public for several months; the leaders of the agitation have used their utmost efforts to rouse and divide the Connexion; they have succeeded to a certain extent; and it is of conséquence now, to ascertain the feeling and spirit of the people as respects the leading and primary principles of Methodism.
We have no doubt but the great majority of the Members of Society are heartily attached to the Body on account of its economy and communion, It stands out in bold relief, as distinguished in some of its features from all other forms of Christianity. While it embraces all the essential doctrines of the gospel, and the modes of worship in common with other Christian churches, it possesses some things peculiar to itself. The amount of value put on this edifying and, on the whole, unique economy, may be estimated from the fact, that when ambitious men have risen up, and by clamour and agitation succeeded in establishing a new party, for the sake of placing themselves at its head, they have always been obliged to retain the forms of the Wesleyan economy, to render their schemes palatable to the people they seduce. It is a singular incident in the history of these separations, that, with the exception of the one in London, many years ago, headed by Maxfield ; and the one in Dewsbury, by Atlay, we do not recollect that any have adopted the purely Independent scheme of government. In these cases, an attempt was made to form the people into church communion on this model; but the attempt being made after they had been accustomed to the Methodist order, in each case it failed of permanent success, and these churches have now been extinct many years. This fact speaks volumes, in proof of the attachment of the body of the people to the forms and institutions of Methodism. The New Connexion, the Primitive Methodists, and other separatists, have, with various modifications, retained the Wesleyan polity. We have no doubt but the present seceders will do the same, and either unite with some of the communities already separated from the primitive stock, or otherwise adopt a system of their own, embracing the peculiar usages of their old companions and associates.
This fact, amongst others, shows very clearly that the successful propagation of the doctrines and opinions of Mr. Wesley, has made a deep and permanent impression on the public mind. This is not a matter of surprise, because the sentiment stands associated with the most triumphant progress of religion in modern times ; and forms of thought, and affectionate attachment to institutions, which originate in religious feeling, take hold of the moral faculties, and assume all the force of principle.
The Connexion must enjoy the benefit of this at the present time, and we are persuaded, that it will be no easy task to shake the affectionate attachment of the great body of the people to institutions which stand identified with their religious existence, and all their pious associations. This feeling is not mere prejudice. The whole superstructure of Methodism is a defined, tangible, and visible object. It lies within the observation, and is open to the judgment, and, consequently, reasonable, and well understood regard and confidence of all its disciples. It is easy to apprehend many of the grounds of that attachment which, we are persuaded, the great majority of the Societies bear to the system of Methodism.
The fellowship and communion existing in the Wesleyan Connexion is now, probably, the greatest in the world, with the exception of national churches. Considered in connection with a merely personal enjoyment of the blessings of religion, it may be as safe and happy to belong to a small and isolated Society, as to a large and extended communion. No doubt, thousands of pious and spiritually-minded Christians are living in fellowship with Independent and other churches, who, in the quiet seclusion of a retired life, are cultivating the graces of religion, and exhibiting in domestic, village, and rural society, all the purity and charity of genuine piety. But, besides the personal enjoyment of the privileges of the gospel, it is of its spirit and genius to produce an ar
dent zeal to extend and communicate that which is given. This proselyting spirit is, in truth, the genuine spirit of Christianity; and where it is absent, we may be certain that the pulse of spiritual life beats low. In the freshness of virgin piety, the feelings of the heart are always in accordance with the enlarged and boundless charity of the gospel. As divine grace expels the selfish passions of the heart, so it elevates the soul to a fervent desire for the triumphs of the cross, the glory of God, and the conversion and happiness of all mankind. In a large community there is something, especially favorable to the gratification and growth of this class of virtues. The only conceivable danger is, lest, while the means are afforded for the developement of piety and benevolence on a large scale, temptation should be presented to neglect the cultivation of personal religion. In no church on earth is this danger more effectually guarded against than in the Wesleyan Societies. The weekly meetings for Christian Fellowship, universally existing, are indeed expressly intended to lead to self-examination and the diligent cultivation of the religion of the heart. To strengthen the faith—to purify and elevate the affections—to promote purity of life, as well as to afford relief in the midst of spiritual conflicts and trials, are the ends proposed by the “ communion of saints," established in the Societies. The special and experimental nature and obligations of personal religion, are not sacrificed to the promotion of general objects, but those general objects are made to rest, in their efficiency and obligations, on personal religion. No one is taught to substitute indefinite and general zeal and charity in the support of the institutions of the Connexion, in the place of justifying grace, the new birth, the sanctification of the soul, and the love of God; but to make these blessings the basis of a practical dedication of himself to the noble and sublime objects of the gospel.
Then, when the important enjoyments of personal religion are fully provided for, it must be considered a great advantage to be united to a large community of Christians, as it affords the means on a large scale of giving expression to sentiments of truth, and feelings of charity. On this principle, supposing the opinions and feelings of the individual are in unison with those of the Body, he is enabled to give scope to them to the extent of the community itself. For instance, supposing a person who has himself been justified by faith, feels, as he must do, that this great doctrine is of essential importance in the Christian scheme; that the knowledge of it is necessary to the salvation and renovation of the world; that the state, triumphs, and prospects of Christianity must depend on its being fully and clearly announced ; and that, as there is no other way by which sinners can return to God, in a large community holding this sentiment, he is enabled to contribute in teaching this great and capital truth to the extent of the Society's operations. We choose to put the question in this light rather than any other, because in this it is of most moment. In promoting the preaching of justification by faith, in connexion with its cognate truths and privileges in an independent church, a person contributes his influence to the support of this doctrine, to the extent of the congregation and the voice of the minister. This is the case in a limited Connexion, such as those which have been formed by the secessions from our own; whilst he who is supporting the Wesleyan Society is giving his countenance to extend this saving verity to the full dimensions of its establishment. To glory in the largeness of the Connexion merely because it renders a name and a party respectable, or lays the foundation of a particular form of church polity, or extends the influence of the Conference and the