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sired to remove him from the platform, who gently took hold of the collar of his coat, and in whose hands the Doctor, appeared as a moth between the finger and ihumb. No sooner did this Esculapian find himself within the grasp of one of his betters, than he sprang like a cat over the barricade of the platform among his men below, expecting they would immediately rise in his defence. "Still they were motionless! He addressed them again, when a lady went up to him and informed him that, unless he behaved himself as a gentleman, he should, sans ceremonie, be turned out. This settled the Doctor, and acted upon him in a far more composing manner than any sedative pill or draught he ever administered to a patient. The Meeting then proceeded, and, after an excellent collection, concluded in peace. With such partizans, the “ Grand Central” is utterly harmless as to any mischief the Wesleyan Connexion shall experience from its malignant but feeble operations. Had this Doctor shown off in Whitehaven we should not have been surprised ; but we little thought the “Grand Central” was so supported in the neighbourhood of Frodsham. A few more facts of this kind, and the Association is no more.
THE RULES OF 1798 AND 1800.
(From the Magazine, for December.)
“In harmony with this interpretation, is that version of the Rules of the Society which was published in 1798. It would have been unnecessary to refer to this production at all, had it not beconie the
forlorn hope' of certain agitators of the present day. A strange attempt has been made to show that this version of the Rules of the Society was published by the Conference for the purpose of amending its alleged imperfect legislation of the preceding year. The ground on which it has been endeavoured thus to impose upon the Methodist public will be seen in the following extract from the report of a speech, said to be made by Mr. Eckett, on the 2d of September: He held in his hand the Rules as published by order of the Conference of 1798. That very copy was given by Mr. James Wood, the father of the Conference, to an individual in Sheffield, who had lent it to bim (Mr. Eckett on that individual's being received in Society by Mr. Wood; and here it was expressly declared, that no member could, on any account, be expelled, without the consent of a majority of the Leaders' Meeting. By the way, he could explain the origin of the publication of 1797, and the reason of the ditference between it and the Minutes of the Conference of 1798. These Minutes, on the article of expulsion, did not give satisfaction; and to one who was dissatisfied, and complained to Mr. James Wood, that gentleman replied, in effect, Only be quiet; those Minutes were hastily drawn up; the Conference of 1798 will do every thing for your satisfaction. The publication which he held in his haud, dated 1798, was the fulfilment of the promise. A second edition of this authorized and original version of the laws was printed in 1800.
“On this report being made public, a friend of the venerable Minister alluded to, anxious to afford him an opportunity of explicitly denying what was thus ascribed to him, wrote to him upon the subject. His answer was such as might be expected :--'I have no recollection whatever of such a conversation, as asserted by Mr. Eckett; but am fully persuaded there are not two grains of truth in it. It has nothing of my likeness in it: I have not been accustomed to speak lightly of any act of the Conference.' To ail who know Mr. Wood, this alone would appear sufficiently conclusive; but it is not all. In another part of the letter, he further observes: “On the law of the Conference, in 1797, respecting the expulsion of members, I do affirm I never had but one opinion; namely, that the fact was with the Leaders' Meeting, but the sentence was with the Superintendent.' This declaration settles the question; and will effectually preserve the character of that eminent servant of Christ from the imputation which it has been attempted to fasten upon it. Memory may fail in the lapse of years, and passing events may be partially or wholly forgotten; but it is impossible that the settled, permanent opinions of a man's own mind, which have been blended with all his thinkings and his motives for action, on a given subject, throughout a long life, should be obliterated.
« The fine theory of Mr. Eckett respecting the design of this version of the Rules having thus been exploded. his assertion that it was ' authorised, published by order of the Conference,' may be noticed. This also is met by a flat denial. The edition in question was not published by the order of Conference, All the books of which the Book-Steward is the publisher may be said to be under the general sanction of the Conference, inasmuch as he is the agent of the Conference for managing the concerns of the book-room; but none can be regarded as official publications, in the strict sense of the expression, except such books as have been published by the explicit order of the Conference. At every annual meeting, the Conference gives express directions respecting the publication of its acts; and no statements of the proceedings of the Conference can claim the character of official documents, except such publications as are faithful copies of the Minutes of the Conference taken at the time, and signed by the President and Secretary, or such collections of Rules as have been prepared by the direction, and published in pursuance of the express order, of the Conference itself. Mr. Eckett's version is not, therefore, an official publication ; for it is not, as a whole, a faithful transcript of the Rules and Minutes of the Con. ference, nor did the Conference order its publication. Mr. Wood, in the letter already quoted, expresses his belief that the edition was prepared by a private individual, without any order from the Conference;' and in this be was undoubtedly correct. It was got up by one who appeared to be of opinion that, in the new state of things, introduced by the regulations of the preceding Conference, a general view of those regulations, incorporated with the standing Rules of the Society, and with the Band Rules, would be useful to the Members. It does not, however, appear to have had an extensive circulation, as only two editions were called for in the course of several years. Mr. Eckett would represent this version of the Rules as embodying the whole law of Methodism: he calls it the authorized and original version of the laws.' Has he considered the subject well? Does he seriously intend to take, as the code of Methodistical law, a publication in which is not found the Plan of Pacification? Will Dr. Warren thank him for thus throwing overboard what he himself has regarded as the Magna Charta of Metho
be useful to the Mencorporated with the standindations of the preceding con fto be of opinion th
dism? Mr Eckett's eagerness to have his favourite version of the Rules regarded as the authorized and original version of the laws,' is certainly one of the most remarkable instances of infatuation, and blind determination to gain a favourite point at all hazards, which the late agitation has afforded. To return to the history of this version: It was at length superseded by a compilation really published by order of the Conference;' and, consequently, official. The Conference of 1797 not only published a large collection of Minutes, under the title of The Form of Discipline' &c. well known in the Court of Chancery as the Exhibit F.; but it moreover determined, that a smaller collection of Minutes relating to the local officers and meetings should be published at some future opportunity. Circumstances delayed the execution of this plan till the year 1803. On the appointment of Mr. Benson to the editorship of the Magazine, by the Conference of that year, he was requested to prepare the promised collection of Rules. This he did; and the collection, which was published in the following year, 1804, is thus prefaced :
“« The following resolution was entered in the Minutes of the Conference in 1797: We have determined that all the Rules which relate to the Societies, Leaders, Stewards, Local Preachers, Trustees, and Quarterly Meetings, shall be published with the Rules of the Society, for the benefit and conve. nience of all the members.'
“A new edition of the Rules being called for, in executing the above determination, the following Rules, being the most material, are here subjoined.'
“This introduction, it will be perceived, stamps the collection as an official publication of the Rules ordered by the Conference in 1797. The difference between the two publications is very marked. In Mr. Eckett's version, the compiler sometimes copies the rule of the Conference, and in other instances gives what he conceives to be the meaning of the rule in his own words ; so as to make a kind of paraphrase of the standing Rules, and some of the regulations of 1797, with the Band Rules appended: but the official publication is such a collection of the Rules of the Society, and Minutes of the Conference, regularly arranged under their respective heads, as was especially calculated to answer the end for which it was designed the benefit and convenience of all the members. On its appearance, Mr. Eckett's version wes silently dropped. The Societies wanted the Rules themselves, arranged and harmonized by authority, not any unofficial version or paruphrase : successive editions of this collection were called for; and at length, when class-papers were superseded by class-books, the Conference directed that this collection should thenceforth be bound up with the class-books, in order that the Leaders might have it at hand for constant reference. The collection contained in the class-books now in use, is a reprint of the original edition of 1804.
“Only one more topic on the subject of the version of 1798 remains for brief consideration. The inquirer would naturally conclude that the language used in this version, in reference to the expulsion of members, must be very explicit and decided, because otherwise such strenuous efforts would not have been made to prove the official character of the publication; and surprised indeed must every intelligent person be, when he is informed that the only reference to the subject is contained in the following passage:
or w hicotein internemigen Neither can any member of the Society be excluded but by a majority at a Leaders' Meeting.' The most superficial acquaintance with law is sufficient to suggest to a person that this may possibly be true, às far as it goes, and yet Mr. Eckett be very wrong in his interpretation. Magna Charta, the palladium of English liberty, contains identically the same language, in regard of the great privilege of Englishmen to be tried by a Jury of their countrymen. It is there stated, that no free man shall have imposed upon him the penalty of the law for any offence, except by the oath (nisi per sacramentum) of good and lawful men.' But what would be thought of the person who would gravely maintain, on the strength of this insulated passage, that, according to English law, the Jury ought to fix the sentence, as well as find the verdict? Every school-boy who knows any thing at all about the matter, understands that, when it is declared in Magna Charta, that a man cannot be subjected to legal punishment but by the the oath' of a Jury, nothing more is meant than that the Jury must deliver a verdict of guilty, before the Judge can award the penalty of the law, and any mere smatterer in Methodistical law, not blinded by prejudice, on reading that, Neither can any member of the Society be excluded but by a majority at a Leaders' Meeting,' would interpret the passage by the plain and obvious standard Rule of 1797, (to which Rule itself he would in fairness refer for full authoritative information on the point), and understand it as saying, that the Leaders' Meeting must find an accused member guilty, before the Superintendent can inflict the penalty of expulsion from the Society. The passage merely states the fact, that a majority of the Leaders' Meeting is necessary to the expulsion of an accused member; but it does not show how or in what manner this majority contributes to his expulsion, any more than the quotation from Magna Charta shows how or in what manner the oath of a Jury contributes to the legal punishment of the offender. To ascertain this, in both cases, reference must be made elsewhere. Had then this version been properly and strictly an official publication, and were the passage in question the very language of the Conference itself in 1798, what would it avail in the controversy? The present advocates of the existing constitution of Methodism, at the present day, say precisely the same thing. They also maintain, that neither can any member of the Society be excluded but by a majority at a Leaders' Meeting. The question at issue relates merely to the manner in which this majority contributes to expulsion; which, as has been shown, is not to be learned from the quotation alone, any more than it could be ascertained from the passage in Magna Charta, considered by itself, how the oath of a Jury inflicts legal punishment upon a criminal. The practical agreement between this version of the Rules and the standard Rules themselves, as contained in the Minates of the Conference for 1797, and re-published, that very year, in the “ Form of discipline," sufficiently accounts for the fact of its being published, and sold for some time, at the Book-room. The Conference saw no reason to prohibit the temporary circulation of a pamphlet which was substantially good for general purposes; especially as its own resolution, respecting an official and standard collection of the Rules for the Society and its various Officers had not then been carried into effect. No one in these days appears to have suspected any discrepancy between this pub. lication and the authorized Minutes of the Conference; and it was reserved for Mr. Eckett to make the notable discovery that one line and a half in it possess such a fulness of meaning as entirely to abrogate the standard Minutes of the Conference, and substitute this version in their place, as the "authorised and original version of the laws !' The truth probably was, that, till the appointment of Mr. Benson to the office of Conference Editor, no person of competent knowledge and character was found who possessed sufficient leisure to undertake the task of executing the direction of 1797. respecting the preparation of an official collection of the disciplinary Regulations which were to be added to the original Rules of the Society. For ordinary purposes, it was necessary, in the mean time, that some edition should be kept on sale ; the edition then actually current was substantially and practically sufficient for this provisional service; and it was allowed to be re-printed, until another and more exact one could be prepared, which was, as has been stated, accomplished in 1804 by Mr. Benson. In the mean time, no serious mistake could be anticipated. The authenticated · Form of Discipline, published in 1797, at the very period when the concessions of that year were fresh in the recollection of friends and opponents, had fully embodied, and exactly recited, the laws then male, of which the other collection, when completed, was only intended as a cheap and small abridgment, for popular use; anıt to that Form,' and especially to the Minutes for 1797 themselves, every honest inquirer would naturally refer, if any dispute should arise, or any ambiguity of phrase should require an accurate and decisive interpretation. At all events these things are certain :- 1. Whatever was the history of the edition on which Mr. Eckett and his party rely, and whatever its merits and defects the actual law about expulsions can be only authoritatively found in the really original Minutes of 1797, and in the Form of Discipline' of the same year. And 2. The wicked and wanton imputations of fraudulent and dishonest manoeuvre, so shamelessly lavished by the modern revolutionary orators and pamphleteers, in reference to this point, are disgraceful only to their ignorant or malignant authors. The pretended discrepancy applies only to the period betwren 1797 and 1804. Now, the venerable Preachers of that day, most of whom have long since gone to their reward, even if occa. sionally defective, and even slovenly, as to the compilation and printing of their public documents, were far above all suspicion, as to the integrity of their motives or designs. They were the old Preachers,' whom even the agitators can occasionally laud, when it suits their purpose.
The opinion of the Rev. James Wood, already quoted, in support of that interpretation of the rule relating to expulsion, which has been confirmed by the late Conference, is deserving of especial consideration. That venerable Minister is in every sense worthy of the appellation of " father of the Conference," and equally does he enjoy the affection and esteem of the Societies. While steadily maintaining principle, his proceedings have ever been so remarkably characterized by a spirit of mild ness and conciliation, as to procure for him universal esteem. His opportunities too for acquainting himself with the subject on which he speaks have been most ample. He took a part in all the proceedings of the Conference in 1797. His name stands early in the list of Preachers who, at that Con. ference, signed the following memorable declaration :
"Whereas, we, the undersigned, have, on this and the preceding day, carefully revised the Rules drawn up and left us by our venerable father in the gospel, the Rev. Mr. Wesley, which were published by him in our large Minutes, to which we consented when we were admitted, and by which we were regulated during his life : and whereas we have collected together those Rules which we believe to be essential to the existence of Methodism, as well as others to which we have no objection, we do now VOLUNTARILY and in GOOD FAITH, sign our names as approving of, and engaging to comply with, the aforesaid Collection of Rules, or Code of Laws, God being our helper.'
“He was also privy to all the negotiations which took place between the Conference and the lay friends, who assembled in Leeds at the same time, as well as the Kilham delegates; and must, there. fore, certainly know wliat the Conference refused to give up, and what it did actually concede. To hear such a man, who could not be mistaken, and whose inviolable integrity places him beyond the reach of suspicion, say, 'On the law of the Conference of 1797, respecting the expulsion of Members, I do affirm I never had but one opinion, viz., that the fact was with the Leaders' Meeting, but the sentence was with the Superintende ut ;'- to hear such a man make such a declaration, in corroboration of that accumulation of evidence which supports the late Conference in its decision, is sufficient to set the question fully and for pver at rest.
“Against the evidence which has been thus adduced, nothing can even plausibly be opposed. except certain alleged instances of some Preachers having acted otherwise in the expulsion of Members. But, on examination, those instances fail to support the cause in behalf of which they are adduced. The case of a respectable Preacher, which occurred some years ago at Liverpool, has been most unfairly quoted. The Deputation sent from the Conference did not reverse the sentence of the Super ntendent because he had taken upon himself to fix the sentence without the vote of a Leaders' Meeting, but for the reason that he had expelled the person without any trial at all; thus violating the role of 1797, in its unquestionable and admitted interpretation. Other instances have been referred to, of Preachers who are said to have consulted the Leaders before the offenders were expelled; but, will it be affirmed that, after having taken one vote as to the guilt of the accused persons, they then proceeded to fix the sentence also by another vote? Unless it can be showu that the expulsion was also determined by a vote, what do such instances prove? The judge in a court of law will frequently regulate the sentence he pronounces, with special reference to the recommendations of the jury ; but is that to be produced as proof that tbe sentence is therefore fixed by the jury? It has probably occurred that in some instances the Superintendent, anxious to take the Leaders with him in all his proceedings, has conversed with them as to the punishment which it was best to inflict; but it is a very ungracions return for such extra-official liberality, to make it the ground of an attack upon the established Rules and order of the Society."
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
We thank “Philos" for the favour of his pamphlet. Communications have been received from "A Wesleyan Methodist,"_"B."_“ London Correspondent,"_"Delta,"—“Gamma,"_" Observer;" and from Sunderland, Frodsham, Prescot, and St. Helens.
*** À TITLE PAGE, and Index to the preceding numbers, is in course of preparation. Our next
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THE PROSPECTS OF METHODISM.-No. 3.
The utility of doctrinal standards has generally been recognised in the practice of Christian churches. When the Reformers renounced the authority of the Church of Rome, they did not leave either themselves or those who associated with them in the same ministry, in a state of wild and lawless freedom on this point; but, by united counsel, consultation, study of the Scriptures, and prayer to God for direction, agreed to certain standards of doctrine, to which they mutually bound themselves, and determined to require the assent of all who united with them. In imitation of the general practice, when Mr. Wesley and his coadjutors began their cause, one of the first things they did was to settle “ what they should teach.” Hence his Notes and Sermons, which were made the basis of the Wesleyan faith, embody and exhibit the views he acquired by this diligent, simple, and prayerful search after the truth.
The doctrines established as the rule of teaching to the ministry, and generally, as the symbols of faith to a community, must be acknowledged as of primary importance. As the founder of Methodism claimed the right of an independent judgment, so great originality marks his doctrinal sentiments, and also his manner of stating them. Having renounced the harsh dogmas of Calvinism altogether, and at the same time, repudiated the cold, and often erroneous, opinions of the old English Arminian school, he was obliged to seek immediate guidance from heaven, and, according to his views of the “analogy of faith,” be the study of the Scriptures alone, propound it to his growing Societies. No mind had exactly trodden the path he sought. Time, numbers, learning, and the authority long exercised in most of the reformed churches, had given great influence and moral force to the Calvinistic system. Its peculiarities were then, as in many quarters is the case now, considered the life of the evangelical system, and that it was impossible to hold the saving verities of Christianity except in connexion with that creed. A revulsion had been produced in this country; the opinions of the disci
ples and followers of Arminius, who had refined on the doctrines of that great man, rather than his own, had been adopted ; under the auspices of Laud and others, of the high church party, a course of teaching little better than Pelagianism had long been prevalent; and the consequence was, that, between the two extremes, truth lay stretched on the tortuous rack of controversy, till her lovely features were distorted to deformity, and experimental and practical piety became nearly extinct. Mr. Wesley could embrace neither of these systems. He perceived, from his diligent and constant study of the word of God, that they both rested on fallacious views of the truth. From his study of the mystic and legal divines, he was in danger of having his mind warped either into an agreement with the one or the other, but, by the mercy of God, having attained the knowledge of the doctrine of justification by faith only, and experienced this blessing himself, he escaped the dangers which surrounded him, and obtained the true key to the entire scheme of the evangelical dispensation.
All experience shows how intimately the knowledge of this great doctrine stands associated with a right apprehension of the pure "gospel of God our Saviour.” Those who stumble at this point-and it is the point at which all stumble who do not "submit themselves to the righteousness of God”—remain, however zealous and excellent in other respects, perfectly ignorant of the new covenant. They may amuse themselves and others with learned criticisms, antiquities, and history, as well as doctrinal speculations; but not having found the entrance to the kingdom of God, they continue in the outer court. It is important to remark, in Mr. Wesley's case, how much depended on this one event. In his own personal state he had been free from blame-cultivated a high tone of moral virtue-felt the most ardent desire to attain to Christian holinesslaboured most assiduously, by visits to the poor and sick, as well as by frequent preaching-denied himself of all gaiety and superfluity of living, devoting all the surplus, after a most frugal provision for himself, to charitable purposes--and, finally, expatriated himself, and took his place in the wilds of Georgia, in the character of a Missionary. But the whole yielded him no peace; and he still lay under the tyranny of guilt and sin. From the few remains of his writings belonging to this period, it is evident, that although he took the utmost pains and manifested the greatest sincerity and zeal to produce useful impressions and lead men to the service of God, yet none were found amongst his auditors urging the important inquiry—“What shall I do to be saved ?” But he had no sooner attained to the enjoyment of this grace, than light broke out on every thing around him. He had, previously to this period, held high, and on the whole, scriptural, opinions respecting Christian purity and holiness; but being detached, in his manner of stating the subject, from the atonement of Christ, the influence of the Holy Spirit, and justification by faith, he found that his theory was without a foundation, and all his exertions only led to painful disappointment. When he attained right views on this question, then his fabric had a basis on which to rest, and he proceeded to erect it in its finest proportions. It may have been an advantage to his system of theology, that Mr. Wesley was taught the vital doctrine of justification last. He had well studied the nature, amount, and obligations of the moral parts of religion, and reared for himself a most beautiful structure of ethical religion. His system was like the creative act of God, by which he made man out of the dust of the earth: