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ASSOCIATION FIDELITY AND HONOUR.
A correspondent of the Advocate, called “ Argus,” in a communication, dated " Kingsland-road, Dec. 11, 1835,” writes as follows :
“They" (the Preachers) “often shake hands cordially with some determined reformer," (who, of course, “shake hands cordially" with them;) “take a glass of wine with some members of the Association," (who invites them to his house and professes special affection;) “and give tickets to Leaders, Stewards, Trustees, and others, who have signed declarations' totally inimical to Methodism as it is ;" (such, for instance, as the famous “ Address,' calling upon the country to put down the Methodist Preachers, by act of Parliament, as a public pest; and then come and take their tickets, in token of their Christian love and fellowship with these same Preachers.) “This I know to be the case. At Edmonton. for example, there are active agents of reform," (viz. a whole batch of this sort of people,) “including Leaders, Stewards, and Trustees, who have signed all the documents issued by the London Trustees, and who are bona fide members of the Association." (Still “shaking hands" with the Preachers, giv. ing them wine," and regularly accepting the appointed token of brotherly love; and all this most “cordially."') “I would suggest, therefore," (quoth Argus,) “that 'John Mason' should issue circulars to the agitators themselves, to the Secretaries of the Association, and to Chairmen of meetings. Thus a correct return of the strength of the reforming party might be obtained.”
From all which it would appear, that “Argus,” with the “Secretaries,” and “ Chairmen," have no objection to complete their perfidy, and become Conference spies upon their brethren, in the pay of “ John Mason.” The lure thrown out in order to secure the appointment, is, that thus a correct return may be obtained, on the principle of “set a thief to catch a thief." Whatever may be the value of their information, we think the Book Steward will scarcely have the hardihood to employ them, though, we dare say, they would not be unreasonable about wages; for they would, doubtless, sell the whole family of the Edmonton Iscariots, and Dr. Warren into the bargain, for considerably less than “thirty pieces of silver.”
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ILLUMINATOR.
“Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny." SiR-Of all the strange things that have occurred in the world, few have given me greater surprise than the late divisions among the Wesleyan Methodists. I am aware of the fickleness of mankind in general, and that popular applause is often of short duration ; for the man, or the system, that the multitude applaud one day, they will execrate the next. We have a striking picture of this strange inconsistency in the fourteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. But that men seriously professing godliness could imitate such an example, I never believed until it had been demonstrated by recent events.
I would take what I conceive to be a plain, common-sense view of the reasons which have been assigned for this strange conduct; and I will begin with the case of Ashton-under-line. I pity the deluded Methodists of that town. What is the reason that so many hundreds withdrew from our Connexion ? Simply this : because the Minister appointed to labour among them was not permitted to continue a spouting political demagogue, on subjects calculated to awaken in the mind every feeling conirary to Christian love. Where do we find in the word of God the first preachers of righteousness acting in such a way ? On the subject which occupied Mr. Stephens's attention-the separation of Church and State-there is much difference of opinion in our congregations; and if a Preacher agitates either side of the question, he must necessarily give offence, and hinder his usefulness. The proper work of a Minister of Jesus Christ is, to save souls; and if my opinion coincided with that of Mr. Stephens on the above subject, still I should strongly condemn his conduct ; for if he had been permitted to act as he wished, why not allow another Preacher to advocate the destruction of the House of Lords and another the subversion of the monarchy ? Thus we might have for our Ministers a set of political incendiaries, instead of a body of faithful pastors; and who does not see that the annihilation of Methodism would infallibly be the result ?
Perhaps a still more astonishing secession is the one at Gateshead, where 800 persons, with the sagacious Joseph Forsyth, have gone over to another body of Methodists. And
for what?-Because the Conference the faithful guardian of Methodism, as Mr. Wesley left it would not suffer him to preach heterodox doctrine! “O shame, where is thy blush?” Though I have been a Wesleyan Methodist for thirty years, yet if the Conference were to permit its members to preach any doctrine which is not Wesleyan, I would at once forsake the Connexion. I have read a little of what Mr. Forsyth has published to the world, and I was astonished at his confidence, bitterness, and impudence; he seems to think it blasphemy not to see as he sees! Poor conceited man ! I can tell him that men of a thousand times greater grasp of intellect than ever he possessed, have believed in the Eternal Sonship, and derived comfort from it. Mr. Wesley was a firm believer in this doctrine, and we must have our creed as that venerable man has left it. I hope the day will never arrive, when our doctrines and discipline must be altered at the suggestion of a set of whimsical innovators.
I have now shortly to consider the secessions which have taken place in consequence of the part Dr. Warren has acted. I do indeed feel for the poor silly sheep, that he and his coadjutors have beguiled from the fold. I read the Dr.'s first pamphlet with attention; and I will assert, that it must convince any candid mind, that it was nothing but disappointed ambition which gave rise to his opposition. If the Theologi. cal Institution must have been called a College, and if he had been proposed to fill the office of President, his pride would have been gratified. He hypocritically talks of the rights of the people for I know the man; and I ever believed that if there was a man among our Preachers more distinguished than another, for an arbitrary spirit, and a wish to rule like a despot, that man was the amiable Doctor, who appears to have imbibed the temper of Milton's Devil
“'Tis better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven." Methodism as it is, has been made a blessing to the world. In all its essential parts, we have it as bequeathed to us by Mr Wesley; and I trust that no number of profane hands will ever spoil the lovely edifice. Let its enemies continue to pour forth their fetid calumnies, if the Preachers as a body will only continue faithful to the trust reposed in them, the system as it is, shall bless hundreds of unborn generations.
I once attended, out of curiosity, an Association meeting, in a town not one hundred miles from Manchester. It was addressed by Barns (the publican and sinner), Grindrod, Farrar, Green halgh, Barlow, and the editor of a contemptible pamphlet, called the Lantern. The most deliberate falsehoods-for I knew them to be suchwere told, to calumniate the Methodist Preachers and discipline; and a fine treat it was to the infidels, Unitarians, and profligates, who formed the greatest part of the company. I shall never forget the phrenzied joy of a Socinian, whom I have known for many years as a radical of the first water in politics, and a hater of Methodism, in applauding the ribaldry of Barns, he shouted, stamped, and clapped, with voice, feet, and hands, at once. The chairman, who is an Independent, and some individuals who have been expelled from the Methodist Body for their filthy crimes, seemed to exult in the prospect of demolishing Methodism. A branch of the Grand Central Association was formed under the guidance of a motley group of individuals, lovers of game, expelled Local Preachers, and persons with short memories, who have forgotten to pay their arrears of pew-rent in the old tabernacle before they went to the new one. From such foes the Connexion has nothing to fear; for are such societies as this to reform the Wesleyan system ? How disgustingly contemptible is the thought!“ He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.”
Mr. Editor-I cannot refrain, before I conclude, from informing you, that the town of Warrington has lately been visited by that reviler of our Preachers, the amia. ble Dr. Warren. He preached in a small chapel belonging to some odd fellows, called Quaker Methodists; and his text was, “ Fear not little flock,” &c.; but if I were to furnish you with a sketch of the characters of the leading members of the Asssociation flock here, I think you would believe that their “father” was a black sheep !! In the evening of the following day, the Dr. delivered a lecture, three hours long, to a singularly mixed audience, with, I believe, not half a dozen Wesleyans among them. Such was his bitterness of spirit, that John Gordon never exceeded him. The chair was occupied by a fellow called Meredith, who, at different times, has been connected with nearly all the denominations in the town several times over; he has been sprinkled, and he has been immersed, and circumcised too, for aught I know! At the close of the lecture, a collection was made, a few coppers obtained, and the Dr. sent home the next day by the Old Quay packet.
The Wesleyan Ministers need not fear the banditti which the Devil has raised up to assail them. The honoured names of Messrs. Bunting, Newton, and their coadju. tors, will be venerated in ages to come, for the noble stand they have made in the hour of trial; and the words of the prophet will encourage them to persevering faithfulness : • “The Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one; therefore my persecutors shall stumble and they shall not prevail ; they shall be greatly ashamed, for they shall not prosper : their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.”
KEIGHLEY : Shewing that “Agitators” are not always received, nor “Delegates " always appointed, nor “ Lanterns" always prized, nor " Pamphlets" always followed by the intended effect.
The Keighley Circuit is in a state of perfect tranquillity, from end to end. Previous to Conference, a deputation from ihe “ Grand Central Association " came to this town, uninvited, to prepare the way for Dr. Warren. They were two persons professing to be members of the Wesleyan Connexion-one from Liverpool, and the other from Manchester. Having found their way, in a somewhat curious manner, to the house of a person who was then a leading member of the Protestant Methodists of this town, but who has since then returned to the old Body, they requested him to introduce them to the company of some of the “liberal-hearted Methodists,” that they might have a little conversation with them. But on being informed by the same individual that he did not think there was a Leader, or Steward, or Local Preacher, in this town, who would like to be seen in the street with them, as members of the Association, they said it would not then be of any use for them to remain ; and they accordingly left Keighley for Skipton, on the same afternoon on which they arrived, having been only a few hours in the town. We have had no more of them from that time to this, nor do I know of any one of our people who has any desire to see them.
Among the delegates who met at Manchester, and afterwards at Sheffield, one was said to be from the Keighley Circuit. But the fact is, the person who went from Keighley was the Superintendent Preacher of the Protestant Methodists of this town, and, as I am informed, was not sent by any people, but went of his own choice.
A few weeks ago, a parcel containing many numbers of the Lantern was sent from a neighbouring Circuit to one of our Leaders in a large country Society. But when he saw what they were, he returned them to the person who had sent them, as things not fit to be circulated among a pious people who wish to “live in peace.”
All our Societies are pretty well supplied with the “ Official Documents ” from our Minutes of the present year; and, I believe, are highly pleased with the uncompromising firmness of our Conference, in maintaining the great principles of Wesleyan Methodism. And from the clear explanation which has been of our laws, they appear both to understand and to love Methodism better than ever they did, and to entertain a growing assurance that it is of God, and that no man, nor number of men, will be able to overthrow it.
Various inflammatory pamphlets, from the Association, have been clandestinely circulated among our people, from the time of Dr. Warren's suspension. But the chief end they have answered, in this Circuit, has been that of convincing our people, that the spirit which originated them has not been that of Christian charity, but of mortified pride and bitter malignity.
A “GREAT ACTION.” « A few weeks since, Dr. Warren and Graham, jun., made their appearance in Bradford, in order to agitate and disturb our peaceful Societies in these Circuits.' They held their meeting (for want of a more convenient place, in a room occupied by persons calling themselves Gospel Pilgrims."* The room was crowded with a heterogeneous group of persons of various descriptions and denominations, many of whom were drawn together from that curiosity that would have led them to attend any other meeting, where abuse and lies are the general topics of conversation; others to spend an idle hour, and a few to hear what would be said by a man, once reputed a Methodist Preacher and a learned person. The only effects produced by the speeches at this meeting, were--pity, contempt, and disgust. Pityfor the poor Doctor, from whose head the crown has fallen, and for his miserable, degraded condition; contempt- for his arguments; and disgust-at his language and volumes of abuse. The whole concern was a complete failure, on the part of the Doctor and his satellite; as complete as if he had attempted to raise the billows of the sea by blowing on it with a pair of bellows!"
We suppress the reflections of our excellent correspondent, and shall not presume to add any of our own, recollecting the story of the disobedient Prophet, and wishing
* To the credit of the Baptists, Independents, and Primitive Methodists, none of them would lend their chapels to the Doctor, for this bad purpose. We know not who would, except those who cherish a most magnanimous contempt for the opinions of the pious and peaceably-disposed part of the religious community; or such persons as the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, who has already been before an ecclesiastical tribunal.
to imitate the magnanimity of the king of beasts :-"And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase : the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.”—1 Kings, xiii. 28.
THE SUBLIME AND THE RIDICULOUS. It has been thought, and said, that C. Parker, Esq. would have no objection to a seat in the House of Commons, and that one step towards establishing a reputation as a reformer, was, to reform Darlington Methodism. It seems, the Methodists there will not be reformed by him, and that if he get into the “ House" at all, he must not enter by this sheepfold, but climb up some other way.
“Our recent secession, (headed, observe, by Mr. P.) has hitherto been accompanied with indications that God will overrule it for the good of Methodism in the Circuit. The anti-christian attempts which have been employed have brought the friends more closely together, and made them determined, in the name of God, to resist, to the utmost of their power, all attacks on the economy of Methodism as it is. The dissentients declared, with great confidence, the destruction of Methodism in this neighbourhood. Thank God, we have no reason to suppose that we shall lose two hundred members in the whole Circuit. Attempts of a very painful nature have been in operation, through a great part of the year, to injure the Mission cause; but so effectual a counteracting influence has hereby been called into existence, that all such attempts are being proved abortive. Since Conference, we have held eight Missionary meetings in the Circuit, every one of which has increased its contributions above last year. Notwithstanding the strong opposition we have had to sustain, I shall not be surprised if, when we close our Mission accounts for the year, it appear we have advanced thirty pounds above last year. Our congregations are good. You are aware that we passed two loyal resolutions at our last Quarterly Meeting, and paid off the Circuit debt (nearly £60!)"
To have been carried into the “House," on the broad shoulders of Methodist reform, would have been—the sublime! To be a reformer thrown out of employment is the ridiculous !
FALLEN GREATNESS. « Last year, there were some persons in the Burslem Circuit desirous of assisting Warren and Co. in the work of reformation; but, I believe, they are heartily tired of contentions, and perfectly ashamed of the Doctor and his masters. At present we are, thank God, peaceful; no attempt to agitate, of which I am aware, has been made, directly or indirectly, since Conference; except by a person of the name of Hancock, who, according to his own confession, was one of the proprietors of the Liverpool Circular. He took the chair at two of Warren's public meetings, in this neighbourhood, went to Sheffield as a delegate, and after his return continued to circulate the Lantern. At the Michaelmas visitation he was required to give a pledge that he would cease his hostilities to Methodism, which he refused to do, and therefore his ticket was withheld. It is now three months ago, and I have not heard of one individual but approves of what has been dong. Hancock, I must say, has been shamefully treated; not one of his old friends stands by him, or sympathizes with him-he is forgotten as a dead man out of mind.' He, however, has the consolation of believing that he is faithful found among the faithless. During the present quarter we have witnessed the conversion of sinners from the error of their ways, several have found peace, and are now 'walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost,' The late storm has not done the least injury in this Circuit."
It is very confounding to human pride, to see Dr. Warren, once the head of the “ Grand Central,” collecting farthings to pay for his “grand law-suit,”-the renowned Advocate literally begging his bread; Cardinal Wolsey standing at the door of a monastry, calling himself a poor old man, and craving is a little earth for charity,”and Hancock living till he is become as “ a dead man out of mind !”
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
We are obliged by the kind communications from Bradford West, Carnarvon, Hallowes, Walsall, Darlington, Burslem, Holt, Dunbar, St. Agnes, Blackburn, Stockton, and Keighley; and respectfully request a continuance, through the same medium.
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THE CAMELFORD CASE.
The following documents will sufficiently open this extraordinary case. We may premise, that it appears, from a printed letter in our hands, that the original offence taken on the part of Mr. Rosevear, aroșe out of the Church and State question, as entered into by the Manchester District Meeting, and approved by the Conference. This, it seems, caused him to “CUT” with that body.
The following is a copy of a letter which was addressed to the Superintendent of the Camelford Circuit :
“Barn Park, August 27, 1834. “ Dear Sir-Having decided on making a complete 'cut' with a despotic and tyrannical Conference, I have judged it to be a needful act of courtesy on my part, toward yourself, to inform you of it; and further, that you may not regard any thing I may in future happen to say or do in consequence, as at all involving your personal conduct or character. The course which I mean to pursue, is to cease from aiding the Conference Fund generally; as also from contributing toward the erection of any building to be settled on what is termed the Conference Plan.'- I am, &c.
“Thomas P. ROSEVEAR.” " WESLEYAN REFORM.- CAMELFORD CIRCUIT, CORNWALL. " At a Quarterly Meeting held at Camelford, on Monday, the 29th December, 1834; the Superintendent having refused to put the motions which had been handed to him, William Grose, Esq., of Penpont, was called to the chair. The following resolutions were moved by T. P. Rosevear, Esq., of Barn Park, and seconded by Mr. John Davey, of Wadebridge.
"RESOLVED, first-That it is the opinion of this meeting that the Conference has acted prematurely in establishing the Theological Institution; the Rule of Pacification, adopted in 1797, requiring that, “In order to prevent any degree of precipitation in making NEW RULES, and to obtain information of the sentiments of our people on every such rule, we have agreed to the article mentioned under the 7th head; by which no regulations will be finally confirmed till after a year's consideration, and the knowledge of the sentiments of the Connexion at large, through the medium of all their public officers.
"Second—That this meeting do respectfully, but firmly, request that the Theological Institution be forthwith abandoned, as being uncalled for by the body of the people.
" Third–That full scope be given in the regular meetings for the discussion of ALL questions which the people wish to make known to the Conference.
“ Fourth-That the officers of the Connexion be tried by the meetings to which they respectively belong, and that no one be removed from his office except by the consent of a majority of that meeting ; and that no private member be expelled but by the vote of a majority of the Leaders' Meeting.
“Fifth-That this meeting deeply regrets that a custom too generally prevails, of the Preacher quitting the chair on the discussion of any subject of which he may dis.