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common government; for they assumé, that the local meetings ought to be open to discussions on all subjects, their decisions final, and no appeal from them to any other tribunal allowed. Now, how the independence of circuits and Societies can comport with a Connexion, and the two clashing elements be brought into a state of practical concert, we are at a loss to know. From the settlement of the chapels, the itinerant plan, the dependence of the poor circuits, and the intertwining of the whole system into one compact whole, which has hitherto been its strength, we believe that a connexional independence is a chimera which can only exist in the brain of religious theorists, and is in practice absolutely impossible. Whether the independent form of church government is right or wrong, we do not affirm; but the independence of circuits, of local meetings, and of the official functionaries in a common government, must lead to the disruption of the Connexion, and the ultimate establishment of the Wesleyan Societies into independent churches. We believe the great body of our people are not prepared for this change at present; and, notwithstanding the zeal, industry, and plausibility of the Association, the “ thousands of our Israel” will still prefer to remain as they are-designated by Mr. Wesley, “ United Societies.”
We conceive the Association did not intend, when it first united, to place itself in the exact attitude it now holds. By expelling Mr. Jackson from his office of superintendent, at Leeds-street, and in their turn being expelled from the vestry of the chapel, on the authority of the trustees, a body of leaders and stewards adjourned to the Pilot-office, made themselves an independent meeting, and formed the nucleus of a new connexion in Liverpool. To what else can their proceedings lead? They are now separated from the Methodist Societies--they have a leaders' meeting of their own-they announced from the platform at the Music Hall the names of their leaders and the places of their meetings; and the next step must, of course, be, to organise themselves into a regular community. We warn our members who have been, or are, in danger of being beguiled—that the inevitable consequence of these proceedings must be to separate them from the Connexion to which they have belonged.
The want of time and space forbids us to proceed; but we hope to be able to pay some further attention to the topics of the Music Hall speeches.
MR. J. WALTHEW AT THE MUSIC HALL MEETING, HELD BY THE ASSOCIATION
* IN THE MUSIC HALL, LIVERPOOL. “Mr. CHAIRMAN—"I wish to know from you, as the President of the Association, whether you consider it as identified with the statements now made by Mr. Gordon ? If so, what you advanced at the former meeting, as well as on the present occasion, that the 'Association required nothing new in Methodism,' cannot be correct; for if the gentleman's speech proves any thing, it is, that something new is wanted : consequently one of you must be wrong." (An indescribable scene of uproar and confusion now occurred; some crying out, “Sit down, you shall not speak-go up to the platform;"_and others, “ Stop where you are, you will do very well.” After a lapse of some minutes, order was restored.]
“Before I make any observations on Mr. Gordon's speech, I cannot but compli. ment him on the ability he has displayed on the present occasion ; yet, I must say, a more complete sophister I never heard. The gentleman would like to know from any of those who have signed the declaration against the Association, what they mean by calling the Association unconstitutional, declaring that Methodism has no constitution.' I am neither ashamed nor afraid publicly to avow in this meeting that I am one of those who signed the declaration against this combination, and which emanated from this circuit; and, in answer to the call of the gentleman, I now state my reasons for so doing. Whatever may be my particular views of the matter by which our Society is at present agitated, I have ever been of opinion that this Association is contrary to the constitution of Methodism, as settled by the Plan of Pacification, in the years 1795 and 1797. We are told' indeed that we have no constitution, and only laws. I should like to know what idea we can have of a constitution without law. Is there one in existence ? Can Mr. Gordon form any notion of such a thing as an abstract constitution ? I candidly confess I cannot. Whatever the gentleman may say to the contrary, we have a constitution, and one which is acknowledged by this Association. The committee have published the form of it to the world, a copy of which I hold in my band, and, therefore, I shall read from it the law by which you are condemned.” [Here I read the rule which refers to the calling of meetings.] “I now ask whether either superintendents', quarterly, or leaders' meetings were ever consulted, as to the formation of this Association ? You know they were not. How, then, sir, in the face of this rule, can I regard your Association, but as illegal and unconstitutional ? What is your alleged complaint against the Conference, but that they have violated the Plan of Pacification; and you, forsooth, in order to bring them to their senses, become guilty of the very crime with which you charge them. I yield to no man in hearty recognition of that great Protestant principle, that it is the duty of every man to think for himself on religious subjects. Yet I do think, when I voluntarily connect myself with a religious body, I am bound to be amenable to the laws by which that body is governed, and if I have any grievance to complain of, to bring it before the regular meetings of the church; and should I fail in obtaining redress, to avail myself of mỹ privilege and leave it, and connect myself with some other more congenial with my principles. I am aware of what has been advanced as a plea for the formation of the Association, viz--that the regular channels of communication to Conference are closed. This I positively deny; for I ask you, sir, when on your trial at the Mount Pleasant leaders' meeting, did not Mr. Marsden explicitly state, that if you would abandon the the Association, all that had transpired should be as nothing, and that he would pledge himself that the regular way of access to Conference should be open; and in proof that he was sincere, he introduced the subject of a formal meeting, according to the provisions of the rule of 1797, to converse on the subject of dispute, at our last quarterly, meeting, when it was agreed that a meeting of that kind should be held.”
[Here I was interrupted by Mr. Gordon, as intimated in the Lantern, and not suffered to proceed.
MR. BEYNON'S “CASE.”- Lantern, p. 40.
We are credibly informed that when this gentleman was required to show cause why sentence of expulsion from the Society, for manifest breach of rule, should not be pronounced upon him, he drew out of his pocket a book, in which his defence, as he calls it, was written, and from which he read the mass of absurdity which has since appeared in the Lantern; and which, at the time, exercised the temper and patience of a numerous and respectable leaders' meeting, in the vestry of the Stanhope-street chapel, Liverpool, for something less than an hour. We give him ample credit for his caution, though we are at a loss to understand how a very eloquent man should be reduced to such a necessity. We cannot, however, say so much for his candour, when it is evident on his own showing, that his inane and feeble endeavour to justify himself from the charge of attempting to disturb the Connexion, by his unthinking and unruly conduct, was not intended for his grieved and pitying brethren within the meeting, but for his unthinking and unruly “associates” without! The meeting, no doubt, seeing through the pretence, solemnly recorded their nearly unanimous opinion, that the course Mr. Beynon was pursuing was any thing but respectful to themselves, and that the publica
tion of this effusion, so far from promoting the cause of peace and truth, was only calculated to scatter “firebrands, arrows, and death.” “We trust it will,” say the members of the “Grand Central Association;" and proceed to indulge in a little indecent scoffing upon the subject. We recommend them to turn to their Bibles, and for once read and inwardly digest what they will find in Proverbs, xxvi. 18, 19: “As a madman who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, am I not in sport ?"
Were we disposed to banter upon such a subject, Mr. Beynon's "case" might furnish us with plenty of materials. But the subject is too serious; simple-hearted Methodists are getting deceived by men who are themselves deceived, and our duty as Illuminators is, not to sparkle but enlighten. It is true many will shut their eyes against the light. They “hate the light, neither will they come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved” (margin discovered). No wonder that when they stand before their peers, charged with divisive and seditious deeds, and revolutionizing designs, they, with mock dignity, reply, “I shall neither admit nor deny-I insist upon proof!" when the very newspapers proclaim the glaring fact, in documents of their own composition and insertion !
But we exempt Mr. Beynon from this charge, so disgraceful to many whom we might name. He did not descend to such detestable quibbling, but openly avowed his principles and entered upon their defence in the speech, or essay, or effusion, now lying before us in the Lantern.
This defence we have designated a mass of absurdities, and to particularize only a few instances, will fully bear us out in this. Would it were the only dish of froth that comes under our notice!
1.- Let it be remembered that Mr. B, is an avowed member of the committee of the “Grand Central Association,” and that he declares to the world that no honest or upright man can remain in the Methodist Connexion as at present constituted. The authorities of that Connexion take him at his word, examine him, and find that he means what he says, and cut him off. He then sets up a terrible cry at this as injustice, tyranny, &c. Can absurdity go farther ?
2.-10 show that the law of 1796 does not bear upon his case, he first carefully conceals the preamble of the law itself, viz.-“What shall be done to prevent unthink. ing or unruly men from disturbing our people ?" No doubt thinking it would serve his purpose better, not only to conceal this part of the law, but the confirmation of it in the ensuing year, in the following words :-“As the leaders' meeting is the proper meeting for the Society, and the quarterly meeting for the circuit, we think that other formal meetings in general would be contrary to the Methodist economy, and very prejudicial in their consequences.” Can we have a clearer illustration of the truth of this than by referring to the “ formal meetings" which have been held, in violation of this law, at the Bethel Rooms, the Pilot Office, the Music Hall, and elsewhere, during the last three months : at each of which Mr. Beynon has taken a prominent part in fostering the spirit of division and discord in the Societies? Has he forgotten that he was warned at the Bethel Room meeting on the 10th November last, that he and his coadjutors were rendering themselves liable to expulsion from what they were doing, and that one of them (Mr. Pooley) publicly declared that this certainly was the fact ?" And yet, in the very face of this rule of 1796, and the explanation of part of it in 1797, which, be it observed, carries with it all the force of a confirmation and re-enactment, hé would fain attempt to persuade a score of leaders who were sitting upon his case any of whom have as much common sense, at least, as himself that a part” of a law is not the "whole" of that law; and that to “explain, confirm, and ratify” that part is to “repeal it !”, No wonder that any member of the meeting thought his time might be better spent than in controverting such palpable absurdity as this!
3.-Amongst other grounds of justification of his conduct in co-operating with all his might in compassing the designs of this “Grand Association,” he, whimsically enough, lays great stress.upon the two following :—That all this agitation and uproar is to obtain a redress of grievances, which are few in number;" and, 24" To ask for the sacrifice," on the part of the lovers of Methodism as it is, and as it has ever been administered, “ of no principle that is worth a rush.” And upon this odd reasoning,
he grounds his illustration of the necessity of the Association, and of his identifying himself with its anarchical proceedings. Really this reminds one of
« Ocean into tempest tost.
To waft a feather, or to drown a fly." No wonder that he predetermined that if such convincing eloquence should fail to dazzle the plain, honest Stanhope-street leaders, it should, at any rate, flicker and sputter in the Watchman's Lantern. But what sort of a “justification” is all this ? To us it appears far more like a hoax! Is Mr. B. naturally disposed to waggery? Or, cannot he see how his own argument tells against himself ? He is trying all he can “ to shake the Connexion from the centre to the circumference.” For what? To obtain a redress of a very “ few” grievances, and a renunciation of no principle “worth a rush." O wise legislator!-admirable reformer! Let Alfred and Luther sink into oblivion!
4.-Another ground of justification of his conduct is, that he has, he says, a precedent in the proceedings of 1795. The people, it seems, wanted at that time to receive the Lord's Supper from the hands of their own preachers, and divine service (under certain restrictions) in church hours. The trustees of numerous chapels sent delegates to the Conference, to settle these affairs, and obtain a few concessions respecting discipline. The business was transacted in the most calm and brotherly manner; all reason. able requests were granted in this and the two following years—the constitution was settled—and the Conference was unanimously thanked by the committee of delegates “for their kind attention to their business," and a solemn declaration made on their part “to support the Methodist cause upon the plan agreed on at this Conference.” It is true that Mr. Beynon says the Conference have broken this compact; but his proofs are upon a par with his justifications. But the Leeds case! Let Mr. B. sit down and answer, if he can, fairly and satisfactorily, Mr. Beecham's essay, and Mr. Watson's affectionate address. It will not do to call the former rigmarole, and the latter trash, as the Association do. No; let us hear something like an honest reply to their triumphant facts and arguments. Let Mr. B. account, if he can, for the uninterrupted and unexampled prosperity, peace, and increase of the Leeds Society, ever since they got rid of a cabal of “unthinking and unruly men,” in 1827, and we will go as far as he likes into the Leeds case; a case which not only proves the strict and impartial attention to Methodist law, on the part of Conference, but the factious, the unappeasable, and the unchristian conduct of the men who vilify it.
But to return to this famous justification, on its ground of precedent in 1795 and 1797. We have seen what that is ; now for the justification. “The delegates of 1835” -not the delegates of the trustees, as in 1795 ; not the delegates of the quarterly meetings, as in 1797 ;-no, “the delegates of–1835! will meet the Conference under different circumstances from those of their predecessors, and time only will discover whether more may not be obtained than is now the intention of asking." Very well let us leave it for time to show; and a very long period it may be before the Conference meet these soi-disant delegates, or the Association, explain what their ultimate intentions are ; matters, they think, are hardly ripe enough for this. The mask must not be dropped too soon, lest simple, sincere souls should become alarmed, and the ranks of the Association thin far faster than they filled. But what are we to think of a precedent at all
wing to different circumstances on the one hand, and undefined and vague demands on the other ? Mr. Beynon might just as well have quoted the Cato-street conspiracy as a ground of justification ! Absurd as this reasoning is
“The greatest is behind :" and he gives the leaders, or rather the Lantern, a torrent of grand eloquence upon the right of petitioning, as furnishing the greatest and most glorious justification of his patriotic and Christian conduct, in endeavouring to pull down and destroy one of the fairest fabrics in Christendom, under the plea' of repairing and beautifying it! Now, he knows that as a Methodist, be he à private member or an office-bearer, whether, in his individual or public character, he has a right-à right clear, admitted and recognised over and over again by Conference of stating his personal or social grievances with a certainty of their being listened to and considered with every fair attention. But because majorities in leaders' and quarterly meetings cannot be persuaded that every thing which any body may complain of is really a grievance, and because they think it right to negative unreasonable propositions, or becaase the superintendent, as in duty bound, refuses to violate law and put to the vote some anti-Methodistical whim or other, or if an individual be not disposed to complain of his own superintendent, strictly and firmly adhering to the discipline of the body, he learns that a preacher in some distant part of Yorkshire, or Cumberland, has dared the tumult of discord, and the roar of
faction, and, in spite of the threats of the many-headed multitude, has successfully and firmly administered salutary ecclesiastical censure, Mr. Beynon joins an organized convention, which publicly and privately mocks at and spurns the authority of Conference, and thereby utterly disqualifies every individual connected with it from petitioning the Conference at all; for all petitions coming from such a quarter, the Conference is bound, according to the principle of its recognised laws, positively to reject. This conduct, however, Mr. Beynon adopts, in order to preserve his right of petitioning. He renounces that right in order to preserve it! Let him not forget the fable of the dog and the shadow.
We dismiss all the rest of this eloquent declamation-viz., standing up for and defending the rights of the people—the tyranny of the preachers—patriotism—the British constitution a discerning public-Love (!) for Methodism--and much more of this sort. We are aware that unsuspecting honest people amongst us are, and may be, misled for a time, by this seeming attachment to the body ; but those who are better informed know that it only means-lust for power and distinction, without judgment to use them for good purposes—desire of the influence of others, without possessing either their talents or virtues—and a constant disposition to ascribe unworthy motives to others whose sacrifices of time, ease, and substance, they cannot comprehend the meaning of. Well did the meeting recommend Mr. Beynon not to expose himself in a more public manner to the pity of the judicious; to cease from fomenting discord and strife; and, in our opinion, he would have done well to have taken their advice, for we are free to acknowledge there are some good points about him after all. We believe his conduct springs more from mistake than malice; we know of no stain that he has brought upon Methodism, before this junction with the wicked Association, and we heartily wish him a safe descent from the unenviable eminence he has attained, down to
“ The low paths of humble love."
BOLTON AND THE SO CALLED METHODIST ASSOCIATION. Our correspondent informs us, that the prospects of the Grand (!) Central Association in this town are not unlike those of a man attempting to cross a trackless desert in a dark tempestuous night; he having, forsooth, no prospect at all but bewilderment and ruin; and the Association Lantern only serves to make their darkness more visible. The prospects of constitutional Methodism there were never of a more cheering and encouraging kind than at present. This news we were fully prepared to receive from the noble declaration which emanated so spontaneously from the good people of this town, and which received such a mighty phalanx of signatures in so small a period of time. Their works praise them in the gate! After this fine display of sound Methodistical feeling, we wonder, with the Boltonians, at the presumption which induced Dr. Warren and his tail, to inflict a visit upon them. There is no accounting for the eagerness with which some men rush upon their own discomfiture and disgrace.
LEEDS WEST CIRCUIT AND THE ASSOCIATION. “ Several copies of two documents, purporting to have emanated from the quarterly meeting of the Manchester First Circuit, and from a meeting of trustees, local preachers, leaders, and stewards, held in Manchester, on the 7th November last, having been forwarded to various officers of the Wesleyan Methodist Society in Leeds West circuit. We feel ourselves called upon, by the manifest evil tendency of the said documents, to record our most unqualified disapproval of them.
“ 1st.-Because we regard the formation of what is called the Grand Central Association as wholly uncalled for by any existing circumstances of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion, and as being a flagrant violation of the Minutes' of 1797.
“2nd. Because the insinuations contained in these documents against the integrity and fidelity of the excellent body of Christian ministers with whom we have the privilege to stand connected, we believe to be unfounded and calumnious; and, notwithstanding the aspersions which have of late been so lavishly cast upon them, we still regard them with unabated affection and confidence.
"3rd.—Because we view with the utmost abhorrence and indignation the proposal contained in these documents, to stop the supplies' which we have usually contributed to the several funds of the Connexion ; especially as in this proposition the monstrous principle is involved, that on the occurrence of any difference of opinion in our large