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But because they pursue an opposite line of conduct, are cordial friends of Methodism, think for themselves, and judge proper to express the opinions they entertain of the unjustifiable and wicked movements of the Association, in order to guard the people from being led away by their devices, and to encourage those who labour among them in the word and doctrine, this editor publishes to the world, that they are “ignorants”-under the guidance of “Captain Rock or Swing, who have again revived”_" prepared to do battle with green bill and blade”_guilty of gross falsehoods,” &c. &c. That these declarations excited the ire of the editor we fully believe; indeed, if this had not been the case, we should have had reason for regret instead of pity, which we now feel.
The language which the Lantern uses in representing to the public the insignificancy of these documents, is characteristic of a sinking cause. The editor may say what he pleases, but the agita. tion which for a short time existed, is nearly subsided : the character and object of which are now understood and condemned by a vast majority of our people. To revive the dying embers, numerous methods are employed : an extra number of the Lantern appears, and a few of the trustees of London publish a document recommending a new system of Wesleyan discipline. The restless spirit of several of the individuals signing this declaration, is well known; many of whom have no other connexion with the Methodist community; and some others are pious, single-hearted men, but possess no talent for concocting schemes of ecclesiastical government.This paper has made no impression on our London societies, and we are convinced will produce little or none elsewhere. We understand that a member of the committee of the Liverpool Association, and recently expelled from the society of the Liverpool south circuit, vainly imagines that by certain papers he has lately inserted in one of the public prints of Liverpool, he has touched the spring, which has brought before the Methodist world this document from the London trustees ; we can assure him to the contrary,
DR. WARREN AT HULL. THE MEETING IN SYKES-STREET.— As an advertisement appeared last Thursday morning, stating that a public meeting would be held in the Tabernacle, on Wednesday evening, the 11th instant, by a combination, improperly calling itself a Wesleyan Methodist Association ; and as there was cause to suspect that the meeting was clandestinely organised by some persons in Llull, a special leaders' meeting was held last Monday evening, in Waltham-street chapel vestry, when the leaders present adopted, by a majority of fifty against eight, the following expression of their views and sentiments :
“Having learned from various papers specially addressed to the members of this meeting, and from other publications now in circulation, the nature and objects of an association in Manchester, designat. ing itself the Grand Central Association; and having learned also that an attempt is now about to be made in a public meeting, by strangers from a distance, to gain adherents to that cause, by disturbing the peace and harmony subsisting in the Hull circuit: This meeting deems it a solemn duty to express its entire disapprobation of the principles and proceedings of that body, and determines to refrain from all co-operation with those who may endeavour to promote similar ends by the adoption of the like il. legal and improper means, and to support the superintendent in the exercise of Methodistic discipline,
Last Friday evening, the chairman was asked if those who got up the meeting intended to allow freedom of discussion. His reply was, that he could not give a definite or positive answer, but he believed it would be permitted. The most decisive measures were, however, taken to prevent all discussion. When the front doors were opened, the gallery was generally seated, by persons who had been privately admitted, no doubt for wise purposes; two of the Wesleyan ministers, who attended with the design of giving light on the subjects which might come before the audience, though perfectly well known to be ministers, found it very difficult to gain admission after repeated refusals. Soon the doors were thrown open to all persons indiscriminately; the chairman, in his opening speech, distinctly announced that no discussion would be allowed, and police officers were placed in various parts of the chapel, to seize any who should urge discussion. The addresses of the agitators contained little or no information to those who had read their publications. They were, as usual, highly seasoned with misrepresentation, scurrility, bombast, affected piety, and love of Methodism.—The meeting must not be considered as Wesleyan—an overwhelming majority of the person's present were not members of the Wesleyan society, and the object of the speakers was evidently not to promote, but to revolutionize, the Wesleyan polity. A great deal of uproarions applause was given to the speakers, but we were pleased to observe that in this very few Wesleyans participated.—Hull Packet, of February, 13.
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
• We beg to congratulate our readers, on the accomplishment of a great part of our work, as Illuminators, in holding up to the public the “ ineffable hypocrisy" of the ring-leaders of the Ass ociation.The rays of light which we have been enabled to throw upon their nefarious designs, has, like the touch of Ithuriel's spear, forced them from their position, “ squat like a toad" at the ear of honest-hearted Methodists, and "up they start, discovered and surprised, their lustre visibly impaired—but seem undaunted." -The third part of the Catechism of the Association is before us; and we do not hesitate to say that this unprincipled and wicked pamphlet will, with all unprejudiced minds, do more to assist the cause of Methodism as it is, and serve to unite the preachers and people in one common spirit of a calm defiance of the efforts of these double-faced agitators, than we could hope to effect by our endeavours. Why should it not be known that several of these Agitators, on the 8th instant, in the Leeds-street chapel, actually elboved their way past the Steward, who quietly attempted to prevent their approach to the sacramental rail, and then and there did these men awfully profane that holý ordinance by receiving the sacred memorials of our dying Lord from the hands of one of those, who, if only half be true what these men speechify and publish concerning them, ought to be stoned or placed in the stocks, rather than be recognised by any man as administrators at the Table of the Lord; and then, in perfect keeping with all the rest, they subsequently publicly abused the Steward for the faithful per. formance of his duty, in endeavouring to prevent this detestable profanation. Can we illuminate this bare-faced hypocrisy further ? Let our readers judge!
Communications have been received from "A Lover of Methodism," _“ Polycarp,"_“ R. A.,"“Mentor,'"M.,"_"Sigma,"--An Observer,"_“and R, Garside,"_“ A Voice from Leeds," on account of great press of matter is unavoidably postponed until the next number.—We shall be glad to receive the promised communication from our correspondent in Hull.
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MR. GORDON'S SPEECH-ALLEGED IRRESPONSIBLE POWER OF THE CONFERENCE. • After dwelling on the unjust and illegal constitution of the Conference, Mr. Gordon next proceeds largely to discant on the power it exercises. Amongst other things he affirms it to be irresponsible : " one other thing is to be observed of this power, the source of all the evil; that is to say, it is altogether irresponsible, absolute, and arbitrary. Nothing interferes with it, and no check whatever is placed upon it." We refer now to this topic, not merely because it forms so prominent a part of this speech, but as affording the opportunity of remark on a most fruitful subject of declamation in these times of turbulence and debate. Some skill and dexterity is certainly evinced in the selection of this, as well as other questions of misrepresentation ; for nothing in the zenith of our national freedom, can be more abhorrent to British feeling, than the notion of irresponsible power. Besides, when this power is supposed to exist in a priestly form, the annunciation of the fact instantly excites in the public mind an instinctive sensation of disgust and horror. We fear it has been so often dwelt upon, and reiterated in the ears of our people, that great numbers of them, whilst possessed of perfect freedom, have been led to believe that they are held in fetters, by a system of priestly despotism which far exceeds popery in its hey-day of power. · Let us examine this question of irresponsible power with fairness and candour. The proposition is made in general terms, leaving us to infer, that the Wesleyan body of ministers are exalted above responsibility of any kind. We beg to remind Mr. Gordon and the Association that there are more kinds of responsibility than one; that a child is responsible for its behaviour to its parents; a subject to the government under which he lives, as well as a delegated person to his constituents. Now, when it is affirmed, that “ the Conference and preachers in their circuits are irresponsible, and no check whatever is placed upon them," the subject must be examined as a whole, and because they are not responsible in one peculiar way, it will not follow that they are not responsible in another. If, for instance, the officers of any system, defined and established by law, instead of being responsible to the variable opinion of the living world, are bound by the laws and institutions of the department to which they belong, are in this case under a complete state of accountability. The case of the
Church of England or of Scotland may afford us illustration. In these two churches,--rightly or wrongly we do not now say,—the great doctrines and laws of religion, instead of being left to be moulded and fashioned by the popular voice of every succeeding age, have been settled as permanently fixed and established as formularies and rites, and who will say that the clergy serving at the altar of these national churches are irresponsible. They are not responsible to their assembled parishioners convened annually, at the hustings, to propose questions and give them a commission for a new term to preach the gospel. But although not subject to this mode of responsibility, they are “under the law” of the church. In like manner the Methodist polity has grown up gradually as occasion required-rules have been franied for the government of the preachers and people, and to these laws the parties are bound. It will be found, on a candid investigation of the subject, that no ministers on earth are placed under a more strict surveillance of law examination, and supervision; and that no Christian community has so many guarantees for the general purity of their own ministry as the Methodists.
1. When Mr. Gordon asserts that the Conference and the preachers are in the exercise of an irresponsible power, that "nothing interferes with it, and that no check whatever is placed upon it,” we would ask him if he has forgotten that the Methodists have the Bible in their hands ? Are not the preachers responsible to the great Head of the Church ? And, as long as the people have the use of this blessed book, they will have the means of comparing their whole ministry with the will of our Lord, and if they find it inconsistent with the law and the testimony,” to confront the one by the light of the other. As this is the primary source of all power, it is to this that the ministers of religion are first of all responsible, and in a much higher sense than they can be to any merely human rules.
As the commission of their Saviour is their authority for preaching the gospel, so the doctrines and laws of his kingdom must be the primary rule of their ministry. Human exposition may give concentration to divine truth, but it can never alter or annul its authority. Having received this gospel to preach, and, when placed in the pastoral office, being obliged to administer and enforce the laws of Christ in the church, the minister is first of all responsible to his Lord and master. It may comport with the spirit of his commission to guard him against errors of doctrine, a hasty, precipitate and arbitrary administration of discipline; but no power on earth can have the right to preveut him preaching the gospel freely, and, in the way propounded in the New Testament, enforcing the laws of Christ. Infidelity on his part, or the assumption of a coercive controul on the part of the people, when either the doctrine or discipline of the New Testament are in question, is sin against the great Head of the Church. Both parties are under the same authority, and are equally amenable to Christ. It may be affirined that this is quite beside the case. We think not. The question relates to the exercise of an irresponsible power, and our reply is--that ministers are first responsible tu God; and as the people are in possession of his word, they have the means of judging whether they observe the rules and preach the doctrines of the gospel. The Word of God in the hands of the people is a check against the exercise of that arbitrary and irresponsible power which the Association declares, is exercised by the Methodist preachers in enforcing the rules of Scripture. Although, in every case offensive to persons falling under rebuke or expulsion from the Church, there is a full and explicit acknowledgement of the permanent and binding authority of the laws of Christ. It would, we apprehend, be much more agreeable to the feelings of a minister, to avoid this dutyto escape the burthen of being brought into collision with opposing parties, and to swim with the current, glide in what direction it may, rather than faithfully, and, in the midst of obloquy and reproach, firmly stand by the truth of God. To that truth, however, he owes allegiancé-he is responsible to it, and the people possessing it themselves must be prepared to refuse submission to every thing of an anti-scriptural nature.
2. But, besides their accountability to the law of God, it so happens, that the Methodist Conference rests on the basis of a legal instrument enrolled in Chancery, and they are consequently responsible to its provisions. As this celebrated document is so often referred to in the debates now going on, and we presume it is not much known amongst the gencrality of our readers, we publish it entire. " An Attested Copy of Mr. WESLEY's Declaration and Establishment of the Conference of the people called Methodists, enrolled in His Majesty's High Court of Chancery: "To all to whom these Presents shall come, John Wesley, late of Lincoln College, Oxford, but now
of the City-road, London, Clerk, sendeth greeting :
« WHEREAS divers buildings, commonly called Chapels, with a messuage and dwelling-house, or other appurtenances, to each of the same belonging, situate in various parts of Great Britain, have been given and conveyed, from time to time, by the said John Wesley to certain persons and their heirs, in each of the said gifts and conveyances named; which are enrolled in his Majesty's High Court of Chancery, upon the acknowledgment of the said John Wesley, (pursuant to the Act of Parliament in that case made and provided,) upon trust, that the trustees in the said several deeds respectively named, and the survivors of them and their heirs and assigns, and the trustees for the time being, to be elected as in the said deeds is appointed, should permit and suffer the said John Wesley, and such other person and persons as he should for that purpose from time to time nominate and appoint, at all times during his life, at his will and pleasure to have and enjoy the free use and benefit of the said premises, that he the said John Wesley, and such person and persons as he should nominate and appoint, might therein, preach and expound God's holy word: And upon further trust, that the said respective trustees and the survivors of them, and their heirs and assigns, and the trustees for the time being, should permit and suffer Charles Wesley, brother of the said John Wesley, and such other person and persons as the said Charles Wesley should for that purpose from time to time nominate and appoint, in like manner during his life-To have, use, and enjoy the said premises respectively, for the like purposes as aforesaid : and after the decease of the survivor of them, the said John Wesley and Charles Wesley, then upon further trust, that the said respective trustees, and the survivors of them, and their heirs and assigns, and the trustees for the time being for ever, should permit and suífer such persons and for such time and times as should be appointed at the yearly Conference of the people called Methodists, in London, Bristol, or Leeds, and no others, to have and enjoy the said premises, for the purposes aforesaid: And whereas divers persons have, in like manner, given or conveyed many Chapels, with messuages and dwellinghouses, or other appurtenances to the same beloi situate in various parts of Great Britain, and also in Ireland, to certain trustees, in each of the said gifts and conveyances respectively named upon the like trusts, and for the same uses and purposes as aforesaid, (except only that in some of the said gifts and conveyances, no life estate or other interest is therein or thereby given and reserved to the said Charles Wesley:) And whereas, for rendering effectual the trusts created by the said several gifts or conveyances, and that no doubt or litigation may arise with respect unto the same, or the interpretation and true meaning thereof, it has been thought expedient by the said John Wesley, on behalf of himself as donor of the several Chapels, with the messuages, dwelling-houses, or appartenances before mentioned, as of the donors of the said other Chapels, with the messuages, dwelling-houses, or appurtenances to the same belonging, given or conveyed to the like uses and trusts, to explain the words, yearly Conference of the people called Methodists, contained in all the said trust deeds, and to declare what persons are members of the said Conference, and how the succession and identity thereof is to be continued : Now therefore these presents witness, that for accomplishing the aforesaid purposes, the said John Wesley doth hereby declare, that the Conference of the people called Methodists, in London, Bristol, or Leeds ever since there hath been any yearly Conference of the said people called Methodists in any of the said places, hath always heretofore consisted of the Preachers and expounders of God's holy word, commonly called Methodist Preachers, in connexion with and unde
list Preachers, in connexion with and under the care of the said John Wesley, whom he hath thought expedient year after year to summons to meet him, in one or other of the said places, of London, Bristol, or Leeds, to advise with them for the promotion of the gospel of Christ, to appoint the said persons so summoned, and the other Preachers and Expounders of God's holy word, also in connexion with, and under the care of the said John Wesley, not summoned to the said yearly Conference, to the use and enjoyment of the said Chapels and premises so given and conveyed upon trust for the said John Wesley, and such other person or persons as he should appoint during his life as aforesaid, and for the expulsion of unworthy and admission of new persons under his care and into his connexion, to be Preachers and Expounders as aforesaid, and also of other persons upon trial for the like purposes ; the names of all which persons so summoned by the said John Wesley, the persons appointed with the Chapels and premises to which they were so appointed, together with the duration of such appointments, and of those expelled or admitted into connexion or upon trial, with all other matters transacted and done at the said yearly Conference, have, year by year, been printed and published under the title of Minutes of Conference. And these presents further witness, and the said John Wesley doth hereby avouch and further declare, that the several persons herein after named, to wit,” &c., “being Preachers and Expounders of God's holy word, under the care and in connexion with the said John Wesley, have been, and now are, and do, on the day of the date hereof, constitute the members of the said Conference, according to the true intent and meaning of the said several gifts and conveyances wherein the words Conference of the People called Methodists are mentioned and contained. And that the said several persons before named, and their successors for ever, to be chosen as herein after mentioned, are, and shall for ever be construed, taken, and be, the Conference of the People called Methodists. Neverthe. less, upon the terms, and subject to the regulations herein after prescribed, that is to say,
“1. That the Members of the said Conference, and their successors for the time being for ever, shall assemble once in every year, at London, Bristol, or Leeds (except as after mentioned), for the purposes aforesaid ; and the time and place of holding every subsequent Conference shall be appointed at the preceding one, save that the next Conference after the date hereof, shall be holden at Leeds, in Yorkshire, the last Tuesday in July next.