« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
the garment as would still leave it in a departure from the Church as the strict Dis. sense, one. The question with the sole senters. Nor do Church-writers themselves diers was, whether they should rend it into ever speak of the Methodist body as a so many separate parts, so that each manpart of the national Church. The Bishop might have his share of it; or whether of London does not, in the passage which one of them should have it, whole and Mr. Binney has quoted; nor does the entire. In his conclusion respecting the Bishop of Exeter, who has adopted a ecclesiastical sense of the noun, we fully tone so friendly towards them. concur. On this point, the author agrees The Methodists, then, apon Mr. Binsubstantially with Mr. Wesley, who has, ney's own principles, are not guilty of the defined schism to be a division in a church, sin of schism. Whether they can justify not a separation from one. Adopting themselves in separating from the estab. this interpretation, Mr. Binney examines lished Church at all, seeing they were the controversy between the Dissenters not prepared to follow the Dissenters to and the established Church ; and argues the extreme ground on which they have that the Dissenters are not guilty of placed themselves, is another question ;schism, inasmuch as they are sepa- a question, however, which they are prerated from the Church, and do not createpared to meet. The Methodists, who a division in it; and he is willing to are the parties most immediately conallow the Methodists also the benefit of cerned in the scriptural settlement of that this conclusion, provided, however, that point, are persuaded that other reasons they are really in a state of separation than a conviction of the sinfulness of the from the Establishment. If they are still in establishment of a Church by the law of the Church of England, the author con. the land may justify them in assuming ceives they are chargeable with a schism the independent position which they now of the most flagrant description ; but, if occupy ; and Mr. Binney also appears to separated from it, then, he admits, they entertain the same persuasion, when he may be defended from the charge on broad, proposes “to look at the act of our fageneral, Protestant principles. We are at thers in making a direct and deliberate some loss to understand the reason why secession from the Establishment," in the the case should be thus put hypothetically. reign of Charles II. That secession was There are Dissenters, it is true, who not made on the principle that an estabspeak of the Methodists as “ amphibious lished Church is unscriptural. Many of sectarists; ” but we did not expect that those who then withdrew from the Church Mr. Binney, who, we are persuaded, of England, Mr. Binney himself says, cherishes no unkindly feeling towards believed not only “in the justice” but the Methodists, would express himselfeven in the necessity of an Establishso doubtfully as to the relative position ment.” They withdrew from the Church which they occupy. The Methodists do in order to evade the burdens which the indeed deny that they separate from the Act of Uniformity sought to impose Church of England on the ground gene- upon their consciences, and which they rally assumed by the strict Dissenters, viz., would equally have resisted had the that its alliance with the State is a viola- Church been unconnected with the State, tion of its allegiance to the Great Head and the Act proceeded from the spiritual of the church. They do not rank them- rulers of the Church alone. And yet Mr. selves among those Dissenters who, with Binney eulogizes them for the sacrifices Towgood in the last century, and with which they made. For this we blame him Mr. Binney in the present, characterize not. We, too, venerate those honoured the Church of England as herself schis- names which shed so pure and bright a matic, in compelling them to separate lustre on the page of our national ecclesifrom her communion, because they can. astical history; and our object in referring not in conscience own that temporal do- to them is to show, that there is, in the mination to which she has subjected her- judgment of others as well as ourselves, self. But the Methodists never maintain a ground on which the Methodists may that, as a body, they are part of the es- vindicate their separation from the Church. tablished Church ; whatever may be the If the secession of those whom the Dis. views of individuals. The authorities senting churches claim as their “fathers” of the established Church have no more was justifiable; then it is not necessary for control over the Methodist ministry, or the Methodists, in order to their justificaover the societies, than they have over tion, to follow the children of those “ faMr. Binney, or the people who are under thers" in their wider deviations, and adopt his pastoral care. They admit that they with them the principle which their "faare really separatists; while they main. thers" repudiated, that of the unlawful. tain that they have not taken so wide a ness of a church Establishment. If the Me.
VOL. XIV. Third Series MARCH, 1835.
thodists are only allowed the same liberty of the description is to be collected from the conscience as is conceded to the Noncon Bible. Perhaps there are few who have forming Ministers of 1662, they can suc- not felt at such times that which led cessfully defend their own secession, not. old Lynacre to exclaim, after reading withstanding that they also, as a body, the sermon on the Mount,' “ Either “ believe in the justice and necessity of this is not Christianity, or we are not an Establishment."
Christians." Not many, however, seem Memoirs of a Serjeant late in the to have inquired, in the spirit of a sound Forty-third Light Infantry Regiment, and impartial philosophy, into the reasons previously to and during the Peninsular of the difference which, with so much pain, War; including an Account of his Con- they have perceived. Dr. Priestley, indeed, version from Popery to the Protestant professed to compile a History of the CorReligion. 24mo. pp. 278. 3s. Mason. ruptions of Christianity ; but, if he had - The subject of this narrative is still conducted his chemical as he did his living, and has therefore withheld his theological inquiries, his name would name. He is by birth an Irishman, and have been by this time forgotten, or was by education a Roman Catholic. only remembered as that of a man who Having entered into the army in early would have been both philosopher and life, he has seen much hard service, the heresiarch, but who had not the talent affecting details of which are here related. for either. Mr. Vaughan addresses him. He was present at the siege of Copenha. self to his task very differently. That gen; and fought under Sir John Moore his own views of church government have in Spain, when that unfortunate General not influenced him in his conclusions was killed; and he shared in all the hard- from particular facts, it would be too ships of the retreat and embarkation much to say ; perhaps too much to exwhich subsequently took place. Having pect that it should have been so. He is returned to England with the wreck of an Independent, and a Dissenter; and as Sir John's army, he was afterwards sent such, therefore, he will both think and to Portugal and Spain, where he was write. For ourselves, we are satisfied concerned in many a sanguinary engage. neither with the assumptions of the unment under the command of the Duke of interrupted-succession Episcopalian, por Wellington. For some years he has held a the unchecked independencies of the situation in the Royal Military Asylum at Congregationalist. The first sees nothing Chelsea, where he was converted from the but order, the latter nothing but liberty. errors of Popery, and brought to the enjoy. The true Eclectic in religion will come ment of the Christian salvation, by the much nearer the truth by combining both. instrumentality of the Methodists, of Mr. Vaugban's last seven lectures relate whose society he is an exemplary mem. chiefly, it will be seen, to the history of ber. The volume is well written ; re. the Christian religion, and the various markable at once for the neatness, sim- causes of its deterioration among its proplicity, and liveliness of its style, and fessors. They contain some very intethe soundness of the principles which it resting notices of the Gentile philosophy, embodies. To young persons especially as well as of the Christian Fathers, whose it will present many attractions, and sup- mistakes the author points out with a ply much information of superior value. faithfulness equal to that of Daillé, but
The Congregational Lecture. Second in a spirit far less controversial. He does Series. The Causes of the Corruption full justice to their numerous excellenof Christianity. By the Rev. Robert cies, and especially to their devoted piety. Vaughan. 8vo. pp. 432.—These lec- “ The benefit I have derived,” he says, tures are on the following subjects: “both as a Christian, and as a Christian 1 and 2. On the corruption of Christianity Minister, from the attention I have been from tendencies in the present condition of able to bestow on their works, is greater human nature.—3 and 4. From misappre- than I owe to any uninspired source; hensions of Judaism.-5,6, and 7. From from the refreshing proofs they afford of the influence of the Gentile philosophy.-8 the energy which the grace of Heaven and 9. From the influenceof ancient Pagan may infuse where religious knowledge ism. We quite agree with Mr. Vaughan, is singularly imperfect, and mixed, more that the question has not been considered or less, on all points, with erroneous conwith the attention which it deserves. No clusions." (P. 323.) We cannot agree one can have read even our common eccle with the author, however, in all his consiastical histories without having the con- clusions. Many of the corruptions of viction almost forced upon him, that they Christianity are accurately and instrucdo not exhibit the simple, yet majestic tively traced up to misapprehensions of and wonder-working religion, or which Judaism, or to the influence of the Gen
tile philosophy, and Paganism ; but it high God ;-and not only did Abraham does not follow that every principle or consider it his duty both to instruct and practice to which a resemblance can be govern in religious matters the nomadic found in some part of Judaism or Pagan- tribe of which he was the head, (not unism must be a corruption derived from like a modern Bedouin Chief,) but for one or the other. It appears to us that this he was commended by God, and the Mr. Vaughan does not always keep in commendation recorded in the pages of view the proper signification of the word inspiration : “ For I know him, that he corruption, and the difference between will command his children and his housethat and substitution. In the very cor hold after him, and they shall keep the way ruptions of Christianity a careful observer of the Lord to do justice and judgment." may always perceive a resemblance to We do not mean to insinuate that Mr. some primitive truth ; as in petrifactions, Vaughan is, in the usual sense of the where the original body, being first en expression, a partial writer. He does crusted by the extraneous matter, gradu. not, for instance, see in the legal estabally disappears, and the transmutation lishment of Christianity by Constantine becomes complete; but still, what is now the source of evils which plainly had a a very different substance retains all the previous existence. He says, “ There is grand outline of the original figure. hardly another subject on which so great Thus, it is true that the notions enter a degree of misapprehension prevails, as tained by many of the Fathers, (and still with respect to the comparative state of held in too many parts of the professing opinion in the church in regard to the Christian world,) on the subject of sacra doctrines of the Gospel during the intermental efficacy, very greatly resemble the val which preceded the accession of Conancient opinions on magic,and occult quali. stantine and in the ages subsequent. ties and powers; but Mr. Vaughan, in trac The former period is not unfrequently ing the former to the latter, has not suf. adverted to as the age of Christian light ficiently adverted to the fact, that, under and purity. The corruption of Christian all dispensations of revealed truth, it has doctrine by princely Bishops, perilous as pleased God to appoint that, with proper those corruptions are admitted to have obedience to certain positive injunctions, been, are almost trivial in comparison certain spiritual blessings should be con- with those to which every tenet of the nected. Nor has he, we think, in tracing Christian faith was more or less subject certain corruptions of Christianity up to when Bishops, if they had any existence, Paganism, always kept in view the far's were distinguished by the enmity of of a history much earlier than any Pa- Princes more than their favour. In the ganism of which we now possess any re vast space between the age of Constancords. He thus points out with much tine and our own, there is scarcely a corforce the evils which have sprung from ruption of the truth as it is in Jesus prefalse authority in the church ; but there senting itself, which might not be shown are, in the progress of the argument, oc to have made its appearance, and with casional deflections from the line marked considerable effect, in the first three cenby the principle, that all grand corrup- turies." It is to the first two lectures, tions of Christianity originated in some however, that we attach the greatest part of Christianity itself, otherwise they value, and from which the general reader had been substitutions, not corruptions. and student will derive the most advanThis false authority, for instance, he tage. Mr. Vaughan, in adverting to the traces up to the power claimed by the obvious fact, that Christianity was not heathen Priests, and exercised by them originally, any more than at present, (exin conjunction with the State, whose head cepting, of course, those to whom it was often chose to be himself Pontifex Maxi. communicated by inspiration,) imparted mus. The river is thus ascended as far to disciples whose mind was a mere rasa as the cataracts, and is there found agi. tabula, refers to the corruption of human tated and colluvious enough, it is true ; nature, and its tendencies, as the primary but is there nothing beyond ? Is not source of all the corruptions of religion. Paganism, both in doctrine and disci. Christianity thus stands justified from the pline, (so to speak,) a corruption, vast charges brought against it by a flippant and terrible, certainly, but still a corrup- infidelity, and which refer, properly, to tion, of Primitive Truth? On this very its own idolized human nature. And point of authority ;~from Job xxxi. 11 here is the great, practical lesson which and 28, it is evident that the Judges took the Christian student of ecclesiastical cognisance of crimes against God, as well history should be very careful to learn. as against society ;-Melchizedek, King The knowledge of the way in which of Salem, was likewise Priest of the most human nature corrupts the religion which it professes to receive, will largely contribute, especially when understood and applied by the faithfud Pastor, to prevent the recurrence of evils, which, though modified by existing circumstances into a somewhat different form, are substantially the same as those which, at a very early period, were permitted to obscure the glory, and weaken the force, of the only religion given by God to man, and
therefore the only religion calculated to bless and save mankind. Against all the causes by which such a religion may be corrupted, it behoves Christian societies and individuals most catefully to guard; only let them be equally careful that in rejecting what they conceive to be a corruption of Christianity, they reject nothing properly belonging to Christianity itself.
LETTER FROM THE BIGGLESWADE CIRCUIT.
To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine. It is a remarkable circumstance, that This offer was cheerfully accepted; the although Mr. Wesley must many times ground was purchased; and a neat chapel, have passed through Biggleswade, we thirty feet square, was erected with a galdo not find in his Journal, nor does the lery at the end. It was opened in 1795 oldest person remember, that he ever by the late Dr. Coke. preached there. Methodism, it appears, Biggleswade, at this time, formed part was first introduced into Biggleswade by of St. Ives Circuit, as did also HuntingMr. Freeman, an officer of Excise, in don. In 1804 another married Preacher 1794. He came from a place where he was appointed to the Circuit, with direchad enjoyed the ministry of an eminenttion to reside at Biggleswade. Madam and pious Clergyman. Not meeting with Harvey, with her wonted liberality, imthose religious advantages to which he had mediately erected a Preachers' house, adbeen accustomed, he wrote to the Clergy- joining the chapel, at her own expense ; man for advice, whether he should invite and Mr. William Howarth was the first the Methodists to preach occasionally. Preacher who resided in it. The answer returned was, “Get them by Madam Harvey was indeed a friend to all means ;” and he was also advised to Methodism. In addition to the chapel apply to Madam Harvey, of Hinxworth, and house at Biggleswade, she erected a who was likely to assist him. He did so; new chapel at Baldock, and another at and the next time one of the Preachers Stevenage; and at her death she left came to Hinxworth, he was sent to Big. three thousand pounds in the three per gleswade, and opened his commission on cents., to assist in the preaching of the the Market-Hill. By the following Sab- Gospel by the Methodists. This sum was bath, a shop, near the market, was pro. vested in three Trustees. Dr. Coke, cured for preaching. This became too Mr. George Whitfield, and the Rev. small; and a barn, not far distant, was William Jenkins. By these gentlemen, then resorted to. The late Mr. Linny with the approbation of the Conference, was the first Preacher that came regularly the annual income was thus divided,to Biggleswade, and his ministry was £24 to the Missions, £24 to the Continmade very useful. The late excellent gent Fund ; and £24 to the Circuit in Mrs. Hudson, of Hitchen, was awakened which she resided. She also erected a under his ministry, and many others. chapel on her own premises ; but at her
The cause, though small, continued to decease the estate went to the heir-at-law, increase ; so that a larger and better place and the chapel has not been used since. of worship became necessary. As Ma. Within the last four years a neat chapel dam Harvey had taken a great interest in has been erected in the village, which is the infant cause, and was very desirous filled with worshippers, and good has of its success, the friends waited upon her been done. to request her assistance towards the erec Notwithstanding all these advantages tion of a new and suitable place of wor which the Circuit enjoyed through the ship. After some conversation, she con- influence and patronage of this distinsented to purchase a piece of ground, guished lady, the cause did not prosper. erect a chapel upon it, and convey it to While she lived she entirely supported Trustees, for the use of the people for the single Preacher; and after her death, ever, on the condition, that she should in 1806, the Circuit experienced great difreceive the pew-rents as long as she lived. ficulty in meeting the demands upon it. So it continued until Mr. John Ward would purchase them, and dispose of the was appointed to labour in the Circuit. old property. To accomplish this, subHe resided at St. Neot's; and during his scriptions were commenced, weekly and residence there, it was determined to quarterly, in March, 1833. make Biggleswade and the adjacent The year 1834 will ever be memorable places into a separate Circuit, which took in the history of Methodism in the Bigplace in 1810. He then removed to Big- gleswade Circuit. On Thursday, Ja. gleswade, and God made him a special nuary 23d, we opened a new chapel, blessing to the people. During his mi. thirty-eight feet by thirty, at Ashwell, a nistry it became necessary to enlarge the village seven miles east of Biggleswade; chapel, which was done by adding fifteen in the following April we enlarged our feet to its length. The good work, thus new chapel at Beeston, by an addition of happily commenced, received a severe fourteen feet, making it fifty feet by check under his successor, who having thirty. This was done at an expense of imbibed Calvinistic sentiments, did not £106; £60 of which were raised by subfail to propagate them. This induced scriptions, and public collections. It was many to leave the society, never more to re-opened on Friday, May 16th, by the return. This evil was, by God's blessing, Rev. George Cubitt, from London. considerably abated by the piety and zeal The chapel at Hitchen had become of Mr. John Sydserff and Mr. Isaac too small to contain the people; and, Bradnack, who succeeded him ; both of notwithstanding the noble effort which whom were made useful to many souls. had been made a short time before, to The good work continued to go on, with discharge the debt of £320, the friends nothing material to mark its progress, or immediately purchased the adjoining proits decline, until Mr. Millman and Mr. perty, and commenced a subscription to W.H. Clarkson were appointed to labour taķe the whole down, and erect a chapel in the Circuit. The preaching of the sufficiently large to contain all who should former was well received by the societies feel disposed to worship there. This throughout the Circuit : and under that work was commenced, and the foundationof the latter a general awakening took stone laid by Thomas Ward, Esq., March place; so that in almost every place sin. 29th, 1834. Principally through the ners were converted to God. The Local liberality of this gentleman, his excellent Preachers' List received a considerable lady, and the late Mrs. Hudson, has the accession; and from this period we must chapel been erected. The dimensions are date the beginning of that good work sixty-four feet by forty-two feet and a half, which has been advancing to the present inside, with a gallery fifteen feet deep at day.
the back, for the choir and the SundayWe had a small scciety at Hitchen, school children, over the vestry. This who worshipped in a barn, fitted up for the building, which is in a delightful situapurpose. This was inconvenient, and be- tion, was opened for divine worship on came too small; and, by a chain of re- , Thursday, the 24th July. The Rev. markable circumstances, we purchased a Theophilus Lessey preached in the mornchapel, which was opened for divine wor. ing and afternoon ; and the Rev. James ship on January 6th, 1830, by the Rev. Dixon in the evening. Mr. Dixon and James Dixon, from London.
the Rev. John Bell preached on the fol. In 1832 the societies began to think it lowing Sabbath. A very lively interest high time to do something more for God, was excited in the town and neighbourseeing that several of the congregations hood; the place was crowded with attenhad become too large for the places in tive hearers; and the collections amounted which they worshipped. In the autumn to the sum of £124. we began to erect a new chapel at Beeston, During the erection of the Hitchen thirty-six feet by thirty, where there had chapel, a new chapel (owing to a revival long been a society, which, for want of of the work of God) had been commenced room had not prospered to the extent it at Newnham. Mr. Dixon kindly conmight have done. This chapel was opened sented to open that on the following day. on Wednesday, December 5th, by Mr. viz., Friday, July 25th. This chapel is William Dawson, and the Rev. John thirty feet by twenty, and capable of Greeves. The collections amounted to holding all the inhabitants in the parish. £58. This chapel was soon filled to over. It has been erected mainly by the kind flowing; and it became necessary to en- liberality of our excellent friend Mr. large it as early as possible. The chapel Hine. The cost was about £100, and at Biggleswade also became too small, so the collections at the opening amounted that the friends came to the resolution, to £24. that, should suitable premises offer, they Shefford, a town five miles west of