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putations, I pledge myself, if spared, refer to the Deed of Declaration, a seriously, and in good earnest, to legal document, the importance of defend Methodism from the schisms which generations yet unborn will which it is supposed to have engen more fully estimate than some of the dered.
present generation, who appear to But as I regard such argumenta- have neither the ability nor the tion as a mere begging of the ques. inclination to appreciate its value. tion, I proceed to notice a statement This Deed contains the names of so grave in its character, communi- one hundred Preachers, nominated cated in such a tone of authority, and by Mr. Wesley himself, and whom involving in it such important he styles, “ Gentlemen, being results, that it merits special atten- Preachers or Expounders of God's tion.“ Wesley intended the Confer. holy word, under the care and in ence to be a convocation of Clergy connexion with the said John and laity.” This is certainly a Wesley;” and it proceeds as folnovel announcement. On what lows : “have been, and now are, and authority is it made? At present do, on the day of the date hereof, the authority is anonymous. Per. constitute the members of the said sons accustomed to the rules of Conference, according to the true evidence know that an anonymous intent and meaning of the said sevetestimony is very dubious, and ral gifts and conveyances wherein scarcely entitled to credit. As, the words, Conference of the peohowever, the writer is alive, per- ple called Methodists,' are menhaps he will let the public know that tioned and contained ; and that the he possesses “ a local habitation and said several persons before named, a name.” What evidence is ad- and their successors for ever, to be duced to support this anonymous chosen as hereafter mentioned, are affirmation ? Not a tittle! And is and shall for ever be construed, taken, the testimony of contemporaneous and be, the Conference of the peowitnesses, the “ venerated colleagues ple called Methodists.” (Wesley's of the Founder of Methodism," to Works, vol. iv., p. 507.) Is it possibe nullified, and rendered void, by ble for words to be more precise or the anonymous and unsupported definite in their meaning? Can any testimony of a popular writer? “In evidence be adduced more satisfacthe temper of the present times,” tory, or more decisive of the point however bad that temper may be at issue? Will the unsupported supposed, such an assumption of assertion of an anonymous writer dictatorial authority, which, if not induce any man, capable of compre“unmixed” with any thing else, is hending the question,--and it is only obviously “irresponsible," will not to such that I appeal,- to hesitate be endured. It would be a libel for one moment, as to the verdict upon the British public to suppose which he is bound to give on the that they are so changed in temper subject at issue? The clauses which and principle as to give implicit cre have been previously adduced, and dence to the unsupported testimony which prescribe the conditions on of an anonymous writer, contra which Preachers are to be received dicted as it is by the living testi- on trial, and elected members of the mony of men whose character for Conference; and also a subsequent integrity and rectitude is unim. clause, which provides that when peached and unimpeachable. But “the said Conference shall be reduced the matter at issue is not suspended under the number of forty members, upon the testimony of living wit- the Conference of the people called nesses; though that evidence, with Methodists shall be extinguished ;” candid and thinking men, would be contain not a vestige of probable or deemed conclusive. The written, possible evidence to support the and solemnly recorded, testimony of statement, that Mr. Wesley intended Mr. Wesley himself is adducible, as the Conference to be a convocation confirmatory of the evidence of his of Clergy and laity. To protract an venerated colleagues. I once more argument on a case to clear would be to insult the reader, and “darken doubted, that the schisms of Procounsel by words without know- testantism have engaged the attenledge.”
tion of the hierarchy of the Papal It may not be improper to remark, Church. But it is to be regarded that, though this important docu- rather as an indication of what perment contains the names of one haps is a “consummation most dehundred Preachers, yet only four voutly wished,” and not a true record of them were Clergymen, namely, of what really is the fact, when the John Wesley, Charles Wesley, Tho- writer affirms, that “disinterested mas Coke, and James Creighton. spectators cannot but grieve to see a The other ninety-six were, in the system, so excellent originally, and sense of the word as contradis- which has effected so much good, tinguished from the Clergy, laymen. breaking up, and generating feud How much of imagination, but how upon feud, -scandal upon scandal.” little of truth, is there in the follow. This is the very tone in which proing pompous passages ! -" His phecies have been uttered, and inlegislative and administrative assem- terested wishee recorded, by Monks, bly, therefore, the Conference, was Friars, Cardinals, and Popes, rein his view, a mixed convocation of specting Protestantism; but hitherto Clergy and laity; the latter being they have prophesied falsely : and, predominant in numbers. But this though we do not dissemble our arbitrary and artificial distinction, a grief, yet we have no fears to record mere canonical fiction, necessarily respecting the future existence of grew fainter and fainter every year, Methodism. That admirable sysand soon completely disappeared. tem, “so excellent originally," Yet the silent change was of vital which we confidently affirm has consequence; for thenceforward the been perpetuated in its purity, and society fell into the despotic form which has effected so much good, of a purely hierarchical polity.” Is is not yet “breaking up." Spectators, it possible that any sensible man, whether interested or disinterested, supposing him to have the slightest may reserve their sympathy for regard for candour, would have some other occasion. The system has written such unmeaning bombast, if endured many a conflict, and subsehe had read the evidence which has quently become stronger and more been adduced? If he had not read influential; and we doubt not but it, how admirably qualified must such will be the issue of the present such a writer be to instruct the pub- contest. The tallest cedars that he on matters of Methodistical ornamented the tops of Lebanon, polity, and admonish the Wesleyan and cast their shadows into the leaders for not “long ago hav- valleys, were exposed to many a ing discerned the danger, and storm and tempest ; but they cast prevented the schisms, that have their roots deeper and wider. actually happened, by rendering the so, also, we confidently believe, it Conference what Wesley intended it will be with Methodism; and for to be ! ” when it appears by evin this reason, that we regard it, not as dence which cannot be controverted, a device of man, but the work of God. that the constitution of the Confer- The winds of calumny have roared ence really is what it always was, in loud and continuous blasts and, according to Mr. Wesley's around the heads of some of the intention, always must be,-an tallest cedars in the mountains of assembly of Preachers and Ex- Methodism; but, thank God, those pounders of God's holy word,” and cedars have stood, conscious of their not “a convocation of Clergy and integrity, and rejoicing in their uplaity."
rightness. That the dissensions which have occasionally disturbed Methodistic “As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful societies have attracted the attention form, “ of disinterested spectators," cannot Swells from the vale, and midway leaves be doubted, any more than it can be the storm,
Though round its breast the rolling Church, some of the heads of the clouds are spread,
hierarchy have expressed a grateful Eternal sunshine settles on its head.”
feeling for the forbearance of the The concluding sentence in this Methodists in refusing to join in very objectionable paragraph more those attacks upon the Establishment than justifies the suspicion, that the which are so general and incessant. author of “Spiritual Despotism” is We should not have stated this fact, not quite so" disinterested"a spectator if it had not been for the character of our feuds as he would lead us to which the author of “Spiritual Despoimagine. “ Shall the established tism” has given us, being that of a for. Church, with a noble and a Chris- midable opposition ; which is equally tian-like concession to the circum- injurious and untrue. I am utterly at a stances of the times, embrace Wes- loss to conceive the nature of that leyan Methodism, leaving to it its embracing of Wesleyan Methodism vitality and its independence; and by the established Church, which so, while it loses a formidable oppo. the author contemplates, leaving to nent, gain an efficient ally?” What it its vitality and independence. a noble and Christian-like conces- My deliberate opinion is, that the sion to the circumstances of the times, position which we now occupy, as for the established Church to em separated from, though not in a brace Wesleyan Methodism, without state of formidable opposition to the fettering itself by any pecuniary in- established Church, is the only posicumbrance ! “leaving to it its vital- tion in which we can successfully purity and independence ;” that is, in sue the great business for which, and plain terms, condescending to patron for which alone, we believe God raised ize a Connexion which at the last us up,-to spread scriptural godliness Conference (1834) numbered one through the land. With feelings of thousand and seventy Pastors, in devout gratitude to Almighty God, we Great Britain and Ireland, and two admit the fact conceded by the hundred and thirty-six Mission- author of “Spiritual Despotism,” aries ; who have under their pastoral that we still retain our “ vitality and care, in the aggregate, three hun independence.” Hitherto we have, dred and sixty-five thousand, eight as a people, dwelt alone; and while hundred and fifty-seven members of Churchmen and Dissenters have society; besides the vast number of denounced us as actuated by a “sechearers to whom they preach in their tarian spirit,” we have, as a body, respective congregations ! Methods walked in the footsteps of our ism, as a system, stands in no need Founder, and meddled not with of this patronage. The author of them that are given to change. So “ Spiritual Despotism” speaks of far as I possess the means of that fraternal embrace which he re- information, I believe, that not the commends, as effecting “the loss of slightest indication has ever been a formidable opponent,” and “the given by those who are regarded as the gain of an efficient ally.” The use Wesleyan leaders, to embrace any of this language proves how little thing that involves a fundamental the writer knows of Methodism, and change in Methodism; but they of the principles by which its adher have ever cherished a fixed and ents are actuated. At no period of unwavering determination to transour bistory did we occupy the posi. mit to their successors, in an unimtion of formidable opponents to the paired form, that “admirable system” Establishment. We are the friends of doctrine and discipline which of all, and the enemies of none. they believe still is, what it was origiThe opposition which we offer, and nally, “so excellent," and which they which, blessed be God, has indeed rejoice to know has “ effected so much been formidable, is to sin, in every good.” The consciousness of their shape, and under every combination own integrity, the purity of their of circumstances. We have reason motives, the simplicity and spirituto believe, that, at the present crisis ality of their object, combined with in the affairs of the established the approving smile of Him whom
they rejoice to recognise as their and importance. As an individual, I Father who is in heaven, have sup- would urge their beloved flocks to ported them in a season of intense pray fervently and believingly, that anxiety, and great discouragement; the great Head of the church may and still embolden them to peree- preside in the sittings of the next vere, “through evil report and good Conference, and that he would report,” to perpetuate, in its vitality favour them with a copious outand independence, the system which pouring of the Holy Spirit. To they recieved as a sacred deposit secure this desirable and necessary from the great and the good John blessing, I would take the liberty Wesley. They look forwards to the most earnestly to suggest, that the approaching Conference with anx. first day of the Conference should, iety, but not with alarm ; having joy- by that body, and by the whole Conful confidence in Him who rides in the nexion, be made a day of fasting and whirlwind, and directs the storm; prayer; a day of humiliation and who has so frequently interposed at adoration ; a day of praise and of critical seasons in the eventful his- supplication: and who can doubt tory of Methodism, and shown him the result? God himself will show self to be the Guide and Protector of his goodness and power, and every his people. They cannot, they will heart respond, in the language of not, they dare not, doubt his our venerated Founder, whose mantle gracious and holy interposition, we are solicitous to catch, “The when they shall meet their brethren best of all is, God is with us." to confer on matters of deep interest
SELECT LIST OF BOOKS RECENTLY PUBLISHED, CHIEFLY
The insertion of any article in this List is not to be considered as pledging us to the ap. probation of its contents, unless it be accompanied by some express notice or our favourable opinion. Nor is the omission of any such notice to be regarded as indicating a contrary opi. nion, as our limits, and other reasons, impose on us the pecessity of selection and brevity.]
Journal of a Residence and Tour in that came under his observation, he has the United States of America, from been induced to commit them to the press, April, 1833, to October, 1834. By E. S. in the hope of serving the cause of jusAbdy, Fellow of Jesus College, Cam. tice and mercy. The most prominent bridge. In Three Volumes. Small 8vo. subject of his well-written and deeply, pp. 395, 415, 408. 30s. Murray.--The interesting volumes, is the condition of Americans are a powerful off-shoot from the black and coloured population, two the British family; and as they are said millions of whom, it appears, are there to have adopted institutions more liberal held in abject slavery, attended, in innuand enlightened than those of the parent merable instances, with the most barbastate, authentic information respecting rous cruelty, and in every case with a the practical working of their social sys- distinction of caste directly at variance tem possesses a peculiar interest, espe, with the very first principles of humanity cially in these times of agitation and and religion. Some persons, it would change. In this view the publication of appear, especially in the southern states, Mr. Abdy's work is highly seasonable make it their business to raise human and important. Being in somewhat de- beings for the slave-market ; just as Englicate health, he accompanied two friends lish farmers and graziers supply the to the United States, one of whom was cattle-markets of our large towns. Pa. sent by the British Government to in- rents are thus separated from their chil. spect the plan of prison discipline, as dren under circumstances of the most practised in the New World. Having heart-rending description. Religious spent about seventeen months in itinerat slaves, being industrious and trust-woring that vast continent, and preserved thy, as a matter of course, are advertised notes of the principal facts and scenes by the merchant at higher prices than
their uninstructed and ungodly brethren; and oppression, which the work dis. and, in many instances, young children, closes. torn from the arms of their agonized mo. The New Testament of our Lord and thers, are sold by weight. Free negroes and Saviour Jesus Christ: to which are addpersons of colour, male and female, how. ed, Various Readings, References to Pa. ever respectable for property, intelligence, rallel Passages, and Explanatory Notes. and piety, are, especially in the slave With Maps illustrative of the Sacred States, treated with contempt. They Text. 32mo. Cloth, 4s. Nisbet.--Every are not allowed to sit at table with white attempt to facilitate the reading and people, even at inns and in steam-boats; knowledge of the holy Scriptures is ennor, in other respects, are the common titled to respect; and the compiler of civilities of life conceded to them. In this small edition of the New Testament hunan and disgusting as is the course has done a good work. The sacred text which is thus pursued in general society, is printed in two columns; and there is the treatment which the proscribed race a narrow column in the middle of each meet with in the church is still more re page, containing the marginal readings, volting, because it is seen in direct con- a collection of parallel texts, and concise trast to the benevolent spirit of Chris. explanatory notes, selected with judgtianity. They are not allowed, it seems, ment from the most celebrated Com. to mingle with the white people in their mentators. At the end of each book religious assemblies; but are required, there are also notices concerning its auwhen they attend public worship, either thor, date, and the circumstances under to sit by themselves in some infe- which it was written. The volume, notrior part of the church, or to meet in a withstanding its diminutive size, conseparate place, which a white man will tains also three maps, one of Jerusalem ; never deign to enter. Nor are they per- another, of the Holy Land; and a third, mitted to approach the table of the Lord illustrative of the travels of the Apostles. till the whites have all partaken of the The whole is neat and readable, and will sacred elements, and retired. How it is that form an admirable pocket companion for men can believe the New Testament, and young persons. thus treat with contumely and disrespect A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land ; com. their brethren, redeemed by the same blood prising Recollections, Sketches, and Reand sanctified by the same Spirit with flections, made during a Tour in the East, themselves, merely because of a different in 1832-1833. By Alphonse De Lamarcolour of the skin, is a mystery which tine, Member of the French Academy. we pretend not to fathom, but which“the In Three Volumes. Small 8vo. pp. 429, day will declare.” Slavery and caste 448, 393. Bentley.- M. Lamartine is are the dry-rot of American society; a French poet of considerable celebrity. and unless they be speedily counteracted His “ Pilgrimage" contains much curi. and removed, they will unquestionably ous and interesting information respectlead to results of the most terrific kind. ing the objects that he met with in his No efforts of the Colonization Society, visit to the Holy Land, and other places by which the obnoxious negroes and peo- adjacent. It is full of eloquence and ple of colour are transferred to the African sentiment, and teems with a flippant and continent, can prevent the increase of dogmatical philosophy, applied to Christithese races in America, who are multiply- anity ; for which the author, unlike many ing by myriads ; and it is impossible that of his countrymen, expresses a sincere they should for ever submit to that wicked regard : unhappily, however, he is very system of oppression and insult which imperfectly acquainted with its real nahas hitherto been their hapless lot. A ture. Yet his book, in which are many righteous Providence most assuredly will, beautiful passages, may be useful 10 soon or late, avenge their wrongs, should sceptics and unbelievers, especially if it the Legislature attempt to perpetuate should lead to a serious and thorough inslavery, and the white people still refuse vestigation of the facts which took place to their sable brethren the common rights in the countries visited and described by of hunan nature. The subject of our traveller, and upon which the truths slavery is already under warm discussion of Christianity rest. in America; and Mr. Abdy's volumes Narrative of a Residence in South Afcannot fail to make a deep impression rica. By Thomas Pringle, late Secretary upon the public mind in this country, to the Anti-Slavery Society. A new and thus hasten the righteous measure Edition. To which is prefixed, a Bioof emancipation in the United States, graphical Sketch of the Author, by Josiah and throughout the world. Lament- Conder. Small 8vo. pp. 356. 10s. 6d. able are the cases of injustice, cruelty, Moxon.-The late Mr. Pringle, who was Vou. XIV. Third Series. July, 1835.