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pious and devout people. They aave faith in God, faith in the power of his word and in prayer, faith in sudden conversions, and, like the Wesleys, they go among the lowest and meanest of men and win them to Christ. At their Conference, June 3, 1874, they reported 3,826 chapels, 1,020 travelling and 14,838 local preachers, 9,961 class leaders, 164,660 church members, and 306,333 Sabbath School scholars. They have a few societies in the Canadas, which are also in a flourishing condition, but have not been able to do much in the States, because not needed. They are sometimes called Ranters, in reference to the freedom of their devotions.
IV. THE BIBLE CHRISTIANS, OR BRYANITES, seceded in 1815, under the leadership of one William O'Bryan, a local preacher. Having been rebuked for various extrav. agances in reference to preaching and supporting the min. istry, he withdrew from the connection, and organized a new society under the imposing title of “ Bible Christian Connection." There is a striking resemblance between this body and the Primitives. It admits lay delegates to its Conferences in equal proportion to its ministers, whereas the Primitives allow two to one. This connection reported, in 1874, 1,993 travelling and local preachers, and 26,878 members.
V. THE PRIMITIVE WESLEYAN METHODISTS. This is the name of a party that seceded in Ireland in 1816, under the influence of Rev. Adam Averill, a clergyman of the Church of England, and a Methodist according to the custom of olden times. The British Conference had allowed the English to have preaching in “ church hours," and to administer and receive the sacraments among themselves, some twenty years before. About 1810 the Irish Meth Odists began to petition the Conference to allow them the
same privileges, and not require them to receive the sacra ments of church clergymen, in whose piety they had no confidence. The petition was reasonable ; and after several year's delay the Conference yielded, and the Irish were permitted to exercise the liberties enjoyed by their brethren across the channel. This so offended the minority, who professed great reverence for Mr. Wesley's “ Plan” and the mother church, that they seceded, with Mr. Averill at their head, and organized under the foregoing title, which answers well to their pretensions. But they did not prove to be quite as Wesleyan as their title would indicate ; for they first abandoned the legal obligations of Wesley's “ Deed," and then altered the constitution of their Conference so as to admit lay delegates. Besides, they inserted a clause in their chapel deed, by which their houses are for feited to the Crown the moment service is held therein during " canonical time," or the sacraments are administered by their own preachers, whom they regard as mere laymen.
The advancement of this society has not been very encouraging. At first, they had several preachers, and about 9,000 members, mostly located in the north of Ireland, where the outbreak occurred. Their servility to the church, lay representation, and hostility to the Wesley. ans, have secured them many favorable glances from the world ; but still they drag on heavily, effecting little for themselves, and less for the cause of God, showing clearly that their secession has been more vexations than profitable.
VI. THE INDEPENDENT, AND WESLEYAN PROTESTANT METHIODISTS. -- These are two small bodies which separated from the British Conference in the year 1827, in conse quence of not being allowed to dictate in important matters, contrary to Methodist usage. The Protestants thought the ministry had too much power. They also took offence at the introduction of an organ into the Brunswick chapel in Leeds; and would not countenance the use of the liturgy in the public services. Finding that the connection was against them, and that there was little hope of effecting 3 reform, they withdrew, and took a new name. But, strange as it may seem, we find in their “Rules," publishe i three years afterwards, an express provision for the use of the liturgy in the London chapel, and the introduction of an organ into the Burley chapel. The Independent Methodists are no better.
They scarcely have any regular ministry, being served by local preachers. These two sects together number but very few members, and their history is a beautiful comment on those theories of church government which would subordinate clerical authority to the dictation of the people. The least we ought to learn from them is, that the people may be popish as well as the priest; and that they, having the purse of the church, cannot be invested with legislative power without some risk to their humility, and some danger to the rights of the clergy.
VII. THE WESLEYAN ASSOCIATION METHODISTS, OR WARRENITES. — The organization of this body occurred in 1834, under the direction of one Dr. Samuel Warren. Dr. Fisk, in writing from England, remarked, “ It is thought Dr. Warren became disaffected from the same reason that Diotrephes opposed the apostles.” To effect a change in the government, he began to agitate the subject, making clerical dorination prominent in his bill of indictment. And finding certain leading men in his way, he attacked them with great violence, and would neither cease nor retract, where. upon he was brought before the Manchester district meeting, and suspended. This he took in high dudgeon, and, conspiring with his disaffected brethren, he “ appealed to Cæsar,"
commencing suits in the court of chancery against the chair. man of the district, Dr. Newton, and the Trustees of the Oldham street chapel, asking the court to reverse the decis. sion of the district meeting and of the trustees, and restore him to the official duties and privileges from which he had been suspended. The case was argued, and all the weaknesses of the Wesleyan Platform exposed. But his honor, the vicechancellor, understood the law differently, and decided in favor of the Conference and the trustees. But the doctor was not satisfied, and appealed to the “Lord Hig! Chancellor," who, after giving the case a suitable hearing, confirmed the decision of the lower courts, leaving the doctor still in suspense, and establishing the legality of the old Wesleyan “ Deed of Declaration," and the authority of the Conference.
This was more than the excited party could endure, and hence they seceded, and set up for themselves. The doctor stood by them for a time; but finding the laity inclined to exercise a little too much lordship over the ministry, or, at all events, the reform not working to his mind, he seceded again, and took refuge in the Church of England. The little band of adventurers which he led out from among the Wesleyans struggled brarely for the faith until 1857, when it combined with several other small secessions and formed what is now known as
THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCHES of England.—Its eighteenth Annual Conference was held July 29, 1874, and reported 358 travelling preachers, 3,374 local preachers, 71,427 members and probationers, 165,528 Sunday School scholars, and over $50,000 collected for missions.
It is to be hoped that they will now go on and do much good.
VIII. THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, in Canada, is not quite a secession from the Wesleyan connection, and yet it comes pretty near it. When the Canada Conference separated from the Methodist Episcopal Church, it was episcopal, and designed to remain so; but afterward changed its mind, and, constitutionally, “did away” with episcopacy, and united with the British Connection, A respectable minority were dissatisfied, and retained their old name and arrangements, adding thereto to meet the necessities of their unfortunate condition. They have one Annual Conference, two bishops, 236 travelling and 214 local preachers, and 22,641 church members. They publish a weekly paper, the "Canada Christian Advocate;" have a Book Concern, and are a pious and useful people.
IX. There was a secession projected in 1849, which seemed more alarming than any of its predecessors. It had been maturing several years. The main object of it evidently was to break down the Wesleyan Connection, and it was not altogether unsuccessful. More than sixty thousand members withdrew from that body in the course of a few months, and a very bitter controversy ensued, lasting several years and damaging all parties, and the cause of Christ particularly.
The disaffection arose from the rigidity and power of the Conference, or, more properly speaking, the position and influence of leading members of it. Such men are always an annoyance to ambitious aspirants, however kind and
pru dent. They have been particularly so in the British connection, and have excited the envy, jealousy, and, perhaps, the malignity of their inferiors. At all events, they have been pursued by them with great severity, for many years. They were finally attacked in certain "Fly Sheets," or tracts, and traduced in the most merciless manner; which