« PreviousContinue »
to June 17th, 1830, not a member of the leaders' meeting ever heard so much as a whisper of suspicion against the orthodoxy of any of the heads of their party! He that can believe it, let him believe it.
But to the other branch of my accusation, that in the “ list of doctrines, the trinity is left out," I am referred to the three first of your doctrines, which are, “ 1. The existence of the one, true, and eternal God. 2. The true and proper Godhead of Jesus Christ. 3. The personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit.” The word trinity, does not occur in these articles; nor do they express anything approaching to an orthodox meaning of the term, which denotes, “ The union of three divine persons in the Godhead.” No man professing Mr. Tucker's sentiments could feel any hesitation in subscribing to these articles. On the first there is no dispute. On the second, Mr. T. would tell you, that his exposition of the doctrine contains the true, and, consequently, the proper Godhead of Jesus Christ. On the third, he could feel no more difficulty than on the first and second; for though he asserts that the Holy Spirit, as well as the Son, was created, yet he does not scruple to talk about “the essential divinity of the Holy Spirit.” These articles contain no explanation whatever, as to the sense in which the Son and Spirit are divine; and they are so vague, that I strongly suspect they were drawn up by a Tuckerite. The lowest Arian, or even a Socinian, might very well be their author. And now I leave you to judge who practices “Jesuitism,” and whose “assertions are completely false."
Here I wish to raise my warning voice. The plague is in your camp, and, I fear, is spreading. A man who had published to the world, that such a God as the trinitarians worship, must be an idiot, and who has denounced their worship as idolatry, is employed as the editor of your Magazine, to furnish you with the bread of life from the press; and his name is put upon your plan, as an accredited preacher of the glorious gospel of Christ, to minister to your spiritual wants from the
pulpit. If this man has a conscience, and believes what he says, he must have laboured hard to bring you from the idolatrous worship of an idiot, to the spiritual worship of the true God. He cannot be sincere in the belief of his own creed, without endeavouring to proselyte your people to it. And I believe the omission of the trinity in your list of doctrines, and the wording of these doctrines so as to harmonise with his creed, is owing to the spread of his errors among the Protestants. And what sort of a divine Saviour is proclaimed among you by the preachers of this new gospel? Why one who, the moment he appeared in this world, forgot his errand.*
I should be afraid that such a thoughtless divinity could scarcely be trusted to, as the great God and our Saviour. In this new system, the dregs of the lowest Arianism are mixed up with a worse than phrenological materialism; and the composition is not a whit better than downright Socinianism. I hope John Žirkbride and William Myers will learn to be a little more cautious how they “ boldly assert” things, in their next advertisement. I have shown, I think, that they are rather more bold than prudent: but a man's zeal will not always allow his conscience to boggle.
Now for the Holbeck case. The main particulars of that case, as detailed in my second letter, were collected from the leader who has been so shamefully treated by the authorities at Leeds. I did not, however, trust implicitly to his representations; information from numerous other quarters corroborated his statements. I have since seen this leader, who authorises me to state, in the most public manner, that both himself and his class have been deprived of their
* This results from Mr. T.'s philosophy, as requiring the contraction, or compression of the mental powers of this divinity, to suit his union with a liuman body in an embryo state; which we have already observed must have deprived him of all ideas, and consequently of the idea that he was a Saviour. And as Mr. T. allows him, during his union with a body, no other means of acquiring knowledge than what other men possess, I wish he had informed us when and how he recollected himself, that instead of being an ordinary mortal he was an “essential divinity!”
society tickets for the two last quarters; and this without having been tried before any tribunal, or having received any notice of trial. These are the principal facts of the case; and these he stated in the presence of myself and Mr. Calder; and Mr. Calder is ready to attest the truth of my report if it be called in question.
I said in my letter, that “ leader and his class, at Holbeck, were all turned out of society by a single elder, without any trial at all.” Upon this statement John Kirkbride and William Myers affirm, they know well “ that these assertions are completely false.” If completely false;. then it is true, that they were not turned out of society, and that they had a trial. And what authority do these stewards produce in evidence of their bold assertion? They say, “In proof of which we annex the following resolutions of the Holbeck leaders' meeting upon the subject: 1. That the following statement contained in Mr. Isaac's second letter, is not only incorrect but false.
• When the proper season arrived, an elder from Leeds, a great stickler, no doubt, for the liberties of Englishmen, attended at Holbeck to renew the society's tickets. When he came to the class of the re-elected leader, he refused tickets to him and all his members.' 2. That the following statement also false, p. 32: • The Holbeck leaders were highly indignant at this mode of treatment of one of their members and his class, and held a parley with the meek-spirited elders of Leeds, at the last quarterly meeting ; but these gentlemen, partly by threats, that they could convert the Holbeck society into an independent church ; and partly by promises, that the affair should be presented for final adjudication to the next yearly meeting, obtained a trifting majority in favour of a despotic act, which never had its equal in our connexion.'
Now, so far are the Holbeck leaders from asserting, that the passage selected by the Leeds stewards is
completely false," that they do not refer to it at all! Nor is there a word in the quotations they make from my letter, respecting any trial of either the leader or
his class! And what is still more remarkable, the words which immediately follow their last extract from my letter, are these, “Neither the leader nor his members were tried by a leaders' meeting, or received any notice of trial before any tribunal whatever.” Is it not very singular, that the Holbeck leaders, who were to prove me" completely false,” in saying, the leader and his class had no trial at all, should have stopped short just when they came to that part of the subject! As the Holbeck leaders dare not put their negative upon that statement; and as the leader himself is quite positive in the affirmative; I shall consider this point, (that the leader and his class were not tried at all,) as completely” established. As to the other particular,
a leader and his class were all turned out of society," I admit that the Holbeck leaders put their negative upon a passage which amounts to the same thing, where they charge me with falsehood in saying, that the tickets were refused to the leader and all his members. Here then I am fairly at issue with the leaders' meetings of both Leeds and Holbeck. I affirm, on the testimony of the leader himself, given already, that neither he nor his members received their tickets for the last two quarters, and that they have consequently been put out of society, by being deprived of the token of membership. This, both leaders' meetings affirm to be false. That the public may judge between us, let it be considered, 1. That my evidence is the testimony of the leader in question, delivered in the presence of myself and Mr. Calder, with full leave to make it public. 2. If the tickets were really given, is it credible that the man should persevere in affirming the contrary, to the disgrace of both himself and the society with which he is connected ? 3. If the tickets were given, why is not the elder produced who gave them? He is the proper witness; and would undoubtedly be forthcoming, if his testimony could help his brethren in this time of need. What nonsense is it to be holding leaders' meetings in Leeds and Holbeck
to disprove an allegation, which cannot be disproved but by a certain individual. If you cannot bring him forward, it is a lost case.
Just as the above was going to press, the Churchman's second letter made its appearance; and as it contains some important concessions on the Holbeck case, I must make a few remarks. The following is his version of the affair : “A Protestant leader at Holbeck is deprived of his office and membership. He shortly afterwards is admitted as a private member. He is then proposed and re-elected a leader at the Holbeck leaders' meeting; 100 early after the commission of his offence, in the opinion of sume of the members of that meeting, and too early, in the opinion also of a very large majority of the quarterly meeting, to whom they appealed. The resolution of the Holbeck meeting of course fell to the ground. Still dissatisfied, the Holbeck leaders agitate the question at the ensuing quarterly meeting; the discussion is of the most friendly nature, and terminates in an agreement, that the case shall again be referred to the decision of the meeting ; (at which, as well as the former one, the dissentients themselves had the right of voting ;) when the resolution of the former meeting is confirmed, and, by a large majority. This is the entire case.”* And a pretty case it is !
In the main particulars, it agrees with my representation. · I stated that the first quarterly meeting which took cognizance of the leader's case,
“decreed that his re-election was void.” The Churchman adinits this, when he states that by a very large majority of the quarterly meeting “ the resolution of the Hol. beck meeting fell to the ground.” I state, and so does the churchman, that the Holbeck leaders were dissatisfied with the decision of this quarterly meeting, and agitate the question again the next quarter day. An important question arises here, and that is, were the leader and liis class members of society in the interval between the two quarterly meetings? I did not understand that the first quarterly meeting had expelled the leader and his class, but merely annulled the re-election of the leader. If this were the fact, he and his class were clearly entitled to their tickets, as private members; and as the rules say, “The duties of elders are, to renew the tickets at the quarterly visitation of the classes;" I took it for granted that an elder had attended the class in question, and that the tickets were not withheld without a word being spoken to the parties. In this, it seems, I was mistaken; for the Churchman remarks upon this part of my narrative, “ No elder from Leeds, in the discharge of his duties at Holbeck, ever came in contact, either with the deprived leader, or with a
* A Second Letter, pp. 12, 13.