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single individual of his class, on any occasion whatever, since the period of his expulsion.”* The period I refer to in my narrative is prior to the second quarterly meeting which discussed this subject; and the Churchman's statement would be no contradic. tion of mine, if the leader were not expelled at the first of these quarterly meetings.
Take the Churchman's account of the affair instead of mine, and welcome; and it will be manifest to every one that my great fault has been, in not representing the affair one-tenth part so bad as it turns out to be. 1. The quarterly meeting has deprived the leaders' meeting of the right of electing its own members; contrary to the rule, which says, “ The leaders' meeting shall be composed of elders, preachers on full plan, leaders, society stewards, poor stewards, and trustees. But on the appointment or trial of leaders, the leaders alone shall be allowed to vote;" and the rule goes on to state, that " when a leader is wanted for a class, the leaders' meeting shall nominate a person to fill that office;" and after a process of examination, “ If approved a majority, he shall be considered a member of the leaders' meeting, and his appointment to the class, for which he was put in nomination, shall then be confirmed.”+ But the Churchman admits, that, by a “ majority of the quarterly meeting, the resolution of the Hoibeck meeting fell to the ground; and that the Holbeck leaders were dissatisfied with this interference of the quarterly meeting.
2. The quarterly meeting has deprived the leaders' meeting of the power of trying its own members; contrary to the rule cited above, and also contrary to another rule, page 17, made, as it ex. pressly declares, “ To prevent everything like unfair and clandestine expulsions;" and which enacts that “the leaders' meeting shall determine whether the offending brother shall be expelled from the society; but the right of appeal to the quarterly meeting, shall be preserved in this as in every other case.” other case” of appeal, mentioned in the rules, the right is restricted to the defendant; but in this instance the defendant made no appeal; for the leaders' meeting, instead of expelling him, elected him a leader. On this occasion the leaders' meeting did not try him as to his membership, but as to his fitness to be a leader; and the law allows of no appeal in such a case. According to the Churchman, therefore, the quarterly meeting took the affair of the man's expulsion entirely out of the hands of the leaders' meeting, where the law had lodged it.
3. “ No elder from Leeds, in the discharge of his duties at Holbeck, ever came in contact, either with the deprived leader, or with a single individual of his class, on any occasion whatever, since the period of his expulsion.” This is one of the most singular declarations ever made. It does not say their, but his expulsion.
“ In every
* A Second Letter, p. 13.
+ Rules, pp. 16, 17.
But if they were not expelled by the quarterly meeting, and it is livt pretended that they were expelled by their own leaders' meeting, then it was clearly the duty of an elder to visit these people; and it was my taking it for granted that he bad done so, which led me into error. No; the quarterly meeting had smitten the shepherd which the Holbeck leaders had appointed, and the sheep were scattered abroad; and the pastors, as the elders are called, take care never to come into contact with a single individual of them! Most astonishing! Are these poor sheep to be abandoned, and deprived of all their privileges, because their guide is supposed to have gone astray? If an elder never came near them after the expulsion of their leader, then they were expelled the society; for the rule says, page 12, “ The mode of excluding a private member shall be by withholding the ensuing quarterly ticket.” The tickets must have been withheld, since the elders, whose office it is to give them, never came into “ contact with a single individual” of them. It is not pretended that the Holbeck leaders' meeting put these people out of society; and no other power, according to their laws, had any right to do it. The law says, page 12, “ Private members of society shall be tried by the leaders' meeting, and if dissatisfied with the decision of such meet. ing, the accused person shall have the right of appeal to the quarterly meeting, whose decision shall be final.” In giving us entire case," the Churchman has not dropped a hint that these private members were tried at all, though that was a most material part of the case; but only assures us, that from the time of the expulsion of their leader, they were abandoned by the elders, as though“contact” with them would have been dangerous.
The Churchman falls foul upon me for giving credit to the leader, as a perjured man. What he insisted upon were, I. That he and his class had been deprived of their tickets and membership. The Churchman admits this. 2. That they had no trial, or notice of trial. The Churchman does not pretend that they were summoned as culprits to be tried by their own leaders' meeting, or that, in point of fact, they were tried at all by that meeting, Will he call what passed at the quarterly meeting, a trial? What! when the tribunal is illegal, and the accused are not called to answer for themselves! If this be a trial, it is worse than the inqui. sition; for the poor wretches there have the privilege of appearing before their judges, and answering for themselves.
No, Mr. Churchman, I do not want the evidence of the leader any longer. You shall be my voucher, for the future, for all I learned from the leader, and a great deal more! and for this I
Your passion has betrayed you into disclosures for which you will not very soon, I think, forgive yourself.
I remarked in my last, “ With the fitness or unfitness for his office of the leader in question, I have nothing to do. Suppose, if you please, that he is every way qualified for it; and then the
injustice of the treatment he has received is vividly apparent. If you suppose him to be unworthy, you see the necessity of a controlling power somewhere, to correct the errors of subordinate jurisdictions, and to bring them into harmony with the general system. This is the business of special district meetings; and you cannot object to these, if you imitate them."
It is a poor gloss of the Churchman, which he mentions twice, because he has nothing better to offer, that the Holbeck dissentient leaders had a vote in the quarterly meeting which reversed their decision. What a mighty favour to have the privilege of being out-voted by a meeting which sets aside their local jurisdictions !
Let us then look at this modern Protestantism, as it is depicted by the gentle Churchman. Take a peep at the state of things at Holbeck. The leader in question is called a “ culprit-a man who had just before excluded himself from a religious society by the perpetration of the revolting enormity of marrying his wife's sister, - under circumstances of disgusting indecorum, and who accomplished this shocking crime, by thrice perjuring himself upon the gospels.” He that can believe this, and that the Holbeck leaders were determined to have the man in office, and that it required two quarterly meetings to vote them down and silence them, will very naturally think, that with all their boasting of superior sanctity, the old Methodists have not lost much by the secession of men of such exquisite moral sensibility, as these Holbeck leaders, My notions of Protestant purity did not run very high, but I cannot believe they are in quite so bad a state, though attested by a Protestant advocate, under the cloak of a “ Churchman.”
If you come to Leeds, you are dinned almost to death with shouts of liberty, by those who have accomplished their emancipation from the old connexion. Go to a quarterly meeting, and you find them trampling the local jurisdictions under foot without any ceremony, and contrary to all law. Compare also the advertisers with the Churchman, and you will find them completely at variance in several important matters; and in particular, that the advertisers deny the leader was turned out of society, and the Churchman admits it.
If the Protestants would let us alone, I should not concern myself about their affairs; but when they have publicly declared that the Leeds case shall not die, I think myself justified in showing that they have a case of their own, ten times worse than anything they can allege against us. A leader and his class at Holbeck have been deprived of their tickets and membership, without any trial or notice of trial, contrary to the laws of their connexion. This is treating the local authorities, who, according to their rules, have the power to try their own members, with the most sovereign contempt. Our special district meeting dare not do business in this style. Those who were put out of our society at Leeds, at
the time the special district meeting was being holden, were regu. larly summoned to take their trial, and were tried by their own leaders. Our special district meeting merely gave the superintendent advice; and that advice was, to abide by the laws of the connexion; but your officers have broken through the laws, as though they were cobwebs, and cavalierly cut off from communion at a stroke, a whole class, without any trial at all. Our preachers are as timid as hares, compared with these lion-faced gentlemen! Pray let us hear no more of the Leeds case, till the mystery of the Holbeck case be cleared up. Mighty efforts have been made, since my letters came out, to settle the difference with this leader; and the authorities must yield to him, or all the dirt will come out.
I have now finished the task which I proposed, and shall not further interfere in the controversy, unless circumstances should arise, to make it necessary or expedient. I trust I have succeeded in showing, that our ministry stands upon the basis of sacred writ. This I consider as infinitely more important than the Leeds
the Holbeck case, or any other case which may arise. None of the Protestant writers have attempted to show, what their system so much requires, that in scripture, an itinerant minister is ever subjected to a local preacher, or elder, or any local officer. Now I have produced abundant evidence in proof, that itinerants created the local officers, and presided over them; and this with those who regard the authority of the Bible, will be decisive of the controversy. Nothing I ever did has given me greater satisfaction than the scriptural proof I have adduced in support of our ministry. May God make it a thousand-fold more successful !
I shall conclude by reminding the Protestants of the two important facts, 1. That your system of discipline has been proved, in many important particulars, to be in direct opposition to the word of God. 2. In doctrine I have showed you are not incorrupt; the lowest and most disgusting Arianism has been introduced among you by your spiritual guides, is working among you, and threatens you with ruin. Escape for your lives :
BIRMINGHAN:-Printed by Robert Pilter, Needless Alley.
The Second Volume of Mr. Isaac's Works will be
issued with all convenient speed, and will contain:
1. A THIRD EDITION OF HIS BAPTISM DISCUSSED, which, having had the test of two editions already, and the eulogium of some of the leading periodicals of the day, needs no further recommendation.
2. AN ESSAY ON THE WORD AMEN, published originally to justify the Revivalists of that day in the use of the response, and to correct the abuse which it then as well as now suffered. To persons who have either conscientious scruples about paying an individual for responding, or congrega. tions who wish to know how the early church attended to this part of devotion, this work commends itself.
3. AN ESSAY ON SINGING. A work which ought to be read and studied by every congregation, except that where the singing department of divine worship is already cor. rectly performed.
4. AN ESSAY ON PHRENOLOGY OPPOSED TO REASON, in which Mr. Isaac appears his “
very self” in holding up the picture as it deserves, and giving the advocates of the system their proper place in society.
5. SOME OTHER ARTICLES OF A MISCELLANEOUS NATURE.